Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

Boston Depot
Above is one of my favorite photos from 2012 - it was taken with my Nikon F3 on Kodak Ektar 100. In 2012 I really returned to analog photography in full force - from color slide film, to developing my own black and white, to shooting Polaroid/Impossible film. On the digital side I had my best year of selling prints ever and felt my shooting improved in many ways. Follow this link for my '2012 Digital Year in Review'. I didn't have time to finish the template and layout correctly - guess I already have my first goal of the New Year.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Towpath in Snow

Towpath in Snow
I shot this photo late today in the waning light. I used a tri-pod to achieve the desired aperture. This is the Towpath trail slightly passed Everett.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas and Eve

The Night Before Christmas
All of my family Christmas events took place at my parent's house this year. It was kind of nice not to have to drive very far to get anywhere. On Christmas Eve I shot bouncing my 580exII off the ceiling and on Christmas Morning I shot natural light. I also shot some black and white film which I hope to have developed tomorrow.
New Photographer
New Photographer - Andrew.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Your Christmas Card

Your Christmas Card Happy Holidays from the staff and families of Zipper City Photography to you!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Abandoned Garage

Garage Study #9
Laura and I went for a hike in the Valley today. While walking along I spotted an abandoned building a few hundred yard off of the trail. It turned out to be a falling down garage fairly near to a house that seemed to be occupied. The snow cover gave the sight and enchanting quality - maybe its just because we have gone so long without any snow. We stayed away from the house while exploring the garage and the area around it. Laura found an old plow covered in the snow. I would like to come back and search the area again when there is no snow on the ground and see if there are any other artifacts around. Garage Study #4

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Bokeh

Christmas Lights
'Bokeh' is a Japanese word used by photographers to describe the 'out-of-focus' part of a photograph. Different lenses exhibit different kinds or qualities of bokeh. A really expensive prime lens is often said to have "really creamy bokeh". The above photo is of Christmas lights on my mantle shot with a really large aperture to create a very small depth-of-field. This effect is used on Christmas lights by thousands of photographers this time of year - many do portraits with the blurred lights in the background. So I know I'm not reinventing the wheel here - I'm just enjoying the ride.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lots of Light

Last night I was reading through a photography magazine and motivation struck me - it didn't matter that it was getting late - I had to shoot something. I've had this idea for a lighting set-up for a while and I decided to try it out. I used three shoot-through umbrellas surrounding the camera with Canon flashes in each on full power. It kind of gives a ring light effect. I added the vignette in Photoshop. 
By the way, I've downloaded the a trial of Photoshop CS6(I was using CS4) and I'm learning my way around it. The changes to what I use in Photoshop itself haven't seemed to make that much of a difference(yet) but the changes to the RAW editing program Camera Raw have been huge. The program is so much better at converting RAW images and the adjustment sliders make way more sense. I can definitely make better images with the upgrade - which I will purchase when the 30 trial expires.

Monday, December 17, 2012


The Decisive Moment
I shot some portraits of Laura's niece and nephew for use on her sister's Christmas Cards last week. I think Mom and Dad will be happy with some of the nice family portraits I took - but I really like these two "outtakes". The above is probably my favorite Christmas photo ever. Yeah!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Riding Run Hike

Buried Vehicle in Front of Covered Bridge Study #1
I took advantage of the warm weather and my day off to engage in my favorite hobby - exploring the Everett area of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Besides enjoying nature I was also on the look out for the man made objects the park never removed - such as the front end of a car buried near the Covered Bridge(above photo). As any regular reader of my blog knows, there is just something that fascinates me about the juxtaposition of the recent populated past colliding with the natural present of the park. I've become quite good and noticing the tell tale signs of where human structures used to be - barns/houses/garages- today a tree lined driveway, minus the driveway....  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thirsty Dog

Last night Laura and I went to the Thirsty Dog Brewing Company's tasting room to have a few beers. I really wanted to try the Mayan Last Dog beer being that it will only be available for a short while - it was a very good stout. I also had a smoked lager which was delicious. Laura had a couple of 12 Dogs of Christmas which turned out to taste much better than it does in bottles this year - I'm not sure why. It actually reminded us of what it tasted like last year. The tasting room is a cool spot - pretty much a regular bar but right in the brewery. It was fairly crowded and the bartender seemed a bit overwhelmed but we enjoyed our beers sitting at the bar. The hours are a little strange so if you decide to go make sure you check the website first.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tree Decorating

Classic Glass Ornaments
Laura and I put up and decorated the Christmas Tree last week. We've collected some antique ornaments, bought some new ones, and received a few as gifts over the last few years. We drank a bottle  of Corsendonk, listened to some Christmas music, donned our gay apparel, and had a good time.... The Star

Monday, December 10, 2012

Browns Game

I've finally fixed my computer so I hopefully I'll be back in action for good. I'll be uploading the blogs and photos I couldn't post last week. I bought a new hard drive, installed Windows 8, and downloaded a trial of Photoshop CS6. I also tried to add a few gigs of RAM to my computer but it wouldn't start when I installed the new RAM - no idea why. Anyways - enjoy a couple of photos from yesterday's Browns game - it was fun to watch the Browns route a team. There actually seems to be a sense of optimism surrounding the team now - they are young and improving - I know we've heard it all before but it does seem different.... Nose Bleeds

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's Dead

My computer is officially dead. I re-installed the operating system and after many restarts the hard drive started clicking and wouldn't load the OS. Thank god I had already moved all of my photos and music off the main drive. I won't be able to post any new decent photos until I purchase a new computer....

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ciders and Wines

My desktop computer is on the fritz again....and I have so much to post. I'll figure the situation out this weekend. In the meantime this is a photo of Zipper City Cider Werks....a spiced apple wine K made tonight in front, a hard cider I racked tonight to clear in back, and the Christmas Ale bottle conditioning in the coke crates - shot with my Surface....and posted that way too......

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mitchell's Orchard and Farm Market

Mitchell's Orchard
For a few weeks Dave and I had been passing a sign for Mitchell's Orchard on our way home from where we work(outside Ashland, OH). I had been wanting to get some cider for brewing spiced, holiday apple wine for New Year's Eve. Today we finally decided to stop and check the place out. To our surprise it was filled with all kinds of wines(including local), a large selections of micro brews, and a home-brewing supply section. I was in heaven. I forgot to check out most the other treats that they had(including their apples which I had planned on buying). It looks like they also have a tasting room and occasionally have brewing and other classes. I believe that in the Summer they sell other fresh produce. This won't be the last time we'll be stopping at Mitchell's. 
Mitchell's Orchard and Farm Market

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ohio Brewing Christmas Party

Cutting a Rug
Last night Laura and I went downtown to Ohio Brewing Company for their Christmas Party, which I had read about it in the food section of the Beacon Journal. There was free food, bands, and we bought a growler of Jingle Bell Ale to share. The location was cool - they had a small bar right in the brewery, a "tap room" or "tasting room" as they say, and they set up some extra tables to sit at. We did some dancing to a cover band called 'Average Joe' but didn't stick around for the other bands. The crowd was extremely eclectic. I wouldn't rate Ohio Brewing's beer nearly as high as Akron's Thirsty Dog or Hoppin' Frog - its more or less average for a micro-brewery - but we ended up having a really good time and we would both return for other events. 
I shot these photos at the extremely high ISO of 5000 which is why they are so noisy/grainy. It was one of those situations were I didn't bring my flash and grainy photos are better than no photos.

Friday, November 30, 2012


The mobile home park that I'm working at this Winter is next to an Amish Farm. This morning the farmer's horses and goats were right by where I park. I snapped a few photos before getting to work. The area surrounding where I work is beautiful country of rolling hills, large grain farms, and Amish Farms. Its not uncommon to see horse drawn carriages and tractors passing by.... Goats!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Morning Lights & Empty Lots

Morning Gold
A couple of the morning light photos that I couldn't get to post yesterday because of my computer troubles. After the Jump are a couple of photos from work... Wheel Light
Tractor wheel.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spaghetti and Computers

This morning I took some pretty photographs of a frosty sunrise in the Cuyahoga Valley - so you're probably thinking "why am I looking at Tim's diner?" If you think its because I've started to make my own spaghetti sauce, which make me feel good and save money, then you are only partially right. Its mainly because I really like the original idea of this blog (posting at least a photo every day) and because my computer won't turn on(so I can't edit of upload this morning's photos).  The computer troubles have been going on for a while but for the last week or so the thing had been working great - loading Photoshop actions like it was just out of the box! After deciding that I was going to buy a new computer my old one lulled me into a false sense of security just long enough to make me miss the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Anywho, I'm typing this from my Microsoft Surface RT .....and dang - I make good spaghetti.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Kodak Black and White + 400

Royal Bangs @ Musica
Last weekend I shot a roll of Kodak Black and White + 400 in my Nikon L35 Af(after I finished my roll of Fuji NPH 400). This is a film that comes out black and white but is developed using the color process of C-41(the processing photo labs use) instead of black and white chemicals(that I use at home). My friend, Dave, gave me a few rolls of this which was leftover from when he was in College Photography - so it is a few years expired. The reviews say its a fine grained film and comparing it to my Tri-X negatives I would say that the age added a bit of grain, but I didn't seem to notice any loss in speed. I don't believe Kodak still makes this specific film but they do make a different C-41 black and white film(BW400CN). Overall I was happy with the results I achieved with this film, however I prefer to develop my own black and white film so if this wasn't a free gift I probably wouldn't have ever shot it.  I can see why this would be a great for someone who wanted to shoot black an white film without doing home developing.   
The Luxuries @ Annabell'sThe Luxuries @ Annabell's

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fuji 400 NPH

The Luxuries @ Annabell's
I shot my first roll of Fuji 400 NPH over the last few weeks but I can't really judge the quality of this reportedly beautiful film because it was well expired - and as you can see above it developed a very cyan-ish tone and became quite grainy. Color shifts and extra grain are to be expected when shooting expired film but what I can't figure out is why it didn't happen in a few of the frames(like the one below). The only explanation that would make any sense to me would be that my scanner was compensating on certain frames but I doubled checked my settings and there was nothing. The same thing happened to me with an expired role of Kodad Gold 400 once and I kind of shrugged it off - now I'm really curious. I need to ask the lab and do some more research into what is going on. Both roles were shot with my Nikon L35 AF - my go to camera when I want something small, cheap(now), and with a flash. Gabe @ Square 4

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Akron History Museum

Dirigible Model
As usual we headed Downtown Akron for the lighting ceremony at Lock 3 on Friday night. The fireworks and lighting were great as usual. We then checked out the Akron History Museum - we do this every year also - but I always enjoy it. I cranked up the ISO on my Canon 7D and took some shots. Firestone Non-Skids

Friday, November 23, 2012

Modern Tradition

On the Friday after Thanksgiving it has become tradition for my family to do some shopping at the West Side Market followed by some drinks in the area. This year Great Lakes Brewery was a little to crowded for our large group so we grabbed our food and drink at the Market Garden Brewery. Andrew and DadShopping

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Old Friend Meet New Friend

Panasonic Multiplex Stereo
I believe my Dad was given this Panasonic Stereo as a gift from the bank he worked for sometime in the early 70's. My memories of it start when I was quite young - it was always in the family room. I remember hearing it play Christmas songs on many Christmas mornings, my Parent's record collection, and un-televised sports games(remember those days?). I acquired it around twelve years ago(though I had used its now-dead record player since college). I've had it hooked up to a new record player, a DVD player, MP3 player and now I use it with my Microsoft Surface RT. When my former band, The Strange Division, would record we would never be content with a mix of our recordings until we could play a copy of the sessions on this stereo - it just sounds so classic. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Just Walking

Just Walking
Just a self-portrait of me walking down the tracks in my neighborhood.
I like it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Frosty Morning

Frosty Leaves
Frosty leaves on a chilly fall morning at the farm... Frost on Corn
Frosty broken corn stalks....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


An interesting and unfortunate place in the country. A vanishing community. The farmers and the poor. Where dreams come to die. Where the Rubber Doesn't Meet the Road

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Surface Camera

I forgot to mention in my Surface review how awful the cameras are(there is one on each side). I had mostly shot them inside so I thought maybe they just performed lousy in low light. On Friday I needed to work on my car and I had my Surface outside with me in case I needed to look anything up. I shot the above photo of my old gas filler neck next to the new one in fairly bright light - this smaller version looks just OK but when you see it full size you can see the pixelation and some noise. Microsoft labels the cameras and 720p but they only shoot photos at 1 megapixel. I don't plan on using the tablet's camera as anything more than a webcam(and probably rarely for that) but I think the lack of quality here may turn some other people off(especially with the way I see people carrying around and shooting with iPads these days).

By the way, I successfully replaced my filler neck only to find out my gas tank is rusty and leaky too - that's gonna be a fun job..... 

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Hardest of Ciders

Hard Cider and Fruit Juice Wine
Last year my girlfriend and I started to get into homebrewing(post)a little and we made a batch of IPA. I've wanted to brew beer again but didn't have the time. After some YouTube searches I realized how much less time consuming making ciders and wines are so I brewed a cider first. The cider came out really well so I decided to try another round. My first batch was made from unpasteurized cider, brown sugar, and champagne yeast - the batch I just put up is the same except with pasteurized cider - I wanted to see if the flavor is different without the wild yeasts. I bottled a batch of 'inmate brew' or 'country wine' also - that consisted of 2 gallons of grape juice, one gallon of apple cider, dry wine yeast, and a bunch of sugar. The taste wasn't bad and the brew had a definite kick - I got tore-up on it election night. This weekend(now that I have more time) I'm going to try and brew a Christmas Beer. I'm sure I'll be posting more brewing related articles as we get into Winter...