Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review

It's finally that time - the time for my yearly review - two of my favorite photos from each month of 2013. They were a little harder to select than in previous years - between traveling more(NYC, Rome, Finger Lakes etc) and simply having more time after quitting my job at the farm - not to mention that I like to believe I've become a better photographer. My biggest photographic accomplishment of the year was vastly improving my landscapes - the last few years working on the farm I really started to notice great light - now I finally had the time to act on it with my camera. I also think that my black and white film photography improved much - I shot lots of rolls - but those aren't represented here as the year in review is all digital(no real reason for this - accept I've always done it this way). Anyways - click HERE to view this year's review.
 Enjoy. Steam Study #1 Possibly my favorite film shot of the year.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Niece and Nephews

I shot a few portraits of my niece and nephews for my Mom(aka Grandma) a few weeks ago. It was amazing how well everyone cooperated - well almost everyone. Andrew stood in the group and smiled perfectly a few times, even once while the baby of the group, Charlie, was smiling. ...but Andrews roaming around and hamming it up made for some of my favorite shots anyways. I used two speedlights in shoot-through umbrellas to light the session. I came aways with about 15 great shots - here are a few. One piece of advice when shooting portraits - have a quick trigger finger - you never know when the magic is going to happen.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Indian Hill

Where the River Bends... Yesterday I parked my car at the Covered Bridge, walked along Furnace Run, cut across an old farm field(the Pasture Field), hiked up and along the Indian Hill, down the other side, along the railroad tracks past Szalay's, and through the woods behind the Big Field back to my car. A great hike indeed.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Xmas Morning

XMas Wrappings First lets clear up a misconception - "Xmas" doesn't take the "Christ out of Christmas" but is an old abbreviation that comes from the Greek word for Christ, which starts with an X and the "mas" is from the Latin "Mass". Learn your history before ranting. Anyways - this post is a continuation of yesterday's - more wide angle shots - this time on Christmas Morning. Like an idiot I forgot to put my recharged batteries back into my flash - so these are mostly natural light - I say mostly because I did use the pop-up flash a few times. I rarely use the pop-up flash with my Sigma lens because it is so wide that the flash can't cover the whole field of view - leaving a dark spot towards the bottom of the image. I didn't take as many Christmas mornng photos as I would have liked to because I had tweaked my back pretty bad the day before - so I was in a bit of pain - until the 'cup(s) of cheer' kicked in....

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Wide Angle Eve

Twas the Night Before Christmas My Sigma 10-20mm lens has issues with blurriness on the left side so I rarely use it anymore - but for some reason I was in the mood to mess around with its ultra-wide angle effects on Christmas Eve(the blur is apparent in the above photo). Its a fun lens - unfortunately it has been back to Sigma a couple of times and for considerable money but nothing changed - for this reason I will never buy another Sigma product again. I know that Sigma has improved their quality control - but they already have enough of my money. Anyways - it was great Christmas Eve at my parent's house - followed by Laura and my gift exchange back at home....

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Shopping

Christmas Eve Shopping Selfie Today I completed my tradition of doing most of my shopping on Christmas Eve. I roll around singing along to the Christmas songs on the radio and not worrying about the traffic and lines. Some people seem to get so annoyed by Christmas - they must be doing it wrong. Anyways - I know my posts have been light this Holiday Season but I have plans to really pick up steam in the New Year. Lots of stuff to shoot and new techniques to share. Merry Christmas from all of us at Zipper City Photography.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Wandering the Woods

Pines Yesterday I decided to get out for a hike - it had been a little while and I knew it would be a longer while with the weather forecast consisting of so much rain. As with most times when I go out with no specific photo plans, I came away with no amazing photos. It was a grey day and my main concern was just being in the woods. I followed some coyote tracks, chased some deer, heard a screaming hawk and saw a woodpecker hanging out with robbins.....of course I still snapped a few photos...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Three Random Photos

Crash 1 Sometimes you just feel like posting a photo of one of your cats - this is Crash. The light was coming through the windows in a cool(or I guess warm -lolz ;)) way yesterday evening...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Book

The Book This post was supposed to be a big exciting announcement for my new book - "Welcome to Cuyahoga Valley National Park". Unfortunately it is not. My plan was to self-publish and sell through my website a collection of color photographs taken in the Cuyahoga Valley. Flickr had just come out with an app to make photo books with the photos that have been uploaded to their website - I thought this would be the perfect way to make my book. Turns out the photos are not reproduced in nearly the quality that I would consider selling. The photos are flat with hardly any saturation, unsharp, and with visible lines from the printing process. On top of all it my cost was $45 not including shipping. Adding in shipping and a little bit of money for my efforts would send the price of this sub-par book through the roof.  I've begun the search to find out if anything of significant quality can be made for a reasonable price. Updates to follow.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Portraits

Laura and I Last evening I shot portraits of couples at a Christmas Party with Laura assisting me. The location was a very nice house - they asked me to set up on the stairs. I immediately saw multiple problems with this. I would have barely any room to set up my lights and I would be virtually right on top of the subjects. While I tried to figure out how I could pull this off I also realized I would be partially blocking the entrance to the party - I didn't think that a bunch  photo gear is what guests should see as their first impression of the nicely decorated home.  We ended up finding a better location in the back of the house - it still wasn't ideal(the background was too busy) - but it was much better. I had room to set up an light stand with an umbrella for my key light and I bounced a second light off the wall on the other side for some fill. In the small cream-colored room light was reflecting everywhere but I managed to get it under control enough to take some decent portraits. There was a slight color-cast from the walls that I corrected in Photoshop. 
Above is a test shot - I set the self-timer and right before it went off we moved into this goofy prom-pose...and lost it....

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snowed In

I really wanted to go out and shoot in the wet, heavy snow we have been getting all day. I drove my car to the top of the neighborhood and realized there is no way I could get around without getting stuck. I carefully looped around and returned home. Total bummer.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cold Sunrise

Me Oh the things I do for you, my loyal readers. Yesterday was my last day before I pick up some morning part-time work, my last day to sleep in, but also my last day to shoot the rising Sun. My rosy cheeks in the above photo prove that the sunrise won out....and it was a cold one! I was running and jumping around the Langes Trail to keep myself warm. When I would come upon the image I wanted to make I instantly switched into photo-zone-mode - that is until I would realize my fingers were about to fall off. After about a half an hour of hiking and shooting I started to warm up and be able to hold the camera steady. No, I wasn't going to mess with a tripod on a morning like this - I am dedicated, just not that dedicated.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tangier Snaps

Fun My friend Kyle and his girl, Getta, invited Laura, Terra, Greg and I to Tangier to see the band The Scintas do their annual Christmas Show. I didn't know what to expect but they were really entertaining, albeit a little Jesusy at the end for my tastes. The candid photos I shot were pretty much the exact opposite of the candids I took for my last post. This time I had my Nikon L35 AF loaded with long expired Kodak T-Max 400 - kinda like Instagram shots but minus the "insta" part. I acquired a few rolls of the T-Max in a camera bag I bought at the flea market last Spring. The T-Max being around 15 years expired seems to have added to the graininess of the film - new T-Max should definitely be less grainy than Tri-X but it isn't here. No biggie for these shots but good to know when I'm considering what to do with the rest of the stuff. There was a bit of fogging of the negatives too - not sure if this is related to the age of my film or my fixer - I have some hypo-check though... I'm always amazed by how well the 30 year old Nikon exposes with its pop-up flash - far better than the Android smartphone Laura carries.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Frank Comunale at The Highland

Frank, Santa and Sheriff Barry On Saturday morning I shot a charity event hosted by Summit County Councilman Frank Comunale. There was a free move, bicycle raffles, clowns, photos with Santa, a food drive and more. It was a very nice event. I originally met Frank Comunale when I was a car wash manager - I commented on a pin he was wearing and he noticed my name tag - turns out he knew my Dad. I later ended up working for his family's company. He is the most friendly, generous, and charitable person I have ever met. I shot most of the photos by bouncing my flash off the ceiling even though they weren't all white. I still prefer to deal with color casts in Photoshop than to have the flat, boring look of direct flash. I also used a gradient filter to reduce the highlights on the top of everyones heads that occur with bounce flash. All in all for a tough lighting environment I was happy with my results.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Paintings/Fine Art Here are 4 photos from the roll of film I shot the North Pole the other day(Peninsula). They didn't really fit with the theme from the last post so I am putting them here.  That is all.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The North Pole

The North Pole The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad does special trips for kids every year based on the book The Polar Express. The trains leave from the Northside Station in Akron and end up at 'The North Pole' - The Peninsula Station. Yesterday morning when I woke up it was warm and dreary outside and I started to think about the North Pole - not all lite-up with actors dancing and Christmas Music playing - but in black and white and as un-festive as possible. I loaded my Minolta X-700 with Kodak Tri-X 400 and drove down there. I think I achieved the desolate, out-of-place look I was going for - there is something really interesting about the juxtaposition of these images - to me anyways.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

O Christmas Tree, O Instagram

Shiny Brite When shooting digital, color photography I usually try to make the images and crisp and colorful as possible while still keeping them realistic. Sometimes, however, I find that I like going for a more 'vintage' look - which to me usually entails slightly desaturating the image and adding a vignette(evidenced by these Christmas Tree images). It got me to thinking about the 'Instagram look' of faux light leaks, faded colors, vignettes and lens flares. I've always been a fan of everything vintage but I was wondering how much of the trend goes beyond that - more so in the direction of a reaction against digital perfection. I'd be willing to bet many of the photographers who are keeping film alive aren't mostly old timers who never gave it up - but younger ones who never shot it when it was the only option - wanting a different and maybe a more unpredictable result. As I was spending my work day pondering this a couple things came to me that I found ironic: 
1. Camera phones are continually improving in quality by leaps and bounds but only to have people slap filters on the resulting better images that "dumb them down". 
2. Some day this retro/vintage/old school look is going to go out of style and look dated - retro looking dated - an interesting concept I think.  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Browns Game

No, Thank You Haslam This year I bought Laura some Browns tickets as part of her birthday present - because, you know - the Browns are the gift that keep on giving. I think I can speak for most Browns fans when I say that Haslam can take his new scoreboard(financed by the city) and shove it you know where. When the Browns had winning teams in the late 80s fans would pack crappy old Municipal Stadium in freezing cold temperatures - a scoreboard(or adding more over-priced seating) is not the problem in Cleveland. I'm always going to be a Browns fan and I do love attending games in person - but I hate that some of the money from my $9.75 beer is going to line the pockets of that thief and tone-deaf idiot of an owner Jimmy Haslam.  

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday

Laura Not only does no one in my family shop on Thanksgiving - but none of us do any real shopping on Black Friday either - I guess we're a bunch of weirdos who would rather spend quality time together than save a few bucks on Chinese-made-plastic-junk. I believe my cousin Jeff started our family tradition of going to the West Side Market on Friday then heading to one of the local breweries for lunch(unfortunately Jeff couldn't make it this year). We used to grab a Christmas Ale at Great Lakes but its too crowded now - especially with the nieces and nephews in tow - so instead we grabbed food and some drinks at Market Garden Brewery. This year we also had a few at the Townhall - a newish bar/restaurant that had a great draft list, really good service, and pretty cool decor. We also checked out a glass blowing demonstration at the Glass Bubble Project and ended with a snowball fight behind the West Side Market...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Football

Thanksgiving Football I've been playing football on Thanksgiving morning with the Milo Brothers(and whoever else we can round up) for as long as I can remember. Today's game was a cold and snowy one - the first one of those in a long time. I always look forward to the game - but not to the three days of soreness that follow...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It Snowed Today

...and it is supposed to snow tonight - the humanity! Christmas Tree Farm I'm working on a house right now in a picturesque, semi-rural area of Kent. The property on one side is a tree farm  - they just put up a sign for live Christmas Trees. I lug a couple cameras with me to work everyday -  they came in handy today...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Old Timey New York

Old New York One morning in New York I woke up early and headed out to move our car because it was trash day where it was parked. We were staying in Chinatown and I had about a 20 minute walk to the space I had found underneath the Williamsburg Bridge. I know that you never know what you will come upon in NYC but I was taken aback for a minute when I walked down a street and into another century. I started wandering around wondering what the heck was going on - I thought they were having some kind of old timey market until it dawned on me that it must have been for a movie. They were working on covering every bit of modern signage and filling the streets with dirt. I have to say it was really cool - I grabbed my Canon and did my best to capture the contrast between the modern workers and old time back drop. After shooting like this for a while I pulled out my Minolta and shot a roll of Tri-X - some of the shots really look like they are from a hundred years ago. After I finished shooting I found my car and accidentally crossed the bridge and found myself lost in Brooklyn - it was the first time I really wished I had a smart phone - and it turned into such an odyssey that by the time I found my way back the "trash hour" was over an I parked in almost the same spot...
Anyways - later that evening I walked back passed the place where I was shooting in the morning, not a trace of it was there - not even a speck of dirt left on the street...all gone and cleaned like nothing had happened - only in New York...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Standing on the Shoulder of Giants

New York, New York As many times as I've been to New York City I had never been to the top of the Empire State Building - Laura and I had agreed it was something we both wanted to do this time. We went on the earlier side to beat the crowds - and it worked as we didn't have to wait very long. The price - $27 a piece + an additional $17 a piece to go all the way to the top - had made me a little weary but the second I stepped outside on the 86th floor observation deck I said to Laura, "Oh, they can pretty much charge whatever they want for this". Its worth it - trust me. The views are absolutely amazing - you can see every part of the city - Lower Manhattan and New York Harbor, Brooklyn and Queens and the ocean beyond, Central Park, Harlem and the Bronx , The Hudson from near to trailing off in the distance. You could stand there forever picking out all the different buildings - Chrysler, Rockefeller, Flatiron, 1 World Trade, and the thousands of others in between. You really have to force yourself to slow down and try to take it all in - and not to mention the art deco masterpiece that is the Empire State Building itself. I took all the photos of the expansive views - unfortunately it was cloudy and a little hazy so none of those are too spectacular.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Falling Down Barn Study

Old Barn Study #1 I've been driving by this State Road barn on my way to work for a few weeks now. This morning I finally decided I had to stop and take some photos of it. Now that I have my shots it will stand forever in this state - but if I didn't take these photos it would have fallen down later this week - you know how it goes. I circled the barn two or three times snapping away - all the photos looked pretty cool - it was hard to narrow it down to these few. The caved in side actually gets better light at sunset - maybe I'll shoot some black and film of that on my way home one clear evening...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Manhattan Bridge Morning

New York Graffiti On our last day in NYC I went for a walk across the Manhattan Bridge(our hotel was only a couple minutes walk from the entrance). It was the morning "magic hour" and I shoot a bunch of photos with my Canon 7D. When I got out over the East River the views looking at the Brooklyn Bridge and back over Lower Manhattan were great but not my favorite part. What I really enjoyed were the unique views of Chinatown with the sky scrappers of downtown looming in the background.  New York City is unlike any other place - and there are so many different ways and angles to shoot it.  It could be explored for a lifetime.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Morning Woods

Morning Woods
I didn't get out and shoot very much this weekend - the above photo is a from a hike Friday morning. I have, however, been working on updating the blog to the new format blogger uses. I've made the main body wider so I can show my photos bigger(this may make some of the older post's spacing look a little "off" now), I've added all the "share buttons"(so you can "like, "tweet" or "+1" if you're into that sort of thing), and the archives are better organized. The other changes are mostly behind the scenes type stuff(to make it look like right on mobile devices and things of that nature). A few more changes are coming to the content of the blog as well. The original goal of starting this blog was just to motivate myself to "shoot, edit, post, and write about a photo every single day" to improve my photography. Between shooting lots of film and only wanting to post higher quality work(not just shoot any old thing to have something new) I probably won't post quite as often - 4 or 5 times a week is the plan. Also I want to do a "themed" day or two - like "Throwback Thursday" or something along those lines. Anyways - hopefully my vast readership will be happy with the changes.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

First Snow

Snow Trail 4
We now take a break from the regularly scheduled New York City posts to bring you images of the first snow. It came a little early for my tastes but my photography compulsion had me out of bed to "cover" it anyways. The light turned out to be pretty good so I'm glad I went - a nice mix of sun and clouds.  And as much as I don't feel ready for Winter it was nice to shoot familiar landscapes in totally different dressings...

Monday, November 11, 2013

The High Line

Plants and Jersey
The High Line is a park in New York City that has opened in a couple phases over the last few years. It sits on an elevated rail line that was built in the thirties and abandoned in 1980 which runs roughly one mile through Chelsea and the Meat Packing District on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I had followed with interest the Park from its planning stages through the present so I was excited to actually check it out in person. I walked the whole thing from the south to the north as the sun was setting one evening. The park is paved but remnants of the tracks exist and are planted with various shrubs and grasses - I thought it looked really cool in the light and fall color. There are great views of the Hudson River and the surrounding neighborhoods - and there were many like-minded tourists taking photos or taking in the scene.  The park has proved so popular that it is spurring development along its path and a third phase is in planning stages.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Monochrome Morning

East River Fishing "East River Fishing"
On our first morning in New York City I took a walk around Chinatown and then down to the East River. I was up early enough to catch some great light and I shot a whole roll of Kodak Tri-X with my Minolta X-700, two lenses, and red filters. For the last few years I almost always have two cameras with me - my Canon 7D and something with film in it(usually the aforementioned X-700 and Tri-X). It has surprised me lately how much my intuition takes over when I reach into my bag - this morning happened to be a black and white morning - and I knew it without thinking about it. I did grab the 7D once or twice and those colorful photos did nothing for me - I second guessed myself - or needed some kind of "digital reassurance". There are other days when I know to reach for my 7D, and I know exactly how to expose for the later processing I plan to do - I can see the final image before I even look at the camera or computer screen. I've read old interviews with photographers who talk about how different it is "seeing" in black and white compared to color - I guess this is all starting to come together for me.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Staten Island Ferry Ride

Boat in Front of Lighted Lower Manhattan Study #2
When we were preparing to leave for our trip to New York City Laura was reading an article titled '40 Free Things to Do in NYC' or something like that(maybe on Lonely Planet?) - one of them was ride the Staten Island Ferry. I had never even considered doing this as I had never considered visiting Staten Island, but as I thought about the photo opportunities of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Lower Manhattan, and New York Harbor in general I started to become excited about the idea. On a morning when we had walked to see the new World Trade Center(aka 1 World Trade or worse 'The Freedom Tower'*) and the Battery Park area we decided to hop on the ferry and grab lunch on Staten Island. It was smooth sailing and the views did not disappoint. It was a pretty overcast day but the sun broke through at a few times and in the right places(like the above photo were it is shining on Lower Manhattan). If you don't have the time or feel the need to visit the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island(or in our case already had) then there is pretty much no reason not to take this trip.  The Ferries leave each station every half hour.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Back Home

We've been in New York City all week - here is a brief taste of some of our trip. Lots of posts and photos to follow in the next few days.....
Manhattan Bridge Morning
Manhattan Bridge Morning

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fall Post

Ok, one more fall post before I head out of town for the week(and I assume the leaves will be gone when I get back). There will be no posting for a few days - but tons when I get back! See ya soon...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Day and Night

Barn in Morning Light
The sun broke over the horizon and hit this barn for about 2 minutes before retreating behind the clouds - I happened to look out the window and grab my camera from the trunk just in time. This is what perfect light looks like, no?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beaver Pond Wildlife

Great Blue Heron
Wildlife photography isn't really my cup of tea(I don't have the patience - I need to keep moving)but when I stumble upon a great blue heron and a eagle in one hike I obviously gonna do me best to shoot them(with a camera)....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Papercuts @ Emily Davis Gallery

Papercuts VI
Last night I attended and shot the Opening Reception of 'Papercuts' at the Emily Davis Gallery on the University of Akron Campus. It was a challenging shoot - a lot of white on white. I brought my strobes with me but ended up mostly shooting long exposures of the artwork. The lighting on the pieces was pretty good so I didn't see a reason to try and mess with it too much. I always enjoy trying to bring something out of a show that should definitely be seen in person(go see it!). The show was really cool - some of the tiny hand cuts were amazing - its hard to fathom the patience it most take to create works like this.
This is just a small sampling of the work....

Trick Or Treat

Zane and Reaper
Tonight I went Trick-or-Treating with my nieces and nephews. As usual I was the family photographer - and I took all the classic kids-on-the-porch-in-costume shots for my brother and sister - and as always - my favorite shots were the much more candid ones.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Pumpkin Kicking
Last night we all went over to my parents to carve pumpkins. Everyone was Instagraming photos with their iphones - I had the Canon 7D and big 580exII and processed the photos in Photoshop... Andrew(center of shot above) started to get bored with everyone taking photos - until a pumpkin accidentally got knocked off the table - then he started laughing and attempting to kick the rest off the table...and I assume he thought to himself, "oh, we're knocking everything over - ok - I'm down with that!" Those moments always make for better shots than the typical "look here and smile everyone".

Friday, October 25, 2013

Porch Rokr

Missile Toe 2
These are some shots from the 'Porch Rokr' part of 'Art in the Square'. Porch Rokr is a Highland Square festival where bands play on various neighborhood porches all day long. It was pretty fun to walk around listening to music all day and to see the diverse crowd wandering around Highland Square - everything from punks to parents.  These are from the same roll of Tri-X as yesterday's pot - when I developed it I thought "oh yeah, I shot some film at Porch Rokr".  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autumn in Black and White

Morning Fishing
Man, I'm not gonna lie, I love the above photo. Its from a roll of Tri-X that I've been working on for what feels like forever. With all the fall color I haven't been picking up my Minolta that much the last month or so - this roll had lasted so long I wan't entirely sure of what was at the beginning of it - which made for a pleasant surprise because there is some really good stuff here. A few years ago I wouldn't have even considered shooting any black and white during this time of year - I'm glad I found out it can work quite well.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Grain and Blur

Straw Man
I've been running a roll of 12 year old Kodak Max 400 through my Soviet made(in Belarus)Zenit ET for a while now. I picked the camera up at a flea market in Rome which after my initial "Ciao, Quanto costa?" the negotiations mostly took place with hand gestures. Anyways I think I paid about 20 bucks for it. I could tell that the light meter was wildly inaccurate(I Sunny 16'd it) and it wasn't the easiest camera to focus(no split-prism screen) - that topped with the old film made for some rough images ...grainy and blurry. There were a few however that had a certain "feeling" or "vibe" that I felt shined through the technological disadvantages. I shoot old cameras and expired film to achieve a different look - I definitely succeeded in that this time...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Liking Langes

Keep on Shroomin'
I did it again - I went back to the Langes Bridle Trail this evening. I've written about it too many times to try and add a new twist or observation - I just love hiking here. No place is ever really the same place twice anyway - photographically speaking - the light is constantly evolving with the seasons and time of day...

Monday, October 21, 2013

This Year's Model

This Year's Model
I desperately need a new tripod - I have two - my worn out-fairly-cheap one and a flimsy old one that I bought for a few bucks at an estate sale. Fortunately I have a friend who has quite the collection - he let me try out a couple to see which one I'd like to buy. I decided to mess around with both at the same time - the Comet is pictured - and my 7D is taking the shot from the Gitzo. The photo demonstrates what I found perfectly - the Comet looks cooler but the Gitzo is more functional.
As I took a few test shots I started to realize how much my picture looked like another famous photograph - so I decided to turn it into an homage to the cover shot on the great Elvis Costello record - This Year's Model.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Goodyear Heights at Midday

Alder Pond
The middle of the day is the worst time to take landscape photos - but today at Goodyear Heights Metro Park I snapped a few anyways. The sky was the pretty fall blue with puffy white clouds and the trees were beautiful. Laura and I are continuing on our mission to complete the hikes in the Fall Hiking Spree(you only need 8 to complete it but we want to do all of them). There were a lot of people out on a perfect Fall day - everyone is starting to get the fear that it could be the last nice weekend, I believe. Plus it is peak time for Autumn foliage. 
Hopefully the forecast is wrong for this week and we get a few more chances to get out and enjoy the colors...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Another Fall Morning

Trunk Sewer #2
I can stop taking Fall morning photos anytime I want too - I just don't want too.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Park is Open

The Park is Open!
The Republicans finally caved so I headed out to my muse, Indigo Lake, first thing this morning. Lets be clear on one thing - the House had the votes to end the shutdown the whole time(it would have been a bi-partisan vote) Boehner wouldn't allow the vote to happen. Its not the President or the Democrats who held things up by "not negotiating" - but the radical, crazy, right-winger, Tea Party-types in the House. These are the facts, the simple facts, no matter what your beliefs. Anyways - I'm glad the stupid shutdown is over and we can all enjoy OUR parks again.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Hard Way On Purpose

David Giffels
David Giffles new book The Hard Way on Purpose is available for pre-order now. Earlier this Summer I took the above author photo for the book jacket. I shot it at David's house and lit it with two Speedlites and shoot-through umbrellas. David isn't a big-center-of -attention guy aka not entirely comfortable in front of the camera - which I can relate too - I prefer to be on my side of the lens. Friendly conversation over a couple of beers and constant shooting eased the mood - I was happy to come away with shots that look so natural. 
I don't doubt my technical, portrait skills as a photographer - but all that means nothing if you can't make the subject comfortable enough to take a flattering shot.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Furnace Run Redux

Laura and I
The above photo is a remake of a photo that is hanging in a museum in London that I took a few years ago - really. The other version won a contest by a museum about couples called 'Coupling Up' I recieved a book with the photo in it and a spot in the museums permanent collection. When Laura and I went for a hike today we decided to take a photo from the same bench. We also stopped at Country Maid to get some apples - but Laura convinced me to get some of their amazing ice cream too. Their ice cream and atmosphere can't be beat(and helps make up for the abysmal customer service!).

Sunday, October 13, 2013


A little break from magic hour autumn photos....
The other night I was looking through the list of documentaries on Netflix for something interesting to watch. I saw 'Salinger' - a movie about - wait for ....J.D. Salinger and decided to check it out. A little of the way through the film I realized that it must have been made fairly recently so I paused it and went to Wikipedia - turns out it was just released on September 6th and was 9 years in the making in total secrecy. I found the movie to be pretty interesting - lots of interviews with people who hadn't spoken before and some very cool previously unreleased photos and videos. I think any Salinger fan would find it very compelling but if you're not it wouldn't be more than of passing interest. Anyways the big take-away was that the documentary claimed that Salinger never stopped writing and starting in 2015 new books and stories will be released - including continuations of all his work(more about Holden etc.) I though to myself, "how wasn't this news?", so I Googled it and it turns out it was news - I just missed it somehow.
I find this to be pretty exciting - enough so to take a photo and write a blog post....

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Light in Autumn

Light in Autumn
I know - more colorful, digital, fall photos during the magic hour(evening this time) - trust me - I'm ready to get out and shoot some gritty black and white photos on Tri-X....and I will soon. I just have about 7 years of pent-up vibrance, clarity and saturation that I'm dying to use on the fall foliage. My work schedule is finally allowing it and I'm taking full advantage. These were all taken last night at the Bath Nature Preserve - the light was beautiful - I hiked until the sun dropped below the trees...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hinckley in the Morning

Magic Morning
This morning I got up nice and early and headed out to Hinckley Reservation. This government shutdown has me searching for other places to hike during the 'magic hours' - and its kind of been working out for me(but don't get me wrong - it still pisses me off). Today was the first time I have ever hiked around the Hinckley Reservoir - and I picked the absolutely perfect Fall morning for it. There was a fog hanging over the lake as the sun rose - and the trees foliage is near peaking. It was amazing - one of those times where you can point your camera in almost any direction and take a great photograph. I think I shot around 100 images - I had a hard time deciding which ones to edit and post...