Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Drive Home

The Drive Home
Such a strange day - blizzard conditions followed by blue skies - over and over.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

BeerView Episode #3

When we started this show three long episodes ago the idea was to have some fun and get better at shooting and editing video - we are now getting a bunch of suggestions of ideas for future episodes and technical tips. It kind of caught us off-guard - our goal was to get better on-camera and off-camera and I think every episode has bested the last one in these ways - and we do plan to implement much of the great advice we've received. It won't be long(hopefully) until these videos look more like my photos!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Fog of Indigo

Indigo Fog Study
On my way home from work tonight a thick fog was filling the Cuyahoga Valley and the rain was breaking off. I decided to stop at Indigo Lake to try and capture the surreal mood of the evening fog(morning fog is quite common in the Valley). Unfortunately I didn't have my tripod with me so I had to shoot at larger apertures and higher ISO's than I would have liked to - but I think I still managed to get a few worthwhile photographs. In the above shot I was able to pull some great tones in the sky and water with Photoshop(you should click the pic to see a bigger version on flickr.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

True Self-Portrait

What Can I Say?
I used a Canon 580EX II in a shoot through umbrella, high and to the right of the camera, for my lighting. ...and Photoshop for the edits....obviously....

Sunday, January 27, 2013

BrewView Episode #2

Laura and I shot another Episode of BrewView tonight. This time I shot it in 1080p and at 24 frames a second, which is the frame rate movies are shot at. I edited this video with Photoshop CS6 - it took a bit of patience and some online tutorial watching but I can do a much better job than with the half-cooked program I used last time. I can tell that when I get a little more used to the new video editing features in CS6 that it will become a breeze to make decently edited videos. My only regret is not fixing the color balance and brightness on the main scene a little better.  I still don't have the appropriate lighting for this kind of shooting but I believe we managed to make the light look a little better this time.  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lagerhead's Smokehouse

Tonight Kiyle, his girlfriend Kristi, Laura and I went to Lagerhead's Smokehouse. It is one of my favorite places - amazing BBQ, great beer, and good atmosphere. The restaurant is in an 1800's barn with exposed, hand hewn lumber. The food is out of this world(if your a BBQ fan) and they brew some of our favorite beer. If you go order some of their wings as an appetizer - this is how wings are supposed to be...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

BrewView Episode #1

So I've been talking about learning how to shoot and edit video with my Canon 7D for a long time and today is finally the day it happened. Laura and I filmed ourselves reviewing a craft beer. It turned out OK for not having a clue what I was doing. I set the camera according to what I had read on some tutorial website - basically it was shot in 720 HD at 60 frames a second. The main thing that needs to be improved is the lighting - all my lighting equipment is strobes for photography that don't work for video. We attempted to set up a few lamps to brighten the room but it wasn't nearly enough - I had to shoot at ISO 3200. I then used CyberLinks PowerDirector to edit and render the video. I pretty much had no idea what I was doing and half way through I realized that this was just a trial version of the software(it came free with my new computer) and many of the features were disabled. Anyways - Laura and I had fun making the video - technical quality will come later....
*Update* This is a second version of the video - the first one failed to upload completely.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Too Cold

I sure didn't feel like standing out in the cold and shooting this evening....a fire and some homebrewed hard apple cider seemed more in order. I also finished a beautiful, old copy of a great book - the very act of reading the book was destroying it - there is probably an analogy in there somewhere.
Anyone ever notice how a fire always seems to know when it is bedtime?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Burned Farm - A Photo Essay

Room With  View IX
A few weeks ago I posted about an abandoned farm implement that I had found in the woods - it seemed to be in such a strange place that I decided to go back and do some more exploring to see if I could find out why it was there. I hiked up an old road that ended up combining for a while with a current horse trail. Off the road I noticed some stones and realized it was a walkway - this led to the foundation of an old house, from there I found other outbuildings, the foundation of a barn, a cabin foundation in the woods, and finally the old farm dump. It turned out to be a really fun area to explore - stuff was strewn everywhere. I found out later that the park had burned down the farm in the late 70's. The owners were originally farmers but had later built rental cabins to earn money.
These where shot with my Minolta X-700 and my favorite lens, a Rokkor 55mm f/1.7 and I love the dreamy quality it gives these photos. As I stated yesterday - this was on my first roll of Fuji Neopan 400. The Neopan really does seem to have more pronounced mid-tones than the other black and white films I've been shooting - but I ironically boosted the contrast for these shots to give them a grittier look.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bottling on Film

Preparing to Bottle
Today I combined two of my hobbies - home brewing and film photography. I shot these photos with my Minolta X-700 on Fuji Neopan 400 and developed it in Kodak HC-110(b). This is the first roll of Neopan I have ever used. I was about to bottle my Oatmeal Stout and shot these to finish off a roll that I used to take a photo essay in the Valley(I'll post those tomorrow(its getting late)). So far I really like the look of this film - its definitely similar to Ilford HP5 and Kodak Tri-X but I'm not ready to say which I like best yet. On these images I noticed that the mid-tones looked nice - but I usually don't shoot film indoors so I can't say for sure if that's due to the properties of the film.....more on all of this tomorrow...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kodak C41 Black and White

Snow Path
My friend, Dave, gave me a few rolls of Kodak Black and White film from when he was in college. Its a kind of black and white film that is developed in regular color chemistry - the C41 process(what your drug store lab will do). I shot a roll with my Nikon L35 AF on and around Christmas. The film being well expired didn't seem to have too much of an effect on the final images. I scanned the negatives as if they were color which gives these images their blueish tint. I guess I was keeping with some kind of C41 concept and it is the digital contribution to these analogue photos. Christmas Morning II

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Home Sweet Home

Row Houses
I don't have to much to say about these - they speak for themselves. A small slice of America. This place is surrounded by Amish farms and large, grain farms.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Night Time is the Right Time III

Long Exposure I
Sometimes I like to go out and shoot long exposures at night - tonight was one of those nights. I shot these at Judith Isroff Park and exposed for thirty seconds. The starburst effect on the street lights comes from using a small aperture - f/22 in this case.
Long Exposure II

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy Days!

Happy Days
Today I took a hike near the Happy Days Lodge in the National Park. I hiked the short Haskell Run Trail and then did some off trail exploring for a while. 
The Happy Days Lodge(above) was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp during Roosevelt's New Deal - they also built or improved much of Virginia Kendall Park. When people say the government can't create good jobs I always laugh - so many great things were built across the country by the CCC and all well giving jobs to thousands of people during America's worst economic crisis.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Little Bit-O-Head

A Little Bit of Head
Tonight I poured myself one of m homebrewed Christmas Ales and it had quite a bit of head - it even started coming out of the bottle. In the homebrew world this is called a gusher - it means something bad was in the beer. Since none of my other beers from this batch did this I can only assume the bottle wasn't cleaned well enough(I mostly res-use bottle). So I poured this one down the drain and grabbed a new one that was fine.

Anyways - this is the only post I've had for the last few days - all the photographs I took this weekend are on film. I have a roll at the lab and one that I need to develop tomorrow - if they turn out they should be pretty cool. I've also spent a good deal of my weekend updating my Fine Art America page - so check it out - and buy something, won'tcha?! 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Push It, Push It Real Good!

Window Shopping
I attempted to push develop film for the first time - it was Ilford HP5 400 and I pushed it to 1600. My family has a tradition of going to the West Side Market in Cleveland on the day after Thanksgiving. I knew I wanted to shoot some film but I already had a roll of HP5 in my Minolta X-700 and I figured there wouldn't be enough light for ISO 400 - so I decided to attempt to push it. To push film you set your camera at a faster ISO and then develop for a longer amount of time than normal.  I was surprised by how well it turned out - I thought the grain would become much more noticeable - but it really didn't seem that much different than at 400. The negatives definitely become much more contrasty with less mid-tones but I like fairly contrasty photos for the most part anyways. I'd say it was a successful experiment that will be tried again...
 (I didn't post these earlier because my old computer had decided to stop cooperating with my scanner) Produce

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dude, I Got A Dell

Dell XPS 8500
So I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a new computer. I ordered a Dell XPS 8500 directly from Dell. I know people think the the desktop is a dead device but I think it will live on for a while because of graphic design, video, and photography - the computing umph combined with large monitors are still desirable for these applications. My new computer is toward the top of the consumer market in specs but not the crazy power of a true gaming machine. It has 16 gigs of RAM and a third generation Intel i7 processor. It should be plenty of power for me - to be honest my last computer wasn't that underpowered, it just no longer worked all the time(crashes and what not) - which is what made this purchase such a hard one to swallow. 
I also noticed that getting a new computer isn't exciting like it used to be - it doesn't even really feel any different. I was already running Windows 8 and I'm no longer trying to play the latest computer game(and I haven't been for over a decade). A computer is such a tool for me - I just want it to run Photoshop smoothly while I listen to some music and have a browser window open. I guess its like a carpenter buying a new saw - I'm sure its nice to have something that cuts smoother - but its hardly a new set of Legos on Christmas morning.....

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

More Valley Finds

Old Drive
Yesterday I went for a hike through the woods roughly mirroring Wheatley Road. I drive down Wheatley to work everyday and I wanted to check out a few places that I've seen from the truck.  I started my hike by heading up an old driveway into the hills(above). In an area where I know an old farm existed I came across the building pictured below. I had been following coyote tracks so I slowly creeped up on the structure to make sure "no one was home". (My mind was picturing walking up on some pups as the mother mauled me from behind.) Inside the "door" was a drop of about six feet to the floor. I have no idea what this would have been used for. I also came across an old farm implement perched on a hill - it had been there so long you couldn't pull it out if you wanted - the trees had grown up all around it. Unknown Building II

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Under the Bridge

Turnpike Bridge
Last week I went for a hike along the Towpath from Boston under the Turnpike Bridge. It was snowing pretty hard but I was appropriately bundled and used my lens hood to keep most of the flakes off the lens. I walked off trail for a little ways and came pretty close to a group of deer. I also set up my tripod to get some smaller aperture shots of the Turnpike Bridge(the light was fairly low).