Thursday, February 28, 2013

Travel Choices

Travel Film
I'm leaving on Sunday morning for a week in Rome. I've been doing lots of planning, preparing and Italian learning but one choice has stressed me out the most - the camera selection. Going somewhere as highly photographic as Rome I want to have everything with me - slow slide film in my Nikon F3, my stored expired Polaroid Spectra film in my Spectra 2, Tri-X in my Minolta X-700, 120 film re-spooled onto 620 reels in one of my Box Brownies, my Nikon L35 AF with cheap film for fun night shots, my Canon 7D with the flashes and lenses....etc. But instead I decided to go with simplicity - I don't want to be standing in the Roman Forum trying to decide which camera to pull out of a massive bag. So I'm bringing my Canon 7D with a 17-55mm lens, my Minolta X-700 with Tri-X and Neopan, and my Brownie Hawkeye Flash model with some rolls of various 100 speed film. I figured all my color will be shot digital with the 7D and I'll have my Minolta and my favorite lens for my black and white shots. The Hawkeye will be perfect for street photography and I don't need to respool the 120 film onto 620 reels(I was just going through all my old box cameras to find used 620 spools because the Hawkeye needs to use them for take-up spools - coincidentally I had 6 - the same number of rolls of 120 film I have(I guess it was meant to be)). 
I think this set-up will suite my needs - here's to hoping I don't end up wishing I have more accessories with me. 
I doubt I'll be posting anything for the next week but I'm sure I'll have way too much to post when I get back! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Todd and Kari's B-Days

I always try to bring something a little different to the family gatherings with my photography - be it the angles or the edits in Photoshop...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hoppin' Frog Party

Last night Laura and I went to Baxter's in Downtown - they were hosting a party for Hoppin Frog Brewery who was celebrating their recent rating of 17th Best Brewery In The World by When we got their it was so crowded that we decided to eat next door at The Lockview. After dinner we walked back over to Baxter's to try Hoppin Frog's new beer the Karminator - which was unfortunately sold out - so we drank a couple of Frosted Frogs. Its cool to have two great beer spots right next to each other in Downtown. 
Unfortunately I had forgot that I had changed my camera settings for the time-lapse video I shot the other day. I shot all small sized jpegs instead of RAW files. They didn't turn out too bad, I was just more limited in how I could edit them. I'm usually pretty good about always returning my camera to my 'normal' setting after a big change - I'm just glad this happened on shots that didn't need to much editing and that won't be offered for sale.... 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Winter Hikes On Neopan

Winter Stream
I shoot on a roll of Fuji Neopan 400 between a couple of snowy hikes. I shot the first part of the role in a snow flurry at the Ledges in Virginia Kendall. The second half was shot last weekend while hiking off-trail near the Red Lock/Jaite area of the Cuyahoga Valley. I was really happy with both sets of shots. This is my second roll of Fuji Neopan and I seem to notice that a lot of midtones are present - more so than with the other two 400 speed films I shoot - Ilford HP5 Plus and Kodak Tri-X. I'm getting to the point where I'm dying to make some prints out of the black and white shots that I've taken over the last year - I think maybe its time to set up a temporary darkroom in the bathroom until I have the time to make a more permanent one.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valley Cruise

I've been wanting to shoot some time-lapse videos for a while and I decided to try out one of my ideas on my way home from work tonight. I set up a tripod in my car and continuously shot photos for my whole drive out of the Valley. I used Photoshop to put it together with a frame rate of six photos per second. I then added a song by my old band The Strange Division - which was recorded by Patrick Carney and Gabe Fulvimar. I have some ideas that I think are more interesting than this and I hope to shoot and post those soon.... The quality of the video is about twice that of 1080HD - but you'll need a really fast connection to view it like that - the best I can do from my house is 720.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Brew Kettle

Laura and I went out for some diner and drinks at the Brew Kettle in Strongsville last night - and we are glad that we did! The food was great and the beers were wonderful too. The Brew Kettle is in a strip mall and you would never guess from the outside that the place is as cool as it is - tons of brewery memorabilia and atmosphere. Laura and I got completely different meals - I had a pork burrito and she had a lamb burger and both were perfect. Hers came with the best coleslaw either of us had ever tasted. We already knew they had good beer and we started with their White Rajah which is an amazing west coast-style IPA. The Brew Kettle also has a home brew supply shop, a brew you own beer on location area, and a wine shop. Its definitely a place we'll be returning to.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


I picked up some lights at The Home Depot to improve my videography lighting - they were halogen lamps - one is 1000 watts and the other is 500. I decided to try them out by shooting this fascinating video set to a song by my old band. More cuts than a butcher!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Montrose at Dusk

Montrose I
Just one of those random things. Who pulls out a DSLR while driving through Montrose in the evening.
Obviously I do!
Montrose II

Strawberry Apple Wine

Strawberry Apple Wine
Tonight I made some strawberry-apple wine. I'm open-fermenting it for a few days before I move it to a closed fermenter. The ingredients are simple: two pounds of strawberries, one gallon of unpasteurized apple cider, 2 cups of sugar, and rehydrated champagne yeast. It will be a long time before this is drinkable - but it smells great!  The wild yeasts from the cider and open fermentation are kind of a wild card - it's exciting.  
  69 Degrees
I just picked up a few of these thermometer strips - I like it better than having to sanitize a thermometer and stick it in the wine or beer.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Primo's Deli

Is there still a reason to go to the Rolling Acres area? Well, at least one - Primo's Deli. An Akron fixture for 30 years Primo's has great food and one of the best beer selections in the city. I love that you get to browse the coolers for the beer you want to drink instead of just reading the names off a menu - there's something great about being able to see the bottles for yourself. If you go online to read reviews of the restaurant you'll rarely see anything below 5 stars - and don't forget about the free unlimited chips....

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Art Show

Viewing Distance
My friend Ted is working as the Interim Director of the Emily Davis Gallery at The University of Akron and he asked me to take some photos of the opening reception for the 'Myers School of Art’s 2013 Juried Student Exhibition' - which I was more than happy to do. I edited a few of the shots I took more for fun - the "artsy" ones - to post tonight. I have some more serious photos that give a much better view of what the show and gallery looked like. There was some really cool pieces in the show - of course I was partial to the photographs and there was a great silver gelatin print that really impressed me. 
I always end up really satisfied when I drag myself out of the house to see art shows(even when I'm not doing a job) - and if I don't like all the pieces I always like seeing what creative people are doing. I read about a cool sounding shows in the paper and I always think to myself "I should go to that" - I really should go to that. 
Now I'm gonna start editing the rest of these photos....

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

BrewView #6

Laura and I are now 6 deep into BrewView and took on one of our own beers for the first time. I think my video editing skills are coming along nicely. I still hope to improve the sound eventually. We found a "classic" movie light that is probably from the 60's at an estate sale and it has helped the lighting dramatically. I can now use an umbrella and it knocked the ISO from 1600 and above down to around 200. I plan to attempt to shoot some stuff besides our show also.  
As a side note - I'm in the middle of redesigning this website so for the next few days expect things to move around and not work quite right - the actual blog posts should be fine though.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Today I went to City Cleaners to shoot some portraits of Laura. One is for an advertisement they plan to run and another was for her LinkedIn account. When I shoot portraits I usual end up with a few 'outtakes' that I prefer over the more official shots that need to be used. Above is one of those such shots. I used a black and white gradient layer for the color effect and a high-pass filter for the sharpening. The vignette was added in Photoshop too.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Ledges in Snow

Leaves and Snow IV
I've hiked and shot photos of the Ledges at Virginia Kendall many, many times. Today was probably the first time though that I shot them while the snow was really coming down. My favorite time to shoot snowy, nature scenes is after the storm has passed and there are blue skies - I always find it challenging to shoot snow scenes when the skies are grey. All of the more sweeping landscapes I took today were garbage - I find I am better off with close ups or a well defined subject under these conditions. I'm very impressed by photographers who find a way to make enchanting wide-angle landscapes in snow flurries. 
I shoot a few frames with my Minolta X-700 and black and white film(Fuji Neopan 400) today too - I'll be interested to see who those end up turning out. I figured a grey sky won't matter as much in panchromatic images. 
Ledges Shelter

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Sunday

Tonight I watched most of the Super Bowl at my brother's house - my brother wasn't there because he lives in Rochester, NY - but we "face-timed" him multiple times on the kids' iPod Touches. While I was holding this small device in my hand watching my brother hundreds of miles away I started to think about how this was the stuff of dreams when we were kids. When I got home I took the above photo(the Super Bowl streaming on one monitor - an internet browser open on the other) with my Microsoft Surface - a touch screen device. The game came in clearer than it would have on the first TV I watched a Super Bowl on. The amazing things that have happened with technology in my lifetime blow my mind - I never take it for granted.
I hate the Ravens.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Lockview

Goldfish Love
Tonight Laura and I ate at the Lockview in downtown Akron. Surprisingly I had never sat down and had a meal here(stopped in for drinks and had some food on the rooftop patio before). We both had a really good grilled cheese sandwiches and a couple of great beers. Lockview has one of the (if not the best) beer lists in Akron. It is still strange to be in there considering all the time I spent photographing here when it was the Lime Spider. The above and below photos are taken from almost the same spot... Houseguest

Friday, February 1, 2013

The View

Window to the World
There was just something about this view from this kind of window at a mobile home I was working on today. I tried it with the outside in focus and the window out-of-focus - but I preferred this one.