Thursday, August 29, 2013

Seneca Lake

Seneca Lake
Driving away from Rochester we left the freeway at the Geneva exit and started to work our way south down the coast of Seneca Lake - winery after winery, view after view. The above photo was taken when we stopped to pick up some camping groceries at a local store - in the fog  there was a rainbow(which wasn't bright enough to turn out by the time I took this photo) -I had never actually looked down on a rainbow before. There was a bit of rain too - which you could sometimes see falling in streaks over the lake - it was amazing.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rochester, New York

High Falls
Laura and I decided to rent a car and take a final Summer road trip to visit my brother, Todd, in Rochester and then spend a few days exploring the Finger Lakes region of New York - neither of us had ever been to the area. We left early afternoon on the roughly four and half our drive and met my brother, an Army Recruiter, at his office and then followed him out to The Genesee Brew House to get a few beers and dinner. Genesee is in the aptly named High Falls part of Rochester and has an roof top patio with amazing views(above photo). Genesee built the Brew House into an existing building on their brewery property a few years ago - the food was great and they offered Brew-House-Only beers as well as beers from their "craft" brand Dundee. Already impressed with Rochester Todd then took us to the Park Avenue neighborhood, an area roughly comparable to Ohio City or Highland Square, which had beautiful houses and tons of places to eat and drink - Laura and I actually returned the next afternoon and had an amazing lunch there.  We stopped one more place, closer to home for a few drinks, and then crashed at my bro's place.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Alchemist's Ball

Alchemist's Ball
Land of Plenty is a newish store in West Hill specializing in art and unique second-hand items(antiqueish) but without charging through-the-roof-prices(looking at you Stagecoach and The Bomb Shelter). On Friday they put on a bonfire/show featuring Steve Clements, Gabe Schray, and Kieth Freund playing music on the back porch of West Hill Hardware. I thought it seemed like something that couldn't be done - outdoor fire and drinking - but it was actually a nice evening that went fine. I found places to set my camera down and experimented with some long exposures among other things. 
If you haven't been to Land of Plenty yet I would definitely recommend checking it out - and if you haven't been to West Hill Hardware you probably don't live in Akron....

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Arista Around Part II

YMCA Building in Morning Light
The second part of yesterday's roll....  I didn't post about half of this roll of film for the simple reason that I wasn't happy with the results. Not because I just plain failed, but because I was mostly focusing on color I was using my Minolta with this film to try to capture things that I though would work better in black and white. The ones I'm posting today and yesterday I found to be successes - while the other remain in the sleeves of my binder.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Arista Around Part I

As I've said - lately for some reason I've been shooting a lot of digital - but I almost always still have my trusty Minolta X-700 with me loaded with Arista Premium 400(Kodak Tri-X). I finally finished a roll that is pretty well traveled. The roll started at Laura's company picnic(horseshoe game above) and ended on a hike in the Valley. It turned out to be one of those rolls where I forgot what was all going to be on it until I pulled it off the development reel.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Turnpike Bridge Sunrise

Sunrise XVIII
I've photographed along the Towpath underneath the Turnpike Bridge at various times over the years - but today I believe I did my best work. I hiked out to the bridge just as the sun was rising over the horizon and the last bit of fog was burning off. I had the big 6x9 Fuji with me and a Lubitel II - I was planning on only shooting film(color in the Fuji, B&W in the Lubitel) but the light was so perfect it became a digital morning. As much as I love film there I certain times when I can perfectly pre-visualize the shot and its post-processing and my 7D is the only camera that will do - this morning was one of those times. It has taken me years and thousands of snaps to get my landscapes to this point - I'm proud of this set of photos and not afraid to say it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Once in a....

Full Moon Fever
The blue moon drew me out onto my streets last night just when I thought I was about to hit the hay....but hey - it only happens once in a.... 
These are a couple of thirty second exposures I took on my walk. Malvern

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wedding Shoot

Group Shot
On Saturday night I did a wedding shoot for a couple that I have known for a while. They already had an "official" wedding photographer but wanted to set up a kind of photo booth/prom photo thing. I used a couple of lights and a background that the bride had made herself. After dinner I began shooting couples, families, and groups of friends. As the night went on and the drinks poured more freely the photos only got better. Judging by Facebook these photos are far more memorable and popular than than the "actual" wedding photos.
As a side note - the wedding photographer checked out on, what I consider, the early side - being that my "booth" had died down and the couple and guests were mostly friends of mine I took it upon myself to document the rest of the scene myself.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back in the Garden

Pie Pumpkin
So my garden posts bore you? Oh well, I like them! ....and hey, at least the photography is good - right!?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Evening in the Garden

In the Garden
Tonight I set up some borrowed lights and tested them out for a shoot I'm doing tomorrow. The lights were two Bowens - a 750 & 350. I was trying to trigger them with my pop-up flash but I couldn't get them to work. Finally it dawned on me that they weren't syncing because my flash was in ETTL mode - meaning it was firing a pre-flash to test for auto-exposure. Basically theBowens flashes were getting tripped before my shutter was open. I switched the flash to manual mode and my problems were fixed and I let out a sigh of relief. I'm all set for the shoot tomorrow - which I'll probably post about on Sunday evening.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Familiar Places, New Light

For the last few weeks the above title has been a photographic theme for me. I've been going on hikes/walks to places I've been many times before but trying to get there in time for the best possible light(usually early morning). Sometimes I can feel stuck or like I've been treading the same photographic ground too much - so this has been an exercise in meeting that situation head-on. This morning I started at Cascade Locks(one of the first places I ever photographed with a digital camera)and walked into downtown Akron as the Sun rose. I didn't come away with anything quite as interesting as I had hoped but I still enjoyed the challenge of trying to see something new in such familiar territory. I've also been shooting some black and white film on these trips which I should have posted soon. I do find myself reversing trends and shooting more digital lately - but that probably has a lot to do with the "magic hour" lighting I've been trying to capture.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Beaver Dam Morning Stroll

Lily Pads II
This morning I woke up and checked the weather report - it looked like the skies where going to be fairly clear and it was going to be a little cold(for this time of year anyways). So I quickly sipped my coffee while searching for my flannel and wiping the sleep from my eyes. I hit the road for the Beaver Pond Trailhead near the corner of Ira and Riverview Roads. I've hiked here tons of times but have never had the chance to get a good Summer morning shot -I envisioned a beautiful photograph titled "Beaver Pond Sunrise #1" - I even imagined the fog mysteriously rising from the pond. Well, things don't always go according to plan and the sun and fog refused to materialize - in fact I actually rushed back to my car a little early as the predicted 10% chance of rain turned to a 100% reality. I managed to capture these three shots in the diffuse, cloudy light before I was on my way to work. I guess when life throws you lemons....

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kendall Evening

Weed House
On this cool evening I decided to go for a hike at Virginia Kendall - I hiked the Cross Country Trail(a longtime favorite that I had not been on in a few years). On one part of the trail I noticed a structure a few hundred yards away that I had never seen before - then I thought its not that I never noticed it - it was never there. I started approaching what kind of looked to be a barn but turned out to be a green house. On my way to the green house I also realized that the weed covered field had been cultivated sometime in the last few years. It all seemed very strange - someone started farming and quit farming this area all in the time since I had been here last. I need to look into this more!

Monday, August 12, 2013

All About Light

Ever since I've been heavily into photography I've pretty much carried a camera with me everywhere, but now many times when I'm out it stays in the bag - if the light isn't good there is no use in taking a photograph. While I'm glad I have many shots that document my life and the events(family&friends) that I've attended those are rarely anything I would organize in any kind of portfolio. For the first few years I couldn't figure it out - I would go hiking to all these beautiful places but my photos looked so flat and bland. It took me way too long to realize that unless you're shooting landscapes during the "magic hour" - up to an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset - the light just isn't going to be all that good. The right light can make the most boring object look interesting(below) and the wrong light can make the Grand Canyon look boring. I believe I really started to develop my "eye for light" by the years of working on a farm - I began to notice the wonderful shadows and glowing oranges and yellows at the right times of day from being outside constantly. Above is a photo I took yesterday at Laura's company picnic at Hardesty Park - to me its the worst kind of light - directly overhead, midday, summer sun - it takes a good subject to make it worth shooting in the the harsh light but sometimes you have to document an event or place and simply can't wait for the "magic hour".  One of the best techniques for these times is to use your flash(works better up close and personal) - people may look at you like you're crazy - but next time you see a newspaper photographer shooting people in the sun watch and learn.  The flash will overcome many of the harsh shadows that make people look so terrible in the sun.  Photography is all about capturing light - the word actually translates from Greek - meaning "light drawing".  So if your gonna shoot - try your best to draw with good light.  
Sill in Morning Light #1

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Houseguest at Musica

Yesterday evening Houseguest played a reunion show at Musica for the Square Records 10th Anniversary and also to benefit their friend Dan who is fighting cancer. The show was absolutely amazing and what someone called a "life reunion" - there were more people that I knew in one room than probably any other time in my life. I really don't like trying to take photos at Musica - I can't seem to get anything to work really well. I attempted bouncing my flash off the ceiling(a favorite method of mine) but I couldn't bounce it well because of the black ceiling....and I rarely like the look I get from shooting it directly at the band. So I switched to shooting everything with the too-dim-stage lighting - which meant mostly shooting wide open at high-ISO(between 1250 and 6400). It was one of those nights where capturing the moment was more important that having photos of perfect quality.  Also I have begun to realize the grain/noise I see in my shots when I view them large isn't offensive to the average viewer seeing them at a much smaller size.  Regardless of picture-quality it was one of the most fun nights ever. Below is a video I shot - my camera actually over-heated and shut of right at the very end of the song - I've never had that happen before. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Black and White Summer

Cuyahoga Mouth
I've really been enjoying capturing this Summer in black and white on film. These shots were taken on my second roll of Kentmere 400 - which came out pretty good. For being a true 'budget' black and white film and not just a privat-label knock off of something else I really like this it. Its awesome that Iflord seems so committed to staying in the black and white analogue business. I'm also excited to say that Laura bought me a whole bunch of Arista Premium 400(Tri-X) for my birthday - so I'm stocked on b&w film for a good while!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Brews + Prose

David Giffels
Last night I went out to Market Garden Brewery for Brews + Prose - a book reading series. The authors were my friend, David Giffels, and Alissa Nutting. David was hoping I could capture a photo that could be used for his soon to be released book 'The Hard Way on Purpose' - which he read from(and he absolutely killed it, the essay was awesome and the crowd loved it). The lighting was a little challenging but I did my best shooting 'natural light' - ISO 640 f/2.8 at 1/60th. The noise will be manageable when the photo is shrunk down to the size it will be used at - I just hope that I caught an expression David is happy with(the reflections in his glasses were challenging too - had to get the right angle). Alissa Nutting read from her book Tampa and was intense and hilarious at the same time. I had never been to a book reading before but would definitely attend again in the future - having a few of Cleveland's finest craft beers just added to the experience(if you haven't had Market Garden's CitraMax yet you are missing out).

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Garden Update for Early August

Male Pumpkin Flower
This morning I went out to water and check on the veggie part of our garden. Though we got a late start, everything seems to be coming along nicely. We even had some of our fresh cucumbers on our salad last night. The above photo is of one of the male male pumpkin flowers on the pumpkin plants that are overwhelming our side garden.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Ledges in Morning

Fog Hangs Over the River
I posted last week about attempting to visit the Ledges in the morning. Today I tried my luck again - the Lake and Ledges lots were locked but I was able to park at the Octagon and hike to the Ledges. I believe this lot was only open because a park employee was cleaning the shelter. I need to find out what the deal with all of this is. Anyways - I managed to get a few decent shots. The above is my favorite - not because its one of my greatest - but just because I love the way the fog is hanging over the valley(look closely - or click to see it larger). Being that I haven't been able to photograph hikes in the middle of the Summer for years I tend to forget that hiking in the woods isn't always the best - the magic hour sun is mostly blocked by the trees. There needs to be some kind of open space to really take advantage of a low-in-the-sky sun. Also I need to carry my tri-pod more - standard advice for taking landscapes - I just hate to take the time to set it up even though I know I could get better shots with it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The New Zipper City World HQ

This is the mess in the middle of the floor of my new office. The Zipper City World Headquarters has been moving a few miles this month and now the job of organizing the new location begins. Thanks to generous amounts of tax breaks and financial assistance from government of all levels we have decided to stay in Akron. The massive volumes of supplies, files and equipment that had built up at the old site over many years has made this a slow & tedious process but hopefully it will be complete by the end of the weekend and posting and photographing will continue at their normal rampant pace. This new state-of-the-art facility is loaded with all the newest(and oldest) photographic technology and should afford me the opportunity to share with you, my vast readership, even more of the knowledge and photographic genius that you have come to expect....stay tuned - its only gonna get better.