Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Darkest Room

The Mighty B'The Might Beseler 23cII XL(in Safelight)' 
I finally spent the time to set up a makeshift darkroom in my bathroom and make some prints. I followed the simple beginner advice laid out here, on one of my favorite blogs - The Online Darkroom. This being my first attempt in years I had no intention of taking hard to print negatives and getting into dodging and burning and all of that. I was printing on fairly cheap paper I had ordered from Freestyle Photographic Supplies - their VC RC(Variable Contrast - Resin Coated). I think 100 5x7 sheets cost me about 25 bucks. I took my time and came away with a few decent prints - the bug has bitten me now and I want to go big - but I'm going to take my time and meticulously take notes and work through this box of paper before moving on to the good stuff.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sunny Side of the Street

Townhall Yesterday I was up in Tremont to do a photo shoot for The Cleveland Brew Shop - an awesome home brew supply store. After the shoot I drove over to Ohio City to get a growler fill up at Great Lakes Brewing - they had a really good Belgian IPA on draft called American Belgo. I also had a glass of their Barrel Aged Black Out Stout - maybe the best bourbon barrel aged beer I've ever had - it's a russian imperial stout that finishes with the bourbon notes. When I was walking back to my car the sun shinning perfectly on the Townhall caught my eye and I had to put down my growler and shoot this. I also shot a half roll of film during the trip which will be up soon...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Winter Smoke

Metro Parks Today I went for a drive during the magic hour to shoot some black and white film photos. Unfortunately I couldn't park my car in the areas I wanted to shoot - the tires are too bad and I was afraid I would get stuck. On my way home I was driving down Cuyahoga Street and I noticed a bunch of white smoke - it was coming from the fire pit at the sledding area of Cascade Valley Park. I stopped and snapped a few shots of the smoke against the late-day-sun.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Snow Day

Scratch-made Pizza On Saturday Laura and I knew we weren't going to attempt to leave the house - our street never even got plowed. We were, however, pretty productive around the house. We re-racked our homemade Cabernet Sauvignon, brewed a Dortmunder Lager beer, made pizza from scratch(dough & sauce), as well as all the normal weekend chores(shovelling cleaning, laundry etc). I've written before about how I enjoy the homebrewing process much like I enjoy developing my own film(I guess this goes for baking too).  There are lots of similarities - temperature control, adding the right ingredients at the right time, agitations etc - and coming away with something made with your own two hands.  I also got a little work done on my darkroom - which will bring more analogies(but more on that soon).   

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Tire Shadows When I was in a band with my friend Pete a lot of the songs we would write would be heavily influenced by the music we were listening to at the time. In the same vein I find my photography sometimes influenced by what I've been looking at a lot lately. I mentioned Paul Strand in my last blog - I had just watched the documentary 'Paul Strand Under the Dark Cloth' and read a section of a book about him. Strand was one of the first photographers to shoot abstractions playing with light and to really start to appreciate shapes - machines for example. His work helped end the pictorialist movement in photography by bringing about a modernist movement towards straight photography - which I strongly favor.
Yesterday morning sun was shining through my basement window and I decided to grab my camera and channel some early Paul Strand(above photo).  Its also its been influencing me out and about lately

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Minolta Mistakes

Mural 5
(As I mentioned a few days ago) I went to North Street to shoot a certain building in really good light. I had a roll of Tri-X in my Minolta X-700 that had a few previous shots on it. Unfortunately my meter started to go haywire - is was telling me everything was too bright to shoot - then it would plunge down to normal levels for a second. I usually shoot in aperture priority mode(and use the exposure compensation dial for adjustments) with the X-700 but I switched to full manual and took meter reading with my Canon 7D. This happened to me a few months ago when I was in NYC but I switched the battery and it worked fine until now. Well, when I pulled the film off the development reel to let it dry I knew there were some issues beyond just poor metering. The last part of the roll didn't take to the reel quite right and 5 shots were ruined, the early part of the roll had some spots that looked like light leaks, and the middle part of the roll was mostly over-exposed. I was amazed by how many ways I had messed this up.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chill Spot

Late this afternoon I went back to the Cascade Locks/North Akron area. I had a very specific shot in mind that I wanted to take on Tri-X with my Minolta - which I think I got(I'll find out when I develop it tomorrow) but I also explored a few empty buildings in the area with my Canon 7D. The higher ISO capabilities of my digital camera were needed because I didn't have a tripod with me(I wasn't planning on taking indoor shots and the sun was bright). I was glad there was a fresh coat of snow on the ground so I could tell there weren't any people around - specially with the signs of drinking and drugging all around - I don't think I have what it takes to be an 'urban explorer' - at least on my own anyway.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Disassembled A few days ago I mentioned that I wouldn't mind trying my hand at fixing some of my old cameras. So I slowly took apart my Royce Reflex the other night to attempt to fix the shutter(which didn't work). I knew I wouldn't be able to get involved in fixing more complicated stuff like the camera timing - but I hoped I could see what was holding up the shutter and perhaps correct it. I've done minor fixes on some of my SLRs(I fixed a stuck shutter on a Minolta X-570(which broke completely a few weeks later)). Anyways when I got down to the mechanism part of this camera I couldn't even tell what the shutter was - it didn't seem like there was anything in there that would cover the whole opening at once. I was baffled. As I messed around with the thing a spring came flying out - none of this was going well. I said before that you can't break something that is already broke - but I think this camera is more broke now. I had to struggle just to get the thing back together right so it could keep looking cool on my shelf. I've never been shy about sharing my failed attempts on this blog - and I was definitely in way over my head on this one.  I still plan to try and look at the innards of a few other broken cameras - but I'll be far less optimistic going in....

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Northside

The All American Bridge This evening I took a sunset walk around Akron's Northside. I caught some pretty good light on the Y-Bridge. I think good things are happening and will continue to happen in this part of town - all anchored by the legendary Luigi's.
*I'll finish this post tomorrow - I'm tired and don't feel like writing(not that I ever do). So just enjoy the photos

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Major Award

A Major Award Flickr gets a lot of guff around the web but I've always really liked it. Its perfect for hosting images for website/blog usage and I follow other like minded photographers work there - but best of all are the 'groups'. I'm in one for each piece of equipment I own and others for types of photography I shoot. A member of a group I'm in, BlackandWhiteology decided to have a black and white photo contest for December - the winner to receive six rolls of 35mm film. I entered the below photo and won.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Beast Revisited

Morning Tree in B&W
I love the huge 6x9cm negatives that the Fuji GSW690III makes on 120mm film. The image quality is amazing even with the scans from my flatbed scanner. I started this roll of Ilford Delta 100 in the (borrowed) Fuji late last Summer and got half way through but never finished it - by the way, half way through with this camera is only 4 images. I finished it off today(see below).  The camera has no light meter or any electronics - the lens is 65mm(which would be about 28mm on a 35mm camera - in other words a 'wide angle'). They still go for a fair bit of scratch on ebay. The Ilford Delta 100 is my favorite slow, sharp black and white film - per usual I developed it in Kodak HC-110 dilution b for 6 minutes. That reminds me - one of my other goals this year is to try out a few different developers - I think I have Ansel Adams favorite developer down to a science now....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fixin' to Fix

Self Portrait This is a self-portrait I took by pointing my Canon 7D down into my Royce Reflex TLR and using the self-timer. The Royce Reflex's shutter doesn't work and the mirror for the viewing lens is a little out of alignment. I have a few really cool old cameras like this that don't work - I've been planning on trying to teach myself how to repair some of these. I've done minor repairs, like fixing light seals, but I would like to be able to actually get into the mechanics of the cameras. I think this camera might be a good one to start with - its completely mechanical(nothing electronic), I only paid a few bucks for it, and its not like I can break something is already broke.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Coldy Oldies

A Test All this talk of the polar vortex and how cold it is got me to thinking about my coldest days - or nights actually - spent making snow at Boston Mills(I haven't ever shown these photos on the blog before). My friend Dave and I were hooked up with jobs in the maintenance department by are boss at the farm, Johnny Szalay. We started out working in the mornings getting things ready for the season - but when the cold weather finally arrived we were broken into shifts - everyone who had been there for a few years opted for first shift - left with the choice between second or third shifts Dave and I opted for third. Working 11PM-7AM would actually allow me to keep more normal hours than 3PM-11PM(provided I went to bed shortly after getting home in the morning).

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Rotating Tires

Tire Rotation Yesterday was another beautiful day outside - but with the coming forecast I figured I should work on the 'Zipper City Photo-Mobile' instead of heading out to shoot. I've also been doing a fair amount of work on this blog - I've imported all of my posts from my years at and have been working my way backwards at reformating all my old blogposts to fit the newish design of the blog. The reason I've even bothered with this is because I'm trying to find a way to organize my archives besides by date - more by category - for example if you wanted to look at all the posts about breweries I have visited there would be a way to do it. 
But enough about me - how was your weekend?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Frigid Horseshoe Pond

Horseshoe Pond Snow-covered days with blue skies are some of my favorite for shooting landscapes. It makes it easy to expose for the bright snow without losing the deep blues of the sky. Often times when shooting landscapes the foreground is too dark to properly expose without blowing out the sky to white(more of a problem with digital cameras). I think digital cameras would improve much more if people were more aware of dynamic range limitations than just focusing on the number of megapixels. Almost all cameras(even the ones in your smartphone) already have more than enough megapixels to look good on the internet. So unless you plan on printing your images("wait, people still do that!?") you'd be better served by larger dynamic range... Anyways, I'm rambling - it was cold yesterday but I went out shooting and hiking at Horseshoe Pond to take advantage of the beautiful day.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Orange Bowl

Fiesta Bowl I originally took this photo during the Fiesta Bowl a few years ago for a post on titled 'Another BCS Letdown'. Let's hope the outcome is different tonight.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Day Hike

New Year's Day Walk I forced my recovering body out of the house to get a short hike in. Here is my first shot of the year. I hope everyone had a great New Years and that you have happiness in 2014!