Friday, February 28, 2014

The Junk Wax Era

Junk Wax Era
'My Collection'
Not too long ago my Mom had me take my collection of sports cards out of her basement. I had quite a bit and I knew they no longer carried much value - but I had a little safe with all of my really "good" cards in it. Something like 20 different Shaq rookies - some of them "super rare promo cards". I figured, "what the hey, lets see what I can get for the good ones on ebay". I found out - as many have before me - not much. In fact, not enough to make it worth the hassle of even trying to sell them. I went on to read and find out about "the junk wax era". Cards became so popular in the 80s and 90s that they were being run off the presses as fast as possible - and everyone(including me) saved them in absolutely mint condition hoping to cash in when they got older(just like some lucky old timers did who didn't put their cards in their bike spokes). The old cards are valuable because kids didn't save them in mint condition as collectibles obviously making them rare - I've read that there are still pallets full of unopened cards from the junk wax era around.
The moral of the story is don't go walking into a sports cards store all cocky-like expecting to become rich - the guy behind the counter has a basement full of worthless cardboard too.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This Leads to That(to this)

I've spent long hours the last few days at my desk staring into my monitor editing photos for some jobs - this evening I decided I needed some fresh air. Around sunset I grabbed my 7D and headed down to nearby Big Bend for a walk on the Towpath. It was icy, hard to walk, and very cold(felt much colder than the 15 my computer said it was) but it was nice to be out. I hiked down the connector trail that leads to the Schumacher Area but detoured down what must have once been a road. Its an area I've explored before and tried to figure out. This time I found an old utility pole and from there saw a strange looking bush that was out of place - the kind that would only adorn a front porch - I knew I was onto something. I wandered off the trail and found an old house foundation and other remnants. Not great photographic stuff for my camera but great for the photographs my imagination builds. I know many people who do great work photographing the falling down - I photograph the already-mostly-gone. I have folders filled with these kinds of things - the stuff that will hardly be noticeable in a few years....

Monday, February 24, 2014

Flying Friends

Brad and Plane Shadow My friend, Brad, came up from Columbus and spent the weekend with me. On Saturday afternoon we met a few other friends at Summit Lake Park - Brad brought airplanes(Brad and plane shadow above). We flew the planes for a while and then went for a hike on the Towpath. When we got to the bridge on Summit Lake a full-blown photo-session broke out...

Friday, February 21, 2014


I developed my first roll of T-Max 400(that I won in this contest) yesterday. Its a roll that kind of made it all over the place. I am pretty positive now that it isn't actually my first roll of T-Max 400 ever as it looks exactly like Lomography Lady Grey 400(or Lady Grey is just T-Max in a different wrapper). I developed it for six minutes in dilution b of Kodak HC-110.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Metal Machine Music

Machined Yesterday I did a shoot of extrusion machines and their various parts. I was glad that I heeded the advice of my friend/mentor Rick - who is a retired professional photographer. He has repeatedly told me to always be over-prepared - have multiple ways to trigger lights as well as other back-up plans. I needed them yesterday as a I had a sync-cord that wouldn't work(brought a second) and had a strobe go up in smoke(had an extra). Its not how you light things but how you react when the light goes up in smoke - my new tagline? Well I guess its both - I'm just glad I was prepared. 
I think the shots came out really nice - a couple examples are posted here. Shiny metal can be a challenge sometimes - its more about placing reflections of the lights than lighting the object. I enjoyed the shoot as I enjoy the challenge of shooting anything no matter how "boring" it may seem. Another thing Rick has taught me is that there is art in making anything look good - and I agree.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Stands and Mods

I have a shoot coming up where I plan to use a few borrowed light modifiers and stands that I haven't used before. The lighting style I plan to use I've done before but just not on this scale. So I figured it would be a good idea to set-up the equipment and tear it down a few times to become familiar with it. There is nothing worse than fumbling around with gear when you are trying to get a job done. I don't have the space in my basement to set things up the way I would like to but it was still helpful. With everything hooked up I figured I might as well test it out - so Laura sat for a series of portraits for me.
When I have the time I'd like to "clip" Laura out of the above photo and drop her into some cool flying situations....

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bottling and Re-Racking

Bottling Today Laura and I bottled the Dortmunder that we brewed a few weeks ago. We took a sample off the bottom of the barrel and it seemed to taste pretty good. Now we just have to wait while it carbonates in the bottle - which in our chilly house will probably take around three weeks. We also re-racked our Cabernet into a clean carboy for its final stage of clearing - it should be ready to be bottled in two weeks.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day Treats 'Sweets for my Sweetie'
Hopefully you're spending the evening with your Valentine(like I am with mine) - if not you might as well head to the bar - gotta assume everyone else there is single too, right?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Was Wrong

So yesterday I stepped back into the darkroom to make some more prints. I made a couple simple, straight prints that came out ok. Then I went to print the above photo. The day I shot it I was using my Minolta X-700 with a red 25A filter on my lens - I purposely under-exposed by about a stop to try and get as much contrast as possible. When I scanned the negative and saw the results I was quite happy - I had been going for a super-contrasty sky like this ever since I came across a black and white portfolio in a photography magazine by a photographer whose name I wish I could remember. Anyways - I made the above enlargement and instantly knew it wouldn't do. So yesterday's post about keeping things simple for a while is worthless - as the great Hunter S. Thompson said, "if anythings worth doing, it's worth doing right".

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Silver Gelatin

Drying Prints
Yesterday I decided instead of braving the cold and taking advantage of the sun I would stay inside in the warm darkness of my bathroom. After spending a bit of time masking out my window better with some black duct tape I got the chemicals mixed up and prepared for my second attempt at printing at the new place. I made four prints overall with three of them turning out decent. While I always want to make something really good my main goal is familiarize myself with the process and simple techniques.  Making larger prints with dodging and burning or split grade filtering can come later.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

More New/Old Cameras

Minolta XE-7 These are three slr's that I bought last summer but forgot to add to my online collection. My camera page is up to date with all the cameras I have shot with and I'm going to start working on adding the rest of the collection. My flickr set now has every camera that I own in it.  I'm also making a list of my plans for the cameras I want to use as Spring(hopefully) fast approaches.  I have five or six that work fine - I only need to replace the light seals - and a few more that I'm thinking of attempting bigger repairs on.  I also have 120mm black and white film on order so I can continue on with my Box Camera Project.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Rice and Beans

Rice and Beans This evening I was shooting a few shots with off-camera flash for a project I'm working on. Just for fun and I threw this dirty pan from dinner on the seamless and photographed it too. I have a few shoots coming up where I'll be photographing shiny, metal objects so its always good to get a little refresher/practice in. More on that soon...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Frank's B-Day

Steve, Tiffany, Frank, and Mario Last night Mario and Tiffany Nemr threw a birthday party at the Matinee for Frank Comunale - who is running for State Representative. It was a great party with a good crowd - nice mix of younger and older -good food and music too. I shot photos of the event using my usual Matinee style of bouncing the flash off the ceiling. I hope the new Matinee has white ceilings too.
By the way, I've finally starting using the 'content-aware fill' in Photoshop along with the clone and patch tools to remove elements from images - name tags in this instance. It works really well in many situations - in fact I think I'll do a post on it tomorrow.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Busy Bee

I just want to apologize to my vast readership for the light posting the last week or so - I've just been really busy(shooting and other things). There is plenty to come in February - I have some big ideas... Cleveland Brew Shop 'Cleveland Brew Shop Shoot'