Wednesday, January 31, 2018


My friend Eric moved to Boston a little over a month ago and has been trying to find work and re-establish himself in a new city. His girlfriend, Martha, contacted me about visiting on his birthday as a surprise. It worked out that I didn't have any shoots that weekend and I was able to find a really cheap flight on Jet Blue. He was quite surprised(confused) when he walked into the coffee shop she dropped me at saw me there! I think I might have caught it on video. 
We had a great few days hanging out and even though we got around a lot I didn't take a ton of photos. Grey winter days just aren't the best for city photos and it was also nice to just enjoy the time and not always worry about getting a great shot. That is often hard for me to do - but it also gives me an excuse to come back and visit when everything is green.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Countryside @ Platform

Platform Beer Co.
Platform Beer Co. in Cleveland has been hosting a series of Non-Profit Tuesdays where a dollar of each house beer sold goes to a certain local non-profit. Last night the benefiting organization was Countryside Conservancy - which is a partner of the Cuyahoga Valley that manages the 11 Valley farms and puts on Farmers' Markets. I rode up with Erin and Serena who both work there - I'm sure they figured I'm a good bet for anything where the amount of beer consumed directly raises cash.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

eBay Comes to Akron

On Friday eBay's CEO and a chunk of their team came to Akron to announce the Retail Revival program that is being tested first here. I was lucky to be contacted by the PR team and I covered the Press Conference that was held with the city and the panel afterwords. There were also tours of the Northside MarketPlace and chats with eBay vendors and small businesses. There was a lot of action and it was a fun day. I'm still trying to understand the exactly how this program will work but the gist seems to be that eBay will invest resources in teaching local businesses how to use their platform effectively - and that Akron will get a special website and marketing push.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Laughing with the Snow Angels

On Friday night I photographed a charity event benefiting the Akron Snow Angels. From the website, "Akron Snow Angels spreads warmth and connects with the most vulnerable in our community by providing basic essentials and fostering compassionate friendships while inspiring others to do the same." - I've volunteered and photographed multiple events with the Snow Angels that involve directly putting item into the hands of those who need them. This event was different being a fundraiser for the organization instead of a direct action event - there were three amateur comedians and two pros(also drinks and food). Above is my friend Greg doing his first stand-up routine ever!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hair Cut/Grid Shots

Self II
Yesterday I got my hair done at Apothaclaire in Downtown Akron. I have some photo shoots with them coming up and it was decided I should represent appropriately. Which was a good idea since I probably haven't had a proper haircut in over a decade. When I got home I decided to set up some lights and get a good shot of their work.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sledding with the GoPro

I met my family at Virginia Kendall on Monday to go sled riding. I brought the GoPro Hero 5 Black with me and shot a bunch of videos. For this cut I tried to make it as dramatic as possible. I think it would be fun to recut with an entirely different vibe - mostly as an exercise in video editing...

Monday, January 15, 2018

Hop Tree Brewing

Hop Tree
After our hike(yesterday's post) Erin and I drove into Hudson to check out the new Hop Tree Brewing. The place is a little off the beaten path(not downtown) in a kind of industrial park. The space is pretty massive for a new brewery. There is a variety of seating in the tasting room - the bar, couches, booths, high tops, and a communal table that would be great for large parties. There is also a kitchen and we split a Cuban and pickled egg. Both were fantastic and Erin loved that the sandwiches came with potato pancakes. They had ten beers on draft and everything we tried was solid - our favorite being the brown ale with Kent's Bent Tree Coffee.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Winter Hike

Pine Lane Trail
Erin and I decided to get a Sunday hike in - it was cold but we bundled up appropriately. We hiked the Buckeye and Valley Trails from the Pine Lane Trailhead just outside of Downtown Peninsula off 303. I made the brilliant decision to wear my mountain bike shoes because they are warm and waterproof - but they have absolutely no traction. I had a few comical falls made all the more dramatic by my protecting my camera and phone over my body. Anyways - it was pretty....

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cottage Crawl

I had just watched a video about good techniques for handheld video shooting where they demonstrated by shooting the video in a pretty European square/winter market with tons of ambiance.(video after the jump). Erin and I were heading to the 3rd Annual Cottage Crawl to taste some beers at Lock 3 and I had shooting something like that in mind. When we got there it was blustery and cold and we ended up standing around a warm pallet fire in a barrel. We still had good conversations and beers - but it wasn't quite the quaint/snowy/winter scene I had in mind. I made a video anyways...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Ten & The Show

Selfie 2
So I decided that I finally had to switch cell phone companies. I've been on Sprint for years but the coverage is absolutely terrible. My studio is between the two biggest cities in the area and I couldn't talk on the phone here. When Erin and I travel she has to let me use her "wifi hot spot" if I want to upload to Instagram. So I decided to go with Verizon - and I actually made out by getting a cheaper deal(and I was able to make a phone call from the studio today!) I decided to go with the iPhone X even though it is ridiculously expensive. Which leads me to the next item - I've decided to bring back the Fitzwater Photography show to discuss some of my tech/gear choices. Even though I'm not a huge fan of being on camera I feel some of my opinions go against the common YouTube wisdom ....and I'm going to share them goshdarnit!

Monday, January 8, 2018


Patrick Swearing In
Today I went over to the Board of Education building to capture some photos of my friend, Patrick Bravo, being sworn in as Akron School Board President. His son, Aiden, started the meeting by leading the Pledge of Allegiance. School board members are heroes in my mind - it is a tough job that I believe can be thankless at times - these people do it because they care deeply about Akron's children.

Friday, January 5, 2018

David @ The Library

David Giffels
Last night I went downtown to the Akron Public Library to hear David Giffles read from his new book, 'Furnishing Eternity', which came out on the Second. I already wrote about how fantastic the book is and my relationship to it in a previous post but it is also really cool to get to hear the words in the author's own voice. The Q&A after the reading was my favorite part. David was hilarious, witty, insightful and touching. The auditorium was packed - standing room only- and on a frigid night. There was also a super long line for the book signing! It was a great showing for "The Bard of Akron".

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

I've Been Doing it Backwards

Strobist Practice
As I said in the last post - I've been taking a little time each day to get back to the basics and practice some techniques - even if they are simple. I've been re-reading some articles and websites(such as that I used extensively to learn photography. I get so used to doing quick and easy two light portraits for clients(a simple look like this is often what they want) that I don't think about it enough anymore. I know my ratios and what modifiers I want to use, take a test and that is that. A good tip I picked up today on Strobist is to set the fill light exposure before the key light(above the first shot). That gives you much more freedom to move the key and change its exposure. One of my 2018 goals is to be more deliberate in my work and ask myself "why?" am I doing something a certain way.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Gear Testing

When I go on location shoots I always bring multiples of everything in case something doesn't work or breaks. Extra batteries, extra camera, extra lights, extra sync cables and multiple ways to fire my strobes beyond that. One annoying thing I tend to do though, is realize something isn't working right, then throw it back in a bag or case and forget about it. So I'll be at the next shoot and hook up that same broken sync cable. Today I didn't have a shoot and I decided to be smart and go through my road gear and test it out. To make the mundane a little more interesting I set up this manikin and also messed around with some simple lighting techniques - basically moving one light around in different positions in a shoot-thru umbrella. Some of my lighting on jobs has become too formulaic and I've decided another 2018 goal is to start back at the basics and build my skills back up - trying old and new things.
So now I know which of my cables work, which strobes need new modeling lights - and I'm on another journey to improve my overall skills.