Sunday, June 5, 2016

Still chasing stars

Now that I have more free time on my hands thanks to the non-existent day job, I thought I would try some more rounds of going out under the stars to capture some star trails recently.  I love doing night photography like this.  It's an interesting process really.  You spend upwards of a couple of hours outside at night after dark in hopes that your focus is set right, the exposure and f/stop you decide on using is correct and also the environment plays nicely with you as well.  Recently I started using a new shutter release, a Neewer LCD Timer Shutter Release Remote Control, that allows you to set the desired shutter speed you wish.  It's nice because the Canon will only go to the maximum of 30 second exposures and I've been wanting to try longer.  But what I found out is while doing 60 seconds can give the same results, and much fewer images to have to smash together when stacking them for processing, things burn in harder on each image so if there is light pollution like I usually have where I do star trails, the highlights really get burnt in hard which makes post a little harder to do.  I don't have an area where I can go that's completely dark.  I'm still holding out hope that I can making to northern Michigan to a park up near the top of the lower peninsula that has some of the lowest amounts of light pollution around, but that's in the future. For now, I'm going to continue to stroll down to Zoar and capture the timeless beauty of the building framed in front of the timelessness of the universe.  I've included some recent examples below with details, but if you want to learn more on how to do it yourself, I created a "cookbook" that's available here.
I love how this image came out.  The Garden is Zoar was designed to have a large tree in the center of the garden that is meant to represent Christ with 12 trees surrounding it which represents the apostles. All the time, the stars quietly circle of that. This was 30 second exposures, 800 ISO for about 90 minutes. I wanted to go much longer but a cloud deck started to roll in and lost the stars quickly.
Here's an example of a 1 minute exposure taken over a period of 2 hours at 800 ISO on a 40mm lens. It was rather troublesome to get the detail on the side of the hotel to come out properly.  There is a lot of light in Zoar both from a streetlight right to the left of this image and all the traffic along the main road.
Here's an example of another 1 minute exposure per shot at 800 ISO.  There is another street light at play here, but it actually adds a nice mood to this image.  The only thing that bugged me with this shot was the light pollution from Canton, but others that have viewed it felt it added some nice qualities to the image. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The enigma that is the Zoar Hotel

If you're from the area or even passing through on your way to Atwood Lake, you know the Zoar Hotel.  It's not at all hard to miss.  Sitting at the south end of town, rising above the shops and B&B, the building stands empty and dark with just a simple sign announcing its existence.  I was fortunate in the past to have access to the inside of the building and since then have longed to return to see it. Today, I had that opportunity.  
When you enter the building you cannot help but "feel" the memories that the building holds. Through the years it has served as a stop for weary travelers, (including former president William McKinley who was a frequent guest), a restaurant,  a popular bar in the basement "Rathskeller" and a private residence.  But as long as I have lived in the area, it has remained empty without inhabitants.  And unfortunately time and the elements have been catching up with the old building.  There have been efforts in the past to raise needed monies to renovate the building, but as I write this I am unaware of any in progress.  From what I've heard through others it's a state/local issue.  So the building sits awaiting its fate either way. My main goal today was to try and capture images of the building that I hadn't in the past.  Some little detail or other nuance that really popped.  I had also hoped for a cloudy day to help with the lighting as I only wanted to use natural lighting and not any flash/fill lighting.  I got lucky as we've had a dreary rainy day today.  So with tripod in hand I ventured into the structure.  I knew my best shot at capturing the images I wanted to was to use bracketing in my shots.  Several shots of the same thing with different exposure settings to capture all the details both inside and outside the windows.   When I was done and got back home, I was very happy to see what I had captured.  It's aging interior mixed with its unique finishings.  I would give about anything for a Delorean that when 88 miles an hour is reached you can travel through time.  I would go back about 100 or so years so I could see what it looked like in its glory.  The people that lived and worked there.  The travelers passing down the canal or rail line. Perhaps even a president.  All we have from that era are a scattered set of pictures on the wall of the village museum.   For now, we have these images to appreciate what it's like inside the building.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Scenes from the Zoar Civil War event 2015

I haven't had a chance to swing by the old blog here in a few weeks, so I wanted to clear that up today!  Here are links to the images from this years Zoar Civil War event.  The weather was a bit tricky on Saturday, but Sunday sure made up for it.  Was a lot of fun being able to get access once again as the event photographer to the field!  Except I did forget my ear plugs on Saturday.  I think my ears are still ringing.

You can check out the images from the event here

Saturday Images - Click Here
Sunda Images - Click Here

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

D-Day Conneaut 2015

It's great how things work out sometimes.  I didn't think I was going to be able to make it up to this years event.  But I did.  D-Day Conneaut is truly a uniquely wonderful event that remembers the past but most importantly honors those that served there. Below is a link to this years images on my Flickr account.  Enjoy!

D-Day Conneaut 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

In Awe. My afternoon with the Discovery.

There are always those moments in history where people can remember where they were when it happened. For me, there are five events that stand out in my mind that I can remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard about them.  Four of them involve the Space Shuttle program.  I remember the day in 1977 when the Enterprise first rode the wind on its own after being released from the back of the 747.  It was a hot August morning and my Mom and sisters were wanting to leave to go shopping at TJ Max in Farmington but I wouldn't leave until I saw it land.  The next is the Sunday morning where I sat in front of the television with my Dad in 1981watching the Columbia blast into the heavens.  Then, in 1986 when the Challenger incident occurred.  Then lastly when the Columbia met its fate on a cold Saturday morning in 2003.
Through it all until the programs end, I was a fan of the shuttle program.  I was born just weeks before Apollo 11, so all through my life the space program had been a part of it.  So when I had a chance to go and see a shuttle, the Discovery, at the Air and Space Museum I jumped on it.  But the added bonus is seeing a piece of history like the Enola Gay. And of course seeing all the other war birds from aviation history.
If you ever have a chance to go see one of the surviving shuttles on display, you really should.  It is truly inspiring.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Remembering our path to independence in Bolivar

This past weekend, Fort Laurens Museum once again hosted their annual "Revolution on the Tuscarawas" event at the site where Fort Laurens once stood.  Fort Laurens was the only fort built by the Continental Army in the territory that would eventually become Ohio.  It's a beautiful site and as I always say, is worth the trip to visit.  Especially during this event.  I've shared some images on my Facebook page from the event.  Kudos to all those who put their time and effort to keep an important part of Tuscarawas and Ohio history alive!

Had an incredible time this weekend at The Revolution on the Tuscarawas event at Fort Laurens Museum just outside of Bolivar, Ohio. #MyTuscStory
Posted by Andy Donaldson Photography on Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Everybody needs a little time away...

This past week was an incredible experience.  Me and my family haven't had a proper vacation for a few years now and we decided it was time to change that.  Good friends of ours live just a stones throw away from Lake Michigan in the city of Holland and we took a week to go visit.  Having been raised on the eastern side of the state outside of Detroit and had spent time "up north" as well, I had a pretty good idea what Michigan was like.  That was until we went to the western part of the state.  It's a totally different environment over there.  The area feels a lot like an east coast Cape Cod more then part of the industrial nature of the eastern portion of the state.  The Grand Rapids area has a growing economy and a lot of the area around it is reflective of that.  I had always said that if I was looking for a change in the "day job", Pittsburgh or the greater Grand Rapids area would be the place for us.  After this week, the thought was only solidified for wanting to migrate over there.  The natural beauty of the lakeshore as well as the people make it a truly welcoming environment.  
I would hate to give up all the beauty around me here in Tuscarawas County, but, this makes a strong case for change ;-)
(All of the images here are available for purchase on my web store. Click here!)