Thursday, December 27, 2012

Finally, Christmastime is here.

Another green Christmas this year.  Not that it put a damper on the day, but, not having the ground covered with the white stuff does make it a little sad.  But boy did we get a storm on the 26th.  Made for a great commute to pick up the wife at work.  So with the snow on the ground and the Christmas decorations still out in Zoar, I headed down tonight to capture some of the holiday cheer.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tuba Christmas 2012

What do you get when you take a stage, fill it with 4-500 hundred low brass musicians that have never played together before and give them two hours to practice?  You get the awesomeness that is Tuba Christmas.
Yesterday at The University of Akron's EJ Thomas Hall, the yearly event was held again but this time, our daughter joined our friend Craig in the festivities on stage.   Molly participates in the local schools music program and normally plays the trumpet.  But she found that using a euphonium, she can use the same music that she is used to.  Plus having a good friend helping her through the motions made it a great time for her too.
It's always a wonderful experience to hear these musicians come together from all over to give the region a musical Christmas card.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

25 years and still in the basement.

What would I tell my 18 year old self?
Tonight I thought it would be fun to try and recreate the past.  To your left are two pictures.  The top was taken in my parents basement when I still lived at home with them.  From my memory, that picture was taken late 1987 to early 1988.  I used a tripod and a timer to do it.  This was my "golden age" of thinking I was going to be the next Ansel Adams.  So, if I was going to be the next Adams, I needed a picture for the back of my books, right?
Using that photo as my template, I decided that I was going to try and recreate that picture.  Funny thing was, (surely out of luck), it didn't take that long to recreate.  Back then I was using my Ricoh XR-10 camera with the 28mm lens on it.  Probably shooting TMax.  Single light source, a 100w light bulb.   Tonight I used my Canon T3i, stock 18-55 mm lens, one my my flashes connected to the camera remotely with the flash set for manual at 1/16th power.  ISO 200, 27mm zoom, f/6.7 and 1/30 of a second exposure.  But this time, it was in my basement in the area that is slowly turning into my studio.  Was amazed how different the two look with the different equipment.  Of course now, I'm able to afford better equipment and with the computer it's much easier to look at your work right away rather then having to wait 45 minutes for the negatives to be developed.  Just weird to see it though.  Many times I still think of myself in my minds eye as the top photo.  Well if not physically, for sure mentally.
Was a fun exercise to do.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Top 12 of 2012 - Number 1:Zoar! In the fall!

Okay.  Probably not really a surprise that Zoar is the number 1 spot of my 2012 countdown.
It has been a busy year for me taking pictures and having Zoar be the center of my attention.  Not that I am complaining one bit.  
It started back when the National Trust folks contacted me about using my pictures for their campaign to save Zoar.  I had always enjoyed using Zoar as my muse, but the Trust contacting me was the spark that really put me into overdrive this year.  Not just creatively, but also to learn more about what I'm doing both behind the camera and in front of the computer.  When the fall season hit, I knew it was time to come up with some great images and there was two different shoots that stand out to me.
First was one Saturday morning I awoke before sunrise to find a very thick layer of frost covering the ground and a clear sky as well.  I knew this was a morning I didn't want to pass up.  Watching the sunrise over the Zoar Garden and the day come to life was a beautiful scene. Secondly, I had spent an afternoon prior to that  taking some other shots that I really enjoyed and that captured the fall spirit.  When I shared the pictures with the National Trust team, they wanted to use them for an article featuring my photos and an interview with me about why I do what I do and the beauty of fall in the town.  (click the link to read all about it).  

Like I said when I first blogged about my involvement in this project. "Hopefully 100 years from now an image I took of one of these places will be on someone's wall.  That would be a pretty cool legacy."  
To add to it, if one of my images helps to save the town, that also would be a pretty cool legacy and something to be proud of.

Thanks for following along on my countdown this year.  Looking forward to many more adventures in F/Stops in 2013!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top 12 of 2012 - Number 2:The Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the Fall

I did the math and I figure it's been about 27 years since I first took an interest in photography.  When we moved to Hudson, OH I heard about the photo classes that were offered at my high school.  Basic black and white photography.  From there, I was hooked.  Even had my own basement darkroom, (which all the running water used to drive my Dad nuts!). 
Like a lot of people, Ansel Adams was/is my photographic idol.  When I grew up I wanted to be just like him.  A lot of my early work was inspired by him.  But I didn't have Yosemite or the desert southwest to explore.  Being in high school and all kind of limits your funding for trips like that.  But I had the next best thing nearby.  The Cuyahoga Valley National Park! (Examples from some scans of old negatives of mine)

I would go out there and spend HOURS hiking around trying to channel that Ansel Adams vibe.  Well, tried at least.  But it was fun.
Fast forward a bunch of years and I still find myself making the drive up to the Valley when I want to go shooting.  And fall is a great time to explore the national park.  This past fall we headed up to an area that is in the park, but a lot of it is untamed.  The Blue Hen Falls area.  Located literally right behind Boston Mills Ski Resort, this area offers some great hiking and even better spots for photographing.  We also spent some time wandering around The Ledges area of the park which is where MANY of my photos over the years have been taken.  But I always seem to find something new when I go back. 

Top 12 of 2012 - Number 3:The Number One House in Zoar

Number 3 on the top 12 of 2012 is none other then the crowning jewel of Zoar, The Number One House.  This past August I had to burn a vacation day to run my son down to school to finish up some paper work.  Not taking as long as I thought it would, I had plenty of time to kill for the rest of the rainy Friday.  Being that is was rainy it didn't look like there were too many people touring Zoar.  So I figured I would put my Zoar Community Association membership to some use and go for a walk around the buildings.  Luckily, the Number One house was pretty empty except for another couple and the tour guide who let me have the place to myself to take some pictures.  And it was great!  Usually when I go in the building it's during an event like Christmas in Zoar or Harvest Festival so its packed full of people.  But on this day it was just me and the noises from the outside.  So peaceful in there and I really enjoyed the images I captured that day.