Monday, December 9, 2013

A look back at 2013

2013 Tuscarawas County Fair
I can't believe how quickly these past 12 months have flown by.   What an incredible ride.  
Here we are standing at the doorstep of 2014 ready to knock on its door.  This past year has been an incredible journey for me as a photographer.  A couple of years ago I decided I really wanted to do something more with the camera.  I knew what I wanted to do, I just hadn't gotten my vision on straight.  This year I feel I really broke that barrier.  I was able to build upon relationships that I had made over the past couple of years, got my name out there more and was able to share my art with others.  I decided this year to also open a studio in my basement.  It's been a learning process and one where there is a lot of growth potential.

Part of the incredible ride this year was accepting a contract position with the Tuscarawas County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The goal of the organization is to bring more awareness of the county, it's businesses and culture to the world.  I was honored to be brought on board to help share that goal.  Through my association with them, I've met some great people that run  local businesses and museums and have learned about their passion.  There is a lot of history in this county and many more stories to be told.  I look forward to learning more about my home and the people that live and work hard to want to see it prosper as time goes on.  We have a lot more work to do in the coming months I'm sure! 
Sidenote - It's kind of funny to me though.  My brother is an executive in the travel industry based out of New York.  Now it looks like there are two in the family that are in the travel industry. 
It was a pretty cool feeling to twice see work of mine published because of the TCCVB.  First was a full page ad in the September "Country Living" magazine and the second was for the 2014 Tuscarawas County Convention and Visitors Bureau Visitor Guide.  All of the pictures used for both were mine.
The 2014 visitors guide
Part of why I picked up the camera and tried to get serious with it was because I wanted to make an impact on the world with it.  I want, hopefully, 150 years from now, long after I'm gone, to have an image I took looked at and be remembered for it.  At "the day job", I love what I do there, but I didn't feel I could leave an impact on the world like I am doing at night and on the weekends with this.  At least an impact on my little corner of the world.
A big thing that happened this year that I hopefully made an impact with was the decision that the Village of Zoar, a town that has become near and dear to me, will be saved.  Zoar was on the verge of the chopping block because of a faulty levee.  The Army Corp of Engineers was doing a study to see if it made sense to even save the town and fix the levee, or just tear the levee and the town down all together.  The study found that the levee could be saved and the town will remain.  At the national level and organization called The National Trust for Historic Preservation launched a major campaign to save the town.  Being a very social network savvy group, they found my pictures on Flickr and asked if I would submit pictures to them to use.  Several of the pictures have been used in ads and literature for the cause.  Just recently it was announced that the town will be saved and the levy repaired.  Knowing that the images I've captured over the years of Zoar and the ones used in the campaign may have had something to do with that makes me feel like I've accomplished something.  And that, dear reader, is a good feeling.

So what's in store for 2014?  Who knows?

I plan on continuing to build my portrait business.  Slowly.  Want to make sure to do it right.  If it picks up speed and takes off then maybe I'll start looking for a space around town that is bigger then the basement studio.  I'm going to continue doing what I do for locals that are looking for images of what they do.  I'm going to continue to spend a lot of time with my wife who joins me on all my shoots and is really just as much a part of this as me.  She's my muse.  My best friend and an extra set of eyes that knows how to challenge me and see things that I sometimes overlook in the excitement of the moment.  She's a great partner and my best friend.

So thanks for keeping up with me both here and on Facebook.  I truly want to wish you all the best for this holiday season and hope your 2014 is as great as I'm looking to make mine.
Main Street Museum, Newcomerstown Historic Society

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Ratskeller of The Zoar Hotel

A few months back during one of the festivals in Zoar, I had the chance with my wife to tour the majestic beauty of the Zoar Hotel.  For years I've taken pictures of this grand beauty from the outside and have always wondered what it looked like from the inside.  Well today I got to go further then I had hoped for. I was able to go down the the basement, or ratskeller, of the Zoar Hotel.  It was used as a bar for many years and has sat empty since the property was closed. But this weekend during the annual Christmas in Zoar event, they had the basement open so I jumped on the chance!  It's an amazing space.  Almost completely dark with the exception of light coming in from the small windows, it makes one imagine what it looked like back in it's hay day.  Hopefully those times will come back one day soon.  With Zoar saved and no longer in threat of being torn down, this beautiful old building may have a new lease on life.  Here are some images I took when I was down there today.  Don't let the pictures fool you, it was dark down there.  The majority of the images are at least two minute exposures with the camera mounted on my tripod and using a flashlight to try and fill in some of the really dark areas. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Walking in a Warther Wonderland

Had the chance to take a vacation day from the "day job" and head down to visit our friends at the Warther Museum in Dover to get a good look at the annual Christmas Tree Festival presented by the Union Hospital Auxiliary.   Sales from the trees benefit the auxiliary and their work at the hospital and each year this festival is a popular event!  Each tree is decorated with its own theme and are available for sale.  My personal favorite was the one called "The Watcher of the Wood".  The festival runs through November 24th, (I realize that that's tomorrow but I've been a bit out of it the late part of the week with the latest cold plague that's been circulating).  So if you get a chance to stop down, check it out!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Getting Colonial In The Fall at Schoenbrunn

Last weekend my wife and I stopped down to Historic Schoenbrunn Village to partake of the Colonial Faire held at the village.  The cold October morning was a perfect fit to step back in time and enjoy this event filled with period dressed reenactors, vendors and of course food!  Schoenbrunn is a great place to explore and learn more about the areas history and events that took place as our country roots were setting in.  Here are some selected shots from the event but you can see the whole catalog of images here.