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The Adventure: Day 1 (or Day .5)

Life is an adventure…Life is what we make it…Go for the gusto! We say the clich√©s, but do we really mean them? I am going to test out those sayings and keep a positive outlook while on my “great trip out west”.

I’ve always wanted to photograph the Grand Canyon, see the Badlands, visit the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, this summer I hope to make it to all of them. To every adventure there is always a beginning.

About 6 years ago I told my daughter I’d take her to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado to do her senior pictures. It is one of those beautiful landmark places I enjoy visiting each time I go to Colorado. The red rock formations are absolutely breath taking! Fast forward to present day.

A week and a half ago I purchased a small, light-weight travel trailer called a Tow Lite…it is a 1994, so I knew it would have a few issues, but over a two week period I figured I could work out all the bugs and have the necessary repairs made to make it “livable”.

The first thing on the agenda was to have the tires checked…it wasn’t going anywhere unless it was safe. All 4 tires were replaced…I took the camper on a “test camp-out” last weekend where I camped for several years and had the “seasoned professionals” give it the once over. I came home with a “new” battery, “new” refrigerator, and a working water heater. The valve was busted in the toilet so I took it to our local dealer for repairs. On my way out to the campground my awning came loose, but the guys locked and tied it for me. I asked them if I should just remove it, but they said since it was locked down it would be fine. I also asked the guys at the RV shop about it and it seemed it would not be an issue.

I had a few other minor repairs and extra add-ons made to make my life easier. I packed my belongings and hit the road.

It takes a little time to get up to speed, but I noticed that once I hit 55 or 60 it rides very smooth. My typical gas mileage of 24 – 25 mpg is now a paltry 15 – 16 mpg….I can deal with it. On the highway it does exceptionally well. I was worried about the turbulence from the semi’s, but It stays in place. I made it to Covington Kentucky…south of Cincinnati Ohio about 5:00pm and of course it was rush hour on a Friday evening and storming, so I decided it was time to enjoy dinner.

We began the last leg of our journey for the day (about 3 more hours) and planned on stopping in Crawfordsville Indiana at the KOA for the night. As I was approaching the 71 – 75 interchange I glanced up into my mirrors and noticed my awning was hanging down! (Insert expletive here). I slowed down and put on my signal so I could get over or off at the exit and find a parking lot to pull off in. Knowing the area well, I took the northbound exit and just as I rounded the curve, the entire awning unfurled, flapping in the breeze! (Insert EXPLETIVE here!)

I pulled off and put on my hazard lights and contemplated my next move. I pulled out my ratchets (Yes, I carry tools!) and started to work on the lock nuts holding it in place. The entire housing the awning “was” connected to had shattered, dry rotted I’m sure, and was hanging by the rope that had it locked into place. I took the lock nuts off the bolts and tried to disconnect the awning from the frame…mind you in the rain, wearing nice clothes and sandals! Many people drove past. I was able to disconnect the one side without an issue, but the other was wedged into place.

I walked over to the car and pulled out my insurance card…thank you Alan Harner for roadside assistance for my RV and was going to make the call when a young man…a very young man pulled up in his little red sports car convertible and asked if I needed help. He would have made my day except for the bulge of smokeless tobacco in his jaw…eew! It was help and he was friendly. He was worried about damaging the awning…”aw shucks!” I told him not to worry about it. He was able to free the other side and he rolled it up, quite neatly for me. We started to load it into the camper and I told him I could raise it up to make it easier.

Being a Hi-Lo Travel Trailer, it raises up. His comment was “that’s nifty!” I secured the rest of the camper and on the road I went again. Being late and dark and having two dogs and my daughter with me, I exercised my rights tonight to spend the night in a Comfort Inn in Crawfordsville Indiana.

We will continue our adventure tomorrow, on to Sioux Falls, South Dakota….I hope!! ūüôā

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Before PhotoShop

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On my recent trip to the Antique Mall in Medina, Ohio I happened upon a couple of items and my curiosity got the best of me. ¬†The box and sleeve were marked Spiratone and one was a Vignetar and the other was a Center Sharp Focus. ¬†They were both marked 52mm and I thought out loud, “Those would fit my 50mm lens!” ¬†So for about $23 I purchased both items. Spiratone was a manufacturer of camera accessories from about 1946 to 1990. ¬†Many of the younger photographers have never used or seen these types of filters because Photoshop or other programs can provide these effects. ¬†Photography, back in the day (LOL), was much more, how would I say this, accessory dependent than what we are now. ¬†In the darkroom you would achieve vignetting by cutting piece of paper and shooting your light beam from your enlarger through it. ¬†You dodged and burned using cutouts of the image. ¬†If you were lucky you could purchase filters to give you the star effects and soft focus for portraits (I still have mine!).

Today, I decided to “play” with my newly found items. ¬†I had to experiment with the f/stop settings and found if I kept it mid-range or stopped down all the way the effects were much better. ¬†The Vignetar is adjustable and will give you a smaller or larger vignette. ¬†The Center Sharp Focus had its challenges. ¬†If I shortened my depth of field (smaller f/stop) I had much more blur within the center part of the photograph; it produced shadows and reflections. ¬†If I narrowed my depth of field (higher f/stop) it gave a much better effect.

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The first photo above (red background) is with the Vignetar and is a straight out of the camera exposure.  The black and white version is the same photo using a blue filter effect in Aperture.  I like how the camera fades into the background with this.  This camera is my old Nikon F2 with the 85mm f/1.8 lens attached (Nikkor).  These were photographed with my Nikon D700 and I used a tripod and I lighted this with white fluorescent lights on a pole lamp. My settings were ISO 200, f/6.3, and shutter 1/15.

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The next image was taken with the Center Sharp Focus filter and was straight out of the camera.  You can see the blur effect it made with the background while keeping the center focused. My settings for this were ISO 200, f/6.3, shutter 1/15.

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Here is another view of the effect the Center Sharp Focus filter produces; my settings for this photo were ISO 200, f/6.3, shutter 1/13.

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My final image is a shot taken with the Vignetar; my settings were ISO 200, f/9, and 1/3 of a second.  I again, used the blue filter in Aperture to convert to the black and white.

I think these are great finds. ¬†I enjoyed shooting with these and they make great effects. ¬†I think they would be a great addition to macro photography to help keep your central focus on your subject. ¬†I am going to keep my eye open for other cool “old” items to use.

Happy Shooting!

 

The Making of Scrooge

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I know this is a late update to the Christmas season, but I felt it was worth publishing. ¬†I had a wonderful opportunity to photograph the special effects make-up process of RJ Haddy of RADFX Company in Charleston West, Virginia. ¬†For those of you who are not familiar with RJ’s work, he was a finalist and fan favorite on the SyFy Channel’s second season of Faceoff. ¬†RJ (pictured below) came to Wheelersburg, Ohio to transform Jordan Nickles, a 19 year old actor, in to the elder Ebenezer Scrooge for JAX Theatre presentation of A Christmas Carol: The Musical.

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RJ, in the weeks preceding the play, had taken a plaster mold of Jordan’s face so he could design the foam latex mask to apply to Jordan’s face to make him look “old”. ¬†Below is Jordan.

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The mask was a 6 piece foam latex prosthetic that was applied one piece at a time and then the “seams” were glued and blended together so it would appear as one piece. ¬†The “mask” moved naturally with Jordan’s facial expressions and was very realistic in appearance.

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The next photos show how the mask application progressed.  The entire process took 4 hours to complete. If you want to view the video of the entire process (8 minutes) go to this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2l0BF8ieXc

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Veins and age spots were added to make the skin appear more realistic.

 

 

 

 

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The following sequence is the application of the hair, eyebrows, and sideburns.

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I enjoyed, very much, photographing and video taping this process.  RJ is a wonderful to work with. Jordan is a very bright and talented young man and he has made JAX Theatre a wonderful establishment and had brought a variety of cultural experiences to our area. Image

Jordan and RJ posing and showing off the final results.

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I have to include one more shot…This is my favorite shot of the two of them.

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I hope you enjoyed this visual journey of The Making of Scrooge.  This was such a fun assignment that I hated not to share it with everyone.  

Stay tuned for my next adventure!

Memories of dad

“Time heals” they say. It has been a year since my dad passed away. There is not a day that goes by that I think about him. I have moments when I have questions that I know only he could answer. I run into people that I know that he knew, but I can’t remember who they are.

I put together this little photograph to show how I remember my dad.

First is his graduation photo; he graduated from Wheelersburg High School in 1953—I followed 25 years later. His dad laid the cornerstone of the high school I graduated from and he laid the cornerstone my daughter will graduate from in 2014.

Most people remember him wearing this hat to the football games. I still look into the end zone to see if I can see him standing there.

Dad shot many feet of home movies with this camera when I was growing up. It was a constant accessory when we traveled.

There is an NS key ring he passed on to me along with other NS memorabilia in my possession. NS stands for Norfolk Southern for those who are not aware. He worked for Norfolk Western and they merged with Southern.

The gold dollar is among my prized possessions. He had this one made into a necklace for me. Every time I wear it I think of him.

Dad served in the Army and was buried on Veteran’s Day. The shells here are from his 21 gun salute.

The 3 baseballs represent his love for sports. The first toward the back and moving forward is a signed baseball from his Little League team that he coached. The middle one is signed by Ted Kluszewski and was a Father’s Day present from me when I worked for the Reds. He always told a story about seeing him at Union Terminal when he rode the train to Cincinnati. The third one is from 1968, the last season the Reds played at Crosley Field. We rode the train to see the game and dad “caught” a foul ball!

I do not have any Cleveland Browns items…so sorry about that.

O-H-I-O…I would be remiss if I forgot about his favorite team!

Memories of dad surround me on a daily basis. I remember his sense of humor and his love of family. Keep your loved ones in your heart and fill your life with joy!

I miss you dad, but you will always be with me.

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12 Hours and 3 Friends In New York City: Street Photography

This past weekend a couple of friends and I had the “courage” to take a “red-eye” bus tour to New York City. ¬†The total time for the trip from Portsmouth Ohio is about 14 hours–give or take! ¬†For most of the trip we either slept or talked. ¬†There were those every couple hour breaks when we could purchase a snack or a pillow for our backs! ¬†We spent a total of 12 hours in New York City. ¬†This is my first installment and showcases my street photography. ¬† Read the rest of this page »

Bicycles

I realized after reading Terrance Jones blog on using bicycles as advertising that I had quite a collection of bicycle photos.  Why are we intrigued with shooting bicycles?  I think it has to do with the shapes and colors they come in. Enjoy the collection I am going to share with you.
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The above photo was taken at Shady Trails Family Campground in Hillsboro Ohio. ¬†It sits at the entrance to one of the trails on the property. ¬†It has the colorful silk flowers in the basket on the front and the saddlebags on the back. ¬†It has been a fixture at the campground for as long as I’ve been there (at least 7 years).

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These two bikes were on display outside the hardware store on Market Street in Portsmouth Ohio.  The bright colors caught my eye.
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The above bike is also located on Market Street in Portsmouth Ohio, in front of the Market Street Cafe. ¬†It is a Huffy and I liked the fact that it was rusted and the wheels are flat! ¬†Not exactly “road ready”.
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This bike is suspended above a bicycle shop in Chillicothe Ohio.  It causes images of ET to flow through my mind.
ImageThe above bikes were seen at the Wheelersburg Ohio Flea Market in 2010. ¬†I loved the colors and how the vendor had them lined up at his “booth”.
ImageThis bicycle is located on Second Street in Portsmouth Ohio and is decorated for fall. ¬†I like how people are “re-purposing” these old bikes and using them as decorations.
ImageLast, but not least, this is a bike that is used by the Amish in Bainbridge Ohio.  It was parked outside the produce market there.

I hope you enjoy viewing this photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. ¬†I am sure I will take more pictures of bicycles as time goes on. ¬†It is such a simple yet efficient mode of transportation and it makes for a nice “center piece” for your shop or yard.

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Rainbow

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I was at the bank today and the sun was out and there were nice white fluffy clouds in the sky. I was talking with the customer service assistant and looked out the window and saw this beautiful rainbow. It extended from the river over to roughly Sciotoville. The best I could do at the time was photograph it with my iPhone through the tinted window of the bank. I started to get up and go out to shoot it outside, but it disappeared as quickly as it came. It was colorful and sharp. What a wonderful scene to see today.

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Paddle Wheel

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Today I was pleasantly surprised by seeing this magnificent paddle wheel boat traveling along the Ohio River. I was on my way home from Flatwoods Kentucky traveling west along route 23 toward the Greenup Dam. I had already passed through Greenup when I spotted this beauty. I turned my car around (safely!) and went back to Greenup to find a spot that I could get a clear view of the boat. I circled the courthouse as they were bringing inmates out, thinking, do I really want to be in this area? I tried to find a place to park only to find the parking spaces were reserved for the dignitaries of the courthouse. I finally found a public parking space and parked between two sheriff cruisers! I ran to an opening in the trees overlooking the river just in time to capture a few shots with my iPhone…while standing in the rain! The riverboat did not have a name on the side I saw and I did not see a name on the back. This was a special treat today! I found out today that this is the Queen of the Mississippi. This is her maiden voyage and it is a new paddle wheel boat and she is 4 months old!