POTW: St. Joseph Catholic Church

September 6, 2010 at 12:55 am

POTW: St. Joseph Catholic Church

First time I'm technically posting late but if you consider this a long weekend then it's still on time. This week I finally got back into exploring and checked out this abandoned church.

Right in the middle of a sketchy part of Cleveland sits this church. I guess it was bought by someone that was going to renovate it. They ripped up the floor and then I guess decided not to bother with it. Surprised there wasn't more graffiti. The artwork has faded away a lot, though.

Haven't done many pictures where I just focus on a certain object like this. I'll take them and they'll be in the gallery but I won't make it the picture I post on here. I like how this conveys a story, it can spark curiosity on what was said over the speakers back when this was in use (this looks like a PA speaker, not one that would have been used for sermons).

Rest of the pictures can be found here.

Posted in Photography. |

POTW: Roundabout Light Trails

August 28, 2010 at 7:52 pm

POTW: Roundabout Light Trails

It was 9:00 PM on Sunday (my weekly POTW cutoff is midnight on Sundays) and I still had no picture for this week. So I packed up the car and just started driving around in hopes of finding something. First plan was to get a picture overlooking the Cleveland Zoo. I went to a nearby bridge and the rain forest exhibit wasn't all that impressive looking so that was out. Then thought I'd do a night shot overlooking the industrial area in Cleveland. Well I drove to where I thought would be a good spot and turns out it just gets a picture of the shopping center and it wasn't a good one. Fortunately this spot was near a roundabout that I could get some good light trails from. Thus that's how the picture above came to be.

I'm not completely happy with it. Ideally the street lights would be dimmer so the light trails would show up more. Tried various settings and couldn't find a combination that worked exactly how I wanted. The rest of it was pure luck. I had the shutter speed set so I would get consistent brightness. Didn't want to go variable and set it to bulb mode but now I realized that's how I took the fireworks picture and it may have allowed me to vary the shutter so I got a good light trail and just enough time to let the scene burn in. Also spent quite a while deciding between a white balance of what it looked like to me or a proper white balance based off the street sign. I ended up going with what it looked like to my eye instead of the proper white balance one.

Posted in Photography. |

POTW: Cleveland Towpath Trail

August 22, 2010 at 11:16 pm

POTW: Cleveland Towpath Trail

No, I didn't forget about this week just kept waiting and then when I decided to update this the power went out. At any rate, this is from the Ohio and Erie Towpath Trail, part of the Cleveland Metroparks that I've been a fan of before. This is in Valley View, Ohio.

Took a few good ones and all I did was this one suspension bridge. Picked this one because it conveys a story in the picture. How do those two know each other? Just a couple friends? Maybe they're riding across the whole towpath although that would take days. Perhaps their training for a race. Don't know.

I also took the opportunity to get a "less reflecty" version of my new car. It's also an enfused picture consisting of three images since the range was a little too much for the camera to handle. You can find that picture here.

Posted in Photography. |

POTW: 2010 Mazda 3S

August 11, 2010 at 9:15 pm

POTW: 2010 Mazda 3S

As you probably guessed this week is a picture of my new car. It's a 2010 Mazda 3s with manual transmission. First car with manual and after a few days it's nice not stalling every other time I move. I was going to make a long post about tips for driving a manual but really it's mainly time. Spent 5 or 6 hours in it the first day in parking lots. I think I've put 150 miles on it before the weekend ended. Only tip I'll give since it was a revelation to me was a forum posting with A guide to smooth starts. Before that I just started from the floor and just slowly let clutch out as I was touching the gas. It worked but really slow and you're prone to rolling back a lot. With this method I go to the friction point before letting of the brake so the car has some resistance to going backwards. Just enough so I can get my foot on the gas. I was horrified of hills until I read this. I also learned the parking brake method just in case but I could do a pretty steep hill by me without the parking brake just fine.

This was taken at a nearby metropark (big creek). I drove along for a while trying to find a good spot. I was trying to find a place that had some sharp turns but also where I don't have to worry about being hit. Well the road was pretty straight so I didn't have to worry about visibility. So I just parked somewhere with some cover and took a few pictures. Only thing I made sure was that I lined up horizontally with the car which was tilted pretty far. Not happy with all the reflections since it makes the picture too busy for me. Next time need to find a good shady place to minimize reflections. Actually it's probably the leaves that are making it so "busy" looking. Also looking at it now it may have looked well to have a flash underneath the car to get rid of the shadow, o well.

I'll probably end up making a new section on the site for the car. I don't plan on doing a lot of modifications to it, just a few to improve visibility and personalize it a little. Maybe I'll comment in a few months how the manual transmission is. Right now I love it but I just like the car in general thus far.

Posted in Photography. |

POTW: Solar (Lens) Flare

August 7, 2010 at 8:32 pm

POTW: Solar (Lens) Flare

This is going to be short for a few reasons. First the windows Evernote app is still not working right (I'm typing this in notepad++ sans a spell checker so pardon any you see). Second, this week has been fairly busy. Third, I just got a new car that I'm really enjoying (I'm sure you can guess what next week's picture is going to be).

This was actually taken during our family reunion. There was a nearby geocache that the kids went looking for. While they were going through the stuff in the geocache I snapped some random pictures, including these with high noon sun to get a lens flare. It's not a particularly good idea to be staring straight at the sun, even though I did have sunglasses on. Took a few and like the effect on this one the most.

Posted in Photography. |

POTW: Worldwide Photo Walk 2010

July 30, 2010 at 10:39 pm

POTW: Worldwide Photo walk 2010

This week I participated in the Worldwide Photo Walk. I went to the cleveland one that included a chance to take pictures from the roof of the terminal tower. Fortunately the weather held up and was able to go up there.

This was my first photo walk with a group of people and was amusing seeing what everyone did. Was also amusing watching all the bystanders having no idea why there's this group of people with camera's taking pictures of cracks in walls and close up views of puddles. Don't think I got any contest worthy pictures but still got some good ones.

The rest of the pictures are in the photo gallery.

Apologies on the brevity of this post. I use Evernote to write all my drafts and for some reason the application is being difficult so I have to type this in the web interface that keeps messing things up.

Posted in Photography. |

POTW: Vega Building

July 22, 2010 at 10:12 pm

POTW: Vega Building

This week went to what's been called the vega building for the street it's on. Tried to get more information on the actual name of the building and couldn't find anything. Judging by what's there they did a lot of displays for various companies. Although it could have just been there as storage. In lower floors there's a lot more information dealing with chemicals and even a fallout shelter on the first floor. Another interesting feature are the rooms that are mostly filled with green light and "the cage" that's a service elevator for about 3 feet.

If you follow me on twitter you would have seen my enthusiasm about getting a good picture. This wasn't it. I took a bracketed series of shots of this and planned to fuse them together. While looking through I realized a major error in my logic, it was windy and the leaves moved a lot in each frame although they were within 1/8th of a second between pictures. I could have used it if I really wanted to but would take a lot of work masking out the leaves from a single image instead of just an automated fusion of the images.

Rest of the images can be found in the gallery

Posted in Photography. |

POTW: Flame Macro

July 16, 2010 at 7:31 pm

POTW: Flame Macro

This was done out of curiosity what a flame looks like through a macro lens. Answer? Not that interesting. At least now I know.

I've been a rut of sorts as far as inspiration goes. I think I've finally started to get interest in doing model shoots again, so there's something to possibly look forward to.

Posted in Photography. |

POTW: Fireworks 2010

July 9, 2010 at 12:59 am

POTW: Fireworks 2010

Last weekend was July 4th which is Independence Day in the US (do I even have readers from other countries?) so of course this week is going to be fireworks. These were taken in Bedford, Ohio Saturday night. Was interesting in that I was front row and only maybe a couple hundred feet from where the fireworks were going off which meant it looked like they were above your head. Also, there was music playing but not sure how choreographed it was to the music, it seemed like it generally was though.

Looking at my pictures from last year I realized I don't really like the background being completely black so I made a point to adjust settings to make sure I got some of the sky in the background. Because I was so close even with a wide angle lens I had to go portrait orientation. This worked fine since all the fireworks only came from a few places relatively close to each other. It's also a little misleading in portrait orientation on a wide angle. The top of this image would be me looking into the sky at 60-75° angle, so it covered a lot of vertical space. One of the challenges with fireworks aside from the actual settings is going through them. There's so many that are good but you need to only select the great ones. Could have probably trimmed it down some more. As for my actual technique it was pretty basic. I had the camera on the tripod and I had my remote shutter switch attached. I set the shutter speed to manual and aperture stayed around f/8 or f/11. I took a couple test shots and just counted in my head and let go of trigger. If it was too dark I'd add a second, too bright I'd remove a second. It came to around 6 seconds to get the sky how I wanted. I then adjusted as needed as the sky darkened. The reason I didn't just set it to 6 seconds is there may be times where certain fireworks are going off and I have to take a shorter exposure. In bulb mode I didn't have to worry and just repress the trigger when I want.

Sunday night I tried going to the lakewood fireworks that I went to last year and had an awesome finale. Due to various reasons I was running late and had trouble finding a parking spot. Finally found a spot about a mile or two away from park when they started to go off. What was interesting was watching all the people. Some people setup chairs in their yard, people huddled around areas where there were breaks in the trees. For those 30 minutes or so everyone just tuned out the world to watch fireworks. Of course being the photographer I am I was trying to figure out how to convey this in a photo. I was distracted as well by the fireworks as I walked along toward the park to get a better view. My options were limited. In the US there's something referred to as the sidewalk rule. If you are standing on a sidewalk anything you can see with your naked eye is considered public and you can take pictures of just about anyone, including children, without getting permission. As a general rule I try not to take pictures of stranger's children since I know some parents are very defensive about pictures of their children. The law would be on my side but I rather not have it reach that point. Well my only options while the fireworks were going is setup my tripod in the middle of the road--traffic was literally at a stand still as other people that got there late just stopped and got out of their car--and take a long exposure shot of the kids watching the fireworks and hope they stand still for the 5 seconds or so I would have the shutter open. By the time I was finally thinking about doing this and just dealing with parents afterwards--I imagine they would just think I'm from a newspaper or something--it was getting close to the end and I didn't want to miss the finale, which was the reason I went to this again. Sure enough it was just as good as last years. Then there's the drive back home with fireworks going off everywhere. Kinda surprised how big the fireworks the public can buy. Maybe if I'm in the same situation next year I'll just take the pictures and see.

Rest of the pictures can be found in the image gallery.

Posted in Photography. |

POTW: Faymore's Castle

June 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm

POTW: Faymore's Castle

This week is the rest of the pictures from Faymore's Castle a couple weeks back. In summary Dr. Faymore became very wealthy and decided to build a castle... in the middle of nowhere. He got arrested for I believe writing false prescriptions. Don't know what happened afterwards if he's still in prison, died, or just gave up on the property.

Like this picture for the depth of field. Debated for a minute or two if I wanted the foreground or background in focus--I took both when I was there--and like this one better. Worth noting this is number 26 of POTW so the year is halfway over.

Rest of the pictures can be found in the gallery.

Posted in Photography. |