April 30, 2018 § 6 Comments
Every year during the Memorial Day weekend, we have something called Blossom Time here in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. A carnival is set up complete with rides, games, contests, and plenty of “carny food”. My favorite thing is an old time baseball game played between two teams who compete in an “old time” baseball league. They play by the rules that governed baseball around the time of the Civil War till the late 1800’s. The uniforms are replicas of that time also. I love shooting the action at these games, but you always have to be careful since some of the players will be wearing the old uniform along with their Nike shoes! My final image is that of what I envision a clubhouse from that era to look like. I set it up in my studio and propped it with some of the items from my baseball collection. I have a couple of books that have actual images that were taken from the very late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s. The most recognized baseball photographer from that era was Charles M. Conlon. He did amazingly beautiful portraits along with some on the field environmental candids, including some action shots, all while using a big view camera that was set up on a tripod! I model my present day work, including the post processing after what Conlon did. I’m looking forward to shooting more images in a month, but until then, here’s a compilation of my images from past years.
April 23, 2018 § 6 Comments
I love all the major sports, but when it comes to combining my photography and my love of sports, one sport stands out above the rest, and that’s baseball. There’s so much more history, more stories, and much more equipment. As for still life photography, baseball is literally a gold mine! All of the equipment is rich in texture, and the earthy colors are beautiful. Added to that are the vibrant colors of baseball cards, uniforms, logos and pennants. I’ve been collecting sports memorabilia for over 20 years now, most of which is baseball memorabilia. The advances in design of gloves, bats, and catchers equipment has steadily evolved over the ages. The stories and history of some of the men (and women during WWII), are some of the most entertaining of all American entertainers and celebrities, but that’s a blog for another time. My inspiration for my baseball photographs are Charles M. Conlon, who did some of the most amazing baseball images in history in the early 1900’s, all while carrying around an old bulky view camera and glass plate negatives. My other inspiration is a little more recent…Terry Heffernan, my friend and fellow alumni from the Cooper School of Art in Cleveland. Terry was the first, and possibly still the only photographer to be allowed to “set up shop” in the Baseball Hall of Fame to shoot a series of still life images of equipment, uniforms and some personal items belonging to some of baseball’s immortals! Anyhow, on to some more of my images.
Thanks for looking! Play Ball!
April 16, 2018 § 4 Comments
I’ve always loved shooting food. There’s a real beauty in the colors, ranging from the deep earthy colors of eggplant, artichokes and pears, to the bright vibrant colors of apples, rhubarb and carrots. The texture of these foods is amazing. With the proper lighting, you really can produce “works of art”. I created my own backgrounds, matched the subject with what I thought was the appropriate background, added a soft directional light, and got the results you see here. I’m kicking around the idea of creating a book of “Food as Art”, or at least a calendar…we’ll see. Anyhow, these are some of the first images in the series.
Thanks for looking.
December 4, 2017 § Leave a comment
As seasons change…nature greets us with a new sense of beauty. What was once green and lush, becomes vibrant with bold brilliant colors. Reds, oranges, and yellows, appear, many times against a background of a beautiful blue sky! Wow, Mother Nature outdid herself once again, but you better look quickly and enjoy it, because it’s gone in a blink of an eye! It’s replaced by a lot of ugly colorless brown. What once was a brilliant green, then red, orange and yellow, is now a bunch of ugly colorless brown, maybe some off-white, maybe a dull greenish yellowish, boring nothing. Mother Nature’s palette is all dried up, ready to be thrown in the trash…get out the rakes and the oversized Hefty Bags so we can clean up the stuff and get ready for next Spring! But wait, look what I found while walking Cosmo. That dead leaf lying on the step looks kind of interesting. It does have a bunch of interesting holes that some bugs must have caused. The ugly brown color, isn’t so ugly once I get closer to it. Actually, it does have an interesting shape. Look over there at that whitish looking plant, all bent over,…it has a look of dignity in its death. All of a sudden, I’m seeing a beauty in all of this. A sense of hanging on to the last, not giving up until overcome by superior forces…what beauty, what dignity! All of these images were taken in an area no more than 10 feet by about 5 or 6 feet on the back corner of our patio deck. I went back a couple of days later and they were gone or unrecognizable. This will probably be the last of these shots until winter or spring…then again, maybe not.
Thank you for looking!
October 16, 2017 § 10 Comments
Last week I was out shooting the fall foliage in my backyard. We live out in the country, so we have a number of beautiful trees and a variety of fall colors. While walking around, I noticed some of the leaves that had already fallen. Drawing on my background as a still life photographer, I started to re-arrange some of the leaves. I then walked around and rather looking up at the trees, I looked down at the ground. Now I did “style” each shot, removing a twig or blade of grass etc. I then proceeded to compose some of these shots by adding one leave to another, but all of these shots were done outdoors on the ground, without any additional lighting, just natural, available light. Once I downloaded the images into my computer, I did edit each of the images. I shoot raw. What that means, to the non-photographers reading this, is I use very basic settings for color, contrast, exposure, etc. I don’t want the camera to make decisions for me, except for auto focus…I don’t really trust my own eyes for that anymore! In Photoshop, I adjusted exposure, color saturation, and shadowing to my liking. If something in the shot bothers me, I may even paint it out completely. I consider myself an artist with a camera, not a photojournalist…big difference! So, before anyone asks “is that photoshopped”, the answer is 99% of the time yes…to some degree. So let’s look at some pictures.
September 25, 2017 § 6 Comments
So how many times do we discover something about a friend that causes us to say “wow, that’s amazing, I never knew that about you!”. I’m sure that’s happened to many of us. My turn came last month concerning one of my closest friends, Mariana. So here’s a little background. Back in the 80’s, I was doing a lot of model testing for the top modeling agency in Cleveland. One day I noticed a beautiful young teenager at Edgewater Beach in Cleveland. I gave her my card and told her she should contact that agency. She did, and we wound up shooting together. Over the next few years, we collaborated on a number of shoots. We really had a connection, not just as model/photographer, but as close friends, we formed a really close bond. Sadly,we lost touch, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I “found” her on Facebook! We renewed our friendship and I realized just how much I missed this truly amazing person! I never knew she was such a fantastic artist…she is! I describe her style as Daliesque. She’s smart, really smart…she skipped two years of grade school, she travelled before relocating back in Cleveland, where she raised three beautiful daughters. Her posts on Facebook are something I look forward to, always interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes heartwarming, but always poignant. So this brings me back to that “wow…I never knew that about you” moment. Last month, she posted some images of her teaching a little girl how to decorate cupcakes. I was blown away by the pictures she posted, and immediately asked if I could photograph her bakery. While talking to her about this, she mentioned how she practically grew up in her father’s bakery. Her father, by the way, made all of the wedding cakes for the movie “The Deerhunter”, so it’s no wonder where she got this talent…I’m sure her dad would be so proud of her today. Anyhow, we got together last week and spent the day shooting. She brought over a selection of her bakery, and boxes of props, and with her artistic background even did a fantastic job helping me style the shots. The best thing is after the shoot was over, I got to eat everything…okay, not all at once, it took a few days. Mariana wants to open a small bakery in the future, and when she does, I would highly recommend you go…the line forms behind me!
As always, thanks for looking!
September 5, 2017 § 6 Comments
It seems like ages since I shot in my studio. For most of this past year, and actually back to last fall, I’ve been shooting outdoor and location projects. Recently I discovered that one of my closest and dearest friends was a “baker’s confectionary artist”. I know she is an amazing artist with what I call a “Daliesque” style when it comes to her paintings and sketches, and I know her father had a bakery, but I never put the two together, until I saw a recent post of hers on Facebook. She doesn’t just bake something that’s good to eat, she creates “edible art”! Anyhow, I’ve been looking for a still life studio project to sink my teeth into(pun intended), so I contacted her and asked if I could photograph her “culinary creations”. She said she would love to work on a project, so look for a future posting here of some of the most appetizing images I’ve ever done. O.K. so what’s all of that have to do with booze images. Well, feeling rusty in the studio, I decided I needed to set something up and shoot. For me, I always find that shooting booze is fun. Great shapes, great earthy color, and the interplay between subject and light is always beautiful. So I got the ingredients, played around with my lights, played around in Photoshop, and wound up with a number of new booze shots for my stock library. I started with the book and glasses shot, and after a few more images from the front, decided to back up and shoot some behind the scenes(bts) images to show the elaborate(sometimes) set-up that goes into creating a very simple looking final image. While moving around to the side to shoot one of the behind the scenes(bts) images, I noticed that the glass of booze had a very different look both in the glass, and with the surface on which I was shooting, so I shot images from different angles which are included here. Also, while cleaning up the backgrounds etc. in Photoshop, I thought I would “paint” in a new background on a few. So now let me shut up and show some pictures!
As always, thanks for looking!
August 7, 2017 § 2 Comments
Sometimes after shooting images for clients, it’s nice to just give myself a nice relaxing self assignment. One of my favorite subjects to shoot is Cleveland. Shooting neighborhoods, buildings etc. in my hometown is a labor of love. I recently blogged about an ongoing personal project of shooting the many churches in and around Cleveland. Sometimes though, it’s nice to just stay home and find something to shoot. I used to do this with still life in my studio, and plan on doing some more of that in the near future, but at our home, we have horses and a lot of cats. I have hundreds of cat shots, and quite a few horse images. Last Sunday was a beautiful sunny but cool breezy day, a perfect day for my wife to let her horses out. I grabbed my camera and spent a peaceful Sunday shooting the horses. I always have my camera set to raw so I can add color, texture, and possibly adjust the exposure in Photoshop. My original images as you can see, are fine, but being raw, they lack “punch”! I like to add some more color, texture, and my usual preference is to make my images a little darker and moodier. In this instance, I also removed the bridles, replaced the green metal gate with more split rail fencing and generally cleaned up the area. I’m including the “before” images, so you can get an idea of what these images looked like right out of the camera.
I know this was a long one, but as usual, thanks for looking!
July 31, 2017 § 2 Comments
Cleveland is known for it’s varied ethnicity. There are numerous neighborhoods based on the backgrounds of it’s local citizenry. We have Little Italy, Slavic Village, Asia Town, and numerous others. The local restaurants in each of these neighborhoods boast some of the best ethnic food you’ll find anywhere. While enjoying the various dishes served up in these neighborhoods, what really amazes me in these neighborhoods is the unique architecture, particularly the churches. I’ve spent the last couple of years photographing these churches, possibly for a future book project. Just when I think I’ve shot my last church exterior, I discover a new one. I still have a lot of interior shots to do, so I’m looking forward to a lot more shootings. Anyhow, here are a couple of images each, from three of my churches. I mentioned in my title “sometimes famous”, Saint Theodosius was where the wedding took place in the movie “The Deerhunter” with Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken. These shots are a tiny sampling of what I have in my collection, but like I said, I think there’s a lot more out there left to shoot!
Thanks again for looking!
June 6, 2017 § 2 Comments
I’m, again, going through boxes of old slides, scanning them into my computer and putting them in files. It’s kind of tedious, but it’s also bringing back some great memories. The oldest image I’ve come up with so far is from ’73. Anyhow, through modern technology, I’m able to clean them up, add some color, and even combine two or more images together to get a final image. That’s what this post is about. There’s going to be a lot of images, since I’m showing all the component parts for each final image. Some of the originals still have all the dust and dirt on them, but they’re nice and clean in the final. The images here range from the late ’70s to some I took just last fall. Here goes.
Thanks for looking!