Thursday, October 8, 2015

Watching You From Above

After every wedding that Brandon and I shoot we try to go out and do some exploring or climbing. It doesn't always work out and sometimes we're just too exhausted from shooting the wedding, but a couple weeks ago we managed to have a very successful night.

A quick self-portrait.

Brandon topping it out.

I love looking down onto intersections like this. It's unreal to sit several stories up and watch people drive around the city or walk along the sidewalk laughing and drunkenly talking about the evening's events. Yeah, it's amazing the way sound travels between buildings through the night air. 

While on out way down.
"What are you doing?!" -Drunk Girls

I could sit quietly on a rooftop all night long and watch the world below. It's an incredible feeling. 

Photos taken with a Canon 6D, using a Canon 20mm f/2.8 and a Rokinon 8mm fisheye.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Road Trip: Day 5 - Death Valley National Park

As much as I loved this trip, I have been terrible at blogging about it. I started out strong but then got busy and started neglecting the blog. So as I try to get caught up with blog posts I'll throw in the final posts from Kaylah and I's big trip back out west.

Death Valley National Park is unbelievable. It's hot, it's dry, and it can kill you. People seriously die here from wandering too far from their cars and then getting disoriented and succumbing to the heat, but don't let that deter you from visiting, just bring lots of water. 

It was 117 degrees when we visited. The sand was sparkly and I went to pick some up so that I could get a closer look and it burned my fingers. By the time we made it back into the car the soles of our shoes had begun to melt. The entire car smelled like burning rubber. 

Despite the heat, Death Valley is a truly beautiful and amazing place. The photos don't do it much justice. It's yet another place that you simply have to experience for yourself.

Photos taken with a Canon 6D, using a Canon 135mm f/2.0 and Canon 20mm f/2.8 lens.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

We Only Come Out At Night

Night is obviously my favorite time to shoot photos. The darkness is in most cases a necessity when it comes to photographing and exploring the places that I like to go. It's also a lot of fun being out at night. It's a different world, with different people (night people as I call them). This is just a random sampling of some of the night photography that I've done lately.

Brandon waiting for an RTA train to pass.

Watching traffic fly past on Route 90.

Catching light trails.

The 9.

Self-portrait in everyone's favorite alley.

Stupid skywalk.

A perfect night for reflections on the river.

Photos taken with a Canon 6D, using a Canon 20mm f/2.8, and Rokinon 8mm fisheye.

Monday, October 5, 2015


I sort of abandoned my blog for a bit. It was unintentional. I've just been busy and distracted. I have a dozen or so posts full of photos, all I have to do is finish typing them up. Client work always comes first though and when you spend hours and hours in front of the computer every day it's difficult to spend any additional time staring at a computer screen. I guess what it comes down to is that I would much rather be out taking photos than sitting inside writing about photos. That being said, I'm going to try to devote a little bit of time this week to getting some blog posts finished.

Lately I have been trying to get out to shoot as much as possible. It's tough when I have so much work to do but that work can also be a driving force to get away from my desk and get outside. A couple weeks ago Kaylah and I met up with Jason, Jake, and Anji at the Fifth Street Arcade to hear a lecture on Cleveland history and eat really good food. The lecture was fascinating, and afterwards we headed out to poke around some lesser known areas.

The line between functioning and abandoned. 

I have no idea how old this sign is but I'm guessing it's pretty old, and also no longer true.

Trying to kill some time, me, Kaylah, and Jason stopped by this old favorite. Unfortunately it burned down only a couple days later.

Train rides.

While spending some time in Cuyahoga Falls working on an ongoing project for the city, I couldn't help snagging this self-portrait in front of the old Ohio Edison Dam.

Brandon and I spent a night trying, and failing, to get some new spots. 

The night took a dramatic turn shortly before taking this photo when we heard ten gun shots from just down the street.

Chaos ensued and police and EMS were immediately all over the place. One person died, two others were injured. Later that night several houses were shot up on the east side, resulting in yet another death. It's sad and disgusting when someone can value human life so little that they can fire shots into a crowd without feeling any remorse. 

Brandon got a new camera and a couple new lenses so obviously we needed to get out and put it to the test.

The interior of the wheelhouse. 

Too many stairs. 

Photos taken with a Canon 6D, using a Canon 20mm f/2.8 and a Canon 50mm f/1.4.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

Much Needed Adventures

Saturday should have been a great day full of exploring and traveling with friends, but as the plans started to unravel stress and frustration set in, and instead of picking up the pieces and reworking our plans, I decided to stay home and work. I'm glad that I did. I got a lot done and I felt no sense of regret about my decision not to explore. I knew that Kaylah, Jason, and Jake were having a great time and getting some awesome spots, but I was feeling burned out and uninspired. I didn't want to be around people. I wanted to hide inside of my apartment.

After a day of sitting in front of the computer, listening to Chopin, and editing wedding photos; I was feeling restless. I love the night. I love darkness, and when the darkness fell and met my darkened mood, inspiration struck. I wanted, no...needed, to be a part of it. Conveniently enough, Brandon text me asking if I wanted to go shoot. He picked me up and then off we went. 

We looked at one spot but it didn't feel right and we decided not to risk it, so we headed to one of the many bridges over the Cuyahoga River. We dodged trains and took a few photos. It had been a while since I had done much climbing and I was rusty, and to be honest, scared. I wouldn't say that I'm afraid of heights, but I am overly cautious. We had fun and it felt good to sneak around in the shadows, but I wasn't satisfied. 

We spent quite a bit of time working on a location that has been on our list for a while now, but this was Saturday night and the city was busy. Every angle we tried to access this place from was crowded with valets, and security guards who looked like they hated their lives. We called it quits and walked over to another spot. It's a rooftop that I had done before but Brandon hadn't. The climb up is intimidating to say the least. It's not that it's difficult, although it's certainly not easy, it messes with your head more than anything else. I let Brandon head up as I weighed the pros and cons of making the climb. I had already been up there, the climb was sketchy, would it really be worth a return visit? Frustration set in hard. I began to really hate myself. I was disappointed in myself for feeling defeated, cowardly, uninspired, and old. I did't like who I was in that moment, so I quite literally climbed out of the funk that I was in. I knew I could make the climb, I had done it before. Two minutes later I was standing on a roof, sweating, and a little bit shaky, but on the roof none the less.

Don't look down....or do look down, it's up to you.

Brandon goes out on a limb for a killer photo op.

There are times when my introversion pulls me inward to a point that I can't bare being around people. When my anxiety paralyzes me while my heart races and my body aches to move. When my desperation for adventure and discovery overwhelms me, only to be disappointed when I can't find anything new to explore or photograph. It is these times when all of these conflicting emotions merge into a crescendo that culminates in me being twelve stories above the city streets, feeling alive, feeling like myself. 

Photos taken with a Canon 6D and Canon 60D, using a Canon 20mm f/2.8 and Rokinon 8mm fisheye.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Road Trip: Day 5 - Heading Into Death Valley & Ballarat

We started the trip in the desert and then headed along the coast and into Yosemite, which was a welcome reprieve from the arid heat and sun of the desert, but by day five we were back in the desert. That's not to say that I don't love the desert though, because I do. It's still so foreign to me. The landscape just doesn't seem real. This day the heat started to take it's toll. It was so unbelievably hot. It actually reached 117 degrees while we were in Death Valley. You wouldn't think that there would be all that much in a dry and dusty place with temperatures routinely breaking the three digit mark, but there's actually a lot out there. Ghost towns and abandoned ruins litter the area. Small towns scattered here and there. And the occasional random piece of folk art left along the side of the road for all to enjoy.

One such piece of folk art is known as the Fish Rocks. These rocks near Trona, California, were painted sometime back in the 1930s, and over time additional less tasteful graffiti accumulated. Eventually the boy scouts painted the rocks their natural color, covering up the graffiti including the faces. Then, in the 1970s, two young girls repainted the faces on the rocks. They were subsequently arrested for the act of vandalism, but never charged because the residents in nearby Trona were actually quite happy to have their beloved fish back. 

Not too far past Trona, and just outside of the Death Valley National Park limits, lies Ballarat. It's essentially a ghost town now, although it would appear that there are at least one or two inhabitants. A sign posted near the entrance to the town lets visitors know that they can basically do whatever they want here. It's another 'free zone.'  

I'm not entirely sure how much truth there is to this claim, but apparently this truck belonged to Charles Manson, who's former camp, Spahn Ranch, is fairly nearby.

Inside Charlie's sunbaked truck.

The Ballarat Cemetery. 


I'll be honest, the heat and the unrelenting sun, were really killing my desire to take photos. I loved being there and the surroundings were nothing shy of breath taking, but come on! How do people live out here? Of course while I sit here in my tiny Cleveland apartment soaking up as much air conditioning as I can, there is no doubt a huge part of me that would give anything to be back out in the tormenting heat of the desert, traveling aimlessly in a cheap rental car.

Photos taken with a Canon 6D, using a Canon 20mm f/2.8, Canon 135mm f/2.0, and Canon 35mm f/1.4.