Friday, May 29, 2015

Forty-Four Years Too Late

Anytime I go to an estate sale, flea market, antique store, thrift store, or garage sale; I look for cameras. If I can get a camera at a decent price I'll buy it. At a recent estate sale I picked up a couple Polaroid cameras. One of them came in a really nice camera bag. Inside of the camera bag was an open but unused pack of Polaroid Type 107 film. It expired in 1971 but I threw it in the camera and started taking a few test shots.

I was shocked that the chemicals hadn't dried out, but the first few photos still didn't yield much of an image. 

Eventually I was able to snap a couple photos that actually kind of worked.

It was really cool being able to shoot with film that old. I actually really like shooting with expired film whenever I can get my hands on some regardless of what kind of film it is. 

Photos taken with a Polaroid Colorpack II, using Polaroid Type 107 film.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Memorial Day At The Camper On The Lake

Back in March I blogged about what I called 'The Salton Sea of the Midwest' here and here. It was cold and snowy and the trees were bare. Since then I've been anxious to make a return visit once everything had begun to grow again. On Memorial Day I had my chance. We tried to leave early enough to get here in time for sunrise, and we failed, but we still got here in time to take advantage of some great early morning light. We even brought a small grill so that we could have a Memorial Day picnic, but none of us brought any food so that didn't work out very well. Despite a couple hard fails, the day was still a lot of fun. 

Everyone's favorite trailer, the watermelon. 

I took almost the exact same photo the first time I was here. It's always interesting to see how things change over time.

And here's almost the same photo but with Kaylah in it. I had to include in the post. It's one of my favorites from the day.

This cottage is trying to hide.

This is another photo very similar to one that I took the last time I was here. This couch and the colors of the wall are just too good not to shoot.

Well worth the return visit, just as it will be worth making a visit here in the Fall as well.

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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fighting Fire

In the past week or so I've photographed two separate fires. Fires aren't necessarily something that I want to shoot, but bad things happen and when they do I want to be able to showcase the men and women who run head first into harms way in order to protect others. 

The first fire was at a small factory building. Jake text me telling me that there was a huge fire. I looked out the window and could see the smoke even though it was a couple miles away. I grabbed my cameras and turned on the scanner so that I could hear what was going on. 

When Kaylah and I got there smoke was still billowing out of the building but the flames were mostly under control. The streets were blocked off so we hopped on the train tracks and followed them around to the back of the building.

The next fire was one only a few blocks away from me. I had just left my house when I saw a plume of black smoke and immediately threw my car into reverse and went back inside to grab my cameras. 

Commercial fires are one thing, but when it's someone's home it breaks my heart. I feel terrible for the people who lived here but thankfully they made it out ok. 

Photographing fires and other catastrophes is a lot like street photography. I guess in a technical way it might actually be considered street photography. Both document the good parts and the bad parts of the world that we live in. Seeing someone's home destroyed is terrible and ugly, but witnessing the selfless acts of heroism performed by the men and women of the Cleveland Fire Department is beautiful. No one wants to hang a photo on their wall of a burning home or a person on the street begging for change, but this is the world around us and we can either turn our backs, ignore these events and these people; or we can acknowledge them and let them remind us that we need to be thankful for every little thing that life has given us. My grandfather, who suffered from debilitating MS for years before passing away, never complained, never said anything negative, and never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him; because he believed that someone always has it worse. To me, that's what photos like this are meant to do. They're meant to show us that no matter what happens, someone always has it worse, and that even in the worst of times, there is still beauty in world.

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

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Morning Hike

Woke up early, made coffee, picked up Kaylah, and went for a hike in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Mornings are almost always foggy in the valley and my plan was to get down there early enough that I could take advantage of the fog along one of my favorite sections of the Towpath Trail. We parked at the Boston Trailhead and headed south going under the I 271 and Turnpike bridges. I love this stretch of trail. There wasn't as much fog as I had hoped but the early morning light still made for great photos and a beautiful hike. 


There were so many turtles in the canal.

Great Blue Heron.

It's nice to take the occasional break from the city. I sometimes forget how much I enjoy being in the woods. Spending the morning walking through the national park with Kaylah, my camera, and a cup of coffee; is one of the nicest ways to start a day. I can't wait to do it again soon.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Further Into the City

As an urban explorer I started out with the usual abandoned buildings. For a long time my fellow explorers and I were finding new places to explore almost every time we would venture out. Cleveland was full of them and we made quick work of exploring and photographing them. Ten years later and I'm still finding new abandoned buildings to explore but they're not as plentiful as they once were. Cleveland isn't the same city that it was, and so many of the old buildings have been renovated or reduced to a pile of ruble. It can be frustrating when the desire to explore and discover new things is so high, but finding new places is more and more difficult. Which is why I have had to learn to think outside the box when it comes to finding places to explore. 

This is one of the places that makes me feel like a true explorer and adventurer. That sense of discovery, and the feeling of being completely removed from the rest of the world. 

There is no easy way to get down here. It takes a certain level of ingenuity and desperation. I took photos to document our process but I won't be sharing them. This is one of those places that deserves to remain hidden.

Jason stands on top of century old bridging over massive pipes.

There aren't too many places in this city where you can find graffiti this old.

My shadow cast across the wall and ceiling of one of the larger rooms.

More graffiti left behind by workers.

Desperate to get into the flooded passage between these pipes but that will have to wait for another day. Our Palladium Boots took quite a beating this night. 

An old wooden electric box. 

Without going into too much detail, this adventure was capped off by a man in a uniform, a flashlight, and a very quick exit.

We drove back to my apartment before realizing that it was still way too early to call it a night. So we went here.

I can't imagine life without nights like this. The thrill of discovery. The excitement of close calls. And the memories made with great friends. 

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