KelbyOne World Wide Photo Walk 2018

Every year KelbyOne hosts a World Wide Photo Walk the first Saturday in October. Volunteers in cities all over the world set up local walks. I joined the Pixel Connection and Sam Young Studios for a walk from Public Square to the North Coast Harbor in Cleveland. The sponsored performers for us to photograph along the way including a ballerina and fire dancers.

Weekend in Milwaukee | Doors Open MKE 2018

Keeping with tradition I spent the weekend in Milwaukee visiting my sister and touring the city with DoorsOpenMKE. 

Doors Open Milwaukee is a two-day public celebration of Milwaukee’s art, architecture, culture and history. This event offers behind the scenes tours of more than 170 buildings throughout Milwaukee’s downtown and neighborhoods and 30+ ticketed tours led by community leaders.

Friday night we went to see In the Heights, a musical with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes. Most of the cast is from New York and many have performed on Broadway. The story is set over the course of three days, involving characters in the largely Hispanic-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City. This show is in Milwaukee though October. Then the same cast is on to Seattle followed by Cincinnati. I highly recommend going if you are in the area.

Meals

Honey Pies1.jpg
 Carmel Apple Gluten Free Pancakes at Sweetdiner

Carmel Apple Gluten Free Pancakes at Sweetdiner

Honey Pie Cafe | Retro-style eatery with patio serving creative comfort food & desserts made from local ingredients. 

 
 Sweetdiner

Sweetdiner

 

Doors Open MKE 2018

St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral

The rare, centuries-old art of handmade glass mosaics is on full display in this Byzantine-style cathedral, providing a wondrous, luminous effect to visitors. They follow the Byzantine Orthodox tradition, depicting Christ, Mary, prophets, angels, Old and New Testament scenes, apostles, and Serbian saints in a hierarchical order from the dome, or heaven, down to earth. In the days when people were illiterate, scenes depicted in mosaics and frescoes were a vital reminder of the Bible’s teachings. They still inspire and assure people that Christ watches over them along with His angels and saints.

This Byzantine-style Serbian (Eastern) Orthodox Cathedral features soaring spaces, marble columns and inlay, with its most prominent feature being the central dome. A city landmark, the cathedral is one of the few churches built in the U.S. since World War II that have the Serbian-influenced, Byzantine Revival’s splendor and craftsmanship. Its most exquisite adornment are the hand-laid mosaics covering virtually all the walls and vaulted ceilings. The cathedral was built in 1957-58, but the mosaics, hand-made in Italy and using approximately 2,000 colors and tones, were not begun until 1969, and took 30 years to complete.

 

St. Nikola Serbian Orthodox Church

First built as a Lutheran church, St. Nikola’s was transformed into an Orthodox Christian worship space in 1963. The style of the church, though western, is reminiscent of many of the churches built in Yugoslavia during the captivity of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Seriously damaged by fire in 2010, it was renovated receiving a new hand-carved iconostasis with traditional Byzantine style iconography and the interior was decorated with beautiful Serbo-Byzantine style frescos. Like many Orthodox worship spaces in Europe it does not have pews. The porch of the church was also enclosed in 2010 and functions as a narthex where the faithful light candles for the living and departed.

St. Nikola Serbian Orthodox Church is a jewel in Cudahy and one of Wisconsin’s most beautiful Christian worship spaces. Founded in 1963 by Serbians who had fled the tumult of WWII, parishioners integrated themselves into community life looking to St. Nikola’s as a place where they could preserve their faith, heritage, and language.

— in Cudahy, Wisconsin.

 

First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee

The church was designed for the Unitarian congregation in 1892 by architects George Ferry and Alfred Clas. View the Chanticleer on the steeple, as well as the carved sculptures adorning the entrance. Enter the English Gothic-style sanctuary from the Perpendicular period and be surrounded by the golden glow of stained glass windows. View the wooden hammer beam arches and uniquely carved stone corbels. Also on the tour is the church parlor and, on Sunday only, the Leenhouts Common Room, which displays new, local art on a monthly basis.

This is a church not built as a Christian church, but in a very particular style. It is one of the oldest churches in the city.

 

Sanger House

Sanger House Gardens is a feast for the eyes, filled with trees, shrubs, perennials and plants of all kinds, but our specialty is inspiration. Built high on hill overlooking the young city of Milwaukee in 1872, Caspar Sanger’s Cream City brick Italianate house still dominates it’s setting, but now it rises from almost an acre of lush landscaping just blocks from downtown. Over the past 3 decades, the current owners have created a complex, richly layered series of garden rooms that have inspired thousands of visitors. The gardens include Mediterranean and English styles, and celebrate the urban surroundings with recycled cobblestone and limestone materials, as well as historic architectural elements. Water features and plantings attract a wide variety of birds, as well as the occasional fox. Somewhere in the garden you may find a setting that sparks your imagination and leads to a transformation in your own landscape-and even if you aren’t a gardener, the beauty of our special place may bring joy to you just the same.

Caspar Sanger, a German immigrant who had made his fortune in the tannery and millwork businesses, built his first grand house in 1872. He occupied it for only two years and sold it to a fellow German-American businessman Joseph Phillips, it was owned by his family until 1911. Today it is owned by Steve Bialk and Angela Duckert who acquired it in 1985. They have done a major restoration on the house. It has 5 marble fireplaces, a mahogany staircase, original pine floors, plaster rosettes and cornices along with reproduction wallpapers produced by Bradbury and Bradbury which are an interpretation of William Morris, a famous designer of the 1860-70’s. Many other improvements and upgrades have been done. The property is part of the Historic Brewers Hill historic district. The owners have also renovated the horse and carriage barn along with construction of a new carriage house which is used for events and an AIRBNB stay.

 

Fortress

Originally built in 1892, Fortress has seen several additions in the years leading up to 1912. The result is a distinct, red brick building with unique architectural flourishes and a tower that’s reminiscent of a medieval fortress. The building’s original tenant was the F. Mayer Boot and Shoe Company, which at its peak produced over 9,000 shoes per day and became one of the largest tanning producers in the world. The building remained in use for shoe manufacturing until 1938, and since that time many other firms have occupied it – from musicians, artists, and even a daycare and Montessori school.

The main entries have Neo-Classic Revival detailing; however, the tower has a Romanesque flavor, creating an overall effect of Victorian eclecticism. The original architect was H. Schnetzky and Company. Future additions were designed by E. R. Liebert.

In the midst of its rehabilitation efforts, Fortress is being brought up to modern standards yet retains the historic charm and character that we know and love. Throughout your tour you’ll see exposed brick walls, open heavy-timber ceilings, restored windows, raw concrete pillars, pulleys used to power machinery, refurbished wood flooring, original fire-rated steel doors, and various other historic elements given new life or returned to their former glory.

One of Milwaukee’s most recognizable historic buildings has undergone a major transformation. A complete historic rehabilitation of the 1892 former shoe manufacturing plant has created 132 new apartments, a first floor office and retail space, and a wide array of community amenities to match all interests. Adjacent to the thriving Brewer’s Hill neighborhood, and just steps from a unique mix of dining and entertainment options, this is where historic character meets modern convenience.

 

Sunrise

 
 

Urban Ecology Center

Menomonee Valley Branch | This “green” environmental community center was once a vacant tavern at 37th and Pierce. Designed by Uihlein Wilson Architects, the branch serves 22 south side schools who are clamoring for our Neighborhood Environmental Education Project. Like our building in Riverside Park, our Menomonee Valley branch serves as a model of “green” building options. The Urban Ecology Center Menomonee Valley branch opened on September 8th, 2012! Size: 6,500 square feet.

 

Model Railroad Club of Milwaukee, Inc.

Generations have visited this model railroad club since late 1936, and the layout today is as it was rebuilt around 1950. Models are built to 1/4 inch scale, Some of our models are from before World War II, and some are brand new. We are happy to talk to visitors, and we offer stay-as-long-as-you-like self-guided visits (with informational handouts). Small groups are welcome and we can show them around. Children are welcome, too.

Our building is a former railroad station, built by the CMStP&P Railroad in about 1916. A Century old! Yes, it is UNDER the railroad tracks. It was later abandoned by the railroad, and the Club took it over in 1936 as a ‘temporary’ location.

Much of the original components still exist, such as the beautiful white Subway Tile on the walls, genuine tin ceiling panels, concrete walls, and some original steam heat fixtures.

Hike on the Pierson Creek Loop

My dog, Lacey, and I set out for a hike on the Pierson Creek Loop at Holden Arboretum. On the far side of the loop we came across a couple beautiful scenes where streaks of sun rays streamed through the trees, and this wonderful moss covered log. Lacey is not the best photo assistant so I didn't take as much time as I would have liked.  

Milky Way at Observatory Park - Re-processed in Luminar

I've had Skylum Luminar software for a couple years, but use it sparingly. I have my workflow in Lightroom and Photoshop.  Last week I had some Milky Way shots that I processed in LR, and I was happy with them, but decided to invest a little time in Luminar to see what I could get.  

My original edits in LR/PS highlighted more of the magenta and orange tones. In Luminar I deliberately shifted to more blue and yellow.

When I edited in LR, I also used Photoshop more that usual. For me, PS is primarily used for cloning or removal of objects. For these shots I did a lot more layers and masks to bring out the detail in the foreground.  I typically had a saturated layer with colors I wanted, a desaturated layer that I overlayed in PH, and a layer exposed for the foreground that I masked into the the sky layers. 

In Luminar, I was able to do all the layering with the program.  The only need for Photoshop was to remove a sign that was distracting. 

My rough Luminar workflow starts similar to the LR workflow, but the first layer (sky magenta/orange) turns the saturation down just a bit. Then I add an image layer where I adjust the sky color for blue and green. I couldn't get overlay to work the way I wanted, so I used the opacity slider to blend the layers. Next I used one or more image/adjustment layers to edit the foreground. Once those layers were edited, I merged the layers and ran the denoise tool.

I like the results I got with Luminar. I'm not sure if it was the software, or just deliberately working toward a different result. 

Edited in Skylum Luminar

Same shot as above edited in LR & Photoshop. 

 

Edited in Skylum Luminar

Same shot as above edited in LR & Photoshop

 

The Milky Way at Observatory Park (07/13/18)

Friday night was perfect for stargazing. Lacey was at the sitter, 70 degrees, the sky was clear, the moon was hiding and the Milky Way is in view. So I took a drive out to Observatory Park. 

Observatory Park has permanent distinction from the International Dark-Sky Association as a Silver Tier Dark Sky Park. As of December 2017, it was one of only 39 Dark Sky Parks in the U.S. and 55 in the world. 

Most of these shots are composites of multiple exposures - one for the sky and one for the foreground. I set up with a Platypod Ultra to get low behind the rocks and my iPhone provided illumination for the rocks.

Reflection of Venus

Sitting low in the sky, the planet Venus has been shining brightly the past week. Photographing the night sky at Lake Erie Bluffs, Venus is so bright it looks like the moon and leaves a reflection on the water. 

 

Featured on Lake Metroparks website

I recently took at hike at Hell Hollow Wilderness Area, one of the many Lake Metroparks. It was surprisingly green compared to other parks.  I took some pictures out there, and the Lake Metroparks liked one photo enough to make it the feature photo on the top of the website.  Also have the photo featured on Gully Brook Park

http://www.lakemetroparks.com

HELL HOLLOW

SKOK MEADOW

INDIAN POINT

2 Year Adoptiversary

2 years ago, yesterday, I picked up Lacey from her foster home. She has her moments, but overall she has been a great dog. Today we went to the Holden Arboretum and took some portraits.

Great week for sales

This has been a great week for sales.  I typically only sell a couple prints per year. This week I had 2 really nice print sales. 36"x20" black and white prints of the Marcus Center in Milwaukee. I also sold a license for a stock photo of the Milky Way.

One of my photos from Cleveland Public Library is getting published in Marketer magazine, a trade journal distributed to 7,000 members of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), thanks to my friend, Tom Townes, who asked for it to be included with an article he wrote.

And finally, I found out my first splash photo will be featured on KelbyOne for Member Monday. 

Covered Bridges

A few years back I joined my friend Paul for a road trip through Ashtabula County to photograph some of the covered bridges. I never posted them anywhere, which may have been a benefit as I've become better at post-processing. 

Ashtabula County is home to the longest covered bridge in the country.

 

 

Winter Sunset on Lake Erie

The sunsets on the south shore of Lake Erie are not quite as brilliant in the winter, due to the position of the sun in the sky. The sun sets south of the lake and doesn't usually light up the clouds. Tonight was just pretty, because the water was so calm in the harbor. The puffy clouds in the sky picked up a little color, but were mostly muted. 

The still water made for nice reflections of the light house. And the moon made an early appearance.

I finally put my new tripod and Platypod to use. A couple behind the scenes shot highlight the gear. Both are fantastic. 

3 Legged Thing | preliminary review

My old tripod is starting to show it's age., so I asked for a new one for Christmas. Scott Kelby regularly mentions gear by 3 Legged Thing. I looked into them and put a Leo model tripod with the AirHead Switch kit (ball head). I asked for a second AirHead Switch to use with my Platypod, and a QRII (quick release L-bracket plate). Thankfully my family is generous and got the gear I asked for.

It's been way too cold for me to go spend time shooting outside which means I've only used the gear briefly in the house.  However, my first impressions are off the chart.

3 Legged Thing Equinox Leo Carbon Fiber Tripod System & AirHed Switch Ball Head

First off, the Leo is stunning. It looks like a tool for work on Mars. Unlike traditional tripods, it comes with copper and orange accents (grey is available). The design is well thought out with exceptional engineering.  The legs have 3 locking angles and have 5 extendible sections with friction locks. The lock handles are wider than on traditional tripods with rubber grips embedded in them. The leg shafts are made of carbon fiber and extremely stable, with little to no flex.

3LT-0128.jpg

Stunning

Not only functional, but a sculptural beauty.

Other features include a center column with two extensions. The center column is also easy to remove and install from the bottom for additional options when shooting. On top of the center column is a "tri-mount" developed by 3LT that includes multiple threaded connections and 3 rings for attaching accessories.

3LT-0134.jpg

Tri-mount

for various attachment options

 

Another unique feature is one leg is detachable for use as a monopod. It unscrews from the base and has a threaded connection to mount a camera, light or other accessory.

The package comes with a canvas carry bag, allen keys, and a unique tool clip with built-in allen key and screw-driver.  The screwdriver is used to attached the mounting plate to your camera. They think of everything.

AirHed Switch

3LT-0138.jpg

AirHed Switch

Comes in grey or blue and features a lock for the tilt as well as a swivel and lock for panorama. Arca Swiss compatible

The AirHed Switch is designed equally as well as the tripod. Like the Leo, the Switch has color accents. It comes in blue or grey.  I have one of each. The locking mechanism is smooth and stable, it locks in tight. The clamp for the camera mounting plate is Arca Swiss compatible and uses a lever to lock-in the camera.

QRII

3 Legged Thing makes a quick release plate for regular and full-sized cameras. The plate is an L-bracket that allows for easy shifting from horizontal to vertical orientation of the camera. You can change the orientation with the AirHed Switch, but with a heavier camera, it's more stable to keep the camera over the ball head. The QRII has strap connectors to allow use of camera straps.

3LT-0137.jpg

QRII

L-bracket for quick change from horizontal to vertical.

Customer Service

We normally don't like to contact customer support, but sometimes things happen. I'm not sure the reason, but my QRII didn't fit quite right on my AirHeds. The short side for vertical shots locked in fine, but the long side was loose on the AirHed Swtich.  Apparently it would work fine on the other model of AirHed, the 360.  

I contacted customer support at 3LT, because I wasn't sure if the QRII was designed this way intentionally, or if it was manufacturing issue.  The plate is supposed to lock in on both sides. 3LT was fantastic in responding quickly and offering to send me a new plate. I received it in two days. I couldn't ask for more friendly and helpful support.

Wrap-up

The weather is predicted to warm up soon and I'm looking forward to putting the 3 Legged Thing gear to use.

Historic Clifton Mill

Last week I met a friend for dinner at the Mills Park Hotel in Yellow Springs, Ohio - excellent meal.  After we took a ride over to see the holiday lights at the Historic Clifton Mill. Melissa had seen them before, but I've only seen pictures. It was a beautiful display.

The following is information directly from http://cliftonmill.com/

"The Historic Clifton Mill is one of the largest water-powered grist mills still in existence. The first mill at this site was built in 1802 by Owen Davis, a Revolutionary War soldier and frontiersman miller. The mill was built in this location to take advantage of the natural power of the concentrated water funneled into the gorge. Owen Davis and his son-in-law, General Benjamin Whiteman also built a saw mill and a distillery. Soon a village known as Davis Mills sprang up. The Little Miami River powered five other mills that were built within a mile of Historic Clifton Mill: a woolen mill, saw mill, paper mill, barrel mill and another grist mill. Historic Clifton Mill is the only one still standing.

The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill was one of the nominees in USA TODAY’S 10 Best Readers’ Choice 2014 travel award contest!

For 28 years Clifton Mill has celebrated the Christmas season in a very special way. Our light display, featured in Midwest Living and Ohio Magazine, is one of the country’s finest with over 3.5 million lights illuminating the mill, the gorge, the riverbanks, trees and bridges. There is even a 100 foot “waterfall” of twinkling lights. The flip of one switch turns all the lights on at once transforming night into a fantastical winter wonderland which includes a Miniature Village, a Santa Claus Museum , a Toy Collection and a spectacular synchronized lights and music show that features the old Covered Bridge.

Every night until the night before Christmas Eve you can peek into Santa’s Workshop to see a live Santa at work and then, every 15 minutes or so, watch him check his list and go up the chimney to load his sleigh.

It takes 6 men most of 3 months to put up the display. The old covered bridge is a spectacular addition to The Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill. The bridge, its windows, roof, sides and bottom are covered in lights of various colors as are pseudo trees which flank the bridge. Every hour, on the hour, all 4 million lights at Historic Clifton Mill go out leaving guests in total darkness. As a hush falls over the spectators, orchestral music softly begins to play a medley of traditional Christmas songs and some of the lights on the covered bridge begin to twinkle on and then off again. As the music builds and builds, more and more lights on the covered bridge blink off and on in time to the music, lights on the pseudo trees swirl around and change color in a way that seems impossible. By the end of the song, the music is booming through Clifton Gorge, the lights on the covered bridge have become mesmerizing and everyone watching is completely enthralled. Then the music ends and the bridge lights all go out, once again leaving guests in total darkness. Then, before most spectators can catch their breath, 4 million lights come on again all at once!"

Lake Erie Abstracts

With a heavy cloud layer, the sunset was not very dramatic, but there was a little color in the sky. A large flock of gulls took off and I captured them in flight with a slow shutter speed. The motion created an interesting texture over the background. These photos look like multiple images layered in Photoshop, but they are each made of one image. Cropping and color adjustments were completed in Lightroom and give the photos a painterly quality.