Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom

During the summer, we took a trip with my Brother-in-law's family to the Blossom Music Center to watch the Cleveland Orchestra.

Before the concert, we picked up some pizza and had dinner under a shelter thankfully, since it had started to rain pretty hard.  We enjoyed our pizza for a while, and I managed to get this shot of my son chowing down....

((ISO 100, 50mm, f1.8, 1/200 sec)

The rain thankfully stopped prior to the performance.  Once it stopped, some pretty amazing clouds came out, and I got this shot of the orchestra warming up under the pavilion.

(ISO 100, 18mm, f2.5, .03 sec)

 The orchestra performed a Beethoven Piano Concerto.  I apologize, as I forget which one.

(ISO 100, 115mm, f4.5, 1/8 sec)

My son couldn't resist conducting....
(ISO 100, 50mm, f1.8, 1/60 sec)

The kids didn't have what it took to last the entire concert, but we still had a great time!



Cedar Point's Starlight Experience

Cedar Point's Starlight Experience is an evening lighted walkway.

When the park starts to get dark, some pretty amazing opportunities for photos open up within the walkway.

This is one of the entrances with the Millennium Force in the background.
(ISO 2000, 10mm, f3.5, .03 sec)

View from the other side.
(ISO 3200, 18mm, f3.5, .1 sec)

This building houses a laser light show.  It's currently putting out those neat snowflakes on the ground.
(ISO 3200, 17mm, f4, .07 sec)

This is the woodcarver.  He creates all the hand-carved carousel animals while you watch.
(ISO 3200, 18mm, f3.5, .06 sec)

These photos were taken about 3-4 weeks ago.  We're hoping to get back to the park tonight, but it's been raining all day yesterday and today...we'll see.



Abandoned Industrial Buildings in Mansfield

I came home this weekend to visit my parents.  On the way, I was really hoping to visit the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield.  It's a very old prison that is no longer in service, but there is a preservation society that keeps it together and gives tours.  I've been there before, but never with good camera equipment.  It's truly an amazing experience.

By the way, if this place looks familiar, it is a location where many films and videos have been shot.  Most notable is The Shawshank Redemption.  If you would like to learn more about the prison's role in The Shawshank Redemption, see this very cool link.

But they are unfortunately closed to tours at this time of year.  So I really couldn't get any good photos, which was disappointing.  Its a fantastic place for photos, especially the interior.  Expect to see some great photos from me of this place when they are open again for tours.

So after the disappointment of not being able to shoot the reformatory, I made a right out of the prison, and decided to just take a leisurely drive towards downtown Mansfield to see what I could find.

I came across a series of abandoned industrial buildings, and I was no longer disappointed.

In the photo below, if it looks strange that the sky is visible through the interior of this building, that's because it is.  The building is being torn down, and all that's left is this exterior wall!  Kind of scary, if you ask me!  I'd like to know how a stiff breeze doesn't bring it all down!
(ISO 100, 10mm, f3.5, 1/500)
(ISO 100, 10mm, f3.5, 1/1000)

(ISO 100, 11mm, f3.5, 1/800)

(ISO 100, 22mm, f4.5, 1/400)

So expect to see some great photos of the reformatory from me someday....but for now, I was pretty happy to find some other abandoned buildings!



My Dad's Cars

I'm having a great weekend at my parents place.

My Dad collects vintage cars, and we decided to take a couple out for a photo shoot.

Here's a 1929 Dodge Victory 6...

Here's a 1931 Chrysler CM6...

And my son had an absolute blast in the rumble seat!

A very good time!



Water Balloon Fight!

Andrew had his 6th birthday back on the 18th of August.  Around this time, we had some of his buddies and families over for a party.

We had a big water balloon fight, but we didn't buy balloons intended for water balloons.  Instead, we used party balloons, not thinking that there would be any big difference.  Well, these balloons were much more difficult to break!

Some neat actions shots, and the kids had a blast!

But with the balloons being so difficult to break, we almost had an injury!

In this shot, you can see how they got hit with a pretty big balloon.....
....well, that balloon didn't break!  Instead it knocked Waylen (the boy in the center), to the ground!  Good thing he's a tough kid!  He shrugged it off, and kept going!

A real fun day!



Lake Erie Crushers Game

I'm a huge baseball fan, but the lack of salary caps in the Majors keeps me from attending games out of protest.  When Alex Rodriguez alone makes the same salary as the ENTIRE Pittsburgh organization combined, something is wrong.  Until they implement salary caps, the best teams will always remain the best, the mediocre teams will never be able to become true contenders, and the poor teams will always be poor.  It breaks my heart, but I will not attend games, or give any money to Major League Baseball due to this.

But I digress....this leads me to the Lake Erie Crushers.  They are a Frontier League (not associated with MLB) team in Avon, Ohio.  They have a beautiful stadium, great fans, and they are a lot of fun to watch.

Here's the stadium....(these are a little dramatic, as a storm had just passed, leaving some great clouds to photograph)

The best tickets in the house are a whopping $18.  When we go to the games, we usually buy $9 seats, and they are still wonderful.  You can be in the third row, right behind home plate, or right on the third or first base side for this price. 

Five of us went to a game last night.  Including dinner, the total bill was around $80.  A single decent ticket to a major league game can be this cost alone!

I love the Frontier League based on these items....
1.  These players have heart.  The minimum salary is not good.  As a result, most players live with host families.  They are playing because they love the game!
2.  Talent is evenly distributed.  Each team is limited to three "Veterans" (players with 3 or more years of professional experience).
3.  Play level is still pretty high.  We've seen some serious dingers leave the park, and a lot of pitchers are getting above 90 mph.  With most seats being only about 50-100 feet from home plate, it's a wonderful experience to see great baseball that close.

So the Lake Erie Crushers made the playoffs in spite of some real setbacks this year involving their best players being injured.  Last night was the third of the five-game division series against the Joliet Slammers.  They were down 2 games, so this game was do-or-die.

Josh Roberts took the mound for us....

Unfortunately, he struggled containing the Slammers offense.

I didn't get as many good shots as I would have liked.  I got some decent shots until it started to get really dark.  Then with no sunlight at all, and my camera relying only on the stadium lights, my ISO's got so high that all of my photos were pretty grainy, so I hesitate to post them.  I'm hoping to attend more day games next year, so I can have some more time for good shots.

So the Crushers lost 5-2, ending their season.

But overall the Crushers had a great year.  They battled back from being 10 games under .500 and needing two wins to make the playoffs, and pulled it off.  They made the playoffs for the second time in three years, and ended the season with the third best record in the Frontier League.

More fun than the Majors, if you ask me!



Burnam Orchards

My wife and I took a short trip to Burnam Orchards, which is a favorite place of ours to get some fantastic honey-crisp apples.  Highly recommended.

We found a couple of neat places for photos around the entrance...

At this time, they were closed, so we didn't feel that it would be appropriate to just wander back into the orchard.  However, a super-friendly man approached us, and started a nice conversation.  I have to assume that this was the owner of the orchard.

We explained that we love photography, and asked permission to wander around.  He had no problem with this, and directed us towards a back road that took us deep into to the orchard where we got these pics....

Now we just need to go back when they are open to get the honey-crisps!



The Windseeker at Cedar Point

Cedar Point's newest ride for this year is the Windseeker.  You can get an idea as how crazy this ride can be here.  

The photographic opportunities at Cedar Point are wonderful, and this ride is no exception.

But the real photographic opportunities with this ride are at night, with longer exposures!

We live about 20 minutes from Cedar Point, so expect to see plenty of photos from there out of me!


Purple Clouds!

About a week ago, we had some really crazy clouds in the sky.  I was letting the dog out right before heading upstairs to put my son to bed, when I looked up and saw some clouds that were literally purple!  

I was so excited to see clouds like this that I had to grab my camera with the 10-22 lens.  Here is the result....

I always love HDR processing of photos, and this one had to be processed with three exposures to create an HDR image.  But sometimes with photos that are soooo dramatic like this one, I hesitate to do them in HDR.  

People can abuse HDR effects (I've been guilty a couple of times), and the photos start to look really fake and psychedelic.  Personally with HDR, I try to capture what your eye truly can see, and avoid getting a look that is too "cooked".  

The problem with those amazing clouds above is that a lot of people might think that I "photoshopped" the clouds, or added a lot of purple to them in processing.  Truth be told, I actually removed some of the purple in those clouds!

To show you how amazingly purple these clouds really were, here's the raw, unprocessed image...

The clouds really were that purple!