Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Caboose

My wife and I were back in Jeffersonville for another of my son's classes.  In my last post, I wrote about how we found this really cool, vintage Argus C-3 rangefinder camera at a local antique shop. Well for this trip, I decided I would take my Canon 60D and get some pictures of the downtown area. Jeffersonville is a quaint, little town on the border of Indiana and Kentucky.  Jeffersonville sits right on the Ohio River and you can see Louisville just to the south. After we dropped my son off for his class, my wife and I grabbed some breakfast at Adrienne & Co. Bakery and Cafe.  For anyone in the Midwest, if you're ever in or around the Louisville area, make a stop at Adrienne's.  As you can see from the picture below, I couldn't wait to take a bite before snapping a picture!  We both enjoyed their freshly baked donuts and even took a piece of the pumpkin cheesecake home to enjoy later.  
Blueberry Donut & Chocolate Long John
After enjoying our coffee and donuts, we headed out on our photo walk.  For this trip, I only took my Canon 50mm/f1.8 lens.  I wanted to travel light and this is by far my lightest lens.  Because this is a prime lens, I knew it would challenge me to think a little bit more about the shots I was getting, too. As we got closer to the Ohio River, we came across this little red caboose.  The caboose is parked next to Preservation Station.  The caboose really caught my eye for a couple of reasons.  First, it's not typical to see a caboose parked in or around homes and shops.  Second, its red color just popped out against the cold, gray sky.  
Jeffersonville Caboose
All editing for this photo was done in Adobe Lightroom.  Some cropping was done to straighten the composition and I used a Lightroom preset called "Sharpen - Scenic".  I love what it did for the color of the caboose!  This preset is part of a Lightroom preset package from Improve Photography that I was able to get on their Black Friday deal.  These presets are awesome!  I heard about these presets from the Improve Photography Podcast that I've been listening to for the past few months.  If you haven't heard of Improve Photography, I would definitely recommend that you check out their website and podcast.  The guys that contribute to the site and podcast are a wealth of information.  From listening to the podcasts, I've been inspired to try some new things with my photography, to shoot more, and to do more blogging in 2016!

Have you set any goals for the new year?  I'd love to hear what they are!  Comment and share below!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Brick

My family and I were recently in Jeffersonville, Indiana, where my son was taking a class. Just to pass some time, my wife and I decided to walk around the downtown area of Jeffersonville.  We came across an antique store called Sugar Maple Antiques & Gifts.  While we were looking around, my wife called me over and was excited about something she had found.  She had found a vintage camera, complete with a leather case and neck strap.  Although the leather case was in a bit of disrepair, the camera was in really good condition.  I looked the camera over and even tested the shutter and it seemed to work just fine, so I decided to buy it.  I figured for $25, even if it doesn't take pictures, it would make a pretty cool conversation piece!

Leather case 
C-3 with 50mm f3.5 lens
Film speed dial
C-3 from the top
Inside the C-3

After I got home that evening, I began researching everything I could about the camera.  According to Wikipedia, "The Argus C3 was a low-priced rangefinder camera mass-produced from 1939 to 1966 by Argus in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA."  The Wikipedia article also noted that the C-3 is commonly known as "The Brick".  I soon figured out's heavy!  As I kept digging, I found another resource where I was able to identify the specific model of my camera and the year it was most likely manufactured. The website, Argus Collectors Group, is a great repository of information about all things Argus cameras!  Based on the model number, which is found inside the back of the camera, this camera was produced in 1948.  As you can see from the above pictures, it's in really good shape for being 67 years old!

Even though the camera is in pretty good shape, it still needs to be cleaned up a bit on the inside.  I was able to find some YouTube videos that will walk me through how to safely clean the camera and get it working.  I'm excited to try and shoot a couple of rolls of film with it and see how it works!  I'll post some of the pictures (if they turn out!) and share how things went.

Does anybody else like antique stores?  What's your coolest find?  I'd love to hear your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day

On this 4th of July weekend, our country celebrates it's independence and freedom. While perusing my social media platforms this morning (Facebook, twitter & instagram), my feeds, friends, and followers were inundating timelines with posts, likes, shares, retweets, and favorites of the typical (and very appropriate) patriotic sentiments. I too, am proud to be an American (insert Lee Greenwood singing into your head here). 
In the last year, I've had the opportunity to travel to two different countries, something I had never done before. As amazing as those opportunities were, there's just something special about America. It is an incredible feeling to be back where things are familiar. It's home. It's my home! America is not perfect. In fact, it's far from it; however, it doesn't change the fact that it's my country and I love it!
Today's photo is not the typical patriotric picture circulating on social media. There's no fireworks, no fanfare. It's just a picture of Americans doing their job. There were no selfies to capture the moment, no tweets to instantly announce their accomplishments, and no Facebook posts to share with their friends. These Americans were doing their job, preserving our freedom and independence on foreign shores.
Thank you to the American soldiers who did their job that day. Thank you to the American Veterans who have served our country. Thank you to the American soldiers who continue to do their job to keep America a free land. Happy Independence Day, America!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


I know it's been a while since I've posted anything, but today I heard a song that really hit home. Today was a tough day for my family. But it doesn't even begin to compare to the heartbreaking day for some friends who buried their 13-year old daughter today. As someone who has experienced first-hand what it's like to bury a child, there's such a vast emptiness deep inside when child loss occurs. You feel helpless and lost. You never truly understand how much you love that child until they are gone. You're grateful for the time that was spent on this earth with them. You're grateful for the assurance that you know you will see them again in heaven for all of eternity. But while we are left here on earth, you're grateful for the "souvenirs" you have of your child. Physical, digital, and mental pictures. Memories of good times spent together laughing and just being together as a family. These souvenirs are priceless. They will make you laugh. They will make you cry. When the hard days come, My family pulls out these souvenirs and remembers.

The prayer of my family for these friends is that God will give them the grace and strength that they will need in the coming days and weeks to deal with their pain and grief. I pray that they will hold on to God, and those "souvenirs".

I'll end with some of the words to this song that hit me so hard today.

"Here’s to the twilight, here’s to the memories

these are my souvenirs, my mental pictures of everything

Here’s to the late nights, here’s to the firelight

these are my souvenirs, my souvenirs

Here’s to your bright eyes, shining like fireflies

these are my souvenirs, the memory of a lifetime"


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blue Angels

Ahh...vacation!  My family and I have been looking forward to vacation for a while now.  Beside having a day or two off here and there, I've not had a week's vacation in quite a while.  Needless to say, each of us were ready for a break.  As we have a nephew in Florida who we still had not met (he was born over a year ago), we decided the Sunshine State would be where we would go.

Most folks think of a few things when they think of Pensacola.  White sandy beaches, spring break, and the Blue Angels.  My MIL told us that the Blue Angels were going to be practicing while we were visiting, so this was definitely a "must do" while we were here for the week.  Even though it was "just practice", the crowd that showed up to watch was fairly large.  We arrived about 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled start and it was already crazy with people!  By the time we got out to the tarmac, we were a good 40-50 feet back from the rope that separated the crowd from the runway.  As the planes would be in the sky above us and not on the ground in front us, we figured this shouldn't be a problem.

Most of you know I love to take pictures for my church, my son's soccer games, and travel photos of the great places in this country I've had the privilege to visit.  Photographing an "air show", or even "practice" for an air show, was something new for me.  As we were waiting for things to get started, I had my standard 75-300mm zoom lens on and I fired off a few test shots.  With big, white, fluffy clouds overhead mixed with a vibrant blue sky as a backdrop, I figured this should be a pretty straightforward exercise.  I made sure my settings were dialed in and waited for things to start.

As the planes took off and started their "flyby's" and other maneuvers, I did my best to shoot and pan with the planes as they went by.  Wow!  It was so cool!  The noise of the jet engines and the skill with which the pilots fly those planes is breathtaking.  Here's one shot I got of 5 of the 7 planes that practiced.  I liked the different elements of the photo that played together so well including the clouds, sky, and the signature yellow and blue of the Blue Angels.  Even though this was my first attempt at "air show" photography, I certainly hope it won't be my last.  I have a few shots that I'm pretty happy with, but plenty that show it was my first time.  If any of you have photographed an air show before and have any tips, tricks, or techniques that you use, I'd love to hear them.  Feel free to comment and let me know.

I hope you enjoy the photo as much as I enjoyed taking it!

shot at 1/1600 sec at f8.0, ISO 200, 120mm

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hatfield Paint Company

With "the winter that never ends" still hanging on into late March, I have been anxious to exercise my creativity.  I read a few photography blogs like Digitial Photography School and I have seen posts about "photo walks".  A "photo walk" is where a group of people get together and just walk around and take photographs of things that look interesting to them.  This always seemed intriguing to me, but I had never been able to find an appropriate day or time to do one (much less someone to do it with).    As my wife had plans yesterday and I would be spending the day with son, C, this seemed like a perfect opportunity to try out one of these "photo walks".  Even though he is only 11, he is interested in photography as well and does pretty good with a camera.  During our walk, C and I found this sign for the Hatfield Paint Company, Inc., on the side of a building in downtown Indianapolis.  This sign is situated at the end of a valet parking lot for a hotel and definitely appears to be from a bygone era in the city's past.

This photo was taken with my Canon 60D and a Canon 18-135mm lens.  Some Lightroom adjustments were made to accentuate the texture of the brick and to make the lettering on the sign pop just a bit more.

C and I had a blast on our first "photo walk" and he took some good pictures of his own!  As a bonus, I've included below one of the pictures that C took with his "point-and-shoot" camera, a Fuji JX650.  This photo was taken on Monument Circle.  I made some small adjustments made in Lightroom to boost the contrast and bring out the texture of the building for this one as well.

Hopefully this will inspire one of you to get out and get their creativity going by trying something you've never tried before!  If you do, let me know how it goes.  I'd love to see some of your photos!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mission Beach Pier

Temperatures here in the Midwest have been really, really cold!  Earlier this week, temperatures were in the single digits with the wind chill below zero…not my idea of enjoyable!

This extreme cold has definitely left me longing for warmer days and locations.  So, I've been going through old photos and I found this one.  This definitely takes me back to a much warmer day and location, San Diego.

I think photos should take us back to a special place or evoke a special memory.  This photo does both for me.  I hope this photo lets your mind wander to a warmer place, giving you at least a temporary relief from the cold and snow outside!