12 08 2011

United Methodist Church in Spring City, PA

There’s not a whole ton that I love about my hometown – we live in a great neighborhood with spectacular neighbors, but take me out of our little nook in Spring City, and I feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere.  As a kid who grew up partly in Philadelphia, and partly in its suburbs, living this far into the country is just too quiet for me.  I’ve grown used to it at this point, and honestly can’t imagine moving anywhere else because of the friends we’ve made in the area.

That said, Spring City isn’t all bad.  For instance, the United Methodist Church right in the main part is really pretty.  Matter of fact, there are a lot of older buildings in the area that I’d love to be able to photograph.  Today, Will and Liam were out in Strasburg, PA at the Strasburg Railroad, and I had a few minutes before they got home to head into Spring City to photograph the United Methodist Church there.  I’ve passed it several times and thought that it would be fun to stop and take some pictures.  It definitely was, and I kind of wish that I had had the time to stay longer and take more – I’d like to get images of the building from all sides.

For this photo, I was standing on the entrance steps and looking almost straight up.  I like how the image turned out, and really only lightened the sky a little bit to take it away from the deep, deep blue that the camera captured.  The other colors in the building were pretty much as I remembered them, so not bad on my part.  This might even be one I hang up at home, assuming my walls have enough space!



10 08 2011

The clocktower atop our local Wegmans store


I’ve definitely learned a couple of things about myself over these past few weeks:

  • While having Liam with me is fun, its not conducive to being able to get a ton of shots of a single subject.  Meaning, if I like something, and want to photograph it, I’ve got enough time to take two, maybe three shots before Liam starts getting antsy.  And there’s only so much candy I’m willing to give him as bribery.
  • If its not something I’ve been thinking about photographing, the photos always turn out crappy, because I don’t actually want to take photos of them.  My best photos on this site are probably ones that I’d been really wanting to take.  Go figure.
Its certainly eye-opening.  I love taking photos of families and kids; those photos have turned out well.  The others that I particularly like, there’s a good chance that I’d been interested in taking those photos.  The ones that I wasn’t as “into” taking (the medals, for instance), never turned out quite right because I didn’t care enough to spend a lot of time on them.
Similarly, I think this one could have probably turned out better had I had the time to take a number of shots at a number of angles.  But alas, it was Wegmans, and Liam wanted to get inside to see the “big choo-choo”.  I do want to get out there and take some photos because I think the clocktower is just fun-looking, but its one of those things I’ll have to do without Liam and on a day where I have a ton of time.
Still, not a terrible shot.  I once again used the color monochrome because I liked the “older” look of it (reminds me of Back to the Future), but the color shot turned out decently as well, once I’d cropped it to be mainly the tower (I was too far away when I found the angle I wanted, but the crop allowed me to get the closer shot anyway.
So, there you are.  Once this challenge is over, I promise to stick to just those photos that interest me, in hopes of finding a better series of shots to share with you all.

First Friend

9 08 2011

Liam's very first "favorite toy"


This might not mean a lot to anyone else, but it means something to me: this train was Liam’s very first favorite toy.  My parents gave it to him right before his second birthday, and he carried everywhere for a good 6 months.  It ate with him, slept with him, traveled with him, played with him, spent every waking moment with him.  When Liam was nervous, he asked for “Gold Thomas” (the train is actually gold-colored … well, it WAS … see below for the color shot).  When he was tired, Gold Thomas.  Sad?  Gold Thomas.

Now, Liam is a year older and while he is still into Thomas, Gold Thomas has been cast aside.  He sits in the train case, waiting to play, always ignored.  To me, its a little sad … perhaps I watched too much of The Christmas Toy when I was a kid, but I almost feel sorry for the little train.  When he gets older, we’ll probably put it in a shadow box with Liam’s two-year photo, where he insisted he hold the damn thing.

Even though the train is gold-colored, I liked the b&w shot better.  Here’s the color one:

Color Image of Gold Thomas


I think its the fact that my walls have absolutely no color – while seeing the severe lack of gold on poor Thomas makes it interesting, the ugly white walls in the background tend to distract me.  So, I tried it in b&w, and I think I liked it a little better.  Plus, for some reason I feel like the b&w somehow portrays loneliness a little better …

Lovely Little Ladies

29 07 2011

Portrait of a friend's kids


Wayyyyyy back in 2007, a neighbor and good friend asked me to take portraits of his three kids.  His son had just turned a year old, and his two girls were 3 and 4, I believe.  Sweet little girls, and a ball to photograph.  I ended up taking quite a few of all three kids, but this one of just the two girls stuck out as my favorite.  They just randomly decided to pick those flowers out of the bushes behind them, and they got a kick out of posing with them.  In this particular one, they happened to snuggle up together, and it wasn’t so long into the shoot that the younger one’s smile was starting to stiffen.

I love it in color, but I’ve been having fun playing with the black and white features of Aperture, and thought this would be a great one to try it with.  Here’s the color version, by the way:

The color version


Honestly, I think I might still like the color version better, but I enjoyed getting the experience with Aperture.  Now, if only I could figure out how to zoom in so that I can get the color just right …

Sometimes the Schuylkill Can Be Pretty

29 07 2011

A view of the Schuylkill from a local bridge


This one isn’t exactly a stunner, but after messing with the color a little bit, I think I came up with something that I like at least somewhat.  I honestly think I would have liked it more if the sky was a nicer blue (it was rather gray) and if there had been white, puffy clouds in the sky.  I’m a big fan of the puffy variety, being particularly puffy myself.

This is another one where I set the color monochrome feature to give it that sort of old-ish look.  I brought it to about 80% brown, which is why you can see hints of color in the image.  I also darkened the sky a bit because even with a brown hue, there were burnt-out spots that I didn’t like.

All in all, I think I like the shot, though not enough to frame it and hang it up, but I feel like I’m getting there, so that’s pretty cool.

Beauty, Broken

27 07 2011

The Limerick Towers behind the Schuylkill River


Not that the Schuylkill River is a stunning river down my way … its dirty and you’re never quite sure that a body won’t pop out of the water as you look in.  Still, there’s something lovely about a river reflecting the surrounding treeline and the sky above.  I had to enhance the photo a little bit to make the water look even this blue – its just not a lovely river.

The towers from the Limerick Power Plant stand behind the river and just cut the beauty.  Not that we don’t need them; I understand that they’re providing power to many of us in the area, but still … they’re ugly as sin, and not exactly green.  We’ve got solar power, so I feel like I can put in a couple of digs about the power plant.  We live pretty close to it, but I was really selective about our home when we moved to this area.  I absolutely did not want to be able to see the towers from any window in my home, and as luck would have it, we can’t.  I find the towers to be almost upsetting – I don’t really like the idea of nuclear power at all, I can’t imagine that that amount of nuclear waste is going to do this earth any good.  This image is just a reminder to me that the earth and its beauty can be decimated in an instant with a single bad decision.

Thankfully, there are several angles from this location on the river where you can block out the towers and come up with a nice image.  I’ll probably share them another day.

My Froggy

26 07 2011

A friend's baby and his frog


This is another image that I took of my friend’s new son.  Isn’t he sweet??  I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that I don’t necessarily have the time to set up for a photograph every day, but I probably have the time to post a favorite photo that I’ve taken most days, so that’s my plan.  When I can take a new and interesting photo, I will.  If I can’t, I’ve got a decent backstock of images that I’m proud of, but that don’t really have a place to be displayed aside from my Flickr site (which hasn’t been updated since last November, because we’ve just been THAT busy).

For this image, we laid wee Liam on a fuzzy blanket on the couch and gave him his toy frog.  Being that the poor kid was only about a month old, he kept slipping and sliding, but that ended up making for some cute shots, like this one.  He was sort of sliding into the frog, and I snapped this one just before he flopped completely over.

To soften the image a little bit, I used Aperture to add a sort of vintage look to it – its a color monochrome selection with a little bit of the original color added back in.  I’m pretty proud of the way it looks.  I also did a couple where the image was black and white, but froggy was in color – turns out he’s a little yellow-looking when I do that.  I’m not sure if that’s how Aperture interprets the image, or if froggy looks more green when he’s surrounded by all of the other colors.  Either way, I wasn’t as pleased with them as I was with this one.

Of course, it makes it that much easier when the subject is this damn cute …