Families of Addicts Rally for Recovery - 8.25.2019 by Jeremy Mudd

Lori Erion

On Sunday, August 25th,  I volunteered once again to shoot the Families of Addicts (“FOA”) Rally for Recovery event on Courthouse Square in Dayton, Ohio. This was the second year that I’ve shot this event and I’ve grown to really enjoy it.

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From a photography standpoint, its everything an event or street photographer could wish for – energetic people, dancing, colorful displays, lots of activities, balloons, etc. That’s all true - but for me, more than that, it’s a chance to help a great cause and donate my skillset as a photographer.  

FOA was founded by Lori Erion, and rather than try to explain who they are in my own words, here’s their info straight from their website:

“FOA is a grass-roots recovery support initiative founded in Dayton, Ohio working to reduce the stigma of addiction, ensure availability of adequate treatment/recovery support services and to influence public opinion and policy regarding the value of recovery. This vision has people from all over the U.S. asking if FOA is available in their town.  

 WE hold weekly support meetings where families and individuals affected by addiction can come for support, friendship and education. The sharing of our experiences, strength and hope offer a pathway to peace.

 FOA welcomes those seeking recovery and those in long-term recovery to attend, as they can help us and we can help them, no matter where they are in the journey. All are welcome to attend with an attitude of willingness, open-mindedness and honesty.

 If addiction has found its way into your life, please consider joining us at our weekly meeting for support, friendship and education.”

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 So, before I go much further, I want to make a confession. I was raised Catholic, in the Midwest, during the 70’s and 80’s. I’m 49 years old. I was taught that people who were addicted to drugs/alchohol made poor decisions or had bad judgement. That it was their fault they were in the bad place that they were in. I believed that as a young adult. I think that painting people who had such problems as “bad people” made it easier for parents and elders to convince kids to stay away from drugs. This isn’t unlike the way they treated sex.

 I don’t believe that today.

 I’m not saying that people aren’t responsible for their own actions. I just don’t think it’s that simple to explain away and pigeon-hole people.

 

Many people today, whether they admit it or not, are addicted to something: TV. Food. Sex. Internet. Gossip. Phones. Social media. Likes.

 The average American spends over 4 hours a day on their phone. Ever watch a couple at dinner that don’t talk each other because they are both buried in their phones feasting on the dopamine that they get from likes on their posts and images? That’s addiction. Take that phone away from them for an extended time and they will feel lost, and crave the feeling they used to get from it. Now replace that phone with a highly addictive drug, like opioids. Its easy to see how people get hooked and need help.

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 A co-worker the other day told me a story about a man she knew who was a partner in a law firm. He had a back injury and was prescribed opioids for the pain. He became an addict. A year later he had lost his partnership, his job, his wife, his kids, and his home. He was living on the streets. He finally got help but had lost everything and had to start his life over again.

 I think many people are an unfortunate incident away from having their lives changed forever. Its because of that I am thankful for organizations like FOA.

 If you live in the greater Dayton area, and know a loved one or friend with a drug or alcohol addiction, please reach out to the FOA at http://www.foafamilies.org/.

Oh - I forgot to mention - while at the Rally, the event emcee Scotty Mays proposed to his girlfriend of three years Tara Moreno, in front of a few thousand of their closest friends! No pressure, right!? Spoiler Alert - she said yes! Congrats to Scotty and Tara!!

 

Thanks for reading,

 Jeremy

Hello. My name is Jeremy. And I am a birder. by Jeremy Mudd

Hello. My name is Jeremy. And I am a birder.

It all started out so innocently. As a boy I enjoyed watching birds, but I couldn’t tell you what the proper names of them were. Unless it was a Cardinal or a Blue Jay.

Male Cardinal during a snowy lunch walk at Hills and Dales MetroPark.

As an adult I continued to like birds. I started casually photographing them. Not going to any extremes to seek them out, mind you. Just shoot snapshots when I would see one and sometimes try to identify it after I came home afterwards.

Mute Swan at Sunrise in the pond near Kroger in Bellbrook.

Then I made a career change a few years ago, that found me working in a building that had quite a few photographers that would go out together during lunch to photograph birds in local parks. I started going out with them.

This is when the real problem began.

Male Belted Kingfisher at Deeds Point.

Male Belted Kingfisher at Deeds Point.

“I really enjoy birdwatching with you guys!”

“Its called Birding. Not birdwatching.”

After shooting with my 200mm lens for a while, I realized it just wasn’t long enough. So I bought a 300mm. That should be all I need, right?

Male Goldfinch at Huffman Prairie.

One of my co-workers was a hardcore birder. He kept a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly count of what species he saw, even breaking it down by county. Going out with him to shoot is where my real bird education began.

Ring-Billed Gull at Deeds Point in the Fall.

“Look, it’s a seagull!”

“That’s a ring-billed gull. There’s no such thing as seagulls”.

“Look, there’s a flock of seagulls!”

“Those are Herring Gulls.”

“Those golden finches are really pretty”

“They’re called Goldfinches”.

While my interest in birds grew rapidly, along with my knowledge, I still refused to be called a birder. I mean, after all, I didn’t keep count of what I saw. That’s the dividing line. Right?

“What’s that blue bird called?”

“A Bluebird.”

“Hey, look over there. It’s a Bluebird!”

“That’s an Indigo Bunting.”

Male Indigo Bunting at Huffman Prairie.

It wasn’t long before I realized that 300mm wasn’t long enough. So I bought a 400mm lens.

“There’s a Cardinal!”

“That’s a Scarlet Tanager.”

“There’s a Scarlet Tanager.”

“That’s a Summer Tanager.”

Soon 400mm wasn’t long enough. So then I bought a 600mm lens. And then a D500 camera body with the 1.5 crop factor so I was shooting at an effective 900mm.

“I saw a Raven the other day!”

“We don’t have Ravens in Ohio. You saw an American Crow.”

Male Tree Swallow at Sugarcreek Reserve.

I bought a Petersons Field Guide book so I could better ID the species I was seeing. Eventually things began to click and I was getting better at spotting and ID’ing. All the while my photography was getting better, and I was learning fast on how to react “on the fly” (pardon the pun) and adjust quickly between shooting birds in the sky, on branches, in dark areas, and in bright areas. I also started to learn their habits and mannerisms.

Great White Egret at Englewood Metropark.

Sunrise at Killdeer Plains.

Still not a birder.

Soon not only was I able to ID a LOT of species, I was also getting good at telling the differences between the male and female versions. And I was starting to really learn their calls and sounds. Have you ever heard Eagles talking back and forth with each other? Its otherworldly. And the way that Great Blue Heron’s sort of “bark” reminds me of something from Jurassic Park.

Great Blue Heron at Deeds Spillway.

Then last month I had some of my images published in LEO magazine, accompanying a story on birds. One of my images was also used on the cover.

Also last month I entered three bird images in the 2019 Ohio Nature Photo Exhibit/Competition, and found out that all three were selected to be part of the 30 finalist images to be displayed in the Caesar Creek Visitor Center from August 31st thru December 31st.

I’ve got an app on my phone that is great for ID’ing birds and also plays their calls so that you can study and recognize them better.

OK. Time to admit it.

Hello. My name is Jeremy. And I am a Birder.

Art in the City 2019 – The Calm Before the Storm by Jeremy Mudd

My Mamiya 645 Pro with grip and metered prism finder. This is a nice, fairly compact medium format set-up that works great for street photography. Drawbacks? Manual Focus and weight.

Friday August 2nd 2019 was a beautiful day. Not too hot, light breeze, and gorgeous skies. Renee and I were excited to head to Downtown Dayton for Art in the City once again.

If you read my blogpost last year, we went and I shot with some Delta 3200 in my Nikon F5. This year I brought my Mamiya 645 Pro medium format camera with me and some Ilford HP5+ that I wanted to push to ISO 1600. I felt that this speed coupled with the fast 80mm f/2.8 lens would probably cover the wide range of light and action that I’d encounter.

After some great food and drink at Salar in the Oregon District, we walked over to Third Street to the Carrs’ Photography studio to see some of Eric’s work on display. Eric was one of the chosen artists once again this year to have his work displayed and people were able to vote on their favorites. I’m a sucker for lone tree photos and Eric had several great ones on display.

In addition to being a sucker for lone tree images, I also love lone chair images. This was in the Carrs’ studio and the light coming thru the window drew me in. To me this scene was a stark contrast to all of the activity going on outside and throughout the rest of the city.

From there we went to Courthouse Square and Renee contributed to a large gem mosaic by glueing some pieces in. There was live music on stage and lots of people.

Come one, come all. Big and Small.

Then we walked to the Schuster Center to see more art, listen to an opera singer and a bluegrass band, and grab a drink. I love the interior of the Schuster and am always photographing it when I am inside.

Inside the Schuster.

After that we made the short walk to the Victoria Theatre, and were treated to being able to walk around the empty theatre and try out the booth we’ve always wanted to sit in on the right side. The Victoria is one of my favorite theatres, and is 153 years old. If only those walls could talk.

Everywhere is a stage.

The Scoom Squad in full march - they were at last year’s event and once again didn’t disappoint. I love these guys.

We headed to the Levitt Pavilion after that. On the way there were lots of street artists, musicians, magicians, you name it. It was overload. In a good way. At the Levitt we watched people dancing and having a great time, and heard some great music – Check out “Ernie Johnson From Detroit”. I actually think they are from Cincinnati and not Detroit, but they were great anyway!

Hoops and Music at the Levitt Pavillion.

Art and Architecture on Main Street.

By that time we had walked almost 5 miles and wanted to get up early the next day to hike, so we headed back to where we parked in the Oregon District to head home. On the way, Renee and I talked about how great it is that Dayton has grown the downtown into a place that people WANT to go to again. 10 years ago it was a ghost-town after 5pm and on weekends. Now it’s a vibrant, cultural city.

Free Taxi - must pedal.

We didn’t know the violence that would erupt the next night at 1:05am.

I won’t even dignify the shooter by putting his name here. 9 innocent people dead and 27 injured in less than 1 minute. Mass shootings are a horrible thing – but you never expect one to happen in your own back yard. Until it does.

My heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones.

I don’t want Dayton to be defined by this tragedy – but rather how people came together during and afterwards to help each other. As time goes by and we eventually learn more about the killer’s life and motives, hopefully there is something we can learn and as a society find a way to stop these from happening in the future.

What can I do to help? The same things that you can, and should, do.

1.      USE YOUR VOICE – contact your local, state, and federal representatives to demand that something be done to enact laws and processes to help prevent these terrible acts.

2.      VOTE YOUR VOICE – If the current crop of elected officials aren’t doing what needs to be done, put someone in there who will.

3.      SPEND TIME WITH LOVED ONES – the signs for this shooter were all there before this happened. If anyone you know is showing signs of mental illness or proclivities to harm others, do something. And besides that, time is short. You never know how long you have with someone. Do the most with it.

4.      DONATE to the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy fund: https://www.daytonfoundation.org/dayton_oregon_district_tragedy_fund.html

Peace, 

Jeremy

Summer = Musicals! by Jeremy Mudd

Summer is also the time of year for Musicals!

Well, at least for me it is. In the last 4 weeks I’ve shot 3 musicals: The Music Man Jr, Legally Blonde, and The Wedding Singer.

Shooting musicals and theatre has become a niche for me in the last few years, and I really enjoy it. Not only is it a lot of fun, the energy is infective. Often my creativity is sparked for weeks afterwards. They say if you surround yourself with creative people it rubs off on you – I think this is completely true.

Over the last few years I’ve shot many musicals, and I’ve learned a lot. I’m still learning something at every one that I shoot.  Things that work, things that don’t, things that I’d do differently.

Last year I wrote a blog entry with a few tips and learnings here: https://www.jeremymuddphoto.com/blog/2018/6/19/oliver-dress-rehearsal-shoot-6132018

Here’s a few more tips/tricks I’ve learned since then.

1.       Turn off the “image review” on your cameras when you are shooting during the performance. Not only does this save battery life, it helps keep you from being that annoying photographer that constantly has the screen on the back of the camera flashing while you are shooting. I learned this when there was another person shooting at a performance where I was an audience member, and thought how annoying it was. I never thought about it until I looked at the event photographer through someone else’s eyes. If you really need to see the shot, pause and play it back with the playback button. Hopefully you’ve got things dialed in already while you are shooting and you don’t need to waste time doing this – if not you’re missing the action on stage.

2.       Beware of harsh, bright stage lighting. If the main actor you are shooting is wearing a white or light colored costume and/or has light skin, no amount of Aperture Priority mode or Auto ISO is going to save you – there will more-than-likely be blown-out highlights. How do I deal with this? I’ve taken to dialing back the exposure a bit – either manually or by dialing in a little negative exposure compensation. Remember that digital sensors will lose the data if something is blown out, or beyond 255 on the histogram (light is measured from 0 for pure black to 255 for pure white).

3.       And speaking of lighting – colored lights are sometimes not your friend.  This one gets interesting and is really something to consider when you are editing, even if you set your white balance to what you think is correct at the beginning of the show and set all of your cameras the same. When editing images for musicals where there are a lot of colored spot-lights, you are working with three different ideas. The first is what you saw when there. The second is what was intended from a mood or drama standpoint. And the third is what actually looks good in your final image.  A good example of this is when you have a light-skinned actor in some cool lighting like green or blue. When shooting the event, thru the viewfinder they looked normal to your eye and you understood the lighting was part of the scene, but then when you get home and begin to edit the images from the scene, you realize the actor looks like some sort of alien creature or, at the very least, un-natural. This is where you have to make some decisions about processing and go with what looks “right”. Most of the time I error on the side of making the person look more realistic while trying to be true to what the mood was. It sometimes is difficult. I usually work with some combination of what the true white balance should be and what was intended. In the end of they are happy with the images you’ve done a good job.

4.       Shooting from directly in front of the stage isn’t what you thought it would be. Most of the time I am shooting with a second shooter, and due to stage layout and orchestra, one of us is stage left and the other is stage right. Sometimes I will move to the center to get some critical scenes from dead on out in front of the orchestra, but often members of the orchestra are in the way, or their instruments are. Disregard what I just said if you are lucky enough to have a venue with a true orchestra pit. Anyway, when we showed up recently to shoot Music Man Jr in Springfield’s Veteran’s Park, I was excited to learn that there was no orchestra for this performance and that we could shoot from anywhere in front of the stage, in the orchestra area. Here was my big chance to get some sweeping shots of what was going on center stage. Wrong. While in theory this sounds good, you end up with wide images that aren’t as “personal” and have too much going on. What about shooting in tight from the middle? Often this means you are looking up at the actors, and that’s not great either. Slightly off to the side almost works better, and also allows you to play around with depth of field to highlight the main actor in the scene while others fall away into non-focus. Plus sometimes it gives you an interesting, different view of an intimate scene if it is stage right or stage left.

5.       Tape on the floor – to leave, or not to leave? There are always tape marks on the floor for actors to hit their mark or for positioning props/set pieces. Do you leave them in or take them out while editing? For me it depends. If someone is in a dramatic moment in a spotlight and the light is highlighting them and the 3-inch blue “X” on the floor next to them – its outta here! If it’s a darker scene and I barely notice – they probably stay. I will also sometimes edit dirt or dust from someone’s costume if I think it distracts as well.

6.       Try to get everyone’s image. Over the past year I’ve been trying to make an effort to get at least a few shots of everyone in the cast. Even if they aren’t a main character I still want to include everyone. This is hard because everything is moving so fast and you don’t want to miss anything. A lot of times when one of the main characters is giving some long monologue and I’ve already taken ten shots of them during said monologue, I will pan around the rest of the actors on stage and get some candid shots. This is where the 70-200mm lens really shines. Sometimes there are some great gems that come out of this. I also try to get one shot of the entire cast either before or after the show, but that depends greatly on timing. Every actor works hard, whether they are in the starring role or not, and its rewarding to give them a great memory of the performance.

7.       “Continuous High” setting = bad! I’ve learned the hard way that setting the camera to shoot on Continuous High when you hold the button down produces a LOT of images that you have to go thru later when editing. While the actors are moving around the stage, its not like when I’m shooting wildlife and want to get the birds wings in just the perfect spot and NEED those 10 frames per second. Continuous Low is plenty fast enough to get the expressions and position you are needing in a scene, and cuts your images down that you have to go through.

That’s it! As you can see it’s a learning process that never ends. I’ve developed my own distinct editing style for this genre and am always fine-tuning my technique.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this and learned something helpful along the way. If you have any questions feel free to reach out, thanks!

 

Jeremy

Garland Wetlands - Combining Infrared and ICM by Jeremy Mudd

Earlier this year a co-worker made me aware of the Fairborn Art Association’s call for entries for their annual Landscape gallery. This year’s theme was the Garland Wetlands park, and was open to all forms of 2d and 3d art. Given that one of the challenges I set for myself this year was to enter more shows, I put this one on my list to enter.

I first visited the park in early March, with my D750 digital camera, a few lenses, and a tripod. Ready to get my landscape on! What I found out on that visit was that the park was small. Very small. My yard is bigger. The park consisted of a very short boardwalk situated in a wetland area that took all of about 1 minute to walk. I quickly realized that there wasn’t a great deal there to shoot, and that there would probably be a lot of paintings and photographs of that boardwalk that get entered. I needed to do something different. So I left without taking an image that day – to regroup, gather my thoughts, and decide what to do.

My first thought was to bring the macro gear back to the site and so some macro. But that idea wasn’t going to work because to me, macro is not “landscape” and I wouldn’t be happy with that, even if no one at FAA cared about that distinction.  I also thought about doing one of my “tiny planet” images (360 degree pano that’s stitched together at the ends and inverted in photoshop), but the park with its straight boardwalk and surrounding trees didn’t have a lot of good separation, and would make for a lack-lustre tiny planet image in my opinion.

Then it finally came to me – infrared. I’ve shot infrared in the past for photo competitions, and the different “look” that it has often sets it apart from other images.  I’ve been looking for a project that I could use infrared for again and this was perfect for it.

Armed with my 720nm-converted D2X I visited the park again and took a lot of images. I wasn’t happy with them at all. They looked like the same thing everyone else would shoot, just with the novelty of infrared.

So I went back again. I ended up sitting on the boardwalk for an hour listening to the birds, watching the wind in the trees, and hearing the occasional bullfrog. Watching the trees swaying and moving above me made me think that maybe catching that movement with a long exposure could be interesting. But would that translate well? Probably not.

What else could I do? Oh! I know. Intentional Camera Movement. Otherwise sometimes referred to as “ICM”. ICM is a technique using a slowish shutter speed and moving the camera while the shutter is open. The movement can vary – circular, side-to-side, up-and-down, etc. It makes for a somewhat dreamy image and often times can make the ordinary look interesting. I’ve played around with this technique a little bit in the past – it completely goes against my whole “its gotta be sharp and perfect” mantra and is outside of my comfort zone. Perfect!

OK, now this is starting to work. Over the course of the next few months I visited the park several more times.

At different times of the day.

In different light.

In different weather conditions.

After many visits I came away with several images that I really liked, and entered three of them in the FAA competition. Whether I won anything or not I was just happy to have done the project and push some of my boundaries.

This image did win a “Judges Merit” award, which was a great surprise!

 

The gallery is located in the old Central School building on Central Avenue in downtown Fairborn, and is open for viewing Sunday July 21st and Sunday July 28th for viewing from 2pm-4pm. Congrats to all of the artists who showed work!

Thanks for reading!

Jeremy

Summer = Macro! by Jeremy Mudd

After the Spring bird migration, and the warm Summer breezes begin, a man’s fancy turns towards bugs.

Well, at least my fancy does. Why you ask? Like photographing birds and wildlife, photographing bugs is a difficult venture, yet when you nail it you feel very rewarded. Plus, bugs are beautiful when you see them close-up. It reminds you that there is a whole other world out there if you just open your eyes to it.

Interestingly enough, macro can be done generally at any time of the day. It’s not as time -dependent as say, landscape photography. Although I’ve found that during the warm summer months getting out in the morning is good because the wind hasn’t usually kicked up yet, and bugs tend to be slower moving when its cooler.

It can also be done anywhere. Because bugs are everywhere. There are several area parks I frequent during my lunch hour at work, and often on evenings or weekends I can be found in my yard. I can just hear the neighbors now – why is that crazy man crawling around on his hands and knees in his back yard?

Shooting macro can be done fairly cheaply with the right gear – that’s where it really differs from bird photography where you need a ($$$) long zoom lens and fast shutter/buffer. There are several articles out there on how to shoot with a reversed lens, magnifiers on the end of a lens, and/or extension tubes. Even some zoom lenses have a “macro” feature or switch that allows you to get closer to your subject.

I’ve tried several different ways and here’s what I’ve found works for me. I like to get in fairly close and this set-up allows me to do that. I shoot with a Nikon D500, which coincidentally is the same body I use for bird photography. I like it because the crop sensor puts more of the bug in the frame right away, and the image quality of the sensor is fantastic. I use the Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, along with several different combinations of extension tube lengths. This lets me vary the magnification depending on size of the subject. Lastly, I use a Meike ring flash to illuminate the subject and allow me to shoot at a higher f-stop to try to get more of the subject in focus.

Typically my go-to settings to start are f/16, ISO 100, and 1/200th second in manual mode – the flash makes certain the exposure is proper and helps freeze the action.  I will vary from this sometimes depending on subject, lighting, and what I’m trying to show in the background. The faster the shutter generally the less background you see as the light falls off quickly to black. This is sometimes great for isolating your subject or not showing messy backgrounds, but sometimes I like including the environment if it is pleasing.

If you are thinking about getting a macro lens, know that some of the older, cheaper macro lenses out there that don’t have auto-focus are a good buy right now - and the autofocus really isn’t that important. Even though my Tokina lens has it, I rarely use it. Usually I “focus” by moving the camera and lens back and forth and try to get the focal plan on the subjects eyes. It takes very small movements and sometimes several tries before I nail it. In these situations, especially at f/16, autofocus suffers if it even works at all. Also, longer lens lengths tend to help with not needing to be right on top of the subject. I have a 55mm older Nikon macro lens and I’ve found that I tend to like the working area the 100mm and longer lenses give.

One of the things I greatly enjoy about bug macro is learning about the subject. I am frequently shooting new-to-me species and finding out their name and something about them expands my understanding of the natural world, and, in a way brings me closer to nature. My go-to source of info is the Kaufman Field Guide – it covers most of the species found here in the US and does a great job with images and points of distinction.

That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed this quick little read, have enjoyed the images, and maybe are interested in giving macro a try. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Jeremy

A Hero's Camera - History, and Shots from the Past and Now by Jeremy Mudd

<WARNING – This is a somewhat long read, with a LOT of images, and not exactly what I had planned on writing at the time I began this story.>

I’m a bit of a history addict.

Especially anything that involves the WWII era – and what is known as “The Greatest Generation”. The generation that banded together to put an end to one of the greatest evils the planet had seen in a very long while.

So when the opportunity came up to put my hands on, and shoot with, a camera that had travelled extensively through the European Theatre in the hands of an American GI, I jumped on that chance.

First I want to tell you about the prior owner – the late Herman (Zeke) Zederbaum. Below is the email I received from his son, Scott Zederbaum. The italicized portions are from his dad’s memoirs:


“From: ScottZ 
Date:  
Subject: FW: My Dad in WW2
To: <jeremy.mudd@gmail.com>

Hi Jeremy

 Enjoy the camera. I shipped it out this afternoon. The camera went all across Europe with my dad, in combat and in the liberation of a concentration camp.

 My father was the late Herman (Zeke) Zederbaum. My father died in June of 1975 and was part of the 100th Infantry 325th Engineers Battalion Company C. He was a decorated explosive/demolition expert. He saw combat in the European theater of operations in France and Germany. My father was an amateur photographer, and also wrote 22 pages of memoirs after he landed in France and include some chilling descriptions with his first brushes with combat. . All I ask that that anything that is used is properly credited to Zeke Zederbaum and pls let me know, where and when, it will be used.

  The 100th infantry arrived at Camp Kilmer around September 30, 1944. Late in the afternoon of October 5 the entire division comprising 762 officers, 44 warrant officers and 13,189 enlisted men began the Exodus from camp Kilmer. They travelled to Jersey city and boarded four ships, they weathered a hurricane at sea and spent 12 days en route before landing in Marseille, France.

 Some Highlights of the 100th Infantry Division

Tore through deeply-entrenched German resistance in the craggy High Vosges Mountains in two weeks of savage fighting.

Practically destroyed the brand-new, full-strength German 708th Volks-Grenadier Division in the process of penetrating the Vosges Mountains by assault for the first time in history Since the 1st century BC, Romans, Huns, Burgundians, Swedes, Austrians, Bavarians, Germans and even French forces had tried and failed, but in the late autumn of 1944, in the face of nearly constant rain, snow, ice and mud, the US Seventh Army did what no other army had ever done before. For its success in ripping the Germans out of their trenches on the formidable heights overlooking Raon L'Etape, the 1st Battalion, 399th Infantry Regiment was awarded the Division's first Presidential Unit Citation, the collective equivalent of the Distinguished Service Cross for individual valor. Lieutenant Edward Silk, of the 2d Battalion, 398th, won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions during the rout of the German forces.

Pursued elements of the German 1st Army through the Low Vosges to the Maginot Line.

Overcame stiff resistance by the 361st Volks-Grenadier Division at Mouterhouse and Lemberg and advanced on the Maginot Line. (3/399th Infantry won a Presidential Unit Citation for its assault of Lemberg.) Attacking into the Maginot, elements of the Division seized Fort Schiesseck, one of the Maginot forts attacked by the Germans in 1940, from the same direction, i.e. the south. In 1940, the German 257th Infantry Division failed to take Schiesseck, whose French garrison only surrendered a week after the rest of the French Army. In December of 1944, the 100th Infantry Division took the 14-story deep fortress, replete with disappearing gun turrets and 12-foot thick steel-reinforced concrete walls, in a four-day assault, 17 - 20 December 1944.

Defeated the combined attacks of two German divisions, which were strongly supported by tanks, super-heavy tank destroyers, artillery and rockets, in early January 1945, during the last German offensive in the West, Operation NORDWIND.

Highlighted the Seventh Army's drive into Germany in March, 1945 with the seizure of the Bitche, a heavily-fortified town in the Low Vosges Mountains.

Since the erection of the enormous sandstone citadel there in the early 1700s, the town had been continuously fortified with concentric rings of outworks, including several major Maginot forts, dozens of concrete pillboxes, and thickets of barbed wire and minefields. Although it had been invested several times, most notably in the Franco-Prussian War and in the 1940 campaign, Bitche had never fallen. From this point on, after the 3d Battalion, 398th Infantry won a Presidential Unit Citation there, the entire Division became known as "The Sons of Bitche."

Fought one of the last major battles of World War II in Europe with the assault river crossing of the Neckar River at Heilbronn, 3 - 12 April 1945.

In all, in 185 days of uninterrupted ground combat, out of an authorized strength of 13,688 officers and enlisted men, the 100th Infantry Division sustained 916 killed in action, 3,656 wounded in action, and lost 180 men missing in action. The overwhelming majority of these were sustained by the three infantry regiments, which together were authorized 9,771 men; in other words, considering that the infantry units were rarely maintained above 80% strength, about 50% of all the infantrymen in the Division became casualties in the course of achieving the Division's magnificent record. In liberating or capturing over 400 cities, towns and villages, they defeated major elements of eight German divisions. In this process, the men of the 100th inflicted untold casualties on the enemy, the only calculable number of which is the 13,351 enemy prisoners taken.

In return, in addition to the Presidential Unit Citations and Medals of Honor listed above, the soldiers of the 100th Infantry Division earned 36 Distinguished Service Crosses and over 500 Silver Stars for valor in combat. To preserve the esprit de corps and fellowship forged in their grueling training and six months of bitter combat, the men of the Division formed the Association of 100th Infantry Division in 1946, and have held annual reunions ever since.

 

Hope you find this helpful

 All the Best, Scott

 Scott B . Zederbaum”

 

Here are the pics that Scott sent – picture credit goes to Herman (Zeke) Zederbaum.

325th C Gang - Image taken by Zeke Zedarbaum

325th Engineers at Work- Image taken by Zeke Zedarbaum

Company C in France - Image taken by Zeke Zedarbaum

Hitler’s Eagle Nest - Image taken by Zeke Zedarbaum

PFC Zeke Zedarbaum

The word “hero” is often thrown about rather easily nowadays, but to me Herman (Zeke) Zedarbaum and his fellow soldiers were TRUE heroes.

Next, a little bit about the camera - a 1937 Voigtlander Bessa. It’s a medium format folding camera that shoots 120 roll film, and has tripod mounts for both portrait and landscape orientation. Shutter speeds range from B to 1/250th, and the lens has an f/stop range of 4.5 to 22. That’s about it for features – no TTL, no coupled viewfinder, no A-priority modes. To line up the shot you either look thru a (now fogged) prism cube near the front of the bellows, or you pop up the square composing attachment to roughly line up the shot. Focusing is based on distance from the subject, with the distance ranging from about 3 feet to infinity depending on where you set it. It shoots in 6x9 or 6x4.5 format - depending on if you have the 6x4.5 mask on the inside. This gives you either 8 shots or 15 shots per roll, respectively.

1937 Voigtlander Bessa

This particular camera really shows its age. From the very worn leather case, to the worn and missing leatherette covering, to the repaired bellows – you just know its seen a lot and was well used. The life a camera should live.

Surprisingly, it needed little work on my end to make it operational again. Not many 82-year-old things can claim that. Inspection of the bellows and the ancient tape repair showed no light leaks. After a cleaning of the lens and some light lubrication, all of the shutter speeds seemed to check out and it fired as it should. It took me awhile to figure out how to make the zone focusing work but once I had that down I felt like I could get out there with it and shoot it.   

My plan was to use the camera over Memorial Day 2019 weekend to shoot some of the various Memorial Day gatherings in and around my hometown of Dayton, Ohio. I thought that would be a very fitting test of the camera. I had an old roll of Tri-X 400 B&W ready to go and planned on developing it in Rodinal – all in keeping with the period of the camera.

Unfortunately life gets in the way sometimes – family came in from out of town, some plans changed, and I didn’t get a chance to shoot it over the long weekend.

The fact that my plans had to change that weekend was really trivial, at best. Because on the evening of Memorial Day 2019, the Dayton, Ohio area was hit with (at least) 14 tornadoes – ranging in magnitude from EF-0 to EF-4. Some areas of Dayton were completely devastated. Many plans were changed that evening.

Luckily for me, I live south of town, so the nearest tornado passed about 6 miles to the north of my suburb. Images and video of the affected areas on the news was shocking and troubling. Early responders and disaster teams were deployed immediately and general public in the non-affected areas was instructed that the best thing they could do was check on their neighbors, and give to local relief efforts and charities. So that’s what I did.

A week passed and I found myself heading to a local reserve to so some more wildlife shooting, and I knew that on the way there I would skirt some of the affected area. By this time the rescue efforts were over and things were in the clean-up phase. In addition to my wildlife photo gear, I threw the Bessa in the truck, then stopped by the local grocery to buy food and water. I dropped supplies off to two local shelters – then drove thru the area in NorthWest Dayton near the intersection of Shoup Mill Road and Route 48. I stopped to shoot a few images with the Bessa.

I forgot to bring my light meter with me, so I just used the Sunny 16 rule to guess at exposure and added 2-stops extra to compensate for the older expired film stock. I set it once and left it thru all of the shots. I was also so taken back by the damage in an area that I once lived, that I just set the focal distance to near infinity and left it there.

When I arrived home later in the day I developed the images in Rodinal and scanned them in. They were surprisingly sharper than I thought. The only work I did to them was some slight exposure work, dust cleaning, and cropping in Photoshop. I thought the camera was going to be difficult to shoot with at first, but when I was there in the moment the set-it-and-leave-it method seemed to work OK. I would imagine this is how many of these early Bessas were shot, especially in times of war and conflict. Where possible I’ve included a recent Google image of that area. I only managed to take 6 out of 8 shots – I accidentally rolled the film past two shots while not watching for the number in the red window closely.

47996666107_d2cc0f8864_k.jpg

Its hard to have a conclusion for this story, especially given that this isn’t exactly what I set out to write, and for those that were affected by the storms there won’t be a conclusion for them for a very long time.

I do plan to take the camera out to the National Museum of the US Air Force sometime soon to shoot some more images there. More on that in the future.

I want to thank Scott for sending me the camera, and the info. And special thanks to his father, the late Herman (Zeke) Zederbaum, and all of the men and women who served their country.

And lastly, thanks to all of the first responders who came to the aid of Dayton after the Memorial Day 2019 tornadoes.

If you’d like to contribute to the tornado relief effort, please go to: https://www.daytonfoundation.org/DisasterRelief.html?fbclid=IwAR2YnGgerIb14_W8Kaq1S2OBuUngTwKDdjRrp-kVcBdVBOnpVH0zVoxAr8A

 

Thanks for reading,

Jeremy

Simple is Better (or, what I’ve been up to the last few weeks) by Jeremy Mudd

Since my last post, I’ve been pretty busy. And I’ve been placing some restrictions on myself throughout it all in an effort to change the way I shoot/create.

Let me explain.

If you’ve read any of my posts in the past, you will see an occasional theme where I state that I brought way too much gear with me and didn’t use it all.  Not only is bringing too much gear a logistical mess and is often tiring – it can sometimes create other problems, like being frozen in my hotel room in the morning agonizing over which of the 5 systems and 10 lenses I brought to pack and shoot with that day. It’s just too much – and I think my trip to OBX earlier this year really put that nail in the coffin for me.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m NOT selling any of my gear. So if you thought you were going to get a great deal on a Hasselblad or one of my RB67’s – think again.

For the past 6 weeks or so I’ve been living with the mantra of not shooting with a lot of gear and keeping it simple.

April 28th was Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, so on that day I went out early in the morning in downtown Dayton and shot pinhole with Doug Brand (@doug.brand). I shot a few rolls and had a blast. Just me and my NOON 612 Pinhole Camera. Can’t get much simpler than that! It was on this outing I learned that I actually like shooting with 400 speed film in the pinhole – up till then I usually stuck with 100 speed film. But I like the look that the 400 speed film has on pinhole – especially HP5+ and Bergger Pancro 400.

Shooting pinhole is freeing – no worry about focus, aperture, lens length, etc. Just point it at what you want to shoot, line it up, meter, open the shutter, and wait. 

Old Montgomery Courthouse Back Door- NOON 612 Pinhole with HP5+ film

Ghost Selfie in front of the Schuster - NOON 612 Pinhole with HP5+ film

Looking Up - NOON 612 Pinhole with HP5+ film

The next weekend I went out and shot with Eric Wright (@ewright523). This time, we shot a few rolls of expired film on some 35mm film cameras. After that I pulled out the medium format gear I had in the back of the Pathfinder and let Eric shoot a Hassalblad 500c and I shot my Yashicamat. Nice simple set-ups with fixed lens lengths and square composition. Again – freeing. Just meter, line up the shot, and fire the shutter. I had a blast.

Nikon F5 with 50mm f/1.8 on expired Kodak c41 B&W film

Nikon F5 with 50mm f/1.8 on expired Kodak c41 B&W film

Nikon F5 with 50mm f/1.8 on expired Kodak c41 B&W film

Yashicamat medium format camera on HP5+ film

The following week, Renee and I went to Cuyahoga Valley National Park for a long weekend, and I packed fairly light. I brought three cameras – my d750, a D2X Infrared camera, and my Fuji GX617 with a 90mm lens. That’s it. In the past I would have had bags of gear but not this time. Most of our hiking was done with only one camera in my pack, and the GX617 only came out to play at one location that I had planned on using it (that also wasn’t far from the car).

I was a great, long weekend.

Fuji GX617 with 90mm lens on ACROS film

Nikon D750 with 24-85mm lens

I stated to notice that during the past few weeks, I was taking a lot more time to compose and shoot, and thinking more about what I was shooting versus whether or not I needed to grab a different lens out of my pack and shoot something wider, or tighter, or whatever. I just got down to business and made what I had work. All the while thinking more about the shot or task at hand.

Also, while I’m on the subject of keeping things simple, I have an update on two images I shot while I was in the OBX in February. Both are simple compositions, and both, now, have won awards.

This image took first place in the Color Landscapes category at the Middletown Arts Center’s 2019 Photography and Digital Art Competition and is on display thru June 20th.

Into the Blue - Nikon D750 w/80-400mm lens

And this image took first place in the same competition in the Black & White Landscapes category, and is also on display thru June 20th.

Mattamuskeet - Fuji GX617 with 180mm lens on ACROS film

I was a bit surprised by the two wins, and flattered. While the OBX trip produced some great images for me, I was frankly a little upset about how bad the weather was during that trip, and the fact that I wasn’t able to make it to all of the locations I wanted to see/shoot. Seeing these two images that came out of that being recognized makes me feel much better about the trip and the time I spent away from home and work.

I know this post has been a bit of a ramble but my point is that simple is often better – whether that’s keeping the amount of gear down that you bring with you on a trip or to a shoot,  or when you are thinking about composition and images.

Right now I am working on some pieces for an upcoming show at the Fairborn Art Association and I’m keeping the simple theme in mind! I’ll post more about the images and the show in the coming month.

Thanks for reading!

Jeremy

Dandelion in the front yard - Nikon D750 with Helios M44-2 58mm lens

Pinhole Cameras – making images without a lens by Jeremy Mudd

April 28th is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, and in honor of that upcoming event I wanted to write a short blog on pinhole photography and include some pinhole images I’ve made in the past. Hopefully this will inspire you to get out there and shoot Pinhole – even if you don’t have a Pinhole camera. More on that to come.

Pinhole Photography is based on the original Camera Obscura concept. From Wikipedia:

“Camera obscura (plural camera obscuras[1] from Latin, meaning "dark room": camera "(vaulted) chamber or room," and obscura "darkened, dark"), also referred to as pinhole image, is the natural optical phenomenon that occurs when an image of a scene at the other side of a screen (or for instance a wall) is projected through a small hole in that screen as a reversed and inverted image (left to right and upside down) on a surface opposite to the opening. The surroundings of the projected image have to be relatively dark for the image to be clear, so many historical camera obscura experiments were performed in dark rooms.

The term "camera obscura" also refers to constructions or devices that make use of the principle within a box, tent or room. Camera obscuras with a lens in the opening have been used since the second half of the 16th century and became popular as an aid for drawing and painting. The camera obscura box was developed further into the photographic camera in the first half of the 19th century when camera obscura boxes were used to expose light-sensitive materials to the projected image.

The camera obscura was used as a means to study eclipses, without the risk of damaging the eyes by looking into the sun directly. As a drawing aid, the camera obscura allowed tracing the projected image to produce a highly accurate representation, especially appreciated as an easy way to achieve a proper graphical perspective.

Before the term "camera obscura" was first used in 1604, many other expressions were used including "cubiculum obscurum", "cubiculum tenebricosum", "conclave obscurum" and "locus obscurus".[2]

A camera obscura device without a lens but with a very small hole is sometimes referred to as a "pinhole camera", although this more often refers to simple (home-made) lens-less cameras in which photographic film or photographic paper is used.”

There are three ways to get a pinhole camera:

1.       Buy one from a company that makes them or a used one on eBay (generally shoots only film)

2.       Make your own pinhole camera out of anything (box, can, etc – generally shoots only film)

3.       Make a pinhole “cap” for your existing digital or film camera. This way you can shoot film or digital depending on the camera.

Option 3 is generally the cheapest and easiest alternative, although know that it doesn’t always give the best results as compared to a specifically designed pinhole camera. Also know the larger the “sensor” or “film plane”, the better the result. The best pinhole shots I’ve seen in terms of sharpness and clarity are on large format cameras, and the quality and perceived sharpness generally decrease as the size of the “sensor” decreases. Also, know that “sharpness” is a relative term; no pinhole images are really very sharp and start to fall apart if you really pixel-peep them.

If you are interested in making your own pinhole camera body cap to try it out on your existing digital or film camera, go here: https://digital-photography-school.com/make-pinhole-camera-dslr-body-cap/.

Chapel at Calvary Cemetery - NOON 612 Pinhole on Fuji ACROS 100 film

NOON 612 Pinhole Camera - image courtesy of NOON on Etsy

I have a cap I made awhile back, but I generally shoot with my NOON 612 medium format film pinhole camera. The larger medium format negative yields, in my opinion, better results and I also like the challenge of composing an image with a wooden box with only sightlines on it to gauge the edges of the frame.

The other great thing about the NOON 612 is that it has the ability to shoot in 6x6, 6x9, or 6x12 format depending on where you put the dividers in the inside of the camera. This means you can get 12, 8, or 6 images from your roll of medium format.

The NOON is f/207, so the way you shoot it is that you compose your shot (on a tripod), meter the scene for f/22 and whatever film speed you are using, then take that exposure time and plug it into the supplied chart that comes with the camera. On bright days, depending on what film you use, it could be seconds. On dimly lit days, it could be minutes. The shutter is a simple block of wood on a pivot.

Incoming Storm - NOON 612 Pinhole Camera with Fuji ACROS 100 film - IIRC this image was a 5 minute exposure.

There are a few interesting things about shooting pinhole. First - the images tend to be the same level of “sharpness” thru the entire scene front to back. This is due to the high f-stop of the pinhole. Second - if you get your camera level, anything that is an upright in the image is perfectly straight with no lens distortion. That’s because there is no glass to distort it. Even your eyes distort things when viewing them due to the “lens” in your eye but you don’t notice it – when looking at a pinhole it often looks odd due to this lack of distortion. Third – things in the image look a lot further away than what you think they will when you are working on the scene. I think pinholes generally work best when you are fairly close in to what you want to capture.

Bridge to Dayton - NOON 612 Pinhole Camera with Fuji ACROS 100 film

Here are a few more pinhole images I’ve shot over the last 1-2 years.

Schuster Center, Dayton on a windy morning - NOON 612 Pinhole Camera on Fuji ACROS 100 film

Woodland Cemetery - NOON 612 Pinhole Camera on Fuji ACROS 100 film

Calvaray Cemetery - NOON 612 Pinhole Camera on Fuji ACROS 100 film

Calvary Cemetery - NOON 612 Pinhole Camera on Fuji ACROS 100 film

The Yellow Springs at Glen Helen - NOON 612 Pinhole Camera on Kodak Ektar 100 film

Troublemakers - NOON 612 Pinhole Camera on Kodak Ektar 100 film

I hope that this has inspired you to give pinhole photography a try. If you are interested in learning more about Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, feel free to check out http://pinholeday.org/.

Also, if you are interested in the NOON 612 camera they have a store on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/592983087/noon-pinhole-camera-6x12-panoramic-6x9

Thanks for reading!

Jeremy

"Shoot Lots" - a ramble on film, digital, gear, and "maturity" by Jeremy Mudd

1937 Voigtlander Bessa - I have a future blog about this camera and all of the adventures its seen over its lifetime. The fact that this was the height of technology in its day and you framed your image with the small square piece on the right meant you had to know what you were doing back in the day to get the shot.

Yesterday I went to a camera swap meet and didn't buy anything.

It wasn't because I was penny-pinching or being frugal; it was because there was nothing there I wanted. Note that I used the word "wanted" instead of "needed".

I went to the swapmeet mainly because its one that happens every year and I am usually busy and can't go, but this year the weather was so bad (even for me) that I couldn't get out and shoot so I thought this was the time that I would actually go to the swap. I had a list of a few items that if they were there I would buy them, but none of those things were to be found on the sea of tables there. I did see a few things that I thought might be "nice-to-haves" like some additional A-12 backs for my Hasselblad or a 180mm lens for my C220, but nothing made me crack open my wallet and spend the $$. At one point I was having a conversation with myself over the fact that I had spent $5 for an admission fee so I HAD to walk out of there with something, but ultimately I made the "mature" decision of leaving empty-handed.

During my 45-minute drive home I started thinking about gear and how it relates to my photography and a few things came together that made me want to put this down in my blog, even if for no other reason as it being something I can refer to later.

American Bald Eagle (juvenile) in flight. There’s no way I would have got this shot without a long lens (and a lot of patience and footwork).

Gear doesn't matter. Or does it?

You could argue the fact that a good photographer could take a good photograph even if you handed them a cheap camera. And I'd agree with you. It's where things get specialized that gear does matter. Wildlife photography? You need a long lens if you want to get close. Wildlife doesn't just come up to you and allow you to fill the frame with your 50mm lens. Macro photography? That bug isn't going to appear huge on the screen and draw someone in unless you have a macro lens, tubes, or some other gear that lets you get in really close. Architectural photography? You aren't going to get good interior shots that a realtor will pay you for unless you are shooting with a wide lens that shows off the space and makes it look bigger than it is.

The great Eddy Merckx

The great Eddy Merckx

I could go on but in general I would say that gear matters to a point. You could have the best gear in the world, specific to whatever genre you are shooting, but if you don't know how to use it or have the vision, its not going to make for a good result.

How do you get there then?

I've referenced a few times the fact that I have a background in cycling and bicycle racing, and there's a parallel to be drawn here. The great Eddy Merckx was once in an interview where he was asked about his specific training regime and what he did to be at the top level of his sport. Remember that this was at a time (1960's) when pretty much all of the bikes and gear were the same and hadn't changed much over the years. His answer?

"Ride lots."

He rode, trained, and raced more than nearly any other competitor in his day. He lived on the bike, to the point where it became almost just an extension of his body.

The same holds true for photography. You need to be out there shooting. A lot. Making a lot of mistakes and (hopefully) learning from them. Knowing the camera like it is part of you. Wear out that shutter on your digital camera. If you aren't wearing out gear you aren't getting your value out of it or growing as a photographer.

This is where I will break with the purists that think you need to learn on a film camera because that's the way they learned back during the times of Eddy Merckx.

Yes, I shot film when I first started shooting in the 80's like everyone else. Was I good back then? No. Film was expensive and paying somoene else to develop it meant even more cost. So I would guess that the number of exposures I made during my first several years of photography was less than 5,000 images. That's probably being generous. Fast-forward to a few years back when I really picked a camera up again and started shooting; I was shooting digital. I took a lot more crap photos, and my number of exposures went WAY up. I was shooting over 50,000 shots a year and that's probably conservative. Did I process all of them? Nope. But I made a lot of mistakes in a short amount of time and learned from it.

Trees in the Fog - 1968 Nikon F with HP5+ film - the choice of film, camera, and processing gave me the “look” I wanted but knowing how to get the shot was just as important.

I'm not saying I'm anywhere close to the level of an Eddy Merckx in photography terms, but I know my way around the camera, any camera, because the basics are now ingrained into my mind. Exposure, composition, good light, bad light, anticipating the scene - all of that comes to me much more naturally now to where I don't really need to think about it. This is freeing and allows me to focus on what I'm trying to make from an artistic standpoint. And I don't think you can get to that point without shooting A LOT and making A LOT of mistakes. And you just can't do that with film. From a purely monetary standpoint, and also from an instant feedback standpoint. With digital, you can sit in one spot and take the same image over and over, changing things in terms of exposure and shutter speed, and get instant results and see how your image is affected. You can't come close to that with film.

That being said - I shoot a lot of film at this stage in my photography journey. Why? It's a choice of medium that adds another aspect of control to what I am doing. Certain films and lenses add a "look" to an image that I like to experiment with. And having the basics built into my head already means that I don't need that instant feedback. It helps that I develop and scan my own film so that I see my results often the same or next day after shooting. But still I'm shooting film often as a choice and only for my personal projects. Any paying work is digital and done with redundancy to two memory cards. The last thing I want to do is lose something and tell the client their special day was never recorded.

I see a lot of bad film photography out there. There are several facebook groups where often times someone will post an image that has no point of interest, no composition, and nothing to draw one in - but because it was "shot on film" somehow that makes it more interesting.

It's not.

So this comes back full circle to point out that gear (film, lenses, cameras, digital, etc) just doesn't matter. Its what you do with it that counts.

So get out there and "shoot lots".

Outer Banks Photo Workshop February 2019 by Jeremy Mudd

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ll remember that one of the things I wanted to do in 2019 was invest in my photography. Not in buying more equipment, but working on shooting different things, different places, and interacting with other like-minded creatives. So with that in mind I signed up for the Outer Banks Photography Workshop that occurred last week in the Nags Head area in North Carolina from 2/21 thru 2/24, hosted by New Life Photos with Mark Hilliard and Jamie Konarski Davidson.

Below is a recap of my trip and the workshop – WARNING, it’s a long read. If you get bored feel free to skip and just look at the pretty pictures; each one is more or less captioned.

I left Ohio early in the morning of 2/20 with the plan of taking two leisurely days to get there and hit a waterfall along the way, stopping overnight in Lexington, VA. Unfortunately Mother Nature laughed at my plans and decided to throw a lot of snow at me the night before in Ohio. The roads in Ohio weren’t overly bad, and when I hit West Virginia there was no sign of snow and I thought I had smooth sailing ahead. WRONG. Once in Virginia on I-64 I hit freezing rain and the highway became a mess. While the trees were glistening and pretty, the road was also glistening and NOT pretty.

A much-needed Dirty Martini after a harrowing drive.

The waterfall I planned to stop at in Virginia was near the town of Covington, but once I made it off the highway near there and headed in the direction of the falls, the roads were even worse. Remembering that I promised Renee that I wouldn’t do anything overly stupid, I turned around and got back on the highway. I finally made it into Lexington in the early evening, 9 hours (instead of 6) after I left home. It was already getting dark and it was raining super hard, so none of the things I had planned on seeing or shooting in Lexington happened. I checked into the hotel and then went for a drink and a bite to eat to calm my nerves. I found a great little farm-to-table restaurant named Rocca (https://roccaristorante.com/) and had some great food and, a couple of much-needed dirty martini’s.

I headed out at 6am the next morning and only had wet roads to deal with, thankfully. The drive was mostly un-eventful. This time I was able to make my planned detour for the day; Mattamuskeet Wildlife Refuge (http://www.mattamuskeet.org/refuge/mnw_refuge.htm) . There I shot the famous Bald Cypress Trees and also did some wildlife photography.

Study of Two Bald Cypress Trees at Mattamuskeet - you can see some of Michael Kenna’s influence on me with this image. Nikon D750 w/80-400mm lens, long exposure.

The Mattamuskeet Bald Cypress Trees - Fuji GX617 w/180mm lens on Fuji ACROS film, long exposure

White Ibis at Mattamuskeet - Nikon D500 w/Tamron 150-600mm lens

The first night of the workshop was introductions, tutorials on long exposure and HDR imaging, and discussions regarding the impending weather for the weekend. More on that later. Mark and Jamie did a great job of explaining the techniques involved to the point where I felt that even a beginner or novice would be able to understand and execute the techniques.

The next day we were “wheels up” at 6:00am to go to several locations.

Avalon Fishing Pier in the Blue Hour - Nikon D750 w/24-85mm lens, long exposure

Dock at Duck - Nikon D750 w/24-85mm lens, long exposure

Study at Duck - Nikon D750 w/24-85mm lens, long exposure

Broken “T-dock” at Duck - Nikon D750 w/24-85mm lens, long exposure

Tree at Currituck Banks Preserve - 7 image HDR stack

Unfortunately the rain worsened as the day went on, so the late afternoon and evening shot locations were cancelled. We spent the evening in classroom sessions and working on images.

The forecast for the next day looked even worse, so plans for the early morning shooting were cancelled and this allowed everyone to get a little extra sleep and/or work on processing images. We left for our first location at 8:00am.

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse - Fuji GX617 w/105mm lens on Fuji ACROS film, long exposure

We shot at a few locations before the weather went totally bad – the afternoon sessions were cancelled. The rest of the day and evening were spent in 1x1 classroom time. At the end of the evening we shared our favorite 3 photos we had each taken so far. It was interesting to see the different images that people shot while in the same places. It reinforced to me that you can shoot the same subject many different ways.

The last day of the workshop, Sunday, was scheduled as a half-day ending at noon. While it was still lightly raining, we were treated to some great fog.

Into the Blue near Nags Head Fishing Pier - Nikon D750 w/80-400mm lens, long exposure with tide coming in.

Nags Head Fishing Pier - Nikon D750 w/80-400mm lens, long exposure with tide coming in.

Nags Head Fishing Pier - Fuji GX617 w/105mm lens on Fuji ACROS film, long exposure with tide coming in.

Osprey Nest Platform in the Fog - Nikon D750 w/80-400mm lens, long exposure

Workshop participants and the leaders - image courtesy of Jamie

After that it was time for everyone to part ways and go home. I took two days to drive home with an overnight stop in Roanoke, VA. On the way I had to deal with some high winds that made for some white-knuckle driving at times, but I made it home safe and sound.

I was able to reflect on the experience while driving home and have the following thoughts:

1.       It takes a special person to run a workshop. Jamie and Mark were very helpful, knowledgable, and patient with everyone. There were many different personalities in the group and they did a great job with all of them.

2.       I’ve said it before, but bad weather often makes for the best photos. Yes, it sucked that it was so bad that the sideways rain kept getting on the lens element and some of the locations were cancelled, but the shots I did get had a mood that I really like.

3.       Shooting in new locations sparks your creativity.

4.       So does hanging out with other photographers and talking shop.

5.       THE SHOT – often times a location has THE SHOT that is taken from the same spot and same angle that everyone wants. If you research a place you want to shoot you see it, and when you get there you want to shoot it. Having a group of people all wanting to get that shot means you have to wait your turn. What you do during that time is up to you, but I found that moving around and looking for other shots and angles often leads to shots you may like better than THE SHOT. Don’t get me wrong though – if you are there and won’t come back anytime soon, be certain you get THE SHOT before you leave, even if you don’t plan on putting it into your portfolio. You are there so why not?

6.       Instead of spending money on photo equipment and still shooting the same stuff all of the time, that money was better spent going to a workshop. I could have purchased another nice lens for what I spent in total for the registration fee, hotels, food, and gas – but then all I would have is another lens that I really didn’t NEED. Now instead I have several portfolio-worthy shots and renewed energy and inspiration.

7.       Once again I brought WAY too much gear. I could have left the RB67 and all of its kit at home since I never shot it. I didn’t shoot any of the 35mm film cameras I brought. And I had additional digital bodies that I didn’t need. Most of my shots were taken with my D500, D750, and the GX617 panoramic film camera. Since I was driving and not flying I thought having a bunch of gear wouldn’t be a bad thing, but schlepping all of it back and forth from the car to put in the hotel rooms was a pain (I don’t leave gear in the car overnight, that’s just asking for trouble). Next time I am going to try to be a little more “minimalistic” if that’s possible.

 OK, that’s it! Thanks for reading. Sorry for such a long post this time. If you are interested in attending any of the workshops that New Life Photos does during the year, check them out at https://www.newlifephotos.com/photo-tours-workshops/.

 

Jeremy

Hope for the Best, but be Prepared for the Worst - Hocking Hills Winter 2019 by Jeremy Mudd

“Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation, while bad luck is when lack of preparation meets reality.” - Eliyahu Goldratt

A month or so ago, I got a note from a fellow photographer that he’d be interested in meeting up at Hocking Hills and spending the day shooting. Always up for shooting at Hocking, especially during the winter, I threw out a few dates. While the initial group plans didn’t work out, a small group of us settled on Monday February 11th as the date to block our calendars and take a vacation day in order to hit Hocking during winter weather AND, more importantly, on a weekday when the visitor level at the park is low.

As the date loomed closer, the weather started to look promising, with snow predicted the night before and a mostly clear day. Unfortunately though, that forecast changed and it looked like most of the day would be rainy.

“Moody” was the word I bantered about, hoping that the rain and cold temps would mean fog, wet rocks, good flow, and atmosphere. The group decided to soldier-on, so in the days leading up to the trip I began to clean, pack, and prep the Pathfinder for the trip. I bought high-wader rubber boots just in case and made certain to pack my water-proof winter jacket and gear, along with my waterproof camera backpack.

I prepped some digital gear and charged batteries, with an assortment of lenses covering the 14mm to 400mm range,

Then I went overboard when I thought about the fact this was the first trip I’ve made to Hocking for ONLY photography (not vacation and hiking, with photography as secondary), so I cleaned and packed nearly all of my mainstay medium format film gear: Two RB67 bodies, all of my RB67 lenses, 4 backs, my GX617 with all three lenses, and my Hasselblad 500C with all three lenses. Lots of ACROS and EKTAR film. I was fired up to shoot both digital and film, but mostly film.

We left Dayton at 6am – it rained the whole way. It was beginning to look like a very wet day. We found a great “lone tree” in a snow-covered field not far from our first planned stop so we got out and took a few shots.

Lone Tree - Hocking County. Digital Pano Stitch

                                                                                 

Shortly after that we arrived at Boch Hollow and shot Robinson Falls. I’ve shot there in warmer months and also late fall/early winter and this was the first time I’ve seen snow there. It was gorgeous.

Robinson Falls in Boch Hollow - Digital Pano Stitch

Next stop was Old Man’s Cave. It was then I had to come to the stark realization that I was not going to haul out my big medium format film gear and hike in the pouring rain, on ice and snow-covered trails. Not only was the weight a concern, but the fact that it wasn’t really waterproof while most of the digital gear I had was. And there was a big chance (err, I mean “guarantee”) of falling – if I fell with my GX617 and broke it I would be heartbroken and out a lot of $$$ as they are fairly rare and therefor pricey when they do come up for sale on occasion.

Let me say that Old Man’s Cave did not disappoint. While the going was super slippery and all of us fell at one point or another, it was well worth it.

Upper Falls - Digital Pano Stitch

Upper Falls with Bridge

Upper Falls with Ice in foreground

I’ve never seen Upper Falls flowing that well; it was stunning and powerful to see. After the Upper Falls we made our way to the Devil’s Bathtub. I’ve shot this several times in the past, but finally came away with a shot that I like.

Below the Devils Bathtub

Eric at Middle Falls - image courtesy of Bob Blum

After that we made our way to Lower Falls, and shot the Middle Falls along the way. We stopped for a hazy, wet selfie along the way.

Eric, Me, and Bob - image courtesy of Eric. This shows you just how hazy it was…..

The last part to Lower Falls was probably the most treacherous, but well worth it. The flow once again was amazing and the little bit of snow that the rain had yet to chase away added some nice highlights to the scene.

Lower Falls - 18 image Digital Pano Stitch

We took the upper trail out of the area back to the car, with the next stop being Cedar Falls. It was flowing so well the signature split with the rock in the middle was almost impossible to see.

Cedar Falls

Hidden Falls, in the same area, was also flowing quite well.

Hidden Falls

After that we headed to Conkle’s Hollow. The light was fading so this would be our last stop on our whirlwind tour.

Conkles Falls - Eric and I in action. This image shows how difficult the lighting was and why bracketing was so important. Image courtesy of Bob Blum.

Conkle’s Hollow

We stopped on the way home at Canal BBQ, my favorite BBQ joint in Chillicothe. As usual they didn’t disappoint.

So now that myself and my gear are finally drying out, here’s a few observations from the trip:

1.    If you’ve got the room, there’s no harm/foul in packing a bunch of gear hoping for good weather and the ability to use it.

2.    But you better have your back-up plan in place and have good gear that can handle the inclement weather.

3.    Towels and micro-fiber towels are your friend. The rain was coming down so much that I was wiping the lens after every shot even with a lens hood on.

4.    Tall high-wader boots are worth any price you paid for them if your feet stay dry the entire time.

5.    Bad weather DOES make for great moody shots. And those are usually the type of shots the general public doesn’t get because they can’t make the commitment to get out there in the crap weather.

6.    Being with other like-minded people on your foul-weather adventure does make the going seem easier and helps keep you engaged.

That’s it for now! Thanks for reading! Most of my images from this trip should be up for sale on my site shortly.

Jeremy

Ohio – The Land of Extremes by Jeremy Mudd

There’s a saying that Ohioans like to quote that goes something like “If you don’t like today’s weather, just wait as its bound to change tommorrow.”

Never has that been more true than this past week. Early in the week we had a large snowfall and below zero temps. Like -8F in the morning with a high of 0 for the day. BRR! Nearly all of the Midwest was in the grip of Old Man Winter. We received an additional 4-5 inches of fresh snow fall on Friday 2/1 which lead to hazardous roads and many crashes. But Saturday 2/2 was due for a warm-up, and knowing how cold the ground was and the amount of ice and snow build-up was around I knew that we’d be in for some great fog that morning, possibly even freezing fog.

I made plans to get up and get out there to shoot at daylight, with my Hassleblad 500C and Nikon F packed in my bag along with some HP5+. I’ve been amassing a list of shots that I’ve wanted to get in these conditions – subjects that normally don’t have great backgrounds can look stunning when all of the clutter is hidden or nearly hidden by the fog.

Below are a few shots from the morning. All were shot on HP5+ pushed to 800ASA and also over-exposed by about 1 stop to compensate for the snow. Developed in Ilfosol 3 at 68F for 13.5 minutes and scanned on an Epson V600.

Hassleblad 500C on HP5+ film - Bellbrook, Ohio

Nikon F on HP5+ film - Bellbrook, Ohio

Nikon F on HP5+ film - Bellbrook, Ohio

Nikon F on HP5+ film - Bellbrook, Ohio

Nikon F on HP5+ film - Dayton, Ohio

Nikon F on HP5+ film - Dayton, Ohio

 

 The next day, Sunday 2/3, saw record high temps of over 60 degrees and a massive melting of all the snow and ice. I knew that the birds would be out in force that day because waterways were finally thawing and after being frozen over for the past week the animals would be making up for lost time/meals.

There’s been a juvenile Bald Eagle hunting near the Deeds Point spillway area the past few weeks and I had some far away shots of him – but on Sunday I was prepared to put the time in to get something better.

I was in the area nearly 5 hours with some spottings and some fly-aways, but finally after observing his pattern I waited near a tree near the water that I had seen him in a few times I was rewarded – he landed there and spent about 10 minutes posing for me before he flew off. Here’s a few shots of him and some other wildlife from the day. All were shot with a Nikon D500 with a Tamron 150-600mm lens at varying settings.

Juvenile Bald Eagle - Nikon D500 w/Tamron 150-600mm lens

Juvenile Bald Eagle - Nikon D500 w/Tamron 150-600mm lens

Juvenile Bald Eagle - Nikon D500 w/Tamron 150-600mm lens

Male Belted Kingfisher - Nikon D500 w/Tamron 150-600mm lens

Song Sparrow- Nikon D500 w/Tamron 150-600mm lens

 

Persistence pays off!

Most of these images will be up for sale on the website in the next few days. As always if you have any questions or thoughts please feel free to reach out.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Jeremy

There's no such thing as bad weather. by Jeremy Mudd

I once had a cycling coach who had a saying that has stuck with me for years: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”.

Most people have probably heard that saying, or something like it, applied to various sports and recreational past-times – but it also applies to photography. Well, sorta. I can’t advocate that you go out and shoot in a tsunami or tornado, but if you can do it in a safe manner and get the shot, kudos to you. Well, maybe not “kudos” but I’ll respect your choice, because some of the best images come from shooting in less-than-ideal conditions.

Dayton Skyline during a severe thunderstorm. Probably not one of my brighter ideas to stand on a bridge with lightning strikes all around holding an umbrella over my camera and tripod.

“Bad weather” doesn’t have to be something that is life-threatening; it could be as simple as getting out on a really foggy morning, shooting in the falling snow, rain, etc.

Tree in the Fog. Fuji GX617 on HP5+ film.

Anyone can get out there and shoot on a sunny, warm day. It takes getting out of your comfort zone to get out there and shoot in bad weather. It helps if you are prepared with the proper clothing and gear, but 99% of it is actually just getting yourself out there and doing it.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned….and in some cases, still learning:

1.       Dress properly for the conditions. This means rain gear if its raining, good winter clothing in layers if its cold, etc, etc. I can’t stress enough the importance of layering, especially if you are hiking around with a heavy pack of gear in changing conditions. Also, shoe choice and glove choice are critical if its cold/wet. I will usually wear waterproof hiking boots (LaSportiva brand) with high cuffs and wool socks. I usually will have a spare pair of socks and boots in the car in case I come back fully soaked. Gloves are critical – and people have all sorts of different ideas on what they like. Given my cycling background, I tend to wear thinner neoprene full-fingered gloves from Pearl Izumi that allow me to use the camera buttons and controls. Some people prefer those type of gloves that have removable fingers. I think they are “ok”, but I usually end up with a really cold finger or two if its below freezing outside.

Sparrow above the frozen lake at Spring Valley Reserve. It was 6 degrees Farenheight that day and windy.

2.       Know that your gear is going to get wet or dirty. Do your best to protect it, but know that cameras and lenses are tools and meant to be used. Unless you are super concerned about resale value, they aren’t doing you any good sitting on the shelf and only coming out to play on perfect days. Have several micro-fiber towels with you to keep lenses and viewfinders free of water drops.

Image shot during a thunderstorm at the Dayton VA Center on an infrared camera. I shot this for a photo competition a few years ago on probably my 10th trip to this spot.

3.       Bring a tripod. Light is usually low in bad weather conditions, and having a tripod with you allows you to get the best image possible at the lowest ISO/ASA that you can. You should also have an umbrella in your pack you can hold above the camera and tripod to keep it as dry as possible.

Trees in a snowstorm - image shot in the Black Forest in Germany in 2014 during near white-out conditions.

4.       Check your exposure. Bad conditions often wreak havoc with camera exposure logic and often times you need to use that grey mass between your ears to get the image correctly. A perfect example is snow; your camera will tend to under-expose in snow and you end up with dingy-looking grey stuff instead of white snow. In those conditions you learn to over-expose by a stop or two to compensate. When in doubt check your histogram. If you are shooting digital it doesn’t cost you any more to shoot until you get it right.

Eiffel Tower - Paris, France as seen from the top of the Arc d’Triumph. It was very rainy, cold, and foggy that day which made for a different view than normally seen of this famous monument.

5.       Consider Black & White as an editing choice (or b&w film, if you are shooting film). Often times the muted colors and light don’t look good in bad weather images, but punchy black & white images will help communicate the drama that you were experiencing that day.

SR73 - 30 minute exposure in the pouring rain and torrential wind with a pinhole film camera. Basically a wooden box with a small hole and film inside.

6.       Break the rules. Often times the weather IS the star of the image, so remember that when you are out there shooting. No one is going to care about the “rule of thirds” if you nail that awesome image of a tornado with lightning all around it and cows flying through the air. OK, maybe that was a little extreme but you get the idea.

7.       Keep at it. Don’t just go out once and then stop if you don’t come home with a great image. Often times is being  in the right place at the right time; and you aren’t going to make that happen unless you are out there time after time trying to get something.

Female Mallard at Spring Lakes in Bellbrook, Ohio. It was single-digit temps that day and the snow was coming down hard. This Mallard made for great contrast in the nearly white-out conditions.

8.       Don’t be stupid. This is one I am still learning. Mother Nature IS unpredictable. If you put yourself in a situation that makes you feel unsafe – you probably should reconsider what you are doing at that moment. There have been several times in the past that I’ve come home and after telling my significant other about the shoot I’ve realized that I had made some poor decisions. Don’t be like me.

This image only barely catches just how bad it was when I shot it. I could barely stand upright due to the high wind and rain.

That’s it! Some of this is probably common sense for many but some of it I’ve had to learn by putting myself out there and/or making mistakes.

Thanks for reading, and please reach out if you have any questions, thanks!

Jeremy

Looking back at 2018, and thoughts on 2019 by Jeremy Mudd

2018 was a good year for me - in both my photography life and my personal life. Taking a look back at this past year, along with committing to a few things for 2019, is a good way to see where I’ve been and where I’m going.

This year I gave back by shooting several non-profit events, including the ALS Walk and the FOA Rally.

I also shot several theatrical productions, including Last Pirates of the Vast Golden Treasure, Oliver!, Shrek the Musical, and Lion King Jr. I also shot the Haunted Walks in Springfield in October – while not exactly a theatrical production it was super fun and a real test of both my thinking on-the-fly and my equipment.

I greatly enjoyed shooting all of the events this past year and hope to continue to shoot more of them in 2019. The energy is infectious, and shooting them is not easy – but rewarding. Shout out to Tammy Scheissler, Andy Grimm, Troy Berry, Brad Boyer, and Krissy Hartman for asking me to be a part of their events and productions.

This year saw me travelling more to shoot, including a few trips to Kentucky, Northern Ohio, Indiana, Hocking Hills and other Ohio parks, and Colorado. Shooting the same local places all of the time can make one stagnant – getting out to new locations is good for the soul and inspires one to shoot more.

I shot more film in 2018 than 2017 – 210 rolls of 120 and 35mm film versus 124 rolls the prior year. The majority was 120 (“medium format”).  All rolls were developed by me at home and scanned with my Epson V600. Shooting film has really slowed me down, and while I tend to shoot less, my “keeper” hit rate is much better. Having a camera readily handy at all times was a commitment for 2018, and when I grab a camera to take with me every day, its now usually one of my film cameras. It appears that most of my personal work is gravitating toward film – while events, paying work, and wildlife images tend to be taken on digital formats.

Speaking of wildlife imagery – that’s the one thing I really slacked-off on in 2018. I didn’t shoot much wildlife after the beginning of March this year. There was a core group of guys at my day-job that I would go out and shoot with at lunch, but earlier in the year the company did a re-org and nearly all of them were let go at that time. That put a damper on my desire to go out and shoot wildlife at lunch and was a bit of a sad blow. I’m happy to say that all of them are now working again at different companies. I just need to get my Wildlife groove back for 2019.

Great Blue Heron above the Great Miami River, Dayton, Ohio February 2018

One of my resolutions for 2018 was to put myself out there more, in terms of showing my artwork, so I did apply for a few shows including one at the Middletown Arts Center and also the 2019-2020 Season at DVAC. The DVAC proposal was a joint-show between myself (photos) and Renee (watercolors). While the DVAC proposal wasn’t accepted, my image I entered for the Middletown Arts Center show was accepted and is currently on display there thru 1/10/2019.

Sunset Over Cincinnati with the Skystar Wheel - October 2018

 

I also finally got this website up and running in 2018, along with this blog. I enjoy writing so being able to do so again, and have a webpage that makes ordering prints has been great. In the past I had folks contact me thru Instagram to buy stuff but having a direct portal has made life much easier.

On a personal note, 2018 saw me finally getting serious about losing weight and starting the Whole30 diet in September. As of the writing of this post, I’ve lost 44lbs. I still have about 35 more to go to get to my ideal weight, but the change has helped me in many ways including photography. Hiking and climbing up and down hills with heavy gear is much easier now that I weigh less and have a lot less joint pain.

Sharon Woods Middle Falls - Sharonville, December 2018

In November 2018 we also decided to tackle a large project at the house, and part of that project was de-cluttering. We filled a large SUV-sized dumpster with “stuff”, and now the house, and our lives, are full of a lot less clutter. People have too much “stuff” in their lives.

So, what’s in store for 2019? A few things. This list seems long but its really not. :)

1.       Continue to lose weight and focus on my health – It’s probably not a good idea to keep calling my new way of eating “Whole30”, but that’s what it is - essentially transformed into a lifestyle. The only change from “Whole30” is that I have allowed legumes to be back in the plan. They don’t really cause any inflammation or joint pain for me and are a good source of protein and variety.

2.       Start to ride again (this could be part of #1 above but I wanted to break it out separate to keep me honest). It’s been 4+ years since I’ve basically stopped cycling. 2019 is the year to get back on the bike(s). A side benefit is that I do some of my best creative thinking when riding alone on a trail in the woods.

3.       Get out and shoot more wildlife images.

4.       Invest in my photography – by that I mean take the time, to make the time, to shoot more. This includes planning a few small photography trips. Already lined up is a photo workshop in the Outer Banks in February and a trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in May. Its really not all about gear – getting better as a photographer is in your head, not your equipment.

5.       Do a show – by this I mean enter more events in 2019, along with possibly setting up and selling at a local fair or art show.

6.       Shoot more events – I loved shooting events in 2018 and will do more of it in 2019. This includes continuing to give back by shooting non-profit events.

7.       Shoot even more film – different types, expired films, new films, you name it. It’s fun and is a good way to stay motivated while “slowing down” all at the same time. Part of that is shooting more 35mm film – I always seem to grab the medium format gear but 35mm is portable and fun to shoot. I have too many rolls of 35mm stock-piled and need to use some of that up.

8.       Find inspiration – photography books, painting books, museums, performances – inspiration comes from everywhere. Photography is a relatively new form of art in comparison to the other great art forms, and can take its inspiration from anywhere.

9.       Continue to evolve the blog and the website.

That’s pretty much it! I hope that 2018 was great for you, and that 2019 has something great in store.

I’ll end with an image I just shot on Christmas Day 2018 when Renee and I went out for a hike in the falling snow. I love this image because it reminds me that you’re never too old to enjoy yourself, and stop to taste a few snowflakes. :)

Renee on Christmas 2018 Hike - Kodak Portra 400 rated at 200, Mamiya 645 ProTL

Happy New Year!

Jeremy

Hocking Hills - Winter 2018 by Jeremy Mudd

At the beginning of this month we did a long 4-day weekend in Hocking Hills. It had been 7 months since we were last there in May, and the park was very different in Winter than it was in Spring. It had lightly snowed earlier in the week, and also went thru a few freeze/thaw cycles, so the waterfalls were actually flowing better than they were when we were there in May. We were also treated to a few falls that we had never seen flowing before.

I shot both film and digital while we were there. For longer hikes I carried my D750 digital camera along with two lenses, a tripod, remote release, and various filters and batteries. For short hikes and photo opportunities that were close to parking lots, I shot with my RB67 ProS and Fuji GX617 film cameras.

Our first day in the park was a rather easy day – we didn’t leave the house until mid-morning so we arrived in the Hocking Hills area after lunch. We did some recon and short hikes that day before checking into our cabin. The weather was very overcast, dark, and it was fairly hazy.

Below the “Devil’s Bathtub” - Mamiya RB67 w/250mm lens on HP5+

This shot, taken just below the Devil’s Bathtub, was one of the last images I shot with this particular RB67 ProS body. The 180mm lens jammed while shooting the next set of falls in near the Old Man’s Cave and I couldn’t fix it on the trail. Once back in the cabin I was able to remove the lens by way of the access port just under the logo, and test-fired the camera. It sounded different when cocking it; but I thought it was OK. Only later after developing some film did I find out that it was no longer firing the lens – so I ended up with 2 blank rolls of Ektar film. This was a hard lesson to learn – I SHOULD have been more suspect of it after the jam and checked to make certain it was firing the lens, and I also SHOULD have brought one of my back-up ProS bodies – but neither of those two things happened. I’ve now retired that body to the shelf and am using another ProS body now.  This was a fairly rare occurrence as the RB67’s are fairly robust. But as I was not the original owner, I have no idea of the life it lived before I started using it a few years ago. The only maintenance I had to perform to it was rebuild the light seals in it and my backs. I shot many, many rolls of film thru it so no regrets.

The next morning found us up early and out in the woods for a long hike from Whispering Cave to Cedar Falls and then back.

A few points to make here. 1. Hiking in Hocking Hills in the winter can be very slippery due to ice – be certain to wear good shoes, and also hike with a hiking pole or stick. We were prepared and careful so we had no real issues. 2. Even though the forecast calls for a high of 37 for the day, the woods act like a freezer. It never got above the mid-20’s that day in the woods.

Cedar Falls - Multi-Image Pano Stich - Nikon D750

It was very hazy and overcast so the light was not harsh even at mid-day – this made for some great long exposure waterfall photography.

While at Cedar Falls we were treated to see the smaller “Hidden Falls” near it flowing well. I’ve never seen this fall flowing before, so the cold, slippery hike was worth it.

“Hidden Falls” near Cedar Falls - Nikon D750

On the way back from Cedar Falls we stopped and shot another waterfall that is often dry. The large flat rocks near it made for a great place to stop for lunch and relax.

Small Waterfall on the trail from Whispering Cabe to Cedar Falls - Nikon D750

The next day we were up early again – this time making a stop at Robinson Falls in Bock Hollow. Formerly known as “Corkscrew Falls”, this area requires a permit to access. If you plan on visiting make certain you apply for your permit 2 weeks in advance. Robinson Falls in the Winter had an entirely different look compared to what it looks like in the Spring.

Robinson Falls in Winter - this is a smaller crop of an 8-image digital pano stitch - Nikon D750

This was also a very hazy day, with some of the fog freezing on the trees. I’d like to show you some shots of that on Ektar that I took with my RB67, but you know why you, I, or anyone else won’t be seeing those. I did take some shots with my GX617 at Upper Falls. Yes, the water really was that green. We hiked at Conkle’s Hollow as well but I didn’t take any shots that day there.

Upper Falls - Fuji GX617 w/105mm lens on Ektar 100 film

The last day, we checked out of the cabin and went back to Conkle’s Hollow to hike and get some shots. This morning the light was spectacular and a big departure from what it had been the last few days.

Illuminated Hemlock Sapling - Nikon D750

A bit of magic at the end of the trail in Conkles Hollow - Nikon D750

Renee in Conkle’s Hollow - Nikon D750

After Conkle’s Hollow we stopped at Cantwell’s Cliffs and did the short, strenuous hike there before heading home. As usual we stopped at our favorite little BBQ place, Canal BBQ, in Chillicothe. Yum!

I’ve mentioned this before but want touch on it again – being in much better shape than I was before has really helped with my photography. This trip to Hocking Hills found me 43 pounds lighter than what I was when we were there in May. The long climb out of Whispering Cave nearly put me under in May, while on this trip it seemed like nothing. Being in good physical shape, or even just “better” physical shape, does make it much more enjoyable and easier to focus on being creative and getting good images.

If you saw any images you are interested in - I will be putting most of these up on my sale page. Also feel free to email me if you have any questions about hiking in Hocking Hills.

Thanks for reading, and have a great Christmas Holiday!

Jeremy

Autumn in Ohio - 2018 Edition by Jeremy Mudd

Autumn seemed to get off to a late start this year – due to the weather being warmer and wetter this summer the change of colors seemed to be about 2-3 weeks later than normal in Southwestern Ohio. In fact, I was concerned that there wouldn’t be much color at all this year. Thankfully, I was wrong.

No fall would be complete without a visit to Tom’s Pumpkin Farm and Corn Maze to pick up Fall gourds. My two favorite girls enjoying the maze on a hot autumn day.

Mamiya 645 Pro with Kodak Portra 400 film

The next weekend I made a trip South to the Cincinnati area to shoot, and the leaves were just starting to change at Sharon Woods. Still, there was more color in the downed leaves than there was on the trees.

Mamiya RB67 ProS with Kodak Ektar Film

The following weekend found me travelling North to Lake Erie to shoot the Fairport Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse. As usual, the weather was rough – but it made for some exciting imagery.

fuji GX617 with Fuji Pro 400H film

While I was in the area I stopped to shoot Painesville Falls in Painesville, Ohio. The colors in Northern Ohio were in full swing!

Mamiya RB67 ProS with Kodak Ektar film

Last fall, Renee and I participated in the Haunted Springfield Ghost Tours and had a great time! This year I was hired to shoot the walks which made for a fun experience – although I have to admit it was difficult to listen to the stories when I was trying to get the shot.

Nikon D500

Nikon D750

Finally, the colors in our area were beginning to get into full swing. One of the Gum Tree leaves in my back yard – shot on an old Soviet cold-war era Helios lens for some crazy bokeh.

Nikon D750 with 58mm Helios M44-2 lens

The same weekend I hiked at Caesar Creek and wasn’t disappointed. Such a crisp, beautiful fall day!

Mamiya RB67 ProS on Ektar film

This time of year oten finds me in our two local cemeteries; Calvary and Woodland. The fall colors are fantastic and I love the peace and quiet.

Mamiya 645 Pro with Fuji Pro 400H film

Mamiya 645 Pro with Fuji Pro 400H film

Mamiya 645 Pro with Fuji Pro 400H film

Fuji GX617 with Fuji Pro 400H film

I went for a hike the next weekend with my big GX617 at Possum Creek Metropark.

Then, sadly, the colors faded away. Mother Nature also provided us with a fairly bad icestorm that knocked down what was left of the color.

And so closes another fall in Ohio! I’m glad I was able to squeeze in a little time here and there to get out and enjoy it! I hope you did as well!

Nikon F with Helios M44-2 lens on Kirkland Signature 200 film

The Lion King Jr Musical, and Thoughts on “Perfection” by Jeremy Mudd

Last week I shot the dress rehearsal for the Lion King Jr musical for the Springfield Arts Council (https://www.facebook.com/SpringfieldArtsCouncil/). It was held at the John Legend Theater in Springfield, Ohio. The theater is gorgeous – I highly recommend seeing an event there.

This was a departure from my norm, as this time part of the ask was to be there early to catch some behind-the-scenes images of the cast and crew prior to the event. Generally I just show up and shoot the performance, so being back-stage and seeing all that goes into an event of this magnitude was impressive and very rewarding. It really gave me an appreciation for all that the crew does to make the event happen.

Kids are awesome – as an adult I would have been freaking out and nervous before the performance; the kids were just being kids and having a good time.  Actually, truth be told I was nervous not knowing what to expect back-stage and the kids having such a great time put me at ease behind the camera.

Once the performance got underway my second shooter and I got to work; each of us taking a designated side of the stage and moving to the middle as needed to capture the action. Once again, knowing the plot and story ahead of time made it easier to be in the right place at the right time. This was a very active musical, with actors using all of the aisles in the theatre as part of the performance.

After the event, I stuck around to shoot the cast and crew for the obligatory group shot on stage. That was held up a bit as Krissy spent quite a bit of time going over the mistakes that were made and what needed to be fixed for opening night. I was a bit thrown off at this because to me, it was great. Yeah there were a few moments where I could tell some kids didn’t hit their marks and were distracted, but I was really entertained.

I was looking at it through a different set of eyes, and frankly was probably distracted by being behind the camera and trying to figure out timing and placement for shots. I didn’t see all of the mistakes because I wasn’t close-in like the cast and crew were – they had been practicing for 8 weeks and knew every word, note, and step. I didn’t – so I didn’t see the mistakes.

I thought about this more while I processed the images over the weekend. At one point I was griping to myself about how high the ISO was on a lot of the shots due to low lighting and how I didn’t like some elements of some shots; they weren’t “perfect”. But they captured a lot of great emotion and expression, and there were some images that I was laughing at as I recalled the show. None of the kids and parents when looking at the shots would care about “perfection” – no one is going to pixel-peep and zoom in and chastise me about the noise in an image that was shot at 6400 ISO. They care about the shot; how it makes them feel and what emotions and memories it stirs. It’s the same thing that I experienced in the theater; I wasn’t close to it so to me it was great. I need to remember that on a personal level when I get into a funk and judge myself and my images harshly – obviously I’m my own worst critic.

Shout out to @reneehopson for being my second shooter at the event, and as always, putting up with my bouts of “editing grumpiness”. :)

Thanks for reading!

Found Memories - Do you know "DW Boring" ? by Jeremy Mudd

Mamiya and Film.jpg

Last week Renee texted me with some images of some old cameras she saw in an antique store in Lebanon, Ohio, and one of those images was of a Mamiya 528TL. I have a rule that I am not acquiring any additional cameras unless it is something that I plan on shooting (ie, no dust collectors). Even though I have several 35mm cameras and most of my shooting on film is done in Medium Format, I have a special place in my heart for Mamiya products as I absolutely adore my RB67’s, my 645’s, and my C220. So why not one more Mamiya?? I love the quality of my Medium Format Mamiya’s so this 35mm version should be fun to shoot.

Renee brought it home and, of course, the shutter was dead. Had I done my research beforehand I would have found that this is a common problem with the 528TL, and to get a working one now is actually more rare of an occasion than finding a dead one. OK, so I broke my rule unintentionally - and the 528TL becomes another piece of decoration for my office at work.

Even though the camera is toast it looks great, and when inspecting it I saw that the shot counter was on #16. I removed the snap-on leather case, hit the film-release button, and rewound the roll. I popped open the back to find a 24 exposure roll of Kodak Kodacolor VR100. Based on the counter being at 16 my guess was the shooter didn’t finish the roll and just put the camera away to use again later but never did. Being in the protective case may have saved the film inside since the case had to be removed to open the back. Dead or not, my plan was to develop the film the next time I am developing some color film.

Fast forward to yesterday – I shot a roll of Ektar out at Ceasar Creek so I developed that and the 35mm roll of found film. The Roll of Kodacolor was super difficult to get on the film reel due to it being curled very badly. Probably from being rolled-up on the take-up spool for years. Once I got it in the reel and started I found that the film was badly damaged about 2/3 way thru the roll. My guess is people kept trying to rewind the camera without removing the film lock, so they succeeded in tearing the hell out of the sprocket holds on the film. I ended up cutting that portion off in order to get it fully into the roll.

After I developed it I hung it to dry and was disappointed as it appeared that there were no images on it. But after it dried and I could inspect closer there were some faint images on there. It was a bit of work to get them scanned in but they were salvageable so I’m glad I gave it a shot.

Not all of the images came out though. It looks like there was an outdoor family party and as it got darker outside the images were quite dark – and given the time that had passed they weren’t recoverable. But the ones that were look to be sometime in the early-to-mid 80’s given the hair and clothing. There was a lot of damage and fading to the images, and the color had shifted quite a bit.

Then there was the chair. These were the last two shots on the roll and I’m not certain what they are all about. I’m guessing it was some sort of restoration project that was about to take place given the nature of the shots and the newspapers laying on the floor to protect it (?).

Engraving.jpg

Obviously a lot of time has passed since these were taken, and I’m not even certain if the person who took them, or the people in the shots, are still alive. The name on the bottom of the camera was “DW Boring, Jan 15, 1971 M-W Co.” Guessing that these images were about 10 years or so after that date I’m thinking that was who shot them. Before the age of digital not everyone bought a new camera nearly every year, so it is entirely conceivable that it’s the same person. I found a mention of a “DW Boring” in an old copy of the Portsmouth, Ohio times from July 1976 so it could be them?

Portsmouth Ohio Times 7.20.1976.JPG

If anyone knows DW Boring, or any of the people in these images, please reach out to me at Jeremy.mudd@gmail.com. I’d be happy to share the digital scans with them and/or give them the negatives.

Thanks for reading!

Chasing Waterfalls in Indiana by Jeremy Mudd

The RB67 ProS - Image courtesy of Wikipedia

The RB67 ProS - Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Saturday 10.13.2018 found me out of the hose and on the road by 4:00am heading towards Indiana to photograph some waterfalls that I’ve never been to before: Cataract Falls and McCormick Falls. I’ve been feeling a bit restless lately and needed a small roadtrip to mix things up a bit. It was between this trip or going north to the Lake Erie area – but given the cold 34F degree morning that was forecasted I thought this would be the perfect time to shoot the waterfalls and not worry about people being in the way wading and playing in the water. Which looks to be a pretty common occurrence if you look up any Youtube videos of them, especially Cataract Falls.

Packed in the car were my faithful Mamiya RB67 ProS and my Fuji GX617, along with my D500 and 150-600 lens (in case any wildlife opportunities came up, but the plan for the trip was to just shoot film for the most part).

I arrived at what I *thought* was the park containing the Cataract Falls only to find out, after driving all over the park, that the falls were actually about 20 minutes away from there. Oops. So much for being set-up and ready to shoot before dawn. Once finally there I was fortunate to mostly, other than one small group of people who came and went, have the place to myself.

Cataract Lower Falls in the Mist - Fuji GX617 with ACROS 100 film, long exposure

Cataract Lower Falls - Fuji GX617 with ACROS 100 film, long exposure

Cataract Lower Falls side view- Mamiya RB67 ProS with ACROS 100 film, long exposure

Cataract Lower Falls - Fuji GX617 with ACROS 100 film, long exposure

Cataract Falls actually consists of two groupings of waterfalls; the Upper and Lower. Most of my time was spent at the Lower falls as the Upper falls had a lot of dead trees and deadfall everywhere and it was not picturesque. I didn’t really shoot anything there – It wasn’t worth wasting the film on it. And, the few spots that looked like they had any hope of getting a good composition had very prominent signage preventing entry. Given that I was a stranger in a strange land, I decided it was best to move on.

The next stop was McCormick Falls in McCormick’s Creek State Park. This is a smaller waterfall set fairly far down in a ravine area. I hiked into the ravine and then upstream in the water with the RB67 in my pack. Here’s one of my favorite images from this spot.

McCormick Falls - Mamiya RB67 ProS with ACROS 100 film, long exposure

Over the last several years after I quit riding my bike (long, work-related story), I’ve put on weight but for the past 6 weeks I’ve been on the Whole30 diet (well, have turned it into a “Whole60” now) and have lost almost 30lbs. This really showed when carrying all of my heavy medium format gear into these locations – it was much easier. Getting healthy and back to a good weight makes everything in life better and easier, including photograpjy.

If you plan on visiting either falls, remember that Indiana charges $9.00 for out-of-state visitors ($7.00 for in state folks). From my experience with many Indiana State Parks this $$ is well worth it – they are some of the best kept parks that I’ve been to. If Ohio decided to charge admission to parks in order to fund them better, I would be happy to pay.

For those of you that are into the technical details, all of the above images were long exposures of over 3 minutes each on a tripod on Fuji ACROS 100 black & white film. I developed the images in Rodinal 1:100 misture in what is a “Semi-Stand” method with very little agitation. This has become my go-to development method for long exposures of waterfalls on ACROS film. I’ve found that the highlights of the water don’t get blown out and the shadow details are much better with this method. The developed negatives were scanned on an Epson V600 scanner with light dust clean-up and borders added in Photoshop.

If you are interested in visiting these waterfalls, the addres for the Cataract Falls is 1-70 N Cataract Rd, Spencer, IN 47460 . More info can be found at http://cataractfalls.com/. The McCormick Falls address is 250 McCormick's Creek Park Road, Spencer, IN 47460 . More info can be found at https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2978.htm.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!