The Last Days of Cleveland Municipal Stadium

Growing up I remember going to Cleveland Municipal Stadium or as some call it the lady by the lake on a few occasions to see Cleveland Indians baseball games.  I remember how vast the stadium was and the annoying pillars that were located throughout the stadium that would block the view of parts of the field for the spectators.  I also recall getting a full size baseball bat (which I still have) on bat day at a baseball game and getting an autograph from the Indian’s Cory Snyder.  Although I went to a few baseball games at the stadium, I never went to a Cleveland Brown’s football game.

The stadium lasted for 65 years on the lake before it met the wrecking ball in 1996.  I never thought it would be demolished given how long it stood by the lake, but it was probably time.  The Cleveland Indians played their last game there in 1993 and had moved into Jacob’s Field (yes I will always call it by this name) and the Cleveland Brown’s continued to play there until 1995 when they were moved to a certain east coast city known for their crab cakes.

After the Browns left, the City of Cleveland worked to get another NFL team and set in motion plans to replace Cleveland Municipal Stadium so the new team could take the field in the fall of 1999.  So after 65 years of standing by the lake and watching the changing skyline, the stadium would soon have a date with the wrecking ball to make way for a new stadium.

My grandfather took photographs of many projects that were going on in downtown Cleveland over the years and kept an interest in what was going on within the city.  He and my grandmother took me downtown in early October 1996 to photograph the stadium before it was torn down.

The first stop was near a parking off of Front Street in the Flats to capture Gate A of the stadium.

 

From there we moved on around the stadium to capture different sides.

Gate A

Gate A

Gate D

Gate D

Gate C

Gate C

My favorite location to photograph the stadium was on top of the Cleveland City Hall parking garage.  The Amtrak train station is in the foreground.

 

As the wrecking ball began to take swings at the stadium, my grandparents and I would make weekly trips downtown to check on the progress and to capture it on film.

These photographs were captured on Kodak Plus-X, ISO 125 B&W film.  I developed the film and printed the photographs myself in our home darkroom.  These are scans of the original negatives.  

Thanks for taking the time to read this and please feel free to leave comments or your memories of the stadium below.

Regards,

David

First Roll of 35 mm Film

I don’t recall exactly when my photographic journey began, but I recall that it started with a 110 film camera.  I think I still have it somewhere in a box with the rest of the old cameras I have collected over the years.  The first “real” camera I remember owning and using was a used Minolta 35mm SLR.  I don’t remember the exact model or what lens I had, but I remember the day I bought it.  My Dad and I went to go “look” at cameras.  I believe we went to Dodd Camera and Video on Pearl Road in Middleburgh Heights, Ohio (which is still in business today) and another older camera store down the street in Parma Heights, Ohio.  I can’t remember the name of it, but it closed sometime when I was in high school.  The day of “looking” at cameras quickly turned into a purchase.  My first 35mm camera was purchased from the camera store in Parma Heights before the Easter of 1996.

My first roll of film I ran though the camera, developed and printed myself, was Kodak, Plus-X, ISO 125, B&W film with 36 exposures.  With 36 exposures it seemed like it took forever sometimes to use an entire roll of film compared with today’s cameras where you can take 36 exposures in a blink of an eye.  With using film you had to think through the photographs with getting the exposure and composition right because you were not able to look at the photographs right away.

Looking at the negatives it appears I took this first roll of film at Easter 1996 and shortly thereafter because photographed our family at Easter and I also photographed some of my model cars and my Mom’s doll house.  Towards the end of the roll, I wanted to try some things that I read in some photography books to stop action and to have a shallow depth of field.  For both photographs, my brother Chuck helped me out.

For the first one, I wanted to stop the action of water as it was being thrown through the air.   I did not record any of the camera’s settings, but we did the photograph outside so I had enough light to use a fast shutter speed to stop the action.  The resultant photograph is water being stopped in the air as it is being thrown from a bucket.

For the second one, I wanted to play with depth of field.  Again my brother helped by holding a toy gun pointed at me.  I focused on the barrel of the toy gun and with a large aperture my brother and the background was thrown slightly out of focus while keeping barrel in focus.

Also on this first roll of film, my brother captured a young me posing for the camera.

From this point on, I became hooked on photography and continued to grow and learn.  I hope to share with you more of the early years of my photography journey in the weeks to come along with some current photographs.  Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Please feel free to leave comments below.

Thanks,

David

Rotary Telephone Project

About a year ago an idea was born to photograph an old rotary telephone after seeing all the media hype about a new iPhone being released and the people waiting in long lines to get the latest and greatest phone.  The only thing with this idea is I did not have an old black rotary phone, so I put out an alert on Facebook to see if anyone had one that I could borrow.  Low and behold a member of our church, South Side Baptist Tabernacle, had one in their possession that they let me borrow.  Well, I held onto the phone for almost a year before I decided to do my project, granted the recent purchase of a new 50mm, f/1.8 lens sort of encouraged me as well because I just had to try it out.

It was a Saturday afternoon and I headed to our basement to set up my equipment to make the photograph that have been kicking around in my head for about a year.  I set up my mono-lights with shoot though umbrellas and hung up my white seamless paper to cover my table and give me a clean background.

The first photographs I made were just of the phone as you would have been used in the traditional sense.  I started making the photographs with a mono-light on each side, but quickly realized I did not like the look because it did not have any shadows, so I stopped using one of the lights and left the other to my right.

IMG_9450.jpg

After a while, I started into making the photograph I envisioned over a year ago.  The photograph I wanted to make used the hand set of the rotary phone while placing it on top of an apple as if the apple were the body of the phone.

I liked the photograph I had made, but I wanted to add some sparkle to the background.  I had read an article recently on how to add some sparkle to the back ground with using some aluminum foil and a Speedlight.  I taped a bunch of aluminum foil to some cardboard and attached it to my reflector boom.  I then set up my Speedlight on a stand at about a 45 degree angle to the aluminum foil with a brown gel on the Speedlight to give the background some color.  The Speedlight was set at a low power setting so I did not blow out the background in the photograph.  I opened up my 50mm lens to f/1.8 to achieve a shallow depth of field, thus obtaining the sparkle from the light reflecting off the aluminum foil.  Note the 50mm, f/1.8 is known for its bokeh when using it wide open.  The resultant image is what you see below.

After making some photographs of just the hand set on top of an apple, I decided to take the case off the base of the phone to see what was inside the rotary phone.  Surprisingly, there are some pretty neat electrical and mechanical things inside a rotary phone (yes, I am an engineer and these things excite me).  So I decided to make some photographs of the inside workings of the phone.

At this point I had been photographing this old black rotary phone for a couple of hours already and was just about ready to stop and clean up when I had one last idea with using the apple.  This time, I placed the apple inside the case where the rotary portion would have been.

In conclusion my rotary phone project was fun to do because I finally got to make my photograph with the apple that I envisioned about a year ago.  Photographing the inside of the phone was also interesting.  I am now on the lookout for something else with mechanical workings to make a photograph of, but hopefully it won’t take another year for me to do it.  Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you enjoyed the photographs and the story behind how I made it.

Thanks,

David

Camp Achor 2015

My wife and I have been members of South Side Baptist Tabernacle (SSBT) in Ypsilanti, MI for about 7 years.  I can’t remember exactly when we joined, but it seems like we were married for about a year or so before we officially joined.

One ministry that SSBT has is a good old fashioned camp meeting called camp Achor.  It is a week of good preaching of God’s word, good music and fellowship.  It starts on Sunday, June 21st and runs through Friday, June 26th.  There is preaching in the morning, afternoon and evening.  If you have never been to a camp meeting, I challenge you to come out and visit to hear God’s word.  More information about our church and the camp meeting can be found on SSBT’s website.

I have been blessed again to be able to take the entire week off of work for camp meeting so my wife and I can attend.  Not only am I able to attend, but I also help by running the sound and taking photographs for the church. 

Below are a few photos I have taken over the last couple of years.

Under The Tent, 2012

Under The Tent, 2012

Camp Achor Lighthouse, 2012

Camp Achor Lighthouse, 2012

Tent Rays, 2012

Tent Rays, 2012

Brother Rob Pelkey preaching by flashlight.  Bad storms rolled in during the 2013 camp meeting and the services were moved to the church.  Shortly after the preaching started, the church lost power, but the preaching continued.

Brother Rob Pelkey preaching by flashlight.  Bad storms rolled in during the 2013 camp meeting and the services were moved to the church.  Shortly after the preaching started, the church lost power, but the preaching continued.

Camp Achor Tent, 2014

Camp Achor Tent, 2014

I hope you enjoyed the photographs and I hope to see you there!

Thanks,

David

Monochrome Print of the Year

Well, the Livonia Camera Club 2014-2015 competition season recently came to a close and we had our annual banquet to celebrate the season and to hand out awards from our end of the year competitions.

I entered only the color and monochrome print competitions.  The prints were judged by guest judges who are not members of the Livonia Camera Club.

In the salon color print division I took home the first place award along with two honorable mentions and in the salon monochrome print division I initially won a first place.  Since I won a first place, I was in the running for monochrome print of the year.  My monochrome print was selected as the monochrome print of the year!  It is very exciting since this is the second time I have won this honor.  The last time I won it was during the 2013-2014 season.

Acadia Sunset

Acadia Sunset

 

The photograph was made during our vacation to Acadia National Park in 2013.  It is a five shot HDR and was processed in Photoshop using Nik’s HDR Efex processor.  It was then converted to a monochrome image using Nik’s Silver Efex plugin for Photoshop.  The image was then printed on true B&W paper at Miller’s Imaging, whom I have used for a few years now.

I hope you enjoyed the image and please feel free to leave any questions or comments below.

Thanks,

David

Perfect Score

As many of you are aware, I am a member of the Livonia Camera Club (LCC).  I have been a member for a few years now.  The club meets twice a month for club competitions.  The first meeting of the month is for the digital projection division (DPD) competition and the second is for the print division competition.  I compete in both, but I tend to submit more to print rather than DPD because I like how my images print, but hopefully that will change once the club makes some adjustments to our projector’s calibration.

So for April’s print competition, I scrambled at the last minute to gather two monochrome and two color prints to compete.  The monochrome prints did okay, but one of my color prints did really well.  It received a perfect score of 27!! 

Traverse Covered Bridge

Traverse Covered Bridge

I am excited because it is my second perfect score this year, the other being for my print “Amish Road” which I wrote about in my April 2, 2015 blog.

This photograph was taken back in the fall of 2012 when my wife and I took a mini fall vacation to Traverse City, Michigan.  This was taken on the scenic loop road you can drive in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park.  This taken before I had my full frame DSLR, so this was made with my old Canon XSi DSLR camera with my Canon 24-70 f/2.8L lens.  It is a three shot HDR image bracketed +1 & -1 stop from f/18, 0.5 second.  The ISO was 100.  The image was processed in Photoshop CC utilizing Nik’s HDR Efex Pro 2.

I hope you enjoy the image and as always, please feel free to leave comments or questions below.

Thanks,

David

Second Show of 2015

Shortly after I wrote my last blog on my First Show of 2015, I was notified that both entries I submitted to the Three Cities Art Club’s 2015 Exhibit were accepted.

The first image I submitted was a monochrome print taken in Manistee, Michigan at the end of the pier.  This received a score of 23 out of 27 at the Livonia Camera Club September 2014 Print Competition and received a score of 19 out of 27 at the Greater Detroit Camera Club Council’s (GDCCC) November 2014 Print Competition.

Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse

Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse

The second image I submitted was a color print taken along the banks of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio.  This received a score of 26 out of 27 at the Livonia Camera Club November 2014 Print Competition.  This image received an Honorable Mention award for the Three Cities exhibit.

Freighter Buffalo

Freighter Buffalo

Unlike the Lawrence Street Gallery exhibit, the Three Cities Art Club exhibit only lasts only a few days.  The exhibit will be held at the Westland Public Library in Westland, Michigan.  It opens on April 17th and runs through April 20th.  If you are in Westland, be sure to stop out and see my work along with the rest of the work that was accepted to the show including two other members of the Livonia Camera Club.

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about my work in the comments section below.  Also if you are interested in purchasing any of my work, please feel free to contact me via my contacts page.

Thanks,

David Laurence

First Show of 2015

Well, it has been awhile since I have written a blog.  When I first started this web page and blog, in the back of my mind I wanted to do at least one a week.  Well, so far that has not happened and each week keeps passing by faster and faster.

Anyways, it has also been awhile since I entered any of my images into any local exhibits.  This month I entered different images into two different shows, the first being the Lawrence Street Gallery (LSG) Exposures 2015 and the other being the Three Cities Art Club 2015 Exhibit.  Both are juried exhibits.  The LSG was juried by Monte Nagler and the Three Cities Art Club was juried by Edee Joppich.

I found our earlier this week that both my images submitted to the LSG exhibit were accepted to the show.  Although I did not win anything, it is still exciting to get images accepted and I can’t wait to see them hanging in the gallery.  The opening reception is tonight from 6 to 9 PM.  More information on the show and the gallery's hours can be found on their website at http://www.lawrencestreetgallery.com .

The first image I submitted was a monochrome print taken along the back roads of Amish Country in Holmes County in Ohio.  This received a score of 25 out of 27 at the Livonia Camera Club's November 2014 Print Competition.

End Of The Road

End Of The Road

The second image I submitted was a color print also taken along the back roads of Amish Country in Holmes County in Ohio.  This received a score of 27 out of 27 at the Livonia Camera Club's November 2014 Print Competition.  It was also taken to Greater Detroit Camera Club Council’s (GDCCC) March print competition where it received a score of 22 out of 27, which was not high enough to place.

Amish Road

Amish Road

If you are looking for something to do and are out in the Ferndale area, I encourage you to stop by the Lawrence Street Gallery to check out my images along with the rest of the images of the Exposures 2015 exhibit.  Although I have posted them here, printed images have more impact in person when they are matted and framed.  Plus you get to see my wonderful matting skills.  These two images were the first two images I cut mats for with my recently acquired mat board cutter.

As soon as I find out about my images to the Three Cities Art Club exhibit, I will let everyone know.  Stay tuned...

Thanks,

David

Winter In Detroit

Well, my wife and I went on a free tour of the Guardian Building today in Detroit, Michigan and had a nice lunch at the Hard Rock Café for Valentines Day.  After lunch we took the scenic route back home, which included a drive around Belle Isle.

I have not done much photography yet this winter so I figured I would try to make some photographs around Belle Isle since we still have a good covering of snow from the last storm, along with a few inches of fresh powder that came last night.  Well today it was very windy and the temperature has been dropping all day long which makes is very miserable to be outside for even a short while if not dressed properly.

As with any of our trips to Belle Isle we take the ring road around the island and we stop along the way so I can make some photographs. .Usually with every stop we are there for a bit of time, but with the brutal wind and blowing snow I only got out of the car for a few minutes at a time.

As we made our way along the eastern side of the island the snow was blowing across the road and with the trees along either side I thought to myself that it would make a good photograph.  So we stopped the car and I waited a minute or so for other cars to pass before getting out.  Once out of the car, I took a few shots and then a couple of cars were coming so I decided to wait.  While waiting the wind picked up and the snow started to blow harder, so I decided I should get back in the car since I already had a bit of snow on me and my camera.  Below is the photograph I made along the eastern side of the island.

We continued our journey around the island, passing by the Coast Guard station and the zoo and we even experienced some white out conditions with all the blowing snow.  By the time we got back to the western side of the island, clouds had moved in over the Detroit skyline and it looked very eerie.  So I decided to stop the car again and get out and make a few more photographs.  Below is the photograph I made of the Detroit skyline.  With all the blowing snow you can barely make out the Ambassador Bridge which takes you over to Windsor, Canada.

Although it was very windy and cold today, I was still to make a few photographs of the winter scenery in Detroit, Michigan.  Oh if you are wondering if I took any photographs while on the tour of the Guardian Building, yes I did but I will write about that some other time.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you enjoyed the photographs and the brief story behind them.  Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

I Like Winter

Some people might think that I am crazy, but I like winter.  Yes you have to deal with the cold, but you get to see some beautiful scenery, which lends to great photo opportunities.  Also with winter comes my birthday and the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

Last winter was very harsh in metro Detroit and it was one of the coldest that I could ever remember.  With the extreme cold, I was able to try something that I had seen on the news done by another photographer, which was to photograph frozen bubbles.  I purchased some cheap bubbles at our local big box store and went out one evening to try it out (I still wonder if our neighbors thought I was crazy).  I had originally tried to catch the bubbles on some fabric, but they kept breaking.  So I caught them on the bubble wand.  After catching them, that is when the “magic” began.  I was able to watch them freeze, which only took a minute or two.  I took a few shots and was not happy with just a plain bubble, so I added some color by putting some newly acquired gels on my off camera Speedlight to change its color.  The final results, pictured below, were pretty neat.

Bubble Destruction

Bubble Destruction

Red Bubble

Red Bubble

Also with winter, there are a number of ice festivals in metro Detroit ever winter.  My wife and I try to get to the Plymouth, MI, ice festival about every other year.  There you get to see some beautiful ice sculptures carved by professionals and even college students.  Below is a photograph I took of an ice sculpture of an Indian Chief at the Plymouth ice festival in January 2013.

Indian Chief

Indian Chief

Although being outdoors in the winter poses its own challenges with staying warm, you still can enjoy the outdoors from the wonderful scenery after a fresh snow, to ice festivals and to doing some photography projects that you could probably not do unless you had access to a deep freezer.  We have not had too much snow yet this winter, but I hope we get some more so I can go out and create some winter photographs.

 

Greater Detroit Camera Club Council Banquet

Many of my friends and family know that I belong to the Livonia Camera Club (LCC) and that I am the newly elected President of the club and I am also the Print Director.  The LCC is a member of the Greater Detroit Camera Club Council (GDCCC) and on Saturday they held their annual banquet to give out their awards for the best print images and the best digital images from the 2014 year-end GDCCC competition.

The year-end competition is a tough competition given the only images allowed to compete were those that have won an award at one of the previous 2014 GDCCC competitions.  I had one print image that was eligible to compete in the color print beginner class.  That print was the “Lundington Sunset” that I created while on our vacation to Ludington, MI back in May 2014.  The print won an honorable mention award.  Although it did not place, I am still exited it received an award.

 

Ludington Sunset

Ludington Sunset

This print is known as a high dynamic range (HDR) photograph.  For a basic HDR you need a total of three exposures (i.e. one at normal exposure, one at +1 stop and one at -1 stop) taken in succession.  For this photograph I took a series of five exposures in succession.  The images were then processed in Photoshop utilizing the Nik’s HDR Efex Pro 2 to create the final photograph.  I’ll save my thoughts on why and when I like to utilize HDR photography for another post.

If you wish to see my print along with the rest of the GDCCC print winners, they will be on display at the Livonia Civic Center Library for the month of February.