The Right Place at the Right Time: The Peery Apartments

As part of my mission to get out and shoot more, I took another walk today, this time opting to head eastbound up 24th. Originally, I had wanted to check out one of the churches on the corner, but it was unfortunately all closed up and I was forced to find something else. Luckily, as I mosey’d down the street, I came across a boarded up apartment complex that has been built in 1910. While wandering around the outside looking to see if there was a way in, I happened upon the woman who manages the place! Turns out, they are working to remodel the inside of the building to update it and start renting out the apartments again. In our small talk I mentioned that I was just out shooting photos and was interested in old buildings and architecture. Since she was waiting on a plumber to come by and take a look at a few things, she asked if I’d like to see the inside, to which I jumped at the chance. And boy howdy am I happy I did!

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Not only did I get a full tour of the building, it turns out her mom had lived in the building for 28 years before it got closed down and she was well versed in every nook and cranny of the place. This gave me the opportunity to snap some cool photos from a series of apartments. Mostly, because my awesome tour guide knew which apartments had all the best accouterments like this ornament over one of the fireplaces:

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Or these awesome heaters in the various bedrooms:

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Seeing these types of things always forces me to wonder why we don’t put this kind of effort into anything anymore. It’s also primarily the reason that both my wife and I agree that when we get to the point where we are going to buy a home, we want something old. I want the ornate woodwork on the stairwells, and the embellishments in all the finer details. I mean, just look at the interior stairwells for crying out loud:

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And on top of all of that, one of the cooler parts about these apartments, is that they’re trying to keep as much of the old stuff as they can during the renovation. So things, like these awesome mailboxes:

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Or this sweet vintage call-box system in which you can buzz an apartment from the front door all Seinfeld status:

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Of course, what good is a trip into an old, dirty, run-down building without a few pictures of some grimey stuff or some crunchy textures? Don’t worry dear reader, I’ve got you covered on that front as well:

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All in all, it was an awesome little excursion and the lady who manages the apartments was super sweet. I look forward to them being finished in all their old meets new glory (i.e., they plan to keep the apartments mostly the same and simply add new appliances and some cool modern features). I also hope you’re enjoying these posts as much as I do because with any luck, they won’t be ending anytime soon!

As always, until next time –Thanks for reading!
-D

Jumping the Gun on a New Me: Mid-day Photowalk

For the regular readers, you’ve likely noticed a sharp decline in the posts I’ve been making. After switching roles at work I got into a bit of a funk where I felt wholly unsatisfied with my job and my current state in the world. In turn, it led to me not getting and out and shooting as much and seriously lacking inspiration. Earlier this week, I decided that wasn’t good enough anymore and I needed to shake things up some. I promised myself I would simply “be happier”, I’d work harder, and I’d also push to focus on the things I care about more. One of those obviously being photography. I figured that if nothing else, I could burn up my hour lunch break at work by instead of sitting around on my phone, going out for a walk and snapping some photos of random things. It would of course be mostly downtown Ogden near my office, but for now it would force me to shoot something. Anything really.

Yesterday was day one of the new method and it went exceptionally well as while I was wondering the street behind my work, I caught a few construction workers who were working on the old Keisel Building, which I’ve wanted to explore the inside of for a while, and I asked if I could poke around. They said it was fine but just look out for stray nails and such as it was a construction zone after all.

As it currently stands, the building is mostly done with the demolition side of the long term renovation plans and the interior has been pretty much gutted. However, there are still a number of the more interesting embellishments from the original building which made for some neat photos. Since the Kiesel building was primarily office spaces and home to a number of businesses, one of the cooler features was the mail chute that ran alongside the elevators from the top floor to the bottom:

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Aside from those, the elevator control mechanism on the top floor was open to dig through as well as a huge vault on the first floor:

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Outside of the fun, little things, I got a cool shot of the stairwell, and a fun picture of a busted up window on one of the top floors:

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Finally, I got up to the roof where I got a panorama shot of the clouds rolling in over the mountains now that our first good snow is completed:

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All in all it was a great day. I got some good work done, I got some sweet photos, and my mood was much better than it had been in a while. Even a nasty puddle was looking pretty good:

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So hopefully I will be posting here a little more often, as I get out and shoot more and who knows, maybe I’ll find the inspiration I’ve been wanting (even though I’m not sure what it would even look like at this point).

As always, until next time –thanks for reading!
-D

Jazz at the Station: The Corey Christiansen Trio

Earlier this month, much like the past few, I got called upon to shoot another jazz group in downtown Ogden at the Union Station. This time, unlike the others was much more of what I was expecting when someone tells me there is a jazz gig being played somewhere. Classically trained and exceptionally brilliant on the guitar was a local Utahan whose been travelling the country and becoming a well known name in the jazz world. Corey, who got his start at Utah State University had been pitched to me by one of my buddies as one of the best Jazz guitarists he’s ever heard. He wasn’t kidding. It’s one of those things where you can’t really write about how good something is, you just have to show people. So I suggest you check out his site here or drop him a listen on Spotify as his new album is up there.

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With Corey, was drummer Steven Shindo Lyman who may be one of the best drummer’s I’ve ever heard. Sadly, I can’t find a website for him, but if you ever hear that name or see it on a flyer, be sure to check him out as he’s an absolute beast. So much so I ended up getting a few more pictures of him than I usually do with other drummers. Here’s a couple:

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Last but not least, jumping in on the keyboard was Ryan Conger. I’ve written about him in my last two Jazz at the Station posts, so I won’t go into a lot of that here as you already know about him.

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All in all, the show was killer good, as they played a lot more of what I guess is now considered traditional jazz. I managed to swing some pretty decent shots out of the gig and look forward to whoever will be playing next month, as this is becoming a staple in my monthly calendar.

That’s all for this one, as always, until next time –Thanks for reading!
-D

Hiking the frozen Waterfall

Last week I had hear from some friends that the waterfall was frozen over around this time of year since it finally got cold to do so. The hike went while substantially more difficult do to the ice and slush, also happened to go quite a bit faster than usual. I’d wager it’s because of all the snow creating a long ramp to the top. In some places the snow was up to my waist or about three feet deep. So between sliding about or sinking into a random pit trap, I finally made it too the top where I managed to snap a few shots of the waterfall:

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While I don’t think either of the shots is perfect, I like the blues and contrast on the top one. I also like the more prominent detail of the black and white version.

Since both of these images were composites of multiple, I realized after getting home, the angle I was standing at wasn’t optimal for getting a good wide-angle shot of the whole thing. So for today’s lesson I suggest this tidbit:

Be willing to move around and shoot from different angles! By standing in the one spot, I thought I had what I needed, but alas, I was wrong. I could have likely spent a little more time up there trying a few different things, but I had plans with the wife to go see a movie and didn’t want to be stuck on the mountainside during the previews. However, I will likely get back out and try again before the winter season is officially over and spend a little more time on the next adventure.

Another positive note, is because of all the snow we’ve gotten this year, I am very excited to see the waterfall come spring/early summer. It should gushing at a rate I haven’t seen since I first moved here.

On the way back down, I did stop to try and catch a long panorama of Ogden as the mix of sunlight, clouds, and shadows was just gorgeous. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out:

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Sadly I haven’t shot a lot this past week aside from that trip so hopefully this week will be better for that. As always, until next time — Thanks for reading!
-D

Stay very “Still”, I’m learning something new!

I had every intention of going back out to Farmington Bay this weekend. I wanted to try and catch the Bald Eagle migration before the 13th, when all the local bird refuges will be packed with old people and their point-n-shoots yelling and hootin about the birds inevitably making it impossible to shoot. Of course, here in Ogden about a foot of snow dropped on Friday night and when I woke up on Saturday morning it was still coming down like the next Ice-Age was beginning. Not being one to let a something like infinite snow get me down, I decided instead I would take the time I would be cooped up in the house to learn a new style of photography.

After some browsing online and pacing about the house I realized I had most everything I needed to give “still life” a try. The first attempt went horribly awry, for a number of reasons really. This was the setup I initially put together:

My camera settings for some reason weren’t set to shoot in RAW like I normally do, but rather a mid-level jpeg meaning I was already starting with a bad image. From there, I was shooting with various lights and no diffusion so I ended up with harsh shadows and clipped blacks. On top of all that, I wasn’t too careful with the backdrop, basically using some old black shirts to whip it together. So I ended up with shots like this:

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Overall, they aren’t terrible images, but it isn’t great either. There was room for improvement. After getting online and chatting with some of my photography friends who provided some valuable insights, I opted to spend the next day finding out how to assemble a light box, and try again. After some debating and more pacing about the house, I came up with the idea to use my old work shirts and some picture frames to build a box. I ended up with this setup for shoot number two:

This shoot went much better I think. I fixed my camera settings, checked the calibration on my monitor (which still seems to be good) and with the diffusing I was able to get a couple more attempts at shooting some of the scenes I shot yesterday, but hopefully without all the problems.

After moving the lights around to about four dozen different positions, I ended up with a configuration similar to the one above with a front light, a side light and a top light, all with some varying level of diffusion (as the shirt parts were thicker in some areas than others (with intention of course). My second round of shooting and post work ended up with these shots:

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All in all, I am much happier with these photos than I was with yesterdays shots. There is still a lot of work to be done as I also ended up with some awkward highlights like on this shot of the spoon/cup:

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I’m not entirely sure what is causing that white blotch on the spoon as it isn’t a part of the spoon itself but regardless of how I angled the lights it was always there. I’ll be probably putting in a ton of article reading and research these next few weeks to learn what I can about lighting and I probably pick up a better light kit/box to see if it makes up for some of the issues my homemade one has.

Hopefully in the next few weeks, I’ll have this down a lot better and I can put together a tutorial like I did for the infrared work I’ve done. I hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of the blog and as always, until net time — Thanks for reading!
-D

Getting In That Night Work …

Yesterday I was presented with an exceptionally pretty sunset. I was also lucky enough that my wife was getting home early from work and I could hoof it up to a higher point to get some quick shots of it. I think of the 100+ pictures I was able to take in few short minutes, a couple of them ended up pretty good. I think I like the first one more as an entire photo, but the clouds in the second one are much more appealing.

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In addition to that venture I also got to sneak out for a couple hours after putting the kiddo to bed in an attempt to take some street photography shots. I figured I’d head to Ogden’s downtown area near the Megaplex as that was bound to have people wandering about. I was mistaken. It was barren wasteland devoid of all life less the hum and glow of the giant cinema advertising sign. Nonetheless, I got a couple of neat shots there and one that actually had a few people in it.

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Overall I like the color on it, I just wish it was a little more busy. As per my last post I am trying to work on my skills in other areas aside from just landscapes, and not ever having people out doing things makes that difficult. However, I’ll be out and about today as well, so maybe I’ll get a little better luck then.

Sorry for the short post, but given my goals for this year, I figure it’s better to write a little something every day or so, then to write a slightly longer something bi-weekly. So with that being said, I’m off to shoot more and spend the day enjoying this wonderful springtime weather (which makes no sense at all, since it’s February). Until next time, thanks for reading!
-D

Post work shoot

I got out of work a little early today and decided to go and take some pictures. Since I didn’t have a ton of time before having to pick up the kiddo from school, I opted to hit the little duck pond near my house called Beus Pond. It’s really a rather pretty little park with a nice sized pond for the ducks and those who enjoy fishing. Next to it is a pair of fields: one with a small playground and a┬ábaseball batting area, the other just a wide open swatch of green grass. We take the kiddo there regularly as it’s nestled in a newer (but still rather established) neighborhood and is usually populated by pretty friendly folks.

Anyhoo, I got what I felt was a nice shot of the pond right before sunset and I spent a little time just watching the ducks play and fight.

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The more I get out and take pictures, the more I enjoy it. I gotta say it is really nice to have such a hobby where I have an excuse to get outdoors and walk and take in the sights. When I used to invest all my time in gaming back in college I would have never considered going for a hike or hanging out at a park. I’m certainly glad those days are behind me even if I do periodically miss them.

In other news, I’m hoping to be getting some new gear as soon as I can find a place that sells it anyways. I’ve been wanting a new lens, and it seems from the reviews I’ve read Bower’s makes a pretty solid 18mm fixed with a 1.8 f-stop. The best part is it’s actually a quality lens and it’s only $300. Hot dog! So hopefully in the next couple months I’ll have that up and can get some even nice landscape shots to put up. In the meantime, I shall continue to slave at my work and save my pennies.

Thanks for reading and see ya next time.

-D