CLEveland ROCKS! And we have the building to prove it

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Cleveland, Ohio (Photo: Mark Madere | SpectraLight Photography)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – Cleveland, Ohio (Photo: Mark Madere | SpectraLight Photography)

Probably the most iconic building in Cleveland, Ohio is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

As a photographer, I just love the distinct design created by world renowned architect, I. M. Pei. Almost every view of the building offers a unique view of Lake Erie or the downtown skyline.

See more views of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and order art prints here.

 

A commemorative photo remembering 9/11

Statue of Liberty in New York City after 9/11

Statue of Liberty in New York City after 9/11. See this artwork larger or order a limited edition commemorative print at http://mark-madere.artistwebsites.com/featured/we-shall-never-forget-9-11-mark-madere.html. (Note: the commemorative print does NOT have “SpectraLight.com/fineart” on it.)

“Cancel the trip – terrorists have attacked New York!” Those were the words I heard my wife utter over the telephone from work the morning of September 11, 2001.

There weren't any more attacks on the U.S. after that, so just 10 weeks later,  my wife, two young daughters and I spent Thanksgiving weekend in New York City. There was a somber mood cast over the city with the huge loss of life after the Twin Towers fell.

Through it all, the terrorists failed to take away our freedom. Seeing “Lady Liberty” keeping watch over New York Harbor gave us comfort and a sense of pride for our country. It is those feelings that inspired the creation of the above photo.

The image on the left is the low contrast, original image right out of the camera. The image on the right was created in just a couple mouse clicks with Topaz Adjust – a software program that I use to enhance most of my outdoor photos. The text “We Shall Never Forget – 9/11” was added with Adobe Premiere Elements.

Save 15% off Adjust or any of their other Topaz Labs software using code “15topaz” at checkout: http://spectralight.com/TopazSoftware. Scroll down that page to see all the software titles available.

NOTE: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, you'll help support this blog at no cost to you – allowing us to continue sharing information like this for your education and enjoyment. Win/Win! Thanks!

Discover 7 Secrets to Better Vacation Photography

Changing camera angles and take an ordinary pose and transform it to an extraordinary one.

Changing camera angles and take an ordinary pose and transform it to an extraordinary one. These photos are from the presentation: “7 Secrets to Better Vacation Photography”

I'm really excited to be asked to show how to take better vacation photos at the May 20th meeting of the North Ridgeville Arts Council. I will be presenting “Discover 7 Secrets to Better Vacation Photography.” The information can be used to improve vacation photography, pictures of friends and family, sporting events and more.

Topics to be covered include: how to choose a camera, creative composition from unusual camera angles, use of natural light and electronic flash, how to help people look their best, enhancing photos after they're taken, saving and preserving picture files to guard against loss from a computer crash, different ways to display photographs for maximum enjoyment and more.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

The meeting is on Monday, May 20th at 7 p.m. at North Ridgeville Library,35700 Bainbridge Rd, North Ridgeville.

Northeast Ohio amateur photographers could win big bucks

You're a winner!”

Yes, those could be the words that a few lucky Cleveland area photographers hear after judging is completed for three amateur photo contests – one local, one national and one international.

The local contest is the “Photo Safari at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo here you can try your hand at animal photography. All photos must be taken on zoo grounds between April 1 and October 31, 2013 and submitted to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on photographic paper on or before October 31, 2013.

The Best of Show winner will get a Behind-the-Scenes Zoo tour, Adopt an Animal package courtesy of the Cleveland Zoological Society and a Polaroid PoGo Photo Printer. Other prizes include Zoo family memberships, 18-hole rounds of golf at any Cleveland Metroparks Golf Course, $25 Discount Drug Mart gift cards and much more.

Get contest details at http://www.clemetzoo.com/events/event.asp?event_id=37.

Next up is the “Olive Garden Picture Perfect InstaGram Contest.” And no, you don't have to be an Olive Garden fan or even eat there to be eligible to participate. Of course, I LOVE their Eggplant Parmesan so I'll grab a bite there in your honor.

There are 42 prizes with the Grand Prize winner receiving a $500 prepaid credit card.

The contest is open to lawful permanent residents of the United States (including D.C.); between the ages of 13 and 18 years old as of April 1, 2013, and have an active InstaGram account. The contest ends on May 14, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. so you better hurry!
Get contest details at http://www.officialolivegardenrules.com/olive-garden-picture-perfect.

Finally, there's the “The Art of Photography Show 2013.” There are $10,000 in cash awards with the first place winner receiving $2,000 and fourteen others grabbing lesser cash prizes.

This contest is geared for aspiring photographers who are ready to invest $25 for their first entry and $10 for each additional entry. Entries must be received by May 18th at 11:59 pm PDT (California Time) so time is of the essence.

Get contest details at http://www.artofphotographyshow.com

Have you ever wanted to create a book of your favorite images to share with family and friends? Or maybe you would like to offer your book for purchase to the general public for a little extra income.

I've create two books using a pretty cool company called Blurb. One is a pictorial celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge and the other is a collection of unique images of Picturesque Olmsted Falls, Ohio.

Now you can create a book for yourself or your mom for Mother's Day and save 20% off through May 10, 2013. Simply enter coupon code LOVEYOUMOM at checkout to claim your discount.

So what's been your experience with photo contests? Please comment and share some contests you've entered and what you thought of the judging.

Do you like this article? Please share this article with you friends on Facebook, LinkedIn or via e-mail.

Phantastic phfurry Phil is at it again

Punxsutawney Phil at Gobbler's Knob on Groundhog Day

Punxsutawney Phil at Gobbler's Knob on Groundhog Day

Punxsutawney Phil is about to do his annual prognostication (OK, prediction) on how much longer we have to deal with cold, snowy, winter weather. After Clevelanders got socked with a rough morning commute to work in near white-out conditions and many schools canceled classes – spring can't come soon enough!

Ten years ago, I had the opportunity to see the crazy antics of Punxsutawnians during their week long, Groundhog Day celebration. Punxsy (as the locals call their hometown) has a HUGE statue of a groundhog outside one of their fast food restaurants, the library keeps the real, live Phil in a glass enclosure year round, the city has a huge week long festival with ice sculptures created by a chain saw carver, food vendors (Groundhog Dogs anyone?) and all kinds of “Phil” related items at their annual craft fair.

There's even a “Little Mr. & Miss Groundhog” contest. And who could pass up a screening of the movie, “Groundhog Day” at the Punxsutawney Community Center?

You'll see many of the Groundhog Day activities in the video photo collection from my visit in 2003 at http://youtu.be/iIoqPBAfSjY. Enjoy!

See the 2013 Groundhog Day schedule at http://www.punxsutawneyspirit.com/content/2013-groundhog-day-schedule

Have you ever been to Punxsutawney to see whether Phil would see his shadow? If not, do you think you'll ever make the trip? Please share your thoughts below.

A dilemma for the ages – what to get Dad on Father’s Day?

Fathers Day gift idea - a hand made book from Blurb

Fathers Day gift idea – a hand made book from Blurb

So what do you give to the guy who has everything on Father's Day? Ahh, a dilemma for the ages. Most dads don't wait for a special occasion to get their “toys.” If they want it now – they get it now.

Fortunately, a San Francisco based company has come to the rescue. Blurb.com provides the resources to create a personalized book with your own snapshots that look as good as one you’d get in a book store.

What dad with a heart wouldn’t appreciate a hard cover book with photos of his children and stories of their experiences with dad? Dad’s the guy. The hero. The rock star. The guy who fixed it all. Photos from then. Photos from now. Make him a book that will make him proud.

Even though it may be too late to have the book delivered by Father’s Day – you can always tell him in a card that “a very special gift that you’ll treasure for a lifetime is in the works and that you’ll be getting it soon. I promise it will be worth the wait.”

Right now, Blurb is offering a special discount of 15% off ANY book until June 30, 2012(and it doesn’t even have to be for Father’s Day). Why not check it out right now?

Have you ever wanted a high quality, hard cover book of your personal photos? Have you already created one? Did you give it as a gift? How did the recipient like it? Please comment.

John Glenn – I don’t remember his record setting orbital flight

John Glenn looks through a device used in astronaut training on August 17, 1961.

John Glenn looks through a device used in astronaut training on August 17, 1961. (Photo by NASA)

The date was February 20, 1962. Ohio native John Glenn became the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the earth. I was a toddler, not quite three years old, probably staring out a window as snowflakes gently fell around my home in the Western Pennsylvania town of Du Bois. I had no clue that a historical event was unfolding – one that would captivate my imagination of space travel and someday living on the moon.

I had a poster with colorful illustrations of all the planets, I built model replicas of the Saturn V rocket and the Lunar Lander – complete with legs that extended as it came to rest on my own imaginary moon.

I remember the Apollo 13 flight that put three Americans in dire straights. If not for the creativity of those brave astronauts and Mission Control using “ball-and-twine” like solutions that only MacGyver himself would have marveled at – they would have perished. I stayed glued to the TV – watching the drama unfold when I was suppose to be heading off to school.

I remember the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster in 1986 – when the first school teacher to fly in space lost her life along with six other astronauts – just 73 seconds into the flight. And then there was Columbia – the shuttle that broke apart as it re-entered the earth's atmosphere on February 1, 2003. I was in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania photographing the world famous Punxsutawney Phil festivities when I was shocked by the news.

But probably my all-time favorite memory of the NASA space program came when I was in Orlando with my family enjoying Disney World on October 30, 1998. As we were exiting the park, we heard a loud roar off in the distance as Space Shuttle Discovery took flight from the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island. There was a large plume of rocket engine exhaust marking the location of lift-off that made chills run through my spine. On that flight was the oldest human to ever fly in space – none other than astronaut and then Ohio Senator John Glenn – all of 77 years old. And that record still stands today.

Although I never became an astronaut – I've lived vicariously through the lives and legends of our very own American heroes.

To view over 600 videos on the life of John Glenn, visit www.johnglennbio.com

So what is YOUR favorite memory of the NASA space program? Please share your thoughts by clicking the comment link at the top of this article.

7 well dressed photographers attack royal wedding on bikes

Hugo Burnand and his team of wedding photographers

Hugo Burnand and his team of wedding photographers as they bike to Prince William and Kate Middleton's Wedding (Photo by Matt Writtle. See more of Matt's photography at http://www.mattwrittle.com)

If you thought the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton was a media circus; the photographer asked to cover it for the “royals” contributed to that image.

On the morning of April 29, 2011, London-based photographer Hugo Burnand and his well-trained team of seven assistants (all on bicycles) rode through Hyde Park to Buckingham Palace. They zigzagged through thousands of people who had gathered to witness Prince William marry Kate Middleton. “Cycling over was exhilarating,” Burnand recalled.

Days earlier, Burnand and his team created the couple’s official wedding portraits in the Throne Room in Buckingham Palace. “We had backup equipment for our backups,” he said. Even though he had experience photographing the 2005 wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, the pressure was intense.

On the day of the wedding, Burnand had exactly 28 minutes to photograph the bridal couple before they made their balcony appearance. He claims he wasn’t stressed. “I was very well prepared,” he said, thanks to following the military adage of the seven P's – “Proper planning and preparation prevents piss-poor performance.”

It took 32 hours to prepare for the 28 minute shoot. “We rehearsed everything, including what to do if things didn’t go according to plan. I said my prayers before hand and every single prayer was answered.”

Photographer Hugo Burnand's favorite wedding photo: Prince William and Kate Middleton surrounded by the children.

Photographer Hugo Burnand's favorite wedding photo: Prince William and Kate Middleton surrounded by the children. (Photo: Hugo Burnand/Clarence House)

One of Burnand's favorite photos is of Prince William and Kate surrounded by the children. “Every individual in that picture shows their real character. I knew what I wanted so there was photographic direction, but you can’t direct that kind of spontaneity and naturalness,” stated Burnard.

For couples wishing to get the best professional photos that they'll truly cherish – consider hiring a professional who has received extensive training in wedding photography. Look at their portfolio and ask for references (and check those references.) A great resource of professional photographers is the Professional Photographers of America. Find a photographer in your area here.

So what unusual photography moment do you remember about your wedding? Please share it here with a comment.

Get a GREAT Freebie at Falls Day in the Park this Sunday

FREE uniquely shaped, limited edition post card of the waterfall at Olmsted Falls. Read the article to see how you can get one!

FREE uniquely shaped, limited edition post card of the waterfall at Olmsted Falls. Read the article to see how you can get one!

Do you like free food, rock music and give aways? Then get ready for a fun afternoon at Falls Day in the Park this Sunday – Oct. 2nd – from 1 – 4 p.m. at East River Park on Lewis Road in Olmsted Falls.

There will be free hot dogs, chili, brats, donuts, apple cider and more from local civic groups and businesses. A rock band will provide free entertainment while you enjoy local arts and crafts vendors and more.  It’s a great time to reconnect with old friends from the Olmsted area.

SpectraLight Photography will be showing off and selling “Picturesque Olmsted Falls – Gazebos, Waterfalls, a Covered Bridge and More – Oh My!” Believed to be the first book of it’s kind in Northeast Ohio, it contains nearly 50 photographs that look similar to paintings created with watercolor, oils, canvas and other “Old Masters” techniques.

To launch the book, we are giving away a uniquely shaped, limited edition post card of the scene chosen for the book cover. A sample of the card is shown above. If you can’t make it to Falls Day in the Park, you can get a free post card by sending a self-addressed, long (business size) envelope to: Free Olmsted Falls Post Card, c/o SpectraLight Photography, 8367 Burlington Drive, North Ridgeville, OH, 44039.

Up all night – 3,604 cups of coffee – voila – the Mona Lisa!

Mona Lisa replica created with 3604 cups of coffee was 20 feet high by 13 feet wide.

Mona Lisa replica created with 3604 cups of coffee was 20 feet high by 13 feet wide.

Although its doubtful that Leonardo Da Vinci consumed 3,604 cups of coffee while painting the Mona Lisa; it took a team of eight people about three hours to recreate it with that many cups at the The Rocks Aroma Festival in Sydney, Australia in 2009. The different shades were created by adding milk in varying amounts with some receiving none, little or lots of milk to each cup of black coffee.

The different shades of the Mona Lisa were created by adding milk in varying amounts with some receiving none, little or lots of milk to each cup of black coffee.

The different shades of the Mona Lisa were created by adding milk in varying amounts with some receiving none, little or lots of milk to each cup of black coffee.

The “mural” was seen by 130,000 people who attended the one-day coffee-lovers event. “We wanted to create an element of surprise and a sense of fun in the way we engaged with the public,” said Elaine Kelly – one of the event organizers.

“Once we had the idea of creating an image out of coffee cups we searched for something iconic to reproduce – and opted for the most iconic painting in history,” stated Kelly. “The Mona Lisa has been reproduced so many times in so many different mediums but, as far as we know, never out of coffee. The result was fantastic.”

Have you ever created something out of materials that wouldn't normally be used for that item? Please share your experience with a comment here.