Amazing photos are everywhere – you just have to look for them

Pacific Ocean along California Highway 1

Great photos don't just happen. A skilled photographer is always on the lookout for an image that really stands out. Wherever he goes, he observes how light and shadow changes the appearance and “feel” of every scene.

This photograph was taken along California Highway 1. A college friend and fellow photographer, Max Muir, and I were driving along at 60 mph when I spied the Pacific Ocean through a small opening in the trees. It was only a split second observation but it was enough to go back and investigate. After walking through a thicket of trees, there before us was an ocean vista that was beyond breathtaking. (Lake Erie is just no comparison!) We spent about 45 minutes exploring several viewpoints – kneeling, squating and standing along the edge of a 200 foot cliff. We came away with some amazing images and a fantastic start to our “photo safari” to San Francisco.

If you have a photography related question, please post it under “Comments.”

North Ridgeville Bicentennial posters help worthy cause

Last Fall, I read about an organization in my town that was struggling to help local families in need with food, shelter, clothing, counseling and more. The North Ridgeville Community Care (NRCC) was experiencing dwindling funds as the demand for their services sharply increased due to our nation's worst recession in over 70 years.

That's when I decided to create a poster celebrating the Bicentennial of North Ridgeville to be used as a fund raiser for the NRCC.

The poster was designed with photos  of North Ridgeville that were taken last summer. SpectraLight Photography picked up the cost of printing so that 100% of the money raised would go to NRCC. My goal is to raise $1000.00 for this worthy organization through the sale of this poster. Continue reading

Make your photos shine with gorgeous color enhancement

Pacific Ocean along California Highway 1

Sometimes the beautiful color you see with your eyes doesn't appear that way in your photographs. Why settle for dull, boring photos when you can make your photos shine with gorgeous color enhancement?

Most people take photos with their camera set on “automatic.” While that setting does an okay job at capturing a picture, it “averages” out the light and dark areas of a scene – often creating low contrast images.

To bring back the color you saw when you took the photo, use a software program like Adobe Photoshop – a program that costs about $700. A more affordable alternative to Photoshop is Adobe Premiere Elements. It costs just under $100 – which is several hundred dollars LESS than Photoshop. For other software, Google “photo editing programs” to find one that offers the features that are just right for you. Generally speaking, the cheaper the software, the less it can do to enhance your photos.

Mocha Monkey meets newlyweds at the Golden Gate Bridge

Mocha Monkey with newlyweds at the Golden Gate Bridge

The Mocha Monkey met Vlad and Tanya while visiting the Golden Gate Bridge on a recent trip to San Francisco.

They became “fast friends” as they ran along the shoreline together.

Seems like everywhere MM goes, people want to hang out with the little guy!

To my daughters on Father’s Day

Dear Jacqui and Dani,

On this Father's Day, I reflect back on our years together.

There are so many things I could have done differently in the quest of being the “perfect dad.” To that end, I have failed miserably.

I can't go back and change the past, but I pray for a future to win your hearts.

As I stand back and admire how you have both grown up, I am thankful for your caring spirits, sense of humour and your curiosity with the things around you. May you be a beautiful reflection of your mother's love from this day onward.

I Love You.


Your bank’s ATM – cause of identity theft?

An identity thief was nabbed in North Ridgeville – a small community about 25 minutes west of Cleveland.

Using a device called a “skimmer,” he acquired the information from the magnetic stripe on each bank customer's card and then used a remote camera to record the PIN as it was entered.

To learn how this is done, how to recognize a “skimmer” attached to an ATM and how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, read the informative article at:

Do you have any tips to avoid identity theft? Please leave your comment – below.

How to get your camera back if you lose it

Take a photo of yourself holding a sign like this as the first picture on your digital card. (No, this is not a photo of me!)

Back in 1984, I left a bag loaded with thousands of dollars of camera equipment along side a country road in Austria.

I had just photographed some amazing views of the Austrian Alps before moving on to photograph some castles in Germany.

About an hour later (and 50 miles of treacherous, mountainous roads) I realized what I had done. I raced back to the scenic spot and the bag was gone. Fortunately, it was turned in to the local police. I paid a small “reward” to the finder and all ended well.

I just read how another photographer developed a strategy that will increase the chance of getting your camera back – should you leave it behind. It's cute and clever and it will certainly make you smile!

Read more:

Do you have a personal experience losing your camera and then having someone return it? Please leave your comment – below.

“Hot In Cleveland” debuts tonight

The stars of Hot In Cleveland (Image: TV Land)

Will this show take another “shot” at Cleveland – portraying our fair city as the “Mistake-on-the-Lake”? Or will Cleveland be shown as a cool place to live?

“This show is going to end up being, I believe, a love letter to Cleveland,” Valerie Bertinelli said during a telephone interview. “This is our way of paying homage to Cleveland.”

Read the entire Plain Dealer article on at:

The show's pilot episode airs tonight at 10 p.m. on the TV Land Network.

What do you think of this show? Please leave your comment – below.

The Mocha Monkey tries to meet President Obama

The Mocha Monkey has been doing some serious travelling lately. After visiting San Francisco and then Cleveland for my daughter's wedding – he took off for Washington, D.C. for a visit with President Obama.

Unfortunately, the President didn't know that MM was coming. MM sat outside the White House for two days before giving up.