All posts by Mark

The Power Of Water

One of Ohio’s largest assets is water. It’s a draw for agriculture, industry, and people. No matter how much tech we get, water is the secret source of wealth in any society. Don’t believe me? Look at a map of where the wealth is and you’ll see where the water is.

Ohio’s wealth is fresh water, much more valuable than salt water. You don’t necessarily see fresh water in the same way that you do the oceans. Ohio’s ocean is for the most part, underground.  We do get to see it in small rivers all over the state though.

I don’t get on my environmental band wagons. It’s so easy to see through the hypocrisy and ignorance of the leaders like Al Gore and friends. Ohio’s water though, it’s different. It’s not difficult to treat it with care. It’s so plentiful that simply being a mindful steward of it will keep it in check.

Here’s a photo of my hometown’s water supply flowing down from the north. It wasn’t that long ago that enforcement was finally placed on the towns north of us to stop dumping sewage into it.

The Licking River in Newark, Ohio
The Licking River In Newark, Ohio

The true measure of health in the river is really easy to know. All you need to ask is, “Are there fish in it?”.

Fishing in the Licking River in Newark, Ohio
Fishing in the Licking River in Newark, Ohio.

 

Sunlight In The Woods

I took a lot of time to hike this year in an effort to improve my health and my photography. The exercise helps more than with the initial goal of the waistline. It helps make you happier in general. There’s something about seeing how nature works . When photographing it, you start looking closer and it makes me appreciate it more.

In this photo, it’s Fall and the sun is coming through the trees giving the forest floor light at Fanchion Park in Granville, Ohio. These trees are sparse because man planted them that way, but in a natural growth, it could be a naturally thinning of the trees.

Sunset in the woods shines light on tall plants on the forest floor.
Sunlight coming through to the forest floor allows tall plant growth.

This natural layer of plants on the forest floor over time will die and fertilize the ground. The thinner the trees, the higher the plants grow beneath them. The trees will drop seed and more saplings will start. The constant process will keep going. That’s how forests are formed.

Of course, that’s just a partial brief explanation. There are animals and all sorts of other living creatures that partake in the process. The closer you look at it, the more you see.

I’m finding it beneficial to keep hiking the same paths because I’ve started to learn where the light is going to be interesting for photography. Timing and location are important factors in capturing the changes of light and in a dimly lit forest, it’s even more important.

My Favorite Photos Of 2013

I put more work into my photography in 2013 than at any other time in my life. I’ve always loved photography, but last year it took on a prominent place of things I want to do. I didn’t spend as much time with the camera as I should have, but I spent an inordinate amount of time studying the subject and as a reward, I’ve learned to see more things that go unnoticed by a lesser trained eye. These are the photos that I liked the most.

I like this photo of an icicle because of the way the light hit it. I’m learning more and more that light is the most important to make a photo interesting. The lines of the light on the rocks in the background make the icicle interesting.

Diagonal sunlight on an icicle.
Diagonal light on an icicle.

 

This one of 13 street lights on Route 13 in Newark, Ohio’s Downtown area caught quite a bit of attention on the photographic social media sights. I didn’t really want to be out in the weather the night I took this, but I got results. I waited here for quite a while before something entered the scene to make it more interesting.

13 lights on state route 13.
13 lights on State Route 13.

 

The tattoo shop caught my attention because there are so many things going on in the shot. A tattoo is being done, painting of a shadowy figure seems to be watching, Frankenstein’s there, a broken off foot, a huge dice, and of course the sign showing they take credit cards. Credit’s important in a business that relies on people making what may be irreversible mistakes.

A tattoo shop at night.
The tattoo shop at night

 

This is my old Army friend Ken Thomas. He’s a fun guy to be around in general, but in his natural habitat of the Smoky Mountains, his joy in being there is contagious. I don’t take many photos of people because I’m not very good at it. I don’t like thinking that I’ll take a bad photo and that someone may think lesser of themselves for something that came out of my camera. After this photo, I started losing that way of thinking. I thought the shot was great, even with the trees coming out of his hat.

My friend Ken Thomas
My friend Ken Thomas.

 

I was just out for a walk searching for something interesting. I started watching this group of pigeons congregating in run down balcony of old building. These 2 seemed to be communicating. Just as I clicked the shutter, one took off. I liked the circular blur of the wings next the other still perched.

Fast Take Off of a pigeon.
Fast take off.

 

I thought this looked like something a pro would have taken for a magazine shot. It’s our motorcycles and the Honda was brand new at the time.

The motorcycles.
The bikes.

 

The multiple expressions of the young people on this ride run the gamut. If you scan from left to right, you end up with a young man with his hands in the air and and grin just enjoying the ride. You can see the look of no cares or worries in the grin.

Just enjoying the ride.
Just enjoying the ride.

 

Night shots are difficult and there is no getting around it. There is science to it, but it’s not exact science. You have to have a tripod(which I hate to carry) and you never really know what you have until you get it home to edit.  I liked the mood to this one and it wasn’t far from a small brewery to get some beer after I was done.

Buckeye Lake At Night
Buckeye Lake At Night

 

This was just an oddity full of color. As you can see from the other photos, I really like to work in black and white. I am torn between staying consistent with all black and white or only using color where it is required to add to the photo. This is a photo where the color really adds to the oddity of stacked VW Bugs.

Stacked Volkswagons.
Stacked Volkswagons.

Technically, this photo of an eagle is lacking. I still like it because of it looks so much like the eagle on the back of a quarter. I had to walk a long ways to get to these eagles and it was a few hours before they started moving around to get a shot like this. 

An eagle takes off from perch like the pose on the quarter.
Eagle taking off like the pose on a quarter.

 

This Hawk photo reminds  me to always carry a camera. All that I had was my small point and shoot, but a cell phone would have worked here too. The bird let me get very close as it sat just a few feet from my car door.

Hawk on my fence.
Hawk on my fence.

I’ve got more room to improve, but my biggest accomplishment with my hobby was to learning to just enjoy it. The steps that taught me this were –

  • Learning to be forgiving of technical flaws. Some of the greatest photos in history are full of them. It’s the subject that matters.
  • Forget about the gear. Gear is nice and it helps, but if you’re lacking, take advantage of that restriction and limitation and make due with what you have.
  • Always have your camera with you and don’t be bashful about it. If folks ask if you think you’re a photographer, tell them YES! Not only do I think it, but you can see my work online or from one of the many who’ve purchased, legally borrowed, or stole my photos.

I encourage everyone to learn the basics of digital photography. Posting a photo is a form of communication that is as common now as sending an e-mail. The better you can do it, the better you can communicate. Things you can’t say in words, you can with a photo, even if it’s in a very subtle way.

If you’re not that into photography, put some effort into any creative hobby. Many of us are limited by our jobs. It’s not the place to experiment and try new things because of so many obvious reasons. Doing your own creative hobby gives a release for  our inherent nature to make things in our own way and in our own time.

I hope you enjoyed the photos and thanks for checking them out. The rest of my photos are at Mark Spearman Photography.

The Horse Photo Bomb

Today was another good one to stay inside for a while and catch up on some work. I have many photos from this summer that never made it to the editor. When I came across this photo I had to stop and make my post for the day.

It was a warm day and we had rode motorcycles all the way down to Bob Evans Farms outside Gallipolis, Ohio. There were horses there at a stable and this horse caught my attention with his wild looking mane. He was edging over to me at the fence and probably thought I may have a treat for me. The other horse in the photo just kept popping in behind him. When I seen the photo I got a smile remembering it.

I like how the photo turned out if it wasn’t that single horse with the cool mane by himself as I had pictured in my mind.

Horse with wild main and another photo bombing.
Horse photo bombing the other.

 

Burrrr. It’s Cold In Ohio. Let’s Just Talk About Photography.

Go cart on Buckeye Lake in Licking County, Ohio.
Go-cart on Buckeye Lake in Licking County, Ohio

It’s cold, really cold in Ohio today. I was happy to be in a position where I just didn’t have to bother with it today. Instead of braving the cold like a pro photographer, I’m going to set at home and write a post about it.

This photo was taken when I had just bought my Canon SX50 HS super-zoom bridge camera. I was having a blast with it. I was a long ways from this guy. I didn’t want to get close to a speeding go cart on the ice. It was no problem with the 50x zoom to get a decent photo and allow both of us to have our fun. Things like this got me hooked on the camera and I’ve happily used it for over a year now. I talk about that camera way to much.

 

2 Below Zero In Newark, Ohio Today

I’m trying to get better at photography and in doing that, I’ve found myself on lunch breaks out taking photos while I get a walk in. I don’t want to start finding excuses for not doing it or like other things we find excuses for, you slowly lose interest.

Newark, Ohio is more interesting when you really start taking a close look at it everyday. I didn’t say it looks better, just different.

Today I tried, but at -2 a person’s mind starts concentrating on one thing and that’s the temperature. By the time I finally found something to take a photo of, I was froze to the bone.

Sign showing 2 below 0 degrees in downtown Newark, Ohio.
2 Below 0 in Newark, Ohio

There is another cold day coming tomorrow. I look forward to the challenge.

Deer Portraits.

I’ve been pursuing a different take on wildlife photos. Most people will go out in the woods with these really expensive long lenses and get photos of the animals from far away. This never brings out the true nature of the beast. I find a nice pose creates a better portrayal of the animal. My little Canon PowerShot SX50 HS does the job with a problem.

I’ve done deer portraits before, but it’s hard to get them to smile as you can see in this photo. Click on the image for a larger version.

Closeup of a doe.
Standard portrait of a doe.

I wanted to take it a step further, so I finally got this young 8 point to ham it up a little.

First, he spots me.

8 Point Ohio Buck Deer
8 point buck in Ohio spots me.

Then, I coaxed a smile out of him.

8 point Ohio buck deer smiles for camera.
Deer smiling at the camera.

Then he walks away minding his own business.

8 point Ohio buck walking away calmly.
8 Point Ohio buck walking away from me after a portrait.

That’s all their is to it. Get out there and enjoy Ohio’s great outdoors. There’s lots to see and do, even in the winter.