Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pine Bokeh Photography

Photos by Pine Bokeh Photography

Hiking and dogs - two of my all time favorite things. Particularly, hiking at Brandywine Falls with my very own rescue dog, Slider. I rescued this little guy in 2012, and we've been on countless adventures together. Don't let his little size fool you. He keeps up, and he has a larger than life personality; a personality that is worthy to be captured in a series of photos!

My former co-worker Britney recently started her own photography business, Pine Bokeh Photography, and said she really wanted to get some pet portraits of my little guy! Of course, I obliged, because (next to dogs and hiking) another one of my favorite things is photography. I am a firm believer that life should be captured on film as much as possible (I even get picked on it for how many pics I take)! 

As Ansel Adams says, "You don't take a photograph, you make it." So that's just what we did! We went off to take photos with a field, and with the waterfalls as a backdrop. Pine Bokeh is named as such because of their use of the "bokeh" technique in photography (a blurred effect of sorts). I think that Britney and her business partner Jess did a fantastic job.

Here are a few samples of photos taken this summer! Go out there and explore, but take a camera along with you! After all, a camera is like a "save" button for your memories!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Akron To Cincy

Photos by Tim Fitzwater

The following post was written for publication on the website "The Akronist." The Akronist is a source for compelling stories about greater Akron. It has local videos, photos, podcasts, articles, and blogs produced by the community. I wrote this piece as a recap of a recent trip taken with a group of fellow Akronites in the young leadership group known as Torchbearers. 

As a bus full of 35 Akronites rolled into the Over-the-Rhine district of Cincinnati on June 5, smart phones began taking pictures and tagging social media posts with the hashtag “#TB2Cincy.”

There was no question that the working minds of Torchbearers of Akron had arrived, and they were eager to learn about the southwest Ohio city nearly four hours away from home. Creative juices were flowing, and notepads were at the ready to catch inspiration during the group’s two-day excursion to the Queen City.

In early 2015, Torchbearers received its largest single grant ($65,000) from the John S. and James L Knight Foundation. This grant sponsored two trips, the first being to Detroit in May 2015, and the second being the most recent trip to Cincinnati on June 5 and 6 of this year.

It was the goal of Torchbearers to travel to Cincinnati in order to learn about the city’s efforts in arts and culture, neighborhood revitalization and economic development, with the hopes of bringing back these ideas for programs in Akron. In addition, the trip was an opportunity for Torchbearers to share with those in Cincinnati all the innovative things Akron is doing to revitalize and grow.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Canopy Walk & Emergent Tower at Holden Arboretum

Photos by OHventures

Holden Arboretum
9500 Sperry Road
Kirtland, OH 44094
(440) 946-4400

As a kid, my friends and I would spend hours in the woods, climbing trees, trying to get as high as we could, so we could see as far out as possible. Of course, we could never get too high, because we were so little, and because there was no safe or easy path to the top. Now, even as adults, the idea of being in the treetops is something we all still yearn for.

Thankfully, breathtaking treetop views are waiting for you at the Holden Arboretum, located in Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio.

The Holden Arboretum is a gorgeous park, and is considered to be one of the largest botanical gardens in the nation. There are more than 3,600 acres of gardens and wooded area to be explored, holding over 9,400 different kinds of plants.

Some highlights of the display gardens include the rhododendron garden, the hedge collection, and the magnolia collections. It's remarkable to walk through and see the beautifully colored array of flowers and plants, from lilies to witch hazels to lilacs, depending on the season.

But what we came for was the trees. You can walk along trails lined with conifers like pines, spruces and firs, and deciduous trees like maple, oak, and beech.

Now, thanks to two new features at the Holden Arboretum, you can also walk on top of and above the trees! The Murch Canopy Walk and the Kalberger Emergent Tower are open April 1 through November 1, and can be accessed by just a small fee at the ticket gate.

The Canopy Walk is 500 feet in length, and is built 65 feet above the forest floor. The walkway goes from tree to tree, and gives you an exciting and unique experience and perspective of the woods. Take your time to look up, down, and around when you are walking along these suspended pathways!

The Kalberger Emergent Tower is an impressive wooden structure that soars 120 feet into the sky. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to get a workout in as you climb a great deal of steps to reach the observation deck at the top! When you do finally get to the peak, you can get an unbeatable 360 degree view of the entire park, and the surrounding areas. You can even see Lake Erie to the north!

Be sure to bring a camera and take tons of pictures, and a water bottle! Make sure you prepare for a visit that lasts at least 2 hours, to account for the time it takes to wait in line for the tower, and the time it takes to soak in the views! After all, it's a view you've probably been hoping to see since you were a kid!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Shawshank Hustle Recap

Photos by OHventures

We all know and love the famed Ohio Reformatory. We've visited this historic now-defunct prison on numerous occasions before. We've seen it as a haunted house, and we have been on a tour to learn about all the movie secrets from when the Shawshank Redemption was filmed here after the prison closed in the early '90s. Now, we are visiting this famous Ohio landmark for a different reason: a 7K race called The Shawshank Hustle, which took place on June 11, 2016.

It is always an incredible sight to see this castle-like structure up close and personal, but it is even more incredible to see this architectural masterpiece with thousands of runners lining up for a race!

It was a clear, beautiful morning in Mansfield, but the problem for myself (and likely many others) was the heat! I am not sure how hot it was during our run, but the high that day was 90 degrees! This heat would definitely be a factor in my less than stellar performance in the 7K!

My trusty running partner, Matt, and I arrived that morning. After a few issues with road detours and long lines of cars for parking, we picked up our packets and explored the exterior of the Ohio State Reformatory. There were fun elements set up, like mock prison bars (pictured above), and a large metal gate (pictured below) that we climbed on for a photo!

Soon enough, however, it was time to line up to run. There were pace runners with signs, so that was a perk. However, I would soon find out that the pace we were aiming for (8 minute miles) was a bit too lofty a goal.

Not only was the heat a factor in slowing me down, but the HUGE hills also were cumbersome! Matt was kind enough to stick with me on the course, but I know I was slowing him down. The positive to going slower, however, was that we got to see some of the other points of interest along the race route. This included 5 additional filming locations from The Shawshank Redemption found throughout downtown Mansfield (including the Bissman Building and Carousel Antiques). You also pass the Mansfield Carousel, which we had tickets to ride as a perk for signing up, and the Phoenix Brewing Company, where we have complimentary beers after the race.

They describe the race as an "escape from the prison," and the final gigantic hill on the out-and-back course is referred to as "The Road To Redemption," which is definitely fitting. It was quite a challenge (you can view the race course from the POV of a runner here on YouTube). Our race medals were shaped like ball & chains, which is what I felt I had shackled to my ankle the whole way. Needless to say, I was glad the race was over.

Not only did the allure of the prison and the love of the movie bring people out in droves to this race, but the added bonus of having access to tour the facility following the run was also a perk!

We had the chance to see some remarkable infrastructure, such as the world's largest free-standing cell blocks (pictured above) and some of the props from the movie! It was a self-guided tour with so much to see, we could have spent hours inside!

The picture above is me in the prison cell, hanging my head in shame for having a slow race time (only joking of course). While I was disappointed with my time, my friend Matt showed me just what friends are for by bringing my spirits up and reminding me that everyone has a "bad race" every once in awhile. He shared with me the following words of wisdom: 

Some runs are bad. Some are good. A few are great - especially when you contrast them with the bad. It's easier to shake off a bad run when you remember that you've had plenty of great runs in the past. Terrible races make the good ones that much sweeter. Without the lows, the highs wouldn't feel nearly as good.