Wednesday, March 12, 2014


A few days ago I went to the East Broad Top railroad in Rockhill, PA.  It is a, now, out of service railroad.  It is what is called a narrow scale railroad.  You can check up on the history of everything but basically railway width is based off of what the width of the horse's rear, and the wheels of a chariot would be. 

The EBT is pretty much decommissioned.  There is likely no resurgence in its future.  It's a sad thing too.  I went on an outing with several other photographers to check it out.  While there were many more photographs to take, than what I took, I couldn't really bring myself to shoot everything.  I know that this sounds ridiculous with digital photography being much cheaper than film and all, BUT! the reason I didn't is because I figured that everyone was shooting the whole scene.  I didn't really want to shoot the same photographs as fifteen other photographers. 

I chose to shot the day with less than twenty photographs.  Here are a few that I enjoyed out of that twenty.

A friend of mine, name Bill. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Guitar refinishing.

I do an eBay search for a guitar every week.  The guitar I'm looking for belonged to my friend that passed away 11 years ago.  I'm not looking for the same model or the same make, but rather his guitar.  I have been unable to for the entirety of the time I have looked for the guitar.  For some reason in December , I decided to type into the search, Jackson Randy Rhoads.  When I first started playing guitar, I had a JC Penny special, then a Peavey Predator.  The predator was basically a budget USA strat.  It was nice, but it wasn't until I received a Jackson Randy Rhoads EX Pro that I felt that I had a "good" guitar.

When I moved away from home I ended up with another Randy Rhoads.  I had a black one and a white one.  I still, to this day, remember the serial numbers of each.  So when I typed into the search bar on eBay, and I saw the guitar that I used to own, not the same model, but rather, MY old guitar, I put a joke bid on it to win it...and sure enough, I did.  When I sold the guitar years ago, it was for rent and security deposit on an apartment.  It did bum me out but I enjoyed the white Rhoads more, so that's why I sold the black one.  
Here are the pictures of it from eBay.  You can see that it has seen better days.  I did not take these photographs, again, they are from the listing. 

My son has been asking me to play an "orange" jammer for awhile.  I don't have an orange jammer, so I decided to paint the black Rhoads, with base coat/clear coat finish.  I chose an orange color that Honda used on the Fit and the Element. 

The process of refinishing a guitar is a long one.  It isn't something to decide to do on a whim (like I did).  You really need to have the time set aside for the work and a space to do it in.  I decided to do it without either of them!
I removed the strings, neck, pickups and hardware from the guitar.  I had to clean the hardware because it was terribly corroded.  After removing all of the hardware, it was time to get ready to sand it and repair the body damage.

That is the guitar with the hardware removed and photos of the damage.  You can see that this poor thing has seen much better days. 
I then sanded the guitar body with 80 grit paper. From there I used Bondo body filler to repair the damaged fins.  After the repairs set up, I used 120, 220, 320 and 400 grit paper to sand the guitar smooth.
This is just after the 80 and 120 grit sanding.

I was thinking of what pickups I wanted to use in this guitar.  I've always liked Seymour Duncan pickups and I've had a particular fondness for the distortion and the jazz combo.  I was unable to locate a distortion trembucker in stock, so I decided to try out the "dimebucker." 

 I initially tried to use clear coat as a sanding sealer, but there was a big problem after I tried to use the primer.  The primer was lifting off of the guitar.  See in guitar refinishing typically a sanding sealer/grain filler is used on the guitar, then sanded smooth, then the primer is applied, then the base coat, and finally, the clear coat.   I spoke to one luthier who uses clear coat as a sanding sealer.  The products I used must have been incompatible in that fashion.

So I had to sand the guitar...again...yuck!  So again with 80, 120, 220, 320 and 400 grit paper.  After that, I applied 3 coats of primer.  After that, I wet sanded the body with 600.  I had a few spots where I sanded through, so I again sprayed primer on the guitar.  I used 2 more total coats.  I would say that I sanded off 1-2 coats so that would leave 3 coats on the guitar. 
Here is the guitar wet sanded with the primer (I chose red primer to really make my orange pop a little more).

After the guitar was wet sanded, I then sprayed on the base coat colors.  I sprayed 4 coats of basecoat on the guitar.  Once the basecoat had set up and flashed off, I then looked it over for runs.  I had none.
Now it was time to clear coat the now, I'm really disliking the finishing sucks!
Here's a photo I took with my cell phone.  I intentionally put the windows in the background hoping the it would throw the matrix metering of my phone camera off and that it would make a cool misty look in the worked.
After the clear coat set up, it was time to polish it.  I was lucky to have no orange peel.  I soaked some 1500 grit in soapy water and began wet sanding the finish of the guitar.  I could've been a lot more aggressive but I was concerned with sanding through the finish on the guitar, into the color...which would've been really...really...really crappy.
After using the 1500 wet, I used 2000 wet, then a rubbing compound, a polishing compound and a scratch remover.  I wish I had an electric buffer, because I could've gotten the finish a lot better.
I had to wire the guitar up.  Stupid me, instead of wiring the parts with the wiring outside of the guitar, I did it INSIDE the guitar...there's not much room to work in a Rhoads that doesn't have a front loaded pick guard, as you can see here.
One step that I don't want to forget, and I did AFTER I had the guitar wired (stupid me again lol!) I had to tape off the whole guitar, because I wanted to spray the trem route with black.

Here is the "almost" finished guitar.
I still need to pick up a new jack plate, switch tip, and black knob. I'm currently waiting for the lacquer to completely harden so I can polish it one more time.  I got some dings and marks in it by playing with it before it was completely hardened.  Hate to see it happen to a rookie :)
In the process of working on the guitar, I ruined my glasses.  I ruined high-index digimax lenses from America's Best...a $264 mistake.
So this is my story, yes I got an orange guitar and it's nostalgic because I used to own it years ago.  I'm more than likely the only one on the planet with a Jackson Rhoads EX that is painted Orange Revolution Metallic.  However, let's talk about the total damages.
$182.50 for the guitar (good price! Seeing as how when I sold it...I sold it for $650 however many years ago).  $105 in paint and sand paper.  $29 for rubbing compounds and bondo. $150 for the pickups, and $264 for my eye glass lenses.  I'll include the $10 that strings cost, only because when you buy a new guitar, you usually get new least if the music store is worth a crap you will!  Oh and then $30 for new electronics inside the instrument...
Total damage? $770.50
I can certainly tell you this...I did NOT plan on wrapping up that much money or time into the guitar.  It would've been cheaper had I not bought so much paint (I could've saved $30-40), or sand paper (realistically you don't need as much as I bought, so another $20-30), if I wasn't an idiot and didn't ruin my lenses, I could've saved MORE money on my glasses lenses (264).  In reality, I should've been into this project for LESS than $450.
At $450 for a custom painted guitar with excellent pickups and electronics, this is a DEAL.  At almost 800?  Not so much.  However, my kid is happy that I have an "orange jammer" and I'm happy I have a guitar that I never did want to sell, but had to when I was young.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

CDMMA 9...let's try this again.

I'm not exactly sure why the first one was deleted, but for whatever reason my last blog on this was deleted.

I am back from photographing CDMMA9.   He just kept moving forward. Here is a link CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY to the gallery for your enjoyment. The photographs are for sale on the website, and if you have any questions, please get in contact with me. Thanks!
That's Jimmy. He was the ref for the night. Did a great job too keeping the fighters safe
This is a fighter from the undercard, and let me tell you...yeah, he took it all and kept coming.

Slick sub

This is Drew, announcing as usual.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

I swear that website is a brewin!

I know it's been awhile since I've posted.  It's not for a lack of shooting though (photo heavy episode of the blog :P).  I wanted to get on here and post a handful of the recent photographs for you to enjoy.  I've gotten the last of the details I need to gather for the new website together, and will be sending them in to the designer soon.  Just so you know, because I don't want it to seem like it is the designer, this hold up is 100% me.

Here's a handful of the recent photographs (from the last post to now)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer weddings and happenings

The summer season is almost over, and it is bringing way to fall.  How I love the beautiful colors of fall, but I dislike the winter coming.  It seems like only yesterday that we had snow in our driveway.

In July, I was so lucky as to photograph the wedding of a close friend, and one that I consider family, Pat Johnston and his (now) wife Jeannette.

I have known Patrick for several years, as he has been my judo coach for several of them, and a friend for almost all that I've known him.  I'm not going to lie, I don't think he particularly liked me when we first met, however we grew to become friends.  He and the rest of the Dignans really took me under their wing and helped me grow as a person, and I owe a lot of my thanks in life to them.  It will almost be 1 year (August 21st) that I had the pleasure of Patrick Johnston, and Jim and Jason Dignan promoting me to my black belt in judo.

With all of that said, I consider myself lucky to be the photographer for his wedding.

I had a fantastic time photographing Patrick and Jeannette's wedding, and I wish them a lifetime of happiness and love.  Here's just a few quick photographs from the day.

I will get back to regular posting here before long.  I've still been photographing events and everything, but with my summer classes, my "blog" time has been cut back (I still have to have time to edit photographs and take them!  If I'm writing about all of them, I won't be able to take all of them! lol).

I hope you can enjoy these photographs, and I hope you too can wish my family by proxy, Pat and Jeannette a wonderful future.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summit Booster

This year brought the second annual Penn Cambria Golf Booster.  It's a really great outing where teams compete and raise money for the golf team (I'm not sure if that is the correct wording). 

I have been a tee sponsor for each year, and also the photographer for the event as well.  I enjoy helping out a good cause, and I think helping the kids get their golf equipment/shirts and things like that is a good cause.  While I make jokes about golf sometimes, I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone that can accurately nail a ball and send it to where they are aiming.  There are so many factors in the accuracy of a shot, that it really is a true feat to be a good golfer.

Here is the gallery for the photographs of the day,
Cresson Summit Booster

This year, I am making the photographs available in a different way than I did last year.  Last year, I just handed out 4x6's, and people could order whatever they wanted.  Rather than hand out the photographs, this is what I'm doing this year.  The photographs are free to download for personal use.  Personal use means anything that isn't news or money earning (e.g., you cannot sell the photographs). 

I am also making the same photographs available for sale.  Why buy a photograph when you can download it for free?  Well that answer is simple, from every sale that is as a result of the Cresson Summit Golf Booster that took place on July 1st 2013 (I am also going to set up a link to the previous year's gallery and do the same thing), I will make a donation of 25% of the profits of the sale to the Penn Cambria Booster.

I also lowered the print prices, lower than my standard rates, that way ordering a few prints doesn't cost the friends/families as much, and I'll still be making a donation.

For example, if there is $100 in profits that arise from sales, $25 will be donated to the booster.  Also, for anyone that orders, I will make available proof/confirmation that indeed a donation was made.  If no sales are made, the amount will be $0.00 (25 percent of nothing is nothing).  So there you have it, you can make a purchase with a percentage going towards the Penn Cambria golfers, or you can download for free.  I will include instructions on how to download the photographs,

To download any of your photographs,

1: Go to

2: On this page there will be a tab for "Events."  Please click on the "Events" tab.

3: This will open into a window with a listing for the Cresson Golf Booster.  Please click this tab.

4: Once you find the photograph that you would like to download, select the size you would like to download it as (the size option will appear as your mouse is over the selected photograph).

5: Right-click with your mouse and click "save as."  You can then select where on your computer you would like to save the photograph.
There is no charge for a digital download of the photograph.  (though you can buy a digital download and a donation will be made as detailed above).

Getting the ball off of the club is, in my opinion, harder than a ball off of a bat.

A young man in the putting contest reacts as his ball nearly goes in.

All in all, it was a great day.  The rain held out for most of the day.  I am looking forward to next year.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A nice surprise.

Firstly, I am not the bragging type and no matter how I try to word this post or the title, it feels as though I am bragging.  I definitely am not doing so and I hope you will see that I am just proud of a recent accomplishment.

I belong to a photo club and they hold a yearly print competition.  I enter photographs into all of the categories but the ones I like the most are still life and portraits, with portraits being my favorite.

The two photographs that took first and second place in the people portion of the competition are here;

The Guitarist (A self portrait).

Laura (unless I'm a real wizard, not a self portrait :P )
While it is not the first time that I have received either good comments, awards, or a pleased client out of a photograph, it was my first time entering a self portrait into a competition.  A lot of people think that photographers aren't nervous on the other side of a camera, but I definitely am.  So when I see a client that is nervous of having their photograph taken, I have so walked a mile in those shoes.

The only reason I put a photograph of myself into the competition was because I needed another print to go to the maximum of 5 between all of the categories.  At the end of the year, scores are tabulated, and while I think it is silly, end of the year ratings are based upon the total of all of your scores.  So conceivably, you could not place 1st, 2nd or even 3rd in any of the categories, but still end up with the highest total of the year.  While this scenario is highly unlikely both based upon the talent of the other photographers in the competition, and also the math is against it, it doesn't rule it out.  For that reason alone, you're better off putting in a photograph that you think will score even 5 or 10 points, rather than not put one in.

That's exactly why I tossed a photo of yours truly into the mix.  I honestly didn't think it was going to do well, and when I got the news, I was so excited to tell the model that we placed, because she also suggested that I submit it.

Anyway, I will have photographs from my most recent trip to Florida here shortly, and also photographs from the golf booster here shortly.

Until then, take care!