COVID and coffee

It’s been tough. For some, it’s been horrific. I have first world issues so I’m not about to talk about how difficult it is for me … it’s not. I’m working, I have resources … fear is not part of my daily experience.

I’ve been following other photographers from around the globe. Some are actively covering the virus while others are waiting for their areas to open so they can shoot again. The entire event industry, weddings, concerts, conventions … they are shut in and going broke. I do believe that within the next 60 days photographers will be back at it again. Sure it will be different but they will be shooting for money (I hope).

I hadn’t been to Brew & Stew since November of last year. I just popped in and had all these intentions of going back – the decor was something I couldn’t wait to photograph. Instead, I scoured the back alleys of old town Lorain. It was and has been under construction for some time. Brew & Stew would have to wait until next time. But next time was to be a long ways off.

Lorain’s old town is still under construction but the streets are open and the traffic on Broadway goes both ways. After dropping off my son to film one of his projects, I remembered the quaint coffee shop with the killer interiors. I knew that it wouldn’t be accessible to my lens but knew from stalking them on IG they were doing curbside. The original location was shut up because Mary’s landlord decided now would be a great time to increase her rent. Running two businesses during the virus is not sensible. “Two locations with one income isn’t going to cut it” she said. Being a small business owner myself, I understand that math completely.

I found the shop at 939 Broadway. The home of Broadway Mary’s. The layout has changed, what hasn’t, but the retro vibe is alive and well. A cross between thrift/antique store and boho fashion outlet, the store is littered with memorability and stylish adornments. Every piece has a purpose and nothing is out of place or by chance.

Mary served me a decaffeinated Rising Star thru her espresso machine. Probably one, if not, the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had. No really, if you must do decaf, it’s worth the trip to satisfy that urge.

We can’t solve the worlds problems by drinking coffee or eating coffee cake but we can help solve our local vendors problems by visiting their shops. I hope that after we’ve opened these small businesses, I will remember to stop saving my loose cash and visit them frequently. How about you?

Making the “Red Hydrant” image

Lightroom film strip

Every day I drive past this field and each time I do, I see an image ….
Now I don’t typically plan my images. It’s rare. But the field caught my eye because of how the light would hit it and then there was the little red hydrant.

The red hydrant was definitely the subject.

I knew the field would have to be shot in the morning …. and I knew that the road … was dangerous to be standing on. There is a ton of traffic on this road. It’s a main commuter corridor.

The process is well documented by my film strip. In my eye, the final image (as shown on my Instagram) was so different then what I found when I finally stopped to shoot. The lighting was completely off and I couldn’t stand where I wanted due to the road being so busy and if I did stand in the middle of traffic, the power lines would be in the way. I didn’t want to photoshop the lines out later. I did venture out into the road and that’s how I determined the power lines were not going to work.

I tried a few different angles, even considering not shooting the hydrant at all and making it all about the field. I knew I’d make a final decision on the angle and subject later so I wasn’t too worried about making it about the field instead. Sometimes we don’t realize what the subject really is until after we’ve shot a scene. We can compose the specifics in our minds while mistakenly photographing the generals. It became obvious later that I was correct all along. The hydrant was my subject. And this image was about color!

I decided to wait on the light. It was very cloudy and the sun was hidden. I didn’t want to burn later and was almost going to leave when the sun began to make it’s appearance on the far right side of the field (JPIB385). Eventually it started filing in as I’d hoped (JPIB387) but still hadn’t reached the field enough. I was hoping it wouldn’t fill in too quickly but it did (JPIB389). Then it went dark near me again (JPIB3392/393) but the 16mm lens wasn’t working for me so I quickly switched to the Zeiss 12mm (JPIB394) and got what I was hoping for. I had already decided where I was going to be if and when the light ever came together.

I spent some time in PS working on the grass area. Initially I ilminated all the dirt … but after quite a few moments of constipation … decided to leave it as it was.

Hope you like it!

Record Store Day 2019

I enjoyed my short visit to Boo Boo records of San Luis Obispo this past weekend. I’ve been before, and every time I think “I should visit here more often to listen to local musicians”. I never find the time.

I have even less time it appears, to blog …

Let’s make this short and sweet, youre mostly likely here to view images so here you go ….

If your a musician and would like to collaborate on a project with me, let’s chat.

john patrick images

Sunday Street – Week ending 7/1/18

These images look best large, be sure to select a thumbnail and then click again to view large.



What is a homeless person?

Are they a returning vet who can’t get along, a drug addict looking for a score, a mentally challenged individual without help, a down-on-my-luck person making do ….

All the above and more.

We (as a home-centered society) don’t like homelessness. “certainly if they could they wouldn’t”, “it’s a problem that needs to be solved”, “people don’t choose to be homeless” …. We either have compassion or disdain. It seems like a polarizing “issue”. I would assume from the few homeless types I’ve encountered that it’s a complex reality. The inability to rent or buy or stay in a dwelling full time is largely financial. The reason why they can’t afford it, is exhausting. We have seen the panhandler but now we are coming across the  entrepreneur. The entrepreneur doesn’t want to panhandle, prefers to elevate themselves. But not all intend to leave the street. They in a sense, earn their spot.

First there is Shaun.

He is traveling. He is from Portland. He sells bubble gum to tourist to use in bubble gum alley. “People appreciate the hand sanitizer”. He is quiet, doesn’t tell his story and is what I would consider to be more a vagabond than your typical homeless person. I know as much about him now, as I did after interviewing him. He was very nice. He saw an obvious opportunity and capitalized on it.


Bubble gum entrepreneur

Bubble gum entrepreneur

Then there’s Darth.

Darth is the product (so he says) of our school system and it’s inability to meet the needs of kids like him. I can identify with that for sure. He makes paracord bracelets. Not wanting to be like others he knew that panhandled, he chose to follow the lead of a guy he met who was doing it successfully. After watching a YouTube video to learn, he now sits with his dog, making them on the street. I recognized his dog. His story is as unique as the reason for homelessness but his situation is common. He has no roof and no means to get one.”I hope to get a drivers license and a job”. Today he made a bracelet for me, and made a sale. It’s a start.

Using an ND filter to achieve a shallow DOF in bright sun

ND filters are used in two common scenarios …

  • to slow down the shutter speeds to get water to show movement or
  • to increase an aperture to decrease DOF

What an ND filter does.

In both cases, the filter is darkening the scene. But another scenario is when you are shooting into the sun, and don’t want to wash-out your background. To achieve this more dramatic look, you’ll need a flash to fill in your subject. But how do you achieve a slower shutter sync speed and maintain a large aperture?

Slap on that ND filter and suddenly everything goes dark. It’s like, well not like, it IS putting a dark piece of glass in front of your camera and shooting thru it. It’s neutral (the N part) so it doesn’t add or take away the color/tone etc from what your viewing, and it’s got a measure of density (the D part) which determines how dark it is.

An example

This portrait was shot at f8, a shutter of 1/200 sec to be in sync with the flash and iso 100. I grabbed two flash units to fill in both my subjects equally.


It’s fine, but my DOF is quite “deep” and the model behind my main subject is in focus. I want him to be soft. If I shoot at f2.8 my entire scene will go 3 stops brighter. I want to maintain the look I have here but just with a shallow DOF. Let’s add the 3 stop ND filter and shoot at f2.8


They are remarkably similar but you can see the difference in DOF. The model in the background has gone soft (out of focus). Without an ND filter this would be impossible. I could have changed my shutter speed BUT this would throw my flash and camera out of sync. Not an option. I’m at my lowest iso, so there is no getting where I need to be by changing iso either. All I got is my f stop. ND filter to the rescue.


Here is what I did.

I knew I wanted to shoot at f2.8 for this portrait. So I decreased my f stop to f8. That’s 3 stops, which is what my ND filter is. Filters come in various densities but I only use a 3 stop version. I set my camera to f8 @1/200 sec (for sync) and iso100. f8 is 3 stops “darker” than f2.8. I looked at the sky and decided that f8 was good for me. I set my flashes at the same distance away from each subject so that my settings were all the same. I set both flash power outputs to  1/8 power and in my case, metered the output on both flashes to verify f8. I also like 1/8 power on my flash so I can get a decent recycle time. Once I had everything where it looked good, I just needed to increase my f stop to f2.8 and add the filter. With everything set, I grabbed a couple of victims and put them in front of my camera.


I recommend you do all your figuring before you put the filter on. Just play with it …. your not shooting film so you can cheat by looking at the playback (back of your camera) and adjust along the way. Just remember, your ONLY changing the f stop not the iso or the shutter.


I hope this helps you begin to understand ND filter use with flash. If you got a question, don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll do my best to answer. Who knows, maybe it will lead to another post.

Classic Vibe Bass Comparison


A photographer doing a comparison of inexpensive Squire by Fender bass models …. yep.

Let’s start with the most important aspect of this comparison


Here are two videos I just made:
The first is the modified TB. :

The second is the 50’s style CV version. :

Discussion: When I purchased the TB version I had found it at a local store and thought it sounded great. Then I played it in a performance setting and found it wanting considerably. Tremendous low end if that’s what you want but for me … too hollow sounding everywhere else on the neck. In the video, you can definitely here that hollow sound. Great if your into that classic sound.

My tech guy found the LPB (Lake Placid Blue) 50’s style in Nova Scotia and it definitely has a brighter attack. I prefer it in a performance setting as it cuts thru. With the right amp/pedal board, you can get some serious deep tones out of this bass.

Let’ s geek out on some spec’s:

Features of the TB version

  • Body: Basswood with Ash Veneer on Top and Back
  • Pickup: 1 Fender Designed™ TEB 101B Humbucking Pickup
  • Pickguard: 3-Ply Black/White/Black, (’70s Tele® Bass Style Pickguard)
  • Controls: Volume, Tone – Knurled Chrome Dome Control KnobsLarge Chrome Covered Tele® Bass Humbucking Pickup,
  • Bridge: Thru the body 2-Saddle Vintage Style Precision Bass Bridge with 2 Brass Saddles
  • Neck: 1-Piece Maple, Modern C-Shape,
  • Finish: Polyurethane Satin
  • Fingerboard: Maple, 9.5″ Radius (241 mm)
  • Frets: 20 Medium Jumbo
  • Scale Length: 34″ (864 mm)
  • Width at Nut: 1.6″ (40.5 mm)
  • Dot Position Inlays,
  • Machine Heads: Standard open-gear tuners
  • ’51 Headstock Shape, ’51 Slab Style Body Top with Sharp Radius, ’51 Style Control Plate, ’55 Style Front Arm Contour, ’55 Style Pickguard Shape,

Features of the CV version

  • Body: Contoured Pine
  • Pickup: Custom ‘Original’ Precision Bass single-coil (Alnico V)
  • Pickguard: 1-ply white pickguard with thumbrest
  • Controls: Volume, Tone
  • Bridge: HiMass, 4-saddle bridge
  • Neck: 1-Piece Maple, Thick C-shaped
  • Finish: Glossy Polyester
  • Fingerboard: Maple, 9.5″ (241 mm)
  • Frets: 20, Vintage-style
  • Scale Length: 34″ (864 mm)
  • Width at Nut: 1.65″ (42 mm)
  • Dot Position Inlays,
  • Machine Heads: Tall Vintage open-gear tuners

Both basses are members of the Classic Vibe collection. There has been a lot written about the intent of this collection but I’ll just say, there simply throw backs without being actual re-issues. The precision bass went thru some changes in it’s first years most notably the pick up design. The original single coil was replaced with the humbucker in the neck position sometime in the early seventies and then went bye bye completely. The split single coil P bass we know today was born about this time and the Stratocaster headstock put the final death nail to the original telecaster bass. As I understand it, the original prototype basses that actually had the words “telecaster” label were not for public consumption so I doubt they’re available without it costing some crazy amount. No thanks.

How about some pictures?

Bottom line

So what is my preference?

  • I did not like the mudpucker and even after the rewiring in serial, I’m still not a huge fan of that old skool sound. I much prefer the single coil Alnico V.
  • The neck on the TB model is nicer. The finish is preferred (I always prefer a satin neck) and although the difference at the nut is minimal, it does seem “faster” and more solid. The difference in thickness around the neck seem negligible as far as I can tell.
  • The bridge on the CV is a better idea if you want to adjust each string independently, – and who doesn’t? I would be curious to know if a string thru the body set up gives better performance in sustain etc.
  • The pine is not very good. The resonance I feel from the basswood with ash veneers is way preferred. I originally purchased a white CV model and it looked extremely cheap. I’ve never seen the “blonde” model so can’t say how that finish looks.
  • The input on my TB just will NOT stay put. The CV input seems better?
  • A single-ply pick guard is cheap – nothing good about it.
  • Lastly I love the body contour on the CV model over the “block” but I think acoustically (not pugged in actually) that thick body gives some great tone.

Hopefully, this little write up will help you make an informed decision.



I decided to venture out today and find some peace. Get away from FB and the TV.

It’s finally raining!!!! So of course, I’m out checking the river by my house. It’s been a mere creek for some time, but today it’s running.
It has banks.

Taking some time to watch a river flow got me thinking.

The ability to flow …

What does that mean? Lately, the news has been all about rights and privilege.

Is it?

My rights should not interfere with yours … should they? I think not.
I can disagree, oppose, can even loathe a view, position or policy but can I use my right to speak to silence your’s? Can I stop your ability to speak? Should I?

Seems the larger “gang” get’s to muscle out the smaller “gang”.
The more agressive obstructs the passive.
The more popular …

Democracy is not about being “in charge”, having the most votes or ruling from a position of majority. It’s about making sure the underdog get’s a chance. Giving voice to the minority.

Let’s not swallow up the minority …



I love it when people show such concern for their animals.

It’s nice …

I’m sure there are lot’s of evil people treating furry creatures badly. Lot’s of them. We should be appalled to say the least. But shouldn’t we treat all living things, including fellow humans, with some benefit of the doubt. With some courtesy, some sincere concern. Shouldn’t we want everyone and everything to do well. Live well?

Here is Daisy. She is not very pretty to me but to her owners, she’s a doll. My son says she is cute as a button, adorable. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. But regardless of your gut level response to Daisy, she is valuable and worth our affection. And she likes being loved.

Love can be simple really.

For starters …

It’s patient, kind, not envious or proud, doesn’t dishonor others, not self-seeking or easily angered, doesn’t have a notebook with a record of wrongs ….  doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices with truth, protects, trusts, hopes and always perseveres.

Love is simple.

Let’s not make it hard ….