Tag Archives: Dayton Ohio photographer

Enter November | Regaining Your Soul in the Change

The quiet of November. The cold of night slowly releasing to the remaining warmth of the day. Morning mist filling the valleys. Frost-covered leaves and bare branches silhouetting the oranges and purples of early sunsets. There’s a calmness to November; an ease of being, a peaceful disposition before the arrival of winter.

November has always been a welcome respite; that quiet and beautiful month of transition. It is an opportunity to return to my photographic roots among the towering Hemlocks of Hocking Hills and along prairie trails in twilight.

There’s a soft and slightly melancholy feel to the early nightfalls and horizons set to hues between orange and pink and migrating flocks overhead. I welcome the change and I’ve learned not to dread the arrival winter for it is in all the seasons and the in-between months when we are reminded that life is in a constant state of change. The soul was never designed to be a stationary object but flows with tides and the waxing and waning of the Moon.

Change is to be embraced. It’s good. It’s necessary. It’s how we grow. What remains consistent is the energy of love and grace that stays with all the winds of change. Let us all be fully and completely present in all that change brings us and during the calm beauty of November to stop and be grateful for all we’ve be blessed with in our lives.

The Super Moon of November 14 2016 rising above the woods in Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
The Super Moon of November 14 2016 rising above the woods in Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
Dusk in November from Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
Dusk in November from Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
The Super Moon of November 13 2016 rising above the woods in Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
The Super Moon of November 13 2016 rising above the woods in Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
Late fall evening in Conkle's Hollow State Nature Preserve Ohio by Jim Crotty
Late fall evening in Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve Ohio by Jim Crotty
Early November sunset along the Bridle Trail in Hocking Hills State Park Ohio by Jim Crotty
Early November sunset along the Bridle Trail in Hocking Hills State Park Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty
Misty morning in November near Bellbrook Ohio by Jim Crotty

Prints Recognized with Awards at Professional Photographers of Ohio Conference

I’m honored and thankful to have all six of my print entries juried and scored high enough to be shown in the print display at last weekend’s annual conference of the Professional Photographers of Ohio, held in Lewis Center, just north of Columbus. Five of the entries were additionally recognized with awards including Award of Achievement and Honorable Mentions.

Four of the images were captured in and around my home and farm in Beavercreek Township, Ohio. Another was a favorite from my time living on Hilton Head Island, SC and one image was captured this past February in Hocking Hills, Ohio.

The juried competition at the PPO conference is particularly strict in scoring methods. All judges are accomplished professional photographers.

There is an emphasis on attention to detail as well as artistic merit.
Showing an impressive image on a mobile device or other screen is one thing but producing a true, fine art print is another. I am thankful to the help and support of one of the best pro print labs in the Dayton area, TI Graphics.

Chloe by Jim Crotty Frozen Light by Jim Crotty In the Light of November by Jim Crotty On the Morning of Your Departure by Jim Crotty Storm Sky at Sunset by Jim Crotty Treasure by Jim Crotty

Simply Thankful | My Best of 2013 | Part 1

The best way for me to express the incredible experiences of 2013 is by sharing my personal favorite images from throughout the year. January 1 2013 began on Hilton Head Island. By the end of the month I was on my way to Texas and by the beginning of July I was back home in Ohio. I’ve taken some kindhearted ribbing from a few family members and friends regarding the craziness of my moving twice in one year, but, I still believe that it all happened for a reason and to set the stage for greater blessings down the road. Besides, at least I can say “done that, been there, I tried it out.”

One of the important lessons I learned is that the grass is not always greener on the other side and Ohio can be a pretty awesome place to live. It gets a bum rap by many who grow up here. It deserves much better. Another lesson is to carefully think through the advice of others when they give you their opinion about where and how you should live your life. Just saying. I have a tendency to be too much of a people-pleaser, much to the determent of my own health. I’m working my way out of that, one day at a time. Follow your heart and those who love and care will fall in around you.

Another lesson reinforced is the fact that the best images arise from where and when the heart is engaged. It’s not so much of chasing images in many locations but rather letting go of expectations and following the heart and the blessings that are presented, even if just outside the back door or down the road.

All in all I am very thankful to have finally landed back in the Dayton Ohio area, enjoying life and photography on my little eight acres of rural heartland. The journey has been incredible, tiring, wonderful. So many images captured that could have made my top ten list. It was hard to select the ones to post here but honestly these are the ones that carry the most personal meaning for me, whether they were popular on social media or not, it’s the personal connection and story that counts.

These images are no particular order. Here goes –

AltusOklahomabyJimCrottyFW

March 2013: Altus, Oklahoma. At the beginning of February I had moved to Frisco, Texas, just north of Dallas. It’s one of the fastest growing communities in the United States. Lots of development. Lots of young families, but very limited as far as subject matter for the type of photography that I am known for and enjoying shooting. In order to find the “good stuff” had to take trips out of the Dallas metroplex. One location that I thoroughly enjoyed were the small towns and scenic hills in and around the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. This scene immediately caught my eye, along the streets in Altus, Oklahoma. It presented a contrast and composition I could not resist. I’m a sucker for weathered, old and vintage. These scenes are full of character.

SticktotheOldRoadsbyJimCrottyFW

Keep to the Old Roads. Frisco, Texas. For me at least the most fulfilling photographic experiences are those that I share with my children. Even when they are sitting in the car complaining “oh geez dad not again, really?” I know that what I am sharing with them is having a positive impact. This was a late afternoon in early April along of the few remaining rural roads on the outskirts of Frisco, Texas. My daughter Chloe was with me. She accompanied me on an outdoor portrait session for a large family near their home in Frisco. Afterwards, as we were driving back home, I noticed the sky breaking up and the sun streaming through. I just needed the right foreground to capture it so I headed over to this farm road which was near a friend’s house. This image speaks of the change of seasons on the open prairies of North Central Texas and more importantly a memory shared with my daughter Chloe.

July evening on the farm in Beavercreek Township Ohio by Jim Crotty

Sunset on the Farm. July 2013. Beavercreek Township, Ohio. Home again. I had always wanted to live on farmland with easy access to nature all around me. I finally found it with the purchase of an eight-acre historical farmhouse in Beavercreek Township, Ohio, east of Dayton. I moved in late June 2013. It has been quite an adjustment but the scenes at sunrise and sunset are an incredible blessing. So much just right here around my house. But what came with the purchase as well is the work required to maintain property this size. It can be hard, but fun and fulfilling too. I never thought I’d enjoy an old John Deere tractor so much. This was just after sunset. I had finished cutting for the day, put the tractor back in the garage and was walking back to the house when the sky lit-up with a light that speaks of summers in rural Ohio. There is peace here and I am thankful.

Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here by Jim Crotty

Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here. Old Man’s Cave, Hocking Hills Ohio. August 2013. Hocking Hills is a very special place. One of the best memories of last summer of going there for a short visit with my daughter Chloe and son Philip. This was Philip’s first visit to Hocking Hills. I had not planned to do any photography of my own other than images of Chloe and Philip, hiking and rappelling, so this landscape image down in the Old Man’s gorge was unplanned. This what makes this image one of my best of the year. It was the experience that it represents that makes it stand-out. Plus there was just something about the light coming down through there on that August afternoon. Peace pours in and gratitude is expressed best in those places and experiences that are shared with loved ones.

(to be continued . . .)

Best of Summer 2013 | Photography by Jim Crotty

In Grace and Gratitude All Good Things by Jim CrottyGuided by Grace by Jim CrottyOn a September Moon by Jim CrottySky Dance by Jim CrottySunset August 25 2013 from Raptor Ridge by Jim Crotty 4September | Black and White Landscape Photography by Jim Crotty
Chloe August 2013 by Jim CrottyPhil on ATVSunset September 14 2013 Raptor Ridge by Jim Crotty 11ChloePhilipRappellinginHockingHillsFWSunset September 14 2013 Raptor Ridge by Jim Crotty 10Sunset September 14 2013 Raptor Ridge by Jim Crotty 4
Sunset September 14 2013 Raptor Ridge by Jim Crotty 3Sunset September 14 2013 Raptor Ridge by Jim Crotty 1Dandelion Silhouette by Jim CrottyWaxing Gibbous Moon on August 15 2013 by Jim CrottyIn the Light of Morning by Jim CrottyDeep Within the Spirit of this Place by Jim Crotty
Contentment Tree Frog by Jim CrottySunset August 25 2013 from Raptor Ridge by Jim Crotty 3Sunset August 25 2013 from Raptor Ridge by Jim Crotty 2Waning Gibbous Moon on August 25 2013 by Jim CrottyBillowing | Black and White Sky PhotographyCabin at Beavercreek Park by Jim Crotty

From both personal and photographic standpoints, this past summer – the summer of 2013 – was full of incredible blessings. It began with my move from Texas back home to Ohio where I began the process of reconnecting with the place where I’ve previously experienced the greatest amount of personal and professional fulfillment and of which I have the strongest emotional and family connections. I will always, always be thankful to have found Raptor Ridge – my eight acre farm in Beavercreek Township – where I have the blessings of beautiful nature all around me, everyday. It’s amazing. But there were even more incredible blessings that arrived this summer as well, ones that I did not see coming. To celebrate life in the grace of gratitude. To be able to capture images along the way is just icing on the cake. I am so thankful. Peace.

A Worthy Investment | Building Value Back Into The Family Portrait

Periodically I still receive calls and emails from people planning vacations to Hilton Head Island and are interested in having a family portrait session on the beach. This is due to my web site and Facebook business page still appearing on the first page for Google searches based on “Hilton Head Photography” or “Hilton Head Photographers.”

Even though I no longer reside on Hilton Head I still see these calls and emails as opportunities, either for referrals or to practice a little bit on educating the customer. Like professional photography, it’s a fine art and if it’s not practiced the skill can get rusty.

This morning (June 4 2013) I had a call from a very nice lady who was planning a group trip to Hilton Head from their home state of Kentucky. She found me doing a Google search (my showing-up in first page results still yanks a few chains amongst my previous competitors). She was interested in locating a Hilton Head photographer who would be willing to shoot a beach portrait session for a modest fee and receive all the images “on disk.” That’s fine. That’s understandable, and I admit there was a time not too long ago when I’d be willing to meet such a request with the stipulation that I would edit the selections and be able to use select samples for my portfolio.
Not anymore, and here’s why, and what I hope through the process of educating the customer in a positive manner came across during this morning’s phone conversation. I’m pretty sure it did because the caller voiced her appreciation at the end of the conversation.

Family portrait photography on Hilton Head Island by Jim Crotty Family portrait sample of mom walking with kids by Jim Crotty

What I provide, as a professional portrait photographer, is both the portrait experience AND the resulting product – the once-in-a-lifetime, custom print enlargement that becomes a cherished centerpiece of the customer’s living environment. In providing the professional portrait experience I bring skill, talent and years of experience. There’s something else too. I bring me. Yes, me. I can’t be duplicated. Not with a competitor who hauls furniture out to a field (not that there’s anything wrong with it but just not me) or the soccer mom with the top of the line DSLR (not that there’s anything wrong with it but just not me). I’m not trying to offend anyone in particular. Honestly I just don’t know how else to say it but just simply call it out for what it is. And I’m sorry to report that there will never be an app, camera or lens to replace talent. Ain’t going to happen.

What I do is take the time to truly get to know my subjects. What is it about their family that’s unique ? How do they interact together ? What is the family “personality?” Those are factors that you just can’t ascertain by showing up the evening of the session and say “ok, let’s go out and get some shots.” The interaction between photographer and subject is a significant portion of the investment. And that’s all before the first frame is exposed. What about professional posing of a group ? I’ve learned recently that there is just as much art in posing and arranging a group or family as there is in managing the light for optimal exposure, knowing camera settings, post edit process, etc.

By simply handing over a disk with printable JPEG’s I was not only cheapening the investment in the experience of the portrait session. The customer deserves better. I deserve better.

The full realization of the value of the experience of the portrait session is in the crafting and delivery of the final print – the custom enlargement that is the culmination of all the fine touches that only the experienced professional can provide, from choice of textured, fine art paper to archival quality mounting materials to choice of frame. I am thankful that I have a relationship with one of the best custom print labs in the country, one which only serves established, professional photographers. They know my work. I know their work. The quality is there and then some.

That was something I made mention of during this morning’s phone conversation, to give some consideration to what is hoped for in the final product. One of the downfalls of social media is that the need to “post and share” has cut the ties between portrait customer and fine art portrait print. That’s a bridge that needs to be rebuilt because what we provide as professional photographers deserves a place on the real wall – the one made of brick and mortar. The product of our work should be placed, viewed and valued just as much as the most expensive piece of family furniture, the one that’s passed down through generations.

Is a disk full of image files the best representation of a family memory and gathering that will only happen just once? Is a disk in a desk drawer worthy of the photographer’s time, talent and experience?

Choose your portrait photographer with care and from the perspective of making a long term investment, because that’s exactly what it should be.

(added note) . . . I’m happy to announce that as of June 28 2013 I will once again be doing business as a professional photographer and workshop leader near my home city of Dayton, Ohio. I will be providing portrait photography services and photography education/workshops from an eight acre farm property – with an historic farmhouse circa 1900 – located in Beavercreek Township in Greene County. I am thankful for the opportunity to have experienced life and work as a photographer on Hilton Head Island, and to gain valuable education and training through the Texas School of Professional Photography while in Frisco, Texas, but I am even more thankful to be returning home with a renewed appreciation for friends, family and the natural beauty of home. My new location will offer unparalleled settings of natural and rural beauty for portrait sessions as well as small group workshops on nature and landscape photography.