Category Archives: Photography

Downtown Danville, Kentucky

For a recent episode of my podcast, Tourist in your Town, I visited my hometown of Danville, Kentucky. Growing up, my time spent downtown was spent at the library or shopping. I paid very little attention to the historic aspects of my small town. So, I decided to be a tourist on my most recent visit.

Ephram McDowell Museum

The home of McDowell and the location of the first successful abdominal surgery. The surgery was performed on a woman named Jane Todd Crawford. Want to know more, listen to the story here.

Ephram McDowell House Museum

The Pioneer Playhouse

An outdoor summer stock theatre. Founded in 1950 by Eben Charles Henson, the theatre is an intense summer program for up and coming actors. The Playhouse puts on 4-5 plays every summer. To hear more, listen here.

One side “Main” Street at the Pioneer Playhouse
The other side “Main” Street at the Playhouse.

Constitution Square Historic Site

The site is considered the birthplace of Kentucky’s statehood. In 1785, Danville was the first seat of government. The square has the meeting house and several other buildings, mostly reproductions.

Prints are available. Visit my gallery for details!

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Artist Collaboration

I recently traveled to my hometown of Danville, Kentucky. While there, I wanted to get some photos of the places that were important to me when growing up. One of the most important places was the public library. I spent many days after school at this magical place. So, while in Danville, I swung by and took a quick photo.

This is now a small part of the library. But it was the whole library when I was growing up. It did have a lower floor, so it’s bigger on the inside (some of you will get that). When I got home, I uploaded the pic to my Pixels account where I sell prints. Not long after uploading, I received an email from a man wanting to use it as the basis for a charcoal, pen & ink drawing. Of course, I said yes! Because I love nothing more than artist collaborations! So, without further ado, here are the 2 images. Both are available as prints. If you click on the pic, it will take you directly to the page for purchase.

Photograph by Sharon Popek

Drawing by Jonathan Broyles

Evelyn Hazen: A Story of Sex, Lies, and Love Letters

Evelyn Goes to College

Evelyn Hazen entered college at the young age of 14. She was a young, naive girl, raised by a very proper victorian woman. She falls in love with a man named Ralph Scharringhaus.

Sex

For over 15 years, the two have a relationship. They start having sex early on. She agrees with the promise of marriage. There are several love letters where he talks about when they will get married. But he continually delays marriage with excuses and lies.

The Lawsuit

When Ralph breaks it off with Evelyn, she feels lost and afraid. She is in her early 30s and her reputation is in tatters. So, she files a lawsuit against Ralph for breach of promise of marriage and seduction. Image what it was like for her in the 1930s, to have the whole world know that she had sexual relations outside of marriage. She was embarrassed and devastated. But stood up for herself and did what she had to do. Want to know more? Listen to the podcast on touristinyourtownpodcast.com

Prints of the above images are available, just click on the pics!

Photography from Cincinnati Ohio

Downtown Cincinnati

I recently traveled to downtown Cincinnati Ohio for an episode of Tourist in your Town, my travel podcast. While there, I managed to capture a few photos. Prints are available, just click on the image and it will take you straight to the page!

Ezzard Charles

Ezzard Charles, also known as the Cincinnati Cobra, was an American boxer and former World Heavyweight Champion. Some say he is the greatest boxer of all time. I don’t know a thing about boxing, so I’m not the one to ask. I do know that this mural is a great tribute to a local hero.

Ezzard Charles Mural
Ezzard Charles Mural

The Skystar Ferris Wheel

This ferris wheel is located right on the banks of the Ohio River. This view is from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. You can see Northern Kentucky just across the river.

Skystar Ferris Wheel
Skystar Ferris Wheel

Empty Warehouse

This image was taken as we walked through the warehouse to enter the underground tunnels on our walking tour.

Inside a local warehouse
Inside a local warehouse

If you want to know more about my visit, be sure to listen to the podcast. You can find it anywhere you listen to podcasts. You can also visit the website, Tourist in your Town.

If you are looking for travel photography, be sure to visit my gallery.

Travel Photos from Asheville North Carolina

I recently visited Asheville for my travel podcast, Tourist in your Town. I did several walking tours, ate some great food, and drank some excellent beer while there. Oh and I took some photos. I enjoyed my visit and will definitely return to this town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

At Dusk

The Orange Peel at Sunset in downtown Asheville
The Orange Peel, in downtown Asheville, NC
Wicked Weed in downtown Asheville at dusk
Wicked Weed Brewery in Asheville, NC

After Dark

Downtown Asheville after dark, featuring Double D's double decker bus.
Double D’s double decker bus after dark.
Orange Peel Marquee is lit up after dark
The Orange Peel marquee at night
Church entry at night
It’s after dark and the church’s entry is lit up in this image from downtown Asheville, NC

Asheville, NC The Block

On my recent trip to Asheville, NC, I took a walking tour with a company called Hood Huggers International. The tour features the history of African-Americans in Asheville, as well as a look to the future of the community. The tours founder, Dewayne Burton, took me to an area called “The Block”. The block is an area of downtown Asheville that was once a thriving African-American Community. Burton is very involved with his community and is working hard to improve the lives of African=Americans, not just in Asheville but in the United States. He has created a new “green” book that features black owned businesses in Asheville and is hoping to expand the book. If you want to know more about my tour, you can listen to the Podcast here.

Midlife Angst: Trying Again

So, here I am starting something new. I’m almost 48 and feel a little too old to be starting over with something I know nothing about. I have decided to start a travel podcast. It’s called Tourist in Your Town. Head over to the website and check it out.

I know nothing about audio recording or editing. But I guess I’ll learn. I thought this might be a good thing for me to try. I love to travel and I love to talk about it. So, it seems a logical step for me.

I have 2 episodes out now and am having a great time with it! Give it a listen!

Rail yard in the Old City

Midlife Angst Part 2

Continued from Midlife Angst Part 1

After school, I got a job that offered the opportunity to learn Photoshop. This was back in the early days of digital life. I started on Photoshop 2.0. There were no layers and you only go 1 undo. So, we would just save several different versions of the file, in case we screwed up or changed our minds. I did that job for several years. Then moved on to a job that allowed me to learn other programs, like Quark Express. Remember that? I was a pro at it. But I had an early midlife crisis (early 30s) and decided that I needed to work with animals. So, I quit my steady job and entered the world of animal rescue.

Wild Whiskers

Animal rescue is a rabbit hole that sucks you in. It’s a depressing world where you just want to scream and cry all the time. But there are those rewarding moments when you find that perfect home for a cat or dog or rabbit. If you are really lucky, that home isn’t your own. Yes, we have saved many. Some of them even went to live with someone else. But it didn’t take long for me to realize I needed a real job, making real money. Also, I got fired and had to move on (a story for another day).

The New York Times

I got an easy job where I just used Photoshop again. I was making great money doing it, too. Sure, I worked nights and weekends and holidays. But I was fine there. I had few issues with it. I had zero ambition and was fine being a Photoshop grunt for the rest of my days. Then, the shit hit the fan as they say. It was the newspaper business. If you’ve been paying attention, this world crumbled into a chasm of layoffs and mass exodus when the recession hit. Newspapers were still making money and profits. But they panicked and began lay people off in droves. I was not one of those people. Instead, I was left behind. My workplace was now bitter and everyone was terrified of showing up to work and the doors would be locked. Nobody was happy. I could not stand it anymore, so I decided I needed to move on. Maybe this was where I screwed up.

Fall up the stairs

This is when I got my “dream” job. There has never been a job more suited to a person than this job was for me. It was for a company that made pet products. My job would be to retouch the photos for packaging, advertising, etc. And do some product photography while coordinating lifestyle photo shoots. Of course, I had never coordinated anything in my life and had zero experience with product photography. But my Photoshop skills got me the job. After six months on the job, my ambition woke up and I wanted to be a photographer. I wanted to be the one taking the photos of the animals with the products. So, I started learning and doing. Life was good. Zoom forward to more recent times (2 years ago) and find me not so happy any more. Budget cuts made things difficult because we couldn’t get equipment or locations like we had previously. Also, even though I was now doing all the shooting, I was also doing the coordinating. I needed help. Cut to almost a year ago, I got fired. I was told my position was being cut. They no longer needed me. The real kicker? Two weeks later, they posted my job on the job sites.

Not so perfect fit

So what now? A dream I didn’t know I had has been destroyed. I was left hanging. I thought I would start my own business doing freelance commercial work. I thought I was ready. But, turns out, I don’t trust myself. I took the first job that came along. It’s a fine job. I now do product photography for a local restaurant supply company. I’m a grunt. Benefits aren’t great and I’m bored out of my mind already.

Thus the point of this whole thing. Where do I go from here? Do I rebury my ambition for more? Just squash down and accept my fate? Yes, I’ve tried looking for other jobs. But there aren’t very many photo careers available in my area. I could move, but my family is not ready for that at this time. And I really do like where I live. There it is in a nutshell. Stuck. In a hole of my own making.

No guts no glory

Stay tuned for future angst.

Midlife Angst: Part 1

I’m a 40+, closer to the just under 50 group actually and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I see young people, in their 20s and 30s, who know exactly what they want to do with their lives. They have a plan and they are following it. It can be depressing and frustrating for me to see people so put together when I feel like so lost and unsure. I know there are jokes about midlife crises for men and women. And there is teen angst. But right now, this feels like midlife angst.

Grain Silos by Sharon Popek
Grain Silos somewhere in Illinois

When I first started my “dream job”, over 6 years ago, there was a young co-worker who got a job offer from a different company. I could not understand why she would want to leave such a great place. She seemed happy and on a great career path there. But she explained that she had a specific plan. She had always planned to leave and go to this next level, it was just happening earlier than she expected. I understood it. But I didn’t “get” it. Because I never had a plan.

Train Station by Sharon Popek
Train Station

Well, that’s not true. In college, I had a plan. I would go to graduate school, get my masters and then become a tenured professor at a small private college. Lots of people are laughing at me right now. Go easy on me, at the time, it was not as pipe dreamy as it is now. Also, it was in Fine Arts, so no need for a PhD. However, I did not get into grad school. This left me dangling in the wind and maybe a little scared. But I was young and thought I’d just get a decent job and try for grad school the next year. That did not happen.

Roots in Bottles by Sharon Popek
Roots in bottles

I never tried again for grad school. Once I started working full-time, I got used to having things, like regular food and clothes and a bank account. Going back to school was not in the cards for me. Do I regret that now? Sometimes, but I am definitely NOT going back to school at this point in my life. So, it doesn’t matter, does it?

They say to keep blogs short and sweet, so I will make this midlife angst business a series for you to read over time. The images in this installment were all taken either in college or just after (over 25 years ago). 

To be continued…

Cuba Revisited

I recently went through my photos from Cuba. When I originally sorted and worked my images from that trip, I did not find these interesting. Or they didn’t represent what I was feeling at the time. I have to admit I don’t remember. But on the revisit, I fell in love with Cuba all over again. Enjoy these “new” images!

Rural Cuba

Images from a trip through the countryside. We visited a baseball team, a historic coffee plantation and farm restaurant.

Urban Cuba

I found myself fascinated with many different styles of architecture, including Art Deco, Colonial, and Spanish. They would often all be on the same building.

I hope you enjoy these images from Cuba as much as I enjoyed taking them! Prints are available of these and other photos from Cuba here.

As always, feedback is welcome!