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.

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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.

Asheville North Carolina Courthouse

I recently started a podcast called Tourist in Your Town. The most recent episode is Asheville, North Carolina. While there, I got the chance to take some great photos of the area and learn about the rich history of the town.

Courthouse and City Hall

We all know that I have thing for courthouses. The Buncombe County Courthouse and the Asheville City Hall stand side by side in the Historic district. The City Hall was originally built to be the courthouse, but it was never used for that purpose. The art deco architecture of the city hall is so detailed and beautiful. The courthouse is a much more utilitarian building with an overlay of Neo-Classical ornament applied. 

Asheville City Hall
Asheville City Hall
Buncombe County Courthouse

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!

In the Subway

As a person who lives in a place with little to no public transportation options, subways fascinate me. I have to admit that I find them a bit confusing sometimes. Take the blue line to the yellow line, then go to the green line, then back to the blue line.  When I was in New York, I bought a metro pass intending to use the subway more than I actually did. However, there was construction going on and trying to figure out what detours and where was more than I wanted to do. So, I walked just about everywhere. I would leave extra early and stop for a snack or a beer when I got tired. It did give me the opportunity to take lots of pics. Anyway, here are some pics from the little bit that I did spend in the subway. 

I feel like this person may have been on the wrong platform. Everybody was standing on my side of the platform. But there was this lone person way across the tracks. Maybe he was waiting for someone. But it adds a little mystery to this photo. It is definitely one of my favorites from the trip.

Waiting for the train at Penn Station by Sharon Popek
Waiting for the train at Penn Station

The mosaics in the subway were a favorite subject. Everybody around me was ignoring them and fighting their way out of the station. Don’t worry, I didn’t hold anybody up when taking these photos!

To Penn Station by Sharon Popek
The platform at Penn Station
Pennsylvania Station mosaic sign
The platform at Penn Station
W is for Wall Street by Sharon Popek
At Wall Street Station

And sometimes the entrance to the station is just as cool. This is the Bowling Green station entrance. The head house was constructed in 1905. Look at that clock! You know I love street clocks and interesting doorways. This station entrance has it all!

Bowling Green Head House
The exterior of Bowling Green Station

Always be patient when traveling. Sometimes plans change, but you can make that work for yourself. Leave early, take your time, and have fun!

Fine Art Photography by Sharon Popek