Friday, December 4, 2009

Photos from the downtown Cumberland Christmas Tree Lighting on November 26th...

Here are a few photos from the Christmas Tree lighting in downtown Cumberland from last week. It was really great to see that many people downtown, it was a really festive event.

The lively downtown scene

Bird's eye view of the action

The Emmanuel Episcopal church tree

Santa makes an appearance on the rooftop

You can see more of the pictures HERE.

Also check out my friend Ty's great video of the event - Cumberland Christmas Tree Lighting 2009.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cumberland Goes to War - week 2 - Planes, Trains & um...Jeeps

Weekend number two of Cumberland Goes to War was a lot of fun. Abbott & Costello (and Scoop) were in town to perform and entertain people on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.
A B-25 Bomber also landed at the Cumberland Airport and offered tours, flights and plenty of photo-opportunities with Rosie the Riveter and Abbott & Costello (and Scoop).

Abbott & Costello (and Scoop) pose with Conductor Richard Markle as they board the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

The whole gang in a WWII jeep

The B-25 "Panchito" taking passengers for a fly-over Cumberland

Rosie in the B-25

Boarding the B-25 the hard way

You can see more images from the event here - Cumberland Goes to War 2009.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Like steam? A day with the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad...

On Monday I participated in a day-long WMSR photo excursion to raise money to replace John Helmstetter's barn near Cash Valley Road. So far over $40,000 has been raised and the barn rebuilding is in progress. You can learn more (and donate) here.

The excursion itself was fantastic, it was nice to be able to shoot the train in various lighting conditions and in several new locations along the line. The train also put on quite a show, the plumes of steam often blocked the sun (allowing us to photograph in the shade).
Sorry if we did any permanent damage to the ozone layer.

Here are a few of my favs from the shoot...

Early morning sun provides some side-lighting to #734

Passing the Helmstetter Farm

Nice vantage point that I was previously unaware of. West of Brush Tunnel

Another new location...west of Helmstetter's Curve

Impressive steam plume approaching Frostburg Station.

You can view more images from the shoot via this link - Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. The first 25 photos in the gallery were from this shoot.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cumberland Goes to War 2009 - the first weekend

Cumberland Goes to War is a 2-week event recognizing the “greatest generation” and their sacrifices – both on the homefront and in battle. You can see a complete listing of all scheduled events here - Cumberland Goes to War schedule.

Here are a few photos from the first weekend of activities:

Rosie the Riveter was there... were FDR and The Andrews Sisters.

There's a large encampment full of re-enactors.

Just don't forget to bring your papers.

You can see more pictures from the event here - more pictures.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hanging out with Elvis & Priscilla

I spent yesterday afternoon photographing Elvis, the winner of the 'Prettiest Pet' contest held earlier this year at the Allegany County Fairgrounds. He was such a cute little bundle of energy, it was part photo shoot, part play time in the wet leaves. His best friend Priscilla also showed up for the shoot. Here are a few of the pics...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rosie the Riveter Contest - we have a winner

I spent this past Saturday in downtown Cumberland photographing a Rosie the Riveter look-alike contest. What a fun way to spend the day. Along with my friends Ty (part carnival barker, part videographer) and Jen (our Rosie stylist), we ended up photographing a total of 20 Rosies.

You can view the complete gallery of contestants here.

Also, big congrats to Jordan Schupfer who won a nice prize package and who will be our Rosie poster girl in Cumberland Goes to War promotions.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Joe & Shari's wedding

Whew, it's been a busy fall...I'm finally getting caught up. On Oct 24th I had a blast shooting Joe & Shari's wedding at St John's Episcopal Church in Frostburg, with a reception at the Maplehurst County Club. Joe & Shari were both so fun to work with, it was a great time. Here are a few of the shots...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Congrats to Josh Rogers

This is a cool story...
About a year ago I received an email request asking permission to use one of my train photos as inspiration for a sketch. It turns out that the artist, Josh Rogers, won a blue ribbon and Best in Show at the Billings Montana State Fair with that train sketch. How cool...congrats Josh, keep up the great work!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A guestbook is not a toy...

Ok, a little background info. Steve & I had a Featured Artist Show at Arts at Canal Place this past weekend. We went back and forth on our show dates, we originally planned a November show, then flip-flopped and wound up with a September/October show. Then we changed the opening date from September to October....well, anyway, in the end, I ended up accidentally double-booking myself and scheduling the opening on a day that I was also shooting a wedding.

So, since I wasn't going to be there, I left a guestbook for people to sign to leave comments about the show, ask questions about the photos, etc. Well, it seems the beers were flowing pretty well at the reception, you can see the comments below. I'm not even sure what a lot of it even means, WTF does WTF mean??

...all kidding aside, thank you all for coming to the opening, and I do appreciate the comments. I had a great laugh this morning reading them when I went in to the gallery to take down the show. I really am sorry I couldn't be there, you can ask Steve, everytime I spoke to him leading up to the opening I would tell him that I feel like a jerk for not being there.

Thanks again...I appreciate your support!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sarah & Chad's wedding

I had a lot of fun this past weekend shooting Sarah & Chad's wedding at Davis Memorial Church. On the drive to the reception, we made a quick detour out to Rocky Gap to get a few pics in the light rain. Here are a few of them...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Finzel Swamp - one of Western Maryland's best-kept secrets

The leaves are starting to pop here in Western Maryland, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to take a walk through one of my favorite fall locations - Finzel Swamp.
Finzel Swamp is a little out of the way location, visited mostly by bird watchers & local photographers.
The cranberry glades are a bit past peak right now, they're mostly brown & dry, but there's still plenty of color in the surrounding trees.

Here are a few of the shots from this afternoon...

There's now a sign at the entrance to Finzel Swamp, so perhaps it won't remain such a secret location for long?

Blog post

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Featured Artist show...along with Steve Sullivan

Big thanks to everyone who stopped by my booth at Mountain Heritage Festival in Harpers Ferry, WV . It was great to see you!

If you find yourself in Cumberland MD before October 25th, please stope by Arts at Canal Place to see my Featured Artist show with Steve Sullivan. Here are the details....

Photographs by Bill Merlavage and pottery by Steve Sullivan will be on display at Arts at Canal Place (AaCP) from September 21 through October 25. A reception, open to the public, will be held in the AaCP gallery loft at the Shops at Canal Place on Saturday, October 24th, from 6-8PM.

Merlavage brings the viewer a unique perspective of local scenes such as "Cumberland at Night." Sullivan's pottery reflects the influence of his years in Japan where he studied ceramic art. A fine sense of composition, form and line quality are evident in each piece.

A program of the Allegany Arts Council, Arts at Canal Place cooperative gallery is located at 16 Howard Street in The Shops at Canal Place. The gallery is open daily from 10AM-6PM, with extended hours until 8PM on Friday & Saturday nights during the summer months. For more information call 301-777-8199 or visit

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stolen camera - a cautionary tale

Well, I had my 40D stolen this weekend (along with a 50 mm lens & a 16 gb card). I’m always very careful with my camera equipment (or so I thought), so I thought I’d tell my story as an example of how quickly it can happen.
I was tailgating at an Eagles game in Philadelphia with a large group of friends. My vehicle was parked right in the central tailgating area, in fact it was so close, several of us were sitting on my hood at times during the tailgate. Throughout the tailgate I’d bring the camera out and take a few pictures and when I was done I’d store it on the rear floor of my vehicle tucked under the seat. The Saturn has tinted back windows, so even if you put your face against the glass and looked through you’d still have a hard time seeing a camera on the floor, under the seat. I didn’t think to lock the doors, after all it was tailgate, we were in and out of the vehicle several times getting supplies, plus I was right near the vehicle at all times.
As it got closer to game time I locked up the car and headed inside the stadium. I didn’t check for the camera because I wasn’t going to bring it into the stadium anyway for concern it could get damaged. I assumed it was still tucked under the backseat.

When I got home that evening & unpacked, I noticed that the camera was nowhere to be found. Sometime between when I took my last batch of tailgate photos and game time, someone must have seen where I was putting the camera & grabbed it when I wasn’t looking. It would have had to be a fast grab, nothing else was moved or misplaced, and several other valuable items were still in place (iPod, cell phone, etc).

Needless to say, it is very disappointing. Not only are the camera and lens valuable, it also had a memory card full of pics from our weekend in Philly. If there’s a less on to be learned, it’s that camera theft can happen very quickly, take extra precaution to protect your gear. Another lesson learned is that there are a small percentage of jerks at every event. An Eagles game is like a huge celebration with fellow fans, there’s a great feeling of community in the lot…so to steal from a fellow fan is just lower than low.

…oh, and if anyone knows of any scumbags who were at the Eagles game this past weekend who are now sporting a new 40D camera, please let me know.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Recent Work" exhibit - Bill Merlavage & Steve Sullivan - Sept 21st through Oct 25th

A dual exhibit at Arts at Canal Place, titled ‘Recent Work’, will feature the pottery of Steve Sullivan and the photography of Bill Merlavage. The exhibit will run from September 21st through October 25th, with a reception open to the public on October 24th from 6-8 p.m.

This is my first local exhibition in over two years, and I’m excited to be displaying many new prints, including several large images printed on canvas. It’s great to be doing a show with Steve, he’s a good friend & his pottery is fantastic, our styles compliment each other very well.
Almost all of the prints in the show have been taken within the past year, and many have been taken within the last 6 months…so a lot of new images will be making their debut at this show. I also plan to add additional pieces as the show progresses, so by the time of our late October reception, the show should look different than it did in late September.

A little about my photography; except for rare instances, anything that I have printed has been the culmination of several repeat visits to a location. I’m fanatical about the light that I shoot in, so I’ll visit a location at different times to determine the best lighting for the scene. The images are carefully composed and the camera settings are carefully adjusted to ensure the image will look good as a print. I do very little post-processing to my images, I strive for a finished image straight from the camera.

I hope that you’ll stop by to view the exhibition and I hope you’ll stop by to meet Steve & I at our reception on October 24th.
You can also view my images online at any time at

Here is more information about Arts at Canal Place, including hours & directions.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mountain Heritage Festival in Harpers Ferry, WV - Coming soon...

I hope to see you all there. The festival is coming up, Sept 25-26-27, 10 am to 6 pm each day (except Sunday, show ends at 5 pm). I'll be bringing lots of new never-before-displayed work, including a bunch of new large canvas prints.

This is my final show of the 2009 season.

Here are the festival details - West Virginia Mountain Heritage Arts & Crafts Festival

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sean & Amy's wedding

I had a blast this weekend shooting Sean & Amy's wedding at Chanteclaire Farm. The bride & groom were a lot of fun, the location was beautiful and the weather was perfect. Here are a few of the shots...

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Weekend in Pittsburgh

Jamie & I took a road trip to Pittsburgh this weekend to do a little sight-seeing. For me, sight-seeing involves eating as many different foods at as many different places as possible, but I did manage to put the fork down long enough to get a few pictures. Here are a few of my favorites from the weekend....

The Pittsburgh Skyline from the top of the Incline

The Pittsburgh Skyline from down by the river

The Phipps Conservatory

Inside the Phipps Conservatory

Inside the national Aviary

You can see more pics from the trip here (night shots), here (Phipps Conservatory) and here (National Aviary).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

July 18th Worldwide Photo Walk - Cumberland, MD

On July 18th over 30,000 photographers worldwide took to the streets to capture some images. I hosted the group here in Cumberland, Maryland. We had a little over 20 walkers and we explored downtown Cumberland, looking for unique photo ops.

Here are a few of my favorites that I had taken:

Most of our group, at our pre-walk group shot.

Cumberland is full of large brick buildings

I liked how the vines framed the text

Again with the vines

We finished our walk at the Western Maryland Railroad Station

You can see all of my shots here and you can see shots from the rest of our group here.