Category: Featured Works

Buckeye Hydro

When it comes to water, Russ Romme knows his stuff;  ”Pure” and simple! Whether for an aquarium, residence, commercial, or hydroponics, he can advise and provide you with the full filtration system and the necessary materials to keep you running. Check out his fresh, re-designed website, Buckeye Hydro (formerly Buckeye Field Supply), and gain helpful insights from his FAQ’s answering questions like, “When should I replace my filters” and “ How much water pressure is needed to run an RO or RODI system?” ”Hmmmm”, you maybe wondering, “What is a RODI system anyway?”  Be sure to visit his website to find out!

Vortex InterActive congratulates Russ on his successful website re-launch that has been a couple of years in the making. We are pleased to have created some animated GIF banners as well as product photography for Buckeye Hydro, and with your help in spreading the word of his services, you can ensure a deserving local Cincinnati-based company a bigger success while getting the clean water you need!

Commercial Documentation

As an update, here is the premiere photo from our shoot:

Compare the post-production to the original: the post production took 8 hours to complete and involved adding a person for scale, adding the company’s logo, adjusting the exposure of the background, taking the machinery itself to “ground level” by removing the steel posts - a lot of getting it to look right had to do with adding shadows underneath each beam – and parts removal from the perimeter.

Truly, no job is too big or too small! Vortex InterActive has plenty of experience documenting larger commercial machinery such as the one shown in this test photo below:

  Upon completion, this production line machinery will take 14 to 15 semi-tractor trailers to relocate it to it’s permanent facility. The overall cost is in the millions. Size; approximately 25 feet high, 40 feet wide by 150 feet in length (-180 with conveyors in place).

We are proud to have the resources to document larger machinery accurately and with proper lighting. In the past, Vortex InterActive has done similar work in animation for Procter & Gamble, Mitsubishi Motors, & General Electric. Kudos goes out to Steve Barnett, Melissa Mendez, and Jennifer Brogan who assisted on this exciting, and somewhat massive project!


Vortex InterActive to Produce Video Showcase

"Classic JAG" - The Jaguar XK140 makes an exquisite backdrop.

Throughout its 16 years of business, Vortex InterActive has had a variety of outstanding multi-media projects. Though photography and image effects (graphic design, touchup, and enhancement) are the company’s mainstay, we offer much more. This is one of the main reasons for our name rather than “_____name Studio” Vortex InterActive is where various imaging services come together in “Helping People Visually Communicate Incredible Ideas”. Over these years we have shot and produced dozens of videos, and for the first time we are making a Vortex InterActive exclusive so our customers can gain an accelerated understanding of the services we offer.

Cincinnati Fountain Square for Pentax-Ricoh and Cord Camera

Vortex InterActive projects have included direct production in: 3D animation, virtual reality, interactive CD-authoring, musical score composition, audio work, music videos, television commercials, infommercials, logo design, web-design, web-sites, green screen, photos to playable DVD, photography of all kinds; weddings, couples, products, models, architectural, food, pets, and the list goes on.

Vortex InterActive past and/or present clients include: The U.S. Navy, Mitsubishi Motors, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, University of Cincinnati, Kroger’s, Gallerie USA, Christian Dior, Great Oaks, Kathleen Garmany & Platinum IV Salon, Blonde Dog Brewing, Cole & Russell, Grant County, The Graeter Family, Deb Knoske (Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA Pageant Photographer), John Kinsella CMC, FWMCS (World Master Chef), Kathryn Spear (Wellness Coordinator Spear Inc.), The Coy Taylor Band, and Buckeye Field Supply to mention a few that have entrusted us with their projects.

We service many outstanding inviduals throughout the year that make it nearly impossible to mention them all, and we are grateful for every one. It is our hopes this list will include “you” for choosing our services whether it be for a simple photograph or full video production. We enjoy what we do and we enjoy the people we work for: stay tuned to see some highlights of what we’ve done and what we can do for you!

Slimmest Success Weight Loss Challenge

It was exciting to have worked with Katy Spear of Spear Inc. located in Mason Ohio. I am very happy to have done the video work along with the photography and some minor background work for her new website which can be found at:

Katy is the Wellness Coordinator for Spear and has developed and run a weight loss program affecting over 100 workers at their headquarters in Mason. Collectively, the employees have lost over 1,800 lbs. in the course of just 3 months! The program has been definitely both successful and well recieved. The program is currently being replicated at their Tennessee location where the “Challenge” will gain evem more momentum.

Katy has magnificent drive and enthusiasm. It’s clear she is well respected, even loved by the employees, and deserves to be. I have no doubt that besides the work productivity increase, she has been a major influence and has impacted lifestyle changes that has improved the quality of life for many if not saved some lives entirely due to diabetes, heart conditions, high cholestorol and the like. Congrats and good luck to Katy Spear!

Cord World

Simple, yet fun and effective – polarizing your rectangular panoramic in Adobe Photoshop to create your own “World”. In this case, it’s a promo for our day jobs at “Cord World”! Do drop in and see us sometime or call 513-232-7383 to reach us at the store. Okay, so I want to touch up the sky, clean up the sign and I also have some haze where I’m posing as a customer (during my off day of course) on the right side. I’ll post it when it’s done.


 This was popular around 4 years ago and I’m happy to do crazy little things like this every now and then: it’s kind of like pulling a rabbit out of your hat; a bit of “pixel magic”… also included below, drum roll please, the animated .gif (gasp) only modernized by the amount of pixels along with a smooth background I took at the Newport Aquarium. Rather fitting since Russ Romme, the owner of Buckeye Field Supply, used to dive for them to check the chemistry and whatnot.

 Hint——Click the Image to see the action!

Pentax-Ricoh GR Digital IV Samples & Review

The Ricoh GR Digital IV “Professional Compact Digital Street” camera is phenomenal in the amount of control it gives you in a compact size with superb macro abilities and sharpness that will blow your mind! Compact cameras like these are on the rise and are needed on the market. Why? Quality in low level light that even an i-phone can’t give you; I know, I own one! Special thanks to Cord Camera, Tim Hughes – Merchandising Manager, Bill Schwinn – Vice President, Stephanie Cordle, Pentax, Ricoh, and Mark Sherengo – Director of Sales – PENTAX for the opportunity to share the images of this camera with you and for allowing us to add it to our digital imaging arsenal for years to come.

Click for Full Image Gallery

When I first saw the Pentax-Ricoh GR Digital IV camera, I didn’t know how it would fit into our arsenal of image capture devices. We have seen and used hundreds of compact digital cameras from nearly every manufacturer and we’ve had our share of Androids, I-phones (I-pad included here) so let’s be clear on the first separation – the phrase “Made by photographers… for photographers” is a highlight on the Pentaximaging website. It takes direct aim at the serious and professional photographer, so at once I knew we had to put this to the test. For those wondering who “we” are in this article, my wife and I have been in digital imaging for 18 years: together we work for an Ohio-Indiana regional camera company, Cord Camera. Currently, Melissa is in her 6th year as store manager at the Anderson location in Cincinnati. This is my 9th year as a professional photographer, 5 and-a-half years of which I worked as an Ohio certified adult teacher (digital photography). We have shot and continue to shoot nearly every opportunity that comes our way. We love imaging and enjoy working with people!

We found the Pentax-Ricoh GR Digital IV is a brilliant mix of quality, creativity, artistry, discretion (perfect for the photojournalist) and flexibility through customizable settings. It’s near perfect. The 28mm lens provides a great field of view with low distortion. (The workhorse lens on my D-SLR was a 28-75mm f/2.8) The f/1.9 aperture achieves success in low level lighting situations. The CCD sensor keeps the image crisp and sharp; an advantage over most CMOS sensors. The 10 Megapixel resolution makes for great large format reproductions with medium sized files that aren’t so big they inundate your hard drive; again, great for photojournalists working via laptop. Then there’s the 3” screen: brilliant, stunning, incredibly detailed, rich in color, very real due to Sony’s White Magic technology. It’s as simple as this; most LCD screens have red, green and blue cells that vary intensities to make up the other colors. Sony’s White Magic adds a white cell for added intensity to overcome bright sunlight, better power consumption, vivid colors and better color control in general. The Pentax-Ricoh GR Digital IV LCD screen features 1.23 Million dots for a resolution that is clearly above all others.

The fact the camera has a hot-shoe for a larger flash is a huge plus. The fact you can compensate the onboard flash is impressive. You can adjust a lot within this camera; from sharpness to hue, saturation, brightness and contrast. In some artistic modes you even have control over certain things such as vignette and depth of process.

The Pentax-Ricoh GR Digital IV is a beautiful camera that continues to amaze everyone we show. I ran a test print at 20×30 to which Dick Swaim, a former Cincinnati Enquirer Photographer, said, “If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it! That camera is amazing, this is an incredible shot!”

One outstanding feature of this camera is the interval shooting and its ability to use that mode for star trails. It’s absolutely mind-numbing how clean the night images are! A little advice here: do read the manual on how to set this properly and do the firmware upgrade, otherwise you’ll have wasted some time thinking you’ve captured something when indeed you may or may not have. There are some particulars to end the process correctly. The results are well worth it!

There are also some subtle, often overlooked conveniences this camera includes such as the ability to review the images without having the lens extend; just press the playback button and viola! I find this feature lacking in most cameras. The other convenience, maybe esoteric, is it can effectively trigger an external flash that uses an optical slave. Durability is a must for a camera on the go: this camera has a magnesium alloy shell – very unexpected and greatly appreciated. Last and certainly not least, it can shoot in a .DNG raw file format for greater flexibility and control in the development process.

In summary, the Pentax-Ricoh GR Digital IV is a professional photographer’s dream. I find myself using it more than my D-SLR when out and about. What we enjoyed most was the Bleach Bypass and High Contrast Black & White artistic modes. I also personally enjoyed the Cross Process and Star Trail mode. So is there room for this camera to grow? Better frame rate, higher quality video, and a slightly higher ISO range. For a camera that is near-perfect that would be even more icing on an already terrific cake!

I will take this time to let you know we are proud to be at Cord
Camera in an industry which is becoming increasingly specialized as we watch other camera stores close their doors and fold due to the advent of phonography and internet purchasing. This includes larger national based chains. So what keeps us in business? You – and your thirst for real answers from real people with professional experience; that’s the separation we have from larger retail-box stores and from the internet. It’s the personal experience in working with non-automated services and replies. In short, “Thank you” for taking time to read this article and for those stopping in to purchase your camera and allowing us to process your images thereafter.

What are camera manufacturers doing to overcome the obstacles? They are building cameras capable of capturing higher quality images and they are doing it in lower level light. Phones can be great for the mobility and for spontaneous activities in bright daylight. They can even capture them with stunning results, but bring them indoors and they suffer. Try to record sports action shots and you get blur. Print them out as an 8×10 and they fall apart with pixelization. For most people, just transferring them to computer can be an issue – at Cord Camera we have an app for that! Camera manufacturers are also getting test cameras into the hands of professionals who share their findings and we greatly appreciate that because ultimately it gets back to you, the Smart Consumer!

Zivan Mendez - Pro Camera Sales, Cord University One-on-One Class Instructor, Cord Camera, 7731 Beechmont Avenue, Cincinnati,OH45255

Owner/Director, Vortex InterActive, 821 York Street, Newport, KY 41071

 Melissa Mendez - Store Manager, Cord Camera, Creative Director, Vortex InterActive

High School Senior Photos & Prints

Check out our photography for your High School Senior Photos:

We understand a lot of students had scheduled photo sessions in the fall for this years graduation, but there’s still time left for those needing to have Senior pictures taken. We offer the most complete package in addition to the Photography; Style, Location, Photoshop Editing, Collage Creation. Our session price includes a DVD of your digital negatives and PRINTS! We control the printing process and adjust for exposure and color balance where needed. Get the look you want!

Senior Session, 3 to 5 hours, $390.00, 3 to 4 changes, (3)8×10′s (6)5×7′s, (16) wallets (same photo only on wallets) We also offer larger print packages or a-la-carte; please ask!

Call 513-432-4000 or e-mail us at to schedule your shoot today!

Photographic Retouch & Restoration

Vortex InterActive has dealt with dozens of restorations and retouches throughout its 15 years of service. Some have been relatively simple with minor color and detail enhancements, others quite standard concerning the removal of beauty marks, and yet others more challenging with major elements torn and/or completely missing. Whether for color change, detail enhancement, modeling, magazine layout, funerals, anniversaries, preservation, or whimsical desire, you can rest assured you are receiving the best in the industry. We have even handled corporate photographs for Miss America Pageant Entries, Christian Dior, Galerie USA (Candy and Holiday Gift Supplier to Macy’s, Target, Wal-Mart, Graeters), Krogers and the like under this category. Photographic restorations and retouches are handled on a case-by-case basis in terms of cost. You can find an approximate cost listed on our pricing page to give you an idea.

“I have never seen anyone’s work as good as this! It’s perfect!” – Charlene Lane, funeral restoration.

Genious! You’re like the Houdini of photography; getting my photos out of a tough situation. Your work is brilliant!” – Joe Wolf, Van Halen Retouch.


Vortex InterActive for Blonde Dog

Vortex InterActive Owners, Zivan & Melissa Mendez, are proud to have produced art and design-work for The Blonde Dog Brewing Company, LLC out of Batavia Ohio established in 2012. Zivan is excited to have been additionally hired as Blonde Dog’s Media Director as of early November 2012 and has been busy working custom photos in Photoshop and Illustrator since. Plans to introduce the Blonde Dog Pale Ale for sampling, and the general public, are about two to three months out. Six months from now, The Blonde Dog should be out in force and “coming to a glass near you!”

The Brewers of Blonde Dog Brewing Co. have strong naval military backgrounds. This includes Blonde Dog’s Operations Officer, Bill Greenwald, who is also an active flight instructor for the support group assisting the USS George H.W. Bush, the world’s largest and most revered aircraft carrier, in operations across the globe.

Some of the label designs and brew names are indeed military based and patriotic in nature. It is our hopes if you love Freedom and the USA, you’ll love our beverages as the exceptional ale brewed for exceptional people.

Visit the  Blonde Dog site or call direct for more information on pricing or how to obtain this refreshing and satisfying product for you or your retail establishment, 513-432-4000.

Vortex InterActive 2014