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VIA contracted by Don Franklin

Don Franklin Somerset

Don Franklin Somerset

Vortex InterActive has been contracted by Don Franklin Auto Dealers for SEO, web traffic analysis, social media content and marketing development. This is a great opportunity to take what we’ve done for Cincinnati Great Oaks Career Campuses (America’s largest Adult Education Facility) and apply it to Somerset’s finest, soon-to-be cutting edge Auto Dealership. Keep a watchful eye on some very important changes all around.

Don Franklin Chevrolet, Buick, GMC Showroom

Don Franklin Chevrolet, Buick, GMC Showroom

The first task will be to unify all 11 dealerships and implement an optimized keyword strategy that is local and region specific. Once that is complete, social media content will be implemented in new ways that will offer customers a better understanding of the dealerships services which will equate to better value. The end result will be engaging the customer in a practical everyday manner. Beyond that, it will serve as a new platform for vehicle promotions that can monitored and responded to in real time. Exactly what does that mean? It means new ways for customers to interact and have fun at a very progressive car dealership in the heart of Kentucky.

Great Oaks was both unique and fun as we developed a majority (if not all at one time) of their images. We worked with them for three years and found our photography on their catalog brochures, class cut-sheets outlining their major courses, banners lining the hallways, on billboards, on the backs of buses and in Kroger’s grocery carts. It was an honor to be a part of their marketing and it was a big help to them especially concerning the 12 videos we produced to advertise across the web and in social media.

What a lot of people may not know is we completely re-rendered an ultra modern use of their logo by which we had to obtain board approval to do so. It was this first, new approach that really paid off in generating new interest from prospective students and excitement for the whole faculty. The initial Great Oaks logo simply flashed on screen and then faded to the footage. The new logo is proceeded by flashes of light sprawling across the screen while diminishing, followed by highlight versions of the satellite campus names coming at the camera coupled with dramatic tribal drumming and lights in a sort of morphing fog atmosphere. The excitement was in the air when it was first presented via a movie screen in the auditorium for the whole campus to see and it still creates excitement today. What a treat!

Don Franklin’s SEO, web traffic analysis, social media content and marketing development is another example of Vortex InterActive’s diversity of services. As we are drafting changes for Don Franklin, we are drafting changes to our own website with new channels of advertisement and increased web-presence. While in Cincinnati, we were fortunate to have word-of-mouth reputation and we are ever grateful for our time there. Here in Somerset Kentucky, though brand new to the community, we are fostering and finding larger, rapid growth opportunities. We have a mission in “Helping People Visually Communicate Incredible Ideas!” and we are finally loading a full arsenal via SEO analysis, web traffic development and by what we collectively call digital media to our own website. Thank you for your support and in taking time to read our blogs.


Zivan Mendez


VIA Joins Somerset Commerce

Vortex InterActive joins Somerset KY Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

Vortex InterActive joins Somerset KY Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

It is a benchmark to announce Vortex InterActive’s membership with the Somerset Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce. We do not have a physical storefront as of yet, but owning a gallery somewhere along Highway 27 is the future goal. It is my hope to create memorable images people will want to take with them to enjoy viewing or to recreate their moments here when they get back to the comfort of their homes, offices, or wherever they choose. Somerset and Pulaski county have a multitude to offer in terms of scenic views and family entertainment which makes for photographs you wouldn’t want to miss! Vortex InterActive will make the best of area opportunities to provide digital media and photographic services for the good people of Somerset KY and the surrounding Lake Cumberland Area.

Fall photography of an old Short Creek Kentucky Barn

Fall Shot of an old Short Creek Kentucky Barn

Vortex InterActive holds a variety of unique skills due to my background with living in diverse areas. As such, it can meet a wide range needs when it comes to imaging. It has done everything from virtual reality and computer animations for Architects to audio engineering for promotional video productions. Vortex InterActive has a heavy list of photography behind it that includes wedding, product, commercial, fashion, model, senior, macro and pet to specialized long exposure shots both during the day and at night.

Somerset Landscape Photography - Stab Community KY

Somerset Landscape Photography - Stab Community KY

It’s exciting to see the company moving into its 19th year and experience has proven there is no project too large or too small. Vortex InterActive works hard to continually provide top quality services at fair prices. We hope visitors will enjoy our website, and utilize our services. Special thanks goes out to Chris Girdler, Bobby Clue and Jessica Carlton (we are her new neighbor) of the Somerset Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce and thank you for taking time to read our blog!

Short Creek KY Cave #1 Photograph

Short Creek KY Cave #1

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!

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

VIA Supports Young&United

I have known Ben Lebovitz for about 6 or 7 years now. He is a brilliant designer, artist and photographer who can now add visionary and young business entrepreneur to this list. I have always enjoyed our time together whether discussing equipment, photo techniques or simply a good dinner together. I am very grateful for the photo shoot we did a few Christmases ago; it was a great encouragement during a transitional time in my life. I fully support his efforts and undertaking, please take a moment to review his project by watching this video backed by a simple dollar donation (more if you can). His success and the success of Young & United can only be made by you: your support is both needed and appreciated! In the words of Kathleen Garmany regarding Y&U, “Take “US” back, the USA that is.. I support this, please share and support if you believe.”

Thanks and God Bless!
~Zivan Mendez

Vortex InterActive 2014