Friday, April 30, 2010
Today while I was reading a blog post I noticed that Sigma had updated the venerable lens by adding Optical Stablization to its arsnel. I can't recommend this lens enough, it gave me great versatility on and off the field and if you are short on cash and want a great lens that will do a lot of diffrent work then the Bigma is for you. The new lens info can be found at http://www.sigmaphoto.com/shop/50-500mm-f45-63-dg-os-hsm-sigma?gclid=COLyk6eSr6ECFdtL5QodTx1yAg.
When I started seriously down the road and my journey of photography I turned to the net and I learned tons, I hope now that I can put some of that content back out there now that it has gone through my head. I also hope people find it interesting and enjoyable. I am attempting to keep the podcast short, no more than 15min. I also do very little editing, if I flub up I leave it in. I want you all to hear it the way I would explain it if you were sitting with me asking questions.
Speaking of questions, though I have a list of topics as long as my arm if you have a photo related question and you would like me to give it some air time, then send them along to my e-mail. email@example.com and I will be happy to rearrange the topic list a bit.
I have a soccer match to attend Saturday morning, so look for more images of that and the Famous Superstars gym will be opening tomorrow. I will be at the gym part of the day, helping out as well as photographing the event. Come on by and give a shout if you are in the neighborhood.The gym is located on the West Side of Charleston at 1426 Pennsylvania Ave. Registration for Classes and All Stars May 1st 9am-9pm. Open Gym will be held on May 2nd 1pm-5pm with Open Gym and Tryout Clinic May 8th and 9th 1pm-5pm. Allstar tryout begin May 15th levels 1,2 and 3 1pm-5pm as well as May 16th levels 4 and 5 1pm-5pm. If you have any questions about the gym contact BrianLGravely@yahoo.com or Bfaulkiner@aol.com.
Also one a side note, if you live in the Charleston, WV area you can find a picture of me in the Metro Paper, I was caught by a local news hound while giving blood at a local blood drive. Till next time keep your shutters clickin'!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
When you update your blogs template one must make sure you remeber to transfer everything to the new template. This morning I popped into analyitics to check on something else. While I was there I glanced at the numbers for the main site ukvphotos.com and then at the blog. I noted with a frown that blog traffic was down. This normaly dosen't bother me but the large drop of 34% down from this time last year did bother me.
When I opened the analyitics details I realized instantly what had happened. When I created the new template for the blog, the one with Speedy at the top. I neglected to copy in the analyitics code. As a result since the new template I have had no tracking at all. Shame but a fact. It's not the first time I have done this and I am sure it will not be the last. Oh well.
I spent most of the day in a windowless meeting room listening to folks talk about how they want to alter things for our office next year. As a result my brain is numb and sluggish. However despite that I was able to complete the arrangements for "The Everyday Photographer" and as promised it will be available for you starting tomorrow and every Friday hear after. In addition I have submitted it to ITunes, with luck it will be approved. So spread the word "The Everyday Photographer" is here and live. In fact I have 7 episodes in the can ready to go, I have to redo one due to equipment issues. I hope you enjoy them.
August 22 - August 28
Light, Design and Color: The Expressive Landscape in Iceland / Brenda TharpDeveloping personal vision and mastering the craft of photography are the two key elements in creating expressive photographs. In this workshop, participants will be immersed in an exhilarating environment and be guided by Brenda on how to interpret the scene before them into artistic photograph. The workshop will focus on developing a creative eye while exploring some of the finest locations Iceland has to offer. Brenda will discuss the creative process, from seeing to translating that vision into the final image. Key topics of composition, creating visual depth, utilizing nature’s design, and applying special techniques will provide the basis for learning how to create more expressive images. The workshop will be balance of photographing the awesome environment, visual presentations and thoughtful, helpful critiques of your work. Processing your RAW images in Lightroom, using HDR software, and applying creative computer techniques that can help you take your images creatively further will also be covered.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I learned this morning that I will be stuck in a meeting the next two days, wish it was a workshop for photography and not a meeting. Speaking of workshops...OK...maybe I should just stop typing my mind is to erratic for a post...hang on folks! A while back I leveraged the power of twitter and managed to get a group of folks to comment and provided feedback on a project I had in mind. The feedback was encouraging and I want to proceeed with it. The idea was photo safari's here in West Virginia. Most folks thought I was nuts for even suggesting the idea, my schedule is jammed packed at the best of times and they wanted to know where I was going to get the time from. I jsut smiled and said I would figure it out, depending on the feedback.
After reading the comments and ideas I have decided to start planning a photo safari. I will be creating a separate website for this in time, for now I am going to use a section of the UKV Photos site. Once I have it up and ready for the world to see I will start booking the event locations and set up meeting points. It is unlikely I will be able to get the fist event scheduled until after May is over, soccer runs that long. These events will be small one day outings. During which time we will visit a variety of locations, hang -out as photographers and share information. As the group sizes grow I hope to be able to bring in guest photographers to present to the group. Costs will be kept to a minimum, this is about making images not about making money.
More info will be coming out soon on these. Also be on the lookout for "The Everyday Photographer podcast here on the blog. They will be starting on Friday. Keep your shutters clickin'!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Of course they just get deleted right after the translation is made for me. You have to love Google translations. Its fast and the grammar can be a bit dodgy sometimes, depending on the language. I think that may largely be a result of the variations on syntax. At any rate though it bulk translates text to another language in a flash and well enough that you can make out what it is saying. I added the translate widget a while back to the blog when I noticed in my analytics that my blog was being read in a number of non-native English speaking countries around the world. I did it simply as a courtesy, I do not know if it is used all that much but I do like the thought that with a simple click on my blog page the entire text portion of the blog is translated for them.
One closing note, The Everyday Photographer will be launching this Friday, it will be available on iTunes as a pod cast and embedded here on the blog as well. I will make a more formal announcement about it later this week.
Keep your shutters clickin'
Hey work-shoppers Bob and Dawn Davis of the Davis Workshops are holding two of their Love Story Workshops in California in the coming month. One will be in San Francisco on May 6th and 7th. The other will be in Irvine on May 13th and 14th. These two put on an amazing workshop. The image results from the last few grab you. Go to the link above and give them a look over. I've added them to the workshop calendar already.
Monday, April 26, 2010
I think the image sums it all up...its hard work being famous. The gentleman in the image is Brian Gravely, Brian is one of A's gymnastics and cheer coaches. In recent days Brain and his partner Amara along with another Brian have opened their own gym. On Saturday I was over at the new facility making some images of the painting and work being done. At one point B went outside to clean up the area in front of the building. One of the others started giving him a hard time and he flew back with some mock attitude as only Brian can. What he did not know was that I was just out of his sight with the camera. I saw it coming and grabbed the image.
There are days it pays to be an event photographer. At any rate I made one critical mistake. Brian was outside and I had been shooting inside the unlit building. Being inside I had needed to have the flash going to make the images. When I leaned out to get the shot it totally slipped my mind and as soon as it went click I knew the image was toast. I almost deleted it right in camera but after a quick zoom in on B's face I realized he was not to far blown out. Lightroom and PhotoShop to the rescue. In the digital dark room I corrected as much of Brain as I could. I crushed out the remaining portions of the image that was distracting added the gym logo and a little text and the results are above.
Some days you just have to make lemonade. Having said that though I want to play with this technique some more, it made a really neat looking image and it was done, mostly in camera. I'll let everyone know how the results of the experimentation works out.
Keep your shutters clickin'
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
So What is the Everyday Photographer about? Just what the name imples, on a weekly installment I will present various information on photography from the point of view of a casual photographer. Though I may deal with larger weighty topics on photography they discussion will be on how this effects the everyday photographer not the professional photographer. I plan to keep the segments short, no more than thirty minuets from start to finish and they will focus on a single topic at a time.
If I have questions come in from earlier podcast I will attempt to address them in the appropriate podcast or through the blog itself. I'm very excited about this new project and will begin to record the remaining episodes over the next few days. For the early going I have a list of about fifty topics I would like to review. I look forward to hearing from you and getting your feedback. I will give you one word of caution though. Editing on these pod casts is pretty much non-existent. In other words if my phone rings in the middle of the pod cast you are likely going to hear it in the background.
Looking forward to the first cast hitting the web next Friday.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
"I still love the uncertainty of photography. Still love the fact that it kicks my ass. Nowadays, love knowing that all those millions of pixels, hot wired for color and speed, are still blind without the eye of a shooter pointing them the right way." - Joe McNally
In reading a recent blog post by Joe McNally I spotted this wonderful quote. I took comfort in the fact that a guy who can get up on the worst day of his life and make the worst image of his life and it would still make my images look like finger paintings next to a Picasso still finds wonder in what he does. In his simple quote Joe points out that the camera is simply a tool that allows you to capture the image before it. The real wonder is not in all the mega pixels, glass and flashes it is in the photographers eye. It is the person holding the camera that makes the camera capture the image. It is the wonder that we must capture, that is what we are truly after.
Don't get caught up in the equipment, get caught up instead with the vision and the passion of your images, make them what you focus on and let the rest fall where it may.
August 22 - August 28
Exploring the light in Iceland / Joe McNallyMuch of what professionals are called on to do is done on location. Learning how to scout a location and use existing and artificial light creatively is absolutely crucial to success. In this workshop participants learn how to use natural and artificial light, reflectors, strobes, tungsten and fluorescent lighting systems to light and photograph portraits, interiors, exteriors, large and small spaces, and street scenes. Emphasis is on lighting technique and how to “write” with lighting to shape the mood, color, tenor, and feel of a photograph. Color temperature, as it relates to the effective mixing of natural light and strobe, is also covered.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Lets be honest here I don't make a lot of nickles hustling prints. In fact a little over a year ago I realized that selling prints was a losing game. Why? Simple it's a commodity. I can upload an image I made on my camera and get a print for less than twenty cents! That's crazy but it is also true. Likewise if I don't want to wait on the print house to print them I can simply go to my local drugstore or Wal-Mart and print out what I need for the same price.
That realization made me stop and seriously think about what I was trying to make of my business, did I want to really get into the nickle and dime of selling prints. If I did then here was the logical progression my mind came up with. If I shot an event I would want to negotiate an exclusive contract, that way I could limit the supply and keep the price at a level that was acceptable for me. That however means that everyone with a camera is a potential threat and as such I would have to have the client or my staff (read me) plaster every venue with signs that told folks they could not take photos of the event. I would have to have eyes in the back of my head and a goon squad to keep folks from using their camera phones and thus robbing me of my rightful profits. Then of course to get maximum value from the event I would have to market the images to the audience by announcing my information multiple times in the event or by providing handouts, fliers or some form of communications. Maybe a blimp?
See where that is headed, it is headed to one seriously overworked, wound up photographer who feels like everyone is a threat and everyone is stealing from him. Not my things. I much prefer to show up at an event, make the images my client wants and then move on to the next event. As I was thinking on this Dane Sanders (FastTrack Photographer) whispered in my ear via his audio book. "You are not your Photography." My mind shifted and I realized that anyone can make an image but no one can make an image that is like mine.
Instead of selling my photography or my images to my clients I began to think along the lines of selling my skills as a photographer. This of course meant a change in the business. That was easy enough, not like UKV Photos pays the bills anyway. I started thinking of my transactions as not selling the images I made but selling the images that only I could make. Still though I'm selling prints right? Not really now I am selling my skills with a camera and thus something you can not go to a chain store or some other website and find.
Today when someone asks me how much it would cost to have an event shot or to have a family portrait done I talk to them about time, not prints. I set down with them and estimate how much time it will take to complete the job, photography time, travel time and post-processing time. Then I give them a cost. As far as deliverable, I give them all an online gallery where they can order prints and have them shipped directly to their home. I don't raise the price on the prints, they are at cost. That's right they are at cost. If it cost $0.21 ( I miss the cent symbol sometimes) for a print I charge the same $0.21. I also provided them with a DVD of all the images I shot. All of my images have basic touch-up work done to them. I do not offer discount on prints, because I have nothing to discount.
So where are my profits? From the time quote. Remember they paid me to show up, make the images and get them on the website. I also make sure I get model release from my clients that give me rights to use the image in advertising and so forth. Wait...did I say I am getting paid to make images. Not to sell prints. Now some photographers will read this and say that this is why I am not making a living at photography and they may be right, but from my point of view I am happier for it because I am getting paid to do what I love to do.
loads of workshops on the calendar this time of year. One or two stick out in my mind, the first is being held at Blackwaterfalls here in West Virginia from the 5th to th 8th of the May. The other one that really sticks out is the one I have been trying to make for the last two years, and it looks like I again will nto be joining them in May this year. The 2010 Birds of Prey Workshop will be held on May 15th this year. This workshop is held in conjunction with the Three Rivers Avian Center and Steve Rotsch of Positive Image Photography.. It's a great workshop, maybe I will have better luck in October this year. But where else is the shutters clickin'?
Istanbul - The City that Never Sleeps - May 1 - 8
Getting to Know Adobe Lightroom - May 1
Greece: The Isle of Santorini - May 3 - 11
New Mexico's Ancient Ruins and Petroglyphs - May 3 - 7
Introduction to Adobe Photoshop
Venice: Watercolor & Photography Tour - May 4 - 13
Basic Photography I: The Fundamentals
Texas Hill Country in Spring - May 5 - 9
Waterfalls of Western NC - May 5 - 9
Blackwater Falls, Dolly Sod, Canaan Valley - Spring in Wild &; Wonderful West Virginia - May 5 - 8
Basic Photography II: Diving Into Digital - May 5
The Portrait Series
Ireland: From County Mayo to County Kerry and Beyond - May 6 - 17
Italy: The Heart of Tuscany - May 6 - 16
Location Lighting Techniques Tour - May 7
The Composition Class: A Course in Photographic Design - May 9
HDR and Beyond: Exquisite Control from Capture to Print - May 10 - 14
Introduction to Adobe Photoshop - May 10
Basic Photography I: The Fundamentals - May 11
Turkey: Istanbul and beyond - May 12 - May 23
Cascades & Wildflowers of Virginia Photo Workshop - May 12 - May 16
Iceland: Fire and Ice - May 13 - 23
A Natural Eye: Big Sur - May 13 - 16
University of North Carolina at Asheville Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina - May 14 - 16
Galapagos Islands Workshop 2010 - May 15 - 23
2010 Birds of Prey Photography Workshops - May 15
Tuscany Landscape Workshop - May 16 - 23
The Composition Class: A Course in Photographic Design - May 16
The Versatile Travel Photographer - May 16
The Crash Flash Course II - May 16
Galapagos Islands & Quito - May 17 - May 27
Ireland: with Irish Tour Guide Olcan Masterson - Spring 2010 - May 17 - 27
South Texas Bird Safari - May 17 - 22
The Black-and-White Master Print - May 17 - 21
Stock Photography: (Six-Week) Starts May 17
Pacific Rim National Park - May 18 - 23
Spring Coastal Grizzlies 2010 Photography Tour/Grizzlies of the Khutzeymateen 2010 - May 18 -22
Basic Photography III: Advanced Digital - May 18
Maine Coast & Lighthouses Photo Workshop - May 19 - 23
Yosemite National Park - May 19 - 23
Four Evenings with Fine Art Photographers - May 20
Tanzania PhotoAdventure - May 21 - June 1
Tanzania Safari with Boyd Norton - May 22 - June 2
Dalmatian Coast - May 22 - 31
The Lost Villages of Transylvania - May 22 - 29
Children's Portraiture: The Business and the Craft - May 22
Digital Photography I: How to Use a Digital Camera - May 22
Botswana and Zambia Photo Safari - May 23 - June 2
Scotland: Orkney and Shetland Isles - May 23 - 25
Color Balancing and Image Enhancements in Adobe Photoshop - May 23
Spain: Madrid and Barcelona - May 24 - June 2
Spain: Madrid and Barcelona Art Expedition - May 24 - June 2
Venice: Night and Day - May 24 - June 2
Beginning Adobe Photoshop - May 24 - 28
Costa Rica - Tropical Adventure Spring 2010 - May 25 - 27
Basic Photography III: Advanced Digital - May 25
Mastering Adobe Lightroom - May 25
Yellowstone Spring Photography Workshop - May 27 - 31
Coastal Brown Bears of Alaska - May 30 - June 5
Ireland: Exclusive Photo Tour with Ron Rosenstock, accompanied by Paul Caponigro - May 31 - June 10
Comoro Islands Extension - Tue, June 1 – Fri, June 4
Boudoir Divas Workshop - Tue, June 1 – Thu, June 3
Basic Photography III: Advanced Digital - Tue, June 1
Uganda Mountain Gorilla Extension - Thu, June 3 – Tue, June 8
Spain's Andalucia & the Alhambra Photo Workshop - Fri, June 4 – Thu, June 10
Nevada Wier - Creativity in Travel Photography - Fri, June 4 – Sun, June 6
Tangier Island off the Eastern Shore, Virginia - Fri, June 4 – Sun, June 6
Wild Nature Tours - Spring Workshop - Sat, June 5 – Sun, June 13
Yellowstone & Grand Tetons in Spring - Sat, June 5 – Sun, June 13
Yellowstone Spring Wolf and Bear Adventure - Sat, June 5 – Wed, June 9
Coastal Brown Bears of Alaska - Sun, June 6 – Sat, June 12
Montana Rocky Mountain Front Photo Workshop - Sun, June 6 – Sat, June 12
Eddie Soloway - Eyes Wide Open - Mon, June 7 – Fri, July 9
East Africa Photo Safari - Tue, June 8 – Sat, June 19
Tanzania Photographic Safari - Tue, June 8 – Sat, June 19
Basic Photography III: Advanced Digital - Tue, June 8
Wildlife Photographer's Base Camp - Wed, June 9 – Sun, June 13
Ireland: Capturing the Essence of Western Ireland - Thu, June 10 – Sun, June 20
Wildflowers & Reflections in the Tetons - Thu, June 10 – Sun, June 13
Ladakh: The Last True Remaining Tibet - Fri, June 11 – Sat, June 26
Making Your Own Photo Book - Sat, June 12 – Sun, June 13
French Wine Country Photo Workshop - Sun, June 13 – Sat, June 19
Basic Photography III: Advanced Digital - Tue, June 15
Mastering Adobe Lightroom - Tue, June 15, 7pm – 9pm
Washington's Palouse Region - Wed, June 16 – Sun, June 20
Yellowstone Spring Wolf and Bear Adventure - Thu, June 17 – Mon, June 21
Four Evenings with Fine Art Photographers - Thu, June 17
Conservation in Focus: A Photographic Workshop in Southeast Alaska - Fri, June 18 – Sun, June 27
Tony Corbell - The Power of Light - Fri, June 18 – Sun, June 20
Spring 2010 Wildlife Instructional Photography Workshop - Sat, June 19 – Tue, June 22
Ireland: The Magic of Western Ireland with Corey Hilz - Sun, June 20 – Wed, June 30
Professional Photography - Sun, June 20 – Sat, June 26
Storm Chasing - Sun, June 20 – Sat, June 26
Basic Photography III: Advanced Digital - Tue, June 22
Mastering the Photographic Assignment - Fri, June 25 – Sat, July 3
Sicily, Crossroads of the Med Photo Workshop - Fri, June 25 – Thu, July 1
Loons and Other Delights 2010 Instructional Photography Workshop - Fri, June 25 – Tue, June 29
The Crash Studio & Location Lighting Class - Sat, June 26 – Sun, June 27
Crafting the Fine Landscape Photograph - Sun, June 27 – Sat, July 3
OneLight Workshop v. 3.0 - Mon, June 28
Loons and Other Delights 2010 Instructional Photography Workshop - Wed, June 30 – Sun, July 4
OneLight Workshop v. 3.0 - Wed, June 30
Keep you shutters clickin'!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Thoughts of the Day will be haning around as a regular post, except on the weekends. I am going ot do my best to get posts up on the weekends but I don't always make it so my plan for now is to make the Thoughts of the Day series a week day post with occasional weekends thrown in. I've come to like just brain dumping some of my thoughts out here. I do try to keep them photo related but as is my brain it wanders from time to time and when it does I am going to let.
The Where the Shutter Clicks will be hanging around, for those who have not been with us long Where the Shutter Clicks is my monthly update on what is going on in the photo workshop world. In that post I will list every workshop that I have personally found or had reported to me via the blog, email, Twitter or Facebook. Which reminds me I need to get that post ready and up soon, its overdue now. Uh-OH!
With the changes will come a new regular segment. In fact I recorded the first one this morning, I'm going to be adding an audio cast/podcast to the blog on a regurlar basis as well. Currently I am planning on a single audio cast a week. These will be unrehearsed, thoughts on a photographic topic. I have not picked a day for them to run yet nor have I finalized the entire concept yet. As I said I recorded the first one today. These casts are going to focus on a series of photographic topics and for the most part will not deviate from that list. I really enjoyed hte one I made this morning, so who knows it may become a more common method of content delivery. More on that later when they start appearing, but look for the first one sometime this week. Likely Friday as I need to arrange pod casting and that sort of thing first.
Keep your shutters clickin'!
Monday, April 19, 2010
This morning on the drive in to the office I was thinking over a few things, nothing major and as I did I spotted this old crow. He was sitting on a branch overlooking the highway. You could almost see a wistful look in his eyes as he looked for road kill. I know disgusting right, but then the thought his me that I wished I was as free as a bird. Not to eat road-kill but to go and come and do as I wish. Over the last year I have done a great deal of reading on ways to alter your perspective, your work day, your hours and many many other topics. Many of the principals I have applied to my day to day work load. One of them that I value the most is so strait forward and simple. Be productive, not busy. Everyday I arrive at my desk with a list of no more than three things to accomplish on that day. Its a simple small list, all are tasks that I should be able to get done in a single day. If it is a multiple day task then I have it broken down in the pieces I want to accomplish on what days. I focus on only those tasks, I do not check e-mail, or phone message until 30min before lunch. I do my utmost to accomplish those three tasks before lunch. If I succeed and I normally do these days then I have the rest of the day to work on other projects.
Sounds simple enough but it can be harder than you think. In order to succeed at it you have to determine what the three tasks are before you get to work. Todays tasks for example where written on Friday of last week. Tomorrows were written in the last 30min of the day today. Each task is mission critical and must be completed. I do not waste time on distractions, if someone comes in my office with a question I quickly answer their question and bundle them on their way. The same thing for phone calls, if the speaker starts out with a bunch of small talk and warming up to their questions I jsut head them off at the pass, I inform them I am swamped and really don't have time for another task but because they are so helpful to me and my work I want to help them. I let them know I am putting my tasks aside to help them. This normally get their attention. Of course you have to be diplomatic but you can do that all in a few sentence and get them to their question. The faster you do the quicker they are out of your office. You then get their problem resolved and go back to your tasks.
Now here is the key to it all...are you ready...are you really sure you are ready...OK here it comes. Here is the secret to getting more done in less time than anyone else. Remember I'm generation X, I grew up a multitask-er. I learned in school to juggle four and five tasks with ease. However when I was in grad school I learned this little secret. How did I maintain a 4.0GPA in grad school when I had trouble maintaining a 3.0 GPA in undergrad...simple I did one thing at a time. I only did one task at a time. So how does that make me more productive today. Simple...I DO NOT MULTITASK! I never ever multitask. That's right folks the computer guy, the photographer the educator who used to pride himself on his ability to do more than one thing at a time no longer does that.
Why did I stop. Firstly it was something I read in Tim Ferriss book The 4 Hour Work Week. In the book time makes the same recommendation I am making above. Second I remembered the lesson from Grad school. If I wanted to make an A then I took one class at a time. The one and only time I took multiple classes I made a B in one of them. So at work I do one task on my task list all the way through and then move on to the next. I once heard a quote "If you do not have time to do it right the first time then when are you going to have time to re-do it.?" So now I do things one at a time and I spend less time going back and fixing hurried mistakes and as a result my productivity has jumped amazingly.
Try it for yourself. Make a list of no more than three mission critically one day completion tasks for tomorrow. Now first hing in the morning start on 1 and then move to 2 and then 3. When these are done check your e-mail and your other distractions. Bet you get more done.
Thanks Tim for the advice it works and I am loving my less stressful workdays! I love the free time I have in the day. I may not be as free as that bird I saw this morning but I am free to get my work done and on time when most of my co-workers feel rushed and hurried.
August 15 - August 21
Bringing Your Vision to Life / Laurie ExcellFrom the Click of the Shutter to the Finishing Touches in the Digital Darkroom.
Each one of us has our own unique vision of the world. This workshop is designed to help you bring your vision to life. Over the course of the week, we will embark on a great adventure enjoying and making beautiful images of the wonders of Iceland. We’ll work on better understanding of the tools we use to make images (cameras, lenses, accessories, etc) and honing our photographic skills to capture the best image possible in the camera and then adding the finishing touches in the digital darkroom. Each day we will follow the light photographing when the light is best followed by downloading and reviewing our images, celebrating our successes and learning how to improve our photographic skills to the point where the technical is unconscious and our creativity emerges.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Interpreting the Last Great Landscape / Tony SweetNature photography is the art of interpretation. Seeing a scene and pressing the shutter release is certainly one way to do it. But, unless you feel what you’re photographing, others won’t feel anything from your image. Iceland is one of the last great photographic frontiers. This workshop will be an extension of our Visual Artistry photography workshops in terms of creating visually exciting and personal interpretations of the austere Icelandic landscape from the vast AND EXPANSIVE view to the smallest OF detail. We will be traveling en masse by special vehicle capable of traversing the remote streams and rocky trails, yet maintaining many of our creature comforts (electrical for laptop use, heat, and a high and unobstructed view as we travel). We will be led by Icelandic trail blazing guides who know off the beaten path, unique shooting locations which will maximize our photographic experience in terms of varied and unique locations and quality of light. There will be ample time to process and critique images made each day to best record this once in a lifetime photographic experience.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
I believe I made some nice images this morning, won't know till later though when i review them. If I have any winners I will post them for you to see. My capitol shots from yesterday were crap, I was trying to do an HDR conversion on them and none of them made me happy so I just hit the big old delete option. I did however manage to capture this image.
I was planning on going back when the light was better but alas the wind took its toll and the blossom were all gone. :(
So what thoughts have I had today..well to be honest not many.
- Build it, beatuty marks and all...you can always touch up later.
- It is uber important that you eat before giving blood. Between the soccer match and the demonstration I skipped lunch, as a result I got sick at the Red Cross station today. My fault purely. Do better next time.
- Crush it! I recommend you read it, and I recommend you follow Gary's advice.
August 8 - August 13
Destination Iceland / John Paul CaponigroJohn Paul Caponigro is one of the most creative visual artists working today. Dedicated to fostering the growth of creativity in others, he exhibits, writes, lectures, and teaches seminars and digital photography workshops. Inspiring conscientious creative interaction, his life's work is a call to connection with our natural world, with each other, and with ourselves. This site will answer all of your questions about John Paul - who, what, where, when, how, and why. You can explore a web of connections to individuals and communities he interacts with.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Oh well, the sun was beautiful behind the clouds and the newly budding treas with the sun draped capitol done was a sight to behold. One my camera was more than happy to capture. I'll get the images ready and have them for you by this weekend.
I'm a bit stocked one of the two outstanding projects is completed, Wild and Wonderful was wrapped up this morning in the wee hours just before dawn. The calendar is an 18 month calendar, it starts in July of 2010 and runs through December of next year. The images contained within it are all originally works of mine, taken as I traveled around the state with my friends, family and co-workers. I plan to release at least one calendar along this line a year. I will start the 2011 version shortly, however I will only make it a 12 month version from now on. I used the 18 month version due to the fact i was starting in the middle of the year. I placed a widget below that will link you to the my items on Lulu. Go take a look at it and let me know what you think.
- I'm toying with adding a video segment to the blog, nothing fancy just me answering some of the questions I get asked when I'm out shooting, maybe explaining a few techniques I uses in my photography work.
- I've been following Moose Peterson as he makes star trails this week and today I decided I want to attempt to try this type of photography for myself. I have a lousy location just begging to be shot, but it will work to get me practice at this. I'll have to research the gear and get me a remote with bulb setting first though. Need the remote for other reasons.
- What the Duck today shows how I feel about my photography on any given day. No I'm not down on myself its just that I am never happy with it, and that drives me to perfect it and that startst he cycle over again.
- It is always wonderful when you figure out why something does not work they way you told it to, it is also annoying when you realize that it is doing exactly what you told it to.
- Showit today announced the iPhone and iPad sites are in Beta, the coll thin is that I am in the beta test program, so provided I have access to this I will be looking into this over the weekend! Got to love Showit!
August 1 - August 7
Digital SLR Field Techniques/ George SchaubDescribed as a “hands-on” instruction book, George Schaub’s Digital SLR Field Techniques makes each and every aspect of your camera come alive as you explore both the digital and photographic aspects of its operation. The class also emphasizes how to see and read light to make it enhance every subject and scene and how light, exposure and composition all work hand in hand. Working on location, you’ll learn as you create great images working with exposure controls, white balance, on-camera fill flash, lens selection, focusing techniques, digital menus and more. The day’s shoot is complemented with evening critiques and discussions, as well as a thorough investigation of the potential of RAW image file processing. . Instruction is based on lighting and locale and your desire to create images the way you see them.
On area of note, Suddenlink has been ever so helpful in correcting the problem with my email, if you have read the comments on the previous post on of their service reps comment and offered assistance with the problem. This morning I was able to get on the line with them and iron out the last of the problems and my email box is now flowing like it should be. Now the real question is, should I have left it to die? The damn box had 199 email messages in it and most of it was junk mail! LOL.
Some thoughts to share:
- Know yourself, and be honest to yourself.
- What is a resume in today's world?
- A recent book I have been reading suggested that the new resume is your social media presence, that it is your Facebook, your Twitter, your MySpace and so on. Vaynerchuk, the author, goes on to explain that if you build your network correctly and build your brand online when you are out of work then it is likely that within a short time after posting to your social network that you are available a contact will reach out to you. I like the idea but my network is not there yet, or at least I don't think it is. I believe I have the right footing I just don't think I have established my brand well enough yet. Largely because I have not been putting out unique work, outside of my photography.
- Focus on your passion.
- What if you are not certain what your passion is, or what if it changes from day to day, how to you make that happen. I'm passionate about photography. Not many folks will lug a 35mm DSLR in to the office everyday on the off chance they may come upon an image that strikes them. I do. However I am also passionate about education, and the needs it has for change in a dramatic way. Just read my post. How do I tap that, how do I make those two last. Not sure yet, get back to you on that.
- I was reading Cannon Blogger today and he refereed to a post he had written on this day a year ago. That started me thinking, what was I writing about a year ago today. So I dug around in the archives and found this post, apparently while the kids were hunting Easter eggs at the church I was off making photos. Go figure, if you would like to read the post check it out here: http://pointclickshoot.blogspot.com/2009/04/spring-flowers.html
- I've been thinking through a series of fantasy images to make this spring and in doing so I made some images to use as backgrounds. Here is one that I am toying with.
- Why is it when someone asks a photographer how they made the image they immediately launch into a long discussion of f-stops, ISO and lighting rations. Why can't they just say that they put up some lights to create a good contrast and used a setting on the camera. Most folks don't understand it and even if they are talking to another photographer the same rations and settings will not work unless you are in the EXACT same situation. Better to give a basic idea of how and where the lights were and the type of lights, not the brands. Keep it simple. Say I used a strip light on the left, an octabank on the right and I lit from behind with a bare bulb. I know those combination would probably only show up in a Joe McNally shoot but you see my point. Different story if you are doing a lighting tutorial or demonstration but in general speak..come on.
- If you want to be known for something you have to get eyes on the something, no mater what it is. Take light painting for example, Atton Conrad is known for light painting check out his work at http://www.attonconrad.com/
Sorry for the delay in posting, I work on these posts through out the day, adding thoughts as they occur. I neglected to publish it yesterday.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
- We must stop being reactionary and start being visionary.
- The day brings many challenges, it is in how we face them each that we are defined.
- You control your point of view, not those around you.
- Branding, each and every moment is a branding moment.
Computers are going touch and getting smaller and smaller this can not be denied, how might a photographer use this device to showcase their work. One of the complaints I have with the iPad is that my current flash based website can not be viewed via the device, however Showit just recently announced they are working on a solution for that. Got to love the team David Jay has assembled over there they do great work.
I can see photographers using these devices and other like them in the field, on wedding shoots to showcase work and to create other interactive ways of presenting their material. One of the current add-on options I give my wedding clients is iPod proofing. I'll upload images to an iPod for them and give it to them before they leave on the honeymoon, granted they are rough images but it only takes a few click to make it happen. The great point is the iPod is theirs and they get to show it off while on the honeymoon.
Well off to the races the day is nearly spent. More tomorrow...remember keep your shutters clickin'!
You know it never cease to amaze me at the different conversations I have on any given day. For example I arrive at work this morning and while I am awaiting my computer to open my mail and my various other applications in walks one of my co-workers. She has an article in her hand from Time. The article was titled Is cash the Answer. Now keep in mind that at this point I have not even read the article. In short mater we are discussing the merits of teacher based incentive pay.
Let me state right now, the rant below has nothing to do with photography; it has everything to do with my other life. The life spent at a desk analyzing educational statistics and examining the effects of various systems on student performance. Therefore if you want to tune this rant out I completely understand. If you do read the rant then I hope you find it well thought out, as far as rants go. This particular rant has come more and more to my mind lately and I am seriously considering giving it a blog of its own and seeing where it might go. Onward with the rant!
Teachers are in an uproar, the profession is being turned on its head. Issues of merit pay as well as loss of tenure are rearing their head and it frankly scares the hell out of teachers. The thought that the size of their pay check and their future employment is dependent on the performance of the students in their classroom is a scary thing for them. Here are a few articles you need to read:
- Is Cash The Answer (Time Magazine [Sorry my friend did not give me the reference info])
- Should Kids be Bribed to Do Well in School
- Teacher Evaluations: What's best criteria?
- Florida giving tenure the heave-ho?
Now I hope you have read these articles or at least skimmed them. I am going to start with tenure as it is the older of the articles. The concern of teachers in Florida, elsewhere as well, is that if they do not have tenure they could lose their job. The proposed legislation in Florida would place teachers on a single year contract that is renewable at the end of each year. Based on students performance gains teachers may earn larger salaries.
The idea is that good teachers will push the students to achieve at a higher level and thus get better pay for themselves. You know the method, dangle a carrot and see how many people reach out for it. The flip side of this argument is that the teacher in essence works directly for the students in their classroom and that the students determine the teachers pay based on how they perform. While this sounds acceptable at first blush I challenge you to put yourself in the teacher's point of view. Yes you have a degree, yes you had to get a state certificate to get this job but that room full of 3rd graders in there will determine whether or not you get to keep your job and by the way they determine your salary too! That can be a little hard to swallow, particularly if you have never had to function outside of the academic world.
Now for a guy who once made a living as a trainer in the competitive world of computer training I understand this concept. The students I had wanted to be there, they were not being made to attend. Think to yourself would you want to be a teacher in this kind of environment if you had a room full of pre-teens that were more concerned about what they were wearing or who they were going to talk to at break than what you were teaching. My point is of course that we need teachers to be accountable but likewise we need the students to be accountable for their own education, otherwise we end up with a situation like Jeff Parker depicts in a recent political cartoon from Florida Today in which an unmotivated student informs his teacher that he is not concerned about the 'F' on his recent paper it is her, the teacher, that should be concerned.
So to make it work we have to motivate the kids, right. One interesting model to do that just appeared in Time magazine. A researcher working way outside the box created a monetary incentive program and literally paid students to perform better. Dr Roland Fryer, Jr tested four different systems of monetary rewards at schools around the nation. His findings while controversial are very interesting. Depending on the reward system being offered his group did indeed see improvements in student performance. Though I'm not sure this is the solution I do recognize the fact that Fryer's research placed the motivation at the student level. He directly placed the student's in the driver seat of their rewards as well as their learning.
This to me is the key, motivating student to want to learn. I have recently completed other readings that relate to the use of games in education. These games are used not as an instructional aide but as the instruction itself. Now before I scare you off of the concept let me explain.
If I place a game station in front of most kids they will pick it up and start playing, if I place a particular game in the system that is designed overtly to teach them they will dabble with it, turn it off and lose interest. However if I place a game in the system that has covert education goals in it they will learn without realizing they have done so.
Years ago I worked at a Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club. While there I helped develop a computer lab program. This was in the early 1990's and literally we had to beg and borrow the first computers for the lab. Through a series of interactions with the club members I grew interest in the program and soon my 4 computer lab was overflowing. The director and I then took it to the board and with their help the community and soon I had a 15 station lab on the main floor of our building. Later that lab received community grants and all of the donated computers were replaced with state of the art systems.
During the early days of the lab I came under fire by our parents because I was letting the club members earn computer time to play games. They were irate that I was not teaching them how to use the computer. I quietly would take these folks into the lab at a free session and allow them to participate. Quickly they discovered that the "games" I had made available were there for a reason. Many of them were teaching basic computer skills like the use of the mouse or the keyboard while others were targeted at activities. Like mathematics, reading comprehension, planning, finances and much more.
For example one of the games I used was called "Street Rod." In this game the players took on the role of a racer who had to build their money up to buy better cars. To do this they had to race or challenge other racers. To upgrade their car they had to take their winnings and buy new parts or new cars. This was done by reading the news paper for parts. IF they were not careful they would buy the wrong part and lose their hard earned cash. If this happened they would have to make more money or sale the part themselves. In addition they had to make sure they had gas and that the car was in good working order.
Sounds like all fun and games? Of course it was but what I was after was the reading comprehension and math skills involved. I would regularly set challenges, for the game. I would ask the players to get a specific type of car or a set dollar amount. My challenges never revolved around how fast they raced but that they meet certain other goals. It was learning and it was fun.
The members would attend that mundane word processing class or spreadsheet class, if they knew it would earn those games later. So it became an incentive and when they learned their game I just smiled and let them play all the time knowing that they were learning. From this I learned a valuable lesson. Learning should be fun and it should be self motivated. I believe that if we can capture that with student then we have a chance to create something great.
The question becomes how we capture that self motivation. Our current system is rigid and inflexible. To be blunt I feel that education is broken. There I have said it, and yes I believe it. Even though my fiancée and I send our kids to public school I completely and strongly feel that the educational system in this country is broken and that it is in need of replacement. However my statement goes far beyond the shores of this country, I feel that the educational systems of most of the world are broken and that we need a complete shift in how we deliver education. I believe that the United States must be the one to step out of the current box and say this is wrong and we must do better.
The fictional character Yoda, from Star Wars, once said "If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are ... a different game you should play." We cannot continue to do all the same things and expect the same results. We have to try something new. When he was younger M would play a video game and he would get frustrated to the point of tears. I would watch him do the same thing over and over again always expecting that this time it would work and when it did not he would just do it again. Over time he learned to try it another way or to simply walk away from it and come back later. When this would happen 9 out of 10 times he would hop right over that point in the game like it had never been a problem. Why, because he changed the approach and came at it with fresh eyes and a different solution. I think it is time that we changed the game of education and did something new and I don't mean make a few laws and pat ourselves on the back, I mean something new.
Rant over, back to regular scheduled programming, any feedback is appreciated and encouraged.