Thursday, March 31, 2011

Simple Beach Lighting

A video on lightning I found. I enjoyed the simple use of a single light. To often photographers think we need tons of gear to make great image. Thats simply just not true.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Famous Superstars at the Battle at the Beach 2011

The Famous Superstars battlled it out at the beach this past weekend. They brought home a 4th place, 3rd place, 2nd place and 1st place finishes. The competition season for them is a wrap, except for the International Co-Ed Level 5 team which won a World Bid in Detroit two weeks back. They are already working on their performance and making plans for the big Orlando trio.

I'm proud of all four of our teams, the gym is less than a year old and already it has turned heads. Gaining new members and decorating the walls with banners, trophies and other awards. It has been an awesome first year out for the Famous Superstars.

If you would like more infomration on the team or are considering becoming Famous yourself check them out at  More images of the Famous Superstars can be found at

Additional note - Over the last two years I have shot a great deal of cheerleading competitions.  This past weekend was the first time I ever encountered a ban on any type of photographic equipment.  We were not permitted to use telephoto lenses at the event.  It would be my guess this was a stipulation of the contracted photographer.  It was not a major concern for me, yet it did highlight a problem with my standard kit of lenses.  The glass I prefer to use in low light, my fastest is only a 50mm f1.4.  The second fastest is a 70-200mm f2.8.  As that lens qualified as a telephoto I was forced to bench the lens and use my walk-about lens.  This lens has a f4.5 to f6.3 depending on how far out I have it zoomed.  The end result is I was forced to shoot at lower shutter speeds than I prefer.  This results in some lost images at first.  It didn't take me long to over come the short coming of the lens.  Needless to say I will be exploring a better lens to fill that spot in my kit in the future. 

I saw the sign the first night I was there and took my telephoto with me to the first day of shooting.  However it remained in my bag while in the arena.  I did hear of photographers being asked to remove the telephoto lenses from their camera at the event.  I'm going to weight in and say that I personally find that a bit much.  The paid photographers covering the event were permitted to be in positions next to the stage, they were allowed access to all areas of the event.  In my opinion, if it was the contracted studios doing, they would have lost very little money from allowing telephoto lens to be used.  However I can also see their each their own.  Still had fun at the beach.

Tik Tok - Star Trek

Ran into this while I was reading some other items and had to share it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fire your Client! Hire yourself!!!

What happened to taking pictures and being creative? Calle Hoglund had an idea one night while his buddies were over and he shot it that night, he also filmed his progress.  Enjoy the clip but come back when you are done .

First let me say that what Hoglund has done looks like it was simply fun!  Now lets stop and think about what he did.  He first has a few friends over and as they are hanging out he gets an idea for an image.  Then he does something remarkable...he does it.  He doesn't think "Well I'll do it later, the guys are over and were having a good time right now."  No he tosses the idea out his friends jump on board and out comes the camera gear and from what we see in the video even more fun.

What Hoglund has done is what most people don't do.  He shipped.  He took the idea and ran with it.  He did not hesitate.  This goes hand in hand with something I heard the other day in an interview with Seth Godin.  Seth was being interviewed by Dane Sanders.  In the interview Seth points out that most people are not creative and that they rely on the photographers to be so.  The photographers get caught up in the hype of what they think the client wants or needs and they fall into the land of "Been there Done that, know I can get an image they will like."  End result is the same old stuff.

Combine this with a lot of other things I have been looking at and I come to the title of the post.  Fire the client.  As Seth said if you are not doing your best stuff then why are you doing it in the first place.  Go out there and build a portfolio of your own work, let your own personality show through.  If when you look at the portfolio and you see the same stuff that a dozen other photogs are doing then dig deeper.  Find out the true you and shoot it.  The days of shooting the same old same old is over.  Clients today can go out and buy a $600 or less camera, go to Wal-mart for the prints and get the same old thing.  The keys are in the hands of anyone out there.  Clients are not going to hire you for commodities that they can get cheaper else where.  The are going to hire you because of what they know you can produce.

If what you produce is the same stuff as everyone else then you are going to lose out.  Now you have become the commodity and as a result you  have to compete with the rest of the heard.  If instead you go out there and shoot the stuff that makes you tick, then you will get noticed.  When someone picks up your image with no name on it and knows you shot it, now you have something.  People fire based on product.  If I want an over the top lighting set-up with an image that hits you in the gut I go to Joe McNally.  If I want animal or aircraft work that makes you drool I go to Moose Peterson.  If I want a "trash your dress" shoot I go to Sol Tamargo and Matt Adcock.  It's as simple as that.  It's about brand and who you are.  Shoot who you are, promote that online and the rest will sort out on its own.

So fire the client, and hire yourself.  Go shoot the things you want...go make art...don't just take pictures.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Flash vs Shutter

This video by Paul Duncan will help you understand your shutter and how it relates to flash much better.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

TED - Rick Smolan and Natasha

Rick Smolan tells the story of Natasha an Amerasian girl who moved to the US because he did not like the coverage he provided during an assigned story.  Rick had been assigned to cover the plight of Amerasian children in Korea for Time.  After the story ran he was dissatisfied with the work and took 6 months off to re-do the story on his own dime.  In the course of his second draft he meet Natasha and her Grandmother.  Rick spent a week photographing her as she interacted with her friends. When his time was up he made to leave, Natasha's Grandmother requested that he taker her with him and shared that she was dying.  Rick could not but said he would make some calls and see what he could do.  I will leave the rest of the story to Rick...

Amazon has copies of the book, Natasha's Story ~ An American Homecoming, if you would like to learn more about this amazing story.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

WOW them..they will come...

The other day i was surfing around on Jasmine Star's blog and found a video she had posted on YouTube. This lead me in turn to other videos she has produced. This one stood out. To be honest I can not remember if this was the first one or the last one or one of the ones in between that I watched. In this particular video though Jasmine talks about something I think is really important. Your own attitude when shooting.

She hits a home run here I think, no surprise out of Jasmine, if you want to shoot something on the large or high end then shoot everything you do as if it is the large or high end event. People will not hire or ask you to shoot for them if you are not putting out something that stuns them. We have to make them go WOW. Just the other night a friend of mine was looking at some photos I had taken and she hit the WOW effect. IT made me smile, not because it was going to turn a profit, likley she will never buy an image from me, but because an image I had made touched her on an emptional level.

Every time you pick up the camera, put on your A game.  Shoot it like you are being paid thousands of dollars an hour.  As Gary Vaynerchuk would say, "CRUSH IT!"  Then put those images out there for the world to see.  Put it on Facebook, twitter, tumblr, flickr, smugmug, or what ever it is you use.  Like happened to Jasmine, people will look at the image and think, you know if (insert your name here) can make this location look stunning what can they do with my location.  You can not half do your work, ever!

Thanks Jasmine for the video and the insight, thanks Zack Arias for inspiring Jasmine in your workshop and in turn inspiring me though her video.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Get Down and Dirty

Photography can be a messy messy I mean dirty.  I often advise that you need to get down on the level of your subject.  Sometimes that means you have to get down on the ground.  In the past and even today I find myself shooting a lot of youth sports.  I've shoot football, soccer, tee-ball, basketball and cheerleading.  In all cases I often find myself down on the ground.

The reason I tend to get on the ground is simple, I want the angle.  I want an image that is at the level of the compensator I am photographing.  People look at the world from their height and for the most part standing up.  Why make images at that level?  If you do then you are just showing the audience what they have already seen.  Instead change your angle.  With youth sports I tend to kneel down or stand on my knees alot.  The end result is I am closer to my subjects height.  This angle allows my viewers to see the game from a different perspective.

The down side to this is that I'm getting old.  Well at least my knees are.  When I was younger I tore my left knee up in martial arts.  To this day it hurts.  Of course studying martial arts again might have something to do with it. Getting up and down from my knees is painful for me, but it makes the images.  So I plan ahead.  I take some OTC pain killers prior to the event and try not to sit to much afterwards.

When I shoot wildlife I am confronted with a similar issue.  To get the good image, the one on the level of my subject I have to get down on the ground.  This is no problem for me, I grew up camping and hiking and getting dirty.  What can be a problem is staying warm and dry when shooting.  One of the way I combat this is by dressing for the weather.  for example back in February I made some images of the family snow tubing.  Though you don't see me in the photos I was wearing my ski-bibs and other gear appropriate to the weather.  I stayed warm and dry and so did my gear.

By simply planning ahead and thinking about how my clothing would effect my shooting I was able to dress appropriately and save headaches later.  Just like any activity in the outdoors, plan ahead, dress for the weather and have fun!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ella Manor

Ella Manor gives us a peek into her world of photography. Enjoy the video and her art as she shoots POWER HOUSE.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Taking Your Camera To The Swamps

Landscape photographer Clyde Butcher talks about how he got into landscape swamp photography and some of the gear he uses. If you like black and white landscape photography you should really enjoy this clip and you will also want to check out Clyde's portfolio to see more of his work.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

TED - Frans Lanting's Life Project

Frans Lanting presents The LIFE Project, a poetic collection of photographs that tell the story of our planet, from its eruptive beginnings to its present diversity.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


"What I told you was true, from a certain point of view..." Obi Wan to Luke.  We often find that truth is only truth from a certain point of view.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

TED - David Griffin

National Geographic has produced some amazing images over the years, in David Griffin's talk at TED, he shares his insight on how photography touches us and effects the world around us.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

MM Photo Tours

I share my thoughts on a lot of things and I by no means want to slight anyone out there concerning workshops or photographic opportunities but one of my favorite finds has been the folks at MM PhotoTours.  If you want an excuse to take your camera on a trip then make it a trip worthy of your camera.  These folks can help you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tribes - Seth Godin

Seth Godin is a regular stop of mine in the mornings, his blog always has some wonderful insight or tidbit for me to chew on.  In this 2009 talk at TED Seth discusses his idea of tribes in the modern world.  The basis that he puts forward is that the social media world we live in has connected us back to an older social device, the tribe.

If you would like to learn more about Seth's thoughts on tribes read Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Famous Superstars at Fairmont State Spirit Championship

The Famous Superstars teams Sparkle and Glitter were out and about this weekend. They competed at the Fairmont State Spirit Championship. Both teams blew the roof off the place. Sparkle brought home a 1st place finish and Grand Champion. Glitter not to be outdone also brought home a 1st place finish and Grand Champion.

One of our sister gyms was there to compete as well. Flip Factory also brought home a 1st place finish and Grand Champion.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Remember the past...

Ever notice that when big companies launch something there is a big hub-bub about the new product or service.  Some will have television sots or newspaper ads.  You might hear about it in  newspaper review or from some other media outlet.  Now I want you to stop and ask yourself a question.  Where did I hear about google?  Today we don't think a thing about the search engine giant.  In fact we have so associated searching with Google that some people, myself included, use the word google as a verb.  "Just google it?"  When what we really mean is go look it up on the internet.  Google was first mentioned in a 1999 New York Times article about links on the web, the title of the article was I Link, Therefor I am: a Web Intellectual's Diary.  By the way, Google was already a year old by then.

What about Amazon?  Or Facebook?  Twitter?  do you remember where you first heard about any of them.  I doubt it.  These were quietly released to the world and by virtue of their design took the world by storm.  I propose the same thing for your art and your photography.  Release it quietly, as a gift.  Once it is found, and it will be.  The word will spread and people will come far and wide to see your service or product.  The website will be 4 this month.  It's hard for me to believe that I have been running the site this long.  It has been through a few shifts in that time and it has more coming but in January of this year (2011) the site had 931 unique visits and only 30% of those were fly-bys.  Those visits came from 31 countries around the world.  It strikes me that so many folks find my images interesting enough to look through them.  I have watched year after year as these numbers grow and I hope one day to be able to tell you that I have over 1000 visitors a day to the site.  Interestingly enough The Everyday Photographer pod cast site continues to grow in popularity as well.

Thank you to all of my followers and fans out there.  I appreciate you spreading the word of what I am doing here on these sites.  For those of you who are new on with the show!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gavtrain - Out of bounds effect made simple - Photoshop

Every now and then I see a post that I just have to share.  Often times I hold onto the idea and later it spawns a smilar one of my own.  This one though is worh sharing wholesale.  I found this jewel over on Gavtrain.  Gavin makes things so simple and his explnations are just wonderful.  So in it's entireity here is Gavin's take on how to do oob's or Out Of Bounds photos.  They really are fun to play with and they make some wonderful images.  I've toyed with the idea of doing a portrait set this way.  I really need to explore that.  Enjoy!

From Gavin Hoey at Gavtrain:
Out of bounds effect made simple - Photoshop: "It’s high time I made another Photoshop video tutorial. After a few minutes scratching my head thinking what I should do, I took a quick look back through your Quick Shot Questions. One Photoshop question kept coming up which was this… “How did you make that pop up image at the end of the abstract background tutorial?”

The technique is known as out of bounds and as the name suggests the idea is to make part of the image poke out from the frame.

Despite appearances the technique is fairly straight forward when it’s broken down into a few simple steps as you’ll see in this video.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Amateur Photographer

"You press the button, we do the rest.” was the slogan that George Eastman used to sell his Kodak camera.  It was designed to convey to the mass public that photography could be simple and fun.  The little Kodak came preloaded with a roll of 100 exposure film, a new invention.  When the roll was full you mailed the entire camera back to the company, they would then expose your images for you, make prints and reload the camera.  The entire package was then mailed back to you.  It was a simple affair and it took much of the mystery out of the process.  Of course we know the rest of the story.  Kodak went on to become one of the biggest camera and film producers in the industry.  Other companies came out with competing products and over time the camera evolved into a completely different animal.  It hard to believe that the ancestor of my DSLR looked like nothing more than a wooden box.

It seems to me though that the digital revolution in photography is very similar.  As we moved from film to digital many photographers have clung to their film. As many clung to glass plates.  As the technology evolved however many of them, unless for artistic reasons, have made a move to switch to the new technology.  That technology however has expanded out markets and opened it up even further than before.  More and more people, and I can count myself among them, are becoming or striving to become professional photographers.

What one must remember however is that instead of a threat to existing photographers we must look upon the new entrants as a boon to the profession.  As more people enter the market it becomes more profitable for corporations to fund research into how to improve the technology.  More profits means more advances.  More advances means a simpler to use system and eventually we arrive at a brownie equivalent int he digital age.

Leaving the technology aside, look at the people.  The new entrants are hungry for knowledge.  Knowledge that the older hands possess.  A photographer willing to share that knowledge in the modern world and willing to help elevate amateur photographers to the pro-am status or beyond will soon find themselves in demand for their ability to share their knowledge.  You can see evidence of this all over the internet.  How many photographers do you know that offer workshops.  I know of literally dozens and that is just the tip of the ice-burgh.

Embrace the times, find your niche and have fun.  All the rest will fall into place.  Remember to keep your shutter' clickin'!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2011 Pack/Troop 99 Awards

On monday evening Pack/Troop 99 held their winter awards diiner, scouts and thier families were in attendance of the event. Four of our Weblos scouts were offically crossed over into the Boy Scout troop, three of them reciving their arrow of light. For thoes of you not familiar with the Cub Scout/BoyScout program the arrow of light is the highest award a Cub Scout may earn and is the only award that they are allowed to carry over with them into the Boy Scout Troop.  Many of the requirements of this award are required of the New Boys Scouts as they start their trail to eagle, the first award of which is the Scout rank.  Below are some of the images I made that evening.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

TED - Robots

Robots have been around from sometime now. We fling them out into space, drop them down to the depths of the ocean, we let them build things and we even have a few that clean the carpet for us. What we don't have though is R2D2 or C-3PO standing at our side. In the galaxy far far away robots interacted with the beings around them. They facilitated communications, they repaired equipment and they occasionally helped rescue a friend in distress. These types of robots seem far off to us. However they are closer to reality than you may realize. Cynthia Breazel leads a team that researches these amazing machines and recently gave a talk in Washington, DC. Give a listen.

At the same conference Heather Knight introduced a little robot comedian. This little guy had a database of jokes and relayed on the feedback form the audience to determine how it was doing. Hope you enjoy it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wildlife Photography Tips

I was looking for some videos for the blog when I ran across this gentleman video. The portion with him talking is a little dark however he makes a lot of good points.
You can see more of his work at -

Sunday, March 6, 2011

National Geographic Wildlife Photos

The images that come out of the Yellow borders always amazes me, hope you enjoy these and remember that we share the planet with an amazing array of creatures. Both great and small. These images have inspired me for so long, I hope that soon I will have the opertunity to make some images like this.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Behind The Scenes On The 2011 Maybelline Calendar

A look behind the scenes of the Maybelline calendar shoot for the 2011 limited edition calendar.  Though it does not focus onthe photography aspect it does show a bit of how things are done on a shot of this type.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Its not the camera...


Go to love the What the Duck (WTD).  So often what I see in these strips inspires me to write a post and this strip is no exception.  I have know folks who look at my gear and assume I am a good photographer just because I have nice gear.  While flattering that is not entirely true.  Sure I make some decent images but I don't pay the bills with my pixels.  I usually thank them but recommend that they look at my work before they tell me I am good.  Anyone with the money and the inclination can go out and buy nice photography gear.  Prices are dropping and the market that was once in the hands of a select few has now become open to many more of us.

Like the old joke reminds us, it is not the pots and pans that make the dinner it is the cook.  It is not the camera that makes the image, it is the photographer.  Photography is about you the photographer brining your image or idea into reality so that we may see it.  We, the viewers of your art, get a rare glimpse into your view on the world.  No two photographers will see the same thing, no two photographers will bring the same images to life.  Remember it's not about the camera or the gear it is about what you put into it, it is about the you you put in your images.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Famous Superstars at the Fab 50's

I neglected to post this little bit of color two weekends ago now the Famous Superstars were in Huntington, WV at Cheer Power's Fabulous 50's competition.  They brought home three first place and a second place finish that weekend.  This past weekend the Senior Level 5 team competed in Columbus, Oh and brought home another Grandchampion and First Place finish.  Not to shabby for a gym that is still less than a year old!