I have two pieces being shown in the PHOTOcentric Juried show at the Garrison Art Center from December 5,2015 to January 10,2016 in Garrison, New York.
Liftoff (shown above) won first place in the open division.
The other image being shown is Rainbow Feet
I have a photo being exhibited as part of the 2015 International Juried Exhibition—A Single Photograph Competition at the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, CA. The show runs from November 21 through January 09, 2016
I just got back from Lake Powell where I participated in the Dynamic Nude Workshop held there by Joel Belmont. Joel does several workshops at Lake Powell and this one was for advanced photographers, meaning there was not going to be a lot of instruction, instead Joel would take us to various locations and we would plan our own shots. This was fine by me as I was mainly taking the workshop for access, and didn't really expect to learn something, but a funny thing happened as it does on all workshops.... I actually learned something and my photography improved as a result.
My Dad used to go to 3-day or 5-day golf workshops and always played better as a result. He pointed out to me that when you are focusing on learning and hitting 1000's of golf balls a day you can't help but get better. Rarely would you go out and hit that many golf balls in a day on your own. The same thing happens with photography workshops, from the time I wake up until the end of the day when I go to sleep I am concentrating on nothing but photography. We get up and shoot, come back edit photos, go shoot again in the afternoon, come back and edit photos, do a photo critique and go to bed. I call it "Marinating in Photography", because I am surrounded by nothing but the pursuit of photography all day. No distractions, just shoot, edit, repeat. I always find that my vision, my way of seeing, my editing skills all improve as a result of the non-stop pace of a good workshop.
The other photographers at a workshop are my people, they understand me and the issues that I face in photography, we can have deep meaningful conversations about photography and I always learn something about photography from my peers at workshops. During this recent workshop at Lake Powell one of the participants showed me his simple technique for making a nude image stand out in a black and white image and it blew my mind and made me a black and white convert. (I'll share the technique in an upcoming blog post. Subscribe so you don't miss it :) ).
During our editing sessions there was a constant sharing of techniques, approaches. Every photographer thinks about an image differently and I learned something from each and every one of the participants at the workshop. Many workshops we edit alone in our hotel rooms each night, but I found I got so much more out of the workshop by having these group editing sessions. I'm going to seek this out for future workshops.
I have often discussed the value of good critique, it is how I learned to be a photographer. I also see it through the growth of my apprentices in The Arcanum, every single one of them has grown as a result of the critique they receive from me. At workshops the critique sessions are extremely valuable and not for the reason you might think. Yes, you get feedback on your image, but for me the real value comes from seeing the work of others. Most of the time they are at the same location as I am, standing next to me, taking images of similar subjects and their images look nothing like mine! I learn to see in different ways. That is huge! We tend to get stuck in ruts and follow familiar patterns, seeing someone else's approach and how they look at the world helps me break out of my traditions and standard patterns and try new techniques.
I always come away from a workshop reinvigorated and full of creative ideas and shots I want to pursue. Our creativity and passion levels ebb and flow and it can often be a struggle to get back in the swing of things and get out there and take photos that are meaningful to me. Workshops are always the kick in the butt I need to get me going again.
I'm already looking for my next workshop to sign-up for. What is your favorite?
Cover photo courtesy of Ryan Fenix Sumner. Used with his permission.
For the past 26 days I've been travelling all over Europe taking photographs, a lot of photographs. In this post I wanted to share a couple of items that I took with me that I found indispensable.
On my last trip to Europe 3 years ago I took over 45 lbs of camera and computer gear. This trip I wanted avoid that weight so I went with the bare minimum.
Instead of my heavy Canon 5DmkIII I decided to take the Olympus OMD EM-1 with 4 lenses,
This gave me an effective range to 14mm-600mm which should cover every situation I was like to encounter. Normally I would not take the 75-300mm lens, but 1 week of the trip was a Mediterain Cruise and I wanted some reach from the cruise ship. In hindsight that was the right decision.
This was a harder decision. I needed mail/internet access, the ability to edit photos, and a way to backup photos. On several recent domestic trips I had taken my laptop with the plan of editing photos and then never got motivated to do so. So my thinking was I would just use the iPad for some light editing, and save all the heavy Photoshop work for when I got home. My editor of choice on the iPad is Snapseed (they also have an Android version) so I was covered for the editing. Now my only issue was backing up my photos.
I purchased a few extra SD cards so I would not have to reuse cards while on my trip. But I still needed to make a backup of them each evening. I did some research and decided on the Western Digital My Passport Wireless. This is a great little drive. It has a built-in battery, wifi, and most importantly a SD slot.
Each night I would put the SD card in the WD drive, push a button and it would copy the contents of the SD card to the drive. It has the option for to erase the card or leave the photos on the card, it is smart enough to not copy photos that it has already backed up. A great solution.
In addition using the wireless capabilities I was able to use my iPad to browse the photos and download the ones I wanted to edit and post on all of my social media sites.
Part of life these days are all of my electronic devices that I travel with that need to be charged, my iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, the WD My Passport, etc. One of the challenges is finding enough plugs in a hotel room to charge all of my (and my family's) devices. When travelling domestically I put a power strip in my suitcase so I only need to find one vacant plug in the room and can charge 6 devices, but that power strip won't work in Europe at 220V, so I needed to find another solution. I ended up with a Photive 50W USB Charger. This device is AWESOME, it has six USB ports and allowed me to charge all of my devices from a single outlet. It works at both 110V and 220V and has now replaced the power strip in my suitcase.
Overall this all worked great. I did have one small issue, I lost my iPad halfway through the trip but was able to borrow my wife's some nights to do some quick editing. I loved how light my camera bag was and carried it with me a lot more than I might have if I had my DSLR.
The only downside was not having my laptop to sort/keyword/edit photos each night. The result was I got home with over 6000 images and it took me a couple of days just to organize and keyword them all. Would have been easier to do a little bit at time each night instead of all at the end of the trip.
Next time I travel I plan to use the same basic strategy as outlined above, it worked very well.
At the beginning of each year I plan out my photography goals for the coming year.
Here is the post where I talked about my goals for 2014. It is now 2015 and time to review those goals.
I did reasonably well with these goals. I attended workshops with Aperture Acdemey in Yosemite, a workshop with Glen Wexler at the Palm Spring Photo Festival, Photoshop World in Las Vegas, and a Kim Weston Nude Workshop in Carmel.
I had photo trips to the Salton Sea, Joshua Tree NP, Oregon Coast, Rome, Yosemite and Alaska (although Alaska was not specifically a photography trip I did get some great photos). I did a total of 9 photowalks so not quite one a month, and I did my 30 mins of photography education each day for a total of 312 days. So I consider this a success and would give myself an A.
I struggled with portions of this. Let's start with the successes. I showed my work in 9 different exhibits and galleries. Two of these were art shows where I was able to sell my art and I made over a dozen sales of my prints at these 2 shows. I entered 7 contests and won awards in 5 including the grand prize in the 3rd Eros Awards. I found it difficult to enter one contest a month as there weren't a lot of contests that accept nude works and my non-nude works I don't feel are quite up to my standards yet.
Now for the failures. I did posted a lot more photos to social media than I have in the past but it was very sporadic and was no where near 2 photos/week. Part of my challenge is I want to post some of my latest nude works, but I can't easily do so on social media. I'm going to work on this for 2015.
I also did not do well with submitting work to publishers until it gets published. I did attend FotoFest in Houston where I showed my work to numerous publishers, but no takers. My challenge here seems to be more about identifying appropriate publications to submit to.
I did well on doing a large production shoot every quarter, I ended up doing five. I did the Rainbow Multiscapes, Joshua Tree nudes, Burying bodies in the sand, created a wet set in the studio for water shoots, and did a series of flour shoots. I'm happy with the results from all of them except the sand shots, they did not live up to my vision. Overall I'm very happy with the shots I got from these big productions and it just reinforces the idea that doing the hard work has it's rewards.
I did change my direction over the year and ended up abandoing the Paper Doll project, I also did not shoot one conceptual photo each month or start 4 new projects. I feel like I could have shot a lot more this past year, but I struggled with concepts. I tried to fit all my shoots into the overall umbrella of "The Body as Art" and I think that restricted me somewhat from trying other things that might have resulted in some significant new project. So I've learned from that and going to make sure I don't get stuck in a rut with my photography projects.
Grade A for big production shoots, F for new projects, with biased and weighted averaging I'm going to give myself a B. :)
Now it is time to create my list of goals for the coming year. I'll save that for another post.
I have been travelling a lot this past month and while I tend towards photographing people in the studio I also take my camera with me whenever I travel. I use these trip as a way to expand my photography horizons., whether it is improving my landscape photography skills, practicing street photography or just documenting my trip by taking my own "postcard" shots. I view every trip as a learning opportunity.
Want a sure fire way to take better landscape photographs? Plan a photo trip. Every photo trip I have ever done has resulted in some of my top photos of the year.
The reason I get such great photos on photo trips is focus, and I don't mean camera focus, mental focus. Because I am there to take photographs and nothing else I immerse myself into the task. I get up before sunrise and finish up after sunset; I take my time at the location trying different compositions and angles; I experiment with long exposures, panoramas, and HDR. I plan!
This is probably one of the more important aspects of a photo trip. Before the trip I will map out my destinations, look at tide tables, and sunrise/sunset times. But even when my plans go awry I still get good shots, because I have time, I have a purpose, and I have a single task. Take photos.
This is why photo trips are so successful. You have time to take photos, you aren't rushed. When I am travelling with my family they are somewhat tolerate of me taking photos, but they expect me to get a shot in a few minutes whether the lighting is right, or the tide is wrong. When I am by myself or with other photographers there is no problem setting up and spending an hour at a location waiting for just the right conditions and getting the best shot I possibly can.
A photo trip doesn't mean that you have to pack your bags and book a flight. It can be somewhere local, somewhere you can drive to in a day. It's not the destination that is important it is dedicating the day to photography that is going to allow you to take better photos.
Do you need to travel for work? Perhaps add a day or two onto the end of the trip and go photograph the local sights. I recently did this on a trip to Portland. I was there with friends the beginning part of the week, after dropping them off at the airport I headed West and spent several days photographing the Oregon coast (where I took the photo of the Wreck Peter Iresdale at the top of this post).
I did the same thing when I went to the Palm Springs Photo Festival in April, after the festival I spent a day at Joshua Tree and then an additional day at the Salton Sea finishing off a project there. Airfare was already paid, the car rental actually went down because I was renting for a full week. I just needed a couple of cheap hotels for the extra night.
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