Field notes and late night rambling

Stick it out and turn it around

I will unabashedly admit that I like for my images to in some way feel like you/I are “right there”. Personal. Intimate. Up close. A sort of sit on my lap and let me tell you a secret kind of thing when ever possible. It’s not always an option and in many ways for good reason. I’d love to see football shot from the perspective of the players: to mount remote controlled cameras into the lineman/wide receiver’s helmets would be […]

Get out of the way

The last few weeks have been pretty brutal but good. Lots of shooting, new clients!, but also a bit of fun to keep me from going totally insane. What always happens, it seems, is that the wave hits whereby I’m popular and busy as heck and all the normal life stuff gets thrown into a basket to wait upon my triumphant return. Now that the wave has subsided I can get to all the stuff in that there basket and […]

Voices in my head, voices of my past

I got into a conversation the other day about my background and influences. It was interesting for me to realize that most of the photographers who influenced me have basically nothing to do with the kind of work that I do. And yet they are still very much a part of my photographic self. As with my post about learning from other photographers who are not necessarily in your niche, I’ve tried to learn from or be outright be influenced […]

Spot on

The other day I had what I’m now thinking of as an “Old Man Moment”. I was setting up a shot and I was walking around with my old beloved Minolta AutoMeter IVF getting readings. The subject of my photos was a bit of a photographer himself and while I was working he and I were talking about photo stuff. So he says to me “What’s that thing you are using?”, meaning my hand held light meter which I was […]

A happy pulp

So I’m continuing to work on my project “After Action Review”: a portrait series of extreme and endurance athletes after they have spent a goodly amount of time and effort wearing themselves out in competition. I’m very excited and happy with this as I’ve put the restriction on the project that all the athletes that I photograph be amateurs: they are doing it for the love and not the money. Which makes you wonder even more strongly “the why the […]

How not to hunt

There is an adage which goes something like “don’t go looking for something because that’s all you will find”. Unless I get an assignment whereby the client tells me exactly what the client wants with a shot list the best way that I can assure that I will come back with interesting photographs is to not go looking for any particular image. Instead I try to go into the situation as untainted by prior expectations. I want to take every […]

Another rainy night

As there are droughts in part of the country, it’s been very wet here in Colorado. Loads of storms and everything is very green. So when the wife and I were roused from watching a movie by the thunderous roar of torrential rain and hail we watched in awe of the power and beauty of it all through our sopping wet porch screen.

The all seeing eye DO’C

I really like spending time with other photographers who don’t do what I do because I always learn something. This is partly because I want to know everything. Yes, everything. So I always learn something, from a technical stand point, from hanging over the shoulder of another visual professional. But more importantly, and fun!, is looking at the way that they think and work. The getting into the head is to me the most interesting and difficult aspect of learning […]

The start of something new

As I’ve said before I simply love to photograph things in motion and the emotion that comes from it. That has led me to as I like to say “shoot any sport but not really with anything longer than an 85mm lens” mostly because I want to take a personal approach to my subjects whenever possible. You just can’t be personal when using a 400mm lens. You get out of a persons comfortable “conversational distance” when you get beyond about […]

It’s not what it seems …

I’m not a sports photographer. I’m just a photographer who likes to shoot sports. Wha? Yeah it has to do with that thing called “the score”. I don’t care who wins and many times the game winning hit, kick, basket, goal or what have you doesn’t happen in a very dramatic way. If it’s soccer, which I love, that game winning goal might happen early in the first half when neither of the teams thinks that much of it as […]

Where have you been you old goat?

First off, I have been remiss in keeping up with this here blog thing so I humbly beg your forgiveness. There has been lots going on in JC world and while some is exciting a lot is boring but the kind of boring that nicely pays the bills. The problem with being a working photographer is that you are in fact working. As in the kind that wears out shoes.   Second there are some big things brewing in JC […]

A video confession

I’ve been watching a lot of tutorials on video color grading lately. For those of you not working with video in a professional context that means that I’ve been learning how to adjust and tone the video that I shoot much like you work with still images. But not at all.   Ya see when I become Emperor things will be made consistent. We won’t have 32 different terms for the same thing so that when you learn a new […]

Crossing the line

One of my greatest inspirations in developing my photographic self was the work of Frans Lanting. He was just about the first wildlife photographer to find a way to not have to use long lenses to photograph animals. He wanted to photograph them in ways that were more personal as you would with people or subjects that you can physically get close to. Besides using lots of patience to enable the use of wide angle, or at least normal focal […]

The King is dead and I’m ok with that

Well you all know that Kodachrome is dead. Ya-da, ya-da. The retrospectives and homages that spilled out for weeks about how Kodachrome was and forever will be The King, Elvis not withstanding, just kinda bugged me. And that all, as I’m sure you are expecting, got me to thinking.   1)      I learned to shoot color on Kodachrome K64. I spent my early years running around with either that or K25 in my cameras learning how to get my technicals […]

Using the “not so remote” camera

It’s not common for a photographer to be the subject of an others imagery and I am certainly not used to being photographed while I work. Yet when my friend and assistant Lindsay sent me this shot the other day I thought that it was actually pretty cool. Ya see what I was doing was not adjusting my camera controls but composing through the LCD with the camera, my beloved Nikon D700, in Live View mode. But rather than holding […]

Throw half your brain out the window

I tend to be focused on making images that are both interesting and technically correct in that order. It took me a while to not make photos in the other order. One of the pitfalls of coming from the landscape photography background is that there is often an inordinate amount of effort in that genre to produce as technically correct images as possible. As a result a lot of what you see is what I would call superbly crafted but […]

To whom does the lens point?

 “The camera always points both ways. In expressing your subject, you also express yourself.” Freeman Patterson I’ve always loved this quote. I’m pretty sure that Freeman didn’t invent it but he’s been such a great philosophic educator of photography and has meant a lot to me over the years that I’ll give him full credit for it anyhoo. But I will expand the quote thus: “What an artist shows in their art is nothing less than their self” I was […]

Gimme some sugar!

It’s well known that when you eat at a quality restaurant that part of what makes the food so good, besides their use of top ingredients and excellent technique, is that they put more salt, sugar and fat into the dishes than you would as a home cook. In fact the amount of sugar, salt and fat – often butter, would freak many people out to the point of them questioning if they should eat at their favorite place ever […]

A book and it’s cover

I know that this comes just after I posted a glowing admiration of great editors but bear with me. I often look a publications and wonder who is running the place. When the publishing industry is supposedly trying so hard to be relevant and not only hold on to their businesses but maybe even grow a bit why do so few seem to be capable of independent or creative thought? Is everyone so scared that they err on the side […]

A toast to those looking after me

I have a confession to make: I wish that I had the benefit of having more strong editors influence and support me in my developing years. It’s not that I didn’t get to work with a few who took me under their wing. Jay Quadracci when he was at the Greeley Tribune gave me loads of support along with the excellent advice to “go have fun and the pictures will be there”. A big nod goes to Paul Aiken at […]

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