Category : Photolosophy

Stranger than fiction

Two things came up lately that has prompted me to make this confession. First off I came across an interesting opinion piece on PetaPixel where the photog who wrote it talks about how heavily modern commercial and PR photography relies on digital image manipulation. I won’t call it “retouching” as reconstruction is more like it. The reliance is so great that in many ways the industry depends as much or more on PhotoShop than the photographers who supply the base […]

The birth of an idea

I don’t try to think too much about my work. By that I don’t mean that I don’t care, far from it. Rather I try to not spend too much time in my head. I want a gut feeling. An organic, spontaneous, “where did THAT come from!?”  I used to think too much and that would stifle my ability to be creative. Learning to not think is hard but it helped me be receptive to the quiet inner voice of […]

So you think you can shoot?

I bet you can. In a way. Sort of. Maybe. Uh, … Let’s first define our terms. In the modern era wherein everyone has an image making device loads of people are off making tons of happy snaps. Some are actually pretty good. Most is what you’d expect from a total amateur who is point and shooting: boring representations of objects. And a good lot of it is down right rubbish where the most insipid subject-visual approach combo is supposedly […]

95,000 behind, what’s ahead?

I got a call the other day from someone who after seeing what I shot and how it ran in the publication that I was on assignment for the company wanted to purchase my images for their company’s new marketing campaign. Sweet! I love calls like that. So I go to my archive and pull the images. And that got me thinking, “I wonder how many images I shot last year?” So I did a search in my archive and […]

What’s old is new -ish

As I’ve been doing more and more video work with my dandy, nay amazing, Nikon D800 I’ve been finding that being an old timer is actually quite a benefit. That’s because I know how to manually focus a lens. Wha? Yeah! No kiddin. I fully admit that I use AF alot as, well, it works. I learned a number of years ago that especially in a sports type situation that ever since the Nikon F5 and N90s came out that […]

It’s business and it’s personal

I look at a lot of photos every day that aren’t mine. I believe that it’s my job to be aware of what is going on in the world in general and the world of photography specifically. This gives me inspiration, ideas for stories and occasionally I learn something that I can apply to my own work or business to move me ahead. Let me tell you that if you are a fellow photographer and are doing interesting work in […]

Giving thanks: the girl on the merry-go-round

I had an interesting memory tonight and it goes like this. I don’t know her name and I don’t really remember what she looked like but I strongly remember what she means to me: the first and very lasting application of psychology to my photographic work. Up until the point that I met her, I’ll call her Claire, I was a total landscape/fine arty photographer who never really tried to photograph people. I was awkward and shy.  Regardless, I was […]

New rule: the “Oh SH!T” lens

I had a seriously “where have you been all my life!?” moment a while ago and it goes like this: When I go to shoot a sporting event the lens of choice is usually my trusty Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8 which often gets a Nikon TC14BII converter added for the extra reach that you need when you really can’t get close enough to the action. If any of you have shot football, soccer, baseball and whatnot you know the drill. […]

Shifting gears

I was halfway through a superb BLT sandwich for lunch today when I had the following thought “Why haven’t cameras taken on the same approach as cars”. Ok I can see that this makes no sense so I’ll rewind a bit. The wife and I were having lunch and watching an old episode of Top Gear, the British “real” version, and they were trying to find the first car that drove and felt like a proper car and not some […]

1,000 words …

The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” holds true in many ways that we don’t often think about. I had a revelation the other day about this phrase and said it in this manner: “A photo is worth a thousand words but most of them are only true to the photographer”. Wha? Yeah. Let me explain. We know that in that “decisive moment” there are lots of big conscious choices that the photographer makes among which are: lens […]

Backed in a corner

Even when you have a plan, especially when the client has a plan, I always assume  that if something doesn’t go to plan I need a backup and maybe a backup of my backup. As was the case when the Wall Street Journal sent me to photograph the new CFO of Ch2MHill for a story about how he is trying to expand the company’s ability to put mobile technology at the ready which will not only save them money but […]

Grab the pitchforks …

… the President is coming to town! Well it really wasn’t that bad at all. Last week President Obama made the first presidential visit to Boulder Colorado in something like 60 years. That made it an even bigger deal ya know? I was given an assignment to help cover the hub-bub and happily I got to photograph the protests. Ok I would have loved to be pointing my lens at Obama but all that stuff is so clean and staged […]

Pulling a rabbit

I was reading one of my industry blogs the other day and there was a bit about essentially “How can you screw THAT up?” It was in the context of if you have all the gear you could want, as large a crew of top level assistants/wardrobe/hair-makeup/post-production professionals as you want, a bunch of stunningly gorgeous models and a week at an amazing and exotic locale … how can you not make photos that people want to look at? You […]

People in Denver are too nice, or: don’t you hate when …

Don't you hate it when you go to a riot and a friendly rally breaks out? What a bummer! I was alerted to the fact that there was going to be an Occupy The Courts protest event here in Denver on Friday and thought "Well, yeah!". I don't cover hard news much any more and that's cool with me. I've been a feature story/essay kinda guy since I realized that not only is there no real carrier in it the […]

Innit funny?

Something happened the other day and it took me until about now to understand what really went on. Here's the situation. I was given an assignment to go someplace and make photos for an article. Nothing new here. I pack my bags to get physically ready for what I am to encounter and to render it as the client is anticipating. Load up the car and drive to the location but something is bugging me the whole time. I get […]

Goodbye my old friend, it’s nice to see you again

I was on assignment the other day to do photos for a story about an exercise trend/fad that is based on classical ballet barre work. Yadda yadda. Anyhoo the client wanted some video for their web edition. Hey, no problem. Well actually it a real pain to do stills and video but hey if that's what the client wants then that is certainly what they are going to get. While I was doing my thang when I had a quick […]

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 […]

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