Category : Photolosophy

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

More words from a Master

When I’m in the office I constantly have something playing on my second monitor that I can learn from and be inspired by. I’ve been listening to a lot of episodes of Inside The Actors Studio, that amazing series on Bravo where they interview great actors and directors about their lives and the personal aspects of their craft. I was just finishing the end of the episode with Al Pacino and he said, to paraphrase: “You want to keep trying […]

Hey, make me look good!

I hate to hear a subject tell me to make them look good. Not that I don’t understand their wish to be shown in an appealing way but frankly that’s not my job. My job is to make something interesting out of what I have to work with. Especially when shooting something for a news publication the image has to stop the viewer from breezing past the article my images is illustrating toward the article they are intending to read. […]

With feet come eyes

I made an appointment to get some work done on my car and that got me thinking. Not about the car as I have an amazing mechanic in Boulder – Hoshi Motors (shameless plug). No I got thinking about what to do with the time that my car was in the shop. I didn’t schedule any assignments so I pretty much had the day to muh-self. I figured that I’d put some gear into my small backpack and take a […]

It’s not magic, it’s hard work

I was walking down the street yesterday pushing a cart filled with my strobe case, light stands and tripod, loads of power cables, oh and camera case too, when two ladies meet me at the crosswalk in the middle of a conversation.   The lady with the dark hair says to her friend, ”The problem with technology is the people who don’t understand it.” Well this gets me thinking so I butt in and say, “That’s because they confuse technology […]

Autumn in summer

I got sent off the other day to do a little human interest story on a local outfit that works with impaired adults and has put together a softball league for them. The idea is that getting to play softball helps the ones who are physically limited to get them some exercise and for the mentally challenged to learn to interact with others. They don’t keep score or any of that as the game is an excuse for them to […]

I’ll cover your flank or not a back seat driver

I met Lindsay Lack about 3 years ago, I think, when I put together a gathering of local news and documentary photographers for a night of drinking and pictures. She and her hubby had just recently moved to Denver from Iowa where she had finished a few internships after graduating from the Missouri journalism school. Great gal, good shooter. I kept in touch with her and she quickly became my assistant and friend.

Do not adjust your set … we are in control

As I have said before photography is about control and as such the photographer makes a host of decisions in order to make a successful photograph. When dealing with a human subject there are even more factors that come into play. When the image is a portrait and not a candid the photographer is taking control of the situation for the expressed purpose of making that portrait. One of which is getting the cooperation of the subject.   For me […]

Copy cat, copy cat!

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” Herman Melvile I had a very interesting thing happen the other day. I went to my mail box, the physical one, and on the cover of a publication was an image that stopped me in my tracks. So I went inside and showed it to my wife whose eyes got very large upon seeing it. “How can they copy you like that?” she cried. She was rather upset […]

Peter Turnley’s head, hands and feet

First off – a confession. I'm a gear head. I absolutely love equipment but I don't have a fetish for it. I'm not a collector or one of those people who names their tools like they are pets. Nah, but I do believe that the choices which an artist makes in regards to their tools says something about who they are and certainly how they work. Sometimes this even says something about how they think. Given that I almost became […]

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