Thoughts: Guru Advice

I had the opportunity to talk with my Uncle for a few minutes last week, he’s an accomplished pro and has been the Guru for as long as I can remember when it comes to photography. Life has been interesting so it was a quick how’s life going (he’s more a friend than an Uncle) and he dispensed some important advice and related a story.

The advice goes as follows: take photos of the normal things that are happening right now, capture life as it is with my sons and I. This can be hard because taking the picture sets me as the observer rather than a participant but this leads to amazing photos that capture the special parts of life. Most often when people pick up a camera they try so hard to capture the extraordinary events, this makes for some amazing shots yes. But if there is ever an “accounting” of what we’ve done as photographers and the photo-book is opened to see what we’ve documented it’s the normal things of the current phase of life that seem to have the most power. Capture the normal things (I think mundane is a fitting word) that are everyday and fade into the blur of life’s current pace. When we reach a point where we can look back at these captured moments in time after we’ve moved on to another facet or phase, this is where these images will have the power to inspire and remind.

The story was a long a similar line, his friend a great photographer showed him his family photo-book and he was in awe as images portrayed such a powerful sense of love. There was blurry shots and captures from different places but it was an excellent representation of a close and loving family.

My thoughts on both of these are simple – for myself, I have my sons and I love spending time with them. It’s easy looking back over the last 3+ years and seeing how life has changed since they entered the playing field well before birth. Life has taken some unforeseen and saddening routes, but we persist and enjoy. I was given my 20D Thanksgiving of 2010 as a gift spanning multiple events and feel very much still in the snapshot mode. This is slowly shifting towards photography, but I have much to learn. My sons are my life, I love taking pictures of them and it’s amazing looking back and seeing how much they’ve changed in the pictures and am absolutely floored every day I get to spend precious moments with them. They never cease to amaze. Luckily for me capturing moments with them is a challenge and a joy, because tomorrow they will have grown up a little more and changed a little bit, they never go back and time move so fast.

On a personal note, I’ve been hesitant sharing this important part of my life with the internet, and will do so guardedly as these little men are my life.

Those of you who have children I’m pretty sure know what I’m talking about. Those of you who don’t have children, capture that what gives you joy you’re amazing photographers I’m lucky to interact with you. There are a million cheesy/corny sayings as well as words of wisdom about the moments that take your breath away and the amazing things that happen. Really life is amazing, it’s the simple things that are so near and dear, take a step back and realize how awesome you are and the things you’ve gone through to get where you are at today. Remember those who have helped you accomplish what you have and be proud of the things you’ve done yourself.

Ok, done with the soapbox 😉 it’s time to shoot some pictures (or sleep in my case).

From the exceptional to the ordinary, capturing a photograph that will stir emotion in the soul is my goal.


Thoughts: Editing & Postwork

I’ve only been shooting for a few months, actually come Thanksgiving I will hit my year mark with my 20D, and I’ve only had Aperture since July. So my photo work was generally just poke at the .jpg’s using the Canon tools on my Mac and spread where wanted.

A week or two ago I bought my first upgrade to my 20D, as tweeted and mentioned a handful of times I picked up an 8Gb card from BestBuy. Higher performance than the 4Gb card that died on me a few months back and Much higher performance than the 1Gb card I’ve been using as an interim card. This upgrade has moved the bottleneck of my camera clicking back to the battery, of which I have two, and I work to properly manage.

To wrangle in my Rambling and get back on target, Editing and Postwork. Wow, for the first time ever I drove/walked around and took 696 pictures. Waited ~20 minutes for them to move from the 20D to the Mac and then quickly got distracted while scrolling through and just aligning properly. Postwork is truly Work! (I am not sure if that is one or two words o.0 ).

My (old) MacBook Pro is the nicest system I have, it’s been a rock for 3-4 years. However, as I move into the Photoshop and more “creative” post processing work I’m going to need two things: a few classes on PS magic, and a desktop that can crank away on images.

Aperture is great and I’m slowly learning how to utilize a fraction of the power behind the Application, reading my book And putting that to use would help… a Ton! One of these days. Photoshop will be excellent for really wicked crazy post processing I’d like to play with, superimposing and combinations, strange colors, etc.

Something @Vasko_Photo said the other day rings very true – do as much work with the camera to minimize the post work done on the computer (heavily paraphrased btw). This is something my Dad had mentioned too while explaining he was focused on learning how to take the best photos he could with his camera rather than focusing on software, that will come later.

The power of the Application to modify and fix shots is great and very helpful, I’m glad “No .CR2s were harmed in the making of this .JPG” (haha I love this saying already). I need to focus on learning and applying what I can to improve my shooting. I can only imagine how much time is spent by the Pros and heavily invested Amateurs in working through a 1000+ image shoot. Granted, with a bit of luck and good fortune good shots will turn out.

Here’s to Editing & Postwork, may it be fruitful and not so hard on the back!


Photoproject: Mobile Photography

I’ve always been fascinated by people, what drives them, what makes them tick, why do they do what they do? Things like this have always made me “people watch” when ever I’m in a position to do so. Really these questions are something I ask myself almost every time I do something.

Here is Arizona we have the opportunity to enjoy face melting heat during the summer, but the “winters” are mild compared to most of the world. My thoughts are since I will be living in Tempe until January I should make the most of my time on my days off. What a better way to enjoy shooting pictures and getting some excersize then zooming around Tempe on my bicycle (here), sounds healthy and creative to me.

Driving around here it’s very interesting to see the various people who utilize the public transportation, there are some very unique folks that hangout at bus stations. I need to read up on streetphotography between now and then, to make sure I’m a little more prepared.

I obviously will share what I find and see.

Ready, Aim, Shoot!

Pr0n vs Art

I’m new in the standing behind the camera, but I’ve looked at a lot of pictures/photographs for many many years. That being said I’ve never taken a picture of a nude woman for fun or art. I look forward to this opportunity, when the time is right and I know MUCH more about composition and what I want out of the image, or what they want out of the image too.

When I was 10 or 11 I asked my Uncle to teach me about photography (he is the master photographer/guru of the family). The question/statement pretty much went like this: I’d like you to teach me how to make money for taking pictures. At the time I didn’t understand that depth of said statement, and I’m still just starting to get a bearing on it currently.

I related this to my Dad last week and was told if I want to make money it all depends on the quality of my pornography. I’m not standing behind a camera to take naughty sexy pictures of women, as tempting and fun as it sounds I’m not sure I could do that. I look forward to the potential opportunity, however I’m not exactly sure right now on how to make the compositional jump from sexy snapshot to full blown photograph.

I guess my thought follows two lines of thinking: first, never criticize someone elses art until yours is strong enough to survive similar criticism*; second, there is a difference between a masterful touch on a nude subject versus a picture of even the most extremely sexy woman on the planet.

*Criticism thought: if it’s negative criticism with no point other than “hating” (applicable but I still cringe at the use of this buzz term) it’s rather useless and should be kept to one’s self; if it’s Positive criticism, it may be harsh but it’s delivered in the spirit of growth and learning, I would think a balanced person should be open to this criticism. You may not have to accept it right then, but positive criticism even poorly delivered is worth the digestion and possible application/modification. I’m new in both my chosen profession (IT) and hobby (photography), but something I learned from who knows where years and years ago was that you can listen to almost any source of input, and then choose one what you use to modify or not modify the output. If someone who knows what they are talking about provides a mentoring lesson, it may be foolish to reject or ignore it as they will stop providing feedback eventually, sometimes rather quickly. [Sidenote alert] One of my mentors at work once said “when I stop giving you a hard time it’s because you’re on your way out, and I am no longer investing time in you”.

I’m excited as a pursue composition and learn more about my camera and myself so that when the day comes I hope to fall on the Art side. Compositionally pleasing nudes are wonderful to the eye.


Site: tweaks & thoughts

Still tweaking the blog and will focus on the Zenphoto install too. I’m not quite sure how I want the blog to feel so if you’re watching you’ll see the theme change for a bit. In the future I plan to drop my images in the header of one of these themes so it’s even more personal.

I’ve had numerous WordPress blogs, just need to keep them updated and patched for the various security reasons. If you have a hoster that is providing the install just make sure they are keeping your install up to date. Chances of your site being the focus of an attack may be small, but as you grow in popularity and or attract attention (especially you Pro’s) your work is all that you have and no sense in loosing it from a blog/site glitch. Tangent-ed that thought, so I like WordPress and just need to get the theme settled.

Zenphoto, it’s interesting and I’m finding it to have lots of features I’ve been looking for in Gallery software, however it’s slow. Might be a config issue on my part, I plan on installing a copy of it at home and practice running it on a “secured” server over SSL (https:// with a cert (self signed of course)). That will be more of a testbed “collab” environment for myself and my Dad. Maybe one of these days I’ll get on to a secure hosted environment for business, or I’ll just look at the cost and invest in the hardware/connection at the house.

Enough rambling! On to the Photography… and well more rambling.


Mentors and Mentoring

I’ve been lucky in my life and have had a number of people kindly take me under their wing to help me with various aspects in life. For their kindness I salute them and thank them for taking the time and having the patience to help me. It’s interesting where a mentor can come from, and what they can help with.

When it comes to photography I consider my Dad and Uncle to be my two greatest mentors, as they have been around me the most and have invested the most time. Without my Dad especially I wouldn’t have the setup/gear that I do have.

Interestingly enough, since I have joined Twitter I was lucky enough to run into @Vasko_Photo, this guy Rocks! If you have twitter, follow him. He has awesome talent and I think captures some of the most beautiful aspects of some of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. His site: has his work, and I’ll tell you now, it’s impressive. See for yourself and contact him, definitely the most helpful photographer I’ve run into outside of my family. In addition to taking awesome pics, being cool and funny, he’s a great example of how to be respectful and friendly on twitter. I don’t know of many other people who thank folks for following him and are responsive to mentions and questions. Following his example on my twitter accounts has definitely added to the example and is definitely fostering good relationships that will help both personally and professionally.

Mentors are special and awesome. Everyone hopefully has had a mentor in their life, sometimes they may be more stick rather than carrot, sometimes they may be all stick and no carrot whatsoever. The important thing is being open to learning from someone. On that note, you can learn from almost everything or everyone, regardless if you consider them a “lesser” person or function from you. Rank or status need not always apply to someone who can mentor you in things of life and philosophy and creativity.

I love the opportunity to act in a mentoring role, it’s satisfying to help and inspire, and I love the challenge of refining myself in the process. There truly are lessons one can only learn by teaching.


Welcome to my Photography Blog

Thank you for visiting my Photography blog. I first created this thinking I could make a service to be used by professional photographers, however I quickly realized there are multiple services out there that do just that. No sense in competing in a market I cannot compete in or even understand the basics of. However, this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share my work, passion even, and efforts in creativity.

Without further ado I present, my site, gallery, portfolio, etc. The place I can share my creative side.

Feel free to view the gallery and my budding portfolio at and I look forward to you comments and criticism.