A place for me to share my recent work, random musings on photography and reflect on my thoughts, experiences, ideas and revelations.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Another Quote

I guess I'm into quotes lately. Maybe it's because of all this time I have for deep thinking. Yikes.

Don McGowan is a nature photographer, best known for his work in the Smokies. He's also one of my 'heros.' He's a deep-thinking, passionately creative photographer. Don publishes a sometimes-monthly newsletter called "A Song For The Asking," and in his February 2009 newsletter spends a lot of time discussing principals from Eric Maisel's Coaching the Artist Within. There are 12 skills in all, and I think I just need to get the book and read it, but it is in Don's discussion of the second skill which he refers to as "passionately making meaning" that hit me like another brick between the eyes:

"“Regardless of whether or not the universe is meaningful, of whether my odds of succeeding are long or short, of everything at both the existential level and at the practical level, I am going to intentionally make meaning.” What this amounts to is saying to yourself that you’re not going to wait on the universe to announce to you what you should do; you are going to decide, based on your own best understanding of truth and reality, how you will matter."


Thursday, March 19, 2009

SoFoBoMo 2009

I read about SoFoBoMo (aka Solo Photo Book Month) last year and thought it was a cool idea. I didn't participate because I thought I was pretty busy. I had already planned on participating this year and was going to do a book of photos from my office window. But since I doubt they'll let me in there to take pictures I had to come up with a new plan. I think I have a good one.

A couple of months ago Aaron Johnson of What The Duck started selling duck plush toys. I purchased a couple of them, having no idea what I was going to do with them. Now I do. Mr. W.T. Duck is going to hit the road! Like the garden gnome but much better, old W.T. is going to have his pitcher made all over North and South Carolina. I've already asked for and gotten Aaron's blessing, and he says he is "flattered."

The project doesn't start until May 1, so I'll have to dream up some great locations over the next few weeks.

You can buy your own W.T. Duck here, but no copycats!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Jay Maisel is the guest blogger on Scott Kelby's blog today. A portion that I find especially compelling is here:

When we shoot we should savor what goes on in front of us, allow things to develop, anticipate things, not be in such a hurry to move on to see how much more we can see quickly and superficially. It’s all there, if we take our time and look, things have a way of happening in front of you. Standing still is also a good way of covering things; just let the world come to you. To paraphrase an old cliché – Don’t do something, just stand there. Be patient.

Read the whole thing here....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Personal Style

I got into a discussion with some of my photo buddies this past weekend about "developing a personal style" and got to thinking about it on my own. A lot of photographers (and other artists) have a recognizable, identifiable personal style, to the point where you can pick out their work among a group of images or prints. I don't think this is something you can "do" as much as it is something that "happens." You can't for example put on your To Do list: "Develop personal style today" or something similar. And it doesn't happen with a certain camera, lens or Photoshop plug in. I think it must come from hard work, from taking a lot of pictures, using whatever influences and inspiration you have in you, editing your photos into some kind of organized structure, and showing them to others.

Everyone has a personal style, but not everyone's personal style is individual or unique enough to be recognizable. But some people's personal style definitely stands out as their own.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Art & Photography

(1) I went to a meeting of an artist's group last night. Several of the painters talked about having worked from a photograph to do their paintings. I couldn't help but think that if they would just learn to take better photographs they wouldn't have to bother with the paint.

(2) Photographers who like to get all righteous about their work being art and say it is more dependent on their vision than their equipment always say that they get upset when someone asks them what kind of camera they have to get those nice pictures. One of the typical lines is that "painters don't sit around talking about what kind of brush they used, or their brand of easel or what kind of palette they use...." Well, when someone (not me) showed their photography, one of the painters said "what kind of camera do you have, it must be a good one?" I was tempted but kept my mouth shut. I was a guest, after all.

(3) Most of the painters seemed to be more interested in whether the photographers would photograph their paintings, presumably for free, than they were in what kind of photographs they made.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Lessons I Didn’t Learn In Photo School

Syl Arena was recently the guest poster on Scott Kelby's blog and wrote an amazing article that everyone who pretends or intends to be a photographer needs to read. He promises that this is the first of a series to appear on his own blog every Wednesday. If they are as compelling as the first dozen it will be a real treat. If I were to choose just one to quote here I would (and did) pick this one:

7. Learning to create photographs that “look” like your world should be only a milestone – not the destination.
Embrace the fact that cameras see differently than humans. Accept that, even today, state-of-the-art tools and technology fall short of reproducing the entire gamut of human vision. The reality is that photography cannot perfectly record or portray the world as we experience it. Yet, this is typically the goal of most neophyte photographers. They measure the “goodness” of their photos by how closely the images match what the shooter experienced. If this is you, with time and practice, you’ll come to understand that your photos will seldom (if ever) match your reality. When that awareness comes, celebrate! You’ve finally reached the true starting line on your journey as a photographer. What lies ahead is the exploration of how you can create photographs that express rather than represent.

Read It!

Snow Motion

The nice light didn't last too long this morning before the clouds moved in, but the conditions got right for some motiony blur stuff, which I thought might look kind of cool with snow. These aren't the best I've ever done but we don't have a good selection of nice straight tree trunks along my section of the greenway.

I like how the snow erases all the background clutter, so you just get the tree trunks, a little green and some brown.

Snow Day!

Hey, the weather people got one right! I would have bet money otherwise, but just to be safe I brought my work laptop home on Friday "just in case." So today I ended up having one of those whatever-they-call-those-days-when-people-stay-home-from-work-when-the-kids-are-out-of-school days. Sick day? Sure as heck isn't going to count as a vacation day! Since I don't usually take sick days we'll call it that!

Anyway, I wandered around this morning trying to see what I could get and whether I might get something to get in the paper and make me famous again. Well, I got some nice stuff, but while I was downloading the images our power went out, I went off and did something else, and by the time I got back to it and processed some images the paper had decided they had gotten enough photos and disabled their upload link. Oh well, a few more for the stock files!

This image was made during some fleeting golden light shortly after sunrise this morning along the Torrence Creek Greenway, about 100 yards from my house.