Tuesday, December 27, 2011

30-50 Project

My 30-50 Project is coming along swimmingly... (assuming one can swim, of course... which I can't). I've heard some interesting stories from my subjects and made some interesting, new work in the process. I've noticed some interesting trends during these shoots... We, as people, are more similar than different.

My first subject was Melissa: A 30-something year-old single mom. She's a skier with a boarder's fashion sense and a total sweetheart. She likes to do modeling in her free time. We were discussing what we should do for our shoot and she mentioned that she never gets to wear dresses for her shoots... When she said that I knew exactly what we were going to do! There's a park nearby that I simply love: Crown Hill Park; It's a beautiful nature reserve on the West side of Crown Hill Cemetery. Being December, we waited for a warm day to shoot Melissa in a dress... which meant 29°F. :-)

I'll keep posting updates as I shoot them. I almost put everything in one post, but decided against it. Stay tuned for more!

Friday, December 9, 2011

I struggle with telling a story... OR "f8 and be there" ain't working for me.

(Hey! Look at me! I uploaded a vertical shot!)

I'm not sure what's been wrong with me lately. I feel like I can't create anything new. I feel like I'm not taking steps forward with my photography. I feel like I'm actually moving backwards.

Winter is always the slow season. Everything slows down except for retailers. Since don't normally book any clients for when it's Below Zero in Colorado I decided to start a new project this winter just to keep moving things along... to keep shooting... to try to work on my story telling. I'm starting the project later this week when an awesome model, Melissa, sits down in front of my camera... But I'm feeling like I'm lost. I want to tell the story of someone I've never met, and Melissa is giving me that opportunity. I can't help but to feel that I'm disconnected somehow.... That I'm completely missing something right in front of me.

I finished watching (parts of it...missed the beginning) Chase Jarvis Live for his talk about building a portfolio and getting it reviewed. I really felt that I was on the right track to getting some new work done to be able to send to Zack Arias and Chase Jarvis (and possibly others that have no idea it's coming) in order to see if I had taken a step forward since my creativeLIVE experience (you know, the one I'm always talking about because it was life-changing...). Watching the talk today I realized that even now I have further to go than I thought... That is road I'm on won't lead to being an "expert photographer" until 3 months before I die of old age. I'm going to be struggling with this stupid light-tight box until I'm dead... but for some reason I had the delusions of grandeur that I'd be really good right now. My clients are more than happy... but for me that hasn't been enough. I'm not happy yet. I need to push harder.

Other photographers could hold the measuring stick up to me and I'd fall way short in their eyes. I shoot darker sets... I don't light from every possible angle... I don't want "happy" photos.... I don't shoot photos that are perfect... I don't run them through the photoshop mill until they're unrecognizable. What's worse is that newer photographers think that they're good when they're awful. This new society of photographers is a mess. It's awesome, but everyone thinks that they're the next (your favorite photographer here). Am I awful and I just don't know it? Knowing how exposure works and how to get an image from my camera to print is one thing... but telling a story and communicating what I'm talking about.... it's so much harder. It's become apparent to me that I need to tell more stories... I need the practice... I need the depth in my photos.

Shooting Models isn't going to give me depth in my photos. I need to shoot Actors. Models might be able to stand there and look cute, but I need people who can emote... who can cry... who can feel something while I'm shooting them.

What will help me? I need to find regular people with stories to tell... but most people are SO FREAKING HESITANT to tell their stories! I mean, who wants to tell a story about what they had for breakfast? Who wants to tell a story about how they ripped their jeans on the way to work? Who wants to tell a story about the time that their house got broken into and their hard drives and electronics were stolen of their infant daughter... the same infant that was just diagnosed with a terminal disease? Some stories seem to mundane for people to even remember. Other stories are so painful that they might not want to think about them...

I'm lost. I know what I'm doing, but I don't know what I'm doing. Being able to push a shutter button isn't enough. I'm not moving forward from this point until I figure out where I should be headed.... even if where I'm headed isn't where I end up. I need to do something unexpected.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What is your brand?

Are you transparent?

Could you describe your brand to someone else?

Is taking the risk worth the gain?

Are you willing to put yourself out there even if it means you're wrong?

I hope that I'm being transparent. I hope that when I make blog posts or post videos that I find interesting that you're discovering my personality and seeing who I really am. I hope that by being myself I attract all types of people to me: Friends, Clients, Comrades, Other Real People.

The world is full of enough people that bullshit everyone around them with "openness" and "honesty".... I hope that what you see here is just the table of contents to what meeting me in person, being my friend,  and working with me is like.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Starting new projects

Winter time always seems to be slow for photographers. There's the occasional Phenom that seems to be so busy that they forgot what their name is, but for the most part this time of year is when many photographers hunker down and prepare for the dry season.

Instead of succumbing to the dry season I'll be taking advantage of the fact that I won't have as many gigs this winter. In fact, I'll be starting a few new projects to help round out my portfolio. I was flipping through my portfolio this month and discovered that most of my subjects are 18-25 year-olds with the occasional subject being late 20's. I've decided that I need to change that. Starting very soon I'll focus my efforts on the 30-50 year-old demographic; perhaps highlighting a personality trait that helps identify them. Soon after I'm satisfied with my results, I'll focus on retirees and what they've accomplished thus far. It should be a fun project that helps me expand my portfolio and add some interesting and noteworthy content to my portfolio and give these subjects some great photos to share with their friends and family.

If you happen to know someone in the 30-50 demographic, let me know. I'd love to make a portrait of them. I've recently written an ad to put on Craigslist, but starting with my followers (all 3 of you) seems like a good place to get my feet wet.

I've got to get to bed. I have a shoot Saturday morning. Last time I didn't get enough sleep I had to drink so much tea I swore I spent more time in the bathroom than I did shooting.... ;-)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I feel like Cassandra

It occurred to me while chatting with Daphne Chan that I feel like the Greek Mythology figure, Cassandra. If you haven't read Edith Hamilton's Mythology recently I'll save you the pain-staking detail and relate that Cassandra was a mortal that Apollo found to be quite beautiful. Beautiful enough, in fact, that he gave her the gift of prophesy. When she did not return his love he cursed her so that no one would believe her prophesies. She had predicted the Battle of Troy along with the Greek Deception of the Trojan Horse, but no one would believe her as a part of her blessing with a curse.

(Okay Jeremy, get to the point... You're a nerd and you like Mythology.)

My point is this... I read Zack Arias' latest blog post on the rundown of how to build your book and it reminded me that I promised Zack and Chase that I'd make a book and send it their way... Sort of a "Did I take a step forward this year?" type of thing... I might even send one to David E Jackson while I'm at it... I love that guy. Then I realized that it's been nearly 6 months since the class in Seattle....Already! It's crept up on me like creeps like to do.

It feels like I have made some progress but while going through my work I found that I have holes in my work, but more interestingly I've found that I have extra work that doesn't fit in my book. The above photo (a model by the name of Cassie, btw...she fits well withe the Cassandra story...) doesn't fit anywhere right now. I'm seriously considering shooting more work like this. I LOVE this look.... 1)It's moody as hell. 2)This is the look I get when experimenting. 3)It feels like I'm actually working my ass off to try new things. I really think my photos are awful, but when I hit this type of stride it feels like I'm batting .100 instead of striking out. Grounders to Right Field anyone?

The point is: I don't know what to do with work like this. I don't know where it's going to fit.... but I have this insatiable desire to shoot more of it. More stuff you don't see all the time. I hate the Smiley-Cute-CookieCutter shit. Everyone shoots that. If you hire me to shoot it, I'll totally do it for you and work my ass off for great photos to make you happy...but my soul needs more than that. This work is simple to pull off... but it makes me happy... I'm working at being happy.... and that's so freakin hard.

Do you understand?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Photo 101

I've had a few requests here in Denver to teach a photo workshop. At first, all I could think of is me in a room full of people blabbering endlessly about things that bore the tar out of people. Then, I thought about how much I don't know that I don't know. What I do know is that I have so much further to go. I constantly look up to those further up the food chain that I am in order to learn more. I fired my first off-camera flash to The Strobist Blog. I've watched my copy of the Zack Arias creativeLIVE videos every week since May when I got back from that workshop. I've been relatively diligent about watching Scott Kelby's - The Grid every week as well. Information that David duChemin gives out I eat up like candy on Easter. The truth is I know that I need to give back to newer photographers what's been given to me. I'm not an expert photographer; WPPI hasn't left me a voicemail saying they'd like to have me teach a workshop, but frankly there are people around me that are asking for my help.

That's when it occurred to me: All photographers are looking up for help. The further up they get... the fewer people they can look up to for help, but they're still looking. Secondly, anyone who is teaching a workshop is saying something profound whether they realize it or not. They're saying "This is what I've learned.... so far." I'd bet money that Zack's One Light Workshop was less inclusive and less intensive 5 years ago that it is today. The quality of the workshop has gone up, which means it's increasing in value even as he increases the cost of the workshop. Can I show up and charge $1600 for a photo workshop? Hell No! What I can do is show up and share what I've learned. If it's useful to people than I did something productive. If I share opinions for a few hours I probably should have just had a Google Hangout and talked shop for a bit. (FYI: No one listens to the Pentax Guy while talking shop; I just look weird and antiquated.) I probably know more than I can explain back to someone right now, but I gotta start somewhere.

(Get to the point, Jeremy)

Okay, so I'm writing an outline of what I'd like to teach during a Photo 101 workshop:

  1. Photo 101
    1. Camera handling
      1. What are these stupid buttons for?
      2. "P" is not for "Professional"
      3. What is necessary versus What is nice to have
    2. Exposure Triangle
      1. Aperture
      2. Shutter Speed
      3. ISO
      4. Reciprocals
    3. Evaluating Exposure
      1. Your LCD is not a good tool to evaluate exposure...
      2. The Meter
      3. The Histogram
    4. Glass handling
      1. DOF
      2. Expansion/Compression
      3. Follow rules now, break rules later (aka Don't be Jeremy Corbin)
    5. Application
      1. How can we put this information into practice?
      2. I just assigned you to shoot X, how would you shoot X?
      3. Good, now go shoot X and see if your solution worked.
        1. Like... right now.... GO!
      4. Rinse and Repeat
(Dude! You just gave away your entire outline! Now I'll go start my own workshop!) Sure! Do It! Help People! ... If you really know what you're doing!

As you can see, the target audience is a complete newbie in photography. It makes no assumptions as to the student's level of skill and brings the student up to a knowledgeable but incompetent level. ("Incompetent?" Dude, that's pretty harsh...) Yes it is harsh. You can give someone the technical information about photography but unless they go out and practice the snot out of it (ew... gross visual) the information won't sink in and it'll blow away like a seed in the wind. The seed needs planted, fertilized, and watered for it to become anything productive. Without practicing it's not possible to really understand what the information is.

When I got back from Seattle I completely trashed my portfolio. Zack tore me to shreds... I sucked. I cried. I got home. I made plans.... I shot more... went back to the drawing board.... and repeated that process. Now, hopefully I suck just a little less. In 10 years I hope to not suck anymore. In 20 years I'd like to actually be a good photographer. This whole thing reminds me of a saying I know from a former life:

"The Warrior is a man that dedicates his life to the cause which made him what he is. What governs the Warrior is the foresight that he has to see beyond the present and into the future, beyond the capabilities of those who follow him...."

The saying continues on from there... the "he/she" thing aside what I've been thinking about is substituting the word "Warrior" with the word 'Photographer" so I can apply it to myself in my life now:

"The Photographer is a man that dedicates his life to the cause which made him what he is. What governs the Photographer is the foresight that he has to see beyond the present and into the future, beyond the capabilities of those who follow him...."

I'm looking forward to my teachers just as they are looking forward to theirs. Whose to say that someone can't look forward to me while they're just getting started? The whole cycle sounds like a Win-Win to me.

Anyway, I'm done rambling. I've got to make a shot list so I can show some examples during the class. Models don't usually like to hang out first thing in the morning while I figure out what I'm doing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

I find it to be incredibly important to know what is going on in our country.

For those of you that don't know what the Occupy Wall Street movement is... watch the video.

For those of you that believe that Occupy Wall Street is a bunch of whiners asking for a handout... watch the video.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Create. Share. Sustain. NSFW

One thing that Chase Jarvis has always seem to promoted is this: Create, Share, Sustain. I have an easier time with the "Create" part than the other two. I don't share well with others and I'm barely sustaining. I struggle this all three ideals in some way.

Create: Since I've baby-stepped into photography this past year I've been working on getting a TON of personal work done. I've been shooting the things that I've been wanting to shoot and planning the stuff that I think I want to shoot but haven't worked the details out yet. I have a little notebook that sits at my bedside that I scribble notes into on a regular basis. I sketch out drawings or ideas that I'd like to see done but I haven't figured out how to do them yet. The ideas have problems that stand in the way of completion, but they are still viable. Maybe I'll take a photo of it sometime if someone is interested.

Share: I'm always ALWAYS nervous about sharing. It's not that I don't want people to see it. Quite on the contrary: I want people to see my work, but critique is hard. You know what's worse than critique? Apathy. I would rather someone tell me that my work is worthless and I'm never going to make it as a photographer than have someone look at something I've created and just say "meh" or even worse: Move on without saying a word. It's half the reason I barely show my work to my wife: She says nothing often. I have to coax and goad her into commenting on my work, but often I only hear something about the photos she likes, but she's quick to tell me when something in the photo is distracting. It's helpful since she gives me the perspective of a potential client. I have photo buddies that can tell me what's wrong technically, but the client perspective is just as important to me.

Sustain: This is barely hanging on for me. I'll put together a shoot and I'm getting better at logistics, but only because I'm trying to take bigger and more complicated projects. I used to be able to barely hang on with just me and the subject. Now I've worked up to the occasional Location scouting, booking, MUA+H scheduling, client confirmation, and managing to throw some personal work in the mix of all that while I have everything lined up. But I'll be honest: It's exhausting. I can see why the bigger guys have crews and teams and indentured servants to take care of some of this for them. I exhausted myself so thoroughly leading up to and during a shoot that I made myself sick. Not Cool. It's hard to feel free to create when it feels like someone mixed concrete in your gut. The photos turned out great, but I was definitely in need of some down time when the job was done.

So what should I do about this stuff? If my ideas I want to create are viable I need to plan them out and shoot them. I need to get over my fear of everyone ignoring my work. I need to take better care of myself while I'm ramping the stress from these jobs up.

The first step I can take right now (like... NOW now) is to start sharing some of the work I've created. I'll quit hiding behind the newbie rating and just throw stuff out there. Please, if you like my work: Tell me what you like. If you hate my work: Tell me why. If you simply feel nothing for my work: ....okay. I'm my own worst critic, but hey.... I'm sharing.

Speaking of sharing: More from this shoot (NSFW) is on my site. Oooh look at me! Sharing! <fingers-crossed>

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Way

It's been an interesting month so far:

I've made other people happy, and others sad.
I, myself have been happy and I've been sad.
I've been accused of things I did and didn't do.
I've made money and lost money.
My "day job" is getting shaky again; I've looked for new employment.
My camera has been relatively silent this month.

I sincerely think it's been one of the biggest up and down months I've had in a while. I think my mind, body, and spirit have been left confused and weary over it. Last week I cried....for seemingly no reason, yet every reason at the same time. Really it tells me that I'm not sleeping enough. The mind does funny things when you work it too hard.

I suppose the anniversary of starting my photography business should have been this huge event for me, but all it really did was confirm that I made it to one year. I just keep thinking forward to 30 more years of doing what I'm doing and I'm super stoked that I've made it.... this far. As I look ahead I realize I have a long way to go. I need people to know who I am and what I can do. I need to not come off as some arrogant ass that speaks from an air of authority, but I need to appear confident. It's a hard line to walk. Other photographers will knock you down if you talk a big game, but clients don't want a photographers that says,"I hope I don't screw up your job today!" Both of those things will keep you from getting work.

I've never aspired to be a world-renowned photographer like Chase Jarvis or Annie Leibovitz. I just want to be a photographer than can pay his bills and give his family nice things, give back to the community, and just be myself. Some say that you should "shoot for the moon" and I can hardly agree with that. Aim for something you know you can reach and then shoot just out of reach. I aimed to make my business last 6 months and I made it to 1 year. Now I'm aiming for 2 years and hoping that I hit 3.

I know that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be right now. I've taken exactly how long I needed to take and stumbled where I've needed to stumble. I'm sure that next year's post will have the same amount of navel gazing, but I'm hoping my vision is more clear, but knowing life it probably won't be any more clear. Working for yourself is incredibly relieving and incredibly scary at the same time. It's not safe like am 9-5 job where someone else worries for the company. Working for yourself is all you.

I'm feeling the itch to go work on some stuff for ME again. Maybe I'll go play in the mud for a bit.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Soft Spot

Quick blog post tonight.

I few moments ago... I was completely compelled to go watch my kids as they slept. I haven't really done that in a long time, but for whatever reason... I just had to.

When Brooklynn was born, I remember being in the hospital holding her. Caitlyn was resting and recovering from her epidural (too much, too fast... stitches...) and I was holding Brooklynn in a little chair that was off to the side. She was sound asleep.

The thing about Brooklynn: I knew her name before I met her mother. I would imagine what she would look like. What she would think is funny. Who she would fall in love with. Everything I possibly could in as minute detail as I could. As I looked down at her sleeping in my arms I would just sing to her. Softly. More like a barely audible hum, really. I would hum Ravel to her. Pavane pour une infante défunte to be specific. Although it's a piece that holds grave meaning I took creative license on it. To me, for Brook, it's a beautiful piece that's full of life and meaning.... It's more like she's sleeping... because it's the only time I've hummed it to her.


I have a piece for Riley as well, also from Ravel... Bolero. I've also never hummed it to him while he was awake. He's so different than Brook. He's quiet. Witty. Kind. He's.... Me... when I was small at least. I imagine that I'm still that way... deep down where no one really knows me. I fight and lie to everyone and tell them that I'm extroverted... but really I'm so shy. It's actually painful, really. Riley, I hope, will know when to speak up and know when to listen. I hope he says that things that he needs to when he needs to say them.


Mackenzie I struggle with. She fights me. Tells me I'm wrong. How much better her mother can do something. That she doesn't need me. I'm not quite sure where her mother ends and she begins. It's frustrating and sad at the same time. I had to fight to get to see her as much as I do, but 4 days every two weeks.... it's just not enough. I miss her and it feels like I barely know her. I didn't get the chance to hum her a tune. I didn't get the chance to hold her as an infant. That time with her was never there for me to take advantage of. I know that I can't go back in time and do those things so instead I focus on the future... but it seems so less sure...less steady... less predictable than the other two. I'm not scared for her.... I'm scared for me. It seems selfish, but I know she'll be fine. I'm fearful of how much she might not need me.

So my short blog post turned into a longer one, but that's okay. It feels rather nice just to let it out. Don't tell Caitlyn, though..... She'll think I'm going soft.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001

I still remember where I was on September 11, 2001: I lived in Greeley, CO at that time. I remember coming downstairs after sleeping in late and saying "Good Morning" to my roommate, Chris.

He said,"Turn on the news."

I asked,"What channel?"

He replied,"It doesn't matter."

For the next week I watched the news almost non-stop. I could sleep, but it was never restful. I could eat but nothing tasted good. I went to class, but I wasn't present. The experience of "9/11" as it's come to be known commonly had happened thousands of miles away, but it felt like it happened just down the street from me.

I felt for the victims of 9/11 the only way that I knew how. It's impossible for me, even now, to properly empathize with those directly and irrevocably affected by 9/11. I can't imagine losing a loved one as instantly as they did, let alone as gruesomely.

As the years passed since that fateful day, I accepted the idea that terrorists hijacked planes with hundreds of people on board and flew them at top speed into buildings with thousands of people inside and that those buildings were severely damaged or destroyed. Thousands of people died needlessly. Firefighters, Police, and Rescue Crews died attempting to save those lives. Some of them are still dying slowly today from toxins in the air during the experience. I accepted it because we all saw it on tv, but earlier this year as the 10-year anniversary of the event drew near I had an Orson Welles / War Of The Worlds moment: I hadn't realized that it might not be the truth; That it might be a radio drama. I saw something that made me not believe the commonly held idea anymore. Not 100% anyway.

Little-by-little I believed less and less in the idea. After an eight-hour time vortex lost into the abyss of YouTube, I found myself thinking differently. Suddenly, after all this time, I no longer accepted the commonly held idea anymore. Now, all I knew is that buildings with thousands of people in them were severely damaged or destroyed; Thousands of people died needlessly. Firefighters, Police, and Rescue Crews died attempting to save those lives. Some of them are still dying slowly today from toxins in the air during the experience.

I told my wife what I had been doing for the passed 8 hours while she was at work and she looked at me like I was a complete lunatic. Then I showed her what I has seen...

Then I said,"It's not that it didn't happen... it's that it's plausible that it didn't happen the way we've been lead to believe." Immediately she understood why I was telling her what I had found.

She knew at that moment that I was scared. Scared that we were trapped. Lied to. Cheated on. Betrayed, even.

I'm still scared. I'm scared that this view is so completely unpopular that I'm going to viewed as Un-Patriotic... Un-American... when the fact is that I love my country. I love the people in it. I love those that not only fight for my freedoms that I enjoy but also those that lay down their lives to ensure that I have it. I love my family and friends that have gone overseas and left their families behind to fight for my freedom. It's hard to describe exactly how much I feel I owe them for fighting for this country, for my freedom, for my family, and for me.

Now, please keep in mind that I'm not one to just stand up and start insulting people by flinging accusations around. I love a good debate as much as the next guy, but I feel like I'm accusing the government and the media of not being entirely truthful. That's an awful feeling. We live here and we're supposed to trust our government, but right now I feel like I'm having a hard time doing that. I'm not saying that it didn't happen... I'm just saying that I have questions.... I have doubts.... and I need those questions to be answered truthfully.... and I need those doubts to be resolved. I believe that enough time has passed that we can safely allow a real congressional or independent 3rd party (another country?) investigation to take place without revealing the identities of our agents in the field. The last thing I want is for anyone else to die needlessly because their cover was blown like a secret agent movie. The NIST investigation couldn't be completed successfully due to the our agents in the field and other information that, if leaked, could compromise our country's security. Enough time has passed and I think we deserve more complete answers.

Truthfully, I'm afraid of what making this post means. I'm afraid of who will judge me or think I'm another conspiracy theorist. I'm not a bad person, I just want answers... completely and truthful answers. I'm not signing petitions or going door-to-door. I'm not traveling to Washington DC and picketing on the Whitehouse lawn. I'm just sitting at home... waiting for complete and truthful answers.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Make you feel that way

I've been pouring quite a bit of time into Triple Scoop Music while trying to find the perfect track to fit a promo video I'm working on. I've been doing so much listening that I've been thinking about old tracks that I haven't heard in forever.

In case you didn't know, I love hip hop. Not the stuff you hear on the radio, but the lesser known stuff. It speaks to me in a clearer voice than stuff that "makes it" to the radio. Blackalicious is one such band that I love. The second verse of "Make You Feel That Way" in particular speaks to me. It's positive without going over-the-top. It's just a great summary of how things are for me: Fighting to get uphill, but enjoying the view when you look at the progress you've made.... and being thankful.

Christmas day when your mamma got your first bike
Type of feeling when you went and when your first fight
How your team felt winning championship games
Celebrate in a huddle dancing in this rain
Have a thought see a shooting star cross your screen
Put in hard work finally your living your dream
Deaf man get his hearing now in come vibes
Blind man get sight see his first sunrise
Dumb man speaking out, now he's load and clear
Earth through your chout smile so proud ya wear
Going in your third eye for the styles ya hear
Making music that'll bump for a thousand years
Eating right feeling conscience like health is first
Said a prayer that's sincere and you felt it work
Times I feel I wanna shout, man it's real that way
When I'm thinking things that make you feel that way

Monday, August 8, 2011

Personal Work

If there is one thing that I've learned from Chase Jarvis (among the billion things I've learned from him, of course) it's the importance of doing work on your own and getting it out there. I've been trying to build this little One-Man-Show of mine since September 2010 and I've been trying to hammer a ton of personal work. (OMG I realized I'm almost to my 1-year anniversary...) Why did I start doing so much personal work? Because Chase and Zack told me to.

At first I questioned using my time to do personal work. "I'm not getting paid, so I'm losing money," I thought. Then I realized that no one can hire me they've seen what I'm capable of. So I started shooting for myself, often taking non-paying gigs but taking creative control over the gig as payment. (Push-Pull). Then I started creating opportunities to start initiating personal work, even collaborating with other creatives... Like Leah D'Andrea (she's awesome, btw).

After being in Zack's creativeLIVE class, I realized I wasn't moving fast enough. My work sucked. Earlier photos in my short career were still on my site, and sucking the life out of me. I decided to put as much distance between me and my old work as I could... by doing new work. Then my new work was still falling into Ira Glass' "Creative Gap" so I decided to make newer work. Finally, I was able to show some of my new work to my good friend Carolina Yocom. She noticed a vast improvement in my work in the past three months. I finally felt that I'm getting enough distance between myself and my old work. So I stopped doing personal work.

Hell no! Are you kidding me!?

I'll never stop doing personal work, much to my lovely wife's dismay. I need to shoot for me as much as I possibly can! I've been told that when my business starts running like a freight train I won't have time to do personal work anymore. What I've decided to do is to schedule personal work on such a regular basis that it'll feel wrong to miss doing it: Like skipping a workout or dinner with my family.

So get out there and shoot what you want to shoot! You never know how long this ride might last, so take advantage of it!Link

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Lighting Journey

Holy crap. It's cool that you can look back at old blogs from awesome photographers. I find that revelations that photographers had are eye-opening to me years after they had them. So I thought I'd share something that I'm still soaking in....


Thank you Mr. Hobby.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Focal Length - Can it compress/expand your photograph or not?

Focal length v Compression & Expansion v Myth

Recently during Zack Arias' creativeLIVE course I discovered (among a gabillion other things) that focal length choices can have a considerable impact on the background behind the subjects in our photographs. Notably, that wide angles can expand the background by pushing objects in the background away while telephoto lenses can compress the background by pulling objects in the background closer. Within hours of hearing Zack's argument, I heard a counter argument that suggests that focal length has no effect on the background behind the subjects in our photographs.

What I've come to notice over the various arguments on either side of this debate is something so simple, yet so complex. All of these arguments come back to the basic principle of The Order of Operations. For those that haven't taken a math course recently (myself included) allow me to elaborate:

When are present with a problem like the following example, there are certain methods we are taught that help us solve the problem.

8 + 5 x 3 – 7 ÷ 2 = ?

If we simply move from left to right we get an answer of 16, and 16 is a real number that exists in real life. However, if we follow the rules our old, decrepit math teachers gave us (PEMDAS*, being Parentheses-Exponents-Multiply-Divide-Add-Subtract) we get an answer of 19.5 which is also a real number that exists in real life. So why the different result? When we approach a problem where we start has a direct and considerable result on the final solution.

How does this apply to photography? Easily: If you change the order of events in which you take a photograph it can have a considerable difference in the end result. We have several factors to consider when making a photograph:
  • Camera-to-subject distance (working distance)
  • Camera-to-background distance
  • Focal length
  • Framing/Composition
  • Bokeh/DOF/ad nauseum
For instance, in my friend John Cornicello's example he started thinking about a photograph with the working distance or camera-to-subject distance. This factor was the first thing he thought of before lifting the camera to his eye. John is a portrait photographer, so we'll have him start with a simple headshot. I believe he started with a distance of 5 feet. From there he decided on a lens that would fill the frame as he desired (headshot, eyes only, 3/4, etc). In this example, he didn't state whether or not the background was a consideration for the photo. Since the background isn't mentioned, it's possible that it's unimportant to the photograph, but let's assume we don't want distracting elements growing out of our subject's head (head in a clean spot). For his example the focal length he chooses would not effect the compression or expansion of the photograph because the camera-to-subject difference does not change. His working distance is the “boss” of this photograph, followed by composition, and then focal length. This order of operations produces a real result that we can see in real life.

The opposite side of the argument changes the order of operations. When I start thinking about a photograph I have a Frame/Composition in mind before I even think about lifting a camera to my eye. I'm a portrait photographer, so I start with a simple headshot: let's say, a bust shot... from just below the crown of the head to mid-chest level. This person is the subject of the photograph, so I've decided the background is unimportant to the photograph (to closely match the previous example). At this point, the frame is decided and we can decide on a focal length. We look at the background and decide what focal length will give us the subject's head in a clean spot. If we choose a wide angle lens, the camera-to-subject distance would be closer than if we choose a telephoto lens. Because we've already decided on a frame and composition, the camera-to-subject distance must change based on what lens we decide on in order to satisfy this requirement. The wide angle lens will push the background away because our camera-to-subject distance requires us to be close in order to satisfy the pre-visualized composition. The telephoto lens will pull the background in because our camera-to-subject distance requires us to be further away in order to satisfy the pre-visualized composition. If the wide angle lens will not allow us to have a headshot with head in a clean spot (our pre-visualized composition), another lens choice must be made; possibly a telephoto lens. The opposite is also true: If the telephoto will not allow us to have a headshot with head in a clean spot another lens choice must be made, possibly a wide lens. (For the exhibit below, any focal length over 80mm would work just fine.) My composition is the “boss” of this photograph, followed by focal length, and then working distance. This order of operations also produces a result that we can see in real life.

In John's example, no compression or expansion is evident regardless of what focal length he choses because the camera-to-subject distance does not change. The first thing he decided on was working distance. This order of operations is valid and produces the results that John has posted elsewhere.

In my example, compression or expansion is clearly evident based on the chosen focal length because the camera-to-subject distance must change based on the composition. The first thing I decided on was my frame and composition. This order of operations is also valid and produces the results that I have posted here.

Because both examples are repeatable and reproducible, it verifies claims on both sides of the fence. The fact that focal length has an influence over expansion and compression is evident in the photos, but can only be witnessed when an experiment is performed in a way that shows it; saying that the phenomenon doesn't exist is ludicrous. Not performing the experiment with the correct values will have an effect on the outcome. This is akin to trying to produce the color "green" when you only have "red" and "blue" to work with; Only "purple" is possible, but we all know that "green" is a color that exists. However, if the experiment calls for "blue" and "yellow" of course you can produce "green", but "purple" cannot be made from this combination.

The above is precisely reason why the focal length / expansion / compression issue exists. Depending on the order of events that we approach making a photograph it can completely change the result that we see in real life. Neither approach is wrong or right; It's simply indicative of the order of operations. In these examples we didn't even include depth of field or other factors that we can include into our photographs. More factors means more potential changes in the order of operations.

Of course, you may feel free to argue all you want, but both experiments are performed here. Please do me a favor and make your arguments intelligible though. :-)

*Please note that some old guys fought over which order of operations to follow before they made us adhere to it. They decided on PEMDAS and sent the other-side-of-the-fence-guys to Mycenae or something.

**Also note that my 6-year-old does her best to stand still for these boring photos, but the bribery of ice cream usually does the trick. She just looks so sad...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

creativeLIVE hangover

It's been over two months since I was with Zack Arias and the Sacred Six at creativeLIVE. It's been a really weird experience for me since then. It really feels like I had the night of my life and I'm trying to pull myself off the bathroom floor the morning afterward.

Part of it is the critique. We call felt at least a little hurt {well, maybe not Mikhail ;-) } after our critiques. If I didn't feel confident in my work then, it should just get better from there, right?

Not For Me.

Now that Zack has moved the bar further up for me, it feels like it's even harder to reach out and try to grab it. Instead of my goals being 5 years away, now they're 15 years away. I've really been struggling with it. It feels like my photos are getting better, and my vision is clearer....but that last one... The Vision.... it's making it worse. Now that some of the fog has been lifted, I'm realizing that I need to rebuild my entire portfolio.

Those that have been watching the rewatch to the class and have been checking my website to see the photos for themselves that Zack and Meg trashed.... They're not there anymore. Those photos are GONE. (And they had to trash them for me because I couldn't do it.) At the wrap party after the 3rd day of class, I was sitting at the dinner table with my Android phone deleting those photos from my site. They needed to be gone. That work may have shown clients what I could do back then, but now... even the short period of two months.... that no longer represents me. The minute that Zack trashed my photos... it no longer represented me. I know I can do better, and Zack helped show me that if I settle... if I let an ounce of energy be wasted... I'll fall short of my goals.

So, for the last two months I've been doing a metric shit-ton of personal work to rebuild and reshape what I'm trying to show the world what I can do. By the July 4th weekend, I was exhausted. I didn't want to sit down and edit the paid work that needed to be done. My mind needed a break from trying to break every old photo out of my life. You know what though? That break was awesome. It allowed me to let my mind go, and wander, and at the end of the weekend I started having new creative concepts that I need to go shoot now. Then it hit me....

All I needed to do was relax and things would be easier?

That might not be entirely true, but relaxing gave me the ability to have creative thoughts again... letting my mind wander gave me 4 new photos that I sketched out into my notebook. Those 4 photos are going to be freaking hard to accomplish the way I want, but it'll be worth it.

I'm still planning on making a book and sending it to Zack and Chase: "Did I take a step forward this year?" I really hope that I have, but considering that most of that book's photos haven't been shot yet, only time will tell. All I know is that I need to impress Zack with my progress, but more importantly, I need to be a good enough photographer that I can feed my family as well as my soul, because to me there's nothing more important than that.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


One thing that drives me crazy is when my work is misinterpreted. Why? Because it means that I failed to communicate what I was really trying to say. I'm not talking about "I like your work" or "I don't like your work".... I'm thinking more along the lines of "That photo is completely inappropriate."


"Yes, because you're married, and you're supposed to shoot only families."

This happens most often from feedback when I shoot boudoir. Not because the photos are beautiful pictures of women, but because I AM the one taking them. If you haven't discovered from my bio photo or that my name is Jeremy... I'm a guy. Somehow the idea that a guy is taking photos of women makes some people uncomfortable. To throw it all out there, I've been accused that I'm cheating on my wife, going to cheat on my wife, or other ridiculous and incredulous statements.

I love my wife, Caitlyn, with all of my heart. She knows that I'm trying to build a business that I can be completely happy with, and she knows that I shoot boudoir. At ANY point, Caitlyn could come with me to a shoot and "assist" me during the shoot. Why? Because I'm not doing anything wrong or against our marriage by shooting boudoir. In fact, I don't see anything wrong with shooting families one day and boudoir the next. I find joy in shooting both genres.

"Okay Jeremy, why do you shoot boudoir then?"

Because women need to see themselves as the beautiful people that really are. We are constantly bombarded by ads and images of what the "ideal woman" should look like. It wasn't until a recent ad campaign by Dove that the American (world?) public started to see that even the Super Models wanted to look like Super Models. They don't really look like the images that they're portrayed to have. Some asshole decided to use photoshop to change the way a model was shaped for whatever God-forsaken reason and now everyone thinks they need to look like Barbie. (Aqua aside:Freakin Ew.) This leaves women feeling imperfect, inadequate, and unattractive.

It's not "perfection" that interests me, or that I find beauty in; It's the differences in us that make us unique, beautiful, and genuine human beings. In today's society. most women believe that since they don't look like that "Super Model" on tv that they fall short of beauty. Frankly, I think that's bullshit, but it's not her fault. She's been educated to think that way through the advertising bombardment that she endures every day.

What we need to do is re-educated women so that they see that they are beautiful, regardless of the misinformation that they receive on a daily basis. I am trying to take a personal stance on this issue. Why? Because I have two daughters and I don't want them to fall prey to this bullshit. They are beautiful, intelligent, and thoughtful human beings and I see no reason that those traits should change; either physically or ideologically. I tell my children every day that I love them, that they are smart, that they are beautiful, and how important it is to be thoughtful of others.
  • When was the last time someone told you that you were intelligent?
  • When was the last time someone told you that you were thoughtful?
  • When was the last time someone told you that you were beautiful?
  • When was the last time someone told you that they loved you?
We can see when others are intelligent when we converse with them. It's a two-way street. We can see when others are thoughtful by how they treat others. Also, a two-way street. Loved? The most obvious two-way street there is. But when it comes to telling someone that they're beautiful, why does it always come with a grain of salt? Why do we doubt it when someone tells us we're beautiful? Why is it so effing hard to believe? We need shown that we're beautiful. (And NO you don't need photos of you in your underwear to feel beautiful.)

So am I trying to run out and shoot this? this? maybe this? (Okay, the last one looks kinda cool and fun.... but I definitely would not use dance beats during my BTS videos...) So why wouldn't I waltz out there and do a Suicide Girl shoot? I dunno. I'm twisted up about it inside. I love Suicide Girls. Think the concept behind them is really cool. They totally thrive on the differences between them. The problem is the execution. If my goal is to aid women in empowering themselves... Is taking photos that resemble softcore porn the way to do that? It falls way short of what I'm trying to do.
  • Beautiful women - Check
  • Beautiful women being themselves - Check
  • Beautiful women making out with other women to get attention - FAIL
  • Beautiful women talked into the scene in the second video at 0:43 - FAIL
And since I've already stated that everyone is beautiful in their own unique and genuine way, the last two are HUGE failures. In fact, researching videos to use on this post definitely had me thinking WTF the whole time. They were just as hard for me to watch as you to watch, I'm sure.

So why are women trying to be super models when super models don't really exist? If they did exist would that make them feel better about themselves? No, of course not. The whole thing is relevant to photography in a big way. We have photographers out there pretending that they're lives are great and all of that because they're trying to emulate Super Photographers. The mythical breed of photographer whose lives have magically fallen into place and their lives are easy. Zack Arias knows this better than anyone...

These mythical Johnny Photographers aren't any more real than the mythical Super models. They all have self-esteem issues and feel that if they pretend to be someone that they're not that they'll be loved. We all think we suck, but we're trying to get better. All of us are different, and it's those differences that need celebrated, but more importantly.... LOVED.

That's my whole point of this rant: I want to celebrate who people are. Women have the freakin right to be beautiful, and sometimes they need to see themselves through someone else's eyes in order to realize it. THATS WHAT I'M DOING! I'm helping people see themselves how they really are. I'm not GWC (Guy With Camera) trying to get into girls' pants and make excuses to see them naked. That's stupid.

Holy crap.... that's a rant if I ever saw/wrote/thought one. I probably shouldn't post this. Meh. We'll see what happens... Jasmine Star Style: Repel/Attract

Thursday, June 16, 2011

creativeLIVE Guest Blog Post

Hey Everyone!

I had the opportunity to have a feature on the creativeLIVE blog. Kenna Klosterman called me up and we chatted for about 45 minutes about my whole experience about getting to creativeLIVE with little-to-no budget.

So if you're a big fan of creativeLIVE and what they're doing to help creatives, head over and check out the post!


-Coming soon: A post on having your work misinterpreted... (ooooooh!)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Denver Botanical Gardens

Believe it or not, I had never been to the DBG on my life until this past weekend (short of my parents taking me when I was 3 and never remembering it). It was really cool that this huge patch of green exists mixed in with all the urban whatnots in Denver. In any case, I can now say that Caitlyn, 2 of 3 kids, and I have been there. Actually, the whole scenario is akin to Coloradans that rarely go boarding or skiing.

I had been talking to Caitlyn about scouting it out as a potential spot for location shoots, but logistically that would be hard to pull off. Many of the trails are beautiful, yes, but there are various handrails and path markers everywhere. It'd have to be a location that I shoot for someone by request, and not because I wanted to shoot there. That's a bummer since it IS such a beautiful location.

I'm not much of a flora and fauna photographer, but it was fun to mess around a bit. Anyway, here's 3 shots that I liked from the bunch I took.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What is it?

Hello everyone!

For those of you that are friends with me on Facebook, we played a game a while back that I called "What Is It?" It went over so well, that I decided to make it a regular thing.

Here's the premise:

  • I post a few photos that I took with my camera phone, and ya'll guess what it is.
  • The person with the most correct answers will win a print.
  • Your answers must be pretty specific: So "Something with weird holes in it" isn't going work if "Wine Cork" is the right answer.
  • If in the event of a tie, whomever posted the correct answers sooner than the other will break the tie.
  • Answers can be here or Facebook. The time stamp will tell me when it was posted.
  • This is just for fun, nothing too serious.
It sounds simple enough, but I try not to make it too easy. I will start giving hints if it turns out to be way harder than I thought. But the biggest thing is just to have fun: If you're not having fun doing something, why are you doing?

So, here they are:






Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What is my style?

One thing that I've been struggling with is this: What is my style? Everyone has a style. Style of hair, clothes, music, art, life.... and I think I have all of those nailed down for the most part, but one thing I haven't even found yet is my style of photography. I know I have one. I didn't even realize that my style was definable until about a month ago: I was meeting with a potential client and she said,"I just need to make sure that you can take the photos I want; You're style is very particular." It felt weird that someone recognized my style of photography before I did.

Here's what I know I like in my photos: (I'd post my own, but I didn't ask my subjects for permission to do that.)
  • High Contrast - Even in Color; blacks are black and whites are white. I sometimes even go as far as to take shades close to whites and blacks and force them.
  • Grain or noise - I like 400 ISO films, but it should all look intentional, not a lighting failure.
  • Loss of detail - I love making portraits where you can't see the dark side of the face at all. I love a portrait I made for an expecting mother last year where your imagination creates the rest of the photo and forces the viewer to wonder what the rest looks like.
  • Reality/Believability - I prefer to shoot real people in real situations. Fantasy shoots are awesome, but make them believable. If it looks faked, over-posed, or propped it's because it is. (See section on "ballerinas" below), and for the love of God keep your photoshop nonsense to a minimum. It's a tool to help communicate something, it's not supposed to be distracting or get in the way.
Here's what I know I hate in other's photos: (note you may have to log in to flickr) NSFW
  • Blatant Nudes - Front shots of people are not flattering. Flickr is full of these shots. Tactful means tasteful. Better yet, make a photo of a person and not their junk.
  • Plastic skin - No one looks like Barbie. It's the differences in us that make us interesting. Bring on scars and battle wounds, even if it was a fight you lost to your dishwasher! Whomever decided that we should start airbrushing everything away started the decline of humanity.
  • Stargate Eyes - Again, another heaping pile of cow dung from "Photoshop Wizards." If it doesn't look real, it looks fake. I know that guy's eyes aren't brushed-his-teeth-in-chlorine White. Sure, hide the red eye, veins, and all that; I get that no one wants to look like they were high when they had the photo made, but for the love of Pete stop blowing their eyes out.
  • Models are not Dancers - My wife is particularly hard on photos made of "Ballerinas" for this reason. Putting a model in a dancer's tutu does not make her a dancer any more than putting her in a garage makes her a car. Dancers everywhere cringe when a photographer puts a model in tights and a leotard and tells her to point her toes. Photographers: Please stop this practice or my wife (who has been a dancer most of her life) will come and punch you in the face. If you want a shot of a dancer, HIRE A DANCER.
  • Stupid Boudoir Photos - Really, the whole point is to communicate the beauty of the subject and that's how you did that? Correction: That's how you failed to do that.
Beyond this stuff, I really don't know what my style is. Maybe even working photographers of 30 years don't know what their style is. I haven't met any in person. But I know that it takes 10 years to become a photographer and the rest of us are flailing around until something make sense and we cross the 10,000-hour/10-year-line. Until then, I'll keep using the "Favorite" function on flickr as a way to bookmark photos: Favorite to Love and Favorite to Hate.

What's your style? Do you have any idea what it is? Share it with me and we'll flail around together. :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Golden Nuggets from creativeLIVE

This week, I had the honor and privileged of being the guest blogger on Enticing The Light. My creativeLIVE experience left me with many impressions about my future in photography. Head on over to check it out.

Enticing The Light

Friday, April 29, 2011

1st Day of CreativeLIVE

Well, Today was interesting for sure....

4am, I woke up in a strange place with a splitting headache. I took some Aspirin, and zonked out.

7:30am, I rolled out of bed at the City Hostel in Seattle. It's about 8 blocks or so from my destination for this weekend, CreativeLIVE with Zack Arias. I spoke with an Englishman. He was pretty cool, and was heading to Las Vegas. I had to resist the urge to tell him to avoid... um... "Ladies of Ill Repute." Then, my other two roommates woke up; A couple from Scotland. They were nice too. We talked about how Americans didn't know we had hostels here. To be honest, I didn't know either until I had to stay in one...

See, I'm not exactly rich. I'm not poor either, but this photography thing I'm doing hasn't put me in the "Rich and Famous" category yet. So for those of you in my boat: Welcome aboard to the "I have to do photography... if I don't... I don't know what else I'll do with myself" EXPRESS.

You see, before this morning, Zack was my hero. Today, after meeting the guy and getting an inside peak of what a real and honest dude he is, he's been elevated to SUPER HERO.

My head is full of all the knowledge from today. I really feel like any holes I had in my foundation have been filled with wet cement, and I'm just waiting for it to set so I can built this photography house on top of it... Want to see what I'm talking about for yourself? You can. The folks at CreativeLIVE managed to get a segment or two published to their website, so if you missed this mornings intro, you can catch it again, in all of it's glory right here... (Yes, I believe it's in HD)...

I'll have plenty of photos to post soon, but first, I have to get some sleep and get ready for tomorrow. We're supposed to be shooting tomorrow and Sunday. Nothing beats a trial by fire.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's time...

If this is your first time visiting my blog because you heard me spout of my address, live on the Internet, Welcome. What you find here is not an old hand that could walk out and shoot the cover of Vogue next week. What you have with me is... well... I don't know where I fall against my peers. I find myself so concerned with where I'm trying to go that I don't really look around to see what other people are doing. I'm friends with other photographers, sure, but I don't gawk and stare. Want to learn something from me? Let's go shooting. Have something you want to teach me? Let's go shooting. This weekend with Zack Arias... I'll be the student.... And you will be too.

I should be packing right now, but I'm sitting here procrastinating and feeling sick to my stomach. I'm completely afraid. I'm afraid that my mentor, Zack Arias, is going to look at my photography and tell me I'm a talentless hack and that I shouldn't quit my day job. Can I actually imagine him saying that? Yes. Will he actually say that? I doubt it. He'll probably come across more tactfully than my "Zack Voice" in my head does.

The "Zack Voice?"

Yup, the same voice that tells me,"If you're telling yourself that you'll just fix it later in photoshop: You're being lazy and you're being mediocre." I hear those types of phrases in my head all the time. When I'm shooting, or not shooting, Zack's advice echoes in my head and it effects my approach to photography.

One prime resource of these phrases is here, the Chase Jarvis Live conversation with Zack Arias last year before his first CreativeLIVE event. I downloaded it. I listened to it at work... CONSTANTLY. I must have listened to the video 500 times. I emersed myself in the dialogue that took place between masters of photography. Why? I knew I couldn't buy the CreativeLIVE course. I knew I wouldn't get to soak anything of the class in, so I soaked up the conversation. I hope that you'll be soaking up everything that you can from this CreativeLIVE course with Zack.

In any case, I hope something I'm working on is pleasing to you. If you want to, drop me a line to your site/blog/mom's basement and I'll check out what you're doing too.

Friday, April 15, 2011

CreativeLIVE - OMG

OMG. Like... totally.

I've never lived in California. If I ever say that again, punch me in the nose.

So THE Mr. Zack Arias is doing another CreativeLIVE class this year on various aspects of photography. For those of you that don't know, CreativeLIVE is the love-child-project of Chase Jarvis (world renowned photographer) and Craig Swanson (king of education ala technicals). The idea behind CreativeLIVE is to bring free creative education to everyone around the world, from photography, to painting, to programming, to photoshop. Last year, Zack taught an amazing photography class on studio lighting. This year, he's teaching something new: 10 things you need to know to be a photographer. Check out that link to know more.

Anyway, for those of you that didn't just click on the link I gave you (for shame), Zack wanted live students to experiment on...er... teach LIVE in the classroom instead of the tens of thousands of people that watch CreativeLIVE during their world-wide classroom. So he asked for potential candidates to submit videos relaying three reasons why we should be able to come to Seattle, WA and learn from him, in-person. I now submit my humble video for you to watch:

The video was filmed with my Android, and edited with PiTiVi and not some high-end gear, so I didn't expect much in return.

Finally, the deadline for the videos came and went. The next morning, Zack announced the winners on twitter. The first four of the six winners are announced. Seeing my chances dropping like flies, I tell my lovely wife, Caitlyn, that I'm probably not going to make it, and I start making plans to watch the class from home.

Then, I see this tweet:
At this point, I broke down and cried. I sent the tweetpic to Caitlyn, and her response was also un-lady like: "Holy Shit"

After I recovered from shock, I immediately went into the next office (I was at the "day job" when I got the news) and requested the days I needed off. I already had them off, but I wrote it down in big RED ink... "Jeremy - OUT"

I've been smashing my head against a wall trying to get my logistics in order to fly out, exist for 4 days, and enjoy the best class I'll have ever taken in my life. (That statement includes all of my professors at UNC, even the super-hott Western-Civ teacher I had.)

As some of you might know, I haven't made it to the runway with my photography career launch, let alone the takeoff. We have our two dimes to rub together, and that's it. Getting to Seattle is GOING TO HAPPEN, and I'll let God sort out the details for me. (He's pretty good at that.)

Chances are good I'll be blogging a ton after this... at least for 72 hours. ;-)

Thank you, Steve Frazer.... Salve Magister, I'm off to Seattle!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


So I'm so awful and keeping up on this whole blog thing that it feels like so much has happened in a short amount of time, so in this one I'll play catch up:

I recently had the opportunity to collaborate with my friend and costume designer, Leah D'Andrea in Nashville, TN. Shooting fashion and design work is something that I've really wanted to start focusing on with my photography. Last year when Chase Jarvis had Zack Arias on CJLive just before Zack's CreativeLIVE class, they were talking about how to get photo jobs. They said that no one is going to just hand you a job, you have to go out and get it for yourself. I had been following Leah's work for the better part of 10 years, and one day, I decided to take the extra step and drop Leah a message... "Hey, drop me a line when you get a chance." That one line message turned into a conversation where I told her that I'd been following her work and that I wanted to shoot some designs for her. That conversation turned into a meeting in Denver over Christmas, and that conversation went from making a few images to completely refreshing her portfolio. So at the beginning of this month, April 2011 for you time travelers, I flew out to Nashville and shot her designs and met some awesome people that went from strangers to friends in a few hours. It was probably the most fun I'd had in a single weekend in my life!

Pause for a quick breath....

It was a weekend full of "firsts" for me. First National gig (versus local), Longest shooting day ever (probably 15 hours of working that Saturday), First time at a Burlesque show (We managed to have some fun down time), First time at a Gay Bar (Wasn't on my to-do list, but it was quite a bit of fun). Talk about smashing a lot into one weekend... I felt like I could have slept for a week when I got home!

I'll be able to post some shots from the weekend when I've delivered the final portfolio (yes, I'm designing the book too) to the Client. That's only fair, right? I'll probably be able to use something that we shot just for fun though... Like this...

Anyway, I've got tons to do.

Salve Omnes!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm terrible at blogging

I'm just awful at blogging. I don't write constantly. I think maybe if I was Jasmine Star I'd have a half million people sitting at the edge of their seats eagerly awaiting my next entry...but I don't have that pressure. I don't feel the need to do well at making a blog post about where I'll be shooting this weekend....

oh... dangit.

See, I AM shooting this weekend. I'm flying out to Nashville to shoot a design and fashion portfolio for a friend of mine. She's been designing and fabricating clothes for more than a decade. She's trying to break into her industry with a fury like non other, and so am I. Actually I'm sure she wouldn't describe it that way, but the fury part is all me. :-)

There's something about uncharted territory that's always so much fun. I can see the portfolio coming together and turning into a viable piece of work on it's own, but how it will ACTUALLY look is not something I can foresee, which is the exciting part. Once you put that much effort into something it takes on a life of it's own and turns into something amazing.

After I get back, I have to start finishing out that project and working on two others. I need to shoot, edit, and submit my video entry to get a shot at being in the CreativeLIVE studio audience for ZackArias' photography class. I really want to be there, so I'll need to get off my ass and show him how creative and witty I can be. It's going to be nerve wracking putting myself in front of one of my heroes but it must be done. Hopefully Ryan Connolly or Vincent Laforet will be proud of my film-making skills.

After I the video finished up, I have to clean up and finish pre-production on a pinup calendar project that my friend Joelle is producing. It's going to be pretty hip. I'm hoping for a slightly contemporary but mostly film noir twist on this completely saturated but very cool genre. Our plan is to complete the 2012 calendar and then sell it at various record stores and other "hip" places on consignment and then donate all the proceeds to a charity of some sort. That plan might change, but I hope we're able to make something cool and get it out there to share with people and give back to those in need.

Speaking of needs, I need to get crackin. I have a lot to do before I leave tomorrow for Nashville. If anyone reads this, drop a line and let me know. Even if one person read it I'd be happy. Otherwise, this Dear Diary is going to get lonely on some google server all by itself.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


One thing that our Forefathers wanted to ensure that we as Americans have is the idea of a copyright: The ability to be creative and use that creativity to make money to, in turn, be creative again and sustain the creative flow. This is something that humans wrestle with everyday. Everyone is a copyright infringer. We've all copied images, music, sounds, software, and other things and we're not even aware of it, or if we ARE aware, we might not care.

We need to care.

The wonderful Chase Jarvis shared this video on his blog; from the ASMP panel about this exact subject. Take a listen. It applies to all creatives.

Panel Discussion from Registration Counts on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Photoshop 3.0 called....

...It wants you to retire it.

I know that some of you might use Photoshop almost exclusively for your photo development, but if you're interested in spending less time behind the computer and more time shooting, I recommend Lightroom. I have version 2.7, but I hear that 3.0 is fantastic.

But don't take my word for it. Read it here from someone else

Monday, February 14, 2011

MSI u110 netbook fail

When looking for a netbook last year, I really wanted something that had a TON of battery life. My dad had success with the Acer One netbook that last 3 hours or so, but I really wanted something that lasted longer. I picked up the MSI u110 netbook on newegg when it was on sale (about 25% off).

Right away, I noticed the battery life was about 12 hours. That's amazing! I was very impressed.

It wasn't until newegg's return policy was up that I finally connected it to a network with the RJ45 cable.... NOTHING. Windows7, nor Ubuntu 10.04 recognized that the jack even existed. (lspci showed nothing). (As a side note: the GMA500 graphics chip is God-awful in linux and I couldn't recommend it less.) I was upset, but MSI said that they would take a look at it. Unfortunately, I use the netbook constantly, and being out of a computer for God-knows-how-long wasn't really an option.

Now, tonight, I'm having another issue: The built-in display of the netbook is messed up. Not missing pixels or random lines of goop. It's completely different than that: the screen resolution is wrong. The display should be 1024x600 (since it's a 16:9 widescreen) but it comes up is 4:3 formats, like 1024x768. What does that mean? It means that when Windows loads, you can't see the task bar. Really! You can't move the mouse to click on something that doesn't exist. The computer is essentially useless.

Allow me to demonstrate:

Argh... It started working again. I HATE computers that changed their minds. When I booted it up just now to take a picture, my camera phone wasn't ready yet, so I turned the netbook back off. When I finally had the camera ready, it displayed the correct resolution. Seriously: Very frustrating.

I did notice that the "detected display" that came up in windows this time was different than when it was acting up. When it came up wrong, it said "flat panel display" and wouldn't let me change the drivers for it. When it came up correctly just now, it says "mobile PC display" and won't let me change the drivers either.

I don't doubt that MSI is a good company, since they have plenty of good ones, but the intel GMA 500 graphics chip is a complete dud. I hate it, and I wish I'd never bought this netbook. I wish I could have done more research and found something that worked better.

End rant.