Stacy Pearsall is an amazing individual and motivational speaker. She served as an Air Force combat photographer who was wounded and medically retired from the service. She was decorated with the Bronze Star and Commendation with Valor for actions under fire. Her photos have been used with many news agencies and published worldwide.
I heard Stacy Pearsall speak at Skip’s Summer School in 2010. Her story, the way she presents it, and her willingness to give back to the community is inspirational. When you are done listening to her, you want to go out and use photography as a tool for improving our society. I was overwhelmed and in tears by the time she got done speaking.
She posted a link on Twitter to an article called The Shot That Almost Killed Me: War Photographers; an interactive site at The Guardian, a UK newspaper, where you can click through a series of photographs and read the backstory for each of them. Be warned, some of the images are very graphic.
The stories are scary, heart-wrenching, and they will make you think about what is going on in our world.
I firmly believe that we owe a huge gratitude of thanks to those who sacrificed time, limb, and/or life to protect our freedom. In my mind, this post re-enforces the reasons behind that gratitude. It shows the horror of war, the sacrifices made, and the dark side of humanity. It shows what we ask our young people to deal with on a daily basis for our freedom. Yes, the post is about the photographers, but I see both the photographers and their sacrifices and the soldiers who they were documenting.
I was in tears after reading the stories in the article. I suggest you take a minute or two to take a look.
Posted 1 year, 10 months ago at 9:30 am. Add a comment
Zabriskie Point Gully, Morning Light
The above image caught my attention. Without looking at the caption, I knew EXACTLY where it was, where it was taken, and when it was taken. I had been there. I saw it. I didn’t shoot it. Why not?
Because the photographer, G Dan Mitchell of G Dan Mitchell Photography, sees in a ways that I haven’t learned yet.
The image is of the gullies near Zabriskie Point in Death Valley. I saw the view and have a great image of the scene, I just didn’t see the details and think of the possibilities as Mr. Mitchell did. He has the uncanny ability to take what seems to be an ordinary scene or situation and make an extraordinary image.
In the image above, he isolates the subject so that you are brought into it by not only the shapes, but also the colors. And he is capable of this in all kinds of images.
Branch on Playa, Panamint Valley
It’s a branch on a playa. We’ve all seen it before. I have. I didn’t shoot it. Why not? It’s just a branch. But Mr. Mitchell has made a photo that makes you stop and think for a moment. The composition is nice. Again, the colors are similar so your eye tends to just relax and take it all in. But I think the subject matter is the key. As I said, we’ve seen it before, so we don’t have to focus on the subject per say, but we are allowed to take the time to really examine the details of the image.
At first I thought that he “specialized” in landscape and nature photography. No, it seems that he has the same vision everywhere he looks.
Construction Lift, Building Interior
No, there is nothing special in the image, but I think the image is special. It’s simple. Again, the colors are similar except for the splash of orange on the construction lift. This shot keeps drawing me back.
He does this over and over and over. He can take an ordinary street scene and make it a memorable photograph. He can take what should be bad light and capture the scene so that it is interesting.
Il Trovatore by G. Dan Mitchell
This scene is “just” a street scene, but Mr. Mitchell has made it something that makes you look deeper into the image. It’s well composed, tells a story, and makes you ask questions about what you are looking at. It’s a simple image, but a great picture.
In one of his most recent images is surprisingly simple, yet very affective.
- Sail Boats, Pacific Ocean
A blue ocean, fluffy clouds in the sky, and throw in a few sailboats and he has created a simple, pleasing image.
I have been looking for a photographer who consistently shares their work, doesn’t specialize in iconic or grand landscape/nature shots, and sees possible images in everyday situations. I have always known that you don’t have to travel to remote locations to find a compelling image, but you do have to know how to see. Dan Mitchell has that vision. I am trying to learn that vision.
Mr. Mitchell writes a short narrative with every image posted. In it you can get an idea behind his thinking of each image. I don’t love every one of his images, but even the ones I’m not fond of are good and when examined, have something to teach. By looking at his images and reading his posts, I am beginning to learn the possibilities of what can be found and seen through photography.
By examining his site, I’ve learned other things also. I love his image naming system. For the most part an image title consists of a short description of what the subject is and where it was located. He is protective of his images, but he does so in a positive, almost friendly way. He shares ideas on lenses, packing, and how to shoot. And he does it all without being perceived as a “rock star” photographer.
Mr. Mitchell is one of the photographers that I want to be. He lets his work speak for him and is active in the community. I highly suggest that you take a few minutes and visit his site. If you look at his images, you will begin to see in a new way.
Posted 1 year, 11 months ago at 12:22 pm. 5 comments
I was looking through the [b]school’s forums and came across a GREAT idea.
It was one of those “DUH!!” ideas. You know, the ones that say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!??!?”
Lawrence Kent, a photographer in Augusta, GA is issuing a challenge to his blog readers that for every comment he gets on his blog during the month of December, he will donate a can to the local food bank.
Ok, like I said, DUH!!!
I think this is a great idea. Like Lawrence, my goal is 100 cans and I will be counting the comments already made during the month. Which isn’t too many. Eight to be exact.
So, we have a LONG way to go to get to the goal of 100.
Like always, please feel free to comment, but now you can do it and give back to the community.
Posted 3 years, 5 months ago at 1:53 pm. 6 comments
Last Thursday Tuesday, I went to the OC SMUG holiday mixer. Ok, it was actually the LA, SD, OC SMUG mixer, but it was held in OC.
Usually the SMUG meetings are about business or motivation. the last meeting had Jasmine Star speak about netmaking. Not networking, but netmaking. She talked about getting out of her shell and into the photography community; learning and helping as much as possible. it was actually very powerful and made sense. I have been trying to do that since then.
Basically stepping out of my comfort zone, I have been trying to be active on different forums, websites, and in a few meetings/get-togethers. Trust me, when I said it was out of my comfort zone, it is WAY out of my comfort zone.
I’m usually the one who stands near the edge of a group and waits for someone to talk to me. Now, I am trying to go and introduce myself to people and talk to them. It is working.
I took a Torye Cooke of PVC Photography (a student of mine) to a FEO (For Each Other) meeting at Dane Sander’s studio about a week ago. It lead by Jen Disney and was about pricing. IT WAS AMAZING!! Jen let the discussion go, but kept it in the realm of the topic and let everyone have their say. Plus, she’s a good photographer.
People were very friendly and very knowledgeable about the subject. Plus, they shared. It was amazing to watch and fun to participate with such giving people.
The best part was when Jessica and Robert of Jessica Elizabeth Photography, started talking to us. We had talked to them once before at an OC SMUG meeting and they were very nice. Out of the blue they asked Torye and I if we wanted to shoot with them during an engagement shoot in the middle of December. I was caught completely off guard by that request. Why would anyone want to have me shoot with them? Of course, we said yes. Why? I need the experience.
Suddenly, I started to figure out how this interacting with others might help me in the business and that brings me to the OC SMUG Holiday Mixer.
Again, with the same student, who was VERY nervous, we went to the mixer. There I forced myself (and the student) to actually mix and talk with the people we met. And we met people.
We talked to Lori and Keith Anderson for sometime. I left Torye and visited with Gabriel Ryan and Chris Becker. I met Gabriel at the FEO meeting; his knowledge of photography pricing and the business is incredible. After that I went back and talked to Jessica and Robert about the shoot and hung out with them for the rest of the evening.
The talking part has never been hard, it was always the introducing myself as if I have something important to say and to add to the conversation. I am learning how to do that.
Here are a couple of bad (as in VERY BAD) pictures of the mixer.
Posted 3 years, 5 months ago at 12:53 pm. 1 comment
I listen to a lot of podcasts. I have 23 of them on my iPhone that I listen to regularly and another 10-15 on my computer at home. I listen to them when I am in the car traveling to work, vacation, the store, where ever. I am a podcast junkie. I haven’t listened to the radio in ages. I include video podcasts in this catagory. I don’t watch them in the car, but while waiting for appointments or whatever.
I have learned a few things about podcasts. Some are good. Some are bad. And some are both.
Bad & Ugly
I am not going to list the podcasts here, but if you read between the lines you’ll figure it out.
It is NOT a podcast when you film yourself shooting a waterfall, birds, mountain landscapes or whatever and all the viewer sees is a waterfall, birds, or a mountain landscape with a camera firing off at 6-8 frames per second as the sound in the background. If you don’t have narrative about what you are shooting, why you are shooting it, or what you are trying to do with the camera, it is NOT a podcast. It is just a bad video.
You wouldn’t post or make public the images that you are not proud of, why do that with a podcast? Just because you can post something doesn’t mean that you should.
It is NOT a podcast when most of the material you talk about is a plug for your latest and greatest workshop or light modifier or whatever. It is an ad. There is nothing wrong with advertising, but not at the expense of most of your material.
You have thousands of listeners around the world and you’re plugging a workshop that has room for 15 people. Make your sales pitch and then move on to the reason we downloaded the podcast. If you tell everyone that you will be answering questions about photography, answer some. Or a lot. If your podcast is supposed to be an interview, then get to the interview. 15 minutes of interview and 45 of the workshop plug is not why we downloaded you.
It is NOT a podcast if you produce one every 6-8 weeks. It is a reminder that you are not doing what something on a regular basis. This is the reason I don’t produce a podcast. I don’t have the time to do it right on a regular basis.
It is NOT a podcast when you rebroadcast something you did for someone else. If you want to include it in your feed, fine, but don’t add it to your count and say it is a podcast.
There are some really good podcasts out there. They are done well, educational, and entertaining.
The Image Doctors
This is produced by the Nikonians.org website. Jason Odell and Rick Walker talk about Nikon equipment (obviously) and some of their shoots that they go on. But they include tips, ideas, and other information that can make you a better shooter. Their equipment reviews are honest; giving you both the things they liked as well as the things they didn’t.
Scott Bourne puts together some great guests and all they do is answer questions submitted by listeners. They always answer the questions in depth and from two points of view. It is a VERY educational podcast about photography. And the website that goes with it is one of the best photography oriented sites on the internet.
This Week In Photography is a well produced podcast about everything photography. Host Fredrick van Johnson along with co-hosts Alex Lindsay, Steve Simon, Ron Brinkmann, and Aaron Mahler talk about the past, present, and future of photography. They all have an immense amount of experience in photography and are very entertaining as they give tips, opinions, and insights on photography.
The Candid Frame
Host Ibarionex R. Perello interviews individuals in the photography world. Most of them I have never heard of, but they have some great insights and thoughts on ideas that make you think.
Thoughts On Photography
Paul Giguere has a great podcast on living a photographic life. He has interviews and thoughts on being a photographer and producing images that are interesting and tell a story.
Bill Crawford and Ed Hidden talk about and interview people about mostly studio lighting. Lots of interesting ideas and insights on thinking about how to use studio lighting.
The magazine is good. Brooks Jensen produces a short (4-5 minutes) podcast about his thoughts on photography. Everyone of them are thought provoking and relevent.
Dave Warner interviews a lot of the iconic photographers using Canon gear. Yes, it is Canon, but we all know it is not about the gear, but the eye behind the viewfinder and you can hear what those great eyes have to say on this podcast.
Podcasts are a great way to learn about photography and lots of other subjects. If you are producing a podcast, take the time and effort to do it right.
Posted 3 years, 5 months ago at 12:51 pm. 1 comment
About month ago, I attended Dane Sanders Real Time Community one day presentation that included Dane Sanders, Chris Becker, and Scott Bourne. My whole intent was to listen to Mr. Bourne and ask him about being a nature photographer. I got that chance.
He recommended using some of the online forums, the first being NatureScapes.net. I had already signed up for it previously, but have since become much more active in the community. That is how I ran across this photographer and saw his amazing work.
I was going through the NatureScapes.net forums and found a couple of posts by David Courtenay. He seemed to know what he was talking about, so I checked out his website.
One word: WOW!!!
The front page is a flash page with some AMAZING images on it. If you delve deeper into the site those images don’t stop. He has 25 different galleries and in none of them can I find what I would consider even a mediocre image. They are ALL breath taking and VERY well composed and captured.
I have a couple of favorites. One of them is#9 in the Indian Tiger portfolio. Most people would take pictures of a tiger in the wild and you would see the tiger and Mr. Courtenay has twelve other images that do that very well. This image is of a paw print in the mud and it is WELL done. I have seen images of tigers and if I went to India, I would have some good images of tigers also, but I think the image of the paw print shows a different view. There is enough in the image to give a sense of the size of the tiger.
The other is #27 in the American Mammal portfolio. It has a deer standing with it’s neck turned, looking to the right. I swear that he had to be laying on the ground in front of the deer to take the picture. I contacted him about it and he said that he used a remote on a camouflaged camera to capture the image. I don’t care, it is THE best deer picture I have ever seen.Images of deer are a dime a dozen, but none that I have ever seen are as good or from the perspective as Mr. Courtenay’s. I have seen images of tigers and if I went to India, I would have some good images of tigers also, but I think the image of the paw print shows a different view. There is enough in the image to give a sense of the size of the tiger.
All of them give you a fresh perspective on the subject. In the American Mammals portfolio, Mr. Courtenay has fourteen images of a squirrel. A SQUIRREL!!! Anyone can take a picture of a squirrel!! But not with the impact of his images.
His photos are what I want to be able to capture images similar to his. They are tack sharp, well composed, and convey the sense of the viewer actually being there. This is the skill that I want and need to develop in my images.
After reading his bio, he has been active in photography for quite some time and has lived in many places giving him access to some great areas to photograph. I realize that that experience has contributed to the excellence of his images, but as his squirrel photos demonstrate, you don’t need exotic subjects to make captivating images.
You need the skills and the vision to capture what is before you. This is what I aspire to achieve in my photography. I need to see the picture and become good enough to be able to capture it while it is in front of me.
I am going to have to step up my game to reach that goal.
Posted 3 years, 5 months ago at 12:18 pm. 1 comment
This is going to be a great month. I have three events planned that I am really looking forward to attending.
The first is a photographer’s day at Bodie State Park. I discovered Bodie in late June and fell in love with it. I find the fact that a town of its age and location is still standing. As an environmental science teacher, I like looking at the town and wondering what it must have been like to live there with all of the waste, trash, and other cast-offs created by placing several thousand people in close proximity.
I like wandering around the town and wondering what it must have been like to live there during the height of the boom. The sounds, the smells, the people. It must have been overwhelming in some ways and really difficult in others. I’ve never lived through a winter in the area, but I have heard that they are REALLY hard and demanding. Summers are hot. Life was hard. And there are reminders and remnants of past lives. Everywhere you look there is something that was a part of some one’s life and I always wonder how they used it and how it affected their.
On photographer’s day, for $50, they open the park up at or just before sunrise and close it down at or just after sunset. This allows photographers access to the town and park without a lot of people and at a time that is most advantageous to the golden hour in lighting. I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can get from the situation.
A week after going to Bodie, I am going to the Morro Bay Photo Expo hosted by George Lepp. I heard about this on Twitter and signed up early this year. While there are several social events, I signed up for as many workshop/classes as I could fit into my schedule. I figure that for a relatively cheap price of $75, I was going to get as much photo education as possible, so I skipped the social events and signed up for lots of photography information based workshops.
The weekend culminates with a one day seminar lead by George Lepp. I am REALLY looking forward to this. I have been reading his column in Outdoor Photographer every chance I get and now I have the opportunity to listen to him in person. That should be educational. I’ll be writing more about what I am taking and why later.
Finally, on the 27th, I will be attending Dane Sanders’ REAL TIME COMMUNITY with Dane Sanders, Scott Bourne, and Chris Becker.
I have heard Becker speak before at a SMUG (Smugmug Users Group) and he is very well know for not only his photography, but his business prowess and community building skills.
I first heard of Scott Bourne on a podcast and over the last few years have come to respect Scott Bourne for his knowledge and insight into and about the photography industry. He is one of my favorite Tweeters and ALWAYS has something important and educational to say.
I don’t know Dane Sanders’ work well, but I know he is VERY well respected in the photographic community and I want to hear what he has to say about the photography business.
Of course I will keep you posted as the month progresses.
Posted 3 years, 7 months ago at 1:29 pm. Add a comment
They’re here!! My mini-business cards from Moo.com. No two are alike on the front and each of them is VERY colorful. The back is simple and gives my websites. I think it’ll be a good addition to some of the networking events I plan to attend.
I like the fact that are unique and get attention from those that I have shown so far. If you are looking for inexpensive, unique cards, I suggest you check out Moo.com. At under $20, they are a great deal. For an extra $7, you can get the felt card holder.
Posted 3 years, 8 months ago at 4:00 pm. Add a comment
I follow Scott Bourne on Twitter and ran across a post of his that I found VERY interesting. It linked to a blog by Tarsa Mar, a photographer who had talked to Scott about how to improve her photography. As a result, he challenged her to become better.
His challenge to her was simple.
- View another professional photographer’s work.
- Read one page in her camera manual.
- Take at one picture.
Each day. Every day.
She is blogging about it in order to document it and to encourage her to do it everyday.
I LOVE this idea. With some changes.
Instead of reading one page of the manual, I will read at least one page of a photo related book. I am always trying to find ways to be utilize the camera to it’s fullest capability. I have read my manual three times and will continue reading it.
I will be taking one picture each day, but with my iPhone. I think that a good photographer can take a good picture with any camera and I ALWAYS have my iPhone with me. In addition, I have several apps that I can use to edit/manipulate the images and then upload them to this site. In other words, every image posted to here for this assignment will be shot, edited, and uploaded with my iPhone.
I will view at least one other photographer’s images each day, but they don’t have to be professional. I think there are some GREAT amatures .
When I say once each day, I will try to average five times a week. Being a teacher, water polo official, and actually having a life, I think that 5/7 days is a very reasonable and doable goal. Yet, it will still be challenging and educational.
Why change the challenge? Because every individual needs to be challenged in a unique and personal way. As long as the challenge is real and goal oriented, I think that every person should modify their goals to fit themselves. I can’t be Tarsa Mar. I wouldn’t want to her any more than she wants to be me. Therefore, I choose to modify the challenge.
As I said, I will be posting five times a week and will include my reading and whose images I viewed. I encourage your comments and input. Be brutal, but be nice.
Posted 3 years, 8 months ago at 12:35 pm. 1 comment