Interview with Lorena Bobbitt and the phallic lamp.

Maybe it's just me. I don' know, but Anna had the same reaction and we
looked at each other at about the same time laughing. These images
where taken with my iPhone of my TV while watching a Univision
interview with Lorena Bobbitt. The interview is 15 years after that
historical day where she chopped her husband's penis off. Now I could
think of a ton of different items to place behind Lorena as a prop for
the set. The stylist decided to use a lamp with a shape that...
well..., If you don't get it than you are of a healthier mind and you
don't need to know.

Victoria one to one

Victoria is 4 years old. She is quite the livewire and fun to be
around. She is always curious whenever I am taking photos and when I
asked her if I could shoot her portrait she automatically gave a big
smile. Probably because she thought I was going to do it just then.
Anna, my partner/creative consultant/wife, helped me to keep Tori
still for the time it took to shoot this newest addition to the 1:1
project. She was one of the toughest to shoot because every time she
moved around things changed. The hair moves, the angle of the face,
etc. And since I only see her throught he lens at one inch at a time,
I can't tell if she moves until later. That said, I think it works.
That is one other element to this collection of images that make this
so powerful. What does a person think when a lens is a few inches away
from the face? What does a 4 year old think? She hasn't been broken
yet as to the reality of the world that we are all judged based on our
appearance. She hasn't found the need to put make up on nor has she
developed her personal bubble yet.

Lots of projects. So little time in my life


It is very very very important to have personal projects. They help to feed your creativity beast and allow you to learn new things without loosing a client if you screw up. I currently have a ton of projects going. One issue that sometimes arises is loosing track of your time and letting some of them fall to the side. But when I finally do catch up on them, I feel even more fulfilled inside than ever. Because I am accomplishing a goal that I set on MY time for ME. When it is done it is MINE and nobody gave me a deadline, I did. Nobody was hounding me to get the product to their office so they can use it for their benefit. 
One such project is my one:one project. So titled for the use of a 60mm Micro lens set at a 1:1 ratio to photograph faces. It takes an average of 150 to 200 images to complete a face and a few hours to get these images together on a file that ends up being in excess of 5GB in size. My final goal is to print these images in their full size of average 10 feet high.
This is one of my most recent ones of my 8-year-old son, Corbin. He was very patient for me for the 5 minutes it took to photograph him. Next to put together is my 4 year-old neice, Victoria. Do I need to say how fun that was to get her to sit still for five minutes?
 

Photos from the window seat

Being passionate about EVERYTHING you do is tough. How many times are
we traveling and see a beautiful seen outside the plane window and say
to ourselves, "wow how beautiful, let me get my camera out of my bag
in the overhead compartment and set this up and shoot through this
shitty airplane glass and hopefully get a shot that would make me
happy." I know I would say it a lot and never do it. Well, on my way
back from Mexico, Anna and I decided that was exactly what we would
do. I used a 17-55mm lens on a D200 and adjusted accordingly to reduce
the flare and scratches on the glass. I then brought the images into
CS4 and adjusted again to reduce haze until I was happy. Now that I
have told you how easy it was to make these images, does that minimize
them???

A lot of comments are made as to how the barrier between an amateur
and a professional is gone. The affordable cameras, software, etc.
make it incredibly easy to obtain an image in some form, but does that
still make everybody an artist? I can sure enough go to Michael's
art's and crafts, buy a ton of paints, canvas and every tool that
would make Picasso blush, but I guarantee I still make stick figures.
I could take all the 'How to' classes available, attend the workshops,
seminars and buy all the gear a person could want. What it still
always comes down to is the vision and desire to capture/create great
images. I am VERY happy with these and now excited about the next
flight. I think I will be doing this on every flight. It will always
be different. Try it!

The Wells Point

I met David H. Wells a few months back during a meeting with Aurora Photos. Great guy and wonderful to spend time with. He has a wonderful passion and personality that makes you his friend from the start. He launched a website that I think will be very inspirational to many. It is called The Wells Point and can be found at http://thewellspoint.com . It wealth of inspiration through podcasts and other free information. I highly reccomend it to everyone. One of his speeches I thought hits home to many of us is his podcast titled, "some thoughts on being a professional photographer" (in the craftsmanship section). I am sure many of my friends are going to like this one.
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Finding opportunities and GOING FOR IT!

While recently in Tequila, Mexico, I spent a day photographing the Agave fields and a Tequila factory. Towards the end of the day we where all tired and ready for the half hour crazy Mexican drive back to the house. As we were driving by, we locals gathering for what was apparently a rodeo. There is not one photographer (except for maybe the master Jay Maisel ) that sees a scene and opportunity for great images and says to him/herself, "I am too tired. Next time." or "I just don't have the access." or They'll never let me shoot there." or one of many other excuses we give ourselves to justify not shooting something. I am not saying I don't give myself any one of those excuses as well. This was just one of those times I didn't make 
an excuse. I rather said to myself, "When will I be back here again and how hard would it really be to get access and what images would I have if I DON'T shoot this." Sure I was tired at 
the end of the day, and if asked if I would do it again I would say, "Hell yeah!" Maybe next time though I would go out with one of Nikon's new line of cameras with the ability to capture high ISO with little to no noise. I do love the Nikon CLS system and the ability to have a wonderful partner to hold my flash for me for the portraits.





Mexican Quince Anos

A few shots from a Mexican Quince. What a party this was.

A few shots from Tequila, Mexico

Hitler's impression of the D3X price

This video was hilarious. But my emotions towards the arrogant, blatant and uncalled for increase in price was exactly the same. How about this for an analogy. You are speeding down the highway of technology and ability. You pull off to the side of the road to fill the tank with some gas. You have a credit card for BP because it is good to stick with the same gas, but when you drive to it, you see the cost per gallon (or per megapixel) is 3 times the amount as the cost at the other stations that serve the same or similar quality gas.


What do you do???


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnwf2RShNV0


I made a comment on Editorial Photo about my outrage and a friend suggested I should have been a little more political about it. Perhaps I should wait until I have one in my hands and do an honest comparison before making statements about how pissed I am on this price, but I tend to listen to Rob Galbraith and his comparrison's a lot more than my own. I was waiting more than 6 months for the D3X to upgrade which is very necessary in the digital age, but at this price I am very curious to see how many are purchased. 

Anybody remember when the iPhone came out and people where waiting for hours to buy one only for Apple to lower the price by a third a few months later?


Days in Lives (A visual Walk about)

Recently I was mentoring a young photographer in Japan who is curious
as to what it takes to make great images. One of the few things I
mentioned to him was to make a visual walk about. Something my Mentor,
Chip Maury taught me many years earlier. But I also like to live by
examples and teach by examples. I arrived in Guadalajara, Mexico
Thursday evening and yesterday morning did one of these walk abouts.
Of course having a wife that speaks fluent spanish helps in gathering
permissions for portraits and the ability to sign model/property
releases for stock, but no matter how much advantages a person can
have (gucci gear, access, etc) none of it matters if you can't push
yourself to SEE. Watching expressions, contrasts in light, emotions in
gestures, colors, etc. Becoming aware of the backgrounds, fill the
frame with what is important and waiting for the defining moments that
will make the image.
This is just a quick edit of a few hours driving and walking around.
AA

Aaron admiring his work

just a quick look at what I was doing a few hours after returning from Atlanta. video

I have a new hero

So I was at the ASMP photo show "Find Us Here" when I ran into Jeffery
Salter. Check out his work at http://www.jefferysalter.com/

Really nice guy and wonderful to talk to. Then I mentioned how my
background has been as a Navy photojournalist and as a Combat
Photographer. Then he says, "Yeah really? That is how I got my start."

Then I run into Benjamin Rusnak (who's website is being reworked right
now). He mentioned that he was mentored by a guy at the Indianapolis
Star who used to be a Navy SEAL during Vietnam. I said, "No he was a
Frogman and his name is Chip Maury." His eyes lit up. I said, "Chip is
my sea daddy.

Pretty small and incredible circle we live in.

Oh and did I mention I finally met the incredibly talented and incredibly TALL Brian Smith. What is it with successful people and height? I need lifts.

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Photographer Robbie Cooper shows simplicity is story telling enthralling

This was pretty amazing and scary and funny. But in all it was a great way for a photographer to show something without necessarily showing it. It is simple and easy. The editing has something to do with it, but the different expressions of the kids... Very nicely done. 

Video Library Player:  Immersion 

Photographer Robbie Cooper shows just how focused young video-game players can be. 

The Honl Speed Snoot is amazing!!!

I was a little hesitant about trying out the HonlPhoto Speed Snoots. I have heard great things about them and my buddy Tom Sperduto praised his devices immensely. I was recently in Portland attending a seminar with Tom when he suggested I try them out. I was already working on adding new subjects to my Backyard project so I gave them a try. All I can say is WOW!!! These things are amazing. The construction, the quality, it really makes a difference in the way the light is played. I had figured they wouldn't make too much of a difference on subjects as small as a 1/2 inch caterpillar, but they really did. I am a true fan. I can tell you I am very interested in trying out his other products. Check out his site at HonlPhoto.com 

Here are examples of the set up of the moth and the final results. I used my usual white board as a bounce for the SB-800 remotely synced using Nikon CLS system. The flash is mounted on a Justin Clamp (another great gadget to have).

Jamie Rose. Watch this one!!!

I have a friend in an awesome photographer named Jamie Rose. We know eachother through numerous military phojos as wella s working together during a workshop at Syracuse. We have been in touch here and there over the past few years and I must say, she is on fire. Watching how someone with passion can do such great things is an inspiration. She now has a great blog with tons of info to add to your knowledge base and is working with a very cool workshop photojournalism workshop series called Momenta Group LLC (www.momentaworkshops.com).

Here is the link to her blog http://jamieslist.wordpress.com/

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Featured in Polish Newspaper

If all this good publicity wasn't good enough Anna,  my hot Polish wife, was asked to do an interview for the national Polish newspaper called White Eagle. This paper is sent to every Polish community throughout the United States. This is pretty exciting since we know there is a very large Polish community in the United States. Of course I wouldn't expect many of my friends to be able to read Polish so I am including the pages so they can look at the pictures. Too bad it is in black and white. Doesn't do much justice to many of these photos. The gist of the interview was with Anna and how she came about becoming a photographer, her involvement with me and why we do what we do, etc. 
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What is Col. Abbott thinking???

I just read an article on NPPA about an image of a General that was digitally manipulated. I typically laugh at these and blow them off as yet another idiot that had no idea or yet another idiot general who did not have time in his(her) schedule to pose for a photo and ordered someone to 'Fix It.' I saw it enough times in my career and will see more of it in the future. What really blew me away was what the chief of the Army's media relations division was quoted as saying. " "We're not misrepresenting her," Abott told the AP. "The image is still clearly Gen. Dunwoody." " 
My friend Johnny Bivera and I have talked about his push to try to create a code of ethics for military photography that is clearly trampled on and misunderstood on a regular basis. There needs to be an adoption of standards by the military of similar standards set forth by the NPPA or WHNPA.
Believe what you will about the military feeding propoganda and manipulating imagery. I see more of it in the civilian media than ever in the military. That isn't the subject. The subject is that civilian media have checks and balance on ethics and responsibilities for showing true and ethical images. If AP bans the DoD then you know soon others will follow suit. When are these people going to realize that if one image is defended as being real and is found manipulated then every one afterwards will be expected as being manipulated as well. 
In the military lingo I have not yet forgotten. This is UNSAT!!!


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The importance of being passionate AND NICE!!!



The other day a young girl came to ANNA asking for help with some model comp cards. It seems she was picked out of a crowd of thousands of models and given an opportunity to meet with some select talent scouts n that Saturday. She was in a rush. She brought a CD from some photographer who charged her a mint to take a few shots and gave her the images straight from his card. She could no understand how there was these spots all over the images. I explained to her they where dust spots and the guy should have at least corrected for this either by manually doing so or using a simple program like Nikon capture NX to remove them before letting them leave the studio. But I guess that is how some people do things. She was a littl stressed as to what to do next. She had found us through a google search and did not know what she needed to do, but that she needed to do something for this unique opportunity.
Anna and I felt bad for her and knew she might be overlooked if she would have walked into the room with that mess. So we had nothing better to do that evening and decided to make her into the project of the week. We told her to "go home and get some outfits." She came back a few hours later and we shot a full portfolio. We then laid out the images on in a book and ordered it from MPIX . These books are pretty descent quality and price and have a pretty fast turnaround. We ordered them on a Tuesday night and had it by Thursday morning. We also laid out and printed about 50 comp cards and gave them to her. All of this and we charged her less than what this photographer did. Of course we told her to tell her friends and NEVER tell them how much we charged her. Of course, to us this project wasn't about the money, but more on the philosophy of being a giving person and it may come back to you. 
GIVE / GET !!!

featured in a magazine is cool

This month is pretty cool for me. First having two page feature in
Popular Photography magazine, then a page article on my involvement
with ASMP and the military. A print from my one to one project is
ready and will soon be on display in North Miami during art Basel. Now
a local magazine called Weston Flair in one of the best places to live
in South Florida (Weston) has chosen to do a full page 'Local Bio'
feature on me and my military background.

Nice!

go to this link and scroll to page 22 . http://www.westonflair.com/nov/

Shooting a fashion show MY WAY

I was recently offered the opportunity to shoot a fashion show for a
local designer here in South Florida. He wanted to know if I would
just shoot the show, but me being me, I offered to shoot more than
that. Anna and I arrived a bit early and set up a small studio set up
in a back room. As the models got ready, we photographed some full
body and head shots. I saw it as an opportunity not only to meet some
great models and stylists, but to keep my shutter finger moving. It is
very important to always push yourself to do different things that
take you in a different direction. I would tell people to at least
once in a day do something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Do
something different so you can at least know if is a good thing or
not. Henri Cartier Bresson used to say to take a different way home
every day. This way you see things you would never have noticed
before. Like the eyes of a child. Make everything new and fresh. This
experience taught me a few new things, but mainly for me it taught me
how much I love what I do and prooved to me that I will be a
photographer until the day I die.

AA