Velia and Sophia

Recently I had the wonderful privilege of spending a week with Velia
and her daughter Sophia. Velia is an old friend of Anna's from
language school in Canada and is currently living in Colima, Mexico.
They came to spend a week with us and we had a blast. Velia is
learning photography in school, so she asked if I could teach her a
few things. Famous last words. We had fun spending some time learning
basics, but the most important thing I hope she learned, was this.
"Master the basics so you can start shooting." I don't know how many
people I have taught, but what always seems to be the common thread is
the lack of knowing the basics. When you can get past the factors that
affect light (exposure, shutter speed depth of field, etc.) then you
can start paying attention to expression and moments. But I also
believe that you can't talk the talk without walking it, so I got the
two to sit for me for a couple hours.

Be careful of you facebook photos being used for ads.

Here is the terms to consider
From Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (copied on 24JULY2009)-
For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos ("IP content"), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook ("IP License"). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account (except to the extent your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it).

That means they can use your image for ANYTHING at ANYTIME and sell or use for ANYONE. You still maintain the rights, but it is like owning a car and someone else driving it and making money from it. 

NOW that said. There is no rights granted to manipulate, crop or alter in any way. As a photographer we are always put in this situation as to sticking our photos in a shoebox for fear of someone else benefiting from them or to show to the world and someone else possibly benefiting from them. One way a lot of photographers help stop this is by slapping big logos and copyright info on the image. I do this for most (nothing taken from my iPhone) of my stuff placed on facebook. 

I want the world to see my images. That's why I take them, but I also don't work any other job. This is my livelihood. If I don't make money from photography then I don't eat. If I work another job, then I can't be a successful freelance photographer.

Well now it seems Facebook has agreed to let a 3rd party advertiser use your posted pictures without your permission. This is a blatant steal of imagery for other's benefit. Don't do it.
You can stop this by doing the following.

Click on SETTINGS up where you see the log out link. 
Select the tab that reads FACE BOOK ADS. 
There is a drop down box, select NO ONE. Save your changes. 

Be sure to check your settings on your applications as well.

If you consider any of your imagery of any value (even on a personal level) don't think to yourself that it is good. Lawyers and agencies have been pretty successful in telling the world that photography should be cheap and accessible to anyone. They do this for a purpose. So they can charge the same to a client and not pay you what is due. Trust me, I have been way too nice over the years to people and agencies that seem so noble, but find that they just want to take something and run. We all do it. We love using a free sample to it's fullest extent, but rarely finally buy the product. Any body going to that wholesale club at noon will see what I mean. Crowds of people gather. It's free sample time.

Also, make sure to ALWAYS put your logo, name, something on your image. Most editing programs allow you to do this very easy.
Photographers everywhere are talking about this. Look at this blog at for a more descriptive explanation.

An Eastern Pondhawk flew in my back door

I was just getting ready to settled down for the night when my wife, Anna, opened the backdoor and an Eastern Pondhawk flew in. It was a male. Not because I checked the undercarriage, but rather because I checked online. You see the female is all green and the male is all blue. Now there's something you didn't know. I think one of the most fascinating results of this project is the fact that I get to learn little tidbits about all the species around me. I don't want to be (and never have been) one of those that say, hmmm that's neat and then dismiss it like a misplaced roadsign. These guys are part of our lives. They help to take care of us. Even showing the smallest interest like knowing what color a male pondhawk looks like can be contageuous. I can bet that now that you have read this you (all 2 of you) will remember and mention it to a friend or kid or whoever is next to you when you see it. By me not having the fear to actually catch, shoot and release these creatures, I have the added bonus of adding this experience to my life. I certainly will not forget the beauty and design of this little guy.
I shot this with 2 Nikon SB-800 flashes. One positioned under a white plastic board and another to the side with a snoot.

Feature on some of my Combat Camera buddies

This is a nice feature on the Navy Combat Camera. Some of the best trained and talented guys in the military. I served at Combat Camera in San Diego for three years and can say it was one of the best times of my life. It truly is one of the best jobs out there. If I could do it again, I would stay. The camaraderie is unmatched the motivation and passion is completely insane. Where else are you going to find a bunch of bad ass soldiers with tons of combat, survival, weapons and tactics training that can also take time to take an artistic and creative shot. Of course what the news shows and what they discuss is to entertain the audience, but truly you should see what these guys put out that is other than night vision of kicking down a door. You can view some of my past work as a combat cameraman on my website at

Also here are a few other links to check out.

ΛNSΛROV passion / photo
web  blog  facebook  linkedin  twitter

The Halloween Penant dragonfly

Over the last few days we have had some crazy weather push through
with heavy winds and lightning storms that seem to come out of no
where. They last for about an hour and then gone. As we returned from
a day out, we had a nice surprise of this Halloween Pennant dragonfly
that must have been either tired of trying to fight the winds or was
too wet to fly (or ready to die). Either way, he was sitting right on
the door nob as if waiting for me to invite him in (or her, didn't
check). I have seen these dragonflies hundreds of times before. They
stay mainly near ponds where they mate and can be found throughout the
year. What I found made him very interesting was the way the orange
color of the wings made for a nice filter effect when photographed.
The light weemed to add a nice glow to him. I am also very fascinated
with every intricate detail of their design. Always cool.

I only had him for about 10 minutes. I grabbed a D90 and 60mm micro
lens while using a SB-800 which was controlled using the Nikon
commander mode of the camera. I used a black foil to snoot the flash
to give a direct snoot effect to the light. He was placed on two
pieces of black foam core and that was it. I knew he was done when
after I said, "that's it. I'm done." He took off flying towards the
door. I opened the door and he was gone.

Sign up to ZenFolio!!! I'll pay you!!!

OK, I must warn, there is a self interest for me to get some credits, but it is also a very good deal and I would not recommend them unless I checked them out extensively. Many photographers use, as part of their service, the ability to archive and upload images and offer for print sales. When it comes to consumer prints, the best company out there is MPix. These guys rock and have an amazing quality control. Also a benefit I use is to be able to sell and ship prints internationally (jobs in Poland hint hint). 
To top it all off, their annual fee is cheaper than most others. 
No catch. Check them out and ask me questions if you like. 
If you do decide to sign up with them, please use this code.  SAK-6AX-9EY

Now here is the even better deal to prove I am not selfish. 

From now until August 15th 2009, Zen Folio is offering to me the benefit that if someone uses my code, I get $10 back.

Here's the deal. If you sign up and use my code, you will get $5 off. If you do it before August 15th and I get $10 back, I will split my profit with you and send you $5. 
No dishonest people please. You have to become a member and I have to get the referral in order for me to send you the 5 bucks. 

So when it is all said and done, you sign up for the annual premium membership, you will pay $95 (instead of $100), I will get $10 and pay you another $5. I call that a big win/win. 



Action figures as a photo subject

Today, my son, Corbin, asked me if we could take photos of some of his action figures. I said, why not? I actually then pulled out an old box in the garage of Star Wars action figures I used to play with when I was a kid (although a few are newer). We decided we wanted to make portraits like I do of living things. We took two SB-800s. One was put inside a homemade softbox that was blocked off to make a strip light. The other was positioned overhead and to the back to create some separation from the backdrop. Then Corbin helped position the guys as if we were on the Death Star. You can't tell me there wasn't a photo studio on the Death Star. Ok. getting a little geekie here, but the point I am making is from a few minutes of set up, a little mentorship and a little creative thinking my son and I were able to put together a pretty nice portfolio of action figure portraits.

Most importantly we had a great time bonding and playing.

So what did you do creatively today?


Overnight prints great quality cards

I have been on a much earned vacation for the past week. Celebrating family, friends and, life in general. The blogs have backed up recently, but are going to be coming soon. In the meantime, I wanted to pass along this great deal from . After checking out a ton of different companies (some very expensize/some very bad quality), I honestly can say that these guys have great quality AND great prices. Their color quality, QC and uploadability is pretty nice and after ordering tons from them I have had no problems at all. They are also pretty fast. Don't take their name to heart. They aren't that fast. Use this code to get 50% off postcards. Offer ends on July 12th so try them out now. (code is summerpc ).

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What are you DOing lately

"Times are tough." When have they not been. It seems it is a human condition to either complain about something or be happy about something. Which condition do you do the most? Yes people are having tough times right now. We could cry about it or move on and do whatever I can to make the best of it. The industrial age is gone and the information age is here. Deal with it.

That said, I want to mention something about sources of information. It is everywhere. There is a chance that if you are reading this blog it is because you seek some form of knowledge, inspiration, entertainment or something new to complain about from my information. A good investment? I hope so.

One thing is for certain. If you aren't doing something to learn something new every day then you will fail. You will get run over. You will die on the vine. And 9 times out of 10 you will blame the economy, the government, the weather or any other element other than yourself.

Here is a phrase I learned a long time ago.

The CHOICES we made in our lives led us to be hear this very minute doing this exact thing. They where ALL DELIBERATE AND ON PURPOSE. They where YOUR CHOICES and no one else's.

It is the choices you make from this point on that will take you to where YOU WANT TO BE or DON'T WANT TO BE. They are also DELIBERATE and ON PURPOSE. The are no one else's.

If you make yourself realize this daily and understand this in your mind as true, then I think you will start to consciously make better choices.

That said, I make choices to read, do, or learn something new daily. The best times are when it is something that makes me a little uncomfortable. A challenge to push myself. Either creatively, spiritually, physically, etc.

Everybody has seen those muscle-bound guys. Those 'monsters' with ginourmous arms. Or the ones who are so obese that they can no longer walk, yet they are at McDonald's. Both were not born this way (small percentages excepted of course). Both made choices. Both are living the way they want or don't want. It either takes a lot of hard work to get to that place in life or no work at all. Both provide results.

Ever do 100 push-ups? How many on the first time trying?

Now if you have read this far and not deleted the page or moved on to something that doesn't challenge you, then great! I will now give some great advice.

Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease are two amazing consultants. I met them both a while ago and the little info they did share with me was quite amazing. They really care about helping others and especially focused on photographers. Yes they do this as a business which helps them to survive in life. But they just put out a book that I am sure is going to be a winner. It will be something that will challenge people and put things frankly which is what we need in these days of laziness and blame.