Archives for Personal

Changing Your Perspective

Sometimes photography is all about perspective.  A slight change in your camera angle can change an ordinary image into something memorable.  It is these fine-tuning adjustments that help us to grow artistically. Last month, my wife and I spent a week in Hawaii and I planned to create a ton of new images.  Now landscape photography is not really my thing.  I’m just too impatient to sit and wait for the sun to be just right and take 50 shots of the exact same scene.  I’m much  more interested in portraits or illustrative-type images.  That’s just how I’m wired.  Since we had rented a convertible for the week, I thought it would be fun to try and incorporate it into an image. I came up with the concept of creating a shot of us driving along the coastline.  The tricky part was the setup. I strapped my tripod into the back seat, raised it up high and put a fisheye lens on the camera.  Then I set the camera to take 10 bursts of 3 shots – spread out 10 seconds apart. We would pull into a rest stop, start the camera  shooting and just drive to the next rest
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Can I Survive The Blog?

If you have followed my blog for any time at all, you know that I am a big fan of pushing your limits and going outside your comfort zone.  To paraphrase Andre Gide, “You can’t discover new lands without losing sight of the shore.”  As I stumbled through the internet today, I came across a very interesting blogging contest – kind of a blogging version of TV’s Survivor.   Now even though I’ve been blogging for a few years – I am in no way a blogging guru.  Heck, I’ve got a long ways to go with my blogging skills – which kind of makes this an ideal challenge for me.  I also thought it was a brilliant idea and since I couldn’t steal the idea- I decided to do the next best thing and be a participant. If they will have me… THE SCOOP So here is the deal – the folks at WeBlogBetter.com are sponsoring this shindig.   To enter, you have to jump through a series of hoops including:  writing a blog post about the contest, Tweeting about it, posting it to social media and a few other things.  They will pick 10 competitors from all the entries and
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Cheering on the Texas Heat

Six months ago, my kids were playing in the snow.  Kinda rare for Texas-but it happened.  My how things have changed. Today is the 41st CONSECUTIVE day of 100 degree weather.  Think about that for a minute…over a month with it getting to be over 100 every day.  The last time the Heat was this bad in Dallas was during the NBA Playoffs. The weird thing is -at this point, I’m actually rooting for another day or two of hot weather.  I mean, as long as we have been miserable this long, we might as well get an award for it – right?  Now they are saying there is a chance of rain Friday night, which would probably break the streak.   Here is the question… do you take the rain or still cheer for the record?  Am I crazy to still be kind of wanting to break the record?  Not really sure why it would be a sense of pride, since I didn’t actually have anything to do with it – other than the numerous aerosol cans I have sprayed into the environment during my life.  I guess it is just kind of a badge of honor. So which are
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The Oasis

Over the next few weeks, I wanted to share a few of the images that I entered at this summer’s International Photographic Competition.  I will try and provide a little background on the images, as well as talk about how they were created. First up is an image called The Oasis. I created this shot of Central Park while vacationing in New York.  I’ve always enjoyed infrared (IR) photography and thought this would be an ideal setting for that type of photography.  I also shot this scene in color, but didn’t feel that it had the same impact as the IR image. Rather than using Infrared film (ahh.. those where the days), I photographed the scene with my IR-converted Nikon D70.   The IR look gave the image a very timeless, yet surreal, look.  I loved the contrast of how the giant man-made buildings towered over the idyllic, natural scene below.   I guess that is what makes Central Park so cool in the first place.  It is a quiet oasis in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. Although I’ve tried using IR filters or even Photoshop filters, actually converting your camera to record infrared is really
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Talking To Robots

Technology can be a great thing.  For example, having HDTV is certainly better than watching a TV with rabbit-ear antennas.  High speed internet is definitely better than 14.4 dial-up internet.  For the most part, it makes our life easier and more enjoyable.   Unfortunately, not all technology is positive- especially when it comes to the telephone. If there is one thing in life that drives me absolutely crazy, it is talking with robots on the telephone.  It is impossible to avoid it.  It was bad enough in the days when people called you at dinner time with some stupid offer, but at least you got the satisfaction of hanging up on them.  With these robots calling, you aren’t even sure if they know you hung up.  They just keep going on and on with their recording.    However, the human telemarketers were equally as annoying – so I’m not going to count this one against technology.  Technology didn’t make telemarketers worse, it just made them different. The part I can’t stand is when I am trying to call a company and have to talk to a robot- or an “interactive voice prompt system” or whatever they call it.  In the early days
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Would NFL owners cancel the season? Would you blame them?

Is anyone else getting really tired of the whole NFL situation?  I posted my thoughts a few weeks ago, but thought it was time to revisit the whole thing. I read an article today saying that the owners may just “shut down” their businesses if they lose their appeals in court.  While this seems like a drastic measure, it is no less drastic than what the players did by taking the whole thing to court in the first place… is it?  The whole thing is just so mind-boggling. I really don’t think the players have any idea what a great gig they have.  Recently, Adrian Peterson was quoted as saying “It’s modern-day slavery, you know?” Now I wasn’t around back in the slavery days – and certainly don’t claim to be an expert on the matter – but I’m PRETTY sure there weren’t a whole bunch of slaves getting paid $3.6 million per season.  To compare the two situations is really absurd.   Sounds like Peterson should teach the NFL a lesson by quitting football and pursuing a life in the real world.  Just get a 9-t0-5 gig and see how close to three million a year he can earn. As
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The Royal Question

I’ve gotta be honest- I just don’t understand this infatuation with the Royal Wedding.  Are people really getting up at four in the morning to watch that?  About the closest I could get would be re-watching the wedding scene from The Princess Bride.  Now I did enjoy that… but still wouldn’t get up at four in the morning to watch it.  In fact, I was being considered as one of the photographers for the wedding, but turned it down because I didn’t want to get up at four o’clock.  I now realize that it was just a timezone-difference thing and maybe I should have taken the gig.  Anyways… The weirdest part is that American’s seem more interested in the wedding than the English people.  I read that they were estimating only about 20% of the people in England would be watching the wedding, but it seems like 75% of the folks here in the U.S. are watching.  Heck, we can’t get that many people to vote every year. I think the reason comes down to a difference in our cultures.  I wonder how many little girls in England have “Princess” themed birthday parties?  Probably not as many as we have
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The Trick To Becoming A Better Photographer

It doesn’t matter where you are in your photographic journey – at the beginning or well down the road – we all want to get better. While there are so many ways to improve your skills, I’m a firm believer that nothing will help you to grow faster than entering print competitions. When you compete with your images, your competitiveness will force you to grow. If you stick with it, your photography skill will grow – without a doubt. The big question that people seem to have is WHERE to enter. There are many different contests out there and most of them cost money. The trick is to choose the ones that aren’t just scams trying to make money off of photographers. Because of this, I tend to enter competitions that are affiliated with major photography associations. There are basically two of these organizations, The Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI). Both are excellent organizations, but most of my experience is with PPA. Within PPA, there are a few different levels of print competition. The best place to start is usually at the local level. Most major cities have a PPA chapter and many
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An Evening In The Garden

It has been a busy month so far! Last week, I spent a few days in Kansas City, judging at the Heart of America print competition for the North Central District.  I got to see some great images -from photographers across the north central US.  It was very tough choosing a print for my Judge’s Choice ribbon because there were so many great entries. Last night, I taught a class on basic photography at the Dallas Arboretum.  We learned about things like composition, exposure and even a bit of infrared photography.  The best part was having the whole Arboretum to ourselves after hours!  Next week, we plan on having a little more classroom time, then wander the gardens taking shots in the fantastic sunset light!  Next week’s class is sold out, so be sure and get on the list if we offer it again in the fall.  It is truly a unique opportunity!
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My Thoughts On The NFL Situation

Well, this NFL nonsense has been going on for a few weeks now and I just can’t contain myself any longer.  I look forward to the start of the NFL season – almost as much as I look forward to Christmas.  Therefore, I’m mad at both parties for putting my season in jeopardy.  However, if I had to choose a side, I think I would have to side with the owners.  I know, I know – the owners only care about money and it is the players that are sacrificing their bodies week after week.  Agreed.  However… Lets assume that they announced that they were having player tryouts this weekend for a spot on the Dallas Cowboys.  Lets also pretend that they announced – in advance- that the most they would pay ANY player was going to be $100,000 a year.  No 8 million dollar contracts – just $100,000.  I would bet that there would be thousands of people lined up outside the stadium to fight for one of those jobs.  Thousands! Now lets assume that they announced that they would be having tryouts for NFL Owners this weekend.  All you had to do was show up with a hundred
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