Monday, November 27, 2006


This post may not have a damn thing to so with photography at all. It is literally 6:34 AM. I am up and at 'em. No not really I just couldn't sleep. I went to bed relatively early, say twelve but slept really lightly. Around 5 I awoke and couldn't get back down. It comes that time of the year where it slows down and I am looking for anything to pay the bills with. Broken dreams and pocket lint will not cut it. Since I recently finished school I am going through this transitional period into the real world.

Definition: Real World.
Lets break it down Hammertime.
re·al 1
Pronunciation (rl, rl)adj.1.
a. Being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verifiable existence: real objects; a real illness.
b. True and actual; not imaginary, alleged, or ideal: real people, not ghosts; a film based on real life.

world Pronunciation (wûrld)n.
1. The earth.
2. The universe.
3. The earth with its inhabitants.
4. The inhabitants of the earth; the human race.
a. Humankind considered as social beings; human society: turned her back on the world.
b. People as a whole; the public:

Get off your ass and do whatever you have to do to make an income so you can start and sustain a viable business and maybe a family. Of course the childhood rule "marriage then the baby carriage" does apply. See and you did learn something in elementary school!

It's like a re birthing in a way. Kicking and screaming! Finding ways to rip people off by doing the thing I love, taking pictures. Joke. Really. I don't rip people off . I don't have the heart for it. So yeah back to the point. Losing sleep over financial worries. Rent+bills+equipment loans= Little ROBBY going crazy and drinking too much. Coffee, which believe me can be worse than alcohol sometimes. The only thing a person can do is ride out the storm. I have been throwing out cards and promotions as much as I can and yes that has pulled in some small jobs , but still not enough to say hey you can do this full time now.
Hey it's still dark out and the morning paper read that today is an 8. Don't give up, even when your brain gets overloaded. Have a cup of something comforting, and get back into the fight.
I don't believe in that kinda toilet paper mentality.

I will stick with the coffee thanks.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Annie Leibowitz

Detroit Nov 22rd Detroit Institute of Arts Gallery Show Annie Leibowitz American Music
Great interview with Powell Books

I have to admit I am a geek. Photo and Music geek. I don't have the foggiest clue where it came from or why, but I embrace it fully. If you are a photographer and you don't know who Annie Leibowitz is you should be ashamed, very ashamed! Stop and think about a famous celebrity and chances are that she's popped off a frame or two of that person. Her latest book follows some of the the roots of American Music. Whether its hip-hop, rock or dirty south blues, she attacks her subject with a emotional punch like no other photographer can do. The prints are so beautifully executed you can almost smell the subjects "day after" hangover breath or the scent of stale cigarette smoke on the clothes or lack there-of in some cases. The tones and moods that she drug from her subjects are absolutely astonishing. If you get a chance, see the show or grab a cup of overpriced coffee, latte or whatever your fancy at your local bookseller and check the book out.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Adobe Lightroom Seminar

At the last minute I got an e-mail from ASMP stating that there was a free seminar at the college on The New Adobe Lightroom software. I have been tinkering with lightroom for a couple of months now and figured that it was time to really get the skinny on what is going on with it.

Night One Sep 5th Colin Finlay.
Colin gave the opening presentation. All I can say is wow. It was really inspiring to see that there are still photographers on the planet that are willing to put there lives on the line to make a change in the world. The feel of the presentation although it was somber it was also very sobering and important to show the underbelly of the world. Colon Finlay is a documentary photographer that has covered topics that range from child labor to strip mining to advertising. The lecture was very informative.

Day Two Sep 6th
Julieanne Kost
Julieanne is a photoshop evangelist for adobe. She gave an informative, but funny presentation about The Lightroom Beta. She was using the beta 4 version which does have some major improvements. Although it isn't out to the public yet it seems a lot better. For those of you that aren't using the Software you should give it a try. I have been using it since it's release and it is pretty decent. It is NOT going to take the place of Adobe Photoshop CS2 because it is aimed at workflow vs local editing. It seems to run better on My MacBook Pro vs My Power PC E-mac. I think it has to do with 2 processors vs 1 processor and the fact that the desktop has limited RAM. The only bottleneck I have run across is the way that it imports NEF (RAW) files. Very Slowly. But other than that it a really simple and straight forward program.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

45 minutes!!

OK here's the deal you have exactly 45 minutes to get one decent shot of the model, because after that it's lights out buddy. First, load out the lighting bag (50lbs), camera bag(not heavy in lbs but heavy in $$ so don't let it hit the floor!!), get the props, ask the night attendant if we can shoot as promised, set up the lighting, wait for the stylist to do make-up and start acting creative!!! What. I am putting physical demands on myself not to mention it is like 110 degrees in the place, I think I am freaking out customers and somewhere there is a voice in me pleading to do something relatively creative. Actually the shoot had already first, developed in my mind, second, put it on my MacBook Pro Drive, and thirdly, even printed it out! To do any location shoot I have found that prep is a essential part of the process. I wish I was that much of a fast thinker to drive to a location and pull some Richard Avedon out of my head. But that just isn't the case. I had already locked down the location with the laundry mat days in advance and they were nice enough to let me in the door. Bea the model had already set up a studio shot with me a couple of hours earlier so I had her already. The concept I had thought of a couple of weeks before the shoot and Bea was cool enough to agree to it on hte fly. Oh yeah, the concept. The story was the girl ran out of all of her clothing and she was forced to were the formal dress to the mat kinda like a fashion ad or maybe she was trying to pick up future boyfriends. I actually didn't know if we were going to get to do the Laundry Mat Shot, but we went and rattled of like 50 frames in the course of 15 actual minutes of shooting the rest of the time was either setup or breakdown. If I would do again I would probably put more clothes on the floor and spead them randomly and maybe have the machine actually going, cuz I really like bubbles. But I only had a short 45 minutes.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Beach Bum

I have always been a fan of the beach. The water, the sun, sand in your shoes. But man keep the sand out of your camera bag. So last weekend I took a trip to the beach and of course I brought my camera bag just in case. Warning: This can be a very dangerous thing. Camera + Water + Sand = potential Disaster. Personally I have never had a bad experience with equipment at the beach. Knock on wood. There are ways to prevent disaster. Here are some tips:

1) Plastic Zip-Lock Bags are always your friend. Use them to bag Cameras, film, water and to keep blowing sand away. A sandy lenses will never ever be the same.
2) Only bring what you need. Only bring barely enough to get you by. The more you have the more chance of having something go wrong. Be minimalistic. It pays off in this situation.
3) Leave what you don't need at the car. If you absolutely do not need it leave it in the safety of the vehicle. And please don't leave your state of the art D2x on the dash where it can bake into a pile of hot plastic. You think you Sensor it noisy at 3200ISO try taking a hot camera body out of the car and shoot with it. Unless you have a really good insurance policy. Hmm.
4) Have insurance. This is your best friend. There are a number of organizations that offer equipment insurance at a "discounted rate". ASMP, PPA, ADA and the likes. Shop around and find the best policy. But regardless we shouldn't leave the house without some kind of protection.
5) Use you junky old film body. OK it may not be all that "Junky" and I still love the latitude of film. And it maybe a reason to get some use out of it. Last year I did a shoot up near Traverse City, MI and I was literally in the water with a tripod (an older one) and my film body. The shots came out well. It just took a little more work and was not as instantaneous as Digital, but worth it. Would I use my new D200 in the water? No chance in the world. Unless it was shooting for a lot of money.

So hit the beach and don't bury yourself!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Lighting Chaos!!

Lately I have been obsessing with the way light works. I think great lighting is one of the most important things in photography next to content. And truthfully it's kind of driving me bonkers! I have habit of viewing a lot of photographers website for insights and wisdom and I usually find some lighting configurations that I sometimes can't figure out, not that I have to, I just admire good lighting. Ok so let's scrutinize this shot of my fabulous stand in model (she's certainly getting over that fact that I exploit her obvious talents almost on a daily basis). So to the left I have a monolight with a set of barndoors and a softbox to take the harshness off the flash. On the right as the keylight I am using a homemade beauty dish reflector (see photo). Basically the dish makes the light really nice and diffused, almost a glowing quality. Now look at the fill on the left even with the softbox, really harsh and unattractive. I feel that the fill would work to add a nice hair or rim light, but it's a little on the hot side, so in this situation I would most certainly gobo the light off of her face, because I do like the accent it puts on the body. And her right eye looks like someone beat her up. So basically I would add one more light or pose her differently so she didn't appear to have been in a fightclub sequel. But I think overall the beauty dish did give me what I was shooting for. So I learned a little about setting up lights and that is in fact why I did the test shoot. I will be shooting a lot of models in the next month and the last thing I want to do is waste their time by slacking off and not nailing the lighting the first time.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Sparking Productivity. Ideas on paper.

I think as photographers we all want to push our creativity as far as we possibly can. But what happens when we are in that "productive rut"? Very similar to the dreaded "creative rut" but potentially far worse. Writers get it. Painters get it. Musicians get it. It's really all just a part of the game. There was a really good article in May/Junes issue of Digital PhotoPro. It basically gave some insight on how to get through the dreaded "down time". What do you do when you don't have the phone ringing off the hook? How do we stay productive? There were a couple of useful tips on how to be productive when you are not raking in all that loot! Because ultimately that's what we want to do right? Yeah, Yeah, I'm an artist I am doing this for my own self fufillment, I don't care if I get paid a single canadian dime. Well if we don't have an income to supply our creative ventures, chances are they might not happen or at least we might have to flip alot more burgers or slap down yet another round of lattes to get there. I don't know about you but I don't want to ever work in a restraunt again for the rest of my life. Wouldn't that be great? I have a couple ideas that I have been trying to commit to my own little system. We all know that are portfolios are always needing to be updated. So why not put some ideas on paper, namely photo paper. Ok I just had a great idea that popped into my head. At this point what do you do? Here's where your own sense of motivation comes into play!! As soon as ideas come they can float right out the window just as quick. Write them down. Sketch them. Voice record it. Hey why don't you video record that glimpse of artistic bliss. OK that's a little to far, but the point is there. If you have an idea you need to grab it by the horns. Put it on paper (writing), execute the shot and then put it on more paper. Photo paper. Are we photographers or "snapographers". A SNAPOGRAPHER is a person who takes a photo and lets it sit on there hardrive and decay. A photographer actually prints the image, because we all know that the image is isn't over until the print is made. Which is sometimes an entirely different day altogether. What about going to the bookstore to research ideas? At least once a month I have to go to the local page peddler to see what people are doing in the world of photography. I also find that it acts as a catalyst to get ideas in my head . Not to be confused with "ripping off" someone's images. Which by the way is called infringment. Especially now that you can copyright an image in progress. Basically we all need to find our own mechanisms to jump start our productive flows if we want to be successful. No matter what our definition of that may be.