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Monthly Archives: March 2010

One of our most admired presidents was known for his honesty. And honesty in photography is an ongoing discussion especially in light of PhotoShop. With one action, you can overlay a sunrise behind a DC monument- turning a bland image into one that commands attention. But is it honest? Does it still qualify as photography OR has it morphed to to “visual art.” Most times shooters agree that whatever you could do in the old darkroom(burn, dodge, crop, tint, etc.) can be done, “in all honesty” in digitally created images. Adding a tree…or taking one out…moves you towards “visual art.” Do YOU agree??


Part of the process of learning to “see” as a photographer means you need to surround yourself with the work of others. In fact, try shooting like someone you admire. Your technique will improve and so will your own personal style. This weekend, photograph something you like in the style of a shooter you admire. Send me a JPEG for review, along with who you tried to emulate.

As I prepare to leave for for Thailand in 2 weeks, my check list includes (1) telling credit card companies I am traveling, (2)making TWO extra copies of my to leave with my wife and the other as backup as I travel, (3)hand sanitizer and wet ones, (4)voltage converter).I always keep one of my credit cards separate from my wallet…yea, in my shoe once (when I went a less than safe area). Finally, I have been known to photograph street signs with my digital camera as way of remembering my way back to a meeting point. Tell me your travel tips:)

Famed photographer Earnest Haas said, “I am not interested in seeing new things. I am interested in seeing all things NEW.” His comment applies well beyong making images, right?

It is one thing to photograph friends. Shooting people in public settings is entirely different. Most new photographers feel their actions are invasive. The trick is to determine your motive. IF you are truly interested in documenting the human condition, then stand tall- know that good comes from seeing the world through an inquiring shooter’s eyes. Besides, most people want to matter. To be part of the story. IF it is clear you are NOT wanted, respect the emotion and go elsewhere. Should people ask what you are doing, say, “I make images that tell the story of people. I am interested in you AND would happily share give you a print.” These are things I share in my photography classes.

Want to make a great image? Work backwards. Previsualize the final photograph in your head. Let’s say you want to make an image of your Dad. Full body? Close up? Just his hands? With an object (something he might use…a pipe, a saw, a violin??).Black and white OR color? With the end in mind, make your image YOUR WAY. Planning leads to images that are compelling and memorable- the test of any great image.

Litigation conscious airlines, especially ones offering overseas travel, are mindful of strokes caused by long confinement in cramped seats. Maybe you have heard of their remedy. If not, it’s simple: get up once and a while AND do little leg and arm stretches to prompt circulation. This applies to flights of more than 4 hours in my mind. As I get ready a trip to Thailand later this month, I am trying to recall all the things that keep me safe…from on plane stretching to being careful not to take cabs (in many 3rd world countries) unless hailed by your hotel), to keeping wet ones with you.