Monthly Archives: July 2010
So I had a random dream last night which included a discussion with my dermatologist about business, and how he got to be so popular. See, it takes forever to get in for an appointment… subconscious being overactive? Anyway, he fake told me that to be as busy as he is, all someone has to do is follow his example: specialize in something people really want which has a built-in longevity and repeat business, be excellent at your specialty, cultivate the reputation for being THE one to go to for that specialty. Not bad advice for a dream.
The quest to find a niche and a specialty is one of self-discovery and patient expectation. That’s the polite, artsy way of saying it seems to take forever and I don’t want to wait any longer. Sometimes it takes a step or three back to “see the forest for the trees,” so that part of the plan for this summer. Bottom line is that the imaginary discussion taking place during REM-sleep has actually provided some humorously perfect direction.
Also, if you need a good dermatologist in the Eugene area, Jay Park is excellent – and he gives good counsel, too.
Zack has been an inspiration for me since 2006, roughly the beginning of of my professional career. I’ve always been fascinated with music, so music photographers hold a special place in my heart. Jeremy Cowart, Annie Leibovitz, the late Jim Marshall, Mark Seliger, and Zack Arias, to name a few music photographers I love, bring two artistic mediums together in different ways, all of which speak to me as a person.
Zack teaches a lighting workshop and has a DVD called the OneLight, which is focused on off-camera lighting (my favorite way to shoot). You’ll work with speedlights, Pocket Wizards, softboxes, umbrellas, and a number of other light modifiers. You will also do some math. Sorry, it’s just part of the process. I’ve wanted to attend this workshop for years, and 2010 was my year, it seems. I chose DC, and aside from a monster $187 ticket for being a single-occupant driver on a freeway, not a LANE, mind you… an entire freeway (like I could possibly know anything about that, thanks a lot officer Sensitivity of the VAPD), it was a great workshop. I’m pretty comfortable with lights already, although I admit I rarely use speedlights, it’s usually my Alienbees, so it was nice to gain speedlight experience with the modifiers I already use. The math aspect was one that I was specifically interested in. I hate math. To quote Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush, “math is very much a part of the Axis of Evil.” I think the officer who decided an Oregonian didn’t deserve a warning about a violation he couldn’t possibly know about is also in the Axis of Evil.
To explain why I wanted the math aspect, I’ll step back 4 years or so. I love natural light, but back in the day I loved natural light partially because I was scared of flashes, strobes, umbrellas, and all of the off-camera wizardry. I didn’t understand it, so therefore I loved natural light 🙂 Now, I still love natural light to this day, however; I feared strobes. I decided I didn’t like avoiding something because I was afraid of it, that’s a foolish rationale, so I bought a Canon 430EX and an Alienbee 400 with a standard shoot-through umbrella. Major fail. I didn’t get it and I didn’t do it well… so I set it all aside for “a while.” Like over a year “a while.”
Then I found Zack’s work. I saw a Flickr photo with the tag under it “Screw you all, I still love jump shots.” I instantly loved the photo and the photographer. It was now 2008 and I started paying a lot of attention to people with lights, Zack in particular. Fresh, clean, easy to understand lighting. I tried my hand at lighting again. This time I fell in love and have been using them more frequently ever since. All because I decided not to be afraid of something and was willing to make some atrociously bad images until I felt comfortable.
Fast forward to why I want the math. I don’t want to think about how to light, I just want to do it… I want it to be as second nature as aperture, ISO, and shutter speed are. That’s the “why” behind wanting the OneLight DVD and workshop experience. This July I got both, and I am so thankful – bucket list item, for sure. Zack put on a legit program, not forgetting Zack’s right hand Dan, and I highly recommend it. I’m still digesting the math, as it is my weakness, so we’ll see if I ever get to the place where it is second nature.
Zack demonstrated the techniques, then we implemented them. Pretty simple, huh?
Dan gets lazy, but Zack shows him how to do it right. We got turned loose to do our own thing, these are some of the images I came up with.
100 foot oaks, the McKenzie river, flowing fields, people who love each other… beautiful is the best word I could come up with to describe the shoot. Kelly and Brandon have an adorable family, and an even more adorable way with their kids. I appreciate good parenting in a much deeper way ever since I became a parent myself. Calm, patient, loving… it takes work to keep that up in real life, not to mention at a family shoot (note previous family shoot scars in tone of type). But, this was my kind of family shoot; great people, amazing location, the request for fun and not overly pose-y, oh, and she wants all black & white. Yes please, and thank you.
Brandon works for the electrical vendor I contracted with at my previous job, and if you have work to be done, do yourself a favor and call New Way Electric first. There’s a very good reason they were on the short list of my “favorite vendors” for over 10 years.
I’m sure I will post more of the session later, but for now, just try to resist the perfectly messy curls. I dare you.