Category Archives: for photogs
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, I suppose. 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 din’t understand it, so therefor 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-though 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 and 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, and his talented wife Meghan, 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.
I’ll get to some pictures from the weekend. Thanks, Zack and Meg – you’re some of my favorite people.
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.
“…when are you going full-time with photography?”
I have heard that question so many times over the last few years. Sometimes people assume I already am full-time and it makes for good conversation. No doubt the topic also comes up because I work full time and photography is a “side project” which takes up 40+ hours a week and keeps me up until 2-3am each night. That’s all changing…
I’m going full time as a photographer as of June 25th. One response I’ve heard a few times now is, “it’s about time.” This has been a significant and difficult journey over the past 3 years, and I’m choosing to see it as a beginning. Sure, it is the end of a 15 year employment relationship at a company I dearly love, which encompasses my entire adult life… but i leave with nothing but gratitude and loyalty.
Why now? Thanks to the amount of work I had, 2009 was the hardest year of my life. Here are a few reasons why:
- Some days I would see my little boy for 20-60 minutes total, or not at all. The time I saw my wife was distracted, to say the least. Editing on the couch and watching TV is not quality time.
- I lost approximately 1100 hours of sleep last year, going to bed at 2-4am and at work by 8am. Not healthy.
- I couldn’t offer either job 100% and that isn’t acceptable to me. It made my completion times for photo jobs and weddings longer than I would like to see, I had no time to expand, etc.
I’m no martyr… I know I’m not alone, I just wanted to explain myself.
It was time. I needed to wrestle over the decision for a few months, evaluating all the factors with friends who know me well, and photographer friends who know me and the industry. In fact, in a large way, I have Benj Haisch and Mike Smith to thank for helping me with this – not to mention Zack, Ken, and a host of friends who have great experience.
This is who I am… this is who I am supposed to be right now. Who we are is God’s gift to us, who we become is our gift to Him. I wanted to share a number of the images that made the last few years so meaningful to me (I’ll probably add to the images over the next few days). The first image is of the founder of the company I have been at for half my life, and he passed away this year. I spent a good deal of time with him over the years, and I had the honor of being with him for many of his last days. I spent countless hours pouring over pictures and details and documents from his 80+ years on Earth with the mission of creating a slideshow/video that reflected who he was as a person. As I held his hand at his bedside that last week, I couldn’t help but think about the risks he took to start his own publishing house at the age of 50, leaving another prominent publishing house, started by his dear friend. Risk. Payoff. Legacy. I have Bob to thank for making this decision, as well.
It’s about time? Nah… it’s about timing.