Yesterday I got a box delivered with my tear sheets from Trade a Plane. I was very fortunate to get the cover of the Third May issue. It was great timing seeing how the second May issue was Dad’s. As far as I’m concerned there is nothing better then seeing your photographs in print. Of course getting the cover is just that much sweeter.
Now Trade a Plane doesn’t pay for cover space but it is great exposure since pretty much every pilot looks at this magazine. Best of all Trade a Plane is always looking for unique air to air images so if you have one you might want to consider reaching out to them.
Shutterbug released an article last night on The Rescued Film Project and I had to share it. As a photographer constantly looking at every photograph as a piece of history this made a lot of sense to me and what this man is doing is a pretty awesome service. Give it a read and check out some of the videos. It’s pretty cool.
I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a long time but it was one of those posts that I had to wait for the right time to write. When I started down the path of photography I knew that it would be a difficult and that it would take lots of time, patience and hard work in order to succeed. Over the last four years I have worked a part time job in order to take care of myself while at the same time pursued my career in photography. It is with great joy and pride that I can say that today is my last day at that part time job, as I am now a full time photographer!
Everything in life requires paying your dues. There is an order to making great strides in achievement but it comes at a cost. When you are young you don’t really understand that truth to life. It’s only when you grow up that realize how much you have to do in order to follow your passion. Over the years I have had a lot of help from friends and family creating opportunities for me to push my photography forward. I owe a lot to those people.
The one element that makes a great photographer is not something that can be learned but a discipline that has each person has to create. Every photographer has to have the discipline to keep shooting. While there is always a joy in shooting, when the realities of having to create content for multiple sources every day becomes routine, some of the joy can be lost. It is only after realizing that there is nothing else you’d rather be doing, that you can then push forward. For those of you that still work a regular job then you know that feeling of always wanting to be behind the camera but not always able to.
I have always been a fortunate person in life and that’s probably why I am now able to be a full time photographer at 27 years of age. I have had the privilege of working with many wonderful people and on many assignments, both hired for and self assigned. But it is my latest project with the Texas Flying Legends Museum that has helped push me over the edge and made it possible for me to carry on full time. My most sincere thanks goes out to them. The goal of the museum has always been to help others. To bring the aviation history and heritage to everyone, and with every stop throughout the country to honor the heroes and inspire the young. I can honestly say they have lived up to that moto by helping me. I now look forward to what the future holds in store as I carry on down my own path.
Every year there is a day set aside for on hand training in different fields by some of the instructors. The goal of Precon Day is to put the participants in real life scenarios and give them advice on how to overcome the challenges and walk away with great shots. Well every year that I have come to Photoshop World I have gone to a different Precon. Mainly I go to my Dad’s which is the photo safari and the theme of each year changes so I never truly know what will happen or where we will go. But it’s always fun! These are some examples from previous years, the Hoover Dam tour, Bonnie Springs, and Car Racing. Each one different, each one had it’s own challenges. Stay tuned this week for what todays adventure will bring.
This is something that we all face and I hate it! Getting past that mental block can be not only challenging but also painful. For me it’s not so much figuring out what to do but just starting. It’s almost as if there is a force keeping the brain from getting going. How do you get past it? Well sometimes the best way is to take a step back and focus on another problem and come back. Funny enough just by making this pathetic 3D cube I already feel a little bit more energized to do something else. Sometimes just that quick change can make a big difference.
This is a question I’ve been asked a lot about because there are a lot of different opinions on the matter. Some say photo contests are great and others not so. Like everything else in photography it does come down to your own preference. For me I personally don’t go for contests anymore because I don’t think they are worth the effort. Then as it just so happened, an editor friend of mine turned me onto this one photo contest the Mountain Outlaw Magazine was doing and I was intrigued.
For those of you that haven’t heard of the publication it’s a semi-annual magazine, one of many owned by Outlaw Partners LLC out of Big Sky, Mt and Bend Oregon. First thing about that is the phrase semi-annual. They have a winter and a summer issue, that means for six months anything published in those issues is on the rack for that period of time. That’s a long time for one image. Whether you win or don’t win being having that much exposure for so long is pretty nice for minimal work. Simple business really.
One of the major variables in this particular contest is the fact that it is a portrait contest, not something I usually do but I had some candidates for. Next every finalist gets published. My goal has always been to make the most out of every project I do and this is no different. The odds of getting one photo selected are just as good as a photo submission for an article so why not if the payout is six months on the magazine rack. Not bad if you ask me. Sure enough that’s what happened. Finally the images I selected are all about the African Artisans I worked with last year on my trip to Swaziland you are constantly in need of support. With that in mind all the pieces seemed to come together for this contest.
My advice is for anyone out there thinking about doing a contest, to make sure you consider all the variables and all the possibilities that come with entering not just the grand prize. Often that prize isn’t as good as what might else you are able to get out of it if you are creative.
How do we get better? Well it comes from a lot of time planning, some researching and of course a lot of practice. Sure a touch of luck never hurts anyone but it can’t be relied upon. That’s why it is called luck. Last year I got hired to do a lot of product shots for a company. It was an entirely new set of skills that I had to teach myself but it was worth it. While I completed the job that I needed to do, there is still more to learn and playing around in the office never hurts.
It seems like every time I go out to do one thing I end up coming back with another. I go out fishing and I return with rocks. Why, because they are cool. I know somebody in Florida who on every trip he goes on he tries to find an interesting rock to bring home. They tell stories just as much as a photograph does and sometimes they look even cooler. Sounds to me like a good subject to play with. So that’s what I did. I took three different rocks and played with lighting scenarios. This first one I found a while back and still really like. It’s a conglomerate with multiple fragmented rocks held together with mud that has hardened to become a type of cement. Isn’t nature cool!
This is one of the most common rocks in the world, quartz! What’s different is that it is completely smooth and round like an egg and it was all done with the river. Why pick an all white subject for a flash test? Because it’s a challenge. Not only does the shape make it interesting but the white is very easy to overexpose. Little objects are great to work with and can be great learning tools.
This last one looks like petrified wood but it isn’t It’s just sandstone but because it has so many dark lines I wanted to keep the whole image tone dark so instead of flash I used a pen light. Simple. You’d be amazed what you can learn by taking the ordinary household object you find laying around and photographing them. The trick then becomes applying that knowledge to your photography. Taking notes is a great way to do that, especially if it’s an iPad where you have the image to reference. Perfection doesn’t come by doing nothing. You have to keep practicing even if it seems stupid at the time, you never know where that practice will come in handy.
Over the last few years I have tried to do more and more right here at home with my local community. If there is one place that you can pickup business then anywhere else, it’s right out your back door. That’s how every great business has started and grown. This Spring is MSU’s Astronomy and Aerospace day and I’m happy to say that I will be the official photographer this year. I photographed the event a couple of years back and it was a ton of fun! The event is hosted by the Museum of the Rockies which is a great venue to house the exhibits and speakers. If you’re around Bozeman on April 19th be sure to come by!
When I started in Photography I was told that it would be a lot of hard work. I grew up around my Dad and saw what the life of a photographer had in store. It had some amazing moments and it had some sad ones. Every business is like that, photography is no exception. Despite that, In my freshman year of College at MSU Bozeman I decided to go into photography. That was back in 2006. A couple of years, and a few thousands images later, I launched my blog in 2008. With the blog came all new challenges and a much steeper learning curve, as the pressure to succeed further grew. In 2009 I went from being just a wildlife photographer and went into Aviation, which was an huge mental switch. Aviation also brought on all new rewards. In the last six years many amazing things have happened. Between flying around in WWII airplanes, sitting on a rock in Alaska to photograph a critter that no one knows about but now people do, to doing a commercial shoot with Epson, and countless articles and photo projects since. The time has just flown by.
Last year my good friend Russell Brown at Adobe asked me if I would be interested in speaking at the Adobe booth in Las Vegas. Without a doubt the answer was yes. Albeit I was nervous as ever at the thought but the opportunity would only come once. It was at Las Vegas, at Photoshop World, at the Adobe booth, that I got the next big opportunity. There in the crowd was Scott Kelby, and as I was focused on the lesson I was teaching, I saw he was smiling. Afterward, he called me over and asked, “do you want to speak at the Kelby theater next year?” The answer was again yes! Albeit I was even more nervous. Last week it became official. I am now a Photoshop World Instructor, part of a group of some of the best photographers in the world. What could be better? While I don’t know what I will be teaching yet, I can’t wait to be able to teach amongst so many other amazing photographers. Thank You Russell, Scott and everyone else at Kelbyone for such amazing opportunities!