Never Forget Your Library

For some reason whenever I poke around in my image library without any real intention, some random thought just pops in my head that I would normal never think about. Of course that usual means a blog post will emerge next. I was looking through my landscape images thinking about which ones I wanted to make a print of and it occurred to me that I had forgotten when and where I had taken some of the images I was looking at. This made me wonder what else I had forgotten about the images I hadn’t processed yet.


As time goes on the natural progression of a photographer is to keep shooting and to keep building that library. Having more images to tell the stories that come up in life is important, it’s also how we stay in business. Remembering all those stories is the hard part.


Now you may be wondering if it were these black and whites that stumped me into my original confusion and they didn’t. They just seemed the proper way to illustrate my point. As if removing the extra information will lead to the answer.


In the end I don’t know of anyway to remember every image, or what it was like shooting everything that I have. That’s what the photos are supposed to be reminders of. I wonder if in the end that’s how every image is. For only the photographer knows the whole story and if he’s not around to tell it then we are left guessing. It’s our imaginations job to fill in the blanks when we take a photo and when we are looking at someone else’s.

Friday Fun with a Shelby…..almost

For a long time this has been one of my out most favorite cars. It’s just a beast and that I would love to ride in one day. Now I wish I could say that I had the opportunity to photograph a real Shelby Cobra but I didn’t. Nope this is just a toy that I have had for a long time as a reminder of what hard work might someday get you. And I mean a lot of hard work! But I was feeling goofy one day and took some pics of it. What better way to end a good week on then big dreams for the future.



Light Bulb

If you are reading this title and looking at this photo then you might have said to yourself, “that doesn’t look like any light bulb I’ve ever bought.” Well you are correct. This is not your ordinary light bulb because it isn’t a light bulb. It’s a Radiometer. In the 1870’s William Crookes was conducting experiments with vacuums and came up with the Radiometer. It was four panels inside, each panal has a black and white side. When placed in the sun the black absorbs the light and the white reflects the light. The heat difference causes the vanes to spin. When I was a kid this was a really cool object that I always had on my desk, and as it turns out I still do.


Just as this was an idea to start with so was my photograph. I know you can light up a bulb in the computer but how to do it with flash. It took me several tries and several different methods before I came up with something that I liked, but it shows that with enough imagination and time those images can be made no matter what. As my Dad would say, whenever you have one of those ideas you need to tug on it and see where the idea takes you.

Oh Rocks!

Yep that’s right they’re rocks, or metals if you prefer. Why I am blogging about it? Cuz I can! In all reality it’s just fun to blog something different as is it’s also fun to photograph something different. These are two perfect examples. The first one is drip copper and the other is Silicon. Both are valuable metals that we all use everyday in our computers, iPhones and iPads. I photographed both in my office just to have some fun one day and poof a blog was born. Ah how marvelous it is when things work out together.



Always on the horizon

I think the one thing that never stops impressing me about Montana, is I can face one way and see one thing and then turn around and see something else. I suppose in essence that’s the best part of photography as well. The fun thing is I took these a couple of days ago and now everything has a fresh coat of snow on it. What will the view look like now?

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 14-24 f/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

True Racing

This is why we go to the races, for the rush. If you are into speed and racing, then there is no better rush than when a plane goes by you at 500mph. It makes your head spin so fast that you do a double take to see what just happened. Over the years I have been blessed by the photo gods being able to capture some great moments at the races. Two of my favorite were actually in the first couple of years.


The first one was when a stack up, what we call when two planes are next to each other during a pass, occurred between two P-40 Warhawks. Stack ups are one of the coolest things in racing. They don’t happen often and are often the most dangerous times for the pilots, due to a lack of options if something goes wrong.


The second time is when I got to go to Home Pylon and see the race from a different perspective. It’s the only place on field where you can see the planes going by with the Grand Stands for the background. It’s really freakin cool and was a special trip. Needless to say it doesn’t happen often, so to get up there once is unbelievable.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 200-400 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

It’s all on You!

This past week I received an email from a nice man that wanted to talk computer settings and processing. He had a lot of questions all to common I’m afraid. He was looking for the answers that are often argued and given bad info on. Well towards the end the inevitable happened, he went into his system of how he does his processing trying to prove to me that it’s right and works. To which my only response was, I’m glad you have a system that works for you.”

That is a crucial point that gets lost. Everything that is talked about on the web, in print, in a workshop is useful information to be brought into YOUR workflow. That doesn’t mean yours is wrong most commonly it means that there is a new technique that is faster. What works for me doesn’t work for everyone else. Take my wildlife images for example. The shot above has never seen post except to put that white background on it. Others may not share that point of view but you know what that’s fine. As long as you have a system that works for you, that’s what matters. As time changes technology improves and efficiencies are made to make life easier. Taking advantage of the trial and errors others have made available to you is key. This is a community of different opinions but also of helping one another to better the photography world.

Cruising the Air and Space Museum

After Photoshop World ended, I had a little time before my flight home and I couldn’t think of a better use of my time then going over to the Air and Space Museum in the National Mall. Now compared with their sister museum over at Dulles International this one feels small. It’s amazing how much is actually crammed inside of the building. Now I remember being here as a kid playing around with all the exhibits but now got to go with a much better understanding of those machines. It’s pretty darn amazing how much history is there.

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This is just a quick shot from the upper level of the planes that were used in the early days of TWA. It’s amazing how far we have come. The museum over at Dulles is a lot bigger, I mean it houses a Space Shuttle as an exhibit. The legacy of planes in that building is unbelievable but it’ll have to wait for another trip. Hurray for the bucket list.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, AF-S 24-70 F/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Why Spend the Time Processing?

It’s the one thing that is not only the most time consuming but also the most important to keep up on. What is it I am talking about you may ask? Well frankly it’s post processing. Yea if you’re of feint of heart then you might want to leave now. It certainly can be the least enjoyable part of shoot, being stuck at your desk looking through hundreds of images, deciding which ones to work on. If you’re like me, than you know that just one isn’t enough. You got to process more and more looking for that perfect one, and at times it can be tedious. So why then is there a need to fill up the galleries?

For me the answer is quite simple. With all the thousands of images in the files, finding the one that works the best for a show, an article, or submission isn’t easy. That’s why some are marked with that red band, it’s easy to pull up just those in DigitalPro. But this isn’t about software. No, the real reason to have everything processed is to be professional. All the time spent getting the image why not spend the time afterward. You owe it to the subject to be the best image possible. Sure it takes about a lot of hard-drive space having big galleries of finished images but you know that’s just comes with the territory. Then of course there is one thing that makes every photographer happy, getting that call or email from an editor saying. “do you have such and such image?” They’re on a tight deadline, how much time are you going to spend looking for that image if it’s not processed? It’s got to be something you’re ready for. So this Holiday season if you’re finding yourself with some extra time, go back and get some of those older images taken care of. It’s not to shabby sitting by the fire, playing with images, and watching a good movie.

Day 2 of DLWS Santa Rosa

Well this has been a rather interesting event so far. Whenever doing an outdoor shoot there is always the risk that something will go wrong and the shoot will get canceled. Last night was just one of those times. We were washed out last night, the rain just wouldn’t stop and the clouds weren’t moving. Knowing there would be no sunset there was nothing else to do but go in. We made for last night with an amazing location shoot setup by a good friend Richard Small. Richard has spent his life being a gear head. He loves cars, planes and wine. His knowledge is proving worthwhile for us because he his sharing some of his favorite haunts with us.

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This is one of those great haunts. It’s one of his friends car collection. Fred, the owner, is really nice typical car guy. He collects almost anything if he wants too for a period then moves to something else. His collection is truly impressive, with some amazing roadsters. We spent the morning with overcast skies, light rain and lots of opportunities. These were some of the opportunities i saw and worked with.

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It was pointed out that there are a billion different images at this place and the thirty of us could photograph each one and come up with a different image. That’s the reality of it. Now HDR is a no brainier here, the options are limitless, black and white sure, but for me it was the color of the cars that drew me in and i wanted to stay just in that realm. If you’re wondering if i did post processing, the answer is yes. Are these much different then the original, NO. The image up on the screen is the image i had in my head upon capture. Is it always, no. There are times when i experiment, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. That’s great thing about this kind of place. You can go there with an exact idea of what you want, you get that image but you decide to take it a bit further and find a better image that wasn’t expected. It’s the best thing about photography.

Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 24-70, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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