Schatz On Going Beyond

I'm working on a little article with Howard Schatz. Howard is the kind of guy who speaks in real gems. Unfortunately, I can't always find a way to fit them all in to every story. Thankfully I have this blog, where I can share these gems with you. We were discussing how much studying and research Howard puts in to his photography in order to push himself and to continue moving forward with every shoot. "It's very important," he told me, "for a photographer, an artist, anyone in creative life, to have a vast databank. In terms of photography, a vast visual databank. So that when someone looks through the camera they can recognize 'I've seen this before, I'm not going to do this the same way he did it. I'm going to try to find another way of seeing it.' So I study, hard; I'm a scholar of my work, of my field. I read everything, I look at every magazine, I look at books, I look online… I don't want to repeat. I want to find a new way of seeing. And it's very hard. The more you do it, the harder it gets, the fewer choices you have, the harder you have to work. That's why I also say when you hear simple, simple, simple… Well simple has been done thousands of times. Simple is not necessarily going to be so unique or original or magnificent. It could be nice. Generally, what I do is very complicated. There are dozens and dozens of ingredients that come to make an image right. And it has to do with the passionate striving to surprise myself." So the next time you look through the lens, try to recognize whether you've seen this same scenario before—in your own work or the works of others. Then push yourself to go farther. For more inspiration, take a look at Howard's web site, then visit your local bookstore to get your hands on his newest book, At the Fights, the culmination of many years spent photographing boxers in the ring and in the studio. 

http://www.howardschatz.com
DPMag
I'm working on a little article with Howard Schatz. Howard is the kind of guy who speaks in real gems. Unfortunately, I can't always find a way to fit them all in to every story. Thankfully I have this blog, where I can share these gems with you. We were…

Flowers Or Fireworks?

Just when you think everything's already been done, along comes a guy like David Johnson to do something totally different. Mr. Johnson started making long exposures of fireworks. But, of course, they don't look anything like any long exposures of fireworks that I've ever seen. I was looking at them and wondering how in the world he achieved such a unique effect—one that in its own way is actually more representative of the true beauty and power of fireworks. And here's the answer: he simply refocused. He'd start with his composition out of focus—creating the large blurry central area of each explosion—and then he'd click the shutter and refocus in order to bring the explosions into tack sharpness, resulting in a really unique set of fireworks photos. Who knows: this may become the de facto new way to photograph fireworks. What a brilliant, and brilliantly simple, technique. Bravo!

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2012/08/unusual-long-exposure-firework-photographs-by-david-johnson/
DPMag
Just when you think everything's already been done, along comes a guy like David Johnson to do something totally different. Mr. Johnson started making long exposures of fireworks. But, of course, they don't look anything like any long exposures of fireworks that I've ever seen. I was looking at them…

The Loss Of Susan Carr

The photography world lost a wonderful leader, educator and advocate last week. Susan Carr passed away too young after a battle with cancer. She was a source of photographic inspiration for me personally, particularly in matters outside the realm of traditional photographic "how to" technical advice. Namely, she was expert in inspiring photographers to find their own personal vision, as well as offering a voice of reason and guidance in business matters that affect all who try to earn income from their photographs. I recommend that you peruse past posts from the ASMP Strictly Business blog to get a better idea of the wonderful insights Ms. Carr regularly shared, and to understand a little better what our community has lost.

http://www.asmp.org/strictlybusiness/2012/09/8597/#.UEwKn2hYtcS
DPMag
The photography world lost a wonderful leader, educator and advocate last week. Susan Carr passed away too young after a battle with cancer. She was a source of photographic inspiration for me personally, particularly in matters outside the realm of traditional photographic "how to" technical advice. Namely, she was expert…

Lens Hood Operator Error

Today I've got a little tip for you. No link, no video, just a simple little bit of advice. And, I suppose, a call to action. Here it is: Don't use your camera with your lens hood pointing backwards! I can't tell you how often I see this, and how crazy it makes me. I know, I've got problems, but seriously: don't use your lens shade backwards. I'd rather you not have a lens shade at all than that you have one, and keep it attached to the camera, but then you don't actually take the time (all of 15 seconds) to reverse it when you're ready to shoot. I understand autofocus meaning you may not need to reach the focus ring, and I also understand that you might like to stow your camera with the hood reversed because it saves on space, but for goodness sake you're just making the camera heavier and more user un-friendly when you do it this way (because zooming and focusing do become more difficult), not to mention the fact that you're totally not protecting the lens and you're leaving it vulnerable to that horrible lens flare stuff. So seriously, just do me this one favor for the sake of my sanity: don't use your lens hood backwards. Flip it around. Chances are you'll take better pictures this way, too. 
DPMag
Today I've got a little tip for you. No link, no video, just a simple little bit of advice. And, I suppose, a call to action. Here it is: Don't use your camera with your lens hood pointing backwards! I can't tell you how often I see this, and how…

Large Format Polaroid Reinvented

As a commercial photographer I'm always looking for ways to differentiate my work from the masses. One thing I've turned to lately—or, more accurately, something I've returned to—is film. I'll shoot the occasional medium format negative or even 4x5 transparency. I don't use the 8x10 view camera any more—though it sits ready in the corner of my studio--because the film is so darn rare, and so darn expensive. Not too many years ago I owned the necessary processing equipment to shoot 8x10 Polaroid film. Alas, it is long gone, and has been for a while. But the Impossible Project, the folks who have breathed new life into small format Polaroid instant films, are now working on a new version of 8x10 instant film as well. This is great news for those of us who want to differentiate, and for those of us who don't mind the cumbersome process of working with an 8x10 view camera. Man, are those big instant prints a sight to behold. I can't wait to get my hands on some of this stuff. If only they would hurry up and get it to market!

http://www.pixiq.com/article/reinventing-instant-polaroid-8x10-film
DPMag
As a commercial photographer I'm always looking for ways to differentiate my work from the masses. One thing I've turned to lately—or, more accurately, something I've returned to—is film. I'll shoot the occasional medium format negative or even 4x5 transparency. I don't use the 8x10 view camera any more—though it…

How To Choose The Right Tripod

Here's something you don't often get: advice on how to choose the right tripod. Sure, you've heard plenty of things about quick release plates and tripod heights and the makeup of a head and its movements, but really all of that stuff is usually opinions. "I like a ballhead, you probably will too," for instance. But what about the nuts and bolts stuff, like how much will a tripod hold, how steady will it be, and how comfortable will it be to work with? It's best before buying that you go to your local camera store and get your hands on a prospective tripod so that you can figure out what you like. Here are some suggestions you can keep in mind for when you go to test a prospective tripod's functionality, to be sure it's not just right, but right for what you need a tripod to do. Kevin Kopp produced this write-up on his Pixiq blog based on insights from former Outdoor Photographer editor-in-chief Rob Sheppard. Rob's got great suggestions for what to look for in a tripod so that you can make a smarter buying decision. 

http://www.pixiq.com/article/eight-tips-for-choosing-the-best-tripod
DPMag
Here's something you don't often get: advice on how to choose the right tripod. Sure, you've heard plenty of things about quick release plates and tripod heights and the makeup of a head and its movements, but really all of that stuff is usually opinions. "I like a ballhead, you…
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