Saturday, July 26, 2008

Prosperous Artists Highlighted Me

Prosperous Artists, a podcast dealing with creativity and the business side of being an artist, highlighted me in their podcast #107 as this weeks pick for "who's creative". These guys do a great job and I encourage everyone interested in the business of art to check out their podcast. I get it through iTunes, but you can also listen on their web site.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Trashing the Dress (and marriage?)

When we got married, my wife wore her mother's wedding dress. It's a traditional white dress, which was altered for my wife and has now been worn twice in 50 years. It's possible that my daughter might wear the same dress, although it would need more alteration, since my daughter is already taller than my wife. The dress has been in a garment bag hanging in a spare room for 18 years now since its last use. It's a sentimental reminder of our wedding day.

I commented on a set of "trash the dress" photos posted on a web site the other day. I said that it bothered me and it seemed like they were being disrespectful of their own wedding. It seemed like the new brides didn't care.

Those who responded assured me that these sessions allow the brides to express themselves and they young women were just being playful.

What, as a person who rolls in mud?

One person said "I don't get what a wedding dress has to do with marriage. "

A wedding is a ritual. It is symbolic in every step, from setting, to clothing, to procession, to vows, etc. It affirms our place together as partners and affirms our place within the long line of those in our families who've gone before us. The wedding dress is a symbol to be honored, like a military uniform, a flag, a Bible, a Koran, etc. It's special. It should be.

The photographer stated that the brides "preferred these shots far more than the bridal portraits we did with them prior to their weddings". Well, which photograph will hang on their walls, the formal portrait, the candid at the reception, or the one where they've got mud and slime all over their dress and they're sitting in a creek bed?

I wouldn't tell someone not to do a "trash the dress" session, it's their choice. I'd even be excited to do a session with a new bride where they wore the dress in unexpected situations that brought a sense of humor to the shots. I don't think I'd want to shoot a session that seems to discount the momentous occasion that had just happened in the life of this new bride.

iTunes 7.7 "recently added" gone

I've been turning into a podcast junkie the past few months. I used to be glued to NPR, but I've found that downloading podcasts has let me get that information buzz that I need (knowledge is good!) about things I'm really interested in. Targeted learning rather than general learning.

Anyway, I downloaded the newest iTunes last night and went to use it. Guess what? Podcasts don't show up in the Recently Added section. I used to go to Recently Added and just play the 5 or 6 new podcasts that came in each day while I was keywording or processing photos. This morning, I had to go into Podcasts and search for new selections--a pain!

ITunes, please give us back recently added podcasts.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thoughts for a new model

I just thought I'd jot down a bit of advice for anyone who might be interested in becoming a model. You can see a more organized group of thoughts on my web site

Tattoos: I'd recommend limiting them. Tattoos on a model can be distracting if they don't fit with the mood of the photography. They could removed in Photoshop, but that's an extra step and sometimes a real pain. It's something to consider if you want to go forward with becoming a model.

Gauges, facial piercings, and the like: With these, you're limiting yourself to the edgy, "outsider" look. You're making it hard on yourself to get work. BTW, I'm not talking about a single tiny nose piercing or earrings. As a model, you're trying to create yourself as an icon of perfection, so anything that people will stare at instead of your wonderful face when you're on a promotional modeling gig, is a potential problem. Remember, as a model, you are representing the company who hired you. You are their face to the world. Will that face be a beautiful one that makes people melt or a beautiful one that makes people wonder why she has all that stuff stuck in her face, how much did it hurt, does it itch, what about cold weather, etc.?

Photographers: You might get lots of people on modeling sites that want to work with you. Be picky. I've seen lots of gals work with and post images from photographers who, first of all, aren't very good, and secondly, seem to be focused on getting the model undressed. Judge them on what they show, and remember that people will be judging you on your photos also. Only show work on your sites that show you at your best. Also, unless you're going to be moving to Miami or LA, the swimsuit, lingerie, and nude work isn't very important. I doubt any company is going to come to Dayton, Ohio to shoot a swimsuit campaign.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Photoshop shortcut tips

This is a crazy video I found by Deke Mclelland. You'll have to forgive his musical talent, but he packs a lot of info into a 5 minute video. I'm planning to watch this a few times a week until this stuff starts sinking in!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Niagara Falls, New York

The first day of our trip was spent driving from our palatial estate in lovely Beavercreek, Ohio, near Dayton, to Niagara Falls. It was a rather uneventful drive, aside from the glaring $4.05+ gas prices that loomed at every gas station. It wouldn't be a cheap trip, but for four people, it would be cheaper than flying. We did notice a fleet of about two dozen corvettes at a gas station. It turns out that they were the Capital City Corvette Club from Columbus, Ohio out for a trip to Niagara Falls. They stayed in the Crowne Plaza just like us, so it was very scenic walking through the parking lot.

We didn't waste any time after stowing our gear, and proceeded to drive down to the Falls. We should've walked since it wasn't that far and we had to pay $10 for parking!--but, hey, we didn't know. We made straight for the Maid of the Mist and my crew donned their official Maid of the Mist blue parkas.

They which were a little like wearing a brightly colored translucent garbage bag, which blew in the wind like a sail.

I had fortunately brought my own heavier parka, which didn't blow around and didn't interfere when I took photos.

The trip commences and we get our first glimpse of the American Falls.

Lovely, with a permanent rainbow.
As we approached the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, the water got choppier, and the spray was like walking through a car wash.

The photo opportunities were limited at this point, as everything became a sheet of white.

The Maid of the Mist was definitely the highlight of our stop in Niagara.

Getting food was a challenge. They seemed to have a moritorium on restaurants, as we didn't find one, despite driving for about 30 minutes up and down the main highway. We finally found a Denny's where they were definitely aware of the food shortage for dumb tourists like us. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't remember omelettes costing $11.00 in Ohio. We stayed across the street from the casino, and, although we had no interest in participating in that sort of fun, we were kept up much of the night by drunks stumbling and laughing up and down the hallways. The next morning we were very eager to get back on the road.
PHOTO TIPS: Use a wide angle lens. Bring your own heavier parka as the blue ones will be a nuisance. Bring a soft cotton towel to continually dry off your lens and camera--my towel was really wet at the end of the voyage. Wrap your camera: I use small white garbage bags and gaffer tape to make a rain covering. Poke the lens through the bottom of the bag and tape the bag to the lens hood. The open end just falls over the back of the camera, leaving an opening for hands and the eyepiece. Since this was fresh water, I didn't have to be overly paranoid. If it was salt water, I would've wrapped up everything except the eyepiece. Salt water kills cameras.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Samuel Adams Brewery, Boston

I recently returned from a trip to the East Coast. We went to Niagara Falls, Boston, Salem, Marblehead, Mystic, Philadelphia, and Hershey. I'll be posting some of the shots taken on this trip in the near future.

I'll begin with one of our favorite destinations: The Boston Brewing Company, home of Samuel Adams. Contact info: The Samuel Adams Brewery 30 Germania Street Boston (Jamaica Plain neighborhood), MA 02130 For hours, directions, special events and closings, please call (617) 368-5080

We were going on a Saturday morning, so we knew we should go early. We arrived for the first tour of the day at 10:00. The first half of the tour consisted of being shown the large tanks in which they brew some of their fine beer.

It was very informative, and I found myself zoning out a bit when they started getting into the "to kreusen or not to kreusen" discussion, but then came the "sniff and taste" portion where our brave guide passed around the barley and hops for us to smell and taste. Here you see my wife tempting Michael with some barley goodness. Unfortunately for Michael, he tried some and it didn't agree with him :(

But, all was fine and happy as our cheery and knowledgeable guide answered all of our questions, then took us out to the outdoor tasting area.

Once outside, we were instructed on the proper steps for tasting and evaluating beer. The first step is to hold up your glass and look how the light passes through the beer, looking for discoloration or foreign matter. Next, cup your hand over the top and smell the beer. Lastly, taste the beer, holding it in your mouth for a moment and letting it roll around and then swallowing it.

We happened to be seated at a table across from four fine young folks who were just as eager as Janice and I were to put our tasting skills to the test. We started with a pitcher of Boston Lager. A great way to start!

We honed our craft and finished this pitcher off.

We were then informed that we would be sampling two newly developed beers that will be taste-tested by lots of folks and whichever one comes out as the winner in the trials will actually be put into production. The really cool thing was that we were the first group to undertake this all important mission of evaluating these brews.

First came the Blackberry Stout. It was full-bodied, with an aroma and taste of sweet blackberrys and a fine finish. Yummy!

Here you see our friends, Mary Angela, Ryan O'Connell, A.J. Rios, and Eric Hall enjoying the Blackberry Stout.

Janice had fun telling our daughter to watch out for boys like Ryan when she got to college. He was always ready with the pitcher to make sure the glasses were kept full. Janice said he reminded her of me when I was that age!

Our third pitcher of beer was Coffee Stout. It was definitely an eclectic beer. It started off tasting like cold coffee, then after you swallowed it, it tasted like stout. Weird. It was no one's favorite. We tried to convince our hosts that we needed to taste another pitcher of Blackberry Stout to make our decision, but to no avail.

We were then given ballots and we all voted for the Blackberry goodness.

The good folks at Sam Adams then gave us each a nice tasting glass with the Samuel Adams logo on it and we set off to the gift shop. This was a very fine way to start the day! UPDATE: My dad is a draftsman who's worked designing tanks for lots of different applications over the years. I got this note tonight: When I saw the pics, I knew the building and the tanks. I drew most of the tanks. I did a full workup of the floor plan to figure out where to place the tanks to best utilize the floor plan. Glad you liked it.