Friday, June 30, 2017

Opportunity Weekend - June 30

Pizzaria at night in Langley, Washington on beautiful Whidbey Island
Opportunity pizza! Grab a slice of opportunity! It's that time again. Time for opportunity weekend. This is my weekend round up of place looking for work. Pepperoni optional:
I'm sure there are more opportunities out there but these are a good start. Opportunity by the slice this week. Get some, you know you want it. 

Until next time...

PS This one taken with the baby mark in Langley, Washington. It's their local pizza joint. Made for some interesting shots and, heck, it was pretty good pizza too. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Life is a Series of Questions, Isn't It?

Onion domed building in the Georgetown, Texas town square
In an attempt at bringing you even more diverse and obscure calls for entry, I stumbled upon a website called "The Phoblographer." While that title seems to have twisted my tongue a bit, they did have an interesting call for submissions on their website. They have a series of questions one should answer before submitting work. Since I thought this was such a good idea and I'm a good sport and all, I actually thought it might be a good idea to answer the questions even if I'm not intending to submit any work to them. They are cool questions after all, right? So, why not? Heck, I'm game. Here goes.
Describe yourself as a photographer. Think about the who, what, when, where, how and why. Tell me about who you are as a photographer, list what cameras, lenses, lights, films (or plates, or papers) and other gear you use. Tell me about your creative vision when you create and take photos.
I'm a fine art photographer who works with architecture a lot. I like to visually compare man made structures with those found in nature and I have more than a hint of urban exploration in me, especially at night. (I do some night photography.) These days, I use mostly Canon cameras and lenses. I have a Canon EOS 5DS and a walkabout lens that I swear by (sometimes at but mostly by.) My vision is to try to get it right in camera. I'm a somewhat "painterly" photographer, that is, I like to think I'm painting with my camera rather than suffering from a photographic dose of reality (although I do grudgingly admit that is there.)
Why did you get into photography?
I wanted an excuse to get out from behind a desk and explore a bit more, basically, to get outside more often.
What photographers are your biggest influences?
I draw inspiration from both the art world and the photography world. My biggest photographic influences are Joyce Tenneson, Cindy Sherman, Michael Kenna, Julie Blackmon, Jack Spencer, Todd Hido, and Eddie Soloway. From painting, I draw from Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, Vermeer, Klimt, and a few more modern painters such as sometimes Austinite pastelist Will Klemm and Julie Speed.
How long have you been shooting?
Started summer of 1992. First exhibition autumn 1992. Should have waited longer but didn't. Meh.
Why is photography and shooting so important to you?
It's a way for me to make things with my hands. I love the creative aspect of it. I love capturing the passage of time. I love making new memories, exploring, and recording these explorations to share with the world afterwards. It's a way for me to bring dreams to life. 
Do you feel that you’re more of a creator or a documenter? Why?
No question, hands down a creator. I don't bother much with reality. I'm an artist. I photograph the world the way I want it to be not the way it is and I make no apologies for doing such with it. Any guilt or friction that comes from that is on you. (If you seek truth, look elsewhere. I recommend inside yourself as a place to start.)
 What’s typically going through your mind when you create images? Tell us about your processes both mentally and mechanically?
Tough question! I have a sort of "visual ADD." I think a lot about a lot of things when I'm shooting. What I had for lunch, what I want to do with the shot, where I'm going to go next, how the shot fits in with other shots I've lined up, does it work alone...that sort of thing. Generally, though I think about how it would look printed, matted, and framed, hanging on a wall someplace. I follow my eye movement through the image. I do a sort of "border control" looking at the corners and edges carefully. I try to think about the interplay of shapes in the image. I think a lot about perspective and scale. Could I move something? Could I move myself? Is this the best angle? Is the light better over there? It's a series of free form chaos that often leaves me wondering how I ever get images to come out of that madness. Mechanically speaking, I pay attention to the "big" settings, typically aperture, shutter, color/white balance and ISO. I tend to shoot in manual mode or aperture priority so I think a lot about depth of field. Do I want the shot at f/16 or wide open? That sort of a thing.
Want to walk us through your processing techniques?
Generally speaking, I do as little editing as necessary. Since I started in the days of film and worked in the darkroom early on, I prefer to try to get things right in camera. I tend to view post processing as a way of fine tuning an image, almost the way a conductor "tweaks" a musical score. You have to start with a good piece of music and then milk the orchestra to make the most of it. I view post processing as a way of making my shots really sing.
Tell us about the project that you’re pitching, or your portfolio
I'm not really pitching to them so this doesn't really apply but I can do it for this image. This is a shot from a walkabout shoot in downtown Georgetown, Texas, on the square. It fits in with my architectural work.
 What made you want to get into your genre?
I wanted to be an architect growing up as a child. I've always loved buildings, designing buildings, drawing buildings, constructing things. Little houses. That sort of a thing. I don't know why I'm drawn to it, perhaps it's just my nature but I've been this way since a kid so it naturally follows my photography would follow my interests in that area.
Tell us a bit about the gear that you use and how you feel it helps you achieve your creative vision
Well, I don't do anything magical gear wise. I shoot with a full frame camera because it's better for night work. I tend to favor prime lenses because they are easier for me to use for perspective and scale. I like the new concept of a sort of "medium format-ish" high-end, high megapixel DSLR. This rig just sort of works for me so I use it. It's durable, rugged, the shots can blow up big enough, I can crop if I have to, it just works so I use it until something better comes along.
What motivates you to shoot?
I'm an explorer type by nature so, if left alone, I would probably go out shooting each and every day. I like to find new places, explore places I've been before, sort of re-visit them. I tend to work on projects so I shoot sometimes for that. I also shoot for clients and so money is a factor (they pay me, I shoot. It's a great motivation.) In my early days, I started visiting all the small Texas towns around my area. I was motivated to visit all the small towns, like I didn't want to leave one out of the mix. Nowadays, it's more often because I need a shot for something like a project or I have a client. 
List a number of your websites
 My websites are Carol's Little World which you can find at carolslittleworld.com, HouseOfCarol.com, and Carol's Little World, the blog: http://carols-world.blogspot.com/. I'm also on Flickr, 500px, and Minted.com just to mention a few others. 

I'd be curious if anyone else answers these types of questions and wants to share. Drop me a link in the comments section if you are so-inclined.

Until next time...

PS This one taken with the walkabout lens, from the Georgetown walk this weekend. It was hot, actually muggy out there but we had some nice clouds. Well, they were nice right up until the rain opened up on us, then I hated them. This is one of the onion dome buildings from the historic Georgetown square in Georgetown, Texas, taken with the Canon 5DS and the walkabout lens.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Opportunity Weekend - Hot, Hot, Hot

Smoky guysirs make up a rural Icelandic landscape
It's hot, hot, hot here in River City. The heat index today is something like 107. But, hey, what better time to curl up inside, with the a/c running on full blast, to send out some of your wonderful artwork, right? So, here are some opportunities for you:
I hope you're not too hot to send out some nice, smoking work.

Until next time...

PS This one taken with the baby Mark in the rurals of Iceland. Such a wonderful place, although looks just about as hot as Austin was today.



Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Gift of Curiosity

The colors of the sky reflected in a algae lake in rural Iceland.
Today is Father's Day in the US. Earlier, I enjoyed a nice quiet dinner with Dad and the family; the folks are doing well although getting on in years. An interesting thing about my Dad is that, though he's now retired and he was a lawyer and accountant once, he could have been an artist or a writer in his day. He draws better than I do and he writes better too, although I'm a bit more "funky" in my practice of the craft. Dad did give me one gift though, and that's the gift of curiosity. I believe I inherited my sense of curiosity a bit from my Dad, as he shares that trait.

Curiosity, while it might have killed the cat, is good for the photographer. There's a native sense of curiosity the drives what we do. I always felt that people became more observant when they are more curious-like they want to see what's going on so they pay more attention to what's happening right around them. It's also the first step in becoming an explorer type. You have to want to see the world, want to see what's there, want to connect with people, see the sights, share the stories, in order to be an explorer. Let's face it, if you are a photographer today, you're basically a digital explorer, even if the only exploring you get to do is locked away in your own studio. We delve. It's just the nature of the job.

So, I hope all of the Dads out there had a wonderful father's day. I hope you share gifts with your children, like curiosity, that help forge who they are and who they might become over time. And, I hope you had some great cake or BBQ or whatever else it is you eat on father's day. Don't forget to take pictures either because, you know, another little rule of life is that nobody stays young for long. Enjoy it while you can, eh?

Until next time...

PS This one from Iceland. Conversations about clouds.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Opportunity Weekend - Driftwood - June 17

Driftwood on the beach in Whidbey Island, Washington State.
Some dreams are forged in iron and steel, hardened for the ages, while others float together like driftwood washing up on the shore, arranging themselves in random bundles, odd heaps, only to gather and float out to sea yet again. Life is like that, opportunities are like that. Not all the same, some hard, some easy, somewhat random yet they find a way to make themselves yours.

Here are some opportunities for you this weekend. I hope you make the most of them.
I hope you have a wonderful opportunity filled weekend.

Until next time...

PS This one taken in Washington State, on the beach. I love the driftwood there. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Nature of Things

A beautiful sky full of clouds, a blue and white expanse of nature.
Today is Nature Photography Day which is a day we're supposed to celebrate all things nature and photographic. This is my take on nature: a cloudy sky with an otherwise blue sky day. When I think of nature a lot of times I think of clouds. When you get outside, when you really get out into the air and breathe and feel that cool wind on your face, there's really nothing more natural to me than looking up admiring a cool sky full of clouds. There's something quite fun about clouds too. People spot bunnies in clouds, At times, I'd guess, they spark our imagination.

I've been following a group of storm chasers over the past couple of weeks. Not actually following them, no, but virtually, sort of online. While the storm chase season is coming to a close, I was really in awe of some of the cloud photographs they captured this year. One shot in particular, somebody had gotten a great shot of a rotation near the town of Rugby, North Dakota. In case you don't recall, that was the town we used as the basis for our trip last year to Dakota. It was pretty amazing to see the power of the clouds in a rotation like that. A tornado is quite a scary thing but it's shocking to me how it can also be so very beautiful. That something so destructive could be so lovely when looked at that way. It's just shocking to me. Shocking, a little bit mesmerizing, and kind of leaving me in awe of the beauty and power nature can bring.

Nature is like that. It can surprise us, shock us, leave us in awe, and sometimes just comfort us. Not to mention bunnies. Did I mention we see bunnies? Yeah, there were a lot of bunnies in Washington where I took this particular cloudy sky shot. Lots and lots and lots of bunnies. And, you know, a couple of real clouds too.

I hope you get to get outside and enjoy some of nature photography today, even if it's just for a few moments.

Until next time...

PS This one taken with the Canon and the walkabout lens. Washington State has some fine looking clouds.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Photography Powerball

A dramatic abstract that appears like an explosion of colors.
This weekend's Powerball frenzy got me to thinking. What if there were a Powerball of sorts for photography? What if, BOOM! you could shoot whatever, wherever you wanted? What would you shoot? Why would you shoot it? Where would you go? Would you stay home and build the most wild studio? Would you travel the world? A little of both? Hire the best super models or hide in outer Mongolia completely void of people to get the most interesting landscape you could find?

Now, you might be thinking, "she crazy. Poor Carol's gone barking mad. Again." And, why maybe you'd be right about that. I'm always a little bit headed down that path of barking mad. I can accept that, but what if there's a reason for me asking these type of questions too? My reasoning is that, if you can think about that lottery as a sort of photography lottery, if you can think about your existence after you would win such a lottery prize, it just might give you some insight into how you shoot without finding yourself a big prize winner. Dreaming about what you might shoot if you could shoot anything and everything tells you a little bit about how you see yourself. That fantasy gives you some insight into who you are as a shooter. Would you end the war in the middle east? Would you find the most beautiful, awesome flower and shoot it instead? Would you travel to the far reaches of the globe or stay at home opting to work instead in studio? Would you buy the most dope lighting rig anybody has ever seen or would you quit your job and shoot at the golden hour each and every day? These are all insights into how we work as photographers, even if they never come to pass.

You might never get to shoot that sweeping landscape of outer Mongolia but if you like landscapes that says a lot about how you shoot and what you might want to shoot next. Don't box yourself in. Get outside and find the sweep. Now, because you didn't win that fabulous prize, you might have to settle for a sweeping landscape a bit closer to home but go ahead and hunt it down. You may never be able to afford that dope lighting rig but you can make something work. Consider it a challenge but go ahead and try. You might find you can build a dope lighting rig for a lot cheaper than you think, especially if you are willing to do a little bit of DIY type work and build out things yourself.

Most of us will never know the joy of winning a lot of money in a lottery prize. That's OK though because we have already won another prize. We're photographers. That's a prize, a big prize. We get to see the world, shoot what we see, share our stories, our joys, our sorrows and yes, sometimes, our pain too. It's what we do and who we are in our very core. While it might be nice to have some big bucks, I don't think winning a big prize like that would change anything about that really. We've already got this, man, we're photographers. It's who we are not just what we do, right?

Congratulations, you have already won the big "photography powerball." Now, what are you going to do with all that prize "money?"

Until next time...

PS This one taken in Langley. An abstract for you tonight. On the zoom with the baby Mark.



Friday, June 09, 2017

Opportunity Weekend - June 9

Time for Opportunity Weekend. This is my weekly feature where I offer up some opportunities. These are gallery, shows, competitions, etc. looking for work-looking for your work-to showcase. It's a new weekend, I hope you make the most of it.

Opportunities this week include:
I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Until next time...

PS This one taken with the Canon 5DS in Whidbey Island, Washington. I was in the mood for some water so here it is.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

It's a Cookbook

I'm going to be starting a new series on the blog. If you're a regular reader, you are probably already familiar with my currently running series "Opportunity Weekend" where I present a couple of opportunities for photographers and artists. Basically, this usually takes the form of about three places looking for work. I'm trying to do this every weekend, to encourage you all to enter your work and get your work out there more often. I know I need some encouragement sometimes and so I thought it would be a good way to do just that, both encourage myself and share it with others in a way. I plan to keep "Opportunity Weekend" going at least for a while but the idea of running a series got me to thinking. Since it's easier for me to do a series and it seems a bit welcome from my readers, I thought it might be a good idea to add another series into the mix. 

I had an idea a while back to do something called "Carol's Camera Cookbook." It would basically be a cookbook of experimental photography. Things you could try pretty easily in order to maybe jump start your photography or just fresh ideas maybe you had not thought of or heard about before. The idea is to make a cookbook of experimental ideas, or ideas you can try when you want to try something new, try something different, or you just want to shake things up a bit. Originally, I had planned to craft an entire book of these. While I don't think I'll make a book, I thought it might be a good idea to revive this topic and craft it instead as a running series on the blog.

So, my next series is going to be called "Camera Cookbook" and it's going to present an idea that you can try to sort of spice up your photography or maybe something new, some new technique you can try out and experiment with to see if it works for you. Now, I'm going to try and shy away from ideas that require a lot of money, instead focus on things that you can more easily try out with a minimum of gear and gadgets but maybe just a little creativity and some DIY here and there.

I hope to start sharing my Camera Cookbook ideas soon on the blog. In the meantime, if you've got any topics you would like to see me cover, please feel free to drop me a note and let me know. Keep in touch as I welcome your suggestions. If you are enjoying the currently running "Opportunity Weekend" why I'd love to hear about that from you as well.

Until next time...

PS This one an abstract taken with the 5DS and the walkabout lens. I liked the swirls of color in it.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Opportunity Weekend - June 2

Hard to believe it's June already but it is and it's also Friday which means it's time for another Opportunity Weekend. These are a series of posts designed to highlight some upcoming opportunities, places like galleries, contests, publications, and the like looking for work. Good luck!

This week's opportunities:
 Embrace the new month and send some work out. Get after it!

Until next time...

PS This one taken with the 5DS and the walkabout lens. From the walk I took in the park recently. 

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Art or Artifacts - What do you Drop?

Colorful nighttime shot taken inside the tilt-a-whirl, carnival at night.
Having fun yet? Isn't photography fun? I mean, what other pursuit allows you to travel all over the world, get to see lots of glorious places, and come back with visual treasures, right? Am I right? You know I'm right.

The trouble is, sometimes, in pursuit of these far away "treasures" we often neglect the process of making art itself. What do I mean by that? Allow me to explain. The other day I was asked about it in this manner. "Do you make art or artifacts?" The difference being artifacts are often the result of traveling to some faraway land and coming back with a treasure of some kind. Yes, it's a visual treasure and, yes, you may love it with every fiber of your very being but, and you really have to ask yourself this question, is it really art you're making or is it something else?

Art comes from the heart, the soul, that deep well inside of us. It isn't a "treasure" in the traditional sense. It's the realization even the embodiment of a vision, an artistic vision. It's what you realize after you "see it" in your head. It's a spiritual thing really, even if you don't believe in that sort of a thing. It comes from a higher, maybe even a deeper place. It's not a breadcrumb you drop along a trail.

I guess these days, with the Internet being what it is, with the world being the way it is, many people want to go to certain places. Bucket lists, we all have bucket lists. I want to go here, I want to go there, to photograph this place or that thing or...that's great, I'm not suggesting it isn't wonderful and that we shouldn't go ahead and do all of that, but is that really making art? Art in its true form? I suspect you know what I'm going to say here. You don't have to travel to make art. You don't need a "bucket list" or, heck, even worse, you don't have to stack up against somebody else's random bucket list. You don't have to go to Iceland because it's cool or see Paris because it's there. Really, you don't. You can make art quietly, without Facebook or Twitter, by the light of the moon, in your own little, private studio. Without anyone knowing even that you made it really. And, that sort of art, why, it doesn't have to be like moose droppings-something we've left along a trail. No, it can be a quiet celebration that pulls from a well deep inside our own little bubble. Sometimes, maybe lately anyway, it seems like we don't get enough of this kind of art. Like we're collectively all so busy dropping artifacts, we've forgotten to breathe. I've talked a bit about this before too. Like how in Texas in the springtime anyway, everybody wants to get bee on a bluebonnet picture. It's like we all have this mental checklist of shots we want to, maybe we feel we even need to get, and our lives must not go only until we nail them. It's great to do that. I honestly hope everybody gets to realize some of the shots they've always wanted to take, but it's not the same as making art.

Art brings forth something from nothing. Art is the manifestation of creativity. Art represents the handmade, the one of a kind, the voice, the vision, the soul of the maker. It's personal. It's that quiet voice in the woods that calmly whispers to you, while all the other moose are rampaging, to sit down and watch the water in the stream flow over the rocks. We don't have enough art in the world. Perhaps we have made far too many artifacts to notice. But, it does beg the questions. Are you having fun? Are you busy? Are you busy making art or artifacts?

Something to think about maybe for today.

Until next time...

PS This one taken with the Canon baby Mark at the carnival. I stuck my camera inside the Tilt-A-Whirl. I guess that's one way to make art, eh?