Saturday, July 21, 2018

Opportunity Weekend - July 21st, 2018

Did you ever go to an exhibition or look at a magazine and think to yourself, "My art is just as good as this stuff!" If you're in that boat, you're not alone. Don't you think it's about time you did something about it? Maybe you don't know what exactly to do about it? Here's a great start. Here are some great opportunities for you to show your work in the gallery walls, galleries just like this one. This could be your work up on the walls. Here are some opportunities for you to do just that:
That's a bunch of opportunities for you to get after and maybe get some of your own work up on the gallery walls.

Until next time...
 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Summer of My Discontent

I've updated the "My Travels" section of the site today, so please have a look if you haven't already (Note: I just added an image really, still working on setting up links to travel folios for each of the sites I've visited, but you can check it out the small progress I made today.)

It's going to be blasted hot this week here in River City. When I say "blasted hot" I mean hot even by Texas standards. They are predicting it's going to hit 104 degrees on Saturday. Of course, this is the same day as the opening reception for my show. What can I say other then dress appropriately, right? Ugh! Still, all of this heat got me to thinking. If it weren't hot, if it weren't this blasted hot, what would I be doing differently really? I mean, I would still be puttering around the house, maybe not getting anything done, perhaps riding my bike (OK, perhaps sweating a bit less while riding my bike but you get the idea.) Not much has changed, really, other than the thermometer. I really should not let this stop me or slow me down all that much. Heck, I've got things to do and places to ponder and books to make and, well, once again you get the idea.

Tonight, I decided I would do something about this. A little something, perhaps, but a something none the less. I had been meaning to take a bunch of shots like the one you see here, to be used on this website and also for other purposes. I was thinking about using something like this for my book. Now, I know the book has been in the works for a while and, if I'm being honest, I've been putting off doing this "around the house" kind of shooting for a bit. It just doesn't seem all that sexy if I'm being truthful. I mean, I would much rather head over to the water gardens and shoot the lotus blossoms. But, I do need these type of shots, they are illustrative in their own nature, so I decided that tonight I would buckle down and get some of this done. I'm not completely happy with everything and I'm far from finished but, heck, at least I put a dent in it, right?

It's a long, hot summer. It's not getting any cooler. In fact, it's going to get hotter before it's get cooler, and we're coming to that time of year, usually it happens like end of August, where everybody around Austin just gets sick and tired of the heat. Yes, it's hot. I get it. I'm hot too. But work has to go on and I can still make some progress on a lot of fronts. Sure, I'm not jaunting off to some great locale, in fact, I'm not on location at all this month, but that's OK. I can still do stuff. Even in the heat, I can do stuff. Stuff can get done. In fact, this is me doing stuff. Sure, I'll grumble about the heat. Who won't? But, I can do stuff at the same time. I can knock off some of my to do list without having to brave the outside world, really I can.

So, yes, it's the summer of my discontent. I'm grumpy. I've ranted more than usual and I'm drinking a lot of cool water these days, but photography doesn't end just because it's summer. There are a lot of shots to take, a lot of stuff out there to be done, and work can progress even if it feels like the lazy days of summer are in full swing. I can be discontent and still get stuff knocked off the big ole giant "to do" list. And, it goes without saying really but, if I can do it....

Until next time...


Friday, July 13, 2018

Opportunity Weekend - July 13th 2018

A glacial lagoon in Iceland
Since it's Friday the 13th, I was going to post a picture of a black cat but then I figured I didn't want to push my suerte as we like to say 'round these parts. Instead, I opted for a nice, calm iceberg. Sure, this plan worked out oh so well for the Titanic but, giant ships cast aside, here are some opportunities for you this week:
I hope you get off the ice and get after some of these great opportunities.

Until next time...

PS This one taken in Iceland, in the glacial lagoon. Such an incredible place, what a mind blowing journey. Ah, the places we go, right? 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Get Over It! - Photographic Things You Just Have To Move Beyond

Crooked lamp on a house with peeling paint, in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire
It's been a while since I've had a good, honest, refreshing RANT around here. Well, OK, maybe the cable company deal comes close but, work with me here, I'm on a roll. I got to thinking the other day that the same sorts of people always seem to come up to me with the same problems or questions and, why, they just can't seem to get past it. They just can't seem to make it stick, as it were. It's the same hang-ups over and over and over again. I decided I had enough of this and thought I would collect them here for your benefit. So, without further ado, here are my top items, my top "Get Over It!" items that you need to just move beyond for photographic bliss:
  • Top 10 Lists from "Pros." Oh, who among us has never heard the expression, "All of the pros...." followed by some useless drivel. All of the pros shoot Nikon. All of the pros vacation in Bimini. All of the pros take speedlights and shove them up...you get the idea. There is no such thing as "All of the pros" because "all" of the pros don't do the same thing. These "Top 10" lists going around the Internet? You know, like "Top 10 Ways You Can Become a Professional," or some such things. Most of that is hogwash. Pure, unadulterated hogwash, I tell you. Don't believe the hype and don't believe anything that says, "All of the Pros" because there is no "All." It's not like they have some sort of secret cabal that voted and left you out, OK? They just do what works and leave the rest.
  • Prints. PRINT YOUR WORK! There I shouted it. Are you listening yet? Do I need to do it again? Ugh! Get a printer. Find a printer. Use a printer. Just print. You listened when Nike said "Just Do It!" so why not "Just Print!" Trust me, it's a good idea and it works. 
  • Technology. I'm so over it, it's not even funny anymore. You can get hogtied in all sorts of crap and never get anywhere. Trust me, your USB is fine. You don't need version x.x of whatever. It's a necessary evil, I'll give you that, and who doesn't like shiny new things but, honestly, technology doesn't make great pictures. Great photographers make great pictures. Great images come from the heart. Technology helps at best but can sometimes actually get in the way so be warned. 
  • Business cards. What is it about photographers who spend $3000 on a camera but who are too cheap to drop a dime on a nicely designed business card? Are you really that dense? Do I have to spell it out for you? You can get cheap cards at someplace like Moo.com or Vistaprint. They don't cost that much and direct tons of traffic to your website. Really, they work. There's a reason people still use them, even after all these years. Get some already! Part of being a photographer is hustling, getting out there, putting yourself out there, always pushing, always striving, and having some common sense in the business side of things. Really, you need to just do that already.
  • Calling yourself a "photographer" or, gasp, an "artist." Newsflash: photographers ARE artists. If you're walking around with a camera taking pictures, you are a photographer and, by golly, that makes you an artist too. If you were a doctor, a lawyer, an Indian chief, would you hesitate to call yourself one of those things? Why is this so complicated? You're a photographer, you're an artist. Get over yourself. Just because you call yourself an artist because, oh I'm don't know, you spend some time making art, doesn't mean you have some giant ego. It doesn't make you Michelangelo either, although, horror of horrors, he was an artist too. It works like that, there's more than one. Who knew? Cut the nonsense and call yourself an artist already. What a big, grown person like you all afraid of a little word like "artist?" Really now?
  • Thinking you need a better camera, lens, flash, strobe, light stand, cable release, tripod, or whatever other crap you might be coveting at this given moment in time. Use what you got. Sing with heart. Once more with feeling. You don't *need* better equipment, you just want it and are using this as some kind of excuse. Maybe you were abused by expensive gear as a child. I don't know about that, but I do know you need to get over gear envy and get on with your life. You can always envy more gear, newer gear tomorrow, for now, why, there are pictures to take. And, come on now, really, who doesn't like taking pictures? 
  • Thinking you need to travel. I'm sure Outer Mongolia is really very lovely this time of year and, yes, some photographers really do get paid to travel to the far reaches of the globe but you can take wonderful, stirring images right where you are. Right where you are sitting, in fact. You probably don't even need to move. Play in your own sandbox and make something worth keeping already. 
  • Sharing work on social media. Believe it or not, there are still some photographers out there who think that, if they were to put something up on Facebook, the world is going to steal it from them. I got news for you, the world is not wanting to steal your work. OK, maybe some far corners of it have bad intentions but, for the most part, the greater positive response far outweighs the negatives here. Really. Stop being Amish and just get with the programs already. Sharing is caring.
  • Thinking you need a model or a more "interesting" subject matter. Tell your story. Tell a story. Tell any story. You don't need the best looking person in the world. You don't have to have a bevy of naked women lined up. Talk to a stranger. Share. Converse. There's something interesting about everybody. Find that and show it to us. The world will be a better place. No, we don't all have to look like the latest Victoria's Secret model to take a great image. 
  • Shoes. This might sound like it came from left field and, why, maybe it did, but you really need to get over shoes. I'm so sick of seeing photographers try to wear flip flops, heels, or something that just isn't right. You need to walk, all day long. You will go over rocks and through rivers and you're going to get cold and wet and stray down some Godforsaken paths where you'll wish you had some serious hiking boots. Might as well just go there already. Invest in a good pair and break them in so you can walk comfortably. Shoes, man, you need them and your feet will thank you for it too. 
  • Asking somebody, "Can I take your picture?" What is it about people who don't want to ask this simple question? How hard is this really? When I was in China, why, I went off without knowing the language. I had to just smile and sort of point at the camera. No Chinese for me but I still managed. If I can travel halfway around the freaking globe and walk up to some strange dude, smile, point at my camera, and wait for a response, what is so freaking hard about walking up to somebody who speaks your language and asking this simple question? Honestly, if you are struggling with this, here is an easy way to get over it. Force yourself to go up to a complete stranger and ask. Do it once, do it again, do it ten times. I promise you, by the tenth time, you will be over this phobia already. That's really all it is. I mean, come on now. What do you think is going to happen? What's the worst that can happen? The person says, "No!" and hurts your feelings? GREAT. Go onto the next person and ask again. This is not rocket science, people. It's simple. The easy way to get over asking somebody, "Can I take your picture?" is to, why ask somebody, "Can I take your picture?" 
If I dig deep enough, why, I'm sure I can find more things that'll set me off but, for now anyway, here's my list of things you need to just get over already.

Until next time...

PS This one from New England. Crooked lamp, peeling paint, so typical of those seacoast towns.


Sunday, July 08, 2018

Austin Visual Arts Association Summer 2018 Invitation

In the spirit of trying out something new, I thought I would try the newfangled Adobe Spark. I made up an invitation for the upcoming "Summer 2018" exhibition over at the Austin Art Space. The show is going to run from July 13th through August 4th and there will be an opening reception on Saturday July 21st from 5-7 pm. If you are in the Austin area and are so inclined, please feel free to pop on in for a peek. The Austin Visual Arts Association (AVAA) shows are quite fun, they usually end up being quite the party. I have a piece included in the show in case you could not guess from the invitation.

I'm not sure I dig all of the fonts on my invite here and I must confess Adobe Spark was especially slow on my computer. Having said that, I do kind of like the graphics they have and it was kind of fun giving it a try. I'm not sorry test drove it and now you can see my pretty (well, pretty to me) invitation.

In other news, I have joined the North Austin Pfotographic Society (link: https://napfs.club/.) In case you could not guess, the added "f" comes from the fact that they were originally a club meeting over in Pflugerville, Texas. They have since moved roots over to a more North Austin/Central type of location, and I thought they had a bunch of interesting guest speakers, so I signed up. I think I have gone to a meeting or two so far. They are doing a portfolio project which I might actually attempt, as I am really looking for an excuse (any excuse really) to shoot more. I'm not into the camera club "points" type of systems but I go for the guest speakers and the like. Let's hope this club delivers on that front (so far anyway, they seem to be.)

I have some images to prep and now invites to send out tonight, so I'll leave you with my Adobe Spark creation for today, rather than a usual image. Enjoy!

Until next time...


Friday, July 06, 2018

Opportunity Weekend - July 6th 2018

I was just about to post something along the lines of being all out of puns when it hit me. Since this is a picture of a restaurant, I can tell you here are some opportunities for you to eat up. Please excuse the dangling participle and pass the pepper, right? Here are this weekend's opportunities:
That's a lot to chew on, so I do hope you get after it this weekend.

Until next time...

PS This restaurant was located at the top of the LongSheng "Devil's Backbone" rice terrace area outside of Guilin, China. I actually ate there and the food was delicious. 

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Independence Day

Incense burning at a Buddhist Temple in Guilin, China. Abstract image
It's Independence Day here in the 'States so I thought it would be fitting to show you what remains of some fireworks, of sorts. This is actually remnants of the remains of burning incense at a Buddhist temple in Guilin, China. I thought it was about as close to fireworks as I can get, seeing as I don't usually shoot firework imagery. This one is a bit abstract but you can see the charred remains anyway, so there you have it.

It's raining here in River City today, so probably most of our firework celebrations have been put on hold. I'm kind of glad about that in a way. Poor Chase is not feeling well just about now and so he's a bit more sensitive to the added/unexpected noise from these things. Just yesterday, he got startled, hopped down off the bed, and hid. I had to coax him back out again. He wasn't shaking or anything like this, just a bit put off by the noise. It's a strange sound and he's not really enjoying it. Poor Chase, I hope he gets on the mend real soon now.

I hope you are having a wonderful Independence Day wherever you are. This is a great time to take a day off, enjoy a hot dog or perhaps a hamburger or two, spend some quiet time with the family, and maybe enjoy some of what summertime has to offer. The rain has also produced a wonderful little break from the typical 100 degree days here in River City. Today it's a balmy 84 which I am actually loving as well. I do hope you enjoy it too. Just because it's Independence Day doesn't mean it has to be hotter than a bottle rocket, right?

I wish I happy fourth to one and all and look for some upcoming show news and the like sometime soon. 

Until next time...

Monday, July 02, 2018

Opportunity Weekend - July 1, 2018

Sometimes, if you blink you miss things. I had missed this image the first time I selected images from Guilin but now here it is. So, don't miss some of these wonderful opportunities:
As a reminder, I offer "Opportunity Weekend" as a resource for those looking to show their work. This is a regularly occurring list of places actively seeking art and photography. If you have a call for entry you would like to share, please feel free to forward it my way. If you are an artist looking for opportunities, you can either check back here or follow this blog so you never miss an installment. This is a free service. Thanks for your support.

Until next time...