Friday, December 23, 2011

Tis the season

Just wishing everyone a happy holiday season.  Hopefully I will be finished with work stuff soon and can give some more attention to this!  Thanks for looking, and check back soon...

And a quick shot...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Grand Opening

First off, many thanks to everyone that was able to make it to the opening reception at RACC. It was great to have the support of so many family and friends at my first exhibit opening. A big thank you also goes out to the RACC, and especially the director, Lauren, for all of the work that went into putting together the show. Next, I must say thank you to the many people who were not able to make it to the reception but wished me well, broken limbs, luck, etc. And lastly, a set of very appreciative thank yous to “S” and to “M” for their generous support on opening night!

I think that the opening went quite well, and the visitors seemed to enjoy the photos – even the people that were not my relatives! I had a lot of fun (perhaps enhanced slightly by the bootleg champagne smuggled in by family), and I hope everyone else did as well. I really enjoyed talking with people about my photographs.

Ironically, I forgot to bring my camera to the reception of the exhibit for my own photographs! Thankfully, others were not so scattered… the photos below were sent along by artist / friend / colleague Steve Specht. Steve’s blog about collage can be found here.

 ... with my father, Tom, and my grandmother, Gigi.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Show Time!

So… my first solo show in a gallery (Rome Art and Community Center, Rome NY) is this Friday!  I have had photos entered into shows and contests before, but this is different. In the group shows, my contribution was but a small part of what made that event a success – a whole made of many parts. Here, the quality of the show lies squarely on my shoulders, and that makes me very nervous.

It doesn’t seem possible that the show is about to open.  It has been scheduled for about a year, but way back then it was an abstract notion – something that would happen someday, but not yet. Then a few months ago, I began printing the photos that I thought I might use.  I ordered most of the frames last month.  The last week has been spent with me in a panic trying to decide what photos to use, filling out paperwork for the gallery, assembling everything, and wondering how it could be time for the show already. Perhaps the craziest part of this process is the fact that photos that I was convinced would be a part of the show even a few days ago are not necessarily the ones I picked. I have been obsessing over which photos to use and trying to narrow down the choices. I guess that I was afraid I wouldn’t pick the “right” photos. And then the drop-off deadline arrived, and I dropped off the photos.  The gallery director kindly asked me if there was anything else I needed, I promptly replied that I didn’t know and returned the question by asking if there was anything else I needed, and was then on my way and relieved to be done. Now, I am simultaneously excited to have the show open and horrified at the thought of it opening.

Next post -- the show opening!

Photo of the day: “Absurdity” While this one is not in the show, I only just recently took this photo, it does follow the theme of Light.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A comeback...

Well, it has been a very long time since I added a post… much too long.  But now I am back.  The reason is that I have “just been busy” with work, family, renovations, etc.  The usual stuff… just not photography. In fact, while there have been a few little bursts of activity, I haven’t really even taken many photos recently. And there has been absolutely no work on the microstock front.  That has to change!  It is strange, but I simultaneously miss taking photos and have no idea what I would take photos of… inspired without inspiration.  On the other hand, my efforts over the last few months have been more behind the scenes rather than behind the camera. These include organizing two group shows in galleries, and preparing / fretting about an upcoming solo show.  More on those soon!

Here is the “before” picture of the day. I took this shot of the moon under a lamp post a week or two ago and am in the process of editing and digitally manipulating it. When I am done, I will post the “after” version.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Microstock update

Thought I would give a quick update on the microstock end of things.  So far I have submitted images to six microstock sites and have had images accepted by four of those sites.  You can take a look at the accepted images at  Dreamstime, Fotolia, Bigstockphoto, and Graphic Leftovers.  Dreamstime was the first to accept one of my images so they will have a special place in my heart.  There are at least four more sites that I would like to have accept some of my images, but it is a process. Speaking of a process, so far, there have been no sales on any of the sites... I know, I know, it is still early in the process.

Today's photo- a hawk soaring.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Paradigm shifts & creative crossroads

Here I am thinking about where I am coming from and where I am going, photographically speaking.  Over the last several months I have pondered whether the digital point-and-shoot cameras were producing the quality of photos that I desired.  In a previous post, I mentioned that I thought the quality of one of the cameras had decreased over the last year or so. I have entered a fair number of local competitions with shots from these cameras and, if I may say so myself, have done very respectably. I certainly have not won everything I have entered, but have received a number of awards at local and regional venues and will have a gallery show later this year (the subject of a future post).  In many ways, I owe these successes to my participation in and feedback from the Utica Art Association and the Utica Camera Club. The generous members of these organizations have helped me, over the last two years or so, shift from thinking about taking technically good photos to taking both technically good and artistic photos.  What a difference that has made!

Now I find myself at another photographic crossroads, complicated further by having armed myself with a ridiculously better camera than the point-and shoots, and having experienced/realized/become excited about/suffered through(?) another photographically major paradigm shift as I am starting to dabble in the world of microstock photography.  My submissions to a number of microstock websites have, so far, been less than spectacular. My submissions have been largely rejected by these sites. I have, of course, found this infuriating.  How could they reject me?!?!?!  But they did, and when I calmed down and started to look more carefully, I began to realize why.  Three reasons: (1) The point-and -shoot cameras typically don't have high enough resolution or quality images. (2) The photos I have taken to this point are largely 'regional show, small print format' quality, rather than 'global marketplace, publication ready' quality images. (3) While there is certainly overlap in the fields of artistic photography and commercial photography, they are not the same thing. I seem now to be taking this as a personal challenge... reject me will they??... I'll show them!  (In reality, it would be profitable for both the companies and me to get photos accepted, but emotionally I am not quite there yet. I don't make a living off of this, and I take pictures for pleasure rather than profit (though both would be nice), but tell me no?!?!...  Unacceptable.)  The first reason I have addressed - new camera, check. I need to learn how to use it, true, but that will come.  The second reason follows the first; I have a new camera, now I need to take new pictures. In some ways this is scary and disheartening, I have taken a bunch of photos that I thought were really good, but in my new mindset, I now consider them only fair. I can't / don't want to take these same images again, so what on earth will I shoot now if I am starting from scratch? But again, I take photos of whatever inspires me. Now, good isn't good enough;  I just can't stop until I have the highest quality image possible. The third reason is the kicker.  Do I take artistic photos, or do I take commercial photos?  Ultimately, I think that this will push my boundaries and result in mush higher quality images, regardless of the target audience, but right now I am having trouble reconciling art versus commercial, or even figuring out what is desired in the microstock world.

Photos of the day:
Below are two photos: one accepted by multiple microstock agencies and the other rejected by those same agencies.  Which one do you think was accepted?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I am the Decider

So, it is done... I have purchased a new DSLR camera.  I got the Nikon D90, and I am really very happy with it.  I have already taken several hundreds of photos with it and I am still learning how to use it. While the percentage of really high quality photos that I have taken with it is quite low so far, I know that this is my fault rather than the camera's fault.  I see the potential of this camera and I am excited to get those percentages of winners up! I suspect (and hope) that I will continue on the learning curve for some time to come.

Here is a photo taken with the new camera.  I hope you like...

Monday, July 18, 2011

This vs. That (part 2)

Today's photo: Ladybug and chain.  I have mixed feelings about this one - I really, really like the simple composition, but there are a couple of things that I would tweak.  But, the lady bug has moved on so I guess that I should too...

The question I left off with last time was: Canon or Nikon – which DSLR camera should I buy?  There are, of course, other brands of cameras, but I narrowed it down to these two largely because of the availability of these cameras and shops to service them in my region.  As with any decision, there are pros and cons to each option and consequences regardless of which I pick.  With the seemingly decreasing quality of the photos produced by the point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot over the last year (or perhaps my more discerning eye and /or demands on the camera), it became more and more clear that if I was going to continue with the kind of photography that I enjoy I would need to get a DSLR.  I love the Canon 35mm camera that I had used for years, and the couple of lenses that I have should fit the DSLR cameras.  Being able to use those lenses and not buy new ones would be a major advantage.  That was a big plus for Canons. I was strongly leaning toward the T2i after looking at the specs and reading the reviews, but I looked at the demo T3i.  I really liked it.  However, my aunt has never been able to use the lenses from her 35mm Canon SLR on her newer DSLR… a distinct negative.   I am NOT going to drop this kind of money on a camera that I am not sure will work, do what I want it to do, and accommodate my growth as I (hopefully) get better and more skilled at photography.  That same day I looked at the T3i, I also looked at the Nikon D3000.  It was less expensive, and produced good quality images.  But I wasn’t convinced it was what I wanted, nor did it “feel right” in my hands.  Not sure why, but it didn’t.  So I went back to scouring the reviews and the specs on various models of each brand.  I returned to the shop on another day, with the lenses in-hand to test them on the T3i to make sure they were compatible… but they were sold out of them at the store.  Consequently, I tried the Nikon D90 and loved the way it felt and the pictures it took.  Loved it.  Back to reviewing the specs, reviews, prices, etc.  I came to the conclusion that they are both (T3i and D90) quality cameras and that I was going to like either one.  This was supported by the fact that while I was there at the shop, an older married couple came in and the person that was helping me told me that they used different cameras – one was a die-hard Nikon fan and the other was a Canon person to the core.  They both loved their cameras, and good-naturedly teased each other about which was better.  Their overall message – buy what you like.  After obsessing over which to choose, I decided on the Nikon D90.  When I went to the store to buy it, they didn’t have any left.  Ughhhhh!!!!  So now I am waiting to see what comes in.  They called me today to say that some cameras came in, so maybe I will have something… anything… tomorrow.  I will keep you updated.

Monday, July 11, 2011

This vs. That

Today's photo, entitled Internalization,  is of a building in the city of Utica, NY.

The classic question - what camera should I buy?  I have been pondering this one, and waffling back and forth between a couple of choices.

I have been interested in photography for a quite some time - long enough to be measured in decades - and so I of course learned using film.  The first camera that I remember as being mine was a Polaroid.  It was great.  You put in these big cartridges (I also vaguely remember linear flash bulbs but that could have been another camera) and took the shot, and you could have the photo within minutes!  For a kid, that was much more satisfying than taking film in to the store be developed, which took several days at the very least.  However, it must be said that going to the store to pick them up was always fun.  I distinctly remember going with my mom to two different camera stores to pick up the developed photos.  I liked seeing the photos and I also liked looking around at the different camera equipment... dinosaurs by today's standards.  There were stands and lights and cameras and lenses and chemicals and paper and ever-so-much-more.

Flash forward a few years and I remember receiving my grandfather's Pentax Spotmatic 35mm SLR with a few lenses.  I still have it.  It changed the way I thought about photography because I needed to think about how to take the picture... not just fire away.  I came to learn about film ISO,and slide film versus negatives. I learned about F-stops and shutter speeds, and came to understand light and depth-of-field.  Jump ahead a few more years, and my aunt gave me her Canon EOS Elan II along with a few lenses.  I still have that, too.  That camera took me from the world of fully manual into the world of auto focus.  The camera automatically did many of the things that were essential using the Pentax.  Both of them were (and still are) wonderful cameras.

Then things changed.  My life got busier and I stopped taking pictures as often as I had before.  And cameras went digital.  Of course, many people (or, at least, I assume many people) have discussed how digital cameras changed photography.  For me, it did two things.  First, it was discouraging from my point of view because 1) film certainly resulted in better image quality than the early digital cameras, and 2) there was no way I could afford a digital camera.  They were astronomically expensive.  The second thing it did to me, once I was able to use digital cameras during graduate school, was make me photographically lazy.  I could point-and-shoot away at will without having to think about much about how to set up the camera, and there were few consequences to taking bad photos or experimenting with shots that just shouldn't (and didn't) work.  But, without the costs of film and printing, who cares?  Don't like it - delete it.

A few years ago, my interests in photography were renewed (the subject of some future post). The family received a point-and shoot digital camera (Canon PowerShot A590) as a gift (largely to document a vacation), and I started getting more serious about taking good pictures again.  I still am generally lazy and/or try taking crazy photos that the camera just doesn't have the capability to do and I have no business trying, but I try anyway.  This has also been a great camera and I have taken many, many  thousands of pictures with it.  But, the quality of the images is not quite what it used to be; I don't think the camera ever fully recovered from a trip to an oppressively hot and humid location a year ago.  Water / humidity and electronics just don't play well together.  Additionally, I feel like I have 'run out of camera' in the sense that I am trying to push the camera beyond what it is able to do.  So, now it is time for a new camera; a DSLR.  So, again I ask myself, what camera should I buy?  The main contenders: Canon vs. Nikon.
More on that next time.

Saturday, July 9, 2011



Welcome to my first blog post, and thanks for checking it out.  My plan, such as it is, for this blog is to discuss the various aspects of my adventures in photography.  I will talk about what I am up to, post some recent photos for you to examine, ramble on about my development (or not) as a photographer, list and discuss some art events, and outwardly ponder what is or is not working for me in my quixotic photographic quests.

I have been told by the powers-that-be (i.e. my relatives, mostly) that I should have a website, and I have been thinking about doing this for a while now.  These factors, combined with recent events of the last year or so, both photo-related and non-photo-related, have trigger me to actually do it.  Why not?  So, here it is.

In my next post, the first issue I will discuss will be my pursuit of a new camera... that seems like a good place to start.

And since I am posting photos...

Kinked Tree