Creating a Black Background Through Flash

Final Mariachi Man

That’s right – you will be learning today how to create a black background by using your flash.  It kind of sounds counter-intuitive, but it really works!  Trust me!  So, here’s what happens…you take a picture of some knick-knack or other object, or even a person and that background it just…bleh!  Take a look: Read more

Barnacles of Knowledge

Authors at Google

My photographic interests have been more recently geared toward documenting the growth and development of our new puppy, Kenzie.  I’ve already recorded over 2GB of photos and videos with her doing various things (playing with a tennis ball, her first swim, chasing after butterflies and ducks, etc.)  All of it has a sort of “awww, cute…now what” feel to it, but I share them with fellow pet lovers anyway.  In this one community forum a tangential topic came up where some, shall we say, divergent points of view were shared and a bit of animosity was stirred.

As is always my credo, I lean toward either learning from or sharing my knowledge and experience with others.  If you are more learned than your compatriots, I believe in a sense of duty to both share my knowledge and to educate others.  Toward that end, I referred to a talk Joe McNally did with Google a while back, as he makes a statement where he says:

These things accrue to you as a photographer…it’s like barnacles of knowledge that kind of glom themselves onto you…”

It’s a powerful statement and one that speaks to me and my life.  In the midst of gathering the quote, I ended up watching this piece in its entireity over again (1:10 minutes).  Even now, the anecdotes and life lessons still hold true.  If you’ve not watched it, devote an hour of your life to it.  If you have watched it – watch again.  Not only is it interesting, but you always will gain a certain measure of inspiration from it:

Happy shooting!


Got Any Cardboard Boxes?

cardboard boxes

As we all work through our lives, there are many defining moments that shape who we are, and what moves us to action.  These last two years have been an increasingly rapid frenzy for me as my primary job has expanded in both duties and demands.  It got to the point where I was traveling and training literally every week for literally weeks at a time with nary a break for family, my dog, and basically, normal living.

Postings on the blog here slowed to a crawl.  Then they stopped for a short time.  Something had to change.  I started poking around – not exactly wanting to leave my job because the appeal of teaching, travel and technology continued to hold my interest.  It told me something though – I had literally found my calling.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed being in the classroom.  Whether I was teaching high school, college, or even photography classes, teaching has always been a passion for me – and the ability to teach technology struck a chord for me.  So, what went wrong?  The work-life balance.

My job had grown to encompass the travel, the teaching, the lesson plans, conducting webinars, online training, Quality Assurance testing, new product development, technical support (both via telephone and email), and even short trips to replace hardware.  I’d even spent time running network cable for my employer.  Yet as new duties were added, so too was the time I had to spend in the office, and less time was available for my personal life (including the blog).

So, I started searching slowly but surely.  The age-old adage is that it is always easier to find a new job while you have a job strong in mind, I maintained my vigil at my position – working diligently, but then also burning the candle at both ends, reading through countless job descriptions and opportunities that met various degrees of the criteria I was looking for:  teaching, technology, and a bit of travel.

In my first wave of possible positions, a few met all, so I submitted an application to each.  Most never made it past the first wave of their review process.  No worries – I didn’t just want a job, I wanted the RIGHT JOB!

Another round of research and another few – with one or two emailing and doing a basic phone interview, but then nothing further.  No worries – I didn’t just want a new job, I wanted the RIGHT JOB!

Then, about a month ago, another couple resumes and cover letters went out, and three of them scheduled a phone interview.  Then a second round, and one broke through and invited me out to interview at their office (i.o.w. – not in Colorado)!  Suffice to say, 30 days later, I accepted the position offered as what I would describe as a perfect match of training, technology, and travel.

What this means is that I am getting back to a work-life balance!  A new career opportunity has presented itself, and I am excited for the challenge.  A few frenzied weeks are ahead of me, but in the end, I believe I can return more of my attention to sharing thoughts, insights, and articles all about photography here on the blog!

That means the teachable moment today is not about photography, it’s about holding out for what you really want in life!  Never settle if you are not completely happy with what you are doing, and always stay true to yourself!

Now, back onto the photo-realm of things, I’d like to thank the loyal readers who have maintained their interest in my and my sporadic postings – with the promise of more to come, but right now I am on the lookout for some cardboard boxes! To that end, here’s a challenge for the week – can you take an interesting picture of a cardboard box?  Here’s my first attempt!

cardboard boxes
cardboard boxes