Surfing the Learning Curve
Apr25

Surfing the Learning Curve

“There is the desire of a consumer society to have no learning curves. This tends to result in very dumbed-down products that are easy to get started on, but are generally worthless and/or debilitating.”—Alan Kay In my experience, it seems that most photographers progress through three distinct stages while they are learning and refining their image-making skills. In my friend Rick Sammon’s book Creative...

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What Inspires Your Photography?
Mar28

What Inspires Your Photography?

Photographers get inspiration from many places. One friend finds it in old master’s paintings; I get the inspiration for many of my images from the movies. Recently I watched (for the umpteenth time) Frank Capra’s 1937 classic Lost Horizon and was struck not just by the cinematography but by all of the still images used to illustrate a “making-of” video on the DVD that were shot using 4×5 film. This was truly the golden age of...

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These Day LEDs Are Popular; Here’s Why
Mar09

These Day LEDs Are Popular; Here’s Why

Continuous light sources are popular with new and aspiring pros because they let you see in real time the lighting effect produced. LED-based studio lights do that without creating lots of heat, especially when compared to other continuous light sources. At the WPPI show one industry insider told me, “When LED delivers a form factor that looks like a monolight, studio flash is dead.” While I’m not so sure that I believe that statement...

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Manual Focusing Takes Me Back to the Future
Feb10

Manual Focusing Takes Me Back to the Future

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”—Mark Twain A few years ago I wrote an article for Shutterbug’s Digital Photography How-to Guide about using different kinds of lenses on mirrorless cameras and it got me feeling nostalgic. Fast forward: I’m walking down Wilcox Street in Castle Rock CO carrying a Panasonic Lumix G5 with a Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Biogon lens mounted and all of...

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Celebrating the Life of ‘Daddy’ Bruce Randolph
Jan16

Celebrating the Life of ‘Daddy’ Bruce Randolph

“The time is always right to do what is right.”— Martin Luther King Denver’s ‘Daddy’ Bruce Randolph (1900-1994) was known for his kindness, generosity and serving an annual Thanksgiving dinner for homeless and disadvantaged people. He did that for 50 years. In the late-1960s, ‘Daddy’ Bruce began feeding people for free in Denver’s City Park on Thanksgiving Day. By the mid-1980s, tens of thousands lined up outside Daddy Bruce’s B-B-Q...

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Happy Faces on Friday the 13th
Jan13

Happy Faces on Friday the 13th

The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.”—Ansel Adams Unlike Ansel Adams who previsualized how a print would look before he captured an image, I find that many times my glamour photography images are only fully realized after I start working on them in the digital darkroom. Legendary digital photography guru Kai Krause was fond of saying that...

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Right In Your Own Backyard
Nov17

Right In Your Own Backyard

“I don’t have to take a trip around the world or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean to have happiness. I can find it in the little things, like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields.”—Queen Latifah When making an image, other than “I’d like to make a nice photo,” I don’t always have any specific goals and objectives in mind but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. My friend Matt Staver is a...

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