Showing posts from 2013

Taking time to admire local artists

"Art is the stored honey of the human soul."  - Theodore Dreiser

There is no question about it, art inspires us, entertains us, engages us, consoles us. There is such a variety of art and artists and different media and finished art pieces speak to different people. 

The East Austin Studio Tour consists of over 400 artists who displayed a selection of their work for two weekends and posted a map making the general public aware of where to see some moving art.

The weather was cold and rainy yesterday and I thought visiting art would be the perfect thing to do...and evidently many others had the same idea.  My photographer friend, Marybeth, accompanied me and we set out first for the funky east 6th district where we found a lovely ceramic shop, Clayworks, that had gorgeous colorful sconces, tiles, murals and jewelry.  

We were invited to a behind the scenes look at the kilns and the workshop and I fell in love with their whimsical characters, rich colors and assortment of prod…

Speaking the language of photography

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
Karl Lagerfeld
I attended the last session of a friend’s Photography 101 class this week.The teacher, Kevin Gourley, who got rave reviews from his students, held a social night as their sixth and final class.It was a chance to discuss what photography meant to each of them, individually, what they had learned along the way and an opportunity share their favorite images and their passion for photography.
There is something special about listening to the language of photography. I love hearing the enthusiasm of someone who just discovered what they could do by mastering the aperture setting, or the excitement of someone who just purchased a new camera or a new accessory.Sometimes I forget just how much I have learned over the past few years – after all, photography is a life-long learning experience – we continue to learn new things as we pursue new subjects and new interests.
I …

Acadia Revisited - Lessons That Bear Repeating

"Do not say 'this is how the landscape looks', but rather 'this is how I represent and interpret the landscape I encounter.'"

One of the best experiences in my life was going on a five day landscape workshop in Acadia National Park with photographer, Robert Rodriguez, Jr. I recently got to re-live that experience as I prepared a talk/slideshow to present to Austin Photographic Society. 

THE PLACE: Acadia is located on Mount Desert Island, and with 108 square miles, it is the largest island off the coast of Maine. In 1901, George B. Dorr, worked tirelessly to preserve the land for perpetual use of the public. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed an act establishing it Lafayette National Park, the first national park east of the Mississippi. John D. Rockefeller Jr. endowed the park with 11,000 acres and in 1929, the park was named Acadia.Acadia's landscape features the elements that have made Maine's coastline world famous, including rocky shores, seclu…

Three things I learned today

To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. –Elliott Erwitt

I assisted photographer Tim Babiak this morning and learned some really important lessons about photography.  

• First, I got to see how he handles lighting when the sun is strong. I have always simply brought my subjects into whatever shade I could find but that is not the very best solution, because oftentimes there is no shade to be found, or it is dappled, making it even more difficult to get a nice shot. Tim brings along a giant umbrella that allows him to create his own shade. Actually, that was my task, to hold that umbrella over the subjects and make sure that they were fully sheltered from that harsh sun. He also brought a 30" softbox with two speedlights to provide his subjects some nice light. I enjoyed seeing the confidence he displayed …

Seek Inspiration

“We do not take pictures with our cameras, but with our hearts and minds.”
-Arnold Newman

I had the privilege of viewing the stunning black and white photographs of Arnold Newman, one of the great masters of the 20th and 21st century whose work has defined great portraiture.  The exhibit, Arnold Newman: Masterclass is free and open to the public until May 12 at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas campus in Austin. 

There were over 200 iconic photographs taken by a man who focused largely on capturing the essence of artists, cultural celebrities, movie stars, and political figure.  He insisted on shooting his subjects in their own personal surroundings.  Some of my favorites included Grandma Moses, Georgia O'Keefe, Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, to name just a few.  Photography was not allowed, and I honor that. But to see some of his images, you can go to
He also had a lot of self portraits. I was so inspired, I too…

Taking a trip back to Ireland

I just reread the blogs I wrote in 2009 about our trip to Ireland.  An Irish shop I visited recently said they would be interested in selling my Ireland photos, so I have been revisiting the country via Lightroom. One of the great perks of being a photographer is reviewing the landscape, remembering the vistas and moments and mentally being able to recall a special place that brought us wonderful moments and memories.

I also discovered that with advances in technology and things that I have learned in post-processing, I had more pleasing images than I remembered. I also saw that I had a very dirty sensor, and so, I have been mentally "living" in Ireland as I revive some old images and fall in love all over again with the Emerald Isle.

I'm also trying to determine which images might sell, so I'd really appreciate your feedback. Which ones might you like hanging on your wall? 

This is all making me want another trip. Hopefully, the nice people at Sitric will purchase …

Learning From Others

I always come away with some wonderful new tidbit of knowledge every time I go out with other photographers for a shoot. Can't say enough good things about Meetups - they sure helped me meet like minded people and helped my transition from New York to Austin, Texas go smoothly. 

For one thing, I am learning new parts of the city that I otherwise never would have explored.

This past Sunday, a group of us explored West 5th St. At first, it looked to me to be a very modern, somewhat boring looking section of the city. But, through the eyes of my new friends, I discovered it was as ecclectic as all the rest of Austin - old and new mingling with funky architecture and interesting characters.

I followed a woman who's photos I have admired on Facebook, Tracy and marveled at the things she discovered to shoot. She first set out for the skateboarders.

Then she was interested in reflections on buildings. I am generally taken by small details or large landscapes, so this was a fun chal…

3 Important Things To Becoming a Better Photographer

This blog was originally inspired by the brilliant writings of Joe McNally and David Hobby. I had been reading both of their blogs religiously and wanted to reach out to an audience of folks who were just beginning with tips and suggestions so that they, too, would come to be inspired by Joe and David, who, to this day, remain my heroes.

I just read a McNally blog – do yourself a favor. If you  truly love photography, and hearing a good tale along the way – go read his blog and soon you'll find yourself buying his books and seeking his videos and You Tube.

But, if you are just starting out and are looking to become better, let me share the wisdom that was given to me years ago.

• Shoot Daily.  I once asked Michael Nelson to mentor me and he said "just go out and take pictures every day. Select ONE that you like best and throw the others away.  I did that in the beginning and I look back now and marvel at how I have improved over time.  Shooting daily is as important to me tod…

What Hasn't Made It

I have been enjoying posting a photo a day on Facebook, every day since January 1st. It is a challenge that is making me a better photographer and hopefully more in tune with new concepts and details.  Some days are frustrating and I feel like I have no pictures "good enough" and other days I get 3 or 4 great ones and can't choose which ones to post. Certain friends have suggested that I "save" those really good ones for the "less creative" days, but that feels to me like wanting to reread "Hamlet" and having someone hand me the Cliff notes. Not good enough. They are only MY rules but I have a sense of integrity and who am I cheating by posting an older image? Me, that's who.

So, I stick to my own rules - a new photo every day - TAKEN that day. So, what to do with the "good" ones that didn't "make the cut?"  I thought I'd show some here and discuss why they didn't get posted on Facebook.

 This one was a ni…