by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and while I try to be off-track from my usual daily post topics of business, it's photography that's the hero of Father's Day 2021. Looking back to my own early days as a father, along with missing my own Dad, it's old photographs that bring back memories. Put old photos together with "neurochromes," images you captured when there wasn't a camera around, and it's non-stop smiles all day long.
So, the fun of this morning is telling stories about my Pop. When I was a kid, he was the one dad who would tie a rope to the car's bumper and let us hook up our sleds as he pulled us around the neighborhood. Today he'd be in jail for child endangerment, but life was different back then. He was the pop who drove us around one July 4th, tossing cherry bombs out the window under bridges, alleys, and the arcade in the shopping center just to see how loud we could make them.
He was also that dad who, when something hit him as truly funny, he'd laugh until he cried. From the Three Stooges to watching Bobo Brazil and the Gallagher Brothers on Saturday wrestling, there was no better buddy to hang out with.
But most important of all, he was my best buddy. He was my best man for my first marriage, and he was the one person in my family to support me when Sheila and I got married in 2010. I remember thanking him for keeping an open heart through my divorce and later my relationship with Sheila. His answer? "When you love somebody, an open heart is your only choice."
And that was my Dad. While I miss him all the time, it's those photographs and videos we've got that keep his memory more than just alive. So often, I'll say to Sheila, "I wish Dad could see this," and her answer is always the same, "He does!"
So to all you dads out there, Happy Father's Day. Don't compromise on making new memories and capture them with more than just neurochromes. Nothing beats looking at old photographs and the memories they bring back.
And nothing tops Jodi Picoult's quote, which I've shared a few dozen times over the years:
“This is what I like about photographs. They're proof that once,
even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.”
Wishing everybody a terrific Sunday, and time to savor your family, friends and those special moments that make life so worth living and remembering!
Happy Father's Day!
by Skip Cohen
With Father's Day right around the corner, I couldn't help but appreciate a post by Jenn Sim, Levi Sim's definitely better half (LOL) on Facebook. She wrote:
So proud of my family of photographers. Lana took first place in the amateur photographer category, and Levi took second in the professional photography category.
And Levi explained to me; This was a "Plein-air" photography contest. The pictures had to be made starting last Friday and presented on Wednesday by noon and had to be made within Cache Valley, which straddles the Utah/Idaho border.
Well, Lana is nine years old, and that's her portrait of her Dad and brother above. I had to give her top billing since she took a first. However, in second place was Levi's print below.
Besides Levi being a good friend for so many years, I got the biggest kick out of Lana getting involved in imaging. Photography is an incredible tool for self-expression, and a great activity for parents to enjoy together with their kids. So, if Lana's shooting like this at nine, imagine what she's going to be like in competition ten years from now!
One more fun quality of this - Levi's well-established as a photographer. He doesn't need to enter local shows like this, but he believes in being involved in his community. This is a perfect way to stay active and remind people what he does for a living.
Photography is simply part of this family's life, and it's a constant reminder of how small an industry we really are. Another good friend, Erin Holmstead, captured the family portrait on the right. I met Erin through Levi; I have repeatedly caught up to her at WPPI; she's an Admin for Cache Valley Photographers on Facebook and a writer for Photofocus.
It's Father's Day weekend! To Jenn Sim - thanks for sharing the pictures and your pride; to Levi, I can't wait to hear Lana stories when she wants to upgrade her gear! And to Levi and all you Dad's out there, wishing you all a Happy and HEALTHY Father's Day!
by Skip Cohen
In the summer of 2009, I launched Skip's Summer School. I had left Rangefinder/WPPI just a few months before to start my own company, and doing a summer workshop series had been on my mind for a lot of years. Plus, I'd been told it would be a failure, and those of you who know me, know my mantra:
"I do it because I can; I can because I want to; I want to because you said I couldn't."
It was anything but a failure and would run every summer through 2013. It was incredibly labor-intensive, though, and it was just me, Sheila, and a bunch of great friends. In the hunt for a Throwback Thursday image, I found this video from my good buddy, Jerry Ghionis. It's a perfect share for a throwback, and even though it might be politically incorrect here and there - it truly demonstrates the creativity and outrageous sense of humor of one of the industry's most incredible educators. Jerry shared this video ten years ago.
So, as we come out of the pandemic - if you see Jerry and/or Melissa Ghionis on the schedule for any of the upcoming conferences - run, don't walk to get a seat! And to Jerry and Melissa - thanks for so many priceless moments, great memories, tons of laughs, and the inspiration you bring to the industry. Now it's time to get back to creating new memories!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
Image copyright Jonny Hill. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Time really does fly when you're having a good time. The fun of the Tamron Recipes series never slows down with each new "Chef" sharing something different every month. This is our thirtieth episode, and as I've written before, my cohost, Chamira Young and I underestimated the diversity of work we would be sharing and the insight shared by each chef.
And the more artists we work with, the more the analogy of comparing them to fine "Chefs" is appropriate. Their love for the craft never slows down, and their passion is infectious.
Landscape artist Chef Jonny Hill joins us this month, combining his love for the outdoors with his ability to capture one image after another that is breathtaking.
Jonny's work was featured in the Tamron Newsletter not too long ago with one image after another that drew me into wanting to see more of his work. Like all Tamron chefs, each new episode starts with a phone call and a conversation about the project. Jonny and I initially played a few rounds of email tag, but what a kick to finally talk with him and be introduced to his enthusiasm!
Over a year ago, I decided to go off in search of a quote that described each new chef. Well, after I hung up the phone with that first phone call, it wasn't hard to find one that seems appropriate for Jonny. Ever talk to somebody on the phone who you knew was smiling through the entire conversation?
You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.
Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing
and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off of you!
About Chef Jonny: If a picture's worth a thousand words, then Jonny's writing volumes with every photograph he shares. He's a British photographer living in Utah. While his main passion is creating landscape photographs, he never slows down on what he offers his clients, including video, product work, weddings, and events. But most of all, he loves the great outdoors and is an avid hiker, camper, and explorer.
About the Image: My original plan the morning of this photograph was to wake around 2am to photograph the Milkyway. However, it was completely clouded over. I went back to bed a little bit defeated as the clouds looked like they were going to stay throughout sunrise. Despite that I still woke before light and hiked out to this spot to go ahead with my sunrise plans. It was still cloudy and gray as I sat on this ridge overlooking these incredible monoliths.
As I started to lose hope, all of a sudden, these patches of pink and red started to appear as somewhere high up there, light was breaking through, creating these beautiful colours. It only lasted a few minutes but made it all worth it.
I hope you'll take the time to check out more of Jonny's work on his Instagram page, along with his website and growing YouTube channel. He's always sharing great content!
Jonny shoots with a variety of Tamron lenses, but the 35-150mm is one of his favorites. Click on the thumbnail to the right for more information, and join us on his podcast next week. Through the pandemic and now, coming out of the challenges, I'm not sure there's ever been a time when more photographers have an interest in landscape work. If you're going to take the time to capture and create beautiful images, then you need the very best tools!
Tamron never slows down in their programs to help artists raise the bar on the quality of their images. Check out their listing of local events, all within the appropriate safety and physical distancing guidelines.
Life is slowly getting back to normal, and with normalcy in imaging comes creativity. None of us will forget the restrictions of the last year, but now it's time to get back out and keep growing your skills as an artist.
With Father's Day right around the corner, you've only got a few days left to take advantage of Tamron's new savings for the holiday. Don't miss out on some of the finest optics in photography today! Just click on the banner below for more information.
by Skip Cohen
My wife Sheila always checks out my Sunday Morning Reflections posts before they're published, and she hasn't been happy with my last few posts. "What happened to not talking about photography or business on Sundays?" has been the repeated question. And in all honesty, I don't know - I get up, sit down at my computer, and let my fingers do the walking on the keyboard. Coming out of the pandemic, I've been a little obsessed with helping to get photographers back on track.
Well, Sheila is my muse, and based on the Google dictionary's definition:
A person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.
Here's my point - there's Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays - but no Muse Day. No day where we kick back and spend a little time thinking about those people in our lives who inspire us. Sheila's my main muse, but every day there are people in our lives who, like Subliminal Man from old SNL shows, help to plant a seed of an idea, make us smile, and give us a little feedback on which path to choose in our journey.
So, I'm declaring June 13, the second Sunday in June, as Muse Day and simply having fun with my main muse. While I've got a little work I need to do, it's going to be a slug day, relaxing and simply smiling more than usual. I want to do my best to focus on everything right in my life instead of getting caught up in the storms and bumpy roads.
Wishing all of you a terrific Muse Day! Take the time to let the muses in your life know they're appreciated. You know how to selectively focus your camera - well, this is about your brain and your heart. It's like focus-stacking your feelings to produce one incredible emotional moment, in focus on each aspect of a relationship.
And, go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs. I'm not sure there's ever been a time in our lives when they've been more important or needed!
Happy Sunday - Happy Muse Day!
by Skip Cohen
Jonathan Thorpe shared this image on Facebook this morning, and it's the perfect post to wrap up the week! The point he makes is just too good to only be on his Facebook page.
His comment below says it all.
I’ve said it a million times, LIGHTING IS A GAME CHANGER. Before and after from last nights live stream. Happy to say no editing on right shot aside from the smoke. This is what you can do with lighting to your photos, creating drama and story. The left side is just using the natural light provided in the studio, the right has 5 strobes on it. Make photos, don’t take them.
Jonathan should be on your radar. Follow him on Facebook, and check out his website too.
by Skip Cohen
In 2019 the industry lost two legends, Jay Stock in July and Terry Deglau later in September. For those of you "kids" out there who think I'm just sharing a portrait of two old guys - these are two of the trailblazers who helped build the professional portrait side of the industry.
Terry was one of my very dearest friends, and there isn't a week that goes by that something doesn't remind me of our adventures together over the years. From spending almost a week in Yosemite driving Ansel Adams' Cadillac to conventions where we worked together for Kodak and Hasselblad, there was never a dull moment.
And while I didn't know Jay very well, he was known for his stunning classic portraiture. Terry featured him in Kodak's DreamMaker ad campaign, which I wrote about last January. It included this image of Jay.
It's Throwback Thursday and time for you to dig back through your own archives and share a memory-making moment from the past. And trust me, a great look in your rearview mirror is the perfect reminder of how special an industry we're so proud to be a part of.
Intro by Chamira Young
While it's great to know the technical aspects of your camera, it's just as important to understand how to masterfully execute your vision within your chosen niche as an artist. That's why we're featuring the high key imagery of fine art photographer Lisa Langell today. With every beautiful image she creates, she understands who it's best suited for. Her target market is the home decor buyer who wants to adorn their sunroom, kitchen, or bedroom with tasteful images, and her pieces fall under the category of decorative art. With her craft comes a deep understanding that her perfect client desires softer, more gentle images that intelligently use negative space. Rather than a super-realistic photo, they want an artist's interpretation of that image. Lisa has found her niche, and she's such an inspiration to her fellow creatives!
Using her Tamron SP 90mm VC Macro and the SP 24-70mm VC G2 zoom lenses, she's able to capture stunning images that will make you want to fill your home's walls. Click on either image below to learn more about these great lenses. We love the constant inspiration the Tamron team brings to the table.
Check out the post below!
How to Shoot: High-Key Photography
Lisa Langell uses the Tamron SP 90mm VC Macro and SP 24-70mm VC G2 lenses to create minimalist decorative art for homes and offices.
By Jenn Gidman
Images by Lisa Langell
A variegated tulip sprinkled with dew, a hummingbird flitting about a fuchsia, a daffodil basking in the morning light, its creamy yellow corona stretching skyward. These are Lisa Langell’s subjects for her high-key imagery, delicately positioned in front of her camera and ready to be exposed to the masses—or overexposed, in this case.
“I love high-key photography because it's so simple,” Lisa says. “Not necessarily always simple to photograph, but simple to enjoy. It’s so minimalistic, light, airy, and pretty, allowing your subjects to stand out on their own.”
The high-key images Lisa creates with her Tamron SP 90mm VC Macro and SP 24-70mm VC G2 zoom lenses are targeted toward clients who are looking to enhance their home decor. “I like to call these pieces decorative art—once you hang one of these images on your wall, it becomes just that,” Lisa says. “Most of my clients who go for this type of photo don’t want super-realistic photography in their home. They’re looking for something softer and gentler, images that have plenty of negative space and work within their decor. I can see many of these images in someone’s sunroom or kitchen or bedroom.”
Lisa has a DIY indoor studio she uses for her close-ups, using white studio boxes lit from the outside in as her backdrop. “I light it from three sides and create a diffused light,” she says. “I tend to use less light in front of my subject, so that when I expose my subject, it’s exposed properly and my background gets blown out.”
For her outdoor shoots, Lisa takes advantage of natural light, either with or without a white backdrop. “You want a bright background, and subjects that are much darker than your background,” she says. “You also want a diffused light background, with your subject backlit, so avoid full sun. Hazy, gray sky days are perfect for high-key photography. You don't want any direct light on your subject.”
On occasion, Lisa will use flash, such as when she’s photographing hummingbirds, but as a steward of nature and wildlife, she’s done her homework on how to use such lighting ethically. “I use a five-flash setup for my hummingbird photos, using extremely low-powered flashes,” she says. “I've done extensive research in peer-reviewed journals on birds and flash photography, and I have a link on my site explaining my research. I’m very cognizant of photographing ethically without harming the birds.”
Read the rest of the post here.
Click on any image in this post for information about the specific educational opportunity coming up!
by Skip Cohen
I've commented several times over the last two months about opportunities to demonstrate leadership as we come out of the pandemic. Well, here are a few perfect examples!
Everyone is looking for ways to make their work look different. At the same time, technology never slows down, and there are more people on the Internet than ever before - many of them potential clients checking out your work. So, from understanding infrared to outstanding portraiture to flash, are your skills as good as they could be?
Nobody does it better than Bobbi Lane and Lee Varis, and yes, I'm a little prejudiced because they've been good friends of mine for so many years. But the friendship grew out of getting to know them and the respect I have for their skills as artists and educators. Plus, they're FUN to hang out with. Remember "FUN?" It's a word that got lost a little over the last year, and it's time to get it back!
The first stop: Coming up this Sunday, June 13, on Cape Cod - Bobbi and Lee are teaching an infrared workshop.
Next stop: Check out their new online portrait lighting course.
One more stop: In Los Angeles on June 26/27 at the Los Angeles Center of Photography.
Confused about your flash? Then this is the class for you. In this two-day workshop, participants will learn how to control and modify their portable flash units. Portable flash is a wonderful and sometimes intimidating tool and it will be explained step by step on how to choose the correct settings and modifiers.
We will do demos using TTL and Manual settings and explain why to choose each, and give easy instructions for making beautiful Fill Flash. A variety of lighting techniques will be covered with the emphasis on understanding the three main aspects of light: direction, quality and depth.
One last stop: Bobbi and Lee have only one opening left in their Iceland Tour this September. Just click on the banner below for more information. Then, make sure Bobbi and Lee are on your radar all year long!
These are two educators and artists who never slow down, and they ALWAYS exceed the expectations of their students and clients!
If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor!
by Skip Cohen
As usual, on Sundays, I'm miles away from thoughts about business and marketing. My challenge is trying to connect a couple of different topics with how we've watched our butterfly population grow.
This year our garden has taken off, especially with Monarchs. Monarch caterpillars are everywhere we've planted milkweed - their nonstop favorite meal! Watching them grow and realizing within the next few weeks, we'll have a few dozen new monarchs is incredibly uplifting.
I couldn't help but think about that line, "If it wasn't for change, there would be no butterflies!" So there it is, my topic for today's post.
I started by grabbing my LUMIX G9 with the 30mm macro lens and headed out looking for "talent" to feature this morning. I found the two guys above right outside our patio. They're just about fully developed, being almost 2 inches long. Soon they'll morph into a chrysalis, and 10-12 days after that, there'll be a couple of new monarchs.
But I want to tie in the changes I've watched in the butterfly world to what's going on in our industry. I found myself thinking about the way the pandemic has had an impact on all of our lives. I've found myself just in much awe of people working hard to rebuild business lost over the previous year, as I am of photographers caught in analysis paralysis.
In a way, we've all become caterpillars, working to evolve into something different, and it's not without risks. Plus, everyone has to rebuild at their own pace, some taking longer than others to develop a game plan.
Growth only occurs outside your comfort zone. Now more than ever, it's time to reinvent yourself, starting with your outlook on the future. You can't develop that outlook and plan without kicking back and daydreaming a little - thinking about what you want your voice to represent.
You and you alone are the only person who can live the life that writes the story that you were meant to tell. And the world needs your story because the world needs your voice.
Wishing everybody a day filled with family, time to think about the future, and a little relaxation so that on Monday morning you hit the ground running - ready to keep rebuilding, take a few risks and shoot for the moon!
Happy Sunday or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
I published a post about my headshot in 2013, but today's throwback goes deeper than this portrait. We all have our heroes in the industry and Gregory Heisler is one of mine.
One of the highlights of my career was spending three weeks with Gregory when we were both asked to do portfolio reviews at Hallmark Institute. Sadly, Hallmark closed many years ago, but that doesn't change the value of the throwback memories when it comes to looking in the rearview mirror.
For three weeks in 2009, three judges reviewed the portfolios of the graduating students in front of a live audience. It was one of those projects I describe as "the most fun I don't want to ever do again!" Reviews often took up to an hour, as each image in every student's portfolio received a full critique from three different judges.
On our way out to dinner one night, it just happened to be my birthday. The headshot to the right was done by Gregory, who simply said, "Come on, we've got to do a fast headshot of you for your birthday!" There's no way I was going to pass up my headshot by Gregory Heisler!
He set it up with a vertical softbox about a foot from the left side of my face. His Hasselblad was set up about 18-20 inches in front of me. He shot wide open and had an assistant hold in an opaque card between the softbox and camera to keep the flair off the lens.
Here's the funny sidebar - my daughter was a photo student then and asked how the shot was set up. I gave her all the information, and she called me a few days later. "Dad, I'm trying to create a similar image, and I keep frying my subjects!" Oops, I forgot to tell her Gregory only used the modeling light and never turned on the strobes!
Gregory Heisler is one of the finest photographers in our industry. Back then, he had already photographed at least 75 covers for Time Magazine. Although we've lost touch over the years, nothing changes my respect for his work, and hanging out with him for three weeks is a definite highlight of my life in imaging.
In 2013 Profoto included a video interview with Gregory as part of their Master Series. While many of the videos are no longer available, I wanted to share this one to help you meet one of the finest photographers in the world. And while it may have been recorded eight years ago, his insight is timeless, just like his work!
Intro by Skip Cohen
I've shared this post several times over the years, and always at this time of year. It's one of my favorite guest posts by my good buddy Scott Bourne. This year after dealing with the pandemic and ALL of us graduating back into a bit of normalcy over the last month, Scott's words are even more appropriate.
His original target with the post was the new artist just coming into the business after graduation, but take a second and think about his advice. We've all experienced some level of hitting the "hold" button over the last year. His advice is the perfect reminder of the things we need to do like marketing, business, technology, and social media to get back into full swing.
We're all never-ending students! And, to Scott's point about relationships - Relationship building is your most valuable marketing tool!
by Scott Bourne
Commencements are coming up all over the country in the next couple months. As someone with gray hair, I can’t help but have a very different perspective on photography than someone of college age. I am often asked what advice I’d give someone just breaking into professional photography. The usual response goes something like this…
“Be prepared for lots of hard work – sales and marketing should dominate your day – show the work every chance you get – network like crazy – shoot what you love – repeat.”
But while that’s all good advice, there’s more I would say if I were speaking at a commencement.
I’d talk about understanding the high degree of importance graduates should place in each and every relationship they engage in during their career. Whether it’s the mailman or the recent client, these relationships are really all that matters. I didn’t know this when I was young and it hurt me…both personally and professionally.
So obsess over gear and f/stops if you must, but if you really want to succeed, pay attention to the people in your professional life. Build solid, long-term relationships with them. Care about them. Help them. Put them and their interests ahead of your own. You never know where that will lead. You might be dealing with that person 30 years later. They’ll remember how you valued (or didn’t) the relationship when you were young. And so will you.
If Scott isn't already on your radar, check out his blog; his website and follow him on Facebook. Plus, check out his field workshop and portfolio reviews.
Intro by Chamira Young
As the economy and world slowly opens up post pandemic, it's important to foster your creativity as an artist. That's why we're excited to share a healthy dose of inspiration that will take you across the globe!
Today we're proud to feature photographer Shawn Ogulu as he traverses the South African terrain using the Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8 Di III-A RXD lens for Sony E Mount. This video is truly an adventure as Shawn travels by both foot and kayak to capture breathtaking images from dynamic vantage points. With a flair for the cinematic, you get a taste for this photographer's creativity as well as what this great lens can do.
This ultra wide-angle lens is perfect for both regular use and travel photography because it's light weight and compact. It will truly help you bring your vision to life while maximizing your enjoyment as a photographer. We love the great content the Tamron team constantly brings to the industry. Check out the video below!
by Skip Cohen
So often, the fun of this industry is hanging out with an old friend, even in cyberspace. Gary Pageau and I met in his early days at PMA, and today he's got a great podcast with The Dead Pixels Society. While most of the podcast is about my journey in an industry I love dearly, if you pay attention, Gary and I talked a lot about the changing industry and the trends in education for imaging artists.
A BIG thanks to Gary for having me on the podcast, but more importantly, the thanks goes to all of you, my readers and followers. It's been a wild ride and never a dull moment, but I can't help but feel, as we come out of the pandemic, the best is yet to come.
by Skip Cohen
I always start my Memorial Day post the same way - with a reminder of what the day was initially meant to be, this year from the History site:
Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2021 will occur on Monday, May 31.
Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.
Historically, the day started to honor those who died serving the U.S. Military, but for so many of us, it's become a day to honor those who have served and are still serving. For me, it's also a day to honor those families with members who currently serve and the sacrifices they make every day in support of our country.
In 2014 I took my Dad on HonorFlight. They're a fantastic organization bringing together military veterans and showing appreciation for their service. The image above is of our son Brian, who's military, and joined my Dad and me in Washington for the tour. They're reflected in the Vietnam Memorial. Dad couldn't walk very far on his own and finally gave in to a wheelchair. ( I know I've shared the image before, but it's one of my favorites.)
2020 was a tough year for HonorFlight, and as the challenges of the pandemic subside, they'll come back. In the meantime, check out these stats:
So, to our son Brian who's currently serving, my Dad, Uncle Randy, all my friends who have served and to all the families of members of our military now - thank you for your service!
And from the HonorFlight archives:
"If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can read this in English, thank a veteran."
by Skip Cohen
Ironically, through the year of the pandemic, most of us recognized we suddenly had time on our hands. Business for many came to a standstill for at least the first 60-90 days; then things started to change - everyone's focus became a little more precise with a wide depth of field, blurry in the background. You used the time to expand your skill set, think about your business, and strategize, and many of you worked hard in social media to build new relationships. It was also depressing, frustrating and confusing!
Like many of you, I found I was more in touch with friends and associates because I had the time to track them down. Facebook and LinkedIn became indispensable tools for relationship building and growth. And the phone came back into play for live conversations along with Facetime, Skype and Zoom.
Well, as we enter the first month of the wonder of post-pandemic life, there are too many of you jumping the gun and looking for life to get back to normal with the flip of a switch. I don't know if this is the right way to look at it or not, but I'm savoring every new day like a fine wine. I'm sipping it slowly and genuinely appreciating everything I missed over the last year.
Melody Beattie started me on this kick this morning:
The seeds of change grow gently, sometimes almost imperceptibly.
Birth takes time. Transformation takes time.
Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and we've got neighbors coming over for a very traditional afternoon of burgers, dogs, brats, and Sheila's famous macaroni salad. Throw in a few beers and wine, and it's going to be a perfect day to kick back and laugh. And trust me, I'll savor every moment.
So, if you're the kind of person who's rushing to get everything back to normal, appreciate the "baby steps" and take it one day at a time. Business is coming back; there's a greater sense of family and friendship in the world, and we've all been through the most brutal year we'll hopefully ever face in our lifetimes!
Wishing everybody a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and time with friends and family who you appreciate the most. I know it sounds sappy and hokey, but we honestly are all going through a rebirth - so enjoy each step of the way. And as always - those eleven-second therapeutic hugs are back with a vengeance.
According to Mindbodygreen.com, hugging therapy is definitely a powerful way of healing. Research shows that hugging (along with laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and stress. Here's the link if you want to read more.
Happy Sunday everybody...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
by Skip Cohen
It's the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, and I apologize for the lack of focus in today's post. It's a collection of thoughts, each a ways away from my typical shares on business and marketing.
Recently good friends, Sheila and Joe Elario, lost their beloved dog, Ella. They've shared their grief on Facebook, which is one of the great things about social media. Reading everybody's comments, there isn't anyone who's ever lost a pet who can't identify with their pain and sadness. In fact, all of you helped me with your thoughts when I lost Molly the Wonder Dog in 2019.
At the time I was going through the pain, my roommate from college told me what they'd done each time over the years when they lost a pet - they planted a tree along with the pet's ashes. We didn't have room for a tree, but after two years of Molly's ashes sitting on a shelf in my office, I decided it was time to create something more lasting.
Roses are hard to grow in Florida, but I've always loved them. So, I created Molly's Garden. Mixing her ashes with the soil, I planted three rose bushes in the front of the house. And yesterday, as if cued in time for my birthday, the first one bloomed. So, Molly's first rose is the perfect reminder of a pup that was by my side every day for thirteen years!
And speaking of my birthday - thank you so much for all the good wishes on Facebook, LinkedIn, in emails, and phone calls. I'm not sure if my birthday fund-raiser was set up the right way, but here's another thank you for helping me make the goal. It's got a few days left yet, and if I exceed the goal for my selected non-profit, the Senior Friendship Centers, it'll be even better.
Last but not least, I know a lot of you are going to start the weekend celebration early. Wishing you all a terrific holiday weekend. Be safe, careful and stay healthy! And again, thank you for all your support, feedback, and encouragement. We really do get by with a lot of help from our friends!
by Skip Cohen
Well, when your birthday lands on Throwback Thursday, there's only one series of photographs to share - baby shots! And while they're almost as old as I am, at least they're proof that Matthew Brady didn't capture any of them. (That's for Scott Bourne's benefit, who's regularly suggested I was there in those early days of photography!)
That's my folks and me almost at the beginning! Plus, since Facebook threw me out years ago, suggesting my real name wasn't "Skip," it's a great time to reshare my birth announcement.
I was "Skippy" right out of the womb and shared my birth announcement in a blog post to Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team back in 2016. At the time, they were challenging people with nicknames, and I got caught in the crossfire. Fortunately, a long list of friends came out to help, and by the end of the day, I'd been reinstated!
Meanwhile, since today's my birthday, I decided to do a fundraiser, which didn't seem to post right, but regardless I'm almost at my initial goal. It's a link to the Senior Friendship Centers here in Sarasota, and I wrote:
I figured I'd tie in my birthday this year with my favorite nonprofit. I'm raising money for Senior Friendship Centers. I know this is a very local nonprofit, but they do so much for the community, and every little bit helps.
My Dad and I started attending the Caregiver Support Group each week in 2012 when we were dealing with my Mom's Alzheimers. The Friendship Centers saved our sanity and especially helped Dad.
So, whether it's $5 or more, every little bit helps because it's a pretty amazing organization. Just click here to check out my FB Fundraiser page if you'd like to donate.
And to so many of you who have wished me Happy Birthday today - Thanks so much! There's a point in your life where birthdays are just another day in the week, but after the last year, this one's pretty special, and it's going to be a great day with Sheila and the pups!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
Images copyright Taylor Brumfield. All rights reserved.
If you love your work, you'll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can,
and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you - like a fever.
by Skip Cohen
One of the unique things about the last year with the pandemic is that we all went through it. We all learned to "hunker down," an expression I never used before 2020. We were all dealing with a level of controlled isolation and social distancing, and a lot of us learned to "pivot." There's another word that was only in my vocabulary when talking about basketball.
Chef Taylor Brumfield, while hunkered down, needed to expand her skillset and pivot into product photographer, which included a touch of animation to many of her images. But here's a fun part of Taylor's backstory - she learned to pivot long before the pandemic. She expanded her teaching skills with her retouching classes just after becoming a new Mom and needing to be home with her daughter. And her husband is in the Navy, and she's had to pivot each time they've moved over the years because of relocation.
As a Tamron Image Master, Chef Taylor is shooting with a variety of Tamron lenses. We featured some of her images with the SP24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens in last week's post. Tamron's SP 90mm F2.8 Di VC USD Macro lens is another favorite, and we've included it in today's gallery. Just click on the banners below for more information about these remarkable pieces of glass!
Check out her website, galleries, and retouching schedule with a click on any of her images in this post. And if you're headed to IUSA in January, I'm sure Taylor will be involved at what promises to be an outstanding convention.
The pandemic didn't slow Taylor down from capturing and creating beautiful images, and Tamron never slowed down either. They're making some of the finest optics in imaging with the quality needed to help raise the bar on your images. Click on the banner below for their special savings program going on through July 4, 2021.
Things are easing up, and slowly, we're getting back to normal. So, it's time to get back out there and start rebuilding your business and make it even stronger than it was before the pandemic.
Images copyright Taylor Brumfield. All rights reserved.
Both images above captured with Tamron's SP 90mm F2.8 Di VC USD Macro lens
by Skip Cohen
It's a typical Sunday morning, and like every day of the week, one of the first things that happen is that one of us picks the music to play. We've got one Alexa tower and four of the "hockey pucks," all playing throughout the day through various sound systems. From music by "Back to Earth" to Chris Stapleton, Jack Johnson, and even the Boston Pops, the house is always filled with music. But lately, Alexa hasn't been listening to any of the commands, especially when we want her to stop, pause or change stations. She seems to have a mind of her own.
Well, it got me thinking about how many times a week I fight with a robot. This past week I fought with robots at Amazon, FedEx, Frontier Communications, and American Express. Even the telemarketing calls, most often from law enforcement fund-raisers, start with a pre-recorded message, often so real I start out thinking it's a live body I'm about to turn down.
For those of you old enough to remember, or just film aficionados, we're now living with the Hal 9000 from "2001, A Space Odyssey." This morning, no matter what I told Alexa, she wouldn't stop playing. And when I asked her why, she responded, "I don't know that one."
Ever notice how good it makes you feel when you finally get through all the prompts in corporate America and talk to a live body? I used to be grateful if they spoke English, but as more companies move Customer Service offshore, I'm now happy if I get around the robot and technology.
I've got no answers to solving the problems of communication in the world or my frustrations. I just wanted to point out how much we've given up to pre-recorded messages, single-button defaults, and logic when talking to the robots. However, I have discovered that no matter how much they take over the gateways to communications, there's still a certain satisfaction to using the F-bomb!
Wishing all of you a day of minimal frustrations and time to enjoy everyone in your life with an actual heartbeat. We're on the backside of the pandemic in most areas - so get back to those eleven-second therapeutic hugs. Take the time to cherish being alive, with people you love, and talking with friends whose only programming has been what's happened in their lives, especially when you were there.
Here's one to try on Monday morning, if you've got Alexa: "Alexa, skip to Friday!"
Happy Sunday...or Monday, if you're on the other side of the world.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.