Intro by Skip Cohen
This series got started when my pal, Mark Toal, sent me an email saying he was taking off for a week and playing with photography, as opposed to his usual role at Panasonic with a camera in his hands. He asked if I'd be willing to run a new piece each day, and I jumped at the chance!
The pandemic has changed all of our lives, especially when it comes to keeping in touch with family and friends. Like many of you, Sheila and I have a regular Skype call with our kids, usually on Sunday afternoon, but they're adults.
I love this piece Mark's sharing today, along with his YouTube channel just for his granddaughters! Somehow, the "Hoboken Chicken Emergency" seems perfect for the challenges we're all facing these days! Besides, we've binge-watched every series on Netflix and Amazon we can find - time for the Mark Toal storybook channel!
by Mark Toal
When the shutdown for the Covid-19 virus first started the first thing that occurred to me is that I wasn’t going to see my granddaughters for a while. I could make do with less toilet paper and flour and trips to Costco, but not seeing Hadley and Eliza for weeks was too hard to think about.
We were able to FaceTime, but it just wasn’t enough, so I had the idea to read them books on video and upload them to YouTube. This might give them something to remember during this period with Papa Mark.
I’ve wanted to learn to be more comfortable on video and this seemed like a good way to practice and only have a 5 and 7-year old see it.
Because I’m a photographer it gave me the justification to buy the new wooden tripod that you can see in the photo of my simple video set-up. I also used my Lumix G9 with the Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 lens and a Rode microphone.
Because I’m shooting these in my dining room, I set the camera to aperture priority in the custom video mode and choose f/2.8. This way the cluttered background would be out of focus. I used face detection to stay focused on my eyes and shot in 1080P to keep the file sizes smaller. I decided to keep in as simple as possible and just use window light.
Click on the title to see me reading The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater.
Mark's using the LUMIX G9 and LUMIX 12-35mm f2.8 lens. Just click on the thumbnails below for more information.
by Skip Cohen
Like most of you, I'm tired of dealing with the pandemic. It's the topic everywhere. Even commercials on TV have changed to a social distancing theme. One company after another wants to assure us we're all in this together...but the reality not everybody is!
All of us as an industry might be in it together, but the number of stupid people on the planet seems to be growing. I had some fun this morning and Googled "stupid things done during the pandemic." I found a treasure chest of gems at buzzfeed.com.
They shared 19 stupid things people have done or said. Here are two more of my favorites:
I'm putting a few of my favorites below:
With Father's Day and graduation still in the timeline, there are so many opportunities to start getting back a small piece of your business as a photographer. There's no question it won't be easy, and business has changed, but many of you just need an encouraging first step to getting back on track...and this is where we are, all in it together.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Mark Toal is back today with a great approach to thinking about which of his cameras is his favorite - a grandchild simply asked the question. While Mark works for Panasonic and has an extensive collection of cameras to choose from, I felt really good knowing that his favorite one was mine.
But let's take his question a step further. Very few of you work for a camera company, but you have closets full of gear. As your skill set has grown, so has your selection of cameras and lenses. Think about your favorite camera over the years - not the one you may have used to build your business, but the one you pick up when you're shooting for your own enjoyment. What's the one camera you'll take on the first family vacation after the pandemic is over.
The FZ1000 is pretty remarkable, but there's another fun benefit. I remember Ann Montieth, educator, author, and past president of PPA telling me about having her camera with her at a concert. She was stopped by security and told professional cameras (any camera with an interchangeable lens) weren't allowed. When they saw it was a fixed lens, she went back into the amateur category. LOL
One more thing to think about - since I'm on the topic of gear. Most of you have spent some of your downtime cleaning out closets. There isn't a school on the planet that has everything they need, especially when it comes to support for the arts. Now is a perfect time to take some of those older cameras, lenses, and lights and make a donation to your local high school. You just might be helping one of today's kids become the next famous artist!
Click on either thumbnail below for more information about the FZ1000 - then visit your LUMIX dealer! You won't be disappointed. And check out more of Mark's work by stopping by his website and blogs. As a member of the LUMIX team at Panasonic, you'll always find helpful and interesting content.
by Mark Toal
Since I work for Panasonic, I have a lot of cameras and two granddaughters to photograph? After seeing me use a dozen or more different models over the years the 4-year old asked me what’s my favorite camera?
Before I could answer she asked me what my favorite color is, but it got me thinking about different cameras. Last week on a YouTube video I heard somebody ask a guest what camera would you grab if could only have one?
I’m a camera snob and tech nerd so I wanted to have a great answer ready about the particular body and lens combination with the best sharpness, bokeh, high ISO, fast burst rate, etc. Boring, right? Then I thought about the camera that I always have in the car, the Lumix FZ1000, a bridge camera. I know you’re thinking this is a point and shoot camera with a 1” sensor. How can it be your only camera?
I’ve loved his camera since the first time that I took it to a street festival here in Portland a few years ago. I’m going to let the images speak for themselves. The 25-400mm f/2.8-4 lens is very sharp and perfect for a situation where you need to be a proper social distance from your subject as you can see in the photo of my nephew, Jules, at 150-400mm the bokeh is beautiful.
Since then I’ve used it for portraits, street photography, cowboy photos and a wedding, and my clients never knew that I wasn’t using a “real camera”. The FZ1000 is perfect for these strange times when you don’t know what you may find to photograph.
Images copyright Mark Toal. All rights reserved.
Images copyright Erik Valind. All rights reserved.
In the world of business,
the people who are most successful
are those who are doing what they love.
by Skip Cohen
It was probably around 2013 I met Erik Valind online as one of Tamron's Image Masters. Later he did an SCU guest post on portraiture, and since then, I've caught up to him at various industry events and featured several of his images in Tamron Tuesday posts. But through all this time, we never have found time for a real conversation until this podcast.
Regardless of how we've caught up to each other over the years, phone, in person or in cyberspace, I've never seen Erik anything but passionate about imaging. He loves the craft. So, when I started looking for a quote to lead off his two-part recipe series, it wasn't hard to find the appropriate one.
In this new podcast, Erik shares a lot of powerful insight into his passion for photography. I especially love the image he shared for his original recipe last week. It's so far from the kind of work he's best known for. It's a six-minute exposure of the NYC skyline. Just click on the thumbnail to the right to read more about it.
We chose to play off of reality food shows for Tamron Recipes because each artist does work like a fine chef. The image Erik wanted to share, is a perfect example of what makes him a great "chef," his ability to experiment. He's recognized primarily for his people, portrait, and lifestyle work, but put a camera in his hands while out and about for his own enjoyment, and anything can happen!
I hope you'll take the time to listen to the whole podcast. Erik shares a lot of valuable insight, especially into how he's finding business during the pandemic. He also shares the backstory on the image above and why he was so excited to be out with Tamron's 17-35mm F2.8-4 lens. See more of Erik's work with a click on any of his images below.
The pandemic has made this one of the most difficult times in history for professional photographers, or for that matter any small-business owner. All of us are finding ways to adapt to life under quarantine, but that hasn't slowed down the team at Tamron. Check out Tamron's programs for rebates, online education, and even some great contests to share your work.
Images copyright Erik Valind. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Mark Toal is no stranger to the SCU blog. We've shared a lot of posts from him, always well-seasoned with creativity and great images. Well, he's off of work this week and for the next five days he's sharing things he's doing in photography to help maintain his sanity!
Welcome to the first edition of "Mark's Corner."
The whole world is shut down and I decided to take a week off from work. Actually, I thought this was the week everything would open up again after being shut down for the past couple of months. I emailed Skip and suggested that I write a blog post everyday about how photography is keeping me sane during this time.
Photography has always been my therapy in hard times from when I was a shy kid who used a camera to feel like I had a reason to be in a social situation. Luckily, I’ve been hauling all of those old black and white negatives around for decades. Scanning them on these long nights has saved me from total boredom.
I wrote a blog here a couple of weeks ago about using my iPhone to scan old negatives. That works great for Facebook and Instagram, but it’s pretty low resolution. I didn’t want to invest in a new dedicated scanner, so I decided to try using my Lumix S1R with a Sigma 105mm Macro lens to photograph the negatives.
As you can see in the photo, I place the negative on a light table, put the S1R on a tripod pointed down and take a photo of the negative. You can do this with any digital camera as long as it has a macro lens. If you’re reading Skip’s blogs, you probably have a camera and tripod, so you just need an inexpensive light table.
Once the negatives file is in the computer, I open it in Photoshop, invert it to a positive image, adjust the contrast and clone out any dust spots.
The photo of my high school friend, Walter, was shot 120 Tri-X pan film and is now a 47-megapixel file ready to be printed.
Check out more of Mark's work by stopping by his website and blogs. As a member of the LUMIX team at Panasonic, you'll find a lot of solid content on making the most of LUMIX cameras. Follow the LUMIX Ambassador team too. The group is one of the most diverse and creative teams in photography, and all the ambassadors should be on your radar. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how much great content they're sharing all the time.
Mark's using the new LUMIX full-frame S1R. More information is just a click away on the banner below.
by Skip Cohen
This is my third attempt today at writing Sunday Morning Reflections. The challenge I'm having is what to write about without sounding like a curmudgeon. Like most of you, I'm tired of the loss of freedom due to the pandemic. But, more frustrating is the way the media reports it, and the political spin they put on what we're all going through.
Sheila and I now watch the news selectively. We're watching movies and binge-watching one series after another. We're spending a lot of time with each other and the pups. The two most intense and unique times of the day are deciding what we're having for dinner, and putting together an updated list for a weekly trip to the market.
For me, creativity is a challenge - not because I've lost it, but because I'm feeling overwhelmed about where to start. I'm caught in analysis paralysis. The result is procrastination, a shorter than normal fuse, and time looking out the window!
After all that, the truth is we really are all in this together. What I'm feeling, Sheila's feeling, we're all feeling. But then I snap out of it. I do the same thing every day - at some point, my energy moves to the more positive side of the scale, and I count my blessings. We're healthy, we've got friends who we can catch up to online and our phone works - no texting just real calls. And we've even got toilet paper!
And that brings me to my real point:
"Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before,
how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way,
and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever."
Wishing everybody a day filled with keeping things in perspective. It's okay to feel frustrated, angry, and confused, but this is where you also have to remember you're not alone. WE'RE ALL FEELING IT! We will get through us, but because of our own resolve and common sense. And if you're missing those long therapeutic hugs, pick up a phone and call an old buddy. I can promise you; it'll bring a smile to your face and maybe even lift up your heart just a little.
Stay safe and healthy.
by Skip Cohen
It's Throwback Thursday, and as I wandered through my files this morning, I realized I had never shared the image above from my buddy "Three Buffet Brian." Brian was in Japan in 2011, just after the Tsunami hit. He shared the backstory below. Click on the image to view in the SCU Lightbox. It's a pretty remarkable shot.
Visit his website to see more of Brian's work.
by Brian David Casey
I photographed a wedding in the state of Washington in 2010 and the groom emailed me months later asking if I would be interested in photographing for him in Japan. It would be for a couple of private schools and an English language program. I said yes because it would be my first international photo shoot and it was in a country I really enjoyed visiting when I was younger.
Little did I know that there would be one of the biggest earthquakes and tsunamis ever to hit Japan just weeks before I would leave on my photo shoot. The Sendai airport I was flying into was on YouTube just weeks before. I left with a video showing the ground at the airport underwater from the tsunami. I was amazed at how quickly they were able to get some things going again. Although a number of restaurants were still shutdown around Sendai when I arrived, I was still able to do all the photography they needed.
When the weekend came, I had friends take me to the tsunami sites to witness the aftermath. One place we visited that really stands out to me was Kesennuma. It was one of the hardest hit towns (see photo above with the large ship in it) I had witnessed.
What surprised me in my observations of the tsunami aftermath was the height the water had reached at its peak. Some areas had a run-up height of over 100 feet. Also, it was unreal to see some homes untouched while their neighbor across the street had their home swept away.
I have another assignment in Sendai in May. What may prevent me from going this time is not another tsunami but rather the coronavirus.
I hope I get to return to such an amazing country that has the best hospitality, incredible food, friendly people, beautiful scenery, and a land full of new beginnings.
But that's only one part of today's throwback. Brian and I met when he attended Skip's Summer School in 2009, or 2010. When I left Rangefinder/WPPI in 2009 we did an intense summer program each year in Las Vegas and later in Chicago through 2013.
Brian was the first person I'd ever met to eat three meals one day at all three of the hotel's buffets. He's also one of those people we all hate, because of minimal body fat and his ability to eat just about anything. Well, the nickname "Three Buffet Brian" caught on.
But the nickname wasn't the only thing that caught on. Social media has given us the ability to stay in touch, and over the years, the friendship also caught on.
Before the pandemic, Brian and his wife, Fawn, were here in Florida a few months ago. We went out for breakfast, which seemed like such an easy natural thing to do. Now, it feels like it was years ago. Life has changed so much because of the coronavirus.
And that's a part of what makes Throwback Thursdays so special for me. Photographs help me stay focused on the importance of great friendship and photography's contribution to the world. It's also like the light at the end of a long tunnel with a never-ending dream of this nightmare ending and life getting back to some level of normalcy.
We'll get through this together!
Wishing everybody a terrific Throwback Thursday - take the time and turn the clock back to a memory that makes you smile!
Intro by Skip Cohen
Just a few minutes ago I opened an email from one of my favorite people, and an artist I so admire, Jen Rozenbaum. It was called, "A Heartfelt Hug (long distance)."As a subscriber I get everything she sends out, but this email is special as was her sincerity behind it. I'm sharing Jen's email message to all of you, with a very simple, "What she said..."
I decided when I woke this morning that the first thing on my to-do list was to email you. Why? Because it's been a while.
I have good reasons why it's been a while. First, since this pandemic started, I have been swamped with emails, have you? Besides the normal work stuff, my kids schools send a ridiculous amount of emails. It also seems I need a corona update from every single company I have ever bought something from.
I didn't want to be just another stupid email sitting in your inbox. Not to mention, I wasn't really sure what to say! I mean how do you get your feelings across in this crazy time? I thought and thought about it. One word kept coming to mind.
It's what I have based my life and work on. Being open, honest, raw and brave. Today is no different.
I can hop on an email and tell you that I'm killing it home schooling and that I perfected the banana bread recipe that my mom handed down to me. Instead here is the real truth.
As we (in NY) move into our third month of stay at home orders with no end in sight, I am a plethora of emotions. Some days I am terrified. Scared of losing my business. Scared that I am messing up my kids with too much screen time. Scared I will lose energy and momentum in doing the things I love. Scared of my loved ones falling ill or worse.
Other days I feel a sense of peace. I feel the world is right where it should be right now. I feel connected to my family. I have found alternative creative outlets that keep my mind sane. I thank the universe for the struggle because I know that struggle cultivates creativity and strength.
Days like today, I feel grateful. I feel grateful for my health. I feel grateful that you are reading this email. I feel grateful that I trust in myself that no matter what happens, I will figure it out as I always have.
I have been working on some new projects I can't wait to tell you about when it's time. For today, I have nothing to sell. No discount codes. No teaching updates. Just a heartfelt long distance hug and reassurance that we are all in this together.
With love and light,
Image copyright Erik Valind. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
It's our 17th episode in this series, and with each new "Chef," we're gaining more insight into not only their journey but expanding our own thoughts on creativity, technique and passion. When we started the series, the idea was simply to have some fun and introduce you to the movers and shakers in photography. What we've actually built is an extension of everyone's imaging family.
New York and Florida based Erik Valind joins us this month. He's no stranger to SCU, where we've featured a wide variety of his work. But his skill set is only part of the fun of knowing him. The only thing more impressive than his style is his love for the industry and the craft.
Erik used Tamron's 17-35mm F/2.8-4 Di OSD lens. It's one of his favorites:
"Here's a fun lens that we can talk about. I was really excited when it came out because finally I have an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens that is also easy to use filters with! No more expensive, bulky, fragile giant filter holders required, this lens has front filter threads built in. Plus its lightweight too, which is wonderful on long hikes."
For each new Chef, I've gone off in search of a quote that seems to fit their personality. It wasn't hard to find one for Erik. This is an artist who totally loves what he's doing.
In the world of business,
the people who are most successful
are those who are doing what they love.
About "Chef" Erik: We've featured a lot of Erik's work over the years, and even a short podcast here and there. However, even when we've bumped into each other at various conventions, there's never time for a very long conversation. So, we're just as excited about getting quality time with him in next week's podcast as we are in you getting to know at an artist who needs to be on your radar.
One trip to his website, and you'll start to understand how much Erik loves the craft. A short section on his about page says it all:
“I’m a Communicator... Freelance Photographer, Author & Educator. I was born on the beaches of Treasure Island. I like how it sounds storybook when I tell people that. Since then I’ve been blessed with what I call a semi-charmed life, and everything has been inspiration along the way. Now I get to create for a living. I leap at the opportunities to travel the country, to meet interesting people and to make great photographs of my journey.
There’s a tangible energy in my actions, and that energy is born from those around me. I love to teach and am always eager to learn. I claim to control light, but in reality light lends itself to us, and we just look good in it. Lets enjoy it together.”
About the Image: The image we chose for this month's feature is a six-minute exposure of the NYC skyline. Erik wanted a particular feel to the image and shared one of the main ingredients:
"For this particular photo I leveraged both of the lenses strengths (wide angle + filters) by shooting at 17mm and attaching a 15-Stop Neutral Density Filter. The combination allowed me to capture the entire NYC skyline, while blurring the busy water traffic to smooth glass, and transforming the rather unimpressive sunset into a more spectacular streaking light show of sun-rays."
Click on Erik's image to enlarge and view in the SCU Lightbox. Then visit his website and follow his event schedule too! He's one of the most approachable photographers in the industry.
There's a reason why there's always a crowd around the Tamron booth at every trade show. They've become one of the industry's most favorite suppliers. It's not just the quality of their lenses, but the spirit of the Tamron team and the staff.
Travel for all of us is limited now, but you can count on the Tamron team being back on the road when the crisis is over. However, their website is loaded with outstanding content as well as their YouTube channel. Now's a great time to catch up on your reading and video content - all focused on helping you raise the bar on your skill set as an artist.
Check out Tamron's NEW rebate program on several outstanding lenses. This might be just the right time for you to expand your gear, and then take full advantage of the downtime, and build your portfolio with more great images.
Click on the banner below to find out more about this new program.
by Skip Cohen
I've written a lot about the challenges for kids in the Class of 2020. Turn the clock back to your own high school graduation and think about the excitement in the air. Another chapter in your life was coming to a close, and friends, who many of you had known your entire life to that point, were also moving. It was a time of celebration.
Now fast forward to the challenges created by the pandemic, today. *POOF* Instead of celebrating, it's been a time of anxiety and loss. Moments today's seniors have looked forward to for many years became a giant question mark! But here's a small compromise solution to lessen the sting just a little.
It all starts with Todd White, his background and his skill set as a professional photographer. He specializes in fashion, commercial and portrait videography and photography. He partnered with the Project Graduation team from Georgetown High School to capture these kids' senior prom looks from their front porch.
Shooting both a vertical and horizontal image for those seniors involved in the program, Todd made sure they all had a memory-maker photograph of prom-time. Did the porch-traits replace prom? Of course not, but think about the impact Todd's having on his community as part of Project Graduation.
Todd White needs to be on your radar. His client list includes Facebook, Pinterest, The Alamo, Neiman Marcus, and various fashion designers. His commercial work has been published in Vogue, British Vogue, Elle, People, the Wall Street Journal as well as other publications. He is an Emmy award-winning Producer and Videographer for the Daytripper TV show on PBS and an instructor at Precision Camera and Video in Austin, TX.
He's also a LUMIX Ambassador. Check out Todd's website, along with the LUMIX Ambassador team. This group is one of the most diverse and creative teams in photo, and all the ambassadors should be on your radar. Check out the LUMIX Photographers Facebook page too - there are always great conversations and imaging being shared.
Todd captured his prom porch-traits with Panasonic's LUMIX S1R and the LUMIX S PRO 50mm lens. Click on either thumbnail below for more information.
The pandemic has changed all of our lives and businesses, especially most professional photographers. But sheltering in place doesn't have to mean your business. There are still things you can do to continue to build relationships with your community and clients.
Mother's Day was yesterday, but graduation and Father's Day are still on the horizon. Don't let the seasonality slip entirely by when there are still creative ways to maintain a presence for your business.
by Skip Cohen
There's something very different that happens on Mother's Day when your Mom has passed away. For me, it's become less sad. It's not so much about missing her, but a time that's more of a tribute. I find myself running through memories like searching for a file on my computer. It's an odd but enjoyable process.
Alzheimer's started robbing us of my mother just a year or two before Bambi Cantrell captured the portrait above. After seven years, Mom lost the battle, but even near the end, she still had moments when everything came together. I remember getting over to hospice early one morning by myself, two days before she passed away. I walked in and said, "Hey Mom, you look great today!" Her response, "Why shouldn't I?"
Sheila and I are blessed living in Florida, and it's thanks to Mom; we're here. In October 2011, Sheila could take early retirement from her job, and I could go anywhere I had a computer. My Dad was 89 and needed help. So, for the first time since I graduated high school, I was able to live close to my folks. It's become one of the very best decisions I've ever made.
So, to my Mother...I miss you, Mom. We talk about you all the time. I think about you most often when I'm cooking, and over the years, Sheila's heard story after story of things I learned from you - even the tough lessons. And knowing how much you loved a view of the water, any water, you're in my heart any time we're near the ocean.
And to all of you Moms out there right now who inspire all of us, I can't say it better than Sarah Petty said it a few days ago in one of her Joy of Marketing emails:
This Mother’s Day is gonna be a little different…No dinner out. No trip to the spa. Life is freaking hard for moms right now.
Trying to keep the peace and harmony in a house where everyone is crammed together 24 hours a day is no small task. School from home + working from home + having to put on a HAZMAT suit to go to the grocery store is not exactly the formula for a low-stress life.
And let’s not forget cooking 3,549 dinners every week. I don’t understand how the math on that works, either, but it’s accurate, somehow.
Plus, you haven’t been able to go out and shoot, so that hits you in the ego, not just the pocketbook.
To all my moms out there … I see you - Trying to keep it all together. Trying to put on a brave face for your family.
“I’m ok. I’m just a little tired.”
I hear the waver in your voice. That crack that hints at the tears you’re hiding. Because you can’t keep your family safe from this crazy virus. Because you can’t keep the scale from inching up with the gym closed. Because you love your family to death but ohmygoodness you just want a day to yourself, and you feel guilty about it.
You may not get the extravagant Mother’s Day you deserve this year. Especially if money is tight. (I personally think you deserve a PARADE and a 10-day luxury cruise this year). But I want you to know I SEE YOU. I see how hard you’re working to keep everything together for your family. I see how hard you’re trying. I believe that you’re a superhero for all you do. Cape or no cape.
Head up, mama. You never know who you’re inspiring.
You are inspiring to me.
Wishing all of you a terrific day ahead. Send your Mom a virtual hug if she's outside your house and if she's with you right now, then go for one of those good old eleven-second hugs I used to write about.
One of the first things you learn in an Alzheimer's support group is that you're not alone in what you're feeling. Well, it's no different in a pandemic. We're all feeling the same anxiety and frustration, but we'll get through this together and for many of you, in part, it'll be thanks to your Mom.
Happy Mother's Day!
by Skip Cohen
Over the last few weeks, a lot of friends have sent me pictures of strange DIY pandemic outfits. Every one of them has made me laugh, and wondered what was going through their heads when they created their personal safety gear. Well, two hours ago I went out to do a fast, safe shopping. Headed into Ace Hardware next door was this guy.
We're talking serious DIY skills here and protection. First, he's got a mask on. Then, notice the construction of the plexi window - those are rivets or short bolts down either side. Then on the top is some kind of filter, and I'm assuming fan. Last but not least, the rubber gloves!
Best of all was that he got out of a stunning new white Cadillac SUV. Although, I didn't notice if he had the gear on while driving. My guess is that he's short on clearance with the vent pipe on the top.
The finishing touch, though, is the statement printed on the top.
"I am perfectly healthy & want to remain that way."
No, sir, I'm not sure you are. LOL
And there you have it - DIY at its very best and original - not some hand-me-down joke circulating the Internet. Osprey, Florida home of the 2020 Danger Will Robinson Play-offs!
If you've spotted any great DIY outfits wherever you are, feel free to share them here! But they have to be first-generation pass-along - meaning you have to have spotted them yourself.
You can find anything on YouTube...posted by WhiteWaterStu
By Skip Cohen
As I pulled together a few images for the composite above, I couldn't help but smile after yesterday's f64 Lunch Bunch get together. The chemistry between Tony Corbell and Bobbi Lane is remarkable and a tribute to the purest definition of friendship. Then throw in our hosts yesterday with Steve Brazill, Don Komarechka, and Chamira Young, and you've got all the ingredients for great programming.
Tony and I go back over thirty years to my Hasselblad days...and although Bobbi came into my life much later, the intensity of the friendship with both of them is something I cherish. Then add in friends like Steve, Don, and Chamira, and I might have had the most fun of anybody watching. It's the friendships that make this industry so remarkable!
If you couldn't join us yesterday, the video is below and well worth your time to watch. Great images from Bobbi and then Tony, combined with lots of good solid insight into understanding and seeing the light make this video one off our best lunches to date.
Plus, a couple of great links shared yesterday:
A BIG thanks to everyone who's been supporting these programs...and especially your feedback. We'll be back next Wednesday with another great program.
Who says there's no such thing as a FREE lunch?
“This is what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat,
everything was perfect.”
by Skip Cohen
It's Throwback Thursday, and once again, I chose not to dig back very far. I ran across this collage in a folder of PowerPoint slides. At the end of most presentations/workshops, I always comment about the best thing about this industry: The friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. This would typically be my last slide.
Looking at each of these photographs, I realized what I miss most: the freedom of being able to hug a friend.
I've shared Jody Picoult's quote so many times in other posts, but no other statement fits better at this time in history. It's our photographs and videos that capture those ordinary moments from the past that now have become iconic!
But while life is different for all of us today, nothing can change the love and respect I have for everyone above. And, as sappy as it sounds, it's the journey we're all still on together that makes each day unique, even when there's so much we used to take for granted!
Social distancing? We didn't need no stinkin' social distancing!*
Happy Throwback Thursday!
*If you don't get the reference, ask somebody over fifty.
by Skip Cohen
The fun of this industry, especially these days, is keeping in touch with people. Whether on the phone, email, virtual meetings, or in social media, it's wonderful catching up with friends.
Meet Michael Novo from Chicago. Michael and I met at Skip's Summer School many years ago. We've kept in touch, and he recently told me about the image above. Seeing a coyote running down Michigan Avenue with no cars, no people just hit me like a scene from a sci-fi movie. Throw an ape on horseback, and we'd have the making of another Planet of the Apes movie.
Michael's description of the scene pretty much says it all:
For those who know Chicago, I was on the north side, off of Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Ave, which seemed like a great place to start for my personal shoot. With so few cars coming by, I thought I'd wait around for a window of the street being totally empty. When the moment arrived, the silence and solitude was broken by a less familiar sound of something behind me.
What I initially thought to be a dog, turned out to be a coyote running by as I swiveled my head. Not exactly a sight I was prepared for and missed the opportunity of a head-on shot. So instead, did the best I could to focus and recompose after he passed by. It's certainly not technically the 'best' image I've ever created, but once I saw it as a large print, it made a lasting impression of being in the right place at the right time.
Check out more of Michael's work with a click on the image above to visit his website. Plus, Michael's involved in a lot of different projects, and you'll find more of his images on his Instagram page as well.
by Skip Cohen
For the first time in contemporary history, we're ALL in the same boat. While the limitations vary from state to state, we're all limited in what we can do. Direct social interaction is virtually non-existent, but we've still got cyberspace. And there are plenty of opportunities to interact and grow your skillset.
In the last week, Tamron launched a new series, "5 at 5." They're short videos to help you expand your skillset, but even better, each video is a different project. For years so many of us have talked about special projects to help you focus on your creativity and love for the craft when your regular work might be losing its glow.
It's Tamron Tuesday, and I pulled a favorite to share, Jillian Bell's piece, "Tips for Macro Photography." Jillian is part of Tamron's Tech Team. She does a terrific job sharing five project ideas for fine-tuning your macro skills, with or without macro gear.
And if you don't know Mike Moats, one of Tamron's Image Masters, I purposely chose his image of the keys above to kick off today's post. He's one of the most recognized macro/closeup photographers and educators in the industry. Just click on his image to visit his website, Tiny Landscapes, and make sure you check out his workshops.
Just because everybody is hunkered down, Doesn't mean Tamron's slowed down on giving back to the industry. From their website to their YouTube channel, they're sharing more helpful content every day. Plus, some great instant savings are going on right now to help you expand your gear and take advantage of spring seasonality for the Mom, Dad, or graduate in your life who are interested in photography!
Tamron's making some of the finest glass in photography! Isn't time you checked out what all the buzz was about?
Portrait images copyright Paul Mango. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
After seven weeks of being hunkered down, we're all getting a little stir-crazy. While the "experts" battle it out over whose crystal ball is more accurate, and when it's going to be safe to be out, LUMIX Ambassador Paul Mango is putting his skill set to outstanding use. He's helping to raise money for face shields for medical workers.
He's been posting "porch-traits" on his Facebook page, but while the idea is great, what he wrote was even better:
More "porch-traits” from yesterday ... great day for a visit to “friends” and make some wonderful images and preserve memories from a distance. All photos are being done for “donations” that I am passing along to a student and former Eagle Scout from my local town who is 3D printing face shields for medical workers. Over 1,000 shields have been printed and delivered to date.
All photos captured from a minimum of 15-20 feet away using the Panasonic LUMIX G9 and Leica 100-400mm and/or the Panasonic LUMIX G85 and Leica 50-200mm lens. Hope the rest of the Ambassador team is staying well (and same)... up to 40 days in the house for me and the days just keep flying by...
Spring seasonality in imaging isn't going to disappear because of the pandemic. In fact, it's made the need for making memories and finding special moments to capture even stronger.
Don't miss the opportunity to have an impact on your community and your target audience by staying home. You can still be an artist and maintain the safety guidelines of social distancing, and as Paul Mango's doing, give back. Check out Paul's Instagram page, along with the LUMIX Ambassador team. The group is one of the most diverse and creative teams in photo, and all the ambassadors should be on your radar. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how much great content they share. Check out the LUMIX Photographers Facebook page too - there are always great conversations and images being shared.
And, to check out the gear Paul's using, click on any of the four thumbnails below. I've been shooting with the LUMIX G9 for almost a year, and it's a remarkable camera! Panasonic's LUMIX tagline is "Changing Photography," and with every camera, in the LUMIX line, they've never strayed from giving artists the most creative tools available to capture outstanding images!
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and I couldn't be more off-track from photography but not from what so many of us are feeling. Life is out of balance. On any given day, I'm an emotional roller coaster. I find myself feeling angry with a short fuse for what seems to be no logical reason...ten minutes later, I'm smiling, hugging Sheila and playing with the pups.
For the most part, we've stopped watching the news, but we caught the idiots around the country, protesting their right to assemble on beaches and in various state capital buildings. Honestly, I don't get it - during the worst 48 hours for deaths and new cases since the pandemic began, different governors were arguing over whether or not to reopen their states!
So, my world has become very small - it's our home, Sheila, me and two pups. It all works, and I'm grateful for so many things I took for granted most of my life. We venture out to the market, CVS, and here and there to go for a ride. I'm grateful my career morphed into writing and online education, but I'm miserable in missing human contact, a few bro-hugs, handshakes, and face to face time with friends. At the same time, I found myself uncomfortable the other day talking to somebody who wasn't maintaining social distancing!
The challenge initially with sheltering in place was a lack of balance. Everything tilted to being home, and just the four of us...but now we're finding a balance between work and family time. I've mentioned Melody Beattie many times over the years. On Thursday, she had a short piece on balance, and it's perfect for sharing this morning:
The goal is balance. We need balance between work and play. We need balance between giving and receiving. We need balance in thought and feelings. We need balance in caring for our physical self and our spiritual self.
A balanced life has harmony between a professional life and a personal life. There may be times when we need to climb mountains at work. There may be times when we put extra energy into our relationships. But the overall picture needs to balance.
Just as a balanced nutritional diet takes into account the realm of our nutritional needs to stay healthy, a balanced life takes into account all our needs; our need for friends, work, love, family, play, private time, recover time, and spiritual time - time with God. If we get out of balance our inner voice will tell us. We need to listen.
And for those of you who feel God doesn't belong in a blog post, get over it. Feel free to substitute whatever you believe in. The point is to pay attention to your inner voice and don't stop believing in yourself.
For all of us, this is the toughest time we'll ever share/experience in our lifetimes. We can get through this, but it means to accept virtual hugs instead of the real thing, face time on a computer screen, and sharing recipes rather than a meal together. We're an industry with a tradition of working together and watching each other's backs. Rather than let the pandemic push us into withdrawal - it's time to step it up and become more outgoing, and Cyberspace gives us that opportunity.
Wishing everybody a day of peace, good health, and safety. Think about your life right now and if you're out of balance what's missing to get back on an even keel. There's an old African proverb: "Smooth seas don't make skilled sailors." Well, we've all been sailing through the perfect storm for two months, and when this is over, there's nothing we won't be able to accomplish.
by Skip Cohen
For most of us lately, every day is the same, and today is a good example. I rarely post on Saturdays, but something came up yesterday, and it's perfect for many of you during Downtime 2020.
Looking through my emails, I read the online newsletter from my high school, Riverside H.S. in Painesville, Ohio. One of the bullet points they shared was this one:
"Instead of the Prom: In past years, the alumni association has always donated some funds to help support the RHS prom. This year, the prom is uncertain. Instead, the association is donating those funds to a project to give each graduating senior a lawn sign to celebrate his or her graduation. The signs will be handed out to the seniors as they drive through a set- up that will pass out their cap and gown for graduation. This is still in the planning stages but certainly will help the graduating seniors celebrate their success in this unusual year."
That got me thinking about things we can all do to support not only the Class of 2020 but high schools across the country. There isn't a school in America, even before the pandemic, that had all the funding they needed, especially for art programs, including photography. So, here are some ideas to consider:
I'll be the first to admit there's very little I've done in regards to my high school once I left Ohio so many years ago, but right now, the schools need our help. Even if you've got no connection to the community you grew up in, the one you live in now has the same needs for support.
Basketball season, spring sports, prom, graduation - all the programs that created memories for your high school days have been put on the back-burner. But you can help find ways to bring photography into the mix, and many of you have senior portraits captured long before the pandemic. Even Marathon Press has a special BOGO on grad cards.
You owe it to your community and your clients to get off the sidelines and support the schools and the Class of 2020. And if any of you are doing something special, let me know in the comment section below, and we'll add it to the list above.
We've postponed the f64 Lunch Bunch for a few weeks. There's so much going on in everybody's lives right now in terms of help and education. However, we're all still here to help and just an email away.
And if you missed the May 6 lunch with Bobbi Lane and Tony Corbell - it's pretty amazing. The video is just a click away.
ClickCon 2020 Circle the Dates!!
The pandemic may have moved the dates for 2020 to August 10-13, 2021, but that's NOT slowing Team ClickCon down. Stay tuned for new programs online with ClickCon Nation! It all starts on August 11th.
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.