Images copyright Mark Toal. All rights reserved.
It's Monday and "Mirrorless Mark" (Mark Toal) kicks off the day with his version of what looks like an M.C. Escher print. Besides being so abstract and leaving us wondering what it is, capturing the image in black and white and with the detail captured by the LUMIX S1 added to the impact!
We've shared a lot of Mark's travels here on the SCU blog because he's ALWAYS got a camera with him. I've written about living vicariously through his travels, but it's really about seeing the world through another artist's eyes. He's always sharing images that so many of us might have just walked by and missed.
All three images in today's post were captured with the new full-frame LUMIX S1 and the 24-105 mm lens. It's a remarkable camera. Panasonic NEVER strays from their tagline of "Changing Photography."
In the almost 200 year history of photography, artists have never had more creative tools to help capture and create the ultimate image. So many of these tools are thanks to Panasonic!
Mark's blogs are always packed with great images, along with ideas and tips to be a better photographer? As I always suggest, check out the LUMIX Ambassador Team. They're an incredibly diverse group of artists focused on helping you raise the bar on your skillset and the quality of your images.
If you're not following the LUMIX Photographers page on Facebook, you're missing an opportunity to keep tabs on some great work by talented artists, including members of the Ambassador Team. It's just a click away.
by Mark Toal
As part of my job with Panasonic I get to take photographers to the coolest places. I recently went with a group of photographers to the Georgetown Steam Plant in Seattle, Washington. This is a great historic building dating back more than a hundred years that generated steam until the 1970’s.
I decided to use the Lumix full fame S1 camera with the 24-105mm lens. I choose the S1 for its ability to shoot detailed images in low light. I shot with a monopod at smaller apertures like f/11 to get everything in focus. My ISO ranged from 1600 for the black and white image to 12,600 for the red door.
Image copyright Mark Toal. All rights reserved.
"Mirrorless Mark" (Mark Toal) is back and sharing two beautiful black and white images. He originally posted them on his Facebook page last, but they've got so much impact, I just felt they deserved to be seen by more photographers.
Mark's never without a camera, and over the last few years, I've often found myself living vicariously through both his travels and the way he sees the world around him. Every image has an impact at some level, but there's something about black and white and infrared that always leaves me wanting to look at more.
Click on either product above for more information
Both images were captured with an Infrared converted Lumix GX7 with the Lumix 7-14mm lens. Life Pixel converted them, and more information is available with a click on their banner to the right.
Check out Mark's blogs. He's always sharing great images along with ideas and tips to be a better photographer? You'll never be disappointed in the content he shares. And as I always suggest check out the LUMIX Ambassador team. They're an incredibly diverse group of artists focused on helping you raise the bar on your skill set and the quality of your images.
Image copyright Mark Toal. All rights reserved.
Images copyright Shiv Verma. All rights reserved.
It's Mirrorless Monday, and I started by wandering through cyberspace looking for a fireworks image when I came across the image above. It's from my good pal Shiv Verma and it simply had so much impact I knew immediately I wanted to share it in a post.
Shiv posted it in the LUMIX Photographers forum on Facebook but it so deserves to be shared elsewhere. Shiv was visiting a friend in Cape Poge, which is a semi-private island in New England off Chappaquiddick Island.
The Cape Poge lighthouse was photographed with the new Panasonic LUMIX S1R and the LUMIX 24-105 lens. It was captured at F/14, a 2-second exposure at ISO 100.
And leave to Shiv to also share a fireworks image with his "Happy 4th of July" wish to all of us. The image on the right was also captured with the S1R and the LUMIX 70-200 mm lens. It was captured at f/8, a 4-second exposure at ISO 640.
You can see more of Shiv's work with a click on either of his images in today's post. Shiv and the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team should be on your radar. They're just a click away! This is a pretty remarkable group of artists who are always sharing great content and helping thousands of photographers raise the bar on the quality of their images.
Click on any thumbnail above for more information about each piece of incredible gear!
Image copyright Mark Toal. All rights reserved.
"Mirrorless Mark" (Mark Toal) is back today with two stunning images. He was out and about in Las Vegas with the GX9 and the Leica 10-25mm lens. I love these short posts he shares because Mark is staying in tune with his surroundings and sharing his "adventures" during his never-ending travel, usually for business. If you've met Mark then you know photography runs through his veins and he's never without a camera.
Panasonic's tagline is "Changing Photography," and they've stayed true to that commitment with every LUMIX camera and lens they've introduced us to. Check out the GX9 and Leica lens with a click on either thumbnail below. And to see an even larger image, click on either one Mark's sharing today and view in the SCU Lightbox.
Looking for great images along with ideas and tips to be a better photographer? Check out Mark's blogs. You'll never be disappointed in the content he shares. And as I always suggest check out the LUMIX Ambassador team. They're an incredible group of artists and focused on helping you raise the bar on your skills set and the quality of your images.
by Mark Toal
Once in a while I’m lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. A while ago I was handed an early version of the new Panasonic Lecia 10-25mm f/1.7 lens and walked the Las Vegas strip with it. I’m a little biased since I work for Panasonic, so I’ll let the images speak for themselves. The camera body was a Lumix GX-9.
Yes, it is a little large, but to be able to shoot at 10mm, f/1.7 with auto focus makes it all worthwhile for me. I think this might replace the Lumix 7-14mm as my favorite Micro Four Thirds lens.
Image copyright Bob Coates. All rights reserved.
It's "Mirrorless Monday" and the perfect time to share not only an image captured with a LUMIX G9, but part of a body of work that resulted in a good buddy being named the cover artist for next year's Festival of the Cranes.
Bob Coates is in the spotlight with a stunning image at Bosque del Apache. Over the years I've written about being one of the luckiest guys in the industry - well, part of that feeling comes from hanging with so many talented artists, and Bob is one of them. He's no stranger to SCU and has shared dozens of guest posts with great "how-to" content.
Bob captured the image above with the LUMIX G9, and 50-200mm lens. Click on the image to view it in the SCU Lightbox, and click on either thumbnail below for more information about some of the finest equipment in imaging! For more incredible photographs being shared every day by LUMIX photographers as well as the LUMIX Ambassadors, Check out their forum on Facebook.
by Bob Coates
This image was made at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Preserve last November at the Festival of the Cranes in Socorro, New Mexico. It was the first time I used this lens, and it is one clean piece of glass.
My usual go-to wildlife lens is the Leica DG Vario-Elmar f4.0/6.3 100-400mm lens. With the proximity of the birds being so close I didn't need quite so much reach so I used the 50-200mm. Both are fabulous wildlife lenses. The camera was the LUMIX G9. It's the flagship stills camera for Panasonic's micro four-thirds line.
As a side note, some artwork I created from the trip was submitted for the featured artist of the Festival. I was named the cover artist for the fest and will be on site selling my Lens Based Art.( https://coatesart.net ) I look forward to seeing you there!
The 32nd annual Festival of the Cranes will be November 20th - 23rd.
Intro by Skip Cohen
It's Mirrorless Monday with a special guest post by one of my favorite people, the "mad scientist of imaging," Don Komarechka. Some of the most incredible images ever shared in the SCU blog have been thanks to Don, and over the years, even though we've still never managed to meet in person, our friendship has grown.
Today's guest post is unique and remarkable because Don captured the image below with the new LUMIX S1R and without a macro lens. Thanks to his love for sharing and education, he takes us through each step of the process.
The tagline for Panasonic's LUMIX family of cameras, "Changing Photography," has never been more accurate! Check out more of Don's work with a click on either image to link to his website, blog, and newest projects. And for more LUMIX images, meet the Ambassadors. They're a fantastic group of artists with an unmatched love for imaging, education, creativity, and mirrorless photography!
NEW! LUMIX S1R Kit, Digital Mirrorless Camera with 47.3MP MOS Full Frame,
24-105mm F4 L-Mount Lens
Click on any thumbnail for more info
by Don Komarechka
Our gardens are filled with Forget-Me-Nots, such a delicate and tiny string of flowers, so small that they would make a great companion to a water droplet. Walking around the flowers between rainstorms gave me the idea!
This image is shot with a novel approach: using the high-resolution pixel shift mode on the Lumix S1R to create a 187MP image, and then cropping in on the central area of interest. This has a few benefits, one of them being that a macro lens is not required. This was shot with the Lumix S 24-105mm F/4 lens! No extra attachments, no extension tubes, just a high quality crop in from a very high resolution image.
Another benefit is that shooting from farther away from your subject will yield a greater depth of field. Focus stacking an image such as this would normally take me around a dozen images, but only five were required here. The end result is an image around the 30 megapixel mark, so the crop is significant but even still I have more than enough detail to make large prints of this.
The high resolution mode of the S1R takes multiple images, each with slight shifts to the sensor to create a final image with four times the resolution than the camera would normally have. This could be useful for a number of things like landscape photography, artwork reproduction or product photography, but macro photographers can benefit as well. Since the depth of field in your image becomes shallower as you get closer to your subject, intentionally being farther away with all other things being equal will increase the amount of depth you have over your subject. Sure, I’m throwing away a lot of pixels in the process, but it’s a valuable technique!
The droplet was placed very carefully with a small gauge hypodermic needle, and it held on just long enough to take these images. The flower inside the refraction might appear to have a line running through it – this is actually the surface of the water with the flower half-way submerged, and you’re seeing the top of the flower reflected to mimic the full flower. The position of the forget-me-not flowers gives the droplet space, and the bottom blue flower is deliberately touching the surface of the water so that the surface tension creates a different angle to reflect more of the magenta petals of the gerbera daisy placed in behind.
The entire scene is lit with a bright LED flashlight positioned over my right shoulder, continuous light being required for the high resolution mode. This is also one of the rare times you’ll find me using a tripod for this type of photography, because it is easier to find the right angle than hand-holding the camera. Different techniques require different equipment, and this high-resolution mode is a real winner!
Skip's Note: All the secrets of water droplet refraction photography as well as most other aspects of macro imaging will be covered in Don's upcoming book Macro Photography: The Universe at Our Feet, currently being funded on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/donkom/macro-photography/ - if you’d like to support the project and help the book be an even better final product, you’ll also get a copy of the book in time for Christmas at a price much less than retail
Image copyright Shiv Verma. All rights reserved. Click on image to view in the SCU Lightbox
It's Mirrorless Monday and the perfect day to share an image captured by my good buddy Shiv Verma. Shiv's a LUMIX Ambassador and always sharing images that leave so many of us wanting more.
He was in the Palouse, and I grabbed this explanation from Wikipedia:
"Traditionally, the Palouse region was defined as the fertile hills and prairies north of the Snake River, which separated it from Walla Walla County, and north of the Clearwater River, which separated it from the Camas Prairie, extending north along the Washington and Idaho border, south of Spokane, centered on the Palouse River. This region underwent a settlement and wheat-growing boom during the 1880s, part of a larger process of growing wheat in southeast Washington, originally pioneered in Walla Walla County south of the Snake River."
The image was captured in Washington state, south of Spokane. Shiv wrote:
The fields of the Palouse photographed along the road about midway to the top of Steptoe Butte. It started with cloudy skies, but then the sun peeked through providing lovely light.
Captured with the Full-frame LUMIX S1R and the LUMIX S Pro 70-200 mm f/4 lens at 200mm. Exposure triad: f/11, 1/40 sec, ISO 200. Click on either thumbnail below for more information.
More of Shiv's images are just a click away. Follow him and the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team. They're regularly speaking at LUMIX retailers and conventions around the country. They're one of the most diverse and creative teams in professional photography, and should all be on your radar. You'll be surprised at how much great content they share.
Just outside Taos, New Mexico is the Rio Grande Gorge, and it's quite the sight to see, especially standing at the very top in a good wind!
My camera of choice on our recent trip was the G9 matched up with the 14-140mm lens. It's incredible how fast and accurate the focus is, and the 14-140 range gave me everything I needed 90% of the time.
Most of you know my first love is the business and marketing side of our industry, but that doesn't mean I'm not passionate about having a camera in my hands.
The image at the right was at 14mm and picks up the expanse of the gorge as a group of river rafters make their way downstream. I later grabbed a shot at almost full extension.
The image below was at 126mm and then enlarged 200%, to show the detail. In the image to the right, it's the middle boat!
I'm a minimalist when it comes to post-processing beyond cropping and an occasional tweak using Luminar's clarity booster on the image to the right.
The G9 is remarkable! I grabbed the screenshot from the Panasonic site about the key features. As LUMIX Ambassador, Jim Schmelzer talked about recently in his "Why?" podcast, the more the camera can handle the technical issues, the more time he has to be creative with his clients.
Well, no camera can do it all, but the G9 comes pretty damn close!
Click on either thumbnail for more information.
Image copyright Jim Schmelzer. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
"Why?" is all about the movers and shakers in professional photography. And, the best way to get to know each one is through one of their favorite images. Jim Schmelzer joins me on this new episode and what a kick it was to catch up to him.
Jim and I have known each other for a whole lot of years, going back to my early Hasselblad days. We'd see each other at virtually every major conference/convention in professional photography.
But the common denominator that's the most fun for both of us right now is being involved with Panasonic's LUMIX family of cameras. Jim is a LUMIX Ambassador and captured the image above with the new LUMIX full-frame S1 and the 24-105 F4 L-Mount Lens.
Jim's main passion is portraiture, but there's nothing he can't photograph. He's a talented instructor, and over the years, most often we'd catch up when he was doing a demo in the Westcott booth. Check out his educational website with a visit to James Schmelzer Workshops.
The "Why?" series is brought to you by...
Communication is ever-changing, and your ability to expand your reach, promote your business and in turn, increase revenue is more powerful than at any other time in history. A considerable part of that continually changing world is in mobile technology and the world of texting.
Here's an example of how I'm using one of PhotoTexting's apps for my own business. Text the word "speaker" to 888-981-6118, and you'll get a response back from me with a link to my mobile page. (And, be assured I'm not saving your number to use for anything other than to demo my brochure and speaker page here.)
I use this app as a company brochure. And, there's an added benefit - when I'm teaching, attendees get the notes from my presentation without worrying about taking their own. It allows them to kick back and listen without worrying about writing down a link or specific tip on building a stronger business.)
Check out everything PHOTOTexting has to offer. There are so many different applications and ways for you to build stronger brand awareness, increase sales, and expand your reach.
Yesterday was Mirrorless Monday, but Memorial Day got top-billing. However, keeping in the tradition of going mirrorless I was in and out of the house all day long with one "visitor" after another.
Two years ago we put in a butterfly garden, and it's been a source of nonstop tranquility from the very beginning. While we're still work in progress understanding the plants they like, and their behavior, nothing beats a holiday weekend with minimal plans and a new camera.
Usually, the "kids" show up in the morning and afternoon, but this weekend they seemed to come and go all the time. Out came the G9 with my favorite go-to lens. As a kid we'd chase them with a butterfly net to get a closer look, now it's strictly the camera!
by Skip Cohen
For the past few months, we've shared a lot of great images and content about the new full-frame LUMIX S. As I was taking a scroll through Panasonic's website I came across these short videos featuring three of photography's most recognized artists. Each video is only a minute long, but demonstrates the passion of three different photographers, each having their own unique mind's eye visions.
If a picture really is worth a thousand words, then the three videos below represent the equivalent of the complete works of Shakespeare! Regardless of what camera you usually work with, take the time to watch each video below to appreciate not only the artists themselves but the technology and creative tools Panasonic has brought to the industry.
What a kick!
“Detail in everything from the smallest pebble to the expansive canyon walls are faithfully reproduced. Such a flexible camera system, that can render the extraordinary detail of these geological wonders”
“As the sun went down and the light began to fade, I felt at ease knowing that I had a camera that is perfect for low-light photography. Photographing the workers mining the sulfur through the night I thought would be challenging, however, I was easily able to capture their work with precision focus.”
“Especially in professional portrait photography, in which a shallow depth of field is required, it is tricky to set the focus right on the eye. I am astonished by the precision of the auto focus of the LUMIX S1R which takes over this task for me and sets the focus perfectly on the eye of the model…”
NEW! LUMIX S1 Kit, Digital Mirrorless Camera with 24.2MP MOS Full Frame,
24-105mm F4 L-Mount Lens - DC-S1MK
Click for more information
It's Mirrorless Monday and what better day to share a few of "Mirrorless Mark's" (Mark Toal's) images captured yesterday during a little of the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Woodland, California. Click on each one to view them through the SCU Lightbox so you can appreciate the quality and detail.
They were both photographed last night with the new full-frame S1 with the 24-105mm lens at ISO 12800. From the very beginning of shooting with LUMIX cameras the ability to shoot in low light has been one of the features, I've enjoyed the most! And, check out the S1 video below that will take you through this fantastic piece of technology!
NEW! LUMIX S1 Kit, Digital Mirrorless Camera with 24.2MP MOS Full Frame, 24-105mm F4 L-Mount Lens - DC-S1MK
Click either thumbnail for more information
You'll find so many great images along with solid ideas and tips on Mark's blogs. You'll never be disappointed in the content he shares. As always, check out the LUMIX Ambassador team. They're an incredible team and focused on helping you raise the bar on your skills set and the quality of your images.
It's Mirrorless Monday and what a kick to share today's post! Here's the backstory which leads right into a sneak peek to some terrific future events!
At the beginning of April, I shared the light painted image above of Ms. Bubble Trailer by Suzette Allen and Jonny Yoshinaga. Ms. Bubble Trailer was on a mini-tour in northern California. "She" was just getting started at becoming a personality in photographic education. She's no longer a mechanical object, but the co-star in the story of two passionate artists and educators! She's loaded with personality as well as gear and outdoor metal prints from Bay Photo!
Last week Suzette shared the video below, taking us through the making of the light painted image. Light painting isn't something you'd do for every client, but it's a great addition to your skill set. At a time when competition is fierce, you need a few things up your sleeve to make your work different.
Suzette captured the image with the LUMIX G9 and the 7-14mm lens. Click on either product below for more information.
Suzette has packed a lot of great information into this video. In just fifteen minutes she takes you through a journey in capture and post-processing, light painting from start to the finished image of "Ms. BT" in the California redwoods. She's a remarkable instructor, and the combination of her and Jonny sets the stage for an upcoming series of programs not to be missed.
In September Ms. Bubble Trailer, with a whole lot of help from Suzette and Jonny will be hitting the road for eight weeks, and over 13,000 anticipated miles. They're starting from California and heading to Panasonic in NJ, then down the east coast to Florida and back to California. They'll be teaching every week along the way with great workshops and meetups to help you raise the bar on your images. Plus, you can count on lots of surprises and one opportunity after another for many of you to meet one of the most respected educators in professional photography...oh, and let's not forget about Ms. BT.
Just like "Where's Waldo," we're going to be tracking "Ms. BT" and her "team" with images and updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday starting in September! From gear to technique to great locations stay tuned as Suzette and Jonny bring you some of the very best in creative education and FUN!
Remember the word fun? It's one of those words too often lost in business today. We all get so wrapped up in the stress and challenges of working that we forget to have fun. Well, here's a new spin on creative education with great programming, terrific products and an unmatched passion for teaching!
Stay tuned - the link to all things BT will be right here every day of the tour. What a kick!
The Bubble Trailer Light Tour
Being creative and traveling light, but heavy on good content!
Click on the image to view in the SCU Lightbox!
In the 193+ year history of photography, there have never been more creative tools for artists than today. Technology never slows down, and Panasonic has just raised the bar again with the new full-frame mirrorless S1.
In last week's Mirrorless Monday post, Mark Toal wrote about a new way to see with one his new favorite features on the S1, shooting in other formats, like panoramic at a 65:24 size ratio! This week I wanted to share an incredible image by Ben Grunow taken in what his eyes saw as total darkness, a "total blackout."
Ben regularly shares stunning photographs on his website, in some of the most diverse galleries of outdoor images in the industry. You'll never be disappointed in the content he shares. Ben's alsoi part of the LUMIX Ambassador team, one of the most skilled teams in professional photography. They're always sharing great content to help you raise the bar on your skillset.
by Ben Grunow
It amazes me how far cameras have come in the past few years. This shot was taken before the sun came up at iso 10,000. I couldn’t see without my head lamp on. Total blackout in front of me.
I figured I would take a few shots before the sun came up, not at all thinking that I would be able to see detail and color in the foreground. To my eyes everything was black and usually I would have to use the light of a powerful headlamp or flashlight to paint in any sort of detail to capture what was directly in-front of me on different settings.... I feel like I can look at photography now in a different light and capture what was not possible before!
Pretty cool that this is close to what some animals can see like at night. Limitless possibilities!
The image Ben is sharing was captured with the New LUMIX S1R and the 24-105mm F4 Lens. Click on either thumbnail below for more information.
Intro by Skip Cohen
It's "Mirrorless Monday," and my good buddy "Mirrorless Mark" (Mark Toal) is back with a different perspective on Panasonic's new full frame mirrorless S1 camera. When it comes to passion for the craft, it's pretty tough to find anybody that can top Mark, and it's one of the things I appreciate most when hanging out with him.
I'm not a tennis player, but there's that concept that if you play tennis with somebody better than you, your game improves as well. That's the way it is with Mark, photography and the new S1. Mark's no stranger to SCU, and in so many of his images, he's always sharing a different perspective. One of my favorites was his infrared image in the "Why?" series.
Well, this week he's having fun with two different size ratios, 65:24 and 2:1. Many of you know my Hasselblad history. So it's a kick seeing a panoramic size ratio matching the X-pan.
Mark shares so many great images along with solid ideas on his blogs. Just click on his photo above to link to his website. You'll never be disappointed in the content he shares. And check out the LUMIX Ambassador team. This is one of the most diverse groups in photography, and they're always sharing great content to help you raise the bar on your skillset.
Mark captured the images in today's post with the 24-105mm lens, all at 24mm. Click on any image to enlarge it on the SCU lightbox.
NEW! LUMIX S1 Kit, Digital Mirrorless Camera with 24.2MP MOS Full Frame,
24-105mm F4 L-Mount Lens - DC-S1MK
By Mark Toal
"Seeing in a New Way" - This is the slogan of one of my favorite photo companies, Lensbaby. They make lenses that let you tilt, bend and skew the world you see through your camera lens. It also sums up how I try to see the world and my photography. As part of my job for Panasonic I get to try out all the new Lumix cameras so I can teach sales people and customers about them.
I’m always looking for that one thing that the newest camera will give me to see the world differently. When I received the new Lumix S1 full frame camera I was impressed with the shallow depth of field and ability to hand hold the camera at really low shutter speeds until I came across the new frame size ratios, 65:24 and 2:1, in addition to the usual 4:3, 3:2, 1:1 and 16:9. That got my attention.
I forget about it until I was showing a customer different features on the S1 and switched to the very wide 65:24 shape. He immediately recognized it as the shape of the image from the Hasselblad X-Pan super wide film camera that he owns and bought the S1 just for this feature.
I’m still getting used to seeing the world through these shapes, but that’s what I love about learning something new. I get to see in a new way.
Images copyright Jonny Yoshinaga. All rights reserved.
There's something about going to a car show that makes it a photographic magnet, and it goes so much deeper than the beauty of the cars themselves. I love the passion of the owners and the pride that goes with the investment of years in the restoration process. They know every inch, bolt, spring, hose, and switch. They've taken an object and turned it into an almost living being, complete with albums of pictures no different than a family album from birth to the current moment.
At a show in Ohio several years ago, the owner of a beautiful 1937 Packard shared his album with me. He spent eight years looking for the parts. It took four cars to build one complete piece of perfection. It then took him five years to completely rebuild it, right down to doing his own paint job. The car was stunning, but paled in comparison to the pure joy and pride he shared!
I'm late for Mirrorless Monday this week, but it's never too late to share great images. My good buddy and LUMIX Ambassador Jonny Yoshinaga shared these image from a car show recently, and his use of depth of depth of field and composition. You can imagine the pride of each owner as you look at the finished restoration.
These images are all captured with the new LUMIX S1 full frame mirrorless, and they're remarkable. They were all shot wide open at f1.4 with the 50mm Leica certified lens. The camera is an amazing piece of technology and well worth a trip to your LUMIX retailer to check it out. Click on either thumbnail below for more information.
Jonny had a ton of images from this one show, and I pulled a few of my favorites to share here. I love the detail. Click on any image to enlarge it on the "lightbox."
Jonny needs to be on your radar along with the entire US LUMIX Ambassador team. They're one of the most diverse and creative teams in photography. They're on the road all year long speaking and teaching at LUMIX retailers and a variety of conventions/conferences. In fact, Jonny and a few other members of the team will be at ShutterFest in the Panasonic booth on April 23-24. If you're there it's a perfect time to meet them and check out the complete LUMIX line.
Images copyright Suzette Allen. All rights reserved.
One of the best things about our industry and the Internet is the way we share images today. Suzette Allen shared the light-painted image above yesterday on Facebook, and I loved it.
There's a fun part of the backstory, and it helps if you know a little about Ms "BT" (Bubble Trailer). Sheila and I were first introduced two years ago when we saw Bubble Trailer in images Suzette and her husband Jonny shared when visiting us in Florida after taking BT to Burning Man.
Since then, "BT" has become a leading personality in photographic education. It's no longer a mechanical object, but the co-star in the story of two passionate artists and educators! And, she's loaded with personality as well as gear and outdoor metal prints from Bay Photo!
Suzette and Jonny hit the road last week with a mini California tour but stay tuned, because there's lots more coming later in the year. You're going to hear a lot about the three of them. Even better, there are some fantastic educational opportunities coming up to help you raise the bar on your skill set!
Suzette posted last week:
Come to Bay Photo on April 4 and you are in the area (Santa Cruz, CA) from 3-5pm to enjoy some [safe] S'more and Smiles! Sorry- no campfires allowed! BUT get a selfie with Ms Bubble Trailer and check out her beautiful EXT Metal Photo gallery! First thirty people get some BT swag too!
And while it's got nothing whatsoever to do with the tour, BT or for that matter even photography...today is Jonny's birthday! So, Happy Birthday Buddy - wish we were there to help you celebrate!
Meanwhile, with the top image of BT at night in the woods, Suzette published how the image was created using the LUMIX G9 and the LUMIX G 7-14mm lens...
Light Painting with @BubbleTrailer in the redwoods! We just had to do this!! We waited until dusk to capture her tiny-ness next to that huge tree....we photographed this with a #LumixG9 on aMeFOTO tripod at IS0200 for 10 seconds on each exposure. (most were at F7.1 but a few at f4) Combined in Adobe Photoshop with masking, using 8-ish exposures, we were able to get all of the elements in pretty light. We just used our big flashlights and lit up each area of the image separately.
Gotta make a print of this... what [BayPhoto] product do you think? Maplewood print? metal? Acrylic? ideas??
The camera sees more than the eye. So why not make use of it?
Over the years I've heard so many of you talk about how photography helped you through a rough chapter in your life. From divorces to death of a loved one to failed businesses, health issues and depression friends have talked about how immersing themselves in photography has helped them stay focused on their values and find balance in their lives.
"Balance" has to be one of the most abused words in business or for that matter life. We all talk about the importance of balance as if it was a juggling act that could be learned with practice over time. Well, it's so much more - we're challenged every day to make choices and with each option comes a focus on our priorities. While often our brains know precisely the path we need to take, our hearts often go in another direction.
The image above is a perfect example. While business is excellent and the new blog is getting a lot of nice comments, my heart has been elsewhere. Yesterday, while outside I spotted the spider above. My initial instinct was to knock down the web, step on the thing and treat it like any bug we see around the house. But here's where photography became therapeutic.
Looking closer I was drawn to the red spikes on her back. That led to Google and looking up "Florida Spiders." Wandering a little further through cyberspace I learned it was a spineybacked orb weaver, and because they eat bugs that damage house plants and crops, it's a beneficial spider.
Keep in mind the spider above is at best 3/8 of an inch across, the size of a child's fingernail. So, out came the 30mm macro lens and the LUMIX GX85. I switched to manual focus and was able to get within a few inches of her. Again, thanks to Google, the lighter color and bright spikes mean the spider's a female.
But capturing the image was only the first part of getting my mind to focus on something other than the rut I was in. The next step came with wanting to share the image. I don't profess to be a professional photographer. My primary focus is helping you with the business and marketing side of photography, but having been around so many artists for so many years, I know more than I let on and I'll match my passion with anybody.
So, I decided to share it in several Facebook forums, and the response has been terrific. Each comment and "like" added to the fun of knowing I got the shot. And, in turn, it helped me out of the rut I was in.
It's one of the few times, I've taken my own advice from so many past blog posts and used my camera for the fun of capturing a little of the world around me. I didn't set out to do anything with the camera except relax and chill.
Meanwhile, my little buddy has expanded her web and is fast becoming a daily project for me. I'm going to wind up moving her, but the web, in just 24 hours has expanded to cover a 3-4 foot area for the core pictured on the right. It extends 4-6 feet beyond that for the anchors to the top of the pool cage and a hibiscus plant below.
And there it is - my whole point and along with Edward Weston's quote above - the camera truly does see more than the eye.
Recognize those times when you need to step away from working and recharge your battery.
“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.”
Few things beat the beauty of a Florida sunset. Out with my FZ1000 last Thursday it was a perfect evening, and as the sun was dropping it was as if somebody said: "Cue the boat!" Across the horizon came a speeding boat. While this is hardly scientific, and really meets the definition of a grab-shot, I was surprised at the detail when I enlarged it 300%. Plus, these are screen shots of jpegs.
We've got two people in a boat that was easily a few hundred yards offshore. The driver is taking off his glasses, and you can see the end of one earpiece. His friend seems to be having a great time - mouth open and a grip on the leash of the dog, who appears to be looking back. Obviously, the image breaks up a little at 300% magnification, but that doesn't change the amount of data collected in this one frame.
I've been shooting with LUMIX cameras for the last four years. While my passion is helping you with the business and marketing side of photography, and I don't make a living as a professional photographer, that doesn't mean I don't appreciate great optics and the ability of LUMIX to often make my images look better than I deserve. LOL
The FZ1000 with its fixed bright Leica DC Lens 25-400mm F2.8-4.0, and super-fast LUMIX DFD focusing technology weighs in at under 2 lbs. Like most of the LUMIX family, it's perfect for travel. With retail pricing typically around $500 it represents one of the most bang-for-your-buck cameras in the industry.
Isn't time you checked out the complete LUMIX line, including the new full-frame S1, at your Panasonic dealer?
Fast Food Fridays are all about ideas to help you build a stronger more effective business model and often increase brand awareness. I started the series because so many of you are right-brained creative types with little interest in the operational side of your business. Plus, because you're business owners and struggling to find balance in your life between all the different hats you wear, Fast Food Friday posts hopefully help you focus on various aspects of your life other than your subjects. There is no auto-focus button when it comes to life.
Last week I wrote about the importance of getting back to basics, your skill set. The greatest marketing programs in the world won't make up for poor quality images that NEVER meet your clients' expectations, let alone exceed them!
I want to stay on a similar theme. Today's "blue-plate" special is about ways recharging your battery! It's a key ingredient in everybody's fight to find balance and stay focused on your priorities. And, the only key ingredients are time and the discipline to recognize when you need a break.
Is it time for you to take a short break?
Recently I noticed a little burn-out syndrome starting to creep into my life. I think it began with the grief of losing Molly the Wonder Dog, but it continued with some long flights on our WPPI trip, followed by not getting enough sleep and allergy season kicking in here in south Florida. Put all of that together, and you've got the perfect ingredients for a little apathy and a lack of enthusiasm and at times, even creativity.
Too often we deny our lack of energy. For me, I was going through all the motions and getting everything I needed to do done, but there was no sizzle. Life was like a can of soda left open overnight - it had color, flavor but no fizz! Well, you need fizz!
Here's how I snapped out of it, and it's hardly rocket science!
The first step is to recognize there's a change going on. I realized l was slowing down in my passion for the craft. I was going through all the motions but wasn't having fun. "Fun" is one of the most important words in business today and it's often lost underneath all the baggage that stress drops on your doorstep.
Second, is taking the time to do something to change what you're going through. Again, it's hardly scientific but does require a plan of attack. For me, it's often as simple as just unplugging and staying out of my office, off email, and removing myself from the work environment. I needed to go off-the-grid for a day or two. If something urgent had come up, I was available, but overall I needed to change my environment.
Third - do something you love. Often snapping back to your passionate self is as easy as going out and shooting for an afternoon on your own. Other times it takes good friends, people in your network who know you, understand what drives your passion and are just fun to be with.
For me this week it was both. I needed to grab a camera and change my environment, and Suzette Allen and Jonny Yoshinaga were here for a couple of days of their vacation. We rented a boat and headed out on the inland waterway with a ton of Panasonic LUMIX gear.
Everyone's needs are different when it comes to getting out of a rut, but the key starts with recognizing you're in one. I've shared this thought so many times in the past, but you can't create images that tug at people's heart-strings if your own heart isn't in it. And, it's okay when that happens - as a small business owner and artist you're dealing with a lot of variables, and many of them outside of your control. So, learn to recognize when you need to take a break and then follow-through with recharging your battery.
On the airlines in the safety pitch before every flight they always tell us, ..." in the unlikely event of a change in cabin pressure, put your mask on first before you help others." Well, it's no different in business, and you've got to take care of yourself before you can effectively get back to helping your clients and associates.
Most important of all remember one of my favorite quotes:
"It's just a bad day - not a bad life!"
ClickCon 2020 Circle the Dates!!
It's rare that a first year conference has the power that ClickCon brought to the industry this past August.
The dates have been announced for 2020 at the Palmer House in Chicago. August 11-14!
What a kick!
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.