by Skip Cohen
Two more great podcasts in the pipeline, thanks to Platypod and Photofocus. And both are with guests who offer outstanding insight to help you through the challenges you're dealing with right now. Take the time to click on the two banners below, grab a cup of coffee and then just kick back and listen!
Shep Hyken: I share a quote every morning on Twitter. Several years back, I quoted NYTimes best-selling author Shep Hyken about Customer Service. Well, Shep replied, and it's so rare I get a response directly from the author. Since then, he's joined us on podcasts, I've been a guest on his show, and SCU has even shared a few links to his website.
Shep's specialty is Customer Service, and you'll notice I always capitalize those two words. Why? Because they're the most critical component of any business! And Shep's an expert, lecturing worldwide and helping companies focus on creating the very best level of service.
In this new podcast, we covered a lot of ground. It's so relevant, especially with today's challenges created by the pandemic. Here are just a few of our discussion points:
And With Levi Sim...
Levi Sim: In 2009 I launched a summer program called Skip's Summer School. Levi Sim was one of the attendees and was just getting started in his career. Over the years, he's become one of the most recognized personalities in photography. He's an ambassador of goodwill and support for the professional photographic community. Over the last ten years, he's the guy with the bow tie and brown fedora at any convention. He's a photographer, writer, educator, podcaster and has spent most of his career in imaging, asking other photographers and manufacturers, "How can I help?"
A few months ago, Levi made a considerable change in his career - staying with his love for imaging, he joined Utah State University as their lead photographer. So working for a full-time employee is a significant change from freelance. In this new podcast, Levi shared a lot of great insight into the challenges and benefits of giving up being a freelance artist and moving into the academic world.
Here are few of the topics we talked about in this podcast:
Click on any of Levi's images above to listen to the podcast!
The Beyond Technique podcast is brought to you thanks to Platypod. They've got some incredible savings going on right now, but only while supplies last. For example, there are only twenty of the Ultra Essentials Kits left for holiday savings. Click on any of the holiday bundles below for more information.
A BIG thanks to the team at Photofocus.com for their never-ending support of the photographic community. Check out all of their podcasts and an incredible archive of great content growing more and more every day! Just click on the banner below and check out one of the very best resources for photographic information!
by Skip Cohen
Over the last few months, "Dr. T," Platypod's inventor, founder, and owner, has done two terrific programs as part of Kelby Media's Landscape and Flash Conferences. I wanted to post both videos so you could enjoy the images he shared during each presentation. Between the two programs, he shared the work of seventeen different artists.
If you'd like to fast forward to the slide show in the first video about landscape photography, Larry starts sharing images from other photographers at 15:05.
The Kelby Media FLASH Conference was held just recently on November 17. The slide show starts at 12:39 if you'd like to fast forward.
Larry had been fighting Covid-19 for a week before the presentation, running a low-grade fever and quarantined. But if you know Larry, you understand nothing slows him down when it comes to his love for photography! The following morning, they admitted him to the hospital.
Larry was released a week later. He's back to work and feeling better every day. I wrote about the experience in a recent blog post. I'm only sharing the short backstory because it ties to his endless love for this industry. You can't miss his enthusiasm for the craft in everything he talks about in the video below.
Plus, thanks to help from his sidekick in both programs, Larry Becker, there's a lot of great tips about expanding your creativity in imaging from both of them. Larry B. is an incredibly diverse artist in his own right with a new book just released a few months ago, "Great on Camera."
Playpod's got some amazing holiday specials going on right now with some outstanding savings offers. Just click on the link below because they'll only be available while supplies last!
Images copyright Joe Pellicone. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
I grew up in Ohio and was twenty-one years old when I visited NYC for the first time. I remember being told to be careful in New York because I'd be swallowed up by the millions of people, and never heard from again. (There's no embellishment in that statement - it was my family's midwest mentality.)
Over the years, I obviously outgrew the fear of NYC. In the twelve years with Hasselblad, I was in the city often, even driving in and out of Manhattan. What I grew to love about NYC was people watching, the crowds, and like Mike Peters on a quest as a street photographer, each face had its own story to tell.
Joe Pellicone loves New York. It really is his city, and in an email, I mentioned the sadness I feel seeing how Covid has turned one of my favorite places in the world into a ghost town. He sent me a link to a folder of his images called "Covid City Captures."
I grabbed some screenshots from Joe's gallery to share in today's post. They require no explanation, except to send you to his Instagram pages if you'd like to see more of his work. He's got two different pages, the first "Neon at Night," and the second is where Joe shares his diversity as an artist and photographer. You'll also find more of his work on the blog at Platypod.com where he's a regular contributor.
New York will come back, just like the rest of America, but seeing the city through Joe's eyes and camera is like a scene out of a sci-fi movie - it just doesn't seem real without lots of people and traffic.
by Skip Cohen
As my day got started today, I was determined to write about anything but the election results, which will go on for the next few days. So, I decided to finish a post I started a month ago that was sitting in my draft folder.
While I hate writing about anything to do with the pandemic, at the same time, it's the new norm we all deal with. Like everyone, I have good days and bad. I miss time with friends and the freedom to simply go wherever we want, whenever we want.
But there is something that's helping Sheila and me through all the challenges: making a conscious effort to do something fun, even if it's only for a short break.
I've written before about the two new members of the family, Lucy, and Belle. They've been with us for a year. Their crate's now gone, and they have almost full run of the house. They've been instrumental in keeping us focused on staying optimistic. And while the first ninety days were horrible, they're now fully into life with "Mom" and "Dad."
Combining two passions, the pups, and photography, I decided to have a little fun in the water. Lucy's a Mini-Goldendoodle, and loving the water is in her gene pool. Belle's a Havanese and can swim, but she's the princess and prefers to be a spectator.
I set up my LUMIX G9 on a Platypod Max and started shooting video. These were still frames from the video. The video itself was pretty dull and pointed out my need to develop better editing and cinematographer skills. (Click on any of the thumbnails below for more info on my gear setup.)
But here's the fun thing about doing a mini-project like this - it captured a moment I cherish. It's even more relevant as a reminder of the importance imaging plays in our lives, even when it's DIY. Lucy's enthusiasm and trust with "Dad" and Belle's contentment to be a bystander pretty much says it all about their love for the water. Lucy is in, the minute I say "Jump," while Belle races up and down the sides of the pool following Lucy, but won't go into the water.
Here's part of my point today: One of the most respected physicians in Sarasota, at a Zoom meeting I was on, the other day, gave us a little pandemic insight, which I'm paraphrasing.
It's not going away, and the best prediction of a vaccine is now in the Spring. There's a spike predicted in new cases in Florida as the snowbirds come back and bring more than just their suntan lotion. And we were all advised to get our flu shots and follow the rules of wearing a mask and physical distancing.
There's no light switch about to be flipped to end the nightmare of the pandemic, but there is a switch you can turn on and off whenever you need a break from adjusting to the new norm: DO SOMETHING FUN!
Walk away from the business you're working so hard to maintain and do something that makes you smile. It might be a phone call to a friend you miss, taking a walk, looking through old photographs, or taking your camera gear and shooting just for you. If you take the time, you'll find the list is endless, even with the appropriate restrictions.
There are two great Zig Ziglar quotes that fit right now:
"If you can dream it, you can achieve it!"
"Your attitude not your aptitude, will determine your altitude"
If you want to beat the pandemic, don't give up on your dreams. Make time for things you love doing - things that make you smile. Use those core members of your network who you know you best for support, and keep your attitude at high altitude!
by Skip Cohen
Now and then, a project comes along that just makes me smile. Meet the new Platypod Ultra Twin Pack. The short (under 2-minute video) is below, but here's the backstory.
One of the changes in our lives with the pandemic is the amount of time we're all spending in meetings online. Plus, for many occupations, there's a need for additional camera coverage, accessories and lighting. So, Platypod put together a twin pack at a great price with the components needed most.
But the fun of a project like this is working with Jay P. Morgan, whose creative skills have no limits! The finished video is below, and the product is officially being released today. You can check out more of Jay P.'s material on his YouTube channel, The Slanted Lens.
Whether you use a Platypod or not, I can promise you a few chuckles as you watch the video. From the boardroom to education to demonstrating various tasks, there's no limit to how Platypod can help give you a better perspective.
The new Ultra Twin Pack is ideal for setting up multiple cameras, lights and accessories. We've designed it for online education, the boardroom, industrial applications, vlogging and music videos - any place you need more than one angle of coverage.
The twin pack includes two Platypod Ultra mounting plates, two Platypod silicon rubber pads, two 3" spigot adapter 3/8"f to 1/4"f, and two 1/4" to 1/4" crossnut adapters.
Click on the twin pack components for more info.
by Skip Cohen
When Chamira Young and I relaunched Beyond Technique last year, we wanted to focus on more than just capturing great images, or running a successful business in photography. Each guest has shared a lot of great insight, but the pandemic created a new challenge - artists have had to ramp up their usual marketing skills and find better ways to reach out to their communities.
Cindy Harter Sims joined us in this episode, and she's all about inspiration and especially relationship building. She's no stranger to the SCU spotlight and has repeatedly shared great content and the ideas she's implemented to secure her business. But with the pandemic, she did something unique - she reached out to her community and asked for help.
Relationship building over the years has been a significant building block to Cindy's business and her role within the industry. In fact, it's how I met her many years ago at a Skip's Summer School conference. Cindy doesn't collect business cards - she directly participates with and supports the people in her growing network.
Please take the time to listen to this podcast. Cindy held nothing back as she discussed her quest to keep her business alive and, at the same time, continue to give back to her community. She's busy, even doing newborn and infant photography, all while staying true to the rules of physical distancing and safety.
And click on any of the favorite images I grabbed from Cindy's website to visit her galleries!
Beyond Technique is brought to you by:
Programs like Beyond Technique can't happen without great industry support. Platypod believes in education and helping artists find new perspectives, not only with their cameras but their overall skill sets in marketing and business too.
If you haven't visited the Platypod website, take a scroll through the blog and Instagram pages. Artists from around the world are sharing their creativity every day.
And if you're stuck with ideas to expand your own creativity, wander into the Platypod store. You'll find some unique kits like the new Ultra Essentials Kit, now on sale.
A big thanks to Photofocus for always sharing great content to help photographers grow their technology, marketing, and business skills. Photofocus also hosts some of the very best podcasts in photography! They're just a click away.
Click on any image above to listen to the podcast on Photofocus.com or iTunes.
by Skip Cohen
When Chamira and I started this series, we had no idea the diversity of the topics we'd talk about with each new guest. In this new episode, Sherry Hagerman joined us to talk about one of the most important challenges facing every artist - continuing education.
Sherry's no rookie for understanding the importance of education, networking, and building a solid skill set. We've known each other for over ten years, first meeting when she was an attendee at the summer program I used to do, Skip's Summer School. She believes in education and walks the talk on her never-ending quest to expand her own skills. She's also no stranger to the SCU blog with guest posts, an episode of "Why?" and multiple spotlight images.
Chamira, Sherry, and I talked a lot about education, and especially the changes for 2020 with the ClickCon show in Chicago. Originally scheduled to kick off August 9, due to the pandemic, it was postponed until August 2021, but that changes little in the ClickCon teams approach to great education.
ClickCon Nation launches on August 9 and will be a monthly series of online educational programs featuring some of the finest artists and educators in the industry. Click on the banner below to link to the ClickCon Facebook page, and start following the news as more details become available.
And see more of Sherry's images by visiting the Allusion Photography website. Just click on any of her photographs in this post.
"Beyond Technique" is brought to you by...
Programs like "Beyond Technique" don't happen without great industry support from companies who believe in the craft, like Platypod. Just like their strength in giving artists a different perspective, we're hopefully doing the same thing with each podcast.
If you haven't visited the Platypod website, take a scroll through the blog and Instagram pages. Artists from around the world are sharing their creativity.
And if you're stuck with what to get Dad for Father's Day, (or yourself) - wander into the Platypod store. You'll find some unique kits like the new Ultra Essentials Kit, now on sale. Just click on the banner to the right.
A big thanks to Photofocus for always sharing great content to help photographers grow their skills in technology, marketing, and business. Photofocus also hosts some of the very best podcasts in photography! They're just a click away.
Images copyright Allusion Photography. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Most of you know I don't make a living as a photographer. My passion is the business and marketing side, and that's where most of my career has been spent. However, hanging out with artists like Don Komarechka and Mike Moats over the last few years, I was bound to learn something.
Both Don and Mike have had a significant influence on the way I look at things, paying more attention to tiny details in the world around me. The little guy above was at best 3/16 of an inch and was just sitting on the pool cage's frame. We've had a lot of storms lately, and at first, I thought it was a chunk of dirt!
I missed the opportunity to get a shot to give you an idea of just how tiny this guy was. It's rare I've seen a frog this small, but here's roughly the size of the frog before the macro lens and enlargement.
The thumbnail on the right, with my new buddy next to a drop of water from the storm, shows how little he is too.
I took off this week to chill and enjoy time with Sheila and the pups. A side benefit was seeing this guy and having the time I needed to grab a camera. And while my skill set is still work in progress, having the right tools sure helps.
I should have used a tripod, but I didn't have a lot of time before "Kermit" took off. So, handheld and following him (or her) everywhere for about ten minutes was all I had.
I love the LUMIX G9, and teaming up with the LUMIX G 30mm macro lens, a Playpod Max, the new goosenecks, and two Litra Torch 2.0s gave me what I needed.
I also had some fun with Luminar, but only for minor tweaking. I lightened the image, sharpened slightly, cropped, enlarged, and erased a couple of distracting dirt spots.
The short video clip below was simply for the fun of it. The LUMIX line makes it so easy to push a button and grab a few seconds of video.
Shooting macro, handheld without a tripod, and having no video skills whatsoever, made focus a challenge. A tripod would have helped a lot, but at this point in my ten-minute adventure, I was standing on a ladder as my little buddy moved up the wall!
We've all been in some form of lockdown for almost three months. That means lots of time on our hands to do something different. Playing in the macro world is a kick, and with every image I get, I start to understand Don and Mike's love for the craft just a little better.
Click on any of the three thumbnails below for more information.
Images copyright Mitchel Wu. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
In 2016, after teaching a workshop, I was bothered by the fact that nobody in the class knew who Mary Ellen Mark was. So, while I couldn't do much about artists who had passed, I decided it was time to launch a series that would introduce you to the movers and shakers in imaging who were more contemporary.
Mitchel Wu joins me in this new episode and he's our 129th artist in the series. And, while it's been a few months since the last podcast of "Why?" the feature is back in full swing.
Mitch is based in Los Angeles, and most of you would think of him as a commercial photographer, but I love his passion for storytelling. His passion is toy photography, and he's one of the most recognized toy artists in the industry.
But I so admire another aspect of Mitch's skill set - his focus on fun. Lately, "fun" has been lost under the stress of the pandemic. Well, not for Mitch and just listening to this short podcast, you'll pick on an artist living his dream.
Note: Click on these two images to enlarge and view in the SCU Lightbox!
In the podcast, I mentioned one of my new favorite images, his shot with Kermit. Click on the image to link to Mitch's Instagram page for more details. And don't miss the BTS video on how he created the shot.
Like the images Mitch chose for his episode of "Why?" you can sense the fun he had in creating the scene. It all goes back to his love for storytelling and detail.
Visit Mitch's website. His galleries are a kick and guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
And if you're interested in finding out more about Platypod, one of the new tools helping Mitch capture and create his images, just click on the banner below.
Intro by Skip Cohen
This is the last "installment" in Mark's Corner for his week off from work to having fun in photography. For so many of us, photography is helping keep our sanity during the downtime. Mark's been having fun all week long with a camera in his hands, not for clients, but his own enjoyment. And considering my role with Platypod, it's fun to see how a Platypod Max was Mark's perfect hiking companion.
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. If you're on Facebook, wander over to the Lumix Photographers Community. With over 9,000 members, artists from all over the world are always sharing great images and creative ideas to help you build your skillset and vision.
by Mark Toal
Today I had to get out of the house. The sun came out after a rainy, cool morning. I could hear power boats on the Willamette River near where I live just south of Portland, Oregon. Huge clouds were rolling across the sky, perfect for a time lapse video. I knew exactly where I could get a great view of the sky and the widest part of the river.
I own about four tripods, but I’ve never liked using one. A while ago Platypod sent me one of their "tripods." I’ve been using it where I need to hold the camera steady, in this case for a 30-minute time lapse. As you can see it’s not a traditional tripod, but instead a very small plate with adjustable legs.
I carry a Panasonic camcorder with me because it’s very quick and easy to set up for time-lapse videos when I’m out hiking. As you can see in the photo, I attached the Camcorder to the Platypod, set it on a light post to shoot an image every second. After 30 minutes I turned off the camera, put the whole set-up in my sling bag and went home.
As the Camcorder recorded the time-lapse, I walked around the park taking photos with my Lumix S1. I love setting the S1 to a 2:1 size ratio to give me a panoramic looking scene that you see in this image.
by Skip Cohen
With all but one episode of "Beyond Technique," we've always had a guest. However, this time around, Chamira Young and I wanted to host a very different kind of conversation. We tried to pack as many ideas as we could in our 30-40 minute window to help you think about being proactive in your business right now.
The pandemic has left us all with the look and feel of a deer caught in your headlights. But as the reality of the new norm of social distancing and anxiety sets in, too many artists have taken the directive of "shelter in place" to mean everything in their lives, including their business, marketing, and skillset.
So, Chamira and I took a shot at packing in a dozen or so ideas for you to consider doing during this downtime. They're not unique, and they clearly take up time...but time is what we've all got. There's an ongoing argument between the media, the CDC, the politicians and "doom and gloomers" over whose crystal ball is more accurate in how long this is going to last. It doesn't matter; we've all got to do everything to protect ourselves and our families for an extended period of time.
The silver-lining in these difficult times is there's so much you can be doing to raise the bar on your skill set, stay involved in your community, build a better blog, plan your marketing programs for when things get better, and the list goes on and on.
Just remember one crucial thing - you're not alone. We're all in this together, and this has always been an industry where we watch each other's backs and share ideas.
"Beyond Technique" is brought to you by...
Beyond Technique brings you a different perspective each month about business, imaging and sometimes even life. It's a lot like Platypod's goal to keep giving photographers a different perspective and more creative tools to their skillset.
From the Ultra and Max Platypods to great accessories like the new goosenecks and multi-accessory kit, they never slow down on developing new products.
Right now the Max-Macro Bundle is one of their very best sellers and is on sale. Fine-tuning your skillset in macro and closeup photography is ideal during the downtime at home.
As always a BIG thanks to Photofocus.com for sharing great content to help photographers grow their skills in technology, marketing, and business, Photofocus also hosts some of the very best podcasts in photography! They're just a click away.
by Skip Cohen
If you've followed me for even a short amount of time, then you know I love this industry, but it's not just about the magic of capturing memories for your clients - it's the friendships and projects we all work on together. It's the way, so many of us help each other and utilize our skillsets to share information.
Today's post is just one of those moments, thanks to Charles and Jennifer Maring. After WPPI last week, they headed out for a few days in California before returning east. Along with their LUMIX Gear (they're both LUMIX Ambassadors for Panasonic), they had two working prototypes of Platyball, the Elite, and the Ergo.
Charles did a full review of the product in the video below. Having a chance to test drive the new ball head, he was able check it out firsthand. And, with six days to go, this is the community's last chance to acquire Platyball at a 20% savings and receive it before anyone else. And, it's a significant saving -
$50 on Ergo, $76 on Elite, and $175 if you're buying both.
More information is just a click away.
Click on the banner above to listen to the podcast on Photofocus or iTunes!
In March 2017, Chamira Young and I started co-hosting podcasts together. We've presented over one hundred episodes of great conversations with some of the most talented and passionate artists and educators in imaging. Last summer, we relaunched Beyond Technique with the intent that it would be just that - beyond the normal parameters of photography and even business.
Steve Brazill joined us this week for a completely new direction and well past what all of you consider technique. He's known as the "Razz" on KCAL FM in California, but that's only one hat he wears so well. In addition to being a well-respected radio personality, he's a LIVE music photographer and hosts what's become one of my favorite podcasts Behind the Shot.
Steve shared so much great information with us that we decided just to let the clock run longer than usual because music photography is unique. From relationship-building to knowing the rules, Steve pulled no punches in sharing his experiences over the years as an artist. Like so many of us, his love for photography started with photographing his family.
Steve's no stranger to SCU. He joined me for an episode of "Why?" last October with the image on the right. Until he told the backstory, I was convinced it was Mick Jagger!
Steve's galleries are a kick to scroll through. I grabbed screenshots of a few favorite images. Click on any one of them to visit his website and to put Behind the Shot on your radar - click on the banner below.
"Beyond Technique" is brought to you by...
Thanks to Platypod, the Beyond Technique series is bringing you a different perspective each month about photography and life. It's a lot like Platypod's goal - giving photographers a different perspective and adding more creative tools to their skillset.
From the Ultra and Max Platypods to great accessories like the new goosenecks and multi-accessory kit, they never slow down on developing new products.
Check out their Kickstarter campaign for Platyball. They've literally turned a standard in imaging, upside down!
And a big thanks to Photofocus.com for always sharing great content to help photographers grow their skills in technology, marketing, and business, Photofocus also hosts some of the very best podcasts in photography! They're just a click away.
Images copyright Steve Brazill. All rights reserved.
While there's nothing Rick Gerrity can't photograph and probably hasn't, I wanted to share a little of his black and white work, because it brings out so much about him as an artist. I usually love to share the artist's backstory, but this morning I'm going to share it from my perspective.
Rick's a LUMIX Ambassador, and educator teaching all over the US, but most importantly, he's a student of people. His passion is telling the story of America, and that truck of his, which is approaching 500,000 miles, is proof of his road-warrior mentality to go everywhere it goes! All along the way, no matter where he's headed, a LUMIX camera is never out of reach. He described the combination of his LUMIX G9 with the Leica 10-25mm lens as a "life-changing combo!"
The fun of this industry is always about the friendships, and I first met Rick in 2013 when our mutual buddy, Tom Curley, was getting the Ambassador team started. Since then, thanks to cyberspace, I've been able to follow him all over the country as he documents Americana. And, while I love so much of his work, I chose black and white for today's post because B&W is so pure of the distraction of color - each image is about the personality of the subject or simply the moment. If it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then Rick's already surpassed everything Shakespeare ever wrote.
But another aspect of knowing Rick is the fun of what he shares. Because of my affiliation with Platypod, he sent me the image on the right over the weekend, and the video below. While out and about in South Jersey, Rick was playing in the mud.
He used a Platypod Max with his G9 to capture the video. He had it tied to a tree as he took his truck in and out of a mud puddle just smaller than Lake Erie!
On one side of my home are two tables and all of Sheila's gardening tools and flower pots. She loves to garden, and I had a sign made that says, "Sheila's Garden Shop - Some kids just like to play in the dirt!" Well, obviously, Sheila's not alone.
For more information on Rick's favorite camera and lens combo, click on either thumbnail below. The G9 is also my favorite, but I love the versatility of the 14-140mm lens.
Rick should be on your radar. Click on any of his black and white images above to visit his Instagram page, where he shares most of his work. Even better, he's on the road right now and headed to Virginia to do a Travel Photography seminar at Ace Photo Inc. and then on to Texas to Precision Camera for another seminar on street photography.
As a LUMIX Ambassador, Rick's part of one of the most unique and diverse educational teams in professional photographers. This group of artists and educators represent some of the finest photographers in the industry and should be on your radar. You'll also find them hanging out from time to time in the LUMIX Photographers group on Facebook.
by Skip Cohen
I've written a lot about my role with the team at Platypod over the last few weeks. Since launching the new Kickstarter campaign on January 15, we've not only turned the tripod world upside down but set a level of awareness and performance that rocks the record books.
As of this morning, the campaign has brought together almost 1100 photographers as Kickstarter backers in just the first nine days of a sixty-day campaign. To find out more about the product and how you can take advantage of the launch promotion, take a scroll through the Kickstarter page.
Yesterday, Jay P. Morgan on The Slanted Lens shared the first video tutorial showing the Platyball in action which is below.
What I love about the short film is that it's more than just an introduction to seeing the performance of the product. It's a perfect demonstration of what makes Jay P. one of the leading educators and filmmakers in imaging. Whether you've got an interest in the ball head or not, pay attention to how he takes you through using Platyball as well as his thought process for what he's trying to capture. Then, imagine what the rest of his presentations are like.
There are almost 400,000 subscribers to The Slanted Lens on YouTube, with 501 videos to choose from. Each one brings together technology and Jay P's unmatched love for education and imaging. It's one of the best educational resources available, and subscribing is just a click away!
by Skip Cohen
This is a hard Sunday Morning Reflections to write. The topic isn't difficult; just the message I want to share without sounding like an infomercial. If you've followed me for even the shortest amount of time, you know I don't shy away from much of anything - so, here goes...
I'm at IUSA and will be working in the Platypod booth this week. Every show I attend is usually about networking and building relationships for whatever my next project might be. It's about maintaining my relevance after a lifetime in this industry. However, this is the first time in years, I've actually worked a booth to help sell products and great concepts.
Three and half days ago Platypod launched their Kickstarter campaign for a new ball head and has already carved out their own little piece of photography history. We're approaching a thousand backers, and the response from photographers has been incredible. I don't want to talk about the product, but the team that put it together and the passion behind its growing success.
There's an old African proverb I've shared a few times over the years:
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
To succeed in anything, you have to be focused on your dream, and in the process, let nothing block your passion. "Dr. T," Larry Tiefenbrunn, had a vision four years ago and started to pursue it. He never strayed from the journey to create a new approach to the product he wanted to develop.
In a way, I feel like a rookie ballplayer who joined a team at the top of the ninth of the last game of a winning season. Helping with marketing the last couple of months, pales in comparison to the blood, sweat, and tears that's gone into this project before I joined the team.
"Dr. T" isn't just an engineer/photographer with a passion for change, but a team builder. It's that refusal to give up on a concept, while at the same time building a team that makes this fun to write about. His passion is infectious, and as I look back on my life in the industry, is something I've only seen a few times, and never from the front row! LOL
"We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we trust,
respect and care for each other."
I'm sharing the project video below, not as a pitch to you, but as a demonstration of what can happen when a group of people focuses on the same goal and become a team. While it was "Dr. T's" script, there were a half dozen people who helped write it; a talented filmmaker and his team who like a great chef turned it into reality, and then dozens of people, including, Scott Kelby and his team who helped launch it to the public. In every aspect, it's the result of a group effort.
And here's my point:
Each of you have dreams of success - things you want to do in your life. At times those dreams get buried under the baggage of stress from a variety of sources - changing priorities, a growing family, finances, developing your skillset, and the list goes on and on. Before you know it, those dreams have been pushed out of sight, put in a shoebox, and kicked under the bed. Right now, they're sitting in that same box with old photographs and your notes from a workshop you might have taken years ago.
Well, it's time to bring out that box and take some time to dust off those dreams. You don't have to do it alone. Share those goals with your family; bring in some friends to help, and lay out a map to bring them closer to reality. Don't let anything stand in your way, and like Larry and his wife, Mina - be willing to risk whatever it takes to turn those dreams into reality!
As always, I wish everybody a terrific Sunday, and I hope you'll take the time today and dust off any of those dreams you've let slip to the back-burner. Take a little time to think about the team you might need to help with your quest, and that includes shutting down the little voice inside you that challenges your self-confidence from time to time.
Go for those long therapeutic hugs with the people you care most about - always remembering they're a part of your team. Without them, whatever dreams you have can never become a reality!
Happy Sunday, everybody, and thanks for being part of my team. It's seven years ago today, with your help, I started SCU. Without you, this would be such a tedious business and a life that could put a rock to sleep! It's all of you who help make it exciting and ever-changing. And, if you're at IUSA this weekend, come by booth 157 and laugh at me as I try and act like I know what I'm doing!
by Skip Cohen
I couldn't be more proud to have Platypod as an SCU partner, but what most of you don't know is that Chamira Young and I are directly involved in helping them with their marketing efforts. It's a remarkable company with a product line that's giving photographers a different perspective and expanding the creative tools we have for capturing great images.
This past week Platypod announced a prelaunch program on Kickstarter for Platyball. The company completed two very successful Kickstarter campaigns in the past. They're known for keeping their promises and producing products whose quality always exceeds expectations.
Meet Platyball - the next new member of the family.
Platyball presents a new, revolutionary way to level. Featuring an inverted design, single-handed ergonomics, and a unique twist-action Arca compatible clamp, they've literally taken the classic tripod head design and turned it upside down. Redesigned from the ground up, the Platyball becomes an extension of your hand and allows you to level your camera better than ever before quickly. It is heavy duty and accurate to 0.5 a degree.
As part of the Kickstarter campaign, there's a special promotion for first-day backers of a FREE Platypod Ultra. All the details will be shared during the launch on Scott Kelby's show, "The Grid" on January 15 at 4:00pm EST.
Make sure you're on the launch notification list, so you're notified the minute the Kickstarter campaign goes live on Wednesday. Just click on the button button below.
Headed to IUSA next week? Stop by Platypod in booth 157 and check out Platyball for yourself. Plus the Max-Macro bundle is back in the online store by popular demand. It includes the new goosenecks, two Litra Torch 2.0 lights. Litra will be in the IUSA booth as well.
In the meantime, enjoy this thirty second clip from the upcoming video! Then, imagine what the rest of the video is going to be like!
This is a kick!
When Chamira Young and I relaunched this series last summer, we wanted to bring you topics out of the ordinary with guests who are extraordinary. Even though we love the podcasts we've done in the past, we wanted "Beyond Technique" to be different. Inspiration, new ideas, and sharing unique concepts while stepping away from the technique of capturing images was our goal.
Thanks to Platypod, the "Beyond Technique" series is bringing you a different perspective each month about business and life. In fact, it's a lot like Platypod's goal - giving photographers a different perspective and adding more creative tools to their skillset.
Suzette Allen joins us in the December episode, with a topic perfect for wrapping up 2019 and even better to kick off the new year!
Most of you know her as one of the industry's leading educators. She's a photographer, artist, educator, author, blogger, and a great friend to so many people in the industry. The story of how she got started isn't very different from most of yours. What changed was a horrific accident that became an incredible journey of hope, focus, dedication, and spirituality.
I've known Suzette for a long time, but what I appreciate the most about our conversation on this podcast is her ability to stay candid, open, and honest about what she went through. She holds nothing back, which is a big part of what makes her such a great instructor and friend!
I grabbed screenshots of some of my favorite images from her galleries. Click on any one of them to visit her website, blogs, and make sure she's on your radar! She and her husband Jonny are both LUMIX Ambassadors, and you'll find them both at a long list of workshops and convention programs throughout the year. And, check out her YouTube channel. There are 400 different videos covering a long list of topics, each there to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images and the support you give your clients.
"Beyond Technique is brought to you by...
We're proud to have Platypod as an SCU partner. Their products are giving photographers the ability to be more creative and capture images from a different perspective. From the Ultra and Max Platypods to great accessories like the new goosenecks and multi-accessory kit, they never slow down on developing new products.
And a big thanks to Photofocus.com. Always sharing great content to help photographers grow their skills in technology, marketing, and business, Photofocus also hosts some of the very best podcasts in photography! They're just a click away.
All images copyright Suzette Allen. All rights reserved.
Image copyright Paul Mango. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
It's "Mirrorless Monday," and last week LUMIX Ambassador, Paul Mango, shared this image from NYC. It was captured with a GX85 and Rokinon 7.5mm F3.5 lens. The exposure triad was F/8 @ 1/6 ISO 3200.
One of the fun aspects of sharing great images here in the SCU blog is the recipes that go into the photographs. I've been shooting with a GX85 for the last couple of years. I love the fact that's it's small and takes interchangeable lenses. It's got most of the features the LUMIX family has become known for and perfect for simply having a camera with you when you're out and about.
Another fun ingredient with Paul's shot is the addition of a Platypod. Platypod changes your perspective, and Paul wrote:
"I'm having a ton of fun with my Platypod in NYC and it fits perfectly in my pocket. Combined with the LUMIX GX85, it's the ultimate pairing for lightweight awesomeness."
Need a little inspiration? Follow Paul and the other members of the LUMIX Ambassador team. They're always sharing great content as one of the most diverse groups of photographers in our industry. And, check out the LUMIX Photographers Facebook page with images being shared every day from 7,000+ photographers all over the world!
If you don't know about Platypod, the website is just a click away, But, even better is this short video by Jay P. Morgan. The tripod isn't dead - it just needs a new sidekick!
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.