by Skip Cohen
Long before the pandemic, we'd all experienced online education, but safety and social distancing has created an entirely new level of quality programming over the last year. "E-learning" is a buzzword regularly in our vocabulary. Coming up on April 16-18, circle the dates for CanAm Expo - three days of intense opportunities to help you fine-tune your skillset and raise the bar on the quality of your images.
Sometimes it's tough to figure out which programs are going to meet your needs best. Well, here's one that's destined to be outstanding - great instructors and a platform designed to allow you to raise the bar on your imaging skills with excellent presentations.
I've written a lot over the years about the best thing about our industry being the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. It goes deeper than that because it's also about respect for each artist's skill set, which is often the catalyst for kicking off the friendship in the first place.
Besides teaching great photography, there are three instructors who are great friends of both mine and Platypod's - Rick Friedman, Don Komarechka, and Shiv Verma. All three are teaching at CanAm and putting their best into programs to help you become better at your craft! Click on their headshots below for more information
Plus, there's a special bonus program: Batting "clean up" and wrapping up the conference is Platypod's founder and owner, Larry Tiefenbrunn.
"Dr. T" will be presenting a ninety-minute program on the last day of the conference featuring dozens of photographers using Platypod in a long list of different applications. Together with Shiv Verma, they'll share dozens of "how-to" tips to help change your perspective in portraiture, landscape, wildlife, macro, closeup, and even working with flash.
CanAm Expo offers you an opportunity to learn from thirteen of the movers and shakers in imaging today, all in the comfort of your own surroundings. Great topics and perfect timing for you to sneak in more ideas to help you create even better images for your clients as we approach Spring seasonality.
Remember, hunkering down has been about your health - not about your business or building a stronger skillset!
See you at CanAm Expo!
images copyright Kevin A. Gilligan. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
If you're a beginner in landscape photography or if you know somebody starting out, here's a $99 investment to establish the right foundation to build on.
Meet my good buddy Kevin A. Gilligan. Kevin and I have worked together on several different projects over the years, and he's not only a talented artist but an outstanding skilled, and diverse educator. He's been a regular contributor to the SCU blog since the very beginning.
Kevin's an award-winning artist, but he certainly didn't start out that way. Over the last fifteen years, he's never slowed down on expanding his skill set, teaching, and capturing/creating stunning images.
In part due to the pandemic, landscape photography has become one of the fastest growing specialties in photography. It's outdoors, and you can work within the parameters of physical distancing and the appropriate health restrictions. The two short videos below will introduce you to Kevin and his work. Click to watch them full screen if you'd like.
As Kevin mentions in his overview, for somebody just getting started, this will help answer most of the questions, not only about having the right equipment but also how to use it. This is a no-brainer for a beginner photographer and an inexpensive investment to help make sure the basics are covered.
I pulled screenshots of two of my favorite images of Kevin's, but you'll find lots more on his website. Plus, bringing together landscape photography and portraiture, here's one of my favorite headshots he did for me a year ago at Redondo Beach.
Click on any of the three images in today's post to view in the SCU Lightbox. And for more information on how you can help somebody get started as a landscape photographer, click on the banner below.
by Skip Cohen
Think about how we share images today versus twenty years ago. From Facebook to Instagram and even LinkedIn, we share photographs as often as we like. No waiting for a convention to catch friends, carrying a portfolio case, or putting prints in the mail - we've got instant fulfillment at any time.
Marc Morris joins us this month, and it's thanks to
Facebook that we first saw his photograph above. From FB, I headed to his LinkedIn page to learn more about him, which led to a great phone call.
Besides a stunning image, there are two additional reasons to feature his work this month. First, we're still in the pandemic, and restrictions abound. However, it's not hard to physically distance when you're outdoors. Second, Marc's photograph crosses that line from landscape into fine art. I want to see his image blown up to a five by seven-foot print in an office or living room with a cathedral ceiling!
The pandemic has changed everything in our lives, but not the passion of our chefs. Chef Marc couldn't be more proud to be a photographer, as well as help other artists raise the bar on their skill set.
Finding a quote that relates to each chef became part of this series starting early in 2019. It wasn't hard to find one that fit Marc - in fact; he wrote a lot about the photograph and the feeling he wanted to capture when he clicked the shutter.
“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at,
then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”
About Chef Marc: Marc's based out of Denver, as a Sales Representative for Tamron USA. Members of the Tamron team don't often join us in the Tamron Kitchen, but the image was so powerful, it deserved to be shared. As Marc and I talked, it turns out he and I met a few years back at WPPI, and like so many people in this industry, we have a lot of mutual friends.
About this Image: "I was in Hawaii on a work trip. There are many misconceptions about road warrior gigs, and one of the biggest (and most understandable) is that it’s a constant vacation, tourism mode activated 24/7, being that we do indeed travel constantly. However, I had never been to Hawaii, so when I was asked to head out in support of a fairly large workshop being hosted by Pro Camera Hawaii, I certainly didn’t turn the opportunity down. The trip was tightly packed, with very little room for “extracurricular activities.”
Due to weather (a right proper morning to midday monsoon with flooding that the locals laughably took utterly in stride) and the workshop schedule, I was only able to find a few hours before my flight back to Denver to go exploring...I had never shot in a rain forest before...There were pockets of the trail that clearly had their own microclimate: rain would form and fall at random, and the oxygen-rich environment allowed me an energy and movement I’d not had for years. O’ahu. Island of eternal youth.
I’m a highly tactile person, and this translates to my photography. When I’m scanning a subject or an environment, not only am I watching the light and its fluidity, how it fills this well, how shallow or deep others may be in their shadows… but I’m also seeking texture. Texture is what sells depth, scale, and to a certain extent, authenticity. I like images I can feel. If I’m looking at a photo and my hands itch, I know the photographer got something right: it’s in the fingertips. And the rainforest is if you’ll pardon me, absolutely saturated with texture.
The image you see here is an expanse that opened up off a corner of the trail, and its dimensionality was so overwhelming I was rooted to the spot. A floor above the floor. A sky below the sky. It was unlike anything I’ve ever personally witnessed in nature, and I simply had to try to capture it to see if I could translate its depth to print. It took about 20 minutes of working that corner, about forty feet up and down the trail, changing lenses for perspective studies before I settled on the 17-35 at the wide end. It was the only lens that was truly able to fit the scene, corner to corner, at the points where I needed the photo to end while also keeping that world within a world feel I wanted to come across."
Take the time to visit Chef Marc's Instagram page. He regularly shares great content and photographs that will tell you more about his love for the craft.
In the world of photography, the first quarter of each year has always been a series of "reunions," as we all attend the various key conventions around the country. The pandemic has changed that for 2021, but it hasn't slowed Tamron down. Online and off, in small programs around the country, they support imaging artists as best they can. Check out their listing of local events, all within the appropriate safety and physical distancing guidelines.
The lens Marc used for the image above was the 17-35mm F2.8-4 Di OSD. Click on the thumbnail to the right for more information, and understanding why he made this choice for the coverage of the scene he wrote about.
I write the same reminder with so many posts - hunkering down is about your health, NOT about growing as an artist and expanding your skill set. Nothing grows if you stay in your comfort zone. That means the downtime you're experiencing now is an opportunity to raise the bar on the quality of your images.
Stay active in social media and spend time with your camera in your hands every day, capturing images for your most important client...YOU!
by Skip Cohen
We're all dealing with the same challenge, downtime with minimal things to do, but maximum energy and often creativity. So, wandering through cyberspace, I caught a post from one half of one of my favorite couples in imaging. If you know Bobbi Lane and Lee Varis, then it's hard to imagine what they'd be doing in life that wasn't related to something in photography or the arts.
Bobbi posted the image above with this caption:
Best of 2020 FLOWERS! I had a wonderful year photographing flowers in my house (got me out of the rut), in the yard and on location. I shot everything on the Fujifilm XT 4 using three lenses: 80mm f/2.8 macro, 50 mm f/1.0, and the 16-55mm f/2.8.
While all the images she shared were beautiful, I loved this one the most. But it wasn't just the image, but her "Best of 2020" approach. Bobbi isn't known for a lot of still life, but she's also not known to compromise on turning her visions into reality. (I found out after this post was published - She started out her career in large format product photography!)
There's a great line about growth only happening outside your comfort zone. While I doubt Bobbi had any thoughts about stepping into close-up work with flowers, it's great to see one of her projects that burned up the clock a little during downtime.
Remember, "hunkering down" is about your health, not about your business, skill set, or creativity!
by Skip Cohen
It's a new year, and more and more, I've come to realize the control we all share in pushing things back to a level of normalcy. The need to capture memories and the potential demand by consumers for the "magic," only a professional photographer can provide hasn't changed. Sure, it's been buried under a lot of stress, frustration, and fear through the pandemic, but it's still out there.
Just recently, Charles and Jennifer Maring shared this stunning family portrait on their Facebook page. While it was taken last fall, it was done during one of the pandemic's most restrictive phases. But it was still captured and created while maintaining physical distancing and exercising the necessary health precautions.
It might be too cold today in various parts of the country for a family portrait like this now, but that doesn't limit your ability as a portrait artist. Your creativity gives you the potential to create something just as stunning - the challenge is that it's up to you to plant the seeds of ideas with your target audience. This is where your blog, a personal letter to your clients, or a direct mail piece can help.
It's still going to be a while before the vaccine really makes a difference, but you don't have to wait! Hunkering down is about your health - NOT about your business.
Charles and Jennifer captured this image with the LUMIX S1R, LUMIX 70-200mm f/4 lens and a Profoto B10 (off camera for fill light). The exposure triad was: 1/80 @ f/8 ISO 100 in Manual.
Panasonic technology is "changing photography," and giving artists some of the most creative tools in the history of imaging. Click on either thumbnail below for more information about two of the Maring's most favorite tools!
by Skip Cohen
Business pretty much disappeared for so many artists and educators this year, but not their love for the craft. So many of you have taken classes at various conventions with one of the industry's favorite couples, Bobbi Lane and Lee Varis...or you've joined them on one of their photo adventures.
While it doesn't compare to their tentatively planned Iceland trip in September of 2021 and Venice, Italy in 2022, their backyard is New England with no shortage of clickable moments. I pulled three of my favorites from their "New England 2021 - Bobbi and Lee's Photo Adventures at Home" calendar.
I wanted to share the images in a post for three reasons:
The fun of this industry is all about the friendships we share, as well as our love for photography. The sunflowers and cranberry harvesst were captured by Bobbi, while the fall reflection in the river was Lee's.
But the wish for all of us to stay healthy and refocus for a great year in 2021 is from both of them!
by Skip Cohen
Part of the fun of being in this industry my entire adult life is catching up to old friends and associates. It's also fun to have followed their journeys, aspirations, and dreams.
In 1987 I joined Hasselblad USA as president, and my world completely changed. Moving to the NY/NJ area, I was surrounded by some of the industry's most respected artists. The variety of projects they were involved with was never-ending.
Meet Dave Frieder and the reality of a dream he's had for a long time! Dave was a regular visitor to the Hasselblad office in New Jersey, and we'd also catch up to him each year at what today is PPE. I met lots of artists over the years, but Dave's claim to fame was unique - he photographed New York from the top of each major bridge.
A copy of Dave's dream arrived at my house last Friday, and it's stunning. One of the jacket stories for the cover was written by Kriss Roebling, and here's a small part of what he wrote:
"...Amongst the many bridges that are represented in this tome is the bridge that my great-great-grandparents built, the Brooklyn Bridge. I am grateful to Dave for leveling his artistic eye on my ancestor' crowning achievement from vantage points that no average photographer would have the vision, or the courage to pursue. His daredevil capacity to capture the uncaptured image reinvigorates the beauty of my ancestors' work, and deliver that work once again from the realm of visual cliché."
If you're looking for a stunning gift this holiday season, especially if you're in the NYC area, here's a book that belongs on every coffee table. This is a quality piece, and like everything Dave's done, he never compromises on a great delivery.
And to Dave, as sappy as it sounds, I'm so proud to have played a tiny part in this project. I'm looking forward to the pandemic ending and getting back out to the shows and conventions we all miss so much. Nicely done, buddy - Congratulations!
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
It's Sunday morning, and I'm definitely not in my usual mode of being off the topic of photography.
The pandemic has changed everything in our lives and not for the better. But it's also created some unique leadership opportunities in creativity and support to your clients and community. I know it's been an ugly year for virtually every business, but I also know there are ideas out there to help you get back on track and jumpstart your business.
ClickCon Nation kicks off today with an all-star cast, but more important than the educators/speakers is the timing and the topics. For example, I'm doing a program at 10:15 CST called "My Business Has Disappeared, Now What?" In one hour, I'm going to pack in 2-3 hours of material - one after another of things photographers can be doing RIGHT NOW to capture the seasonality in business.
And check out the company I'm with below.
The program is FREE - all you have to do is download the ClickCon Nation app, and you're in. I know this doesn't apply to everybody, but there are too many of you who have been crying the blues over the decline in business and not doing anything about it.
Remember that line of "God helps those who help themselves?" Well, regardless of what you believe spiritually, there's so much help in this industry. But you've got to make the first move - open your mind and join us!
Wishing everybody a day filled with ideas and opportunities to be a leader in creativity and business. The year isn't over yet. As I've written so many times in the last nine months - hunkering down is about your health - NOT about your business.
Image copyright Daniel Venter. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
We're all spending more time in Cyberspace than ever before, especially on Facebook. I spotted this image while scrolling through posts this morning. Daniel Venter is no stranger to SCU, and I love the power of this image. A high-key winter scene, it's a perfect example of one of Daniel's signature techniques, playing with the depth of field, not to mention the way he's created the image overall.
For those of you who get defensive when I share a manipulated image, Daniel has it posted as an offering for his educational sessions. Whether you're interested in what he has to share or not doesn't matter - this is about creating stunning images that would exceed client expectations and help make an artist habit-forming!
And yes, I did contact Daniel for permission to share in a post. Remember, even though somebody shares an image in a public space, and technically you don't have to ask, as members of the industry, we all should follow through with the original artist when showing somebody else's work.
by Skip Cohen
With so much content available online, while it's easy to keep up with what other artists are doing, it's challenging to find the very best quality content. Well, check out "LUMIX Stories." It's Panasonic's LUMIX Ambassador's page, and it's loaded with great stories and images from artists all over the world.
There are stories from 36 different artists currently on the site, with each thumbnail taking you to a different topic or destination.
Shooting with a G9 and loving it as I do, I clicked on my good friend Suzette Allen's story and loved what I found. Click on the banner below and join Suzette on a journey of great images and tips to help you build an even stronger skill set.
For more information on the remarkable G9 and all its features, click on the thumbnail to the right.
Check out Suzette Allen's website, her blogs and YouTube channel. There are 425 videos on her channel with an incredible range of topics. She's always sharing outstanding content, and ways to expand your skill set.
Each image includes the camera used along with the lens and exposure triad. There's so much good content featured in this series.
by Skip Cohen
One of the all-time top forbidden topics in most blogs is politics. In fact, everyone has been caught in conversations where we wish politics hadn't come up.
Well, I'm taking a chance with this blog post, but I'm counting on you not to agree or disagree, but pay attention to the technique, style, storytelling ability, and quality of the trailer for this full-length film.
It's all been the work of LUMIX Ambassador, Jordan Bunch, and I couldn't be more proud to consider him a buddy. Here's the backstory Jordan sent me after I asked about his role in this:
I was hired by the campaign to come along and make social media videos for 2.5 weeks. I rode on the bus with Dr. Jorgensen and four others for that time making two videos/day for social media. Then I asked to come back on my own and use what I did as well as one more week of footage to make a documentary that I would fund myself, but that I would maintain full ownership of. So that's what this is.
Now, take it all one step further. Because of Covid-19, he shot it all solo, not something he'd normally do. But, as we've all dealt with the challenges of downtime during the last eight months, had Jordan's wedding business not been suffering, he might not have had the time to make the film! Plus, all the editing was done in ten days.
The film trailer is below, and again, please watch it for the creative value and technique, NOT whether you agree or disagree with the topics being shared. And if you decide you want to watch the full film click on the poster above.
The film was shot with the new full-frame S1H. Jordan had two of them along with plenty of S1 Pro-glass - the LUMIX PRO 24-70mm, 70-200mm and 24-105mm. Click on any of the thumbnails below to check out these three outstanding lenses.
You'll find more information about Jordan Bunch with the rest of the LUMIX Ambassadors on the team page on Panasonic's website. This group is one of the most diverse and creative teams in photo. All the ambassadors should be on your radar. Plus, see more of Jordan's images in on his website at Ladybird Studios.
And don't miss out on great images being shared from LUMIX artists all over the world on the LUMIX Photographers Facebook page. There's new content being shared by close to 11,000 members regularly!
by Skip Cohen
I first met Jennifer and Charles Maring back in my early WPPI days, so we've been friends for close to twenty years. I've always admired how they work to exceed client expectations and never compromise on the quality of an image.
Jennifer's shooting with the LUMIX S1and LUMIX S 24-105 f/4 lens, plus a Profoto B10, but just as impressive as the gear and her results is the way she's working with the client. It's a senior portrait shoot, and you'll notice Jennifer's making it an experience, not just a sitting.
The short BTS video below is described as:
Chase your curiosities, because when you do that, curiosity turns to interest, interest turns into passion, and suddenly you find yourself living your dream... That's where the real magic happens. This week we have been behind the camera creating summer portraits on the Lumix S1 with the Lumix 24-105 f/4 and a Profoto B10. Join photographer Jennifer Maring BTS as she creates senior portraits outdoors at a client / friends home. A well rounded session that includes natural light, a touch of fill when it counts, and over the top flash do bring more drama to the skies. Video filmed on the Lumix G100 Vlogging Camera.
Jennifer talks in the video about "when the magic happens," not just for the client, but the photographer. There's that unique point where your passion, the craft, and business align, and the beauty of your skill set comes shining through.
Both Jennifer and Charles Maring are LUMIX Ambassadors. Follow them 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. Plus, see more Jennifer and Charles' images with their portfolio on on their website, at MaringVisuals.com.
Looking for information about the new full-frame LUMIX S1? Just click on the thumbnail below, along with the 24-105 f/4 lens. The video was filmed by Charles with the NEW LUMIX G100 - just a click away. Panasonic never slows down in helping photographers raise the bar on the quality of their images!
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
The pandemic has changed just about everything in business today, especially in imaging. But it's also opened up some new revenue streams, thanks to technology (Bay Photo), and new products.
I just recently hung the two 30x30 Performance EXT Metal prints outside on the back of the house. The other print had been out in the bright sun and rain for three years, and while it might have shown fading under the microscope, to the naked eye, it was still stunning. (Note: It's been recently replaced. It survived everything but the power wash guy who not only knocked it off the wall, but later rolled over it with his equipment.) The two additional prints, captured by Jonny Yoshinaga with a drone when he and Suzette Allen were here last year, are special reminders of a great friendship.
Performance EXT Metal is specially engineered for extended life in the elements! Perfect for use as outdoor art, photography, signage, and display, Performance EXT Metal will last 2-3 years in direct sunlight without noticeable fading.
Think about your client base and how many people would appreciate prints outside their home. Everyone is hunkered down with limited travel but maximum time at home - looking at the same walls! Now take the concept of photographs outdoors one step further - how many restaurants have outdoor seating, but nothing on display?
There's an entirely new revenue stream waiting to be tapped into. In each of your communities, you've got subjects to feature in photographs, whether it's scenes around the community, the restaurant's favorite dishes, or the staff - the list goes on and on. And, we're entering the seasonality of the fourth quarter. The need for creativity in gift-giving this year is going to be at an all time high.
by Skip Cohen
"Mirrorless Monday" went right on by as Labor Day, but who cares? It's Tuesday, and this short piece by my buddy and member of the LUMIX team, Mark Toal, is too much fun not to share on any day of the week.
We're all dealing with downtime, and even though business is starting to open up a little, being a photographer and artist is still a challenge. Time lapse is a whole new adventure, and if you think about things you're doing around the house, family time, etc. there are so many opportunities to have fun capturing a variety of events.
I'm also convinced that it's a great way to do your own video holiday card this year. Better yet, offer it as a product to your clients. It's not a new concept to any of us, but just like canvas prints - it's new to most of your clients, and something they'd get excited about!
Mark's description of how he captured refinishing his deck is below. There was one accessory to the capture that I couldn't be more proud to talk about, the link to the complete Platypod ecosystem.
Platypod products offer unlimited combinations of creative tools. They form an ecosystem of inspiration for photographers in macro, architecture, landscape, hiking, and traveling situations where tripods dare not go.
A big thanks to Mark for sharing one of his time-lapse adventures. Here's the link to Mark's website and blog. He's always sharing great content.
And take the time to get to know the LUMIX Ambassador team too. This group is one of the most diverse and creative teams in photo, and all the ambassadors should be on your radar. Looking for more great content? Check out the LUMIX Photographers Facebook page - there are always great conversations and images shared by LUMIX artists from around the world.
By Mark Toal
I've recently been refinishing the deck on my house and wanted to record the final step of staining the newly sanded wood.
I needed a way to set up the camera without a tripod since I didn't have space for one. I used a bungee cord to secure the Platypod to the deck railing, set my Lumix G9 with the 7-14mm lens to Time Lapse mode and shot a photo every 5 seconds until I was finished.
The camera created the video internally. I then used WiFi to transfer the video to my phone and uploaded it to Facebook and my Vimeo.com account.
Panasonic's tagline from the start of the LUMIX family has been "Changing Photography." Well, they've stayed true to that goal. I've been shooting with the G9 for over a year and love this camera. For more information, click on either of the thumbnails below.
by Skip Cohen
Lately, it seems like every post I write starts out referencing something different in our lives because of the pandemic. Like you, I'm taking a look in the rearview mirror more often than in the past, and it's become part of my daily routine.
I miss the total freedom all of us took for granted. I miss friends, planning for the next convention, and thinking about where Sheila and I might go for a long weekend. Everything has changed, but here's a good thing I'm learning to appreciate, my photographs.
I'm spending more time looking at past files and immensely enjoying Skylum's Luminar. They do not pay me, and I'm not an active affiliate, but I appreciate the simplicity of understanding how to adjust an image and make it a little better.
I also enjoy getting to know the various filters as I adjust an image to my taste. And for those of you who want to criticize what I did in the above photo, remember, "Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder," and in this case, I'm my own client, and the checkbook holder.
In May of 2019, Sheila and I spent ten days in New Mexico and fell in love with so many different areas. We started in Albuquerque, then drove to Santa Fe and finished in Taos, making stops all along the way. One of the most interesting and poignant was Taos Pueblo. Acting like total tourists, we took the reservation tour, at that time still inhabited by a half dozen full-time residents.
There's a story behind the graveyard and church above:
From Craig K. Gowens page on Flickr in 2009
The original San Geronimo Church was built in 1619 when the Spanish settled the area and began forcibly converting the Tiwa people of the Taos Pueblo to Christianity. The Church was destroyed in the 1680 revolt that drove the Spanish from New Mexico, but rebuilt after their return a decade later. The second destruction of the church occurred at the hands of the U.S. Army in 1847.
During the American military occupation, the native Americans again made a bid for their own freedom, rejecting the authority of the new American territorial governor of New Mexico, Charles Bent, assassinating him in his home in Taos. The U.S. Army retaliated against the Taos Pueblo as one of the leaders of the revolt was a Tiwa native. Hundreds of Tiwa, mostly women and children, had taken refuge in the church during the attack and were killed when the Army bombarded the church with artillery. The bell tower of the church has been restored and serves as a remainder of lives lost in the attack.
One of the features I enjoy most with Luminar is my ability to see the before and after as I'm working on an image. I grabbed a screenshot of one small section of the picture. That bar down the middle slides left and right, allowing you to see each part of the image and the impact the changes you're making have on the finished product.
In this case, I used the one-touch clarity booster, gave the saturation a slight tweak, and then used the structure filter, which enhances clarity and micro-contrast in surface area between edges detected in an image, improving perceived detail and making photos stand out.
Besides sharing a small history lesson from New Mexico, and intro to Luminar, if you haven't used it - there's an even better bottom line.
The need to hunker down is wearing on all of us. Don't let the pandemic's challenges get in the way of the love you have as an artist and business owner. Business is out there, and it will come back - but in the meantime, keep working on your skill set.
Wander through your files and appreciate where you were a year ago. Use your photographs to keep your creative juices flowing, and that passion you have for imaging alive. Keep in touch with friends, stay active in social media, and keep your eye out for moments of inspiration from the people you respect most. Most important of all, don't let go of your dreams.
And one more thing to think about - It's that first convention we're all going to attend LIVE. What a celebration that's going to be. I'll meet all of you in the bar of the host hotel that first night in town...wherever that might be!
"Every lens ever made was created with a purpose in mind."
by Skip Cohen
Every Monday, I share a new post with images from the world of mirrorless cameras, especially LUMIX. Today's post features the GH5 and a portrait shoot during the pandemic by my good buddy Charles Maring. But, the real stars of the video are Jessica Rose and the Leica 42.5 f/1.2 Nocticron lens.
It's a short video, but pay attention to the way Charles is shooting - into the sun and taking full advantage of the narrow depth of field created through this amazing piece of glass. His quote above says it all, and you'll see in image after image how he takes full advantage of the creativity brought out by his vision, combined with the best characteristics of the lens.
"I'll often point this lens into the sun, because with its f1.2 aperture it gives a really soft elegant glow, and roll-off to the highlights."
For more information about this incredible camera and lens click on either thumbnail below.
Charles and Jennifer Maring need to be on your radar. Click on any of the portraits in this post to visit their website, "Together in Style." You'll never be disappointed in the content they share. And stay tuned - they're about to make an amazing change in their lives, and all of us have been invited to share a front-row seat to their new adventures!
Take the time to get to know the LUMIX Ambassador team too. This group is one of the most diverse and creative teams in photo, and all the ambassadors should be on your radar as well. Looking for more great content? Check out the LUMIX Photographers Facebook page - there are always great conversations and images being shared by LUMIX artists from around the world.
Click on the above banners to understand what makes ClickCon and ClickCon Nation so unique!
by Skip Cohen
Last year ClickCon in Chicago kicked off its first conference and became the most successful launch of a new convention in the industry. Many factors were contributing to it being a great show, from the class selections, quality of the speakers, quality and enthusiasm of models and stylists to the involvement of the "Heart of ClickCon," the people involved in the planning.
This year we were all excited for the second show in their history when the pandemic hit. But nothing stops the Heart of ClickCon, and this weekend, ClickCon Nation kicks off a nine-month series of monthly classes and support for imaging artists.
The next ClickCon LIVE Conference is scheduled for August of 2021, but here's the best part - as part of your registration, you've got nine months of online educational programs from which to choose. Click on the thumbnail below to check out this Sunday's programming.
Everyone has different needs these days, but there are several common denominators - the need to share ideas, grow our skill sets and understand how to deal with the new norm. ClickCon Nation has five different levels of involvement - each one designed to help artists get the support they need most.
Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to catching up with many of you in cyberspace and then LIVE in Chicago next August. Registration is just a click away on the banner below!
by Skip Cohen
Jay P. Morgan knocks another one out of the park with this new video about raising the bar on the quality of your online presence in video. I found his video so helpful that I've duplicated Jay P's set up right down to a plexiglass stand to raise my laptop. Working closely with Platypod, I was already using the goosenecks with two LitraTorch 2.0 lights on an Ultra, but I decided it was time to upgrade everything.
The pandemic has created the new normal, and we're all on video calls more than ever before. Plus, we're part of an industry that prides itself on great visual presentations. Whether you're involved in online meetings, a presentation, or just talking with friends and family - looking good should be part of your profile. You're online live presence is no different than having a good headshot on your "About" page!
If you're looking for great educational support by one of the best educators in imaging, follow Jay P. Morgan on his YouTube channel, The Slanted Lens. There are over 500 videos, and he's always sharing terrific content with never-ending support to help artists raise the bar on the quality of their work.
And if you're looking for the latest in great gear from Platypod? Just click on the logo below to check out the current kits on sale along with the rest of the product line. Platypod also sells the LitraTorch 2.0s, but check out Litra. com for more information about their other lights and accessories too.
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.