The current sense of alienation finds us alone in a crowd, both in the city and with social media. Our sense of self is exacerbated, a brilliant signal in a vast barren field of noise… When we are in the world, surrounded by crowds (and that person taking an over-contrived selfie to add to the digital noise) we feel
Last week Kirth Bobb and I published our Shutdown Stories Project. The project was well received by local and national media, with coverage provided by WUSA-9, Nikon Rumors, PetaPixel and Exposed DC.
As the Shutdown continues, we’re continuing to look at continuing our photographic documentation of the ongoing crisis. Our concern for our family, neighbors, and community members directly impacted by the crisis only continues.
Some of My Favorite Portraits So Far
The Shutdown Stories Project is a photographic essay telling stories of individuals affected by the federal shutdown. Here are some of my favorite articles so far.
Lona Saccomando serves the country at the Department of Homeland Security. Her family is down to one income and is depleting their savings. Luckily, they have enough for now. Lona sees a silver lining in
The federal shutdown affects the entire region Washington, DC region, hurting our neighbors, friends, and families. Without our federal workforce, local services suffer, national air travel becomes difficult, and our Smithsonian museums and national parks close.
Federal workers have become unwilling pawns. Perhaps most dehumanizing the media and certain politicians relegate these great individuals as a blind number, “800,000 federal workers.” Teaming together, DC photographer Kirth Bobb and me are taking studio portraits of affected federal employees, whether they are furloughed or worse being made to work without pay.
We want to tell their story! Federal workers are real people trying to make ends meet and serve our country.
These studio portraits will surpass the standard evenly exposed shot featured on the average corporate website, and help show the world who these amazing people are. Photos will be shot at the Creative Hands Studio in Washington, DC, which is
In advance of my February 11 Lightroom workshop, I wanted to share some basic Lightroom videos that show how I approach my post-processing of landscapes. This pond sunset was taken in Phoenix, AZ late last December.
Though the sun was behind a mountain, the clouds were still showing some lovely color, though you could not tell that from the camera’s original interpretation of the picture. This video shows my workflow that produced the above image. If you want to download the original RAW file, you can find it here.
The above Lightroom Landscape Tutorial made with Adobe Lightroom Classic addresses these topics:
And much more.
Take your landscape photos to the next level with my basic Lightroom Landscape Tutorial. Don’t miss my February 11 Lightroom workshop in Arlington, VA.
The post Basic Landscape Continue reading "Basic Landscape Lightroom Tutorial"
The Internet offers photographers many options, perhaps too many options, to share their works. With so many choices, I participate in the networks I focus on networks that deliver value, whether from a marketing or a creative development perspective. I find myself posting more frequently in National Geographic’s Your Shot Community, and plan to continue there through 2019.
A photographer community like 500px, YouPic, Flickr and Photofie, Your Shot offers some unique value. Because Your Shot is curated by four National Geographic editors, there’s a stronger focus on editorial storytelling in the community.
Editors literally scan every photograph posted on the network each day and favorite the ones they like.
Favorited photos are
With the holidays right around the corner, many loved ones want to know what their photographers want for Christmas, Hanukkah, or another holiday they might celebrate. I have my desires but decided to ask my colleagues in the DC Focused Facebook community what they want for the holidays this year.
Find below a list of potential gifts for shutterbugs, from the most cost-effective to the priciest. I sprinkled in a couple of suggestions, too.
Links and prices are from B & H Photo unless the item can only be found on another store. These are not affiliate links. It’s just my favorite photography equipment store. I also use Adorama and Amazon.
These four portraits of my daughter Soleil, feature her dressed up as Cleopatra, Egyptian Goddess. Soleil asked me to take the photos of her last winter, so we went and purchased two costumes, and booked some studio time at Union 206 Studio. Jessie Campbell did the makeup.
Unfortunately, I had some significant life events that interrupted the effort. Seven months later the composites are done, just in time for Soleil’s birthday next week.
Egyptian Concept and Influence
The project was deeply influenced by Josh Rossi‘s Wonder Woman effort, where he spent $1500 to turn his daughter into the Amazonian superhero. This effort cost approximately $600, more of a bootstrap effort, in comparison.
Soleil’s Egyptian concept allowed us to put together two costumes piecemeal via various manufacturers on Amazon and Etsy. We bought tunics, Halloween costumes, wigs, and costume jewelry. It was just Jessie, Soleil and I in the studio,
Friends often ask me what kind of camera they should get. Usually, it’s because someone wants a new travel camera, their first real camera, or they want a device capable of more functionality than their smartphone.
It’s a bit of a difficult question, as the camera industry is in transition with mirrorless cameras almost outselling DSLRs now.
But there are some easy qualifiers. Someone’s first camera or a new travel camera should offer a couple of things:
1) The ability to shoot manual: Knowing how to shoot manual is the singular skilled shared amongst serious pro and enthusiast art photographers. Though camera software systems continue to improve with technologies like eye recognition, autofocus interprets a shot in just one way. That limits your artistic flexibility to create depth of field, long exposures, creamy bokeh, etc. If your interest in photography expands, you will want to learn how to shoot
Last week, I went out on a limb and pre-ordered the 24 megapixel Nikon Z6, which should ship on November 30. It is a bit of a flyer, but assuming my instincts are correct, the camera will replace my second body, my D750.
Currently, I have two cameras, one a D810 and the other a D750. They are my first and second bodies respectively. I use the D810 almost exclusively for jobs, and the D750 serves as a second backup body in case of failure, and a personal project camera, too. I intend to upgrade both cameras over the next year and a half, and I definitely wanted to move towards mirrorless.
The camera has much to love, including most of the features that Sony and Fuji have pioneered in the space. Most notably, Nikon has an incredible new mount that lets in more light than any other Full
The above photograph was taken on the Indian River Jetty in Dewey Beach this past week. It is literally my first photo of the week.
Every week I will send interested parties with my highest ranked photo posted on the 500px community. The emailed image will include a link to a downloadable version of the picture on Flickr. Photo of the week recipients can download the photo and use it however they like via a non-commercial creative commons license.
If you would like to receive the photo of the week, click on the image below to signup.
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Last week I interviewed Angela Pan in advance of our Photograph the Washington Monuments at Night photo workshop on July 18 (held in conjunction with Focus on the Story). For those of you who don’t know her, Angela is the author of Snap DC: Your Guide to Taking Extraordinary Photos of the National Mall and Beyond…
You can watch our interview with some of Angela’s fantastic photography above. Or you can read the entire interview transcript below (with a pic or three). And do consider attending our Night Monuments photography workshop on July 18, 7:30 until 10:30 p.m. It’s going to be fantastic.
Geoff: We’re doing this workshop together, it’s about the national monuments. And you just put out a book on it, which I’ve got, it’s outstanding. Tell us about your book [Snap DC].
Angela Pan: Thank you. It took about nine months to create, and it’s
I recently read Allen Gannett’s new book, The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time. The book offers a compelling view on what makes for a repeatable creative success.
Per my Amazon review, The Creative Curve caused me to think, and become unstuck in some ways. Before I get into a quick take on the four main principles of the book, it should be noted that some photographers may balk at Allen’s prescription.
As the old adage goes, what’s popular is not good. If you have this ethos about popular trends in photography (for example, Instagram marketing), then parts of you will writhe when you read Allen’s book.
However; if you want your work to be seen, purchased, etc., then I suggest browsing his four characteristics of creative success closely. I know my best successes occurred when I was unconsciously adhering to at
Street photography offers a refreshing authentic glimpse into the human spirit in a time of over-contrived selfies. Newcomers to street photography often feel a sense of trepidation about taking shots of other people in public. To help I have assembled five tips, each taken from a larger roundup article on street photography tips.
Enjoy, and if you have any tips to add, please do so in the comments!
When I take street shots, I feel excited. You never know who you will meet along the way.
Taking portraits of other people can be frightening, though. Some are afraid of intruding on people’s privacy.
Say you see a remarkable person, and you want to take their photograph. Go ahead and ask them. That’s how I got this street portrait of Robert Moore, an entrepreneur in DC. This Digital Photography School article
This Wednesday is Alexandria City’s giving day for local nonprofits, Spring2Action. I am supporting my daughter Soleil’s dance studio Local Motion Project with a fundraiser and complimentary photography. Why do I believe in this cause?
Many children find their creative spirit and a sense of self confidence by participating in Local Motion Project classes. I have witnessed it with Soleil over a period of three years, and I have seen it with other’s children. As a parent I find this outcome to be indispensable.
Soleil (the girl with the red scarf) has always loved music and dance. For the past three years she has learned to express her creative spirit through ballet, modern, and tap dance classes. Today, she will literally float around the house in joy. Local Motion Project gave her that gift.
This year she learned not to quit. She
Why put together a list of DC scenes to photograph besides the National Mall? There is so much more to see and photograph in the DC area beyond these tourist favorites. The region is ripe with incredible architecture, cool neighborhoods, and even amazing natural vistas.
Sure, every local and traveling photographer cannot resist the call of the national mall, including me. After all, it is cherry blossom season. And can you blame us?
That said, once you get a taste for metro DC, you come to appreciate the incredible character the region has to offer beyond monuments and federal buildings. With that in mind, let’s show you a little of what the city has to offer. Whether you favor street, nature, or travel photography, there is something in here for you.
1) The National Cathedral
Both inside and out, this cathedral offers a taste
A silhouette of Brett and Heather kissing from their walkthrough at the Key Bridge Marriott.
Last year, I had the privilege of photographing Heather and Brett Pocorobba for their engagement and wedding. I am not a traditional wedding photographer, but they wanted a real street vibe to their collection, so it was a good fit.
As we discussed the project, I suggested a series of street engagement shots, one every month. The idea was to show the evolution of their relationship as they moved towards marriage. It was kind of a crazy fun idea, and made it interesting from an artistic perspective. Heather and Brett are big fans of art (Brett is the bassist for DC rock band Skip House) and they really liked the concept.
I think we caught some street style in this, but we also evolved beyond that too. Looking back at the project, we added
This year’s Exposed DC Crystal City Fotowalk Underground Exhibition features 13 local photographers, including me. I contributed a 12 photograph series focusing on isolation and self identity.
Modernism as a movement interested me because of its take on the isolated individual in the industrial world. My favorite modernist was Franz Kafka, with his characters often alienated and trapped alone in a mad ironic world they cannot escape. While 20th century modernism deals with isolation in a time of factories, cars, and new skyscrapers, I feel we are in a new modernist era.
The current sense of alienation finds us alone in a crowd, both in the city and with social media. Our sense of self is exacerbated, a brilliant signal in a vast barren field of noise. For many that noise is defined by the digital noise they experience on their phones, TVs, and computers. It is often
For the past year I helped launch Legends of Learning as cofounder and CMO. While I have worked with several education brands before, Legends represents my first dedicated full-time experience. Marketing learning games to middle school science teachers has given me a new-found respect for how hard teachers work.
In addition to the hours they spend at school, teachers often work nights and yes, weekends to prepare lessons for their classes, learn about new teaching methods, grading, and, oh yeah, answering parent and administrative correspondence. In short, teachers work hard.
Teachers invest time not only in the classroom with today’s youth, but also exploring the vast amount of content and education solutions online. Teaching is often a 60-hour per week job, or more.
In spite of the numerous companies generating curriculum content, it can be extraordinarily difficult to find