The First Three Months

 

Since I have not put any pressure upon myself to blog this year, I have been enjoying photographing and writing a bit more.  Pressure is off and I’m being more creative.

January was busy, February a close second and March is catching up!  In the past three months, I’ve photographed mega star Cher, WWE, a Bacon Jam festival, a circus, a couple of local bands & events, Joe Bonamassa, Shinedown with Asking Alexandria and Papa Roach (more on this later).  I have also photographed a hip hop concert and a TacoFest!

I have upcoming this month (March) Impractical Jokers and a couple more local events.

I would have had a few more opportunities, however the Shinedown concert took me out of the picture for about a week.  The concert was great, but the fog used, not so much.   I know I can’t be around smoke for very long without running into breathing issues, but I never once thought about stage fog, and I was out for several days due to bronchial asthma caused by the fog.  Live & learn!

Recently I’ve been doing some commercial work for my son’s best friend.  He recently returned from Vietnam where he was managing a resort and has started a Bamboo Straw business.  Because I have done some website photography work for him, he has given me a discount code for my followers who may be interested in purchasing a renewable no waste straw to replace using plastic ones.  These straws are fantastic, no aftertaste, they can be composted so they are zero waste and with the beautiful travel kit you will received a lovely pouch with a coconut button closure. The discount code is EARTH  and it will give you 10% off your total purchase;  his website: Bamboo Step.  Please visit and consider saving our planet one straw at a time.

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Advice From an Avid Learner

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Here’s something I question.  As an artist (photographer) we see things differently than others, and because art is subjective, there will always be works we like and works we dislike; I get that.  What I don’t understand is a photographer who has an eye for their subject, yet they don’t do anything to make their photograph exceptional.  I don’t mean necessarily over working it in processing, but just brining out details or taking it from a different angle.  I know I’ve been guilty of not doing much to photos, but I do try.  One of the areas I am a full believer in is learning, you must continually learn your craft if you want to be better.  You must have the tools to enhance and to make your photograph even better than what it shows in camera.  You must learn from those who are more advanced than you and have been around the proverbial block a time or two, and you must apply what you learn to your own style.

Here are some suggestions that may help: 

Follow photographers on social media who’s work you admire and try to understand why you are drawn to their work.  I personally follow many photographers, some are friends and some I simply find because I look for what appeals to me.  Join groups online and places like Flickr, NG Your Shot and a few other’s where you can follow the work of some GREAT photographers.  Join groups on Facebook, however, be warned if you post something be prepared for it to be torn apart by some not so friendly folks who feel their work is superior to anyone else’s.  I limit the groups I’m in to only those who are closely monitored, and where I can develop online friendships with some awesome people.

Join a club or group and get hands on with them.  Learn a new skill, take a class or just go out shooting with them; PAY ATTENTION and ASK QUESTIONS!  I love to teach and if you come across someone who won’t allow you to ask how they got the shot, then move on, be with people who are not afraid to share knowledge.  I shoot concerts and I am always willing to teach someone else how to get the shots I get.  Are there better concerts photographers than me……oh heck yeah!  I’m still learning, and improving with each and every click of the shutter.

Ask for advice, ask for critiques and always stay open minded about what someone tells you.  Have I gotten my feelings hurt? Oh you better believe I have, no one likes to be told their work is awful. However, I have a group of pros I know I can rely on to ask either for help or for a critique. They genuinely care and I trust them.   Leave your ego at the door, there will always be someone better than you are.

Stay away from photographers who feel as if they know everything and don’t need to learn any more; they are not the ones to help you to improve.

Be helpful to someone newly learning, don’t come across as a know-it-all.  A couple of people I have “mentored” over the past few years, are phenomenal photographers. One  is currently working with photographers on an NFL team and is doing quite well on his own, the other is learning and gaining hands on knowledge and improving daily.  They know when I critique their work or explain an improvement, I’m not being hurtful, I want to see them succeed. They will take their talent to new levels far surpassing anything I have done and I’m really proud of them!

Remember, posting a mediocre photograph on Facebook and getting the oo’s and ah’s and “Likes” from your friends is not a critique and can be more harmful than good; why? Because it will cause you to think you don’t need to improve.  I know this is harsh, but if you want to be a better photographer then you need to have people in your life you trust to give you the real, sometimes hard truth about your work.

Always remember “You are only as good as your last photograph” – Unknown

 

Review: Styx, Tesla & Joan Jett

On Sunday June 17, 2018 three iconic bands from the 70’s & 80’s took the stage at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater in Tampa, Florida.  Styx tours yearly and always has an incredible line up of stars with them.  This year was the band Tesla and Joan Jett & the Black Hearts.

Tesla opened their eight song set with a rocking start as lead singer Jeff Keith belted out I Wanna Live then went right into Hang Tough.  Vocally Jeff was strong as he worked his way across the stage, giving the audience a show of his still youthful moves and kicks.   Mid set they performed the iconic Signs cover from Five Man Electrical Band. It was an incredible fifty minute set.  Dave Rude (the only “new” member) is fun to watch on stage, he plays to the audience with flair.  Overall they were tight and the audience was into the experience.

Next up was Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.  I saw Joan Jett last year and wasn’t really impressed with her vocals, however this year she was on the money.  Her Vocals were strong and remained so throughout her sixteen song set.  She began her set with Bad Reputation and continued with several of her own songs and quite a few covers such as Cherry Bomb from her former band The Runaways,  The Arrows I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll and Tommy & the Shondells Crimson and Clover.  She also performed I Hate Myself For Loving You and Fake Friends.  Overall her set was solid and she performed well. Unfortunately there are no photographs as no one was approved for Joan.

Last up was STYX, iconic and strong and one of this writer’s favorite 70’s & 80’s bands.  This band does not disappoint. Lawerence Gowan (1999) is not just a great vocalist, but he’s an incredible showman and fits right in with James “J.Y.” Young (founding member 1970), Tommy Shaw (1975), Ricky Phillips (2003) and Todd Sucherman (1996).  STYX opened their set with Overture which showcased each member as they entered the stage and opened with Gone, Gone, Gone followed by Blue Collar Man and The Grand Illusion.  The set continued with them doing all of their best hits such as the rock ballad Lady and Too Much Time on My Hands.  We were waiting on founding member Chuck Panozzo to make an appearance; as he normally does and I heard he did in Oklahoma.  However, it did not happen in this show.

The only cover was Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody performed by Lawrence Gowan.  STYX closed their set with Come Sail Away  and encored with Mr Robotoyes, you read that correctly.  Renegade was their final number for the evening.

 

Over all this entire tour was fantastic and delivered all that was expected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music Brings Unity

Music is my first true love.  As far back as I can remember I loved to sing and to perform music and I even took a turn at teaching music.  I don’t get to sing anymore, but I now photograph musical artists as part of another passion; photography.

Music is a universal language, every culture has music and it brings people together in celebrations no matter what the reason.  I have learned something significant in being able to photograph concerts; people are happy when they are listening to music.  I photograph everything from Country to Hip Hop and I have found that people of all colors can come together, love each other and enjoy being in the same place with each other.  Last night was proof that multi-cultures can work together and treat each other like humans are supposed to. It was refreshing to be away from the political crap of division and to just be happy humans; A rainbow of humans out enjoying music.

“I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to hold it in my arms
And keep it company
I’d like to see the world for once
All standing hand in hand
And hear them echo through the hills
For peace through out the land
(That’s the song I hear)”

NestFest

Okay it’s time to stop overthinking and get back to work of being a blogger.

On Thursday I worked our local arena for the Florida Gulf Coast University’s NestFest (they are the FGCU Eagles).  You may be familiar with FGCU because a couple of years ago they were in the Sweet 16 basketball playoffs as complete unknowns and became “Dunk City”

First I stopped to get myself and the Channa the young woman whom I report to, a healthy bite to eat; it’s going to be a long night!

NestFest is a yearly spring hiphop concert event put on by FGCU for the students as their college year winds down.  On this year’s stage is A Boogie wit da Hoodie & Hoodie Allen

A Boogie wit Da Hoodie & Hoodie Allen

If the names are not intriguing enough, you have to meet the players of the bands.  Interesting to say the least.  Please enjoy as I bring you Hoodie Allen and Boogie Wit Da Hoodie!

Another Year……Memories

Most of the time I enjoy looking back on my year.  However, this year I slacked, a lot, and I have to make some changes.  I just didn’t get out as much as I normally do.  Even during camping season it seemed it was always interrupted with something I “had” to do.  I wasn’t as intentional as I had been the past few years.  I didn’t create good content for my Facebook page and actually neglected it.  I had something happen that set me off into the “not good enough” thought process, which in turn caused me to  purge a lot of unneeded stress in my social media life. But I would go out and take photos and think, “these are not good, what am I doing trying to create good photos when I can’t do it?”  I really had to shake that mindset; I am my own worst critic.

Life was  disrupted with a move in the middle part of the year and it was during a very stressful time.  I’m still trying to adjust. Then, in September we were hit by one of the largest hurricane’s in recent history. Irma totally upset my world, but I came out a whole lot better than many of my friends did and I can tell you I am most grateful for that blessing.  Yet, the stress was still there and even guilt that so many lost so much and I didn’t.  I can’t explain why it was that way, but it was; again I am so grateful to not have had any damage.

Sometimes life gives you those old lemons and it’s not always easy to make the lemonade.  In fact, I have thrown a lot of lemons away because I just could not bring myself to make them work.  Ever feel like that?

I’m looking forward to a clean start with 2018, I won’t make promises I can’t keep, but I will put a lot more effort into making it an incredible year personally and professionally.

Here’s a look back on what I did accomplish photographically:

 

 

Finding My Way Back

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted something substantial.  My last post was 23 days ago and that was to explain how unmotivated I’ve been.

It’s been a rough and stressful couple of months, I had to pack and prepare for a complete move to a new place by mid May.  Not only was I stressed, but my poor cat Harpo had totally stressed out and hid for about three full days before I saw him again. He’s now at his usual place,sleeping at me feet as I write this.                                                   I finally finished unpacking last week and simply wore myself out.  I rarely left the house during the Memorial Day weekend, but this week I feel like I’m back to normal with a busy shooting schedule and my normal work week.

I’m going to try and catch you up on what’s been happening in my world.

April was an incredibly busy month with packing, portraits, events and a two-day festival, Fort Rock.

It began with me being hired to shoot Stars on Ice at Germain Arena, and I was thrilled to meet a few of the Olympic Champions.  My day began at 10am and ended around 11pm; but what an opportunity! It started with me up on a twelve foot ladder on the ice to take the promotional tour shots……this is one of my images from that adventure. I have a fear of heights and being on a ladder just totally freaks me out, let alone being on one where there is slippery ice involved.  However, I did it and I really didn’t even think much about it as I was working my camera. Amazing what you can do when you are concentrating on your craft.

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I also photographed the dress rehearsal, warmups, the merchandise area and the entire show later in the evening.  What a wonderful day spent with incredible people.

Next, I had two mini-sessions with two beautiful ladies.  These ladies are such a pleasure to work with and they both enjoyed their “modeling” session.

Lastly at the end of April I was once again at the annual Fort Rock Festival with radio station 93xfm where I was fortunate enough to once again photograph their meet & greets and work with one of my favorite photographers Ron Dukeshire. Ron is my right and left hand partner at Fort Rock he handles the bands as I am busy in the tent with the station crew and the fans for the meet & greets.  When time allowed, I also photographed a few of the bands including  Sunday night’s headliner Soundgarden with the late Chris Cornell; RIPSound Garden-16

May is Prom season and this year was no different for me.  I worked with a cute couple I had met at Fort Rock and truly enjoyed the time I spent with them.

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I also photographed Disney on Ice for Germain, but due to copyright restrictions I am unable to post any of them.

The last day of the month found me at Germain Arena for Brit Floyd, an incredible Pink Floyd Tribute band with an amazing light/laser show.Brit Floyd-21

All of this was accomplished while, packing my home up, moving to a new place, unpacking and editing the work to meet my dead-lines, however I have found my way back.