Saturday, February 23, 2008

Missoula means no more homesickness

Arriving in Missoula alleviated a discomfort I now recognize as being homesick for a place I had never been until then. Last year was a busy year for me, and now it is time to slow down survey the situation, remember how I came here and consider where I am going and what I will do next.

RMSP was a revelation. Being a careful shopper, I had researched Photography schools and comparison shopped. I knew RMSP was comprehensive, but I didn't realize how detailed the information would be nor who much I would be buried under. The best aspect of the RMSP experience was finding a peer group as passionate about photography as I was becoming. My classmates inspired me with their energy, intelligence and creativity.

I am still in Missoula and happier than I've been in years. I love this town! If anything happens to me, let everyone know I died happy.

I also love the music scene, where I am spending a lot of time these days. I started out shooting the local name bands: Russ Nassett and the Revelators, Tom Catmull and the Clerics, Mudslide Charlie and Zeppo among others. A natural flow has taken me into the epicenter of a scene bursting with creative energy and beautiful people. I'm photographing the up and comers, i.e. Wolf Redboy, Black Velvet Elvis, the Blakes and more. Bands are starting to put me on their guest lists, which helps, because I'm counting my nickels and dimes and won't pay a cover (usually) and venues are starting to let me in free...oh frabjous day, calloo, callay.

I started bouncing the flash onto the stage for clear, portrait type images but quickly moved to using the flash only occasionally to "shoot the set" and to do portraits on request. Murky stage lighting gives a more real, in-your-face, on-the-spot live action feel to the images. It is all starting to drift into the area of (don't tell Tony) fine art.

I talk too much and too loudly and sometimes I write too much, too. Therefore, I will end this and wish you all the best. Hope you are living your dreams.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Professional Photographers of America

I wanted to share my experience being a member of the PPA. I joined late last year and attended the national convention in Tampa in early January.

In addition to a lot of great sessions during the convention, there were pre-convention workshops as well. I took a 3-day workshop on the business of photography that provided a lot of information on marketing, pricing and the operation of a photography practice.

All of the sessions during the convention were given by working professionals and I found it very helpful to hear how they were approaching their business. There was a good mix of business, technique and artistic topics covered in the sessions.

I spent a great deal of time in the print exhibition being inspired and blown away. Mostly wedding and portrait work, but quite a few nature and pet images as well. The variety and creativity of the posing, lighting and composition was incredible.

Lastly, even though expressly forbidden by my lovely but fearsome when angry wife, I did cruise through the Expo hall and found several items offered as show specials that were too good to pass up. I'm most excited about a small softbox designed for flash units designed and sold by professional photographer Doug Box.

There are a number of benefits available to PPA members including insurance, sample forms, certification, etc. The web site is

In addition to the national organization, there are also chapters in a lot of states. The NC PPA annual convention is being held in March.

Of course, I could not go to Florida without doing some bird photography. This image was taken at Merritt Island NWR.

Take care everyone.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Inspiration from Dan Fogelberg

I don't know if any of you are fans of Dan Fogelberg, but he was also an avid photographer in addition to being a singer/songwriter. Dan died on December 17th, 2007.

I think his verse speaks to all artists, no matter how they choose to share their vision.

I was touched by it and wanted to share it with my classmates.

"You have been given the most sacred of gifts
You must be fearless now and follow
But don't look down
Though your heart may be weary
Don’t look down
Though your wings are on fire
Don’t look down
Though the night may seem endless
There’s a reason you’re flying
this fast and this far
Let your faith be your strength
And your love be your guiding star"

This verse was from Dan Fogelberg's last album, Full Circle.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season and a 2008 filled with fantastic images.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Missoula updates

Greetings to fellow photographers everywhere from Missoula. Yes, I'm still here and my beard continues to grow (as does my belly). I'm not sure I'm up for blogging, but somebody said come on in the water's fine. As a rank beginner, I will accept any and all advice.

My camera still goes with me everywhere, and I continue to shoot anything which catches my interest. I walk, schmooze and network as people propose subjects to photograph and offer to buy any good ones. I'm getting pretty good with the camera and with Lightroom, but I am way behind on the business angles. I don't even have a business card or leave behind to go with delivered photos. Not good.

On the business and technical aspects, Heather Y is getting very good due to working hard and getting lots of experience. Her new leave behind cards are exquisite. Ian is mastering b&w film and as Marcy says, "getting the tonal quality down." Bear is still around and I see him every Friday night at the Irish folk music jam at the Celtic Connection. The owner, Michelle, bought some images from me to use for advertising, and I created an album of musicians and listeners for the store, as well. Kelly lives in the next building over from me, is working for a veterinary and is building a darkroom in her apartment.

A.K. returned from Peru and went first to New Orleans then Charleston where she will be through the holidays. AJ will spend xmas with Kalee in Sandpoint, before coming to Missoula for New Years.

Neil and Forest opened a joint father/son show at the gallery. They were glowing and so was Jean at the First Friday opening. Neil's photos are from an article in the current Montana Quarterly about the Hutterite community and the nearby one-room schoolhouse. Forest is showing some of his New Zealand landscapes. Great stuff!

Is it rude to write long accounts on a blog? Maybe I should stop for now.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

FStop Online Magazine

Following links from Strobist, I got to FStop Magazine. Has some interesting "the making of" articles on composite images.

Happy holidays to everyone. Please post some updates on what you guys are doing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Courtesy of Casey:

For those of you who are setting up a business or know someone who could benefit from this offer just thought I would pass it along! Pictage is offering no enrollment fee (typically $250), $19/month membership fee (typically $99/mo) for 6months, and a free book. There are no time commitment thought I'd give it a whirl. I don't know how often they discount or if its their clever marketing department...but if you are interested the offer ends today. Hope all is well!


Also, I just got an email from Mac-On-Campus regarding an offer from Livebooks for students. It's $99/year for an Edu version of Livebooks. I'm signed up pending verfication of attendance at RMSP. I'll post a follow up to let you know if I was able to qualify.

Just received an email confirming my student status, so I'm good for a year. I emailed pdf scans of my RMSP ID and my Invoice for SI. Here are the details:

What is liveBooks|edu? An affordable, easy-to-use, professional website package for qualifying students and faculty. liveBooks|edu is a Flash website with an easy-to-use tool for complete control over all the content on your website - 24/7. Upload images into the portfolios using a simple drag-and-drop lightbox, click "save" and your images are live on your website instantly!

To allow students and faculty access to a professional website marketing tool, liveBooks|edu has lowered the subscription price to $99/year.

Try liveBooks|edu for a FREE 30 day trial. Enter promo code 11624 on checkout. Visit to learn more.

Use the website tool of the pros and start getting work today!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

well a few weeks ago i climbed mount Thielsen. wich is located near crater lake. it is my seconed highest climb at 9180 ft. next to mount fuji at 12500 ft. Thielsen is a 10and 1/2 mile trail rated as difficult up to the mountian crest and then is rated as most difficult for the last 3 miles and is almost vertical for the last 3/4 of a mile of loose slate rock leading to the end where most turn back. which is a 120 foot complety vertical free climb up a rock face leading to the top of the mountin. the view alone was worth it!!!