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.