Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ImagingUSA 2013

It's just dawned on me that it's been a week since Imaging USA has ended, and I haven't said a word about it - so much shame on me!

So, yes... Imaging.  It was awesome!  So many fantastic speakers and vendors under one roof.  I felt a little like a kid in a candy store... unfortunately with limited funds.  That aside, with all the presenters and topics to choose from (even those of us who aren't specifically interested in weddings and portraiture), it was difficult for me to nail down a schedule.  I thought I had it worked out ahead of time, but there were a few last-minute changes... some speakers that I didn't initially plan to see, but am SO incredibly glad that I did.  Seriously... I laughed, I cried, I left overwhelmed... but in a really good way.  And with 3 days and 12+ classes attended, there was only one "sleeper" presenter in the group... not a horrible average.

Highlights?

Jen Hillenga - Minnesota-based boutique photographer talked about ways to stay inspired when you find yourself working your way in to the proverbial rut.  Great ideas to make sure you keep 'play time' in with your work.

Adobe's Julieanne Kost's presentation of the Lightroom 4 develop module was perfect - exactly what I was looking for and an introduction into certain aspects of the software that I didn't know existed.  I found myself constantly saying..."I can do that?!  Sweet!"

Also relating to Lightroom was Jared Platt's presentation on speeding up one's workflow within the software.  I've already used some of his suggestions in editing since I've been home... and this is going to be a really great thing when it comes to editing things like Spartan Race and some of the other candid events that I shoot.

Stillmotion's Amina Moreau talked about photographing with a purpose, to tell a story... and not to just capture the images that people expect of you.  Stillmotion creates cinematography... I urge you to check out their wedding website and watch some of their creations... really moving stuff.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Brian Smith discussed and broke down the behind-the-scenes and how-to's of many of his famous celebrity portraits.

Also along a similar line was Greg Gorman... another really fantastic celebrity photographer.  He was the winner of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) Lifetime Achievement Award this year.

Joe Buissink gave his moving presentation of his career in film wedding photography and his use of the dreaded 'P' mode... and why it's not for amateurs.  Gorgeous images!

Atlanta-based music photographer Zack Arias's presentation, called "If I Had To Start Today..."  This was great!  If he had to start his business from scratch (knowing what he knows today), what business practices he finds are the most important,  the basic equipment he could get away with using, and the best client-base to go after to bring in the most profit right away.  So many really good ideas in his presentation.

And then all the vendors... Woohoo!  :D  I managed to escape all the show deals with just a dual pack of SD cards and some books to beef up my reference library... but, oh, the damage I could have done!

Next year's show will be Phoenix in January... and I'd really like to go again.  Hoping it's feasible to make it happen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WWOOF, part 2?

With Lifetouch being the wonderfully seasonal organization that it is, and knowing ahead of time what and when my downtime should be in the winter and the summer... I'm thinking it may lend itself well to heading back up to Alaska again this summer, via the WWOOF program.

I got my head around my anxieties last year - it was a rollercoaster learning experience, for sure!  Now I think I've sorted some things out in my mind, and I'm ready to make another go of it this year... really for immersion sake.  And for lots and lots of photos.  :)

Due to the not-so-stellar experience I had at with the hosts in Homer, and the short period of time that I actually stayed in that area... I'm looking at host sites in/around Homer and the Kachemak Bay area again.  Maybe not as remote... we'll see.  The landscape was phenomenal, and spending just under a week there last time was not enough in terms of immersion and photographic opportunity.  So that's where my focus is set for this year.

I sent a message to a handful of host sites yesterday... one of which I spoke with via phone last year.  I really was interested in their opportunity, but had already made solid commitments to be elsewhere.   I'm hoping I can reconnect with them this year and make it happen.  But really, anywhere in the Homer/Kachemak area with nice people and a reasonable workload is doable.  I received a response from one small farm yesterday that are willing to have me, so if nothing else... there's already somewhere to go.

That's it for now... will keep this updated as things progress.

Atlanta!

This Saturday morning, I will be off to Atlanta for 5 days to the 2013 ImagingUSA convention/expo show.  It's an event that's set up by pro photographers, and comes complete with hands-on type classes, vendors, and a multitude of networking opportunities.  Most of the classes are geared towards portraiture, but there a few that I look forward to attending that deal a lot with post-processing, sports, and business-related practices. 

I'm pretty fortunate to be able to attend... I received a free full-access admission to the 3-day show/classes from my PPA renewal (Professional Photographers of America - I use them for equipment insurance), and I have a friend that lives in the area that has graciously offered to let me crash at his house and use his Jeep for my short daily commutes.  All I've had to put out funds for is the flight... and any incidentals/food/etc. while I'm there.  I also have some Jeep friends that live in the Atlanta area, so it seems that we'll be gathering one evening for food, drink and company - I'm really looking forward to that also!

This week has been all about prepping.  Packing things, cleaning gear, printing schedules and parking info and flight schedules...  should be a good experience!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mississippi River Valley - January 2013

I trekked out to the Mississippi River valley Thursday and Friday last week.  I had yet to remove the memory foam out of the back of the Jeep from our Route 66 trip, so I ended up tossing in a couple of sleeping bags and my pillow for the overnight trip - pretty cozy.

The weather was rather dismal - rain and fog. The western half of northern Illinois had experienced a lot more snow than we have here in the Chicago area this winter... and we got a significant rise in temps on Friday and Saturday. 

Unfortunately, it wasn't super for photos, but was able to get a few keepers.

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Victim of the weather conditions...
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Obligatory Jeep photo. :mrgreen:
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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What do you desire?

I came across this wonderful, thought-provoking video this evening... the concept is so simple, yet so true.  It's too good not to share.  Please, please take the time to watch... and consider the possiblities!