Thursday, March 31, 2011


To many people, tomorrow is all of the above and more. To many, it is the first day of spring: a day when many people have great hope and belief in a group of men to do the right thing: to endure long days/night battles, injuries, inglorious defeats, pain, humiliation and their enemies' fans hurling insults at them. To do all of this for glory, the glory of a World Series win, to be champions of the world (well if you do not count China, South America, Australia and other baseball playing countries). But why let the facts interfere with our glory.
Tomorrow is baseball's opening day for many teams including my home team, the Boston Red Sox.

Opening Day is anticipated by all baseball fans. It is said that all teams are equal on opening day, that all of them are undefeated and have a chance to win it all. Really?? I think the Pittsburgh Pirate fans might disagree but that's okay. My Red Sox are favorites to win it all this year and to a true baseball fan that is all that counts. To a true Red Sox fan, it means Opening Day is the time to start worrying about how the Sox will "ruin our summer".

If the Red Sox are up by 10 in July will the fans anticipate a World Series appearance? More than likely, they will tell you not to forget 1978 when they had a 14 game lead on the hated Yankees on July 18 and not only lost the lead but also the playoff game for the pennant. When Bucky, (or as he is known in Boston;  Bucky, F*****G Dent)  hit a home run to break Red Sox fan's hearts. Do not even mention 1986 when this guy.........
hit a ground ball that our first basemen ****** Buckner let go through his legs for a World Series defeat. I still cannot watch the replay without feeling pain!
But the Red Sox have won 2 World Series in 2004 & 2007 !! Now the fans will finally believe, right?
 Check back if they lose the opening day game. 
Seinfeld might be right when he said all we do is root for laundry, but it's our laundry and we love them.

The privilege of playing the first game of the year, for many years, was given to the Cincinnati Reds: baseball's first officially recognized franchise. They hosted the outings from 1876 to 1989. In 1990, the streak was broken as they were the visiting team in Houston. Opening day has become an opportunity for US presidents to show off their pitching arms by throwing the first pitch. On April 14, 1910 in Washington D.C, President Taft was the first President to show his stuff. Since then, 11 sitting US presidents have tossed out the ceremonial first pitch. The standout would have to be President Harry Truman who showcased his ambidextrous talent by throwing out two balls: one left handed and one right handed. It is said that the Republicans stated that this was another sign of the Democrats being wasteful and indecisive :)
Opening Days have witnessed many other historical performances:
Ted Williams, (Red Sox Star) was a .449 hitter on opening days.
Opening Day 1940 witnessed one of the most famous pitching events as Cleveland's ace, Bob Feller and White Sox hurler, Eddie Smith went head to head. Smith blinked but Feller remained in control throwing the only opening day no hitter in baseball history.
Hank Aaron ignited the crowd at Riverfront Stadium on his first swing of the 1974 season by hitting his 714th career home run to tie Babe Ruth on the all time list.
Statistically how important is a win on opening day in regards to a championship?  The answer is not that much but individual stats speak volumes on an accomplished player's career. Greg Maddox was a perfect 6 & 0 on opening day starts. Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey Jr. have each hit a record eight home runs on opening day, while all time greats, Willie Mays and Eddie Matthews, each hit seven.
But regardless of the outcomes, Opening Day remains as the number one date in the hearts, minds and souls of baseball fans everywhere. All winter fans wait to hear those two great words again:


Wednesday, March 30, 2011


In the last few weeks, I have read a few blogs that speak to writers block. I am a photographer first, a writer a distant second but I do understand having that type of block. As a photographer a creativity block can be painful. One of the reasons I always talk about ABS, always be shooting, (see previous blog on subject) is that it helps me fight that block. It acts as a jump start for my creativity, pushing me to look and see and stretch my creativity. It is not always a successful image, in the sense that anyone else will ever see it but it will help me out of a creative rut. Just the act of doing will help me forget my block and start thinking in a creative manner. It helps in one of my other outlets, too, my cooking,  I will just take out whatever I find in my refrigerator and put together a meal. Now I know better then to stretch my creativity too far in my cooking: after all someone will be eating it. A piece of snapper prepared in a sauce spiced with hot peppers, whip cream and strawberries will not make for a great supper or a happy wife!!

Many times at the start of a photographic day or night, I will shoot something, anything just to shake off the mental rust.

If we are in a hotel room, it is not unusual for Phyllis to wake up and find me in my robe photographing something from our window or balcony. I just need to wake my creative muscles and this works the best for me. Sometimes it is while were waiting for an elevator at the top of a parking garage

I see a blue sky and I automatically point my lens at something. I am trying to make an image out of elements that I know will work together: bright colors, great light and interesting lines. But the trick is not to just document but to be creative like taking just an angle of the building not the whole building. Hopefully, this creates something interesting if to no one else, at least to me: something that will get my creative muscle flexed and ready for action.

If I am waiting in a hotel lobby for a client, I put my camera to my eye and start looking for an image.

I'm looking for colors, interplay of shadows and interesting angles. I love saturated colors and will often look to them for my images. Will they all be great images? Nope. Most will never be seen by anyone other then Phyllis or myself.  What they will do is keep my eye sharp and my inner eyes exercised.

When the day is over and we are in a restaurant, do I stop stretching my creativity? No, although I suspect Phyllis would love me not be the nut that people are looking at and wondering, "Why is that guy taking a picture of the bar?"

Ok, now that we're on our way back to our room, and we have been photographing all day and evening, does it stop? What do you think?

This is the lobby on our floor. I thought the muted light, colors and patterns were interesting. Phyllis didn't even know I shot this. I can be quick lol.

So we are in our room and we're both tired from a long day. Phyllis is watching something on TV or reading. I am on the balcony again, looking at the night, with my camera: seeing the light, dark and colors.

Will any of these images ever be sold? I doubt it. I would not have used them other than in this post. That was never the point of taking them. It was a mixture of pushing my creativity and the fact that I really do see best through my lens. I would love to hear how others chip away at their creativity block.
I have told you my method. What is yours? Sharing our methods might help others with their blocks. You can turn your creativity block into learning blocks that can be a great foundation for your art. Let us know.

By the way, the next morning???


Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Like all professions, photographers are sometimes faced with situations that make your hair hurt. There are times when you start thinking that being a proctologist could be a fun and profitable career change. I thought I would list a few here today that really burn me up, as a stress reliever. It is cheaper and healthier than drinking large amounts of rum. I have spoken to other photographers about this and know that many feel the same way. So this is also a public awareness message, be kind to your photographer and see what develops (maybe I should have t shirts made ).

The number one statement that drives us crazy! That is easy. It happens when someone sees one of your images. It is one that even you the photographer feels is great (you would be surprised how infrequent that is). The person looks at it and says something along the lines of, " Wow, what a great picture, I love that!". So far it is all good, right? (then the kicker is added),t"You must have a great camera, it takes such wonderful pictures." HUH? In under 12 words, they tear apart your hard work, your art and your heart: all the time smiling at you, like you should be thanking them. What do we say? If we correct them, we stand the chance of sounding like egotistical jerks. "What's wrong I complimented you?" Would someone say to a plumber, "Great work, wow your plunger must be really great!" I don't think so. Would they tell a concert violinist after hearing him play a beautiful aria, "That must be a really great violin, how much did you pay for it?" I doubt it. I have tried to have the camera take a picture without me, here is the results:

Not much to show for it! Sometimes I think photographers are the baseball managers of art. Everybody thinks they can do it. No one thinks they could coach the New England Patriots but managing the Red Sox, sure no problem. Same with photography. "I had a point and shoot in high school and I think I know a little bit about photography. If I wanted, I could do that. After all I took a great shot of my girlfriend in front of her school locker and she loved it!" That sounds a lot like,  "I hit 10 home runs in my senior year in high school, I could have played in the major leagues if I had gotten a break." It's usually followed by, "Hey Bill, give me another beer!"
Uncle Bill is That You ????

Another statement usually comes in the form of a request by the bride. You're hired and a month or so before the wedding you're asked, "Is it ok for my (aunt, uncle, brother-in-law or friend) to take pictures with you at the wedding?" Oh sure, hell why not. I love the idea of having uncle Bill follow me around as I set up the formals taking his pictures over my shoulder. It is why I became a photographer for those kumbaya moments. No matter what the bride and grooms say, these other shooters will be intrusive, they will ask questions and they will ask for instructions. They will even start giving you suggestions for shots.

Putting aside the pain in the ass quotient, it is also a technical problem. When you're taking someone's portrait, you want eye contact nine out of ten times. You want the bride or groom looking at you. In a group shot, you want everyone looking at you. When people see multiple cameras pointed at them, they start picking out which ones to look at. If their dad or brother is holding one, they might look at them instead of you. This is always something we deal with at every wedding and we do it by telling everyone with a camera to please hold off shooting till we are through with the shot. Then we will stop and let them have a moment to photograph the same pose. If there is one person following you shooting at the same time as you, those instructions become harder for people to follow. You might end up with eight people looking at you and two looking at uncle Bill. I have actually had people ask me if they could follow me during the ceremony, shooting the same images I will be taking. We have two photographers during each wedding and we have developed a timing that works but putting in a third photographer literally following me around: that is a recipe for disaster. I politely decline and tell them it would be better for them to stay in their seats.

Another statement is said with an attitude usually reserved for congressional hearings: "Oh, so you use Photoshop? Personally I feel that is cheating. Ansel Adams never used it and if it was good for him then it is good enough for me!!!" I actually had that said to me once. When I told them that Adams was just as revered for his printing/lab work as his photography, they kind of developed a glassy look in their eyes. They didn't care and didn't realize how much manipulation was done in the lab before PS came around.  While their saying this to me they are holding their IPhone and are driving the newest SUV with all the newest computerized features. Ansil wrote using a pen, pencil and typewriter, do you think that is what their using at work?
I use PS and will continue to do so. I will use any tool that I think helps me create a memory for the people I am photographing. I do not overuse it. Heck, I am not that good with it. I am a photographer not a PS expert. I would not add anything to an image that I feel misrepresents the image. I will retouch portraits to make the person's face look the best it can. How I use it mostly is to eliminate distracting elements in the image. This is an example:

You can see that I eliminated the road behind the Zebra's umm behind. I do not feel this is cheating. If some do, then they would either not shoot the image or not use it. If asked to, I would have eliminated the remaining road and not felt guilty. I would not misrepresent where I took the image: trying to say that I shot it in its natural environment and selling it to National Geographic. But I did this for my blog and stated that it was taken at an animal park in Florida. In my mind, no harm no foul.

Thank You for letting me vent. I would love to hear things that drive you crazy at your job. You must have some, right??? It is not just me lol.
With these three images I did a little photoshop work to bring out the colors a little bit but nothing to misrepresent that it was either the Grand Canyon or Sedona in Arizona

Monday, March 28, 2011


50267_212390481451_425333_n.jpgWe are once again proud to receive recognition from one of our fellow bloggers. Dawn Sievers of Authentic Bloggers (among other groups) selected us as one of her five spotlight blogs. Dawn's blog  Healing Morning is always a great read and one in which I always keep an eye out. You see Dawn does not post every day or even every week. She only posts when she has something that she feels is important to say. So I am even more honored that she selected our blog. Go check out Healing Morning, I know you will find it an interesting read. Dawn is also the administrator for Authentic Blogger, a community site for promoting blogs. If you haven't already, check it out and list your blog.

We have added a new feature to our blog this week, a Reader Feedback section. Here you can give us suggestions for what you would like to see us cover on our blog. You can find it on the right left side of our blog. We have also added a translator gadget that will translate our blog into nine different languages.

Last month, we had a tutorial on photographing a bride and groom with our Xenon Flashlight:  There were comments on and emails about purchasing it.  It is now available on our Amazon Carousel which is on our blog to the left of the postings.

I did not have to put much thought into our Honor Roll of the Month Selection. If you're a wedding/ portraiture photographer as we are, you know the name David Ziser and his blog DigitalProTalk at  I read it each day and I am always learning from it. In all honesty, that is where I first heard about the Xenon Flashlight.

David is an internationally renowned portraiture and wedding photographer and has shared his knowledge in five languages and in 14 countries worldwide. He is one of the leading trainers in the industry for more then 20 years. His Digital Wakeup Tour is acclaimed as one of the best seminars ever on digital photography. I attended it and can attest to that. In July of 2007, David launched  DigitalProtalk : a blog dedicated to the aspiring professional photographer looking to enhance his/her photography. Readership continues to grow and is in excess of 110,000 page views per month. David is also one of 98 people worldwide who holds the distinguished honor of Fellow, bestowed by the American Society of Photographers.

I cannot recommend a blog more highly then his. If you get a chance to see his tour, do yourself a favor and go. You will learn while being entertained. Even if you're not  a pro, you will still learn and enjoy his blog , his books and his seminars. In private emails, I have recommended his blog and now as our Honor Roll of the Month, I do the same.
Visit, learn and enjoy and I know you will become a regular reader of DIGITALPRO TALK

David's book, Captured by the Light, is an essential guide to creating wonderful wedding images. It's also available on the Amazon Carousel on our web page.

Friday, March 25, 2011


We featured the bride first and then the groom. Today I thought we would feature images of the two together on their wedding day. We are so lucky to be photographers and never more so then when we photograph a wedding day. We see it all the nervousness, anticipation and love. We see the look in their eyes when they first see each other, the parent's look when they see their daughter in her gown and the pure joy after they have been pronounced husband and wife. Our mission is to capture all the emotions of that day. Here are some images that we hope do just that.

When I fall in love
It will be forever
Or I'll never fall in love 

 In a restless world 
                                                                                                Like this is 
Love is ended before it's begun 
And too many 
Moonlight kisses 
Seem to cool in the warmth of the sun 

When I give my heart
I give it completely
Or I'll never give my heart 

And the moment I can feel that you feel that way too
Is when I fell in love with you