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  • 25 Year Celebration of the Berlin Wall Demise

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     NOVEMBER HISTORY: Twenty-five years ago in early November, 1989 the historic and tragic Berlin Wall came tumbling down. I was in England in 1989 producing the European VHS copies of a movie that I had directed & produced. It was cheaper for me to fly to England and have them convert the NTSC American version to the PAL European distribution version. I was almost finished with the conversion of 6000 copies when I heard the news about the Wall coming down!

    I let them finish without me, as I had to go over and join in Germany's celebration. It was such a historical moment that I wanted to climb the Wall and chip off my own pieces of this horrendous barrier. I took photos, two of which I share here with you.

    The first one is a jubilant East German man happily destroying the barrier that had restrained him all of his life. The world applauded with him! I love his passion and I also applauded him for his freedom now.

     

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    I borrowed his chisel and knocked off some pieces for me to bring home also. Then I took 4 menus and a black marker and wrote the words FREE on them. I stood with three German students for this photo of us showing "FREE" for the world to see.

    When I got home later, I wrote a story "Welcome Back Berlin" for a magazine. I made all the photos in this story in B&W to best illustrate this major event for history. 

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    Berlin had been a scary place for me in the 70s when I went over from Grad School in England. I had two men shoot guns (Yes, real live bullets!) and run after me down the street while shooting at me. I can still hear those "zings" of the bullets hitting the walls & ground around me. Probably the scariest moments of my life! I ran for several blocks until I ducked into a youth hostile to hide. I stayed there for probably 20 minutes as my heart rate slowly subsided. 

    To this day, I am still puzzled as to the reason they were shooting at me. I developed the film when I got home and saw nothing that showed me the reason. All I can think is that I was taking photos of some illegal black market deal (they happened a lot there behind the Wall) and they didn't like my camera being around. Later I saw a sign on this youth hostile door and it said" Greetings to the Youth of the World". Boy, it sure saved me. 

    For that reason I wanted to be part of the rejoicing when the Wall came down. I have been back to Berlin many times since then (including last month) and the small remaining parts of the wall still remaining in the city are special to me.

    Thought I would share this moment in history with you. Being a photographer & writer, I have been so blessed to experience so many special moments & places. I could definitely have missed the bullets flying incident, but most of the others have been really special. Hope you enjoy this 25th anniversary of this moment in history celebration in a week. I know I will again!

  • ALL FIFTY STATES IN 12 MONTHS!

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    I am doing something I have NEVER done before. In the last 12 months, I have now shot in ALL FIFTY USA States! I had worked in all the USA states before many times, but I took three trips around the country this year covering all 48 Continental states. I've had two flights to Alaska and now just returning from a flight to the last & 50th State, Hawaii. Really fun to do all that in one year! Several magazines are interested in doing a story on this trip soon.

     

    Here I am with my trusty Escalade ESV at Mt Rushmore in SD this summer. I did not do this trip fast, by the way. I took a total of 17 weeks to travel the 48 states. Gave a few lectures, stayed often with good friends instead of hotels, played a lot of golf with buddies, shot Video & Stills for stock, ate great food and saw all the sites. Really a fun, fun year. MY extra long SUV allowed me to hang clothes, store tripods, cameras, golf clubs, etc, etc with no problem at all.

     

    A special year for me indeed. I love traveling around the USA and enjoying the many scenics, traditions, foods, events, etc and seeing so many dear friends & family. I hope all of you get out to see this vast and grand country! Get your suitcase packed and get out and explore --- you will not be sorry. 

  • Visiting the Berlin Wall

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    Well, guys, I am almost at the end of a 5-week European trip. For two weeks I shot for a big cruise client and we went from Bergen, Norway all the way up way past the Arctic Circle to Cape North and then even farther to Kirkenes on the top Russian border.... including the very highest city in the world. Stopped at many beautiful ports, saw and photographed so many spectacular fjords, and ate so much fresh, fresh seafood! The salmon was out of this world -- probably swimming a few hours earlier! Then I had two rental cars -- one for a week in inland Norway and the other rental for 3 days in Copenhagen, 4 days in Stockholm, and thru the rest of Sweden & Denmark. I was going to drive to Amsterdam, but changed my mind and have been "Kicking Butt" on the absolutely exciting German Autobahn and finishing up in Berlin. I will fly home out of Germany on Wednesday.

     

    Trip has been fabulous. Have so many great stock images and stock video footage. And, maybe the best part, I entirely missed all the RAIN, RAIN, RAIN in Florida all thru September. Heard about it from everyone there and sure am glad I had sunny & cool Fall weather on my trip here.

     

    This I-Phone picture is me in front of all that is remaining of the horrible Berlin Wall. I myself have quite a history with this Wall. As a grad student in the 70's, I was shot at (yes, bullets) and chased by two men while taking photos in (then) East Berlin. Long story there, and I still don't know the reason (I guess I was filming near a black market money deal... scary!!). I then came over from England in 1989 when the Wall came down and hammered chucks of the Wall myself and celebrated with the Germans. I have been back several times since, and Berlin is definitely a cool world-class city again. This section of the Wall is all that is left and they call it East Side Gallery now. They saved this section have allowed artists to paint on the remaining section of the Wall that caused so many deaths and grief.

     

    So greetings from Berlin and I send warm thoughts across the pond to all of you.

     

  • Stock Sales Tip #3

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    Back to photographic images of mine that have been big dollar stock sales .... and more importantly, why they have sold so that this can help other people be published more.

    This "perfect" beach shot has made well over $100,000 in sales for me over the last 10 years. It just seems like the perfect beach. I brought the chairs & umbrella on the plane to Cancun, Mexico to use in this and other shots.

    I also shot a really good looking couple in the chairs relaxing .... but this one has outsold the couple one by over 20 times the amount. WHY? Well, I do not know this for a fact, but I'll bet it is because the chairs are READY for someone in Omaha, Nebraska in winter. I can see a couple SEEING THEMSELVES in these chairs and wanting to get there quick! "Pack the suitcase, honey, we're going there!"

    With the other couple in "their" chairs, it somehow looks crowded!

    This has sold all over the world for many many calenders, greeting cards, mouse pads, magazine Caribbean stories, even several times for auto dashboard sun reflectors, etc etc. Fun when one click of the shutter gets published so often for so many usages.

  • Stock Sales Tip #2

    In my last post I said I would show images that have sold for large amounts of money and try to explain why so that others can learn from the knowledge and also see the distinct possibilities of their own stock sales.

    This panoramic of the Portland Headlight in Maine is one of my all time favorite places and images. It has just recently passed $150,000 in earnings from my various stock agency sales over the years. That means, of course, that sales have been over $300,000 gross, as I receive roughly 50% of the sale. Not my highest seller, but a good one indeed.

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    What has it sold for? Travel, you may say. Actually, no. It has an amazing salability in the financial markets. Lighthouses say "steady" "reliable" "strength" and "safety".... so it has been on covers and full pages in many financial publications and TV. But, believe it or not, it sells more often in my sales reports for banks. How? Well, you may have used it. They tone it down to about 15% and it is behind the checks that you write on top of this image. I have seen literally hundreds of bank sales for checks from all over the world on my sales reports! Cool huh?

    Photographically I was ready to start taking panoramics of this scene in the blue skies. But I saw storm clouds forming far away and I just waited until they got to me and then I really started shooting. Photography is all about waiting! I have this image blown up 6-feet long in my house and I can smell the ocean in it. Nice that it also has made a lot of sales thru my agents.

    I will keep letting you know of big sellers and why they have sold, so check in from time to time.

  • Stock Sales Tip #1

    Since I lecture all over our Planet on successfully selling your own stock images, I thought I would start from time to time showing some recent top-selling images and what they sold for to my clients. I hope this can help you all to not only see what sells, but also the POSSIBILITIES you can have in stock photography sales.

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    The first example sold recently for $12,000 for usage all over Korea. This woman in a straw hat in Vietnam Mekong Delta flower market sold for unlimited usage for one year in Korea for, believe it or not, the pharmaceutical industry. Go figure on this one! It is a clean, colorful model-released (although maybe not needed here) image, but I would never guess it would sell for drugs advertising. But the check cleared!

  • Easter Island -- Mysterious & Isolated Paradise

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                                                                               Easter Island has scenes to photograph like nowhere else on Earth.

     

    Easter Island. Even the name brings to mind a relaxed, isolated place to chill and unwind.   I have only been to Easter Island one time for 8 days, but I plan on returning again to enjoy the people and the calm slow pace. Let me share here what makes this place so unique.

    It is without question the most isolated remote inhabited civilization in the world. It is 2400 miles away from the coast of Chile, has absolutely no other inhabited places anywhere near and it has been cut off from almost any Western influence. The population of the entire island is only around 3800 people, all of whom seem relaxed, friendly and happy. They seem to know they have a little bit of heaven and want you also to enjoy it.

    The very best time to visit is during the famous Tapati Rapa Nui Festival each February. It is also the busiest season and the hardest time to get a hotel room as people from all over the world come to enjoy this crazy and fun carnival.

    My visit was during this fabulous Festival, as you can see from my pictures attached with this blog. It is a 7-day party where everyone dances, eats local foods and participates in the fun activities. Of all the Festivals I have visited in various countries, more people get involved physically in the Rapa Nui Festival than any other. Most of the tourists (including myself) got our bodies painted with mud & straw, joined in the dances & contests and/or just relaxed and mingled with the friendly local people. More than a little alcohol was consumed. All tourists are far from home (actually far from everywhere) so it seems that inhibitions are left behind.

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                             Ancient banana race contestants.                                                             Dancing is everywhere in the festival. 

     

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                                                                                  The crowds cheer on the winner. 

     

    During the festival, there are ancient races of local men running carrying large bushels of bananas. There are traditional dance contests, a Queen of the Festival is selected and even an award for the most beautiful body painting. Lots of nudity here, so if you don’t want to see that, this may not be the Festival for you! It is all in fun and not sexual at all, but many of the locals and tourists are simply covered by paints.

    One of the strangest things about Easter Island is the abundance of weird statues all over the island. They are large monolithic human figures called Moai and are made from rock. Their origins are another mystery to the native land as no one knows where or how these statues came to the islands. They are believed to be erected mostly in the 13th century, while the mystery remains to this day how they were made and transported to where they now sit all over the terrain.

    Many of the Moai are gathered together on platforms called Ahu by the ocean. They seem to be some type of religious symbols of ancient tribal chiefs, famous for their large heads and eyes. It is fun to shoot these Ahu platforms from various angles.

    Two photography tips if you do visit the Easter Islands:

    First, it is easy to rent a car and explore the island and shoot the many Moai forms. Go off on your own because you can’t get lost!

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                                  It is great to have models move with you to the various locations. This image has been a good stock seller.

    A second hint is to find and hire several models in native dress to have them pose where you need them around the water or the Moai. If you don’t have a model, you will find the area quite deserted with no locals for your pictures as you drive around the island away from the villages. My dancers at the Moai have been very successful stock images around the world …. well worth the money I paid for the rental car and models. I shot all over the island with my good friend Dennis Salvagio and we both took unique images around the various volcanoes and areas of the Ahu platforms. It was fun to explore with models when we needed them in various costumes.

    In conclusion, take the opportunity to visit Santiago, Chile sometime and then head way out to the Easter Islands for a unique vacation and photo opportunity. You will return with photos that look like nowhere else on our planet!

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                                           Where did these stones come from? Ahu platform celebrates some of the ancient rulers.  

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                                                                   Hope you can visit peaceful Easter Island someday. 

     

  • Hints for Making Money in Your Photography -- Part-Time or Full-Time (Part II)

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     This blog will give you ways of publishing & selling your many fine pictures that you have already taken. For example, this beach girl image has sold for over $120,000 in stock sales for me. It has sold for real estate, travel, sun damage skin, and even to fight cellulite! It is sure fun to keep getting residual checks. 

     

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     I spent two hours with these multi-ethnic ladies (also combining them on the swings with various boyfriends) and the whole series has made again over $100,000. Not a bad hourly rate! Now the goal is to allow YOU to make stock sales over & over from your images. 

     

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    It cost me $100 to fly in a helicopter (with the door off) over the Christ statue in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Since then it has been used in literally hundreds of travel & cruise brochures.

     

    This Part II will nicely complete the first half of this discussion on how to be more successful in making money from your own photography. Before you read this Part II, please go back one blog and to read Part I. It will go over all the ways you can make either Part-Time or Full-Time being a photographer and getting paid for your assignment work. That will prepare you for this section, which is a different type of photography and also a different method of payment.

    This section I am also more of an expert to help. As one of the top five stock photographers in the world, I do know the ways you can make even part-time money shooting travel or lifestyle images and having them sold & published.

    This Part II is about shooting images with NO ONE paying you to shoot them initially. You must build somewhat of a “library” of images and then either build a website to sell them or find stock agents to represent your work.

    Sounds easy enough. But most people do not have any idea what to shoot, how to shoot, how to get them ready for a stock agent, how to caption & keyword them for easy searching, how to find reps to sell your images, how to know when you are ready to approach a stock agent, and many more pieces of the puzzle. Basically you need a “system” to go forward.

    I have good news and bad news for you in search of a system and success.

    First, the good news. You can shoot even your vacation pictures in a way that you can really still “travel for free” as you will make income from the pictures. Also, if you get ten good stock reps around the world that sell even an average amount of sales of your images, you can easily make $20-30 thousand extra dollars a year to pay for travel and new equipment. You can therefore, travel for free because you will know the images will sell and make money in times after you return. And this can be a fun venture even in retirement. Imagine making that kind of money EACH year as your images continue to sell each year, perhaps for more as you send more & more images to them.

    Now the bad news. This is not the Golden Time for stock photographers. You must create images that are good and also needed in this image crazy world. It used to be much easier when I started stock photography because there were three things that exist now that did not deter us in the 80s and 90s. First, the digital camera revolution had not arrived and there were not hundreds of thousands of “photographers” (and I use the word loosely) shooting good images and sending them into stock websites. Secondly, there were not CHEAP $1 pictures for sale on many Microstock websites that cause the fees to be cheaper than they have ever been. And, finally, because of the many websites now 24/7 all over the world, and so many photographers submitting to them, it is becoming harder & harder to have YOUR pictures seen to be sold in this over-supplied photo world.

    That I’m sure disappoints you with those three negative trends. But, let me say from experience in helping many photographers reach for their dreams of shooting and seeing sales to make money, you can still work part time (and keep your day job!) to get your images for sale and you can succeed in ways that make it worthwhile. It is indeed fun to see your images from a vacation or a lifestyle shoot published and it is also equally fun to have money sent or wired to you each month from your stock reps.

    I do not want to paint an unattainable image to you in this blog. I have an amazing head start with almost 30 years of already working with a grand group of really major agencies and relationships with agencies all over the world. My head start includes many thousands of pictures that already sell all over the developed countries daily. So you don’t have that head start.

    I have many more agents than you realistically could acquire in today’s world, so when I multiply sales monthly from over 70 agents around the world (and sub-agents of many of those), the monthly & yearly checks add up to a lot of money. To continue reading, click below on red bar

  • Hints for Making Money in Your Photography -- Part-Time or Full-Time (Part I)

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    In many ways today is a Golden Era of Photography. In many other ways, however, today is NOT a Golden Era of Photography.

    There are so many more needs for images than ever in history. That is the good side. But, unfortunately, there are also millions more people taking pictures and supplying those pictures than ever before.

    More people are interested in Photography – and perhaps being published or making money in photography – since the digital camera has become common in the market than in any time in history.

    The reasons are rather obvious. Before digital, many people could not even begin to understand all the lighting & complications of film. They would have to wait a day or two to get their pictures back from the lab and they often found horrible images in all but the bright sunny days shots. They could never control all the lighting situations indoors, did not want to lug around heavy lights, umbrellas, tripods, filters, etc they needed to correctly take the pictures.

    So mainly only people who went to school for photography or those who spend years being self-taught, could ever think about being a “professional photographer”. And that was accepted by society. We are not talking a long time ago, by the way, but all the years up to about 2002. Ten short years ago.

    Later in this discussion I will strongly suggest you shoot what you love and you'll be successful. The picture on the right, from years ago in my studio,  I knew I loved shooting beautiful models for lifestyle, fashion and travel images. So I directed my career to only take the assignments that I would 1) Do well 2) Love everyday of work. I turned down anything that wouldn't fit my style of photography. 

    By the way, I loved my wild hair. This day the models were all dressed in red, so they gave me a red flower to hold. 

    Then, in these last ten years, came the progression of better & better digital cameras. The ability of regular people, with little or no training, to buy one of these cameras with AMAZING technology and still get really good pictures in many situations with wonderful expensive digital cameras set on Automatic.

    The results were often close to a professional and what was not the best could be “fixed in Photoshop”. That became the main saying…. “We’ll fix it in Photoshop”.

    So many people today would love to be involved in getting published or getting PAID assignments so they can make extra money to pay for the expensive computers, cameras and necessary equipment that taking good pictures require.

    Many of the "old Pros" are really frustrated at this rush of amateurs buying a simple business card that says “PHOTOGRAPHER” and going after jobs and assignments that used to be strictly for Pros. Myself, I realize this trend will not be reversed in the future so I would rather help people learn to know the right way to go about it with some of my hints to do it correctly, professionally and not produce bad results that really dampen our whole profession. Simply stated, more and more people will be trying to get photo work, so let me give you some of my experienced thoughts and suggestions to do it better.

    First of all, let me say that taking pictures for fun or profit is truly a blessed hobby and profession. It has been something I have done all of my adult life and I can’t think of anything I could have enjoyed more.

    But, on a more somber note, I believe the future will see a very large majority of the people making money in every branch of photography will have another “real” job and do photography on the side part time. I believe the future will hold less full-time professional photographers than we have ever experienced. The reason for that is simple – there are so many people with advanced cameras wanting to shoot weddings, or shoot commercially, and not nearly enough assignments to go around to make it a full-time profession. But that is OK with most of the world… my goal here is to give you some important hints to help you make the transition  both enjoyable and profitable.

    First let’s define the only two ways you can make money in photography. It sounds simple, but yes, there are only TWO ways,t and they have very “broad strokes” :

    1. Method Number One --- shoot any type of assignment for someone who pays you to do this shooting. You get paid when you deliver the product.

    2. Method Number Two --- shoot photography on spec (meaning you do not get paid for the actual shooting) and hope to sell it by yourself or thru agents to people who need those pictures. You only get paid for this work you did AFTER it is out there and someone rents or buys it to use. You are only then paid for the usage. This is usually grouped together and called stock photography. You can also throw Fine Arts photography in here also where you shoot and print Fine Art framed pieces and sell them as art. Again, you don’t get paid until it sells to someone who wants it AFTER you have shot it.

       

    That’s it. Those are really the only two ways you will be able to buy expensive cameras and begin (or continue) to make money to reinvest in new cameras, computers, travel trips, etc to be a full or part time photography...to read more Click Here

  • Vietnam -- Long After The War

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    Slowly riding down the historical Mekong Delta River in Vietnam.

     

    Vietnam. The name sends chills still to people from the USA, reminding us of a horrible time of war. Bad decisions, wasted lives, futile efforts, divided country, protests, a political nightmare…. it was not America’s finest hour in our history.

    Many Americans have such bad memories of the 70’s, and the war, that they would never return or visit this Southeastern Asia country. But if you are able to put those memories aside and are curious about what has changed, Vietnam is alive and open for business.

    A Communist country of 88 million people, Vietnam is again flourishing in business, investments, and tourism.   Even though it is officially a Communist country, the government turns its back on the public and everyone seems to be practicing Capitalism at it’s finest. So many people are working for themselves in markets on the streets selling absolutely everything. That makes it so colorful for photographers visiting this active and hustling country.

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    Picking flowers in the Mekong Delta.                                                             Working the rice fields in the country.

     

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     Barber shops are on the sidewalk outdoors in Hanoi. 

     

    The main two cities in the country are very famous names for Americans – Hanoi and Saigon. Hanoi is an absolutely beautiful old city in what was before the enemy North Vietnam with much to see. I have visited Hanoi twice with seven years in between trips, and I have seen a much more positive response from locals in Hanoi in my second visit. They were USA’s enemies for many years, so it has taken them many years to even want to talk to visitors. But now I believe they realize how much more tourism will help them if they are pleasant. Even though the famous “Hanoi Hilton” is still in plain sight (where John McCain spent his prison time), they try their best to offer warm thoughts on the streets.

    Saigon is the part of South Vietnam that we helped in the war. So, even with its new name – Ho Chi Minh City – the locals are more warm and friendly when they learn you are an American. It seems more hustling even than Hanoi, and EVERYONE has something to sell on the streets. And the prices are very reasonable. Saigon seems to never sleep.

    Away from the main cities, Vietnam is a much more peaceful and rural country. As a photographer, everywhere you look are photographs of locals with straw hats in the farms, on the rivers, in the small villages. One great place to visit is the extremely peaceful area away from Hanoi called Ha Long Bay. This is the picturesque area where sharp limestone mountains rise dramatically from the sea. Small villages, built on wood over the water, are also great places to shoot photos of mountains and local fishermen.

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     A fishing village with the wonderful limestone mountains in Ha Long Bay.

     

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    An old Vietnamese soilder

     

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     All the color of the locals in Ha Long Bay

     

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     Everything for sale to your door                                                         An old man in Hanoi blowing in the wind

     

    Still another peaceful area (now!) is the famous Mekong Delta River area near Saigon. I say now because this place had to be just horrible for American GI’s riding down these muddy rivers, watching for ambushes everywhere. Heavy bush blocks views on both sides of the river, which I’m afraid, caused many deaths from snipers in the drawn-out war. But it is now beautiful and peaceful with small colorful villages on both sides as you slowly ride down the muddy river on a bamboo boat. (Like the image at the beginning of this story.)

    One really haunting place to visit is the War Remnants Museum. There you see what we call the “Vietnam War” in their pictures & displays calling it the “American War”. The photos, writings, numerous US planes & tanks all show a totally different war than we ever think or talk about in the USA. It really does give their version of the conflict and worth a visit.

    I would recommend a photo visit to Vietnam for those who can forget the drama and tragedy of our 1970s here in the USA. You will see a colorful country emerging from their wars and strive that will become a major player in Asia in the future.

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     USA planes captured from the "American War" seen from their perspective at the War Remenants Meusem 

     

  • Why Do We All Love Photography?

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                     How I spend a lot of my time ..... waiting for the perfect light.

     

    This blog is going to deviate this time from being a travel story and, instead, become one closer to all of our hearts. I will discuss the reasons why all of us are addicted to the rush of going off to shoot pictures with our cameras. Why do we love photography?

    I have been a traveling pro photographer all of my adult life. But that has no bearing on separating me from the many millions that have other jobs but still often have a love affair with a camera. We are all in the same place with the same desires, passions and thirst to see what is “around the corner” to capture with our electronic machines called cameras.

    It does not matter what you like to shoot. This article is written for all those who use their camera for SOMETHING other than to just document their children’s growth or the family reunion.

    If you have ever taken a day, or two weeks, and gone off to just shoot whatever happens around you for the sheer joy of it, welcome to the club! Photography has you in its powerful grip and you have unknowingly become an artist in whatever you decide to shoot. You will often wait until the light changes for the better, move to get better views, study the various compositions, and move all over for the best angle. That hobby you started has now become a passion…. and it has you! You are no longer just a picture taker!

    On the first page of my website (www.billbachmann.com) I recall a saying I wrote many years ago, and believe it just as strongly today as ever. Part of it says …“When the viewfinder says YES…. I wouldn’t want any other job in the Universe!”

    Any of you ever looked in the viewfinder and had it scream “YES”?? It doesn’t whisper then, does it? Even as I talk about it after being a pro for so many years, the hair on my arms still rises from that glowing feeling that comes over your body when you look thru the lens and KNOW you have a GREAT picture!

    The subjects we all shoot are as varied as we are. Some like to shoot landscapes, some like people. Still others love capturing a bird in flight or their children at play. The subject can be a still life, a nude study, an underwater image, or even a tourism travel iconic image. Some of us like to shoot it all.

    What is not varied is the love we feel about our images! In the olden days, we had to wait to get the film back to see the results. Now we get instant digital feedback.   But the effect is the absolute same …. WOW!

    Looking at the reasons we love to take pictures, I feel one of the most important is the infinite possibilities we feel as we head off to shoot pictures for the sheer excitement . We could have film in our cameras or lots of digital cards (I still use the phrase “Load my camera” for some reason), but the feeling is major anticipation, wouldn’t you agree??? It can be for an afternoon alone, or the start of a two-week travel adventure, it still has that grand feeling of “what am I going to see and capture in my own way?”

    Another of the joys I admire about how we do all love photography is the amazing differences in how we see and record these images. I have taken many of my now famous, semi-annual Bachmann Tour Overdrive (BTO) travel adventure groups around the world, and the most amazing thing is when we get together at the end of the day to compare images.

    When we all sit down at the end, or later at the Reunion each year when we bring our images and project them, I am overpowered at two things. First, how strong and dynamic everyone’s images are and, secondly, how different they are to each other. We often are a mere few feet away shooting at the same spot --- but the pictures project an entirely different feel and place. Many times we ask each other, “Where was that?” And the answer is simple…. “It was five feet to the left of us, or just around the corner.”

    Isn’t that wonderful? We all see differently, we all bring our own visions & history into the act of image making. We could both walk into an interesting room and both go to opposite sides seeing our own best image, choosing wide or telephoto lens, looking for different light and feelings. I think that is one of the best reasons I love to bring other photographers with me twice a year to somewhere exotic… I know they will capture the place entirely differently than I will and I am excited about seeing their perspectives.

    Yet, you can also have a love affair with your camera in your own town, in your own neighborhood. The secret is to go out with an open mind, looking for things that you never noticed before, things that have interesting textures, places you haven’t wandered in other trips. Exciting, huh?

    Travel photography seems to give us the “freedom” we need to concentrate on just taking pictures. You are in new locations, everything is different and you and your camera can explore together. The only difficulty sometimes is when you take the family and they are NOT in love with photography. Ever heard, “Dad, can’t you take less pictures?” Golly, there is a creative roadblock!

    Or even worse, you are on a travel tour that is NOT geared for photography! They pass by places you would kill to get off the bus, or they give you 5 minutes at a place that you need an hour. That is the closest thing to prison that I know. Why do they want to rush back to the hotel to shop or drink?

    Many travel photo groups do not think there is time to stop in many places that I stop. The theme of my BTO group is formed under this premise: “We don’t have enough time on this planet NOT to stop!” That is one reason my trips seems to fill up quickly with many of the same travelers … they know how I feel how difficult it is to take you many great locations I love and how I want to give you plenty of TIME to wander and shoot!

    I love that so many people seem to have fallen in love with photography in today’s digital world. And I love to see pictures and hear them talk excitedly about their images. My one pet peeve, however, is talking about technical instead of heart-felt love! I don’t care how many pixels, megs, filters etc that you used…. what does the image say to your soul? How grand is the image, in spite of all the technical computer issues? I want to see images that touch my heart, stir me with your love and passion and, maybe later, I will then care how you achieved that specific filter look. So don’t sit around talking megapixels … talk about feelings!

    No matter if you make your living from photography, or consider it a hobby that you love, there is plenty of warmth and love received from this great adventure called photography. I give seminars on how to make extra money to pay for your trips & equipment and also how to get published, - - and they are worthwhile -- but I speak here of even my own pure love of the creative mission we aim for whenever we shoot. All these years later, since I picked up my first camera at the age of four, I still have a love affair with my camera – profession or not.

    People that know me well know I do love people, but they are surprised how I often go off alone with just my camera. I have never once in all my years felt lonely spending the day exploring alone making pictures (I like that phrase sometimes rather than “taking pictures”).   I doubt you ever will be lonely either.

    I hope this blog has let you “revisit” your love for photography and perhaps given you food for thought. That is why I wrote it and would make me happy to think it helped you explore your passion. Let me know your thoughts.