Podcasts, Have You Tried Them?

MoosePodcastI don’t know about you, but I like to listen to Podcasts as a way to Self-Improvement, and Professional Development. There are several that I like; and am always on the lookout for others. One that I really enjoy is: “Moose Podcast” by Photographer Moose Peterson. Moose is an artist that creates amazing images. Maybe even more impressive to me – than his images – is the research and learning that he does prior to ever pressing the shutter button. I recently did a review of his top podcast episodes (according to iTunes) by month in 2019 between May and November, and here they are:

May: Episode #135 “For Competition” ~ The general concept here is, “Who are you taking the photographs for?” Are you doing it for others approval, or to win competitions, or are you taking pictures for yourself, always trying to get better?

June: Episode #137 “Grave With The Ends Knocked Out” ~ The general concept here is, “Have you hit a wall with your photography? or are you in a rut with your photography? What can you do to get out from under those things.”

July: Episode #141 “Road Trip” ~ The general concept here is, “Preparing for a photo road trip” Great tips based on lots of experience. Get off the main path is a big one. Make sure you pack some “fun” in the bag!

August: Episode #146 “Imagination Needs Fuel” ~ The general concept here is, the idea of “What fuels your imagination?” Passion. Learning. Looking at other photographs. Letting go of fears.

September: Episode #153 “Complacency” ~ The general concept here is, “When your photography isn’t growing” Ideas for getting through complacency. Shoot outside your comfort zone, is one idea. Photograph in a different subject area. Shoot what excites you.

October: Episode #158 “Answer Why” ~ The general concept here is, “Are you moving forward with no direction?” Why did I get the equipment I did; why do I shoot the subjects I do; Why do I listen to certain Podcasts; Why do I like certain locations? Take a deeper dive into your “Why” and learn more about yourself and why you photograph.

November: Episode #161 “Photography Goals” ~ The general concept here is, “Move your photography forward” Work towards goals with personal projects. Short term (next 5 days) – midterm (build a body of work towards a project) – longterm goals (i.e. Documentaries).

There is a thread of ideas for making you a better photographer that weaves through all of these episodes, which is interesting; and probably why they are top ranked episodes from the past half year.  Listen to these episodes, soak the advice in…I bet your images will improve; and so will your motivation in photography.

Excitement Overload

“Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Yourself” ~ Tim Wallace. This is a quote that helped me to decide to register for, and attend a Photography Conference half way across the country last Summer with the goal of taking my photography and business to new heights! Think Big! I am pleased to announce that I will be attending Photoshop World again this year ~ made possible through a grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board, thanks to funds provided by the McKnight Foundation. The images included here represent just some of the reasons I just had to go back!

I had to make a commitment of time, money, and effort to do this. I had to be Bold and Brave. Taking off to Orlando on my own….making all the correct time sensitive logistical actions; attending a huge conference where no one really knew me (there were three guys there that I had met previously at other conferences).

I went down there armed with a set of goals for during and after the conference. One of the goals was to introduce myself (Be Myself) to specific people (not easy for an Introvert)….I accomplished that goal….and more. I met others that were not on the list at that time.

The second part of my goal was to be open to whatever experiences presented themselves at the conference. One of those most memorable moments is shown in this pic that shows a panel of photographers.

L to R: Dave Black, Tim Wallace, Glyn Dewis, Lindsey Adler.

I don’t think that that session was even in the original schedule, but it ended up being probably my favorite session, a casual discussion with fantastic photographers. It was an early evening session after all the other sessions of the day. It was after this presentation that I met Glyn Dewis, third from the left, and we became quick friends. The thing about Glyn was that he was so engaged in our conversation. Not looking at his watch, or looking for someone walking by as a way to move on (like can happen at big events) He was truly Present…it’s something that I really remember and appreciated! There were other great moments: meeting Tim Wallace, second from left, and having a bit of a chat after one of his talks (Tim Wallace!) This man is a First Class guy. Yes, the work he does is simply- ‘off the charts’; beyond that, I am more amazed by his dedication as a husband and Dad to his family. I really like that!; having Rick Sammon recognize me – by name – in the gathering areas and actually stop to talk with me and thank me for being so supportive on-line. (Rick is often referred to as ‘The Godfather Of Photography’; but I think he should be called ‘The Prospector’ or ‘The Miner’ because when he goes on Photography outings/trips, he always comes back with Gold!

Recognizing an opportunity to sit and talk with Dave Black 1:1 about creative visualization 🤓 – even if it meant missing a scheduled session (that WAS my session!). It’s interesting that I actually visualized this scenario playing out – and then it did! I called my wife and told her, ‘you won’t believe what just happened’; talking to Scott Kelby in the hallway; meeting Moose Peterson; even shaking the hand of Dave Clayton at the very end of the Conference! That’s why I needed to get back!

This was one of the slides used during Moose Peterson’s talk. This image is so spectacular in my opinion.

I had some downtime one evening, so I went around the hotel to see what kind of images I could make with my iPhone. This is a staircase on one end that led to a restaurant.

One afternoon, I ventured away from the hotel to find someplace interesting for lunch. Miller’s Ale House was that place. It was a long walk, but so worth it. It had kind of an open air Island feel to it. I will go back this year.

One of the great things on the Exhibit floor was this display that was set up to look like an old Filling Station. They had models posing in front it and people were crowding around to get their photos. I honestly waited until the models were gone and got close ups of the props 🤓 – no lie!

The big opening and closing ceremonies had a Beetle Mania vibe to them…and it so awesome and memorable!

I am so glad that I decided to be bold, brave, and myself. I was able to meet personal goals and meet people that I would end up communicating with throughout the rest of the year, including as recent as tonight!


“Sharpen The Saw” Top 5 Professional Development Podcast Episodes.

Sharpen the Saw is a piece of advice from the late Stephen Covey, actually, it is the Seventh Habit from my favorite personal development book of all, “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People.” The idea behind sharpening the saw is to seek continuous improvement and renewal professionally and personally.

One way that I do this is to listen to the wisdom of others through Podcasts. The podcast that I want to talk about today is: “The Picturing Success” Podcast hosted by Rick Sammon, and Larry Becker. These two guys interview the best photographers in the world. They have been in the industry a long time and therefore have a lot of amazing contacts. The podcast is about the art and business of photography.

The episodes are very informative, as both of these guys are educators when it comes right down to it. Rick travels the world leading photo workshops, giving talks to huge audiences; writing books; recording training videos, and doing podcasts. Larry is a very successful trainer in many areas, including Photoshop, and a gear review Guru. He currently is very involved in video work – helping still photographers add video to their tool box; and of course is involved in teaching through podcasts and his own work at LarryBecker.tv

I recently re-listened to the Top 5 most popular podcasts from 2018 as ranked by iTunes. (Not sure if they are actually the Top 5, but maybe so!) and wanted to share with you a snippet of who they are interviewing and some of the topics:

5) Lewis Kemper. Episode 62 posted on Aug 16, 2018. Lewis is a photographer that worked with Ansel Adams! What an experience and opportunity that must have been! Lewis actually inspired Rick to use a tripod back in the day. He also gave Landscape Photography tips (hint hint: he once worked with Ansel Adams!) see his work at: https://www.lewiskemper.com

4) Scott Bourne. Episode 63 posted on Aug 20, 2018. Scott is a Wildlife Photographer – specializing in birds, Author, Lecturer, and is Senior Advisor with Skylum Software, photography software. There is much much more to Scott, I will let you explore that. The podcast episode gave a good review of the Skylum software, what’s going on, what’s coming up, etc. See his work at: https://scottbourne.online/portfolio-2/

3) Kevin Newsome. Episode 30 posted Apr 26, 2018. Kevin has over 30 years of experience experience as a portrait and event photographer in the Tampa area. He talked about keeping things fresh in the industry and keeping ahead of the crowd. Some advice: Do the work; keep changing; be creative. See his work at: newsomesstudio.com/senior-pictures-photographer-tampa/

2) Unmesh Dinda. Episode 90 posted on Dec 24, 2018. Unmesh is a commercial retouched and Photoshop Educator based in India. He has a popular Facebook page and YouTube channel called, “PiXimperfect.” His YouTube channel has 300 videos on Photoshop and Lightroom. In the podcast, he gave many helpful editing tips; and ways to ruin an image. See his work at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMrvLMUITAlmCHMOhx88PYQ/featured?disable_polymer=1

1) Scott Kelby. Episode 18 posted on Mar 15, 2018. Scott does so much and is so much to so many in the industry that I will use the condensed “about me” from his website. Scott is a Photographer, award-winning authorand the original “Photoshop Guy” as well as the CEO of KelbyOne, an online educational community for photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users (and I would add…for creatives in general). In the podcast, Scott urged beginners to learn these three things: Exposure, Shutterspeed, ISO. He also gave a lot of great advice on getting great Landscape images. See his work at: https://scottkelby.com

So, if you feel like you need to “sharpen the saw”, and who doesn’t? Please check out this podcast. Their website is at: https://picturingsuccess.com and the podcast can be found on the website, on iTunes, and on Spotify.

Life Is A Mystery!

Saturday, February 16 was a day that just kept taking so many interesting and wonderful unplanned directions.

The events of the day were really kicked off by something that happened (or didn’t happen) on Valentine’s Day. I had been scheduled to drive out to Morris to attend my son’s College Choir concert. The weather was so sketchy, especially out in West Central Minnesota – that I decided not to drive out (much to my dismay).

So, because I had some items to deliver to Gunnar and his girlfriend that I wasn’t able to deliver on Thursday, we made arrangements Friday night to meet them in Alexandria on Saturday morning.

That brings us to what turned out to be an amazing Saturday, one for the books….and the kind of day that you just can’t plan and have it play out the way it did! I woke up Saturday morning and took a look at my Instagram feed to see what the latest was. This is what was on my page:

This was quite unexpected. Glyn is a recently made friend who is from England. I listen regularly to the Podcast that he does with Dave Clayton, called ‘He Shoots He Draws’ – a Photography and Graphic Design Podcast. After their Friday episode, I posted a positive message about this particular episode, and then woke up Saturday to this post. I should have known this Saturday was going to be interesting!

We made arrangements to meet our son and his girlfriend in Alexandria mid-morning for brunch at Perkins. That went well, and it was wonderful seeing them, even for such a brief time. After the items we had brought were transferred to their car and good-byes were said – we were in our way NW.

At some point a short while later, we received a message from our friend Trina saying that she had seen Gunnar and Kaitlyn at Wal Mart. We also received a message from Gunnar saying that they had seen Trina. Apparently Gunnar had mentioned our plans to go Cross Country Skiing at Glendalough State Park. Trina told us that she was actually driving up to that same area to visit another mutual friend, Jody and that we should get together that evening. We were planning to meet our Sister-In-Law and her three kids at Glendalough, and had been invited to go back to Fergus Falls afterwards for Chili. We had declined because it would be going in a different direction than where our hotel was for the night.

In the meantime, Trina and Jody had talked and must have talked about where we were headed. It turned out that Jody and her husband and two of their kids were already on their way to a ski area, that was much hillier than where we were going – so they decided to come to Glendalough as well! So now our group of three had grown to seven, and finally to 11!

Carrie on the left, with her friend Jodi at Glendalough S.P.

When we arrived at the Trail Head parking lot (which was surprisingly full), we got out of the truck, started walking to the building to see where we could rent skis for others in our group. Carrie turned to me and said, “look who’s here.” She was referring to a van that had signage on its side for “Minnesota Trails and Rides”….a paper for which I was the Editor for once upon a time….a job that I was, let’s say, “let go” from once upon a time.

There has always been some level of disappointment for me, with the way that job ended, and so now suddenly, I was thinking that my boss and publisher, Dave would be there. What was I going to say when we inevitably came face to face at this small trail head, some 15 years later? We got inside the building and discovered that there was a ski event going on. There was a women at a desk signing people in….”are you here for the race?” She asked. We were somewhat confused about what to do and to what was going on at this point! It was then that I saw a poster for the event on the wall that featured a headshot of Dave, my former boss/publisher. My first thought was it was an event that he was organizing. Well, as it turned out….I read closer and discovered that it was a Memorial Race for Dave! He had died suddenly last year at this time. Wow! I had NO idea. And here we were “randomly” at this park, on this day, there to ski.

We finally got all organized and were fortunate that the Sons Of Norway were there for the event, and were loaning ski equipment at no charge. We had a great time on a nice flat trail.

Shortly after I created this image, my phone pinged with a message. I had “checked-in” on Facebook before we hit the trail and our friend Linda had seen the image. Her message said that I should call Paul. I waited until I got back as I was almost done with the trail.

Paul and I became friends back in 1987 when we were both students at Fergus Falls Community College. I got back to the truck, and before we got going, I gave Paul a call. It turned out that he lives nearby, and was wondering if we had time to meet. He mentioned that maybe we could meet at a certain place in the nearby town, called the Shoreline. I told him that is exactly where we were already going as we had just made plans to go there for hot chocolate. Now, I haven’t seen Paul and Linda for just over 12 years! Yet another great unexpected occurrence on this day. We enjoyed a great talk over appetizers and hot chocolate….talked a lot about ancestry, and it turns out that his wife and our sister-in-law are related! Paul told me that when he heard that we were at Glendalough SP; he assumed it was because of Dave’s memorial (knowing that I had worked for him). It also turns out that Linda was also related to Dave. I hope we can meet again soon!

So in one last interesting turn, we were invited to meet with Jody and Trina at Jody’s house for supper…Sister-in-Law, Leisha and her kids were also invited and so we all went there for a great spaghetti meal. There we were….friends and family enjoying each other’s company. Five of the kids roughly the same age hanging out; High School friends catching up; spending time with family…..what a day!

If You Are Going Anyway…

My son went off to college a few years ago and he became a part of both the Symphonic Winds, and the Concert Choir. We do not miss any of his concerts, unless it just can’t be helped, like if he is on a European Tour, or something like that!

It didn’t take more than a concert or two before I realized that I needed to, and wanted to – be making images with my Canon! I quickly offered my services and it has been a wonderful three years so far.

This is a piece that I hade made of a special event that the Choir was involved in. I was able to get a live action group photo during the performance.

I also had this created for the Choir Director to hang in his office.

So in doing this I get to create images and experience great music while doing so. And, I was going to be there anyway…

Make Time For Yourself

In the day to day “grind” we are always trying to fit more in, do more, do it faster, more, more, more! Starting today, try to be more mindful about making time for yourself….to re-charge the batteries.

Go for a walk. Look up and notice the clouds in the sky; the tree branches. Enjoy it, soak it in – create an image that you can look back on, and even share with others.

You might be surprised at what you see when you slow down and start noticing.

Another thing you can do to help yourself is to slow down enough to sit down and read a real book! Try some professional development like I did with this book: “Evolution of An Image” by Rick Sammon.

I hope that you will now take some time for yourself, and discover something new! Jay

Getting Back To It

Here I am trying once again at starting up my blog posts! I have not given up, that is for sure. Actually, in the time since I last posted, I did some deep thinking about my photography and had some lengthy discussions with several people about where I am going photographically. The original theme of this blog is about how I “balance” family life and photography (with several other items mixed in!)

Here is one example. Easter time, coloring eggs with the family….once we had a bunch of them done, we paused so that I could get some images like this.

At this time of year, it is cold out there. I like to be mindful of the image opportunities this creates!

There! I did a new blog post. Let me know if you would like me to talk about something related to keeping balanced in your family and photography. Jay