Sharpening The Saw

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It seems I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately in terms of getting out there and creating images.  Between working to meet deadlines at my day job; and cleaning the garage, keeping up with the mowing, and other necessary home-ownership type stuff….it seems like the camera isn’t getting out of the bag as often as I’d like.

So what does a photographer do to stay in the stream of the photography world that continues to flow on by?  I have spent some time learning about the craft. I’ve listened to podcasts; read articles; followed certain photographers on Twitter and facebook; read books; watched live webcasts, and organized and added to my own website.

Some of the photographers I have been learning from are: Rick Sammon; Scott Kelby; Art Wolfe, Dewitt Jones, and others.

Scott Kelby is a Photoshop Guru and Pro photographer.  He shoots NFL, travel, fashion, automobiles and much more. There are several things that I find really cool about Scott. One is that he used to be in a band and still is I suppose..he often talks about his love for guitars. He has a training business called KelbyOne where people can subscribe for on-line training in photography. I haven’t signed up yet, but know that it would be amazing…the classes are taught by the top photographers around. He shoots regularly for NFL games, which I think would be so awesome; he has these travel videos that he has done to teach people about Travel Photography. There is one in particular that I have watched a couple of times and it is from a recent trip to Italy. Another thing that he does is called “The Grid”. It is a Live Web Cast, like a t.v. show. He and a co-host have a different topic each time. They have a guest each show – the guest is a pro from the photo world who talks about their specialty. The show also does Live critiques of images that viewers have sent in…you can learn a lot from listening to the comments that are made.  I should also mention that Scott does something called the Worldwide Photo Walk where people can sign up to lead a photo walk in their area…and they are all done on the same day at the same time, so you have people from all around the world doing these photo walks on the same day…it is a pretty cool concept.

Rick Sammon is a Canon Explorer of Light.  He has published over 30 books on photography; has created several photography Apps; leads workshops and seminars all over the world. He also does a podcast called Digital Photo Experience. I had the opportunity to meet Rick a couple years ago at the Black Hills Photo Shootout. I got to hear him give a keynote and then joined him on two different workshops.  That was so valuable…because while he wasn’t the leader of the workshop, he was there just to shoot…it didn’t take long and his natural tendency to teach people and share his knowledge came out and he was helping us all.  I picked up a lot of tips just by listening to what he was pointing out during the session, it was great!  There were even a couple of times where Rick had people try certain techniques and he gave them suggestions for how to make their image better and when he got to me he would look at what I had done, and would say something like, “you got it”, or “that’s really nice”.  It made me feel great and it really verified for me that I was on the right track and confirmed for me that I was performing at a certain level. I had multiple opportunities to chat with Rick during the sessions and that was so valuable to me. Since that time I have followed his posts on facebook, Twitter, and Google+; I listen to his podcast regularly as well…it is full of great info. The thing that I have really made use of is an App that he made called Social Media Marketing  For Photographers..I have listened to that app over and over again….it has so much advice for setting up a social media strategy; advice on Free marketing tools; how to socialize in social media; and discussions on getting your work out there.  I have actually followed his advice in setting up my own Social Media strategy and now, besides this Adventures In Photography Blog – I have a business presence on facebook, Twitter, and Google+. I’ve read several of the books that Rick recommends in the App and they have been very good.  In the last couple of years I have really started to “Get My Work Out There”, and Rick’s discussions have really helped me in this. Like he says, “you never know who’s out there” and seeing your work. I should also mention that Rick is also a Guitar player…and was at Woodstock!

Art Wolfe has been an artist that I have admired and followed since the beginning. He is a world renowned photographer and also has many books, etc. I would study his photo books on Wildlife and nature as I was developing my style and vision. He even has produced a t.v. show called Art Wolfe’s Travels To The Edge. It’s a great show where you get to go along on his adventures around the world.  I had the opportunity to attend a day-long seminar that he gave in Minneapolis a few years ago…it was pretty awesome to meet him in person and hear how he approaches photography and how we might make our photography better. It was simply awesome for me. Side note….I don’t know if Art plays guitar or not…I do know that when he is not working on photography he is working on his Japanese style garden. I also know that his dad was a photographer in WWII in the Pacific on an Aircraft Carrier.

Dewitt Jones is a photographer that I’ve followed since the early 1990’s when he would write a column in Outdoor Photographer Magazine. He shot for the National Geographic for years. Dewitt is one of my greatest motivators with his YouTube videos on Vision.  He now has a website, and more so…a message: “Celebrate What’s Right With the World” (instead of wallowing in what’s wrong with it).  I really like what he has to say and his approach to photography. I gain a lot of inspiration from this guy. He talks about looking for the next right answer when out photographing; he talks about the idea that we’ll see it when we believe it (not the other way around)….we must believe that an amazing and beautiful subject will present itsself – and it will; but he also talks about putting yourself in a position for getting the shot (knowledge of the subject and intuition)…and the idea of “good image/great image” (making small adjustments and going from good-to-great in composition).

In the last 12 hours, I have received a Tweet from Art Wolfe and a facebook message from Dewitt Jones…how cool is that!

Even though I haven’t been out creating images as much as I’d like….I guess I have been keeping myself in the stream!

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