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Shooting for Yourself
WHO: Me   |   WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Travel   |   WHEN: July 23, 2010   |   WHERE: Somewhere between Austin & Dallas
On Monday night I was in Austin speaking to the Austin Professional Photographers Association about "Finding Extraordinary in the Ordinary", and on the way back home to Dallas Tuesday I took some time to put into practice part of my message from the night before... carving out time to shoot for for myself.

I had a big long post typed up when technology consipred against me and wiped out the entire thing a couple minutes ago when I went to save and post it. A cruel irony, indeed, when the act of saving erases all your efforts. It's now 3:47 in the morning, and my eyelids and babble filter don't have enough juice to re-write the whole thing at this time.  So, for those of you that never read the books in high school and just used the Cliff Notes to do your book reports, today's your lucky day.  Here's the condensed version...

Unless you do your homework whe you start a photography business - and I clearly didn't - nobody tells you how little time you'll actually spend, well, photographing.  You won't know how much time you'll instead spend reading, learning, marketing, selling, order filling, order checking, editing, client contacting, cleaning, tax prepping, insurance'ing, equipment researching/buying, equipment fixing, scheduling, business plan writing, policy-writing, book-keeping, sample ordering, etcetera'ing.  I remember when I first started out thinking, but I just wanna create great photographs, I don't wanna do all that other stuff!  Truth be told, I still have that same mindset today, but it just doesn't work that way.  (Note:  if it is working that way for you, you might wanna re-evaluate whether you've got a photography business or an expensive hobby.)

To make a long story short (I told you my babble filter was out of juice this late at night), it's easy to get stuck in a rut to where you feel like a robot because all you're doing is all those things listed above in addition to trying to satisfy your clients with great images they'll love.  When that happens, picking up a camera can easily start to feel like a chore rather than a passion.  I'd like to encourage you to find some time to shoot for yourself in order to keep your perspective fresh, your creative batteries recharged and your passion alive, even if it's only for a few minutes here and there.  I promise you your clients will benefit from it as well.

Here's a few of my favorites from the drive home.

These first couple images are just outside of Salado, TX north of Austin.  I can't believe I'd never visited Salado before now; it was a beautiful town with a quaint feel and lots of history and B&B's.  The people here are incredibly nice, too, as I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman named Bob who not only owns the property in this first image, but he told me about the place with the waterfall in the second image.  Had I not met him, I would not have gotten several of the images that follow because most of them were found on the way to the waterfall place.

I had never seen fences lined with old white-painted bicycles before, but I saw two of them near Salado.  Very cool.

Found this old truck way back in the weeds off of interstate 35.  Score!  I love stuff like this, and it was the perfect time to get a little sun flare coming through the truck window.  The whole time I was taking this series of images I was thinking, Please don't get chiggers.  Please don't get chiggers.

This dilapidated house was right near the old truck.  Double score!

Drove through downtown Dallas to get back home and stopped briefly near the new Winspear Opera House to walk around.  These tables were just outside the building in a courtyard.

I like the reflection action going on this last one.  Notice the photographer in the middle doing some senior photography with 3 girls laying in the shallow water.  Triple score!


In Louvre - A Paris Wrap-Up
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Travel   |   WHEN: May 22, 2010

I spent the last night in Paris outside the Louvre, and it truly is breathtaking.  I mentioned on Facebook that few things genuinely amaze me anymore, but the Louvre, especially as night time fell and the lights came on, genuinely amazed me.  The photos below don't do justice to this place.  It's scale is massive, and it's architectural  and aesthetic prowess is even massiver.  Yes, massiver.  It's ornateness is something to marvel; so much so that it's unfathomable to me how it was even designed and built in phases hundreds of years ago.  I mean seriously, we can't even make a roof that lasts 20 years these days.

It started out as a fortress back in the 12th century and was then converted to a royal palace in the 14th century before finally being made into a public gallery at the end of the 18th century.  What's astounding is that the Louvre only occupies 3 wings of the former palace.  Incredible.  Oh, and in case you're interested, the glass pyramid which functions as the main entrance, wasn't added until 1989.  I can't tell you how much I was impressed by this place.

I've included just a few of the images from that evening below.  I got to the Louvre around 9:00 pm and had just over an hour of sunlight left.  It doesn't get dark in Paris until just after 10pm, which works out well for visitors trying to see as much as they can in a couple days.. 

By the way, in case you've never seen it and don't think you'll ever get there, I created a very quick iPhone video to show it to you.  Here's the Louvre in 7 seconds.  In case that's too quick for you, here's some images you can peruse at your own pace.

This next one was actually just outside the Metro station before walking into the main grounds of the Louvre.

Sorry, this was left over from the day before.  Not at all related to the Louvre; just seeing if you were paying attention.

If you look towards the bottom of the middle opening in the arc monument below, you can see the much bigger Arc de Triumph way far away in the distance.

One of the many outside corridors.

I used my 14-24mm wide angle lens at 14mm to get the image below of the intersection of two corridors.

An abstract image of the glass pyramid support structure rods.

I really like this image looking over the water at the base of the pyramid.


Déjà Vu is Appropriately French
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Travel   |   WHEN: May 20, 2010
Feels like I was just in Pari... never mind.  It's been a long week, and I'm lookin' forward to headin' home to see my sweetie tomorrow.  I did see the Louvre (well, at least the outside) for the first time this evening.  As much as I love beautiful images, I'm not really a museum kinda guy.  I get bored quickly and start applying the art blanket rule after about 30 minutes, meaning I admittedly unjustly start saying "Yeah, I know these are great paintings by master artists and all, but they kinda look a lot like the ones we just saw in the last 3 rooms.  Can we go get ice cream?"  That's when I know it's time to hit the door.  Sadly, though, if you take me to any factory tour where they show you how they make Coke bottles, automobile headlights, Twinkies, etc. and I'm in total bliss.  Sorry, Monet.

I'm headin' to the airport in a few hours, so I need to go get reacquainted with my pillow for a bit.  In the meantime here's a few random images from some downtime I had.

This little guy rocked.  Didn't matter what kinda face I made at him, he gave me the same you're an idiot and your blockin' my view look.

I don't know what it is about Vespas, but I'm a fan.  One of these days when Kylie's not lookin', I'm gonna get one.

TONS of people sitting outside on any grass you could find.  Amazing weather.

I kept having birds show up in all my images for a while.  It was cool at first, but got annoying after a while.  Then I realized this was a piece of dust on my camera sensor.

An HDR image with multiple exposures processed from  single RAW file.

This guy was resting in one of the gardens in a patch of sunlight.

No idea who these people were, but I appreciate them starring at me and looking cool for this image.


Greetings from Paris
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Travel   |   WHEN: May 17, 2010
Back in Paris for a couple days this week.  Not much free time so far, so here's just a couple. 

Happy birthday, Kylie!  I love you and can't wait to see you on Friday!  Miss you lots!!


Feeling Alive
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Portraits   |   WHEN: May 9, 2010

Here's a few images from last week at Texas School.  We did a shoot, oddly enough, at the same exact location I took Lauren and Ron's mock engagement images only a couple days earlier.  We had a few models to use to shoot whatever type of images we wanted, and I feel really drawn to the types of images below and want to create more of them...  not ballerina images, per se, but rather the idea of more fine art images.  Creatively this is where I feel most 'alive', and I could play in this space all. day. long.

PArdon the sentimentality today... I'm feeling a bit in touch with my inner self, but I plan to be out of touch with myself and back to regularl scheduled programming again tomorrow.

This model had serisouly amazing eyes.  There is very little post-procesing done to the image below.  Ridiculous, right?


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