Practice....

Jen and I got away for our annual fall weekend and decided to go back to the Great Pines resort on Fourth Lake. Last year we camped in the Fingerlakes but this year we wanted a little less work. The best thing about the whole trip to the Adirondacks, is we have it down to a science. We know where we like to stay, we know where the best meals are, and we also know what we need at this particular point in the year.

We shopped Old forge (Ate lunch at Ozzies, I recommend the bald mountain panini)

Hiked Bub and Sis ( 1.5-2 hours with great views)

Stayed at Great Pines (The upper balcony is worth it, bring out a blanket and sit and drink coffee all morning)

Ate at Big Moose Inn ( French onion soup is amazing, prime rib was great, and so was the Salmon Special)

I took my camera but did not shoot much and since my wife bought a newer iPhone I let her have most of the photographic fun and just kinda hung back. It was actually nice to leave my camera in the car a few times and know that she had a pretty capable camera if we needed it. Anyway, here are a few images from the x100t, her iPhone 11 and my iPhone 6s.

Movement

If you distill the fair down to its most elemental part, it is about movement. Shuttles looping, peristaltic action gulping, rides spinning, and even the stuttered movement of people through a crowd. Everyone carrying large plates of food and stopping to gawk at the next best thing and ultimately move on.

But how do you capture that movement in still photographs? How do you photograph this wave like action? For years I have tried to speed up my shutter to freeze moments in time, but today I went the other way and leaned into the movement by extending my shutter times. More to come.

More Visual Practice and developing a creative mantra

Sometimes framing what you’re about to do correctly, is the best way to start something creative. It’s quite difficult to get out of your head sometimes when you want to push out good work. Self-doubt almost always creeps in and can ruin your ability to create.

In my case, in photography, if I just grab the camera and go on a practice walk I tend to feel loose and free and have a much better outcome than if I go out looking for a particular perfect image. If I head out to make amazing images I tend to feel rigid and too distracted to see. I come home left with a feeling of remorse.

Last night I met up with Jordan and Jeff and we hit the streets of Syracuse for a bit of street practice. Before I got out of the truck I had that talk with myself about being loose and free and just exploring. I would take pictures of anything and everything. My pre shoot self-talk usually goes like this:

  1. Take lots of pictures, digital negatives are cheap.

  2. Shoot as soon as your toes hit the pavement to warm up.

  3. Walk and explore but most of all be open.

  4. Slow down.

  5. The truly great shots happen when you’re not thinking.

So the question is, how do you defeat self doubt? How do you start your creative work, and do it consistently?

Visual Practice

I got out to shoot last night with the x100t and had just about an hour to kill so I wandered around downtown with the camera looking for reflections. I had a ton of terrible shots but its refreshing to just practice.

Do you ever give yourself a task for practice? I would love to hear what you do to get in some practice during the day.

Fathers Day Farmhouse

Lately I have been spending my time and attention focusing on my landscaping business and wrapping up school for the year, and maybe not, what I should be focused on. My wife asked me what I wanted to do for Fathers day and I said that I wanted to go out and spend some time with the camera then come home to her and Tessa. I knew they would not be up and around for a few hours so I stole away this morning, then came home to a nice Fathers day breakfast. Anyway I stopped in at this abandoned farm house East of Syracuse and spent some time capturing it before it falls down.

I processed all the images in a porta 400 film emulations because I have been in love with that film lately.

Hope you enjoy!

Zen in the Art of Archery - Recommended Reading

Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the most talented and celebrated street photographers of all time, would recommend a book voraciously to anyone he met who was interested in becoming a better photographer. He shared it often at Magnum events, and felt it was one of the best books on the subject. The only problem? It wasn't about photography, at least not directly. It was about Kyudo, the Japanese art of archery and it has many striking similarities to the practice and refinement of the art of photography. Anyway I wanted to share this graphic I made as I tried to apply it to my practice. A very influential photographer recommended it to me, so I thought I would pass on the love. Such a good book!

Zen in the Art of Archery
by Eugen Herrigel

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Storyteller Series: Bruce Harvey

On Sunday Jordan and I sat down with Bruce Harvey, a large format photographer, his mission is trying to preserve culturally significant architecture around the country. We chatted for about an hour about the slow nature of his process, why the details matter, and how having limitations are an important part of the process. Enjoy!

Storyteller Series: John Belt

A small sign inside his studio reads: “Every item tells a story if you know where to look.” John has taught design for 53 year with 43 of those years as a distinguished professor at SUNY Oswego. His non-traditional approach to teaching design is as much of a hallmark as his creative studio space. We sat with John for over 2 hours discussing life and his approach to passing knowledge on!

AUDIO COMING SOON!

John in his studio

John in his studio

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Feeling Blue: Motivation, Photography and your Health

Decided to write, shoot, and edit a film in a day to see where I was on the path of film-making. I have a long, long way to go but learned a few big lessons with this one.

  1. Properly expose your footage in the field or else.

  2. The SL2’s dynamic range is quite limited so a circular polarizer in the snow is absolutely essential.

  3. I need more B Roll to use for the edit.

  4. I learned how to color grade but had such terrible footage it was impossible.

  5. Even though I wrote a script I had a hard time with the story timeline and did not follow it super well. Visualizing the shots would help.

  6. My thumbnail should be me, so I am going to try to draw the thumbnails and see where that gets me.

Deep in Rural America

I can’t tell if this house is abandoned or not. I keep going up to it, and trying to see if anyone lives there. Sometimes I get the sense they do and other times, nothing. I guess I will just keep trying.

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Street photography is a great way to spend an afternoon.

I had a Monday afternoon meeting cancelled so I decided to change my clothes and head down to the city to shoot a bit of street with the old fuji x100t. I missed a ton of moments because I of course forgot my memory card and had to shoot a bit and then download to my phone to free up space. I snuck into Cafe Kubal to edit and post a few and warm up. All in all it was an enjoyable afternoon.

Story Behind the Photos: The Log Cabin

My family didn’t really say much about him anymore, but that wasn’t really unusual. 


Grandpa owned a dark blue dump truck, and a green backhoe that used to sit under an old walnut tree at my grandma’s house. In the summer the leaves would flip and roll in the wind and the light would shimmer on that truck, but grandpa didn’t live there. I remember thinking about how lonely that backhoe must have been, chained up to that homemade trailer with no one around to use it. I think Grandpa died when I was nine.


On Sunday mornings when we would visit him he would get me a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and I would sit and eat it right on the corner of his bar. He would take me into the kitchen to show me the French fry cutting machine followed by lifting the cover on the ice machine to marvel at all the ice. I would pull the handles on the cigarette machine, and shoot the shuffleboard puck down the alley on the fresh shuffleboard wax from the night before. The bar he owned had a lot of stories, I’m told, and almost always smelled like cigarettes and spilt beer.


I didn’t really know grandpa well, but in pictures we have, he put me on his tractor and is showing me how to dig. He would take bar debts in trade sometimes, and the farm equipment he got was everywhere on my grandma’s farm.  As I grew up I learned how to operate on most of that equipment, and somehow, I think part of my landscape business hinges on those machines he left behind when he died.


Today that old bar is falling in on itself, long since abandoned, and I am afraid it won’t be there much longer. I wanted to go back inside one more time and look at the place that gave me so many fuzzy vignettes. I can remember the space, the smells, and the small physical details, but I can’t remember him.


At a gas station up the road I bought two Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and brought them back with me in my camera bag. 


After I had finished up shooting pictures, I used my finger to write “thanks” in the dust on the old bar and left a Reese’s right in the spot I used to sit. I walked out and happily ate the other one on the ride home and marveled at how complex and interwoven life is.


The x100t for the win.....again.


Another testament to the fuji x100t today. This is the best dam dad camera you could ever have. With no lens changes to worry about you are free to create. Some simple edits in Lightroom but straight from camera jpegs shot in mostly classic chrome and a few others. So in love with shooting a camera that makes me want to shoot.

Cazenovia

We have been talking about going back to stay at the Lincklaen house in Cazenovia and hiking in the art park in the winter for the last few years but sadly we just talked. I always like to get Jen an experience for Christmas so thought this would be the perfect time. Mom and Dad watched Tessa and Jen and I walked the shops, had tea, and a nice dinner, followed by drinks at the 7 Stone Steps Tavern. We looked on the walls in the tavern for the carvings of our names, and read and relaxed most of the night. We were able to get the wedding suite for the night, so it was nice to be back and talk about our wedding and all the little happenings that day. I took out my fuji x100t and set it to the fuji monochrome film emulation and shot a few of our trip. The best part of this camera is when you go through your images, you simply don’t have to process them. This Fuji is the best non-film-film camera I have ever owned!