Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bird Feeder Setup

A few years back, after putting in the pond, I have been watching the birds in my backyard. With the sound of flowing water out of the tipped pot birds have flocked, well mainly house sparrows, for their daily bath and drink. Because of this I had decided to put a feeder up one winter in hopes of attracting birds and break the boredom of the winter days. Again most of what came to the feeders was the house sparrow, Passer Domesticus. But I noticed a few Chickadees (Poecile Atricapillus) and Cardinals (Cardinalis Cardinalis) start to appear despite the gangs of sparrows hording the food and space around the feeders. Later that winter a couple of Juncos, Junco Hyemalis, with their flash of white on their tails showed up and staked a claim around the feeder.

In 2008 I was laid off around November. I found a temporary job helping deliver packages during the silly season of Christmas. I was hoping after the delivery job ended I would be picked up by someone else. This did not happen, so between looking for a job and the few job interviews I had I filled my afternoons with bird watching to help pass the day. I moved the feeders close to house for a better view of the birds coming in and feeding. At the time we had a window that flips up out of the way and with the feeders being close I had a great spot to photograph birds. For the most part it worked but not having lenses like 300mm or longer and the noise of the window opening I did not get the ideal shots. I eventually got a job in which case moved the project to the back burner for a few years.

This year I thought I would revisit and rethink the project. I figured I needed to get closer and light it better. I looked on line to see if anyone has come up with a photo setup for photographing birds that was not too involved or expensive. After seeing a few setups I decided to keep it simple, get some burlap camouflage to hide under, a small branch to tie on a stand and a stand for a flash. Now it seems silly and ineffective to just hind under the burlap in waiting just to photograph birds, but that was the plan.  When it comes down to it all you need to do is to look like nothing of concern to the birds, and with the material concealing my shape and features, that is what I accomplished. Of course my wife and a few neighbors think I am a dork but oh well. I have been thought less by better.

I carefully chose a spot where there the background blurred would work for me. I looked for lights and darks that would help define a shape by adding light colors to the edges of the bird’s outline. I also looked for a spot that was not too busy so the background would not distract from the subject of the bird. This spot has the benefit of the sun creating a rim light on the birds in the early afternoon when the background gets a little dark aiding in separating the bird from the background. Using the flash I then can fill in the shadowed areas and give a highlight to the bird’s eye. And because my flash’s light quality is on the cold side I warmed up my white balance post production, to warm up the shadow detail on the bird. 

As you can see I did not try to conceal the flash, camera and the tripods they sit on. Not to mention the stick is tied with bright yellow rope to hold it in place. The birds do not seem to be bothered by any of this what so ever. All I have to do is set the camera and flash up, meter for exposure, connect the cable release to the camera and hide under the burlap. After about 10 minutes or so the birds come back to first wearily feed then relax and begin to gorge and spar for position on the feeder. The sparrows are the most abundant at the feeder but I have been around when a female Cardinal feed 3 feet from my feet. At this time the others; Chickadees, White Breasted Nuthatch or Juncos, have not come in nor have I heard them around the feeder. With the Cardinal coming in and feeding I believe that this set up will work with even the jittery birds like the fore mentioned.  

At this time I do not have a large variety of birds yet but the setup is new and the season is young. I am hoping as the snow flies and food gets short for the birds I will be drawing in a larger variety of birds. I will also be setting up some spots on the tree to try to get some good photos of the Nuthatch and Woodpeckers. But for now I will keep practicing with the setup I have to improve my odds of getting the best photographs of the birds that stop by.

If you decide to try a similar set up or has one that works for you, please post a link or brief explanation in the comment section. Don’t forget to show off your photos! Here are mine as of today.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Rest of Us

“Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.”  Chuck Close

Today..Hell this weekend was one of those times that I was not motivated. After sitting around accomplishing nothing, I repeated to myself the quote above from Chuck Close until I did something. Not only did I take a few fall color photos but I did manage to set up a perch for the birds so I can photograph them, or try to take their photos. I plan to get up before sunrise, get all my chores done and hope to shoot off a few frames.

I was listing to the interview of Austin Kleon and the subject on the different process people go through to create. One that got me thinking was Jerry Seinfeld’s process. He gets a calendar for the year and his only job is to make an “X” on each day. The only way he can do that is to write a joke each day.  Like the aforementioned quote, you must work each day on the craft if you going to get somewhere.

So each day I plan to do just that, one thing minimum that pertains to my photography. After pulling myself out of the chair this weekend I got a few photographs done today. Tomorrow will be the birds, and we’ll see what happens after that. Got to get things rolling.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall Colors on the Horizon

We are on the cusp of fall colors appearing on our trees and bushes. So this is the time to scout out the best places and times to capture that color. Photography is not always about capturing a moment that you happen to stumble on. But with a little observation and planning you can create a better photograph that is worthy of a matte and frame for a place on the wall. No matter if you are creating a photograph with a professional camera or your phone, it is not the camera that makes the photograph it is you.

Things to consider:

Time of day can make or break a photograph. Typically people will a photograph when the sun is high in the sky. This can create heavy shadows and colors can tend to be washed out leaving your viewer unmoved by the photograph. Instead consider creating your photograph at dawn  or dusk which is known as the golden hours. This is the time when the light is not as powerful but enough so that colors will tend to pop. Thus creating a mood that can impact you viewer and isn’t it that what you are trying to do? My suggestion is to get up early and go out at dawn. Dawn is the time of day you are most likely to encounter fog that hangs low to the ground. This gives the  photograph that little extra to the image that makes it one of a kind.

Reflection Impact:

Look for ponds, lakes and slow flowing rivers that, when still, reflect the trees. That reflection of color can create an impact to the viewer they may want a copy for their wall. Sometimes just the reflection of the color in the trees on the water can be the subject alone. Fallen leaves or leaf in a still pool of water can be just as powerful as a whole tree.

Explore your subject:

Once the color has come out don’t just shoot one photograph and be done, instead walk around the subject to see other potential photographs you can create. The big misconception is that a professional photographer will just go out, find the subject and shoot one or two photographs and they are done for the day. That is far from the truth. You must grab the photographs you planned for then explore the surroundings for any opportunity you might miss.

Things to take:

First and foremost is to be open to the possibilities that may be in front of you.Open eyes and looking at your subject from many angles will yield a better photograph.  For anyone taking a digital SLR be sure to take a tripod and a cable release to help steady your shot. Most DSLRs have a fast enough ISO rating to take a hand held shot, but why? To help make a better noise free photograph, lower the ISO to 100 or 200. This will slow down the shutter speeds but you will get a better quality photograph.For those who have phone cameras anything else that is not a DSLR then you will have to be innovative when it comes to stabilizing your camera. Suggestions would be to use your car if you can, fence post, tree anything that will help you hold your camera still. Once  you have taken the photograph and before you walk away, zoom in to the photograph to make sure you have a sharp image. I would think it would be mading to go home, look over your photos on the computer and find that all are blurred because of camera shake.

So remember to scout for a subject and look for all the possibilities of photographs you can create. Don’t forget about reflective surfaces to add that something to the photograph. Get up early or if you are not an early riser maybe look for the trees that look best at dusk. But if you miss the early morning fog you may be kicking  yourself  later. Take a tripod or something to stabilize the camera. Hate to have a great shot only to see that you have a fuzzy image due to camera shake. Most of all, have fun and explore the outside because soon the snow will fly, temperatures will drop and you will be stuck inside.

Can’t wait to see your photographs. Have Fun!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Lens:

If I ask you what kind of lens do you have, what would your response be? Most people’s response would be “the one that came with it the kit. “ Don’t know a long one?” If you’re not sure that is ok. Most beginners don’t have the nomenclature of the large selections of lens out on the market. In this section I will talk first the parts of the lens, cleaning and care of the lens, protective filter or not, filter, and the different types of lens on the market.
The first thing you see on any lens is of course is the glass. In a 50 millimeter lens there are 7 elements (glass) in 6 groups all refining the subject before you into a sharp and clear image on the film or sensor plain in the camera. Typically the better the glass you get the better the images you can capture. Put a great lens on a standard camera and you will get great images despite the lack of technology in the camera. This also holds true in the opposite, putting a poor lens on a professional body will render awful images. It pays to buy good glass.

The second thing you will notice when looking at your lens is the aperture at the back of the lens. These are usually made of thin blades that open and close depending on the setting selected by you.

The definition of aperture for photography is a gap or space in which light passes through an optical or photographic instrument which can vary in size to control the amount hitting the film or sensor plain. This is also known as an F-Stop. On film cameras the F-Stop was controlled by a ring on the lens. Select an F-Stop and if the exposure is correct (or even if it is not) the camera had an arm that pushed the blade’s lever on the lens to the F-Stop selected. On a DSLR, at least mine, I select the F-Stop with a dial on the body and an arm pushes the lever on the lens to the desired setting. For some cameras it is the body talking to the lens and actuators do the work.

So with the combination of the glass and the F-Stop (aperture) will determine how good your lens is. Or you will also hear someone refer to the lens as “glass”. There is good glass and bad glass and depending which one you have will be a big factor on the quality of images you will get. This is not to be confused on whether the photograph is compositionally sound or not. You can have the best lens and camera and still can’t shoot your way out of a paper bag. Good glass or bad is taking in account of the actual glass and the widest F-Stop opening it offers. For example;

A 50 mm lens 1.8 is a good piece of glass. This lens lets a lot of light in a most likely has clean elements or glass are very well crafted. This also means that it will be very expensive. On the opposite side a 50 mm lens at 3.5 is not a good piece of glass. You still can get good photographs from it but it will not allow as much light in therefore you have to use a higher ISO and slower shutter speeds. More noise and more chances of camera shakes caught on the image. This lens will be considerably less expensive. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t want to turn you in to a snotty lens freak and insist you buy only the best lens or your nothing. The whole idea in this explanation is to let you know why some lenses are so high priced and some are so cheap and cheap is not always the way to go. You buy what you can afford and if it means saving just a little more the better glass then you will know your getting a great deal.

Lenses are not only divided up in price but by size. 14 to 35 mm lens are typical wide angle lens, 35mm to 70mm are standard and 70mm to 300 are telephoto lens. These are general measurements and can be broken down in to farther categories so don’t get too tied to these numbers. Lens can also be called prime and zoom. Prime are set numbers like 50mm lens, 300mm, 800mm. Whereas zooms are 24mm to 85mm or 70mm to 210mm. Each type of lens has their pros and cons about each one so which one will work for you will depend on the type of shooting you will do.

Now how is the size of the lens determined? Well the size of the lens is not determined by the length of the front element to the back element, but by the distance from the point of convergence to the film plain or sensor. So where the light is bent to a single point to the place where it falls on the film or sensor is the determination of the lens size. If you have a 300mm lens, it is 300mm from where the point of convergence happens to the film or sensor plain is located. 28mm is 28mm of that same measurement.

To clean your lens;

First you want to blow off any dust and loose grime the front and back element. By blowing off I mean either use canned air or a rocket. This way if you have dirt on the lens when you go to clean it, you will not grind it in to the glass. Next take a lens cloth and start from the inside and wipe out in a circular fashion. Do the same for the back element. Now I don’t use liquid cleaners but if you have to be sure you choose one that will not wreck your coating on the lens. Once the coating has been compromised you may suffer color changes or hazing of the lens and your images. In which case you have to have it recoated it at which point you should just buy a new lens and keep the old one for a paper weight.

To filter or not;

It is up to you whether you should or not but here is my advice. If you have a very expensive piece of glass why would you put a crappy filter in front of it? If you want to protect it place a lens hood on. The only filters I use are a neutral density filter to aid in exposures and nothing more. But again it is up to you on this issue.

The last thing I will say about lenses is now that we are in the digital age there are two types of sensors. One is a cropped or DX sensor and the other is Full Frame or FX sensor. If you are looking for a lens you will have to take into consideration the type of sensor you have. It is a good practice to keep the DX lens with a DX sensor and vice versa but I have heard that is not a hard rule that must be followed. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What is Photography? Photography is (derived from the Greek phot- for "light" and -graphos for "drawing") is the art, science, and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film, or electronically by means of an image sensor. (^ Spencer, D A (1973). The Focal Dictionary of Photographic Technologies. Focal Press. p. 454. ISBN 240 50747 9) But is that all photography is?

Photography is an art, a science and a way to capture your memories of life events. Until the advent of the digital camera photography was not always as easy as it is today. With film you would shoot your photograph and either develop it yourself or take it to a lab to see your results. Now with the DSLR and other forms of digital photography you can see your photo in milliseconds after taking it. If it doesn’t turn out well, you can make your adjustments and take it again. Or you can shoot it now and fix it later in Photoshop.

Now that the DSLR is easier and less expensive to own, everyone is a photographer. Anyone can pick up one of these cameras, put it in the Program mode and start shooting. And that is ok form most, but not for all. This and the following posts is for those who want to know more, to learn to think for the camera and not have it think for you. A friend told me once while we were paintballing, “It’s not the gun and how fancy or fast it shoots but it is the person that operates it that makes it an effective weapon.”  This is much what Ansel Adams said about the camera “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it! That held true for cameras then and for today.

In the upcoming posts I will be discussing the parts of the camera, f stops, the three legs of exposure, and much more. These post are geared towards the beginners but for all of the experienced photographers, hang in there. I might write about something you hadn’t thought about in year that may change your perspective or turn on a light. Going back and revisiting skills that you have can be a good thing. 

Oh what does this photo have to do with the post? Nothing. I just thought it would look nice here. 
Keep you posted. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A couple of weeks ago I was playing with my flash outside. I wanted to create a nice portrait light on my subject while muting the background. With the image of my son I think I did just that. Here is what I learned.

 Now depending on what you’re after I believe that you could either start with the flash reading or ambient light reading.  I took a flash reading with an ISO 500 my flash was an f22. Next I took the ambient light reading and it was 2 sec  at f22. Because I was interested in having my son being the subject of the photo and not the background, I under exposed the ambient light by a stop and quarter.
I then took the image into Photoshop and touched up then converted it to black & white with a sepia undertone giving it that warm feel.

So what did I learn? Simple if you are going to shoot with flash outside then remember this. The F-Stop controls the flash exposure and shutter speed controls the ambient light. So if you want a darker background then change your shutter speed and under expose it. But remember if you’re in bright sunlight then you are going to need to have high speed shutter sync for the flash and a powerful flash, otherwise this little exercise is a moot point. For me because I did not have either one I did this shoot at dusk. Besides that is the look I am going for anyway.

Hope you find this helpful. Find more at my blog along with this post.   

Sunday, January 27, 2013

This Week

This week has been kind of busy for me so I have not been thinking about any one thing specifically. One of my goals this year is to build a portfolio that I could use for commercial work. As much as I love my artwork, right now it is not paying the bills. In fact I have been told that unless I sell a print(s) I cannot spend any money. I reluctantly agreed after it was point out that my wages in combination of my spending habits with my “hobby” was draining the bank account. Hence the need to build a portfolio to break into the commercial field.

In the midst of my moody Monday I started to think about the photography I have done and what would I like to do. It then occurred to me I really should build a portfolio that leans a little more on the commercial side. Don’t get me wrong I love the art but right now I am not getting much for it. Not that if I suddenly sported a cluster of awesome commercial work that I would suddenly be getting jobs. But if I start on it now I might have a better chance of doors opening up and a way better income would follow.

So here is what I am going to attempt this year. After looking over some of the work of Tim Tadder I thought I would try my hand at extreme portraits. My first victim ,, ah subject will be my son. He just got done with his swimming season so his time opened up to be a model for me. The second subject is a car. I would like to create a photograph(s) of a car that look like they were made for an ad. Third one is birds in the backyard. I have a remote and want to try to get some nice photos. The last but not least goal is architecture and or interior photography. With such a divers range of subjects I should be able to excel at one or two types of them. The end goal is to place the best on a website and start to market myself for commercial work. Once I have some money coming in I can invest a portion to my artwork there by saving what I get from my steady paying job for the family.

As far as portrait work. I don’t mind it but I really don’t feel I do a good enough job unless I have complete control. By control I mean a central theme with everything mapped out up to and including the clothing. Most of my clients I have done were not that open to the consultation idea. If I go back to portraits I want to use what I get from my son’s session to draw people in and follow my rules. It is the only way I feel I can give them what they are looking for.

I ran across a video of a photographer that creates cool photographs, Erik Johansson the Impossible Photograph. Every now and again when I need a little inspiration I watch the video. So enjoy.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

3 Books You Should Read

There are so many books in the world of photography that should be read it would take too long to list them out. But I have three that I feel that every beginning photographer should put on their list of continuing educational reads. Not to mention the intermediates and master photographers can benefit from these books too. As you have seen in the past few posts, and most likely many more, I am big into continuing education and books are one way to do that. The more you read, listen or take part in a workshop the better chance you have to elevate your photography from a snap shot artist, to fine art. The three books I believe can put you on a path to enlightenment is “Photographically Speaking” by David duChemin, “Digital Landscape Photography” by Michael Frye and (don’t laugh) your owners manual.

Starting with the “Owners Manual” of your camera. The camera is a tool that has evolved from an instrument for an artist to trace details on to a canvas, documenting the world around us, to the everyday device we carry in our pocket and phone. The principal of the camera has not changed over the years, it is how it records the information as well as the complexity of this tool that has change. As an experienced photographer most of the time I can pick any camera up and produce an adequate image from it, film or digital. But noticed I said adequate and not “the best” image from it. The problem is that there are a lot of photographers in the beginning that don’t spend time with their owners manual and therefore they don’t get the full understanding or benefit of their tool

The owners manual, as dull as it can be, is the best way to understand and learn what your camera is capable and incapable of doing for you. Many time and many photographers out there have pushed their cameras to a limit in order get the shot they want, only to be disappointed in the result. A flip side can also be true. Many photographers wished they could do something that they believe their camera can’t do but had they read the manual would have discovered it was possible. For an example, (and this one is from my experience file) I wanted to shoot in the mode of black and white because I prefer it over color. In the black and white mode you can see details of the grayscale that may warrant a shift in exposure that you will not get by seeing the image in color. Remember the more you do for your exposure in camera the less you need to fix in PhotoShop. Bugged by this need I decided to pull the manual out just to see if this feature was possible. To my happiness I discovered there was a mode to switch the recording and display of file from color to black and white. The process to change to that mode was not in a place to that made it easily spotted. Thanks to the manual I found it.

As under rated and over looked as the owners manual is I believe it to be just as important to read it as the myriad of the other books out there. The knowledge of what your camera can and cannot do can be the difference of a ok shot to a work of art.. So laugh at the suggestion but don’t ignore it, read your manual if you haven’t already. Spend sometime with this book to find a feature your camera has you did not know about. Come to an understanding about the features of your meter or focusing program you did not know about.

The Second book is called “Photographically Speaking; a deeper look at creating stronger images” by David duChemin. I know I have brought up this book in past posts but I truly believe that this book will dramatically help you understand design principals that apply to photography. Just like not knowing your camera, not understanding good composition is one of the factors in a creating bad photographs. If you don’t have an art degree or outside knowledge of good design principals, or even if you do, this book is one that should be in your library.

The author David duChemin is a “humanitarian and world photographer” wrote this book in two parts, a jet lagged stupor and the second part was in rehabilitation learning to walk after a fall in Pisa Italy. He broke his book down into three parts and uses his work to illustrate the principals he is discussing. In creating this book, David hopes to bring an awareness of the photographic language. The better understanding of the language the greater the expression in our photographs.

What I got out of this book was my reestablishment of what I learned in college. The reason I liked sitting in a classroom and talking about someone’s, including mine, artwork. It got me back into slowing down and looking at what I had or was about to create. To objectively look at my photographs, or more to the fact, other photographer’s work and understand why the photograph works or not. This is an important tool to have because you may instinctively know that the compositionally works but you don’t entirely understand why. Not understanding your language will only lead to frustration and eventually you quitting photography altogether.

The last one that I would recommend is “Digital Landscape Photography” by Michael Frye. Now not everyone is a landscape photographer but this book does cover a wide variety of topics that can help anyone in their photos. Topics like depth of field, contrast, filters, histograms and the printing process. It is an easy read and the real deep concepts are illustrated to be easily explained. I read this book in one sitting and use it for a reference guide from time to time. If you are really looking for a technical book this one would be good to have.

Like I have said, there are many books out there that cover photography and to list them would take too much time and effort but this is were you come in. If you have a book that has either change the way you create photographs, or print or loaded with so much information that everyone should own it, tell us about it. Put at least two books that you think everyone should read in the comments sections or on my Google plus page. Shared information is the best information out there.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What kind of photographer are you?

This is a question I have been wrestling with for the past few years and to this date I believe I am on the right track..Well at least I can say that now cause who knows what will change tomorrow. I wanted to blog this subject because I cannot believe that I am the only one that has gone through this. In fact I know I am not the only one because there are number of books out there on how to choose your path and become pro. I know because I have one of the many books. In trying to dispense some advice I will try to interject some of what I have learned so far.

The moment we decided to become a photographer was the very minute we were caught up in the beauty of a print another photographer created. I remember when I saw the print that Ansel Adams created of El Capitan I was hooked. I continued to study other photographer like Edward Weston , Dorothy Lange and Arnold Newman and inevitably tried to emulate their style. I took classes at high school, read books and learned what I could about the photographic process.

I eventually went to college and was determined not to “sell out” and go commercial. I wanted to be a true artist photograph the landscape and sell my work to all my followers. What I failed to realize is the fact by selling my prints I would be commercial there fore “selling out.” The second thing is the size of my college bill that I had to pay back. So far “selling out” was something I needed to do. So after graduation I took a job with a portrait studio in the mall. For the record, you had to learn the 5 sellable poses before you could shoot a paying customer. There were a few people that were not able to complete this task and was out the door. I learned my craft well and had developed a healthy customer base. I enjoyed what I did and learned a lot, but the hours killed me.

While working at a graphics job I really tried to gather a following to build a business. This was not easy but I did well the first year and the second was as good but after that it did not go well. I started to lose my interest and eventually I gave up all together. The industry changed, I changed and I was not keeping up. I even put the camera aside altogether. It wasn’t until a year or so passed by before I picked it up again, going back to what inspired me, landscapes.

This is my point. We all start off shooting everything we can but later we think we must start shooting something that will make money. Most of the time that is portraits and not all of us belong in that group. We pick a spot because it pays but it eventually burns us out and makes us quit. Sometimes we never go back and it should not be that way.

If you are reading this and are lost on your photographic path just remember this; whatever got you hooked on photography, whatever brings you the passion of photography, and the reactions you get from your peers on your work you should follow it. If your gut feeling is that you should be a landscape photographer, or portrait and your peers back you then do it. Learn everything you can form books, mentors, and other photographers. This will be the path that will bring you the most joy in photography, not the one that you think you have to do. I thought I had to be a portrait photographer to make money, but I don’t.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Podcasts and Websites

I think continued education is important in order to be inspired, learn new techniques or keep up with new technologies on the horizon. In the past you had to rely on the monthly or bimonthly magazine to keep you abreast of the newest and latest topics. But now that we live in a IPOD world were Podcasts, which come in audio and video along with countless webpage stops, you can find anything about photography you want. Oh and two clicks from that is porn, just saying. So with all that is out there, and porn, where do you go to find the best information? Traditionally you would spend countless hours hunting around to find what you are looking for in which you would score or not. In the case of Podcasts to find the show or shows you want you have to listen or watch a few shows in order to get an idea if it is what your looking for. Or you can skip all that and continue to read on for my suggestions.

For me I learn best by listing and watching. So for the most part my continue education of choice has been Podcasts, and there are a lot out there. I stumble on Podcasts by pure curiosity when I was looking for something to listing to at work. I like talk radio but the things I like are not always on or on the stations I can get. So when I came across Podcast and the myriad of subjects they covered I thought I had hit the mother load. Oh and Porn, ya its one of the subjects covered in some Podcasts. So I started to down load a show or two and listen to a few of their casts to see if it was what I wanted. After a lot of shows I found a few that are worth passing along.

This Week in Photography or Twip. Frederick Van Johnson hosts this show and is accompanied by a Alex Lindsay and a verity of others that guest co-host. Topics covered are camera techniques, technology, news as well as in depth interviews with the mover and shakers of the industry. Interviews have been with people like Chase Jarvis, Trey Ratcliff developers of SumMug and a model from Model Mayhem. There has not been a subject TWiP has covered that I have not found unappealing or useful. I have been a follower of the Podcasts now for over a year and have not been disappointed in any of the subjects they cover.

What I like about this group is that they cover such a wide verity of subjects that even a weekend shooter can use. One such subject that sticks out was the episode on model releases and copyrights, episode 278. I found interesting the fact you are limited on what you can claim on a photo if you have not registered it with the copyright office. It is this type of show ant the others I have listen to that keeps me coming back. I also appreciate the way the Podcast is structured. Although there is humor and some inside jokes that come up in the show, it never strays down a childish path.

Not only should you check out the Itunes site for Podcasts but go to the Twip website to see additional articles and video postings that are not covered on the Podcasts. Most recent was the video cast with Ian Stone, Director of Business development of Zenfolio. Frederick does a very good 18min interview with Ian about what Zenfolio has to offer the pro or non pro photographer. Frederick is fair in the questions to help his viewers determine if the product is right for them. To me that is important. I need good information in order to make informed decisions about my photography.

This next Podcast is one that does and doesn’t cover photography. Chase Jarvis Audiocast is hosted by photographer/director Chase Jarvis in which “he explores art, creativity, and popular curl rue through his experiences and collaborations with visionary creative’s from around the world.” This is a great way of saying there is a lot more that is covered that directly and indirectly relates to photography.

Chase Jarvis is a photographer/director that brings in talents like Ryan Holiday author of “Trust me I am lying” A marketing book in which the author tells how he manipulate the media to get them to talk about his products without paying money in advertising. There are many other lesions on other ways to use social media to get the attention you strive for. Ryan doesn’t talk in specifics of photography but what he says in this Podcast can be applied for photographers.

I really like how Chase books guest that doesn’t directly deal with photography but through their wisdom we as photographers can grow. My favorite guest on the Podcast is Oren Klaff the author of “Pitch Anything.” This book teaches you not how to sell but pitch your ideas or products. Oren runs down along with Chase giving his experience using Oren philosophy on the pitching techniques. It is done with humor and real life examples. With most Podcast I delete them when off my Ipod when I am done. This episode I have kept it on and listen to it at least once a week. It is that good and that motivating. I am writing this before Christmas. I have put this on my list and if I don’t get it then I will buy it after words. Chase Jarvis is a must Podcast to listen to. You will learn things that you never knew that you wanted to know.

The third recommendation is a show that is called “The Grid.” “The Grid with Scott Kelby & Matt Kloskowski is a live talk-show about photography, Photoshop & other industry-related topics. Each week features a different guest (in-studio or online) and viewers are encouraged to chime in on the Liveblog here on or via Twitter by adding #TheGridLive to their tweets” If you like PhotoShop or Light Room this is the Podcast for you.

I am still combing through past episodes and listing to new ones to see how the information will benefit me. I am someone that uses PhotoShop and eventually add Light Room to my list of photo tools. But I don’t use them that deeply so some of the episodes don’t entirely interest me. Although the last episode of the year did capture my attention.

Episode 80 was on ways to become a better photographer for 2013 which caught my attention. In the episode they gave step by step information that would help you determine what path to take as a photographer, how you should better yourself and once your on the path, how to build a career out of it. For me I found this to be helpful in that it affirmed some of what I was doing and gave me a next step to follow. Although I do not always agree with their advise because of differing philosophies on photography I do find them helpful to my cause. Not only do Scott and Matt have this Podcast but there are classes that are available on The Grid website for a fee. Not to mention the books that they and other trainers offer through Peach Tree Publishing.

The last one is “The Pro Photo Show” hosted by Gavin Seim. The subjects covered can range from tips and trick to printing and photography philosophy. I find Gavin in the same boat as myself when it comes to photography. For me there are far too many poor quality photographs that could have been better if only the photographer took their time in creating the photograph. Gavin is a teacher and one who wants to change or improve the photography out there. He often talks about the master painters and their use of light and how we as photographer should incorporate that into our work. Gavin’s Podcast can originate from his home or on the road. All depending what kind of project or classes he his involved with. If you believe photography is an art and want to expand yourself in that direction then Gavin’s Podcast will be a fit.

There is a lot of Podcast out there and the few that I have mentioned may or may not fit your needs. It is important as a photographer to continue the education necessary to keep the work fresh and exciting. Not to mention to learn more about what is out there that can directly or indirectly impact our photography. I encourage you to check out these Podcast and seek out others through out the year. Most of them you will find on Itunes, just type their name, find a subject that interests you and click on play. Enjoy.

Frederick Van Johnson
Chase Jarvis
Gavin Seim