Transform Your Life in Just Three Minutes

I recently read an article by Hal Elrod, discussing how to transform your life in 6 minutes. He writes "No matter where you are in life at this moment, there is at least one thing that you and I have in common: We want to improve our lives and ourselves." After working on it for a few weeks, I actually whittled his method down to just three minutes. It has proven to be a powerful way to get the day going, and was easy to implement into my morning routine.   

Minute 1 starts with SILENCE. This means leaving the clock radio off and avoiding the obnoxious morning DJ's rant about traffic and weather. There will still be time for that, but the first moment of each day is an opportunity to set a positive tone. In my experience, it's best not to do this while lying down or risk falling back asleep. Instead, try simply sitting up and enjoying 60 seconds of quiet. As Elrod mentions, "Center yourself and create an optimum state of mind that will lead you effectively through the rest of your day."

Minute 2 is one of the most important parts of this routine. Review your list of AFFIRMATIONS. These are one sentence slogans to reflect on like "Fear is a prison for the heart". It doesn't matter if these are cliche as long as they speak to your greater sense of purpose and help reach your goals. I'm building my list in a note pad on the iPad, but just about any method will work including a basic scrap of paper kept next to your bed. Eventually, you'll start to memorize these affirmations and it becomes part of your underlying thoughts, guiding your actions throughout the day.

For photographers, Minute 3 is helpful on a number of levels. It's all about VISUALIZATION. Close your eyes and picture how your interaction with the client will be and how great the photos will turn out. If you can see the positive results in your mind, you can make them a reality. Should nagging doubts creep in, replace those with images of you confidently manning your camera, the subject is happy, you get paid for the job, they invite you back to do even more work, etc. 

For those of you who have a few more minutes to spare, the rest of the list can be found here

How to Get Started with Underwater Photography

It may appear that every inch of Earth has been photographed countless times. Yet, the mysteries of the ocean still hold a unique opportunity for adventurous photographers. As oceanographer Paul Snelgrove said, "We know more about the surface of the Moon and about Mars than we do about the deep sea floor". Unlike space travel, bodies of water are accessible to just about everyone. No longer is expensive gear required to try out your sea legs. In fact, most camera manufacturers have inexpensive options for all experience levels. Read the full tutorial here. 

Roaring into the Weekend

By the way, I'm giving a presentation at the Photo Plus Expo in NYC on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 1:00 pm. Come see me at booth #445 (NYIP). If you've never been to the Expo, it's a lot of fun, and attended by over 24,000 photography enthusiasts. Details here

Backlit Flags on Shadowy Street

Of all the directions of light, perhaps there's no finer option than shooting directly into the sun. You can use it to bring landscapes to life, add visual interest to portraits, or highlight the color of a flower petal. Keep in mind, backlighting can be a tough scene for a camera to expose properly. If you're not comfortable with metering manually, take several shots using exposure compensation. Bracketing this way is a quick way to handle an otherwise tricky scenario. As you'll quickly see, the results are well worth the effort.  

For more ideas on how to use the different directions of light, check my tutorial here. 

The Zombie Guide to Photographing Halloween

It's best to keep the camera with you at all times in the days leading up to Halloween. You never know when something ghoulish will appear. Of course the truly weird and bizarre subjects may not make themselves immediately known. Expand your search beyond your local haunts to increase your opportunities. This type of persistence should come easy to zombies. As author Mira Grant wrote in Countdown, "There is nothing so patient, in this world or any other, as a virus searching for a host". Happy haunting! Read the full tutorial here. 

Turtle in the Dark

When shooting in extremely dark areas, don't hesitate to crank up your ISO. This turtle was captured at ISO 12,800, photographed through a glass tank at the Bronx Zoo.