Become a Visual Detective

The way you view the world will undoubtedly impact your photography. If you're having trouble changing your vision, simply adjust your approach. Rather than thinking like a photographer, consider yourself a visual detective. This forces one to really study the space around them while paying careful attention to details. Through our inquisitive nature, we can uncover moments and photos that most would pass by. Let curiosity guide your compositions and you will learn to see differently. 

Leave Your Mark

Whether you're playing an instrument, working on a novel, or attempting to capture the world around you through photography, the tool you choose is only part of the equation. Perhaps the most important consideration then, is a desire to leave your own unique mark on the world. 

If you could use some tips to maximize your creative energy, check this helpful article out. In it, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell says:

“Everyone who’s taken a shower has an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.”

It's All in Your Head

Just as there is no such thing as the perfect camera settings, there is no definitive road to being a professional photographer. It varies for everyone based on what they're specific goals are. 

I recently read a quote from Amanda Palmer who put it rather succinctly. 

"There’s no correct path to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to university, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected."

Once you are in the business, it helps to form your own guidelines to navigate the peaks and valleys of the industry. Sticking with the no-nonsense theme, I came across Molly Crabapple's "15 rules for creative success in the Internet age". Her insight comes from over eight years of professional experience as a successful artist. While the entire piece is worth reading, and re-reading, one of my favorites is #5.

"I've never had a big break. I've just had tiny cracks in this wall of indifference until finally the wall wasn't there any more." 

Check out the entire piece here

As for the title, it's an homage to the fabulous song from Mates of State. Enjoy!

Getting Above the Fog

I've been preparing an article about getting up high to improve one's perspective. While searching my catalog for examples, I came across this nearly forgotten shot from the Golden Gate Bridge. It was created in 2005 with a Canon 10D and a 17-40mm lens at sunset. In true San Francisco form, dense fog poured over the ocean as goosebumps ran up my arms. Apparently, there's always a cool breeze here, even in July. From this angle though, the tops of both towers were visible. This is just one of many reasons to find an elevated spot to work from. Look for the full piece soon. 

I have a new tutorial published every Saturday over on the PicsArt blog. Check it out here. If you'd like to see previous articles, here is a collection on Pinterest. 

Autumn Painter, Central Park

The next time you shoot a landscape, try including a person to the frame. I found this gentlemen in "the mall", a beautiful path that leads through Central Park. He'd already been there a few hours, making great progress on a lovely painting. Considering the heavy volume of people who walk through here, he must have heard all kinds of commentary. Yet as Vincent Van Gogh said, "Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public opinion."

Also, the November issue of "Inspiration for your Inbox" comes out on Monday, November 17th. Subscribe here, it's free!

Sometimes, Two is Better Than One

I wonder if the developers responsible for this TD bank structure knew it would be the perfect surface for creating a mirror-like reflection.

At sunset, the Empire State Building takes on a crimson glow, almost like a matchstick. Meanwhile, the rest of the city falls into deep shade. With my micro 4/3rd camera, the 17mm f2.8 is really an effective 34mm, not crazy wide, but in this case, just enough to get the job done.  

Perfection is not the Goal

I've been listening to an eclectic mix of podcasts lately and found this particular episode of "Remarkably Human" quite powerful. In it, Roderick Russell interviews Dr. Stan Beecham, a treasure trove of inspiration. For those looking to fulfill their potential, Beecham offers splendid insight early in the conversation. 

"What you believe about yourself and your world is the primary determinant to what you do and ultimately how well you do it."

Perfection is not the goal, doing your best is. Making mistakes is just part of the human experience. To be perfect he says, "is to be inhuman."

Passion can be stymied by fear. "No one is better or faster than you, only less afraid." 
He explains that fear/stress/anxiety is ever-present, almost to the point where we aren't aware of it anymore. To help break this cycle, Beecham suggests you ask yourself "What am I afraid of", then play out the worst case scenario. Chances are, the things we fear most will not happen. 

The entire podcast is fascinating, including the commentary on competition and teamwork. Listen to the full piece here

Something Different for Veteran's Day

If you haven't heard Chris Botti's moving rendition of the National Anthem yet, you're in for a treat. Today, we honor the men and women who serve or have served in the Armed Forces. This includes their families who also sacrifice a great deal for our country. Thank you for your service, we salute you!