Split screen — San Francisco, June 2017
Split screen — San Francisco, June 2017
Low clouds — Wintergreen, Va., November 2015
Shadows and light — Boone, N.C., May 2017
Stairwell at Doges Palace and Cathedral — Venice, Italy, March 2017
Eiffel Tower at dusk — Paris, France, October 2016
Storm clouds outside New Orleans — June 2017
Afternoon fog approaching Golden Gate Park — San Francisco, June 2017
Newseum tour — Washington, D.C., June 2016
Track across the Red River — Colbert, Okla., June 2017
Wine alley — Zurich, Switzerland, October 2016
Exhibit at Holocaust Museum — Washington, D.C., October 2016
Entrance to Notre Dame — Paris, France, October 2016
Street car in San Francisco — June 2017
Joan of Arc statue — New Orleans, June 2017
Broken bus — Meat Camp, N.C., May 2017
No day but today — New York City, May 2017
Defying gravity — Houston, May 2015
Cat on a bridge — Burano, Italy, March 2017
Four years ago today, I formally started my business with this photo, which was taken during a Memorial Day trip to New York City. Clicking the shutter that day, in May 2013, I did not know I would be unemployed in a week.
After 30 years in journalism and communications, moving from job to job and seeing professional growth with each position, being laid off left me — and my family — adrift. I knew I had to do something, but prospects in an ever-changing publishing world were limited. Also, having worked for the same company for 12 years, I had seen a once vigorous operation slowly succumb to financial and organizational erosion, and I wasn't sure I wanted to face that prospect again.
Being on your own has its downsides. You rarely know what the next day will bring. Stability is elusive. You can work 24-7 without batting an eye. You have to rely on the faith of others (especially family and close friends) and word of mouth. And you have to hope that your work is not just good, but good enough, so clients will pass along your name.
Knowing these things, I formally launched this photography and freelance writing business five weeks after losing my job. Working on this website over the Fourth of July holiday, I launched my Facebook page on July 7, 2013.
And here we are, four years and more than 12,000 photos later, having slowly but steadily built a client base that I can only hope will continue to grow. Thankfully, I've had the opportunity to branch off into all sorts of things, meet a wide range of new (and usually fascinating) people, and have the types of experiences I dreamed about while sitting at an office desk all those years.
The creative malaise I dealt with for 2+ years in my previous position — an apt visual analogy is 1,000 small but painful paper cuts — has never returned. If anything, I feel more creative and engaged than ever.
As a storyteller, one who uses images and words to tell his tales, these last four years have been a lifeline. And I know, without question, I could not do this if it weren't for my wife, Jill, and my families (biological and otherwise).
I'm eternally grateful for your help, support, comments and feedback along the way. Thank you, and I hope you'll keep coming back to visit/use my services.
Murals and shadows — Boone, N.C., May 2017
Contrasting flowers — San Francisco, June 2017
Denver Performing Arts Complex — October 2016
It's been a memorable Fourth of July weekend, in part because we've been home, a rarity given schedules, conferences, and summer travel. Nick and Conner joined us on Friday and we went to see Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit at Merriweather Post Pavilion, then went to the Workhouse Arts Center for their annual Fourth fest and fireworks show.
Despite my long association with the Workhouse and the Arches Gallery Artists, we've never attended the celebration. To see more photos of the fireworks, go to my Facebook album here.
Hope you have a happy 4th!
Flowering firework — Bayville, N.Y., July 2010
Blowing in the wind — Longview, Texas, June 2017
Solidarity in stone — New York City, May 2017
Conference photography is a growing — and highly enjoyable — part of my business. Earlier this month, I shot the APMP Bid and Proposal Conference in New Orleans and the Graduate Management Admission Council’s annual conference in San Francisco. I already have three more conferences scheduled in November and December and am bidding on several others.
The best conference photos, in my opinion, tell stories using visuals rather than words. Nothing bothers me more than the photographer obstructing the views of both the speaker and audience, so I try to remain as unobtrusive as possible. Unless it is absolutely necessary, I do not use flash during sessions, because this has the same disrupting effect on the speakers and audience at a live performance or show.
APMP, which serves professionals dedicated to winning business through proposals, bids, tenders, and presentations, holds a three-day professional conference for its members. More than 900 attended this year’s June 13-15 event, the largest in the association’s history. Over three-plus days (including preconference sessions and portraits for the board of directors before the meeting started), I shot and edited more than 600 photos, completing the task before leaving New Orleans to visit family in Texas.
This marked the fourth time I’ve shot the GMAC annual conference, held June 21-23 in San Francisco. Each time, I cull through the edited photos to produce a 2- to 3-minute slideshow of highlights that is aired during the final general session.
An aspect of my journalism career — working on deadline — also has helped in my approach to conference photography. I carve out time during breaks and in between sessions to dump and edit what I’ve shot. Typically, you shoot three to five photos for every one you keep, so this approach gives me a running tally of what I’ve got, and allows time for more shooting if necessary.
This year, for the first time, the slideshow came as close to real time as possible. I had a backup from the first two days already completed, but wanted to see if I could push the envelope. I took photos from the final morning of presentations, went out, picked the best, and edited them. I then shot photos at the start of the 90-minute final general session, edited the best, and added those to the slideshow as well.
When the slideshow — see below — aired, audience members saw about 15 photos that had been taken that morning. In that respect, the photos told the whole story of the meeting.
Hard to believe, but it's been five years since Ben made his debut as Billy Elliot in the sweltering Louisville, Ky. Here he is after the show with Nicholas and Ginno.
Cheap roses — New York City, May 2017