Run, Don’t Walk

Posted: June 13, 2017 in Photography, University City


I guess this is the reason I am not a very successful commercial photographer; I go to an event and take a few hundred exposures and in spite of my best intentions I am subconsciously looking to get one “keeper”.  Oh sure, I do yeoman’s work, cover the bases, get the cliches, but dang it, I never really get excited about the commercial aspect — I am always striving for that one memoriable picture. I blame this on the uber competitiveness of University of Missouri’s photojournalism program, not so much the formal classwork, but the informal one-on-one (or dog-pile five-on-one) absolutely brutal critique sessions. And, of course I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Working (hardly) Vacation

Posted: May 20, 2017 in Photography, Travel


Travel photography requires early morning and late evenings to take advantage of the golden/blue hour classic lighting. Of course you have to while away the time in-between, in this case pretending to be Colonel Kurtz in the pool at the Hotel Mono Azul in Costa Rica. Coming from the Northern latitudes it is worth noting that the length of the days at nine degrees doesn’t vary much and it seems a much quicker transition during those sunrise/sunset periods. Enjoy my views of Pura Vida here.
~John

Three for One

Posted: April 9, 2017 in Cameras, Photography, University City


Technology is a wondrous thing but with great power comes great responsibility. The easier it is to produce special effects the more important to stretch beyond the obvious. HDR photography is a great example — you can produce HDR with your phone camera, but why settle for a gimmick? Think content and decide, “will this tech trick impart greater meaning to this photograph? Am I stopping too soon because I see a neat image on the camera screen?”  Think of the sports mantra — follow through.
~John

One Glove Clapping

Posted: February 16, 2017 in Photography

dinosaur-glove-pencester-gardens_0700-1400
The sound in Pencester Gardens when one dinosaur glove claps…
~Paul

Made Up News

Posted: December 20, 2016 in Events, Photography, photojournalism, publication

_jrm4727-2
Fascinating to attend a “news” event as a citizen journalist. But what was more interesting to me was portraying the event with an editorial slant — or not. Yes, I was sympathetic to the “cause,” and yes, I was interested in making sure that the little protest got some publicity. However, I immediately went into photojournalist mode once I arrived. I had no interest in carrying a sign or chanting, or engaging passerby. I calmly photographed  and watched for an interesting juxtaposition or compelling face, or as so often the case — a confrontation. No drama here — just a group of 20 or 30 concerned citizens making their voices heard on a topic of importance to them (and me). From a professional point of view I was OK with the five pictures I posted to my “publications,” Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — nothing extraordinary — but sans CJ there would be no coverage.
~John

Face the Day

Posted: November 6, 2016 in Delmar Loop, Lenses, University City

day_face
Interesting how sometimes there is more to a face than meets the casual glance. I found my subject quietly sitting in the Loop and observing.  I am not sure of his worldview, he is not a big talker, but I would venture that those eyes don’t miss much.  On a technical note, I used the Nikon D610 with an  AF-S Nikkor
80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR (whew). I was contemplating selling this lens — a hefty 1570g — but when I have my mojo working (in focus and no camera movement) the images just shine and it is such a useful focal range, arrrgggh, guess I have to resume weight lifting.

~John

Panning the Purple Rain

Posted: October 7, 2016 in Cameras, NYC, Photography

rain bike
The joy of waiting for a bus in the rain. Time to make pictures. Showing motion in a still photograph can be tough. I chose to pan and use the built-in flash of the Nikon D610 to make it happen. I photographed about 15 cyclists before the bus arrived and this was the best (and last) of the lot. Of course the rain makes the picture, but I like the iconic NYC cab and the purple too. Panning is an art — you try different settings and adjust — this was 1/15 second at f4 using a 50mm lens. The digital advantage: make adjustments on the fly, review, and keep refining the image.

Abstract Four

Posted: August 29, 2016 in Art photography, UK

Rothko
Some towns in England boast Banksy murals,  but Dover has outclassed them with these four Mark Rothko abstracts…
~Paul

Three’s a Crowd

Posted: August 20, 2016 in composition, creativity, Travel, wildlife


One of our blog followers submitted this street scene travel snap made with iPhone for a critique. On the plus side we have nice color –  the yellow and blue speak to me.  The rule of three goats (err, rule of thirds) is also a plus. Easy fix would be a tight horizontal crop, but would eliminating the foreground reduce the information content (i.e. crumbling infrastructure), I don’t think so. Additionally, is it more effective to have the goats “randomized” or have them perfectly placed for a eye-grabbing compostiton? Unfortunately, that was not a consideration as the photographer made only one quick snap. Getting the goats (get your goat, get it?) to cooperate — well, only luck and patience can make that happen. Final grade, a B for effort, a C- for the image.
~John

Show’s Up

Posted: August 16, 2016 in Art photography, Events, Photography, UK
Tags:

Opening night
The event in Dover this summer.  Don’t miss the premier of this exciting show. See some of the featured images @ instagram.com/existential_tourist

~Paul

Republican Convention 1976
Politics is all the rage at the moment and while looking at the archive (a box of mounted prints) I yanked this one as an example of looking at an event from a different perspective. I guess when I took this (while photographing the 1976 Republican Convention in Kansas City for the Garden City Telegram) I was thinking about looking out and not being being in, or maybe I just like the simplicity of the moment…

~John

UK flags - Photo by Paul Dagys

“Brexit, or NO Brexit; that WAS the big question,

Whether ‘tis be nobler to leave this ‘Club of Europe’ or remain & suffer.

These bureaucratic & doctrinall of outrageous EU budgetary fortune,

Or take arms to a sea of immigrants,

And by rejecting end it, to fiscally wither, to weep;

No more Johnny Foreigner; that I say is the End!”

~Ray Russell
“More the Tragedy of Cameron, the Prince of a muddled Parliament”

smoothie
Summer arrived a week early in Missouri –  already 90+ and high humidity. My solution was to bike to the local coffee shop and slurp.  Advice to the “instagram” generation, put down your mobile phones and connect with folks. A meet and greet resulted in two hours of stimulating conversation with a graphic novelist and a screenwriter. Make the effort, skip the virtual world and go analog.
~John

One hand
New York, New York.  No matter how often I visit the city I am always dumbstruck and overwhelmed by the visual cacophony. Paul too embraces (and is similarly overwhelmed) NYC and approaches it from a slightly different style. When he saw this picture his reaction was, “someday we will do a show on the sound of one hand.” Perhaps that is the way to experience New York — with a Zen frame of mind. This sliver of light was captured at Columbus Park at Bayard and Mulberry streets. This part of New York was once known as “five points” and the park is now a gathering place for game players, a quiet respite from bustling Chinatown.
~John

urinal
I was at Tate Modern last week,  as you can see, the art scene in London is a real pisser.
They had a sculpture by Duchamp, and three more in another room.
urinal
~Paul