Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Flukes on Demand

Posted: July 2, 2018 in creativity, Fashion, Photography


Some pictures can be planned. I remember visiting Nick Vedros in his photo studio in Kansas City in the 1980s and watching him create a photo which previously existed only in his mind’s eye. Just amazing. I, however, depend on serendipity. I didn’t set out to make a timeless view of a little boy exploring the world;  I was babysitting for my grandson Walter and I grabbed a pair of jean shorts two sizes too big and one of my adjustable oversize hats and it was off to the park. Only after reviewing the usual daily snapshots did I discover that I had not photographed an 18-month-old toddler but a mini Tom Sawyer circa 2018. No, creating a photo from my imagination is not my forte. Let’s be generous and call it a conscious fluke.

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Last of the Snow

Posted: March 11, 2018 in Photography


Mid-winter and a trip to the zoo, pretend you are in the savannah, lions and tigers and bears – oh my! But best of all was this tiny remnant of winter – a snow sculpture on the rail in front of the zebra enclosure. Hooray for whimsy!

Just Say No

Posted: November 21, 2017 in composition, creativity, Photography


Celebrating my grandson’s one year birthday I made many snaps. I like being on his level and showing the world from his point of view. Why say no? I took about 150 exposures (while stuffing myself with chilli and birthday cake) but I usually respond to requests to “see them all” or “what else did you take?” by sending the media-hungry a lone picture. Why? Not with animus, but simply to stay vigilant to my audience.  There is a excessive amount of visual pollution and I want to make sure I am not adding to the visual cacophony; and I do that by ruthlessly editing/culling my take.
~john

Simon & Paul

Posted: September 24, 2017 in Photography

Punchy Profile

Posted: August 24, 2017 in Cameras, Lenses, Photo equipment, Photography


Shameless grandchild show-off. I just had the urge to make a picture of Walter and decided to isolate the cheeky chum with my Nikkor 180mm f2.8 wide open and D610 camera. Super simple set-up with a Nikon SB800 flash through a soft box, 12 quick frames and bingo!
~John

The Nose Knows

Posted: July 22, 2017 in Lenses, Photography


By a nose…   Went to the Fairmount Park Racetrack to wager on the ponies (ha ha, those $2.00 bets add up) and dragged along the big tele zoom. Only got a handful of snaps and was happy with this capture. But this is the kind of photo that would drive me crazy as a photo editor; keep the context, or get really close on the jockey’s intense face?

~John

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.
~john

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

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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

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.

Show’s Up

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

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