Thursday on Tybee Island

•February 18, 2013 • 3 Comments

Some of you are aware of the fact that I’m 30 and have never seen the ocean. I’ll just let that sink in.

A crime right? Well there’s nothing booked at work so I decided to go on vacation. On a side note I’m looking for another job if you have one. Back on topic. My good friend Josh Springer lives in Savannah and has repeatedly invited me down and heretofore things haven’t worked to our advantage. Last week, however, the stars lined up and we made it happen. So I packed up, grabbed my camera, grabbed Michelle and trekked south about nine hours. So here’s me in the ocean.

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And here’s me in the ocean.

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No wait. That’s me by the ocean right? Nope. That’s me in the ocean.

Most people think of the ocean and see this.

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Or this.

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But we saw this.

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See how far in the ocean I was? That’s not an island, that’s Georgia.

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While we were there something happened. Something unexpected and special. The locals said they’d not seen anything like it in a while. The tide went out…WAY out. Michelle, Josh and I spent all of Thursday by the water. Well…we got up at noon and spent the REST of the day there. Josh and I were attached to cameras while Michelle was enjoying the sunshine. One thing about Josh; he takes a LOT of photos. Eventually Michelle and I left him behind and made our way into the ocean island hopping out; much like Josh is here.

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What’s the floor of the ocean like? It’s kind of scary. Some places are hard as…well…rock, as you’d expect. But then sometimes if you stand still you start sinking like quick sand.

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We spent about a half hour out there in complete awe and wonder. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I have never in my life felt like I was no longer on earth until then. It felt like we were on another planet.

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While we were still in America we certainly were on the edge.

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The photos I took are like nothing I’ll ever take again. They don’t really do it justice but it’s all I have to remember.

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We knew it was special and knew it wouldn’t last. I’ll never experience this again and it makes me sad. At one point I was walking with Josh and watching Michelle at the water’s edge and we realized we needed to make it back. But we didn’t realize how quick. We strolled back and found our shoes had almost washed away! The tide was coming in quickly! Another minute and we’d have lost our shoes. And remember the island hopping? This is the same place.

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Look at the ripples! That was the tide. And we got caught in it! I’d say had we waited five more minutes Josh and I would have lost our cameras. Ten more minutes we’d be swimming. Fifteen…well…I don’t know if I’d be writing this. It was actually a battle getting across. Lots of yelling, flailing and cussing. Holding cameras way up high. But we made it.

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We, at that point, were FREEZING. It was late in the evening, the sun was going down and it was February. So we decided to call it a night. As we were walking back to the car Michelle suddenly said, “look at that!” Josh and I turned…and immediately had our cameras out. It was the most beautiful sunset I’d ever seen in my life.

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And I took a lot of shots.

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Here’s an example of what it’s like to be a photographer. That’s me in the bottom corner.

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But there’s no other way to get shots like this.Image

It was truly one of the most beautiful, memorable days in my entire life. In fact, I can’t think of another day that was so amazing and I spent it with beautiful people who could appreciate it with me. You simply cannot fathom what this was like without having experienced it. It was the perfect day. Perfect. It was like God looked at us and what we were doing and went all out to make it really special. I can’t thank Josh enough for hosting us this week and I hope one day I get to see something like this again.

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Soul Searching

•January 30, 2013 • 3 Comments

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When I got a job at Lifetouch I was excited to actually be using my photography skill to make money. While that is most definitely the case I’ve let my job get in the way of my love for photography. Subjects have become dollar signs. People have become objects. I’ve learned a lot over the years. For one I know I could be a real bastard when judging other people’s work. I was, at times, arrogant and thought my vision for art was better than another’s. I’ve also learned that you can take photos every day and not feel like a photographer; that’s what I’ve been doing for almost two years. I’ve lost my artistic expression. Right now I’m trying to get it back and those closest to me see me struggling in fits and starts to rekindle what I once had. My skills are lacking, my photographic eye is lacking but my drive is strong and I’ll find what I need to to get started again.

Museum Textures

•March 12, 2011 • 2 Comments

As some of you already know I’m taking a new job. Since October I’ve worked at the Huntington Museum of Art, but I’ve recently been hired as a Lifetouch photographer. I’m soon traveling to Pennsylvania for training. This is my last weekend at the museum and I decided to spend today’s lunch in the Conservatory.

I’ve seen a lot of photos taken in there; it’s a beautiful place. What stands out to me are the textures. I LOVE textures. Shooting today afforded me the opportunity to use a macro lens attachment for my camera. I wanted to post a few of the photos since I probably won’t be blogging for a bit.

I’m actually kind of sad to leave but I’m looking forward to my new job. If you’re looking for something cool to do around Huntington you should come check out the museum. There’s certainly a lot more to see here than what I’ve posted.

The Big Guy

•March 6, 2011 • 2 Comments

I have this cat named Big Guy. I’ve not really talked about him much, lest I become that cat guy who compares his cats to other people’s cats. And what they play with and what litter they use and what food they eat and all that weird cat person talk…

BUT…this is Big Guy…and it’s obvious where he gets his name.

He apparently has an online fan club…and why not with this face?

That’s a face often seen on Guy. That tongue sticks out of his head as much as it stays in. In fact, EVERY time you scratch the base of his tail the tongue flicks out. Sometimes it hangs there…for long periods of time…and he just chills.

Sometimes it curls ever so slightly at the edge of his mouth just waiting to unfurl.

But that’s not the only unique thing about him. I’ve never seen a cat lay on it’s back so much in my life.

This happens a LOT.

And Guy most certainly likes to lay around.

And droop…

And claim…

He’s quite the lazy, hedonistic cat when he’s not out beating up every feline, small dog and wild animal in the neighborhood. Big Guy is king of all he surveys when he’s outside…and he lives like a king inside. Complete with stomach scratches.

More often than not when you pet him…he’ll roll over.

After the death of Biscuit I wondered how any other cat could measure up. And while Big Guy can’t replace him I simply can’t deny that he’s the perfect pet for me right now. Here’s to the cat that I’ve failed to mention too many times and who, as I type this, is laying at my side curled up against my leg.

 

 

That Moment…

•March 4, 2011 • 3 Comments

There’s a moment…just before the sun dips under the horizon…and lasting through the gloaming…where the light makes everything look magically orange. I think if there are mythical creatures they only come out at this time. And in moments they are gone. You can stand and look and it seems as if time stands still…seed pods float on the breeze, the rustling leaves slow…but if you try to make it last it dissipates in the wind.

Middle Brother

•March 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday marked the release of an album I’ve been waiting for a long time. In 2009 the lead singers of Delta Spirit, Dawes and Deer Tick came together for a collaboration project: Middle brother. If you know anything about these bands individually you can suspect the result was beautiful. If not, let’s have an overview of the talent.

Matt Vasquez brings a unique blend of rasp and conviction of soul.

Taylor Goldsmith brings something a little epic and anthemic to the table.

And John McCauley, among other things adds texture to complement and contrast the other two.

The Result? Americana greatness.

Honestly, when I heard about this project I was skeptical. Many such super groups and collaborations fail to pass muster. I’m thinking of the second Traveling Wilburys album off the top of my head. Someone should have taken the mic from Bob Dylan. This is NOT one of those albums. Every member has their chance to shine. This is cigar smoking and whiskey drinking music. It’s full of grit, rasp and feeling. It makes me feel like I’m in the room with three friends who simply enjoy making music together. A room where I might have to wave away smoke with my beer bottle.

The highlight of the album, for me, is Blue Eyes. A Vasquez love song is always appreciated. He’s more of a social and political activist. Blue Eyes is relentless. I’m a die hard Delta Spirit fan though so..you know. A big surprise to me was Theater. I had been waiting for it’s release by Delta Spirit since I saw this video. Imagine my surprise when it was on the Middle Brother album.

I had two concerns when I heard about this project. The first of these is that Taylor Goldsmith would be hidden by Vasquez and McCauly’s textured vocals. This was…in error. Goldsmith adds a much needed third layer to the mix. His tracks break up the album in a good way, and honestly the album would have SERIOUSLY suffered without him. He knocks it out of the ballpark with Blood and Guts. In true Goldsmith style this track it’s slightly bigger than a song. Any song that produces an emotional reaction is a win to me and he does that nearly every time.

My second concern was that McCauley would dominate the vocals. This, perhaps, was a little more justified. He did have more time at the mic and it’s obvious. However I’m not sure it’s a bad thing now. It’s definitely a mood album and McCauley’s vocals add to that mood. I think it was a good decision, he seems to be a prolific song writer. I can’t imagine some of these songs vocalized by anyone else. This McCauley track was released as a Christmas gift/teaser.

In a world where undue focus is given to polished pop music this stands out as a proud reminder of musical roots. I think it’s the perfect response to Monsters of Folk. I felt that album title a serious misnomer. This album, however, did not let me down.

If you want to check it out I recommend iTunes because there’s a bonus track included.

I Don’t Like the Female Body…Apparently

•February 25, 2011 • 15 Comments

Something happened several weeks ago that burned me for a while. A local model said I “Don’t like the female form.” WHAT?!

I wish I could say it’s a first. I get comments like that from time to time.

At the time I laughed at the absurdity of the statement. It was completely not based in any sort of reality at all. When I realized what it translated to it ticked me off. What it meant is I don’t take trashy bikini and panties photos. Or worse, a naked girl with blood and a knife or whatever weird crap young ironic guys do to get girls naked in front of a camera.

I simply don’t understand the mindset that if a photographer doesn’t want you naked or half naked he’s not worth taking your photo. But it seems to be a prominent one around here. There are guys who get paid to shoot canned, completely unartistic bikini shots and it astounds me. The same girls who would pay for those photos ignore me and I’d most likely not charge a dime. Granted the catch is a smidgen of class. Initially I would ask any model without bias if they would work with me to help build a portfolio. The responses from those who have a portfolio made up largely of naked and half naked photos left something to be desired. I was outright ignored by some after saying I won’t shoot bikinis or nudes.

God forbid a woman could be attractive with *gasp!* CLOTHES ON! So I guess it all depends on what you’re looking for. What your goals in life are. If you like naked ironic photos with a medium fish in a tiny bowl photographer as a status symbol online I’m not your kind of photographer. If you want to be in a bikini calender (and we all know those will be treated respectfully) then I guess I’m not your kind of photographer. If your long term goal is to be able to get naked for money I’m not your kind of photographer.

It bugged the CRAP out of me initially because I knew I was a good photographer and I was being completely ignored. I’ve come to terms with that now. I realize I’m in a place I don’t mind being.

This blog has been a long time coming. I have, in fact, met a few girls who take bikini photos who aren’t like the others. I even shot with one and she did and amazing job with clothes on. I will go out on a limb and say there is a place for things like that. There is a place in the artistic and commercial world for bikini photos and underwear photos. There’s even a place for nudity in art. There is even a place for sexuality and I’ve incorporated that into my work. But there’s a not so fine line between art and gratuitous flesh. I think it becomes gratuitous when the overwhelmingly obvious goal is sexual attraction for public consumption as opposed to a healthy respect for the natural form.