Saturday, April 30, 2011

Camp much?

One of my favorite parts about thevisualCollective trips is camping. Interacting with mother nature in a much more intimate way than I usually do, holed up in the dungeon in my house. Camping offers me a whole host of photographic opportunities that I usually don't have. Photographing tents, fires, weather, etc. I love it.

In Zion, I finally had the opportunity to take a whack at an image that's been stuck in my head for some time now. Like most of what I shot on this trip, I'm not particularly happy with it. But, it was good to get a first draft done and at least try the concept out.

I like the colors and I like how there is a line of lit objects, starting at the fire and moving to the tent.
I don't like how little ambient light I had. In Zion, sunset is abrupt and a solid hour earlier than the official sunset. I wasn't prepared and that's my own fault. Next time, I'd like to have much more ambient so I can do something a little less dramatic and a little more balanced.

I think the tent is probably too bright as well - it seems to be much more of a dominating focus point than I originally intended. In my next attempt, I'll get an angle that shows more of the tent but with it less lit up.

In terms of technicality, it's a fairly simple setup. My Einstein is sitting on the floor of the tent, facing the camera. Bare bulb, somewhere around 1/2 or 1/3 power. Andrew is lit with a boomed and umbrella'd Vivitar flash at something like 1/4 power. Off camera, Taylor is acting as a VAL.

Setup shot

For the first few frames, I just had Andrew keep playing the guitar. Eventually though, I had to ask him to stop and do a few particular poses.

I realized on this trip that I'm not very good at directing models. When I've got a good vision in my head of what I want, I can get across the basic idea and mood I'm looking for... but other than that, I rely on the model to pose and act pretty much independently of me. When I don't have a good idea of the image I am trying to make, any direction goes out the window and I flounder and flail with the model.

I've got a few more images from the trip that I'll likely post over the next week or so. It's drinking reading week here at NAU, which mean's everyone is studying hard for finals.... 0_0

Thursday, April 28, 2011

thevisualCollective - ZION trip

It's been a while since I blogged. A week, in fact. I've been busy.

Here are the video-diaries that I did on the most recent visualCollective trip. We were in Page, Pariah, Kanab and Zion. It was an absolute blast.

Don't worry, I shot stills too.

This is just a teaser. More to come later!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Birthday donation request!

Hello world!

My birthday is coming up! Thursday April 21st, I will turn 21.

In lieu of traditional birthday gifts, I am asking the people who might normally give me something awesome like a gift card, to instead donate to my new project: thevisualCollective.

Donations will help tvC do more adventure trips, create merchandise, develop our workshop curriculum, and awesome stuff like that!

25% of donations received will automatically be put towards the 2011 Help Portrait event in Flagstaff. I ran the event last year on minimal funding. This year, I hope to have more resources at my disposal and I hope to have thevisualCollective as a major sponsor.

Thank you for your support!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Granite Dells

Friday afternoon I rode in a mini-van for the first time in many years. With my fellow adventurers Molly and Noelle, I traveled to Prescott, AZ to visit the granite dells. Here are the images I think are worth showing.

Noelle enjoying the view

Molly texting it up 

We had an absolute blast getting to know one another, shooting, hiking, driving, eating, etc. Both my partners in crime are interested in going on a trip with thevisualCollective. I am confident they will make a great addition to the group.

Speaking of tvC - we are in the process of hammering out the details for a membership program, which will allow people to support the group each month while getting a few perks in return.
We have also started looking into a line of tvC merchandise. Shirts, jackets, hats, pins, patches - things like that. If you haven't been over in a while - check out and see what's new!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sedona Day Trip

Most of the time, it feels great to by busy.

Unfortunately for my faithful readers, the more time I spend working on the business end of thevisualCollective, the less time I have to blog here.

Anyway. Thursday after class I cruised down to Sedona with my buddy Katie. We made some photos, some videos, and generally had fun driving around with the top down.

Here's some of what I got!

And a couple close-ups of the stills

Surprisingly enough, I got some photographs in color as well

Clicking on any of the above pictures enlarges them. That has always been the case - but now they're even bigger! I've increased my web-size from 800px to 1000px. Not a huge difference, but enough that my friends with HUGE iMac screens can see a little more clearly.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In over my head...

I've had a heckuva down day today. One of the worst I've had in a while.

To be fair, that isn't really saying much, because I'm almost always happy.

This week I'm starting work on thevisualCollective for real. I'm working with my two buddies Taylor and Andrew to make it not only a consortium of artists, but a small business. I'm in the business program at NAU, so I feel responsible for a lot of the stuff that's involved with getting things moving.

We have weekly goals. Last week was to get a printed portfolio. Piece of cake. This week I'm hoping to get a basic business plan together and start pitching to local businesses for sponsorship/parternship. I'm essentially going to be cold-calling these local business owners saying "Hey, I'm doing this great thing and I'd love for you to be a part of it. Wanna give me money? Products?"
That is a really daunting task. It feels like getting things together is the hardest part, and once I start the pitch process I'll have much more luck... Still - it seems like I'm in way over my head.

random picture...

I've never really started a business like this before - so I clearly fear the unknown. I have a lot of resources at my disposal, especially with the faculty at NAU being so approachable. I know that if I have questions, all I have to do is ask the right professor for feedback. I also know a fair number of small business owners - some of whom I'm sure would be more than happy to give me advice. Time for me to start calling them as well.

I guess I need to pull myself together and get things moving - ranting here helps me get my thoughts in order, my ducks in a row...

I hope your Tuesday was better than mine...

Dammit, I suck (the graph)

A friend posted the following image to my Facebook wall.

I've attempted to address part of this in previous posts, but this graph gets pretty much all of it out in one swoop. The most important aspect being: EGO. The blue line represents how good you think you are as a photographer. Notice it starts at the top. 90% Everything I shoot is perfect. It's pretty. My mom loves it. As knowledge makes its miserably slow decline off of 0%, the EGO line comes down. Quick.

Also - as soon as one hits the Gearfaggotry section of knowledge, the Quality of photos decreases significantly, plopping the photographer in The HDR Hole. Now, I don't have anything against HDR in principle, but I do hate how most people execute it. AND, I have definitely seen this happen. A Photographer gets their first tripod, first prosumer camera body, and first superwide lens and procedes to.... make a shitload of HDR images.

The part that I really enjoy is the instant decline in the EGO line shortly after the photographer gets into Flickr, Photoshop and DeviantArt. 

Dammit, I suck.

I think every creative person finds this moment eventually. Many find it frequently. The important thing is that after the "Dammit, I suck" moment, the EGO line stays in check. The photographer doesn't think his shit don't stink - but rather is humble about his images. The quality of photos are well above how good the photographer thinks he is - so he keeps trying, learning, pushing. I think we should all strive to be that photographer. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fun in the Mud

I went out yesterday afternoon with my buddies Scott and Ozzy. We shot some guns, went off-roading, and took some pictures.

Here are the results:

I made some videos and cut them in with some stills for a slideshowthingy. It is loading to YouTube as I type this. I'll put up another post when I'm back from the day's adventure.

Rock on!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Backgrounds

Apparently April is here. That means it's time for me to switch up my desktop background - Here are your choices this month! Each has been resized to a max of 2560 pixels.