In the span of only a few days, I went from receiving a photo assignment from The Wall Street Journal, to feeling Lake Huron spray hit my face as we sped toward shipwreck Pewabic, trying to beat inclement weather. As a freelance photographer, when I’m …
When you open your email’s ‘Inbox’ to find that an editor has reached out for you to take photos, it’s exhilarating. Making pictures, being creative, having access to photograph interesting people, places, things, etc., and making money—it all can be as thrilling as it sounds. …
Call it foolish, or maybe it’s the result of being raised to be humble—I think it’s a Midwestern thing, but it took me far longer than it should have for me to consider myself a photographer.
As I was exploring the craft of photography, I simply thought,”At some point, when I’m up to my eyeballs in assignments, then I’ll call myself a photographer.” The title ‘photographer’ seemed like a lofty aspiration that should only be reserved for those who are extremely prolific at making money with a shutter button.
You know what though? After years and years of enjoying photography, something clicked—pun intended.
I began to consider myself a photographer.
Why would I do this? I did this because the more I considered myself a photographer, the more my confidence began to grow and the more my photography improved because I was taking myself more seriously than before.
Some people feel like you need a website, or a full-time job or something like that before you can be considered a photographer. But, that is like putting the cart before the horse. Call yourself photographer (or painter, or bubble-gum blower, or anything!) and then you will see an interesting shift.
I’ve found that being expressive (but, never boastful or or in a narcissistic way) about my enjoyment and enthusiasm for photography can also help acquire assignments. Once people hear that you’re a photographer, you may find that they either know of someone that needs photos taken, or they will remember you the next time they, or someone, else needs photos taken. The important thing here is that you increased your chances of getting an assignment by promoting yourself.
While photographing some scenarios or scenes, it’s not uncommon for a security guard or interested passerby to approach you and ask what you’re doing. When this happens, it’s best to smile and be polite, of course. The next thing I do is say that I’m a photographer from <place> and that I’m taking photos of <something/someone> for <a specific reason>.
This response should be short and honest. And, by starting your response by saying you’re a photographer lends validity to what you’re doing.
As I already mentioned, there’s also a lot to be said for taking yourself seriously. The more seriously you take yourself and your photography, I’m sure that you’ll see your photography improve a lot, because you’re pushing yourself.
Photography can be hard work: it costs money, it takes time and the weather can be unpleasant.You owe it to yourself to call yourself a photographer because that’s what you are.
No get out there and make some images that mean something to you.
When it comes to photography, especially film photography, I keep my equipment as consistent and simple as possible. The less one has to think about while taking pictures, the better. Kodak Portra 400 35mm (the 120 is great too, I just don’t use as much …
On our most recent trip to Denver, Colorado, we stayed in the recently-opened Hyatt Centric Downtown Denver. The rooms are beautiful and it’s within walking distance of Union Station, which is where we depart the train after arriving from the airport. Downtown Denver is fantastic …
If you’re looking for a foodie destination like no other, it’s time to make Denver your stop. We travel there every year, in November, and spend a day and a night downtown before heading to Estes Park for Thanksgiving. Spending some time in the Mile-High City gives us a chance to acclimate after our flight and, more importantly, it lets us experience this amazing city.
We’ve eaten at a number of restaurants there, and our most recent trip did not disappoint. Pay attention to this post and your taste buds will thank you.
After landing at the Denver International Airport, find the train and take it to downtown Denver. The train is such a convenient, pleasurable and economical way to travel. It cost around $10.50 per person and you’ll be at Union Station in about 40 minutes, not having to worry about white-knuckling through traffic on an unfamiliar highway.
Once you’re at Union Station, take some time to check it out. There are great shops and restaurants right inside. Last year, we spotted a breakfast/brunch place called Snooze, but our flight time wouldn’t let us stop to eat. This year, we stopped and I’m so glad we did. It’s so good that it’s almost worth a missed flight. Almost.
The menu is diverse and the dishes are varied. Since we weren’t driving, we each imbibed on a Morning Marg to sip on. It was wonderful and perfectly crafted with salt and a lime. To eat, Meg had the Huevos Tostada and I had the Pork Chile Verde Benny—I added an avocado, of course. Both dishes caused us to glance at one another upon first bite, to confirm that each other’s dishes were as delicious as our own.
The food and drink far exceeded what we ever could’ve hoped for and the service was second to none. We left Snooze ready to take on a day of exploration in Denver.
This is a post about food, so I’ll keep our Denver exploration information short. For fun, we walked to Larimer Square in the early afternoon and did some window shopping. This is a lively and historic street in Denver and we can’t wait to check it out at night. After Larimer Square, we walked to the REI Flagship store. Our jaws dropped to the floor when we saw how big the store was. Anything you’d ever need for outdoor pursuits is inside. One of my favorite spots was a white board near the entrance where staff members had listed favorite places to hike, bike, ski, etc. We remembered the recommended hike—Emerald Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park—and did it because of the suggestion. It was breath taking.
We walked everywhere, so we were getting hungry and couldn’t wait for dinner. Meg had surprised me with reservations to El Five, a tapas-style restaurant with an unbelievable view of downtown Denver. The vibe was lively and the space was perfectly decorated for lighting and ambiance.
The drinks are creative and delicious. We tried the Pasarela (rosemary infused tequila/ cinnamon/ lemon/ ginger beer) and it was one of my top drinks ever tried anywhere.
Twice it was suggested that we order the eggplant fries. We did and they were impossible to stop eating, so we didn’t stop. The European sea bass was our entree and it was small—they are tapas, after all—but so good. The dish was presented like a work of art and the taste solidified the art as ‘fine’.
We took a Lyft back to our hotel and turned in.
When morning arrived, we were excited to eat breakfast. The best part is that there’s a restaurant in the hotel called Apple Blossom. Take some time to look at the menu. It’s beautiful. It was our second time eating here and it was just as good, if not more so, than the first time.
The menu changes frequently with the seasons. But, I had shrimp and grits that blew my mind and Meg ordered a grapefruit bruleé along with eggs and potatoes. The ingredients were fresh and again, the service was impeccable.
If you find yourself in Denver, or you make it a destination for whatever reason, I can’t suggest these restaurants enough. If you try them, you’ll have varied and tasty dining experiences at each location.
It was a Friday afternoon and we drove north after shortened work days, which are the best work days. We traversed the Straits of Mackinac via the 5-mile long Mackinac Bridge. Our stomachs were rumbling so we decided to stop at the Village Inn in …
Photography is a personal creative journey. On our journey we should select a tool that will help us along the way. When it comes to cameras, the options can easily become overwhelming. Megapixels, pixel size, lenses, weatherproofing, DxO scores, and on and on are discussed. …
It can be the most difficult surrounding to photograph. Out of nowhere, you may find yourself stopped in the tracks of creativity before you even know what hit you. Or, it may hit you right away. You may walk, or drive, for hours looking for something to take pictures of, and return home with nothing.
This place is—the town you live in.
Fear not, though, for there is hope. A town, city, village, metropolis, etc. that you’re familiar with can be one of the most challenging environments to take pictures in. And, I say, “Why wouldn’t it be?”
After all, if you’re familiar with a place, there’s no visual stimulation. There’s nothing that ‘wows’ you or perks your brain. Being in new surroundings is exciting but we’re not all able to travel from new place to new place, constantly exposing ourselves to new surroundings. For many of us, our environment is routine and stale.
Here’s the trick: it’s not routine or stale.
If you feel like you’re in a creative slump, try to step out of yourself and your familiarity and look at your surroundings from a fresh perspective.
I live in the town I grew up in. It felt like there wasn’t anything to photograph nearby because I’d told myself that, “Nothing new is out there.” That’s where I was wrong. Not only are new photographic possibilities out there, but those possibilities are always changing because there could be a small added element to the scene, or the light could be different.
Normally, when I’m trying to come up with ideas for places to photograph, my location ideas are far away. I know they’ll be a little more unfamiliar to me and that will make them more interesting. However, more recently, I’ve been concentrating on places that are closer to home. It all comes down to the ‘Work Smarter, Not Harder’ adage.
So, on a cloudy day—this is my favorite light—I set out to photograph my hometown. As if a familiar surrounding isn’t enough, it was also post-autumn/ early winter, so the leaves had fallen and it was that time of year when everything takes on a color that is simultaneously gray and brown.
Two blocks away is an auto repair shop. It’s an old building and there are usually some interesting vehicles in the parking lot there. I pulled in and found some great subject matter. Since the time of year is often drab in color, I chose to seek out pops of color.
For anyone feeling weighed down by their surroundings, look no further than the work of William Eggleston. His work is proof that there is something to photograph anywhere and everywhere.
So, go out into your neighborhood or main street. It could have buildings or it could be a dirt road.
What you take pictures of may be familiar to you, but it’ll be new to someone else. And you’ll be producing art.
Detroit has stolen our hearts…again. With its history, character (and characters), food and architecture, it won’t be the last time, without a doubt. And, that’s ok. Steal away Detroit, steal away. After visiting there for a weekend earlier this year, I wrote a post here …