Ireland Impressions

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Living in the desert southwest environment of Los Angeles for most of my life, I am fascinated by rain. Please enjoy my Ireland Impressions which chronicle my travels through the country-side and towns across County Mayo and a little bit of Dublin – May 2015.

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Through Water

Through Water 01

This is a series of images I took a few years ago in Guadalajara Mexico from the back seat of a taxi. I have always liked the color and abstract nature of these images so I wanted to get them “out there”. Let me know what you think. Would you hang one on your wall?

Through Water 02

Through Water 03

Through Water 04

Through Water 05

Through Water 06

Through Water 07

Through Water 08

Through Water 09

Through Water 10

In the Rain – A color journey through the streets of Guadalajara

In the Rain

In the Rain – see the whole set

I just came back from a few days in Guadalajara visiting family. While this wasn’t a photography trip, per se, I did spend time each day walking around the El Centro area doing street photography.

I used the 24-70mm exclusively in an effort to wean myself into seeing in wider angles with deeper depth of field. Often at 70mm, but as the days went on, was working more wider angles.

In the Rain

If I were counting the number of “keeper” photographs, I would surely be discouraged. However, I am instead focused on what I learn each time I go out and trying hone in what I want to say and do. After taking workshops with both Sam Abell and Jay Maisel over the past year, I have plenty of lessons to still to master. The information and ideas that these masters so share are not things that are learned quickly and require a fair amount of concentration. They are not recipes for good images but rather methodologies that help with the process of creating a good image. For Sam Abell – set the stage and wait for the action. For Jay Maisel – look for the extraordinary, the “rip in the fabric”, think about light, color, and gesture, wait for the trigger.

In the Rain

Both masters talk extensively about controlling the frame, which is still probably my biggest weakness. Sam Abell controls the frame ahead of time by find the stage (the macro-composition) and waiting for the action and the backstory to come together (the micro-composition). Jay Maisel often finds the subject first and often uses long focal lengths (100-300mm) to frame in tight. Both men have years of experience and practice to which I will never catch up.

In the Rain

Through my experiences I am honing into one thing that I came back to over and over again – the idea of creating a series. These are not typically projects that come about over a long period of time, these are more like the panels of a storyboard taken in short bursts. Three mini-series emerged on this trip to Guadalajara: Through the Cab Window and In the Rain. There are, of course, other random other stand-alone images.

In the Rain

The imagery here in In the Rain was taken exclusively on a 45 minute cab ride from the center of town (El Centro) to our hotel. It is the rainy season in Guadalajara with storms most nights. The rain on the window combined with the brightly colored architecture of Guadalajara and its narrow streets provided this opportunity.  Although I know a series like this could be achieved in many places, this opportunity would rarely occur in Los Angeles where I live. The rain is scarce, buildings are (mostly) bland, and the streets are wide.

In the Rain

Jay Maisel Day 2 – Failure is an option

Double Bass

In May, I took a 5-day workshop with Jay Maisel in New York City. Jay made his career as an eminent commercial photography, but now shoots only for himself. The week is designed to open the doors for you to take yourself on a journey as an artist and photographer. Here are my thoughts on Day 2

Day 2 was hard. It was raining. My mind was processing the ideas from Day 1 and all the people I had met. I was in a strange city. The short-acting adrenaline of Day 1 had worn off and I was tired.

Before leaving LA, I was looking forward to the rain we would get in New York. I wanted to get some “rain shots”. We don’t get much rain in LA and this would be novel and exciting. As was the routine, we were sent out shooting after lunch. Out again onto the unfamiliar streets of New York. The open hearted New York life I experience on a sunny spring day on Day 1 had turned to a rushing mad dash of umbrellas. I tried for my “rain shots, but seemingly all I got was wet.

Perhaps I was in the wrong part of town? Perhaps I wasn’t good enough? Perhaps, I was not open? Perhaps I was not considering failure as part of this experience.

From the beginning, Jay stresses that failure is an option. While we are behind our cameras, we are not business professionals. We are not doctors, lawyers, or accountants. When Jay admonishes, “This is not brain surgery” he does not mean to imply that it is not difficult, he means to imply that, no one will die.

As we grow older, we are expected to become masters in our professional life. We become conditioned that failure is not an option. It is stressed that as a result of our failures people will die, go to jail, get fired, loose money, or be subjected to a myriad of other forms of misery and consequence. As good school children, we are taught to learn from our mistakes in order that we do not make these mistakes again. We become more cautious and take less risk.

Jay’s message about failure is different. Failure is part of the practice and part of the journey. You should continue to fail. If you do not continue to fail you are not continuing to be curious. Failure is the result of taking chances and taking chances results in photography that moves people. Failure can also leads to serendipitous results. “There is nothing f-ing sharp in this image!” could lead to “There are no rules in photography”.

It is difficult to put our egos and professional pride aside and take the chances it takes to come home with a card full of failures. But fail we must. Keep taking chances and keep failing. “It is not brain surgery, no one will die”.