Saturday, December 11, 2010

Choice Backgrounds

I use choicebackgrounds for my source of digital materials when creating in Photodex's PhotoShow Pro 4.5. You can view there products here:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Prelude To A Kiss

Well not exactly, but I've always liked the music, a 1938 song by Duke Ellington, and seen as more of a sign of "better things to come. I know I haven't been here in a while, so rather than put load of info on you all at once, I'll break it down into four parts and post text and images so you can read in nice small pieces. I know for me, huge, long blogs make me not want to read it all.

For some odd reason, every where I've been going I've been photographing my food. Odd huh? Yeah, well hopefully you won't see me on CNN or YouTube viral because I've lost my mind and I'm running the streets naked, except for some really wore out Nike's, trying to photograph people with a crazed look on my face...screaming: "Smile For the Camera!" LOL

So anyway...I digress. The next four postings will look like go something like this and include images at the end of each blog:

Episode 1 - Kids-n-Sports
Episode 2 - Model Testing
Episode 3 - Miami Fashion Week
Episode 4 - Wedding/Halloween

Friday, September 25, 2009

Successful TFCD & Things are Rolling Along

Hello...I think I've set a record this week for blogging...three times in one week, woo-hoo! But if anyone is actually paying attention to this blog, I still own the scale. (In my best Brooklyn New York accent) "So anywayz, U see, its like dis": I took pictures of a model called Victoria Marie 33 [who is 48 by the way]. And while she's not the normal 22-25 year old her pictures came out great, if I say so myself. I'll post them after the end of this blog-->so no peeking (LOL).

Things are rolling along...slowly, but rolling. I have three events lined up for October, a bunch of soccer teams tomorrow and one more TFCD for sunday. And that's it, no more TFCD unless her name is say "Beverly Johnson" or "Tyra Banks" okay okay...let's throw in Oprah for good luck. Nothing else really to report except based on the results of my images, I'm extremely happy with the decision to buy more lenses.

There was a dude [on Craig's List] with a 300mm 2.8, which I was so-so tempted to buy, but my "better judgement" kicked-in or prevailed and I decided to pass on the glass. So new goals for October are find a full-time IT gig. Find a nightclub where I can setup and take pictures weekly and start looking for some old empty abandoned warehouse in or around Miami or South Beach to convert into a photo studio. Wish me luck...woo-hoo! ciao

(Click the picture to enlarge)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Some Good Rules for Bad Times

Brief synopsis…I started grad school in the fall of 1993, but always the person to juggle more than one ball, I started a photo business out of my apartment and later out of an old run down house which I eventually bought and fixed up. I spent way too much money at Lowe’s and Home Depot, so much so I struggled to pay other bills and at the same time was a full-time student.

By the beginning of 1994 I was wondering if I had made the right decision putting so much money into equipment, the house, framing equipment, darkroom equipment, etc. I had also built a reception area to show off my pictures and a changing room.

My then girlfriend had maxed out her credit cards to try to help me out. It was freezing outside, minus 28, and I had thoughts of selling everything and just getting my old apartment back and focusing on school. As I was going through the Sunday newspaper I came across this article in Parade Magazine by Wally Amos, the founder of Famous Amos cookies. It was titled: “Some Good Rules for Bad Times”. I read the article several times and then grabbed a pair of scissors to cut it out and save it for future reading or motivation.

That one article alone helped me to turn my attitude & business around and by the summer of 1994 I had several large clients with money coming in and by 1995, still in grad school, I had to hire two people to keep up with all the work and business. Thanks Wally!

Fast forward to yesterday when I’m cleaning out and organizing my stuff in storage…and I find this old article…yellowed, but still full of good information. So I’ve decided to both retype it and post the original scan. Ciao!

Some Good Rules for Bad Times, by Wally Amos

“During the past four years of my life, I’ve been in debt. I’ve been sued. I’ve lost my name and had creditors call me every day. This is how I got through:”

PATIENCE: I’ve learned that it really is a virtue, especially if you’re involved in a lawsuit. The wheels of justice grind slowly, and there’s nothing you can do to hurry them. “I never feel victimized,” said Amos. “I take responsibility for what happened to me. That’s what’s important.”

ACCEPTANCE: Don’t become part of the problem. I have a friend who was chairman of a $4 billion company when the board fired him. He started listing all his options for the future. He didn’t waste a second. In very short order, his life moved in another direction. He’s happier than ever: Once you accept, you can get on to solutions.

FOCUS: When I started “Famous Amos”, I was so focused, I got it done in five months. Then I let my focus get diffused. I was all over the place when I should have been concentrating. I’ve learned to focus on starting my new company. The Rev. Robert Schuller once told me that the three important things are Faith, Focus and Follow Through-and Fulfillment follows those.

COMMITMENT: When you say “I will” with conviction, magic begins to happen. I was committed to creating a new life for myself. Commitment kept moving me on from one point to the next.

ENTHUSIAM: It is the well spring of life. It is contagious. Many times I walked into a situation where there was gloom in the room, and I walked in with a joyful attitude, a cookie and a smile and was able to change the whole energy. You do that by being enthusiastic.

POSITIVE ATTITUDE: It’s your mental attitude that creates the results in your life. I went through the lawsuit for 19 months. When it started, I was lying on the floor with them steamrolling me. But I had my attitude intact. It just kind of steers you in the direction of looking for solutions.

BY GIVING: I have not allowed my troubles to keep me from being involved with Literacy Volunteers of America and Cities in Schools, or from visiting the Boys and Girls Clubs. I believe good things have happened because I continue to give.

HONESTY & INTEGRITY: You must be positively consistent in what you say, think and do. That sends a clear picture to people of who you are. People believe you and want you to succeed and do what they can to assist.

(click on the picture to enlarge or print)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Busy • Loads of TFCD • Lessons Learned?

Well I've been busy shooting, surfing all my resources for jobs and work and generally trying to get my stuff together. I did get some good feedback from a new found frat brother named Elton Anderson ←click there if you're curious about his excellent blog/work. Strangely enough while our styles are different...we sort of came to the same conclusions about gear and both have moved to the D700.

Happy to report...I am feeling better about my huge investment in new lenses and also looking forward to Nikon's release of the D700X. This alone is not a big deal, but what it potentially might allow me to do is two things: (1) start getting some landscape and architecture work and (2) eventually start using my DSLR to make HD movies for events.

Last week I did three TFCD's and have two more scheduled for this week. I'll post the results here. I will post an image or 2 from the last photo-shoot here now: (click the image to enlarge it)

So moving on...I like to tell things they way they are. I was working with an online magazine. I won't say their name, but will say the publisher/editor was impossible to work with. Despite me providing "peace offerings" and inviting her to lunch, things ended badly.

Now the insane part of this is what she wanted from me was never promised to her. It was something I did on my own time and sold part of the images to Women's Wear Daily. So at least I made gas money. On several tries I attempted to get the "free" pictures to her, but paying-jobs always trump anything that's where my focus has been. She burned the bridge...which is kinda funny since her first name is spelled like bridgé.

I said that all to say...despite your best efforts, sometimes you cannot please a person and you'll still be accursed of doing bad things. Despite your best efforts you still do fail. But I suppose the lesson is better to fail trying than to fail at not trying at all. uhmmm...right?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Frontiers & New Equipment

So...I've been gone a while now. Sorry, promise not to wait that long between blog entries. I've been doing lots of TFCD (Time For CD), but need to focus on getting my edge back for haute couture and editorials again. When I was living in Europe...I could see fashion concepts before I loaded the first roll of film. With the digital age...we shoot more, but think less. Yeah I know its not good. So I'm trying to get back to shooting digital the same way I shot film...with careful planning. I spent a ton of money since the last time I wrote here but there's an upside, should I decide to get out of photography I can sell everything and get most of my money back.

So to date I've gotten a D700 with battery grip (click the picture below), a 50mm 1.4G, a 105mm VR Micro F2.8 lens (girl in pink top), an 85mm 1.4 lens (its crazy sharp...see the girl with brown hair/white top), a 24-70 2.8 zoom (insanely fast/sharp), an 80-200 2.8 AF-S and finally a 70-200 VR 2.8 zoom (close-up of blond girl). I decided to get serious about what I'm doing and devote more time, focus, money and energy into trying to get more paying work. Now I have the sinking feeling like..."goodness! - I hope I made the right move". But unlike say renting a building or buying something where your money goes bye-bye for good...I do have an exit plan option.

More News: I'm the BTS Photographer for a small low-budget movie called MonsterTown. Its a funny take on the old monsters of black/white films with everyone from "The Mummy" to "Frankenstein" appearing. I can't release any photos now, but once the movie's'll be the first to know.

I have more good news...which hopefully will let me recoup some of this money on equipment. I'm doing photos for two "Haunted House" attractions with the on-site printing and special graphics. Uhmmm...wish me luck cause I'm going to need to find and train help.

Finally...well, you don't know about this, but I was suppose to photograph two sisters from the UK and I had these visions of high-fashion and glamour photos. It never happened. Somehow we never connected. I am disappointed since I have put time aside just to photograph these two. But life goes on right? ciao!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vogue Magazine: African Edition! I wanted to see two things. One if my work would look good enough to grace the cover of Vogue Magazine and two, if I could design a fake cover from scratch and have it look at least 90% legit. Well its hard to judge your own work and be objective, so eventually I might get some feedback on this. the picture to get a better view!

ciao James