My Worst Trip Ever
Also in this issue:
- We are travelling! Anyone want to meet-up for shooting?
- Environmental Portraits
- Wireless Flash Talk Video
My Worst Trip Ever
Lots of people ask me “Where’s your favorite travel destination to take pictures?”. (To which I usually give my standard but truthful answer, “Wherever I am!”) But nobody ever asks me, “Hey, Gary, where’s the WORST place you’ve ever traveled to?”
Well; I’ll tell you anyway. It was Namibia. In the middle of the African continent. And my negative experience had more to do with me than it did with the country I was in. Let me explain...
I was there in 1997 as part of a cadre of photographers there at the invitation of the Namibian government. Their goal at the time was to increase tourism, which meant publishing travel brochures, which meant getting lots of professional-level photos to include in those brochures. So the trip was heavily subsidized – hotel and food were paid for by the Government; all I had to do was get myself there. If any of my images were chosen for publication, I’d get my standard rate. (And if not, then at least I got a subsidized trip so I could pad my portfolio.)
Lesson #1: What’s worse than being judgmental?
|(Trust me, this wasn't one of the pictures that was submitted to be on a travel brochure.)|
Not a good way to behave – either as a traveller or as an ambassador. Even if my observations were accurate. One of the reasons Americans have developed a bad reputation over the years is their expectation that everywhere they go will be just like America, or everything will be judged relative to what they’re used to in America. Well, just like pixel-peeping is not a valid way to evaluate picture quality, neither is comparing other, less-well-off countries to your own, either in lifestyle, politics, or values. It is what it is.
We are travelling! Anyone want to meet-up for shooting?
When I was in Malaysia earlier this year I met up with a few fans and we went out shooting that day. As I explained in my blog post at the time, there’s something about shooting with other photographers that makes the journey that much more enjoyable – we’re all there for the same reason, we were all a little more daring when it came to approaching strangers to ask permission, we all help each other out in case one needs help with lighting, and (probably most important) it’s not the kind of thing a person normally takes a day off to do by themselves.
Well, here are a few more opportunities to go shooting (at no cost to you!):
1) I will be back in Malaysia in October, and will have just one day free for shooting (Monday, October 10th). Wanna come? Email me at gary at friedmanarchives dot com .
2) Tony Phillips, one-time (and future) collaborator on the Alpha 560 / 580 book, will be traveling to Rome, London, and Singapore during the next couple of months, and he’s looking for people to shoot with on a similarly informal basis. (Especially if those people can take him to places that tourists just wouldn’t ordinarily get a chance to see.) Tony’s schedule is thus:
Rome: Tues 25th October to Monday 31st October
London: Tuesday 1st November to Wednesday 2nd
Singapore: Thursday 3rd November to Sunday 6th November
You can email Tony directly at TonyP at phillips-group dot com.
Everyone knows what a classical head-and-shoulders portrait looks like. But what’s an environmental portrait?
Chris Van Zanten. He does amazing work, and I wanted to thank him for his time and generousness of information (explaining just how he achieved his unique effects) by taking an environmental portrait of him. And nothing makes a portrait more dramatic than really good light. :-) In this case I pulled out my wireless flash.
First I started with just a plain picture of him in his workshop using ambient light. (More for instructional purposes than anything else – this way you’ll be able to see a huge difference between “before” and “after”.)
Wireless Flash Talk Video
Feedback from people who have purchased my wireless flash talk video have been pretty positive. Get your copy now before my server gets hacked into again! http://www.friedmanarchives.com/wireless_flash/
This week will be spent updating the NEX 3 & 5 ebook to include details of the C3 and the 5N models. Then off to Malaysia for a few days and then I'll be diving right in to the A77 book, followed as closely as I can by the NEX 7 book. It's going to be an intense six months, folks! I hope to have both books finished by the end of first quarter 2012. Want to be notified of when they're finished? Just click on the links on the www.FriedmanArchives.com homepage.
Until next time,
Yours Truly, Gary Friedman