Friday, December 2, 2011

My search for a Point-and-Shoot

Also in this issue:
  • Evolution of the Seminars
  • A Parting Shot

My Search for a Point-and-Shoot

I carry a point-and-shoot with me almost all the time.  My motto is "the camera you have with you is infinitely more valuable than the big, expensive one you left home because you didn't want to schlep it around."  And last May my ancient and pocketable Sony DSC-T10 died.  Well, not so much as died as the optical stabilization mechanism went haywire and it was oscillating full-tilt all the time.  (Actually I took advantage of it to get some neat nighttime images like the one above.)  Time to re-acquaint myself with the current offerings and spend way more time than I have trying to select one that's good for my needs.

But what are my needs?  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Homeless for Five Years

Imagine getting on a plane to go to a foreign land with only a few dollars in your pocket, no particular plan, no place to stay, no place to return to, and because you’re on a tourist visa, no way to work legally.  Now imagine doing that and criss-crossing the U.S. while being officially homeless and jobless for three years.  These two sisters, age 25 and 28, have been living that life.  Coming to America in November 2008, they’ve been having no shortage of adventures across the U.S. and seem to take their entire transitory lifestyle in stride.  It's a pretty amazing story.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ayn Rand Portrait Bust - How I took this cover of The Objective Standard

Also in this issue:
  • My favorite Android App
  • Ebook updates
  • A tribute to our cat
Ayn Rand's Portrait Bust Photo

This is a portrait bust of Ayn Rand, an American novelist and philosopher best known for her books "The Fountainhead" and “Atlas Shurgged”.  It was sculpted by Sandra Shaw, an incredibly talented artist, scholar and teacher, and I had the honor and privilege of photographing her work, which made the cover of The Objective Standard.  And while it was a fun picture to take, the process of setting up the shot was anything but easy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

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...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Where the anti-JPG bias came from...

Also in this issue:
  • Stories from New Scotland
  • Manual Exposure for Alpha 33 / Alpha 55's Video 
  • Ebook for the A560 / A580 now available in Spanish! 
Where the Anti-JPG Bias Came From

I don't want to add to the RAW vs. JPG religious debate.  But I thought it would be useful to reveal just where the huge industry-wide anti-JPG bias came from.  Have a look at this picture I took in 2001 using a very early digital camera:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cybercrime Pays!

[Disclaimer: This has nothing at all to do with photography.  But it's certainly relevant to anyone who conducts business online. -GF]

Once upon a time I was a regular speaker for high school career day.  Back then, I was a NASA guy and I was able to establish instant credibility by talking about my job and showing them the device I made that got me into the Guinness Book of World Records (a big deal when you’re in high school).  After the introductions, I would start out telling everyone to make a paper airplane, but not to test it.

“So now you’re in charge of the Federal Aviation Administration and your job is to certify that the plane is safe to fly”.  This caused cognitive dissonance in my audience, since I specifically instructed them not to test their airplanes.  “How can we certify that they’re flightworthy if we can’t even test them?”

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wireless Flash saves RBL – Again

“This photo makes me want to buy life insurance or something” - Friedman Archives Facebook Fan

Also in this issue:
  • Stories from the Field Workshop
  • Wireless Flash Video and Spanish A33 / A55 book now available!
  • Updates to existing ebooks
  • Photo Blogs of note

Monday, May 16, 2011

Malaysia Part 2

Also in this issue:
  • O Canada!  (and O Boston!)
  • Two New Products (and one revised one)
  • DRM Conundrum - Part 2 
  • More insights from the Sony team
Last month I spoke about my romp to Malaysia, and that although I was there for a week, I only had ONE DAY to actually go out shooting and try to capture a visual taste of this large and widely differing country in a photojournalistic style.  How can you possibly capture the essence of a country in just one day?  Even more challenging, how can you do it “National Geographic Style”, where photographers often spend months in a country, getting to know it and visiting a gazillion nooks and crannies?  Let me share with you some of the techniques I used to try to tackle this difficult challenge.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Malaysia - Part 1

Alpha 55, HDR level 4, handheld.  I love this camera!

I’m writing this blog entry on the plane back from Malaysia (which in itself is remarkable – I remember a time when there was enough room to use a laptop in coach.)  And the trip was a blast!  There’s so much to share, in fact, that I’m going to split this across two different blog posts.  This week will talk about the event at which I was speaking; next week I’ll talk about some of the stories behind the Malaysia shots that ended up on the website.

What was I doing on this trip?  I was invited by Sony Malaysia to speak at the Sony Alpha Convention 2011, held at the ritzy Kuala Lumpur Convention Center.  The event was pretty lavish – one entire convention center hall housed a lecture stage, several performance areas, and lots of Sony’s products were on hand for people to try – including some of the more exotic equipment like the 70-400 G lens mounted on an A900.  The 3-day event had continuous lectures by 21 guest photographers.  I have to say I’ve attended many such corporate events in my day and I was very impressed by what Sony had done here.  You can get a feel for the event from Sony’s own video from the event here:  and a longer version here: 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shooting for Yoga and Wedding Horror Stories

In this issue:

  • Shooting for Yoga
  • The Sony Alpha 33 and 55 book is out!
  • Seminar update (Boston, Lethbridge, and Ottawa open for registration!)
  • A week in Armenia?
  • Wedding Photography horror stories
Shooting for Yoga

It’s always nice to see your work appear commercially.  Last year I was asked by Ida Unger, an amazing Iyengar yoga instructor, to take photographs for a very interesting project she was working on – a poster and forthcoming book connecting two of her spiritual worlds, Yoga and Kabbalah (ancient Jewish mysticism).  The assignment was to take hi-res pictures of her in yoga poses which correlated with the shapes of Hebrew letters.  You can see the first fruits of this effort in the poster image above.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Top 10 Most-Licensed Images

Also in this Issue:
  • An unexpected seminar in Malaysia
  • Best Gloves for Winter Shooting
  • (It's a short issue, folks!)

Top 10 Most-Licensed Images
Funny thing about stock photography.  You just never know what's going to sell.  Oh, you could guess - but you'd be wrong!!!  Here are my Top 10 most-licensed images of all time - the majority of which I would not consider to be my best work:

Image #10: LAX Theme Building

The iconic building at the Los Angeles International Airport; designed in the 1960's when everyone was optimistic about the future.  The building was covered with scaffolding for years during a renovation, and so this "clean" image was quite sought after.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How I took these Pregnancy Shots (and other stories)

I’m writing this blog post from Boston, where we’re expecting the arrival of Grandchild #3.  And of course we expect to take family portraits immediately afterward, so I packed a very portable studio with me (which I’ll detail below).

And of course we took a few token full pregnancy shots, but I really wanted to do something a little different.  Like the shot above, which I had never tried before.  And it took me a few tries to get it right.  Here are all of my mistakes in getting there, in glorious color.