It happens more often than we think. History repeats itself. Things cycle back into fashion. What's old is new again. A couple of examples; vinyl records and Poloroid cameras. The popular Fuji Instax camera is a slight modification to the latter, but same principal. Instant pictures.
If you search Photography in the Apple App Store, you get 2,000+ results. Lots to choose from. Some great. Some not so much. One standout is Hipstamatic. Since winning Apples 1st App of the Year Award (circa 2009), it's been a gold star product. Constantly updated with new features and benefits (i.e. HipstaPaks).
I'm sure many photographers are already familiar with the app. However, anyone from the print film era will relish in the nostalgic lenses and film choices starting at $2.99.
By definition... Hipstamatic is a stylish iPhone camera app for taking unique images. You can obtain a vintage or retro appearing photo through a great selection of analog film, lens and flash effects. This allows you to turn the ordinary into extraordinary (I would be remiss if I didn't mention they were the original photo filter app and have pioneered the current square format so common to social media photography).
With so many features to choose from in the basic app, you'll never get bored. Should you reach the point of needing something new, there are plenty of add-on offerings. Some of the new Hipstapak's include; Capetown, Agra, Barcelona, Retro, Hanalei & Denali. Here you will find various styles to your liking with prices ranging from $0.99 to $5.99.
A friend recently told me, "New Is Boring." Yup... that about sums it up. Hipstamatic is here to stay. The Millennials have spoken! Having recently purchased more Hipstpaks myself, it's time for me to get busy!
For the record: I'm not paid by Hipstamatic, LLC to endorse their product. I'm just a raving fan!
Army and Navy got together for an afternoon of football this past Saturday @ Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. It was the 118th time the two institutions have played.
For 364 1/2 days of every year, the Army Black Knights and the Midshipman of Navy are brothers in arms. Ready to go into battle side-by-side to defend America's freedom. However, on the 1/2 day that falls every year on a Saturday in December, they prefer to pound each other into the turf. The perennial war cry of "Beat Army" or "Beat Navy" takes center stage.
This year was different as Army had snapped Navy's 15 year winning streak in 2016 and had something to prove. They would show it wasn't a fluke, but rather a changing of the guard. The pride & dignity of the Army West Point football program has never wavered and confidence was running wild. The world was going to watch them sing second again after 60 minutes of football. Two in a row... a new era.
There was almost as much pressure on winning this year as last. Luck had no factor in 2016 and the Cadets were out to prove their point.
The only major difference this year? Snow in the forecast. Some might argue this helps Army. However, if you think about it... both schools run a triple option offense. Thus, no real advantage to either program.
Surprisingly, the game was played with zero turnovers. Pretty remarkable... considering the 3-5 inches of snow that fell in the Philly area. Neither offense coughed up the ball. And, neither defense forced a turnover. A disciplined day of football.
It seemed fitting after 59 minutes of ground & pound or more appropriately, "3 yards and a cloud of fluff" a Navy field goal could win the game with seconds remaining. However, two penalties turned a fairly routine kick into an extremely difficult (and unlikely) 48 yard attempt.
The ball sailed just left of the uprights and the Army celebration began.
Army defeated Navy 14-13 to keep the streak alive... 2 and counting. Folks will remember this game for a long, long time... the weather, Army's white uniforms celebrating the famed 10th mountain division and of course the missed field goal.
Another year of Army/Navy football comes to a close. America's Game captivated a nation for one Saturday afternoon and another page was added to the glorious historic rivalry.
Next Saturday, December 9, Army & Navy will play for the 118th time in Philadelphia. The goal is the same every year. Win the game first and sing second. The latter is a key compliment to every victory. A trophy in itself. Singing at the top of your lungs while your sole is bursting with pride is a memory of a lifetime.
While this custom is fairly common for most colleges, it's always the case for military academy sporting events. Every game against Air Force and Navy has singing second on the line. It's tradition. You stand with each other at the end of the game to sing the alma mater of each academy. The winning team gets to sing second.
This years Army/Navy game has a special bonus. The Commander-In-Chief Trophy (CIC) is on the line. It's not common for the the last game of the year to decide the best military academy football team. It's only happened 7 other times. However, next Saturday the 175 pound trophy will be on the line at Lincoln Financial Field.
At a recent press conference, Army head coach, Jeff Monken, was asked about the CIC trophy. "Twenty one years" he stated with a soured face. "It would be a great thrill for this year's team and a great source of pride for the whole academy of Army to win that trophy again."
It never gets old.
Research indicates 42% of college graduates will never read another book after college. Also, 80% of households never purchased a book last year. Seriously? If this is true, I'm speechless. I'm not setting the reading world on fire, but I tend to read 1 or 2 books per month. They are usually of the non-fiction variety, different subjects, but tend to have an artistic bias.
There's so much to learn and not enough time! What's that old expression, 'Reading is fundamental'? I'm sure when I'm 70 years old one day, I'll be saying the same thing. In the meantime, let's get busy and discuss three great photo books.
Photography is a niche market... and a small market at that. Safe to say, I don't think I've ever seen a photo book on the New York Times best seller list or the Oprah Winfrey book club.
Should "O" ever call me to discuss my favorite photography books, I do have three I've read in 2017 worthy of conversation...
In no particular order, they are:
1. The Passionate Photographer by Steve Simon
2. Understanding Color in Photography by Bryan Peterson
3. Creative Visualization for Photographers by Rick Sammon
All books are brilliant in their own right and should be read multiple times. Unlike a novel, books with technical detail often require you to put the book down or go out and shoot a few frames to test a new idea. Reading them a 2nd time is often wise.
I've always been of the adage, if you can walk away with one or two great ideas, the book(s) was worth your time. These three (3) above will not disappoint. All the authors fill the pages with passion, commitment and expertise.
In this post, I'll focus on a Steve Simon philosophy. He feels a photographer shouldn't look at their images for weeks or months after an assignment. He feels the emotional bias should be removed from the images before the photographer takes an honest look at his/her images.
I'm not sure I've ever followed this concept before? However, over the last few months, I must admit, the principal has grown on me. Removing any bias from the moment, day or week the image was captured is enlightening. It's akin to an editor looking at your images. They don't give a hoot about the emotion, weather or challenges that may have existed. They simply want to see good quality pictures.
So, in recent days, I followed this logic. I went back and revisited both personal projects and travel images to review them with new, unbiased, fresh eyes. The images that caught my attention for one reason or another are included in this blog.
If you haven't tried this strategy in your review process, I'd encourage you to give it a go. It's truly a humbling process... in a good way! Cheers...
In his best selling book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," Stephen R. Covey was onto something when he added the last habit, 'Sharpen the Saw.' He succinctly states, "Habit #7 is taking the time to sharpen the saw. It surrounds the other habits on the Seven Habits paradigm because it is the habit that makes all the others possible.
When you consider some of the other habits include; Be Proactive and Begin with the End in Mind, this is a powerful statement.
As I sit here and watch game #1 of the ALCS playoffs between the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, I think of players getting into the cage before each game and taking their cuts. They play 162 games per year and and still practice before every game. There's not much time for getting rusty. Repetition, timing and rhythm though is everything.
Photography is very similar. It goes without saying that shooting everyday produces better results. You see things more clearly. Your artistic vision is improved. And, your timing is often better (especially in sports). Images just seem to come together. Baseball players often discuss slowing down the game. This allows them to increase their eye-mind-body coordination and enhance performance. As photographers, we're not trying to slow down a 99 mph fastball, but be more in the moment and in tune with our environment.
In recent years, I've made it a point to attend at least one educational endeavor per year. My version of batting practice. This can be a photo seminar, workshop, presentation or something similar. Regardless of your level of experience, putting yourself in this environment is stimulative. Life is an endless learning process and this keeps you in the game.
The National Geographic Workshop in Santa Fe got things started in 2015. A terrific 5 days of classroom education coupled with daily shooting was perfect. The Santa Fe vibe was spectacular and offered plenty of photo opportunities. If you could channel your inner Ansel Adams and/or Georgia O'Keeffe artistry, it was nearly impossible not to be inspired.
This year a different approach was taken. I ventured out to the mid-west for the Out of Chicago Conference. A multi-day event structured around seminars, lectures, and photo walks. A slightly different format from last year. Plenty of thought provoking seminars, topics and great camaraderie. Toss in the great City of Chicago and your photographic senses were kicked into overdrive.
With nothing booked as of yet for 2018, a little research awaits me. Not sure as of yet where my passion will take me? One thing is for sure, it will be enjoyable. Submersing yourself in something you love pays dividends. Speaking the same language with others for multiple days, forming new friendships, renewing existing ones and looking for your next image is all part of improving your craft.
t's time to check my schedule, google a few items and get things in order for 2019. Time to Sharpen the Saw once again...
The US Open 2017... Some old names reigned and some young guns emerged. Let's get to the action - more pictures, less words.
Until next year...
I'm not humbled by many things. As you age, you advance on the learning curve and many experiences start to fall under the 'been there, done that' banner. However, I must admit, to my surprise, I was humbled last week.
Arlington National Cemetery left me speechless.
A few extra days in Washington DC allowed me to play tourist. Going into Memorial Day weekend was a bonus. Mind you, this is not a celebratory event in our nations capital, but as told by numerous veterans, a day to remember those who gave their lives while serving our country.
So began my history lesson.
On my first day, I beat feet to the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, National World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and of course the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial.
I figured I'd save Arlington National Cemetery for the last day as I assumed the vast size would require more time.
Upon crossing the Arlington Memorial Bridge, I quickly realized my planning was correct.
Upon turning left and passing through the main entrance gate, a number of things are instantly brought to your attention: The vast size of the cemetery. The deafening silence. The rolling knolls. The thousands-upon-thousands of white tombstones (I'm told 400,000 are buried here). The symmetry of every row. Kennedy's eternal flame. And of course, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
It is a spectacular place.
While I've never served in the military, I have a tremendous appreciation for all the men & women who have served our great nation. Freedom comes at a price and I don't take any of my liberties for granted.
Silence and Respect.
Before Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman made a Bucket List a household phrase in 2007, many words conveyed the same concept. As a lifelong skier, I always had a Ski Wish List. It was even posted in my SUNY Buffalo dorm room for a few years. It always turned a few heads and inevitably led to interesting conversation.
Born in the month of January, some would say winter is in my my blood. It's certainly in my DNA. So much so, as a child I'd place a snowball in the freezer every year in search of an endless winter. Yup... true story.
My list was simple and to the point.
What did I want to do in my lifetime that involved the sport of skiing?
While things constantly get added (and crossed off), there has been a bedrock of ski goals since day 1. An annual ski pilgrimage has allowed me to whittle down the list over time. Some key ambitions over the decades have included...
1) Live in a ski resort 2) Ski as many days as possible in 1 calendar year (for the record... 150 remains my personal best!) 3) Teach skiing for a year or two 4) Jackson Hole, WY 5) Telluride, CO 6) Whistler/Blackcomb, BC, Canada 7) Lake Tahoe (Alpine, Squaw, Heavenly, etc.) 8) Ski/explore New Zealand 9) Heli-ski n the Bugaboos/Cariboos, Canada 10) Big Sky, MT 11) Ski/experience Chamonix, France 12) Stop getting frost bitten (i.e. older & wiser?) 13) Ski Corbits Couloir @ Jackson Hole 14) Ski in South America... Portillo, Chili 15)Alta/Snowbird, UT.
Having recently returned from a tremendous week of skiing in Chamonix, I'm pleased to say I can put a check mark next to lucky #11. It only took a few decades to complete the task. But, hey... good things take time! And, while it's never fair to compare one mountain vs another (every resort is unique). This one was special. Chamonix/Mt. Blanc can best be described as "Simply Majestic".
The size and scale of the area is remarkable. It's hard to verbalize and capture on film (sorry old habit... digital sensor). The pictures posted here were taken with my iPhone as I tend to leave the Big Boy camera @ home on ski trips. It's simply too challenging to carry skis, boots, a suitcase, backpack and a 2nd backpack of camera gear. This also provides a good excuse for going back at a later date solely for photographic endeavors.
Viva la Chamonix...