Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Day 7: Is there a Guinness Book of World Records for Digital Photography?

And welcome to day 4. On Saturday, Oscar from Sol Performance organized a test shoot for automobile owners who wanted to see their wheel appear in a car magazine. Lots of cool cars showed up and --SURPRISE, SURPISE-- so did a Deputy Sheriff. Yes, we were on private property; yes, we had permission; and no weren't doing anything but taking pictures, but anything that involves young people (not me) attracts the law, no matter what they are doing. I am posting images at http://farace.smugmug.com/gallery/309054/1/12291508. There’s not many pictures there right now but I’ll add some later. The cars that showed up were awesome. Thanks, Oscar

On Day 5, I trekked up to Ft Collins for the Holiday Open House sponsored by the Colorado Artisans Models & Photographers aka CAMP for a model shoot. The event was run by Dawn & John Clifford and was the best group photo shoot that I ever attended. Ever!

Day 6 was a road running day. Starting in Denver to watch and photograph a 1991 Nissan Skyline hit 868hp on a dynamometer. Then it was off to Red Rocks Park to photograph the car for a Canadian car magazine. Some of the images were made against the Rocks, while others were made while someone drove my GTI 337 around some of the twisty road in the park, while I hung out the window taking pictures. (Kids, please don’t try this at home.) You can see one photo here. http://farace.smugmug.com/photos/12422250-L.jpg

All in all, it looks like I shot more than 20GB of images. How many pictures is that? I don’t know, and some were obviously not worth saving, but there were a few I really liked.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Day 3: Deck them Halls, and all that jazz.

Dear Santa:

I have been trying to be good this year so that you would bring me lots of presents for Christmas, but I haven't always been successful. A 30mm lens for my Xpan should fit in my stocking; but I could borrow Aunt Bertha’s pantyhose of if you can find space for an EF 70-200 IS f/2.8 zoom lens.

On a personal note: Mary’s been especially good this year and deserves lots of gifts. Today her follow-up mammogram and x-rays showed that she is clear of the cancer that invaded her body in November 2003. It is truly a happy day for both of us and this Christmas will definitely be one to celebrate compared to last year’s. If you like, you can slip something with precious gemstones into her stocking but I’ve already finished my Christmas shopping for her.

Your biggest fan,

Joe

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Day 2: It’s a Time for Thanks

Sometimes we get so involved in our own insular world that we think everything revolves around us and if some minor incident comes along that creates a little problem it gets magnified into a tragedy. That’s been happening on in my own little inner world this week

This blog is a way of helping me get past these “speed bumps” on the road of life by sharing what’s good about the world and the people in it, instead of just complaining. There will always be petty people who enjoy inflicting pain and anguish on others, for whatever reasons, but most of us do the best we can every day and try to do the right thing. For that, I’m thankful.

I most thankful that my wife Mary is doing well after she was diagnosed with breast cancer on 12/17/03. Since then she has gone through several surgeries, a chemotherapy regimen that there’s no way to put a positive spin on, and radiation therapy with a team of people she so loved that she photographed after the treatment was finished. You can see their portrait here. (http://mfarace.smugmug.com/photos/10722453-L.jpg) This year on Dec 17th, we’re going to dinner to celebrate life.

Yesterday she had her first mammogram after completing radiation therapy and everything looks “clear.” We’re both thankful for that good news. Mary is the love of my life and the singular most unselfish person I’ve ever met. I can’t imagine life without her.

Photography is a big crazy business populated with some larger-than-life personalities along with many kind people that have helped me achieve whatever success I’ve had. The late Fred Schmidt and the effervescent Elinor Stecker-Orel brought me into Photomethods magazine more than 20 years ago when I didn’t know what an adverb was. (I still don’t know) and in doing so launched a writing career that continues to this day.

The phantasmagoric Rick Sammon introduced me to the world of photographic workshops, were I got to meet talented photographers like National Geographic’s Sarah Lee, who shared breakfast and delightful conversation with me at FOTOfusion in Florida and nature photographer extraordinaire Darrell Gulin who I met in the wilds of Montana.

There are so many wonderful photographers I’ve met over the years that I couldn’t list all of them, but here’s a few for now: I’ve enjoyed the time spent hanging out and taking pictures with my buddy, photojournalist Barry Staver and occasionally his talented son Matthew Staver.

On the hardware side of the business, there are lots of great people too, like Adorama retailer Jerry Deutsch; Mark Tahmin the “T” in RTS, camera bag manufacturer Paul Peregrine, who’s been a friend for 20 years; and that one true inventive genius in the photographic industry Gary Regester. Canon camera’s Deb Szajngarten and Roberto LeBron who took me behind the scenes and into the pits of the Audi Racing Team at Laguna Seca.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Day 1: Holiday Thoughts for Photographers

Last year, I received a letter from a reader who was concerned about the future of photography. Here’s what she said and my reply.

Joe,

I love photography and have traveled the world taking pictures as a photo buff in the past, but since 9-11, I just feel there is no future in taking pictures anymore. I can not travel the world as an American without concern for my safety and I personally feel in the not so far future we will all be living in caves once again with all systems gone, therefore, once my camera became inoperable, I just did not bother to have it repaired or to purchase an new one. Sorry, but maybe others are in the same mind set.

Thanks for listening.
Patricia


Dear Patricia:
Thanks for sharing your views. I’m sure many photographers share your concerns for safety and a sense of loss since September 11th but I don’t and here’s why.

I was only a baby on December 7, 1941, but I am sure there were similar feelings aroused by that tragedy, but our nation struggled on from that “date which will live in infamy” to orbit the earth, discover a cure for polio—a crippling scourge that was a plague when I was young, land on the moon and aim for the stars. Oh sure, there are ongoing tragedies, including humankind’s seeming intolerance of one another’s political and religious beliefs, plagues such as AIDS, and the latest school or office place murders that never seem far out of the headlines even at this time of year.

Avoid moving into a cave, like our ancestors did, but think about this. What did early humans do when there was no Habitat for Humanity to help them own a home? They moved into caves and created images of their world on their walls using the tools at hand. Our tools at hand are silver and silicone and we can use them to change the world one person at a time.

Volunteer your camera at a homeless or battered woman’s shelter to make pictures of their kids and family. Go to retirement homes and make portraits of senior citizens they can share with their family and friends. Document farmers at work harvesting wheat, fireman washing their trucks, and the letter carrier or UPS delivery person bringing packages. Build a website that celebrated the goodness found in the world; not the evil, not the terror.

The most precious gift anybody can give is pictures of the people they love. Photograph your kids; make portraits of your mom, dad, or grandparents while they are still here so these images can be shared with future generations. Have your own portrait made and framed and give it to a loved one; they will cherish it. Never, never forget that photography is a universal language and use it to make friends for all humankind.

Yes, Patricia, there is life after September 11th, there are fifty states of people burgeoning with life and hope for a better future for their kids and grandchildren.. Photograph them to celebrate all that is good about the world.

Hopeful of the future,

Joe