New Venture

I am helping a good friend of mine, Chris Gooley, market his software Photocore. It is an online database for people to store their images and search their images. They can give access to clients and friends through passwords and keep records of who visits their website and what they see and download.

We are in the beta versions of the software now and you can see it by going to my website and clicking on . We hope to have this were you can license your images 24/7 365 days a year while you do your own thing. People can log on agree to a license and pay you for using your images.

Another function will be to order prints online. These two functions will help photographers turn their images which normally sit on their computer or in a drawer into profits.

I am going to be presenting this software to companies and individuals. If you would like a personal demonstration give me a call. Believe me PhotoCore is the most efficient way for photographers and agencies to catalogue and search their images from any where in the world.

Just what’s in the viewfinder

On my last trip abroad to Haiti I realized not knowing the language keeps me focused on just looking for images. This is great in many respects because I am trying to understand what is going on by watching visual cues and listening to the tone in people’s voices.
Since I do not really have language to clue me in about what is taking place, I am really more focused on what I should have been doing for years. I am seeing the situation my viewers will be seeing it. They cannot hear the conversations through the printed pages or on the web.
I spent a lot of time looking for interesting visuals because I had no idea what they were saying. I would smile and nod to those who I made eye contact with. Amazing how close I felt to people when I couldn’t talk to them.
This has helped to remind me the audience cannot hear and pick up on what is going on in a still image. I must really look for those moments which communicate visually intimate moments which bring the viewer closer. Photos get better when I realize I must concentrate on what is in the viewfinder. Sure understanding what is going on can help me anticipate better, but the end results still must be what is in the frame of the viewfinder.

Team Photos

Nikon D2X, Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 100, ƒ/16, 1/200

There are many ways to approach team photos for posters. For Georgia Tech’s football team the theme for the 2006 year is “Take Your Best Shot.” We made the photos at a boxing gym. What really made the photo was the players getting into the concept.

I have always thought people look their best with pleasant expressions or smiles in portraits. However, getting male athletes to smile has proven difficult in the past years. They all want to look tough and having an attitude like we see on MTV.

We embraced their attitude and what they want to portray about themselves in this photo. I think it works because it is a peak into their dreams.

Nikon D2X, Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 100, ƒ/14, 1/8

Women athletes smile much more than their male counterparts. They enjoy being the princess or queen for the day. Here they are on top of Atlanta with the Skyline behind them. It is like the last photo of the Disney movies where the Prince and Princess ride off into their kingdom. Their kingdom is Atlanta in this photo.

Cades Cove – Personal Retreat

Knolan Benfield, my uncle and professional photographer, and I took a few days to do what we love to do—photograph wildlife in Cades Cove.
“It is great to take time like this to put all those years of honing your craft to make a living and then spend some time shooting for yourself like this,” Knolan commented just before we finished our time in the Great Smoky National Park this past week.
When I first picked up the camera I shot for myself and it was a lot of fun. I then pursued this as a career. Over the years I knew I could do a better job, so I continued to go the workshops, seminars, read books and did a lot of self assignment tests to sharpen my skills.
It had been a while since I spent time photographing nature like this—back when all I shot was film. I would shoot and then look at the back of the camera, evaluating the image. I would pull up the histogram and look to see if it could be improved. We played with different white balance settings to see the outcomes of our efforts.
We just had fun.
Only another photographer would put up with all of our long shoots with 1 deer and a tripod. Most of our friends would think “haven’t you got enough already?”
What I noticed the most was the memories in my mind of conversations, bears we saw that turned and went in the woods before we could get our camera up and funny moments rejuvenate the soul.
I hope I do not take as long between this adventure and the next time I just shoot for myself.

West Africa

In October last year I had the rare opportunity to go to West Africa for three weeks. The people of West Africa were so kind and wonderful. Here is a Foulani boy who is watching the families herd of cattle. Marlboro has given many of the Foulani herdsmen hats like this one being worn by the boy.
Earlier the children learn to carry things on their heads. The posture of the people is incredible.

Since they do not have sugar in their diets like Americans, their teeth are in better condition.