Two More "Acid Queen" images from last night's dress rehearsal and a bit about post processes.

I know I probably shoot too much but big, splashy, fun theater productions have so many things going on that you could shoot thousands of images and not scratch the surface. I was back at the theater last night with three cameras in tow. I had the Panasonic GH4 with the 35-100mm f2.8 X lens, a Panasonic GH3 sporting the 12-35mm f2.8 X lens and the nnew-ish (to me) Olympus EM-5 which cycled between two lenses, the Olympus Pen F 40mm f1.4 and the 60mm f1.5. Right off the bat I'll tell you that I had more fun shooting on Sunday because I had time to really play around with the 150mm f4 Olympus PenF lens and I feel like I was starting to get some really great images with the combination of that lens and the EM-5 body.

I recently took myself to task for shooting in much too cavalier a fashion. I've been defaulting to Jpegs any time I have to shoot a lot of images for a project on the premise that shooting raw would be too constricting and the output would take up too much disk space. I rationalized that, for most web based applications even Jpegs would be overkill. But then I did some comparisons and found that even with a modicum of extra effort I really can squeeze a better file out of a raw file. So I chastened myself severely and got with the raw program. It was such a dumb-ass move to make right before a high volume, dress rehearsal shoot for the folks at Zach Theatre...

Between the three cameras, the great music at Tommy, the incredible stage designs and the choreography I ended up shooting about 1500 images. Now, that's not as crazy as it sounds. I know that the rest of you have the uncanny ability to decide that this moment, right here, right now, this particular expression will be the ultimate one in a scene. You wait like a scorpion with your tail raised and somehow you know just when all the elements come together and then you strike! I'm sure it's a thing of beauty. How you know with certainty that the moment you've captured is the ultimate one is beyond my mortal ken. How you keep your finger off the shutter release for all the subsequent expressions, dance moves, light changes and combinations of actors is beyond my understanding. I am not even worthy to operate with the same tools as thou.....

But the pedestrian way that I shoot events is more lumbering and cautious. I try to grab good looking moments early (in case they are all that's on offer) and then keep them as safeties as I keep looking for the better and better shots. And I'll tell you a dirty little secret: I don't know how to create a hierarchy of value when it comes to emotional expressions or an exchange of expressions between two actors. Is this expression better than that one? How can I know if the marketing people will have a different of ideas of what constitutes "good" than I my set? Etc. Etc. And it's good to remember that the changing body positions and expressions are all happening while lights are changing intensity and color and moving, and while other actors move through the space, shifting the visual balance.

So, I thought I was doing well to get away with only 1500 total images. Which I valiantly edited down to 1379 images. I felt duty bound to delete images in which the principal actors had their eyes closed or those rare circumstances (gulp!) where I actually missed focus. There were, at most eight or ten variations in some scenes and as a few as two or three shots in others.

Last night I got home after the show and loaded all the raw files onto a fast 7200 rpm, firewire 800 hard drive and went to bed with the computer happily building image profiles in Lightroom 5.5. After swim practice and breakfast this morning I sat down at the computer and began the edit process. I was very happy to be able to apply just the right noise reduction to all the files at the very beginning. I found a formula that banished the (not unpleasant) tiny black dots that show up at 100% when shooting at ISO 1600. Wanna know a terrible secret? The raw files from the GH cameras and the EM-5 showed pretty much exactly the same kind and amount of noise and they all responded to the same basic noise reduction settings! That magnificent Oly color and low noise? Shared almost exactly with the Panasonic when you take time to process each to their optimum end.

But here's where the trouble started. I edited every image or group of images and then I set up the export menu and hit the button to begin batch processing the files. The progress bar looked like it was going in 10X slow motion. I looked in the "finished" folder, did a little calculation and was shocked to find that the computer I was working on would take the better part of 3.45 hours to complete the task. To output the files I needed to deliver.  This was a problem because the day after the dress rehearsal is the day the marketing crew wants to sit down and plow through the images, make their selections and get digital press packets out to the media all over the place. We usually deliver images around 11:00 or, at the latest, noon.

Well, there was no button on the computer for "faster" so let it roll while I ran errands, got lunch and then came back just as the last eight files fell into place. Now the job is done but I'm left with four future options: Shoot less, Stay up all night processing, get a much faster computer, or go back to shooting large, fine Jpegs. The problem is that once you step up the quality it's hard to regress. The next problem is that I don't want to be groggy for my swim so I'm not staying up all night.  The "shooting less" thing is silly because it limits my options. Guess it's time for a new computer.

This is the downside of assignment photography; it's always easier than it should be to justify new gear...but really, it's time to retire my blueberry ibook and try something made in this century.

(to my literal minded readers: The reference to the blueberry ibook is a joke. I own one but I have newer machines that we actually use...).


Does your insistence on using the same camera for years at a time hamper your artistic growth? How do you know?

I'm reading a book called, Letting Go of The Camera, by Brooks Jensen. The book is a series of essays by the editor of LensWorks. One of the many great essays in the book talks about the time that Jensen, who had used a 4x5 inch, film, view camera exclusively for over 20 years, finally bought a 35mm type digital camera. He describes the incredible sense of freedom and visual agility he instantly gained because he no longer was constrained to shooting carefully constructed images, on a tripod, requiring long set up times and motionless subjects. The transition helped him to realize that we all tend to be limited by the boundaries imposed by our habits. It's an example of the old saw that goes, "If all you have is a hammer everything starts to look like a nail." 

The main point of his essay is that working with the same tools all the time trains you to find subjects and ways of shooting that convenience or leverage the strengths of the camera and not your unique vision. Another essay talks about the difference between reprising your greatest hits over and over again or finishing with a creative vein of work and moving on to another, different way of seeing. There are photographers who have early "hits" and the approval of their fans, coupled with their basic insecurities, conspire to manipulate the photographer into basically doing the same kind of (popular) images over and over again. It's what their current audience expects and the act of disappointing the people who validate their vision is too frightening to consider for some. Their growth as artists comes to a halt.

But the great artists need to keep moving forward---like sharks---or they stop being creative and become greatest hit xerox machines. I think it's instructive for people to move outside their creative comfort zones as often as possible. Jensen mentions Joni Mitchell and John Paul Caponigro as examples of two artists who are constantly re-inventing their art and their subject matter. And he writes about their constant artistic growth.  The very act of looking at something through different frames may unleash a wonderful new way of seeing and sharing. And the very act of casting your vision onto a totally new subject matter can change everything.

In my career I've experimented with everything from 8x10 inch view cameras to Pen F half frame film cameras. Every time I pick up a new camera it seems to change the way I approach my photography. The acceptance of new boundaries keeps my eye and my art fresher. 

 I was perplexed recently when a very good friend who is also a very good photographer told me that my work looks the same to him no matter what camera I use. We discussed it and what we came up with is that when your work resonates across formats you've hit your innate style. Style seems separate from curiosity or vision or creativity. Style feels more like how you put your pants on in the morning or how you tie your shoes.  It only speaks to how your mind and eyes see ingest the subjects that interest you, not in the way that the a particular camera helps to shape the way you share them.  

I suggest changing cameras. I like to change cameras.  Actually, that's an understatement. Most VSL readers would say I change cameras as often as most people change air conditioning filters. That may be so but it keeps me interested because it makes me work in different ways. And then I can always brag about my real achievement as a photographer===I've figured out the nuances of the Olympus menu.

Chaotic Frame. Fun Frame.

 no clue what it all means. It just looked so layered and at the same time menacing through the camera that I wanted to have the image. Olympus EM-5 and Olympus Pen F 150.  From: Tommy, at Zach Theatre.

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We'll both be happy you did!

Another set of images from the Olympus EM-5+Olympus PenF 150. Acid Queen.

 l love the energy this actor puts into her role. Amazing. 

Guilty admission: I posted the bottom image even though I know I missed focus by just a bit. If you look at the mesh near her ear you'll see that the lens is "satisfyingly" sharp but I missed the eyes by an inch or so. Goes along with the long lens-low accutance viewfinder-manual focus-f4 aperture and moving actors on stage....   Why would I post a shot that just missed being perfect? Because I think the energy and the overall emotional power of the shot trumps the technical miss. 

I know how to make the sharpest photos in the world. Given time, a medium format camera, some really fast duration Broncolor or Profoto studio electronic flash, a model in a fixed position, a $10,000 lens stopped down to f11, etc. etc. etc. But if you aren't going to do that (and who's going to wait for you to get it all assembled and ready?) and you are shooting on the fly shouldn't the "look" trump having all the boxes checked?

Techno stuff: Olympus EM-5, Olympus PenF 150mm f4, stage lighting. Wide open, ISO 1600. From a raw file.

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Testing, testing. How good is that old 150mm f4 Olympus Pen F lens?

Meredith as Tommy's Mom in the Zach Theatre Production of Tommy (The Who). 

I know it's not just me. I think a lot of photographers have boundless curiosity when it comes to the way different lenses look on cameras. We talk about sensors a lot but so much of the look and feel in an image comes from the lens on the front of the camera. While we have the general belief that newer, computer designed and computer controlled manufacturing has led, inexorably, to the creation of lenses that are much, much better than those from decades ago the reality is that precision manufacturing, tight adherence to tolerances and the right supporting materials are at least as important as the latest designs. A great lens design in a plastic barrel with lots of tolerance for geometric slop may be light years behind a classically designed and produced lens system ensconced in a metal assembly and hand calibrated for best performance.

At some point the whole discussion about old versus new devolves under its own weight but there's an aesthetic component that has more value. The real question what is the end result of the interplay between a given lens and film or sensors. One of my favorite lenses is the Nikon 105mm defocus coupling lens. It introduces spherical aberrations to create a system allowing the curved plane of projection on the sides of an image to be in front or behind the actual plane of sharp focus. The sides can be out of focus in front or behind the center for aesthetic reasons. How strange that must seem to all  the people's whose shallow view of lens quality is just how uniform sharpness is across the entire frame....

But that's just my digression for today. The reason I brought it all up is that last night I was shooting some images of a rehearsal. I'm shooting the actual rehearsal on Tues. so last night was more like a scouting visit to the theater. I wanted to see what the lighting was all about and how frenetic the production of Tommy would be. Since I didn't have to guarantee a perfect set of images, or any images at all, it freed me up to test an old lens I've been circling around to every once in a while. It's the 150mm f4.0 Olympus PenF lens from the late 1960's and early 1970's.  I used it on the little Olympus EM-5 with an inexpensive Fotodiox branded adapter. 

When I shoot theater I tend to use the cameras in the manual exposure mode. I set the ISO at 1600 and tried to maintain a minimum shutter speed above 1/200th of a second. These two shots are from the same frame. The one above is the full frame while the shot just below is a 100% crop. I did apply just a tad of noise reduction in Lightroom 5.0 to take the edge off. I accounts for the smoother skin tone in the bottom image. 

I was pretty impressed by the performance of this ancient lens, especially so since I was using it at it's maximum aperture. I can only think that if I had enough light to go to f5.6 or f8.0 the results would be even more impressive. When I look at the sharp eyelashes I marvel at the camera's ability to stabilize this long lens as well as my own ability to handhold it and to sharply focus it on a moving target, on a dark stage. 

The EM-5 is pretty darn good, noise and tonality-wise at ISO 1600. It's just about exactly as good as the GH4 under the same conditions. How do I know? Well, I shot them side by side last night. The GH4 got the easier job because it was coupled to the Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8 which is very sharp even wide open and it one stop faster than its 30 year old cousin. 

I have used adapters to try a range of different brands of lenses on the m4:3rds cameras but for some reason the hand selected Pen F lenses do the best job of any of the legacy lenses I've tried. Better than the Nikon manual focus lenses and better than my motley selection of aging Leica lenses. I think it's because the Pen F lenses were originally designed for very high resolution because their target was a half frame piece of film. The lens developers at Olympus knew they would have to give the smaller pieces of film every advantage they could and that meant optimizing the lens performance to render tiny detail well. It's probably the same thing the designers at Panasonic and Olympus do with m4:3 designs today. 

I am always interested in how a particular lens imparts a certain "feel" or look to an image. I just thought I'd share this little test....

Need some action and adventure in your Summer? Try the photo novel of the Summer: 

We'll both be happy you did!

For a guy who yammers on about "practice" I sure am out of practice...

an image from an annual report shoot several years ago. we used to go out more often with tons of gear poised over both shoulders and a cart in tow. do it every day and it becomes routine. hoist the bags too rarely and when you do get a job that involves portage you suffer.

WORK IS A CRUEL BITCH. It robs you of the time you deserve to spend shopping for fun, new cameras, taking naps and having coffee with friends who are as indolent as yourself.

I've been doing a lot of work lately that goes like this: Assistant (Ben) shows up and helps pack gear into cases and then into the car. We arrive at some high technology company headquarters or advertising location and Assistant helps load all the junk onto a stout cart and helps navigate to the elevators and onward to the final location. Assistant and photographer set up and usually spend a fun, happy, coffee filled and engaging morning or afternoon making portraits, or shooting products, or making photographs of people using their products. Then Assistant and I load everything back into the cases, return to the studio and I head to the computer while Assistant unloads car, then cases.

In previous times the business was more heavily weighted to two kinds of imaging that required more "big bag on shoulder" work. The image above was just one of six taken on six locations throughout a long day. Most of the locations were not the kinds that you could drive a car right up next to, hop out and work out of the hatchback. A job like the one above might require a quarter mile trek through some gravel and some mud (which always precluded the use of a cart). I'd put the camera bag, laden with all those too heavy, full frame or APS-C cameras and their huge lenses and assorted battery powered flashes, over one shoulder put the 18 pound Elinchrom Ranger RX AS pack over the other shoulder and grab a stand with a flash head and modifier to carry in my hands. Then we'd traipse off into the heat and find a great spot to in which to shoot.

The other type of carry it all around with you job is the corporate showcase or event. Imagine a sprawling convention center with half a million square feet of space, a client break out room or demo area or main tent speaker session at every end of the building and on every floor of the space---and events happening continually. I used to do these with a big Domke camera bag over one shoulder that held multiple, big, fat cameras, the usual holy trinity  of lenses (wide zoom, normal zoom, telephoto zoom), several flashes and lots of batteries. Most of the time you never put the bag down. You were shooting and then moving on to the next spectacle continually from the time you arrived (before dawn) till the last of the proscribed and required social functions; well past 10  pm.

If you were wise at all you'd switch the bag from shoulder to shoulder to try to even out the abuse.

But, as I wrote above, the work I'm doing these days requires more carting (too much studio type gear) and much less camera bagging. So I was rudely surprised at the end of the day yesterday when my left shoulder hurt, my left forearm was sore and my lower back was flashing the "if you do much more I'm going to punish you!!" symptoms.  I'd spent all day shooting. And for five hours of it I walked around with the heavy camera bag and too much stuff hanging over my left shoulder.

Here's the sneaky thing about all those super small and lightweight micro four thirds cameras: They take up less space so you can take more. I knew I'd be shooting with the Panasonic GH cameras because part of one shoot was video. But I also wanted to drag along the EM-5 with me to do some comparison shooting for an upcoming GH4 review. But of course any time my brain is in the testing mode you know that additional boutique-y, prime lenses and legacy mania optics are also coming along for the ride. Ben and I shot at the museum (he carried the bag full of flashes and LED panels as well as the light stands, the tripod and the clipboard with model releases) from 11:00 am till about 5 pm and then we headed home. I dropped him off, picked up different gear and more batteries and headed to Zach Theatre for an evening of rehearsal shooting, also with the comparative camera combos.

One of the things I was testing is Oly Jpeg files versus GH4 Jpegs. Not really a gnat's whisker difference in overall quality if you know how to set up the menus. The real fun part of the evening was working with the IBIS in the EM-5 along with an ancient Pen F 150mm f4 lens from the early 1970's. Amazing what you could do with that stuff if you actually got it in focus and stabilized.

At any rate, when I woke up this morning I was sore. Some of that could be three days in a row of 1.5 hour, holiday swim practices but the left shoulder and lower back can only be credited to being out of shape with the bag.

Other than reconstituting the type of jobs I'm searching for (and accepting the painful ones)  I don't know how to maintain that kind of conditioning. It would be too goofy to go for long walks with big camera bags. But there it is.

I know enough now to at least pawn off half the load to my Assistant. As I become less excited about dragging bags around maybe I'll just have to start surrounding myself with an entire assistant entourage. Naw...who am I kidding? I'm too cheap to feed more than one assistant per job...

At some point I guess every photographer has to come to grips with the fact that what you could carry through the day in your thirties changes when you hit your fifties. Doesn't make it any more palatable.

Need some action and adventure in your Summer? Try the photo novel of the Summer: 

We'll both be happy you did!


A quick discussion about camera batteries.

I bought an Olympus EM-5 a few days ago and I decided that I wanted to use if for one of the two projects I'll be shooting tomorrow. Love working on Sundays---it gives me a jump on the week.  So I started putting together a shooting kit for the two different jobs this morning and I hit the wall. I am so conditioned to taking back up batteries for every camera that I couldn't get mentally around the impediment imposed by having on a single battery for the EM-5. But I am hard headed and I really wanted to use it so I went online to see how much Olympus batteries cost. I was shocked to find that this tiny rectangle of plastic and lithium ion runs about $55.

I was on Amazon so I went ahead and checked for OEM batteries and I found a brand I've used before in several different cameras, Wasabi Power. The offer two batteries and a charger for just $23 dollars but Amazon can't get it here (at a reasonable shipping cost) before Monday, which does nothing for my compulsive desire to use the camera tomorrow (Sunday). I ordered the Wasabi Power batteries on the assumption that one day I'll want to take the EM-5 on a shooting trip or prolific shooting assignment and I'll want multiple batteries so I don't have to worry about on the job charging.

Then I got in my little car and headed to Precision Camera to pony up the full $55 for the Olympus brand battery. Which they did have in stock. Need an excuse to love your local bricks and mortar camera store? How about that the battery was a twenty minute drive away today. And its brother or sister will be there tomorrow if I need another one right away?

I needed to head out there anyway for some white seamless paper but we don't need to talk about that yet because it's a job for another day...

I got my battery and I charged it. Now it's in the camera grip. My compulsive nature is taking a rest.

But my consumer brain wants to know why the name brand batteries are cost a tenth of the price of a new camera. Why? And why are the people at Wasabi (and I assume countless other battery re-namers) able to deliver a battery with the same level of performance for 1/4th the price of the Olympus batteries?

And it's not just Olympus, I see the same differential with Panasonic and Sony too. I guess, with the diminishing market for actual cameras they have to make up margins somewhere else.

I'm not that happy about tiny, $55 batteries. But, on the other hand, I am happy to have the battery in the camera and ready for work... I guess it's all a mysterious trade-off.

Need some action and adventure in your Summer? Try the photo novel of the Summer: 

We'll both be happy you did!


Man buys obsolete camera after saying he "probably will" buy the camera nearly two years ago. The same, exact camera, not just the same model...

I used to have too many cameras and then I got rid
of a whole bunch of them and I felt a little naked
even though I had the three cameras I needed so I bought 
one more that does something a little different from 
the other three. Sue me. 

My friend, Frank, bought this camera (above= Olympus em-5) in May of 2012---about a week after the camera officially launched into stores. He didn't fool around either. He bought the battery grip right up front. We met for coffee so I could fondle the camera and see just how cool it was and then I went home and wrote a column about how this camera might eventually cost me $1500. I was postulating that I would probably be inspired in short order to rush out and buy one with the grip. That's about what they cost new back then. 

Frank has pretty much stayed the course with Olympus and Panasonic and has not made the fun but financially disastrous missteps that I have by also buying into the Sony Alpha system and, simultaneously, the Nex system as well. At one point recently I had overlapping systems (not just cameras) that covered Pentax, Samsung, Sony, Sony and Panasonic. It was insane. I never knew what camera to take out the door. And if I could decide on a brand some times it was a whole separate thing to decide on a format...

Now my sole point and shoot camera is a Sony RX10 and, until yesterday afternoon, my other (work) cameras were all Panasonic GH series cameras. I won't apologize for a giant mix of lenses as long as they all fit, with adapters, on the m4:3 cameras.

So I bought the mildly used camera (above) yesterday afternoon and I've spent some time with it. The rationale for stepping outside the Panasonic universe? It's for the times that I want to use the 17mm 1.8, and the 45mm 1.8, and the older PenF lenses with the benefit of image stabilization. That, and a need to understand why people were so emotionally loyal to the EM-5 camera.

I cleared off the dining room table last night and got out my steam powered slide rule (with genuine leather case), a pdf of the owner's manual blown up into hundreds of poster sized pages and laid out on the living room walls, and gathered five different large screen TVs, each with a YouTube video queued up from some OMD  web expert or another's attempt to demystify the menus. The entire team of Visual Science Lab experts dragged over the portable bar from headquarters and we spent the better part of 11 hours straight mixing martinis and daiquiris and trying to decipher and make sense of the labyrinthian Olympus menus. 

Our best bet was the black market guidebook that translated the Romanian version of the manual back into English. Somehow it was the least obtuse. We went on to spreadsheet all the various matrixes, all the possible combinations of settings and quickly realized that this could become more complex than encryption to the 12th place. 

Then Ben leaned in and turned on something called "SCP." and everything became much simpler. You could see all the important stuff in one place and take needed actions. Now, if only we could figure out what "SCP" means...

An interesting factoid that we discovered as we were slamming down benzedrine and trying to stay awake at sunrise while we continued learning to operate the menu in it's entirety,  is that if you go though all the menus in reverse, move each letter up or down in the alphabet by two steps ("m's" become "o's" or "k's") and go through that process eight times and then repeat interspersing letters represented by pi numerals in sequence while skipping every third menu line you will eventually write a perfect copy of James Joyce's novel, Ulysses.  Not complicated at all.  (Where the hell is the green zone...?).

After a 30 minute nap and five cups of coffee I decided to go out and at least try to shoot with the camera. I was pleasantly surprised. As long as you don't have to change anything in the menus it is an elegant and fun picture taker. I might be able to manage ISO and white balance settings on my own but I did bring along three technicians with laptops poised to get straight through to the geniuses on the forums at DPreview but....surprisingly I did pretty well on my own. Tomorrow we'll get that diopter thingy just right....

Need some action and adventure in your Summer? Try the photo novel of the Summer: 

We'll both be happy you did!


Independence Eve Swim. With camera in tow.

I got up ten minutes before the seven a.m. swim workout, grabbed my towel and my suit from the rack in the bathroom, filled a water bottle with a mix of cucumber Gatorade and water, grabbed a Samsung NX30 camera with the 85mm lens and headed out the door. The pool is about a mile from my house and I made it, suited up and was in lane four warming up by 7 sharp. The pool was packed. The workout was fun. We got in about 3,000 yards in an hour and then hauled ourselves out to make room for the 8:00 a.m. work out people. 

Usually I get dressed and then go on a focused search for coffee but today I decided to pull the camera out of the car and snap some atmospheric images of the 8 a.m. crew pounding through their workout. Jimmy B. was the coach on deck and he wrote a good series of sets. The coaches write the sets on a dry erase board, explain the sets and then as the swimmers execute the written workout the coaches watch for stroke mechanics that need correcting. They also shout out encouragement. 

Most of our training tends to be interval training. We mix long sets (series of quarter mile swims) with more speedy/agressive sets of 50 and 100 yard repeats. When our two former Olympians coach they each emphasize hard kicking sets to build speed. We older swimmers hate the kick sets because they invariably become anaerobic but they really do help increase the potential to go fast. 

The lanes are segregated by the sustainable swim speeds of groups of swimmers. On the far left side of the pool are slower swimmers and swimmers recovering from injuries. Lane two swimmers might be able to repeat 100 yard intervals continuously on a 1:45 pace, lane three on 1:35, lane four on 1:25, lane five on 1:15 and the fastest lanes might choose to repeat 100 yard intervals on something as crazy as a 1:05 interval. Not bad given that the average age in the fastest three lanes is probably around 35 or 40. 

In some of the images here you'll see swimmers wearing hand paddles. The paddles greatly increase the surface area of the hand/water contact component and build strength. They also reinforce good technique because any flaws in the arm stroke are magnified by the increased surface area. Some coaches only allow us to use hand paddles sparingly because they do modify body position. Other coaches using pulling as a reward because the increased speed one is able to attain is.....a little addictive.

I love the hand paddles because I have good upper body strength and a mediocre kick but one of our coaches, Tommy, says that swimming is kicking and he's bent on making me a better kicker, even if it kills me. That said, I notice that his ban on my pulling with a pull buoy for flotation has already improved by body position in the water. In swimming it seems that good technique is everything. Endurance and strength is important but it's all trumped (at least in sprints) by better technique. Which requires constant practice and focus.

We are very lucky to be Austin swimmers because we can swim outside all year round. Our club does a great job maintaining an 80 degree temperature by chilling the water in the summer and heating it in the winter. I can no longer imagine getting up every day and going straight in to work at a real job. I've done a good job over the past twelve years of weaning myself from the mentality that showing up all the time for work is a good thing. My perfect day---and I am engineering more and more of them---starts with a good, fun, friendly workout at the pool followed by coffee and some fun protein---like the Otto breakfast taco at Taco Deli. What is an "Otto"? A whole wheat tortilla, slathered with refried (vegetarian) black beans, slices of fresh avocado, a couple slices of applewood smoked bacon and a little drizzle of salsa verde. A couple of those will hold you until a late afternoon lunch. 

Only after the morning fun rituals do I consider sitting down and working on work. There are some mornings when I have to sacrifice a morning swim to meet a schedule but those times are getting further apart as I try to schedule more and more shoots to start around 11 a.m. and end by 6 p.m. After all, we're not selling our time we're selling what we know...

Synchronized flip turns. Cool. There's something about coming off the wall after a good turn that's magic. Getting the maximum glide through the water before beginning your stroke is, in my opinion, the closest most people will ever really come to the sensation of flying without a device. It makes one feel so alive.

By the way.... I am buying an Olympus OMD EM-5 today...just to see what all the fuss is about. Can't wait to compare its files to those from the GH3s and GH4. My rationale? I needed one body with IBIS for those times when I want to use the 45mm 1.8 and other non IS lenses in low light. Good rationale, huh?

The photo/fiction action/adventure blockbuster of the Summer. 
A "must have" as the antidote to boring time
spent in airports and on planes...


A little hazy on the copyright law (U.S.) and need more info about how it affects photographers?

Here's a video that the people at B&H did with Jack Reznicki and partners. It's very good but it's over an hour. If you need the information....