The Power of Social Media

For anyone out there who still thinks the internet and specifically social media is a temporary phenomenon or just a passing fad not worth of serious attention, here are two interesting stories this week about how they are transforming our world. For any photographer or business owner whose goal is to establish a sustainable and successful carreer,  whatever that means to you, this should convince you of the importance of having a presence online.

-The Social (Media) Revolution We Just Saw In Egypt – “The Internet has established itself now as a central (if not the central) conduit of public political action.” – read more!

AOL Buys the Huffington Post for $315 Million – yes, a BLOG started a few years ago with a total of $1 million has been sold for quite a large sum of money. The days of a blog being the personal journal of someone with too much time on their hands is a distant notion.

If you don’t have a blog, or at the least an online presence, what exactly are you waiting for? What issues are keeping you from getting started? Need help? – leave your questions in the comments below!

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When Is Photography Real?

We’ve been buried with over 30″ of snow here in the Hudson Valley, as well as power and Internet outages, so I’m just getting back online and away from the shovel! I also had to cancel the Printing Workshop that was scheduled for today, but hopefully I can re-schedule asap to make sure all registered students are available for the new date.

Now to the title of the post, I came across an interesting article by David Pogue of the NY Times titled “Photoshop and Photography; When Is It Real?” which examines when a photograph crosses the line between “real” and “artificial”. This is an issue that is not new to photographers and I’ve discussed it here several times, most notably in an article about digital manipulation.

Pogue suggests we ask instead “what is reality”, a question I have always thought about in my own photography.  I’ve always felt strongly that this issue of “reality” is both subjective and an integral part of the creative process for a landscape photographer. We each see, experience, interpret, and “feel” differently about reality, and it only makes sense that would make each of our images unique and different. Whether we allow ourselves to go “too far” with technology in our zeal to interpret our feelings is another mater entirely, and certainly becomes a part of a photographer’s credibility and style.

You can only ascertain this by looking at a photographer’s body of work, and not just a single image. Only then can you begin to make judgments about what a photographer values both in terms of his feelings about his subject matter, and how he chooses to convey those feelings. As for my own personal work, capturing moments that elicit the most dramatic and strongest emotional responses, and the challenge of achieving that, are central to both my motivation and reason for being in and around nature. Perhaps that isn’t ordinary reality, but it certainly is real for me, especially when it captures my eye and heart in a way that is forever special. I hope that we do not lose the essence of what photography is about, and instead focus all of our attention on the medium instead of the message.

Let me know what your thoughts are about “reality”? Do you think I am missing something?

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NY Times to Feature an Image

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I’m proud to announce that this Sunday’s (May 17th) print edition of The New York Times will feature one of my Hudson Valley landscape photographs. It will be used in a special Hudson River 400th Advertorial celebrating the voyage of Henry Hudson. While I haven’t seen the layout, they requested a fairly large file, so I’m hoping it will be put to good use! I’ll get a credit and website listing as well, so I’m curious to see how much traffic it generates on the website.

I made this image a several years ago while on a hike up Breakneck Ridge, a very dramatic and scenic viewpoint in the Hudson Highlands. I had just purchased a Canon 5D (which I still use quite frequently), and I was very eager to use it in my favorite locations. I didn’t shoot too many in this direction because the sun was fading fast, but there was something about the geometric lines together with the color in the foreground, clouds, and river that I was really attracted to. The moon, tiny as it is, was pure luck (there’s that word again…). I’m glad I took the time to really work the composition vertically though, as this has become one of my most popular images.

I’ll be at the newstands early on Sunday – after the sunrise photo hike of course.

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The Birth of Modern Landscape Photography

While many equate Ansel Adams as the father of landscape photography, there were others who also had a great influence on modern photography, and none more so than the legendary Edward Weston. There is a great NY Times article on his work, his place in history, and his primary landscape subject, the coastal area of Point Lobos, California. Although he is most famous for his pepper #30, he was a fantastic landscape photographer as well, and together with Ansel defined what landscape photography would be for generations to come.

“Composition is the strongest way of seeing” – Edward Weston

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