As you likely know by now I love to create abstract, painterly images. I often find some of my favorite captures in locations that most people might not even notice. This video was filmed on location in Eastern Idaho, however if you’ve attended any of my abstract workshops – you know what I’m looking for! A background in Fine Art and Art History serves me well in these instances, where I can draw on abstract expressionists to see the shapes and colors and contours as something more than a rusty old truck – metaphors and imaginary landscapes abound.
While some abstract captures such as this have gone on to be prints, parts of calendars and more – it’s really the activity of training your eye to see and capture them that is the real value here. Training one’s eye to see the metaphors, colors, and potential of a given shot will only expand your visual vocabulary, and serve as valuable tools in any photo work you do.
Hard to believe, but this week marks the one year anniversary of Tequila Time! From it’s humble beginnings (awwwwwwkwarrrrrd!) to the latest episode we did before I got back to teaching workshops, the format has changed over the months as I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t – but most importantly, I’ve absolutely loved looking forward to connecting with you all as much as possible!
I am back to traveling and I’ve seen the grumblings about the lack of Tequila Time – we all knew this would happen when I got back on the road, but rest assured that though they may not be as frequent, I fully intend to connect with you live whenever possible.
Episodes have been proliferated on a number of platforms, however soon enough we are very much looking forward to curating them all in one place. For now, check out episodes on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram. Do you have any favorite episodes, moments, or subjects from the past year of Tequila Time, or are there any subjects we didn’t cover that you’d like to hear about?
Leave a comment below, we are always looking for great suggestions and questions!
If you caught the recent episode of Tequila Time, I shared images from our recent Olympic Workshop and also discussed just a few of the many lessons we teach in this beautiful location. Sure, there are the typical scenic shots to capture- but anyone can set up a tripod and take the same old shot. This doesn’t help us grow our visual vocabulary, however. Fine if all you want are the token travel photos!
A keen eye that’s trained to find the beauty in the less-obvious is going to come away with the more interesting and unique shots. While each one may not be a masterpiece unto itself, every shot in which you are mindfully seeking compositions that hold the viewers eye in the frame represents a cognitive effort to improve your artistic eye.
Much like a truly invested fine artist will more often than not have dozens of sketch books of incomplete works, never intending to see the light of day, it’s through this practice of finding a shot where others don’t see one that will translate to taking ALL of your photos to the next level.
In the video above are just a few examples of learning to see beauty and something worth capturing in scenes that others might quite literally walk right by. While you may want the big picture of the old-growth forest, it’s really the misshapen lumps of knotted limbs saturated in moss that show the verdant and wild nature of this location. What appear to be simple shots of limbs and trees are intentionally composed to frame the leading lines to keep the viewer’s eye engaged.
Again, not every shot you take needs to be in consideration to sell as a fine art print. On the contrary, most of your shots, much like the sketches of master fine artists are simple tools to train your eye over time.
If you’re currently a Pathways to Creativity Season 2 subscriber, a new episode is up! This one discusses all kinds of light as it pertains to photographing wildlife. If wildlife is your jam, then these last few episodes have been for you! From the rare instances where harsh side lighting can end up working for you to how to simplify a complex scene by using the proper light to capture it.
Hopefully everyone who has purchased Season 2 is enjoying the lessons so far. More are on the way! If you’re looking for a last minute gift for that special someone and/or just want to treat yourself, I literally just decided to do a little flash sale here because why not? Use code PTCHOLIDAYFLASH when you check out and save 15%.
For those of you missing your LIVE ART fix, I’ll see you in a week for a special Holiday Tequila time – next Tuesday the 29th at 5:30 PST on Facebook Live & Instagram!
Happy Technique Tuesday! Great news if you’re looking for a productive and inspiring way to spend your time – the second season of Pathways to Creativity is now live, with two new episodes and more on the way!
The feedback I received for Season 1 was incredible, so I’m hoping everyone who subscribes to the series comes away from Season 2 with equally positive vibes. If you’re looking for an easy gift idea for the photographer, artist, and/or nature enthusiast in your life I am here to help – give the gift of insight and education!
Each season consists of twelve roughly 1-hour episodes, with a 13th bonus episode for full-season subscribers. That’s over 12 hours per season exploring a lifetime of my work, sharing the stories but most importantly the thought process behind capturing everything from my most iconic work to obscure favorites I’ve captured that may not be in any book.
All 13 Pathways to Creativity Season 1 episodes are in the books, and I’m already prepping for season 2. Stay tuned to the blog for updates! The feedback for Season 1 has been tremendous and appreciated. I’ve been meaning to do this for so long that I can’t believe it’s a reality, let alone with 13 episodes in the can. It’s taken hundreds of hours to compile and edit, let alone the nearly five decades of captures that have gone into it. At least my time stuck at home hasn’t been without productivity!
I’m already looking forward to creating Season 2, and implementing all the things we’ve learned along the way. Leave a comment below if you’re a subscriber if you have any suggestions or comments.
Another project that I’ve been enjoying is the Earth Is Our Witness live-stream that Parimal and myself have been doing on Thursday nights following Tequila Time. EIOW is our chance to speak with photographers from all over the world who are bringing awareness and insight into cultures, wildlife, the environment and more. With so much negativity we want to emphasize the good happening, and we want you to join us!
Season 1 of Pathways to Creativity is just about in the books, with a new episode dropping today! This one is all about color – and in some part, lack thereof. I find that while many photographers do focus on important factors like light and composition, color is equally as important but often goes overlooked.
When I shoot, it doesn’t matter if it’s wildlife, culture, abstract, or the landscape – I’m always looking for ways to use color creatively. I also touch briefly on infrared photography, and spend a good chunk of time talking about contrast both high and low.
If you haven’t hopped on board, now is a good time to do so – you can be caught up just in time for the final episodes of season 1 and prepared for more to come!
Learning to master depth of field is no small task and it’s a skill I’ve honed over decades of shooting all manner of subjects. Knowing when to capture the entirety of your scene in sharp focus, or when to selectively and intentionally bring focus to one area of the shot to capture the viewers eye is an important decision to make once you’ve determined your subject. For those of you who have purchased Pathways to Creativity, a new episode is available on the subject – join me for a deep dive!
First and foremost, there’s a fresh new episode of Pathways to Creativity uploaded, so if you’ve purchased the season, check it out! This one is all about shutter speeds. Freezing miniscule droplets of water in sharp focus while a tiny bird drinks from a puddle gives us a glimpse into a world we never see with the naked eye, while the blurred motion and lines of a group of zebras through tall grass provides more context than a focused image is capable of conveying. It’s all there!
There is also a gorgeous gift edition of Trees: Between Earth & Heaven available, published as of today! As you saw on a recent episode of Tequila Time, the first edition of Trees is one of my Top 10 personal favorites, and this new gift edition retains the quality of that release in a more compact format.
Last but most definitely not least, if you haven’t already give Earth Is Our Witness a follow on both Facebook and Instagram and be sure to join us live on Thursday evenings following soon after Tequila Time. This week Parimal and myself will be talking with ocean photographer & the prestigious HIPA grand-prize winner Jasmine Carey on the secret lives of whales. I can’t wait! Thank you SO MUCH for everyone who joins our live broadcasts, and those who go back and watch them later. The positive feedback has been tremendous. See you then!
It’s been a busy month and perusing the series of images I have created in the last fifteen years, that seems to be the case for many a June! No surprise is a wonderful month for photography. From Alaskan Arctic to the Australian Outback, take a visual journey around the globe in June!
If you’ve subscribed to become a view of the first season of Pathways to Creativity, good news – Episode 5 is up today! Though much of my instruction is designed to train your artistic eye and hone your vision into that of an accomplished visual storyteller, this episode talks a little hardware. I discuss the lenses I use most often, which ones I might consider leaving at home on a long trip, the circumstances that influence my choices – and much more! It’s a longer episode, but packed with decades worth of professional experience.
I’m back in Seattle today where I’ll be starting my 14-day quarantine – safety first!