I participate in several photography related groups and the question routinely comes up asking how the so called professional can convince clients that they offer a higher quality product than the so called amateur. Well, for starters, a self labeled professional never means quality so instead of this all too common campaign “Why hire a professional” to generate sales, they should be saying “Why hire me”.
As someone that will take the cheapest route in other industries, it’s all about the perception of value. What makes an art piece in a gallery worth more than those found at the local department store? It’s much more about the ‘who’ or the ‘why’ and less about the ‘what’.
For example: Joshua Bell is a Grammy award winning violinist that sells out concert after concert at $100+ per ticket. The following day he takes his $3 million dollar violin to the subway and plays that same performance again and earns $32 total while all but 7 ignore him. Without the ‘who’, the value is lost and nobody takes the time to see or hear the difference. (reference)
In the world of an artist, what actually defines value? Art has always been subjective and I’ll never understand several museum pieces that cost millions – but it’s worth something to someone. As I write this and look at all the books on my bookshelf or the prints bought for my wall, it’s obvious I spent money based on the name associated with it. Change the author and I never would have considered buying most of them.
This TED talk by Simon Sinek: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” is worth the 18 minute investment.
Today’s Image – The Start of a Storm over Bryce Canyon
This is one of those images that has a much more interesting story than possibly the image itself. The weather conditions were the most memorable of my travels.
Patiently waiting high above Bryce Canyon National Park late in the day, the skies were clear with some clouds in the distance and shaping up to be an interesting sunset. I was not expecting how fast a weather system can move in and quickly turn into a snow storm. The high winds were incredible and something I can’t illustrate in a photograph. With the tripod weighted down and the legs spread as wide as they could go and as close to the ground as possible for this frame, I was the only fool not taking shelter. When I did finally pack up and started my route back to our hotel, the skies cleared up just as quickly before dark. Possibly some of the most amazing weather conditions I’ve experienced.
The seasonal community of Cavendish located on the north shore is a primary entrance to PEI National Park. It will host tens of thousands of visitors during the summer but will also become completely boarded up and abandoned for the winter.
Today’s Image – Green Gables in Winter
Cavendish is home to the popular tourist attraction Anne of Green Gables. Visitors and fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery travel from around the world to visit this house all summer long but very few walk these grounds in the middle of winter. The Green Gables Heritage Place is included in this years 75th anniversary celebrations of PEI National Park.
Welcome to the Twelfth Annual Weblog Awards.
You may be asking yourself what the heck is a Bloggie? I kind of did too. It’s no Webby but I remember 12 years ago when the Bloggie awards were first introduced. A fun little competition that actually received a fair bit of attention. Fast forward to 2012 and I had forgotten all about them until Sandee left me a comment this morning letting me know how she found my site through the 2012 nominations. Surprise. Not only did someone take the effort to nominate this weblog but Focused on Light has actually some how ended up as a finalist for “Best Photography of a Weblog”.
And of course, now that I’m aware of the nomination, the competitor in me would like to win so I’m going to run with it. If you agree with the nomination, please consider voting at http://2012.bloggi.es/. Voting ends Feb 18th and you could help me win 2,012 pennies.
It’s oddly timed due to a recent archives reset. So much has changed since I started this weblog back in 2001 and originally under the domain newrecruit.org. Somebody must be visiting and maybe even reading it.
Today’s Image – Traces of Snow and Ice
A small stream that runs under the Gulf Shore Parkway from Rollings Pond out to the beach. While deep in parts, if you are careful, you can navigate your way out to the center by rock hopping without getting your feet wet. You will find this location (N 46 27.790 W 63 17.936) just past the entrance to PEI National Park on the North Rustico side.
I have a love hate relationship with the term hdr. While I like to use it when the scene demands it, I hate talking about it because it has built up such a negative reaction that’s mostly associated with the images, in my opinion only, are over processed and often silly looking. At the same time, the realistic hdr images go unnoticed as a regular photograph. This alone gives the term hdr an unfair review as all being cartoony.
I realize this topic has been abused to no end but for those not familiar, the original purpose of hdr (or high dynamic range) was to deal with the range of light that the eye can see but the camera can not. Our eyes can adjust for high contrast scenes from the very bright to the very dark. The technology in today’s cameras can’t do that yet forcing us to make a creative decision to either silhouette the shadows or over expose and blow out the highlights. In these high contrast scenes, the camera can not physically record what the eye sees.
Today’s Image – South Rim of the Grand Canyon
In late October, I went on a trip through the American Southwest to experience first hand the landscape that has become so famous among photographers. My first night at the Grand Canyon was a good example of the vast range of light. With bright white snow at my feet, a dark and deep canyon in the distance and a bright setting sun behind a bank of clouds, the scene was simply more then a camera could handle in a single exposure without compromises.
Before and After
The technical difficulties are apparent. As a photographer with today’s limitations, you are forced to make an exposure decision. Make one area too dark or one area too bright. To record as much details as I could, I made 3 images from this location with the intention of using the best from each.
I need to be careful or this blog could easily turn into a save the lighthouse campaign. Last week I made a post about the upcoming deadline when several island lighthouses will be shut down. I followed that up with a post about Saving of the Brighton Beach Range Light. At that time, it was very unclear to me which ones and how many of these structures were in danger.
With the permission of Carol Livingstone (President of the PEI Lighthouse Society (1)), I am making available The Guiding Light Newsletter (PDF). This semiannual publication that is available only to members provides a full list of updates and the current status of our 63 lighthouses and ranges. If you refer to page 20, you’ll see the list of lighthouses currently not being petitioned.
“Any lighthouses not claimed by community groups or municipalities by May 31 will either be put up for sale to the public or torn down.” CBC
Today’s Image – Cape Tryon Lighthouse
With access only through private property, this light is located on the north shore west of Cavendish in the French River and Park Corner area. The still active Cape Tryon Lighthouse is a bit of a staple in Island marketing and an often photographed location. I had a chance to visit early this morning under some very chilly conditions. The regular high coastal winds did not help. The Cape Tryon Lighthouse is located on land currently trying to be protected from development by the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust.
This lighthouse is one of the many listed on page 20. What will be it’s fate on June 1st 2012?
First inspired by Noah Grey, Sam Javanrouh and David Nightingale, I retired my weblog and jumped on the photoblog bandwagon back in late 2005 and challenged myself to post a new photo every single day. The concept of a photoblog was simple. It was about the image and any text was secondary and often hidden behind a link. Click on the photo, see the next one.
I was relatively successful with regular posts and by 2009 had generated a small audience. To start 2012, Focused on Light was listed for the 3rd year in row as a finalist in the yearly Photoblog Awards – a fun competition voted on by the photoblog community.
This year I am unintentionally challenging myself by flipping this website upside down and back to a more traditional weblog. The process broke any and all subscription feeds which will surely hurt traffic. I will also not be updating daily but attempting to provide much more context and stories to the images I post. We’ll soon see if this change was for better or worse.
If you own a photoblog or weblog of your own, feel free to link to it in the comments so I can learn more about you.
Today’s Image – A New Beginning
One more from the archives before I set out tomorrow to create new work. Some of the best sunrises are when the sky is completely overcast. If you’re lucky, there may be a small opening for the sun to light everything up from below. This early morning in June 2010 offered just that for only a minute or two. It still remains as one of my favorites.
The most important tool I have to do my job is Photoshop. Both in terms of photography but as well as illustrations, graphics and page layouts. Along with Lightroom and occasional use of Illustrator, InDesign, Bridge and Acrobat, Adobe plays a big role in my daily life.
With CS6 on the doorstep for a release in the very near future, Adobe has announced a pricing change starting Jan 1st 2013 that will drop the 3 version old upgrade rule to 1 qualifying only the most recent version to be upgraded. All other users would go to a subscription model (or pay full price again).
I currently subscribe to a licenses for InDesign and it works great. I pay for it when I need it. Photoshop on the other hand is daily. It’s a $200 upgrade every 18 months which averages out to roughly $12 a month. Pretty good considering my full salary is based on what I can do with it. However, this pricing model does not force you to upgrade. For the casual user, you may only want to pay the $200 upgrade every 3 versions (or approximately every 4.5 years).
While it’s kind of implied that subscription rates will drop for CS6 (it’s currently $50/month per app), it’s not for certain and while I’m currently more then willing to pay $10-$15 per app each month to always have the latest, once we commit to a subscription arrangement with Adobe, there is no going back. What happens in 2 or 3 years when the monthly rates triple? Skipping an upgrade will no longer be an option and we must upgrade regardless of what Adobe releases.
Imagine a world where all commercial software was subscription based similar to how many web services work.
Today’s Image – Waters Edge
It has been a week of desk work so today’s image comes from the 2010 archives. A 3.2 second exposure of the tide coming in and minutes away from disturbing a resting shell in the sand. The idea feels appropriate for the topic. We are on that edge where traditional desktop software is changing.
Today was interesting. What started with very high wind warnings mixed with rain and snow fall followed by a night without electricity, the sky was looking dark and dull at 6 am. I made the mistake to stay home and watch what could have been the most dramatic sunrise of the year to date. Snooze you lose.
It ended up being a very nice day but by mid afternoon it looked like those heavy clouds were rolling in again and the sun would be gone well before sunset. I decided for the second time to stay home. Another mistake as the sun once again proved me wrong. Trying not to write off the complete day and only 30 minutes before sunset, I quickly made my way downtown to Victoria Park to make 6 images before days end.
I have pretty much accepted that I can’t predict how the light will be.
Today’s Image – Brighton Beach Range Front
Ice breaking away into the North (Yorke) River at the west end of Victoria Park and the start of the community of Brighton. In the distance is the range light that shines directly out to the entrance of the Charlottetown Harbour. Charlottetown City Councillor Rob Lantz wrote a blog post earlier this week titled “Saving the Brighton Beach Range Light” which relates to the post I made yesterday.
…or should I say without lighthouses because that could be a very real possibility after May 31st. This deadline is the day the federal government will stop maintaining the majority of the lighthouses that currently surround our coast. We were reminded again this week that communities must step up to support the maintenance if we wish for these buildings to remain standing. Some very prominent and iconic lighthouses are on the demolition chopping block.
The Lighthouse map issued by the Prince Edward Island Lighthouse Society has 63 listed in total making it the highest concentration of lighthouses in any province or state in North America. 21 are already decommissioned, 13 are listed as private and only 3 not accessible by car. 9 are opened to the public.
Today’s Image – St. Peter’s Harbour Lighthouse
With upwards of 60 lighthouses and ranges around our small coastline – not all of them are still in great shape. Particularly the one just west of Greenwich. It has for sure seen better days. Nested in the dunes, this lighthouse is accessible by an unpaved road or a long walk on the beach.