My name is Chris Orwig and I am a photographer and a teacher. While this post is about photography, my goal is not to help you take better pictures but to help you become more creative and alive. I hope to stir things up a bit with a few simple ideas, some pictures and quotes. Here’s to breaking out of our routines and to starting something new!
WHO WE ARE
Photographers are an interesting bunch. We are different and diverse yet bound by a common desire to capture and captivate. The best photographers are those who have discovered the key to a full and vibrant life. It is the insight that comes from making photographs. For by doing this we discover that life’s small mysteries and moments can be magnified. Somehow we get more out of life with a camera in hand. When we take pictures, we see more clearly, we remember more deeply, and we live more fully.
Above photos: Jeff Johnson is an accomplished photographer, big wave surfer, mountain climber, skateboarder, and adventurer. He is not one to settle for the ordinary life.
WHO WE AREN’T
I like things that are hand made—my young daughters’ drawings, pencil-written notes, and the old driftwood gate in our backyard. There is something special about those things that cannot be mass-produced. This interest is one of the reasons I make pictures. As photographers, we aren’t technicians who repeatedly follow the same steps. We create our own path. We are driven to create something that is one of a kind. We want to expresses our unique voice and vision. It is something we have to do. Taking pictures satisfies an internal thirst. It is an essential part of who we are. (more…)
Hey gang, Brad here after taking a week off during Photoshop World last week :) Scott and I are on the road again this week with his brand new Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! Tour, and we’re having a blast with it so far! We’re doing our last stop for the week today in Chicago, in front of another sell-out crowd, and looking forward to more dates being announced soon. Anyway, on to the pimpy!
Scott Kelby’s Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques Webcast
RC Concepcion Interviewed by The Photoletariat Our buddy RC Concepcion was recently interviewed about his new book, Get Your Photography On The Web, his new role as co-host of DTown TV, how he got his start at Kelby Media Group, and lots of other things over at The Photoletariat.
April for Avery The readers of this blog (i.e. you) have a reputation for being a very caring and generous group of people… Avery Henderson is a young child battling cancer who could use your help. Head over to Jay Maisel’s blog to get more info from Jamie Smith, Jay’s workshop producer, on how you can give to help Avery with her battle.
Webinars from OnOne Software OnOne Software has a series of webinars coming up this month that you don’t want to miss! Head on over to their website to check out the full schedule.
Moose is Taking to the Skies, Again!
If you were at Photoshop World, you may have caught aviation fever from Moose Peterson during the NAPP Photo Safari or his aviation photography class. Well, you have the opportunity to take that even further! Moose’s world reknown Air2Air workshops are coming back to Florida on April 29 at Fantasy of Flight. Among the planes you’ll be in the air with are the Duck & Tri-Motor that folks photographed during the Photo Safari. But this time, you’ll be just feet away from them up in the air! You can sign up by calling Sharon at 760.924.8632 and get more info here.
I’d like to show you how two events helped to propel me into changing my thinking and improving both my life and my photography.
Here’s what I looked like as a young tyke
On Valentines Day of 1984, my mother passed away. I was in high school at the time and lived with her and my brother, as our parents were divorced. That day I was forced to start a new chapter in my life. I suddenly started to think a little more independently and started to focus a bit more on how my future might unfold.
Multiple exposure light painting lit using flashlights and sparklers
After high school, I enrolled in college where I tried to conform to the expectations that I receive an official education (since I didn’t have an obvious alternate path), find a reliable job and build my career. Near the end of my college experience, my live-in girlfriend decided to leave me and move in with my best friend, which was quite a shocker. That was the second jolt that caused me to re-evaluate my life and correct course. At the time, I was planning to become a graphic designer and continue on a traditional trajectory toward career success. That’s when I decided to start another new chapter in my life.
I’ve followed the full length of Route 66 many times. Here is one image of a series I hope to one day publish in a book on the subject
At that time, I stopped focusing on using design to make a living and started focusing on how I could design my life. I realized that I was in the driver’s seat of my own life, and should be steering it in the direction of my liking, regardless of what other people thought was the right thing to do.
Stitched panorama of waterfall in Iceland
That’s when I quit my job and started teaching Photoshop full-time. I designed a brochure, rented the Adobe mailing list, did a mailing and waited to see if people would sign up for my seminar. I had no idea if anyone would show up, but was happy to see that dozens of people decided to give the seminar a try.
Two monks at a temple in Burma
After being jolted twice, I didn’t need any more external motivation to get me to design my own lifestyle and start a never-ending quest to optimize my life. Back then, I would read at least 52 books a year (one a week) in an attempt to feed my never-ending thirst for knowledge.
Northern Lights shot in Iceland
I’ve shifted enough that I now make creating new chapters a regular part of my thinking. Here are a few other the other chapters I’ve designed over the last few decades:
1) Moved from Minnesota to Colorado to enjoy the mountains and get to a mellower climate and great views, even though I didn’t know anyone in the area.
2) Moved into the mountains of Colorado to escape the city (which I was visiting three times a month with my seminars).
3) Moved onto a tour bus so that I could explore America and photograph all the areas that I’d been dreaming about.
4) Found a special woman to share my life with and began to adapt in an attempt to create an optimal lifestyle for both of us.
Packed all my possessions into a tiny trailer and went off to live full-time in a tour bus
My next chapters will include restoring and then living on a vintage bus (details at creativecruiser.com) and eventually living on a yacht that is capable of taking us around the world.
1963 Flxible Starliner that’s being restored and will eventually become our new home
I would have never imagined that I could design my own lifestyle as much as I’ve been able to, but it all came down to having the desire and not being afraid of taking chances.
Photographically, I’ve had many chapters, all that seem to overlap, and I’m constantly searching for my next chapter. Some of the things that I’d consider to be photographic chapters include: experimenting with light painting, exploring HDR photography, following the full length of Route 66 multiple times, developing unique panorama techniques, and using Photoshop to help direct a viewer’s eye through my images.
The above video is of a 14-shot stitched panorama that was created in Bagan, Burma.
I’ve found this “next chapter” mindset to be one of the most life-altering things that has ever influenced me and I think that adopting it has the potential to radically transform your life. What’s it going to take for you to start designing the next chapter of your life?
What is calling for the largest change in your life? Your mind, your relationships, your finances, your body, your photography? How important is that compared to watching TV or playing X-box games, or doing whatever you do to merely fill your time?
Canons in Moscow
Here are a few books that have been essential in my process of taking control over my destiny: Linchpin by Seth Goden, The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss, Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez
Photoshop World While Scott’s new book isn’t available in stores just yet, a limited number will be available next week at Photoshop World! Just swing by the Peachpit Bookstore at the Expo and pick it up. And make sure you get it signed at 10:45 am Friday at the same place!
Even if you’re not planning on attending the conference, you can still get a FREE Expo Pass to take advantage of exclusive discounts from vendors, as well as free bonus classes from people like Frank Doorhof, Dave Black, Jeremy Cowart, and tons more!
And don’t forget that we offer one-day passes so you can pick a day to come and play, er… “research new techniques to enhance your job performance” if you can’t make it for all three days ;)
Also at the Photoshop World Expo, you can check out some cool stuff from our friends at Epson, including Bert Monroy’s latest creation, Times Square, printed out at full size (300 x 60 inches) on their DisplayTrans Backlight paper. Dan Steinhardt produced a video of Bert discussing his process for creating this piece.
History of Dano
Speaking of Dan Steinhardt, better known to many as Dano, he was recently featured on Nik Radio, sharing how he got his start in photography and wound up at Epson. Definitely a great listen!
SOLD OUT! And lastly, today’s Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! seminar in Boston is SOLD OUT! If you’re in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, or Chicago, tickets are still available, but we’re close to selling out on some of those as well, so register soon!
That’s it for this week. If you’re in attendance at any of the seminars or Photoshop World over the next couple of weeks, be sure to say hi!
Forgive my intrusion today. I feel especially bad taking you away from Scott’s amazing photographs of guys with sculpted abs and veins popping out of their luridly developed biceps. (Good grief, I’ve got to get my comparably itsy-bitsy jiggly-wiggly body into a gym!)
But today, I offer you a body of an entirely different nature.
This body is round. Round as one half of a baby’s bottom. With rings around it. And it has a name that you might have heard of: Saturn.
Aw, don’t you feel better already? No six pack, no gruesome musculature. Heck, you can achieve a body like this just by lying in a tub all day and eating donuts.
But here’s the catch. Saturn is not something you’ll get a chance to photograph. Not in this lifetime, or the next, or the one after that. Perhaps you’re thinking, “You don’t know, I might. Some smart genius person could invent a commercial hydrogen cruise liner and I might buy a few tickets and take the kids and we can all shoot photos out the window of the Lido deck.” In which case, you’re nuts. Saturn is 8.5 times farther away from us than the Sun. You planning on taking the kids to the Sun? What is wrong with you?
And yet this image, it’s the real thing. It’s 100% got-my-geek-on scientifically accurate, with surface texture and ring opacity data straight from NASA, JPL, and Caltech.
And it’s created, not using a camera, but entirely from scratch. In true 3D space. Using Photoshop CS5 Extended.
I’ll say that again: You need Photoshop CS5 Extended, not the standard non-3D version of the program, to follow along. Otherwise I give you everything you need. Including those scientifically accurate data files and a wickedly detailed step-by-step video:
The video lasts roughly 28 minutes. But believe it or not, it goes by fast. And by the end, your mind will be blown. Let me clear: Your skull will fracture, your head will leak blood, and there will be bits of brain all over the walls. Which is actually a good thing, because after some light mopping, your few remaining bits of brain will magically grow into something 8.5% larger than what you had before.
Of course, I mean that figuratively. But keep a mop handy just in case.
Hey gang, Brad here with this week’s pimpy stuff. We’ve got prizes, discounts, some exciting news, and more!
If you’re debating signing up for the Real World Concert Photography pre-conference workshop with Scott Diussa and Alan Hess at Photoshop World, here’s something that might help with your decision…Someone from the class will be going home with a brand new Nikon D7000! The person who gets the best shot from the workshop will win the camera that’s been called the Camera of the Year by Engadget, PDN, and Photo Focus, and received CNET’s Editor’s Choice Award!
There are only a few spots left, so sign up now if you want a chance to win, or even if you don’t… It’s a really fun way to spend a day!