Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nikon D3

Well, since it's Christmas time, I thought why not do a post about my dream camera. The Nikon D3:

Where to begin? 12.1 Megapixels - check. Low noise even at 25,000 ISO - check. Full Frame 35mm Size CMOS Sensor - check. 9 frames per second - check. Cnet Editor's Choice Award - check. American Photo, Camera of the Year - check.

Downside? Other than the pricetag ($5k) I'm struggling to find one.

Santa - are you reading this?


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Monday, November 24, 2008

Using a Polarizing Filter

Ever take a photo on a bright sunny day, only to have the sky wash out and be pale bluish-white? Ever wonder how photographers manage to get that perfect blue sky?

One of the best ways to get the most out of the sky is to use a Polarizing Filter. A Polarizing Filter, or Polarizer, is a filter used to control the contrast and lightness of the sky, reduce glare and atmospheric haze, and increase color saturation. Here's a great example from the Wikipedia article on filters - the image on the right uses a Polarizer, while the image on the left does not:

Yes, these days the effects of a Polarizer can be replicated in photoshop. But why spend the extra time to get a great shot on your computer, when you can get one right out of your camera. Most DSLR's will accept a polarizer, it simply screws onto the business end of your lens. Just know the diameter of your lens in mm (should be marked on the lens itself), and head to your local camera shop. They run in the range of $30-$50, but in my opinion, it's money well-spent for the time it saves in post processing.

The downside? You effectively lose a couple stops worth of light. Also, a polarizer can sometimes make your image a little flat by diminishing highlights too far in certain situations. So it takes a little practice to know when is the best time and place to use your polarizer. Just remember to carry a soft case in your bag, so you can stow your polarizer safely when not in use.

My advice? Spend the $30, practice until you know the best way to use your polarizer, and then enjoy all the time you'll save as well as more beautiful shots!


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back in Action

Well, it's been quite a while since I've posted anything at all. It's been "that time of year" at my day job. I do advertising for video games, and September/October/November is the busiest time of year. But now, the 14+ hour workdays seem to have passed, at least for the moment. Meaning I'll be able to put a little more time and energy back into photography.

Stay tuned for more to come this week. Meantime, go buy Call of Duty World at War and James Bond Quantum of Solace the game! ;-)


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Auto Bracketing

Well, it's been a little while since my last post. We're into the busy season at work - consistent 12-14 hour days are leaving less time for photography (or anything else for that matter). And also I'm suffering from a little bit of Photography Overload coming back from my trip to Chicago (almost 4,000 raw shots to weed through). So I thought I'd do a quick blog about Auto Bracketing - one of the reasons I have so many pics to review.

Bracketing is the practice of shooting 2-3 frames on each shot you're trying to take, with each shot using different settings. The goal is to give yourself more options to choose from on the back end, to help ensure you get the perfect shot while you're out in the field and to help cut down on post processing.

There are a few ways to do bracketing. One way is to bracket the white balance - if you take 3 snaps of the same shot, the first one might be a little more red/warmer, the second might be a little more neutral, and the third might be a little more blue/cooler. Another way would be to bracket your flash - for example the first shot could be full power, the second shot could be 1/2 power, and the third shot could be 1/4 power. What I use most often is exposure bracketing - the first shot is a normal exposure based on the shutter speed and aperture I have selected, the second shot goes a little darker by adjusting shutter speed and/or aperture, and the third shot goes a little lighter.

Which brings us to Auto Bracketing. Many DSLR cameras have this as a standard setting, where you can select the number of frames to be shot in each set (1, 2, or 3), as well as the type of bracketing (white balance, exposure, etc), and the step value between each shot (how different is each shot going to be). I typically set up Auto Bracketing for exposure, 3 frames, with a step value of 0.3 (the lowest step value my D80 will do). That means it will take 3 frames, each about 0.3 stops apart in terms of exposure.

Once you set up Auto Bracketing, here's where the shots really start adding up - using Auto Bracketing in Burst Mode. If you set your camera up to do Auto Bracketing, and then turn on Burst Mode, you can snap 3 frames in about a second. That's what I've been doing a lot more of lately to make sure I get the shot I want - I get 'er all lined up, focus, check the light to help set my shutter speed, aperture and white balance, and then I snap 3 shots with Auto Exposure Bracketing in Burst Mode. Half an hour later, I've got a full memory card.... While it leads to more shot selects to go through on the back end, I will definitely say it has saved me tons of time in post processing because I can select the exposure I like best, rather than having only 1 shot to choose from and having to tweak in photoshop to get it just right. Now on to sorting through the Chicago pics...


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Robert Rauschenberg at Bergamot Station, Santa Monica

This past weekend, the Mrs. and I went to check out Bergamot Station for the first time. It's in Santa Monica, about 3-4 miles from where we live in Marina Del Rey. Near the 10 Freeway, kind of over by the Santa Monica airport.

Started the afternoon off with a nice caprese sandwich and a coffee, and then checked out maybe a dozen or so galleries and the Santa Monica Museum of Art. While we saw a lot of really cool stuff, I have to say I was totally blown away by the Greenfield Sacks Gallery, which had a number of pieces from Robert Rauschenberg's "The Lotus Series" (2008).

As you may know, Robert Rauschenberg passed this year. He was one of the preeminent contemporary artists in the world, and was LA-based. His work is heavily featured at LACMA and any number of other museums. So needless to say, to be standing face to face with these pieces, created only a month or so before the artist's death, it was an unbelievable experience. Each piece was selling for $15,000+, and not surprisingly only one piece was yet unsold. I dug through my pockets, and the Mrs. dug through her purse, but unfortunately we just couldn't quite come up with the $15k needed to buy that last remaining piece....lol. Either way, it was really cool to see the collection, and hopefully some of the work will make its way back into a museum someday.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nikon SB-600 Speedlight

On the advice of a good friend and fellow photographer, Don Lupo, I've been spending some time learning more about lighting. Don's point has always been that while my "available light" shots have been pretty good, adding some lighting could really help make them even better. I've been on the fence for a while, because my philosophy has always been to bring less gear and to capture moments "in the raw." All the commercial shoots I've been to, the photographer has so much lighting gear that he/she needs 1 or 2 assistants, a stylist, etc - but for me I want to keep it simple and just shoot.

But I try to tell myself I'm an open minded guy, so going on Don's advice, I've been spending a lot of time lately reading David Hobby's blog - Strobist.com. The Strobist approach is a middle-ground if you will, a way to do professional lighting with "speedlight" standard flash units - not huge studio lights. The more I've been reading, the more interested I've gotten.

So I made the jump - I forked over some moolah (thanks a lot Nikon for making this an expensive hobby...) and picked up a Nikon SB-600 Speedlight as my first strobe.

The SB-600 is Nikon's middle flash unit - the SB-800 (or the new SB-900) is the high end, and the SB-400 is the low end. All of the above work together with Nikon's proprietary lighting software called CLS (Creative Lighting System). The CLS basically allows you to use multiple speedlight flash units and sync them all together with one push of the button on the camera. So instead of needing 4-5 large studio lights, you could use 4-5 flashes instead, and they all flash at just the right moment because of the CLS software. For me, for now - I'm content trying to figure out how to use just one...

The other two things I got at the same time as the flash are the Omni-Bounce Diffuser and the Nikon SJ-1 gel kit.

The diffuser helps a lot to reduce the harshness of the light coming off the flash, instead creating a soft diffused light like what you'd get in the studio. The gels insert right into the flash head, and can help mitigate the greenish effects of fluorescent lighting and the orange-ish effects of incandescent lighting, or provide accent color if needed.

While I haven't had too-too much time to practice yet, I think next week's trip to Chicago will offer ample opportunity to play around with it. Meantime - here's a couple of shots I took down at Venice Beach using the flash + diffuser. By putting lighting on the subject in the foreground, it balanced the brightness between subject and sky - allowing me to shoot a little darker and get a deep blue sky while still being able to see the subject. Overall from 1 day's practice, I'm pretty happy with the results!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tamron 2x Teleconverter In Action

This past weekend, the Mrs. and I went to the Angels vs. Yankees game down in Anaheim so I could test out my new Tamron 2x teleconverter before we head to Wrigley Field for the first time next week. In order to really put it to the test, we decided to sit in the nose-bleediest of nosebleed seats:

It actually worked out pretty good. The hard part is trying to dial-in manual focus at that long of a distance. Also, with a teleconverter you automatically lose 2 stops of aperture so I needed to increase the ISO up to about 400 (even in bright sunlight) to ensure I could run a fast shutter speed. 1/500 is usually minimum for sports. The good news is the teleconverter worked just fine in burst mode, so I was able to snap about 3-4 frames per second even at extreme zoom. You definitely need burst mode to get those "magic moments" at a ballgame. Higher-end pro cameras will shoot as fast as 6-9 frames per second.

Overall, a little more practice needed, but for a first attempt and considering how far away our seats were, I'm pretty happy with the results.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

2008 Los Angeles Juried Exhibition - Opening Reception

This past Sunday was the opening reception for the 2008 Los Angeles Juried Exhibition at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in Hollywood. It was a really fun day! Luckily we got there early enough to get parking, because as with most of LA, parking was at a premium. Basically the gallery is on top of a huge hill, and any latecomers had to park all the way at the bottom and walk up.

The opening was pretty well attended, and was a lot of fun. The gallery provided the requisite wine, fruit and cheese. There were a couple of bands, and 92 really cool pieces to check out - painting, photography, scuplture, video, and a couple of large installations. The exhibition will remain up through September 7 - so if you're in the neighborhood, feel free to stop by any time:

Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
Barnsdall Park: 4800 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Monday, July 28, 2008

John Baldessari - "Wrong" (1967)

This weekend, the Mrs. and I did one of our favorite Sunday activities - lunch at the Farmers Market followed by an afternoon at LACMA. We again stopped in at the Philip-Lorca DiCorcia exhibition, then onto the modernists and finally the contemporary building.

This week's eye-catcher for me was John Baldessari's "Wrong" (1967), in which a black and white photograph of Baldessari standing in front of a palm tree is captioned simply with the word "Wrong." This piece is part of a series of work by Baldessari in which he painted text on canvas, in an attack on the art "establishment" of the time. Here is a blog with pics of a few of the pieces in this series, including one of my favorites, "Everything is purged from this painting except for art..." (1967-1968).

For "Wrong," Baldessari had been referencing a chapter on composition in a book on photography technique. Clearly the composition of the photograph is a little off and perhaps not-so-compelling. But the irony of the word "wrong" slapped on there in black, like an edict or a final judgment, is just delightful. The wonderful thing that Baldessari and other artists of his time such as Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, and Ruscha did was to turn convention on it's ear and just ask the question "says who?" Just like Picasso, Rothko, Matisse, Magritte, Pollock and so many others did a few decades earlier. That's the wonderful thing about contemporary art and photography - there is no "wrong" execution of the idea - there is just the idea. Baldessari, considered to be one of the most important influences on contemporary, conceptual-based photography, was quoted as saying "You don't want anyone to say 'You can't do that!' But you do get a lot of that in New York. One of the healthiest things about California is - 'Why not?'


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Excerpt From "Visions From America: Photographs from the Whitney Museum of American Art 1940-2001"

This excerpt is taken from Visions From America: Photographs from the Whitney Museum of American Art 1940-2001

A Medium No More (Or Less): Photography and the Transformation of Contemporary Art -- by Andy Grundberg

During the final fifty years of the century just past, contemporary art changed in so many crucial respects that if a reviewer had been cryogenically frozen in 1950 only to be thawed out in the year 2000, he or she would find most of the art we now enjoy to be incomprehensible. But one fact would be readily apparent to even the most discombobulated critic: where once contemporary art was synonymous with painting and sculpture, it now consists of a broad spectrum of media--foremost among them photography and its sister lens-based forms, film and video...In 1950 this was not the case; indeed, photography was virtually invisible. How did this transformation from stagehand to star take place, and why?

The question is not uncomplicated. The story of how photographs came to be an integral presence in the art world does not have a single, linear narrative. Nor is it accurate to say that two independent histories, one of photography and the other of art (read: painting and scultpure), came together at last. Rather, there are three interlinked narratives to consider, each of which has its own complexities. We might refer to these narratives, albeit approximately and crudely, as the history of photographers making art, the history of artists making photographs, and the history of hybridity in contemporary art....

Photographers Making Art
For photographers in the late 1940's and throughout the 1950's, the dominant aesthetic presence to emulate or rebel against was Alfred Stieglitz. Although Stieglitz died in 1946, after a lifetime of promoting photography and later American painting as significant forms of art, his legacy endured for at least two more decades....

Artists Making Photographs
...In 1962, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol began to make paintings by silk-screening photographic images onto canvas. In Rauschenberg's case, the method was akin to collage; he melded a variety of images onto a single canvas. Warhol took a more radical approach, repeating the same image in rows and columns...

Within the space of two decades, from 1970 to 1990, photography had been normalized as a medium for contemporary art. It had served the aims of artists as an instrument of conceptual, anti-material practices, as a cultural manifestation with its own intriguing metaphysical and semantic qualitites, and finally as a party to the investigation and so-called deconstruction of lens-based representation. In the course of this progression, photographs became valued objects in a newly expanded marketplace for art. This market grew in part as a consequence of the establishment of new support structures for photography: galleries that presented photographs as saleable artworks, museum departments of photography that collected and exhibited photographs...and new publications that served as information sources for collectors, critics, and curators.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Basic Forms at the Getty

Two weekends ago the Mrs. and I took a visiting friend up to The Getty Center, which never fails to have great photography exhibitions. This time, it was Bernd and Hilla Becher's Basic Forms.

The two were prolific in the 60's, 70's and 80's, photographing industrial architecture in the US and Europe. Their style was well defined, always using the same 5x7 film, medium-contrast silver gelatin prints, and the subject always centered within the frame. However, rarely did one shot stand alone. Rather the two typically presented their work in groups, typologies of structures with similar functions (water towers, homes, blast furnaces, etc). These typologies were what defined them best.

This was really interesting to me, because I've been thinking a lot lately about how to express bigger ideas in photography. Typically the way I shoot is to get out and experience the world, and just bring my camera with me to capture whatever I find. But a lot of contemporary fine art photography on the other hand is heavily staged, with a lot of set-up, lighting, models and so forth. But what if, similar to approach taken by the Bechers, the solution to presenting a bigger idea is through a collection of "found objects," rather than trying to stage/compose the entire idea within one shot?


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hasselblad H3DII-50

The other day I was talking with a photographer friend, who gave me a heads up about a new 50 Megapixel camera that just came out - the Hasselblad H3DII-50. The camera's sensor is double the size of any current 35mm digital sensor, and every picture you take is 300MB in file size. Absolutely nuts? Probably... Price tag? $39,995... BUT if you buy now, they will throw in any lens of your choice for only $2,500.

For commercial photographers this camera is probably a really good solution. For example, you might have noticed a couple posts ago I was talking about the Guitar Hero Aerosmith campaign I worked on at my day job. Part of the campaign was a print ad, which featured a Guitar Hero guitar tied up with Aerosmith style scarves around the neck. It ran in the June issue of Rolling Stone. When we were at the photoshoot, the photographer, Rick Chou used a Hasselblad. And my friend, Don Lupo, who told me about the H3DII-50, also used to shoot with a Hasselblad when he shot commercially.

But for me, since I'm lightyears away from having anything in Rolling Stone, I guess for now I'll stick to my trusty Nikon D80. But if I ever win the lottery and want to get a $40,000 camera, maybe the new H3DII-50 will make it onto my shopping list.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Re: Quantaray 2x Teleconverter - Nikon

OK, because I know you all are dying to hear the intimate details of my epic struggle to find a teleconverter for my Nikon D80, here goes. Sadly, I was never able to find the Quantaray teleconverter, despite a ton of hunting on ebay, the B & H Photo Supply website, Ritz Camera all over town, and all the Samy's Camera stores as well.

The good news is, there are a lot of other brands out there: Nikon, Tamron, Sigma, Kenko, and others less well-known. The bad news is that pretty much anything except the really off-brands is more than I was hoping to spend. I could get a brand called "PRO" or a brand called "LENS" (never heard of either one) from ebay for about the same price, but without much of a safety net in terms of guarantee / warranty / return policy. Plus, who knows if it actually really fits and works with my camera/lenses. So I'm a little hesitant to make the leap of e-commerce faith with a product like this. (A little ironic actually, because I sell matted prints and greeting cards on my website, and I'm basically asking my customers to make the same leap of faith I seem to be afraid to make myself)... Thankfully, folks have so far been wiling to take the risk.

So anyway, back to this compelling and highly entertaining story. After calling around and searching websites all day last Thursday, I finally decided to go ahead and take the plunge. I found a 2x converter from Tamron at a relatively decent price, at the Samy's Camera store over near Hollywood. At the counter I took it out of the box and fit it to my camera/lens, and took a couple of quick snaps to test it out. Everything worked, so I busted out the ol' plastic and took 'er home. So now, after a bunch of searching and two (simply amazing, I'm sure...) blog posts, I now effectively have a 400mm lens for ball games, while still being small enough to be allowed into most stadiums.

Now I just need to go to a Dodgers or Angels game to test it out before the Mrs. and I go to Wrigley Field in August.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

2008 Los Angeles Juried Exhibition, cont'd

Well, it's almost that time where I need to get my piece "Libertad" submitted to the LA Municipal Art Gallery for the 2008 Juried Exhibition show.

I have until the 21st of July to make the handoff. So I've been looking at frames and mats to give it the right size/look. I've decided I'll go with a 24" x 18" print, and place it into a 30" x 24" frame. I lose just a little bit of the width going with that aspect ratio, but not so much that the image is sacrificed. It gives me a really nice big image size and is a more balanced aspect ratio vs. being too long & skinny. In that size frame, it will have 3.25 inches of mat all around, which should look nice.

So last weekend we went to Aaron Brothers in Marina Del Rey and grabbed two options for the frame - brown wood & black wood. While I was there, I ordered a custom mat to fit the frame (Nielsen Bainbridge acid-free 8-ply mat in Spanish White). The good news is I just got a call from them yesterday saying my mat came in, which gives me about a week to get it all mounted up.

In the meantime I've been doing a number of test prints to get the color & contrast just right - so it matches the on-screen image. It's getting closer. The lab where I get my prints done tends to run out a little darker than the onscreen image, so I've corrected it a couple times to lighten it up. I think one more notch brighter and it will be there.

Stay tuned for more info - once I make the handoff and everything is fully "official," I'll post more information about the showing and the opening reception on Aug 3.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Philip-Lorca diCorcia at LACMA

This past weekend, the Mrs. and I decided to hit the Farmer's Market for lunch. And while we're up there, why not stop by LACMA. I mentioned in a post a while back that LACMA has a new building with all contemporary art (it's like 3 stories of really great work). So we dropped in there to "check in" on some of our faves, then grabbed a beverage at the museum cafe and wandered down to the park area to catch some Latin Jazz (summer concert series).

Then the Mrs. showed me her latest find. In the Ahmanson building the entire 2nd floor is dedicated to modern artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Pollock, Rothko, Braque, Pissarro, Degas, Magritte and others. This is simply heaven for her (art history major) and is really great inspiration for me as well. Then just by chance, on the way out of the Ahmanson building I happened to see a photography exhibit out of the corner of my eye. Perfect - I love checking out contemporary photography - helps me see the type of stuff I could maybe someday ever dream of coming up with (yeah right...).

Anyway, I peek in and it turns out it's a whole gallery of Philip-Lorca diCorcia - one of the most influential photographers out there. There were works from his most famous collections: Lucky 13, Hustlers, Streetwork, and Heads. And a new collection of 1,000 Polaroids called Thousand was also displayed as well. Very very cool, totally made my day. Well worth checking out if you're in the area. Meantime, checkout LACMA's page about the exhibit. Also - I highly recommend the video listed in the right margin on the LACMA page, which is diCorcia's narrative to the Thousand collection (just a heads up, there's a little bit of adult content).


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Guitar Hero Aerosmith

OK, what kind of advertising schill would I be if I didn't find a way to drag my day job into my photography blog?

As you may know, I work for an advertising agency as an account mananger. Me and all the folks at the agency work together to create commercials and advertising campaigns for our client (Activision video games).

The most recent campaign we just launched is for the next installment in Activision's Guitar Hero series - "Guitar Hero Aerosmith." The game lets you play Guitar Hero just how you've come to know and love, but now almost all the songs are Aerosmith classics. Songs from other bands are included as well - Joan Jett, Run DMC, Lenny Kravitz, The Black Crowes - and other opening acts who have played with Aerosmith throughout the years. Activision also "mo-capped" (motion captured) the band members from Aerosmith and uses animated versions of them in the game. The animated Aerosmith characters also make an appearance in our commerical. Enjoy (and go pick up a copy when you have a chance)!


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Quantaray 2x Teleconverter - Nikon

Does anyone know where I can get a Quantaray 2x Teleconverter for my Nikon D80?

In a few weeks the Mrs. and I are heading to Chicago to see a Cubs game, a White Sox game, and a Bears game. On a budget of course, so it’s not like we have the best seats in the stadium. But I still want to get good pics of the players if I can.

Enter Quantaray 2x Teleconverter…. You lose 2 f/stops, and possibly may get a little vignetting around the edges. But I’m OK with that. I can always crop, and besides it’s just for me – not for my website or for any art shows or anything like that.

A couple of weeks ago I found one on sale at Ritz Camera for $80. Awesome, I’ll just pull that out of the vacation fund. But then I go down there and they don’t have it. “The store in Beverly Hills has it” I’m told, but that’s like probably an hour in traffic, so I say I’ll just hold off and wait till my local store re-stocks.

So two weeks go by, and I go back in – sadly they’re still out. “Can you order one?” I ask. “Our warehouse doesn’t carry that” I’m told. So I call the Beverly Hills store – it’s Saturday AM, maybe I can beat traffic, plus I need something else over near there, so why not. But when I call, they’re out too….So now what was a great low-cost solution, is now feeling like it might be a challenge.

I know Samy’s camera has a Tamron 1.4x, but it’s less zoom and about double the price. I’ve looked on Ebay and they do have 2x converters. Problem is, they are all no-name brands I've never even heard of. I’m cool with Quantaray, but I don’t know if I want to go any lower than that.

Anybody know where I can get one?


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Nice Surprise

On Saturday, I went shooting down at Point Vincente on Palos Verdes, and then met up with some friends in Hermosa Beach for lunch. It was such a relaxing day, starting with a nice hike down the cliffs followed by lunch on the roof deck at Hennessy’s watching the beach crowd soak in the sun. I really wasn’t prepared for what I got in the mail when I got home – a surprisingly thick envelope from the Department of Cultural Affairs / City of Los Angeles.

"Dear Paul,” the letter reads, “it is with great pleasure that I am writing to inform you of your acceptance into the 2008 Los Angeles Juried Exhibition. The jurors reviewed over 2,000 entries, and from these have selected 92 for this year’s exhibition.”

In other words, "you’re going to Hollywood” (literally, actually…it turns out the LA Municipal Art Gallery is right there on Hollywood Blvd).

Holy uknowhat – how cool is that…The wife’s in tears, I’m standing there in disbelief, all the while thinking about the odds (92/2,000 = 4.6%). Not to mention the competition was open to all kinds of artwork – painting, sculpture, performance art, etc - in a city the size of Los Angeles which is of course a major arts/cultural center…

So needless to say a Saturday which started out really good just got even better! My piece "Libertad" will be on display July 31- September 7, with the opening reception on August 3. I’ll post more about the exhibition as it gets a little closer.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Friday, June 13, 2008

Premonition of Civil War

I was browsing through one of my favorite art books the other day, Sister Wendy’s 1,000 Masterpieces, and came across one of my long-time favorites: Dalí’s Premonition of Civil War (1936). In college when I studied literature and Spanish language, I remember reading unbelievable surrealist novels and short stories written during the same timeframe by a Nobel Prize winning Spanish author, José Camilo Cela.

The effects the Spanish Civil War on the citizens of Spain were simply devastating. It was right around the same time Hitler was mobilizing Germany for impending war against the rest of Europe. Spain underwent a coup d’état resulting in a new dictatorial government under General Francisco Franco, which was allied with WWII's axis powers. Artists and writers were exiled, upwards of 200,000 civilians were executed, children were separated from their families and evacuated to countries across Europe and even as far as the United States. All of this understandably had a profound impact on art and culture during this era (Dalí, Picasso and Cela especially, and others such as George Orwell, Ernest Hemmingway, and Robert Capa).

In Dalí’s piece, the juxtaposition of imagery of agony, destruction and terror set against a lucid blue sky conjures feelings of shock and nearly takes a person’s breath away. The notion of brute force trampling peace is so powerfully wrapped into this image, that even (or perhaps especially) today, one has to step back and think about how far we’ve come as a culture, yet how we're still chained to our seemingly undeniable need for war.

Anyway – yet another fantastic piece of inspiration found just browsing through an old book. Thanks Sister Wendy!


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Father's Day

Well it’s that time of year again, and between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day I’ve had my hands full! This next week or so will probably be a little hairy getting everyone's prints assembled and shipped on time, so everyone please forgive me if I’m offline here and there.

Mother’s Day was kind of a scramble, because I forecasted a little short on the number of mats I would need to fulfill orders from my site. So this time around I ramped up a little bit, and hopefully forecasted enough to cover Father’s Day. It’s busy enough assembling & shipping, but just another added layer when I have to run to get more supplies!

Well anyway, a huge "thanks again!" to everyone who has ordered so far! I appreciate your business and I’ll make sure to get everything shipped out to you asap! For anyone still on the fence, if you could get your order to me by Monday 6/9 that would be a huge help. On my site I'm saying the official cutoff is Tuesday 6/10, but having even one extra day would a tremendous help. I really want to make sure everything gets out the door in time, and I definitely don’t want to leave anyone hanging!


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


So my wife has been nagging me lately to get my prints on Ebay. Honestly, I’m thinking, why should I? I already sell matted prints from my website, so why do I need another outlet. But her sister’s husband used to have a lot of success with sports collectibles on ebay, and well, she seems to have a way of getting me to cave in on pretty much everything. So ok, why not.

So what I’ve decided to do is take a couple of pieces I have left over from the Evening With the Enemy art show I did last month here in Venice, CA, and post some of that on ebay. That was a really fun show by the way, at Focus Studio literally 4 steps from the beach, right on the boardwalk in Venice. There were all kinds of artists including photographers, painters, sculptors and performance artists. It was a lot of fun, and I actually did pretty good that night.

Anyway, the Mrs. said she’ll take care of all the posting and such, so that’s certainly a load off. But as an advertising guy by trade, I wouldn’t be worth my salt if I didn’t throw in a shameless plug here (just click through the picture to get to the auction page on ebay). Enjoy!


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

2008 Los Angeles Juried Exhibition

A couple of weeks ago, I was at Dick Blick Art Supplies, buying materials for the matted prints I sell on my website, and on the counter was a flyer for the 2008 Los Angeles Juried Exhibition. It’s a contest where local artists can submit work, to be reviewed by a jury panel. The winners will be displayed in the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in Hollywood for a month. Best in show gets $1,000, runner up gets $500, and third place gets like $250 or something in that range. The contest is every 2 years, and is open to painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography, and so on.

Well, ok, why not? So I grabbed the flyer to read a little bit more. Turns out the cost of entry wasn’t too-too bad, so I decided to give it a shot. I took 4 photos, set them up in the correct specs according to the flyer, filled out the entry form, wrote the check, and dropped everything in the mail.

Next steps, the jury will review everyone’s entries and they will make a decision – I believe the date is June 23. So stay tuned. The flyer didn’t say how many total pieces will be chosen for the display. And I’m not sure how big the gallery is, or how much space they are devoting to the winners. But on the outside chance one of my pieces gets in, I’ll definitely let everyone know!


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Huntington Library

Yesterday, based on a great tip from another blogger at FrenchGardenHouse, my wife and I visited for the first time the Huntington Library Botanic Gardens, over near Pasadena.

One word – WOW! It’s a huge complex with a Cactus Garden, a Japanese Garden, a Chinese Garden, a Lily Pond Garden, and indoor Rain Forest Garden, an Herb Garden, a Rose Garden – and much more. It’s $20 per adult to get in (well worth it in my opinion), or you can buy a 2-adult membership for $100 per year. It’s open 10:30-4:30 (that’s the only downside, not the best lighting for photography).We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and highly recommend it for anyone local here in LA or anyone planning a trip.

Meantime, I’ll be posting some new pics from the garden here, on my site, and on some of my other pages as well. Keep an eye out for some exotic flowers, cactus, lotus, and more. Thanks again for the awesome tip!


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Friday, May 30, 2008

William Wegman

The other day when I was on the plane back from visiting my family in western Colorado, I watched a show on Animal Planet – can’t remember the name, but it was about dogs. Each episode was a different breed, and this particular episode was about Weimaraners.

And one segment of the show covered photographer William Wegman, who is famous for shooting Weimaraners wearing human clothes and doing human activities such as fishing or sitting in chairs. The announcer spoke to the Weimaraner’s patience and docility as compared to other breeds.

Having been to a number of photoshoots in my professional life as an advertising guy, I have a deep appreciation for the mind-numbing tedium central to that type of photography. You have the photographer, the photographer’s assistant(s), the stylist, the stylist(s) assistant, the studio folks, the props, all the lighting, so on and so forth ad nauseum. (As you can probably gather this is definitely not my style of photography…lol) While I appreciate the end product, I can never see myself shooting commercially. And yes, the Weimeraner is an EXTREMELY patient dog to sit through that.

Either way, William Wegman’s site is definitely worth a look.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Listening Room

I was browsing through some books the other day and re-discovered “Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images” by Stephanie Barron & Michel Drauget. It’s the book from the exhibition of the same name last year at LACMA. Overall, I have to say that was easily one of the best exhibitions I’ve ever seen. Very well laid out/thought out, even down to a custom carpet for the gallery floor. The audio tour voiceover was done by Pierce Brosnan and, surprisingly it was actually insightful, rather than the typical monotone winding, off-topic interviews and such. The exhibition included not only works by Magritte but also those who he had influenced, such as Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Worhol, and others.

One of my favorite pieces from the exhibition is La Chambre d’écoute (The Listening Room), 1952. Magritte’s use of scale, juxtaposed imagery, light, and color in this piece have huge implications for photography. How often in photography is a subject juxtaposed in front of a thematically dissimilar background, using scale to make the subject appear larger than life. Or how often is the same juxtaposition created in photography through the use of light and color.

I always think it’s just amazing to see a piece of art which was so influential, not only in the “art” world of painting and sculpture, but also in fine art photography or even everyday snapshots.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I’ve been spending a lot of time lately looking for new sources of inspiration, around town, around the web, going to museums and galleries, etc. And one thing in particular is starting to become a really good source of knowledge, different perspectives, and new thoughts & ideas. Blogger!

I’ve been hopping around quite a few blogs lately looking for local artists who can offer up a different perspective, a unique way of looking at things. And I’ve been finding quite a few really cool and unique blogs out there.

There are a lot of photographers, crafters, painters, quilters, knitters, beaders, jewelers, pottery-er’s and more. Even just day-to-day stories from parents about their kids and their pets.

It’s been really enlightening and great inspiration!


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wide Angle Lens

When I bought my Nikon D80, it came with 2 kit lenses: an 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 and a 55-200 f/4-5.6 with VR. From day one, I've been using almost exclusively the latter, doing more zooming and cropping than anything. And recently I borrowed a friend's 50 f/1.8 prime lens, and I've been using that as well. The 18-55, I have hardly touched.

I think it's because living in L.A. it seems like there's not a lot to shoot with a wide angle lens. Most of the time the sky is a little hazy, so shots with a lot of sky tend to wash out. And looking down at eye level, mostly you just find a lot of clutter - trash, powerlines, cars, grafitti, etc. The zoom & prime lenses do a great job in the city of isolating your subject and removing the clutter. And plus it's easier to just carry one lens, right?

But now here I am in Western Colorado, with a huge blue sky to work with. What a great opportunity to bust out the 18-55 and shoot wide angle at 18mm for a while. I wound up feeling just like a kid at a playground - so much to mess around with, and a whole new approach.

I spent a little time down at Grand Junction's abandoned train station, getting some wide shots of train engines and cars, with huge sky and tons of contrast. Then I drove down to an abandoned farm and pretty much shot everything in sight.

It was a whole new experience. Rather than being 5-10 feet away from a subject and zooming in to frame my shot, using the 18mm focal length I was always 1-2 feet away from my subject at the most. And even at that close distance, the shots felt totally panoramic with a huge sky behind them. So much fun and the pics turned out great - a whole new direction to add to my portfolio.

So, lesson learned - I shouldn't be myopic when it comes to lens choice. And I shouldn't be lazy when it comes to carrying around that bag of lenses. It only takes a second to change lenses, and it's totally worth it to make sure you have the right lens for the shot you want.

So now, I guess I have to grudgingly acknowledge that Grand Junction actually has more to offer than just my in-laws.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on
MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Revenge of the Goldfish

I was browsing through one of my favorite photography books the other day ("Photography: A Cultural History" by Mary Warner Marien), and came across one of those photos that always has been a favorite.

Revenge of the Goldfish (Sandy Skoglund, 1981) depicts a child's bedroom in wich everything has been painted a teal-ish blue-ish color. The furniture, the bed, the walls, the floor, the blankets, everything. Two children (normal color, not blue) are in the bed, one sleeping and one sitting. And hanging from the ceiling, all over the floor, on the shelves, and coming out of the dresser are dozens of bright orange goldfish. OK - it's a bit abstract, and hard to explain - so click here to check it out.

I've always been a big fan of the abstract - Worhol, Koons, Basquiat, Dali, Jasper Johns, Pollock, Picasso, etc. This approach to photography is cool as well. It really became widespread in the 1980's, the Directorial or "fabricated-to-be-photographed" approach - creating a piece of art, scuplture, etc - with the sole intention of creating a photograph from it. The art form was born out of cinema - creating sets and elaborate staging purely to be filmed led to the creation of elaborate staging of artworks for the still camera.

Side note - I was re-reading the page above this photo, and discovered I am apparently a Modernist Photographer: "Where Modernist photographers combed the visual field for delightful coincidence, poignant metaphors, or abstract patterns, none of which were (or should have been) contrived, the photographers working in the Directorial mode conceived and fabricated subjects, disregarding photography's traditional assignment of finding meaning from the look of the world.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on
MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Western Colorado

Well, this weekend I'm in Western Colorado with the in-laws, enjoying some time out of the city. We're in a small town called Grand Junction on the Colorado/Utah border. We flew from LAX into Denver yesterday, then drove ealier today through the mountains along I-70 (through snow - note today's date is May 22...wtf). It's about a 3-hour drive, but between the snow and my need to get out and shoot, I think we stretched it out to maybe 5-6 hours.

I actually lived in Colorado for 8 years before moving to LA, so it's good to be back. But as soon as I got out and started shooting, I was again confronted with the 2 major challenges you face shooting photography in CO. 1) Scale - everything is unbelievably huge - I found I was using my 18mm for a lot of the "beauty" shots, just to try and capture the scale of everything. 2) Color Palette - everything in Colorado seems to be some variation of green or brown - and unfortunately today the gray sky didn't help.

So given the challenges, I decided to look for unique things off the beaten path. I busted out Don's 50mm f/1.8 and looked closely at trees and rocks for texture. I went down by the Colorado river (massively flooding due to snow melt & rain), and shot the rapids at slow shutter speed. I played with the ISO, Sharpness, Contrast and Saturation in-camera. Anything to break free of what I always seem to come out with when I'm here: a mind-blowing vista which has now become flat and monochromatic as a photograph.

Hopefully it worked... I'll be posting some of my stuff here and on my other pages over the next few days. Let me know what you think!


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on
MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Manual Color Balance In-Camera

So I tried a few new things when I went shooting this past weekend. I mentioned yesterday about keeping the aperture wide open (by the way a good friend lent me his Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Prime for the long Mem Day weekend - great guy & a great photographer, check him out at www.donlupo.com if you have a chance).

Besides shooting wide open, another thing I played with (and fell in love with) was controlling the color balance in-camera. I'm all about photography "in the raw," so to speak, so I shoot handheld only - on the fly - ALWAYS. I've never used a tripod and hopefully never will. And I've always liked to say I also shoot 100% manual. But to be perfectly honest if I'm using presets for color balance, it's really not 100% manual. So this past weekend, I gave it a shot.

I have to say it made all the difference. My Nikon D80 has a manual white balance setting using the K scale (2500 is way blue, 9900 is way red, and 5000 is neutral). So every time I'd come up on a shot, it forced me to look closely at the lighting and ask myself "what do I need to do in-camera to compensate for the lighting conditions?" Because I just don't believe in doing it in photoshop (minor adjustments only - calibrating for a printer, that kind of thing). So for example, if it was shady, I would shift a little higher towards red. If it was really hard sunlight, I would shift a little lower towards blue.

What a great new set of variables for my nerdly self to tweak and play with endlessly! I found myself shooting the same flower 5-10 times, at different points on the scale, looking at the subtle nuances between say 4000 and 4300 on the scale. I felt like a kid in a candy store...lol

Well anyway, one more thing I can claim I'm going "all manual" I guess. I'm going to Western Colorado this weekend to see the in-laws, their puppies, and of course the Rocky Mountains. So I'll take my new "sweet skills" and Don's prime lens, and have myself a blast. And hopefully, I'll have some good stuff to share when I'm back next week.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on
MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunset and Aperture - The Ramblings of a Photo Nerd

This past weekend I went shooting around sunset, down at the Venice Canals. It was just wonderful, that dappled orangey-golden light throwing long shadows all around. Great reflections on the water and in windows, lovely color temperature, and also just a very peaceful and beautiful evening.

I also told myself, “today I’m going to shoot as wide open as possible” (I use a Nikon D80 and my favorite lens is a Nikkor 55-200 4/5.6 with VR). So while I guess “wide open” doesn’t really mean “wide open” because it’s not a prime lens with a huge 1.8 aperture, it was still fun to draw a line in the sand and say I would only use shutter speed to control the exposure. Most often I use a combination of shutter speed and aperture, frequently shooting in sunlight at 1/100-1/320 f8-16 on ISO100-200 depending on the light.

What I found was that because I was shooting more open than usual, it forced me to re-think my approach to some of the shots I was taking. Wider aperture means greater depth of field of course, and it led me to frame things totally differently. It also gave me better performance in low light, without having to turn up the ISO.

In a way photography is like golf or any other fun hoppy. Endless tweaking of variables, leading to exploration and experimentation, and always learning along the way.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Monday, May 19, 2008

Venice Canals

This past Saturday right before sunset, I walked over to the Venice Canals to shoot a little bit. It's been a while since I walked over there (and a while since I shot), so it was refreshing to get out and see something "new." I've been spending a lot of time on Flickr lately, getting a lot of great inspiration - so I found I was suddenly seeing things differently. It's springtime so a lot of the flowers and trees are coming into bloom, and the canals area was full of all kinds of great flowers to play with. The evening light was great and a lot of the colors were really popping.

It was also really interesting the dichotomy of wealth and poverty. The canals area is about 2 blocks from the beach, so it's all million-dollar homes. But not all are single-family homes with full-time residents. Some are vacant vacation homes, others are rentals, others are just empty waiting for a buyer. So the streets are packed with a variety of cars - anything from Porsche & Mercedes to broken-down 1980 Toyota's. Signs and sides of buildings are all tagged with graffiti, and there is surprisingly a lot of neglect in terms of general upkeep of the properties. Some are beautiful but others are really falling apart.

Long story short it was a great reminder that class plays a huge part in the story of LA. The gulf between the uber-wealthy and the homeless, and those of us at varying degrees of in-between. It makes for some very interesting subject matter.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on
MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Friday, May 16, 2008

Old Shots, New Crops

I've been looking through a couple of hard drives worth of old pictures over the last few days, and suddenly finding gems all over the place. Stuff I took years ago with bad cameras, shots that I had completely discarded.

But what I've been doing is going into photoshop and pulling out a (sometimes very small) crop from the larger image. The resolution is bad, too small to print, but onscreen it looks OK.

The cool thing about it, it's almost like going back to wherever I was at the time and re-shooting the shot - re-living the moment. Interestingly, shooting photography is actually the exact same exercise - looking at the larger image (the world) and selecting a smaller crop (your viewfinder). It's been a cool discovery & a very exciting process.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on
MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The House On Walgrove

I was driving over to the Belding Awards yesterday (which DDB totally rocked in btw - Call of Duty 4 World Leaders, 5 belding bowls - w00t) and I saw this awesome house on Walgrove - either in Venice or Mar Vista - I don't know which. It was this beautiful dilapidated mess, crumbling blue stucco, warped window frames, and disheveled porch - complete with the added bonus of a twisty tree sans leaves in the backyard.

So classic and creepy, totally my kind of subject. Especially in the evening light with those long shadows and reddish-orangey tones - it was perfect. Little bit of a challenging shot because I know I will need to get it from across the street, and Walgrove is pretty high traffic (well, then again what street in LA isn't?). But I want all house - no cars, so I might need to shoot in speed mode, or go get it right at dawn - something. Either way, one of these days, I'll park the car, get out, and shoot it.

So if you're checking my pages, keep an eye out for the house on Walgrove. You'll know it when you see it.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on
MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

June Gloom

Well, it's getting to be that time of year again here in LA. June Gloom - that delightful time of year which brings us a sullen gray/white sky for days or even weeks on end.

On the surface this seems like a real bummer, especially for a photographer. But June Gloom can also be a time of reflection, a time to stop and smell the roses. Almost akin to a photographer's version of Lent. Give up the panoramics of beaches and mountains for a few weeks, and instead look down. June Gloom actually provides really nice soft lighting for shooting all the little things - flowers, plants, grafitti, doorways, windows, etc. All the little things a person would normally gloss over when looking at the horizon.

So really, June Gloom doesn't have to be a sad time, it can open the door to a whole new level of exploration with the camera. A little adjustment red-ward on the ol' color balance and you're good to go!


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on
MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

McLean Virginia

Today I was browsing through a great book called simply The Photography Book. It's basically a textbook/encyclopedia containing 500 of the most well known art photographs ever taken.

The one that caught my eye today catches my eye almost every time I open the book - McLean, Virginia (Joel Sternfeld, 1978). This photo has always blown me away - the austerity and the irony of the pumpkin farm in the foreground with a fireman browsing to buy a pumpkin, while the farmhouse burns in the background. Simply amazing. And well, I must say I'm a little partial because it reminds me so much of Iowa where I grew up.

But the thing that this photo continues to remind me is that (for me) photography is (should be) about an idea. It's not about taking a moment anyone can see or shoot and then polishing it to death in post production. But rather, it's about finding a moment or a person or an object that means something. And capturing it, documenting it in a way that means something. Not just setting up wide open, zooming way in and then dialing up the color in photoshop.

I think the line in the book sums it up best: "Sternfeld is drawn to bathos or to subjects in which what we understand as History is offset by everyday incidents."

Honestly though, even the definition of the word bathos inspires me (maybe because it's actually a one-line summary of my everyday life...lol). Bathos: a ludicrous descent from the exalted or lofty to the commonplace; anticlimax.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on
MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Monday, May 12, 2008

Seizing the Opportunity

I think I'm becoming more and more of a photo geek these days, because everywhere I look I see photographs. And I feel like I need to take with my camera with me everywhere so I don't miss anything.

Case in point, today I was driving from my office over to my client for a meeting. On the way there is a park across from a golf course - Rose Ave in Venice for those of you who are familiar with the area. Today there just happened to be a half-torn-down carnival which must have been going on over the weekend.

It was one of those moments that just begged to be captured - the morbidly smiling plastic horses on the carousel, the half-disassembled rusty rides, the greasy soot stained trucks parked awaiting a load, the ticket booths with light bulbs broken out. One of those sad macabre scenes of days gone by that sits there and mocks you for not bringing your camera. So much to play with - the crops, the angles, the lighting - and I missed it all.

So now I think starting tomorrow, my camera will ride with me wherever I go.


Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on
MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

Friday, May 9, 2008

Where We Live

I was browsing the photography section at Barnes and Noble the other day, and came across the book from an exhibition I saw in 2006 or 2007 at the Getty Center, called Where We Live. It's a collection brought together by Los Angeles film producer Bruce Berman.

I had forgotten how amazing the work was - steeped in that beautiful rustic americana that I've always loved. Stylistically speaking, the entire collection was heavily produced, with great lighting and richly oversaturated colors. It created a really beautiful irony - a sense of hyper-realism layered on top of what for most people could almost be said to be sub-real subject matter, in the sense that the despair and hardship depicted is not relevant to "most people." It really told a compelling story about the working class and the struggle for a sense of community within a world so much bigger than any one individual. Some of the photographers represented in the collection include: Mitch Epstein, Robert Adams, William Eggleston, Robert Dawson and maybe a dozen others.

The book was really nice - large size, and had pretty much the whole collection. $50, but I think well worth it. The cover page for the exhibition is still up on the Getty Center's website as well - check it out if you have a chance: http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/berman/



Become a fan on MySpace & Facebook:



Thursday, May 8, 2008


Used to be I had 2 main sources of inspiration: 1) things I see out in the world when I'm out shooting or just out and around - or 2) going to a museum like LACMA or MOCA or the Getty Center. But I gotta say Flickr has completely turned that dynamic on its head for me. Used to be I'd have to get in the car, drive out somewhere, park, all of that - but now I can sit and surf awesome pics from all over the world at my desk or my home office.

There is so much amazing photography on Flickr right there at a person's fingertips, it's unbelievable. And even though there is basically no security, people put up shots which could easily sell in a gallery. But what makes it so great in my opinion is that "here, take one" attitude - if you want it, feel free and snag it (albeit low res). That spirit of openness, collaboration and sharing is the lifeblood of an artistic community, and it's just so wonderful to see it alive and well in the virtual/real world.


Become a fan on MySpace & Facebook:


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

LACMA's New Building Rocks!

If you haven't been to LACMA's new building yet, try and make it down there soon. It's like a whole new LACMA. The new building is a huge 3-story space dedicated entirely to contemporary art (60's-00's). The top floor has an amazing Jeff Koonz exhibit as well as some Warhol, Lichtenstein, Ruscha and others. Then on the second floor there is a great Basquiat section and a Jasper Johns section. All my favorite artists, and it's all part of the permanent collection.

I also really like the way they've done the exterior - it's still work in progress with a little more landscaping left to be done. But I love the clean contemporary lines of the building, the colors, the shapes, and the way the lighting plays on everything throughout the day. Definitely worth a looksee! www.lacma.org


Become a fan on myspace & facebook:


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tao of Photography by Tom Ang

I just picked up a book called Tao of Photography - it's a really interesting take on shooting differently. It covers everything from technical tips to creative inspiration in a really unique way. Here's a quote:

"In as much as photography consists of a long an irregular line of decisions, it is essentially about harmonizing and finding a balance between the pros and cons of one action as opposed to another...It works through the resolution of pairs of opposing characteristics, the Yin and Yang: large and small, light and darkness, mass and airiness. Thus, Yin and Yang are continually at work in photography - in all its aspects and in all its processes."

As I read more, I'll put up some more cool quotes, tips, etc. Would love to get your questions and comments as well!

Meantime, props to Google Analytics for providing awesome site tracking (for FREE), to FolioSnap for offering a really turnkey website solution for someone not super tech-savvy, and to the Nikon D80 for being a great camera. More to come!


Become a fan on myspace & facebook: