Tag: creativity

It is time for the Worldwide Photo Walk. It will be on October 13th, and our local group will be walking the quaint Village of Salado. Salado should provide plenty of interesting shooting, since it hosts of variety of artists itself, everything from musicians, to painters, to glass blowers. On top of that, Salado boasts quite an old and storied history for this part of the world. The buildings themselves tell a story which goes back many generations. If you are wondering what a “photo walk” is, it is really just a good excuse to get out and take some…

Read the PostWorldwide Photo Walk in Salado

There is a difference. The workshop I am starting up today is not “basic photography”, in the sense of photography for just beginners. Rather, if the word “basic” must be used to describe it, it is the “basics of photography”, in the sense that we may already be highly creative, have an excellent eye for the image we want, and take beautiful photographs on a regular basis, but we still have a weakness in the technical aspects of how photography works.

Photography is intriguing in that way: it is both highly creative and highly technical. You have to have a feel for the image, and eye for what to capture, but you also have to have a solid understanding of the technical aspects of how cameras and lenses work. That technical understanding will unlock knew realms of creativity, or, at the very least, help you mess-up fewer photos. Read the Post “Basic Photography” or the “Basics of Photography”

Merely writing that title before I begin writing makes me worry this will become a soapbox post. Or is that monologue-in-waiting just a defense mechanism welling up to cover my deeper insecurities about whether I am attempting to sell out my own vision to money or notoriety? Translated: am I letting my attempt for extra cash for new gear or my pagerank on Google edge out the reason I shoot in the first place?

A friend recently asked me in an e-mail: “interesting to see something of what you are up to [in photography] … though I recognise that the photos don’t represent life per se.” Meaning, I have striven for many years not only to capture life around me, but to dig deeper to try to find moments which can be captured which show us a glimpse of reality, Truth, and beauty. And when I say “beauty”, I do not mean simply a pretty picture; I mean beauty which points to something much more “real”, much larger. Maybe that is the beauty of a kiss, or better yet, the beauty of the ten thousandth kiss between a couple now battling together against cancer.

Whoa, there. Pull back on those reins big fella. I need to get back to the original question of selling out. Yet I still feel it is helpful (if only for myself) to define again why I do photography before I try to decide what selling out would even look like in my case. How would I recognize it if I were letting go of my vision or style just for cash or fame? Read the Post Is it ever worth it to sell out?

A beautifully fresh perspective on life.

Yesterday, I took the scenic route back to my parking spot. I was just running a normal errand and had my one-year-old in my arms. Sure, we accidentally parked a little too far away initially, but that had nothing to do with the scenic route. The mood, history, and culture of downtown Temple, Texas inspired us to take a slightly less direct path back to the car…just for the beauty of the moment. I was less concerned with taking photos than I was with enjoying a few extra minutes of the day. What I received was more enjoyable and eye opening than I expected.

The “Learning to See” in the title is a reference to Chris Marquardt’s Learning to See Workshops. Not that I have been to a workshop, but I have listened to his Tips from the Top Floor podcast quite a bit, and really appreciate his approach to photography. I could not agree more with his website byline: “learn to see”. How we experience life, what we notice, and the learned ability to switch perspective are key ingredients to the quality of photography we produce. I learned a lesson in learning to see on that scenic walk back to the car. Read the Post Learning to See via Unfiltered Spontaneity

I struck up a conversation with a high school student last Friday, noticing him working on editing a movie. Turns out, he was doing the final cutting for a student-made film which was a part of a theater class project (Harker Heights High School in Killeen Texas) and would be shown at their film festival the next day.

We talked about video, films, photography, and such. He asked me if I had done any video. Though very little, I  have played around with it some. He told me I really ought to give them something of mine to show in the film festival as well. Why not? It would be something different for them: all theirs are full cast and crew types of productions, whereas mine is a one man show used mostly for creative experimentation. Read the Post Film Festival Fun

So, here it is, the new, but totally unimproved, website. I have stuck with the ChinaCoop moniker for many years now, and I hate to leave it behind. “ChinaCoop.net” is not exactly a great way to market my services in the United States, though. Nothing against China, of course (I did live there for ten years, afterall), but clients back in Central Texas would pass right by the site thinking Google had gotten something wrong. So, as much as I hesitate to use my name, because is just feels conceited to do so, the name is the only choice I…

Read the PostRebranding is the Pits

I was digging through a box of  stuff a friend left—I find myself doing this fairly often here in China, we leave little traces of our lives all around the place—and found a Polaroid camera and one cartridge of film, or paper, or whatever you call it for Polaroid. I have been excited ever since seeing it, and I can just feel that it will be the perfect ten pieces of paper to record a special upcoming life change.

For one, Polaroid is just cool. I remember wanting to shoot one when I was a kid when seeing some friend of my brother with one, but I was simply too little to be trusted, I guess. I have never pulled the trigger (more true than I ever knew till just recently, they really do have a trigger kind of mechanism) on a Polaroid. And second, I only have ten shots. That is just exciting in itself. Read the Post A la Polaroid

Serving to a Fault,
Defaulting to Service.
A life spent striving to be spent
Poured out as an offering.

A farm girl caught in a city life,
Primal simplicity wasted not
On the severed souls she helped.
O, that we too could find simpleness.

That we have,
In the picture of love among us,
Like the servant farmer before her,
The daughter’s incense rises above. Read the Post Full Life Empty 己生丑牛

The other day, a friend of mine was showing the photos from his daughter’s wedding. Initially, I was only in the same room and enjoying some conversation with someone else, but then I started to realize how incredible the photos really were. I asked who had taken them, because the wedding was out here in Asia and (believe me) a little out of the way to find a nice wedding photographer. Unknowingly, I had asked the photographer, herself.

Assuming, from the quality of the photos, she was an experienced photographer, I actually asked how she used her flash to balance the light so beautifully. After a brief exchange, which I still have a hard time processing, I found out she had used a regular, old point-and-shoot camera! How could it be? Read the Post Why Do I Never Get Perfect Light?