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Time for a Little Neutral Density Filtration Break

I have taken you into the realm of fixing your photos that suck. Suggested you to ‘f’ the rule of thirds, even told you that HDR is not for me. Now it is time for a little filtration. Time to discuss what I use in the field to balance my images for a lot of the lighting scenarios that many believe Photoshop is the holy grail of fixes for – time for some neutral density filtration.

On our workshops and tours, we get a ton of questions about using neutral density filters. And while there are something shy of a bazillion of these filters available, we are going to discuss three basic categories of Neutral Density filters: Circular Neutral Density filters, Variable Neutral Density filters, and Graduated Neutral Density filters. We will also discuss some of the subsets within these categories, and mention some of the manufacturers of the most popular styles.

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‘F’ the Rule of Thirds

“You learn a lot of things on the way to 500. None more important than this… ~ The Knockaround Guys.

The rule of thirds is probably the first and quite possibly the most popular compositional tool out there for photography. I don’t really know anyone who hasn’t started to become a decent photographer who hasn’t followed it, but like Vin Diesel said in The Knockaround Guys, “You learn a lot of things on the way to 500.”

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What to Do When Your Photos Suck

You may find this hard to believe, but there are times when every photographer struggles with what to do when their photos suck. I struggle with it, Art Wolfe struggles with it, and you can even bet early photographers like Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson struggled with it. The difference here is that pros typically take so many photos that the bad ones just get tossed into the trash can. These days, that’s a virtual one found on our desktops. We don’t dwell on it, because frankly, we don’t have time. 

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This is Why You Need to Use Lightroom

Use Lightroom because it is a non-destructive, importing, cataloging, processing, exporting, and sharing software designed as an all-inclusive platform specifically for photographers who need photo and video imaging control. It is completely integrated with most of Adobe’s additional software packages specifically, but not exclusively limited to/with Photoshop. Phew! With those two statements alone you can already begin to understand the power of this program. It allows me, the stand alone photographer, to run a photography business without the need for an army of other people managing my office and images for success. Thus, I realize more of the profits while I attempt to work less, unlike many of those whom I compete against.

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The Ultimate Photographer Gear List

Here is the ultimate photographer gear list for everyone that sends along questions about what I use. I know, I know, on the surface I easily look like a complete gear whore, but I am competing against photographers who have twice this equipment. Remember, it truly is not about the gear, it is about the vision of the photographer. If all you can afford is some piece of junk Holga from the PRC then that is what you use as your camera to create a stunning idea. And nine times out of ten, I would choose the Holga over any of this if I had the option. My clients typically want it a different way though.

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5 Things We need to Forget About as Photographers

Why 5 things we need to forget? Quite simply because I feel that all over the world too many photographers are jumping on bandwagons that truly don’t “make a photograph”, who then write about these five things and confuse the rest of us. We stress about, fight about, argue about, and write about these things tirelessly. Honestly, enough is enough. Go out and start honing your photography. Prove to me that it is not the equipment. Show me compelling imagery taken with your iPhone. Use a freaking film camera that has no motor drive, or dig out a TLR and take it in the field. Then I will truly be impressed. Even humbled.

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My Best Photos of 2014

2014 was one of those years where I felt like I was on a roller coaster. I am not talking about one of those old rickety wood things from the 60’s. I am talking about the new ones, the ones that are designed by retired NASA engineers that pull 4g.s and are made of more steel than what’s in a miscellaneous scrap yard in the desert outside of Vegas. The edit for My Best Photos of 2014 began with a look at 28,174 selects from this past year. Then came tears. Pain. Suffering. Success. Failure. Pleasure. Cold. Warmth. Vomit. Diarrhea. And bug bites. Lots of freakin’ bug bites.

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5 Reasons to Reject an Image

With the age of digital photography now becoming a mainstream part of society, how do you decide what photos are good to keep and what ones should be thrown in the trash? While we need reasons to reject an image, we don’t necessarily want to form a hypothesis of rules. If you ever take a workshop with me you will quickly realize that I choose to disregard rules in almost every aspect of my life and my photography. And I believe that creativity cannot be contained within a set of rules.

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Gum Wall Window Drip Seattle by Jay Goodrich

My Best Photos of 2013

My Best Photos of 2013 began with a look at 56,721 selects from this past year. I think it is safe to say that I shot a LOT of photos in the past 12 months. Out of those selects I narrowed my image selection down to 100, had my wife further refine the collection down to 50, with the final goal being 13. 13 images that would represent an entire year of assignments, commercial contracts, and travel. And then I hit a speed bump. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t meet my goal of 13. Through struggle, deletion, careful thought and consideration I got my best photos of 2013 down to 18 then added 2 back in – hey this is my blog and I can do what I want, when I want.

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20 Minutes

20 minutes ago I was purchasing a coffee and a blueberry scone at Caffe Vita. The TSA agent told me to have a great day. I walked through security without shedding my shoes, without taking off my belt, without removing the laser-cut titanium rectangle that outlines Grand Teton which has hung around my neck for close to a decade. I didn’t pull my laptop out of my bag. I put my truck key and iPhone into my bag. I had my boarding pass scanned and it beeped with a green light. I checked my one bag, was upgraded to first class, and I parked my truck right next to the terminal in the oversized parking. Almost ran into the tiny Jeep who couldn’t make up his mind how to park at the ticket gate.

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Jackson Wyoming 83002 – Dreamer, Drifter…

Jackson Wyoming…this is all going to make sense momentarily, just bear with my rampant train-of-thought diatribe (maybe a bit harsh but such a cool word). There are times in my life when I struggle. I fight failure. I look at myself with question. And wonder when it will all get better. In the same breath, I am a dreamer, drifter, and quite often a dumb-ass. I would say that overall, I move forward without hesitation and often press the damage control button right after tossing the hand grenade into the room of nay-sayers. I often speak my mind without any type of purity filtration and maybe that keeps the world slowing down some radical, out-of-control anarchist. I know that those who drink my very special brand of Kool-Aid keep coming back for more, so I may be on to something, although I find it extremely hard to isolate the statistics.

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9 Things to Think About Before You Become a Professional Photographer

I want to throw the romance of photography and being a photographer in the garbage can for a few minutes. This post is to give you some idea of what you may be stepping into should you decide that you absolutely need to become a professional photographer. I am not speaking of getting published once in a while, winning a photo contest here and there, or traveling the world taking the pictures you want to take. That is not the job of a professional. That is the romance that we all believe a photographic lifestyle is or should be. This is very IMPORTANT…becoming a professional has very little to do with taking photographs. The actual picture taking part, becomes the luxury item when you become a professional photographer. So with this thought in mind, here are 9 things to think about before you follow your romantic, stomach-butterfly, feeling that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside.

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