"As I continue to build my business and my brand, I need to constantly be maintaining me and be building myself as well.Read More
Jeffrey Byrnes Photographer Fashion + Portraits + Travel
They say the simple act of writing something down is the first step towards achieving that goal, task, or desire. At the very beginning of 2016 I put a glass dry erase board in my home office. I took a step back and thought about what I wanted, all the goals I wanted to achieve that year. I am not a New Years resolution type of person, but setting goals is something to work towards and helps build upon the success already achieved. With multiple colors of dry erase markers I graffiti-ed those goals onto the glass in hopes that I would see everything to completion over the coming year. There are pivotal moments in 2016 where I thought my abilities to complete my goals were not just sidelined, but benched for the entire year.
Its very difficult to take an idea, usually with minimal resources, and make it successful. An idea is just that, an idea. It doesn't become something tangible unless effort is put forth. For some people, effort comes with ease when they have the proper resources to take an idea from inception to a more concrete tangible form of success. When beginning new projects or making career moves it require a certain level of tenacity and resilience. You have to be as strong as the idea is in order to see it through. You have to believe in your idea and believe in your ability to see it happen. Starting and stopping a project is not the same as having a project fail. Failure is major contributor to the success of future projects. Without failures, there is no opportunity to learn, grow, create new ideas and projects. While reading a friends blog recently, I came to the realization that I hade quite a few failures from the end of 2015 into 2016. I didn't see them as failures at the time, because I kept on working, trying things, working, creating ideas, and working. When we refuse to continue to work we are saying two things, I give up and I can't. Can't means you wont. Can't is a form of accepting failure. Accepting failure can be broken down into two categories, the "I give ups" and the "I can and will make this work," attitude. Giving up means you're hanging your head low and walking away defeated. In contrast, I can and will make this work attitude will allow you to reposition yourself and pivot your ideas and resources in such a way that you'll make things work. That is the hardest thing to do, reposition yourself to become successful. It is easy to walk away and forget. It's harder to refocus, restructure, and reprioritize your goals. Outcomes change by other influencers, but if you stay determined, you will be successful.
This past December I cleaned off my glass board. I wiped it down and removed every mark I made back in January. Each line that I cleared away was like a light bulb going off. Everything I wanted to accomplish, I did. I had completed every goal I had written down. Holy shit. I know, right? I was impressed and proud of my hard work. See, the thing is, I am a note taker. I have yellow post it notes as reminders everywhere. As a busy creative professional, my mind is working on 3 different things at once. Post it notes are my to-do list, reminders, and general notes, outside of my iPhone. I keep short term goals written on them while the larger goals stay written on the board. I do not look at those goals daily. I do not want to be overly stressed out to complete them, which sounds a bit moronic to say, but it really isn't. My days range from back to back to shoots to days of editing, meetings, planning shoots. If I was to be focused on the list I created, I won't be focused on the work I need to do, which usually shapes how well a goal will be completed. The goals themselves, they are either physical and tangible objects or they are things if desire, such as future work, travel, various components of projects or entire projects themselves. That is not to say that I write them down and walk away and don't look at them for 12 months, I do. I just do not make a daily habit of checking the board. While writing down ideas and goals is a simple mechanism to ensure their success, there are obvious things that need to occur. The most obvious, write them down and continuously work to be successful. For me, I work to produce to work. My work is a reflection of who I am and enables me to be successful, which helps me build on the list of goals I make.
To be successful, you need to be a leader. I'm not taking about a President, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or the class president. No. You need to be your own leader and guide yourself to the right path of success. There is no guidebook on how to be an entrepreneur. It does and simply can not exist. What works for company A will and might not work for company B. Parallel to that, what works for me as a photographer might not work for someone who is a graphic designer.
Laslty, you can not force success. You can not force your ideas to happen or to just snap your fingers and your goals are met. If you can do that, if you have that much resource, which most people do not and will not, congrats on being a .5%-er. Think about this: if you focus to intently on one thing, you're bound to neglect something else. Negelecting anything is to reject everything. Ideas, especially in the creative world are stimulated when we work. Placing to much focus on a goal is a wall building device that shuts out influence and inspiration from other forms of work and ideas. This type of practice is a means of rejecting the collaboration of a multitude of other resources, which can likely assist in the completion of any goals.
Focus on creating a list of goals and ideas. Work. Work hard and often. Keep your goals in mind and check in often. Work on your list and on bulding the resources and network you need to make your goals happen. Sometimes we need the support of a community or a few other creatives to make our goals come true. Keep working. Fail. Realize that you have failed and celebrate it. Failing means you've tried, attempted, came close, or will come close to makeing your goals a reality. Get a board and write down your goals. It can be a simple piece of paper shoved in your wallet or it can be an entire wall in your office, basement, home, or wherever else you want to store your goals and ideas. Don't give up and keep failing.
What I failed to do, failed at doing, or failed trying to do is irrelevant. What matters though, is that I realized that I failed and am not deterred from my goals. If I was, if I do, take no pity on me, for I will have become a quitter. Quitters don't share success or inspiration with you, they complain and whine about their failures because they are stuck on them. No one wants to work with someone who constantly fails and complains about it. The difference between healthy failing and the quitters mindset, they don't want to be successful through hard work, they want instant success given to them. I haven't found the Success Store yet or the page on Amazon that sells success.. No one is going to just give you anything. You have to earn it, work for it, desire it till it hurts.
Here are a few of my goals for this year:
- Increase revenue for my businesses.
- Scale my business.
- Reduce expenses.
- Retain more profits while reducing expenses.
- Shoot 5 ad campaigns.
- Network with Creative Directors, Art Directors, Photo Editors.
- Travel more.
- Travel for work.
- Plant roots in New York City for work.
- Get published.
- Learn another language (French and Polish are on my list.)
Go be successful. Go write down your goals.
The above featured photographs are from a portfolio building shoot that I had at the Boro Hotel in New York City back in January.
Every year like clock work the resolution fairy comes and delivers false hopes to many. It takes a strong willed courageous person to make changes. Many people are comfortable and complacent in their lives and blissfully make resolutions that they knowingly will not follow through on. I have never been one to make a resolution. I am however one that enjoys a lifestyle of reinvention. As the years pass, our careers and personal lives allow us to reinvent ourselves to fit new rolls while maintaining our personality. As the year winded down and came to a close I was seeing more and more posts on social media saying “2016 needs to end." I believe everyone was ready for a change. The truth is there are a lot of people that are frustrated, given the social and political climates that have been changing daily. We are currently in a liminal state of change as we await our President Elect to take office just after the start of the new year. 2016 was a tough year for a lot of people, myself included.
During the last year I met some great people, produced some awesome shoots, and traveled to new places. Work was good, all-in-all. There were some health obstacles to overcome that made work a bit challenging. I started the year off in the gym and taking a yoga class. I ended up with a slight knee injury due to the yoga class, pre-existing issue that worsened with the yoga, that became a compounded during a hiking trip along the Oregon Coast in February. The compensation from the knee injury over the course of a couple of weeks following our return from the Pacific Northwest led to a misalignment in my back that nearly put me out of work for two weeks. Due to these issues I had stopped going to the gym. After healing up and moving on from those injuries, the warm weather was prime conditions for riding. I am big into mountain biking and cycling. I started slowly with a few rides a week. Between trails and bike paths, I started to rack up the miles. One late afternoon in June I ascended a mountain nearby. I rode 25% of the way up and walked the remaining 75%. It took me a total of 45 mins to get the the peak. I had climbed up using an access road that was in no way shape or form designed for downhill mountain biking. Regardless, I had set a goal, ride back down. Within minutes I was carving down, taking the tight, very tight turns. It took me less than 9 mins to make it down the mountain.
During a few passes riding around the former ski slopes I had a few quick chats with some hikers. One of the girls was impressed someone would tackle such terrain, given that it was not groomed for riding. There were small to medium sized rocks that grew in numbers the more I climbed the trails. Ultimately that would lead to me turning back. As the group passed me a third time, making their way down the trail, one of the girls looked back and said, “good luck. If it were me, I would fall on my face.” Moments later while I was making my way down a path. The path began to open up, expanding in width as I maneuvered my way towards a body of water that had a trail looping it. I increased my speed and looked ahead to see how much further until I took a right onto the path leading off of where I was coming from.
My left hand floated off the handle bars as the front wheel turned 90 degrees sideways. My left hand and wrist broke the fall, taking the brunt of the hit as the front of the bike began to summer-salt forward. As my hand made contact with a rock, my wrist gave out under the tremendous weight of the fall and my shoulder was the next to make contact with the ground. I continue to move, sliding on my shoulder. My face was the third part of me that made contact with the ground. My left hip came crashing down as I slid a bit more and then continue to roll over. I rolled another 90 degrees before I looked over and found myself wrapped up in the bike. I sat up, pushed the bike away from me and recounted what had just happened. I could feel a cool rush on the left side of my face by my eye. My nose had a tingle, kind of like the sensation of being hit with tennis ball at a slow speed. My left hand was throbbing and my wrist was in pain as my hand instinctively curled up. My hip was sore and my shoulder was killing me. Within seconds I was on my feet and digging my phone out of bag, that sat under my seat. I needed to check my face to see how bad the damage was. I slide the screen open, launching the camera. I reversed it and looked at myself. Dazed. There was blood, nothing major. There was more pain than crimson colored blood running down my face. I could feel the swelling starting to form. I slide the screen closed for the camera and began calling my wife. No answer. I had to vacate the path as fast as I could with the sun well beyond the other side of the mountain. I was in agony and need to get home to determine if I needed medical treatment. I walked a short distance up the path, mounted my bike, pedaled up a short hill. I cradled my left arm against me as I passed a group of guys walking. I cant for the life of me remember what they said, nor my response, but the acknowledged that I had just taking a shitter. The biggest shitter of my life. When I reached the car I tried my wife again. No answer. At this point I was now upset, because that meant that I had to drive home. I did not feel that it was a wise decision, but the alternative, calling an ambulance seemed over the top. I could function, the fall to my face, at the time, didnt seem so bad, and I knew the date, my name, and where I was, a I kept mentally checking in, trying to make sure I was not having any signs of possible head trauma, more than the obvious. When I walked into the kitchen my wife was not completely surprised, but she was fearful of the injuries.
I awoke the next morning. The black eye arrived at some point during the night. My left hand and wrist were locked up and I could not move either. My shoulder was tender and my hip was cut and sore. My left eye socked, on the side of my face, was in extreme pain. How the hell was I going to work like this, I thought to myself. I had a small shoot that afternoon and a few shoots lined up over the next few days. After speaking with my wife and trying to call our Dr, I ended up driving to the very same urgent care she visited that same morning. By the time I was able to get in, she had already left. Long story short, my wife and I had the same Dr treat us. She, too, could not reach our primary care and ended up going in for a cut that was infected. My injuries were a growing concern, which of course brought me into the office. After having some X-rays and finally speaking to the Dr, it was determined that due to how fast and rapidly the black eye grew and spread, a CT Scan was needed. If you take a blunt force impact to the face near the eye and a fracture occurs, air can get in through the eye socket and cause an infection that can spread to your brain. No one has time for that kind of shit! I took her very seriously and promised I would make my way to the hospital and get check out. If there was a fracture to my face, I would need surgery to repair the damage and avoid any future issues, such as a killer brain infection. I did not have a break to the wrist. It was as sever strain, which as the Dr said, can sometimes be worse than a break. Pardon me while I stop typing for a moment so I can crack my wrist. For about 8 weeks after the fall I had my wrist tightly wrapped up in a fabric and velcro splint. It was black and had a thin sheet of medal that contoured my hand and wrist. Not very comfortable for working 10-12 hours a day. The next two weeks following the accident were miserable. The pain in my face was annoying and the limited use of my left hand was troubling for work. I felt like I had been in a major car crash, except I wasnt. Instead I had a major accident falling from my bike, which was seemingly worse.
Now, six months later, most mornings I wake up with soreness in my left wrist. The left side of my face has scar tissue on the inside of the skin, near the eye socket. I can see it when I smile in the mirror. My shoulder recently has been sore. My hip, healed up a while ago. 2016 was a tough year for me. I spent a great deal of time healing from all the injuries. The obvious one, the bike accident, took the most time to heal from. For the last 4 weeks I have been back in the gym. My friend and I have been on the stationary bike, less likely to end up with a contusion from that kind of riding, than being out on a mountain, and really getting our asses into gear. I have been longing to be back in the gym the way we have been the last few weeks. The gym is a place that is devoid of all of my work and is a place where I can go to escape almost anything and be free to be active. I am still a bit limited though. The wrist injury, as I said with a sever strain, can be worse than a break, which has caused me to have a slower start with using weights. I was once fairly fit and in the gym regularly, before I met my wife and before I started working 60-80 hours a week. So it has been a long and tiresome road to get to the end of this year.
2016 was a year of self actualization. I produced some great shoots, took projects to new levels, and have begun to reprioritize my career with a focus on specific goals. The latter part, “focus on specific goals,” really began towards the end of 2015, but sometimes we need to take time to ensure our interests are more than that, just interests. I spent a large part of 2016 learning new things about myself, my interests in photography, and how all of this applies to our future, my wife and I. It takes a lot of understanding of ones' self to realize what they want. The hard part isnt figuring out you want to do something, it is figuring out how to make that happen. In November I was doing some portfolio work in New York City and I connected with a photographer, who is now a new friend. She writes for SLR Lounge and is trying to figure out her place and path within the fashion world, but trying to concur New York City as she does so. It is rewarding to connect with someone that is in the same area as I am, a great photographer standing at the front door to a dream, knock, peering in the window, trying to figure out how to unlock the door and gain access to work, lifestyle, and career.
Not to long ago, sometime in mid-November I was searching through hard drives and came across some old work. Work that I was making blindly, with no idea and no consequence. At the time I was a contributing photographer for a small publication. I was hungry then, which meant I was naive enough to pursue things without vision or knowing what I was truly doing. All I knew is that I wanted to shoot and be published. The rest would get figured out as need be. That juvenile mindset allowed me to blissfully shoot without vision, knowing that it would lead me somewhere. Which it did. It lead me to other opportunities, which lead me to shooting my first published fashion shoot. It obviously not Vogue or Vanity Fair, or else I would have said so by now. While searching that hard drive I looked back at the photos and realized that not only have I developed a vision, a set of skills that I have worked hard at, but I have evolved. That is the key word, evolved. As a photographer, an artist, a business, you must evolve. If you fail to evolve it means you are failing to live and learn and grow. If you are not living, learning, growing, you are not succeeding. If you are not succeeding, well, you're shit out of luck in the game of life and you will be forgotten in a New York minute.
2016 was a good year for me in terms of business. I had some great shoots, met great people (as mentioned) and have begun to internalize my dreams and goals for the next year, two years, and the career I am looking to expand. I will say this, the highlight of the year was shooting Dale Noelle in her Upper East Side apartment for the cover of a magazine. Not only did I connect with a great person, but I was able to make some incredible images of her. In order to make a dream a reality, you must go through processes, such as the learning curve it will take in order for you to get there. It starts with the internalizing process. You must prepare yourself for the hard work that is ahead. You can not just say, “I am going to do this,” and the next day you are there, at the top of your career, doing exactly what you want. It just does not work like that. To rise to the top or to any level beyond where you are takes time. For some it is shorter than others, that is the learning curve. However, for others, it takes more time and more hard work. This is where I am at. I am at the self actualization stage, where I can see where I have come from and how I got to where I am, and am now in the “figure it out” phase of the next chapter of my career. Not a lot of photographers openly discuss this. I am not sure if it is because they are too busy, fear letting people know to much about themselves, or just do not care to discuss the intimate details of their business and lives. But as photographers, we must grow and adapt and always be focused on moving our careers forward.
Have you ever wanted to travel some where and finally you get there and realize that it is everything you hoped it was and then some? That is how I would describe the Pacific Northwest. In February we landed in Seattle. We stayed with friends for a few days before we drove down to Portland Oregon. Portland like Seattle is funky city. They are going through a gentrification that was fascinating to see. Their culinary boom is incredible. We ate great! Literally. I connected with a friend from back east and we had some great beers and the following day he cooked us lunch before we made our way to Cannon Beach. While we stayed in Portland we drove down to Multnomah Falls. WHOA. What an incredible place! I was able to see Mt. Hood from a distance and captured that scene from Pittock Mansion. Cannon Beach was an eerie area. We arrived on a foggy afternoon that looked like a scene from the Goonies. We stayed in an awesome bed and breakfast that was within 200' of the ocean. I slept great. I was heavily inspired by Cannon Beach and the surrounding area. It was my first time touching the pacific ocean and experiencing the pacific coast. My vague translation of my internal feelings is due in part to the fact that I could write a novel about the area. I will say this though, I had the great hike of my life as we meandered and wandered up the pacific coast. I saw things and found things I never thought I would, but always hoped. I will be writing some travel posts in the very near future.
From the last week of September into the almost second week of October we were in the south. We had a house on Isle of Palms, South Carolina and spent a few days exploring Charleston. It was our second time down there together. This time we drove, bringing out dogs with us. We faced numerous issues. Our puppy was injured at doggy day care, ended up with kennel cough a few days later, same puppy, and we were evacuated from the island 2 days early due to a hurricane. What a bunch of crap! We had a great trip though, regardless of the issues we faced.
I want to travel as often as I can. I want to see as much of the world as I can. I want to be able to share what I see with others, especially my wife. My goal for 2017 is more travel, both for work and for leisure.
I have had some failures, successes, ideas and desires. At the end of the day I keep going knowing that my good days will be matched by days that are less than desirable. However, the days that are bad, seemingly monumental failures, will pale in comparison to the days that yield the highest rewards. As we leave 2016 I offer this piece of advice. Let us not forget where we have been, but let us remember where we want to be. Keeping yourself focused and determined will ground you to your ambitions as you work towards those goals. For me, 2017 is going to be a great year filled with a lot of work, a lot of networking, promo distributing, and opportunity seeking, in addition to consistently and constantly developing my work. I want to wish everyone a happy, safe, injury free New Year. Let us not forget the talent that we are saying good bye to as we exit 2016, but let us remember how they changed the world.
I am due to upload some new work to my website, including the following, which I am initially featuring here.
Creative/style: julia morris
Hair: david harr
Stylist's assist: @kiki_camp
Model: @vickycain88 with Red NYC
Black and White mood
Creative/style: julia morris
Hair: David Harr
Stylist's assist: @kiki_camp
Model: @meganaperfine with Red NYC
By the time I get a new piece of equipment in my hands it has been reviewed to death. This can also be said about the Fuji X-Pro2 camera, released earlier in 2016, that I picked just over a month ago. This is going to be a no bullshit review of the camera by someone who has enjoyed a DSLR and have begun the transition to mirrorless. While I will not abandon my DSLR's solely for mirrorless, as I have a Canon 5Ds that I adore and gives me great images, rather I am expanding my gear and abilities with this new piece of technology. It is important to note that I use the word technology, as I will explain further in a few moments. Another note of interest, all the photos you will see below are photographed using the Fuji X-Pro2. Seems like a no brainer, but you never know who might think otherwise.
Pre Fuji: My interest with the Fuji X-Pro2 started last year or a little earlier when the Fuji X-Pro1 was in stores. My wife and I were traveling to Europe and it was going to be my first time aboard and I wanted to have a travel camera with me. I wanted 1 camera with 1 lens and all the functionality of a DSLR. I had an interest with the Fuji line up because I was looking at a different type of camera system than what I was used to. What does that mean? It means that for the longest time I have been using nothing but DSLR bodies for both business and personal work. It wasn't that I was looking for a creative change of pace, I was interested in a different system altogether. I was looking for a unique camera that could become a travel camera, something I could toss into my bag, bring with me anywhere, be discrete, and function with ease. When I started looking at the Fuji X-Pro1 I found it to be an interesting and captivating camera. I was drawn to the design of the body and how it functioned so similarly to an old film camera, a rangefinder to be exact. I decided it wasn't the right time to purchase and moved on. When I look back at the trip to Europe, I am very pleased that I had more than just the Fuji with a fixed 35mm lens. Here is why. When I travel I work. I am always on, always seeing, always reading and interpreting what is around me, what is happening, and what is new to me. With me I had a Canon 5d II, 70-200mm, a Sigma 35mm F1.4, and my wide 17-40 F4. I also had two GoPros that didn't used. I spent 11 days with my 70-200mm on my shoulder and I captured some amazing images of people and places. I do not regret it. Had I been limited to the Fuji X-Pro1 and the single 35mm lens I would have purchased, I would not have been able to produce some great work.
Now, as you could imagine, buying one lens sounds like a silly idea right? Why buy just one lens when Fuji has an entire line up of lenses that could fit the X-Pro cameras? Well here is why, one simple word, Rules. Yes. Rules. Before I venture to far further I will make one more simple comment. It is about rules for me. Composition, light, how I shoot, where I shoot, why I shoot. All comes down to rules. For me, owning a camera with one fixed prime lens would be a set of rules as to how I engage each subject matter, the distance I maintain, the type of work I will create, and the ability to see. Seeing is an important part of the rules because when you are working with a fixed 35mm prime lens, you're bound to a box and need to fulfill the composition based on capabilities of the lens. You can not take a position and simply just zoom in. Yes, I know, thats what cropping is for, but that is cheating and is less about thinking critically and decisively. So at the end of the day, my ideology is pretty basic, less is more.
YAY I bought the X-Pro2: After spending a few days researching and watching youtube videos of other photographers rave about the Fuji X-Pro2, I decided now was the time. I will admit, I did a lot of research before purchasing the camera, not just because of the price tag, but because I needed to justify the purchase as a business expense. Every camera that I use will inevitably create an image that will affect my business. So I needed to ensure that the purchase was going to be worth it and that even though this camera was going to be designated as a camera I would use when I travel, more on this topic below, as well, I know that it will also be used on the daily.
Now, I stated above I did my research. What I came across was a hit or miss of technical crap that I will not burden you with. If you want to know the resolution, megapixel this or that or ISO here there and everywhere, I will have the link to Fuji's site where you can find all that stuff. In my research I watched a great youtube video of a bloke who had the X-Pro 2 on loan, early, from Fuji. He is a "Fuji Pro." Which I think means that is all he shoots. Not sure, but that's what it appears to be. I did look him up and found that he does use a variety of Fuji cameras for his work.
This photographer walked around with a fella who asked some questions and did some shooting along side of him. The subject matter ranged from street photography, where the Fuji X-Pro2 excels, to work in the studio. By all accounts they covered the full gamut of subject matters and the camera seemed to be incredible. I watched closely and enjoyed the work that the camera was pumping out. In contrast I read a review by a woman who should not have written a single word about the camera. I had a very hard time finding anything positive she had to say about the X-Pro2. She was hung up on a slew of functions that she spun in such a negative light. Basically she wasn't used to the camera and said it wasn't for her. She effectively wrote a biased review and has the comment section of her blog conveniently "off." Her crap review had no basis for decision making when it came to me purchasing the X-Pro2.
WHY Buy: The Fuji X-Pro2 is a stellar camera with a higher resolution than the pervious model. The functions of the camera are easy to use. I adore the knob at the top of the body that allows you to change the ISO settings manually, as if you were using a 35mm Film body. By the way, the woman who wrote the review SLAMMED that function of the camera. She HATED that you had to do that. But I don't think she used it long enough to realize you can change the ISO settings through the cameras internal menu as well. Her loss. But the dials are fun and it makes for a conversation starter when people see it. I have had several people ask me about it. We all know we don't buy cameras just because of dials or the sleek sex appeal, but because there are some other aspects of the camera that are worthing own and shooting on. I will go into more detail in a moment.
With the positive does come a negative. On the back, where the hand grip is, there are two buttons AF-L and Q. They are not placed well. I have seen other people on the interwebs commenting about that as well. It is just a design flaw that doesn't really cause much harm when working. At least it has never affected me or my images. Just seems a bit weird, Fuji.
Travel Photography: As mentioned, the primary goal for me owning this camera was to use it as a travel camera. What does that even mean?? Well I love to travel and will do so as often as I can. Travel Photography is a part of my personal work, hoping to grow it and sustain some income from the images I make. Who wants large prints from my travels? Anyone want to license some images, give you a great deal. All joking aside, this camera is THEE ideal camera for traveling. The resolution and image quality are through the roof. I have a 50 megapixel Canon 5Ds that I use as my high end camera for big productions, portraits, and all the fun commercial work. The Fuji X-Pro2 is literally half of what my 5Ds is. It is also 50% greater than my 5Dii, which puts this camera in the middle of a beast of a camera and an older starting to retire beast of a camera.
So, why did I all of a sudden recently buy the Fuji?, you guessed it, traveling. End of September we packed our new car with puppies and clothes and made our way to South Carolina. I took a bold leap of faith and brought with me my brand spanking new Fuji X-Pro2, my Macbook Pro, a bunch of books, my DJI Phantom 4, my DJI Osmo, in case I wanted to film something, which I did not, and a GoPro to mount on our fur kids. We spent a few great days in Charleston, Isle of Palm, and were subsequently evacuated, as you can read in my previous post under this one. I had my Fuji with me everywhere I went. I have a new bag that I procured on Amazon for nearly 2 cents and a thank you, love Amazon, and thats where it resided when it wasn't in my hand or shoved up against my face. If had been inclined to purchase more lenses, which I did not and do not foresee doing in the near future, I would have been able to replace traveling with my 5D's completely. Neither of my Canon bodies accompanied us to the south. I wanted to be bold and take the X-Pro2 with just one lens and see what I could produce. I am 1000% happy with the cameras function, quality of images, and ability to be a discrete device that can travel lightly. I may mention that I would not purchase any telephoto lenses, that is at the moment true. While this camera is great and I did make some beautiful images while traveling, I would not use this if hired for a large commercial travel job. If I was commissioned to travel to a remote area and capture the ambiance of said place, I would take my Canon 5Ds or be prepared to rent something bigger. However, that being said, I would keep my Fuji on my side and still use it at such a place. I might however, show the client said Fuji images and allow them to decide. When I think of high end commercial work, I do not think of Fuji as being the go to choice of cameras, but that is just out of lack of use on large projects.
Limitations: There are always limitations with new technology. As I mentioned in the beginning, technology is a big thing with this little beauty. Before I forget and before I move on to all limitations, not that many, so don't freak. I will not be biased as that woman was with her crap review.
Camera Parallax Error: Sounds scary and almost dangerous right? No. You're wrong. Rather than being an error you do not want to see on the LCD screen, the parallax, as defined here, "In digital photography parallax is the term used to describe the difference between the image as seen by a viewing system and the image as recorded by the sensor. Variance occurs as subjects move closer to the lens. Only through the lens viewing systems avoid parallax error. As cited from www.webopedia.com/TERM/P/parallax.html" What this means is pretty simple and straight forward. When you look through the viewfinder of a DSLR or Medium Format, basically any camera with a mirror in the body, what you see is true of the composition. When you look through the viewfinder of the Fuji mirrorless cameras, you are not seeing the true composition. Fuji has done something ingenuous. They have electronic viewfinders that show you in real time what the lens is recording. It is an electronic view of the image. Think of it as tiny tv in the viewfinder. The first few moments of having the camera I was having some issues trying to figure out the viewfinder options and such. I honestly needed to go back to the store where they have a Fuji expert who could show me a few things. I am so accustomed to DSLR's that this new technology was a bit confusing, since it was my first time using it. Now, how is this a limitation? Well, it kills the battery life depending upon with type of viewfinder you are using. There are a multitude of options as to how to use the electronic viewfinder, including an option that I discovered creates or fixes a problem when shooting with a wireless transmitter (see below).
Battery Life: Yes, unfortunately the battery life is less than desirable. Take my advice, buy this camera and buy 3-4 additional batteries at once. I have 5 batteries for my Canon 5Ds. That is enough to shoot for a few days. The Fuji is a beast of a camera, which means it needs its energy to continue pumping out great images. Truth. The viewfinder is a huge factor. When set to electronic and it renders and image and shows you in real time through that tiny TV what to expect, then it consumes a lot of power. Having spoken with someone on Instagram about this issue, you can set the camera's power management in a few different ways to conserve power. So while it would seem irritating, it really is a minor thing, small thing, not even really a "thing."
Wireless Transmitters: This is a huge limitation that you MUST consider when purchasing the Fuji X-Pro2. Here is why. I have 3 PocketWizard Plus II transceivers and an ancient PocketWizard receiver. I had an opportunity to make some environment portraits of an artist in my studio building. He agreed to the shoot. I was going to photograph him with one light, softlighter mounted to Alien Bee 1600 strobe. I would shoot some images of him working and a portrait of him in the environment. When I put the Plus II on the camera, nothing happened. Nothing fired. I said, BRB and ran to my studio. I could not find an answer on Google. Rather I found people having the same issues and some people that claimed they had work arounds. I did not find the work arounds helpful. So, I packed up, grabbed the camera and Wizards and ran to the camera store and threw the doors open saying "wtf." Within an hour and the purchase of a new PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver, as that was the only one that would work, and a few minutes of figuring out that the camera will NOT fire when the electronic viewfinder is on. You need to adjust the electronic viewfinder to "Mechanical Shutter" as there is NO mirror or mechanical function happening in the camera telling the transmitter what to do. The "Mechanical Shutter" is found in "Shutter Type" under "Shooting Settings." Basically what the staff and myself figured out is that it needs to be relaying a message to the transmitter, "electronically" which is an oxymoron if you consider when it is in "electronic shutter" it will not fire the transmitters. So, make sure you have up-to-date transmitters and make that setting adjustment and you'll be good to fire strobes. Now, I did say that I would use this camera as a travel camera, primarily, but I LOVE making portraits with it, but in studio and on location. In studio can be a mix of natural light and studio strobes, same for locations.
Post-Production: If you want to fully use the cameras film simulation functions, use software other than LightRoom to edit and process your images. Try Capture 1 or the Fuji software. LightRoom will de-tone the images from what come out of camera.
Computer Updates: In order to view the thumbnails of the images once uploaded to my computer, I needed to do the latest OSx Update. I also had to ensure that ALL Adobe products were up-to-date. I had this happen once before with a Canon body. Not a big deal, easy to fix. Not even a limitation, more a nuance.
Reasons to BUY: No doubt about it this camera has sex appeal and plays on the digital vs historical past in terms of how film cameras functioned. This camera is a beast. The image quality is superb and is overall a joy to use. For me, keeping strictly a 35mm lens on the body at the moment is a choice to create a shooting regiment that I like. It foreces me to think and see differently when I am using it. I enjoy that aspect of photography. For me I get great satisfaction knowing that I hold a device that forces me to think very critically about what I want to make. The Fuji X-Pro2 literally is a professional camera designed for those who find it appeal in terms of its functionality, design, and quality of image that is rendered.
Film Simulation: Everyone knows Fuji Film. Even the hipsters in Brooklyn buying all the cameras they can find at Flee Markets. Fuji Film is legendary. They have instilled that same legendary quality into their cameras with the film simulation look. They even have black and white settings! Cool stuff!
Nuances: As you will see yourself once you purchase your X-Pro2, just after reading this review, there are a few nuances to maneuver. The camera parallax is pretty much the biggest one. It will take you a few days to understand how that works if you are not already used to it. Take your time, learn the camera and how it operates. It is a stellar camera and should be in your bag as a general camera to use for a wide range of subject matters.
When I use my X-Pro2 I feel more connected to the history of photography. I feel like a different person, perhaps channeling my inner Carte Bresson or Garry Winogrand. While I am still the same photographer, the use of such a camera transcends you from the mundane DSLR mode to something more exciting and energetic. That is what Fuji was going for when they produced this camera and that is the feeling I was searching for and inspiration that I saw when I watched that youtube video that left me in awe. If you are on the fence about buying the Fuji X-Pro2 or have read a negative review of the camera, leave a comment and send the link to the review and I can help show you the ways to a great camera. Please note: I am not a sponsored Fuji Pro and I do not have stock in the corporation. I am photographer who enjoys his camera and knows others will too. SO, if you are on the fence with purchasing, jump off and do so. Don't worry, its a short drop down!
By now most of the developed world has heard about Hurricane Matthew. The weather people are spouting that it has already devastated parts of Haiti and is brutalizing Cuba. Matthew is rumored to be picking up momentum, as they say, and gearing up to hit the continental U.S., Florida to be exact. If this is not news to you, well, keep reading below.
Just over a week ago my wife and I left Massachusetts with our two dogs and drove south. After a 22 hour trip with an over night in North Carolina, we arrived at Isle of Palms in South Carolina. Isle of P is part of Charleston, a fascinatingly beautiful city that we adore. We arrived to beautiful weather and I, personally, with hopes of creating some great images. The day before we left I purchased a Fuji X Pro2. I have been lusting after a X series camera for sometime now. I finally pulled the trigger and purchased one for the trip.
In an extremely bold move, I only took the Fuji. Yes, I only took the Fuji, with a 35mm F 2.0 lens. My bag consisted of the camera, extra memory cards, extra battery, and my notebook with pens. When I travel I write. I keep notes for blog posts as well as for general stories of my travels, some times making notes of things to see in the future or recommendations for friends and family traveling to that area. I will get into the camera and note books later in a follow up post. This is a short and sweet post. Before I continue, full disclosure, I also brought a few GoPros, my DJI Phantom 4, and my Osmo. So, I guess in a way, I brought more than just my new Fuji. However, primarily being a still photographer, the Fuji X Pro was my only still camera of choice.
I will fully discuss the Fuji in the next few blog posts, once we are back. But for now I will share 1 photograph from our trip.
It is 11:39 and Sue just went to bed. I will be following her shortly. We are waking up and heading out at about 3 am. The Gov of the State of South Carolina has give an executive order, a mandatory evacuation of the coastal towns and cities. We are currently on an island, the wrong place to be during a hurricane of this magnitude. We were due to leave in 3 days, on Saturday. We are now being force out of our rental, again, more details when I do my full travel post. The night air is soft as the palmettos gently flex their tops in light wind. The roads are mostly empty, where as days ago there would be a steady stream of cars on both sides, zipping around the island. During the day golf carts would cruise by. Some with teenagers at the wheel, some with women and a dog as their navigator, some, just a group of guys out cruising around with a few drinks in hand.
Beautiful houses that line the streets and the beaches are boarded up. Those who linger risk their lives, knowingly rejecting any form of emergency services. Almost all gas stations have been sucked dry of their precious fuels. Most stores have been cleaned out and people have been disembarking the area for hours. There was a round of people that left yesterday, fearing the need to evacuate very early. We chose to stay a day later after the captain of a boat tour we took suggested we let the first group leave. He thought it would serve us well to leave very early on Thursday morning. That is the plan and it is breaking our hearts. Like I said, I am going to be discussing our travels at length, so this sort of prologue severs as a vent to our frustration as well as a means to introduce the stories that I will be sharing when we arrive home. It has been a rather near tragic trip for us, for a verity of reasons, and as I prepare to shut my computer down and head to sleep for a few hours, I think of those who are already suffering due to the devastation that has occurred, and for those who have left their homes in haste to find shelter and safety. For us we are heading home, leaving behind someone else's home. It is not an easy thing to do, fee, and just turn a blind eye. At the moment we have no choice but to head home. In a few days from now, hundreds of thousands of people might not have homes to return to. That is very sad to know, that while you flee to your home, others are fleeing from theirs. Our hearts go out to those already affected and to those are will be affected. We love Charleston and the surrounding area and have hopes of returning in the Spring, hopefully to a city that has not been leveled or damaged to much.
If you are evacuating, safe travels. If you are reading this from the comforts of your land locked home, keep us in your thoughts as we navigate out of the area.
Early in the summer I discovered an ultra cool location while on a bike ride. Meandering through the area I knew that at some point in the summer I would need to come back and shoot some portraits or fashion in this spot. While talking to one of my clients and discussing the spot, she eagerly expressed some interest in a shoot at the location. Over the last few years I have photographed Erin for her business, giving her head shots for marketing purposes. This shoot was vastly different being that it was not for her business and it was more casual with a flare of fashion. I suggested a white dress, giving the environment, I thought white would be most idea.. The shoot would occur later in the afternoon leading up to that beautiful golden hour light. This was one of the very first shoots with my Canon 5dS. Love this camera. At the same time I was shooting with such a beast of a DSLR, I had my Nikon F4 loaded with some 400 speed film. I wanted to play with the film while using the DSLR to capture some high resolution images. The results are beautiful, filled with light, texture, and a play on the environment.
Wowzahs! I havent posted in a long time! This year has been a strange year for a few reasons. I have encountered a number of injuries. Most recently I suffered a pretty sizable mountain bike crash. If you were to rank it 1-10, I would have scored a heavy 8. I took a risk and it did not pay off well. The reward was a face plant on a rock and some new battle scars. I looked like I had gone half a round with Mohmad Ali. I am taking a break from the downhill stuff, permanently. With my career and work on the major uprise, I would rather focus my energies on taking major risks with my business as opposed to doing things that will delay my work or put me on the bench.. "Put me in coach." Life: "No, you take the back seat and heal." Ain't nobody got time to waste healing..
I suffered a minor knee injury in February. It was a two part doozy. I was taking a yoga class and that was the major factor. However, when I was hiking the Pacific Northwest, a beautiful spot along the Oregon Coast, I twisted my leg while turing on a muddy corner and my knee didnt do what it was supposed to. That was a fun couple of weeks. NOT! A few weeks after the knee was better, I had a back injury put me out for almost a week. That came out of no where. What was mentioned was that due to the knee injury and compensating for that, my back was like, "hey, you, I'm going to quite out on your for a few weeks.." That was also not cool.
Growing up I always heard, from my mother, "If you want to play, you are going to pay." Well, this year I have played and I paid. This kind of risk, when you own a business and do not have a large staff to take over is challenging. When I was with the back injury, that was the worst of it. I had two full weeks of work and walking around, carrying lights, cameras, and shooting was very tough. I was not very happy to be in that condition. Like I said, I want to take bigger risks with my business, not so much my health. I am planning some awesome, fun, new marketing strategies that will be bringing me to new places. I am striving to shoot some new work and travel more. All the new marketing I am going to be implementing will be the foundation for this to come to fruition.
I firmly believe that I was born 20 years to late. I was just telling that to the guy who processes my film. Yes, I said film. I made a conscious decision a few weeks back. All personal work is going to be photographed using film. I have some pretty awesome film cameras. I just scored a vintage Yashica range finder. I have an awesome Nikon F4, a 35mm Canon from the 70's, an older twin lens reflex, not a Yashica or Rollie, but something fun and simple to play with.
Last week I was working on a marketing task and the light was splendid. Perfect golden hour light. I closed my macbook and grabbed a bag of film cameras and hit the road. I had no idea what I was going to shoot, but I knew where I wanted to go. I drove a half hour north of the studio and found some fields with views of mountains and some farms. I shot primarily with the Yashica, playing with the simplistic mechanisms that are so well engineered into this body.
I am not a hipster. I am a photographer. I am not shooting film to give people that aura that I am oh so cool, like a hipster. I am shooting film because I grew up with film. I worked in a few different 1 hour photo labs. I shot with film in school 1999-2001 and then again in college 2006-2009 and 2010-2012. If I was born 20 years earlier, most of my work would have been on film. Film is different than digital and I will explain below the images, shown below.
How many of you are guilty of taking a photo into Light Room and hitting a preset button? How many of you are also guilty of just allowing that preset to be the total result of the work? I know a lot of people rely heavily on presets and actions, (if you are using photoshop) as a means of making their photos look the way they do. The photographs above were photographed on 400 speed Fuji film. I scanned them in once I got the negatives from the lab. I spotted out all the dust that appeared during the scanning. I have not made a single local correction, exposure, brightness, or corrected the colors. I will not and do not want to. While I could nit pick the images, for example, the image with the trucks, I could go into photoshop, play with some levels, some curves, adding some darkness to the sky, but I don't want to. That is not important to the image. The image is paired with the photograph of the steering wheel shot through the window. The point of the photographs are about seeing, composing, using the mechanics of the camera in conjunction with film, and showing the work as part of a collection of images of what I see. The stories I tell through film are scripted through composition and light, not by the latest presets or actions.
I was explaining the cameras to a friend of mine. He is a few years younger than I am. He didnt understand a word of what I was saying because he, like so many other people, including most youth, will not have the benefit of learning from the use of film. In some ways I am keeping film alive, for me, by using these cameras and producing work with film. It is my way of honoring where photography has come from. It is my way of saying, this is what photography was and can still be, for those who know what to do and how to do it. There are still a lot of resources to learn film photography. There are new manufacturers producing film and keeping it thriving. There is a surge in people, them damn hipsters, buying vintage film cameras. Film is still going to be around for some time. Go play...
I am on Instagram as @jeffreybphotography I have been using IG for a few years now and have posted, as of today 2567 photos. For a while it was anything goes. Now, this account, is soly for my business. I share work, current mostly, behind the scenes, and humors moments on sets. I share what I am seeing at sets, my equipment, and the life of a photographer. I am getting a fair amount of little red hearts. I have yet to land a big shoot because of IG or connecting with someone on IG that leads to a great shoot. I am struggling to get to that point. I know that a lot of it has to do with where I am located most days. The work that I want to shoot is not in my region. I am relying on my other marketing efforts to lead to that. While my IG is a major component of my branding and identity as a photographer, it is taking a little bit more time than I would like. That is fine. I see it as a challenge and will not only increase the followers, fans, but increase the potential to use it as a means to score big shoots. You dont need to be a social marketing guru to use the app, but you need to be posting the right content and directing it towards the right audience, both in terms of fans and followers, but also towards the people that will see it and want to work with you. That is what I am working on, aside from shooting film, and creating new marketing strategies to implement.
Until the next post, stay cool my friends.
I have never run any sort of race, let a lone a marathon. When I was actively running a few short years ago I found myself enjoying the hell out of it. For years my asthma prevented me from doing so. The closest I ever came to running any kind of marathon distance was the day my friend Kris and I ran a portion of the Charles River in Boston.
At the time Kris was living just south of Bean Town. I went out to visit him and we planned a swell run. We were going to do the entire Charles River loop, which totaled the sum of 17 miles. The day of the run we pounded an unhealthy lunch, something you wouldn't see a marathon runner doing. But, the commute we had from Canton Ma to Boston was enough to let our lunch set in and give us the energy we needed to tackle such a feat. We got off the train, walked from South Station to the Charles River as a warm up and began running the moment we set foot on the pavement that wrapped the river. It was one of the greatest days, one of the greatest moments, one of the greatest runs I've had. We were competing against ourselves. We were making our own marathon and running our own race. We set the pace and chased the ladies, flexed our muscles as we passed them, let the athletes pass us, watched as a cyclist made love to a fence when he didn't make the turn, as his handlebars caught the pole, we sweat, we ran, ran, and ran some more. We made a decisive turn, skipping the last leg. By that point we realized we would not be able to make the full loop. We would be shaving off about 6 miles and ending our run just over 11 miles. Why ruin a good run with over extended ourselves? Right? Welp, we ran a good race, had a blast, and it is a memory I will never forget.
Over the last 4 years my running has declined. I have had major set backs with running and have become incredibly frustrated. I have been trying to work through it and am in the process of making incredible changes in my lifestyle. Said changes will be enabling me get back to a place of comfort and joy. Amongst the changes I have been making, I have found inspiration in a project I worked on. Below is a photograph of my sister-in-law Alison. Today she is one of over 14,000 women running in the Boston Marathon. I am proud of her for the training and strength that she has show me, us, her family. She has taken her training seriously, inspiring not just me, but my wife as well.
Alison is a recent mother, as you will notice by the image below. Over the course of her pregnancy she came into the studio, discretely, not telling anyone but her husband. We were working towards the below image, a timeline of her pregnancy in a running pose. The idea, of course was born, PUN intended, because of the two pervious progression series I have composed. These kinds of shoots are so fun, so awesome to produce, and so enjoyable. I love the task of coming up with a concept for the series and will take them on in the blink of an eye.
For all the thousands and thousands of athletes, runners, new, young, old, seasoned, best of luck to you. You have been training hard. Maybe you have worked your entire life for this moment, maybe you have been running the Boston Marathon for years and you still get that adrenaline spark that defines every step you put on the pavement. No matter where you place, whether first, second, third, 18 thousandth or dead last, you are still completing a marathon. There are a lot of people who can not and will not compete in a race for any number of reasons, but there you are, running, winning a race. Yes, winning a race. Even if you are not the first person across the finish line, you still beat the biggest competitor, yourself. You have beat the odds, beat the doubt, and won. Congratulations to all who have run and will run. Your accomplishment is your reward and an achievement, which no one can take away from you.
I once had a business partner. Things did not work out and we parted ways. He moved away. I stayed here and continued running the show. In a way, I always ran the show and held things to a higher standard. The parting of ways was an eye opener. I was able to discover things about myself, my business, and most importantly, the direction I wanted to be going in. While we had a business and a studio and worked toward building a reputation and taking on larger studios in our area, I was building a reputation for myself. I was doing the work that I really wanted to do, which was most important to me. When the time came and things were ready to end, after a small messy battle, I kept moving forward and have made changes with my business.
You will not see me discussing the past business beyond how I did so above. I will not discuss past shoots that occurred under that business. By all accounts, I am that business, have always been that business and will always be that business, that is, until a time comes that I chose to follow other leads in life. I have a new partner now. A new business parter, my wife. She believes in me and wants me to succeed more that the former business partner did. She cares about my business, nurtures my creativity, and wants me to be the success that I am and will continue to be. She does so out of love and care, but also because the more successful I am, the more we prosper as a couple.
My wife, Sue, is always quick to point out the importance of downtime and knowing my limitations. Sue has endured her share of physical set backs. Her health at times is like a roller coaster, up and down, peaks, highs, and lows. She is always encouraging me to rest and get better sleep, which I am finding out makes a huge difference. I have cared for her when she has needed it, never giving her many opportunities to reciprocate. Her mother is a retired nurse. Sue grew up in a house with two other sisters, her father, and the best possible kind of caretaker there is, a nurse. She learned to be more compassionate, undoubtedly, from her mother, who I may add is a sweetheart, and if she is reading this, I'm sure she is now blushing.
Yesterday, while running some errands for the house and picking something up at the Home Depot for a project I am starting, I experienced a pain in my back. It was familiar, yet strikingly new. By the I made it home, I could not walk up the driveway. I attempted to help with a few minutes of yard work and found it to be a challenge. I retired to my new leather chair and ottoman. I fell harshly into it and painfully began to find a spot of comfort. With minimal strength to even lift my legs, I was able to sit into some sort of contorted position that was as pleasant as it was painful. I texted my uncle to let him know I would be unable to join him that evening. I closed my phone and laid back watching season 7 of Californication. I had no idea the rest of the night was going to be a painful spiral downwards.
By the time I was able to get into bed, wiping the tears from my eyes, I was near delusions. Some how she managed to make me laugh, which amplified the pain, which increased the tears and laughter. Oh I was more of a train wreck last night than anything I have seen in a while. After some pills and a few sips of water, I checked out for the night.
12 hours later I rose like the holy man himself. I was in pain, yes, but had to get up and stretch out as well as empty the bladder. Today was a new day with a new possibility of gaining some mobility. Around mid-night I had texted one of my long term clients, whom I am friends with and informed her I had to reschedule the shoot. That is something I do not commonly do. As a business owner, there are times when meetings and shoots have reschedules, and things need to be adjusted. Happens in all industries for countless unforeseeable issues that arise. Today mine was a physical limitation. I was upset and concerned that I would either end up in the hospital or worse have to cancel the first few days of my week.
While I was seeing the light and nearing the level of pain that induces a coma, my first thought was my business, my second thought, was my business, my final thought before passing out, was my business. This is where knowing the importances of your limitations are and knowing how to shut off from time to time comes into play. This week was not horribly crazy, compared to the past. Friday was fast paced day, day before injury, and was not super, over the top crazy. However, the fast movement from place to place, shoot to shoot, in some way contributed to my Saturday collapse. Not that I fell, but that metaphorically I did collapse. It was time to rest. The biggest bummer of all, Sunday, today, was one of the most nicest days we have had this spring. I was looking forward to a successful shoot in the morning, a nice road trip with my wife and our fur kids, and a grilled dinner, with a fire to top it off. So far I have managed to sit in the sun, read 8 pages from a book I am in love with, and barely eat a frozen mash up of rice and beans cooked by one of the finest microwave ovens Best Buy has to offer. However, during all of that, my new partner has been there by my side, holding me as needed, walking with me to loosen up the tight muscles, and tend to the yard work that so desperately needs it.
It is incredibly cliche to say, "don't take things for granted." In some ways, we are as human beings take everything for granted at one point or another in our lives. The flexibility to get in a car and drive anywhere and do just about anything, so long as we have the proper resources, enables us to take for granted what we do have, life. During my struggles and my pains over the last 24 hours, 12 of which we unmeasurable in terms of pain levels, I never kept my wife in mind and thought of how well she is doing with taking care of me. I am not easy to manage when I am in pain and she did a stellar job. While this blog post is more about the undertone, "don't take what you have for granted" and know your limitations and rest as needed so you can avoid injury and risk to your job, life, or business, it is also a way of me publicly saying thank you to my wife. Without her I would have suffered insurmountable levels of pain that would have kept me out for days to come. But her encouragement and support is what has gotten me up. She believes in me in ways I still don't yet understand. But the level of support and creative freedom she gives me gives me courage to fight on and be better than I can imagine.
Thank you Susan.