A friend, Jim Morton Sr., a really good photographer did this portrait and I would like to share it.
This is what Jim wrote me when he sent it along. “I was asked to photograph our local Fire Department. They needed head shots for their department folders and a group Image of all current firemen and the Mayor along with the chaplain of the Department.
After doing the formal portraits I asked if anyone would like to do some pictures with their fallout gear on in the engine bays. All of the firemen said they would like to do it so it was time to have some fun. I used the Dynalite Baja B4 with the Dynalite 47 inch Grand soft box. I asked Captain Eric Pearson to sit on the front bumper of the new department Pumper. When looking through my viewfinder I noticed his reflection in the grill, and asked him move forward about 3-4 inched so his reflection would be seen completely. I never told him why I wanted him to move because I wanted to surprise him when the image was printed.
This was not the original image I had in mind but once I saw it, I knew it was the shot.”
The great John Dominis was one of the greatest sports photographers of our time and one of my idols. After many, many years of having John give me advice, one day he turned out to be Director of Photography at Sports Illustrated. I will share two of his mantras . The first: Anybody who can shoot sports can shoot a flower, they don’t move; a tree, they don’t move; a building, they don’t move. If you can shoot sports you can shoot anything.” Which reminds me of a line from “Dodgeball”: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” There I go again, trying to do stand up… The second lecture Dominis gave me, and I quote, “If you ever shoot a frame for me with a 15 mm lens, I will blank blank blank.” For purposes of the blog, I’ll leave it out.
What does this have to do with Bobby Kyle? Bobby is a world famous blues player. Every lesson I learned in photographing sports I bring to music. Peak action, sharpness, depth of field- all of these things come together. His new album is totally, absolutely amazing. It’s his heart, soul, and his life. It’s great. In about two months, I’ll put up a sample of the album. But not right now.
My friend James O. Wilson Jr. recently sent me some beautiful photographs that he would like to share.
Hello Joe and JoAnne,
Hope you’re in good health and high sprits wherever you are. I love that your never static. True vagabonds, without the negative connotation of course. As you already know, I’m not a social media guy. I’m great at starting emails, but they almost never go past the draft stage. Which reminds me I better keep this short (smile). I was in Spain in September and October. And since December, here in UAE. I miss you guys and would love to return to Cuba in April, especially with the easing immigration policy, but my schedule won’t allow it this go around. I’m sure the trip will be one to remember. That’s all for now.
Looking forward to attending a workshop when I return.
What have we forgotten? When did we forget it? Why did we forget it? When did photography become so important? When did photography become fingernails on a chalkboard? When did it become so critical that we start to tear people apart for no particular reason? I think it’s time to go backwards, and when we go backwards, we’ll actually go forwards, and we’ll go forwards quite a bit. I’ve been making photographs for quite a while… and exactly why did I get started in photography? Ask yourself that question, why did you get started? I was on a New York set for Lights Out, sitting with some great, great, great photographers; Kenny Regan from Camera 5, Johnny Iacono from Sports Illustrated, and Al Bello from HBO. We started to talk about photography and we all kind of giggled and laughed. We wanted to change the world? No.. We wanted to show the importance of an image? No… We wanted to tear down the establishment and build up independent thought? No… We wanted to meet girls? Yep, that’s the reason. My God we were in our teens, of coarse we wanted to meet girls. The reality is, we wanted to have fun. Sometimes we forget why we do things. I’ve been with the same girl for a long time, so I don’t need to meet girls anymore, but what I really need to do is have fun. That’s really what it’s all about; and to be quite honest, I think I’ve forgotten it. I’ve made a promise to myself, I’ve had some of the greatest teachers in the world. They’ve given me so much to be grateful for. I need to take all of those tools for the balance I have left on this planet and incorporate it into having fun. The reality is I’m not going to change the world. A journalist asked Bob Dylan if he feel like he changed the world with the songs, and did he realize how important his lyrics were. Dylan looked at the writer and said, “Hey man, I just play music, I play music and I’m not trying to change anything, I’m trying to have fun.” So if Bob Dylan didn’t change the world, I probably won’t change the world either, so let’s concentrate on having fun.
To all the ships at sea; we’ve been working on the third and final edit of my book. The problem is, we have five different titles. Maybe in the next 20 years I’ll become decisive, who knows? While looking for an illustration of a London pub, I found an old kodachrome 200, shot on a Nikon f2 with a 15mm 5.6 lens, at 1/30 of a second, wide open, handheld. Hollywood spends an awful lot of money smoking a set to get this type of effect. The smoke may not be good for you, but it’s beautiful on film. Smoke and back lighting; it doesn’t get better than that. Go out and make some great photos. It’s all good. Joe D.
There have been turning points in the new millennium. The first and foremost turning point was the attack on September 11, 2001 The World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the heroic crash in Pennsylvania. Up until that point, travel was relatively simple and straight-forward but today travel has become more difficult and rightly so. A bright traveler has so do everything they can to minimize the shock of intense scrutiny at the airports, ship terminals, train stations and so on. So the first consideration, is to pack two weeks early. Once you’ve done that, cut this in half. If you think I’m joking I’m not! Forty eight hours before the trip cut things back again. Like most modern day travelers, you will be traveling with a laptop computer – obviously carry on. I also strongly recommend a carry-on camera/video bag and incorporate your personal and mandatory items in that same bag. For instance, in a side pouch of your camera bag you want to carry a tooth brush, contact lenses, mouthwash (under 3 oz), and maybe a change of underwear just in case your luggage gets lost and any prescription medication. The concept here is for you to be mobile and self-contained.
Now as a traveling photographer, in the new millennium zoom lenses are not only acceptable but in many cases as good as prime lenses and relatively fast. For instance a 16-35mm, 24-70 and 70-200, and two camera bodies. With that you’ve got two travelers covered with almost anything you’d want to photograph on your trip. Always remember extra batteries and a battery charger. If you recall, when I told you to cut back on your clothing here is where you don’t cut back on. You want to double the number of flash cards you think you need and if you think you need 6 take 12 cards. This is also a good time to increase your compact flash size to 16 gig UDMA cards and if you’re anything like us and you’re shooting video, you will need large fast cards. Last but not least, you will need an in-the-field downloading unit. Also, In your luggage you’d want to put a small light carbon fiber tripod and a monopod. Last but not least carry a strong zip lock bag and before you get to security put your jewelry, coins, wallet, phone, etc into it. Much easier to do then in dribs and drabs.