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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Win A Signed Copy!

The excitement is in the air and I feel the need to share! I received an email today from my PSA (which included the revised book covers) and discovered that "Letters From Alcatraz" may be released earlier than anticipated! So, to celebrate this awesome news I'm going to give away a signed copy of the book! If you would like to enter the giveaway just leave your name and email address in the comment area under this post. The contest will run through February 14th. A name will randomly be drawn and I will email you for more information!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Understanding Exposure ~

Bryan Peterson has been a photographer for 30 years and has been teaching photography for 20 years. In his book Understanding Exposure he gives the reader a straight forward introduction to the art of getting the exposure right.
The book is filled with illustrations and the basics of aperture, lighting and shutter speed.
This is a must have for anyone interested in learning how to improve their shots! Right now the book is available at Amazon for the reduced price of $17.13 AND, if you don't mind a used copy you can get one for just $14.00

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Take a 2nd Look ~

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I have realized that there is an upside to one's computer crashing. Back in August of 2009 I photographed the model that I'm featuring today and there were a few pictures that I considered "Throw Aways." In addition, there were photo's that I edited and thought to myself "Yep! That's a winner!" Then, my computer crashed and I lost nearly all of my edited work.
Last week I revisited that shoot and after kicking myself for not backing up my work I decided to take a second look at some of the photo's that I originally considered throw aways and I'm so happy I did! Today I am posting four of the original throw aways and I think they may be just as good as the photo's that I originally deemed winners!
Moral of the story: Everything deserves a 2nd look!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Photography is Art ~

Photography is Art; plain and simple. Take a moment and think about what I'm saying here. The photo that I'm posting today is of a world famous painting that was created by Picasso. You may love this piece or you may hate it. Regardless of how you feel about this painting doesn't diminish it's credibility. It's art!
Now, how do we compare this painting to photography? It's the exact same premise. It doesn't matter how any of us feel about a particular photograph, it's still art. Someone may love a photo while others may hate it.
There's a quote that we hear all too often, but few of us pay attention to: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As individuals, we all have our own likes and dislikes. No one individuals taste is superior to another. The worth of an object, be it a painting or a photograph, is determined by what an individual is willing to pay for it. It's that simple.
I have seen artwork that I personally wouldn't pay more than a dollar for, but I have seen other people pay thousands of dollars for the exact same piece. Art is personal. Whether a painting or a photograph, if that piece of art touches us in some way we will buy it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

They Work Hard For The Money!

"Wedding photographers charge a lot of money! Why?" Oh... if I had a dime for every time I've been asked that question.
For all you photographers out there, you know why, but to the couple getting married, let me explain.
Shooting a wedding is a huge responsibility; you want to look good and your photographer wants you to look good! Your next door neighbor with a point and shoot camera just isn't going to produce the images that you will treasure for the rest of your life (or at least for the duration of your marriage). So, hiring a professional photographer is worth the price that you will pay!
Also remember that a professional photographer knows how to set the photo's up. A professional photographer will produce images that you never even thought of! Brides...I know most of you have planned your entire wedding since the age of two, but when it comes to capturing those special moments, most of you don't give much consideration to how that will be achieved.
Finally, a photographer will put it all together, edit your pics so you always remember just how beautiful that day was, and leave you with an album that captures every moment of your day!
So, in closing, a professional photographer earns every penny that he or she charges you. This is one area that you will not want to skimp on. Thoroughly check out any photographer that you plan to hire for your big day and if you have to cut corners then perhaps you can cut them elsewhere. Afterall, is it really that important that your dad's mechanic be at the reception?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Small Town ~

There's something to be said for a small town; A place where everyone says hello, whether they know you or not. Having been born and raised in Chicago, where it's not uncommon to never even know your neighbors name, I have realized that this small town living ain't so bad.
At first I didn't like it at all; it seemed that not only did all my neighbors know my name, but they also knew my business! For several years it drove me practically insane. And, it didn't matter where you went or who you met, they either knew something about you or they knew a friend of yours and more often than not they were related to them!
But, over the years I have come to the conclusion that this could be a good thing! For instance, if your car gets stolen...someones going to see it happen! And, they will be able to tell you WHO did it! That happened to me once! Also consider this... you never have to eat alone! It's pretty much guaranteed that if you go into a restaurant between the hours of 11am & 1pm by yourself there's going to be someone in there that knows you and will invite you to pull up a chair! Yes, there are many benefits to living in a small town, but I think what I like most about it is knowing that even in a room of strangers you're not going to be a stranger for long.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Photog's: WIN $5,000

Listen up fellow photog's!!!
Do you have that one amazing photograph that's just been sitting around inside your computer, and you know it's an award winning shot, but you never knew what to do with it? Well, today may be your day!!!
Enter to win the chance to get YOUR photograph on the front cover of a Frommer's book and $5,000.00!
You can enter as often as you want now thru March 31, 2010. So, if you've done a lot of traveling and have several award winning shots, enter, enter, enter!!! Go to
Good luck!!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

What I Didn't Know I Didn't Know ~

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that there are a LOT of things I don't know. For example, I don't know how to fix a computer. I don't know how to play the guitar. I don't even know how to change the oil in my car or fix a flat tire. There are plenty of things I don't know. But, today I realized that the extent of what I don't know far exceeds what I thought I DID know!

In my naivety I thought that if a person were to write a book, then the actual writing of the book would be the hard part. That makes sense to me...I mean, c'mon people! Wouldn't it be perfectly normal to assume that the actual writing of the book would be the hard part? Okay, well, getting published could be the hard part, but having that accomplished what else could there be to it?

What else could there be to it? Where should I begin?

Did you know that once your manuscript is in the hands of the publisher that they will have a list of more than twenty things they want you to do? I did NOT know this! They want a bio, they want an excerpt from the book, they want images (for your front and back cover, unless you want them to design it), they want a book overview, and they want you to provide information that they will use to promote your book. Now, here's the kicker... you just can't willy nilly throw something out there because the information that you give them will eventually end up in the readers view! So, it's essential that you do it right! The list of "wants" goes on and on, but I will not bore you with all of them. What I can tell you is that this book writing/editing/publishing thing is a lot harder than I thought it would be! I didn't know what I didn't know!

But...and this is a BIG but... we learn at a very early age that anything worth having is worth working hard for! This is nothing but a learning process. I have learned that the literary world functions a bit differently than the world inside my head! But, that's okay. I will live, learn, and hopefully remember all of this! That will make publishing my next book a hell of a lot easier! Ooops...Did I say next book???

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Freezing ~

Brrr... another day of temps below freezing and it's only gonna get colder! This seems to be the topic on every major news network and I certainly don't need a meteorologist to tell me it's cold out there! With the exception of the west coast, the entire nation is in a deep freeze. We're looking at single digits before the week is out and they're even predicting snow! The good thing is that means I can get some Winter shots for this months photo group challenge! I pretty much thought I was dead in the water when it came to this challenge; around here our winter scenery consists of dead grass, dead trees and gray skies, but perhaps I have been given a rare opportunity! So, for now I wait...

Monday, January 4, 2010


Yesterday Hoiyin Ip, a friend and fellow photog of mine wrote an article for Eastcreek Photography detailing life in California and today it's my turn to write an article for her blog.

Trading Spaces: Ala-Freakin'-Bama

Lets face it, Alabama gets a bad rap. Most people have an image of Alabama in their head and it seems to not be so good. I often wonder if we don't bring that on ourselves. Think about it...anytime someones being interviewed on TV it's always the redneck that's missing half his teeth. Yep, that's the guy they always interview when a tornado whips through our state. And, it never fails... he lives in a trailer park! But, believe me when I say, we have come a long way! We no longer have outhouses (Surprise! Indoor plumbing is now here!), we don't spend our weekends gathered around the moonshine still, and the good old boy mentality has been dead for years! Alabama, although we may still be a little behind when it comes to embracing new idea's, is now in the 21st Century! But, that doesn't mean we have changed our way of life completely.

Here in Ala-Freakin'-Bama college football rules! Whether you're born here or decide later in life to make 'Bama your home you must make the all-important must choose your colors! Orange & Blue makes you an Auburn Tiger fan, Crimson & White makes you an Alabama fan. We live, breathe, eat college football! And, this isn't just during football season. This rivalry is strong 365 days a year! And, Alabama & Auburn fans are the most loyal fans on the planet! Watch out Pasadena... Bama fans are on their way because the Tide faces off against the Texas Longhorns this week for the National Championship! You may get the rare opportunity to witness that loyalty first hand!

Life in Ala-Freakin'-Bama moves at a slower pace than in most parts of the country. There's rarely a rush to get anywhere and it's not unusual to strike up a conversation with someone that you have never met. Alabamians by nature are friendly! Or, put in a different way, are nosey! They like to know your business! But that's just part of their charm!

Once you strip away those that live in trailer parks you will find that most Alabamians enjoy wide open spaces! The goal is to build bigger homes and own as much property as possible! A 2000 sq. ft. home is now considered small, but the good news is unless you live on one of Alabama's beautiful lakes, or on the Gulf of Mexico, property is well below the National average. So, feel free to buy a few acres and build that 5000 sq. ft. home!

Now, I'll let y'all in on a little secret...when it comes to food Alabama knows how to keep it's citizens "healthy." We like everything deep fried (even Oreo's) and health conscious restaurants are basically unheard of! There's a barbecue joint on nearly every corner and sweet tea is the choice when you find yourself thirsty. Oh, I'm not talking about tea that's been sweetened; I'm talking about Southern Sweet Tea! Restaurants make it 5 gallons at a time. To every 5 gallons of tea they add 5 pounds of sugar! Pour it over a glass of ice and there you have it! Southerners favorite beverage! Imagine if you will sticking a straw into a syrup bottle! Yeah! Now you get the picture!

So, in closing I would have to admit that we here in Alabama are responsible for the bad rap that we get, but I hope you will remember this: Alabama is unique! Winding roads and the color green for as far as the eye can see is something everyone should experience. Our beaches are among the top in the country and the people of Alabama will always be there to lend a helping hand. Children here are still safe playing outside and catching fireflies on a hot, summer night still ranks number one!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Trading Spaces

It's not everyday that you see me post twice in a 24 hour period; actually, that never happens! But, today is different, because today is the beginning of a new segment you will see here on Eastcreek Photography. It's called Trading Spaces! Periodically, Hoiyin Ip a friend of mine from California, and fellow photog and I will "swap" blogs. She will give her point of view, and share with you some amazing photography, and I will be doing the same on her blog! So, sit back and enjoy a Californians point of view!

Trading Spaces: A Peek Into the OC Lala Land

Do you really believe what you see in the TV shows? Well, as much as I know I shouldn't, subconsciously it is rubbing in...I get an idea about a place I have not been to. If the shows didn't do it, it is the jokes. I hear those A-la-ba-mian jokes every so often. When I found out Tina lives in Alabama, I couldn't help think of a few. Sure enough, Tina fired back a few Californian jokes. Fair!
OK, let me give you a peek into the lala land - Orange County, California. Life here is half as glamorous as the TV shows, but three quarters as funny as Tina's Californian jokes.
First, be as jealous as you want about our all-year-long gorgeous weather. And, we take full advantage of it. To some, it means all year long tank tops so eye-catching boobs become a necessity, whether given by good genes or expensive surgeons. But, we tend to not judge people by that. It's just the look, not the heart. Hey, in some cultures, even wearing make-up is considered being artificial.
When I travel to other states I'm often asked about my ocean-front mansion. Sorry, I disappoint you. I don't have one. In fact, only the very lucky few live in ocean-front mansions as seen in TV. The second luckiest live in ocean-view shoe boxes. As you move from the coast to inland, the houses gradually get bigger, from 800 sq. ft and typically max at 3000 sq. ft. Yes, 3000 sq. ft. gets a wow here! But, to an extent, OC living is eco-friendly because small homes consume less energy. If you want to laugh at my glass-half-full attitude, hold on until you hear about our back yards. It is typically not bigger than the house. And the most sought after yard is a concrete yard! Very practical. A lot of time is saved from mowing the lawn and trimming the trees. Anything that can save us time at home is greatly appreciated because we need the time for the freeway.
When it comes to food, fried chicken and barbecued ribs-main stream American bores the Californian melting pot. We constantly seek variety. While vegetarian is increasingly popular, the trend is vegan and raw. And Asian food is a natural fit for this new crave. How does Vietnamese-fusion-vegan-raw sound? Restaurants like this typically have a line waiting by the front door. They serve "meat" made of tofu. And you really can be fooled by its look, texture and taste! You have to try it when you come to OC. It is tasty, healthy, eco-friendly, and budget friendly! Beat that!
Yes, there are many more Californian jokes. I'm not going to explain ourselves for each of them. But you got an idea what I would say if i went on and on. We work hard for a better life that hopefully matches the image that the rest of the country have in mind. And remember if we look crazy, there is a good reason (although we like crazy)!
Photo's courteous Hoiyin Ip

Warm Thoughts ~

It's 17 degrees and I'm wondering if I really live in the south? And, what happened to that Global Warming we were hearing so much about? The entire country seems to be in a deep freeze right now. I'm trying to just think warm thoughts, but every time Chi Chi decides he wants to go outside I have to brace myself for the cold wind that whips through when I open the door! And, we all know...once you get cold it's hard to warm back up! It would seem that we're in for a very long and very cold winter! It's been cold here since October and that's unheard of! Makes me wish I were back in Hawaii!
The photo that I'm posting today was shot in Oahu as the sun was beginning to set. We were driving around the entire island and as luck would have it, we made a stop to enjoy the view and a photographer was in the middle of a shoot. The model was posing and I started shooting! Yay for me!!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Blinders On ~

We've all heard the old saying, he/she must have blinders on, but don't we all walk around with blinders on? If we're honest with ourselves, there are some things that we just refuse to see. It may be something about our significant other, our job, ourselves, our lives; regardless of what it is, we all have something that we absolutely refuse to see. And, why is that? Is it because if we take a close look at those things that we pretend we don't notice we may have to make a change? Or is it because we, as humans, are too complacent? Could it possibly be that we're lazy? Is it easier to just go with the flow then make a change? Or, is it our own fears that keep us wearing those blinders? I mean, after all, if we decide to change the things that we've been blind to then where does that leave us? Most people hate change. They fear change. I've thought about this a lot and I have come to the conclusion that the majority of us fear change because change forces us to look at ourselves. And, if we see things we don't like and still don't make changes, then what does that say about us?!

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 ~

Happy New Year!
I'm not sure I can remember a year that so many people were happy to say goodbye to. 2009 seemed to bring a lot of unhappiness and stress to way too many people.
I think the majority of the unhappiness and stress was directly related to our economy. So many Americans found themselves unemployed and unable to even keep their homes. And, what's the number one contributor to divorce? Money! So, marriages ended, people lost their homes, lost their jobs and too many Americans found themselves unable to provide even the basic necessities.
I heard an economist saying that this should teach all of us a lesson; that we shouldn't count on what we have, but always prepare ourselves for the worse case scenario. Too many Americans live life as if it will never change. We spend our money counting on the fact that we will have a paycheck next week. It's a rare person that actually saves money and prepares for the worst. After listening to that I thought that perhaps we should look at 2009 as a gift. Maybe if we all recognize how easy it is to lose what we have then maybe, just maybe, we will spend 2010 protecting our future.
Best wishes to all for a happy, prosperous New Year!!!