Photo of The Week

This photo should be titled “Damn I Wish I Took it”. It was taken by my wife and I think it is the paramount of a photograph. I have been transfixed staring at it for the last week.


In Case Of...

I am in a pondering frame of mind today and was thinking about if I had any personal philosophy or affirmation that I live by. Listed below are my two mantras that I would like to beseech upon each and every one of you. Simply use them in epoch of great desperation and/or humorous moments.

-In case of an emergency breathe and smile.
-In search of the original whatever.

p.s. - never consider reversing a fragment, not matter what spelling/grammar checks tells you.


Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D70
Exposure: 0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture: f/4.5
Focal Length: 70 mm
ISO Speed: 200


New Gear

Pick up some new photo gear: One of the most significant things to gain knowledge of in a photo-digital environment is to back-up your back-up equipment.

A new flash has entered into the back-up artillery, Nikon Speedlight SB-800. Flashes are not a photographer's friend; necessary evil is a good way to think about them. If you are going to surround yourself with evil make sure that it is indispensable evil. The Nikon flash is a grand tool for the right job.

Secondly, I added a Nikon-Fisheye lens; typically I am not a fan of gizmo products. Mostly I take a cinematic-documentation approach to photography, hence a classic style of do-it-right in the camera. However the shots that this lens can produce have been in high demand. In observance of my business plan creativity and service is the product.

Last Night & a Guitar

Spent last night with my friend Mike Weir(hypnotherapist/photographer), Mike deals a lot in past life regression. Personally past life/reincarnations are non-issues to me; if your last lifetime did not work out I say focus on this lifetime. Nevertheless when Mike talks about photography you listen, for the reason that he could be on his third lifetime as a photographer (that's a lot of shutter bugging experience:)). Check out Mike's site (here) he does a lot of immense work helping people recover from cancer and other serious ailments.

Our conversation turned into a debate on the present buzz about the movie/book "The Secret". For myself I feel that "The Secret" is universal perennial philosophy and that the authors should not be making money off of other people's work. With that being said I also feel that it could be a safe stepping stone for further personal development. Mike's reflection on the subject is that it will expose people to the perennial philosophy that they would never have been introduced to. Hence, Christians typically do not study Buddhism, nor do Buddhists study the Islam religion, but within they share state and stage development of transformation and include all. With that though from Mike I have a healthier outlook regarding the possibilities of what "The Secret" could hold for personal development.

To finish off our evening together Mike graciously gave me a new Spanish guitar, deep bows of gratitude for that gift. The guitar has history: not certain of the age however the preceding owners of this instrument played it well. Just holding the guitar you can feel the love and devotion that has been placed into it. I will be getting the guitar refurbished this weekend and it will be tuned to DADGAD tuning.


Conscious Consumerism

Holding strong with all the Earth Day mojo that is spreading across the globe, my wife signed us up for green dimes. For $36.00 dollars a year (dime a day - hence the title green dimes) they will stop/limit the amount of junk mail that comes into your house (can I get an amen) and furthermore they will plant a tree in your name every month for the entire year. Being a novice woodworker it feels good to have twelve trees planted.

While I'm pimping my wife's green shopping, she also purchased Shaklee
- "Healthy Home Pack", green, safe and powerful home cleaning products. We have been using Seventh Generation home cleaning products, which we have been very happy with, just thought we would try some new companies.

It's a good day when ethics and economics merge into conscious consumerism.

p.s. Check out ~C4 Chaos post on "Green is the New Right Thing".


Environmental Awakening, Sustainability, Regeneration, New Renaissance

Listed below are links that should be titled “wake up and stop killing me”, read them pass them around to your friends. Probably, if you are a reader of this blog then the majority of you already support these thoughts/actions so here are a few happy things to make you smile, see here, here, and here.

Earth Day
World Changing
Support Nature
Earth's Warming


The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist attack on April 19, 1995
The Columbine High School massacre occurred on Tuesday, April 20, 1999
The September 11, 2001 attacks consisted of a series of coordinated terrorist suicide attacks by Islamic extremists on the United States of America.
The Virginia Tech massacre killed 32 people on 4/16/2007.

God, may divine healing and blessing be granted.



Current Reading: The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Music: This Way Up by Pat Mentheny
Mood: Surreal
Sounds: Haunting wind, rustling trees
Smells: Tomato & Red Pepper Soup
Sights: All new, I just moved
Temperature: 58 degrees
Thoughts: Impermanence can make your belly feel funny.

House of Kewpie & Cafepress

Check out these imaginative t-shirt designs, by “House of Kewpie”. My personal favorite is the “Peace Doll design but I think “The Screamer” design will be the big seller.


A New Home

Back to the blog world, took the last couple of days off to move into a
new home. Not a major move, nevertheless merely a minor shift in locality. With that said all moves are a major pain in the butt, however, thankfully due to movers and family this move went particularly butt-pain free.

Nowadays I live on the south side of Pittsburgh, which completes my trifecta of living on all three sides of Pittsburgh. There was mention of me receiving a gold metal award for such a feat, only to have my accomplishment out-shadowed by my father. You see, he is the only man in recorded history to have actually been able to move an Italian woman raised and bred in the East side of Pittsburgh to the South Side of Pittsburgh, quite a triumph. A factual story, they even have his picture hanging up at the local Italian club.

The metro Pittsburgh landscape is based on a triangle, North side, East side, and South side. I once heard about the West side of Pittsburgh, except nobody actually talks about it? I speculate that this is in fact where the world becomes flat, end of the universe type of thing (I wonder if there are any good restaurants there)?

Internet connection on, cable on, wine consumed, photos taken, back to normal life (subjective to reflection). Now I need to locate new coffee shops, vegetarian restaurants (no, not a full blown veg, but hey I love vegetarian meals) discover places to hike, scout locations to photograph, find that perfect bagel place, interview local take-outs, investigate pizza joints, find an oil change place, new dry cleaners, and other retail establishments to spend my money on.

If you see a confused man walking around the South side of Pittsburgh,
say hi. I could be your new neighbor.
(Yes, I will turn the music down and pick up aftermy dog)


5 Question Interview Series with Jeremy Willet

At this moment I get the opportunity to intermix my love for photography, music and writing and have it all represented in my ‘5 Question Interview Series” with Jeremy Willet. I first met Jeremy last year at a photography session with his band "Willet" for various promo shots. This past March Jeremy kindly forwarded a copy of his new book to me, “Far From Home” that I reviewed on this blog (check out the cool cover shot, guess who took it??). Today Jeremy graciously agreed to take part in my on going “5 Question Interview Series”.

How did writing a book that you knew would be read so closely by your music audience compare with writing music?

The reason for writing a book actually came out of our songwriting process. A single WILLET song heard live or on an album is normally a product of 8-12 months of journaling, reading, demos, rehearsals, pastoral evaluation, re-writing, and perfecting. I decided to write a book to allow more time and pages to better explain the meaning behind some songs, the vision of WILLET, and the challenge behind why the band was started.
After I have a lyric concept, Justin normally sends me an mp3 of a new song demo. I listen to it over and over before writing a melody. We then collaborate on the structure, work with Jordan to add the bass part, and develop the drum pattern that would work best. Once we have rehearsed the song with the band, we normally send the lyrics to our band pastor, and father, Glen Willet. He checks the lyrics for biblical accuracy and content, and throws us his ideas. Then, it’s back to the practice studio to add in additional tracking, keyboard patches, and sound effects for the live show.
This book was written for our audience as an extension of our show. During a WILLET concert, I normally have about 3 minutes to talk about the work we are doing in Africa, throw out a challenge, and then back into the music. There is no room in the set to explain why we wrote the songs, why we play in both churches and clubs, and why we have a heart for Africa. FAR FROM HOME was written to be able to lay it all out in the open.

Will you explain/expand on OPERATION 400?

OPERATION 400 was a goal we made for ourselves in January 2006. We wanted to see 400 children sponsored in Africa before the year ended. After touring heavily for a year, our goal was actually surpassed with over 450 sponsors! OPERATION 400 has actually transitioned into THE PROJECT ZEWAY TOUR now in 2007. Because of the success of THE OPERATION 400 TOUR, we decided to stretch ourselves and actually sponsor a specific village. The goal for 2007 is 1000 sponsored children from ZEWAY, ETHIOPIA.

Provide us a little info on your next/current project? (2nd Book? New CD?)

The next project that WILLET is releasing is the brand new E.P. “SOMETIMES A CITY NEEDS A BOMB”. It has been over 2 years since the band put out any new material. This album has the most aggressive songs (lyrically, and musically) then any other project to date.
In addition to the new e.p., we have just released FAR FROM HOME 2nd EDITION. This was a follow up to the first book with added chapters from our trip to Africa, as well as a new cover.

What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?

I am inspired by passion. Whether in a movie, a song, an article, a live performance, a sermon, a speech, a painting, a book, an act of kindness…anything that is done 100% with excellence. Notice I said “excellence” and not “perfection”. There is a huge difference. “Excellence” is when someone gives everything they have to convey a message. “Perfection” is something done well, but done in a way that shows they are simply going “through” the motions. I would much rather see someone pour their heart into what they are conveying then have someone “play the part”.
I stay motivated by staying in devotion with Christ on a daily basis. In my Bible, I read a chapter out of the Old Testament, a Psalms, a Proverb (chapter based on the day of the month), and a chapter from the New Testament. On whatever particular chapter I am reading, I always write the date and what part of the world I am in. This helps me recall where I was both spiritually and physically in years past. It helps me evaluate progress, struggles, and maturity in my personal life. During these times, I also journal from verses that really spoke to me, prayer requests, or something interesting that I read in a book. I am always reading 5-7 different books at one time. My book selection always seems to consist of a book on Worship, U2, leadership, church, and youth culture. I have found that my faith is the only thing I can rely on to stay “level” in a world of constant roller coasters. God never leaves me no matter where I am spiritually or physically. I can always rely on him to lead the path that I’m supposed to take. That’s why he is the Great Shepherd. He leads his sheep rather then pushes them. He is willing to go out before his children.
I enjoy listening to all sorts of music from hard rock, to piano ballads, to modern worship, to hymns. Again, anything performed with passion is what I am attracted to. I am motivated by times with my wife (which are treasured due to a heavy touring schedule). I love to be outside enjoying God’s nature. I love to go to Baltimore Oriole games, and watch the Ravens on Sunday football. I love to write music on guitar and piano, as well as write articles and devotions for SCRIPTS FOOTWEAR and FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY.

"Sometimes a city needs a bomb e.p." – What a great but odd name for a CD. What is the story behind the title?

Wow! I am so glad someone finally asked that question! What a controversial title in a time of terrorists threats, war, and uncertainty…but what a great way to use that as a metaphor for a challenge! The full title of the album, which is completed on the back of the cd jacket, is “SOMETIMES A CITY NEEDS A BOMB…BEFORE IT CAN BE REBUILT”. This record has been 2 years in the making. Writing lyrics in airplanes, on tour buses, in the van, and in Africa, the band brings a diverse selection of tracks bound to impress the listener. We chose this title because it summarized the past 2 years of this band. After touring full time for over 2 years, playing close to 500 shows, we got to a point of frustration. We were taken advantage of by so many churches, venues, and people, got thrown around by record companies, experienced a church split, and found ourselves in a financial hole at the end of 2006. It was at this time that we almost ended the band and got jobs to recover from the blow. I think that God can use your lowest times in life to really speak to you, because it was at this time that he brought the children of Zeway to our attention. When we thought we had lost it all as a band, He showed us kids who had no water, food or clothes. This really put things into perspective for us as a band, and allowed us time to refocus. After flying to Arizona to meet with Food for the Hungry, we began planning for our trip to Africa. We later realized that God would use the next few months to mold us into the true vision of WILLET.
We were to a point that we couldn’t handle the “wounds” of the past year. We were asking questions like, “Why would God allow us to be in debt to so many people, to allow our van to break down, to have tours cancelled, to have a record company drop us, to lose team members, to be dropped by a booking agency, and more…? Why would He allow this when we have sacrificed so much to be “missionaries” to the youth?”
When we finally let go of ourselves and asked God to direct us, the mission behind WILLET began to explode. Our eyes were opened to a village in Africa, which gave us a real example of servant-hood to portray to Americans through our concerts. Tour schedules began to fill up, endorsements began to come together, we were able to self produce a record on our own, showcases were put together in Nashville for record companies, and sponsorships began to roll in for kids in Zeway! That’s when we really saw the title of this record come to life.
Sometimes, you get so involved in something through programs, material possessions, money, time, organization, business, etc, that you can lose the real focus of what you were called to do in the first place. Everyone has a “city” of their own, and for us, it took a “bomb” going off to rebuild the vision of what we set out to do.


Reply to a Question

In reply to a reader's question: "Why do you not title nor discuss your photographs on your blog?".

My answer,

I am a photographer who blogs, although who rarely blogs about photography. Why? For the reason that photography is a visual medium where terminology only clutters the viewer's experience. Hence, I do not title my work because it's the observer's understanding of the work that matters, not the influence I place upon it.


Notes from the Mat

Simplicity of a practice with the devotion of a lifetime, to achieve what is already present. I sit on my cushion with the inhale and exhale of breathe, my body becomes barely noticeable to my waking thought. Ambient music, wind rustling, birds chirping, sounds arise in a solitary instant. No direction of resonance only the total encompassing condition. This is being centered, a term I can only express in sentiment, not a definable word that I can explain in characterization.


Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D70
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/7.1
Focal Length: 18 mm
ISO 200


Finding New Music

How do you find new music to take pleasure in - in a downloadable, dead-radio, indie labels, major labels that have become pop money making machines environment? See Ottmar Liebert rebuttal post on “Music – then & now” for a all-inclusive however not the simplest way to discover original music.

Personally, I prefer blogs and the public library for sampling new music. That is how I discovered Ottmar and John Gagan. If anybody has additional ways of finding new music I would love it if you would pass them along.

On- Line Store

Craig Photography On-Line Store Is Now Open

Ethics and Economics

I spent this past Thursday night watching Al Glore speak about global warming on C-Span. Subsequent to the Gore speech the senate committee hearing then turned into a question and answer segment. The interesting thing to me was that the majority of the senators partially to completely agreed with his position on global warming. A synopsis of the senators’ thought process was that global warming is here but only in a minor way and that humans are a part of the problem but not the entire problem.

The question that kept crossing my mind was “ If you agree with the ethics and economics why not take action”?


Philosophical Photographer

I have been reading Philosophical Photographer blog for the last couple of weeks, I highly recommend it. Gary Nylander is a British Columbia photographer with a strong focus on contemplation, composition and black & white photography. Enjoy…

p.s. - I will be taking some time off for the Easter Holiday weekend. See you on Monday.


Tuesday Evening and the Aroma

Last night I was sitting in a pizza bistro waiting for my tomato pie and salads To Go. For the next ten minutes I had the occasion to view humanity at its finest; celebrating life, breaking bread and drinking wine. This restaurant has a unique feel to it. It takes you back to a quiet, simpler time, in that uncomplicated way, like eating on your Grandparent's back porch made you feel as a youngster. There is no special decor, ambient sound or lighting that creates the atmosphere other than the aroma. The aroma is what produces the vibe that brings people in to embrace the ambiance. The fresh herb garden that sits directly behind the restaurant is the catalyst that gives rise to the fresh air feel that encompasses the building. A fresh herb garden, slow cooked meals, polite service, and the wine is Bring Your Own. There is nothing pretentious about this place, the wine is poured in regular table glasses and the patrons are inclined to share a glass with the table next to them.


Craig Photography On-Line Store Is Now Open

Thank you to everyone for your e-mails, suggestions and recommendations in developing the on-line store. In observance with my business plan the Flickr account will stay open in which you will be able to download photos to your computer for free in accordance with Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. The on-line store will be available if you wish to purchase a professional print. The photographs will be printed on Fuji Professional paper with a matte finish.

The Flickr account is a working portfolio for me. The photographs are a work in progress in which I can obtain comments, reactions and offer the photograph time to mature; to see if the impermanence of the subject can become a state of permanence in print. The on-line store is the completed work finely touched for optimal printing and framing.

Thus, without further ado, we are now pleased to declare that Craig Photography's on-line store is now open.

P.S. - I will be periodically tagging my blog post with this announcement presently to get the word out. Remember hyper-linking is good fun :-)


Business Plan

In updating my core business plan there are some key terms that I wanted to share with you and how they have an effect on my professional and personal philosophy.

Transparency – Is why this blog make sense to me: For the reason that it has evolved into maintaining and developing professional and individual relationships. Consecutively it helps to keep me focused on my business plan. I like people to have an understanding of my compositional methods as it applies in cooperation with art and business; to share my success and failures, for my openness to build trust and relationships.

Open Hand Philosophy - Is why I embrace creative commons, releasing copyrights to the clients and why I stay away from conventional marketing and advertising. We choose to release the rights and educate our clients on all the different resources the digital market place has to offer. Free culture is the foundation in the what/why of our achievements. Thus clients can get to know us not by what they purchase from us but what they can learn through us first.

Permission Marketing – Opt-in (asking permission to a specific and targeted audience) instead of opt-out (bulk marketing to an un-targeted audience) method of marketing. We will ask prospective clients permission before marketing our demo materials to them. Maintaining this blog is furthermore a working/marketing portfolio in which the reader is invited to learn about the professional and private side of me. In which copyrights, customer education, choices, loyalty, art, morals, truth and the emotional connection I have for sharing my passion for photography is written about daily. Permission marketing for me is about constructing an ongoing relationship of increasing the span and depth with clients.

Profit is not the bottom line (integral part to success) however long term sustainable presence in the industry is in conjunction with:

* Balance lifestyle of professional & personal (Transparency)

* Satisfying & Educating clients (Open Hand Philosophy, Permission Marketing)

* Increase earning a living & contributing to the wellbeing of others (Transparency)

* Community & environmental responsibility (Transparency, Open Hand Philosophy)

All of the above have shared fates with one another. Without each of these bottom line actions, none can exist.

Traditional business tells us we are in business to simply and to only make money. The question that I ask is: with new technology should there not be new philosophy toward business? Can creativity and service be the product?