Short Stories

I have been wanting to write short stories as of late, nothing new to share, yet. Re-living my personal greatest hits.

No Demons
Rainbow in a ghost town
I Dream of Heaven
The Shepherd & Alpaca
I never thought the afterlife would look like this
Rooftop Sanctuary
Joe the Ugly Art Critic

But, I think my next story will have something to do with this quote “Ye are all GODS…and it’s about time you start getting good at it.” & a single billboard left to stand on a dead plant.

Street Portrait

Camera: Nikon D700
Exposure: 1/8000 sec
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 100 mm
Exposure: 0.00
ISO Speed:


Life is odd...isn’t it?

The things we do just trying to stay alive are odd obsessions, don’t you think? We want to preserve the NOW while constructing a FUTURE, remembering (or better yet) trying to forget our PAST to build all things anew. When in the end we are all just squirrels trying to get a nut. Then we find out we're allergic to the nut.

Things that goes well together:
Miso soup with cumin,
Vanilla yogurt & pumpkin seeds,

Did you know when you have an almost 4yr old Halloween becomes a month long event? These are things that a hospital should tell you when you take home your baby for the first time.

~ Get the best dust buster that money can buy
~ Make sure you and your wife agree on what the temperature of tepid water is
~ Putting shoes on a baby is hard. Practice it, repeat the practice and deal with it. Dummy it's only shoes.
~ Little princesses enjoy trying on dress a lot, seriously a lot
~ Every holiday is no less than a thirty day event
(add to the list this could get honestly funny and useful)

Going to spend all of February in Florida this year. Stock photography, family vacation, in all truth it is a BIG step for me.

Looks like in March we will be utilizing a studio space.

“Ye are all GODS…and it’s about time you start getting good at it.” – mashed-up quote by Jesus, Stewart Brand & me

Life is odd, isn’t it? ~ but good, very good…


Pittsburgh Photography Workshop Reminder

Little reminder about our upcoming Photography 101 workshop coming up on Nov. 1 from 1-4 at 502 W. North Ave. Pgh 15212.

There are still a few seats left so we hope you'll join us!

For more info click here.



Current Reading: Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand
Current Music: Seeds by Martin Sexton
Mood: In a rush, preschool photo day
Sounds: Dishwasher
Smells: Coffee
Temperature: 70 degrees
Thoughts:"We are all Gods, & it's about time we start getting good at it". -Stewart Brand


Slow Photography Movement

Let me start with a story of how this idea came to me.

Scrolling through the blog of one my favorite local photographers (&person) she had posted this photo.

When I look at this photograph I often wish I had the opportunity to take this photo.

I do not know how this particular photo was taken. I can’t even venture a guess, at least not a good one...yet. It has me thinking….maddening yet wonderful thought about how I can do this.

I am not looking to plagiarize Joanne's work but I desperately want to be a chameleon to it…

Joanne's photo paired with my recent workshops, photo walks, conversations and e-mail discussions has me thinking about what is a complete photograph?

For me the least important thing to a great photos is the snap of the shutter; I am most interested in what happens before capture.

Composition, environment, emotions & inspiration…

The things that I do not care to know: Type of camera, camera setting, what lens, software, and post-production work was done.

If I can make an artistic guess it would be that this photo was completed in Joanne’s mind's eye long before it was captured in camera.

This photo brings me back full circle to a question that I asked on Facebook last week: What is the “Right” problem to fix in photo-education?

Thank you to all who answered. Your responses were remarkable, appreciated and the foundation for this article.

The feedback I gained can be listed in three categories/problems that need to be addressed.

Ethics, Ego & Stuff

A photograph is none of these things. A photograph begins with a thought.

A photograph is not: an obsession with equipment, an ability to purchase gear, it is not biz skills nor people skills, it is not using auto-canned-modes on your camera, hell it's not even about being able to shoot in Manual mode. (Manual mode is super important…. it’s your foundation)

I would ask photographers to think about their craft as:

Art, Morals and Truth

Tackling the right problem, that is struggle. Expanding your range of options rather than narrowing your perspective. A photograph is about YOU, not buying into someone else’s techniques or tips. It is about you developing and eye and situational problem skills.

Joanne's photograph has me thinking about how to weave patterns to discover interesting stories. And to question the purpose of how it was imagined. And doing all this while removing boundaries of what my conception of visual art is.

For a good two weeks I have been thinking about this photo and never once have I picked up my camera to try to replicate it. I can honestly tell you that I am a better photographer today than I was two weeks due to this process.

Slow Photography Movement…what is it????

It a philosophy about photography on how to transform and include yesterday's foundation of photography with the technologies that photography has to offer today. It is about the all-encompassing topics of art, morals and truth.

This is the start of a conversation; join in…more to come on this topic.

Let’s discuss….


Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D700
Exposure: 1 sec
Aperture: f/22.0
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: No Flash



Up at 7am after going to bed six hours earlier, feeling good. Proof of God for me is found in a coffee pot. Simple revelation but nonetheless true.

Cold morning walk thought the streets of PGH on my way to a PHOTO WALK. I love these gray skies of Pittsburgh; this city becomes more alive to me everyday. Autumn in this city is brilliant. The colors of fall backlight this town with a glow that is noticeable by walking across the bridges, tree lined hillsides, reflections on the rivers and the urban jungle energy that's all-encompassing to this place.

Started reading a book by a local author, Sherrie Flick “Reconsidering Happiness”, enjoying it…it has a female Kerouac feel to it. This book has description, emotion and a journey to it; it leaves me wanting to travel and to experience small town dinners and tuna fish on wheat bread.


Photo Walk ~ Reminder

When: Sunday October 18th 9:30 am

Meet up: Heinz Stadium Gate A

Cost: Free

What to bring: Camera, passion to learn and your walking shoes.

Topics of conversation: understanding exposure & creative exposure

If there is cancellation due to weather I will post it on Facebook at 8:30 am


4am & a Thought

Woke up early, again, very early 4am. Coffee is extra good at 4am and the computer screen is bright at 4am, painfully bright.

Been thinking about getting a hand grinder for coffee beans. There is something about brewing a cup of coffee that appeals to me.

Finished reading “Change By Design” by Tim Brown last night. The book ended with a quote by Tom Kelly that has sparked a thought in me.

“Innovation begins with an eye.” ~ that is the photographers job; to create something new and different. A photograph starts with a thought.

For 17 years I have been working in photography and in that time I have never felt like an inclusive photographer. I am not techie, nor do I subscribe to any photo magazines and have no interest in the latest gear. For me, my passion and effort has been pulled towards the compositional aspects of art. I think of myself as “I create therefore I am”, type of artist….my ego just exploded, sorry for the mess.

Nature. I am drawn to nature as a teacher of the arts. I figure that nature has a 4.5 billion-year headstart; maybe there is something that nature can teach me.

This is my compositional process: read books and go for walks in the woods, feel philosophical about myself…good thing egos are self-regenerating; I am on my third one today. Is this the correct process for photographers? No idea but it is the correct process for me.

Working on a post for next week: “Slow Photography Movement”. Raining outside, going to read a book by the fire.


I posted this question on Facebook and Twitter yesterday, I wanted to open it up to the blog. So what do you think?

What is the "right" problem that needs to be fixed in photo-education???



Current Reading:Change by Design by Tim Brown
Current Music: Under The Rose by Rahim Alhaj & Ottmar Liebert
Mood: I feel good, as sung by James brown
Sounds: My wife reading a book to my daughter
Smells: Coffee
Temperature: Low of 37 high of 49
Thoughts: Getting up at 5am is productive...can I do it two days in a row?


Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D700
Exposure: 30
Aperture: f/22.0
Focal Length: 35 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: No Flash


On Building a Photo Community

I have a passion for photography; a love for the business that Elizabeth and I built and a commitment to the next generation to leave it stronger and healthier.

About a year and half ago on a cold night after being frustrated about not being able to find a parking spot, I walked late into David Burke’s studio where he was holding a Shoot N’ Learn networking group. That night was the catalyst for what I am trying to achieve today. I thought David’s working title for his group, “Shoot N’ Learn”, was perfect. In addition to that title I wanted to pair it with “Connect and Develop”.

The characteristics that I hope to instill upon the community will be:

~ Passion for learning
~ Effort and discipline
~ Good health; mental & physical
~ Foster a love for getting outdoors
~ Service to others
~ Using your camera in Manual without having to drudge through reading the manual.

What I am proposing to change about photography education is the “how” and “why” in the ways that we learn.

Two core principles for the photo community are:
Shoot N’ Learn
Connect and Develop

Create something new. That’s it, that is my goal to collectively achieve. Daily I am asked the same question, “What camera should I buy?” The question that should be asked is “How do I use my camera?” You cannot purchase your way to being a better photographer; the best camera to own is the camera in

your hand. Technology is great and it has pushed the frontier of photography into new and better directions. But the past is the foundation that needs to be deeply explored and understood.

There is a need to understand the Manual aspect of using a camera. A camera is a tool and I want people to understand how to use it, properly.

The reason to build this community is to discover what ideas need to be fulfilled. To connect people with problems to the people who have answers. This community is to position those for success, (whatever you deem success to be) not a guaranteed success, but to permit and promote it in others and ourselves.

The community will generate conversations in which we will can gain feedback, learn, connect and grow. The only guiding rules for the community are to be authentic, to listen, and respond by doing some good for society. And lastly to learn how to take remarkable photos.

For me, personally, this photo community will be successful when it is not the last word on photography but the first words; the starting place.

I invite you to join in on this ~ connect with me on facebook (HERE)

So, curious, let’s discuss

Photo Walks & Workshop Dates - October - December 2009

Photo Walk
When: Sunday October 18th 9:30 am
Meet up: Heinz Stadium Gate A
Cost: Free
What to bring: Camera, passion to learn and your walking shoes.

How To Everything Photography: Workshop 101 class
Meet up: Sunday November 1st 1 to 4pm
Where: Historic North Side of Pittsburgh at Annie O’Neill Studios
Cost: $55.00
Event details (HERE) Class limited to only 15 people
PS. It’s the Steelers off week, no traffic or parking issues…

Photograph Pittsburgh at Night– Photo Walk
Monday November 9th 7pm
Meet up: West End Overlook
Cost: Free
What to bring: Camera, tripod and warm clothes ~ it will be cold on the overlook.

Pittsburgh Light Up Night – Photo Walk
Friday November 20th 7pm
Meet up: West End Overlook
Cost: Free
What to bring: Camera, tripod and warm clothes ~ it will be very cold and crowed on the overlook.

Q&A Session & Meet-n-Greet
Thursday December 10th 7 to 9pm
Meet up: My house
Cost: Free
What to bring: Your questions, camera, good attitude and a friend. Let’s build the community.

E-Book released
January 2010
The Photographer’s Blog
Cost: $10.00 download


Artist Statement ~ Ambient Art

Ambient photography is conceptual experimentation in which the camera technique is a hybrid format with the quest to produce contemporary art.

Photographic abstractions, with the use of organic shapes that have shapeless and vaguely spherical hints of the forms of biology to construct the substance, is a reflection of the elements that focuses on the power of natural light.

I want to kill the idea of a subject to remove the focal point in a photograph. Design a photograph that does not disregard the background, but evolves within and for its environment.

Thoroughly I feel that this project is generative art in that it flows in balance with nature, and that I will never be able to capture the same frame twice.

Ambient collection was photographed over a five-year period in the woods and rivers of Pittsburgh PA.


From My Morning Walk


Current Reading: 52 Rules of Thumb by Alan Webber
Current Music: Different Kind of Wild by Bill Deasy
Mood: Not sure but strong coffee is good....
Sounds: Computer fan
Smells: Dog & Coffee
Temperature: 66 degrees and cloudy
Thoughts: Photographic abstractions, with the use of organic shapes is ambient art...


90 days ~ Natural Method Conditioning

Part 7 of a 12 part series every Tuesday....
Getting hard to write about this process, staying the course. Be well.


30 Days, Updates & Social Corporatism

I have been walking a lot these past thirty days. I walk to the bank or to the post office or I’ll take the train into Pittsburgh and walk to my destinations. The purpose is to do creative thinking and see my surroundings in a different light. Driving at 65mph does not give you a clear view of your surroundings. Walking two to three miles at a time opens up the universe to you.

I am thinking about buying an electric bike that has a small motor that kicks in when you need it. It would be nice not to have to use a car for short jaunts. I am lucky enough to be about five miles from everything I need. Which is food, books, wine, bank, post office and other random errands that my wife could send me on.

This week I will go out to do some scouting for nature and ambient photography. I’m looking forward to that. Thursday night I will be attending a book reading by a local writer. She is also the writer and teacher of a workshop I attended this past January that got me into short story writing.

As I am typing this my home is filling up with the aroma of butternut squash soup that “E” is making for us today. I will be cooking chili later in the week. There is something magical about aromas filling up a home. Slow cooking, slow walking, slow living; not a bad formula to be productive.

Current thoughts:
The term Social Corporatism has been swirling around in my head. Do we have choices? Is there competition in the marketplace today?

In Pittsburgh if you want to hire a photographer there are at least ten people that I could think of that would be our competition. And you know what? They’re good and they’re also our friends. That seems like a competitive marketplace; collectively you have to be good to stay in the game and your competitors, who are also your friends, help you grow and sustain a business.

I wish I could say that about my cable company or phone company or all of my utility companies that I pay monthly to.

In the healthcare debate the public option is good for the public and it is bad for those bigger than government, which is the Social Corporatism elite. We are a socialized nation. It is not controlled by the government, it is controlled by the corporations and that is not free market capitalism when there is no choice.


Is this you?
-You take great pictures
-Everybody tells you that you take great pictures
-Your friends and family always ask you to bring your camera
-You bought an expensive new DSLR camera
-You have no idea how to use to it, except on AUTO
-The camera’s manual scares the bejesus out of you
-You love photography and want to get better

Who should take this workshop?
-If the list above is YOU
-You love taking photographs
-ISO, F/stop, shutter speed, and aperture are words that means nothing to you
-You have no idea what DSLR means
-If you want to able to tell your camera what to do
-If you want the mysteries of the photo universe reveled to you

What you will learn
-Understanding exposure
-How to use your camera in manual mode
-How to take a photo “correctly” in camera
-Natural light techniques
-Understanding your lens

Who should not attend this class?
-If you have an understanding of exposure and are able to use your camera in manual mode, this class is not for you.

Location: Historic North Side of Pittsburgh at Annie O’Neill Studios

Date: November 1, 2009
Address: 502 W. North Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Time: 1pm-4pm
Cost: $55.00

Contact Elizabeth Craig at 724.355.9079 or by email at craigphotography@mac.com for more information and to register.


Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D700
Exposure: 1/2500 sec
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 65 mm
Exposure: 0.00
ISO Speed: 3200