Photo of the Week

All photography & artwork on this site is licensed under a creative commons licensing: Please feel free to use and distribute the photography & artwork in accordance with the licensing



You can click HERE to go straight to the registration page, or you can contact us at craigphotography@mac.com or 724.355.9079 with any questions.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Deliberate Living

Well over a year ago I had a conversation with David Burke about his travels through Africa. One sentence he said has sat with me but I have never written it down before.

“I went to Africa to photograph the poor…I photographed joy.”
~ David Burke
(see photos here & here)

This is what I learned from that conversation:

There is no poverty when there is no consumerism to attach itself to. You only know that you’re poor when you know that the other person is rich. The notion of rich does not exist because the notion of poor does not exist.

This is not an anti-consumerism argument; it is a self-awareness discussion on deliberate living.

I do not want to idealize that the poverty of Africa is some un-recognized paradise. It’s not. Starvation, polluted water and death by mosquitoes is not paradise, it’s Hell.

“The poor shall inherit the earth” ~ Jesus

We live in a post-modern world. What does that mean? Our ideas and self-concepts are shaped by media exposure that we consume (or digest), not by deliberate living. We are who we are due to the fact that we like that movie, music, TV show, magazine or book we read.

Take away media (postmodernism) and you have the question “Who am I? Who am I left with? What do I attach my self-interest to? What’s left to influence me? Ourselves? That sucks I am boring without all my stuff.”

Consumption is not the answer to any problem.

Answer: your feet on the soil of the earth itself, your family, connection, conversation, community, food, the culture of our ancestors, communication of experiences, actually doing stuff. (Stuff can be an act of doing rather than an act of acquiring objects).

Taking a long walk to get water for drinking and cleaning for your family does not mean poverty; it means that you are a more extraordinary person than I am.

What do I do with what I just wrote down…no idea yet? But I hope you share in this conversation with me.


Photo of the Week

All photography & artwork on this site is licensed under a creative commons licensing: Please feel free to use and distribute the photography & artwork in accordance with the licensing



What do you do during a conversation? Listen intently, daydream, think of a response in your head while the other person is still talking, write a grocery list?

For me I am desperately thinking why did I leave my journal at home, two, will I remember this conversation by the time I get back home and, three, I am writing down this conversation in my imaginary journal that I keep in my head. It's located in the far back corner of my mind (it's next to indifference & dirty thoughts).

This afternoon’s conversation, I am at the park with my daughter playing on the monkey bars (she excels at them and she's only four). On the far end of the monkey bars is a five-year-old boy with his Papa watching next to him. His Papa and me get into general conversation. Me “Photographer". Papa “retired". Me, “Nice weather". Papa “Yep”.

I typically hate small talk for the reason that I am no good at it. General politeness from strangers makes me uncomfortable. I have this odd dichotomy of being an introvert and an extrovert. I know what you're thinking…. it's conflicting being me. I am very comfortable speaking in front of a crowd and extremely uncomfortable being in a crowd. Then mix in small talk and I shrivel up like a scared little turtle.

A school bus stops leaving off a group of high school kids. Papa looks at me and says “I watched my eldest grandson get off that bus for the past three years with his backpack on his shoulder. Next week I will watch him get on a plane to Afghanistan with an AK47 strapped to his back.”

Me…"God Bless."



Current Reading:Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
Current Music: The White Album by The Beatles
Mood: Good
Sounds: Random by Tim Ferris & Kevin Rose
Smells: E's Indian dinner
Temperature: 58 degrees
Thoughts: Don’t give me hope give me impermanence, that will drive my creativity.

Guitar & Me #2

Create something new,daily. You may need to turn up the volume on your computer, recorded this with my laptop camera and imovie.



In your gut you want to be a PHOTOGRAPHER. You have a great eye for composition but you just need some guidance, to help YOU fulfill your dreams.

Make the jump from thinking and daydreaming and create great photographs…

You can click HERE to go straight to the registration page, or you can contact us at craigphotography@mac.com or 724.355.9079 with any questions.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Notes From The Walk

Sunday morning 8:30 am I drive into the city to attend a Photo-Walk that I am hosting. The group will not meet until 9am, so that gives me a half hour to walk along the riverfront and scout out locations to shoot at.

The walk is an open forum to all interested in photography. The only stipulation I place on the group is that you have to shoot in manual mode.

People are always asking me why I do this for free? And my answer is always the same: “This is how I learn what to teach”. I discovered these walks to be a win-win control group. The participants get to improve their camera skills and I get a true and clear understanding of the struggles people have in learning their craft.

Yesterday I was the student in the creative-thought process. One of the attendees has the coolest photo project design; photograph letters that are created within architecture and city life to create words.

(The women who shared her project with the group, thank you & I am so sorry I cannot remember your name. Facebook or e-mail & I will send out the biggest apology and follow that up with a blog post and hyperlinks.)

***UPDATED*** Tammy Hock Anthony is the photographer who came up with this great idea. Go Facebook her & check out her photos....

After the walk I went home and grabbed my wife and daughter and went back down to the city. This project is:
1) Fun
2) Hard
3) A great way to teach your daughter to see letters.
4) Practice in the art of seeing ~ this is something all photogs can learn from.

Can you guess what I spelled?????


Last Night's Q&A

Thanks to all that attended last night, your questions were remarkable. An extra special thank you to my partner in this project, David Burke. David set up the live web screening last night. An extra 26 people on the web were able to take part.


Creative Discoveries & Walking

Observing life on foot, this is my muse. For me, I think that my creativity comes from my feet.

Walking, the new way to think, exercise and get stuff done.

The weather is starting to become warm again in Pittsburgh. The blankets of snow that covered streets and lawns has melted away to show signs of the first flowers popping up through the grass.

Photo tip ~ walking is the best way to see light and color. Currently in the process of writing a lighting workshop and the deeper I get into writing, reading and researching the subject the more I come back to “go for a walk” and look at the light. Notice with a large “N”; take your time and notice, see, observe the subtle variations of colors, temperatures and hues that are reflected off…well everything.

Things my feet think about when I am out for a walk.


Guitar & Me

Create something new,daily. You may need to turn up the volumn on your computer, recorded this with my labtop camera and imovie.


Photo of the Week

Not sure why? I really like this photo. F/2.8, ISO 200, 70-200mm lens.


Sunday's Workshop

If photography wasn’t a mystery it wouldn’t be a worthy pursuit.

I have been uttering the same phrase for over the past year at Workshops and Photo –Walks

“give up on perfection and develop your practice”.

That’s it. That is the mystery of the photo-universe revealed to you.

An artist will never be perfect. That is the only expectation of art; mastering the imperfection of your mind, tools and craft.

Enjoy your journey and create something new, daily.

You can download yesterday's workshop power point (HERE)
E-book ~ A new way to think about that old portfolio: The Photographer's Blog (HERE)
List of the websites we discussed: Flickr, Creative Commons, Mpix, B&H, Photoshop….Please, please, please remember ~ photography is not about purchasing something, it's about practicing something...

Thanks for attending….

Peace ~ John


Doors & Windows of Pittsburgh

I started a new side project yesterday afternoon. My goal was to shoot something new and different. I challenged myself by setting rules to follow.

Rule #1 ~ Only one snap of the shutter per composition.
Rule #2 ~ Only one hour to produce (create something new) work in.
Rule #3 ~ ISO had to stay at 200 and f/stop needed to stay at 2.8

You can see the complete hour of shooting (HERE). When I started out on my walk to do this project I had no idea what I would do.



Are you mediocre? That’s a hard question to answer honestly. Think about it; are you mediocre at what you do? Some might answer “so what” “who cares” and that is ok.

I am mediocre at a lot of things (ask my wife or my accountant).

As a photographer I am not mediocre. Not at all average. I show up, daily. Again, you ask “so what” who am I to make that judgment that my work is not mediocre?

Photography is the easiest medium to master but the hardest medium in which to be noticed.

Genuine, authentic, remarkable ~ these words are not easily disposed on the sluggish.

This post is about you the budding, dreaming photographer. Create something new, daily…then repeat, daily.

2.8 70-200mm

Test shot or perfect shot? Last night we received a new lens. Snapping photos of our daughter playing with the bubble wrap, we discovered this photo....

For you techies out there here is the lens info:

Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens

Ken Rockwell gives a good review of the lens (HERE)

Finally, Elizabeth also blogged about this photo, see her view about this photo (HERE)



Current Reading: A Life of Picasso (Vol 3) By John Richardson
Current Music: Pandora
Mood: Much Better
Sounds: My daughters laughter
Sounds: Calliou
Smells: Cantaloupe & coffee
Temperature: Currently 38 degrees high of 55
Thoughts: Walking towards divinity is walking towards your own heart…

FREE Photography Q&A

OK all you budding photogs and all you wise and all-knowing seasoned photogs--now is your chance to get together and either seek wisdom or bestow your wisdom in the land of PHOTOGRAPHY.

Elizabeth and I will be hosting a FREE Q&A/Shoot-N-Learn/Connect-N-Grow on March 18, 2010 at our studio at 502 W. North Ave, Pgh 15212. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

What you can expect:

*Lots of open talk regarding photography: business, technical, composition...etc

*An open forum to ask any questions you have regarding anything to do with photography

*A chance to meet others in your field and help to build a strong network

*Lots of drinks, food and general merriment provided ;-)

Please RSVP to craigphotography@mac.com

Hope to see you there!


Pittsburgh Photography Workshop Reminder

Another reminder about our upcoming HOW TO EVERYTHING: PHOTOGRAPHY workshop. It's coming up fast and seats are getting filled.

You can click HERE to go straight to the registration page, or you can contact us at craigphotography@mac.com or 724.355.9079 with any questions.

Hope to see you there!

Anniversary (Self) Portrait

Six years & she hasn’t kick me out yet…


Friday’s Ramblings

~ I am afraid of my inner voice…it's starting to become interesting.

~ I planted some seeds of expectations last night but nothing grew. I waited and waited and waited. So disappointing. Maybe I should have added water (or vodka).

~ Have you ever noticed when people say, “don’t judge me” that is always the exact moment that they should be judged?

~ Trying to discover a new religion, a religion with the best cookies. I’ll call it "Baked Goods to Redemption”. Do the Scientologists bake?


In 15 Days ~ Q&A Meet-Up

Shoot N’ Learn, Connect N' Grow
We invite you to join us and ask all your burning photog questions:
~ FREE to all
~ Open to all interested in photography, art and business
~ If you attended a past Workshop or a Photo-Walk it’s a good time to get any problems fixed
~ Meet local photographers of all levels, make a friend, find a mentor
~ Discover why its better to collaborate then compete

~ Bring your questions, camera and smile (bottle of wine optional)

Thursday--3/18, 7pm-9pm

Studio ~ 502 W. North Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15212

RSVP, Please craigphotography@mac.com

PS. A good read by David Burke (HERE)
PSS. See all Craig Photography events (HERE)

So, Curious…let’s discuss


Accidents & Purpose

Yesterday was my first day of walking outside in the cold Pittsburgh air since returning from our trip. Shoveled the driveway and went through a month of mail and then magically life returned to normal.

Received some very nice comments on my nature dreamscape photography, which felt good. The style and approach to this body of work had a specific shift in my method to photography.

First, the approach…accidents happens. I forgot to pack the tripod base (the part that attaches the camera to the tripod). I take the slow photography movement approach to creating images. For that to work you need to have a tripod, a good heavy tripod. I ended up buying a cheap lightweight tripod from Wal Mart, I died a little inside making that purchase.

Second, the style…accidents can have purpose…it was very windy, daily. High winds and a cheap tripod created camera shake, typically this is not good. I discovered that creating exposures around 2 seconds (traditionally I try to create 30 second exposures to slowly burn deep focus into the image) would allow me to capture slight windy blown trees and water to produce brush strokes in tandem with a long enough exposure to capture light shifts and color change.

Next, I need a new project….any suggestions?


Workshop Dates & Updates

How to Everything: Photography Workshop ~ $100.00 (Sunday, 3/14, 10pm-2pm)

Q&A Shoot N’ Learn ~ Connect N' Grow ~ FREE (Thursday. 3/18, 7pm-9pm)

The Photographer’s Blog e-Book (PURCHASE HERE)

Photo Walk ~ FREE (Sunday, 3/21, 9am Gate A Heinz Stadium)

Q&A: Photographer’s Blog (e-book) ~ Free (Thursday, 3/25, 7pm-9pm)

Romance Sessions ~ by appointment (more info coming soon!)

2010 Seniors ~ by appointment

Studio: 502 W. North Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15212

Nature Dreamscape Series ~ Slide Show

To view full screen click (HERE)