Barefoot & Half Naked

The weather has changed in Pittsburgh. Autumn has arrived, the nights are cold, the mornings are misty and damp and the light is late to wake up. Seasonal changes in Pittsburgh are not brought in by the calendar as much as it is brought in by a dramatic storm.

Couple days ago we lost power in our home; first time in four years in our new home. A microburst storm blew through our community ripping down trees and power lines. The storm took only about twenty minutes to end summer and bring in autumn.

During the storm I was driving home from the store. I watched a tree fall across the road in front of me blocking the roadway. An older man and I get out of our cars and start trying to pull a tree out of the road during the middle of the storm; two strangers meeting in the street.

This is when I realized how happy my life is…

I am standing in this street with no shoes on and no shirt on. Why? Because moments before I was running out of the grocery store to my car and I got soaked, completely drench. The temperature dropped from high eighties to low sixties. I was freezing. So I took off my shirt, ripped off my shoes (5 fingers are not good in a rain storm, at all) turned up the heat and drive home in the storm. One of the things that I hate about driving in a storm is that you cannot enjoy music in your car no matter how loud you turn it up.

Loud music, even louder storm and then a crashing tree in front of me; the odd thing was there was no sound. It was like watching a scary movie when they play classical music in the middle of a crazy Freddy Krueger scene. I watched the tree fall, roots ripped out of the soil. No sound, eerie…

Next the old man and I struggle with the tree with no luck. Then he notices the barefoot half naked man working alongside of him.

This moment was one of those moments of clarity. Like one of those moments at the last ten minutes of any TV mystery show. The camera pans in on the lead character, s/he looks up at the sky and at that moment you know that they have the answer (typical scenes like these have classical music playing during the epiphany…just an fyi).

As this man is staring at me half naked and barefoot I tell him I’m in my work clothes. He laughs, we struggle with the tree, and he says to me in his drenched suit, "Wish I had a job like yours."

I am free.

Photography provides me with a life of work on my on terms (most days).

Pittsburgh Wedding Photography


How to Avoid Social Media Homework

Tips on how-to-avoid social media as homework…

One of the things I am finding interesting lately is how professional photographers view social media in terms of marketing, community building and growing their businesses.

It seems that the old-time, established photographers (35 yrs and older…sorry to whoever I just offended...deepest apologies) look at social media as another thing added to the ever-expanding To-Do-list. While the younger generation (Gen-Y) looks at social media as the only thing to do.

Digital-life-business-culture is here, support it, do not avoid it. (But there is no need to be overwhelmed by it either.)

Part 1: Social media is not something added to your workload…it's a tool to cut your workload in half.

This is why social medial is a tool & not homework. It is one of the few (if not only) business tools that allows to you accomplish many things with one action (a.k.a. timesaver)

I have yet to meet one photographer who misses the brick and mortar studio. The overhead itself has created many studios to fail. With the brick and mortar studio gone so is the traditional marketing and advertising that used to work.

Majority of photographers do not want to market or advertise; they want to create great photographs

Then do that, let photography be your marketing and advertising.

In the brick and mortar studio days we had storefront sidewalks. Nobody understood the value of those sidewalks until they went away.

What did the sidewalk provide that is lost in today’s digital-storefront?

Walk-by traffic
Drive-by traffic
Storefront windows
Neighboring businesses

Reasons why to think of social media as a tool

Shows that you are authentic
Conversation starter

The #1 reason is…Social media, if used correctly, will cut through the clutter of adverting and marketing that you don’t want to do anyway.

Part 2 - How-to-tips on social media as a tool

Create, Connect & Grow - Do one thing with multiple outcomes.

Create something new, and share it – This is the formula to success: “create & share”. Those who work constantly work, well...constantly. And those who do not constantly work go out of business, forever.

Deliver it, ship it, constantly – Show up for work, daily. There is no longer a brick and mortar store or a sidewalk to let people know that you showed up today. Social media gives you the opportunity to unlock your store, turn on the lights and flip over the Open for Business sign on your door front.

Decommoditize – you’re the only thing that cannot be copied. People buy from people they know. Let them know about YOU!

Learn to loveFeeds” “RSS” & “Ping.fm” (be sure to click on the hyper links if these words mean nothing to you)

Set the rules you want – You now have the tools to build whatever future you want, enjoy.

Build your portfolio and grow your business with the same actions…and its FREE.

I'd like to hear from you. So what do you think?


Time Off

Need a break from my own thoughts...see you next week. Enjoy the disconnect!


Walk, Education & Links

Took a great walk with this couple above, this shoot was fun....

This week starts my season of photography education; this time as the teacher. The classes that I will instruct on are the basic “How To” class.

They will be held at various libraries throughout Pittsburgh. The best part is that they are free, yep free. If you have been following this blog throughout the years then you will know how much I love the library, (1st time readers – I love the library). It’s a place you go when you’re in need of knowledge, and it’s free.

Who is this class for?

In your gut you want to be a photographer. Or maybe you just want to learn how to use that expensive camera you just bought but you’re not sure who to ask. You have a great eye for composition but you just need some guidance, an advisor to help YOU fulfill your dreams. Make the jump from thinking, daydreaming and create great photographs…

Check out the “Event Page” at the top of the page for dates, locations & times.


Pictage blog published one of my "How To" posts. You can read it (HERE)

Next “Photo Walk” will be on Light Up night, November 19th.

Tonight come out and listen to Vincent Pugliese give a talk on
The “How” & “Why” on the art of seeing.



Current Reading: The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guilebeau
Current Music: Lost in America by Gathering Field
Mood: Excited
Smells: Clean House
Sounds: MSNBC., background noise
Temperature: 73 degrees & sunny
Thought: This is the start of the education season, as the teacher....



Scene from last night...
An interesting read by Patrick Renyolds "The Path of Laziness"
Have a good weekend!


Next Tuesday Night

Create | Connect | Grow w/ Vincent Pugliese

When: September 21
Topic: The “How” & “Why” on the art of seeing: with Vincent Pugliese
Time: 7pm - 9pm
Where: 502 W. North Ave. Pgh 15212

Bio: Vincent Pugliese

Super Bowl XXXV (Ravens-Giants)
Super Bowl XXXVII (Rams-Patriots)
Photojournalist for New York Newsday
The Associated Press in New York
National Hockey League
World Wrestling Federation (can you believe that!?)
The Courier & Press in Evansville, Indiana
Wedding Photography (with his lovely & more talented wife Elizabeth)

Degree in Visual Communication, Ohio University

Website - http://elizabethvincentphotography.com/
Blog - http://elizabethvincentphotography.com/blog/

Open to all, Please RSVP


Nine Years Ago...

Today's date 9.11.10, city of Washington D.C., local time 6:47 am

I open the curtains to my hotel room that overlooks the city at dawn. Sitting in a chair drinking coffee I watch the city slowly come to life. A garbage truck picking up, a lady walking her dog, homeless person sleeping covered in newspapers in the park, window blinds starting to open in the Brownstone apartments letting the morning light in. Here I sit, I watch.

Nine years ago this city was under attack by a terrorist threat.

What am I doing here? Vacationing with my wife.

My day starts out with a long walk to a French patisserie; I did not know that words like "patisserie" even existed. LePain Quotidien patisserie, sounds French…isn’t that cool…in I-wish-I-could-pronounce-it sort of way. The menu reads organic ingredients, sustainable farming, and baked fresh everyday starting at 3am.

Next, this beautiful Ethiopian waitress with a poetic voice asks “Coffee for two?” “Yes, black please”. My wife orders a latté, I think the French invented the latte, not sure, sounds French.

Music by Vivaldi, four seasons plays over the house speakers, Vivaldi was Italian. I had my photograph taken outside the church he wrote the four seasons in. Beautiful selection music for this café.

Couples seated at their small table with their large coffee cups reading the paper together. Actually leaning into one anther reading the front page of the paper together. Who does that? This is something you only see in movies. Honey lets get up and do the crossword puzzle together. Here in D.C. people share the morning paper in cozy little nooks in quaint French cafés. It’s nice. I suck at the crossword.

Nine years ago this city was under attack by a terrorist threat.

Three days off due to the fact that nobody wants to get married on the anniversary of 9/11. "Anniversary" is an odd word to use for this occasion. No disrespect to those who do, but for me the word anniversary is saved for days of celebration. 9/11 is a day of remembrance.

Day of remembrance is what has brought me to write this.

I did not remember.

I am not in D.C. to pay respect or feel the loss that so many did on that day nine years ago. I am on vacation.

My wife and I randomly picked this city as a short getaway with the little time off we had. Four hour drive, a city neither one of us have been to since our elementary years. What harm? Take a nice drive down route 68 south, have a couple of good meals enjoy the shopping, have a couple of good drinks (J Paul's in Georgetown, good) take a long walk around the capital. Tried to get a tomato out of Michelle Obama's garden (this is not a good idea, do not even joke about this) Tax dollars do fund the garden, that's all I am saying. If you want to get a fresh presidential tomato, handcuffs should not be needed.

After LePain Quotidien, after the tomato fiasco we walked. The city is quiet, clean and green, very green. Trees line every sidewalk; it’s a beautiful sight. The trees provide shade which helps keep the noise down from the roadways. D.C. blended urban development with current eco-thinking, let Mother Nature provide as only she can. Even the hotel we were staying in gave me a seventy dollar discount because we drive a Prius. That felt good. Somewhere I think that somehow Al Gore and I are now closer to each other…

Nine years ago this city was under attack by a terrorist threat.

Nine years ago this city was spared of death, not of loss. The Twin Towers went down in New York City, Pentagon was attacked and a the fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in Pennsylvania after its passengers attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C.

There were no survivors from any of the flights.


Alone in a Crowded Room

People seem to be more lonely than not, have you noticed that?

How lonesome we can feel seated in a crowded room? Take away our phones and we become lost and lonely.

How could so much connectedness leave us disconnected from each other? Life exists precisely one foot in front of our faces. The exact distance that we hold our phone from our face.

Things I noticed seated in a crowd room:
- Silence
- Bad posture (Chiropractors must love this)
- Void of noticing people walking into the room.
- Nothing was growing in this room. No conversation, no writing, no thoughts, only viewing.

In this crowed room I was disconnected do to my own connectivity...

Things I noticed seated in the playground:
- A pregnant mother reading on her phone as her son plays in the distance.
- A father (not me) asking his daughter to go play as he types a text.
- A line of four other parents with their faces planted in the small screen. (seemed more like a seen out of a Tim Burton movie)
- For myself, I typed this on a note pad app on my phone while my daughter played on the jungle gym.

I am no longer feeling the need to be connected. I think by disconnecting I will communicate better to who is in front of me.

I would like to hear from you….

Do you consider yourself to be present in the moment?

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


Moment – Expanded Edition

Current Reading:
Art & Fear by Bayles and Orlando ~ Good book, its about facing the resistant of our inner voice when creating. This is the third book that I have read about “resistant” makes me want to write about the “release” vs. “resistant” when creating.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert ~ Loved it. There I said it. I am a heterosexual male who loved reading this book. Now, somebody turn up the Lady Gaga music.

Tribal Leadership by a whole bunch of people, follow the hyperlink if you are interested. Good book if you are into community building and bring the best out of others.

Oscar Wilde a Life in Letters by Merlin Holland ~ Just started reading this book, very good so far.

Current Music:
Elizabeth rock’en the ipod mixs

Mood: NFL game day…..its a mood.

Smells: Tomatoes

Sounds: My four year old dancing and bouncing throughout out house.

Temperature: 63 degrees

Thoughts: Is it wrong to tie a four year old to a chair as I watch football? If so somebody please get me a good lawyer.


Create | Connect | Grow w/ Vincent Pugliese

When: September 21
Topic: The “How” & “Why” on the art of seeing: with Vincent Pugliese
Time: 7pm - 9pm
Where: 502 W. North Ave. Pgh 15212

Bio: Vincent Pugliese

Super Bowl XXXV (Ravens-Giants)
Super Bowl XXXVII (Rams-Patriots)
Photojournalist for New York Newsday
The Associated Press in New York
National Hockey League
World Wrestling Federation (can you believe that!?)
The Courier & Press in Evansville, Indiana
Wedding Photography (with his lovely & more talented wife Elizabeth)

Degree in Visual Communication, Ohio University

Website - http://elizabethvincentphotography.com/
Blog - http://elizabethvincentphotography.com/blog/

Open to all, Please RSVP


Pittsburgh Wedding Photography

I think she is trying to communicate something...... this was a funniest moment ever!


Modus Operandi

Jonathan Fields, blogger, author, and serial entrepreneur, recently wrote a blog post titled “What’s Your Creative Modus Operandi?” For us non-Latin speaking, Modus Operandi translated in English is Method of Operating.

I get this question a good deal during conversation, “How do I set up my space/self to create?” Jonathan listed 18 things to think about when creating or preparing your space/self. Here are my thoughts on the “how of why” of what I do.

Clothes – When writing at home I wear old t-shirts no socks, pants optional.

Sound – Instrumental music when writing. Loud rock music when editing photos.

Light – Natural, natural, natural light as much as possible. At nighttime I prefer the glow of the screen with no additional ambient light

Location - Home office for typing , for journal writing I like the library and a few select coffee houses in the area, especially if I am in a creative-non-fiction mood of writing. Then I definitely go out of house.

Directionality – At home facing a clean white wall, out of house I try to find a corner seat that faces a window to the street but also which gives me a good view of what is happening inside.

Time of Day – Dawn & dusk for both writing and photography.

Routine/Spontaneity – Both. I keep a journal with me at all times, almost.

Long periods or short bursts – Short busts of capturing an idea and long periods of over-thinking, editing and usually going back to the short burst and publishing that as is, with typos corrected by my wife.

Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? - Yep, journal and voice recorder app on my phone.

Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Clean is good, clean work space is great!

Clean or dirty - Clean

Solo or surrounded - Solo for both writing and photography (personal work)

Digital or analogue – Both

What fuels you? – Miso soup this week

Leaded or unleaded? – Half caf, half decaf. Thinking about becoming a tea drinker.

Breaks – Sure, yep, why not… I play guitar or go for a walk. Something to rest the mind and the eyes. Fresh air helps a lot also.

Mindset practices that fuel creation – Showering, driving, eves-dropping, yep, I am a stealer of ideas but only the good ones, hopefully.

Movement practices that fuel creation – Yoga and walks in the woods...I know that sounds contrite but its true.

What's your "Modus Operandi?" I would love to know....

Thanks for reading...