A Reminder: LomiMonk has moved to a new site address

Hi all,

It’s been about 6 months or so since I moved this blog over to a self-hosted site at www.lomimonk.com and I wanted to be sure everyone, especially those of you that have subscribed to this blog via e-mail delivery and through wordpress.com knew about this.

I’ve updated the new site with many more blog posts (I’m trying to keep to at least 2 per week), some galleries of images for sale through my printing partner Fotomoto (I’ve tested them out and they do really nice work. I especially enjoy seeing my images on greeting cards-great stuff!), some recommended reading for photographers and creative people, and I have some fun stuff planned for the future.

I have also updated my “subscribe” options over at the new site but your email subscription was not carried over during the move. Seeing as I don’t want to force anyone to be subscribed against their will, I invite you to come on over to the new home and subscribe through the handy subscription option in the right sidebar.

Also included in the new site are links to photographers and services that I really enjoy or use on a regular basis.

So, I would love to see you over at my new home. It has been a labor of love moving everything over and setting up house. It is an ongoing process and I would love your feedback on how it looks and works. Seeing as you have been with me from the beginning of this blog/website journey and been witnessing my growth and growing pains, your input is especially valuable to me.

Once again, the new address is www.lomimonk.com

Keep creating!

Brian [LomiMonk]

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I’m Moving to a New Home!!

I got inspired!!  OK, perhaps not in the traditionally photographic way of pressing the shutter release button and chimping at my LCD screen, but inspired nonetheless.

I’ve moaned at times that I want greater creative control over how my images are presented and I’ve thought too that I would like greater creative control over all aspects of my presentation in web-dom.  With that in mind, and after lots of navel-gazing,  I’ve decided to self-host my blog (!)

Yikes.

Not just my blog but my entire web presence!  Sooooo…..

We’re moving!!  Not far.  Just over to www.lomimonk.com.

The site should look nearly identical with some extra wiz-bang features like recommended readings, the option to buy prints of my photographs, and galleries (coming soon!!  I’m still learning all this stuff!)

So head on over to the new home of LomiMonk Photography, check it out, and let me know what you think.  I would love your feedback!

~Brian

PS-I’ve been frustrated that when I moved my blog over to the new address the permalink for the blog isn’t what I would like.  So, for now, feel free to bookmark the home page.  I hope to have the issue resolved soon.  It has taken me a lot of work to get this new home “livable” but there are always repairs to be made.  Once the blog “Chronicles” link becomes http://www.lomimonk.com/blog it will be fine to subscribe to the RSS feed.  Oh, and if anyone out there knows WordPress and can help me with this I would just love it!

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Inspiration Monday: Alfie Goodrich

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

This is the 15th in my series of inspirational people or things that inspire me to continue pursuing my passion at photography and sometimes I just like a good image, you know?  I’ve written in the past about people whose process inspires me; some whose life’s work inspires me; some whose work ethic and desire to include and teach others inspires me.  I don’t know if this week’s pick falls in any of those categories but for me he just makes good pictures that I like to look at.   This week’s pick is photographer Alfie Goodrich.

Alfie is an English photographer based in Tokyo who runs a photoblog that was a finalist in the Best Asian/Oceanian photoblog competition.  I like Alfie’s minimalistic style where he simply presents his images against a black background.  Especially attractive are the mostly Japanese themes in his photography where Alfie tends to focus on street photography in Tokyo.  Armed with a loaned medium format camera and a lens that has an aperture of f1.2 he gets some sweet, sweet bokeh in his images.  They are just fun and beautiful to look at.

Check out his blog at http://blog.alfiegoodrich.com for a neat journey through Japan as viewed through a westerner’s eyes.  I find it to be a visual treat that keeps me interesting in creating images and sure hope you do too.

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I Shoot Cliched Images

I do. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just might be the pathway, the portal, to shooting more interesting, compelling, and non-cliche images.

I remember being a senior in college and visiting the career placement office in the hopes of finding my destiny-a professional job. While there I and other classmates were told that job offers came in for students at a ratio of 1 job offer per 20 applications submitted.  What is interesting about ratios is that the ratio simply holds over time; upon acceptance of a job, the student will have submitted 20 applications for each offer.  That meant we might have to submit 40 applications before receiving 2 offers, or 60 applications before receiving 3.  The placement officer encouraged us to not take rejection letters personally and instead to collect them thereby marking our steps toward our job.

I took the advice to heart and collected my rejection letters.  If the ratio held true, as he promised, I would eventually receive a job-I just needed to submit enough applications.  So I collected each rejection as a badge of honor and used them to wallpaper my room, each one getting me one step closer to my goal.

The same can be said of cliched photographs.  I once heard somewhere that we all have 10,000 cliched images in us that we need to get out before we really begin to find our voice with the camera.  We all shoot our feet at some point; we all take self portraits in the mirror; we all take pictures of our coffee cups; and the flowers we bought and put in a vase; and the empty road in the middle of nowhere; and the moon; and the sunset.  It’s not that they’re bad images, per se.  They’re not.  You like them.  You took them.  Heck, we all took them at some point.  So enjoy them.  The only problem is that nearly everyone takes those images, so they’ve become cliche.  And to break out of cliche images as a photographer is challenging, takes hard work and discipline, and endurance!  We have to get those shots out of our system.  Our soul, so to speak, has to get used to speaking through our photographic medium and perhaps those cliched images are the vocabulary lessons.  Eventually the soul will catch on and amazing stuff will come out.

So don’t despair if you continue to shoot cliches, so-called snapshots.  We all do!  It just means we are one step closer to breaking through to using that camera in really creative ways and speaking in a really unique and personal voice.  Instead, join me in wallpapering your room with them (well, you wallpaper your room and I’ll wallpaper mine…), showing them off like badges of honor; one step closer.  And unlike my college dorm room, it will be pretty cool to look at.

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Mas Dia de los Muertos: Muertos y Marigolds

I received a good response to my previous post on Monday about the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos/ Muertos y Marigolds) Parade that took place on Sunday 11/7/2010 in the South Valley of Albuquerque and so I thought I might share some more images from that fun evening.  I hope you enjoy them.

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

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Inspiration Monday: out shooting with friends! El Dia De Los Muertos (Muertos y Marigolds)

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

This is the 14th in my series of posts about people or things that inspire me to pursue my art.  So far I have posted mostly about individual people who’ve influenced me and motivated me to pursue this crazy passion of photography.  Today I had the marvelous fortune to join with old and new friends for a little photo-safary in the South Valley of Albuquerque for the annual Dia de los Muertos “Muertos y Marigolds” Parade.  Apparently in olden days marygolds, due to their strong and pleasing scent, were used to cover the smell of the dead being laid out for viewings and so they have been incorporated into the day of the dead celebrations.

This evening a gaggle of friends and acquaintances put on our best paparazzi attire and descended on the dead parade.  Having shot this event once before I had an idea of what to expect: rapidly moving subjects, changing and dappled light, and photo-ops both in front and behind me most of the time.  So I went armed with two cameras, my flash set to fill, and an idea of what I wanted to create.  On first perusal of my results I’m not sure I achieved what I wanted, but I did get more shots that I liked this time.  I hope you like them.  It was great fun shooting and completely inspiring to see all the great work coming out of the evening.  Thanks guys!!

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

This last image is more along the lines of what I was intending to create-ghoulish images that bring to mind old scary movies and the darker side of this festival.  I had fun trying to get the right feel with this participant but she made me work for it.  I’m thinking of posting the series I’ve made of her in a day or two, so stay tuned!

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Inspiration Monday: Revisiting the Balloon Fiesta

A few weeks ago my Inspiration Monday post was about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and in my rush to post I neglected to process more than one image.  Today, I thought I would post some of the images from the day I visited the field with my family.  I am not terribly happy with what I managed to accomplish photographically this year but upon review there a few that I like.  The upside, however, is that I am motivated by what I remember of the day and by the images many of my friends managed to create from this year’s Fiesta.  I hope you enjoy these few images:

 

 

 

 

 

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New Craft and Vision eBook: Close to Home: finding great photographs in your own back yard.

I love to travel.  It is one of the joys my family really likes to allow itself.  And my camera likes the travel too.  All of a sudden there are so many interesting and exotic scenes to point the lens toward.  I almost feel I need a second camera to help capture all the wonderful colors, textures, people, buildings, and landscapes I come across.

But this year has been different.  Due to varying circumstance I have had less opportunity to travel and this has pushed my photography.  I’ve had to force myself to make images of things much more common to me.  It feels less exciting- less exotic!  I’ve known there is plenty of interesting subject matter within a short distance of my home, and even inside my home.  But compared to the new and exciting images to be made afar, staying near takes more effort, more work.

Thankfully, Stuart Sipahigil of “The Light Without” blogging fame, comes to some rescue in the latest ebook release from the good folks over at Craft and Vision.  Stuart makes a case for photographing close to home and challenges the idea of “ordinariness” by making a case for the extraordinariness in ordinary things.  He encourages the reader to slow down, be disciplined, to “lift up the ordinary”, and become a stranger in your own town.  Filled with beautifully stunning images all taken within close proximity of his home, Close to Home is a book to read and re-read to break out of your ordinary viewpoint into a more liberated viewpoint so that better images can be created.

I very much enjoyed reading Close to Home and gleaned lots of possibilities as well.  It is a timely book.

Special Offer on PDFs

For the first five days only, if you use the promotional code HOME4 when you checkout, you can have the PDF version of Close to Home for only $4 OR use the code HOME20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more PDF ebooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes start at 1:00am PST, October 28, 2010 and expire at 11:59pm PST November 1, 2010.

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Unexpected Changes

It is said that change is the only constant.  A whimsical, paradoxical, and wise statement that.  And it is worth paying attention to.  Changes have crept into my photography and my creativity without my awareness, and I pride myself on some measure of self-awareness!

But it has happened and I am now able to take some stock and do something about it.  You see, my available time for photographing has dwindled significantly due to family and work constraints and I find most of my photographic opportunities centering around settings that require continuous servo focusing and fast shutter speeds: photographing my fast moving children.  At the same time I switched from shooting mostly in jpeg mode to using the Camera RAW format in order to have greater creative control in the digital darkroom.  And furthermore I switched from primarily using PhotoShop to using Lightroom to edit my images.  All of these shifts have changed how I work through my creative process and as a result have impacted my creative output.

Oops.  It is no wonder my creative satisfaction is down.  It is no wonder I am not really happy with the results of my photography.  No longer do images taken in black and white on my camera arise the same way on my monitor; camera RAW always shows up in color.  It is the raw, unprocessed (therefore not converted to black and white) image.  And I am less comfortable converting to black and white in Lightroom than I was in Photoshop, so I was drawn to creating images with a very different look.  As a result I created images that fit within my post-processing comfort range.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it is just that the images don’t satisfy what my heart wants to convey.  And that is the rub, of art at least.

I’ve also found myself wanting more and more gear; a sure sign, at least for me, that something is stagnant.  If I don’t feel like I have something to point my camera toward, what makes me think a it will suddenly arise before a new lens, new camera, or be drawn out of a WaCom tablet (ooooh but the lord knows I want one of those!!)

So, what is missing?  I have been asking myself this question and waiting for the answer to arise.  I have also been trying different things.  I am basically searching out what my muse, that creative energy, wants.  And slowly, as I ask and make time to hear the answer, it has been coming.  More black and whites images, fewer cliched images, and more stuff that “feels right.”  One does, after all, have to pay attention to the muse; she’s pretty cold hearted if you turn a deaf ear.

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Inspiration Monday: Marc Gutierrez

(c) 2010 Brian E. Miller Photography

This the 12th in my series of people or things that inspire me to continue to create my art and today the person I would like to introduce to you is a bit closer to home.  He’s my friend Marc Gutierrez.  Marc is a semi-pro photographer from Albuquerque who has created an impressive body of work without ever specializing in one particular style or subject.  And while for some (read: me) that would spell a death-nell in their marketability, Marc has achieved just the opposite.  Almost without trying, it would seem, he has managed to make a name for himself here in Albuquerque and in the stock photography world.  Almost to his surprise he continues to sell images on Getty Images month after month.  Clearly he has an eye for this stuff and others know it too.

Marc Gutierrez (c) Brian E. Miller Photography 2010

That being said, this is not really what inspires me about Marc.  It is his personality.  Marc is most assuredly the kindest person I have ever met.  Repeatedly I have witnessed Marc undertake acts of kindness toward others that make me want to be more like him.  He was one of the founders of the Albuquerque/Santa Fe Social Group on Flickr; a group that encourages and organizes “meet-ups” in the area for photographers.  He has repeatedly encouraged other photographers to attend, has lent gear, given advice, supported others’ work, left kind and supportive comments.  He has given of his time, energy, and money without expecting or even wanting any reward.

This is something to be recognized in an endeavor such as photography where often people square off along camera lines, film or digital lines, old school or newcomer, pro or amateur.

So check out Marc’s Flickr stream and his blog for a fun ride through and undefinable stylistic journey.  You’ll enjoy your time and might even make a friend in the process.

The image above was taken the other day as I wrestled with hindrances to my creative journey.  It is a bit removed, to my mind, from what I have been creating lately and a fuller explanation is forthcoming in another post later this week.  Check back soon!

Posted in Inspiration Mondays | 4 Comments