Depth of Field Podcast: David Bergman

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David Bergman

David Bergman is one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet. He is humble, unassuming and crazy good at what he does. David has 13 Sports Illustrated cover to his credit. He has photographed 6 presidents and numerous big name celebrities. If that wasn’t enough he is the personal photographer for Bon Jovi. He is also known for his work with the Gigapan, the pano gear that enabled him to shoot the inauguration of President Obama and that has garnered over 30 million views!

In this episode of Depth of Field we speak with David about his work and his views of what it takes to be a success.  We talk about what’s the point of what you are shooting or why are you shooting what you shoot? What’s your attitude like? Do people want you around? What’s separates you from all the other photographers out there?

Remember, we have a new feed on iTunes and we need your ratings and comments. By rating us you help put us in front of many more listeners. If you want to comment right on the timeline of the podcast, listen in on Soundcloud. Do you have suggestions on who should be a guest on Depth of Field? Great email us at depthoffield@thedigitaltrekker.com. Continue reading

Depth of Field: Timothy Allen

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Timothy Allen

I am starting a new “season” of the Depth of Field Podcast with the impressive work of Timothy Allen.  As I start this new season, I’m not able to promise any frequency of releases or number of episodes, but I don’t want to let it go by the wayside.  Thank you to all of you who reached out and asked for new material.  I will to continue with the quality of guests and interviews that you’ve come to expect, so let’s get started.

In case you somehow haven’t seen his inspirational work, Timothy Allen is an English photographer and filmmaker best known for his work with isolated cultures and people around the world. He shot into the public light with his work on the BBC documentary series, Human Planet. Timothy was the stills photographer for the series and traveled with the crew all around the world. He was put in charge of the Human Planet blog by the BBC where you can see many of his fantastic images. They later did a Human Planet book with all of Timothy’s images. Continue reading

Digital Trekker Podcast

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Depth of Field by Matt Brandon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://thedigitaltrekker.com/digital_trekker_podcast.

Matt Brandon Vlog 12: Fujifilm GFX Review and more.

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A Podcast: A conversation on the Fujifilm X System with Piet Van den Eynde #02

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A Podcast: Mitchell Kanashkevich

Mitchell Kanashkevich is probably one of the most talented photographers I know. He has gotten that way by shooting continuously....

A Podcast: A conversation on the Fujifilm X System with Piet Van den Eynde

  There’s a lot of talk these days, both good and bad, about the Fujifilm X Series cameras: the X-Pro1...

A Podcast Review of “The Photographers Workflow” e-Book

  I have been wanting to write a lengthy review of a very precise nature filled with my musings on...

A talk with Gavin Gough: Thaipusam

I needed to clear up a few things about the upcoming Thaipusam workshop – So I gave my co-leader and...

Off-Camera Flash Made Easy

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Angkor Photo Workshop

Gavin Gough instructing some of the students at Beng Melea ruins.

I am currently in one of the most amazing places on the planet, Seim Reap, Cambodia, the home of Angkor Wat. I am staying at the wonderful FCC hotel – classic French colonial mansion restored to make a comfortable, classic and luxurious place to stay. But, as with so many of the places I travel to there is a limited amount of  high speed internet. However, I have fought the urge to wait till I return home to post images and will try to upload a few images from this amazing workshop.

The fourteen students participating in the workshop are all getting a lot of qualify time with the four Amigos instructors, Karl Grobl, Gavin Gough, Marco Ryan and myself. This is not your average run-of-the-mill photo workshop: four instructors of this quality in a location like Angkor Wat makes this an exotic treat.  The mornings and afternoons are spent out working on photo stories whilst the mid-days are in a classroom with Gavin teaching Lightroom, Marco instructing the class in blogging and social media and myself teaching Soundslides Pro. Much of the photography coaching is done either in small group critiques sessions or out shooting at places like small village schools, orphanages or at Angkor Wat itself.
Here is a sample of what I am seeing.

A young school girl caught in the sunlight of her class.

 

A young girl recieves coaching from her sister through the school window.

 

Two children on a bike outside Beng Melea. (Look close and you can see Gavin's instant photo in her hand.)

 

A girl waits for her friends at lunch break.

 

This monk awakes from a nap to find a room full of photographers visiting his monastery.

Depth of Field: Stacy Pearsall

Stacy Pearsall in Iraq. © U.S. Air Force photo


It has been some time since the last Depth of Field. My apologies for that. I think this will make up for it. A native Texan, Stacy Pearsall joined the US Air Force in 1997. After serving in Nebraska and then later in England she was assigned to the 1st Combat Camera Squad. Now retired, this former Staff Sargent combat photographer became a two-time winner  of the Military Photographer of the Year award (the only woman ever to win it twice), has stared her own business and was even featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Not only is Stacy an amazing photographer she is a hero in the truest form of the word. During her three tours in Iraq, she earned the Bronze Star Medal and Commendation with Valor for heroic actions under fire.

In this interview I speak with Stacy about how she became a photographer and what a combat photographer does. She tells us stories about her time in Iraq and what she is doing now. Whether you are an American or not, if you are photographer, this will be an interesting listen.

Checkout her portfolio HERE

Follower her on Twitter @StacyPearsall

Her Blog HERE

Her FaceBook HERE

Visit the Charleston Center for Photography HERE

Photography by Timothy Allen

For the last two weeks I’ve been remiss in writing any blog posts. There are good reasons, none of which I’m going to share here. Suffice it to say it’s been a very tough couple of weeks.

However today, Jessie, my daughter was looking at some of my work with me on my computer, when all of a sudden she started jumping up and down and screaming, “Ooh, ooh, ooh!” She had to show me something. She ran to her room – brought up a website on her computer and yelled at me to come in and look. One of her teachers at school had shown her this site. She insisted that he send her the link so that she could share it with me. I can see why Jessie was jumping up and down. I now want to share it with you. It is the work of Timothy Allen

I am embarrassed to say Timothy Allen is a photographer that I have missed along the way. That changed today (thank you Jessie). Not only did he have an amazing past couple of years, being a staff photographer with the BBC’s Human Planet, he also is just a plain stinking amazing photographer! He has striking images of amazing places and people. Anyone who photographs people like this guy rates way up there in my book! He has images of things I have seen before and yet he seems to make them new. Not just new, but better. He’s has what every photographer wants, opportunity, an eye composition and technical expertise to be able to bring these image to life in post-production. His colors are amazing, his moments are decisive. He also strikes me as humble. After you listen to this slide show of his photos I think you’ll agree. ( I am a little mift at the BBC for not allowing us to embed this slide show.) You have to view this slide show, it is a must. I am going to state it here, this is some of the best work I have seen in years. I’m taken by his images to places I can only dream of going. Funny, this is what people say about my work. I guess there is always places we want to go and things we want to take pictures of. Until then, I give you Timothy Allen.

Depth of Field: Deanne Fitzmaurice

In this interview I speak with Deanne Fitzmaurice about her long career in photojournalism and her new love multimedia. She shared with me how she creates her award-winning multimedia projects, and the back story how Think Tank camera bags was founded.

Deanne grew up in Massachusetts, but moved to San Francisco to be an art student, before taking up photography. Deanne worked at the San Francisco Examiner, later moving to its rival the San Francisco Chronicle. Deanne has a passion for humanitarian documentary photography for which she won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005.  As a staff photographer for 20 years at the San Francisco Chronicle she has experience photographing a wide range of subjects including news, politics, sports, and entertainment. Assignments include Super Bowls, Baseball World Series, photographing politicians President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton.

Deanne is one of 13 photographers chosen internationally to be a a member of Microsoft’s prestigious Icons of Imaging program. She is a co-founder of Think Tank Photo, makers of some of the industry’s best camera bags. You can view her work at her website and blog. A taste of her multimedia work titled Family Kocktail can be found at MediaStorm.

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Depth of Field: Bambi Cantrell

There are interviews I do that are really informative and then there are those that are just plan fun. Then on rare occasions there are times I spend with a photographer in an interview that are both really fun and informative. My time with Bambi Cantrell was one of those, fun and informative interviews. She has numerous awards and honors including in 2007 American Photo Magazine named her as one of the “10 Best Wedding Photographers in the world.” Bambi is a sought after instructor and has a knack of making the complicated simple and manageable. This interview is packed full of wisdom and advise. You might find yourself listening to this a couple of times.

Visit Bambi’s portfolio HERE and her blog HERE.

You can find the complete list of Depth of Field podcasts HERE or you can subscribe to them on iTunes HERE.

Aristotle, Excellence and the Photographer

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” -Aristotle

This morning I met with some friends of mine for coffee. My buddy Hans tossed out this quote he’d recently read in a runner’s magazine of all places. He thought it might spur some challenging conversation. We were discussing this more from a theological bent and how this effect our life, work and art.  So, in the tradition of Socratic dialogue I offer you the same.

The first part of this is really the premise and the second part the application. The premise is “We are what we repeatedly do.” A lazy man derives his title because he’s lazy. A hard-working man, the same. A painter or a photographer because that is what they do. Maybe this is the case for you, do spend more time taking photos than just about anything else or is it just a weekend hobby for you? What makes this difficult for me to hear is I spend more time writing a blog, tweeting, working with Lightroom and keywording photos than taking photos. But then, just maybe, that’s what a photographer is these days or maybe, that’s what a working photographer is (I hesitate using the word “professional”.)  How much time are you actually spending on your craft?  Most photographers I know are almost addicted to taking pictures. They can’t help but, it’s in their blood, “it’s what they do”, thus it is what they are.  I worked with a guy that used to say, “if you want to know someone’s real values, you watch how they spend their time (not listen to their opinions or posturing). Ouch!

It’s the second part of the statement but I find the most intriguing. “Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”  I think what Aristotle is saying here, is that excellence is not an accident or a fluke. It is not a one time thing. Oh, sure, you can have an excellent photograph. But that does not make you an excellent photographer. The excellent photograph might very well be a fluke and you, on the other hand be a lousy photographer. Give a monkey a camera and eventually he’ll come up with an award-winning photograph. Quite frankly, there’s probably a lot of monkeys with cameras out there dubbing themselves excellent photographers. No, I think Aristotle is absolutely right here. Excellence is gained by habitually working at your art. Aristotle goes on to say;

“Excellence, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean, relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it.” -Aristotle

Now there is a lot of words! But I think he is saying, you are excellent at something when you have the means to be able to choose to do it well and to do that thing well over and over again. He doesn’t just leaving it there, the last part says “in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it.” In other words you’ve made right choices by what you know and the results are excellence. This ability to choose excellence time and time again, gives you the moniker of excellent at your craft.

So, how do you achieve excellence so that you can choose it? Aristotle answers that as well, when he says, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.” (interesting that he calls excellence an art.) This one is pretty straightforward. You train at being great and you make it a habit. This kind of goes back to the whole Zen aspect of things we’ve talked about before. You do something over and over again until it becomes a part of you and you can do it without thinking about it. I’ve had several e-mails lately asking about composition and how do I frame an image etc. The fact is, most of the time I don’t think about it, it just comes naturally when I put the camera to my eye. But it wasn’t always that way. I had to work at it. I used the rule of thirds to train me. I use the concept of visual weight to beat my creative eye into submission. I consciously thought about it while framing images, over and over again until now it just happens. Wax on, wax off. Take off the jacket. Drop the jacket. Hang the jacket. Are you working at becoming an excellent photographer? Don’t think it will just come easy?