Thursday, July 23, 2009

Roundtable Anyone?

I have been giving this idea some thought for several years now... Here on Maui, we don't have a local chapter of any of the trade organizations for commercial & editorial photographers. No ASMP... no APA... no EP. Now that we no longer shoot film and gather at the local commercial lab every afternoon to collect our daily processing runs, we rarely even have opportunities for any sort of face to face meetings. 

This is a sad thing to me, especially given the ever increasing demands for rights from clients without the formerly customary compensation for those rights. I feel we can all collectively benefit from a regular opportunity to gather on some sort of regular basis, whether it be monthly, every two months... whatever, and discuss what's good about our respective businesses, what's happening within our industry, within the statewide editorial & advertising marketplace, problems we are facing in conducting sound & time-honored business practices, strategize on ways to face head on the coming issues surrounding use & the new digital media, occasionally present our recent work to friends & colleague & shoot the shit in general...

I propose some form of regular gathering of those of us who call ourselves freelance creatives... my main interest of course would be a gathering of photographers working primarily in the editorial & commercial realms of our industry (sorry wedding/portrait folks... you do have a local group). That said, there is a community of freelance writers, graphic designers, illustrators, etc. out there whom I'm certain find themselves without any sort of loosely organized support network. I would suggest that our meetings, should they eventually come to fruition, be open to these artists as well. After all, we do share many of the same industry concerns and business practices. In addition to working freelancers, I would also suggest that aspiring and seasoned assistants also be welcomed into the fold as they, too, are an essential part of our businesses and will all eventually go on to be photographic freelancers.

What do you think? Good idea? Bad idea? Anyone willing to chime in on the matter? I would even offer my Wailuku studio as a place for these meetings to be held, though perhaps some sort of neutral ground like a restaurant or cafe might be a more appropriate venue. I'll leave that topic open for suggestion & discussion.

Anyone interested in seeing a regular or semi-regular gathering of this sort get established, feel free to either leave a comment here at the blog entry or contact me by email at:

Be sure to include some means for me to contact you. And by all means, be sure to pass along this idea for a regular gathering to those industry colleagues that you know. There IS strength in numbers.


Things Are Getting Exciting

Things are starting to get exciting around here these days. Not that the economic outlook as improved greatly, but there has been a fair supply of decent assignment work over the last couple of weeks. For the better part of the last two weeks, in addition to performing serial photo-magic, I have been a little off my feet with a raging fever that lasted for over a week. It's only been the last few days or so that I've been feeling my normal self and, let me tell you... it feels good to be back. 

In between the assignments, I've been brainstorming story ideas for a few of the local editorial publications... quirky little ideas for photographic essays on off the beaten tourist track subjects. One idea in particular is just different enough to gather the interest of a high-visibility publication that has tentatively agreed to devote multiple pages and a hefty space in it's pages, along with a decent budget to produce the thing. The story and publication will have to remain a secret for now but the interest from the publisher has really begun to get the creative juices flowing. Furthermore, the senior editor has decided that I should team up with wordsmith, musicologist and all-around interesting guy Paul Wood to scribe little "poems", as he called them during our initial conversations on the "project", to further add descriptives to the images and weave a thread of consistency to the overall work. I'm excited... have always wanted an opportunity to collaborate with Paul and now here a chance. Already we are seeing broader applications for the scope and publishing opportunities for this project. All we've got to do now is stay focused and get the thing done. The magazine has given us almost a year to work out this limited portion of the overall project idea. Stay tuned for details... 

Another thing that has me really excited these days is to find some new music that has kept me mesmerized for much of the week. Formerly one half of as duo calling themselves Eastmountainsouth, Peter Bradley Adams has been recording and releasing solo recordings for the last few of years. Still a guy way under the radar, his music is some of the most beautiful, sensitive folk flavored work I've stumbled across in quite a long time. You can check out samples of his latest release, Leavetaking, HERE. 

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Roundup

I'm just back from a five day architectural project photographing interiors and exteriors at the brand new and just opened Ritz Carlton Residences, the complex now occupying the site of the former Kapalua Bay Hotel. Commissioned by Denver, Colorado based Exclusive Resorts, the shoot went just about as well as any I can recall, all aided by the most excellent art director from ER, Justin Parnell... and my new regular assistant, Jeffery Oltman. Big mahalos extended to both of you for lending your talents and for your hard work to make the project a great success..

Speaking of assistants... photographer Chase Jarvis has an entry up at his blog this morning about what he looks for in an assistant. Those of you contemplating working as future assistants would be wise to take a few moments to check it out. I concur with EVERYTHING Chase writes here. Find the entry here.

Must See TV

Normally, I try and avoid making overtly political postings here at the blog. However, in recent weeks, the conservative pundit class and other flack-runners for the corporate health insurance industry have been working overtime to decry government managed health care in other countries, making wild-eyed claims about the lack of access to care, having to wait months... even years for treatment, lack of quality of care... all without any fact-based evidence to support their rhetoric. How convenient is it that they forget to utter even a word about the government health care plans made available to our men & women in military & government service... nor do they bother to mention that lobbyists for the insurance industry are currently spending something like $1.3 million each day in an intense campaign of spreading misinformation.

Somedays, it's just too much to bear. Someone needs to step up and call bullshit. Fortunately, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) did just that yesterday in hearings on the state of the health care industry. Thank you Dennis... you delivered in spades:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Maui Photo Festival Update

Maui Photo Festival & Workshops

PO Box 185, Kahului, MauiHawaii96732-8865


Press Release for Immediate Release

Contact: Event Director Terrie Eliker 808-283-8438 or

              Marketing Director Barbara Santos 925-560-1403




New Developments at the Digital Photography Event You Can't Miss—

The 2009 Maui Photo Festival & Workshops

September 16-20, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa


July 1, 2009--Kaanapali, MauiHawaiiNew developments have come to light for the Maui Photo Festival and Workshops. Newly added presenters include Lori Barbely (ISLANDS magazine photo editor); Scott Bourne (nature photographer/digital media entrepreneur); Andy Katz (travel photographer and Sony Artisan of Imagery); Eli Reed (Magnum Agency photographer and Olympus Visionary); Dane Sanders (wedding photographer and author of Fast Track Photographer); and Jim Sugar (National Geographic photographer and master of the Nikon Creative Lighting System). The festival just added more optional photo excursions such as Traveling to Turtle Town (an underwater photography dive with David Fleetham) and a preconference—The Pirate Project—where Dr. Russell Preston Brown of Adobe Systems will lead his crew of attendees from concept through finished movie poster. There will be a free-to-the-public lecture on travel photography techniques given by Rick Sammon…and more is on the way. Maui Photo Festival session samplings and event schedule overview can be viewed at


The Maui Photo Festival & Workshops event will bring world-class pro photographers and masters of the digital darkroom to one of the world's most photogenic destinations: Maui. The event will be held this September 16th-20th, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa on Kaanapali Beach.  Complete details and online registration are available at  


The Maui Photo Festival presents a blend of classroom sessions, location shoots, real-world assignments and hands-on photo excursions led by professional photographers. Organizers plan a series of event-long photo competitions for both amateurs and pros. Each evening at the Maui Photo Festival’s outdoor big-screen theater on Kaanapali Beach, attendees will view the images and hear the stories of presenting photographers; learn the latest digital darkroom techniques from the sponsors; and check out the images shot that day and entered into competition.


In addition to the newly added presenters already mentioned, Maui Photo Festival & Workshops presenters also include Canon Explorers of Light Jack Reznicki, Rick Sammon and Eddie Tapp; former aerial combat photographers Stacy Pearsall and Andy Dunaway; award-winning portrait photographer Judy Host; Senior Creative Director at Adobe Systems Incorporated Russell Preston Brown and Adobe Senior Digital Imaging Evangelist Julianne Kost; international  fine art photographer and founder of the Pacific Center of Photography, Michael Gilbert; Maui's own fine art photographer Randy Jay Braun; advertising, fashion and architectural photographer Lou Freeman; commercial, editorial and fine art photographer Tony Novak-Clifford; celebrity portrait photographer David Rose; Waimea Bay shorebreak surfing pioneer and photographer Clark Little; international underwater photographer David Fleetham of Hawaii; and more to come. The most up-to-date listing of presenters can be found at


To get a better idea of the overall quality of this event—and the Sweet Light Photo Safari in particular—see a course description below. The organizers intend to have Maui be just as big a star as the presenting pros. Each day will start with optional golden-hour excursions to some of the most beautiful landscapes and seascapes in the world — including a trip to the top of a volcano — to shoot some of the most spectacular sunrises. It should be noted that golden-hour and afternoon excursions are priced separately and may have limited availability.


The four-day festival registration fee of $695 includes an opening reception with pupu (appetizers) and no-host cocktails; three full days of morning keynotes, classroom sessions, and extended afternoon sessions; three more evenings in our outdoor Paradise Cinema on Kaanapali Beach, and a special Sunday wrap-up session. Registered attendees will also be able to choose from a list of optional golden-hour and afternoon excursions. 


For optimum one-on-one interaction, attendance is limited to 350 photographer attendees. The exquisite location for the event—the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa—is offering a special Maui Photo Festival room rate (that is too low to publish). All photographers are welcome to sign up for the email newsletter to find out the room rate, special discounts, and when new presenters or excursions are added. Go to for complete information about the Maui Photo Festival & Workshops, including an up-to-the-minute list of presenting professionals and new activities as they are added. Registration is available online or by calling (925) 560-1403. For more information about the event or sponsorship opportunities, call (808) 283-8438. 




2009 Maui Photo Festival & Workshops sponsors include:


Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa,

ISLANDS Magazine, The Maui News,

Adobe Systems, Canon, Epson, Nikon, Sony,

Breathing Color, PocketWizard, Profoto, Booth Photographic, Graphic Authority, LIghtcrafts, Nik Software, Quantum Instruments, Mitsubishi, Pictorio and x-Rite,

 County of Maui and the Hawaii Tourism Authority




* Sweet Light Photo Safari:
From 9AM-5PM, on September 16th. Learn how to control and master natural lighting to create beautiful and dynamic portraits. Judy Host and Eddie Tapp will share their expertise and tips of how to “see the light,” the best natural light with emphasis on understanding light quality. The day will start in classroom with a slide show and detailed instruction. Then the group will split in two to accompany either Judy or Eddie for the location shoot. Later we’ll return to class to learn some of the latest software retouching techniques. Students will work with models and each other to generate exciting images. $150  

Note: This safari is a snapshot of their 5-day Sweet Light Safari workshop that sells out at $1100 each time they present it in Hawaii so this is really a sweet deal for Maui Photo Festival attendees!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summer Is For Slacking....

... slacking from the blog, that is. Those of you that tune in here on a regular basis will note my consistent lack entry-making of late. The truth of the matter lies on two fronts... 

First, I'm happy to report that suddenly I'm busy again. The last few weeks have seen an increase in work commissions. We've recently shot new images for opening collateral pieces for the new luxury spa in the Kapalua Resort. Editorial pieces for several lifestyle & arts publications have come in & been completed, there is a five day architectural project on the books to begin production starting on monday of next week and restaurant images for a re-branding campaign at a major south shore resort to start the following week. All in all a good sign for things to come. Cautious optimism remains the operative mode around the studio. 

Secondly, as you will note from my entry last week, I did some unexpected traveling. That entry was actually made in the Las Vegas airport while waiting to board a flight to Hawaii. Thank God for the cities that provide free wi-fi in airports for travelers. Got that Maui & Honolulu? Let's get on the program!

The images we made several months ago for the band, The Throwdowns, is suddenly now appearing everywhere I look. From posters promoting future gigs to the cover art of the recently released new EP/single. Known mainly as a food, still-life & architectural photographer... the new exposure to the local music scene is gathering attention and I have tentative deals to shoot more local music acts such as Mojomana and a couple of other acts. This is all great news to me as it provides an opportunity to flex creative muscle largely unappreciated by my resort clients and also brings a new sense of fun to the work. 

The image below was captured during a recent editorial foray into the historic Iao Theater, home of local theatrical company Maui Onstage. Having worked previously in an earlier life as a production tech for rock & roll acts, I love wandering around theaters, especially old ones. The Iao is located just a block from my studio, yet in almost thirty years, I've managed to avoid spending much time there. Thanks to this assignment, I was given run of the place for a couple of hours and my favorite shot of all is this one taken backstage. 

In other news... we lament the demise of Kodachrome film. It did give us "nice bright colors", as Paul Simon wrote. 

We also welcome new & sorely needed leadership at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in the form of Art Vento, former longtime General Manager moving up to the top position, along with Teri Freitas Gorman, former Director of Corporate Communications at Maui Land & Pineapple Company. Art & Terri now act as Co-Ceo's at the MACC. For myself and many others, this is welcome news. Congratulations guys... you can call me again.