2012 Photographic Society of America Conference » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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Jan 022013

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Happy 2013 Everyone!  A new year means a blank canvas on which to create new friendships, opportunities, and achievements!  I hope you each have big dreams in mind, and perhaps even more importantly, I hope you follow them relentlessly and passionately so they all come true for you in the new year.  After all, “you can sleep when you’re dead,” right?

Whew, what a year 2012 was for CMS Photography!  Last year will go down as our busiest, most successful, and by far the most exciting year to date, with many countless “thank you’s” owed to you, as I could not do what I do without your continued support!  I feel truly fortunate to be surrounded by so many inspiring, creative, and enthusiastic people.

Some major highlights for us from last year include (in no particular order):

And just when you think you can’t have any more wild fun, 2013 shows up!

Going into our sixth year as a full-time freelance photographer and writer, I couldn’t be any more pumped for the year to come, not just because of all the travel planned and the new projects we’ll announce throughout the year, but all the great times and awesome learning opportunities we’ll share together, whether that be during our upcoming Workshops and Presentations or simply out in the field sharing some light and good laughs.

But, before we start running down the 2013 street like a bat outta hell, though, I’d like to share my favorite 13 (a lucky number for the new year!) photos in celebration of a joyful 2012.  For more inspiration, be sure to also head over to Jim Goldstein’s Blog, hes posted his traditional and ever-growing list of other photographers’ own favorites and best from 2012 for his “Blog Project: Your Best Photos from 2012.

Here goes:

1.  Winter’s Serenade, Death Valley National Park, California (January 2012)


Cottonball Marsh area along Salt Creek in Death Valley National Park, California, USA (Prints available – click on photo to order!)

2.  Walk the Line, Death Valley National Park, California (February 2012)


Cracked mud and stones in the Panamint Dry Lake in Death Valley National Park, California, USA (Prints available – click on photo to order!)

3. Sunrise at Boulder Beach, Acadia National Park, Maine (June 2012)


er Beach and the Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine, USA (Prints available – click on photo to order!)

4.  Bunchberry Dogwood, Acadia National Park, Maine (June 2012)


Bunchberry dogwood (Cornus canadensis) at Acadia National Park, Maine, USA (Prints available – click on photo to order!)

5.  The Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona (June 2012)


The Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei rock formations in Monument Valley Tribal Park, Arizona, USA (Prints available – click on photo to order!)

6.  The Colorado River Flexing its Muscle, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona (June 2012)


The sandstone cliffs of Marble Canyon reflect into waves in the Colorado River near Lee’s Ferry, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona, USA (Prints available – click on photo to order!)

7.  The RCMP Musical Ride, 100th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (July 2012)


Abstract view of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Musical Ride during Stampede in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Prints available – click on photo to order!)

8.  Reach for the Sky, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona (August 2012)


Abstract sky pool pattern in Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona, USA (Prints available – click on photo to order!)

9.  Autumn on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (September 2012)


Gambel oak line the edge of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA (Prints available – click on photo to order!)

10.  Autumn Regeneration, Kaibab National Forest, Arizona (September 2012)


Abstract view of a regenerating burned forest during autumn in the Kaibab National Forest, Arizona, USA (Prints available – click on photo to order!)

11.  Mother Nature’s Ice Cream, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona (October 2012)


Striated bentonite clay beds in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona, USA (Prints available – click on photo to order)

12.  Spell of the Sea, The Big Island, Hawai’i (November 2012)


Waves and volcanic rock along the Puna Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii, USA (Prints available – click on photo to order!)

13.  Winter Solstice Eve, Canyonlands National Park, Utah (December 2012)


Viewed from the Green River Overlook, the sun sets over Island in the Sky district in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA (Prints available – click on photo to order!)

Thank you for stopping by the “You Can Sleep When You’re Dead” blog!  Let’s all make 2013 a year to remember!


Sep 302012

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the 2012 Photographic Society of America’s International Conference in San Francisco.  With many thanks to my generous sponsor, Hunts Photo and Video (thank you Gary Farber!), I also had the honor of presenting “Visualization:  Picturing the Unique Possibilities” as the Friday evening Featured Speaker with a lively crowd of enthusiastic photographers.

While I was prepared for hours and hours of set-up for my presentation (some of you know just how anal, er, I mean, detailed-oriented I am…), thanks to the support of AV equipment gurus, Sam Berzin and Greg Edwards, my projector calibration, music sound check, and lighting scheme for the conference room worked perfectly within minutes!  With my unexpected free time, I happily snuck into a handful of presentations prior to my showtime.

Out of the jam-packed schedule of intriguing sessions, the two presenters who impressed me the most were sports photographer, Brad Mangin and Adobe software extraordinaire, Julieanne Kost.  Seems somewhat illogical for this outdoor photographer to seek out those topics, doesn’t it?  After all, I don’t spend any time photographing baseball.  And I spend maybe 33 seconds per image tops in post-processing.  (Please no snide remarks about how I probably should spend more time than that.  Look, I’m an ex-software engineer who spent ten years behind a computer. I just want to play outside now!). How did I end up in their presentations then?

I intentionally sought out Brad’s session to help give me some fresh thoughts on photographing people enjoying outdoor sports.  Baseball, hiking, biking – no matter the physical endeavor, it simply boils down to capturing people in motion and telling a compelling story with a camera.  Boy, could Brad do that well!  With boundless enthusiasm, he’d show a remarkable photo of a player making a spectacular diving catch.  After describing in detail how he had planned and captured the shot, he exclaimed, “I love good action shots.”  Then he’d display a player silhouetted against a field and with the same passion, he pronounced, “I just love silhouettes of players.”   He flashed picture after picture on the screen, and every time, his response was exactly the same.  In less time than you could spell “photography,” it was perfectly clear:  this guy loves EVERYTHING about baseball!   In addition, I’d bet my telephoto lens he knows more about the game of baseball than the many of the players do!  He knew history, procedures before, during and after the game, equipment details, upcoming important statistical milestones, you name it.  And his strong story-telling images show just how much he knows and enjoys the game – see for yourself on his website:  manginphotography.com.

UMEAC-00055 - Mushroom gills, Acadia National Park, Maine

I learned about the “Dutch Tilt,” which is a technique where you tilt your camera to the side to turn static lines into more dynamic diagonal lines, by watching movies and studying various cinematography approaches. By doing so, it’s changed how I photograph close-ups of natural subjects, like this mushroom in Acadia National Park, Maine. (Click on photo for larger view – prints available!)

Immediately following Brad’s presentation, I had just enough time to sit through a portion of Julienne’s Lightroom talk.  I unfortunately could not attend her later Photoshop session, which would have made more sense for me based on my post-processing software preferences.  But regardless, the rumor on the photography streets is that she is a good presenter.  That’s a major understatement.  Julienne’s a phenomenal presenter!  Not only was she showing beautiful imagery, she was explaining things so clearly that I could have opened Lightroom three days later and confidently made the same adjustments she had shared – without having ever used Lightroom before!  As if that weren’t enough, she would intermittently crack jokes that made me laugh out loud in my chair.  For example, in explaining how to activate the black and white feature, she said, “Use the shortcut Control-V.  You know, because Control-V stands for ‘Vlack & Vhite’.”  How could you ever forget what Control-V does now?!  If I’m ever in the market for an Adobe class, I’m definitely looking her up: www.jkost.com.

What excited me most about both of these instructors were all the new ideas I gained for my own photography even though neither of them focused on the types of subject matter I like to photograph nor approached photography as I do.   Seeking out people who aren’t like us and listening to their unique perspectives can help ensure we don’t get too stuck in our own ways.  They can help expand our horizons and push us out of that cozy comfort zone – and quickly too if they have the same contagious passion Brad and Julieanne had!

So which photographers or other visual artists outside of your normal shooting domain do you like to follow and gain inspiration from for your work?  For example, if you normally like to photograph nature, do you study any food or street photographers to trigger new thoughts and influence your nature images?