Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Secret to Success?

Many of us are looking for guidence or possibly the magic bullet that will make our career or business a success. For me, I've been looking for ways to turn my passion for digital photography into my profession. I've read many books, magazines, and blogs trying to learn from others who have succeeded in this business but I still don't feel the ready to strike out on my own and leave my current career in pursuit of my dream.

Today I read the photography blog from Chase Jarvis which was about how he answered aspiring photographers who asked him a professional photographer how to succeed. After reading his answer to the qeustion I became discourgaed after I did the math based on his answer and discovered it would take me about 20 years of study in the field before I could succeed. The calcaulation was based on my current pace of practicing or studying photogtaphy about ten hours per week.

So here was the secret to success from the Chase Jarvis blog...
  1. Be Undeniably Good. Last year, in an interview with Charlie Rose, the famous comedian Steve Martin gave this advice to anyone trying to make it in any field:

    Be undeniably good. When people ask me how do you make it in show business or whatever, what I always tell them and nobody ever takes note of it 'cuz it's not the answer they wanted to hear -- what they want to hear is here's how you get an agent, here's how you write a script, here's how you do this -- but I always say, "Be so good they can't ignore you." If somebody's thinking, "How can I be really good?", people are going to come to you. It's much easier doing it that way than going to cocktail parties.
  2. Dedicate at least 10,000 hours to whatever it is you're looking to master. In his enlightening talk at the 2008 AIGA Business Design Conference, about innovation and misconceptions regarding what it takes to become a success, Gladwell discussed this concept from his new book Outliers: The Story of Success. "Genius and creativity don’t necessarily spring forth unbidden, they require time and support to experiment, try and even fail." I found his talk really entertaining, and I'd imagine you might too.

    What's fun about photography, of course, is that anyone can pick up a camera these days and make great pictures, straight outta the gate. No brainer, really accessible, relatively little effort, nice pictures. I love that about photography - it's why everyone has a camera these days. The technology is really wonderful.

    But, if you want to "make it", whatever that means, I think you need to start by being undeniably good. And if you can't intuit how to be undeniably good, then start by dedicating 10,000 hours to it. That will get you where you want to be.

Since I didn't start out being "undeniably good" then that means I have 10,000 hours (minus the past year) of work in front of me before I'm ready. So in 2026 when I'm hopefully retired I'll be ready for another journey.

Now where did I put those photography books?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

I was in Las Vegas this week on a business trip so I brought along my camera in hopes of having some free time to take pictures of the city and possibly the surrounding mountains. The conference I was attending was held at the Mirage Hotel so I stayed there but unfortunately the conference ran from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM each day which didn't leave me any daylight to go out and take photos. So all my photos were taken at night which isn't a bad thing in Las Vegas but I didn't have my tripod so all these photos are handheld using a high ISO to get the shutter speed up to stop motion blur. This resulted in sub par images with a too much noise/grain for my taste but I hope you enjoy them anyway.

Venetian Hotel and Casino at dusk.
Visit to see more photos.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This past week I was a little under the weather but finally felt good enough to pick up my camera and take a few pictures of the family. We are finally starting feel the cool winds of fall here in south Texas so we spent some time outside Saturday and Sunday enoying the fall weather.

Austin feeding the cats

From Daniel Ray Photography

Zachary watching me take a picture of Austin feeding the cats

From Daniel Ray Photography

Cameron up in a tree.

From Daniel Ray Photography

Dawn giving Zachary an airplane ride.

From Daniel Ray Photography

Dawn and Zach relaxing in the front yard.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Big Easy

Back in July of 2008 we drove from Houston to Destin Florida for a family beach vacation. On our way to Florida we decided to stay a few days in New Orleans. It has been over 11 years since my wife and I were last in New Orleans. We also wanted to see what the post Katrina New Orleans looked like comparison to the New Orleans we remembered.

What we found was much better than we expected. There were still many homes and business that were in ruins but the French Quarter and Central Business District are thriving.

The morning after we arrived I woke up at about 5:00 AM and decided to take a walk by myself around the French Quarter before the crowds and July heat arrived.
The following are a few images I captured with my DSLR camera will taking my early morning walk.

Looking west from the Mississippi river leave towards Jackson Square.

Mississippi river front at dawn.

St. Louis cathedral in New Orlean's Jackson Square.

I came across this man sleeping on the ground. Like many street people his clothing was soiled with the exception of his new bright white sneakers.

This man was sleeping on the sidewalk with some of his belongings scattered around him. His wallet was behind him on the stoop, and his cell phone was in his left hand.

Having breakfast at the famous Cafe Du Monde.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm enjoying learning how to shoot portraits. Lucky for me my wife is very comfortable in front of the camera and doesn't mind me practicing on her. On a recent trip back to our home state of Louisiana we were fortunate enough to get some time alone from the kids so we could go out and play photographer and model at a nearby park. The evening sun was low in the sky and the weather was perfect except for the 95% humidity which is very common is southern Louisiana. Because of the low light conditions I chose to use a 17-85mm f/4 lens with the 580EX II flash on my Canon EOS 40D DSLR. My goal that evening was to get the setting sun and sky in the background with a properly exposed facial features and correct skin tone.

Image #1 - EXIF: 1/250 Sec., F5.6, ISO 400, 66mm, Flash

Image #2 - EXIF: 1/100 Sec., F5.6, ISO 400, 85mm, Flash

Image #3 - EXIF: 1/250 Sec., F5.6, ISO 400, 75mm, Flash

While these aren't perfect, my wife likes the results from that evenings photo shoot and I learned a little bit more about how to take a portrait photo.