2017 Workshops

Here are some of the workshops I have scheduled for 2017. Come join me and explore these amazing locations while learning to improve your photography and way of seeing. I’m working on others for summertime and into 2018, including an Antarctica workshop for 2019.

Winter in the Palouse Winter in the Palouse, Feb 9-14

Iceland Twilight Iceland Twilight, March 5-16

Alvord Desert, Oregon Alvord Desert, Oregon, April 14-16

Oregon Coast Oregon Coast, May 14-20

Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park, May 24-30

Monterey & Point Lobos Monterey & Point Lobos, May 31 – June 5

Spring in the Palouse Spring in the Palouse, June 9-14

Washington Coast & Olympic National Park Washington Coast & Olympic National Park, June 16-22

Fall Colors of Iceland Fall Colors of Iceland, September 1-12

Scotland: Here Be Dragons Scotland: Here Be Dragons, September 14-23

Acadia National Park, Maine Acadia National Park, Maine, October 11-15

Portland & Japanese Garden Portland & Japanese Garden, October 17-20

November – January Photography Class Schedule

Here is my upcoming class schedule. Please visit my class page for more details and to register and contact me with any questions you may have. All classes are available as one-on-one or On Request. If you don’t see a date that works with your schedule, let me know and I can work with you to fit it in.

Photography 101
Nov 1 – 21 (first session is on Tuesday, the remaining are on Monday) 6 – 8pm
Jan 3 – 24, 6 – 8pm

Before You Buy (best for new camera purchases and gift buying. Don’t buy what you don’t need)
Oct 26, 6-8pm
Oct 28, 6-8pm
Nov 2, 6-8pm
Nov 4, 6-8pm
Nov 5, 1-3pm
Nov 7, 9-11am
Nov 16, 6-8pm
Dec 6, 1-3pm
Dec 6, 6-8pm
Dec 10, 9-11am

Basic Camera Operation
Nov 2, 1-3pm
Nov 5, 9-11am
Nov 9, 6-8pm
Nov 12, 1-3pm
Nov 22, 6-8pm
Dec 7, 6-8pm
Dec 10, 1-3pm
Jan 5, 6-8pm
Jan 7, 1-3pm

Iceland Hot Springs & Northern Lights special Icelandair deal + one-on-one instruction – deadline July 31

Icelandair Hot Springs & Northern Lights

Here’s a special deal offered by Icelandair: 5 days, 3 nights, hotel, some meals, some activities, and airfare, starting at $685. I’ll sweeten the deal in that if you pay my way (double occupancy or single), I’ll provide you with one-on-one photo assistance during the trip. I’ll pay my own transportation to Seattle as the departure city, meals and other expenses. You pick the dates (for Northern Lights, go with February or March). I will depart from Seattle. Here’s the link with info. The catch is the deadline for booking this deal is July 31.
Icelandair Hot Springs & Northern Lights travel deal

Contact me for more information and to make arrangements.

May, June, July, August Photography Class Schedule

Here is my schedule for upcoming photography classes for the rest of May, June, July, and August, as well as a list of upcoming workshops that still have openings:

For a complete list and to register online, go HERE

Photography 101
June 17 – July 8
June 21 – July 12
June 29 – July 20
August 1 – 22
August 3 – 24

Basic Camera Operation
May 25
May 31
June 20
June 25
July 2
July 7
July 16

Photoshop I: Basic Photoshop & Bridge
June 21
July 15

Photoshop 2: Layers & Adjustments
July 22

Composition 101
June 29 – July 13

Exposure Equation
May 24
June 1
June 20
July 14
July 20

Light & the Light Meter
May 30
July 5

Before You Buy
June 25

Workshops: for complete list and to register, go HERE

Alvord Desert, Oregon June 3 – 5
Oregon Coast, June 7 – 12
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, June 14 – 16
Cyanotype printing, June 18
Oregon Coast, Sept 6 – 11
Scotland, Sept 21 – 28 (only 1 space remaining!)
Iceland, Oct 3 – 14 (only 1 space remaining!)

Acadia National Park Oct 19 – 26 (pending)
Bruneau Dunes, Idaho November (date pending)

2017 Workshops in planning

Death Valley, Feb
Oregon Coast, April
Yellowstone National Park, May
Iceland Twilight, May 16 – 25
Scotland Highlands, May 28 – June 6
Grand Teton National Park, June
Palouse, Washington, June
Palouse, Washington, Aug 13 – 16
Yellowstone National Park, Sept
Acadia National Park, Maine, Oct
Iceland, Oct
Yosemite National Park, Nov
Monterey/Carmel, California, Nov

Summer Photography Workshops

Join me in exploring fascinating locations, improving your skill, pursuing your vision, making friends, and having fun in all areas of our planet. Each workshop location and itinerary is meant to challenge, inspire, and excite you, and allow you to reach outside your comfort zone (where most learning takes place). Beginners to advanced photographers welcome.

Here are my upcoming photography workshops. Full details and registration are here

Cyanotype Printing
May 7
June 18

Alvord Desert, Oregon
June 3 – 5

Central Oregon Coast
June 7 – 12

Columbia River Gorge
June 14 – 16

Central Oregon Coast
Sept 6 – 11

Scotland, Isle of Skye (only 1 space remaining!)
Sept 21 – 28

Iceland (only 1 space remaining!)
Oct 3 – 14

Real World Numbers About Freelancing

We all hear the complaint, the wailing, the gnashing of teeth, the disbelief. Why the high prices? Why do I have to pay so much for your work? Well, sir/madam, I am an independent business owner, not an employee. With the work I perform, the services I provide, I must make a living. Simply put, I must be able to provide for my home and all that comes with it, my business and all that comes with it, and protections for me and you in the form of insurance and other measures.

Myself.

I’m not a small part of a larger organization. The documents I filed with the Secretary of State and the IRS list me as the owner/manager/CEO. No one else.

But that’s not the primary reason you may think my fees are too high. Sure, I account for the value I bring to your project in the creative fee I include in my project estimate. Wouldn’t you? My creativity, my problem-solving skills, my efficiency, my professionalism, my ability to provide you with the thing you need has value; this is what you’re hiring me for, isn’t it? Otherwise, you could ask anyone to fulfill your request. You probably have a staff person who’s handy with a camera and who might be able to figure out how to accomplish the task. Do you have time for that? Do they have the equipment or facilities ready at hand? Can you spare them from their normal duties? What will it cost you in actual time and salary to shift them from their regular job to this project? What will it cost if you have to do it all over again with a professional? But, that’s another discussion.

Here’s the primary reason you think my fees are too high. This refers back to that single word following the first paragraph and the fact that my business is mostly a Business of One. Kind of like the Army, except without all the support. Here’s a breakdown of real world numbers showing both the actual cost of being self-employed and the assistance provided by an employer. When you look at these numbers, imagine if your employer suddenly decided to stop its sponsored benefits and you had to provide them on your own. That’s me.

If you’re just starting out as as a self-employed person, or considering the jump, look at these numbers and halt your leap for a moment. Have you considered all your costs and expenses and factored them into your fee structure? If you haven’t calculated your cost of doing business, have a look at this online calculator. It doesn’t have all the fields you may need and it may have more than you need, but it will get you started. You can create your own calculator in a spreadsheet using these fields and make it as extensive and inclusive as you need for the independent needs of your own business. Have a look: NPPA Cost of Doing Business (CODB) Calculator

Here are the numbers I was talking about (these are amounts from 2015 employer rewards statement data, your specific numbers will vary). I’ve rounded the figures for visual clarity and ease of calculation:

Let’s begin with a base employee annual salary of $46,000
This is the amount you earn before taxes, whether it’s through an hourly wage or salary. It includes other compensation like paid holidays and sick leave. This is the amount you enter into the CODB calculator as your desired annual salary (or whatever amount you’d like).

If you are an employee, your employer pays for some things and you pay for some things. These are “voluntary” benefits. Your company could take these away:

Employer Sponsored Benefits
Medical Insurance
Employer pays: $9800
Employee pays: $2450
Dental Insurance
Employer pays: $500
Employee pays: $275
Vision Insurance
Employer pays: $0
Employee pays: $160
Life Insurance
Employer pays: $110
Employee pays: $0
Long Term Disability Insurance
Employer pays: $224
Employee pays: $0
Business Travel Insurance
Employer pays: $2
Employee pays: $0
Employee Assistance Program
Employer pays: $20
Employee pays: $0
401K (matching and deferral)
Employer pays: $1400
Employee pays: $3200
401K Contribution
Employer pays: $2300
Employee pays: $0

Total Employer Contribution: $14,356
Total Employee Contribution: $6,085
Total Contribution: $20,441

The government also mandates that employers provide some benefits (these your company can’t take away):

Government Mandated Benefits
Social Security
Employer pays: $2900
Employee pays: $2900
Medicare
Employer pays: $670
Employee pays: $670
Worker’s Compensation
Employer pays: $350
Employee pays: $0
Unemployment Insurance
Employer pays: $260
Employee pays: $0

Total Employer Contribution: $4,180
Total Employee Contribution: $3,570
Total Contribution: $7,750

So, to tally the numbers, for an employee with an annual salary of $46,000, an employer will pay $46,000 for the salary, $14,356 in employee sponsored benefits, and $4,180 in government mandated benefits. The employer actually pays for their employee a total of $64,536.

The employee will pay $6,085 for their share of employer sponsored benefits and $3,570 for their share of the government mandated benefits, for a total of $9,655.

However, the employee’s share ($9,655) comes out of their earnings, reducing their annual salary from $46,000 to $36,345, before taxes, which will take out another chunk for the federal government, state government and, in some cases, local or city government.

But, the self-employed person would actually need a gross income closer to $74,000 (the employer contribution of $64,536 plus employee contribution of $9,655) to cover all the listed benefits and deductions, just to cover the $46,000 ($36,345) annual salary. And that doesn’t account for the higher costs for individual business owners for things like insurance and taxes, and additional overhead expenses like studio rental, equipment, continuing education/training, marketing and promotion/advertising, etc. And this is where the pain resides.

A large company can distribute costs across its operation, especially if it provides multiple services or products. The self-employed creative individual has limited options because they have limited resources of time and individuals. It would be great if I could split myself into three or four pieces, each handling a separate aspect of my business while I concentrated on the most important task. But, because I am a Business of One, I have to set aside time for making calls, preparing marketing materials, preparing estimates, quotes, and invoices, bookkeeping, meeting with attorneys or accountant (which is a cost), chasing down late invoices, researching and chasing down copyright infringement, registering images with the copyright office, researching and developing new products or services, web designing, social media engaging, networking, learning, researching and purchasing/replacing equipment, eating and sleeping (hopefully at least twice a week), all of which take time and are not usually billable to a client. I don’t get paid for the day to day administrative upkeep of my business. If I did, if I wanted to be paid every day of the week, like an employee, I would need to charge you, the client, even more than you don’t want to pay now.

So, when you see the fees listed for the photographer, don’t freak out. It’s ok to ask questions and for the photographer to explain all this, if necessary. Just remember, we don’t have an employer, we’re not a small part of a large company. We have to provide all our own benefits, our own incentive bonuses, our own Christmas party, our own marketing, our own company vehicle and office space, our own existence.

If you like what we do, if you appreciate the value our work brings to your project, all we request is your understanding and that you look beyond price. Because, we provide more than a necessary cost of operations (an aspect of your own cost of doing business), and while we are able to negotiate and hopefully reach a win-win situation, and while we would do the work for free if we could survive doing it (I think I speak for many creative business owners with that thought), we can’t lose money every time we take on a project. We can’t stay in business if we’re essentially paying you to do the work you request.

Don’t Hurry, Be Curious Podcast: Episode 2

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Episode 2: Photography as a Way
What does photography mean to you? What role does photography play in your life? This episode we delve into photography as a “Way of Life” and what that means.
A Way is a kind of path, a personal philosophy, a type of quest or journey of self-discovery to seek and address questions about ourselves and our world, to find our place in the world amongst our family, friends, community, society, and culture. It’s the manner in which we live our life in a a direction toward an idealized lifestyle we select for ourselves. Five characteristics of a Way are:

  • 1. Vision
  • 2. Values
  • 3. Passion
  • 4. Talent
  • 5. Goals

Two concepts of a Way are:

  • Wa: harmony, peace, or peacefulness
  • ensō: a hand-drawn circle symbolizing the interconnectedness of things

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Show Notes:

My photography workshops & classes

Blue Planet Photography workshops
Blue Planet Photography classes

Where to find me on social media

Facebook
Twitter
Behance
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Don’t Hurry, Be Curious Podcast: Episode 1

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Episode 1: Phodogma
In my inaugural podcast I introduce myself and the podcast. My first topic is Phodogma, a term I think I just coined, which refers to the dogmatic belief in photography of various things from “status” to the “Rules”. I’ll occasionally have a segment about unwarranted beliefs in photography. Are there distinguishing characteristics between amateur and professional photographers and between those just playing at photography and those who are serious about learning the craft and exploring the possibilities? Certainly. But the characteristics of the pro and amateur, dilettante and practitioner, do not revolve around how the photograph but around why. In this Phodogma episode I talk about four dogmatic beliefs some people think convey a kind of status on a photographer and explain why none of those beliefs matter in defining who those photographers are. These four things are:

1. Auto vs Manual
2. JPG vs Raw
3. Equipment
4. Film vs Digital

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Show Notes:

My photography workshops & classes

Blue Planet Photography workshops
Blue Planet Photography classes

Where to find me on social media

Facebook
Twitter
Behance
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The Reimagining of Quotations

I’m a collector of quotes. Sometimes I search for quotes of a certain theme, other times I come across them serendipitously. I began compiling them in a small notebook, just writing them in as I found them, in no particular order or category. They are mostly quotes about photography, and art in general. A lot of people collect quotes because they are inspiring. Most quotes collected are probably from someone who is admired or respected and what they’ve said strikes a certain chord within us; we can relate to it in some way. That’s how I started. But, along the way I discovered something else about the quotes in my notebook. Sometimes the quote would lead me to new information. Rather than simply stuffing quotes into a book like trophy heads on a wall or names on a birding life list, I’d search their name online and do a bit of a ‘background check’ to find out more about them, what they do/did, and also to confirm the quote actually belonged to that person. Sometimes, attribution is difficult to determine or is for the wrong person, yet the quote continues to persist, passed around forever in the aetherspace. More often than not, when I research a quote I meet a new person I didn’t know about before, learn a bit of history, a philosophy, a different concept, understand a bit of technology, it’s usually something interesting.

One interesting thing I uncovered, too, is what I’m going to call “quote reimagining” after the ongoing fad of reimagining older movies into newer movies, either to upgrade an aging film or topic or to completely alter the story for a new audience. After a while, I starting coming across quotes that I knew I saw before but thought it was attributed to a different person, or it just sounded really familiar. Since I don’t have my quotes in a database, I had to “scroll” through my notebook to find the “duplicate”. Sure enough, there are some quotes that appear to have been ‘reimagined’ or ‘recycled’, with a sprinkling of new words or phrases to be sure it’s not an exact copy. I do think some of these duplicates may have been coincidence. It’s not as if these concepts are proprietary, and the approach to some topics, like failure and observation/seeing, tends to breed similar sentiments.

So, here is a compilation of some reimagined quotes. The earliest (though maybe not the first) instance of the quote is listed first (1), then any similar are below (1A, 1B, etc.). You be the judge as to their similarity, coincidence, or copy.

1. You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus – Mark Twain (1875 – 1910)
1A. There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept – Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

2. The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance, and this, and not the external name and detail, is the true reality – Aristotle (385 – 322 BC)
2A. Vision is the art of seeing things invisible – Jonathan Swift (1667 -1745)
2B. It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see – Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)
2C. No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist – Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900)
2D. Anything that excites me for any reason I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual – Edward Weston (1886 – 1958)
2E. I didn’t want to tell the tree or weed what it was. I wanted it to tell me something and through me express its meaning in nature – Wynn Bullock (1902 – 1975)
2F. I am not interested in shooting new things; I am interested to see things new – Ernst Haas (1921 – 1986)
2G. To me, photographing is an act of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them – Elliott Erwitt (1928 – )

3. No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness – Aristotle (385 – 322 BC)
3A. Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos. Before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish to the crowd – I Ching (200 BC)
3B. You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star – Friedrich Nietzche (1844 – 1900)
3C. What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art – Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848 – 1907)
3D. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric – Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970)
3E. If at first an idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it – Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)
3F. All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning – Albert Camus (1913 – 1960)

4. Art is not to be found by touring to Egypt, China, or Peru; if you cannot find it at your own door, you will never find it – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)
4A. The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his door step – Paul Strand (1890 – 1976)
4B. If you do not see what is around you every day, what will you see when you go to Tangiers? – Freeman Patterson (1937 – )
4C. When one says, ‘Look, there is nothing out there’, what we are really saying is ‘I can’t see’ – Terry Tempest Williams (1955 – )

5. Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth – Rumi (1207 – 1273)
5A. If you’re out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you’re not out there, you’ll only hear about it – Jay Maisel (1931 – )
5B. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky (1961 – )

6. It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation – Herman Melville (1819 – 1891)
6A. Failure after a long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure – George Eliot (1819 – 1880)

7. One must learn by doing the thing. For though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try – Sophocles (496 – 406 BC)
7A. For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them – Aristotle (385 – 322 BC)
7B. We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way – John Holt (1923 – 1985)
7C. One of the things about the arts that is so important is that in the arts you discover the only way to learn how to do it is by doing it. You can’t write by reading a book about it. The only way to learn how to write a book is to sit down and try to write a book – David McCullough (1933 – )