sunday photo/art quote 4/13

I love this quote!

edward weston photographer quote photo“Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph: not searching for unusual
subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.” – Edward Weston

After learning that I live in Sedona, Arizona people often comment, “Oh! That’s such a pretty place to photograph!” Yes it is but it’s not the place that makes for great photographs it’s the mind and skills of the photographer. Believe me I’ve seen plenty of not so beautiful images made of the red rocks taken in less than stellar lighting conditions that impressed me not a bit. But have seen absolutely stunning photographs of the mundane such as Weston’s pepper image. Please don’t think you need to travel to exotic locations in order to create beautiful images. Start looking around closer to home to capture the unusual. Show ordinary subjects in extraordinary ways. It will push the creative envelope for you.

Edward Henry Weston a 20th-century photographer and has been called “one of the most innovative and influential American photographers…” and “one of the masters of 20th century photography.” Over his 40 year career Weston photographed an increasingly expansive set of subjects, including landscape, still life, nudes, portrait, genre scenes and even whimsical parodies. He truly worked by the thought shared in his quote. I’m finding the more I have my camera with me, made more convenient by using the smaller, lighter Micro 4/3rds format cameras from Lumix, the more I am finding interesting things in my world because I am able to capture an image immediately and explore it rather than think, “That might make an interesting photograph…” and never see the same lighting situation again.

What are you exploring in your world??

Yours in Photography,      Bob

musician images with Lumix GX7

As you probably know I enjoy the challenge of capturing live stage music. In order to keep my skills in top form even when I’m not hired I keep photographing performances even when I’m out to dinner. Sometimes after sharing the images with the artist it leads to the musician becoming a paying client for creating marketing images or CD cover art.

I’ve found the Lumix GX7 micro 4/3rds format has lots of things going for it when working (playing!) this way. It’s got a very low profile, weighs less than 2 pounds with the 35-100mm 2.8 lens vs the over 5 pounds for my dslr with equivalent lens combo. I’m also finding that the camera is a picking up a pretty wide dynamic range which is really helpful as many small clubs are now using LED stage lighting which doesn’t have the full spectrum of color not to mention the range of light to dark.

Here are a  couple images from Sound Bites Grill in Sedona….

susannah martin jazz trio imageSusannah Martin Jazz Trio on stage in Sedona, Arizona. This image was double processed from the same
RAW file with the stage lighting the concern on one process and the outdoor image in another
and stripped in using a mask in Photoshop.

susannah martin photoVocal stylist Susannah Martin live at Sound Bites’ Show Lounge.

ralf illenberger musician photoRalf Illenberger Live at the Sound Bites Grill Show Lounge in Sedona, Arizona.

sunday photo/art quote 4/6

Our quote today comes from the world of writing. Author and poet William Thackeray uses his wordsmithing to help define what we do…

Isn’t it amazing what we can do with a camera?

quote image“The two most engaging things about photography are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.”
William Thackeray

The power of photography is immense. Making something we see everyday beautiful or interesting. Or causing someone to see something as if for the first time. How about the social causes being advanced?

Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell with preserving nature. Minor White & Henri Cartier Bresson exploring black and white visions.

Richard Avedon and Gregory Heisler pushing portrait techniques.

Photographers working for the U.S. government’s Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) between 1939 and 1944 made approximately 1,600 color photographs that depict life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The pictures focus on rural areas and farm labor, as well as aspects of World War II mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training, and women working.

You, in lighting and posing your people in a flattering manner that allows a person to see themselves as others do in the best light.

Think of the images you can create whether it be of beauty, horror, social issues or… You think. Share here how you are using your camera and image making skills for the greater good and if you are not is that something you might think about??

Yours in Photography,          Bob

new york minute

For a little test of the video capabilities this is one cool study of city life…

I had the Panasonic Lumix GX7 for a little while and was experimenting. Previous I hadn’t shot much video and definitely not on the street. I had been shooting testing some of the pre-sets in the camera and thought, “Let’s see what a video would look like shot that way. I set the camera on Illustrative Art then braced it on the railing and pushed the red button.

A New York Minute shot on the Lumix GX7
It is quite an interesting study on life in the city. In this single minute there is so much interaction. Maybe it’s because I’m a small town guy at heart but each time I watch this I see more and more things going on. There’s a couple joggers crossing against the light. A bicyclist rolls through and rings his bell. People chatting, walking, holding hands. The ambulance sounds in the background and enters the scene and all the different things that go with that.

Sound is very important in video and even in this ‘New York Minute’ it makes a huge difference and was captured by the built in stereo microphones. Enjoy… And let me know what you think. (yeah the art setting blocked up some of the shadows but I think it adds to the grittiness of the ‘film’)

Yours in Photography,      Bob

blues festival

If you follow my blog and life you’ll see that I’m a music fan. Photographing live music is something that I have been devoting myself to and adding in creating art for the musicians. When something like the Old Town Center for the Arts annual Blues Fest comes along I am in hog heaven. It gives me a chance to photograph and practice new techniques.

tommy dules blues guitar musician photoTommy Dukes, Arizona Blues Hall of Fame member. Artistic Photoshop work from blues fest performance. Original capture with Lumix GX7 35-100.. 2.8 lens. Impressive Art filter. Layers and textures add to final art mix.

Did I say it gives me a chance to practice? I believe practicing is as important to photographers as it is to musicians, athletes or anyone else who needs to have the skill of working under pressure. Changing settings, working in new lighting (and often challenging) conditions is something you need to be able to work with almost without thinking so you can capture the essence of a performer. In this case I was playing with some of the presets in the camera and finding some cool looks. In order for you to access the camera pre-sets after downloading you need to capture the images as jpegs. For safety sake and to have all the info presented to the camera you can save as RAW plus jpeg.

blues guitarist Tommy Dukes photoTommy was quite animated and his shirt added to the life of the performance. Capture with Impressive Art filter then layers of texture added to foreground and background.

Then I self assign creation of CD covers, music and musician art and share the ideas with the artists and their marketing people. This has led to being hired to do the work I enjoy. Hmm. Practice. Self assignments. Sharing. Marketing. People often ask me how I get the images I do and the work I want to do. Re-read the last paragraph again and you’ve got he answer. When are you starting your next personal project?

tommy dukes imagePretty much straight out of the GX7 camera using the monochrome art setting. Pretty clean black and white!

tommy dukes blues guitar photoStraight out of camera with the Impressive Art setting on the Lumix GX7

Yours in Photography,       Bob

salutes to the community

Being in business means more than just making money in the community. I feel a great part about being part of a community is being able to give back and support those who are doing good things or providing service ‘over and above’.

One way to bring that to other folks attention is by blogging and telling the world about good things you see. The Internet is full of people who share their bad experiences and spread negativity in their wake… I feel if we reward the positive more often that it will breed more positive behavior. One of the ways I share that is with my images and blog. When I run across something good happening I try to share it with as many people as possible. Here’s an example of a salute to a great employee at our Sedona Community Center.

Following the the post I make a copy and put it in a frame and give it to the business for display. It gets the person who is featured more exposure and lets them know they are appreciated.

helen blog post photoHere is the 8×10 piece for display that also keep Bob Coates Photography name in front of people.

How does this help my business? In looking for stories I tend to have my camera with me all the time so I don’t miss anything. Having the camera all the time generates conversations about photography. Exposure for my business through people seeing the salutes, getting people to feel good about themselves and each other, more human interest material for my blog which helps with SEO. AND, people want to work with positive people… Start sharing the good things and see how it helps you.

Yours in Photography,         Bob

sunday photo/art quote 3/30

Anonymous strikes again with this quote that tells you to get up off your butt and study, and practice, and be ready for the time when it all comes together. success quote image“Success is what happens when 10,000 hours of preparation meet with one moment of opportunity.” – Anonymous

I think that in today’s society there is a tendency to want or think you can get to success without putting in the time to make it happen. I’ll throw a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson again because it is appropriate. “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

Raise your glass in a toast to working hard, working smart and enjoying the journey!

Yours in Photography,            Bob

more wall of fame

These are two of the house players for Sound Bites Grill in Sedona who have been  added to the Wall of Fame

steve sandner keyboarg player photoNew Wall of Fame member Steve Sandner playing keyboards and singing as part of the Jazz Fest Jam night at Sound Bites on March 23rd.

chris finet bass player photoChris Finet is a strong Bass Player. He made the Wall of Fame at Sound Bites Grill. Originally from Phoenix, Chris is the Professor of String Bass and Jazz Studies at Northern Arizona University. In addition to his work as an educator at NAU, Chris keeps busy performing throughout Arizona and the rest of the country.

Images were captured with the Panasonic Lumix GX7 and 35-100mm 2.8 lens (70-200mm 35 mm equivalent)

musician art images

One of the jobs I really enjoy involves taking the art techniques I’ve been developing and using them for my commercial clients. These have been created for the Sound Bites Grill Wall of Fame. Musicians are photographed live during their performances and then I create 8×10′s for display at the restaurant. It’s an increasing challenge (which I love!) to have a slightly different look for each artist. Here are a drummer, guitarist and keyboard player as part of the latest installment…

guitarist peter sprague photoJazz Guitarist, composer and Recording Engineer Peter Sprague of Road Work Ahead
at Sound Bites Grill Show Lounge

keyboard player Billy May of Road work ahead imageRoad Work Ahead Keyboard Player, composer and arranger  Bill Mays jams
at the Sound Bites Grill Jazz Fest Jam in Sedona

drummer jim plank photoJim Plank, drummer and percussionist for Road Work Ahead plays on the
Sound Bites Show Lounge stage at the Jazz Jam in March.

Images were captured with the Panasonic Lumix GX7 using the 35-100 (70-200 35mm equivalent) 2.8 lens ISO 2500. This is a great combo for getting intimate images without getting too close to the stage. For some of the captures in the future I might bump the ISO up another notch to get just a bit more shutter speed when the performers are moving.

One of the most important parts of my job is to not be obtrusive when capturing performers. I am very conscious of the guests and not disturbing their enjoyment at performances. The GX7 and lens combo is small and helps me remain low key but strangely enough looks pro enough to get inquiries all the time about what type of camera I’m working with.

After the show images are downloaded. Musicians are separated from the background using Adobe Photoshop’s various selection techniques and placed on their own layer. At that point I can start the art part… Adding shadows, textures, blending modes and lighting effects that were not on the stage.

Yours in Photography,      Bob


head shot portrait

Cobblers children go without shoes. Painters houses show peeling paint. You’ve seen the expressions in writing for the professionals not taking care of their own business because they are so busy taking care of others.

Don’t let your own personal look be the victim of this…

Make the commitment to get your head shot updated. When people see your head shot and wonder who the photo is of you gotta know it’s time for a new one. Here’s the way I remade mine. Ideally you might grab a photographer friend and shoot each others photo but when you are hanging out with a little time it’s time to work your own. While I did it I practiced with a lot of the new technology that’s available in the Lumix GH3. Learned some stuff along the way…

I used the facial recognition feature to make sure the photo was in focus. If you have tried to self portraits without this it can be very frustrating. I am pleased to say whether I moved forward, back or to the side during the shoot the focus was dead-nuts on!

bob coates photoBob Coates head shot

Used the WiFi capabilities of the GH3 with my IPhone to fire the camera remotely. It’s pretty cool. You can see what the camera sees on the phone. The only problem with that part is when you try to pose and change position it’s like looking in a double mirror. There’s a tendency to move exactly opposite form what you think you are doing. After you get used to it it’s not too much of a problem. Obviously when it’s not you on the phone screen it’s pretty easy.

Why else would you want to use the WiFi connection? Transferring images to the web. Controlling your camera from a distance but still being able to see what the camera sees. Like not disturbing wildlife like birds or a watering hole where animals come to visit. I’m sure you can come up with many more…

Where’s your new head shot? Send me a link!

Yours in Photography,             Bob