sunday photo/art quote 3/20

sunday photo/art quote 3/20

Sunday Photo/Art Quote – Do It

Ever talked yourself out of doing something?

You know. You want to try something new or exciting of different and the little voices start the Yam Yam Yammering away inside your brain with all the reasons something may not be a good idea. People won’t like it. It won’t turn out the way you think. It’s a waste of time. Yam, Yam and more Yam!

Turn the circus off. (more on How to do that in a moment!)

Right now lets turn to the quote of the day that inspired this post…

callahan art quote“If you don’t do it, you don’t know what might happen.”  Harry Callahan

Harry Callahan was a photographer inspired to pursue his career by a talk given by Ansel Adams. He was first  and foremost an educator only producing about a half dozen finished images a year…

How to Quiet the Yam Yam Yam

Slow down.


Take time to practice meditation. The brain’s job, in addition to maintaining our living functions like breathing and heartbeat, is to create thoughts. Lots of thoughts. A real, lot, whole bunch of thoughts that can crowd our mind and create noise. (that was the circus I was referring to earlier)  When the noise is on and you can’t concentrate then any thought that comes through, usually negative thoughts, can keep us from trying new things.

Meditation allows us to practice allowing those thoughts to move through without grabbing our full attention allowing us to concentrate on the things that can actually be of help. Whenever I suggest this there’s an almost immediate plethora of excuses , “But Bob, I can’t meditate, I don’t have time.” “I can never get my mind to calm down!” “I just can’t get the hang of it..” And all of those excuses are true until you begin the practice of meditation.

Have you ever learned to do anything without some training? And practice? And failure along the way? Of course not. Meditation is the same. Learn. Study. Practice and meditation will help you also. One book I found to be helpful is “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabot-Zin Easy read. Easy practice from someone who has been studying the mental and physical health benefits of meditation for many years.

Don’t let the naysayer of your brain keep you from pushing boundaries.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

PS – This meditation stuff can help make you healthier too! Let me know how it works for you…

Check out the book by clicking above. If you buy anything using the link Amazon will give me a small affiliate fee that costs you nothing and helps support this web site.

photographers health back part three

I’ll remind you that I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I am just sharing ideas that have worked for me over the years. Please consult a health professional before trying anything shown here…

Back pain can put a real hitch in your giddy-up! It can make work miserable if you can even do it depending on your injury.

In the first installment Photographers Health Back Part One we talked about learning, or at least reviewing, the proper way to pick up, carry or move heavy objects. We also discussed proper shooting form to prevent injury. Lastly we looked at an exercise program to strengthen your body to help prevent injury.

Photographers Health Back Part Two I introduced you to Pete Egoscue. He developed a series of exercises and stretches into a program to help you become, and stay, Pain Free. I highly recommend checking out his programs. If you have severe problems he has clinics available to test and give you very specific instructions on how to get back into shape. I have never used the centers but the books have been a real help to me.

 miracle ball method

The Miracle Ball Method kit.

Today I want to share one more alternative exercise idea. And maybe exercise is the wrong word to use for this. It’s called The Miracle Ball Method by Elaine Petrone. It uses squishy balls placed properly while your body sinks into them. Using your body weight and proper breathing are the keys to helping your body realign itself. The kit contains two Miracle Balls and an exercise guide that runs you through steps. Elaine was a dancer who suffered debilitating pain in her back and injured a leg. After trying all the traditional methods including chiropractic, accupuncture, doctors etc she was getting no relief. After research she came up with this program.

Here’s a description in better words than I have… “The work itself is simple. Take a sore back: By resting your aching back on the grapefruit-sized balls and letting your body sink into them, you’re unworking the muscles that hurt. Pain and tension drain out of the body. Petrone shows how proper breathing (which she demonstrates) works in conjunction with a range of unexercises that call for placing the balls under the back, head, knees, hip, elbow-wherever there’s pain-and then resting, rolling, or rotating on them. She points out that relief can come in surprising ways: Lower back pain may be helped by placing the ball under your neck, or a bad knee might be helped by hip work. It’s a revolutionary program of relief, from head to toe.”

Your in Creative, and Healthy, Photography,        Bob

photographers health back part two

** ** I am not a health professional. I do not play one on TV and I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express. Please consult your doctor or health professional before adding exercise routines to your lifestyle.

Starting in part two I share things that can help after you’ve sustained a back injury. Of course seeing your doctor, chiropractor or physical therapist should be your first stop to get diagnosed and begin the healing process. I’ve worked with all of the above health professionals at one time or another. It wasn’t until I worked with my physical therapist that I began receiving instructions on proper exercise techniques and exercises for proper stretching and care of that marvelous mechanism called the spine. (see here for part one)

back pain illustration

When it hurts it can be excruciating…

So how do we help it to stop hurting?

Proper exercises to align all those bitty pieces back into the space they were meant to be. One system that I found to be extremely helpful was from Pete Egoscue. There are clinics around to help you with this but I found his books and careful application and paying strict attention to the instructions to be quite helpful. This book was recommended by a massage therapist. Pain Free – A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain

Egoscue and his writing partner Roger Gittines share very specific exercises and body position to get you re-aligned and I’ve found them to be extremely helpful. They are so sure of themselves the obligatory message like you see at the top of this page with a legal disclaimer about seeing a doctor etc… is omitted. He urges readers, “who feel they need the disclaimers protection and counsel to close these covers and leave the pages unread. My working principle as an author and exercise therapist is that the most important consultation is the one a person has with him- or herself. Any disclaimer that suggests otherwise does a great disservice.”

IN the introduction They go on and share a philosophy I believe in, “Being pain free takes personal effort and commitment. It doesn’t come from a pill bottle, a sugeon’s knife, a brace or in specially designed mattresses, chairs and tools…. The following pages show you the way. It does not involve high-tech medicine or elaborate physical therapy routines.”

He shares his views on how the body operates and gives you simple directions on how to get it back to your optimum condition.

A More Advanced Option

Another book by the same authors take you to another level of conditioning and exercises to support specific sports. The book is fulll of common sense advice. There’s a little over twenty easy, effective exercises that help to strengthen, stretch and relax your body which gets you back into proper alignment and form. I have used this book also and find it effective in prevention of injury. Here’s the link… The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion

Final Thoughts for This Post

It’s not magic. It takes some time, thought and attention to not end up with pain from working as a photographer. I hope you’ll look into the prevention of injury. But if you get injured I hope you will look into ideas that allow you to do most of the work and healing yourself with the guides I’m sharing with you in these posts. The next installment of Photographers Health Back share another way to help yourself heal in the quickest way possible with as little outside intervention as possible.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

photographers health back part one

** ** I am not a health professional. I do not play one on TV and I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express. Please consult your doctor or health professional before adding exercise routines to your lifestyle.


I have made this exclamation on more that one occasion (OK maybe there were a few choice words of the not so nice variety thrown in for good measure, but this is a relatively G rated blog) when I felt a disc slip or back go way out leading to excruciating and sometime debilitating pain.

This happens because of improper care and feeding (and use of) your body.

We as photographers tend to use and abuse ourselves without even realizing it. We carry heavy gear. We support weights in unusual positions. We hold uncomfortable positions for long periods of time waiting for ‘The Moment’.

back pain illustration

Back pain can strike at any time…. Less often if we prepare properly!

Some Back and Lifting Basics

OK let’s stop the wrong behavior and get things into prime working order. First let’s review how to lift and carry loads properly. Here’s a link to a slide show from the Mayo Clinic on proper lifting techniques. Essentially you want to plan your attack. Where are you going to put what you are picking up. Bend from one knee or squat using your legs to do the lifting, not bend from the waist. Engage your core. tighten those stomach and core muscles to steady your back. If an object is too heavy for you don’t ‘Superman’ it – find someone to help or lighten the load and make more trips. Trust me it’s worth making more trips that you think will take you too much time now than to tweak your back and end up in pain for days or weeks and possibly loosing lots of work time!

Here’s a PDF WA-Handout-Proper-Lifting-Techniques from Ergonomics Plus

How Do You Hold Your Body?

After a long day shooting how do you feel? Would it surprise you to know that you should feel fine? If you are using proper photography techniques you should not feel back pain even after a long day at a wedding or chasing toddlers around your studio. When I was having consistent visits with my Chiropractor he suggested I might be hurting myself while photographing and I poo-pooed the idea until he suggested I have someone video me while I worked. Upon review of the video I was shocked! I found myself in unneeded bent up and twisted positions. Instead of moving my feet to keep my body aligned and supported properly I was consistently leaning and twisting to get the camera into position putting unneeded stress on the back and spine.

Tip – Have someone video you while you work. Review then build new habits for proper body positioning for less hassle with your back health.


A great way to avoid severe pain is to prevent it in the first place. The tips above can help with that but to really protect yourself getting in shape and building stronger body muscles is key. Please work with a professional especially when you first start out in any exercise program. Doing exercises improperly can cause damage or create pain that will keep you from coming back to the exercise floor.

Here’s a solid, simple (with video instructions) exercise program with which to start. It’s the Johnson & Johnson Seven Minute Workout. Based on HIT – High Intensity Training techniques. Don’t let those words scare you! Basically it means you perform an exercise for 30 seconds followed by 10 seconds of recovery followed by the next exercise. The J&J team do a great job of instruction and keeping the workouts fresh. The nice part is it’s a free APP to download to your Smart devices like phone or tablet. In spite of the solid instruction in the videos I still recommend you get a trainer to coach you through the exercises the first time around to be sure your have good form.

johnson & johnson 7 minute workout

There’s more but, this is a good start in protecting your back. Stay tuned for Parts two & three of ‘photographers health – back’ in future posts on Successful-Photographer.

Yours in Creative photography,     Bob

** I am not a health professional. I do not play one on TV and I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express. Please consult your doctor or health professional before adding exercise routines.


photographers health exercise

Spent a lot of time at my desk with my face buried in the computer again today.


I don’t feel tired.

Used to be after a day spent with the LED’s staring back in my face I’d be exhausted. That seems to have been taken care of by my new exercise routine. And, you can do it too!

I started with the Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout downloaded as an APP  on my IPad. While it does have a routine that lasts for 7 minutes the reality is you work your way up to doing the set of simple exercises three times in a row with a bit of a warm up and and stretching to finish for a total of about a half hour. **I recommend that you do this each morning. (ease into it a bit at a time)

johnson & johnson 7 minute workout

The 7 minute workout is like having a trainer with you… ** 7 minute workout by johnson & johnson

The other part of the equation is to get up at regular intervals and get the blood moving throughout the day. For this, you need a timer on your computer. Time flies when you work on your images and are in create mode. You can’t depend on your inner clock. Believe me when you start running a timer you will be surprised every time it goes off!

Computer timer software can be found by doing this search and you can find the one that best sui.

I set mine for every half hour. I get up and do something for one minute. Stretch, a few push-ups, jumping jacks, sit ups or a brisk walk to the kitchen for a glass of water. Anything to get the blood pumping and the body away from the computer for a bit.

Makes a huge difference! Ready to try?? Download the J&J link above to your personal device…

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

** I am not a doctor, never even played one on TV. Please check with your health professional before starting any exercise routine.