Your camera DOES matter!

What if I told you that the equipment you choose to wield actually has a direct impact on your final result? What if I told you there are tools that fit the user better than the one fits all concept? All the haters go ahead and jump to the comments and leave your opinion there. 

If you just happen to still be reading here is why I feel this way. Ok lets keep it simple.  You want to shoot some images of insects, so to do this you either need a macro lens or extension tube right? Or if you want to take photos of the moon you will need a zoom lens. What if I told you the same is true about cameras? Do I believe we can pick up any camera and make something memorable, absolutely yes, but having the camera that works the best FOR YOU will make your hit rate much higher on average.  You wont just grab any pair of shoes off of the shelf and hope they are comfortable and fit? So why do the same thing with a camera? Something that you could very well be holding and handling for hours. Wouldn’t it make more sense if that object felt great in your hand?  I am also a firm believer in making a camera work for you but if you can have a camera that you can operate seamlessly, will this not result in more confidence in the user, and thus that confidence projected to your client?  Don’t get me wrong there is no 1 camera for all. Wedding professionals, and sports shooters have different needs thus different tools are required. 

Ok now to play my own “devils advocate”, because I have said this many times in the past, the camera is simply a tool. And in the simplest form ,means I should be able to take any camera and make it work to my vision in theory but nothing is that simple. A painter doesn’t just grab a roller and paint a Mona Lisa. I know this is a very extreme example but I am willing to bet you knew exactly what I meant the second you read that sentence.  Having said that if you have read any of the past inserts or follow me on social media you understand my fascination with all things Film. I love how simple it is, and how genuine every frame developed becomes. We can shoot and pray in the digital realm but not while shooting film if we want the best results. Shooting film is methodical, or romantic in a sense to me but would I pick up one of my film cameras to shoot sports, absolutely not.   

I am  not writing this to convince you to sell everything you own and start over, not by any means. I have came to a crossroads in my approach to my work and the equipment I use. I adore holding and shooting all things FujiFilm and have for a few years now. Even writing this I am sleepless contemplating my choices. I have considered staying with Fuji and adding a newer camera body but I am at a point where my final images aren’t meeting my vision while shooting Fuji and that hurts to say out loud.  So the past 2 weeks I have tried several cameras to see what feels right in my hand, but more importantly what produces a final image like the one playing in my mind. I have shot a Canon 5diii and coming from a Canon background I thought this might be the correct choice especially since we are adding video to our services. I shot it for a few days but came away unimpressed. Don’t get me wrong, it is an amazing camera with amazing image quality but it wasn’t “RIGHT” for me. I also shot a Nikon d810 and I had never even pressed a shutter on a Nikon camera before but  I wanted to rule out all options to make sure it wasn’t just me, and not my camera being the issue. To my utter surprise, the RAW images from this camera were stunning. Not in comparison to anything else but in line with my vision for my work. Loving my Ricoh GRii files so much I even considered the new Pentax FF line but I think the only Pentax for me is my 645n and 120 film :)

The only other viable option to me and my rationale ( which can be questioned regularly lol ) was another Sony mirrorless body. I have owned the a7ii prior and did enjoy it very much but was lucky to stumble across a YouTube video comparing the new Nikon Z6 and Sony A7iii and they were gracious enough to include raw files. I was quick to download them both and edit the way I love to edit and to see how it pans out. To my surprise the Nikon files were my favorite once again. The Sony was not far behind but I found the dynamic range much more suited to my shooting style from the Nikon camera for a second time. This and the fact that I love shooting off camera flash  once again has me leaning toward a Nikon setup. So at the end of the day especially if you are new to photography and wanting to learn more, find a camera that feels right in your hand, offers the features you need ( Not always want )and you can bend to meet your artistic vision. I would love to know your opinion but more importantly I would love to hear what works best for you!

Lastly here is a link to his video mentioned above to not get lost in my thought process. VIDEO

#nikon, #d810 #d750

Real talk, unfiltered

Pentax sexy

Well, I am home from vacation and more motivated than ever. Not that our trip was especially relaxing, too many kids for that LOL, but because of its timing. Today I am going to write without much of a filter and just get to the brass tacks of the matter. I am currently constantly listening to a new to me podcast by Andy Frisella called MFCEO.  He has no filter and talks some hard truths and that is often what I need most. No fluff, no shit, just realness. I also get that from my friends, especially Wes. My wife rather enjoys putting me in my place too but that isn't today's topic LOL. I have been listening heavily and still have tons to check out but in a nutshell what I have taken away is this:
 Surround yourself with a strong team of friends and people who will be 100% honest with you. 
There is a massive difference in a Goal VS a dream and how to separate the two.
No one is going to walk up to you and hand you everything you want to accomplish. You have to take a step of faith ( if you're religious ) put on your big boy pants and DO THE DAMN WORK!
Most importantly so far, believe in the product you sell. In my case, myself and my vision. If you know me at all, my confidence is often my biggest hurdle. I see only the flaws and the cracks in my work. Enough of that. It ends now. I have far too many clients, friends, and people supporting me to let doubt slow me down. 
There are many more points but you gotta go give him a listen, this isn't a free pass to his insight. Quit being lazy and check him out. 

Ok, here is where it gets dicey. I am an avid follower of Christ. We are members of our church, and volunteer as often as possible. This fact often leaves me, for good reason, watching what and how I say things. It keeps me grounded, but it also makes me un-authentic at times.  Hold on. Here me out. Pastor Derek spoke Sunday about being honest. In our prayers and conversations with Christ and something clicked. I'm not honest enough. Anywhere in life probably. In my faith, opinions, and dislikes.  I often find myself being too nice for my own good or anyone else for that matter. But I am also far from perfect, and you know what, that's ok. He sees me in my failures and when I'm losing my shit during a road rage fit and love me anyway. One of my absolute favorite quotes is " I love Jesus but a cuss a little". TRUTH. I strive to be better every day but I am going to fail, but I am also going to get up way more times than I am knocked down. I don't know how to quit and refuse to even consider it anymore. Yep, that's right I have almost put the camera up too many times. I get frustrated when business is slow and when I feel like I am undervalued.  Long story short, Throat Punch Productions coming, and coming in like Ricky Bobby in his underwear, on fire. I will make no excuses or apologies for being genuine anymore. Get on board or out of our damn way. I can't wait to see what we create collectively and the friends we make along the journey.  The Facebook page is up and live and the site is in the works so follow along early and stick around for the fireworks people!

“Hate it or love it the underdog’s on top
And I’m gonna shine homie until my heart stop
Go head’ envy me “

Behind the Lens


I find myself constantly thinking and looking for ways to improve like most of us do. in business and in life. I often find that sometimes, I do this to the point of checking out of real life sometimes as well. One of those moments was on my drive down on vacation where I am currently writing this today. 
It's a beautiful Monday morning in June, my feet are up and I hear the waves crashing on the beach below me. The boys are still sleeping as everyone else starts the day. The power and size of the ocean mesmerize me and remind me how small we truly are. As I mentioned above, on my drive to the beach over the weekend, I found myself deep in thought, contemplating new and better ways to serve my clients. I found myself daydreaming about big things coming with Wes and with Throat Punch Productions.  I try not to get ahead of myself in these moments because of some previous business failures, but this feels different. This is different.  This post isn't about that, not yet. This is about the hard stuff and what happens when cameras are put in the bag ( my Ona bag is preferred ) and we aren't editing. I am sure this is different for everyone, and I'm not going to get into my hobbies in this post. I wanna drop all the BS and talk about my family. 
Yesterday was fathers day and I was greeted with Happy Fathers Day from the kids and my wife and the sweetest letters, they each wrote to me.  I loaded the kids up and off to the flea market we went because they wanted popsockets LOL. I immediately regretted this decision. Too many kids, coupled with too many distractions, meant my anxiety was through the roof. After a ridiculously long line to get coffee and driving all over to find crushed ice for Tosh, we were finally back at the resort to play. In an ideal world, I would relax more, maybe with a cold drink all day watching the kids play but that is never what happens. This year in particular as we are now a family of 6, we find ourselves dividing and conquering more every day, but for a few laughter-filled minutes, I was hurling the kids in the air, and was greeted with "Do it again".  Then we were taking turns doing cannonballs, and can openers off the edge of the pool making tons of ruckus. Before long, Jahim was jumping in mimicking everything we did. So I made sure to make conversation with him and introduce myself and the kids. I am very grateful for how easily most of the kids make friends everywhere we go and can talk to anyone just like I do but..
I had a thought this morning when I woke, this isn't the post I had in mind on my drive in, but one I wanted to write anyway. I find myself always looking for interesting people to photograph. I have even handed a business card to a lady at a Mcds drive-thru window once because how compelled I was to work with her. ( still waiting on her, unfortunately) I am not this forward usually, and that's what today is about.  If you have ever met me, I hope I spoke, I hope the encounter was a good one, and if it wasn't then you probably suck. I am just saying. But I have this weird self-conscious feeling when approaching someone asking to photograph them.  I don't get it. I can speak to anyone I pass hiking with a smile and good wishes. I have no problem striking up a conversation with strangers on the elevator every day I'm here but this is different. WTH
I actually fell asleep thinking about this last night because yesterday there was a moment on the beach that I wish I had my camera, any camera to capture but a moment was missed. Several were actually. As I was laying on the air mattress waiting for sleep carry me away, something clicked.  To me making your photograph isn't just about capturing an image. It is not just about freezing a moment in time. Photography for me is personal. It is an intimate moment between myself and the other person or people involved. It's important to me to have meaningful relationships with clients. I have wanted to create a Thru-Hiker book for myself but I think the thought of simply stopping someone for only a moment to take an image is selfish, and that the craft deserves more. Images deserve a damn story, people. They deserve our attention. They deserve our focus. Social media makes everyone want it now, and they are moving on. No more.  I want to know who I'm taking photos of, what makes them happy, and what makes them hurt. Only in a true conversation, a true experience, can I capture what I have been chasing since picking my camera up the very first time. Realness. Brokenness. Laughter. Pain. Acceptance. Loss. Love. Respect

Don't get me wrong, I love all things street photography and candid moments, but I want more planned real emotion in imagery too.

So I'm challenging myself, maybe while I am still here at the Beach or when I get home to approach more people. Be real with them so they can be real with me. Capture images that captivate, but tell a story and believe it or not, all stories aren't fairytales with happy endings. I believe those stories long to be told just as much and maybe even more deservingly so. This isn't a normal post for me but I'm going to try and be more open and honest in at least one post a week to help myself grow as well. I also want to write once a week about something that sucks for me or that is hard for me because I think it is only fair.  I want to capture you in all stages of life, so why can't I bring you into a little of my life weekly?  I will also VLOG again soon as well.