29 January 2016

8 Things You Can Do NOW to Improve Your Photography

Art Model, Covenant, Back Patio ©2015 Terrell Neasley
Okay. So you know that Spring time is coming around soon. Its the middle of winter and before you know it, the snow will have melted and green grass and flowers will be budding and blooming. You've seen it before. Every year its the same thing. So why not, while you're holed up in the house to stay out of the winter storm, get to cracking on learning your camera so you can be better prepared to take advantage of these great pics you're gonna wanna take in the Spring? Sorta like working out NOW to have your summer body by end of May.

1. Pull Out the Manual
Chances are you have never done this. Not once. Well find it and dust it off. Put down the morning paper for a change and review your camera manual. If you can't find it, then look it up online. Its there. Trust me. Check out the specifications that your camera is capable of and become familiar with them.

Art Model, Covenant, Upper Pahranagat ©2015 Terrell Neasley
"Smooth seas have never made a skillful sailor"

2. Go Shoot!
Find out what you like to shoot. THEN SHOOT SOMETHING ELSE! In other words, get out of your comfort zone a little. Again, comparing this to working out... if you just stick to shooting what you are familiar with, its like hitting that plateau when you know you want to lose that last 20 pounds. Develop your photo muscles by exercising different ones you are not so familiar with using.

Art Model, Panda Nevada Desert ©2013 Terrell Neasley

3. Test the Limits of your Camera
Another familiarization drill! See what your images look like at the highest ISO it can achieve. If it has expanded ISO, check it out. Maybe that noise is doable or maybe you'll need to back it off a stop or two. Test out the high frame rates and see if the Auto Focus misses on any of those shots. If it shoots 5 frames per second. Test it. Maybe all of the shots are in focus, but if not, it will be better to test this before you actually need to use this feature.

4. Play with Flash and Long Exposures
You'll really have fun with this one. Flash can be intimidating, but its really not. Its just light. You use light every day. Play with the flash sync speed. Practice with the Rear Curtain Sync feature. See what it might be good for by checking out YouTube. Use a speedlight OFF of the camera. Pick up some inexpensive trigger/receiver combo to make your flash pop wirelessly. And do this without using the automatic features or TTL. Got a cable release for your camera? Ever use a shutter speed as slow as 15 minutes? What do you think you have that tripod for? Try it out!

Art Model, Panda Nevada desert ©2011 Terrell Neasley

5. Go Look at a Lot of Pics
You can better see what's possible when you start looking at other photog images. I'm not talking about copying other people's intellectual property. I'm speaking to looking at the work of others do get ideas for better lighting concepts. Better perspectives. Better inspiration to maybe shoot outside at night. If you want people to appreciate your work, check out other photog's work. Make comments on their work on Instagram or 500px.

6. Change Perspective, Lenses, Locations
The majority of lens kits are there are of the middle focal length range and this will be the only lens most people will own. Take a look at some wide-angle perspectives. See where this might come in handy. I recall the first time about 10 years ago that I experimented, at the suggestion of a friend, with wide-angle for a model shoot. Didn't think I needed it and why use wide-angle glass for anything other than landscape of photographing large groups. That shoot changed my life! And again with getting out of your comfort zone, take a road trip and shoot someplace new. Make it fun and get up early and do a day trip somewhere 200 miles away.

Art Model, Panda Nevada Canyon ©2011 Terrell Neasley

7. Limit to 36
I did this back in the film days. The idea behind it is that film has a much more limited number of exposures available compared to a SD card which can give you thousands of exposures. Limiting yourself to just 36, or the number of exposures you can get on a roll of film will make you more deliberate. You tend to make sure that the compositions you see have better subjects, are more developed scenes, and will be composed of more photographic fundamental elements that make a good picture. You'll take your time to really begin to see. You train your eye to attain a desired goal that first formulated in your mind. Today, people tend to "spray and pray". They take a bunch of shots and statistically, they are more apt to have at least one good one. The problem is that this great shot is still challenging to reproduce. You got a good shot, but you don't really know how you got it. It just happened. Let yourself be challenged. Do this exercise every now and then of limiting yourself to 36 shots for the day.

8. Commit
And this is as self-explanatory as Nike's slogan, "Just Do It". Committing is doing these 8 things plus more. Its leaving your familiarities and going out to that new location. It's heading over to B&C Camera (if you're here in Las Vegas) and rent a wide-angle lens, some studio lights, or a new camera you want to try out. Check out Sony's A7sII and play with its ISO to see what 409,600 looks like. Use it with  a 16-35mm lens to go shoot the milky way. Rent out a Panasonic GH4 and practice some video work. Need some studio lights? They have plenty. Practice. And commit yourself to this effort. By the March, you'll have that perfect Spring photography body that you'll need to get the best shots and you'll know you have the best shots because you put in the work and preparation to achieve these goals. Have fun!
Art Model, Covenant, Upper Pahranagat ©2015 Terrell Neasley

19 January 2016

Come FLY with Me! Let's Fly, Let's Fly Away!!

Anonymous Model. German girl I met in Nicaragua. Shot in my room I booked with a local family. ©2014 Terrell Neasley
“I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.” 
– Caskie Stinnett

I think you can track the evolution of this blog when you take a look where I began almost nine years ago, til now. My photography has changed. Even my focus has changed. Okay... I mean, I'm still doing the nude, granted. But I wasn't doing photo professionally at the start of this blog and I wasn't as driven as I am with travel back then as I am today. Now, if I could get away with it, I'd always be gone and adventuring somewhere. I don't know if adventuring is a word. Actually, I just looked it up and it is. Moving on. So yeah, I'd always be out somewhere. My ultimate goal, I think is to sail and circumnavigate the globe on an ongoing basis on my own 40ft plus catamaran. Yes, I need someone who's comfortable with being nude. Cuz I will be shooting. All the time. And maybe it would be good to have another couple who are well versed at sea-life who share the same exploration ideals and can help share the responsibilities.

Anonymous Model. German girl I met in Nicaragua. Shot in my room I booked with a local family. ©2014 Terrell Neasley
There are also times when I'll travel alone. And I'll want to be alone. Make no mistake about that. Even with having a girlfriend/wife, there are times I'll take off on my own escapades. I may even have a model, or be full on solo. I'll want some time to adventure on my own, by myself, in remote areas where its just me and the land/sea. I think its a very good idea for people to head out on their own and challenge themselves, not with overcoming fear of being in a new area, but rather of just being alone. No buddies to socialize with. No comrades to ask advice about what to do next. Just you. Making the call. And then living with the decision you made, whether good or bad. Chances are you'll make new acquaintances anyway, so you're never really alone, unless you hit barren areas bereft of human interaction. Then its just you, your thoughts, nature, and the Heavens.

Anonymous Model. German girl I met in Nicaragua. Shot at a beach location she recommended. Had some gear stolen while on this shoot. Had to walk back with no water. Got aided by some Canadians who also gave us a ride home. ©2014 Terrell Neasley
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

But here's the thing. I would absolutely love it if I had some of my friends, family, or CLIENTS come travel with me. Its not necessary to be gone as long as I do. But just a week or two. Correction... AT LEAST TWO WEEKS! You'll spend that first week just acclimating. Give yourself two weeks. Come do a leg or two with me. You'll fly in. Meet me somewhere. Then we'll head out on a grand adventure. I'll do some pics. We have a good time. And then you go home with fabulous memories that last you your whole life. Man, fuck some of the things you buy and spend money on. You'll consume those products, waste them, and they won't mean anything to you after a while. But you'll always be grateful of shared memories or new experiences and exploration. Those will stick with you and make for some great stories you'll never stop telling. The rest of your friends will become sick of you, though if you only have that ONE story that you're always telling. But they'll love you if you've always got something NEW to share.

Three-month trip with my girlfriend last year, Art Model Covenant. Beach at north end of Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. My second excursion into Nica ©2015 Terrell Neasley 

So there's two ways you can do this. When you hear me start talking about my next trip, start researching the areas I'm mentioning and see if it might be a good fit. Maybe you have some flexible days and some cash in the bank. All you need is a few grand, at the most and a valid passport. See if you need any immunizations and boom! Book a ticket. If I'm talking about bouncing around the Baltic States and spending a month in Estonia, maybe you want to get down with that for a few weeks. Hit me up and let me know. Or if the timing is off for you, well we can discuss that too. I tend to travel light and economical. Personally, I don't need the All-Inclusive package. I don't desire it. I'd rather be immersed amongst the locals. At least that's why I travel. I want to experience the people and culture as well as the land. If you're looking for resort-style room service, cool. But you'll be paying me to be there. Which leads in to the next possibility.

Lounging about next to the Rio Dulce, Southern Guatemala in Livingston reading our Kindle Paperwhites. 3 week battery life on those things. Art Model, Covenant ©2015 Terrell Neasley

One of these days, I'll be in Antarctica. Okay, you may not want to go there. I'll give you that. So, if you're looking for a custom itinerary, I'm available for hire. I'll be your paid travel companion/bodyguard/photographer. Nothing wrong with that. I almost got to do that with a lady I met in the camera store one day, but she was already heading to Europe the next day. I can usually be ready on a whim, provided I don't have to clear out any current projects. I'll spend whatever time you want, adventuring with you, shooting your escapades and we can make a hard back book of it when I get back and edit the pics. I would absolutely love being hired out to do this. I'm telling you, you would love it too. 

In our room Antigua, Guatemala. Art Model, Covenant right after she climbed the Acatenango volcano.
©2015 Terrell Neasley

And lastly, well...you don't need me to travel. Maybe you don't like me and are just reading my blog as a hater tracking what I do with a scowl on your face. You think I'm a bitch, right? Cool. OR maybe my style of travel doesn't suit you. That's cool too. You can still do this on your own! Holla at me if you want any tips. I'll even do that for my haters. That's how bad I want you to get the hell out and travel. Cuz even if you're hating on me, you ain't gonna be hating me when you get back and I'll have gained a friend. Or at the very least you'll be cool with me and reading me with a half-smile. 

Beach bungalow at Lebeha Cabanas and Drum Center, Hopkins, Belize. Been here twice! Best Pork Chops on the planet at the Frog's Point Restaurant. Art Model, Covenant ©2015 Terrell Neasley

28 December 2015

Who Am I Kidding...I'm Going Back Down South!

"Fifteen Kristis" Art Model KristiC © 2015 Terrell Neasley
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

So yeah, I'm gonna have to post-pone Southeast Asia for just a bit longer. I had to come to terms with the fact that I'm not done yet with Latin America. That's just a point of fact. I've got a couple of choices. I mainly want to focus on Colombia and start in the old port city of Cartagena. And then do extensive traveling down the western coastline, maybe hit Bolivia. But the more I think about it, I believe I want to start where I left off this past summer and begin in Costa Rica. If you recall, I ended my trip after 3 months in Nicaragua. I missed getting to Costa Rica, although I've been to Panama already a few times. So then I'd continue through Panama and sail on  to Cartagena. I have much to work out still, mainly with the itinerary and goals, bringing a model, and of course financing. I wanna fly out before March.

Art Model, Safia Sarai, ©2015 Terrell Neasley

I think two months might just suffice this time instead of staying 4 to 6 months as I originally anticipated doing. But the fact of the matter is that I would really like to make Iceland a priority next fall, which means I need to bring my butt back and make some more money before then. So many dreams. So many goals and shots to achieve. But I want to get it done, regardless. Make enough money and I can do it all. Who knows? I might even get sponsored or sell a lot of fine art work, allowing me to spend 6 months in South America and STILL do Iceland that fall. So I don't set anything in stone. You never know what's going to happen.

Art Model, Justine © 2015 Terrell Neasley

The holidays are just about over. Its been a while since I've last blogged. Totally missed November and almost missed December. I've rarely ever missed a month of blogging and have never gone two months without a post. Just been tied up is all. That's it. And now, I'm posting again. Catching up, I've gotten to do several shoots with Safia Sarai, KristiC, and I also got Justine again. But its the professional end of things that have had me tied up for so long as I've been working a photo project that has simply taken a while to complete. And every so often I take a break from the pro shooting. Its funny that I take a break from shooting with MORE shooting. I just traded one subject for another, shooting nudes in various hotels with Safia Sarai, outdoors in the wilderness with KristiC, as well as studio work with Justine and KristiC.

Art Model, Safia Sarai, ©2015 Terrell Neasley
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – 
Oliver Wendell Holmes

I'm even more invested in Sony now as I have added the 90mm F2.8 Macro Lens as well as the popular 42MP A7rII camera body. I'm definitely all in on Sony. Its the best decision I've made in photography where gear is concerned. I want to try out their latest 35mm f/1.4, but I really don't need it. It would be good for environmental portraiture, but I can do well enough with the 16-35mm f/4 if I want the wide perspective. I'm satisfied with it. I now use it like I would the 24-70 when I shot with DSLRs. With the A7rII, I now have back the high dynamic range as well as the high resolution kit I was so used to shooting with my Nikon D800e that I used for about 4 years. But as a bonus, I can jack the ISO up when I need to much better than I could with my Nikon gear. You had to trade off high ISO with the higher megapixels with Nikon and most definitely with the Canon 50MP systems where you actually lost dynamic range. Sony is still the top option out there right now. I don't care what you are doing. It fits.

Art Model, Justine © 2015 Terrell Neasley
I hope you've all had a very productive year. 2015 is just about at a close. The holidays and festivities are close to ending and then its back to work. The year went by so fast. All we had was 12 months. But that's all we'll have this upcoming year as well. If you're like most people, this is that time of year where you contemplate on next year's resolutions. But if you're really like most people, those resolutions will be forgotten by January's end. So try to focus on things that really make a difference. Get better. Get smarter, so you have more resources throughout the year. Start every month thinking about how you can make another $30 grand (or whatever) on top of last year's income. Don't let the sun go down knowing you wasted the day. Be a better shooter. Study more. Learn more. I teach one on one classes. Schedule a week or two with me. If you see a way I can be better, then hell... let me know. See an opportunity that you think I might be suited for? I'll definitely be willing to listen. I may or may not take you up on the idea if I find it doesn't suit my direction at this time. But damn, I'd appreciate the opportunity to consider it. I need to get into Cuba still. I need contacts in South America and opportunities to earn while down there. I'll definitely listen to opportunities or gigs in other countries. I'm all about that. Let's work together. Come on! Lets do this!

Art Model KristiC © 2015 Terrell Neasley

14 October 2015

What's Next.... Most Likely? Southeast Asia

Art Model, Safia Sarai ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Most travelers will attest to this. After spending time abroad, especially extended time, you begin to miss home. THEN as SOON as you get home, you're already planning your next trip. It starts after your first day back and you begin to wonder why you came home. Your brain immediately shifts into high gear contemplating the next adventure.

Art Model, Safia Sarai ©2015 Terrell Neasley
The hard part is trying to decide where. You recall your mental list (or if you are obsessive compulsive, you have an actual paper list), and think about all the places you know for sure you want to visit. You think of all the places you've promised yourself that you WILL eventually get to. Then you match that up with most feasible. For instance. I want to go to Israel, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Iceland, Antarctica, and revisit Germany. However, these places are quite expensive for extended stays. Nobody is spending 3 months in Iceland who isn't already living there or immigrating there. Northern and Western coasts of South America were the most likely candidates of places to visit for me to visit. I'm not done with my Latin American adventure/exploration by a long shot. BUT!! I think I should take a small change of pace and do something totally different.

Art Model, Safia Sarai ©2015 Terrell Neasley
And that's how I came up with Southeast Asia. First and foremost, its cheap. I can see being there for 3 months (at least) as being a viable option. Second, its sorta on the list of things travelers have to do. Third, its cheap. All but maybe the flight, that is. I'm mainly talking Indochina. I'd love to cover four countries there, Cambodia, Thailand, Loas, and Vietnam. Possibly pick up some time in Myanmar. What would do my heart some good is maybe a two week stint in New Zealand before heading up there. That's another one of the money places, though. So I've not got a bunch of reasons to keep bustin' butt for the next 5 months to make all this happen. Now, what would absolutely be cool is to start in Vietnam and just work my way Northwest, up through all these countries and into Tibet and Nepal. I had a trip planned there with a client that ended up falling through. I was going to photodocument her 3 month honeymoon with a Leica M Typ 240, and a Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 with 3 lenses. The deal ended up falling apart and didn't happen. I'd like to make up for that. Just with Sony gear. But that's all a stretch. That's the dream trip that could evolve from the 4-country exploration of Southeast Asia. I'd skip New Zealand for that. Any potential clients interested?

Art Model, Safia Sarai ©2015 Terrell Neasley
Next comes the question of WHEN! You get the place(s) you want selected, but now you gotta figure out when's the best time to go. Much of that consideration is whether dependent. Will it be hot? Maybe rainy? When do most tourists go? Well, that's going to be high season and more expensive that heading out in low season. Sometimes you can make the trade-off and go during low season, as long as you understand most people aren't there for a reason and that reason may be more than just because summer break is over.

Art Model, Safia Sarai ©2015 Terrell Neasley
I'm picking Spring time. Sounds like a good time to go. I haven't worked out all the details just yet, but that's when I'm thinking of heading out. I'd like to do another 3 month stint, but who knows? It could be 5...could be only a month. I like leaving that option open. I'll start planning a general route of where I want to start and then start researching the different places I'd like to visit there and start planning the trip. I think I've already got a Lonely Planet book on Southeast Asia to help me plan. That's one book that's been invaluable for these trips. Wanna go someplace, somebody's already written about it. I use it only as a guide. Its not a rule book. Some spots, I want my own opinions to be formulated by my own experience. Sometimes you just gotta go check a place out despite what every body else says.

I've had the privledge of working with a new model, Safia Sarai, over the last month and a half or so and its been outstanding. I think her biggest asset for me is her attitude. I've said quite often that I shoot as much as what's inside the model, as how she looks outside. Attitude is chief amongst those qualities. Other than the fact that she loves shooting, I adore her willingness to see my vision, trust me, and help me get the shot. She's proven to be quite the gifted muse. More on her soon, I promise.

30 September 2015

Website Redesign. Still Sticking with REDFRAME!

Art Model, Leslie © 2015 Terrell Neasley
“One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.”
— Annie Leibovitz

In August of 2007, I started this blog and also got my website up and running. After long and tedious research and comparisons, I settled on IFP3.com, now known as REDFRAME to power my site. To date there has been 5 serious considerations to change to something more modern, more well-known, mainstream, and more popular among photographers I know. I thought a new change of pace may help get me the exposure I desired...maybe shake things up a little. But I keep coming to the same conclusion. Why? These guys still deliver everything I can get anywhere else, PLUS some.

Art Model, Leslie © 2015 Terrell Neasley
The first thing to get my attention was the unlimited galleries and sub-galleries. Most other hosting sites at the time limited you to a certain number of pages on the site and defined limitation of Gigs that were available to you. Redframe.com had none of that. I could customize my pages as I saw fit. The problem I initially ran into was the availability of TOO MANY OPTIONS! Trying to chose the styles, colors, and fonts I wanted to use was a welcomed "problem". When I first started my site, I was an amateur photographer and the entire site was a million galleries of art nudes! Of course, they were. You know me. Having the private galleries was pretty damn cool too. Another fun part was checking my statistics and page views. They've since allowed Google Analytics to link in on this part, but it was still cool to see a large viewing coming from Eastern Europe. This is one part of the world I see creatives who's work I most enjoy. Not sure why that is, but spots in the Ukraine and the surrounding countries constantly have my attention. So it was good to see the mutual respect coming from over there.

Art Model, Leslie © 2015 Terrell Neasley
“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.”
— Irving Penn

One of the main things that keep me now is the fact that they are constantly updating and improving. I gotta admire that. They don't get comfortable and sit still. I remember when I was considering a competitor that had some fresher looks. It was as if Redframe were reading my mind. They reinvented and released several new templates with a HTML5 platform that gave me that freshness I was looking for. After that point, I quite searching for something else. They innovate and do not mind change. Pricing has been consistent and reasonable since I began with them. Its even cheaper now since they threw in 3 free months when you do the yearly rates. They don't take any commissions from you when you sell using the shopping cart either!

I'm telling you. I've mentored several photographers over the years and have recommended this site to all of them when they express a need for putting together their images on a website. They just keep getting better without raising costs. They've always had a free shopping cart with no commission sales. But it was cool when they added platforms to maintain consistency for mobile devices, Search Engine Optimization tools, social media features, and now they have client proofing that was recently added.

Art Model, Leslie © 2015 Terrell Neasley
I've recently redesigned my website, PhotoAnthems.com. I think its a cleaner and fresher look. I wanted to streamline it a bit and make it more simple. It didn't take me that long to do. Trying to update my shots and select new and more recent pictures is the only thing that took a while. I have a lot of great shots if I do say so myself. I chose to concentrate on my travel, art nude, and portraiture work. I showcase what I love most, first. I'll bring in the commercial work a bit later. For my own reasons, I haven't ever really put much in terms of client work on my site. I've struggled a bit with the idea of having fun versus getting paid sometimes. I'm so passionate about those 3 things in particular (travel, art nude, and portraits). You really have no idea. Passionate may not be the right word. I think its a sickness, actually. I like photography in general. But I LOVE those three things. I'm consulting with a client right now for some product photography. It pays the bills. I like the client and I think we're doing cool stuff for her business. But man-alive, my aforementioned trifecta is where the magic lies!

Art Model, Leslie © 2015 Terrell Neasley
“Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.”
— Anonymous

Maybe the only other passion outside of those top 3 is TALKING about photography. I teach One-on-One courses and this is a fun thing. A lady asked me just yesterday how many hours a day during my one-week session could I give her. I laughed and told her as long as I got 4 hours of sleep a day, I'd devote as much time as she needed (and could handle) towards her learning. And I was serious. I block out the whole day for students and as long as they can keep going, I can keep going. I know some people have jobs, kids/family to get back to, etc. I at least need 4 hours each of the first two days and I can deliver what you need to know. I'm flexible and can talk on this all day. Some of you who've met me have no illusions that this is an exaggeration.

23 August 2015

Working with the Mature Model

Art Models, Liz and Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley
"As you get older, naked stuff gets easier."
~ Helen Mirren

@Alyson Walsh recently did a blog post, [That's Not My Age: The Grownup Guide to Great Style] which I came across regarding Helen Mirren's recent birthday. I felt it was apropos for my own latest blog post, as I have previously discussed Helen Mirren as one of the most beautiful women on the planet. In this post, she's quoted several times on her views of sex, love, and getting living life as one gets older. I recently shot with two new mature models from out of town who share this excellent view on their body confidence, nudity, and life. It was highly inspiring shooting this mother and daughter together who are 75 and 51 years of age, respectively. I know, she does not look 75, but I did check her ID!

There is definitely an attraction for me in shooting the mature woman. I have quite the collection of work with models in their 40's, 50's, and even older. Granted... I've had some mad success at shooting young girls and some of my best have been muses of mine whom I began shooting under the age of 24. I look forward to shooting a woman in this age group next week with great anticipation because of what she brings to the table. However, this can be a hit or miss demographic for me where its 50/50 on whether or not a connection is established or if I'll ever shoot them again.

Not so where it comes to the mature model. Now this might be because at my own age, I identify with models 35 and over. I can not discount that notion by any means. However, I think it goes beyond that idea with much more depth. I'm an artist with a camera. I love the portraiture first. When it comes to looking into the eyes of a mature woman, there is usually a story that lies just beneath. These are women that have lived, traveled, been heartbroken, know the joys and challenges of raising a family, know and have dealt with death, yet despite all, have weathered the storm. These are women that know both pain and joy. They have endured trials of love, and have seen humanity over time. And because of this, they usually develop more than one opinion about a matter. Back in the day, they may have felt one way about an issue. But after 15 or 20 years, wisdom factors in and they see the effects to know first hand whether or not their opinions were accurate, inaccurate, or whether or not it even mattered to contemplate the issue in the first place.

Art Models, Liz and Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley
"The weird thing is, you get more comfortable in yourself, even as time is giving you less reason for it. When you’re young and beautiful, you’re paranoid and miserable. I think one of the great advantages of getting older is that you let go of certain things."
~ Helen Mirren

Art Model, Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley
With respect to the above quote, that's exactly what these two women did. They let go of "certain things". It was such a pleasure to shoot Anne and her mother, Liz. I worked with Anne earlier in July and she returned about 3 weeks later to Las Vegas with her mother who also worked with me on her visit. I had no real idea of what to think, how we would begin working, or what we would do. So I picked a location and just went with it. I try to maintain a "take what is given" approach. I knew that I would work within each of their boundaries. Liz, (the mom) had a few more restrictions to start with than her daughter of course, but she gradually began to trust me, I think. She began to see where I was going and what I was after and quickly shed whatever reservations that remained. Anne had less up front objections. She already had an idea that she would let go and see what her artist came up with and was initially much more open. I met both women on their terms and developed it from there. During one evening we shot well into the night outdoors. Fabulous day!

I shot them separately as well as together. Both aspects had their benefits. Getting separate shots individualized the experience and made it into a personal participation. Each woman got to experience something on her own. Shooting them together brought back the inseparable bond between them that exists just the same as if Anne was 3 years old again cuddling in Liz's arms at night after waking up from a bad dream. You've seen me post pics of Panda nursing her kid and I tell you seeing Anne and Liz nude together looked the same. It proves that bond transcends time.

Art Model, Liz ©2015 Terrell Neasley
So yes, I enjoy shooting the mature model. I don't think this post will inspire every woman who reads it to undress and let me shoot them. However I think you should ask yourself, "why not?" Most everyone I've worked with over 40 will inevitably ask rhetorically out loud, "Why didn't I do this when I was in my 20's?" Most admit to the idea had previously crossed their minds or that they had passed on a previous opportunity, but were still "paranoid and miserable", as Mrs. Mirren is quoted as saying. They express the notion, not so much as a regret in life, but more or less as if they wish they could turn back the clock or revisit their former selves and tell them to just do it!

I actually love watching the aging process. More than nudes, its LIFE that I like to capture. One of my goals is to shoot a woman over time from her mid-20's to well into mid-life. I sincerely hope to shoot with Kristi C. at least once a year forever, but I'll take 10 years for starters. We've been shooting for 3. I have GOT to do this. A MUST DO! I think she will be my Helen Mirren, as one who ages gracefully with one of the best attitudes I think a woman can have and captured for 50 plus years on camera.

Art Model, Liz ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley

"Your 40s are good. Your 50s are great. Your 60s are fab. And 70 is fucking awesome."
~ Helen Mirren

I guess if I have one reason for writing this post...well two, actually...it would be first to showcase these beautiful women and thank them for the opportunity to work with them. And second, its because I would love for you to use their inspiration to get out and just do it. I'm not even saying you have to do it with me, but I certainly encourage and welcome you to fly out to Las Vegas and book a session with me. Stay for a week, but give me, minimum 3 days of shooting to make a good project out of this. We'll work in several locations, plus studio work and everything for expenses and a flat fee. No hourly rates. We can shoot all day if you're up for it.

And if its not me, then find somebody local to where you are with a good reputation and proven results. Anne got to see some of my work and I think she liked my attitude and it was a wrap. Done deal. Not a whole lot of thinking to it. Just..."I'll do it!" And then came back to Las Vegas 3 weeks later and brought her mother, too. By no means am I saying you have to make up your mind that quickly, but ya gotta give some props to a woman that knows what she wants. We did what you see here and lots more. I've never shown this many photos on a blog post and yet there's still so much you haven't seen yet. I got to work some of my macro magic with Anne that really turned out great. Get over the inhibitions. Find your reason you don't just do it (especially if you have thought about doing it before) and then consider whether that excuse is really and truly valid.   I think you might be surprised at how much you'll find this a fulfilling event in your life. Come see me.

Art Model, Liz ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Liz ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Liz ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley
Art Model, Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley

02 August 2015

The Switch to Sony - Still the Best Idea Yet

Antigua, Guatemala, Sony A7MkII f/8, 1/500 at ISO 100
"Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable."
~ William Pollard

So its been since this past December that I made that move, ala #SwitchHappens, when I picked up the Sony A7s. Then in February, right before I left for Central America, I packed the Sony A7MarkII in a new ThinkTank Retrospective 30 bag. As for lenses, I've had to make a few switches that finally worked for me, especially in the wide-angle market. I initially went for the Rokinon 14mm T3.1 as I owned with my Nikon D800E (which was absolutely superb). But after a few weeks of use, I didn't think it was my best bet. What proved to pass the test with flying colors was the Sony 16-35mm f/4 wide-angle zoom lens. The sharpness and quick auto-focus won me over, even though I was initially settled on prime lenses only. I had to pick up a portrait prime, the 55mm 1.8 and these two have proven to be the one-two punch I was looking to travel with. Not a complaint, one.

So here are my TOP FIVE reasons the switch is best for me and why I think you'll benefit as well.

El Salvador, Sony A7S f/5.6, 4 seconds at ISO 1600
1. Size and Weight - This is the obvious benefit so I begin with the easiest. Back in the day, it was difficult to be taken seriously unless you had a bigger, heavier camera. This tended to be a natural barrier to entry to female photographers who may have stuck with rangefinders. After spending a little time working in B&C Camera, I also learned that amateur and pro photogs alike would add on a battery grip to give that extra heft and appearance that says "I am serious. I am a pro" look. I know this to be fact as I have heard it admitted quite often. The lenses are also just as small for the most part.

But today, this isn't necessary. Even for someone with large hands, you quickly get used to the size of the Sony mirrorless systems. You don't go out to eat and request the XXL forks, just because you have big hands. You'll get used to it. As of yet, I have not seen nor heard of a single photographer that makes the switch and then later goes back to the DSLR. Not one. There's no need to pack extra weight just because. Because what? If you can get the same exact results or better in a smaller package, why not do it and save yourself the carpel tunnel, tennis elbow, and chiropractor visits for your bad back. And you know what else? People aren't as intimidated when I pull this camera out for street photography. You can't say as much as when you level a big DSLR in their faces.

2. Sensor quality - Okay, when the first high resolution DSLR came out, do you know who made the sensor. It was in the Nikon D800/800E, yes. But the sensor was made by Sony. Sony has been a premier sensor maker for quite some time and even makes medium format sensors. That bad ass 51MP Pentax 645Z? Yep, that's a Sony sensor. Is that an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus in your pocket. Yeah, Sony's got that sensor too. If you look at the top sensors rated by DXOMark.com, Sony has 5 of the top 6. Only the top-rated D810 (score of 97) is not a Sony manufactured sensor as far as I know and I hadn't been able to verify the Nikon D750. None of the Canon sensors have ever been rated above a score of 87 and that includes new 50MP full-frame sensors in the Canon 5DS and 5DSR.

"Sony owns an estimated 40.2 percent share of image sensor market - According to market research estimates, in 2014 Sony made 40.2 percent of all image sensors, leaving its rivals in the sector far behind. Presumably, this figure includes sensors made for things like automotive and industrial uses, but there's no doubt that it also accounts for the front and back sensors in Apple's iPhone 6 models, both made by Sony."
Sony A7s, f/11, 1/640 ISO 1600
3. Chock Full of Features I Can and Do Use - Who's ever heard of focus peaking? Ever have that with your DSLR? No you haven't. The Electronic Viewfinder is good even in the dark. It switches from LCD screen mode to Viewfinder mode automatically as soon as I look through the viewfinder. I can view the replay of my images or video through the viewfinder even in bright sunshine. Again...Not on a DSLR. Here's one feature a DSLR has that a mirrorless camera doesn't...Mirror Lock-Up. Why? Because there is no mirror to begin with. How about wireless control with my iPhone 6Plus? Yep. I got that. Know what else I can run on my camera, Apps. Yeah, just like my phone. I can put my A7s in silent mode and there is actually no sound produced when I take a picture. I likes. In addition to that, I can record 4K video on my A7s (to an external output recorder) and when the A7rMkII comes out this month, it will do it too (straight to the SD card!). See what I mean? Full of features.

Just waking up. Guatemala. A7S, F/4, 125, ISO 5000
4. Lens Quality - This is the spot that has taken a little time. I'd have been on the mirrorless bandwagon a while back, but its taken a liiittle bit of time to develop all the E-mount lenses, especially for the full frame versions. Two years after the debut, WALLA!! Everything I need, PLUS some. But let me get to the plus in a second. My main needs are wide-angle and portrait. Well, they have that in spades. The 16-35mm f/4 covers the gamut on my wide needs well enough to keep me from looking any further. And Portrait? Zeiss glass that has come to the rescue like a knight in shining armor. No kidding on that. Especially the primes. But Zeiss has also designed zooms for Sony. I'll likely be mostly prime-oriented though. Next purchase, the 90mm 2.8 macro. Gotta have it. After that, I'll likely be looking at the Zeiss Batis Series in both the 85mm 1.8 and the 25mm f/2. And just to play, I may work with the Voigtlander Nocton 50mm f/1.1 just for giggles. Remember that aforementioned "PLUS", well because of the short flange focal distance, there is pretty much an adapter that can fit to mount any other manufacturer lens. Got Canon lenses you don't wanna give up...maybe like the EF 85mm 1.2? Well, you can get a Metabones adapter and use Canon glass on the Sony full frames. Yes, you heard me correctly.

5. Corporate Sensibilities - I like options. Like... a lot. Very much so. And I gotta give it up to Sony for being the top innovator as it relates to Digital Cameras, IMHO. Working in a camera store, I get to see many of the different manufacturers and it still amazes me that the ones at the top (Canon and Nikon) still ignore the changing of the guard, much to the same chagrin as Kodak which held onto film a little bit too long. Kodak was the original pioneer in digital and yet failed to see its true worth. Nikon and Canon fail to see the advent of the mirrorless systems and thus continue to produce predictable systems as if the Megapixel and ISO race is still valid. So here is a quick rundown of how Sony as a corporate philosophy has garnered my attention.

Sony A7S f/4, 1/30, ISO 160
First, they don't give me pro cameras in a vertical hierarchy. With DSLR manufacturers, my options are limited to budgetary concerns. Get the best you can afford. You buy a DSLR in your price range and you either get the best or sacrifice options. With Sony, the hierarchy is horizontal. I don't need all of Canon's full-frame systems which are PRICE-based. However, I can very much see owning all of Sony's full-frame systems because they are NEEDS-based. If I only need a general use system, I can get the A7MarkII. But what happens when I'm doing lowlight work or need to be discrete with streetphoto work? Well, I can get the A7s which has the best high ISO performance of any camera on the market and has an absolutely soundless shutter in silent mode. OR, if I need high resolution, I can opt for the new 42MP A7RMarkII coming out next week sometime. That's 3 full-frame systems that I can justify owning and they don't sacrifice features or options. I don't get less of a camera because I get the general use A7MarkII. These systems back up each other as well as compliment each other. And yes, I will own all 3.

I also like the fact that Sony has not been afraid to spend money in R&D and bring new products to market. The Q-systems was a lens that could utilize the sensor on your smartphone via NFC. They developed 2 or 3 different ones. We sold several at B&C Camera, but they never really caught on. It didn't make them gun shy. They went on with the next thing. The NEX system eventually gave way to the Alpha system. They developed a market and then cultivated it over 5 years. Real innovation is encouraged as opposed to several other camera manufacturers which elect to stay traditional and conventional, ignoring market concerns. As I mentioned. I watch people switch ALL. THE. TIME. I know pros and amateurs alike who WANT to switch, but can't quite get past the notion of trading out all their old investment in DSLRs and lenses. I also introduce new consumers who only know Canon or Nikon to Sony and see the reaction on their faces when I tell them the A6000 is a less costly, smaller yet viable 11- frames per second direct competitor to ANY  DSLR crop (DX) system. All I have to do is put it in their hands. The look in their eyes tell the story.

Sony A7MarkII f/8, 1/250, ISO 100
So you definitely have some choices in the mirrorless market. Behind Sony, I like the Fujifilm system and lenses. Then there is the micro-four thirds systems by Panasonic and Olympus. I recently picked up the Panasonic G7 as in inexpensive option to help me, as on option with some of my video work and moments when I don't want to risk my main systems and investment in Sony. But make no mistake, for now, Sony is still my best idea to date in a camera. Of all the systems I have ever owned, its by far my favorite.

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26 July 2015

Looking Ahead - For Gallery and Exhibition Opportunities

Art Model, Covenant ©2015 Terrell Neasley

"The entertainment is in the presentation."

This past week is the first real fresh week for me since returning from Central America in June. I'm just now getting back into the swing of things and I'm eager about it. I teach One-on-One Photography Classes with independent clients and my schedule has just now opened up to where I can get back on that. They are week long intensive, but at your pace foundation instruction classes to begin with, but I give clients an option for a second week at more advanced principles of understanding light as well as working with the absence of it. I can travel to anywhere in the United States, but my best work will be here in Las Vegas. I definitely encourage potential clients outside Nevada to travel to Las Vegas, secure accommodations, transportation, and give me a week of your time. My last student was at the end of February and I left for Guatemala City just days after that. Its now MID-JULY and I'm just getting things to where I can start it back up.

Art Model, Covenant ©2015 Terrell Neasley

I can now also concentrate on accepting clients for more Photography Projects, as well. That's the principle part of my photography business which is shooting of course. I will continue my main line of portraiture and event work for clients, but at this point, I'm also looking to step it up a bit and operate outside the traditional fare with more Food and Interior Design Photography. But my Portraiture Photography work will be focusing instead on that particular client that needs something new, fresh, and different from the norm that involves a bit more of my artistic side with the creative liberties to push the envelop.

Market Square, Antigua, Guatemala ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Market Square, Antigua, Guatemala ©2015 Terrell Neasley
Lets see, what else? Oh yeah, the 3rd principle element. Photo Sales! I don't traditionally print small. I used to, but I'm more happier concentrating on work that goes on walls, not just sitting on coffee tables. I have books for that. 30x20 and larger is the realm of reality where you'll find me. I make images that are made for books and walls. Display and presentation are key concepts that help define what happens to my images and artwork. Shoot, Edit, Print, AND THEN PRESENT is the final step of the process. It does not end with the print. A print can never make it out of the portfolio. A print on its own will be appreciated by the small circle of its creator. However if said print is destined to be viewed by the world, Presentation is key.

Of course you have the web, web portfolios, web galleries, and archives that can store photos and make them available for viewing. My argument is that seeing a shot that will be viewed upon various screen size resolutions and color shifts does nothing for the image. It does not serve the creator nor the viewer the way a printed piece commands respect. As opposed to sitting transfixed in front of a small screen browsing away at the speed of your scroll wheel, an exhibited piece of art demands the viewer to work a little bit. Engage a little bit. Spend a little bit. Invest a little bit. It requires the viewer to leave home, jump in a car, and arrive at a predetermined destination. It insists that the viewer forgo an alternative form of leisure or other investment of time and trade this opportunity for the cost of being present and standing before my work of art.

Street Corner, Matagalpa, Nicaragua ©2015 Terrell Neasley
Now my job is to make this investment of time worth the price of admission and elicit such an emotional or calculated response as to implore the viewer to take this work of art home before a rival buyer might make this choice. That's my job. And if I can do my job successfully, this process will repeat itself again and again perpetually. I understand that some pieces will not be successful. I understand that some pieces I have emotional ties with may fail with you and you make wish to take home an image that I would never have believed to ever garner attention. This has happened before. The work that I so loved, sat while another image sold quickly.

Art Model, Covenant ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Covenant ©2015 Terrell Neasley
I haven't bothered with exhibition to much in the past. Now its a focus. I now have preparatory work to do in terms of finding exhibition opportunities, selecting pieces for display, and having those pieces made available in the right form of presentation. This in and of itself is not a cheap process, especially with the way I choose to present and have my work hung. I make it especially more challenging on myself, because I have to insist that my nude work is part of this process and some spaces may have difficulty honoring this due to various policies. Nonetheless, it is a must. If I'm not showing my art nudes, then what's the point. In some instances, that is the main concentration and exhibit focus. And that's where you can come in. In changing tactics like this, I definitely need some insight. Having seen my work, if you think you know of exhibition opportunities that can accommodate me, then please message me the details. I'd love to hear from you!