I just wanted to post a quick update with one of my recent photos. Here’s a quick shot I took in Broken Bow, Oklahoma last week while on my honeymoon. My new wife and I spent the week at the Heartpine Hollow cabins; We spent a week holed up in their “lil bear” cabin doing nothing but watching TV, grilling, and hanging out in the hot tub. It was an amazing week. It’s awesome how many stars you will see on a clear night when you’re far away from the city lights!
I started this blog post while sitting at 30,000 feet, looking out over the clouds somewhere over Tennessee (I think), reflecting over the whirlwind of a week I’d had. It had been 21 hours since I stepped on the first plane and left Dubai, and I still had about 4 hours of flight time before I was home. The in-flight WIFI went nuts and then I fell asleep so I never finished the post. Since I’ve been back in Tulsa, I’ve been super busy and putting off this post, until now.
I left a cold and icy Tulsa almost a month ago now. I was supposed to fly to Houston, then to DC, and then to Dubai. The only problem was, when I landed in Houston they cancelled my flight to Dubai due to bad weather and tried to get me to spend the night and arrive a day later; luckily, United was able to get me switched over to the next Lufthansa flight with a layover in Frankfurt. I will never complain about a layover in Germany, and I ended up arriving in Dubai only 2 hours later than planned.
Why did I go to Dubai? Gulf Photo Plus. It is the best week in the photography industry in the world, and it happens every year in Dubai. Plus, it’s friggen Dubai!
So anyways. After spending about 5 unplanned hours in Europe I finally made it to Dubai. My first experience wasn’t very good, as the customs agent completely ignored my demands to hand-check my Instax and threw it through the x-ray machine. It turns out I would have the same experience on the way home, so in the future I will just have to accept the fact that the Dubai airport will ruin any film I have with me.
My friend Ines would pick me up from the airport and I would stay with her for part of the time, and with an AirBnb host the rest of the time. Dubai is really easy to do on a relatively small budget and for any of you that go and can’t afford the Holiday Inn recommended by GPP, I would highly recommend shopping around AirBnb or staying with a friend when you go to Dubai.
The morning after I arrived was a busy one, and I am so relieved I did not end up missing it. Photo Friday kicks off Gulf Photo Plus every year and has four blocks of seminars on a wide variety of subjects from architectural photography to posing to Photoshop. Every one of the seminars I attended was phenomenal, even though I missed out on a Peter Hurley seminar due to passport/visa issues. If you plan on visiting the UAE, make sure your passport is still valid for at least 6 months before your trip.
This blog post will be pretty lengthy, as there is so much to Dubai that I want to share; it will also skip many aspects as this is a city you can’t fully explore in one week.
Dubai is home to some of the most spectacular architectural achievements known to man. From the Palm Jumeriah, a man-made island shaped like a palm tree with hotels and condos on it to the world’s largest indoor ski slope, the world’s tallest building and biggest mall, there is something here for everybody.
For most of my trip there, it was incredibly dusty. Because of this I don’t have many of the typical cityscapes that you may see online. However, it did clear up near the end of my stay. Below is a highly distorted panorama from the first time I saw the Burj Khalifa up close. It was so dusty I could only see an outline of the building when I tried to look at the top.
If you’ve never traveled out of the states, Dubai will definitely give you a culture shock. But in a good way. The sights, sounds, and smells are so different than what you’re accustomed to. The people are very friendly and basically everybody speaks english. It’s also a very service oriented place, where most people have a maid to clean their house, etc. Oh, you can also get any food delivered! Including McDonalds and KFC.
The folks at Fujifilm Middle East were kind enough to lend me an X100s at the beginning of my visit, and then the 10-24mm f4 lens the day before the conference ended. I lucked out because every day up until that point it was so dusty that cityscape photography was basically impossible. But when I woke up that Thursday morning, the sun was bright and the skies were clear.
I ended up having to spend about 4 hours taking a taxi to their repair facility. It’s the only time I’ve ever had any issues with my Fuji, and I was at least glad that it happened when I was able to get a same day fix. Somehow all the screws that hold the tripod socket onto my X-T1 disappeared. By the time I got back into the main area of Dubai, light was fading fast and I had to quickly find a spot to shoot. Due to some miscommunication I missed an opportunity to shoot a killer view from a hotel balcony with my friends RC and Martin, and after a few shots from Festival City I knew I was way too far away to get the shot I wanted.
I called up a cab as fast as I could and had him take me right to the Burj Khalifa. I figured it would be good to test out the wide angle side of the 10-24 lens I was borrowing anyways. But when I got there, it was way too crowded with tourists and construction and I wanted something different than the typical tourist snapshot.
Even though light was starting to fade, I forced myself to stop mindlessly capturing snapshot after crappy snapshot with the same view as all the other damn tourists and went for a walk. After a few minutes I found this little bridge that went over a restaurant; it was surprisingly empty and perfect for the amount of time I had left before the light was completely gone. A few seconds later my tripod was set up and I captured this shot. It’s not exactly what I envisioned as my “trophy shot” when I went to Dubai, but I’m happy with it nonetheless.
This post is long overdue, so I will end it at that. If time permits I will do a follow up post with some more images from the gold and spice souks, as well as the David Hobby Editorial Portrait workshop I attended with GPP.
But seriously. Get your ass to Dubai; you won’t regret it.
Holy crap, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged! I’ve been doing much better with posting on Instagram and doing better at keeping up my Twitter account, but I’ve let my blog down. The jury’s still out on Facebook. I have my personal account but due to Facebook’s algorithm that hides my business page posts from about 90% of my followers, I see no value in having it; I may keep it around just as an aggregate of my Instagram and Twitter.
So many things have happened over the past couple of months. One major change was that I decided to ditch all my Nikon gear and switch to Fuji; that will be the topic of another blog post.
In October I had the opportunity to fly to Atlanta to attend a portraiture workshop held by none other than the amazing Zack Arias; he is one of my biggest photographic inspirations and it was great to meet him and learn from the best. Just like most photographers I suffer from G.A.S (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and in order to combat that I’m trying to spend more money on education instead of gear (within reason).
What is one thing I learned from the workshop with Zack? It’s not about the gear.
Yes, Zack shoots with a PhaseOne that costs more than some cars, and the images it produces make me drool. But he also shoots with a Fuji, the exact same camera I have. But even though I have some of the same gear as he does and I’d like to think of myself as a decent photographer, he can beat the crap out of me with a 56mm 1.2 any day of the week.
While gear is still important, and I still have plenty of pieces of gear that I will end up needing or wanting to buy, from here on out I’m placing a greater emphasis on education, experience, and travel. There’s so much out there to see.
I love meeting new people and experiencing new things; experiencing different places and making new friends always beats the joy of a shiny new lens. The world is massive and I want to see as much of it as I can. Hopefully for your sake I’ll also get better at writing…
Stay tuned for more blog posts, updates, and photos. In less than 2 months I will be off to Dubai for Gulf Photo Plus and I’m super stoked about the opportunities waiting for me there. Here’s to an amazing 2015!
As I sat down at my computer to write this blog post, I was thinking about how everything went wrong with my trip to Hamburg, Germany.
I was broke. I was tired. I had to wake up at 4am to catch the train from Nürnberg. This was close to the end of my Europe trip and I had been going non-stop for over a week, crossing 7 time zones, 3 countries, and drinking way more beer than I should.
The weather was beautiful for the 1 1/2 weeks prior to Hamburg. The day before I went, I rode my uncle’s motorcycle deep into the heart of Erlangen with no map and incredibly spotty GPS coverage. A week before that I stayed up until 1am having a bonfire and beers with a bunch of Austrians I didn’t know.
I was in Hamburg for about 2 days, and almost the entire time it was pouring rain. My shoes, socks, and pant legs were soaked. The viewfinder on my camera completely fogged over from the humidity.
But as soon as I started going back through the photos, I realized I had never been more wrong.
I had a bigass smile on my face the entire time. Hamburg is the most energetic, artsy, hip city I’ve ever been to. There’s graffiti everywhere. There’s trash on alot of the streets.
Honestly, I feel like my photos didn’t quite capture how awesome Hamburg is. I was only there about 2 days and I couldn’t see even close to all I wanted to see.
If you keep up with my blog you’ll know I already wrote a story about how I spent the greater part of the day searching for the Speicherstadt Wassershloss, so I’ll spare you the details in this post.
If you are able to, go to Hamburg! Trust me when I say it is worth it, even for just the food and the beer.
There’s something about just walking down those cobblestone streets in the rain that I will never forget.
Speicherstadt (Which means city of warehouses), located in the port of Hamburg Germany, is the largest timber-pile founded warehouse in the world. The district was built in the late 1800s to early 1900s as a free zone to transfer goods without paying customs.
As of now, Speicherstadt has become a tourist attraction but still handles various goods. Several years ago the companies in Speicherstadt handled one third of the world’s carpet production.
Before I went to Hamburg, I went to 500px for inspiration. It is the greatest social network if you’re wanting to discover amazing photography, so I figured I’d see what other people were creating in Hamburg as I’d never been there before. The photo below was one of the primary locations I saw, called the Wasserschloss.
I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been. Also, it was raining most of the time I was in Hamburg. So, on Friday I spent the entire day walking around the Speicherstadt area. That weekend they had the Hafengeburstag (harbor birthday) festival so there was plenty to see, but I could never find this exact spot, even after asking a few locals and showing them the picture from the postcard I had bought.
Finally at about 6pm I finally gave up. It was pouring rain, I was soaked, my camera was soaked, and I had no idea where else to go. So I headed to meet up with my cousin and her boyfriend to see where he works; we were walking to his building and I looked over and there it was! Of course it was raining so hard I could barely see it in the photos, and I didn’t have my tripod to compensate for the slow shutter speed I had to use so it didn’t seem to matter anyways, the shots were not worth showing.
Luckily, we went and grabbed some coffee and as we were starting to head out to see the St. Pauli district, the sun finally broke through so I was able to grab this shot.
So, I’m back in the states again. I stayed pretty busy in Germany and didn’t really have time to edit photos and do posts, so they will come later. A couple days after I got back to Hessdorf I rode my uncle’s motorcycle to Nürnberg to visit one of my cousins, Varun. We walked around for a couple hours seeing the city and I realized exactly how out of shape I am. Anyways, here’s a photo from a street in Nürnberg.
Here are some images from the hotel we were staying at in Austria. It was on Klopeiner See in Carinthia, Austria. I’d highly recommend this area if you’re looking for a good place to vacation!
So we were planning on just going to Ljubljana, and didn’t want to take the autobahn. We ended up just driving through a mountain for the most part before going to Ljubljana, but it was still awesome.
Excuse me if I sound incoherent, I only slept 7 hours last night after being up for about 40, and I’m still kind of groggy.
I’m sitting in my hotel room at the Hotel Greif in Austria listening to the birds and wishing my balcony didn’t have a bigass tree right in front of it. It’s ok though, I’m not complaining.
If you follow me on Twitter or anywhere else you probably already know about my fiasco with United Airlines. I was supposed to leave Houston at 4:10; I boarded the plane at 3:20, and we didn’t leave until just past 8pm. Some sort of brake hydraulic issue. I was pretty mad, but when they announced in the flight that beer was free because of the delays it helped a bit.
The flight was pretty uneventful, other than the German dude sitting in the middle aisle next to me. I don’t think he knows what deoderant is, and for most of the flight he was laying across all 3 seats snoring his head off. Where’s a sharpie when you need it, right?!
After my parents picked me up in Munich it was straight to the car to drive 4 hours to Austria. We’re in this pretty awesome place called Klopeinersee.
Of course when I got there, I had to have some schnitzel and bier. After that, I went to take some photos and wound up meeting new friends and staying up until 1am local time. I can sleep when I’m dead. Or back in Tulsa, whichever comes first.
Stay tuned for more!