Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Which Camera Strap to get? Upstrap or OP/Tech USA?!

I want to get a new camera strap. I have been using a 15 year old Op/Tech USA camera strap on my D300 and it seems to be showing some signs of wear - I want to be sure my D300 doesn't hit the ground just because I was using an old camera strap.

The two that I have been considering are the Upstrap SLR-Classic or the Optech ProStrap. The Op/Tech seems nice with the bouncy spongy material that would seem to absorb shock while walking better. I have that currently on my camera and I don't seem to notice that at all.

Let me know your thoughts as to which I should get or suggest another one if you have one.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Aperture Nature Photography Contest Interview Went Live

My interview questions from the Aperture Nature Photography Workshop contest were posted up on the APNW site today! It is getting closer. I borrowed a pair of snowshoes that I will hopefully get to put to good use while in Yosemite. I am trying to decide if I should purchase or rent a 24mm Nikon PC-E tilt/shift lens. I haven't used one before, but it looks like it is an AWESOME lens. I might try it out first before sinking the $$ into it.

The headshot of me was done by Michael Soo, a great photographer here in Cupertino. Michael was the amatuer photographer of the year in 2005 and has since gone full time professional.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mike Osborne's Water, Granite and Light book on Yosemite Waterfalls

Legendary photographer and retired Yosemite park Ranger, Mike Osborne, is set to release an updated version of his book on Yosemite waterfalls entitled "Granite, Water and Light: The Waterfalls of Yosemite Valley" set to release in April. The book is already available for pre-order and should be on every Yosemite photographers list of books to have. I purchased a copy of the original book that I found used on Amazon.

I had the pleasure of shooting with Mike Osborne while on Michael Frye's workshop shooting fall colors in Yosemite and Mono Lake. Just an incredible man - and he likes abstract rock images similar to mine! He told some amazing stories of being about and around in Yosemite.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Received a Think Tank Photo Rotation 360 Camera Bag from the ANPW contest

I received my next prize from the Aperture Nature Photography Workshop Contest sponsors last week - a Think Tank Photo Rotation 360 Camera bag! It looks like this (this isn't me, just a hotlink to the Think Tank Photo website images. I had heard about this bag before but haven't seen one. It is smaller than I imagined. Nice size for being out in the field. I haven't loaded it up yet - that will take some work to do. I really like the idea of the rotation fanny pack for putting the body in. I normally shoot with a lowepro top loading waistpack and it has gotten pretty snug after moving to the Nikon D300 with an L-bracket. There is no place for a laptop. There are lots of compartments. I will have to read the manual and figure out everything I need to do with the bag!!

It has been cold and raining in the bay area lately. Last week we had snow in the local foothills -- my translation of this is .... SNOW IN YOSEMITE!!!! At least there is a good base now. Should be nice! I am looking forward to it. Just a few weeks to go!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Being Interviewed on Photography Podcast this Morning - Phototalkradio.com

I being interviewed on Phototalkradio.com this morning. Should be a fun interview but the show is also broadcast LIVE! Mike Garcia saw my photographs over at the ROK Bistro in Sunnyvale where I have my solo exhibit. Check it out and you can also see my images while I talk about them. Enjoy! John

Friday, December 19, 2008

Amazing Year 2008 in Photographs! Boston.com

These are some STUNNING photographs. A wide variety of topics and images from 2008. My favorite is the lightning above the volcano. I will let you know when I get an image like that! It is truly awesome. So many photographs are just being at the right place and the right time. If you don't shoot, you won't get anything. Shoot often, shoot frequently. Blow the dust off your camera and shoot. Take your camera in your car or on the bus. Too many times we see amazing things in a day and we don't capture it. Enjoy! John

Lynda.com prize for winning Aperture Nature Photography Workshop Contest showed up!

I just got an early xmas present... my Lynda.com12 month membership prize for winning Aperture Nature Photography Workshop Contest showed up! I think I will be spending the holiday learning and doing training videos! Scott Bourne also just twittered about some of his training that is up there as well. You can never learn enough - although my head hurts with all of the things that keep getting stuffed in there. Since I haven't really used Aperture much (We will learn about that during the workshop), I want to get a headstart and start learning about that. Enjoy! John

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rumors of Nikon D400 with HD 1080p Video - add it to the Nikon D300!

Rumors are starting up that a new Nikon D400 is coming (via Gizmodo via Nikon Rumors) and it will have a 14.8M sensor and 1080P video! That is great BUT.... I want video on my D300. It shouldn't be hard for Nikon to add video to the D300. I already shelled out too much money. Sell me a software upgrade. $200? Great. Done. I am NOT going to go out and purchase a new camera. This mentality from camera manufactures needs to stop. Look at software upgrades as a channel and target market and get with the program! Camera manufactures need to learn to evolve in this new economy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Solo Photography Exhibit at the Rok Bistro in Sunnyvale

I am pleased to announce a new solo exhibit at the Rok Bistro restaurant to highlight two new series of photographs: “Rockscapes in the Valley of Fire” and “Rock Textures in Point Lobos.” The display includes a selection of my award winning Yosemite images including my “Nature’s Firefall” image.

I created two new series for the Rok Bistro capturing the natural beauty of rock and “rockscapes” with their unique textures and colors in dramatic lighting and in some of the most beautiful locations. These are two of my favorite locations to shoot and visit – my goal was to capture images that reminded me of a place I wanted to be on a Friday afternoon. I have a selection of 16 images on display and for sale. The exhibit will run through 2009.

The Rok Bistro Restaurant is a new fondue and "Hot Stone" restaurant in downtown Sunnyvale at 124 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA

(Photograph above is Copyright PQ Photography)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sunnyvale Community Services benefit Auction

As some of you may know, I donate a portion of portion of my proceeds to Sunnyvale Community Services - an organzation here in Sunnyvale that provides food and assistance to people in need. It really is an amazing organization! They provide so much good in the community especially during hard economic times like these. I highly recommend you take a look at what they do or contribute to help yourself. Nancy Tivol is the director of the organization and has created a real model of success for a non-profit and voluteer based organization. Donating from proceeds from my artwork is a way that I can give back to my local community (and my real job employer, Symantec, matches my contributions!)

Sunnyvale Community Services held their annual auction Thursday night. It it a great event put on with many local community leaders and the Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce. This year I donated a framed photograph titled the "Last Images of the Grant Road Farm" that was auctioned off. That really brought back memories for many people who remembered the pumpkin farm and Christmas tree sales they would do there. It is truly one of the last farms in silicon valley.

Sunnyvale Community Services is starting up their Community Christmas Center to provide gifts and food for local folks for the holidays.

I am glad to be able to share my gifts and give back to the community in many ways.

A few additional awards from the Palo Alto Camera Club

Wednesday evening, we held the final photo competition for this year at the Palo Alto Camera club. We had prints and digital competition. Quite an array of images including many with fog in them! I guess the weather has been quite foggy in the morning.

I am always amazed at the array of images. I submitted 3 images and 1 took a second place award, 1 took a third place award and then the image my wife hated- got blasted by the judge (I was trying to be a little TOO creative). Taking risks and trying new things is part of the creative process! I will continue to push the edge and try new things... in the mean time.... I should have listened to my wife! I will listen to my wife. I will listen to my wife. I will listen to my wife :-) I should have seen it as fate when I caught my three year old drawing on my freshly printed image (the one my wife didn't like) that was sitting in our other room! Hmmm... did she put him up to it?!?! I will never know! I am just happy to have done so well with my other two images!

The two images I entered that placed were: 2nd place, Winter Storm over Mono Lake at Sunset that is at the top of the blog and I received a 3rd place award for one of my new images that is debuting at the Rok Bistro restaurant as a new image in my series "Rockscapes in the Valley of Fire" - "Sunset at Rainbow Vista in the Valley of Fire" .

It was a fun evening with quite a few amazing image - the Palo Alto Camera club has an AMAZING group of talent and strength of images - I am happy just to participate and share!
Enjoy! John

Friday, December 5, 2008

Art Exhibit at the Pacific Art League Gallery in Palo Alto this Month

This month the Pacific Art League Gallery is having a 'Portfolio' exhibition. I am displaying my "Nature's Firefall" framed 18x24" image and then have a selection of about 30 various matted prints. I have a variety of some of my favorite images including fall colors from Yosemite, Point Lobos, Big Sur, Grant Road Farm and some others.

There was an opening reception in Palo Alto tonight that I attended. That is truly my favorite part- meeting and talking to people about photography, capturing images and visiting fun places. It brings back great memories for me each time I recant a story. Whether it is vacationing with my wife, Mary, and the kids in Pajaro Dunes, or with the family in the dead of winter in Yosemite... it brings hapiness to me when I capture images from these fun locations. My new moto for images I take.... "I want to be THERE with a beer and a chair on a Friday afternoon." Let me know what you think and if that resonates with some of my images!

Cheers for tonight.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Last Day for Voting in the Aperture Nature Photography Workshop Contest

Thanks SO much for those of you who have taken the time to vote for my image in the Aperture Nature Photography Workshop. There are over 1200 images that have been submitted and I am excited to see that I am in the top 5 of the images!!! This is a judged competition so it will be up to the judges and NOT from vote spamming like some of the images have. I encourage you to view many of the other images and only vote for mine if you feel it is worthy of your vote!

To see all of the photos, you can click here and then there is a drop down menu in the top right corner (it says MOST RECENT) and change it to "MOST POPULAR." The "Nature's Firefall" image is in the top 5 depending on the voting!

Thanks again for your support and encouragement for my passion of photography!

Email me to find out about my first SOLO EXHIBIT at the Rok Bistro Restaurant which is featuring two new series of photographs!