Ian Kuhn Photography: Blog http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Ian Kuhn Photography ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Sun, 12 Nov 2017 13:24:00 GMT Sun, 12 Nov 2017 13:24:00 GMT http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/img/s/v-5/u1055614636-o747915818-50.jpg Ian Kuhn Photography: Blog http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog 96 120 Happy Veteran's Day http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2017/11/happy-veterans-day It is Veteran's Day Weekend, since Veteran's Day was yesterday and I don't think there's anyone out there that would begrudge us taking the whole weekend...especially since the Marine Corps Birthday was Friday.  As a Marine Corps Veteran these are days that are obviously near and dear to my heart.  And as usual, I ended up working.  

Don't get me wrong, I have no issue working on Veterans Day, I just find it infinitely amusing that my wife and son got off Friday for Veteran's Day and neither of whom have enlisted or are old enough to even do so...along with all the other kids in school who got off and are not yet old enough to even think about enlisting.

What made think to post today though is a post someone made on Facebook in one of the Veteran groups I belong to. The question was essentially, "When did it hit you that you were in boot camp." 

I have to honestly say that it was the Tuesday after Labor Day for me.  I had "Stepped on the yellow footprints" on August 10th, 1998, so as you can imagine I'd been there just under a month at that point.  We were in one of our classrooms and the topic of discussion was physics.  Specifically the physics of a bullet as it travels over time. 

Usually, when I think of physics I think of my buddies in High School, as I did again that day.  There was a Physics Club that they belonged to that every year would go to the local amusement park (Darien Lake way back in the day for those that are familiar with Western New York) and they would drop pennies from the rollercoasters and do the math on how long they would take to hit the ground from the various high points. 

The math I was learning was very similar, only instead of how long will a penny dropped from a 70' rollercoaster take to hit the ground, my math was how long will it take a bullet to travel 500 yards, and given the curve of the bullet how many clicks up do I need to adjust in order to hit my target.  Keep in mind that there was no question about what was meant by "target."  Sure we may have been getting ready to go to the rifle range at some point to shoot at paper targets, but those targets were painted to look like people.  They were painted to look like people because that was the point.  We were learning Physics to learn how to send a bullet 500 yards down range to kill a human being.  

When you're 17, and all of your friends literally just started school that same day and you're in your class setting learning how to kill people, even though you signed up to be a cook (or 3381 - Food Service Specialist), it is indeed a very sobering wake up call.  You have to remember that when they say, "Every Marine a rifleman" they mean it.  Every Marine is trained how to shoot, and to kill, in boot camp.  It doesn't matter what your Primary MOS is, if they need someone on the front line, and they look in your direction, you're going. 

So yes being a Marine means a lot to me, even after 15 years of being out of the service.  Even though I was, "just a cook," and even though I was fortunate enough to never have been in combat.  I knew going in that I could be sent at any time and not come home. 

So for everyone that signed up, and managed to come home I say, "Thank you for your service."  for those that didn't come home, either completely, or mentally, or physically intact, again I say, "Thank you for your service, and thank you for your sacrifice." 

Here’s health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we’ve fought for life

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) air army corps day force marine navy usmc veterans http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2017/11/happy-veterans-day Sun, 12 Nov 2017 13:23:40 GMT
New Things and Old http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2017/10/new-things-and-old This post is basically to let you all know that yes I am still alive.  Things have been very hectic over the last year, and to put it mildly it’s been a roller coaster ride.  There have been plenty of ups, and a few downs over the past year or so, and well, there’s a lot. 

On the upswing my wife and I did move into our own house.  Its funny how you never really realize how much stuff you have until it’s piled up in boxes in your living room.  My son has started second grade, my wife is teaching a class that she loves (So far, it’s still early in the school year, but she’s been far less stressed than she normally is this point in the year), and I am back serving as Receptionist at the Carolina Renaissance Festival, which as you all know is a place that I love with all my heart.

On the down side, things have gotten very political for us over the past year, and while I try to avoid talk of politics and religion, it’s rather difficult in this day and age.  As a veteran and a teacher we are very concerned about the our futures, and as a father, I see a LOT of hate in the world today, and I find myself trying to explain things to my son.  Even today I woke up to a mass shooting in Las Vegas, and I am at a loss for words. 

Where we moved we feel fairly safe.  The neighbors are friendly, my son has made friends with a little boy across the street, and I go to bed feeling mostly secure.  I still make sure all my doors are locked, but I don’t feel like I HAVE to sleep with a weapon within reach.

Right now I have a few irons in the fire and I’m hoping to work them into something spectacular, but that’s all I can really say about those for now.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2017/10/new-things-and-old Mon, 02 Oct 2017 16:17:45 GMT
I'm Back...ish http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2016/1/im-back-ish Hey folks!  Long time no see.  I apologize for that as I sit here and realize that it's been almost a year to the day since I last posted anything.  For those of you that kept up with me, despite the lack of update, believe me I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  This one is going to be an update rather than photography based (just like old times, right?), but I feel it's important. 

I don't know how often I'll be able to update this thing going forward.  I have been very busy, and I have been fluctuating between being so busy that I've barely been home and sitting in my house smacking myself in the head trying to think of ideas. 

The past year has been...important.  I ended up with a POS car, that at least still gets me from point A to point B.  My wife, son, and I have more than healed from the accident.  We were lucky to begin with.  No major injuries just very, very sore, for about a month or so.  (They never show that part in the movies and tv shows do they?  Bruce Willis crashes his car and he doesn't even flinch.  I couldn't close my hand flat for a month.  Trying to click the shutter hurt like a wicked...b....witch, and my wife's ribs were sore most of the Spring. 

I'm in the process of redoing my portfolio, and I found seasonal employment with a national company that has kept me VERY busy over the fall.  As in 60 hour weeks during the September.  Which is great.  You all know I love to work, it just meant that I wasn't available to do things like update the blog.  As much as I would love to post some of the photos from those shoots, I was just the trigger, they belong to the other company. 

For those that think I'm being evasive not mentioning what company it is...it's in an attempt to separate the various sections of my life.  As this is my blog, and I'm apt to say what's on my mind, I figure keeping the two worlds separate.  Let's just say I absolutely love working for this company, and after having dealt with some of their competition...I'm very glad I made the right choice in applying with the company I did.

My wife is starting to come around to my photography after a half dozen years.  We've been looking to buying a house in the not too distant future, and after looking at some of the photos my wife turned to me and sang my praises.  It was a good feeling.  Same thing after our little guy got his first school photos back.  Again, I won't name companies out of respect, but it was nice for my wife to turn to me and go..."I really should've had you do them...but they were his first school photos and..."

Anyway.  I'm going to try and update more often.  I know that has been difficult in the past, and I suspect that trend will continue as the shooting season starts to warm up and get heavier. 

Other than that, I hope everyone has been having fun so far in this brand new 2016.  And I look forward to seeing everyone over the course of the year.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Off-Topic Update http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2016/1/im-back-ish Wed, 27 Jan 2016 13:31:37 GMT
The Last Entry? http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2015/2/the-last-entry For those of you that follow me, you've probably noticed that I've been exceptionally quiet the last month or so.  I really don't know if this is the proper forum for this or not, but I figure it's my website, and I just need to get it out there.  Last month my family and I got into a car accident.  We're all okay, but the car is totaled.  As it is I'm waiting on the check from the insurance company to come in before I can get a new car.  Couple that with the fact that I have not been steadily employed since November, and I've learned something about myself.  In the past month I've barely left the house.  I haven't had a car, and even on the weekends my wife has practically had to drag me out of the house.  As it is I haven't even picked up my camera since the accident and it dawned on me. 

I'm depressed. 

I didn't think I was.  I have been very depressed before and compared to that, I've just been kind of bummed, or at least that's what I thought, but all the warning signs are there.  I have almost no interest in anything right now.  Don't get me wrong, I love my family, I love spending time with them, but aside from that I've been sitting on the couch looking for a job and watching Netflix.  I'm not scared to drive, although my wife will tell you that I'm still jumpy and paranoid, I just...don't want to go out.  It's just really feeling like being kicked in the gut when you're already down.  jobless for almost two months, and then the car getting totaled on top of it just...sucks.

With all that in mind, I'm debating shutting down the website.  It's not that I don't love it, or sharing my art with everyone, I'm just...tired.  Don't worry, I'm not suicidal or anything, but I do recognize the signs an symptoms, even if some are more subtle than others, and will be talking to my PCP about it in the very near future. 

I don't mention all of this for pity.  In fact I debated posting it at all, because I'm not normally one to just put it all out there, but like I said I just needed to get it off my chest. 

In good news after 3 months of being unemployed I did get called up to do some sub work, and once my background check clears I should be starting next week after orientation.  With any luck it'll be enough days during the week to help me get back on my feet.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2015/2/the-last-entry Fri, 13 Feb 2015 19:55:07 GMT
Happy New Years, 2015 http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/12/happy-new-years-2015 Just sending out a quick message to all of you to wish you a happy new year.  Here's hoping that 2015 will be even better than 2014.  I hope everyone had a great holiday season and I look forward to hearing/seeing all of you in the year to come.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/12/happy-new-years-2015 Thu, 01 Jan 2015 05:00:00 GMT
Pre-Christmas Update http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/12/pre-christmas-update This is just going to be another quick update.  As it's been a busy few weeks.  As it is I just realized I never actually updated last week, and for that I apologize.

  • After today it is officially too late to order cards by Christmas.  If you would like an order and can get it to me by end of business today it can still get there on time, but after close of business today...no more.
  • The promo shoot went well, despite it being a bit drizzly for the first half. Z and B and their troop are always fun to work with.
  • Despite being down one job since Festival is over I've been trying to stay busy with the photography.  Unfortunately, being down the steady paycheck a month before Christmas does put a damper on my mood, and I've been trying my hardest to not let it get to me.
ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Christmas Quick Update http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/12/pre-christmas-update Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:47:22 GMT
Quick Update http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/12/quick-update Just letting everyone know that I am still alive.  The time over the past few weeks has been a little wonky between the end of the Festival season and then Thanksgiving last week, and the holidays quickly approaching.  A few quick notes:


  • Its not too late to get your Christmas cards done.  In fact I have one week left before photos have to be submitted in order to be printed and here on time.
  • One of my friends and previous client asked me to do some video work for her tomorrow, and even though I don't normally do video, it's a project that I'm still happy to be a part of.
  • I also currently have plans to go to the Charlotte Comicon in a few weeks, with my wife and our little second shooter.  If you see me, don't hesitate to say hi. 

That's really it for this week, as I said, it was just a few quick updates.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Comicon Quick Update Video http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/12/quick-update Thu, 04 Dec 2014 14:41:49 GMT
Thanksgiving 2014 http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/11/thanksgiving-2014 Hi folks, me again.  I know it's been awhile and I apologize for that, but it's been a busy few weeks with especially with CRF ending this past week, and believe me, I appreciate your understanding.  (See last year's entry The Importance of Family for the full skinny on why this time of year mean's a lot to me.)

This year is always a mixed bag of emotions.  Happiness with spending time with my family, and the success of another season at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. Sorrow at the end of the season as I see the friends I've made both past and present leave once again. 

Every year, for just a few months, I get to be a part of something grand and huge, and I meet lots of interesting people from a variety of backgrounds, and I got to have new experiences.  For those that don't come to festival every year because they think it's the same every year, it's really only the same on the surface.  There's new acts from old friends (If you didn't get to see The Angels,  or The Castilles this year...I am so sorry, you missed out on two wonderful new shows from some of our local actors).  There are acts by fan favorites, folks that have been around awhile, some since the beginning such as Don Juan & Miguel (whom Boyo absolutely loves), Hey, Nunnie, Nunnie (whom the Boyo also loves and will gladly sing some of their songs for you), and some that even fly under the radar of most, but really shouldn't such as Hannibal the Liar (If you've not seen his show you have yet to be amazed) among others far too numerous to mention here. 

This year I got to have a blast.  I learned the HOW of juggling clubs during an offsite workshop put on by London Broil (Many thank again to Louie, Matt, & AJ).  I'm still working on it, and I'm not quite there yet, but I know how, which is the foundation...and they were all wonderful in working with all of us, so I'm getting there.  Louie even made me promise that by the time they come back next year, I'll have it down.  My wife doesn't know this yet, but I may be practicing at my step-sister's house later today if weather permits. 

I got to see the Almost Homeless Comedy Tour with some of the other Festival favorites at the Galway Hooker.  I also got to learn how some of these folks got together over the years.

The point in all of this, and I'm sorry I've meandered a bit, is that there a lot of people, every year.  I've met new people, made new friends, and seen old friends go. The festival isn't just about the shows, it's also about the camaraderie, and the family. 

I would just like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  Whether you're local, already far away, or even on the road traveling from this point to the next, Thank You.  Thank you all for everything you do.  The joy and happiness you bring to each other and to those that you meet along the way.  Whether we're able to say it in person or not, it is appreciated.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Carolina Renaissance Festival Family Off-Topic Thanks Thanksgiving http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/11/thanksgiving-2014 Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:07:04 GMT
Let it NO, Let it NO, Let it NO! http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/11/let-it-no-let-it-no-let-it-no By now I'm sure most if not all of you have heard about what's going on in Buffalo (also why the blog is a day late..I've been following my newsfeeds the last few days and lost track of what day it actually is).  For those that follow me regularly, you know that I'm originally from the land of Hot Wings and snow.  This weather is NOT typical.  Typically we'll get 8' in a year.  From what I understand based on my Facebook newsfeed, and the news, they got all 8' in less than 48 hours.  All joking aside it is scary to have that happen.  There's already been a handful of deaths related to the weather, and I'm sure once they get things cleared they'll find more based on the number of cars that were absolutely buried up there. A few roofs have already collapsed, and now the kicker.  They're expecting warmer temperatures and rain the next few days...which means that for as heavy as that snow already is, it's about to get heavier.  And as that snow starts to melt, all that water...well...it has to go somewhere. 

On the lighter side, most people are having a pretty good sense of humor about it.  My friend aka Trixi Firecracker has had her Instagram photos of her and her dad posted in various news outlets including Yahoo News, The Washington Post, and there was another one that I'm forgetting right now.  Her favorite hashtag?  #TellElsaToQuitIt. 

My dad is hunkered down with my step-mother and his Facebook feed, consists primarily of screenshots of Jack Nicholson in The Shining

I've had a few friends post photos from the middle of streets that normally traffic would be far too dangerous to get in the middle of.

Overall though, as much as part of me would love to be up there and experience it...I'm really glad I'm not.  The trailer we lived in wasn't all that great in the first place.  I can only imagine how cold it would be right now, not to mention how scared we would be of the roof collapsing.  Given that we have our son, who has only seen the few inches we got down here last year, other than the few feet we got when we still lived in NY when he was a baby.  I wouldn't want to put him through what they got up there this past week. 

Most of my friends are taking it in stride, as they are inclined to do.  I've seen Frozen references, White Wall/Game of Thrones references, The Shining. I do know however that as much as they are enjoying the unexpected time off...most of them are also silently ticking off the hours not worked and doing those calculations.  Then there are folks like my step-mother who gets stir crazy very easily, and I just received word that the roof where she works just collapsed.

What gets me, is that in some ways I feel like I never left.  When I wake up in the morning, I generally watch the weather report.  Since Tuesday I turn on the tv, and see a map of Buffalo, instead of Charlotte.  I listen to the radio on the way into the Festival...and I hear the Radio DJ's talking about the Bills Game, and the looting of the Doritos truck. 

The first day I was watching my Facebook Feed and listening to the news to the point that I didn't want to go outside and go out in to it.  I had to remind myself to open the window blinds and see that I wasn't buried in snow. 

For any of my friends back North who actually read this: Stay Safe, Stay Warm. 

For any of my followers down here: Stay Safe, Stay Warm...and be glad you don't have to shovel.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Buffalo Off-Topic Snow http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/11/let-it-no-let-it-no-let-it-no Sat, 22 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMT
It's Not Just For Knives http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/11/its-not-just-for-knives Sorry for the lack of post last week.  Things got busy what with Halloween and all.

I am a humbled man.  I know I've talked about my grandfather and being an NYIP student before.  One of my goals is to always learn something new.  I've often said, "Any day I don't learn something new is a waste of a day," and quite frankly, I just got schooled. 

For those that saw my last post, you know I took the Scott Kelby "Shoot Like a Pro Tour" Seminar last month, and wow did I learn something new.  I've often heard that you should always sharpen your photos, but up until I took that seminar I always looked at my photos straight out of the camera (SOOC) and thought, These look fine.  They're sharp, they're in focus...they're fine.  I don't need to sharpen them.  One of the things that Scott drilled into our heads was "Sharpen.  Always."  And after taking his seminar, I can honestly say that my photos have already gone from "Fine." to, "Wow!"  Some of the first photos I posted on the photography forum I belong to were even along the lines of color and crispness.  Sadly, until Scott Kelby showed me what I was missing by not sharpening in post, and WHY we should sharpen in post and HOW we should sharpen in post...I didn't know it.  I'm looking at photos that I thought were great before, and re-editing some of them, and I am absolutely floored by the differences.

Sometimes the differences are subtle, but it still gives it that extra bit of oomph.  For that I am eternally grateful.  This is why I always seek to improve myself in everything that I do and always try to keep an open mind.

That's all.  I know it's a short one.

Next week I'll be talking about the importance of paring down your photos.

Go on then, stumble on.

Oh yeah...and don't forget the Gaffer's Tape.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Scott Kelby Sharpening Tips http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/11/its-not-just-for-knives Thu, 06 Nov 2014 13:00:00 GMT
If You Flip Past Fast Enough...It's a Movie http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/10/if-you-flip-past-fast-enough-its-a-movie This week I'm going to discuss something that my uncle drilled into my head, and now that I've seen it elsewhere, I can honestly say "Thank You!" for doing so.  When I first started out, I used to post every photo to Facebook that wasn't blurry.  If you don't believe me, check out my some of my early stuff from the Buffalo Museum of Science on my personal Facebook page. The problem with doing that is that you then have a series of essentially the same photo, with only minor differences.  They may be all excellent shots of their own accord, but you don't need or want to see 12 shots of the same Velociraptor skeleton from about 10° difference. Sure they're all in sharp focus, maybe I played with the aperture a little bit to get a shallow Depth of Field, or a deep Depth of Field, but essentially, They. Are. All. The. Same.

My uncle saw that album, and basically chewed me out in his way for doing it, and I don't blame him.  If I, as the photographer that took the photos, am getting bored going through the album, when I know and can pick out every nuance of the "different" shots...imagine how someone looking at my gallery must feel where they may not necessarily be able to pick out all those minute differences. 

This sentiment of paring everything down and showing only your best was reiterated to me last Friday during the Scott Kelby "Shoot Like a Pro Tour" seminar.

Sometimes it's very difficult not to do it too, the biggest scenarios I can think of are things like the Museum, or events like the Renaissance Festival.  At the museum I had an hour lunch...every day...with nowhere to go.  So I'd eat my bagged lunch in about 10 minutes, then wander the museum for about 45 with my camera before heading back to my desk.  So when you spend roughly 225 minutes (3 hours and 45 minutes) a week in a place that (at the time) doesn't change a whole lot...or at all save for one or two traveling exhibits at a time...that's roughly 187.5 hours a year. (For those following the math, 45 minutes x 5 for one week, which is 225.  225 x 50 weeks (figure 52 weeks in a year, minus holidays and vacation time) = 11250 minutes / 60 minutes in an hour = 187.5...whew), Anyway, that's 187.5 hours a year...in a place that most people don't spend more than 3 hours in total.  From that timeframe subtract the exhibits that don't allow photography at all, and well...you have a lot of photos, of the same exhibits, day after day, week after week.  I probably catalogued every exhibit piece in that museum that I was allowed...a couple of times.  In fact at one point I had made it my goal to do just that, just so I didn't shoot the same things twice. 

Special Events, or events like the Renaissance Festival can pose a similar problem.  If you follow my Facebook Page or on Twitter then you'll often see a post with something to the effect of "Just edited down 578 photos to 57."  This doesn't mean that I took 521 photos that were bad and only 57 came out nice due to divine luck.  It means that I have gone through those 578 shots and found 57 that passed all the tests, and are unique enough to not get culled.  As I mentioned in a previous post, Narrowing Down Your Shots, I use the method described by photographer Steve Simon, and will eliminate similar shots in the 2nd or 3rd step before posting them online. 

By the way, the 2nd and 3rd steps, are where my wife really hates being a photographer's wife.  I'll show her my screen with two similar images side by side and play "optometrist" with her.  "Honey, left or right?" If I'm lucky she'll choose one.  If I'm not she'll say, "I like the left one because of X, but I like the right one because of Y." If she's unlucky, I have another similar image, and will continue the game until I'm down to one image of that particular subject.

Quite often she'll look at me and say, "They're both good, just post both."  For the most part I refuse to do this if there are only minor differences, for the very reasons mentioned above. 

As someone who gets to wander the festival site with camera in tow, there are many, many times that I've taken multiple shots of something, whether it's the joust, or Don Juan & Miguel, or an interesting patron. Of course I'm not the only one with a camera, and I often see other albums of the festival.  Fairly often I start looking through an album and I will see that out of 700+ photos, I see what I would've narrowed down to about 70 unique shots. 

Now, I don't say this to be negative.  I'm a firm believer in "to each their own," and as I said previously, I would've narrowed down the shots more, but I definitely think narrowing down your shots is a good idea, and I thank my uncle profusely for hammering that into my head.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Albums Excess Narrow Scott Kelby Shots Steve Simon http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/10/if-you-flip-past-fast-enough-its-a-movie Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:00:00 GMT
Scott Kelby Week http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/10/scott-kelby-week This week has been a busy one.  It was ¡Fiesta Renaissance! Weekend at the Carolina Renaissance Festival this past weekend although I was in Uptown Charlotte as part of the World Wide Photo Walk which is put on by Scott Kelby every year.  This was the 7th year that he has organized this, but only the first year I was able to partake as I typically end up having to work the weekend it takes place.  According to the official website (http://kelbyone.com/photowalk/) there were 1,052 cities participating with 20,057 participating photographers from all walks of life.  Definitely check the website linked above for more information on what the World Wide Photo Walk is and how benefits the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya, because I can not do it justice here.  Ours was led by Lisa Crates, another NYIP alum, who led a fantastic walk and was a delight to meet.

Tomorrow (Friday, October 17th) I will be getting the chance to meet the man himself as Scott Kelby is coming to Charlotte as part of his "Shoot Like a Pro Tour" (http://kelbyone.com/live/event/141260/).  For those of you that are unfamiliar with Scott Kelby, he has written numerous books on digital photography, runs KelbyOne, which has many various trainings or photographers, and runs "The Grid," a live podcast every Wednesday at 4 pm (and available to watch on the web after).  I haven't gotten the chance to take part in his seminars yet, but just from talking to a few other people that are going, I simply can't wait. 

Chances are if you've seen photos of a Bucaneers home game, you've probably seen some of Scott's stuff.  He's a phenomenal photographer, and just from what I've learned by catching "Reruns" of "The Grid" I am beyond exited for this seminar.

Catch you all next week.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Scott Kelby Shoot Like a Pro Tour WWPW2014 World Wide Photo Walk http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/10/scott-kelby-week Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:00:00 GMT
Picture vs. Photograph http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/10/picture-vs-photograph If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what is a photograph worth?  I recently saw an argument on Facebook about the upcoming "Nikon Photo Contest" with a blurb asking followers if they think smartphone photos should be allowed.  The comments seemed pretty split down the middle between "cameras only" and "it's the skill of the photographer, not the gear."  To be fair most of the "camera only people" were actually saying, and I agree with this sentiment, "If it's a Nikon photo contest, then the gear used to take the photo should be Nikon, otherwise it's just a photo competition sponsored by Nikon.  That's fine in it's own right, but not what the blurb stated it was.

For those that have been following me, you know that typically I feel it's about the photographer, and not the gear, but this got me thinking though, "What is the difference between a picture and a photograph?"

To me a picture is just that a picture.  Someone held up the camera, smartphone, pinhole box, etc., pressed the shutter, light entered in, exposed the film, or digital sensor and it is what it is.  That is a picture.  It could be a landscape, it could be a portrait, it could be top secret documents, I don't care.  It's a brief moment captured in time and that's all that it is.  It may be pretty, it may not, it just...is.

A photograph on the other hand, especially in terms of competition, would be the same as a picture only with a few extras.  A photograph should have certain elements.  It should follow the rule of thirds, not have overly blown out highlights, too dark shadows, good contrast, good color, a solid subject, proper lighting, great composition, leading lines, sharp and in focus, etc.  Now, it may follow some or all of these, and completely ignore others.  Part of my job as a photographer is to be able to know how to utilize these various rules, and when to ignore these various rules. The photograph itself should be able defend these rules, or the ignoring of these rules, without me standing next to the photo saying, "Well...I did X, because of Y." 

As a photographer, I can take a well exposed, in focus shot of a person, place, or thing with my smartphone, or with my Nikon.  I know how to compose, use the light available to me and take the shot.  I've seen other well known photographers use smartphones similarly and take extraordinary photos with them.  We know the limitations of our gear and can work with it or around it as we see fit. 

On the flip side of that coin, I've seen people with $2,000 cameras that have no clue what it is they have in their hands, and have no desire to learn.  The have a camera, and can take pictures. They will leave their camera in Auto, press the shutter, and the camera will do all the work.  Some of the photos might be good...Hell's Fire, some of them might even be great, but it's the camera doing all the work, not the picture taker.

Now please, please, don't feel that I'm knocking amateur photographers.  I'm not.  We all had to start and learn somewhere.  As you'll note I specifically said "...and have no desire to learn."  There is a huge difference in my book.  I'm not even belittling Auto mode.  It's there for a reason and has it's uses.  Part of the way I made the transition from point and shoot to DSLR was to put my camera in Auto or Scene mode, see what the settings were, and then mimic the setting in Manual, and then adjust as I saw fit.

I would set my camera to whatever scene mode I was going for, (since I picked up my DSLR when I was still working for the Buffalo Museum of Science, we'll use that as an example) and I would snap the picture...and it would be a picture as I wasn't worried about the finer points of photography, I just wanted to see what the camera could and couldn't do, and what it thought the settings should be.  I would check the settings it chose, especially the Photographer's Triangle of F-Stop, ISO, and Shutter Speed, and I would replicate it in Manual mode. 

Then I would adjust things as I saw fit.  I'd stop down the f-stop which would open the shutter, which meant that I would have to slow the speed and/or lower the ISO to compensate (I think I have that in the right order...it's much easier when I have my camera in my hand). 

For example, there's a native Incan headdress that caught my attention, but I don't want the exhibit behind it to be sharp and clear in the photo.  In Auto Mode let's say that the settings my camera chose were f/8 at 1/100 sec and at ISO 400.  I would set these settings into Manual mode once and retake the photo.  In theory it should come out exactly as the Auto mode photo did.  Which would likely have a clear background.  I don't want that.  I like a shallow Depth-of-Field, so I'm going to stop down my f/stop to f/4 (the minimum for my kit lens.  At f/4 it opens up the aperture 4x as wide as it was at f/8, otherwise known as 2 stops.  (f/8 --> f/5.6 would let in twice as much light, f/5.6 --> f/4 would let in twice as much again.).  If I were to shoot at f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO 400 the photo would then become VERY BRIGHT.  To compensate I'd have to either change my shutter speed so that the speed is faster (so double twice so we've now gone from 1/100th sec to 1/400th sec), lower my ISO to allow for more light to hit the sensor, (lowering it from 400 to 100), or some combination thereof.  Since I had the time when I was wondering the museum on my lunch breaks, I would often play with all three just to see how they interacted with each other.  In the scenario above I would've gone with the f/4 at 1/400th of a second and left the ISO at 400.  this would've allowed for a nice fast shutter speed, a blurred depth of field behind the mask, and the ISO would have been more than sufficient. The result would be a lower Depth of Field that I was happy with.  I would take the photograph. 

I hope I have explained the difference between a picture and a photograph sufficiently in this brief snippet.  As always if you have any questions, or need clarifications, please, by all means leave your question in the comments below, or feel free to email them to me at: ian@iankuhnphotography.com

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Explanation Photograph Photographer's Triangle Picture Tutorial http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/10/picture-vs-photograph Thu, 09 Oct 2014 12:00:00 GMT
A Return to Festival http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/10/a-return-to-festival In two days the Carolina Renaissance Festival starts it's 21st Season, and quite frankly I am excited.  My first job after moving to North Carolina from Buffalo was as the Receptionist there and I love it.  I love the people I work with there, I loved that it was a seasonal position so it gave me time to do things like focus on my photography during the off season, and I love that I'm able to combine so many of my strengths and backgrounds into one job.  I graduated with my Bachelor's in History, and very few jobs actually utilize it.  There I get to.  During Festival days, I'd usually get to "go play" depending on how busy the phones were.  I'd take the time to photograph the various acts, and patrons as things caught my eye.  Being there week after week gives me the time that if I catch one part of an act that I want to get a photo of but missed the shot or an alternate angle (such as with the Falconry show), I have the opportunity to get it next time, and that's not something that happens with most event style photography.

This year my position changed, so depending on how much I'm needed I may be seen on site even more.  Keep in mind that when I am on site with my camera, I in no way am affiliated with the festival...usually.  With few exceptions I am off duty, and am simply just not going home, typically the Boyo and the Wifeling are with me (with their tickets), also enjoying the various entertainments the Festival offers.

One of the reasons we have gone to the Festival every year, and this started long before I worked down here...we used to go to the one in Sterling, NY every year with a large group, is to see the actors in their costumes, to enjoy the various stage acts, (if you're an English Major, which many of my friends are, check out Zilch the Torysteller...), and to generally have a good time. 

Every year I set goals for myself.  Some are more easily obtainable than others.  The first year I made it my goal to get at least one decent photo of every act.  I figured 20+ acts, spread out across 14 days shouldn't be completely undoable.  I think I got all but a few.

Last year it was to get the few acts I missed and to get more of the various themed costume contests, and patrons, which I think I was successful at. 

I haven't set too many new goals yet this year, but one of them is to get shots of some of the new acts premiering this year, either as stage acts or as Artistes du jour (I'm looking at you Angels and Castilles).  All in all I think it will be another wonderful Festival season.

Given that the Festival runs from this weekend which is the 4th, until November 23rd, I don't know how much I'll be able to post weekly.  It is definitely my goal to stay on top of things and post weekly as I have been, but I know that it is not always possible with the crazy work schedule Festival entails.  Especially as I know it can be difficult getting BACK into it after Festival is over.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Carolina New Acts Renaissance Festival update http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/10/a-return-to-festival Thu, 02 Oct 2014 12:00:00 GMT
Christmas is Coming http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/9/christmas-is-coming I know it’s a scary thought, and I am one that doesn’t like to see Christmas crowding in on Halloween and Thanksgiving, but it IS just around the corner.  We’re only a season away.  As usual things will be busy for me in October and November with the Carolina Renaissance Festival (Huzzah!), but I still have availability for scheduled shoots.

I have not heard back from the printers yet as to what the cutoff date to have photos returned in time for Christmas is yet, but that’s a good thing…that means that there’s still plenty of time.  If I recall correctly last year the cut off was early December.   So whether you want a family photo package to give to Grandma, or want to get your Christmas cards ready to send out in time for the holidays, start booking now. 

I got our Christmas photos done as cards last year to be sent out and they looked wonderful.  I actually had a hard time choosing which template I wanted to use because they were all good.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Christmas Deals Specials http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/9/christmas-is-coming Thu, 25 Sep 2014 12:00:00 GMT
Senior Portraits http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/9/senior-portraits I realize that it’s a bit late in the season for this, but it’s still something that I’ve been thinking about and would like to share.  I had a potential client ask me back in July if I could do her daughter’s Senior Photos, to which I of course readily agreed.  We had agreed to meet up in mid September to do the shoot, only to have her contact me in late August and tell me that her school has dictated that they can’t have outside photos for senior portraits.  The students have to have their portraits done by the school photographers.  Now the silver lining to this is that the client loves my work in general and wants me to do “Senior” portraits anyway for her own purchase. 

This is actually freeing up our time as we both work for the Festival, and doing the shoot was going to be a tight for both of us time wise in the first place, so now we can take our time a bit.  All this got me thinking.  If there are any other parents out there in the same boat I will gladly do portraits for you anyway.  

Now, part of me can see the logic behind this as it allows for greater control and continuity between photos, but it should be about the expression of the students.  These are young adults who, like it or not, are capable of making their own decisions, or by this point in their lives, should be.  They are between 17 to 19 years old typically, old enough to vote, hold a job, buy cigarettes, or even enlist in the military.  I’m all for having guidelines that they have to adhere to with the final decision being made by the school, but the seniors should have their choice.

If the school says, Senior Portraits must not have anything that may be deemed vulgar in them, I am okay with that.  No swear words on their shirts, not hand signs of any kind, sure thing.  I can even work with guidelines such as “nothing provocative.”  I always love that statement because let’s face it, what one person finds provocative another person won’t think twice about.  Even then one dress may fit one person one way, and fit another person completely differently.  What is provocative?  A bare shoulder?  A tight dress? Cleavage? How much cleavage is too much?  Perhaps we should go Victorian, and say “no ankles?”

Again, this isn’t meant to be against school policy, but if a school gave their students guidelines and said, make sure, X, Y, and Z are showing (or not showing as the case may be), then it we should rely on the Senior to be a responsible human being and follow those guidelines.  If they don’t, then the school withholds the right to not publish the photos. 

Everything has a price.  If a student is treated like a responsible adult, and does not follow the guidelines given, then they deserve to not have their photos published.  However, if a student is given *gasp* responsibility, and they show that they are capable of being responsible adults, then they should be rewarded by having the photo of their choice in their yearbook, rather than being stuffed into a mold that they may or may not fit.

This is going to go off on a slight tangent here about age and responsibility.  Back when I first started working at the Museum of Science I was working for Admissions/Retail, and we had a few very simple rules we were supposed to follow, sent down from the CEO. 


1) Don’t sit down on the job (unless of course you had a medical need for a stool/chair). 

2) Don’t use your phone. 

3) Don’t use the computers for personal use (i.e. go  on facebook)


That’s it.  Those were the three big rules.  At the time, I had quit smoking, gained an enormous amount of weight, and the arthritis in my knee was acting up to the point that I often used a cane.  I refused to sit down.  It wasn’t that bad, and I could manage.  We had this “kid” working with us however that would constantly sit down and play on his phone. 

Every day I’d remind him of the rule, and every day I’d get ignored, or he’d outright break the rule. (I remember one time the Manager on duty had taken the stool that was there and had put it away.  As soon as she walked out the door this kid went over, grabbed the stool and brought it back). Then one day this kid went and complained to our manager (whose opinion was vocally, “I don’t care what the CEO says, as long as he doesn’t see you do it, I don’t care what you do.)  My manager pulled me aside and asked me what was up.  When I explained the rule breaks to him, he shrugged, and told me, “He’s only 18.  He just graduated High School.  Think of where you were at that age.”

My response?  “He’s 18.  He is an adult.  When I graduated high school I was 17.  By 18 I had been in the Marine Corps for more than a year where I learned things like how to take orders, and follow instructions.  By 18 I learned how to follow directions as if my life depended on it, because it very well could.  I was learning how not to get shot, and how to return fire at 18.”  Now I realize that there is a HUGE difference between not sitting on the job, vs. how to sweep an area, but the point is, he was an adult.  If he had committed a crime the judge would not look at him and say, “Well…since you just graduated…” 

Now, I realize I’ve gotten somewhat off topic, but please understand what it is that I mean by treating 18 year olds like adults.  I know it can be a scary concept, and with each passing year I find the concept scarier and scarier…As it is, for me, 17 was half a lifetime ago…

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Portraits Regulations Rules Senior http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/9/senior-portraits Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:00:00 GMT
Why Would You Do That? http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/9/why-would-you-do-that One of the things it seems that I've been stumbling on the internet lately is one of the debates that many photographers face.  "Why do photographers watermark their photos?"  Let me start by saying that not all photographers do, and opinions vary wildly on whether or not we should or not, and if we do, where and how to watermark.  This stems from a couple of factors, especially in this digital age.  I'll start with the anti-watermarking argument and work my way up. 

Typical photo that is unwatermarked. UnmarkedTypical photo that is unwatermarked. Last I knew, my uncle fell into this category.  His opinion, and there are many like him.  Is that it's ugly and detracts from the picture.  If you don't want your picture stolen, it's simple...don't put it on the internet.  (In light of recent events concerning celebrities...I'm half inclined to agree with this.) The overall argument for this line of thinking is that if it's on the internet it will be stolen/used without permission and there's little to nothing that can be done about it.

Yes, everyone knows that you got this photo off of a website, and who the photographer was, but it can also impact the photo negatively. ZOMG WatermarkYes, everyone knows that you got this photo off of a website, and who the photographer was, but it can also impact the photo negatively. The second group is the "You Shall Not Steal!" group.  These are the photographers that will plaster their copyright or "PROOF" over the middle of the photograph as large as it can be so that no one WANTS to steal it, or if someone does it is glaringly obvious.  It's almost like public shaming, except most of the people that share photos like this without crediting the photographer, in my opinion, are generally to apathetic to be shamed by it in the first place. 

This watermark is like the Nike Swoosh...it's there, but it's not right over her face. Oh...that guy!This watermark is like the Nike Swoosh...it's there, but it's not right over her face. The third group is the group I fall into.  We will post our watermark or copyright on a photo, but try to do it in a way that is unobtrusive to the photo itself.  It is a way of branding.  This way people know who the photo came from.  Most of us, and I only claim to speak for myself here, basically feel that photos will be shared, with or without permission.  At least if it's shared someone, somewhere might just care who took the photo and where to find that information.  They may even *gasp* want to purchase another photo. 

Given the number of events that I do that are out of my own pocket and I don't get paid for them, I like the idea of the free advertising.  When I go to the Bike Nights on Thursdays no one is paying me to be there, but if a biker likes the photo of his bike he can share it.  Maybe his buddy needs a photographer for something, I don't know.  Hell, maybe when his buddy sees me taking a pic of his bike he'll be less apt to ask me what I'm doing.  This doesn't just happen with photographs either, think about when you drive down the street in your neighborhood.  If someone has had work on their house done, what do you see?  You see lawn signs for Acme Roofing and Siding, or John Doe & Sons Asphalt company.  It's free advertisement for them.  And you've already paid for their services.  Let's face it, if your mechanic was willing to give you free oil changes and all you had to do was put a bumper sticker on your car with his information, wouldn't you do it?  I would. 

Photos get stolen.  In that the first group of thinkers is absolutely correct.  If it's on the internet, it will get stolen/used without permission.  Putting a brand on it will not stop it, but it will at least let people know where it came from.  Me, I want my logo out there.  I want people to know me and where to find me.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Brand Opinions Photographer's Rights Pros and Cons Watermark http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/9/why-would-you-do-that Thu, 04 Sep 2014 12:00:00 GMT
A Few Quick Updates and then Bike Nights http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/8/a-few-quick-updates-and-then-bike-nights First of all, I know I said that I would try to post more frequently again since my long absence, and then I went and left for a few weeks for the wedding instead of the ONE week I was planning on.  For that I apologize. 

Next are some quick updates.  A lot has changed over the last few months.  I quit the tech support gig, I loved the people I worked with, but the hours were not steady and there were a lot of things that I was told going in that didn’t turn out to be the case once I was firmly implanted.  So for my own sanity, it was time to leave.

I’m back at CRF (which I love) and my job has changed from Seasonal Receptionist to Seasonal Marketing Assistant, which was unexpected, but welcome. 

Since my hours are much steadier once again I have decided to start going to Bike Nights again.  I love going to Bike Nights.  Even though I don’t ride myself, my dad has ridden for as long as I can remember, and Bike Nights are an awesome time to meet some very interesting people, and that list isn’t even kept to the bikers.  Last night I sat next to a gentleman who worked for Xerox, and one of my bartenders was originally from Rochester, NY. 

The bikes themselves are the real reason I love to go to Bike Nights.  Although I didn’t see a lot of it last night, usually there are a lot of nice, custom bikes at Bike Night.  Most bikers love showing you their bike, especially if it’s a custom job.  My dad even has a tattoo of the cover art for The Grateful Dead’s Cats Under the Stars, which matches the paint job on his gas tank. 

I think my favorite one from last night was the blue chopper shown here.

Ian Kuhn Photography: Bike Nights 2014 &emdash; Blue Chopper III

As soon as I saw him riding in on that one, I knew I had to get a shot. 

Anyway, I think that’s all for this week.  Hope to see everyone soon.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Bike Nights http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/8/a-few-quick-updates-and-then-bike-nights Fri, 01 Aug 2014 02:00:00 GMT
No Update This Week http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/7/no-update-this-week Sorry folks,

I know I only recently got back into posting weekly, but I'm getting married today, so no update this week.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Announcement Off-Topic http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/7/no-update-this-week Thu, 03 Jul 2014 03:41:54 GMT
Keep Calm and Stay Cool http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/6/keep-calm-and-stay-cool It is that time of year again, and this is a post I’ve had in the back of my noggin’ for some time but just haven’t written down until now.  As much as the technical part of photography is important, it’s also important to remember the professional side.

Part of the professional side is to dress the part.  As many of you know during the spring months I work for Grad Images doing graduation photography throughout North Carolina.  Just like any other business there is a dress code.  We have to dress professionally.  That means dark suit and tie for the gentlemen and a dark outfit for the ladies.  During the spring it gets warm in North Carolina.  Some graduations are indoors and some are outdoors. 

The indoor ceremonies can still get extremely hot.  When you’re in a coliseum with literally thousands of people, and you’re under hot lights waiting for graduates to cross the stage, it can get really warm.  The outdoor ceremonies…well if we’re lucky they’re under a tent that will at least deflect some of the heat.

Given that we’ve officially started summer this past week, and June and July are popular months for weddings I figured I’d talk about staying cool while staying professional.  Given that my own wedding to my long time fiancée (often referred to here as “wifeling” because we’re not yet married, but she’s far more than a fiancée to me) is next week, and that I just passed an article about  the professionalism of photographers from the viewpoint of a wedding planner in a HuffPost article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sandy-malone/5-cardinal-sins-committed_b_5435815.html), I figured I’d throw my two cents in. 

Professionalism is always important, and part of that is looking the part.  As I mentioned before with Grad Images we have to be in suit and tie at all times when we’re at a graduation.  Weddings are very similar.  For weddings and other large events it is a very similar concept.  While I personally don’t believe you need to be in a suit and tie all the time at a wedding or special event, it mostly depends on the level of wedding/event, but you should always blend in if not be better dressed than the event itself. 

For example, our wedding is going to be extremely informal.  We have both been married previously, and feel that this is more of a picnic with friends that happens to have a wedding taking place more so than an outdoor wedding.  I, as the groom, will be in slacks and a polo, or short sleeve dress shirt, no tie.  She’ll be wearing a sundress.  Shame on me, but we’re not going to have a photographer there, but if we did, we’d expect him to dress similarly.  I don’t want the poor person dying out there while we’re all staying (relatively) cool.  However, if it were me, I’d probably wear a light shirt and tie. 

Again, we should always blend into the background.  The Huffpost article mentions a photographer who wore bright orange shorts which were visible in every shot just about from guests at the wedding.  You should never be spotted.

I did a few events for the Buffalo Museum of Science while we lived in Buffalo and I was working there, and I also have done events down here.  Fundraiser?  Shirt and tie.  The exception to that was one of the Buffalo Museum of Science events I did I wore my museum polo, but that’s because that is what every BMS employee was told to wear for that event. 

For the Evening with the Alexanders event I did at the Charlotte Museum of History, I was given a shirt by event coordinator.  Again, that’s what I wore because that’s what made me blend in. 

As I said though a lot of this comes down to wearing clothes that more or less make you really warm, if not downright hot.  What follows are a few simple things you can do to stay cool, while still staying professional. 

Many of these tricks I actually learned as a patron of various Renaissance Festivals.  (Typically either Sterling Renaissance Festival, in Sterling, NY, or the Carolina Renaissance Festival down here in Huntersville, NC).

  • Stay hydrated.  Drink water, and lots of it, drink it every chance you get.  Come graduation season I keep a case of water in my trunk. It can get really warm, but warm/hot water is better than no water.
  • Stay calibrated.  What I mean by this is maintaining your body’s electrolyte levels.  At the Renaissance Festivals, that typically means eating a pickle.  Wedding or special event, eat something salty…then drink lots of water.
  • If you find yourself getting too warm and possibly overheating, find a bathroom and run cool water over your wrists.  It’s one of the tricks I learned as a festival goer in Sterling.  Running cool water over your wrists will help bring down your core temp and get you back to normalcy. If you’re able to, and it won’t mess up what you’re wearing, you can also put a cool, damp paper towel on the back of your neck and that will help cool you off as well.

I realize that some of these are not always an option.  When you’re doing a graduation, or a wedding you need to do as much to keep cool before the ceremony begins and just bear through it during the ceremony itself.  Special events where you’re wandering is a little bit easier.  The plus side is that most graduations or weddings, the ceremonies themselves don’t last much more than an hour typically so if you can do what you can beforehand you should be good to go.  When you’re at a reception you still need to be mindful of the time, especially because (most) wedding receptions will still have a schedule. There’s typically, the cake cutting, the first dance(s), garter & bouquet toss…not a lot of time to use the bathroom and cool off, but if you take the opportunities when you’re able, you should be fine. 

Remember folks...


Keep Calm, and Stay Cool.

ian@iankuhnphotography.com (Ian Kuhn Photography) Dehydration Events Overheating http://www.iankuhnphotography.com/blog/2014/6/keep-calm-and-stay-cool Thu, 26 Jun 2014 10:13:09 GMT