Category Archives: Motivation

A Photographic Moment | The Bridges of Preble County Ohio

Discussing the regaining of creative momentum, positive energy, covered bridges and the Canon 5DS. I also mention my two upcoming workshops – “Find Your Creative Zone” on Saturday, August 27 2016 at Cox Arboretum and the “Shoot the Stars/Night Sky” workshop on November 4-5 at The Inn at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills, Ohio.

A Photographic Moment | The Bridges of Preble County from Jim Crotty on Vimeo.

Awesomeness : Looking Through the Lens of Kindness | Measured in Moments

2013 Christmas Challenge: Day #13…Looking Through the Lens of Kindness | Measured in Moments.

It was incredibly rewarding to once again participate in Help Portrait Dayton. It was something I missed after moving away in 2011. I am very thankful for the opportunity to jump back into this great event of donating professional portrait photography to those who normally wouldn’t be able to afford it. In December 2010 Help Portrait Dayton provided a full day of portrait photography and prints to families of military personnel based at Wright Patterson AFB. This year the event was held at the Church on Third Street in East Dayton. It’s a blast to come together with other pro photographers and volunteers and to brighten the faces and holiday of many families in our community. Thank you Kelly Maroney @ http://kellymaroney.wordpress.com/ for the great behind-the-scenes shots and blog article.

The Photographer’s Journey | Deeper and Higher

There’s an article that popped-up on my web browsing radar this morning (I gave up on TV news long ago) that tells the sad story of Canon Inc. cutting their annual profit forecast due to declining sales in the face of the rise popularity and capabilities of “smartphone” cameras. From the perspective of a professional photographer this would at first appear to be sad news with the assumption that everyone with a camera phone now can do just about everything a pro could do with a DSLR and several lenses.

True there’s some impressive imagery coming from shooters just using an iPhone. The new apps are amazing. Personally I’ve been having a ball with my iPhone 4S, Snapseed and Instagram . . . but . . . my iPhone won’t be replacing my DSLRs with those nice lenses. And it’s not a matter of greater technical capabilities of the equipment. It’s more of a case of making the most of the tools that are at my disposal.

The paintbrush and canvas don’t define the artist. The pen and computer do not represent the soul of the writer. What is more important is what is achieved with the tools available in representing in visual work how and why the photographer interacts with life and light around him or her and more significantly, if that work touches and moves the viewer – even if just one person – in a way that is affirmation in the positive and heartfelt.

It’s the connection that matters and from my experience it must be a connection that is honest, respectful and reflective of a gracious nature. Can that happen with a pic from an iPhone ? Sure can. Not often, but it does happen. One of the images posted with this entry – below – was snapped with my iPhone. Is it an award-winner ? Maybe.

Camera manufacturers adapt to the changing market. New, easier to use cameras come out to meet market demand. “Smartphones” get smarter. People shoot away. It’s all good. It’s all fun and once in a while very creative and inspiring. The one consistent will always be the grace and beauty found in the balance of light and subject and that hard-to-explain reason why we are all pulled toward artistic expression through the visual interpretation of our life experiences.

Sometimes I fight the urge to get a bit perturbed at the fact that the one thing I was (and hopefully still am) good at – photography – has now become so mass produced, mass marketed and mass consumed that I worry that I will be lost in the crowd, insignificant and meaningless. But in spite of all the noise and mass image snapping out there, the sense of accomplishment still remains when I touch and move just one viewer in a positive way.

It’s not about the gear. It’s not about the apps. And honestly it’s not about me. It’s about what I can accomplish by allowing my time, talents and tools to be used as vessels for reaffirming the blessings all around us and encouraging others to do the same. It’s about gaining the greater wealth when letting flow and letting go and to connect deeper and higher, in the sacred honesty of love, light and life.

The nice equipment and accolades are temporary. The connection is forever.

NovemberWhentheLightEchoesbyJimCrottyFW Photo Oct 08, 7 35 26 PM ThreeMapleLeavesEarlyOctoberbyJimCrottyFW November Morning by Jim Crotty ToSetAglowbyJimCrottyFW

 

The Power of Three | Composites for Impact

One of the tools I use for gaining hits, “likes” and reach on social media is creating and posting composites of my photographs, usually grouped by similar theme, location or subject. I’ve discovered that when done properly, and with a thoughtful sentence or two, “likes” and visibility can increase dramatically. Plus I just enjoy the process of sharing and inspiring.

As with composing a single landscape or nature image I choose to emphasize groupings of three. Three is a powerful number. Look around your everyday environment and you will be surprised just how often it appears, particularly when it comes to architectural design, landscaping and visual art.

Aesthetics aside, for me there is both a spiritual and a restorative essence in three. I do my best to convey that personal meaning in both the images I capture and in the postings I share. I don’t come out and say the reason I do it. I just simply do it and I prefer to leave that little bit of mystery for the viewer to discover and speculate as to my reason why.

Art should never be reduced to something that becomes so homogenous that it becomes impossible to discern the work of one photographer from another. The work should always hold true to serving as the honest visual representation of what moves the artist to create in the first place. That takes courage, particularly in the age of instant sharing and the implied social pressure of social media approval.

The power of three resonates deeply with me and I don’t try to hide that fact in what I compose with my camera and how I share it online. Composition, arrangement and presentation. Look closely and you will see hints at something so much more than an attractive landscape. There are stories here, stories of heart, soul and spirit.

Moonlight and the soft light of dusk have a way of revealing what is hidden behind fortressed walls. The path to the ramparts is made clear. And in the victory the treasure won conquers the conqueror. Locations include Highland Lake Inn, NC; Hilton Head Island SC; Hocking Hills State Park, OH
Moonlight and the soft light of dusk have a way of revealing what is hidden behind fortressed walls. The path to the ramparts is made clear. And in the victory the treasure won conquers the conqueror.
Locations include Highland Lake Inn, NC; Hilton Head Island SC; Hocking Hills State Park, OH

Three Always Three

SweetSurrenderbyJimCrotty

Spirituality Always Breaks Through | Paul Simon’s Search for God

The Rabbit Room — Paul Simon’s Search for God.

The Rabbit Room has become my favorite blog for both artistic and spiritual inspiration. Yes, it’s Christian-based.

It blows me away how in just about every art form and with every artist spirituality eventually always breaks through in one form and way or the other.

Funny how that happens.

I gave up long ago trying to hide the fact that spirituality plays a major role in how and what I photograph. As evident in the comments made by Paul Simon in the video and Russ Ramsey in the blog article, the art mirrors so much of what is taking place within the artist. The earthly expression of the soul is indeed the spirit of faith. One rises upon the other. The interpretation becomes the interconnection of light, feeling and experience and is most obvious in those works – whether visual, written or musical – that move both artist and audience outside of themselves. The initial pause of transcendence may only be a mere moment but the desire for that feeling and the memory of that moment is timeless.

The spirit and soul of the artist lives and breathes in the eternal truth of his or her best work. Love poured-out through an open lens or at the tip of a paintbrush or end of pen is part of a heart that takes flight and can never be retrieved.

My photography is my art and my art is feeling set free. With creating art and capturing images my heart rises on the energy of a purposefulness far beyond just daily necessity and survival. What is sent out through artistic expression is almost always followed by the quiet realization of ‘yes, this is what I was meant to do’ and peace arrives.

I am blessed. I am thankful.

Thank you Paul Simon and Russ Ramsey.

“The art informs the world but turns back to you, continuing to inform you, bring you pleasure, and inspiring your ‘eyes to see and ears to hear.”

 

 

 

Photography and Photographers | Cameras Serve the Vision

Going up to a pro shooter and saying “if I had your gear I could do the same thing” is no different than jumping behind the wheel of a Formula One race car and declaring “look at me, I’m a professional race car driver.” Really ? Okay. Let’s see how you do when you turn the ignition on.

That was part of my response to a discussion going on via a link I posted on my Facebook business page. The link was to a very good entry @ lightstalking.com titled “7 Obnoxious Things People Believe About Photographers.” My additional comment was not meant to be mean or negative. It’s more of a blunt way to say “hey, there is so much more to photography – truly good photography – than the camera and lens.”

I get the gear question quite a bit. So much so that I can see it coming evening before the person walks up to ask me the usual questions – what kind of camera is that? how much did it cost? how can you afford it? it must take great pictures. Granted I’m happy to offer tips and advice during my workshops on gear and how to use it to further a photographer’s creative vision, but providing such advice is in context to the overall learning environment based on the goal of learning the ART of photography. The craft (technical) serves the art. Not vice versa.

It’s just that I think with the rapid rise in interest in photography – fueled by pro-level features on consumer priced DSLR cameras – has reinforced the illusion that all one has to do to call oneself a professional photographer is simply buy the right kind of camera gear. Not so, as people quickly realize when they attempt those first few shots with their new camera and view the results.

The tools serve the artisan. Paintbrush, paint, chisel, software, computer, canvas, easel, tripod, camera, lenses. It’s the trained eye and experience in the field that makes those shiny new DSLR cameras come to life. No different than an instrument in the hands of a trained and talented musician or a race car driven with the skill and experience of a professional driver.

I’m thankful for all the wonderful tools at my disposal – from Canon EOS camera bodies and lenses to my MacPro desktop system to the software for post-processing and editing. But the essence of what makes a beautiful image has to be there in the first place. The tools – the paintbrushes – are applied to accentuate, isolate, emphasize. To capture that essence is a balance of vision, experience and a keen awareness of the liquidity and quality of light.