Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Life Is Too Darn Short To NOT Do What You What To Do With Your Life! A Visit By a Friend: Part 1

Good Morning Everybody,

Many of you may be wondering why I have been waxing with such reminiscing these last few days.   I’m not trying to be boring or melodramatic with these posts.  The exact opposite is true. What I’m trying to do is share with my DPT readers some of my most sincere feelings about this wonderful profession and share with you a little of my personal history that may be helpful to you or anyone else on their personal journey.

Trying To Smooth The Path

In the beginnings of my career I never had access to the behind the scenes thoughts, insights, and feelings of my mentors. The internet didn’t exist and the best you could do was attend any number of workshops and classes coming your way in your part of the world.  That was all well and good but I think it would also be helpful if new and aspiring photographers could read about how one photographer found his way into this wonderful profession.

Hopefully my experience might help smooth the path for a future generation of photographers and even those currently traveling that same road. That’s why all these reminiscing posts these last few days and why I am continuing in that same realm for the next few days.  I really do hope you enjoy the read.

My Personal Statement: My ASP Thesis

ThesisThese next few posts are from my ASP Fellowship Thesis that I submitted to the American Society of Photographers way back in 1988.  The ASP Fellowship is one of the highest honors one can achieve in photography today and it was a goal I had set for myself early on in my career.  To date there are approximately 100 ASP Fellows in the world.  You can read about the Fellowship Degree right here.

If you’d like to become an ASP Fellow, the first thing you’ll need to do is prepare a thesis. Your thesis must be an original work that describes your life work, professional achievements, photographic philosophy, future aspirations, and major influences. Your thesis should be at least 2,000 words – mine was 5,000 words. Your thesis is a personal statement, it’s a sharing of who you are, how you became a photographer and your artistic vision. 

Part 1 of my ASP Thesis – hope you enjoy!  -David


A Visit By a Friend

A Thesis

Submitted by David A. Ziser M. Photog. Cr., F-MPA

To the American Society of Photographers

Part 1: Life Is Too Darn Short To NOT Do What You What To Do With Your Life!

Springtime-flippedBoy, what a gorgeous day! The sun was splashing its soft, morning light lavishly around everywhere. The trees and leaves were gently swaying and actually seemed to be enjoying the little breeze dancing through their branches. I watched the sun play tag with each leaf, their colors and shades were constantly changing against a background of a million other leaves also changing colors and shades as they all rolled and played in the wind. It was an exciting visual morning symphony in green.

BirdAs I continued my walk down the road, I noticed my friend also enjoying the beautiful day. He was just sitting there lounging on one of the back porch steps of his home enjoying the scenery. As usual, all the neighborhood “pets” were gathered in his backyard. You see, this was the place where there really was a “free lunch”. His wife and two year old son, on several occasions throughout the week put out various goodies for the birds, ducks, squirrels, and rabbits and any of their friends who wished to join them. It wasn’t always this way though. It originally started with one bird feeder to which the squirrels also took a liking and has evolved into what you see today. His backyard sometimes bears a vague resemblance to the local children’s zoo. But it does add a country touch to his city setting.

He looked my way and smiled as if to confirm my feelings about the day. I called and waved a friendly “Good morning” and changed my course to his back porch. This caused the ducks a bit of consternation as they backed off munching the cracked corn which little Aaron had laid out for them earlier.

Butterfly“It sure is a beautiful day today, isn’t it?” he said.

I could only enthusiastically agree.

“Just taking it easy today and enjoying the weather?” I asked.

“A person just can’t help from enjoying a day like today,” he said and then continued, “I’ve just been sitting here thinking about how lucky I am.

“I’ve just been collecting my thoughts and ideas on my profession these last several days, and boy, what a wonderful experience. I’ve gotten to see things in a broader prospective than ever before and now I have an even greater appreciation of the joy this profession can bring to those involved in it and committed to it.

“You know, so many people do what they have to do in life instead of doing what they want to do. I get to do what I want to do, everyday!

“Life is too darn short not be able to do what you want to do with it and enjoy it at the same time. Photography gives those of us lucky enough to be involved in the profession the wonderful opportunity to remain constantly enthused with what we are doing.

“Being in photography is like being in a large room in which there are several doors. Above each door is a sign that lists a branch of photography. One may say Portraits, the other - Weddings, another - Fashion, and another Commercial. As we open one of those doors, we see a hallway of more doors each with another sign over it describing further areas of specialization. For instance, if we open the Wedding door, we will see doors that say Wedding Portraits, Pictorials, Formals, Candids, etc.

“We can choose any of these doors and ‘play’ in that room for as long as we choose. If we get bored we can try another door. And if we tire of the hallway we can still try another hallway. I chose Wedding Photography nine years ago (Remember, this paper was written 25 years ago-DAZ) and I’m still running up and down the same hallway. The magic of this profession is that the hallways and doors are endless!!!”

End of Part 1: Food for thought!


Hey gang, I’ll see you again tomorrow for another installment of my Thesis: A Visit By A Friend.  LaDawn and I celebrate our 8th anniversary today so we’re planning and easy day so I’m out of here ;~)

Hope to see you tomorrow,


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Brief History Of Ziser Photography & Many Thank You’s To All Who Helped Me Reach This Milestone.

Good Morning Everybody,

I have to admit, this has been a unique time in my life as I transition from the million-mile-an-hour whirlwind pace I’ve kept for the past several years.  That transition began last year with our two month travels to Europe. I cut back on the blog more out of necessity – not much internet connect in the middle of the ocean – and I have to admit, I’ve enjoyed the break.

DAZ World TravelAnd, I also I have to admit that I’m still processing my transition to slower times full of world travel, landscape photography, and a completely different set of creative endeavors I’m engaging in.  I love smelling the roses much more often these days!  And I almost feel that using the blog is my  personal journal during this transition.  I’m also doing it publically because so many photographers have been following DigitalProTalk for many, many years and I thought you may enjoy the rest of my story.

Anyway, in today’s post I’d like to share with you my very early beginnings as a photographer.  My story may touch others and if you have a story to tell, please share it with our DigitalProTalk readers.  Here we go…

The Genesis Of My Interest In Photography

Ruby Red SAfe LightEvery photographer has their own unique story as to how they became involved in one of life's most interesting and exciting professions. My interest in photography hit me when I was 12 years old in 1960.  I was rummaging through the basement of our home and stumbled on some old photo processing trays, a contact printing frame, a ruby red safe-light bulb, and a few books on processing your own film that my dad had used as a hobbyist.

These small books were not the latest, greatest editions either.  I remember them being published in the early and middle 1940's.  Nevertheless, that early discovery was my entry into photography. 

Mike KnovacBut that is only part of the story. Co-incidentally, with my discovery of the my father's rudimentary photo processing gear, was the fact that I had a keen interest in a TV show that played from 1958 and ran 28 episodes till 1960 - it's title, "Man With A Camera" starring Charles Bronson as Mike Kovac.

I remember lying on the floor in my family's living room watching those B&W episodes every week.  I enjoyed the story, the drama, how photography was used to help solve the mystery week after week.  But what I remember most are those moments near the end of every show when Mike Kovac would put the exposed paper into the developer and the image would slowly appear - to me, it was magic! 

DektolNow, I possibly could work Mike Kovac's magic too.  I still remember visiting a local camera store, Provident Camera. On that first visit, I purchased a quart can of Kodak Dektol developer, a quart of fixer, and 25 sheets of Kodak Azo contact printing paper. I couldn't wait to process my first image.  Back in those days, our parents shot with a Brownie Hawkeye camera.  These were inexpensive, fixed focus medium format cameras shooting large 120 or 620 rolls of film.  The negatives were pretty big - 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches. 

Contact Printing FrameWe set up the trays, processing chemicals, and the ruby red safe-light at my buddy's, Russ Rigdon, mother's kitchen late one night and were ready to go. I had "requisitioned" a few of our family 620 size negatives for our first tests. Under the dark red glow of the very dim safe-light I loaded the negative and Azo printing paper into the contact printing frame and closed the back tightly.

My friend, Russ, was on light switch duty.  On my command, he hit the wall switch and turned the kitchen light on, I counted off a number of seconds and signaled him to turn the lights back off - very scientific back then.  I still remember removing the photographic paper and looking at it in that dim ruby red light.  It was totally blank but somehow the magic solutions in front of me were going to reveal the secrets it contained. 

Print trayI pushed the paper into the developer just like Mike Kovac and waited... and waited... and waited. It seemed like forever but it was actually only about 30 seconds when I first saw the faintness of an image slowly appear on the paper.  After a few more seconds, the image was coming into full view.  I remember being transfixed by what I was seeing before me - it was "Harry Potter" magic and this is way before the days of Harry Potter! After moving the paper through the stop bath and fixer, we turned the lights back on.  There it was… my first real photographic image - I was hooked.

Our next experiment involved making images larger that the original negative size, like all the way up to a 5x7 print.  One more trip to Provident Camera for some Kodak Kodabromide enlarging paper but, where was I to get an enlarger?

Kenner Toys, located in Cincinnati, Ohio coincidentally, had just announced a brand new toy - a Kenner "Give A Show" projector.  It was a battery operated projector in which you inserted the filmstrip of cartoon characters and projected them on the wall.

Kenner Give A Show ProjBut where could I get one - my little sister! She had received one as a gift. I carefully  "borrowed" it one evening, cut out one of the cartoon characters from the film strip and added one of the family negatives.  You guessed it - success - we had created our first enlargement.  It was an "Eureka" moment and the rest is history.

By age 15 I had managed to book my first wedding. A friend of my father's daughter was getting married and was looking for the best price in town, I offered and was hired. I barely remember shooting that wedding but I do remember knowing I had to be sure to get the bouquet toss. The rest of the day is a faded memory.

Because I had amped up my photographic hobby with bigger trays, print dryers, better safe-lights, enlargers, etc. I was causing quite a stir at home.  I kept blowing the fuses in our older home and my father was not happy.  I had a mutual high school friend, Bill Donnermeyer,  who was also involved in this magical hobby of photography.  His father was upset with him because he was using too much water when washing his processed prints.  His dad was a plumber.  That might have been part of the problem.

London Photo StudioAnyway, two 18 year old teenagers together with two upset fathers who were not happy at all with our photographic endeavors decided we needed a change of venue if we were going to pursue our photographic interests.  We decided to open a photo studio.  Yes, at age 18, we found a space for $75/month, split the rent and opened London Photo Studio – yes, that’s the logo I designed at age 18. Now I was a studio owner shooting portraits and weddings!

This lasted for the next 3 years or so as we completed high school and started college. Although we eventually closed the studio I continued to support myself with photography paying the rent, buying the books, etc. until I graduated with two degrees, one in Physics and the other in Engineering.

My love of photography never left me though.  I continued to shoot for friends and family long after college graduation in 1971.  With so many calls from friends and acquaintances, it was in 1978 that I decided to leave the field of engineering and strike out on my own in photography. 

This is my 35th year of owning my own studio.  Over all these years I have constantly and consistently strived to offer my clients the absolute best wedding photography possible.  Yes, and that passion is still there.

My father always wanted me to get a "real job" after leaving the engineering field but I never did.  I always wanted to learn more.  I continued to study with the wedding masters of the time - Bill Stockwell, Rocky Gunn, and the legendary Monte Zucker. I attended every program, seminar, and workshop that I could honing both the craft and art of wedding photography. I continue to do that even today. We can never stop learning. 

The Defining Moments In My Career

The "rest of this story" needs to include those defining moments in my life that first set me on a life course of not just shooting weddings but also training others to take better photographs.

Who were those people instrumental in that process for me.  First, I would have to thank my father for letting me "borrow" those first processing trays, safe-light, and contact printing frame. 

Kodak Model 11 FinalNext I want to acknowledge my lifelong friend, Russ Rigdon, who hung in there with me in those very early formative years helping me with my experiments in processing and printing.

We were even doing our own color processing in 1968 when after booking a high school prom and promising to deliver 2 - 5x7's and 4 wallets, we worked till the very early hours of many mornings trying to complete the job.

I want to thank Bill Donnermeyer for taking the chance with me of opening our first photo studio in the late sixties. We were teenagers, but heck, what did we know? We were confident we could pull it off and we did. The name of our first studio - London Photo Studio came from the London music invasion of the mid to late 1960's.

After graduating from college in 1971, I continued to shoot for family and friends and in 1978 I opened my studio officially leaving the engineering degree behind and moving forward into photography - a pretty scary time in my life.

I was looking for an assistant in those early years to help me on those wedding jobs.  My girlfriend at the time recommended her 15 year old brother.  I want to acknowledge Steve Bitter who was with me through "thick and thin" of the early learning/business years.  Steve was the perfect assistant.  He could read my mind, and many times, it seemed that he had three hands as I was changing lens and film backs during the shoots.

My studio continued to grow and I needed to hire more help.  The person I hired next was Don Moore [link], one of the most talented photographers I know.  Don was my studio manager and covered the business as my lecture career started to gain traction in the mid-eighty's. Don and his wife Lona continue to be good friends and trusted confidants even today.

DAZ and KentDuring those early years, I had met two people in the beginning stages of their photography businesses too - Kent Smith [link], from Columbus, Ohio pictured with me in this photo; and Mark Garber [link], from Dayton, Ohio.  We three were equally passionate about our work and wanted to do anything we could to make our work exceed that of our competition. We formed what, Mark called "our brain trust", and constantly challenged each other to be the best.  We continue to remain close friends and all of us own very successful studios today.

I also want to acknowledge those photographers that I have trained under and helped me understand nuances of technique, style, and creativity in this profession.  First, the legendary, Monte Zucker [link], one of my first teachers in this profession.  He gave me a solid grounding in the classical techniques of lighting and posing that photographers and painters have used for years to flatter their subjects.

Monte, Rocky, BillRocky Gunn, master pictorial wedding photographer showed me how to see differently and how to use the beautiful surrounds to create out-of-the-ordinary outdoor wedding portrait. Al Gilbert [link], one of the top photographers in Canada, showed me how to use wide angle optics to create wonderfully innovative and dramatic portraits.

My thanks too to so many other photographers, teachers, instructors, and trainers that have helped me gain a greater understanding of all facets of the craft and art of this profession.

Many More Thanks

As my studio gained popularity in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area my worked started to gain some attention and receive many accolades at the state and regional conventions. I began to get invitations to lecture about wedding photography.  My thanks to Wayne Byrne and Bill Duty who together provided my first opportunity to do just that, traveling to 10 cities throughout the Midwest from Buffalo, New York down to Memphis, Tennessee. in 1982.

My thanks too to Lisle Ramsey, who also had the confidence to invite me to speak in New Zealand and England and present my program to photographers in both of those countries on behalf of the International Professional Photographers Guild he had founded. His invitation, after only being in business for 4 years, was quite a thrill.

Terry DI could not forget to mention my friends at Eastman Kodak, Paul Ness and Terry DeGlau [link], who several times over these many years asked me to represent Eastman Kodak at some of the most exciting venues around the world.

Also, thanks to all the wonderful people at Professional Photographers of America [link], Wedding and Portrait Photographers International [link], and especially the National Association Of Photoshop Professionals [link] with their legions of instructors have continued to hone my photographic and digital skills and talents.

My thanks must also include Scott Kelby [link] at Kelby Media who encouraged me to write my first book and his entire team who, for me anyway, miraculously pulls all the words, images, diagrams, and notes together that reaches an understandable cohesion in it's final result.  I am amazed at the entire Kelby Media team as they work in what seems an almost effortless fashion to complete the many publishing projects they work on each year.

I can't miss thanking Peachpit [link], my publisher, who also agreed to to be part of this project. There have been many others involved in the process who have taken time to review, edit, and suggest improvements to the project.  Those special folks would include my staff, Sharon, Jennifer and Martha my good buddy, Michael Jonas, and so many others that have helped me tie together all the lose ends to bring the book to completion.

DAZ and LDAnd finally, I want to thank that special person in my life that has always given me her love and support throughout these last ten years of my career. Without her insights, suggestions, recommendations, and most of all, her patience throughout our special projects, tours (marriage) and so much more, I never would have achieved the level of success I have today. I love you LaDawn.

Finally, I want to thank all of you - the readers of this blog, my newsletters, and my Captured By The Light book, all those who have attended my seminars around the world,  I sincerely hope some small part of what I’ve tried to contribute to this wonderful profession helps take your photography to a brand new level and will continue to open the doors to your own creativity bringing a sense of adventure, excitement, possibility to your joy of photography.

Thank You All.  -David 

p.s. Tomorrow check back again for another special treat.  DAZ

Monday, July 29, 2013

50 Years Later: Celebrating Life, Photography and Friendships!

Good Morning Everybody,

DAZ 50 yearsWhat a grand celebration this past Saturday! It was wonderful to have so many of the people to whom I owe my success come by and celebrate my 50th year as a wedding photographer this past weekend. The guests attending spanned 40 years of my business career.  It was kind of a career reunion and a great time for all present to catch up, tell stories, and just enjoy a wonderful evening of good conversation, great food, and perfect weather.

Pictured in the photograph below from left to right: seated first is Marvin “Bucky” Armstrong, one of my original assistants/photographers who, along with his wife, assisted me throughout the late 70’s.  Next to Marvin is Tom Taylor, a good friend and occasional assistant/second shooter/Master Class facilitator whom I’ve known for 10 years.


Top left is my good buddy, Eric Cameron, a talented photographer who began working with me first back in 2006 assisting LaDawn with our Digital WakeUp Call Tour and then came on board to help on special assignments and as one of my Master Class Coaches.

Next is yours truly and next to me is Steve Bitter, my very first assistant.  Steve began helping out when he was 15 years old – I was dating his sister at the time.  Steve is also the assistant who probably has more stories to tell that anyone who has worked with me over the years – and there are some good stories to tell ;~)

50-1Next to Steve is Bill Mowery, a great guy, great assistant, and talented photographer.  Bill assisted mostly during the middle years of my career.  He always kept a level head and kept the occasional wedding chaos is perspective for all of us on the job.  I may be wrong here but I believe it was Bill who nick-named the equipment/lighting bag the DEATH BAG because of its weight – about 90 pounds.NOBODY liked carrying the death bag ;~)

Next to Bill is my good buddy, Damien Tepe.  Damien was sort of the IT brains of the operation around here for a few years.  He helped get our Digital Resource Center [link] up and running and helped keep all the workstations/computers running smoothly too.  Damien could also be trusted to help out on a wedding gig or two as well.  His real job is taking him to Dallas, TX in a few weeks so it was good he and his wife Laura could come by on Saturday.

Not pictured are Johnny Miller, not the golfer, but a great friend and talented photographer.  John was one of two photographers (Don Moore was the other)  that help put Ziser Photography on the map back in the early eighties.  Also, not pictured is Ace#1 Assistant and great photographer, Nicholas Viltrakis, who unfortunately had to leave early. Wait, there he is on the far right in my iPhone pano shot. 

Party Pano

Nicholas has been my “go to” guy these last several years at Ziser Photography for the huge, challenging events we occasionally booked at the studio. 

Also not pictured is Don Moore.  Don and I have been the best of friends for over 30 years.  Don was one of the studio’s first photographers along with Johnny Miller and he was also my first studio manager.  By the mid to late eighties Don had left the studio to pursue his own commercial studio endeavors – Kamera Art. Don and I still find it difficult to get together as often as we would like due to both of our crazy schedules,  but still remain super close friends. 

Also missing are a few other indispensible assistants Michael Nealis, Marc Bridewell, and photographer, Angela Haines all of whom had previous commitments or long distance that kept them from being here.  We still told stories about them too ;~)_________________________________________________________________

In this next photo you see most of the Ziser girls – truly the team that kept the wheels on the wagon at the studio. From left to right standing we have Sharon Blades, the studio bookkeeper and the life of the party around here over the years.  Sharon’s spontaneous, off the wall, remarks would put anyone within earshot in stitches.

Next to Sharon is Susan Kliendinst, my studio manager about 8 years ago. Susan was actually hired by my staff at the time while I was out on the road lecturing back in 2005.  I came back into town and was introduced to my new studio manager.  I was reassured by my staff that all would be fine. Susan jumped into her responsibilities with both feet – some would argue she did not “jump” but was thrown in head first into the studio’s “baptism of fire”.  We had a great run while Susan was at the helm.


Next to me is Shelly Roehrig who come on board as studio manager around 1998.  I was just elected PTA President and she was on of the PTA team at the time. She was giving me the tour of our Market Day operation – a money saving, fund raising arm of many PTAs. Before she was finished showing me the ropes, she had talked me into buying most of that month’s featured items.  I immediately asked her to come to work for me.  She got a job offer from UPS on that same day which she refused.  The rest is history. 

Our kids were about the same age so our work day began after the school bus picked up our kids and ended pretty much at 3:30 p.m. when the school bus returned to drop them off.  I also loved the fact that “snow days” where automatic studio holidays. Hey, school was closed so we all headed to the park for some fun sled riding – good times, and many wonderful memories.

Next to Shelly is Karen Armstrong, again a long time friend, wife to Marvin above, and one of the early original team at Ziser Photography.  It was good to see Bucky and Karen again – we haven’t seen each other in over a dozen years.

Miranda SensorexSeated bottom right is Gayle Lehman, our fabulous album designer and photographic artist for many years. I remember when we were sinking in the “digital seas” like so many other photographers in the early days of digital cameras and Photoshop. Gayle, along with Susan, stepped up too the plate to get us transitioned in our brand new digital world.

Seated on the left is LaDawn, my beautiful wife.  LaDawn who has been the marketing coordinator and tour manager for Photographic Resources, the lecturing arm of our business since our first national lecture tour together – Digital WakeUp Call - in 2006. LaDawn has handled all the back room and behind the scenes activities for all our lecturing projects with a great smile and with utmost thorough efficiency.  We celebrate our 8th anniversary this Wednesday.  Cheers to my Sweetie!

Not pictured is one of the Ziser Photograph’s most important studio managers, Lona Kidwell.  I met and hired Lona when she was in her early twenties. She had that special confident quality about her that made her a perfect choice for the position. I’ve never ceased to admire her fabulous sales skills, tenacious spirit, and outstanding positive attitude.  Lona and Don met during the early studio years and have been happily married ever since.

Also missing is Rebecca Blaut.  Becky came on board as studio manager in the early 90’s and navigated the studio some of it’s difficult growing pains always putting the clients first and always getting the job done.  Becky now operates her own successful studio [link] here is Cincinnati, OH and was not able to attend because of family commitments.


In this next photo below are pictured next to me are Jim Fauz, a long time friend, Master Class coach, and the person he says sold me my first SLR 35mm camera years ago (a Miranda Sensorex pictured above). Next to Jim are Wilma and Rob Kumler, owners of K&R PhotoDigital.  K&R, as we know them in the area, have been supplying camera and photo supplies throughout the Midwest since 1975.  Rob guided me through my first Hasselblad purchase in 1978 – talk about a traumatic experience – two 500CM cameras, 3 lenses, a few film backs – about $10,000! You definitely needed a pro bank account to be a pro photographer back in the day ;~)


Also missing from this photo are Linda and Dick Bass, owners of LinColor Labs, my lab of choice for all my processing back in the very early days of Ziser Photography.  Linda had the distinction of printing more award winning prints than any lab in Ohio and Kentucky during the eighties and nineties.  Linda and Dick eventually both competed themselves and were eventually honored their Master of Photography degrees from the Professional Photographers of America.  We really  missed them on Saturday.

There are others that were part of the team over these many years and my thanks and gratitude go out to them too.  It’s been a great run (so far) and I’m sure glad, grateful, and happy to have the support of so many good friends that have made DAVID A. ZISER PHOTOGRAPHY one of the premiere studios in the area.  Again, my thanks to everyone who helped make it happen. 

High Fives to each and everyone of you!


p.s. Check back tomorrow for a brief history In time about Ziser Photography

Saturday, July 27, 2013

50 Years Later: A Grand Celebration & A Peek Down Memory Lane

Hi Everybody,

DAZ 50 yearsToday is a BIG day at DAVID A. ZISER PHOTOGRAPHY.  Yep, turns out we’re having a big party. Were celebrating my Golden Jubilee Anniversary as a wedding photographer. What's a Golden Jubilee?  It’s a whole bunch of years –like 50 of them!  It's true - it was 50 years ago this year that I photographed my first wedding. I was just such a wee child at the time ;~)

Actually I photographed my first wedding at age 15 – it was for a co-worker friend of my father. I still remember that wedding. I remember that it was well exposed, well photographed with decent story telling throughout.  Sorry I don’t have any images to share with you.  I have no clue where the negs might be at this point.  Ahhh, history lost to the ages.

DAZ Self PortraitYashica AI also remember photographing it with a Yashica A medium format camera - a camera picked up a pawnshop for $25. It shot 120 film, came with a great lens, and took great photographs. Everything was manual of course but I did have an inexpensive light meter, probably one my father used when he was a teenager involved in capturing family and vacation photographs, and it got me through the day.

I really don't remember much about flash photography at the time as I recall the whole wedding was outside so I think I was able to pull it off with just the available light.

Today I’m Joining With Many Of My Managers, Assistants, and Staff Who Have Helped Build My Business Success Over These Many Years

We're trying to keep the celebration kind of personal today so I've  invited only those good folks that have worked here in the studio over the past several years. That includes my very first assistant, Steve Bitter, as well as many other generations  of assistants including ACE #1 assistant, Nickolas Viltrakis who still helps out occasionally.

The invitation list also includes all my staff and studio managers.. We got a pretty good turnout from our RSVPs so it should be a nice celebration. I’m really looking forward to it and re-connecting with many old friends.  I'll plan giving you a recap on Monday hopefully with some photographs to share of the celebration.

Time MachineWhy not take a peek back in time with me in my WayBack Machine and smile at the images from my humble beginnings:

The Violinist: [link] Taken 45 years ago at age 20.

Budding Photographer: [link]

WayBack Machine #2: [link] Images taken in 1978 – the beginning of my studio career, age 30.

Oldie But A Goodie Wedding Image: [link] Image probably around 1980.

WayBack Machine #3: [link]

Engagement Sessions ‘80’s Style: [link]

WayBack Machine #5: [link]

WayBack Machine #6: [link]

Hope you enjoyed the trip down Memory Lane with me.

Everybody have a great weekend and I'll see you soon.

Adios, David

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

”Mirrored City"

0182-LD_MOG PhotowalkZ13-Mirror

”Mirrored City"
©M. LaDawn Ziser

Today’s image of the day features an image that LaDawn captured on our weekend photowalk.  She liked photographing the same building I was shooting but decided to take it up to the next level with her Photoshop mirror manipulation.

I think her lines are very cool in this image too.  Notice how the blue sections are parallel with the edge of the image but there is some convergence of the center area of the image – very cool if you ask me.

She did all her color and density post-production in Lightroom 5 and finished the image in CS6. The warm and cool tones together with the diagonals and vertical elements makes for quite the “eye pleaser.”   Way to go, LaDawn!

Camera specs: Canon EOS 7D fitted with Canon 18-200 IS lens at 130mm, F618 @ 1/250 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David

Line, Shape, and Form: Enjoying All Three On A Recent Cincy Photo Walk

Hi Everybody,

0130-DZ_MOG PhotowalkZ13I thought I would drop by - see how everybody's doing here at DigitalProTalk today. This past weekend we took a short photo walk with some friends in Northern Kentucky.  Our walk took us through downtown Covington, KY and then across the John Roebling Suspension bridge to downtown Cincinnati, OH and then back again. BTW the bridge was modeled after the Brooklyn Bridge – see the resemblance?

Line, Shape, and Form: Enjoying All Three On A Recent Cincy Photo Walk

I thought I would share with you a few the images I made during our two hour trip. The weather was perfect the subject matter was cool and colorful and I think I got some nice images. Let me share them with you in the order in which they were captured.  All images were made with my “fun” camera, my Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Digital Camera which I love for just these kinds of things. BTW, all post processing was done mostly in Lightroom 5 and a bit in CS6.  On to the photographs…

1. This image is of three drums I saw in a pawnshop as we passed walking down Main Street in Covington, Kentucky. I just love the bright colors and repeat of the bright greens in this image.

0023-DZ_MOG PhotowalkZ13

2. In the next image I was taken by the shadows on the wall against the venetian blinds. I tweaked colors a bit in Photoshop and Lightroom 5 and then added a little spherical distortion with the Lens Correction tool to get this final result.

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3. In this next image as I looked across the street I saw this unusual reflection in the mirrored pane glass of the storefront. I thought the bright colors and the curvature of the space made for an interesting photo walk grab.

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4.  As we continue down the main street I saw a “sign” – a real sign - so I had to photograph it. I love the bright yellow against the dark blue sky. It's a wide-angle photograph that's just kind of a fun compositional juxtaposition. 

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5. The next image is a really simple image of repeating rectangular elements of a parking lot. But I love the curved power line running in front of it. I thought it offered a interesting contrast to the otherwise horizontal/vertical lines of the composition.

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6. The next image of this tall building with this blue accents I found really appealing. I positioned the light post against a solid part of the building to create the finished composition I wanted. This was actually one of my favorite photographs of the photo walk.

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7.  This next image of the red grid work was again one of my favorites from Sunday's photo walk. It was actually a black grid when I started and it was actually vertical but after colorizing it to the bright red and rotating it 90° I like how it gives us a cool overhead feel.

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8.  The suspension bridge crossing the Ohio River in Cincinnati, OH  is one of the most interesting architectural features of our area. As I mentioned earlier it was designed by John Roebling who also designed and started the building of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

In this image I love the curved lines of the cables push both upwards and downwards.  I filled the frame with all the curved elements and shot away.  I think this arabesque dance created quite a interesting composition.

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9. This next image is just an exercise in contrasts. The shadows were getting long and I thought they looked cool playing against the bright, sunny sidewalk. As I said I love playing around with my design lines.

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10.  After crossing the suspension bridge we happened upon a public fountain in which we found several small children enjoying themselves. I captured several photographs to get just the image I wanted.  I love seeing this little boy splashing exuberantly in the spraying water. Nice way to cool off!

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11. On the way back across the suspension bridge which is really tied together with these huge bolts holding together the cables themselves, I thought a close-up of one of those huge bolts as the sun was reflecting would make an interesting composition in this image.

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12 and 13. As you know as a DigitalProTalk reader, I'm a big fan of lines and shapes. These next two images are of one of the office buildings on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River.  The building provided an interesting subject matter I was looking for. The colors and densities were enhanced in Lightroom 5 to my desired result.

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14. Continuing our photo walk I was given yet another “sign” so I had to photograph it ;~)  Once again, I love the bright yellow against the blue sky with the Suspension bridge in the background. I happened to be a big fan of wide-angle lenses and this was done with a 24 mm lens shooting up from a very low vantage point. Again it was just fun and I just like the composition.

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15.  This image I was playing with as I was shooting with my Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Digital Camera and I really enjoy using it’s articulated viewfinder to make this photograph. That means I didn't have to lay down on my stomach to take it, I just lowered the camera to the ground pointed the viewfinder up to my eyes so I could create the composition I wanted and shot away.

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I have to admit, I meant for the yellow line to run to the center the building in the distance but that was not the case.  Since I missed the centering slightly, I did have to modify it ever so slightly in Photoshop CS6 to get the effect I wanted.

16. This last image is of our group of photo-walkers which I made with my iPhone 5 set to Panorama mode.  I have to say I don't know how Apple works that panorama into that camera but it is so seamless and so cool to play with I thought I would just throw one in here at the end of the post.



Hey gang, that wraps it for me today. I hope you enjoyed the post – quite colorful and diversified.  I really like to get as much variety as I can on these fun little photo walks.  They just give a boost to those creative juices flowing through your brain. 

I know it's been a while's since I posted at DigitalProTalk but I have to admit, I'm enjoying my slower paced lifestyle but at the same time, I do miss writing for the DPT blog.  I think maybe I’m going through a DigitalProTalk mid life crisis or something ;~) 

Anyway, I do have a few more articles planned for the future.  One in particular features Lightroom 5.  I'll try to get it up maybe next week because I think it will be a really very helpful article for all you new Lightroom 5 users. I’m planning to point out some of the new features and shortcuts you may not be familiar with even with all the tutorials currently on online reviewing the new features. Anyway I'll do my best to get it up probably for Technique Tuesday next week so check back - give it a peek and I hope you enjoy it.

Hey gang that's it for me today. We got big plans this weekend so check back again on Friday and I'll fill you in.

Adios, David

Monday, July 01, 2013

”Seated In His History"

Touched By History

”Seated In His History"
©David A. Ziser

I found this to be a very poignant moment during our recent trip to Monticello, Virginia – home to our third president, Thomas Jefferson. While we were taking the “Slave Tour” of the estate, very fascinating indeed, and an unfortunate part of our American history, we stopped at one of the outcroppings to one of the slaves quarters on the Monticello property.

The young black boy listened attentively as our guide told the story of slavery on Monticello plantation. What struck me was that he was not only the center of attention for this image but his presence ironically symbolized the much larger moment in history described by our guide.

DAZNOTE: Thomas Jefferson, who proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence the famous words… “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” [link], which he authored and which we are about to celebrate this Thursday, sounded strange to me since he owned more than 200 slaves. Even after his death he only released 6 of that total number.

Camera specs; Canon 5D Mark III fitted with Tamron 28-300mm lens at 28mm, F3.5 @ 1/3200 second, ISO 1250. Enjoy! -David

Quick Hit Monday: Inspiration, Weddings, and Photoshop

Good Morning Everybody,

Still trying to find my “blogging voice” around here so I thought I’d get something short and sweet up for you today – simply trying to get myself back in the habit as they say.

This morning I was surfing the web as usual and found some interesting photo tidbits for today’s post. Hope you enjoy - here we go….

Monday Morning Inspiration

2013 Press Photographers of the Year – Watch the 150 image slide show of the winners right here – gorgeous, heartfelt, heart wrenching, exciting, funny, fun, beautiful - truly inspirational!

Press Photogs of the year 2013

A Few Wedding Ideas For Your Next Wedding Shoot

Weddings in the Round – I caught these very interesting images by photographer Lucy Martin  at OneSlide Photography.  The images are posted but not the technique. 

Wedding In The Round

I suppose they were created with a technique described by an earlier Technique Tuesday video posted here at DPT [link] by my good friend, Ace #1 Assistant, and guest blogger Nicolas Viltrakis – check it out right here, very cool!

Coolest Photoshop Technique Of The Week

Liquefy Editable TextI caught this PS technique at TipSquirrel, a great source for all things Photoshop.  This is one of those PS techniques that although I feel I will seldom use, I find fascinating to watch and see how it’s done.  It just makes me think of what other possibilities might work for this technique . Anyway, give it a peek – I think you’ll agree.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today. Have a great week – hey, you may see me back here again before you know it ;~)

See ya’ soon, David