Hello Friends and Family,

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Business Trips

One of the aspects of my career at HP that I do not miss was the necessity of business travel. Of course, this is quite common and many of you either do or did have similar experiences — short notice, fly to some distant city, rent a car, navigate unfamiliar roads, sleep in a cookie-cutter hotel room, sit in boring meetings, eat too much chain restaurant food, and miss your kid's soccer game. At one point in my HP career, it was so bad that I was traveling twice a month — mostly back to the Bay Area — to sit in meetings where we tried to figure out what our mission should be. It felt as productive as contemplating your navel. If you made a movie out of that experience, you would end up with a clone of Bill Murray's Groundhog Day. Well, now that I am retired, my business trips have changed.

Business Trip #1: On April 21, we are heading to Hawai`i — yes, a business trip to Hawai`i. The purpose is to add to my inventory of Hawai`i photographs for my fledgling photography business. I certainly have a good collection of photos from Maui because I have been going there every year for so long, but I really need to add to my collection for the other islands. I do have a lot of slides but scanning a slide has a different look than a digital photo. Plus scanning a lot of slides is a long, boring process.

So I will be spending one week on each of Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai. Mizuki is going as my assistant but will be returning to Phoenix after Maui — both because she does not really like travel and because she has her auction business to attend to.

And to show how serious this trip is, I am not taking my golf clubs. I may play one time on each island — so I'll just rent clubs if and when I play. Photography is a priority. Need I say that this business trip will be better than any I ever took with HP?

Business Trip #2: Then on June 17, I'm heading back to Santa Fe for a photography workshop — Mastering Your Flash taught by Julia Dean. This is the same school I attended last summer. That was such a great experience, even then I tentatively planned to return for additional training. The photographer who is teaching this class happened to be teaching last year when I was there — I had the opportunity to chat with her a bit over lunch — I was totally impressed.

The photo at right is one from her portfolio (no, it is not a photo of Julia, she is much younger) — but it is an example of the techniques that she teaches — how to use your flash without the photo looking like a flash photo. I'm sure you've all seen those pictures (probably taken a few as well) — ghostly white faces with wicked shadows in a dimly lit background.

We'll cover topics such as the differences between flash in manual mode and automatic (TTL) mode, how to determine exposure, controlling the light output of flash, ways to diffuse flash, and how and why to include or exclude ambient light. In addition to demonstrations of using flash in a direct or bounce mode, on or off the camera, and in the wireless mode, our days will include critiques and time for practicing various flash techniques on location with models.

Très cool, n'est-pas? And also better than any HP business trip I experienced.

Business Trip #3: On July 8, I will be flying up to Santa Fe again — this time for a class called Photographing People taught by John Weiss. As a life-long photography (albeit amateur), I have taken lots of photos of people. Some of them turn out well, some of them not so well. But darn if I could tell you why! You'll recall some photos I took last year at the Travel and Stock Photography class were really good. I look at them and ask, "Did I do that?"

And if I cannot tell why some photos of people turned out and why other did not, how in the world could I make sound judgments when I'm looking through the viewfinder? That is what I want to learn from this class.

We will dive into both the formal portrait and the candid shot. I hope to learn how to make the portrait look relaxed and how to capture the candid shot at just the right time.

Business Trip #4: And guess what! On July 22, I will go back to Santa Fe for a third time this summer to attend A Natural Eye: The Summer Landscape taught by Eddie Soloway. Last year when I signed up for the Travel and Stock Photography class, they were afraid that they would not have enough students to hold the class. So my second choice was a class taught by Eddie Soloway at Ghost Ranch, NM (which is where painter Georgia O'Keeffe found much of her inspiration). Fortunately, they had enough students sign up for my first choice and the class was held (it was great, thanks to Neil and Susan Silverman).

Unfortunately, I discovered that I missed a gem of a photographer in Eddie Soloway. The staff spoke glowingly about him and his classes. So I made a mental note that I would take one of his classes in the future. Well the future is now! Or at least in July.

Neil and Susan gave me a wonderful start at looking at composing a photo with a fresh eye, a new angle, a different approach. I hope to continue that and expand it with Eddie's class. From the class description — "During the week, outdoor experiences in diverse natural areas take you through key steps to enriching your photographs of the natural world as you find yourself focused less on objects and things, and more on the magic of moments and the essence of places. You stop chasing the light and learn to enjoy the fine art of wandering. You visit the same place in different light and different weather, getting to know it, and hence seeing it with new eyes. You learn that if you hear more and touch more, you will photograph with more sensitivity. You are rewarded by the skills of patience, solitude, and emptying. This week weaves together eye-opening outdoor experiences, technical lessons, daily critiques, and Eddie's one-on-one meetings with each participant."

Needless to say, I'm so excited. Work never felt so good. I hope all of you can enjoy your work and your business trips as much as I plan to enjoy mine.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com