Learning to Paint

This short film is an experiment in time compression. It is designed to show the creative process between teacher and student. The best way for me to show the process was to speed it up a bit. My good friend, Cleveland based painter, Billy Ritter creatively transformed his garage into a painting studio for two budding artists. His first lesson was additive color, “don’t mix your colors or you’ll get mud”.

You can see more of Billy’s work here:


Northern Short Course and Strictly Business Recap

March is a travel month. I spend most of the weekends out of town at photography conferences learning business, philosophy and aesthetic.

First up was Philadelphia and the American Society of Media Photographers Strictly Business 3.

Next up was Providence and the National Press Photographers Association Northern Short Course.

Each conference brings it’s own unique perspective to photography, ASMP was all business. I networked like crazy and learned the latest theories about how build and keep business. The entire conference is build around developing a community of photographers and fostering good business practices to keep photography a viable way to make a living.

NPPA concentrates on the storytelling and educational aspects of photojournalism. Critiques and analysis of news images and multimedia play a big role at the confrence. I sought out to expand my network of fellow photojournalism educators through the education track of the program.

Coupling the two programs produces a powerful knowledge base that combines art and commerce. I’ve learned more about photography by regularly attending and listening to others smarter than me than I have learned by practicing in the field. It is at the professional conferences where you will have a chance to mix with others from all over the country who are working in the field. The exchange of ideas will elevate your work you return home and begin practicing what you learned.

The final travel occurs at the end of March, I accompany a group of eager students from Point Park University to Washington DC. There the students have opportunities to meet and experience the way media work in the nation’s capital. I am able to share the knowledge I gained at the conferences with the students in a real way by helping them network, develop relationships and practice their craft.

Photography is an ever evolving profession, as with any craft you have to stay in sync with the industry, from student to professional, to remain viable.

Dulka Pass

Battle of Dukla Pass

We continued northward to visit a Soviet-German battlefield in which the Russians and a band of Czechoslovak soldiers defeated a battalion of German Panzer tanks in what is now known as the Valley of Death. The route is marked with roadside tributes to the allied fighters who fought during the Slovak uprising that helped secure the region from Nazi influence. At the Polish -Slovak border exists a communist era monument to the battle, symbolically and poetically describing the heroism displayed by the fighters involved. We continued across the border to Poland for a quick visit to the first village a few kilometers inside the nation. It was unclear until our return if the visit would be considered trespassing by entering Poland at a land crossing without a visa. It was a legal crossing.

More images from Dulka Pass.

Slovakia Prague Presov

Wildflower Workshop

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Workshop at Wildflower Reserve

Earlier this spring I conducted a photography workshop with Pete Woods, a naturalist with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Pete was a wealth of knowledge, he simply knew the names of nearly every plant and insect budding within the Wildflower Reserve at Raccoon Creek State Park. His expertise provided the workshop participants with context for their photos of the early spring flowers.

To participate in a future photography workshop with a Conservancy naturalist you’ll need to be a member. You can join here. I hope to see you in the woods soon.

Zoom Multimedia-Dor Hadash

Congregation Dor Hadash ‘bring in’ their Torah scrolls parading through Squirrel Hill to their new location at the Tree of Life synagogue.

This multimedia piece is the first I’ve created with the Zoom h4n digital audio recorder. It is a combination of still images and natural sound collected during the parade. A challenge for the new process is working out how to collect audio and take pictures at the same time. Each activity should be conducted separately so that sound quality does not suffer. The sound of the camera is prominently recorded on the device and can be detracting to the story. At the same time what is happening visually needs to be photographed. The quality of the photographs doesn’t necessarily suffer because audio is being collected. However, the reverse is not true, the audio will suffer because of the sound of the camera shutter. This can be resolved by miking the subjects, though this is not always possible or practical in news situations, such as this one. The two independent media, when combined need to be supportive of one and other and both must support the narrative.

The World at Our Door: Melissa Farlow and Randy Olson

The World at Our Door:  Melissa Farlow and Randy Olson

© 2009 StartPoint Media, Inc www.startpointmedia.com

Sylvia Ehler, Education Coordinator for the Silver Eye Center of Photography, speaks to Point Park University photography students about the Silver Eye Center for Photography’s current exhibition The World at Our Door featuring the work of locally based National Geographic photographers Melissa Farlow and Randy Olson. The exhibition features 50 images and runs through January 2, 2010.

The World at Our Door:  Melissa Farlow and Randy Olson

In addition I will be hosting this event:

Gallery Talk: Photo-Journalism and Today’s Culture
Saturday, October 17, 2:00 p.m.
Christopher Rolinson, Assistant Professor of Photojournalism at Point Park University discusses the role of photo-journalism in today’s digital world.
Admission free.

For more information visit the Silver Eye website

HDR Workshop

McConnels Mill HDR, originally uploaded by StartPoint Media.

© 2009 StartPoint Media, Inc

McConnell’s Mill State Park
Portersville, Pa.

9 frames
Exposed using aperture priority
Nikon D200 w Nikkor 20mm. Polarized.
Processed with Adobe Photoshop and Photomatix plugin.

ASMP Pittsburgh
HDR workshop with Christopher Rolinson
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Point Park University

You will need:
A laptop
Photomatix full or demo version
A Camera that can shoot RAW files
Cable release
Lunch money

Adobe Premiere Premiere

After working through a few technical glitches previously discussed, I have produced my first video with Adobe Premiere. All of my previous editing experience comes from working with Final Cut Express. Functionally, they are very similar, making the transition and finding all of the tools was not difficult.

The images for this video were captured a few weeks ago at George Washington’s 16 sided barn his estate at Mt. Vernon, Va.