Wednesday, August 25, 2010


It's been quite a while since I've blogged, and if anybody still stumbles upon my blog, whether it be by accident or low percent chance of someone hoping to read more of my Epic Tales Ramblings; I'd just like to say that my hiatus from blogging was necessary as I was starting to burn myself out on all the little things. People really need to be careful when they get burnt out though, and I suppose without thinking about it I heeded that exact advice. The advice whom as even a kid I'd have given to the ultimate impression on me...

(Photo by Michael Guio)

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine yesterday about the process of learning photography and how appreciative he has been over the last few years of my allowing him to ask me questions, and I've always never had a problem with it because I feel as though he keeps me on my toes with my profession. I also told him that I'm honored he looks at me with photography because I look at photography that I want to emulate for instruction. The above photo Mike took at the very beginning of his photographic career, and it's one of my favorites of his. Really it goes to show that you never know where your inspiration will come from, or where it will take you.

When I was just starting out as a photographer (learning with the goal of being a professional), I only knew two photographers at the time personally, and they were both very inspirational to me. The first was my grandfather who was a recreational photographer and an Electrical Engineer for Inland Steel. He never thought he could make a living out of photography, and so he did a job that is a lot more complex than photography could ever be. The other ironically knew my grandfather in the steel mill. The only difference is that he was the Staff Photographer for the Mill.

(Photo courtesy of Chelsea Leininger)
I wish I had a photo of him, or a photo that he took, but I don't. That's him on the left at my friend Chelsea's senior review. Chelsea is also one of the fortunate souls to have studied under him, and is also incredibly grateful for it. It's unfortunate because he was killed in a head on collision with a Semi Tuesday morning of August 24th. He was the one that gave me my ridiculous quest of sharpness, color correctness, and doing it right the first time.

That photo was taken as part of my senior project while at Purdue under the supervision of Tim Fuller. I shot one of the first two senior projects to have ever been shot digitally. Really the first two projects shot digitally were shot that way without permission. We did it because professionals around the globe were adopting digital, and yet our professor Tim was adamant that film would prevail and would always be better. In the end, he was almost right according to this article.

He is most likely the reason I just short of idolize the work of people like Dave Black, and Joe McNally. The people that strive to make images of moments in real life, look like something you can only imagine.

He was a stick in the mud, hard headed, completely uncompromising when it came to his students quality of work, and I couldn't be where I am today without his inspiration. If I had a nickel for every time he told me to re-shoot something, or that something wasn't sharp enough; I'd easily have a thousand dollars. When I look at works that I don't like, I remember his criticisms towards me, and know that I need to be honest towards any works as that they may reap the benefits of said criticisms as well. Maybe I'm not always as brutally honest as he was, but more people should be. He believed that nothing was an accident, any light in any shot, of any video or still image were all planned. Because of him, I see light the way that I do and I aim for nothing but to shoot things accurately when I shoot them; like Joe McNally, or Dave Black. I am by far eternity not a perfect photographer, or even more so not a perfect person. In the end you never know who will influence you the most or where those influences will come from. Maybe someday I'll be able to influence someone the way that both my grandfather, and Tim influenced me. Someday maybe Michael will be able to influence someone, the way that he has thanked me for influencing him. I hope that there is a lot of photography left in this world even though photography is becoming much more point and shoot for the entire population no matter who you are. Maybe the world will recognize the skills that are actually involved in this profession and despite the increasing number of people that attempt to make a living at it. Even though everyone deserves a chance to live their dreams, and I welcome people to pursue the dream of being a professional Photographer as that is my dream. Zack Arias, whom I don't know personally but greatly respect said it best in his article here.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. It's the greatest honor of my life that I have been called inspirational by at least even 1 person. Tim Fuller was inspiration to hundreds. He was a Professor, a mentor, a teacher, and a friend. He will be sorely missed by more than a handful of people. May he rest in peace. More Soon.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Racing to shoot...

So last year I was offered an opportunity. I was offered an opportunity to shoot a Nascar event known as the Kroger 200. I only bring this up because I didn't do it as I was already slated to shoot a wedding that weekend. The big thing with me is that I don't like to say no to too many projects that I want, as I know that the more I say no the less people will ask. Not that I'll take on any project that comes my way (as no photographer should), I just don't like turning people away when it's something that I especially want to do. Luckily though, Kroger came back to me this year and asked me to shoot their Race the night before the Brickyard 400: The Kroger 200 at O'Reilley Raceway Park.

(Nikon D3s, 1250ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-4.5@18mm. 1/250th@F3.5)

The regular star coverage can be found here. I'd never been to a NASCAR Race, much less gotten an opportunity for an ALL ACCESS PASS to shoot one. You may say that I know nothing about Shooting a race, and I'd almost agree with you. Not almost agree because I've shot an Indy 500, or a MotoGP. Not because of the Purdue Grand Prix either. I'd only almost agree because my assignment meant that I was only required to take one shot. That's all. Just one. That meant that the other quite a few hours that I was out at the race? I was there getting paid, just for me.

(Nikon D3s, 1000ISO, Nikon 70-200VR2@82mm, 1/200@F2.8)

My assignment was to take a photo of the winner. Until I knew who that was, I had free reign of the entire racetrack. The guy above was one of the pitt crew for Car #98, Paul Menard. He was watching the race from on top of the travel trailer. Honestly I'd have love to have climbed up there and seen the race from there even, but honestly short of levitating I'm not sure how he got up there. Didn't need the shot, but just like a lot of photographers; you don't just take what you need.

(Nikon D700, 1250ISO, Sigma 15mm Fisheye, 1/800th@F5.6)

There are certain things you will do though while there. As an example, I am sending Kroger the photos that I did take, that I like but didn't use. Everything above is an example of that. There are lots of uninteresting photos of random racecars, strange people with mullets, or weird fisheye angles that didn't quite work out, but I'm only sending them as an extra for having me out. After all, they didn't have to right? Not only that, but from what I understand they were very pleased with the shot I took of the winner. It ran full page on the back of the Racing Special Section last Monday. Full page isn't a good enough description though I suppose. It ran larger than the front page photo by Sam Riche (an awesome photographer/good friend), which was almost full page. There were no extra ads on this photo, it was just the photo. Second largest thing I've ever had run in the newspaper. Just like the largest thing I've ever had run though, this one had no photo credit....More Soon.