Where Did The Photographer Go?

When I was starting out using my first DSLR cameraI I took it with me everywhere and shot anything of interest. One, to break the camera in and two, to explore what my interests were. I didn’t have a genre yet and was figuring out what I liked to shoot. I believe I captured at least 2,000 images in a few months. Traveling to new places helped. Exploring a city I had just moved to did as well. Finally, I settled in on portrait photography as my focus.

Lately, I have been shooting less. The pandemic hasn’t helped and neither has switching genres. I am done with portraits for a while to look at other areas again. But inspiration has been lacking.

My cameras have been acquiring dust because my primary camera nowadays is also a phone. Handy.

I’ve walked by potential photo subjects recently because I have made similar images in the past. Culling decades of images on the hard drive recently has helped me realize most of those I thought important at the time really wasn’t.

I am hoping this road trip back to Texas next week will help inspire new passion for my chosen hobby.

The Hipstamatic

I’ve been enjoying the Hipstamatic camera app for almost 10 years now and in my opinion, this is one of the most fun film emulators you can use.

Digital photography has never looked so analog. You can swipe and choose over 100 lenses, film stocks, camera bodies and flashes to get that beautiful film look.

I wouldn’t call it a replacement for my film cameras by any means, but you also won’t have to wait hours or days to enjoy the results either.

Hipstamatic has made it even more fun by adding a built in Passport that rewards you for taking daily snaps and gently reminds you to go out and take some pics during “Snappy Hour.”

A New Focus

After almost twenty years of portrait photography I have decided to switch to a new challenge in landscape photography. I’ll also throw in some street photography as well.

Photographing nature and cityscapes will be a difficult new genre to learn but I know I’ll have fun doing it.

See more on the Photo Denbow website.

13th Annual Groundhog Resolutions Day!

It’s that time of year again! This is my 13th attempt at creating life-long habits for myself for the whole year. I realize that after the end-of-year holidays I am not mentally or physically capable of sticking with resolutions for the upcoming new year. No new year day resolutions for me. I need a break so I will take off November through January and enjoy.

My resolutions, goals, best intentions, and life-changing habits are listed below. I will check in every month and then review my progress next on March 3 (3/3). After that will be 4/4, 5/5 and so on. Here we go!


The immediate goal is to drop 25 pounds quick. Last year I had a brief flirtation with the keto diet and was pleased with the results. But this was costly during a pandemic due to meat processing factories shutting down. I’m leaning toward this again and again, only for the quick results and then maybe switch it up to a low carb, more protein diet.

In addition to being more deliberate with my nutrition (I’m no longer calling it a diet) I will combine this with training (no longer calling it “working out”.) The phrase “Eat clean, train mean, get lean” comes to mind. I’ve registered in two obstacle course races this year. The Rugged Maniac course is in June followed by my third Tough Mudder course which is in November.

I’ve been on a 2 month perfect streak with my daily fitness goals using my Apple Watch. Combined with the Apple Fitness service, I think I’ll have my indoor cardio training set. Rounding out the training-from-home goals will be free weights and resistance bands with yoga. I’m eager to get back into the gym for some strength training and considering the risks/benefits thanks to the pandemic.

Throw in some fun activities like hiking, trail running, photo walks, geocaching and disc golf, I’d say this is going to be a great year.



My fat fingers plucking tiny plastic strings on the ukulele at awkward angles? Stay tuned.


Sorting and organizing thirty years worth of photography has been a major pain in the ass, but worth it and about 95% complete.

I’ve been enjoying film photography lately and probably need to set up it’s own budget because film and development is a costly but rewarding endeavor to me. In addition, I want to finally frame some prints and be surrounded by my images. A few photo books will be on order too.


More short stories, micro fiction, One hundred word stories.

Work on that novel. Its been ten plus years and I still can’t get all of this out of my head.

Journaling my thoughts and experiences in addition with collages and white-out poetry.


Maybe I’ll throw in more fun stuff I’ve been thinking about like short podcasts, and exploring ham radio. Just because.

Knowing myself all too well, I could end up adding or subtracting this or that. Either way, I’ll check back in here on 3/3 for the first review of how I do!

Photography Slump

This pandemic is killing my desire to create, especially with my photography. There is still a desire and capability but the people and subjects I want to work with just aren’t available at the moment. Portraits require people and people right now are hesitant out of caution. Landscape photography requires access and access is scarce thanks to shut-downs.

No, I won’t be finding inspiration in the same old formulaic suggestions that people like to write about “what to do when in a creative slump.”


Look for inspiration in art! Go on a photowalk! Shoot a day in the life or still life! Read your manual, clean your gear, photograph loved one and pets! Enough We’ve been reading that since the early age of the internet.

I especially miss the social aspect of meeting up with other photographers to talk, share, learn and grow from. There is nothing like having a beer with friends while talking shop and then headed out to capture images together.

In the meantime, I suppose capturing images of flowers from twenty different angles will have to suffice.


The photo organization goals (Digital Asset Management) just took a setback as I rediscovered zipped files from Google Photos’ Takeout service. When I closed my Google accounts I had the option of retrieving all of my photos from the past 10 years that have been backed up there.

Well, thanks for nothing, Google because this treasure trove of photos is bundled in 2 GB files and there are over 150 to sort through and organize.

iPhone 12 Pro

This is the first year I purchased the newest iPhone on launch day since I converted to iPhone over Android six years ago. It was a thrill to open that box and see the premium stainless steel, glass back, the ceramic shield screen and that third camera lens I have been drilling over for the past year ( I skipped the previous first release.) As first impressions go, this was love at first sight.

No, I have not raced out to test the latest HDR video, nor the Dolby Vision but it is clear to anyone that has one in their hand that this is the most premium iPhone ever and it is built to be used. My only cause for frowning is that the edges pick up and enhance my fingerprints. Well that is easily solved with the slim Otterbox shell I encased it with. I don’t want a case on it because it hides the design but concurrently, I want this device to last for more than a few years. It is going to get protected. And yes, for the first time in forever, I am content.. This is what I have waited years for, a device that is gorgeous, and future-proof.

I won’t go into all the technical details and design specifications, I’ll leave that for others to write about, but they are impressive. The processing chip and memory are faster, more than most laptops, including the Mac I am using to type this.

The three camera system in the iPhone 12 Pro deserve their own article here, and I am positive that will happen once I make the time to do a proper photo shoot with them. The 12 Pro has the ultra-wide lens, wide and telephotos lenses for various uses and sometimes, you can shoot with all three. Add on the Lidar scanner to offer true depth for my photographic subjects and compares with your basic DSLR camera and lenses. Truth be told, these cameras make up the number one reason why I have upgraded.

The second reason is the high speed 5G capability and those data speeds. My carrier lit up their network here a few weeks ago in anticipation for this release and I couldn’t be more pleased. Downloads are fast, streaming is uninterrupted and thanks to unlimited tethering to the hotspot, I am second-guessing the need for home internet service. The home service speed is maxed out at 50MBs whereas the iPhone 12’s 5G capabilities here are double, sometimes triple. If I lived in a larger city, make that 10 times the speed.

I can’t wait to discover more of this iPhone as the weeks go by, especially that camera system. More later on that, of course.

Polaroid vs Instax

With the desire to embrace analog photography, I have also explored instant film too. I grabbed my old Polaroid 600 and expired film for some less than pleasing results such as low contrast and faded colors. This is understood and acceptable even the film expired 13 years ago. Thanks to the Impossible Project a few years back they have recreated the film. After purchasing a new 600 film pack I received similar results.

Since then, the Impossible Project had purchased the rights to the then defunct Polaroid brand and made it their own. Recently they introduced the I-type series cameras and film. With anticipation I purchased the One Step Plus w/ Bluetooth for some added features including double exposure, timer and more all connected to my phone. Neat, yeah?

Well no. I received similar results with the contrast and color to my disappointment. After a week of back and forth emails and examples of my photos from both the 600 and I-type films to Polaroid support they were kind enough to explain indirectly that I may be to blame or even that the film I purchased (from Target, Amazon) is the issue. Not exactly supportive here.

Today, I exchanged the camera, inserted the new film I purchased through Polaroid directly and… same results. Low contrast, dull colors.

Compare all of this to the Fuji Instax instant cameras and film. To the point, much better results. The colors are vivid, the contrast is perfect. I still need to work on the lighting and flash use but these issues are trial by error and correction.

I’ve sent off a refund request through Polaroid and will wait for a response. If past support is an indicator then I will use up the film with throwaway shots and shelve the camera or sell it in favor of a sexier Instax camera upgrade instead.

Creative edit of the Polaroid film protector

Minimalist Photography

For awhile now, I have been playing with the idea of minimalist images. This means sticking with the black and white, monochrome images but using less to compose an image with. An old friend named Brandon helped create a unique emulation of the old Kodak T-Max film as a preset in Lightroom. The idea being I would recreate the film look in my images.

This image was made in White Sands, New Mexico in February 2019.

Post-Processing The Past

A year ago, it feels like eternity now, I visited California again; this time through Route 66. I took this photograph in Joshua Tree. I never really got around to processing those images except for a few. Like most of my images they’re stuck in digital storage. I’ve been taking advantage of the pandemic to organize these images and eventually post-process and print them. It’s a small way to distract myself and a big step in organizing the archives. I need more opportunities for landscape photography capture and apply what I’ve been reading up on.


I just got back from a quick road trip and took almost all my camera gear in one backpack. It was fun but exhausting.

The simplicity of the iPhone camera brings back the same happiness and exploration that made me love photography. I rediscovered the joy of every day life and documented it. Even the mundane. The camera’s limitations force me to focus fully on the subject I am shooting. That child-like wonder wakes up and the mind opens to the possibilities.
I get to discover new surroundings and re-discover the familiar. How did I miss that before? Snap.

The phone can fit into tighter spaces better than a DSLR because of its size. No worries here about apertures, ISO or shutter speeds. Shooting from the hip is possible as opposed to holding up a camera to your face all the time. Brilliant.

Adding some unique character to the photos through a wide variety of apps helps as well. It is fun to play with settings and adjust color, light, shadows and more all without losing the original image. These adjustments can alter the mood or expression as needed. It can be crisp and digitally perfect or go old-school analog photography. Mobile photography has massive creative potential compared to traditional photography.

While we are experiencing a world-wide contagion and the weather is pleasant, it is good for me to get out, remind myself to look for new perspectives and remember the creativity and joy of mobile photography.

More Thoughts On Family Photos

I take a lot of photos of my daughter. She was born with a camera documenting everything like I was the paparazzi.

There are so many pictures of her throughout the years it is difficult which ones to choose for prints or in a yearbook. I’m trying to balance what photos are important to me and what photos she will treasure. What will she remember when she looks back at them? Oh sure, the exasperation at dad for asking her to pose or document her is real enough now, but will she look back with gratitude?

This makes no difference to me since I am unlikely to change my ways and keep snapping every chance I get.

When the time comes, I want those family photo albums that my mother has curated over the years. As an active child, my young life was a blur. Those photos will help anchor my memories. I can only hope that my daughter will feel the same way.

Perhaps this was clearer and more helpful than my earlier post.