Monday, January 19, 2015

My "Pet" Project takes Flight....

Dear readers,

I would like to begin with many thanks for all your compliments, sharing, and support of all my endeavors.

The night of December 31st, as I bid farewell to an extreme 2014, I was spent setting up a traditional public showing of my Dog Beach imagery. A long time in the making and driven by my continuous urge of artistic pursuits (like why I keep going to Burning Man, not because I like eating dust… ), what started out as time to clear my head finally received some recognition. And it all started with the walks on the beach that I would take when spending time in Del Mar, walks that brought forth countless photo opportunities with my old iPhone4. 

My first capture (Magenta Sunset 2011) started it all. It lead me to download the ProCamera App and Filterstorm App as recommended by another photographer in Dubai. This app was game changing for me as it started capturing what I saw, even better. I have to admit, I was also taunted by a couple of pro photographers, who described their smartphone cameras as crappy or no good. I set out to prove them wrong. Maybe it ain’t the camera buddy...

The basic “secret” to ProCamera App is the separation of the focus and exposure button, into two separate settings. The Filterstorm App merely provided me a simple way to straighten (Yes-I cannot always hold my camera level), then crop, (not always, I crop when I am shooting, its called get up out of the sand and move your position), fine tune the exposure, (but not a lot, as Del Mar sunsets can be spectacular) and add a watermark (important these days-maybe). I do no photoshop re-illustration or cheap/dorky/dumb/outdated “filters” like Instagram allows amateurs to step into. 

The light is the light, and if you don’t get the right light, then maybe "don’t post a bad photo…kid". Go back the next day….eh. Can you tell I don’t like that 70’s look filter? We will look back at this decade and do facepalms, realizing amateurs wrecked a lot of their great photos.  

All of this is done at the beach on an image, while my subject is standing there with their wet dog, before they head back to their car.

This process did take time to perfect, but I wanted to see the reactions of people when I showed them my iPhone screen, once they walked over to see “what I got”. It did even lead to aTV interview last January, that aired on Feb 13th in the San Diego area. Ironically the same day I was in Quill Lake Saskatchewan, giving a difficult eulogy at my dear cousin Vern’s funeral. Like I blogged earlier, "A year of extremes….”

So, encouraged by Del Mar friends Sandy and Kevin, I started asking a few local galleries if they would consider displaying my work. Pannikin Coffee and Tea, located in Encinitas on the PCH, offered me the month of January 2015. I approached my “local” photo lab, Photo Shack in Las Vegas, run by a great guy called Lel, to do some testing with large prints from my old iPhone 4. For those photographers reading this (I know you are….) the biggest issue we found was “over sharpening by the iPhone 4 and some digital noise”, however the fact that it does not capture well in low light, actually makes for a better silhouette. Lel printed some of my images 44 inches (1.2meters) wide and then laminated them. His care and attention deserves a huge shout out, and to the aforementioned photographers, I suggest you go with him if you need something custom inkjet printed, personally supervised and then shipped with care.  

The show looks great in this unique and busy setting, that used to be a former Santa Fe train station. The large laminated prints are holding up well, as the large wooden freight room doors they are pinned on, are always open because it is always nice in California, so they are exposed to a lot of humidity, a few birdys, alota people, and the ocean is close. Elements that obviously would make many of my readers jealous. I apologize in advance, as I am trying to get this posting done quickly today so I can head to the beach...

So that is the basics of my show, please drop in if you are in the area, or perhaps I could give a personal tour at Pannikin if you buy me a coffee. Please let me know if there is some snowbound place in North Dakota or even north of that, that might be interested in displaying my iPhone beach captures. 

Warm Regards from CA


Sunday, January 4, 2015

A very extreme year......

Dear friends and beloved followers of Following Mark Mennie,

For starters I apologize for my extreme radio silence lately.....

2014 has no doubt been a year up extreme ups and downs with an amazing amount of travel, both on a state and internationally. My year started with HeliExpo in California, and a few days later I showed up for the Outrider's tryouts. Then in early spring, I criss crossed the great state of Tennessee to cover and capture 5 AMTC host programs, for the Nashville event that was held in late September. In June, I revisited my beloved Roma and I walked the streets that the ancient Romans once walked and befriended a few new ones at one particular restaurant. I then circled the world with a trip to Australia to shoot a great project for CareFlight. After wrapping that project, I went directly onto my cherished Dubai to help the organizers of the Helishow 2014. I then ended my crazy year of travel shooting The Outriders and Drill Crew Calendars, another collaboration with my best buddy Waldy Martens. It was a lot of work and one technical hiccup, but all and all went very well.  I celebrated all the hard work with the Stampeders' Grey Cup win in Vancouver with the Outriders. What a season and what a year.

I lost two family members and one great photo friend. Unfortunately, I have to found out that yet another Calgary photo buddy passed away on January 1st.  

I was again a Burner at my 8th Burning Man, but this year I was officially designated by the BMorg to capture imagery for the event. This accreditation had its advantages for early access, and also recognition that you are just not another person with a camera. A claim second only to "I'm a DJ"… I was honored to be asked portray the organization professionally through my lens, and I never missed a sunrise on the playa the whole time I was there. 

Through these events and a very emotional filled year I probably shot 20,000 plus frames. This could also be measured as almost a terabyte in edited and saved imagery, and a few technical issues as well. 

My projects were extremely varied and my sleep and eating habits matched it too.

My visuals illustrated a couple new video projects that were created by Jean Levasseur of PHOCUS Productions,  which were all well received by our clients. I love the merging of imagery, music and ideas

My last photographic action on December 31st, was to hang my first showing of large prints, from my 2 years of Dog Beach iPhone captures, at a very popular coffee house in Encinitas, California. The last time I exhibited was in 2009, my Altawan series in DC. 

So as I conclude this "all over the map" year (both literally and figuratively), what are my goals for 2015?!?! Both personal and career?!?!?

BALANCE - Personally.
BALANCE in my day to day life. A BALANCE that has now escaped me for years.

GAINS - in Business.
To cultivate and grow the GAINS I made in 2013 + 2014, as well as incurring new GAINS in 2015.

GROWTH - Artistically
I hope to make the Memorial Lights in Colorado and the AMTC, a bigger unique visual presence. 

And to take my Burning Man project I have proposed for years, and make it a reality. 

and SHARE - My Experiences
To certainly post a lot more on social media and my blog.

To keep making it happening in Dubai. The World Expo 2020, is right around the corner.

To hopefully continue to grow my visual influence with the Outriders and the Drill Crew. 

To simply share a pint with Greg Williams my high school biology teacher and catch up with a few others from my past. 

To return to Australia and attend the Air medical conference in Darwin. 

Someday I hope to return to Jo'burg, Roma and Wildhorse as well.

To someday again simply icefish with my Saskatchewan cousins as well.  

To continue to spend more time with my family. Honor thy Parents. 

And lastly to find a little more time for me, whether that be travel, sleep, or a new hobby. Something to spark my creativity and make me a better artist.

Happy New Year to all! 

Until next time....