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Category Archives: Cameras

How The Creative Brain Works

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Laguna Beach – one of my favorite walks

I have been working and traveling non-stop since last November. Fortune smiled a big toothy grin this year, for I have seven exhibits of my photography scheduled in museums, galleries and universities this year. Five of them have been between January and March. Shooting, printing, shipping and installing, uninstalling, and doing it all over again have been what I wake up to. March 20th was the opening reception for Secret Lives – Images from Window Peeping and Things We Leave Behind. I have an artist lecture to give on March 29th, then a luscious break until late May. What will I do with my time?

Art is my job. The time between shows may seem like a vacation to a 9 – 5er, and it may look like it when I take a four mile walk in the middle of the day. There is more going on than you may realize. The American Puritan work ethic isn’t the most conducive to creative minds. We are trained to work, work, work, and if we don’t, society considers us lazy. Working constantly without switching gears is not the best method to unlock the brain. R. Keith Sawyer, author of the book Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation, says:

In creativity research, we refer to the three Bs—for the bathtub, the bed and the bus—places where ideas have famously and suddenly emerged. When we take time off from working on a problem, we change what we’re doing and our context, and that can activate different areas of our brain. If the answer wasn’t in the part of the brain we were using, it might be in another. If we’re lucky, in the next context we may hear or see something that relates—distantly—to the problem that we had temporarily put aside.

Taking walks releases my mind to explore and solve problems. I’ve had an idea for many months, but a couple of unresolved issues are preventing me from starting the project. I discover answers while on a long walk or floating in a warm bathtub. Something magical happens when my brain is allowed to flow untethered.

The Path Along Aliso Creek

I guess I can say my brainstorming room is a walking path and my studio is a bathtub. I keep a voice recorder or note pad at hand to document all the ideas that bubble to the surface. Some are good, others not. The point is to keep inspiration flowing and act on the ideas that promise to have an impact.

Here’s another section from R. Keith Sawyer’s book:

Take risks, and expect to make lots of mistakes, because creativity is a numbers game. Work hard, and take frequent breaks, but stay with it over time. Do what you love, because creative breakthroughs take years of hard work. Develop a network of colleagues, and schedule time for freewheeling, unstructured discussions. Most of all, forget those romantic myths that creativity is all about being artsy and gifted and not about hard work. They discourage us because we’re waiting for that one full-blown moment of inspiration. And while we’re waiting, we may never start working on what we might someday create.

Who would have thought taking a walk or a bath is actually a workout for the brain? Let’s spread the word. Maybe we will have a healthier, cleaner population with lots of brilliant ideas. The next time someone tells you to “take a hike” say “thanks – I’ll be back with a clever idea”.
It’s 10:00 p.m., and I need a breakthrough. A perfect time to soak in the tub.

FREE – Test Think Tank’s Photo’s New Camera Carrying System

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Think Tank Modular System

Test Drive one of Think Tank Photo’s new Modular Rotation Systems free for 28 days.  If you like it, keep it and your credit card will be charged.  If not, return it to Think Tank no charge. The Modular Rotation System is the choice of working professionals who shoot sports, weddings, nature or any situation where the need to stay mobile and rapid gear changes are essential.

The Modular Component Set™ V2.0 consists of two individual lens changer pouches, a flash pouch and an accessory pouch that lock to or slide around any Think Tank Photo belt. Since the pouches are modular, the carrying system can be reconfigured to match any assignment, under any condition.

The Modular Skin Set V2.0 consists of two individual lens changer pouches, a flash pouch and an accessory pouch that lock to or slide around a Think Tank Photo belt. Components are lightweight, compressible and easily collapsible. Perfect for traveling.The “Sound Silencer” feature adds stealth by eliminating hook-and-loop tearing noises.

This offer ends on March 31, 2012 or when 100 of each modular set has been reserved for the Test Drive program. Click here to test it.

* This offer is only available within the United States because of the shipping costs of delivering the product from and to the U.S.

Landscape and Nature Photo Workshops, Grand Tetons and more

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Hello Photographers,

Schawbacher Landing, Grand Tetons, by Gina Genis

Thought I’d let you know about some upcoming landscape and nature workshops.
First, is the spectacular Grand Tetons. I have a few spots open, and would love to fill them with one of you. The dates are from June 25 – 29. Every year we have a great time, and go home with images worth printing and framing. I have a lot of new info to share, discount coupon codes for equipment, and new software techniques that really make your images sing. Click on the “Grand Tetons” link above for details.

Next, enjoy the beautiful mountains of Southern California in Idyllwild, for a 2 day workshop on June 2 & 3. This workshop takes you into the forest to photograph a waterfall, spectacular panorama sunsets, flowers, lakes, and more. Idyllwild is a mini Yosemite, but also has the advantage of a charming town for movies, great food and shopping too. This workshop is only $400. Click on the “Idyllwild” link above for details.

Want to go to the beach? Like old architecture? My Beach & Mission weekend workshop is perfect for you. Take advantage of the Laguna Beach area in April, and we might get lucky and see some migrating whales. Last year, my group witnessed a mother and baby whale close to shore, and a wedding on the beach right in front of them. It doesn’t get better than that. We will also visit a mission with great architecture and blooming gardens. This workshop is only $400. Click on the “Beach & Mission” link above for details.

Little time, but still want to learn? How about a 4 hour Creative Photography workshop? This is a fun way to make unusual images right inside your camera. I designed this workshop for people who want to see in a new way, need inspiration, and want to play around with their cameras. It’s a blast. Join us on April 7th in the Laguna Beach area. This workshop is only $100. Click on the “Creative Photography” link above for details.

Maybe a workshop is not right for you. Contact me for Private Lessons. I love to help you on a personal basis so you can take your photography to the next level.

Keep your eye on my website: I will be adding more 1/2 day and 1 day workshops for portraits, camera basics, macro photography, and more.

Also, I am affiliated with Lensbaby, onOne Software, Think Tank, and B & H Photo/Video. That means I can give you a coupon code for discounts. If you are going to buy new equipment, contact me first for a coupon code.

If you have questions, feel free to email me.

Keep that shutter clicking.

Alfred Eisenstaedt Quote About Camera Gear

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Alfred Eisenstaedt photo of nurses

Some people are under the misapprehension that having the most expensive camera and dozens of gadgets is a sure path to good photography. While good tools can help, good photographs can be taken with the simplest camera. It’s the eye behind the camera that counts most.

Alfred Eisenstaedt, from his book Eisenstaedt’s Guide To Photography, published by The Viking Press in 1978.

Revolutionary Light Field Cameras – Will They Make Digital Obsolete?

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Lytro Cameras

There’s a new camera in town and it may challenge the whole digital market to a duel. It is a “light field camera” that uses a new technology to capture photographs that can have their focus changed after capture. What does this mean? No focus worries while shooting, no shutter delay, and images that can be refocused on a computer, tablet, or phone display by any viewer. ISO concerns? Over. Megapixels, aperture settings? History. No more out of focus shots or missing a shot in low light. Flashes and expensive lighting equipment will be a thing of the past.

Light field cameras capture images by collecting millions of individual megarays, (rays of light) in each photograph. The megarays include light strength, direction, and color.

Here’s an article from the New York Times showing how it works.

The technology is here, and already available for purchase. Two companies are selling light ray cameras.  Raytrix, that sells it’s camera for about $3,500,  and Lytro, where you can pick one up for about $400. I don’t know why there is a huge difference in price. Maybe there are quality issues I don’t know about between the two.

Raytrix Camera

This type of photography is just getting cooking. Like digital did way back when. Time will tell where this technology goes. There are even rumblings about being able to capture 3D images in the light ray cameras. Can someone please design an app to make us look a little skinnier in 3D?


Canon 5D Mark III Arrives

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The new Canon 5D Mark III

Great news for Canon junkies. The new 5D Mark III has arrived. What’s so great about this camera? Well, more speed, higher resolution, enhanced processing power, and added creative options for  stills and Full HD movies. This new beast provides the most creative freedom ever for those of us who need to shoot with our brains instead of a machine.

Here is a look at the body with lens kit.  Here is a look at the body only.

So what’s the damage to your wallet? The body only is $3,499. The kit with lens will empty you out to the tune of $4,299. An investment, yes, but one I am willing to make. I think about the shots I have missed in low light, the noise I struggle to remove, and think – yes, this is worth the great shots I will get once it is in my hands.

Read a full review of the Canon 5D Mark III here.

I am holding my breath until mine arrives. Hopefully I won’t turn blue.



Gina Genis Radio Interview With Creative Orange County


Economy Portraits book

If you have an interest and about 1/2 hour to spare, have a listen to a radio interview I did with Creative Orange County on February 28, 2012. Susan Petrella, the engaging host asked questions about my current work, how I became interested in photography, and what makes me tick as an artist. Click here to listen.

By the way, the Economy Portraits book can be purchased on
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