Keeping it 100

With the arrival of Hot VWs November issue, a big milestone has been reached.

100 Published Magazine Features!

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One hundred. Wow!

In the span of just five short years

100 Features
21 Covers
15 Centerfolds
Across 12 different publications

It has been quite a ride in such a short time. I can’t wait to see what the next five years, and beyond brings.

I cannot express enough my gratitude for your attention, support, feedback, comments, likes and shares. Everything counts for more than you know.

Thanks for being a part of this adventure!

Are you ready? I'm ready.
Eric

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It's About to Get Busy

Summer is essentially over. The triple digit temperatures are waning, so that means all of us Volkswagen owners are getting our Dubs out of the garage again. Back on the roads, taking advantage of some 'cooler' temps. 

It's officially Fall Show Season!!

As a photographer, that means it's about to get busy again. In another week, I'm back on the road! 

Next week I head to the Fresno, California area to shoot two Dodges for Vintage Truck Magazine. The very next weekend, it's back to the Salt Lake City area for photo shoots and the annual Utah VW Classic. 

Before you know it, The Elite and Just Clean VW Show in Las Vegas, and Volkstock in Phoenix will be here.  I'm sure I'll tuck in another one or two overnighters on the calendar as well before winter gets here as well. 

The summer doldrums are over. Let's get to it!

Are you ready? I'm ready.
Eric

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95 and Counting...

Looking through my records, I noticed that I have had 95 published magazine features. Ninety five! Heck, that's almost one hundred. ;)  21 of those 95 were even Cover shots!

Banner 95 Fetaures.jpg

Considering I only started working with mags at the end of 2013, that's pretty cool. An average of 19 published features per year!

I'm a freelancer, so I'm not contracted anywhere, and can work for multiple titles at the same time. Right now, these are the folks I collaborate with:
Hot VWs Magazine
Volkswagen Camper & Commercial Magazine
VolksAmerica Magazine
LargeCar Magazine
Combi Magazine

I've also done work with others, who I either just did a single piece for, or that have stop publishing:
Aircooled Classics Magazine
Kombi Life Magazine
Retro Cars Magazine
VW Vibe
10-4 Magazine
I've contributed photos to other people's features as well. Though I don't count those in the 95.

I really am humbled to have the opportunity to make car owner's dreams come true by helping them get featured.  Together we have broken ground, given exposure to new and different events, and shown the world more of the VW scene than ever before!

As I get closer to that big 100 number, there are a lot of people I need to thank.
First of all is my family, who have supported me greatly throughout the years. Most notably, my wife, Chris, who is not only immensely supportive, but as a business owner herself is also great sounding board for ideas and advice. 
Next up is Telly Carsten, who got me in touch with my first ever magazine editor, and planted the seed which has certainly taken firm roots! 
Speaking of editors, thanks to all of you who have seen value in what I bring to your magazine's pages.
I'd also like to thank every car owner who has either let me photograph their ride for a magazine, or who has hired me to shoot their car or event. You all are helping this whole thing keep going. 
Everyone who buys a shirt, a puzzle, a calendar, or a print - thank you all. I truly couldn't keep doing this without your support. I sincerely thank you all! I wish I could call out everyone individually, but no one wants to read a blog post that long! :)

The last five years has been quite a ride, I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Always evaluating, always learning, always humble, always grateful for your attention.

Are you ready? I'm ready.
Eric

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2019 Calendar Pre-Order

It's that time again...time to pre-order your 2019 Calendars! 

This year, I have FOUR options to choose from. Yep, four, but more on that in a bit.

Everybody wants to know how I pick who gets into my annual calendars. Well, everything in my calendars each year are photos that I took. Seems logical, right? 95% of what you see included are dedicated photo shoots that I did for either a magazine or a personal shoot for the car owner. The rest are from events. There are times I grab a shot at an event that just screams 'Calendar', so it makes it in.

With four options this year, you can get the one (or two) that really speak to you as a VW fan. 
As always, there is the standard 'Volkswagen Calendar'. This one has Bugs, Ghia, Type 3s, etc.
Again this year, I have a 'Volkswagen Bus Calendar', featuring Splits and Bays. 
For the second year, a 'Things West' option is available, showcasing Things in attendance at the Things West 2018 event in California.
NEW for 2019 is the 'Watercooled Volkswagen' calendar! I love my water pumper fans out there, and this is for you. A few of the shots in this one were from photo shoots, but the majority were taken at events. 

Seriously, something for everyone here.

Calendars are printed on heavy satin card stock, and measure 11x17 when open. They are spiral bound, and easy to hang. 

I'm keeping the same price as last year: just $24 and FREE SHIPPING in the US. Click HERE to order.

Right now, we are in the Pre-Order period. Calendars will ship to you in plenty of time for the Holiday season. They make great gifts!

Hit this LINK to check out all the details, and see all the featured VWs! 

Are you ready? I'm ready.
Eric

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Puzzles are Here!

My second line of jigsaw puzzles are here! They actually arrived three weeks earlier than expected.  That's great for all the folks who pre-ordered, because those are out in the mail already!

For everyone else, you can order your puzzle (or puzzles) right now by visiting my STORE and going through the regular process. 

These are 1,000 pieces, and measure 20x28 when you put them together. That's a pretty big size! They are factory boxed and sealed, ready to go.

I expect to ship every two to three days (because really who wants to go to the Post Office every day) unless I'm out of town, and I'll get to those orders as soon as I return. 

                                                          Four styles to choose from!

                                                         Four styles to choose from!

I picked these four images because I thought they would make puzzles that were somewhat challenging, and would look awesome if you glued them together and hung them up on your wall.  Each of these for sure meets those criteria. 

Quantities are limited, with less than 10 of each style remaining after the pre-orders went out. Act fast to get yours before they're gone!

Are you ready? I'm ready.
Eric

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Relying on the Help of Others

As a creative person, whether you’re an artist, a musician, or a photographer, it’s hard to give up control. Even though we might avoid asking others for help, it can certainly be necessary, and ultimately beneficial.

Case in point: I have three photo shoots scheduled out of state next week, and at this moment, I don’t know where any of them are taking place.

For me, this is terrifying on a couple levels.
First, for a quality vehicle photo shoot, location can be EVERYTHING. The wrong background, and a great car can appear mediocre. I like to say ‘The car is the star’, but a questionable location can neutralize an otherwise killer shot.
Second, since I’m not in the area, I must enlist the car owners to do the location scouting, something I normally do myself.  I need their help in finding just the right spot.

I try to give a few suggestions of what would look good for their particular car, and send them out into their world to scout potential shoot spots. What happens next is usually a back and forth exchange of emails and photos, narrowing down what they found to what we both think works the best.

When shoot day arrives, 95% of the time it works out great. The other 5% we need to call an audible and find a new location in a hurry. I’ve been kicked out of places, had a location just be too small to shoot in, and of course there’s that time the Cops shut us down (at least we were done when they arrived).

Looking back through my 20 (so far) magazine cover pieces, eight of them were taken at locations where I had to ask the owner for help.

This set of circumstances is just one example of relying on the help of others. As much as we may not like having to do it, since it can be uncomfortable or intimidating, asking for help can absolutely be advantageous. So open up, don’t be frightened to say ‘Hey, I could use your help’.

I’m sure the three shoots I mentioned above are going to be awesome, I just need help in getting them there, so I asked.

Are you ready? I'm ready.
Eric

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I Hate All of My Photos

That's not a typo. Even the shots I love, I hate. Let me explain, or at least try to.

In today's landscape of instant gratification, social media, likes & loves, it's too easy to get a false sense of security in your art.
Comments, Likes, Loves...these are all great things. They show folks are engaged enough with my photos to interact, and I love interacting with all of you.  I must be posting good stuff, right? 

This is how it goes from my side. By the time a photo makes its way to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or my website, I've already seen it at least four times (likely more). I have analyzed it, edited it, perhaps edited it a second or third time, placed a watermark on it, and made it into a web-friendly size. 
All I see by this point is what's wrong with it.  'Oh, I could have done this to make it better' or 'I wish I had done this' or 'I missed this opportunity' or 'If my shutter speed was X instead of Y this would have happened'.

Allow me to present one of my most popular photos: David R's Patina Oval.

                      The  FIRST EVER  Patina car to be featured in Hot VWs Magazine

                     The FIRST EVER Patina car to be featured in Hot VWs Magazine

This shot was a big deal. It was the FIRST EVER Patina car to get a feature in Hot VWs Magazine. The first, EVER.   

I spent over three hours editing this shot.  I've sold quite a few prints of this photo, I have it framed and hanging in my home, and it was a two-page spread in the magazine. 
All I see is the shadow across the old screen door to the left of the bug's hood. I could have killed that shadow with a fourth flash inside the barn, but I completely missed it at the time.  It's still an awesome shot, and I love it, but at the same time I hate it. 
Does that make sense? I don't know, but that's how it is in my head.

I'm like this with Every. Single. Photo. It's never good enough. I love it, and I hate it. 
Maybe it's a case of being a perfectionist, or my own worst critic, but that's a job somebody has to do. Right? 

I try to take it as an opportunity to learn, and plan for future photo shoots and events. Gathering up all that introspection and self criticism, and turning it into a positive during the next shoot, and the next shoot, and the next event, and the next event... Remember what I learned from this shot, and that shot, and apply it here. 

Always evaluating, always learning, always humble, always grateful for your attention.

Are you ready? I'm ready.
Eric

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How To Catch Up When You're Behind

Right now, I'm behind...by a lot, and I mean a LOT!
I have photos from weeks ago which I haven't had time to touch yet. They're saved, and they're backed up, but they're just sitting there, patiently waiting to be tended to.
To top it off, I'm headed directly into another three day event, and that's going to back me up even more. 

Still, hope is not lost. 

How do I work through a situation like this? Let me break it down.

1. Step back, take a breath. Meditate if that's your thing. At least take some deep breaths. Clear your head.
2. Make a list. When I'm behind, I HAVE to write down what needs to be done. Write it all down. It doesn't have to be in any particular order, just make sure you get it all. Every item, every step.
3. Put that list in an order that makes sense. Have a deadline on a project? That becomes number one. If chronological makes sense, there is your order. Will it be easier to do 'Project Y' before 'Project X'? Maybe that's your sequence. Figure out what will work best for your flow, and create your order of operations. 
4. Make time. Set aside the time you need to start working. Everything will get done eventually, but it go more quickly if you actively have blocks of time scheduled.
5. Work. To borrow a phrase: 'Just Do It'  It's not going to get done if you don't hunker down and get cranking. 

I had to go through these steps when I returned from the Blackstar Campout/El Prado VW Weekend.  
My list looks something like this:
1. Prado - Edit, upload to website & Facebook
2. Blackstar Campout - Edit, upload to website & Facebook
3. OCTO - Edit, upload to website & Facebook
4. Things West - Edit, upload to website & Facebook, deliver to Magazine
5. Thing photo shoot - Edit, deliver to car owner
6. Kenworth photo shoot - Edit, delver to Magazine
7. Wheel Jam Event - Edit, deliver to Magazine
8. Las Vegas Car Stars Event (all 3 days) - Shoot, Edit, deliver to Promoter

We are talking about THOUSANDS of photos here. 

Step 1 (Prado) is happening tonight (June 13). Step 2 I'm hoping will be completed Friday morning. 
Step by step, it will be completed.

The moral of this post is don't freak out, don't get discouraged. Get organized and get motivated. 

Are you ready? I'm ready.
Eric

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What's In My Bag?

So you want to know what's in my camera bag? Well, there's a camera body and some lenses, naturally, but what else do I take along on a shoot or to an event? 

Here's a quick run-down of those miscellaneous items I carry, because you just never know.

Memory Cards - The last thing you want to do while traveling, is run out of memory.
Circular Polarizing Filter - Helps get rid of unwanted reflections on shiny cars.
Camera rain cover - Hey, it rains. When it does, I'm ready.
Cleaning cloth - Dust on a lens is bad.
Spare Eyepiece - I seem to lose these a lot.
Notepad & Pen - Mostly for getting owner contact info at shows, also for quick notes.
Clif Bars - My go-to for on the go eating. Easy to carry and pretty filling. 
Business Cards & Photo Shoot Cards - Always ready with my most requested info.
Small Tripod - For those times my big tripod is too much.

IMG_1982 Edit Scale.jpg

I'm sure there is more inside the bag I'm forgetting, some loose change, maybe some Excedrin & Claritin, a couple stickers, and a few odd-ball things, but you get the gist! 

What I really know...it's HEAVY! 

Are you ready? I'm ready.
Eric

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