behind the scenes

A Very Personal Post

Alright, so it’s time to get personal…like, really personal.

If you’ve ever met me in person, especially at a car show, you’ve likely noticed - I don’t hear very well. It’s a lot of “Say again?” and “What was that?” or “I’m sorry, what?”. Yeah, I get tired of it too.

I don’t go to certain to restaurants alone because I know I won’t be able to hear the counter person. I rarely go to shows or concerts unless it’s something truly special. I avoid situations with a lot of people or music because it’s too much ambient noise overload and I won’t be able to hear anything specific. It sucks.

To top it off, I have an intense high-pitched ringing that NEVER stops…ever…and it’s the loudest thing at all times. I cannot accurately explain it, but just know I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

I’ve been battling hearing loss for a very long time (years), and it’s only getting worse.
I went to the specialist again this week and had another hearing test to see just how bad things are…and, yep, things are bad. I need to get hearing aids. We figured it would come to this eventually, we just didn’t think it would happen when I was 44 years old!

Now, this isn’t the end of the world; it could be a whole new beginning, we shall see. But, we need to get there first. If you didn’t know, hearing aids are expensive! Like, really expensive! I have a great job, with decent insurance, but they don’t cover much as far as ‘durable medical equipment’ goes. My out-of-pocket for these bad boys is going to be just shy of $5,000. Stick with me here, this isn’t a charity case …I’m not asking for a donation or a handout…this isn’t a GoFundMe. I am going to have a SALE here on my website on everything to try to defer some of the costs of these hearing aids. So Shirts, Stickers, Prints, Coasters, etc are on sale for a while. The sale will run for a week or so, just to help take the sting out of the cost of these hearing aids. I have a bunch of old magazines for sale on ebay as well if you need any to fill in your collection.

I’m getting the hearing aids no matter what…I have to…I’ll go crazy without them. I’m going to order them next week. Hopefully the next time you see me I’ll be able to hear you better.

Anyway, enough about me. back to the photos.

Are you ready? I'm ready.

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10,000 is a Big Number!

My Facebook Page hit 10,000 Likes late last night! It was really fun to see that number click over, even though I thought I might break my refresh button!
I am amazingly grateful so many people have followed my progress, and liked what I have captured and put out into the world.

10K Likes Banner.jpg

So what does hitting 10,000 mean going forward? I’m not sure exactly. I am still going to try to bring you great content every single day, whether it’s some event coverage, a feature shoot, some behind the scenes looks, or something out of my archives that I think you might enjoy.

I like to think my page is different from a lot of the other photography pages out there. I like to showcase all different types of Volkswagens, no matter the year, style, or condition. They are all special in their own way! Of course, I pepper in some of my other work, like the big rig shoots and events, and some vintage truck action. You might also notice that I occasionally post some old signs, which are another passion of mine. I know most folks are following my page for VWs, so those dominate what you see, but I hope you like a taste of the others once in a while as well.

To celebrate the 10K mark, I am GIVING AWAY some stuff! There will be SIX winners…FIVE people will each win a 2019 VW Calendar, and ONE person will get a Shirt AND a Puzzle!
All you have to is make sure you LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE and complete the official ENTRY FORM. That’s it! I’ll be drawing the winners on Sunday, November 25th, so make sure to enter today!



Good luck to all who enter!

Again, I cannot thank you all enough for choosing to follow along on my adventures. I am beyond grateful for your support and attention.

10,000 is just the beginning…let’s keep it going!

Are you ready? I'm ready.

My pages, please give me a follow:
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Keeping it 100

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

100 Published Magazine Features!


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.

My pages, please give me a follow:
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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.

My pages, please give me a follow:
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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.

My pages, please give me a follow:
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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.

My pages, please give me a follow:
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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.

My pages, please give me a follow:
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How To Catch Up When You're Behind

Right now, I'm 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.

My pages, please give me a follow:
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