08May

Books in the works….

The past few months I’ve been working on my second book – due out in the summer/fall of 2011, it will be based on nature photography- one of my first photographic loves. I thoroughly enjoy the process of writing a book because it brings out so much of what you do subconsciously, and reminds you of the many steps you take to capture a great photo.


I’ve also had the chance to capture new images without the limitations of a specific assignment- something I haven’t done much of for years.

Another book is also in the works, completely different from anything I’ve done so far- I’ll share more as it develops.

So over the next month or so, I may be absent on the blogasphere, but check me out on my Facebook fan page, where I try to pop in a number of times a week: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Arbabi-Imagery-Sean-Arbabi-photography/122003760806

I’m a Flickr nut too: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arbabi/

During the summer I’ll run a few workshops in the Bay Area and a few online (in between assignments), while planning a very exciting one I hope to make happen during the fall. Then in 2011, I may have an international workshop is an amazing location- more info to come.

Even with all of this activity, I continue to push forth my tv show on photography with my partner – we passionately believe in the project and hope to find a champion for it. More promotion as well as another tv spot also in the works.

Last bit a news- I was stoked to see my first book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure, hit #10 on Amazon’s Photo How-to section today- it continues to sell well, get great reviews, and I have signed copies available for anyone interested- check it out on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0817435549

Or on my site (with links to bookstores around the world): http://www.seanarbabi.com/book_exposure.html

Thanks for lettin’ me spread the news & promote- when you put your blood, sweat, and tears into projects, half of the excitement is sharing it with others.

30Jul

Taking a break from photography


As I was on a run this evening listening to John Mayer’s “Into Your Atmosphere”, I thought I’d write to all of you to talk a bit about taking a break from photography. This may mean a few days to some, it may mean a few months to others- it all depends on your personality and what’s going on in your life. Sometimes this simple act can work as a catalyst helping you push forward into projects you’ve been holding off on, or help you create new images you might not have thought of in the past.


As a person who’s captured images since I picked up my first camera at the age of 11 (now 41), I’ve been deeply engulfed in photography in every way possible – from planning and shooting my assignments around the world, to holding gallery shows displaying my fine art prints – writing a 50,000 word book on exposure, to organizing industry events for ASMP – dealing with all that goes into a photo business, to all the self-educating needed to keep up with the latest and greatest in gear and software – and now attempting to create tv show and be the Photoguru to the general public – it’s a lot to do on a regular basis.

And even though I love my career, a few years ago I began to burn out on it a bit. I was always aware of this happening and knew to get away and take breaks from it when I had to, but at that point I realized I needed to slow down on my shooting to find that hunger again. Photography tends to ground me from time to time and has brought a lot of peace to my life, but doing it as a full-time job is whole other ball of wax.

People often think having a career as a photographer is this great job where you travel and get paid for a living – piece of cake right? Far from it. Capturing great shots is a blast, but working on deadline, tight budgets, lots of pressure sometimes, all kinds of weather issues, as well as all the other major and minor details that goes into every shoot is tough. When I get just a one-day assignment, I have to plan that day out, make sure I produce the work needed within the budget allocated, and although some think “hey, if you don’t get the shot, you can always go back the next day”, that just ain’t the case. Your profits drop, expenses increase, and it ends up being an expensive hobby and not your main source of income.


After a few year of shooting less (finding bigger clients, more commercial jobs, and diversifying my business some to maintain the level of income I was earning) my excitement for photography came back 100%. I never stopped shooting, but I definitely cut back on the frequency. I’ve never been one to take a camera everywhere I go, and that too I feel has helped me stay fresh in my outlook of the art, carrying that jubilation of capturing a great shot whenever I do so.


And whether it’s jammin’ to Kanye while ridin’ my mountain bike, or leaving my cameras at home while visiting Lake Tahoe for the weekend, I believe these mental breaks have played just as big of a role in my photography as did the times where I had all my gear- where I may have worked 20 hours in a day to complete a job, or been two weeks away from home on assignment. Photography may be my job, and yes I love making images, but it doesn’t rule my life- the constant search for happiness – contentment – peace – laughter – that does.

So if you take a deep breath or sigh when you pick up your camera, find yourself getting extra frustrated when you miss a shot, or think you’ve reached a plateau in the images you’re creating, consider the option of back burnering your photography. Go for a ride, get back into running, or wait a while until a little dust collects on your camera. You might be thinking “What Sean? Stop shooting photos? Didn’t think that would come from you.” To quote Chris Rock in his last HBO special “That’s right, I SAID it! And I’m looking straight at cha!” 🙂

Remember, you’re not alone in feeling that way, and your passion for the medium will never go away. Happy humpday photo-geeks and geekettes.

07Jul

My 2nd segment on The View From the Bay coming this July 14th


Next Tuesday I’ll be back on The View From the Bay, a great afternoon lifestyle show on ABC Channel 7 KGO-TV in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m looking forward to seeing Janelle Wang and Spencer Christian again, the two great hosts, as well as the whole production staff.


Continuing my goal to be the Photoguru, a commercial pro and photo expert with my own tv show, I’ll be going on to promote my book and talk about five cool compact cameras to check out for the summer season. No side-by-side comparison deal- just cameras that are different in the features they have, price points, and functionality.

The five point-and-shoots I’m testing out and reviewing are:

GoPro’s Helmet HERO Wide: I’ve had a blast with this 5 mega-pixel “point of view” camera, attaching it to my bicycle helmet, my bike, strapping it around my waist, and even on my car for great shots you couldn’t otherwise get in a system under $200.

If you looking for top quality and price isn’t an issue, this compact comes with the Leica name and quality (their lenses are known as the best in the biz-nas), full control of functions, and made for the serious amateur interested in creating high-quality shots in an easy-to-carry system.


Nikon’s Coolpix S60: A 10 mega-pixel p&s offers a great touch screen, – I went with Arctic White, the color of my old ’86 VW Golf (see it at the start of this blog)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX 150: A great compact has the highest mega-pixels in the group at 14.7 million, with manual functions and a Leica lens packed into a sleek body. I personally own this model.

FujiFilm Z33WP: A great 10 mega-pixel waterproof compact camera with a flash, LCD screen, and a cool strap that floats. I’ve enjoyed using it in the swimming pool with my daughters as well at in a river in the Sierras. Fuji sent me the bright pink model- that’s right, I’m Mr. Fancy Pants.

I’ll also show off Joby’s line of cool bendable tripods- fun, functional, and they come in cool colors like blue, green, and pink! Use it for self-portaits, attach it to a tree branch or a pole, and pack it anywhere in your suitcase.


Canon never sent me a camera to review and I was a bit disappointed since they own the point-and-shoot market and have a great line of small digital cameras. But the ones I have are top-notch and would rate high in any comparison so I’m good to go.

So tune in Tuesday, July 14th, from 3-4pm for my segment- it will be fun, informative, and entertaining! And if you’re not in the area, the segment will post on the web at KGO’s site (as did my February spot on Great Family Vacation Photos): http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=view_from_the_bay/everything_else&id=6674127

13May

Stick to acting Ashton

Let me start off by saying, I like Ashton Kutcher– enjoy ‘Punked’, like many of the movies he does, and think it’s impressive to have the resumé he does at his age – nothing personal toward him.


And maybe he’s making a lot of money for Nikon, but come on- what’s with all the camera ads done by an actor who knows very little about photography? It would be like a fake doctor telling you what drugs to take. Or a lizard telling you what insurance to order, while tens of thousands of lizards sadly die every year, all without insurance…. a horrible but true fact.

🙂

I mean come on – all the women are following you ’cause you have that cool point-and-shoot? Yeah, right. I wish. If that was the case I would have been beatin’ ’em off with a stick over the years (actually I got a pretty hot one for my wife, holding on to her for 16 years so maybe Ashton has a point). Hotties everywhere would have been chasing my rear all around Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Southeast Asia, or Mexico.

“Hey Sean, whatcha got there? Ouuuu that’s a big lens – do you know how to use it?” Yeah, I know how to use it- thanks for the compliments too- would you like me to teach you how to take great photos? Wait WAIT! What am I doing?! Back off before my wife opens a can of whoop-ass. Sorry, temporary man disease.

When it comes to lookin’ pretty and acting, maybe you’ve got one on me Kutch. But when it comes to apertures and shutter speeds, flash and natural light, and just plain ol’ having a killer eye to capture great shots, Ashton, you are out of your league my friend.

Sound like a jealous photographer? Not at all. He got where he got with hard work, and probably signed a lucrative contract to promote a product. I would have done the same thing. It’s typical of Nikon to do this- to place no trust in their pros being able to sell their product, and instead grab a hip celeb and make some flashy ads. Shoot, I’ve used their gear since I was 11, believe in the product, been on the cover of the calendars, in their product guides (this year again), Nikon World magazine, their trade shows, and so on, but they’ve never been nothing but rude and condescending to me. It’s why I dropped my NPS membership (Nikon Professional Services) after 17 years – nothing but arrogant people who don’t want to help their pros- all of this while Canon pros go on and on about how great Canon treats them and takes care of their needs. Hmmm, I’ve always liked Canon gear.

As I said I would have done the same thing as A.K., but with a small difference. I’ve been published all over the world, captured images for hundreds of clients ranging from National Geographic to Timex, and proud to bring a solid portfolio to the table – a collection of images at 40 years young I challenge any photographer to rival.

So here’s my pitch to all the companies out there directly and indirectly involved in photography. Apple, Canon, Epson, Fuji, Kodak, Nikon, Minolta, Olympus, Promaster, Sigma, Tamron, and many many more – if you want a spokeman to promote your gear, if I were you I’d picked me, the Photoguru- but hell, don’t even pick me – just pick someone with genuine clout in the industry.

Someone the pubic can say “Wow, that photographer knows how a capture amazing images – maybe they DO know something I don’t”. And Ashton, I ain’t got nuthin’ but love for yah baby – and if you need to brush up on your photo-knowledge, I offer workshops every month.

08May

The White Whale


Although I’ve never had the chance to own a German-made rangefinder Leica camera (always wanted to – one of my dream cameras), I just wanted to share this dope Special Edition All-White Leica M8.


Sure it’s around $8500 (ouch), the black and silver versions listing around $6500 (what a deal!) and the Safari camouflage version at ten grand, but at least you can tip your nose up as other peasant photographers capture images around you with their American and Japanese counterparts.

In all seriousness, Leica makes an amazing product, simple, clean, durable, and unassuming (I know, that’s a bit ironic with the price tag, but most who aren’t into photography don’t realize the price or quality of it).


Made famous by photographers such as Henri Cartier Bresson and Diane Arbus, their lenses have been top-notch for years, and past models dating back to the 50s are always in demand (just type in Leica on eBay and see for yourself).


If you just received your bail-out check or play shortstop for the Yankees, you can call Leica at 800-222-0118 in inquire about adding this cool 10.3 megapixel gem for your collection. Don’t forget to go back to Congress when you need to buy a few lenses for it.


And when Leica sends me a free one, I’ll test it out and add more info. 🙂


02Apr

Nevada 50


Old West Highway, desolate road, traveled one summer week,
Blue sky days, sagebrush seas, mirages from asphalt heat


Mining towns far apart, dreams of prosperity gone so fast,
Jets thunder over petroglyphs, native hunters present and past


Countless characters with tall tales, life engraved throughout their face,
From Austin, Stagecoach, Middlegate, Cold Springs, & Majors Place


I drive the waves of mountain ranges, ridgelines of Pinõn pine,
The type of scenery to help the thoughts depart a cluttered mind


This desert is often branded as a vast and wasted land,
I see its stark and wild beauty touched by a higher hand


2002 poem by Sean Arbabi while on assignment capturing Nevada’s desolate Highway 50

01Mar

My photo segment on "The View From the Bay"


On Monday, February 23rd, had the pleasure of being on The View From the Bay – a wonderful afternoon San Francisco Bay Area show on KGO-TV Channel 7, hosted by Spencer Christian and Janelle Wang.


We did a five-minute segment on taking family photos like a pro – it went very well and was a blast to do!

We talked about taking great photos with any camera, and I showed 10 slides on how to easily improve your picture taking through simple techniques and fun camera functions.

We also discussed how critical backing up your digital images are- so important to do- and to do it with reliable drives like Lacie hard drives (great desktop and rugged mobile hard drives I’ve used for years in my business), as well as Delkin’s archival gold DVDs (for which I burn thousands of images on to for safe keeping – 100 year archival DVD discs).

I also showed how to display your images in fun ways through Apple’s iLife ’09/iPhoto program (showing an album we had printed from a trip to Disneyland), or buying wonderful archival albums with style from Kolo.com. Kolo also added the segment to their blog at Koloist.com – check it out (simply click on the link)!

When I came home and watched it, and I was jazzed- sometimes it’s hard to remember how things like that went (and sure I’d love to be 30 lbs less!) but I was very pleased how it flowed.

Crazy, it felt like it went a minute and a half, but turned out to be exactly 5 minutes long as we planned. I also received a message from another producer of a local CBS show on The CW (Bay Area focus), complimenting my segment. We booked another tv interview for the fall (sometime in November). I’ll add it here once we have firm dates.

The show and hosts of
The View From the Bay were pleased as well and I thank them for the opportunity- a great professional staff of wonderful people putting together a top-notch show. This is what I’m working toward- to be known as that funny guy on tv that teaches people all about photography. The PhotoGuru.

If you’re interested in watching the segment, here’s the link: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=view_from_the_bay/everything_else&id=6674127

For more on Photoguru with Sean Arbabi, to review our tv show pilot, or read articles on photography, tips and tricks, new gear and software, and more, go to: http://www.photoguru.tv