Posts Tagged ‘camera’

7 Things to Do When You Retire

February 28, 2012

1. Travel: Job and family responsibilities keep people rooted in one community. Familiar sights and habit often lead to stagnation and boredom. To really feel alive we must experience new sights and new traditions. There is a whole world out there of folks doing things differently and still being successful. We are often surprised and gain a whole new perspective on what’s possible. New avenues and possibilities suddenly appear before our eyes. Magical moments that send us off on an entirely new course of discovery. Travel is a great way to recharge your batteries after doing the same-old, same-old for so long. Pledge to travel. Pick out someplace you’d like to visit. You don’t have to go all exotic. A trip to a state park you’ve never seen is a very inexpensive way to get started. Or maybe to your state capitol if you’re not a big nature fan. Or, just hop in the car once a week and drive off to destinations unknown. Many of my best discoveries came from just such unplanned adventures. Drive until you come to something interesting, then, hop out and take a better look. Travel is a great way to begin your retirement years. Later, I’ll tell you about one simple new technology that makes travel exponentially more fun, even if you have to travel by yourself.

2. Get a Job: Of course I don’t mean go to work for someone else. This is your chance to finally do what you love to do. This is your chance to turn your hobby into a source of additional income. Making money doing what you love is the dream. Sharing your crafts or hobbies or interests with the world has never been easier thanks to the internet. In the not too distant past, retirement came awfully close to the end of our life expectancy. But not anymore. At age 65 most of us can look forward to another 10, 15, 20, 25 or more years of living. What will we do with all that time. Earl Nightingale, famous radio personality and co-founder of the Nightingale-Conant corporation that built their success on audio education programs once said, “The people who live the longest are the people with something to do.” We need something to do. We need some plan or structure in our life. Like it or not, a plan for the future, some expectation or excitement for what’s to come is a driving force in our life that pulls us forward.
When you tie your hobby or interests to a source of income generation, you insure that you’ll always have the financial freedom to enjoy what you love and you’ll get even more enjoyment from it knowing that others are interested in your work too. What joy is the most beautiful flower in the garden, or the best recipe, or the fine wooden craft if there’s no one else to share it with. Sharing has never been easier with the internet and a simple new digital tool.

3. Meet New People: One of the greatest joys in life are friends. People to share our interests and activities with. Meeting new friends was easy when we were in school. Classes would change, kids would come and go. We’d meet new people through sports or clubs or parties. Once we get into the workforce though, we find ourselves a bit more limited. Maybe we’d get to know a coworker. Or someone at church. Or someone from our kid’s school. By the time we retire we can often feel a bit lonely. Kid’s are grown. Sadly, some of our friends have gone off to their great reward or moved into retirement homes or places like Florida or Arizona. Meeting new people can sometimes be a real challenge. Luckily, there are hobbies that make it easy to meet new people.

4. Stay Active: The human body was not designed to be stationary. We we’re meant to move. Activity keeps our muscles in tone. It keeps our fluids moving. It lubricates our joints and aids our digestion. The trick is to find an activity that is low-stress but still addresses all of our physical necessities. Fortunately, walking is an activity that most of us can do. In fact, walking is the activity most often prescribed by doctors for people of all ages. It’s great for our posture, it stimulates our cardiovascular system and its low stress. The only problem is people often get bored with it. Fortunately, when you combine walking with another popular activity you can overcome that boredom and get even greater benefits. Benefits like triple calorie burn, instant gratification, and an excitement to get up and out the very next day. In fact, adding one simple activity can increase your interest in walking from 15 minute to one hour easily, thus quadrupling your benefit.

5. Leave a Legacy: Let’s face it, one day, we’ll be gone. Our time here on this planet will come to an end and we’ll take all of our memories and experience with us. How great if we could leave just a portion of that knowledge, talent and experience behind. What can you do to share? Rich folks leave large sums of money to benefit their favorite charities and institutions. Many other folks volunteer their time and talents. What organizations could use your help? What do you like to do? Could you volunteer your time? Could you write a book? Technology like computers and online retailers like Amazon.com make it very easy now to write and publish your knowledge. Perhaps you like to make things? Furniture and wood crafts. Decorative items for the home. How about art? Do you like to draw or paint? Perhaps you’re one of those frustrated artists who can never get their hand to do as the brain says? Fortunately there are digital arts now that leave your traitor hand out of the equation and let your wild imagination do all the work with a keyboard and mouse.

6. Teach: What better way to leave a part of you behind than to teach? When you share your knowledge you give the next generation all the benefit of your experience. You give them a head start, a leg up, a shortcut to success. There are many community education opportunities where you can even earn money sharing your knowledge. How about SCORE, the service corps of retired executives? Perhaps you could share your knowledge to help other businesses grow?
Starting your own class is easier than you think. It can provide great satisfaction, purpose, and is a great way to meet people with the same interests as you.

7. Buy a Camera: One of the best ways to get maximum enjoyment from your retirement years is to get a camera and learn a bit about photography. Photography is a great way to unify and magnify the benefits from all your activities.

A recent survey, conducted offers some interesting health benefits not normally associated with photography.
• 3 out of 4 people in the survey indicated that photography made them more active each week.
• All of the survey’s participants said that photography stimulates their mind. Half stated that it made them feel more focused, alive and creative.
• 82% found the ability to sustain high levels of concentrate while taking photos. (not an easy task in today’s hurry up era of infinite distractions)
• Fun – Most study participants were involved just for fun, deriving no income from their photos.
• 93 people out of 100 reported that photography made them feel good about themselves.
• 8 out of 10 said it lifts their mental state daily… it makes them feel good.
• More than half the people surveyed felt more connected to the local community and the world.
• 8 out of 10 reported that their involvement in photography had increased their contact with other people.

Surprise – The quality of the photos taken did not influence results. Even though half the people found others showed little or no interest in their photos, they still reported feeling all of photography’s positive benefits!

When asked to reveal, in their own words, the benefits they enjoyed from photography here’s a snapshot of the replies:

Connecting with nice people, relaxation, reduced stress, creativity, extra income, greater appreciation of the world, help people preserve memories, make people happy, get out of the house, meet new people, nostalgia, makes me feel better, relieves pain.

Photography can make your current hobbies more fun by allowing you greater opportunities to share. It can be a great motivational force to keep you active each day. Digital Photography has become much more a communication medium than an art. Technology has made it easier for anyone to take a great photo with just a bit of training.

A recent report indicates that now 10,000 people will retire each day in the country. That’s a lot of people who need something to do. They’d better get busy. Life moves pretty fast and they just might miss it.

Learning a bit of photography can open a great many doors to making retirement one of the best times of your life.

by Robert Schwarztrauber

“Change Your Life in a Flash” is a great introduction to all the benefits of photography. Improve your picture taking skills and find out exactly how to apply these skills to improve your health, wealth and happiness. This 90 minute audio CD program will open your eyes to a whole new world of opportunities. Opportunities available only to the digital camera user. You can get more details on this program at http://FitnessPhotoCourse.com

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Mothers Love This Gift Most

May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day Gift from TotalfinessPhotography.com

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

None of us would be here today without you!

And we’re grateful for every day you’re here to share your love, your kindness, and your wisdom.

Here’s some great news for you – and a great gift idea for those looking for something truly special to give.

I read a report today by Evangeline Lausier, MD, director of clinical services at Duke Integrative Medicine and assistant professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, both in Durham, North Carolina. She is an internist specializing in women’s health and complex multi-system illnesses, with an emphasis on preventive lifestyle.

In the Bottom Line Report, she listed several ways to boost your energy in 8 minutes or less:

“Take 800 steps. A moderately brisk walk — at a pace of about 100 steps per minute — is an excellent way to get blood flowing to your heart and brain. Exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, brain chemicals that make you feel alert and energetic. If possible, walk outdoors — the sun’s rays activate the synthesis of mood-enhancing vitamin D.”

And what better way to get motivated and actually DO IT than to take your camera along to record some special sights along the way.

Here’s what else Dr. Lausier recommended:

“Express yourself to lower stress. Play the piano, pen a poem, paint a picture or just doodle. The purpose: Creative self-expression is stimulating — it alleviates energy-draining stress by helping you reconnect with your deep inner well of emotional well-being.”

While she didn’t expressly mention digital photography, we know that it is a great creative outlet. And it has one distinct advantage over those she did mention…we do it while in motion! We stand, we walk, we climb hills and we get fresh air and sunshine!

So if you’re looking for a perfect Mother’s Day gift to get your mom…get her a digital camera! That way she can have fun and get the exercise that will keep her healthy and with us for a long, long time.

If you’re a mom and didn’t get a camera (and you need one) go out and give yourself the best Mother’s Day gift ever!

Give the gift that moms love most…the one that just might help them be with us longer…give them a camera!

Happy Day Moms!

Robert Schwarztrauber

For more photography relate fun, check out my other sites at:

http://CreativePhotographyTricks.com

http://PhotoshopHouseOfCards.blogspot.com

http://photoshoptipcards.com

Feel 10 Years Younger Too!

April 26, 2011

Feel 10 years Younger at http://totalfitnessphotography.com

Yes…that really is me!

Here, for the second day in a row, because we got more great news from the scientific community.

More evidence that what we’re doing is the absolute best thing we could be doing.

We know it’s good for our physical health and fitness, and now Dr. Nose from Japan says (in a New York Times article)  it could make us feel up to 10 years younger!

“Dr. Hiroshi Nose, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of sports medical sciences at Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, who has enrolled thousands of older Japanese citizens in an innovative, five-month-long program of brisk, interval-style walking (three minutes of fast walking, followed by three minutes of slower walking, repeated 10 times). The results have been striking. “Physical fitness — maximal aerobic power and thigh muscle strength — increased by about 20 percent,” Dr. Nose wrote in an e-mail, “which is sure to make you feel about 10 years younger than before training.” The walkers’ “symptoms of lifestyle-related diseases (hypertension, hyperglycemia and obesity) decreased by about 20 percent,” he added, while their depression scores dropped by half.”

I know I feel 10 years younger!

While we’re not as wrapped in the formality and regimen, essentially we’re doing the same thing. We walk quickly in between photo locations, we walk slowly as we plot our best angles, we do a few leg squats to get the best view.  We shoot our photo… then away we go again.

We get big points for the interest that photography brings to the game too.

While those older Japanese subject had the program for motivation, we’re on our own. We have to motivate ourselves. Luckily, there’s a whole big, beautiful world out there begging to pose for our photograph!

The article also said,

“…the one indisputable aspect of the single best exercise is that it be sustainable. From there, though, the debate grows heated.”

That’s the great thing about photography as our motivator. It takes our mind off the “exercise” part and instead keeps our focus on the fun. On the hunt for great new photos! That motivation sustains us.

Additionally,in the NYT article  Michael Joyner, M.D., a professor of anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a leading researcher in the field of endurance exercise said, “I personally think that brisk walking is far and away the single best exercise.”

The article also said we get the most benefits… in just the first 30 minutes!

Grab your camera folks!

The medical community is on board.

What a great way to start the week.

Robert Schwarztrauber

You ca read the entire NYT article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17exercise-t.html?

Accidental Weight Loss Key

April 25, 2011

Puppy at TotalFinessPhotography.comWhat if…

Instead of struggling to lose weight, you just did something fun and the weight just disappeared?

Instead of dreading those trips to the gym, where you have to parade your not-so-fit body around in front of all those super-thin, super-buff model types, you could just do your own thing, in private, and get the same results?

Instead of having to wait weeks or months to get any benefit from your “exercise”, you could find an immediate benefit…one that would inspire you to keep at it happily, day after day?

Well, I’ve got good news for you!

You can!

There was a story I read this morning about a lady who “accidentally” lost 11 pounds  because her husband gave her a puppy!

Really what he gave her was “A Powerful Reason Why”.

Because she got this puppy, she now had to take it for walks. And those regular walks got her started on a path to better fitness.

The more she walked and felt better, the more progress she made.

As she lost weight she was then inspired to start eating better. Ultimately, she lost 41 pounds and found her self living a much more healthy lifestyle.

All because her husband gave her a dog…a motivator…a reason to get up, get out and start moving.

I was so happy to read that story. There it was again. PROOF that the simple act of getting up, getting out and walking was a catalyst for good health. All you need is  a  motivator. A big enough REASON WHY. (with a built in distraction)

However, rather than endure the 24/7 responsibilities of raising a dog, I’ve found photography to be a much less demanding (if fact it’s more of a freedom finding) motivation.

Imagine if her husband had given her a camera and a few secrets about how to use photographs to connect with a group of supporting partners around the world?

In fact, that’s exactly what I do!

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can get “accidentally” fit with camera in hand, drop me an email at: robert@totalfitnessphotography.com

You can read more about the young lady and her dog at:

A puppy inspired Abby to walk off 41 pounds!

Whatever you do, I encourage you to spend a few moments thinking about your life. Which road will you choose…to stay on your current path…or to finally change your life and set off on the path to better health and fitness.

A positive life that brings you happiness, joy and true meaning can be yours. Discover your passion and take action now. Today!

Photo Fitness Secret Revealed

March 1, 2011

It’s March now, we’re two months into the year.

If you made a resolution in January to shape up, get fit, or lose weight, how’s that going?

Maybe you decided you’d need help and bought one of the classic fitness machines or workout routines from a late night infomercial. How’s that going?

When you think fitness machine, it’s likely that CAMERA never comes to mind.

But upon closer examination, what do we expect from a “fitness machine”?

…A man-made object that helps us get moving

…Creates physical changes in our body

…It Makes us feel better after use

…Makes exercise more interesting

But most fitness machines fall short when it comes to the one thing that we really want…

INSTANT GRATIFICATION!!!

Typical exercise machines require weeks or months of regular use before we see any benefits.

A digital camera on the other hand has something for us as soon as we’re done… Pictures.

Let’s recap why the digital camera is such a great fitness machine:

…it gets us moving. There’s a whole world to see and a camera gives us a great reason to get up off our butts and go see it.

…since we’re moving, we are improving our health. In every publication you read, walking is ALWAYS listed as a great source of exercise. Both for the body AND the mind.

…since we’re moving, we naturally feel better. The human body wasn’t designed for prolonged periods of inactivity.

…it keeps us interested, motivated to capture the next great photograph to share with our friends. Boredom, as in walking nowhere on a treadmill, is the biggest reason folks lose interest in an exercise routine. In fact, the word ROUTINE just screams BORING!

…the camera gives us instant gratification. When we’re done for the day… an easy hour of walking that passed quickly, with occasional squats to take the low photo, and hill climbs thrown in to reach some interesting object in our path…we have photographs! Something tangible. A reason to do it all again tomorrow or the next day. And just like all the other fitness machines, over time we will get the results we ultimately desire…the better, fitter body.

But we will have had fun along the way!

And maybe faster results because we never quit.

The digital camera…it just might be the finest piece of fitness equipment ever designed.

If you’d like details on a Photo Fitness plan, just send an email to me at:

robert@totalfitnessphotography.com

Robert Schwarztrauber

Creative Photography Tricks

January 22, 2011
CreativePhotographytricks.com/Cat_Bookends_PSU

from CreativePhotographyTricks.com

Creative photography can add a whole new dimension and enjoyment to your photography. It can turn so-so photos into stunning works of art. It can create interest in your work through online communities and in your own local community.

If you’ve lost interest in your hobby, or are struggling to come up with new projects that excite you, or you just want photography to be more fun, you owe it to yourself to explore the possibilities of adding a few creative photography tricks to your repertoire.

Nothing beats the feeling you get when the  “oohs and ahhs” start coming when folks look at your creative photos. It has been said that we humans need  praise and attention for good mental health as much as we need vitamins and minerals for good physical health.

Learning just a few new creative photography tricks is a great way to start getting your RDA of attention and praise. It’s literally just a click away!

I’ve just opened a website that’s makes it so easy for you to get started in creative photography. In no time at all you’ll be creating clever photos to amaze and confound your friends. You’ll be their hero and leave them drooling in awe at your new found skills!

Here’s a link to the new website…click on over and have a look!

http://creativephotographytricks.com

Robert Schwarztrauber

Time for a New and Exciting View

December 18, 2010

Niagara Falls Best ViewMaybe this has happened to you too…

The other night I was watching “Build It Bigger” on The Discovery Channel. They were showing how the Hoover Dam was built. I’ve always been fascinated by how some of these giant structures come to be.

In fact, I was so wrapped up in the program that I didn’t hear my daughter ask me a question. “Dad, didn’t you hear me?” she asked.

“No, I was hypnotized by the TV,” I said.

Truth be told, I was not really hypnotized by the  tube, but the results were the same as if I had been. In reality, I was simply experiencing the effects of tremendous focus. Concentration. In that state we block out unrelated sights and sounds until they suddenly startle us from our trance.

It is a known fact that most of the world’s greatest success stories are born of this great concentration. Someone with great vision and persistence (often called FOCUS) was able to accomplish in one lifetime what the millions who came before him or her never could.

Some people say it’s hard to concentrate, hard to stay focused. And yet everyday millions of people will sit hypnotized for hours in front of the TV. Concentrating on the plethora of nonsense borne of viewer polls and advertising statistics. If it’s loud and changes views every 7 seconds, we’ll watch it – good, bad, or ugly. Especially bad or ugly.

But there is a better view available. One that lets you choose the best scenes in the world. Surprisingly, some of them can be found right in your own backyard. (Like Niagara Falls is to me. See photo above).One that lets you get your body moving, one that lets you meet new people, one that lets you feel better about yourself instead of worse.

There is a view that will train your mind to concentrate, to focus as you’ve never done before.

Let’s recap.

Better concentration. More fun, more physical activity. More people meeting. More praise. A heightened sense of self-respect and a general overall good feeling about one’s self.

“Sounds pretty good,” you say. “How can I get that view?”

Well, it is as near as the back of your camera. It’s called, oddly enough, a viewfinder.

Ironic, the simplicity. We all walk around hoping for something new and exciting to appear in our life, but though we want another view, how many of us actually go to the VIEW FINDER?

Millions of photographers do worldwide. But all those extra benefits I mentioned in the recap are often kept quiet, and discussed infrequently, and just amongst ourselves. You can join us if you like! We’ve got a great view on life because everyday we get up and look for what’s beautiful in this world. Studies have shown that what we look for, what we think about most in our life, comes to be. We create our own reality – which is merely a reflection of our thoughts.

This year is about to close. I can promise that if you do nothing to change the view, the view will still be the same next year. And the year after that. You’ll sleepwalk  through life, hypnotized by the folks who do have a better view.

Why not get a little serious about photography now?

The physical, mental and even economic rewards can be great. But as they say…you’ve got to participate.

Robert Schwarztrauber

P.S. If you’re interested in using your viewfinder (your camera) to really improve your health, wealth and wisdom in the coming year, send me an email and I’ll be sure to put you on my pre-publication list for my soon-to-be-released home-study photography program. Unlike other programs, this one’s not designed to push you toward achieving worldly artistic greatness, but is focused instead on a simple,  fun way to achieve your own personal satisfaction, and better physical and mental health through digital photography.

Send your emails to: robert@totalfitnessphotography.com

Zig Ziglar’s Take on Your Autumn Path

October 27, 2010

"Fall Path"

Our senior years are often referred to as “The Autumn of Our Life”.

We’ve weathered the seasons. Grown strong. Brought forth new fruit. We’ve matured.

But Autumn doesn’t mean “the end”. It’s likely we’ll slow down a bit, but we’re far from through!

Many new studies show that our chronological age does not have to be reflected in our physical or mental states. There is a great deal we can do to control the condition of our bodies and our minds.

Studies also show that one thing is key. Exercise.

Just last night I read two reports from totally unrelated sources that came to the exact same conclusion…exercise (something as simple as walking) can slow or reverse the effects of aging on our bodies and our minds.

Adding an element of interest, challenge, or interconnection with other people  (like photography!)  intensifies the effect.

In a recent article, Zig Ziglar, America’s famed sales and motivational speaker sited research indicating that exercise is the factor that seems most likely to benefit the brainpower of the healthy, sick, young and old alike. He recommended 9 ways to stay fresh. Remarkably,  8 out of the 9 can be accomplished with your camera in hand.

1) Be flexible.  2) Find peace.  3) Eat right.  4) Get lots of stimulation.  5) Stay in school.  6) Seek new horizons.  7) Engage the world.  8)  Take a daily walk.  9) Finally, keep control.

In the second unrelated article University of Pittsburgh psychologist Kirk Erickson told Yahoo:

“In fact, there’’s only one practice that’’s been proven, without question, to preserve your memory: exercise. Aerobic activities tend to show larger effects than non-aerobic activities.”

Working up a sweat helps your mind stay fit better than any crossword puzzle–unless you’re doing that crossword on a treadmill.

The good news is that you don’’t need to run a marathon. Just walking six miles a week can ward off memory disorders caused by aging, according to Erickson’s research published this month in the medical journal Neurology. “It appears that if people start exercising their memory may improve and if you continue to exercise, that might delay, or offset, the age-related decline in memory,” he explains.

And you don’t need to lift any heavy barbells either. Erickson and his team monitored 300 senior adults over a period of 13 years, and found that those who walked between 6 and 9 miles a week——whether to work or with the dog –had half the brain deterioration of those who didn’’t. “Exercise seems to enhance some of the more fundamental properties of our brain,” Erickson explains. “It increases the growth of new cells and improves cellular processes associated with learning and memory.”

To put it simply, walking keeps your gray matter from shrinking. And the more matter, the more mind.  >>>end article<<<

Substitute “CAMERA” for “dog” and you have a much more potent stimulant for fighting the effects of aging. Photography requires far more use of your brain cells and concentration than any dog will. Don’t get me wrong…I love dogs! They have a powerful effect on keeping us happy too. Maybe you can alternate days of walking the dog for exercise, with walking your camera for mind power!

More and more studies seem to be supporting my position that one of the best ways to keep your mind and body young is to pursue your photography with passion!

Get up. Get out and enjoy this beautiful world we live in.

And bring your camera to record and share that beauty. It might just save your life!

Or at least make your Autumn years that much more colorful.

If you haven’t already, please help me in my research on this topic by taking just 3 minutes to complete my survey on the effect photography has on those who take pictures, either casually or professionally. It’s completely anonymous, and just 10 multiple choice question.

Here’s the link to the study that’s posted on SurveyMonkey

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BMG3WNP

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Speaking of scary… one study also sited that people’s single biggest fear after 55 is Alzheimer’s disease. Take care of yourself…grab your camera and start walking!

by Robert Schwarztrauber

Killer Chairs: Fall Solution

September 14, 2010

Autumn Leaves Save LivesHere’s a shocker…Could your chair be killing you?

There is a ton of research to support the idea that inactivity can lead to an early death. Our bodies are a dynamic machine and long periods of idle sitting just aren’t good for us.

Studies have shown that Americans, on average, spend more than half their waking hours sitting.

Dr. James A. Levine, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and co-author of the book “Move a Little, Lose a Lot” thinks our simple sitting habit might just be killing us.

Doctors all over are becoming aware of the serious health consequences associated with prolonged sitting and inactivity. It’s not just the obvious obesity, but also high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.

As Dr. Levine states, “prolonged sitting stalls the metabolic machinery”. “Serious consequences result when the muscular body sits idle”.

The good news is, even just a little activity can accomplish a lot to raise your health levels.

What better way to get up and get moving than to grab your camera and catch a new view of this magnificent world we live in?

Here in WNY, there is a hint of Autumn in the air. Soon, the leaves will be putting on a show of fantastic color. Why not plan to
get out and see first hand the changing of the season? Choose a few favorite spots, or explore new ones. Take a drive out to the country or simply explore your local parks.

Whether you capture the beauty of a simple leaf up close or the cornucopia of color in the tree tops, each day bring a new view.
Get up. Get out. Move it or lose it.

Why sit idly by when there is so much beauty to capture with your camera?

Such a simple activity, packed with powerful result! One study even showed that just fidgeting while you sit increased energy expenditure by 10%.

One can see how photography can multiply our energy gains exponentially. You get up and move to take the photos then sit down and “fidget” with Photoshop to perfect them or create custom art. What a brilliant way to stay active, energized and ALIVE!

Photography might just be the perfect, all-around, every-age fitness solution!

Robert Schwarztrauber

What Are You Looking At?

May 17, 2010

DandelionWhen you look at this flower, what do you see?

An unsightly weed from your lawn? Or a beautiful flower from nature’s bountiful bouquet?

My guess is, if you’re like the media or the majority of the population they cater to, you will see a weed. You will complain to everyone about how awful it is. You will curse it and worry about what your neighbors will think if they see you with one.You will see the negative side and you will be unhappy.

Just this morning, the day after the Miss USA Pageant, all the news from the media is focused on the negative. It’s all about how Miss Michigan, Rima Fakih, stumbled as she walked in her evening gown. They’re focused (AGAIN!) on the negative. They look for what’s bad in a situation.

When you’re focused on the bad, you cannot see all that’s good.

If you want to be happier, stop looking at the negative in life. See the whole picture. Look for what’s good and you will see plenty of it. Everyday!

Instead of a girl falling over here dress, you’ll get to see a beautiful beauty queen. You’ll can smile with her and feel her joy. You can rejoice that in America anyone CAN succeed. It doesn’t matter where you come from. You can be reminded once again that with dedication and hard work you CAN fulfill your dreams, just as this lovely young lady did.  Even if you stumble along the way (as everyone must do at some point).

One of the best things about photography is it almost forces you to look for what’s good. It changes your focus. Not just for the hour or the day, but for life!

How much better to tune out the negative in your life and look for what’s positive. What’s beautiful. What’s yours for the taking with just a snap of your shutter. There IS a whole world of nature’s beauty waiting for you to see it.

Don’t let the news media get you down. You control what you’re looking at.

What ARE you looking at?

Be honest. Be careful.

Answering that question just might change your life.

Robert Schwarztrauber

“The Secret” of Photography

April 7, 2010
The Secret

The Secret Revealed

One of the most popular videos of late has been, “The Secret”. In this film, much is made of the Law of Attraction. Particular attention is placed on the premise that as you think, so shall you become. While I found the film to be motivational and informative in many ways, I found it came up short on something equally important to success.

Action.

You can think of great inspiring plans, and dream of the opulent treasures that await you, but until you actually DO SOMETHING, things may be attracted to you, but it is by doing that we prepare ourselves to receive what we have coming. Until you do, until you give, you can never begin to get. It is the results of your actions, that began with your thoughts, that ultimately brings you the things you desire.

And the things you fix your mind to getting.

One of the most prominent figures in the movie “The Secret,” Bob Proctor,  made an analogy to the Polariod camera in his famous book, “You Were Born Rich”.
He said that our conscious mind is like the shutter on the camera. It is responsible for snapping the picture. The conscious mind chooses what we see and what we focus on we permit through to the subconscious mind. He goes on to say the subconscious mind is like the rest of the camera. It is responsible for bringing forth the image captured by the conscious mind and producing it exactly the way it was seen. The final Polariod  photograph is our result.

Our conscious mind, our thoughts, envision the thing we want, our subconscious mind then gets to work to create that vision in a physical form which is then available for all the world to see – we call it our results. If our image of what we want is not clear, our results will not be clear either. if we can’t hold a steady thought in our head, if we’re flipping all around from one thing to another, our results will reflect that lack of focus.

To extract the maximum benefit from “The Secret” and the Law of Attraction we must first have a clear vision of what we want to attract. We must then hold steady and focus on that vision even while we go about our regular duties in life. We must let that vision work through our powerful subconscious mind to process it into the physical result (the doing) and only then can we expect our vision to be drawn to us in the form we intended.

The process for getting good results in photography holds true for life as well. Have a good vision to share. Hold steady while you compose your vision. Have a proper tool to process your image. Then share the vision that is produced to benefit those who see it too.

Rudyard Kipling: On Success in Photography and Life

March 28, 2010
Children of the Fire

Children of the Fire

If I’ve learned anything in my many years it is this:

“You succeed by learning a skill, applying what you know, failing, learning something more, trying again. You repeat the cycle, hopefully failing a bit less each time until finally, if you persist, you succeed. Learn, fail, learn more, try more, eventually succeed.

It’s THE process for becoming good. Even “The Best”.  True in photography, true in life.

I think Rudyard Kipling summed it up very well when he said:

“I keep six honest serving men,

they  taught me all I know,

their names are what, why and when,

and how and where, and who.”

If you want to be great in whatever you do, make use these six counselors to help you. Persistence and dedication are your allies. Most folks will never be great simply because they lack the will to do what others won’t, to have what others can.

Want to be great? Do what the majority won’t!

Let’s take Mr. Kipling’s six honest serving folks one at a time and see how they can help us become more successful photographers.

What: Do you take pictures of the same things everyone else does? Stop it! People crave variety, something with a “Wow!” factor.

Why: Every great photograph answers this question. “Why am I looking at this?” If your photo doesn’t instantly offer your viewer the answer to this question, you’ve got to try harder, try again. Because the viewer shouldn’t have to, won’t think. “Why are you showing me this?”  If you can answer that question with your photo, then you’re miles ahead. Capture the emotion, the drama, capture a color, a light. Capture something special.

When: Do you shoot all your photos at the same time? Stop! Mix it up. Early morning and evening offer the best lighting for outdoor scenes. Cloudy days can be great too. Shooting on a sunny afternoon will put awful shadows in your work, so unless you’re going for a harsh look, avoid these times. Often it is helpful to add a “When” to your photos. Including weddings, birthdays, and other special events can add greatly to the interest of your photo.

How: How much do you study photography? Study proven and new methods? You should always be asking, “How is that done?” As long as you stay curious about your interest, and try new things, you will improve. Often before an assignment I’ll flip through 100’s and 100’s of photos on the internet to search for ideas and inspiration. Not to copy someone, but to see “How did they cover this subject?” I’ll look for an hour or so and then go to bed. Almost always,  the next day I’ll have dozens of ideas I’ll want to try based on images I saw from the day before. Look at the light in all the great photos you see and try to figure out how they achieved that look – so you can do it yourself. You can also physically change how you shoot. Shoot telephoto. Shoot wide angle. Shoot macro. Try fixing your aperture for a day and adjust around that. Try fixing your shutter speed so it forces you to learn to compensate with aperture. Change how you shoot your subjects, lie on the ground and shoot up, get a ladder and shoot down. Great photographers (designers and other artists) often have a signature “Look”. What’s yours?

Where: Where do you go to take photos? Go someplace different! Often we get in a rut, shooting the same things. Go somewhere different to find different subjects. If you normally shoot outdoors, shoot indoors. If you normally shoot pets, shoot kids. If you normally shoot kids, shoot teens. Shoot weddings. Shoot still lifes. Are your backgrounds always the same, change them. Change where you typically stand. Get closer! You can also change where you get your knowledge from. Hundreds of sites on the internet. Try a new one.

Who: Who are you learning from? If it’s not working, change that. If is is working, honor that pro by learning faster! Maybe you need to change who you shoot? Or maybe you need to join a club or forum so you can get feedback from some different “whos”? Anywho, changing your reference source can be a great way to change your results.

So there you have it. Six ways to shake up your habits and make great strides to becoming better at photography and everything you do.

Photography: What you need to learn in photography, you’ll need to learn to be successful in everything – so you might as well grab your camera and have some fun. Make photography part of your total fitness package. Mind, body and soul.

It’s total fitness photography.

Robert Schwarztrauber

Busting Through Your Fears

February 15, 2010

STained Glass

This past week one of my best and oldest friends came face to face with mankind’s ultimate fear…the fear of dying.

He had been very ill for several months. The doctors had a long talk with him about quality of life and encouraged him to disconnect the life sustaining equipment which had been his support for these many months. Encouraged by an optimistic and energetic therapist he committed to a removal date and followed through with great resolve.

On the morning of that critical day, surrounded by friends, the machine was removed and we waited. No one could be sure what would happen. Hour after hour past and all the fears that one could conger in one’s head failed to become reality. He breathed. He lived. In fact, with the passing of the fear, he grew ever stronger. His outlook brighter.

Sometimes in life, all we need is a little encouragement. Sometimes we must accept that no one is there to encourage us and we must dig deep with ourselves to summon the courage. Hope is a powerful weapon against the fears that often consume us.

Big fears and little fears can paralyze us. Thinking about them can waste years of our preciously short life. Worst of all, most often our fears are based on unfounded ideas. We create all sorts of scenarios based on speculation. Absent of any real facts, why do we waste time and drain ourselves emotionally on the negative  “what ifs” without giving equal time to the positive “what ifs”?

“Face the fear and the fear will disappear.” “Do it anyway.” “I’ve had a great many fears in my life, and most of them never happened.”

There are a zillion quotes that preach the value of facing up to your fears. Running from them is a bad addiction that only leaves you trapped – as if in a bubble you’ll bounce from fear to fear. Only when you bust through your fear will you be rid of it and free to move in a larger world.

What’s your greatest fear right now?

What would you have to believe – choose to believe – in order to bust through your fear today?

What could you do, right now, that would take you beyond your fear?

Many folks have long dreamed of turning there favorite hobby into a source of income, but were afraid to get started.

If that speaks to you, perhaps today is the day you should vow to put at least that one fear behind you. On the right margin of this page are many simple, proven options that you can take you from your fear into a profitable photography business. They have been proven to work by others who set aside their fears. And they’re all risk free to try. So ask yourself, “why won’t you try?”

Often times staying where we are – is the scariest thing of all.

Robert Schwarztrauber

Photography Fights Cabin Fever

February 8, 2010

Amaryllis in Winter

The weather this time of year doesn’t always favor photographers. I know I’m loathe to get outside for walks and photos when the temperature dips below freezing and the wind numbs you clear to the bone.

Luckily, with  a little creativity and a Google search, one can still find plenty of opportunities to get up and out – even during the coldest winter months.

This weekend, before settling in to watch Super Bowl 44, (where I’m proud to say my pick, the New Orleans Saints, won!) I  had a little bit of time to stop by one of my favorite winter retreats.

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens was featuring a beautiful Amaryllis display under it’s rare Victorian glass dome. Fortunately I was able to take advantage of the rare glimpse of sun that helped to show off this delicate flower’s beauty.

Most cities have at least a few indoor facilities where you can find something interesting to photograph. With a little creativity you don’t have to be trapped indoors during the harsh winter months. You can still get out to exercise your body and your mind while improving your photographic skills.

Most museums allow photography, although one should always ask about the restrictions on flash photography. Or how about the beautiful churches in your town? The architecture and stained glass windows there make for many opportunities. Check the events calendar in your town also for listings of ongoing or upcoming events that might make for some interesting photo outings.

At the very least, if you can’t find a suitable indoor venue, consider just shooting from your car. Many scenes look beautifully unique when covered in snow or ice. You’ll not get too cold when you stop (please do stop…no shooting while driving!) and roll down your window to capture the scene. You may not get the physical exercise you otherwise would, but it still does a body good to get out and stimulate the mind in search of beauty.

So next time you’re getting that cabin fever, those winter blues, decide to get out your camera and find a destination. Next thing you know you’ll be happy as clam sorting through all those pics to find the pearl.  (is that a mixed metaphor, clams and pearls?)

Robert Schwarztrauber

Click To Change Your Life

January 25, 2010
Deer Tracks

Changing Perspectives

Nothing ever changes.

Did you ever have a day where you felt that way? Maybe you’ve had several days in a row, or weeks, maybe even years where it seemed like nothing ever changes for you.

Have you ever felt like you were like a train on the tracks, unable to break free to go your own way?

.

Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. You simply need a change of perspective.

Luckily, photography offers many opportunities that change your perspective instantly!

When you begin to explore this world through the camera lens you begin to see things you’ve never seen before. Changes in light, changes in angles, colors, and mood.

Even better, you begin to discover that you can control those events. Through your camera settings and body position relative to your subject you begin to see things differently. You begin to discover that things aren’t as “black and white” as you once imagined.

You begin to experience a sense of control returning to your life, as if your train had just jumped the tracks. You’re the driver now and you can control what the world will see. You will take the photograph “your way”.

Just this past weekend I had temporarily forgotten this. I was driving a bit hesitantly to one of my favorite photo spots. Hesitant because I had been shooting at that same spot for over a year now.  “Surely I must have seen everything by now,” I thought. But once I got out of my car and began to walk around, I was reminded that the world is constantly changing. I saw trees, statues, stained glass windows, and squirrels perching and playing as never before. And of course when you’re shooting outdoors the sky’s light is always changing.

Once again I had set out with my camera and gained a new perspective. And some great photos to share too.

Feeling down?

Feeling out of control?

Pick up your camera and just start clicking that shutter. Yes, even if you don’t want to.

When you’re finished you will have discovered, as I did, that changing your mood is as simple as changing your perspective. Happiness is just a click away.

Robert Schwarztrauber

5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

January 8, 2010

Building Blocks of Prosperity Too cold to get out for your regular photowalk?

Don’t worry! We can find plenty to do indoors while we wait for warmer weather to come around again.

No need to put  your  camera away for the winter.  No need to feel those winter blues at all.

We only get to feeling low when we fail to keep our activity level high.

With that in mind, here are 5 great activities you can begin indoors to keep your body moving and build your brain power.

5 Photo-Smart Ways to Beat those Winter Blues

1. Learn and Practice Macro Photography.

Macro photography is essentially close-up or ultra-close-up photography.  It requires learning a few special techniques but most folks can get started right away with the equipment they already have or equipment that can be improvised from ordinary household items. It can really be a lot of fun and give you a whole new perspective on things. Exactly the cure when you’re feeling trapped indoors.

2. Create a Legacy – Publish your Own Photography Book

What better way to insure that your photo treasures are enjoyed for generations to come! Instead of stuffing your 4×6 prints in an ordinary photo album, why not grab 100 of your very best (or favorite) photographs and create your very own hardcover book? It’s easy now with many online printing sources to choose from. If you can drag and drop, you already have all the skills you need. I just finished a children’s book, “Building Blocks of Prosperity” using the Blurb.com online software. It’s super easy to use and you can add additional text and graphics. Plus, the quality of the finished hardcover book and the price can’t be beat. Avoid the cheap paperback version. If you’ve always wanted to be published, do it yourself this winter. Imagine how proud you’ll be!

3. Hone Your Photography Skills

Practice, practice, practice! Get out your camera’s manual and discover what it can really do. Get online and search photography techniques on Google, then practice them. You’ll learn all sorts of new things to become a more versatile photographer come springtime. If you use Photoshop, there’s no end to the things you can learn and practice.

4. Practice Studio Photography

Ever wanted to start your own small business? Taking portraits of folks from babies, to teens, to families, and pets can be a great new way to bring in some added income. New income plus new skills can really give you a warm and fuzzy feeling to get you through the winter.

5. Start Your Own Blog

Everyone knows something. Share your special knowledge with folks online. Even if no one ever comes to visit your blog (unlikely) you’ll still be amazed at how much you learn (and have to keep learning) when you commit to sharing your knowledge and  helping others. Plus,  feedback and comments from your readers can really lift your spirits.

There’s 5 simple starters for you. Fell free to mix and match, or use the inspiration to come up with your own unique plan. Just get busy!

Action! That’s the key to beating those winter blues. And for us photography lovers, there’s never an end to the activities and skills that we can pursue.

Robert Schwarztrauber

PS: If you’d like more information on my book, “Building Blocks of Prosperity” you can visit:

http://buildingblockbooks.blogspot.com

http://helpbobhelpkids.com

A Photo Fitness Walk

November 20, 2009
Photo Fitness Scene

Photo Fitness Scene

I was reminded today of a quote by a successful business man.

“If you settle for less, that’s all you’ll get.”    by J.F. (Jim) Straw.

Allow me tell you what unusual circumstance prompted that quote to enter into my head.

I was driving by a local YMCA. On the side of their building is a little oval walking track, I would guess about 400 yards around. Nothing could be more plain. It’s a corner lot, tall hedge of green on one side, brick building on the other, and street; that’s it. Nothing to see here, as they say. It looks more like an after-thought.

And on the track this day is one woman, dressed in a style that let’s me assume she’s out for a fitness walk. Round and round she goes in an environment that is totally lacking in stimulus.

To me, she’s only getting half a workout.

Just the day before I took my own fitness walk, as usual, with camera in hand. Here’s a photo of what I saw.

Beautiful autumn trees sharing their colors over a quite lake. A gorgeous statue, “3 Sisters,” spraying a wonderful mist of water that reverberated off the lake’s surface like music to my ears.

There were trails that went uphill and trails that went down. Families, and couples, and joggers of one.There were geese resting in the sun and squirrels frantically preparing for winter. This place was alive with everything a body needs to be truly fit – body, mind and soul.

And it was only a ten minute drive from that desolate track where she walked round and round.

Little changes can often  make a big difference. “But if you settle for less, that’s all you ‘ll get.”

Going for a walk with my camera in hand, almost forces me to find someplace to walk that offers additional stimulus for my body, mind and soul. And every excursion is successful. I see something I have never seen before. And because I have my camera I can share it with others. How much better my experience becomes for making that one simple change – bring your camera. Don’t you settle for less.

Photography and Health

August 5, 2009
PhotobyLadonaTornabene

PhotobyLadonaTornabene

This morning I saw them…after the long, record-cold setting winter, they emerged. The ones I had waited for all year —the ones that send my heart to race and calm my mind simultaneously.
In my neighbor’s garden the first tulips sang to the sunshine today. I reckon the sunshine was deeply moved as tears began to flow unobstructed onto my gear, yet I was not deterred. I spread out my cushy mat that allows me to lie on sharp stones without too many bruises and perched myself upon my elbows in anticipation of the magic that would begin within as I indulged in immortalizing spring. After placing my body into more positions than in playing a Twister game, I emerged with a soul that had been truly refreshed by the radiance of new beginnings. I am grateful for the lung capacity to inhale deeply spring’s celebration so that I may slowly exhale its vivacity throughout the year.

EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PHOTOGRAPHY & HEALTH
As a professor in health education at the University of Minnesota Duluth in the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, and as a prolific photographer, I am intrigued by the relationship between our health and how it empowers us to capture the images that compel us to immortalize them. Our health is the platform from which every photo is taken. Mostly when I speak of health, people think of the physical dimension, which is tremendously important; however, health also encompasses the emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and social dimensions of our lives. With that said, below are my reflections on what health means to me and it is my hope that throughout our convention and health fair, you will reflect on what health means to you.

I am immensely grateful for my sight so that I may be guided to that which—with one click of the shutter — will be preserved forever. I am extremely grateful for my emotions so that I can feel the joy involuntarily escalating within my soul as I photograph that which resonates between heartbeats. I am tremendously thankful for my intellect, as it contains the knowledge to render the images that are dancing before my lens. I am deeply appreciative of my body that empowers me to get into position so I can look until I really see. I am thankful, ever so thankful for my spirit, which gives my photography a purpose that transcends words as I experience moments of which I am certain, nudge the very gates of Heaven.

And I am thankful for friends like you with whom I share a kindred spirit for photography and who make conventions like this even possible. All dimensions of our health impact the images we see and preserve. I invite you to be proactive in empowering your health so that you can have long exposure to life and truly focus on that which not only resonates between heartbeats, but develops them as well.

In the image of health,
Ladona Tornabene, Ph.D., CHES

My thanks to Dr. Tornabene, co-chairperson for the  N4C Duluth 2009 Convention. for allowing me to reprint this article, which was originally published in the brochure for this convention, who’s theme this year is “Photography and Health”. It’s reassuring to find others speaking out on the real benefits that photography brings to our health.
For more information on the upcoming 53 Annual North Central Camera Club Council (N4C) 2009 Convention, please visit their website,

http://n4cduluth2009.org

I encourage you to also view Dr. Tornabene’s wonderful artwork at

http://www.d.umn.edu/~ltornabe/photography
All proceeds from her fine art prints benefit the Professor As Photographer Scholarship Fund .
Dr. Tornabene’s mission in life is to inspire and empower people.  This Fund is designed to help nontraditional students return to school to study health education and help their current students to intern abroad.

Photography is Like Making Spaghetti

June 8, 2009
Making Spaghetti

Making Spaghetti

Your hand squeezes each plump, red tomato attempting to find just the perfect texture.

The bold, green color of bell pepper catches your eye next as you begin selecting the ingredients for a meal that’s sure to please. Each item must be chosen with most careful scrutiny in order for your creation to become a masterpiece of culinary delight.

But this is just the start.

Anticipation grows on the drive home with your precious cargo. You eagerly await the preparation which comes next. You imagine yourself carefully peeling away the parts that aren’t needed until just the very best remains. Each part must hold it’s own for the final feast to please. The kitchen is filled with excitement as the aromas begin to tease.

From all of your gathering of ingredients, preparation, and artful assembly a spaghetti dinner has been created! Friends and family can now enjoy.

So how in the world is photography like that?

Rather than just tell you outright, permit me to share a little story and see if you can find a similarity.

The park is filled with magnificent colors. The sweet scent of fragrant flowers is in the air. You can hear the shrill sound of the blue jay, off just a bit in the distance, near I expect to where the small but sparkling waterfall meets the pooling waters below.

You know you have found the perfect spot to gather photos. The beautiful flower colors beg to be taken home. The unique textures on the rock wall and the shadows they form would be great to show your friends. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a shot of the beautiful blue jay as he sweeps by in pursuit of his next meal. It’s like being in paradise, again.

I say again because at least once a week, I head out, camera in hand to gather the wonders of nature on film. It’s a great chance to look for, enjoy, and appreciate all the magical things that surround us every day, but often go unnotice in our hustle and bustle lives.

Each week I  gather the visual ingredients that will make for great photographs to share with friends and family…and everyone here at this blog. But the process of creating great photographs just begins in the camera. There are so many ways to prepare them later, just as there are hundreds of ways to prepare tomatoes. One outcome may be quite different from another.

On my journey home from the park, I begin to imagine just how I will use my digital photo editing software, in my case Photoshop, to careful craft the final images. Digital editing is the equivalent of cutting the veggies to make a fine spaghetti sauce. Only in photography we’re preparing pixels.

Once “cut and washed” until sparkling clean and clear, the final image you will see nears completion. Perhaps I’ll pick a nice frame just as you would settle your fine spaghetti into one of your best dishes for presentation.

You gather and you prepare, savoring each step as you go.

That is exactly how photography is like making spaghetti. A few hours spent immersed in the enjoyable adventure of creating something grand to share.

However there is one critical difference I should make you aware of. Photography will never put one pound on your body, no matter how often you partake.

In fact, when you follow the  program I suggest on this blog, you can actually find yourself losing weight! And having a great time doing it!

Spaghetti on the other hand?

…Hmmm?

Camera Cures aka Pictures of Health

June 1, 2009
Snow Geese Family

Snow Geese Family

It is widely accepted in psychological circles that colors can effect the mood of the people who view them. Blue is often described as a calming color while red is said to excite. Yellow is cheerful and black depressing.

A persons mood can also be effected by the subject portrayed in the scene. Certain landscape scenes have a calming effect while certain city-scapes tend to increase tension.

Hundreds of studies can be found that document a viewers reaction to pictures (paintings and photographs).  What surprised me however, was how little  documentation (almost none) could be found that gave evidence of the therapeutic effects of TAKING photographs.

I came across one clinical observation in my searching that really gave credible evidence to the benefits of taking photographs.

It was described in the book, “The Strengths Model” by Charles A. Rapp. In the section titled, “Talents and Skills” the author told of a hospitalized man with mental and physical abnormalities (pg.95). He descibed how when this man was directed to pursue his passion for photography (even though his photos never sold anywhere) he was released within 2 months from the hospital with a clean bill of health. Even more compelling was the fact that he never again returned to the hospital in the subsequent 20 years until his death from pneumonia.

Merely pursuing a hobby that interested him, photography in particular, was enough to set this man on a course to a long and healthy life.

Anyone interested in photography can tell you that there is a calming effect of searching for and always finding the beauty in this world. Any photographer will tell you of the zen-like focus of attention one comes to when consumed with creating an image. You block out all others problems and concerns in your life, you cannot consciously hear the sounds around you, you cannot see disrtactions beyond the viewfinder. You are at once consumed by the scene you hope to capture to the exclusion of all else.

So I am surprised not to find more accounts online which tell of the wonderful effects of photography on the human mind and body. I know it has effected me by increasing my fitness through walking to find great shots to share, it has increased my mental sharpness and focus, and it has increased my economic condition through the sale of photos.

Please share your stories with our readers in the comments below.

How has photography improved your mental or physical health?

How has it improved your economic standing during these difficult times?

I know informally from conversations with other photographers, but lets see if we can help more folks by sharing our results here in writing.

Your comments are welcomed below!