Over the Summer, in anticipation for an upcoming family vacation to Cartagena, Colombia, even prior to arrival, I immediately knew I would be mesmerized by the vibrant colors of the Spanish colonial architecture, the crystal clear waters, the sounds, the food and the people of a city I’ve long admired from afar. Deciding what places to ultimately visit was never an issue because we had everything pre-planned.
My silliest concerned believe it or not revolved on how I can seamlessly managed to photograph anything without dealing with the customary fact that when you travel there’s always a camera backpack of some sort right there with you.
Here’s the thing…I didn’t want to carry my backpack with me. All I wanted was a multipurpose shoulder-strap bag of some sort that allowed me to safely carry my Sony A7RIII and the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 attached regardless of what setting we were likely to be in such as long days walking in the old city or taking a 1hr 1/2 water-splashing boat ride to Isla Baru.
After some research, I purchased the Overboard Waterproof Pro Sport bag made out of tough PVC tarpaulin with fully welded seams which worked out amazing because it offered complete protection from water, sand, dust and dirt all the elements I encountered during our trip.
The one drawback I found about the camera bag was that unfortunately there’s no padding in the interior of the bag to guard against any potential bumping or drop. To compensate for that I purchased a foldable padding which I tucked into the bag as a base and then place my camera within it.
In a couple days my wife and I will be heading to Cozumel, Mexico and you can rest assured that the Overboard Waterproof Pro Sport will be coming along. You’re limited with what you can carry inside because it’s narrow but that just makes you think twice about what’s truly necessary on these adventures. Inside the bag I kept my camera with lens attached, 6 batteries, a cleaning cloth, and my Pelican case which stored my 6 SD cards. That’s it!
It’s possible that you no longer need to get better at your craft. That your craft is just fine. It’s possible that you need to be braver instead.
There’s a certain level of complacency that comes with doing what you’re known and recognized for. It’s safe to the degree that if asked to perform, you’re already acclimated with how you would approach an assignment, what tools you would use and what the end result would potentially look like.
The real question comes on how long we’re willing to either stay on that same lane or if we’re willing to deviate a bit to challenge ourselves creatively and avoid being too predictable.
I personally love discovering creatives who have mastered the art of consistently keep me and their entire audience guessing what else they’re going to come up. There’s always a slight enhancement on every new piece of work they put out. I’m personally comfortable with a particular style of photography but I won’t know anything else unless I’m willing to be braver as Seth Godin says and act more on my ideas as oppose to sitting on them.
I constantly go through moments where I dislike everything I’ve shot. I’m really hard on myself and perhaps I should see it as an opportunity to take more risk.
It's been an absolutely pleasure working along side the amazing team of trainers and founder of GRIT BXNG this year in creating promotional material which showcases their badass trainers, gym and what they signify. View the rest of the gallery.
"Sweats & Balances ("S&B") is a community that connects like-minded, career-driven women who are passionate about fitness and who strive to be their most healthy, balanced and successful selves" and recently they partnered with Callie for a rooftop event at The William Vale hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for an amazing sunset workout which I had the pleasure to photograph.There's never been a time where I've photographed a fitness event where I haven't walked away connecting with at least 2 people afterwards. Love it!
One of the challenges I’ve found in collaboration with personal trainers on shoots is the process of finding a schedule time that works for both of you. Their schedule alone is very demanding which fluctuates based on the amount of clients they may have on any given day anywhere which could be anywhere in the city.
Nevertheless, I absolutely love working with trainers because they inspire me through their profession to live a healthy and active lifestyle myself. I met Anastacia over a year a go at a fitness event in Union Square and since then our intentions to plan a shoot haven’t necessarily lined up until now.
View the full set of of our impromptu photo shoot.
I don’t watch a lot of TV. In fact, I can’t recall a show I followed out of sheer entertainment with the exception of NBC’s The Voice a couple years ago.
On any random season, at the beginning, there was no particular artist which stood out yet but the common theme that intrigued me more than the performances was this whole aspect of finding yourself as an artist.
Out of thousands of contestants, none of them would have made it this far if they didn’t have the vocals, the charisma or natural born eagerness to want to be a singer. That’s already a given. What isn’t obvious is in seeing who each of the contestants were artistically yet. At that moment, they sung songs simply because that was the central theme of the show but I failed to see a great deal of uniqueness as far as their delivery.
Regardless of what type of artist you are, personal style is essential if you want to succeed and avoid being labeled as “another performer” or “another” of anything.
Every week the contestants were given different songs to perform and very often it’s not so much about whether they sounded good because in reality they all have amazing distinct voices but the real differentiator came in seeing who was able to personalize something that wasn’t theirs to begin with.
I think we all have heroes and we often aspire perhaps too much to sing, draw, photograph or to do anything like them but that’s not how things work. If you’re serious about wanting to do more with your music or photography or anything, I think we should all be able to easily respond to the question of what specific type of work we genuinely want to create.
It’s not enough to say you want to take photos or that you want to be on a stage. What’s the point of being on a high-rise platform if you’re unsure on what you hope to deliver? I get it. You may not know yet because it is a discovery process which takes time but it’s an ambition we should always have in mind.
The ideal case would be having found your personal style, spend days, weeks or years polishing your craft so well to a point where there will be no one who can possibly create art the way you do. Even then, as a creative, we’re rarely satisfied with just settling with what we’re initially recognized for because there’s always that impetus inside of us to evolve.
You can’t force yourself into working in a certain way. It has to come natural to you and in return, what you yield will be as high caliber as your delivery. As unconventional as Lady Gaga may have seemed at the beginning, she more than anyone knows who she is. Her style defines her and her music classifies her at being the best in her craft.
Nick Onken is a photographer, podcast host, and creative entrepreneur who's career I've admired and followed for the longest. In fact, it was through his work that I discovered myself what I enjoy photographing the most which is people.
Whether it's on his podcast, on Instagram or even through the written word, he's always been very transparent with the up and lows of his career and it's that honestly that's hooked me with paying attention to everything he chooses to share one of which is this video I came across where he mentions how "the creative industry really is a lonely place, especially as a photographer." My only gripe is that I wish it was longer.
Becoming a pro doesn't mean you're a workaholic. It means that you’re good at making time for what matters to you — especially when you don't feel like it — instead of playing the role of the victim and letting life happen to you.
Here's something I'll admit I don't do enough...socialize. Yes, I do realize the importance of it and I do what I can to place myself in situations that allow me to do so but in the end the entire concept of going out to party doesn't appeal to me. I never feel like I'm missing out on anything. Instead, I attempt to focus on things that matter to me so while it may seem like I'm always working I view more as a road that's leading me to something more meaningful rather than trivial things.
Whether they were born there or not, I've never come across a Colombian person who hasn't spoken highly of their country. After doing research, I quickly realized how close it to New York (5hr flight) and how such an ideal destination it would be to vacation with the family.
Colombia itself is a vast country, so eventually one has to decide on the type of vacation you want to embark on because that will determine the best region to visit. For us, we're beach addicts so Cartagena was a no-brainer. It's a Caribbean city brimming with culture, bright colors, delicious food and of course heat!
Feel free to explore the photographs from our vacation!
Drives me crazy in the most optimistic way how sometimes the most simple advise can offer such deep perspective in those moments when you need to hear it: