Confessions of an Errant Blogger

“Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.” John Archibald Wheeler

Apparently, even time could not prevent everything from happening at once. My absence is due to many things and I’m not about to make excuses. My intentions were good and then the month of May happened.

Like a shadow in the night, the 6th anniversary of my humble blog came and passed. At the last minute, an opportunity to photograph a beautifully intimate wedding on Maui serendipitously came into my life. And to think I’d never been to Hawaii in my life and honestly wondered if I was the only person who’d never been there. Another opportunity arrived to travel back to Maui and teach a natural lighting class as part of the very intensive Tropical Island Boot Camp for Creative Photography. Getting the proper permits to shoot from the Hawaii Film Commission alone, took a month.

The workshop was born from the sweat and passion of Maui photographer Randy Jay Braun— an 8 day workshop with a small number of inspired and creative photographers. A lifetime of friendships from an amazing 8 days of grueling challenges. That trip alone added 3,700 images to my hard drive.

The Road to Hana, Maui Hawaii by Randy Kepple Photographs

What else has been happening? Well, for the past several years, I’ve been honored to be part of the prerelease beta testing for Adobe Photoshop. Starting with Photoshop CS, I’ve been involved with Photoshop CS2/CS3/CS4 and the recent release of Adobe Photoshop CS5. A year of testing, squashing bugs and feature development ended in May. I’m also proud of a collaboration with Adobe Senior Creative Director Russell Brown that resulted in a new Adobe Watermark Panel for CS5. It’s been a lot of late nights sitting in front of my computer, watching one day pass into another.

Then wedding season hit full force. Like every other business in this economy, times are slow. However, the couples I’ve been blessed to work with this year are easily some of the best in my career. Not only because of where I’m at with the expression of my art, but for who they are as people. Needless to say, finding the desire to blog has been difficult. I follow a lot of blogs and my interest has been waning. My efforts only felt like I was adding to the noise.

I recently had a friend tell me that I would never be accused of living an unexamined life. I’ve been struggling with my place in a very dynamically changing industry. I don’t want to blog every single job I shoot without sharing the thought process behind the creation. The challenges and how they were handled. I started this blog to share the life of an artist, not just a marketing opportunity. I tire of the constant hype and pimping that I see on most blogs. Where is the substance?

Creating images that move your soul and inspire you to think and dream. That is what I aspire to do and inspire others to follow. Shooting weddings is limiting simply because they are all about a singular moment— intense, emotion and important. Don’t get me wrong, it’s something I take very seriously, but let’s be honest. It’s more important to the couple and their family than anyone else. If I do my job really well, as an artist and a visual storyteller, I may stop you long enough to appreciate the beauty, share in the emotion or make you wonder how it was done, but in the end, it’s hard to make a random visitor care about the wedding of a random person. Unless you’re a bride looking for a photographer.

What to do moving forward? I have a list sitting on my desk of things I want to blog about. These include the intimate beach wedding on Maui, the Boot Camp in Hawaii, an amazing Trash the Dress session near Mt. Hood, an article on headshots which would include examples from recent sessions, an art walkabout in San Antonio, Texas, family portrait sessions, senior sessions, recent weddings and Photoshop tutorials.

I’ve been encouraged by nearly everyone I know the past three years to teach. I’ve been giving that considerable thought. Classes on lighting, using light modifiers, workflow, post production. Looking over my Google Analytic statistics for the blog, it seems that everyone is looking for information about taking their photography to the next level. Whether that’s information about posing, lighting or using Photoshop to enhance their images and realize their unique artistic vision.

A final thought on the the importance of artistic sensibility versus technical proficiency. During the ceremony of a recent wedding, there was beautiful music played by a very skilled pianist. At times, he would falter, perhaps one hand would get slightly ahead of the other or his timing would trip up his playing. It was probably not something most people would notice, but the former musician in me picked up on it instantly. I thought to myself, if he were only feeling what he was playing instead of robotically playing the notes in front of him, it would be so much more beautiful. The lyrical expression of the music was missing. The notes, played as written were technically perfectly but emotionally lacking.

The continued life in my writing exists in the sharing of your thoughts and questions as comments. Don’t be shy. Support the continuation of my blog. Share with me what you want to see here. What would keep you coming back?

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Lovely image…
    I’m pretty sure that’s not the proper speed limit for your life, though.

    Much luck with all of your growing pains… at least you are still growing.

  2. Randy, I have only recently subscribed to your site and this post really spoke to me. As a fairly new photographer (3 years in business), I find myself getting swept away by the whole “hype” of it all. Your statement “I tire of the constant hype and pimping that I see on most blogs. Where is the substance?” struck me. Thank you for sharing…now I have a lot to think about…I’m subscribed and will look forward to your next posts.

  3. Ok I won’t be shy. Not a professional, but I have a passion for making images of people. Your “Way of the Artist” gallery connected with me. I would love to see more of your work that you do for you.

    Good to see you posting again.

    Riggs

  4. Jamie… thank you my friend! And you are right… I live a life where there are no speed limits! Or so it feels most days. I hope to continue growing the rest of my life and if I’m really lucky, I’ll be able to share that journey with you.

    Kim… Thank you for posting! It’s nice to know someone is actually reading my blog and as I stated, even better to know that what I’m trying to say is resonating with you. I hope you continue to speak out and share your thoughts.

    Scott… Welcome! Thanks for stepping out into the light on the internet! I will continue to share the work that I do for myself. I’ve been trying to challenge myself to do that more these days. As I shared with you in the blog post, I’m tired of all the hype. Those days will come, it’s the nature of being self-employed. You have to toot your own horn most days, but I hope to make this blog a bit more rounded. Sharing the process, the struggle to be personally inspired while providing a service to clients.

    Thanks for your support and for sharing your thoughts!

    Randy

  5. Randy,

    Nice to see you blogging again, and I say that from a totally selfish point of view. I’m always inspired here and feel like I never leave without something. Thanks for your openness and all the effort this takes to produce. So just keep doing what you are doing here. And if you need to take a break, no problem, I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

  6. Thanks Gary! I appreciate that you find inspiration here. That makes it worth doing and continuing to do. You of all people can appreciate how much time it takes to run a photography business and do things like blogging. Especially when you are trying to create content that more than just marketing hype!

    So, what should I do to celebrate the 6th blogging birthday (belated)? Any ideas?

    🙂

  7. Here you have done it again. 🙂 I teared up reading this post.

    This… “Sharing the thought process behind the creation. The challenges and how they were handled.” …is exactly what I feel from you when I look at your work. I felt this way before we had our shoot and I especially feel it since.

    You’re wonderful.

  8. Thank you Amber! I always enjoy hearing from you and appreciate your continued support of my efforts.

    YOU my friend are wonderfully beautiful. Thank you!

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