Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sharing #TrulyRich Moments

Chevrolet Strikes A Chord

This week +Chevrolet launched a campaign that hits home for me. As a photographer I crop, edit and perfect a vision. This is the life of a modern day photographer. However, the campaign is not aimed at the full time photographer who's job is to present polished work. No, it is aimed at you. The Mom and/or Dad who snaps a photo of a moment and gets a little too obsessed over making that moment perfect for the world to see. I'm a Dad and I'm guilty of this. Even further it showcases how we might miss the real moments entirely as we perfect what we want the world to see.

Photography is more popular than ever! Everyone carries a camera in their pocket. You have the ability to capture the moments that make your life #TrulyRich. Do you take advantage of this opportunity?

I've given this a lot of thought lately. The Dad capturing the view from the hotel room while his kiddos play around him could easily be me. It begs the question: Do we even see the real moments anymore?

I have four wonderful crazy kiddos who make our life interesting, to say the least. You might say that I'm not only #TrulyRich, I'm #FilthyRich. Recently one of those kiddos has shown a real interest in photography. Her interest revolves around selfies, her cat and documenting the fun times with her friends. At twelve years old, Kaitlyn has developed a real eye for capturing great moments in her young life. Sure, her selfies are good and her cat is pretty, but it is the moments she captures that really stand out. She is in tune with the moment. Photography, for her, has weaved it's way into her life without removing her from it. She shares those moments on her Instagram account, which I insist remains private.

A New Direction

One of my goals is to capture beautiful landscapes and sell artwork. Meeting this goal means there is a lot that goes into my work, a lot of #TrulyRich moments lay behind the scenes. Especially when my Family is involved, as they should be.

A long time goal of Amy and I is to explore as a Family. To include the kiddos in a big way! We are now actively working on a plan to do just that. Can you guess what Kaitlyn's role will be? That's right, she will capture the moments. Those moments when my crazy Family is singing in the car, we do that a lot, or the moment when we discover a new amazing location!

Kaitlyn is not the key player here, although she would like to think so. No, I am surrounded by talent. Emily, at ten, will become a big part of my blog. She has already begun an in depth journal of the places we will visit. She is our resident writer, junior editor and organizer. Her contributions will help tell the stories of the moments, share history of the places we visit and help discover new places to see. Each member of the Family will be an active part of the journey in photography. A journey that not only inspires you to travel, but shares our #TrulyRich moments as we travel and explore together as a Family.

A Few Fuhrman Family #TrulyRich Moments

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Photo Spotlight ~ Girl With A View

One of the places I was looking forward to seeing again while on the #GlassCamaro Adventure was Horseshoe Bend. The Colorado River flows towards you, past you and away from you in this very cool location!

Your vantage point is about 1000' above the river. It is difficult to convey the enormity of the view in front of you in a photograph. The photo I captured there is a composite of four separate images, to give you some idea of just how large it is. Merely by accident I captured Sarah sitting along the edge taking in the view. At first I thought "dang, someone is in my shot". That was the wrong response.

Sarah perched along the edge some one thousand feet above the river helps, to some degree, show the scale. However, it only helps. As always I encourage you to visit the locations I photograph. Only then can you truly see how awesome it is!

'Girl With A View' ~ Order A Print

To give you some idea of just where you need to stand to capture all of the view in front of you see the post below from my Instagram. I captured this photograph with +Google Glass while standing on the edge.

I also shot a quick video with +Google Glass. I enjoy having Glass along while I explore and photograph cool places like this! It provides me the opportunity to easily share #ThroughGlass behind the scenes.

So, how do you get there? I've mapped it for you from Page, AZ. It is very easy!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cash or Credit: The Value of a Photograph

We'll Give You Credit

More and more I receive request to use my photographs for free. "Unfortunately we don't have a budget for photography".

That is unfortunate, for you.

The thing is I have poured my heart and soul into my work. I've dedicated countless hours and quite a bit of money in my work. Yes, it is work.

In lieu of money I'm often offered photo credit.

What Is Photo Credit and Does It Have Value?

Photo credit is when the name of the photographer appears next to the photograph wherever the photograph might be published. That sounds like a reasonable offer. The project will get a lot of views and people will see the photograph and that will drive traffic back to the photographer.

Does it work out like that? No!

What it does is make the website, ad, graphic, article and so on look great. That's it. The photographer is left holding his out of date camera wishing he could upgrade his equipment or go out and get more beautiful photographs. Better yet, take his kids to a movie or on one of his adventures.

How do I know this for sure? I've been there. I've had my work shared nationally, actually internationally. My photography has appeared on major news networks and been shared over and over again by millions, maybe even more. My Flickr account has tipped past 1.5M views!

That is a lot of attention. I must be up to my neck in photo credit, right? Yep. I have so much photo credit it is ridiculous!

Photo credit is a given. It has no value other than to let the reader know who captured the image they are looking at.

How Do You Spend Photo Credit?

You don't. Once again, it has no value! It does not make money in any way and cannot be spent anywhere.

I cannot use photo credit to put fuel in my car to go get more photographs. I cannot replace an aging camera with photo credit. Worst of all I cannot support my family with photo credit.

Does A Photograph Have Value Then?

YES! In fact the request I receive tell me that photography has value. Why else would I be showered with compliments? Why else would the request be made?

Photography can, and does, bring businesses profit. Profit, as it turns out, is where the budget comes from. Funny how that works.

Don't Be That Person

Would you ask a contractor to build your house for free? Probably not. But you could tell everyone you know just how great his work is. Heck, you could even put a sign in the yard that lets everyone know who built your house. You'd do that for a free house, right?

Don't be that person. Seriously, you get a paycheck, the web designer gets a paycheck and the janitor gets a paycheck. Don't ask the photographer to work for free. Especially the photographer who has four beautiful children and a wife that has supported him so faithfully.

Why Write This Post?

In a way I'm getting it out of my system. It's frustrating! Also, the future request will be sent here. Because I know there will be more request. *Sigh*

How Much To License An Image?

Not much. I like to work with people and see my photography help their project look its best! I'll work within an honest budget so we are both happy. Heck, you can even throw a number at me to get the ball rolling. If you really have a budget it's going to be less than I'm hoping for anyway. So there is no fear of giving me, or any photographer, too much for their hard work.

Monday, November 4, 2013

#GlassCamaro Adventure: Missouri

The #GlassCamaro Adventure is a partnership between a +Google Glass Explorer, that's me, and +Chevrolet. The idea was to take a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible on an epic 6,638 mile trip. That is exactly what we did! Over the coming weeks I will recap the adventure, share a lot of photographs, and map as many of the very cool roads as I can remember. Most were unforgettable!

The Starting Line

While all of my recent adventure in the +Chevrolet Camaro SS with +Google Glass was far west of the Mighty Mississippi most of my trips are right here in Missouri. There is much to see and photograph within only a few hours of my house. The drives are nice and many times one of my four kiddos tag along for an outing to capture a little more of Missouri.

Since Missouri was the starting line for our epic trip west I thought I would back up, start over a bit and share some of my home state with you. Over the coming weeks I will focus in on the states we visited, the cool locations we discovered and the roads we found. I hope it encourages you to travel. I hope you do so by car. Everything I will show you doesn't look the same from 30,000 feet. It is all worth the drive and you never know what you'll discover along the way to these great places.

We'll start at the gateway to the the west, St. Louis, MO. With the perfect architectural piece, the Arch, to symbolize it's namesake.

Malcolm's View
'Malcolm's View' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

'STL Skies' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

Smoke Screen
'Smoke Screen' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

Before we leave the gateway in our rear view mirror we need to see a few places. St. Louis has so much to offer and I have only scratched the surface in my own outings.

For instance: Did you know St. Louis is home to the largest city park? Forest Park is approximately 500 acres larger than New York's Central Park.

Before we explore Forest Park let's back up to the river. We'll assume you are traveling west from the Mississippi. One of the first off the beaten path locations you need to visit is the Old Chain Of Rocks Bridge. The bridge is a pedestrian bridge today. However, it was part of historic route 66. It is worth a stop to walk through history and see a bridge that has a twenty two and a half degree turn in the middle.

'Warm Winter Evening' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

'Auto Court' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

Once you cross the Mississippi you need to stop at Laclede's Landing. We'll pretend it is a good time to eat when you arrive, okay it's always a good time to eat! Here, at Laclede's Landing, you'll find something good to eat and enjoy a walk along the cobblestone streets after your meal.

'Laclede's Landing' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

Moving a little further west, but still in downtown St. Louis, you'll want to take the time to explore Union Station on Market Street. If you're an avid reader you'll want to explore the newly renovated Public Library.

Union Station
'Union Station' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

'Literary Gateway' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

Maybe you'll venture onto Grand Boulevard on a rainy day and catch a show in the Fabulous Fox Theatre.

'Rainy Day Chaos' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

Ahh, but now we are close to Forest Park. A visit to St. Louis is not complete without a visit to the home of the St. Louis Zoo! No matter the season.

'Flyin' Lion' ~ St. Louis Zoo

'Snow Day' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

Forest In The Fall
'Forest In The Fall' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

It is my experience that Forest Park is a great place to catch a sunset. I sat here with my oldest daughter, Kaitlyn, as we waited for the right light. A memory I'll never forget!

Reflections Of St. Louis
'Reflections Of St. Louis' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

Forest Park is also home to the St. Louis Science Center, a great place for all ages to explore!

'Now Boarding' ~ St. Louis, MO ~ Buy A Print

From here I'm just going to jump around and share highlights. If I continue to share each great place discovered in Missouri we'll be in War and Peace territory for reading. ;-)

Do explore Missouri! I live here, purposely gone out to see what I can see, and have not even seen a fraction of the great landscapes. Did you know you can see bison in Missouri?

I'll start with one of my favorite state parks, Elephant Rocks. On one visit we arrived during overcast skies. I was hoping for some great light. As we exited the car we noticed a break in the clouds. I started running! From the parking lot to the top where granite boulders as big as your house stand. Out of breath and wrestling with my tripod I hurriedly setup my camera. Click, I got it.

Pachyderm Sunset
'Pachyderm Sunset' ~ Elephant Rocks State Park, MO ~ Buy A Print

Go see Elephant Rocks! The boulders in front of that sunset are enormous. Standing next to them is a great experience. One you'll not soon forget.

If you don't stick around Elephant Rocks until dark you'll have time for the 20-30 minute drive to Johns Shut-Ins State Park where the Black River cuts through the gauntlet of rock.

Black River
'Black River' ~ Johnson Shut-Ins State Park, MO ~ Buy A Print

While we're in the general area I suggest exploring Alley Spring State Park. This is only one of the places where crisp cold water bubbles out of the ground in Missouri in hues of blues and greens that have to be seen to be believed. Add to this the surrounding forest and great blacktop roads that carve through those forest and you have a real adventure. This is an area where you can enjoy your time in the car as much as the stops along the way.

Alley Mill
'Alley Mill' ~ Alley Spring State Park, MO ~ Buy A Print

View Larger Map

Speaking of enjoying a good drive, Missouri has some of the best blacktops around. I love exploring and finding new drives along the way. I have an affinity for roads!

'Hitchhiker' ~ Rural Missouri ~ Buy A Print

'Highway 21' ~ Rural Missouri ~ Buy A Print

Below are just a few of the great sites you'll see while traveling along these roads, in no particular order. ;-)

Missouri River Rays
'Missouri River Rays' ~ Hermann, MO ~ Buy A Print

Along The Missouri
'Along The Missouri' ~ Portland, MO ~ Buy A Print

'Field Of Dreams' ~ Rural Missouri ~ Buy A Print

'Sea Of Wheat' ~ Rural Missouri ~ Buy A Print

Along your travels you might find yourself in Jefferson City, MO, the state Capitol. There you can do something I've yet to do and tour the Capitol Building. Maybe you'll just catch a great sunset setting the Capitol aglow. That wouldn't be so bad, trust me.

Missouri Capitol
'Missouri Capitol' ~ Jefferson City, MO ~ Buy A Print

Now we find ourselves not far south of Columbia, MO.

'Electric Catwalk' ~ Columbia, MO ~ Buy A Print

Now, there is one place you have to visit before leaving the area. In fact, what you need to see is a tree. Yep, a 350+ year old Bur Oak in the middle of nowhere. Believe me it is worth the short detour off I-70. The tree is enormous and stands all alone right alongside the road.

Weathering Time
'Weathering Time' ~ Columbia, MO ~ Buy A Print

'Time Traveler' ~ Columbia, MO ~ Buy A Print

If you find yourself driving through Missouri on I-70 you really should go see this tree. I've even mapped it for you. ;-)

Now we drive a bit north to I-70, sometimes you have to use highways to make good time. ;-)

On I-70 we head west from Columbia, MO. We have one last stop on this blog post. That stop is Kansas City, MO. While the stop on the #GlassCamaro Adventure was short here it doesn't mean there is nothing here to see. About a month before the epic 6,638 mile trip set out I spent a few days in KCMO.

Kansas City has a great downtown! Fun to explore and most of it within view from the Liberty Memorial. Here is a quick video I shot with +Google Glass during my visit.

If you find yourself even near Kansas City I would urge you to explore the city. I'm not much for cities, but Kansas City, to me, is different. Perhaps it is because after leaving KC, heading west, you really begin to experience the wide open vistas that will begin to engulf you. Kansas City is the last oasis before the wide open expanse of the west. It is, however, much more than that.

'Downtown' ~ Kansas City, MO ~ Buy A Print

'Power & Light' ~ Kansas City, MO ~ Buy A Print

'Hall Of History' ~ Union Station, KC ~ Buy A Print

'Light & Lines' ~ Kansas City, MO ~ Buy A Print

'Time To Leave' ~ Union Station, KC ~ Buy A Print

Time to leave indeed. . .time to move west.

In the coming weeks we'll leave Missouri. Drive as far west as we can and then turn north, drive the coast as far as we can and turn back east. Along the way I will share some awesome landscapes, great roads and map as much of that for you as I can.

The 2014 +Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible will be our chariot during this adventure! ~ Buy A Print

Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Why Do Parties Need To End?

Last night we watched, thanks to my wife, the movie Red Dog on Netflix. I don't know if I would recommend it, but it was a story that resonated with my son. Shortly after it ended my son Kyle, who is 7, sat on the floor with our dog Hunter. Tears welled up in his eyes as he held Hunter tight. Now, anyone with kids knows that what seemingly triggers the tears is not always the real reason for the water works. Kyle and I sat for a time and talked. While it is true he just wanted to hug his dog after the sad story of Red Dog it came out, through our conversation, that he was going to miss Clark.

Who Is Clark?

Clark is a car. It is what my kiddos affectionately named the 2014 +Chevrolet Camaro SS which was loaned to us for an entire month. I thought there might be trouble when we named it. After all the last thing you do is name something you should never become attached to, right?

Kyle, though, is expressing outwardly what the rest of the Family is feeling.

It's Just A Job

So, I'm a photographer. In the age of social media it is not all that uncommon for a photographer, and a sometimes blogger, to partner with companies. Why? Well, the idea is we are the content creators. As a photographer I could, say, take the brand new Camaro on an epic road trip and photograph it along the way. That's pretty cool, right? The Performance Team at GM need content and I can create that in an exciting way.

What Went Wrong?

Well, nothing really. You see I was invited to the +Google Glass Explorer Program. I never thought it would have happened. I entered their contest and told my wife it would be cool, but we didn't need to worry because stuff like that never happens to us. It did.

A couple months after entering I received the invite. The catch? Google Glass was a $1,500 investment. In the territory of buy new camera equipment or the latest in high tech specs.

I sent a message to the Chevrolet Camaro page on Facebook. In short I asked if they would be interested in me, a Glass Explorer, taking the Camaro on an adventure. The feedback was positive, but the time limit to purchase Glass was closing and it looked like the opportunity was slipping. So, the decision was made to purchase Glass and pursue Chevrolet for a partnership.

We did just that. By now you probably know that Chevrolet responded very favorably to our proposal.

Don't Get Attached

Remember when you were a kid and you found that really cute stray puppy. What was the first thing your parents told you? Yep, don't get attached. And by all means don't name it!

As parents Amy and I are not that great at giving out that advice. You see, like it or not, sometimes we get just as attached as the kiddos. It's difficult to scold yourself in these matters.

That has certainly been the case with Clark. Can you really get that attached to a car? Yes, yes you can.

Unless you spend time around performance cars that might be hard to understand. Today our cars are quite, emotionless machines that move us from point A to point B. How on earth can you get attached to an appliance? I mean really.

That is not the case with Clark. When you first turn the key baffles in the exhaust open up so Clark can growl, yes he growls. It's awesome! Better than a cup of coffee in the morning. He is ready to go and it makes you feel a rush that caffeine cannot come close to matching.

Driving Clark? Well, that is an experience. It is not about a mundane commute. No, not a all. It is about the feel of 426 horses pushing you, by the rear wheels, down the road and into your seat. You move in two directions at the same time!

Clark has more power than you can legally use on any public road. But, when you want to get around that truck on the highway. . .done.

It is so much more than the power. Clark complains when you roll into town. He crackles and pops as the speed limit drops to 25. He roars when the limit is lifted and he can stretch his legs! He may communicate in growls, crackles and roars, but he communicates. Does your commuter do that?

So, the question isn't can you get attached to a car? No, the question is how can you not get attached to Clark? Seriously.

The Kiddos

Perhaps this is where it went wrong? You see, unlike the adults, they don't see the world as business. They see it as experiences. Maybe they have it right? In their minds it makes no sense that something that has brought them so much fun has to go away.

We're not a materialistic Family. We find plenty of joy spending time together. My kiddos embrace my photography with the hopes that it will take us on adventures together in the near future. You know, once some of the business side of things is ironed out. I hope, with all my heart, that is the case.

It's funny. I thought the adventure was the three weeks on the road in my favorite car. I was wrong. What I found out is that my Family is my muse. It's where my joy comes from. You see we feed off each other. Amy, who claims she is not creative, seeds great ideas. I take those ideas and make them reality. Is she creative? Yes, yes she is. My kiddos, all four of them, spark something inside of me. My oldest daughter Kaitlyn bubbles forth with creativeness and laughs at my silly ideas. My Emily charges through life with unwavering confidence. It's as if she shares that confidence with me. She makes me move on ideas I would otherwise brush off as improbable. My Kyle feels with a heart so big that he makes me look twice in hopes of seeing the world through the sensitivity that he embraces life with. My Ella charges ahead with bold, sometimes bad, ideas and asks for forgiveness when it doesn't work out. That, believe it or not, is something we all need every now and then.

My Family embraced Clark from the start. Rides to school in the morning. Rides home from school in the afternoon. Photographing Clark and posting him on Instagram. Sharing rides with their friends. Riding under the stars on a cool evening. Becoming down right giddy with all the fun noises Clark would make.

Kyle made the point of writing down Clark's VIN number. Kyle's intention is to buy Clark when he gets older. Kyle needed to know he would be able to find Clark, not just another Camaro.

Okay, Maybe Getting Attached Isn't So Bad

While talking with Kyle last night I asked "Would you like to go for a drive tomorrow?". He quietly nodded. I followed that question with "Would you like to go for a drive tonight?". He ran for his shoes!

Thirty minutes after Kyle's bedtime we took Clark out for a spin. Kyle never said a word. He's done that each time he has gone for a ride. He soaks it up. He makes the most of this amazing experience, even if it means getting a little too attached. Even if it means there will be sadness.

The Real Story

It turns out it wasn't about a photographer partnering with Chevrolet. No, the real story was about a Family who, thanks to Chevrolet, enjoyed an amazing experience together. One we will not soon forget!

It was about embracing an adventure we all knew would end, even if it meant a little sadness was along for the ride.