The Color of Light by Arthur Meyerson

Years ago I took a photo workshop with Arthur at the Santa Fe Photo Workshops. It was worth every penny and every moment. Arthur is a intuitive teacher. Arthur’s book and theme is -The Color of Light-. The 113 photographs in Arthur’s book reflect who Arthur is as a person. Arthur is a kind, gentle and patient man.

There is a full page of an Ernst Haas quote in Arthur’s book that ends with; “To see or not to see-that is an answer.” For Arthur and most great photographers this is a much more important question and answer than what is the best camera to buy… this week.

My personal experience with “To see or not to see-that is an answer.” is my willingness to make the commitment and carve out a piece of my life to use my eyes and time to create my vision of what I see. If I carry a camera with me, and am willing to get out of my own head and look at what is going on around me, that is the start. Arthur taught me that. Jay did too but they are joined at the hip. I was double teamed. I didn’t have a chance. Lucky for me.

Arthur’s Color of Light provide answers using exquisite images that impart examples, inspiration and a frame of reference about the nuance of light, shadow, color and how to see in more than one dimension. Not all the images make my hair stand on end. Some I just enjoy looking at. Some make me laugh at what Arthur saw (that I would not) and almost all inspire me to get out of this pain in the ass desk chair, grab my camera and go for a walk or trip or anything to get out of my head.

Arthur offers photo workshops and mentoring.

I want to thank Arthur for the images that give me a feeling of calm and the ones I need to look at until I see and understand them. In the end… it’s a fun book.

Thanks Arthur for being who you are and sharing your visions with us. The Color of Light is a wonderful book and a solid stepping stone to becoming a better photographer.


KelbyOne created by Photoshop Guru, photographer and amazing business man Scott Kelby was introduced today. The inside story is that Scott developed KelbyOne with the help of his identical twin sister Hot Kelby who runs the back office and Mr. Data (who they hired away from Gene Roddenberry). The entire Photoshop team is powered by the solar rechargeable Energizer Bunny and get more work done in a day than I do in a month. And I’m being kind to myself.

For a photographer wanting to attend the best online university, Chancellor Kelby has created “THE” place to attend and has now offered all of KelbyOne for an amazing deal depending on your previous “relationship” with Scott. The Photoshop team includes many of the greatest living photographers today (except for me).

Chancellor Kelby is the most productive person I know. I’ve taken Kelby training (very good) and as soon as I stop writing I am going to join KelbyOne. I have no doubt it will be great.

Do it!


This is a product review of the Eye Bobs eyeglass company. In my opinion this is a great company. The materials are first class and the glass is very good. As a photographer good solid frames and sharp glass is very important

In previous years the eye Dr. did his thing…”is the first one better or the second?” repeat, repeat, repeat.. Then the eye doctor gave me an Rx. The lenses were always a tad off and expensive.

I was in Orvis six months ago and there was small case with a bunch of Eye Bob eyeglasses with cool frames. However the glass was very sharp… no junk. At $65 but you get a solid pair of reading glasses AND…if there is a problem – they fix the glasses for free. I had one pair that I stepped on during a TSA mambo and another pair that were bent. Today I received the repaired frames. Great Service! I have six pairs now. Great Product!

Basic photography advice

Simple Photography Tip

Simple Photography Tip

This tip for better photography sounds simple but it is perhaps the most important suggestion you will ever hear. When learning something be it the piano or chess the key ingredient is practice, practice, practice. The easy way to learn to take better photographs is practice, practice, practice.

The GOOD NEWS is that you can easily carry a camera with you most of the time. A piano is more difficult.

You can get away with having a camera on your shoulder more than you think. It’s a statement of who you are. Your a photographer. Most people enjoy having their photo taken – especially if it’s a good shot and these days it is easy to get it to them via email or even text.

Here is the takeaway… carry a camera with you as much as you possibly can.

Here is the takeaway… carry a camera with you to the mailbox.

Practice Practice Practice

New Camera 3 Pointers

1. The manual giving you a headache? Dave Bush has a manual for your cameras check Amazon.
2. When you go out of learn your new camera keep it simple. One small lens. The rest stay home… for now.
3. Find one subject of interest and work for that as much as you can. Short shutter speed, fast shutter speed.


High grass

For some time now I could not find a comfortable walking groove with a large camera and lens. I am 64 and hauling a large camera and a bag of lenses is no longer an easy task. I find that the less I carry the more photos I usually take. More important to me is what happens to my “head space” or state of mind when I carry a camera and keep it simple. When I have my camera at my side I feel differently because the camera triggers my visual attention and diverts my attention to all the other issues that roll around in my head. When I am taking photographs of a subject I become totally engrossed.

I recently purchased the Fuji X-E1. It takes great images and has some functions that my Nikon D7000 does not have. To be fair the D7000 has a few functions the X-E1 does not. To me it is very important to imbed in the metadata of my © and contact information. The Nikon does but the Fuji does not. I do like the images and the simplicity of the Fuji. I am comfortable with having it by my side so I tend to carry it more often. The X-E1 has become part of who I am and is part of my walking meditation or dare I say… prayer. I have finally learned the freedom when I keep it as simple as I can. I’ve heard this before from the old pros but never did really understand it. If you carry a camera often you will usually find one camera and lens that fits your needs and that is what you will most often. Many of us have more bodies, lenses, flashes, filters, bags and other “stuff” at home or in the car.

Some photographers say that if you have a 50mm lens you can always walk closer to the subject rather than carry a 70-200 2.8 and “reach out”. No matter how close you get a 50mm looks different than a 70-200 2.8. They are expressing what is “less is more” for them and the photographs they enjoy making. What is less is more for them and less is more for you may be different. With a 50mm there is the issue of getting in close proximity to the subject and perhaps making them self conscious or even rattling their cage in the process. Second is the issue that the moment you are trying to capture may be gone by the time you walk 60 feet. I love my 70-200 2.8 and I like my 50mm but my knees and wrists don’t enjoy the weight of the big lens. If your in the process of picking a camera, you might want to consider renting the cameras and lenses for a few weeks and work with them. You may be able to do both with a small professional photography store that knows the products. If they are selling and renting to the working professionals they have the great advantage of daily feedback from the pros. I have found Jeff Hirsch and the professionals at Fotocare in NYC to be very helpful and that’s who I buy from. I don’t get any commission from Fotocare but I thank Jeff for keeping me on the right track.

Hope this helps. I’m going for a walk.


A wise photographer told me  “when you can’t seem to find the photo. . . turn around or come in from a different angle”   Where is the light in reference to the subject.  Here is an example. During a cruse to the Caribbean last month I thought that great photographs would be easy picking.  This was not the case for me.  90% of what I came up with was what I call postcards.  It was not that these postcard photos were bad.  But they were not ka-pow either.   One afternoon I got out of the depressing downtown of cruise ship ports and out in the countryside. I came across a lady selling shells and tie die dresses.  The color of the dresses grabbed my eye and I began taking photos of the dresses hanging on the line.  The vendor lady began screaming at me “no photos”  I figured that she wanted some money for me to take photos of the dresses.   If she asked nicely I would have been happy to pay her.  But the screaming didn’t help my mood. I walked behind the dresses where she could not see me.   I managed to get off a few shots before she saw me and started up again.  

Barbados-tie-dye-dress-Al_Stegmeyer_AirFreeportJanuary 12, 2013


The milion dollar photograph

The Million Dollar Photograph


Photography can be expensive.   I love my Nikon 70-200 2.8 lens but I am not fond of hauling it unless I am very serious and have a specific purpose and shot in mind that I know will require it. That said, many times you can actually get some really good work done with a high end point and shoot camera if the shutter lag doesn’t drive you bonzo!  Some of these point and shoot cameras even do OK for macro work and in some cases their movie mode is great.   You don’t need to spend a million bucks on cameras and lenses and tripods and ball heads and filters and a mule or assistant to carry it all.    Whatever the camera you are willing to carry or use that day is your best camera.  If it’s $15,000 of camera, lens(s) in a $350 bag sitting in the closet or the trunk of your car it is not much good at that moment.  If it’s an iPhone or a point and shoot and you have it with you, on you, in your hands, turned on, and in front your eyes, it’s the best camera.  $500 or $25,000 or $1,000,000. 
A lot of times less equipment = more photographs.  You will find your own daily and changing balance of how much equipment you are willing to carry.  My point is that you should always have some kind of camera unless you just want to enjoy the moment without the technology in your face.    I think Louis Black said that … photography is for people with a bad memory.  Or maybe it was. . .  photography is for people with Alzheimer’s.  I can’t remember which.


Cowboy Rancher with flowers

Making a good photo that tells a story usually takes some thought.  It is rare to pull your camera up and go snap, snap and have a unique photograph.   This business of pulling the camera up fast and blasting the motor drive is probably productive for a sports photographer, a war photographer or any photographer who only has a fleeting moment to capture a shot. Many times creating a good photo takes some thought and is more of a zen approach than the gunslinger approach.

The photograph of the cowboy with flowers for his better half can be photographed in a number of different ways.   You can go in from the front as a portrait or the back emphasizing the flowers behind his back or from above.  I could probably give you a lot of reasons why I like this perspective the best.  Most of all the photo is unique.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done this way.  There just happened to be an air duct above the door going to the second floor of the house.  A swiss army knife and a 60mm lens stuck down the vent just managed to get it done. . . at least for me.



A week ago UPstrap received an order from Graeme Hunter in Glasgow, Scotland for more camera straps.    Graeme included the comment in the order that said:  “Got 3 already, fell down a ravine in Tuscany Italy last month after a job & both cameras stayed on my shoulders, I want UPstraps on all of my gear”   I emailed Graeme back to thank him and asked if he was OK after the fall.   He responded with the entire story of what had transpired while walking back to the hotel after photographing the wedding.   Here is Graemes story, a few photos of the event, and the brides thank you for saving her wedding photos from the ravine of death!   Graeme has a great dry humor.

“A couple of furniture designers I shoot for flew me out to shoot their wedding in Tuscany,  The ceremony in 43 degree heat in Castelnouvo Di Garfagnana was amazing & I continued to shoot into the small hours as the party carried on up the hillside from the brides grandmothers home.

I’m not saying I was sober but I had refused uncle Marios home made “grappa” ( after a lesson learned shooting soccer many years ago in Parma).   Anyhoo, I figured that the 5 km walk back to my hotel with some other guests ( younger & fitter than myself’) would do me the power of good.  When I shone my torch onto the verge to let a car pass on the narrow road I was sure the ground looked supportive, unfortunately I stepped off the road onto the top of a tree.

Hanging by my fingers ( I’m a big chap) I was struck firstly how odd it was to have nothing under my feet & secondly that I still had my Nikon D3x & 2 week old Nikon D4 on each shoulder. My little Domke bag was held on by the Nikon D4.  Quick thinking by the brides sister Chiara rescued my gear ( she was only thinking about the pictures ) & then even quicker thinking by the super fit guest Richard Pontway, with no thought for his own safety, grabbed my hand & helped me up injuring his wrist.  The only casualties ? A few cuts & scratches and trousers torn at the knee and my iPhone & room key in my pocket.  Then there was the blinding headache the next day which I blame squarely at the locally produced red wine.

UPstrap will notice a few extra sales in Scotland  This started after a Getty staffer sang the praises of UPstraps.  Since then I can’t recommend them enough! Especially as I’d replaced my 24-70 with a new lens the Friday before & hadn’t insured the lens or the D4!

The upshot ? Bride & groom loved the pictures, I had the closest thing to a holiday in years.  They’re beautiful people & I promised Richard I’d shoot his wedding for free!!!!


PS I’m now famous in the town, apparently everyone knew that narrow bit of track!

And who says I put up with the egos on set ? NOTE:  My question to Graeme about his work on movie and TV sets where the egos can get out of control.
Graeme Hunter Pictures
Glasgow U.K.
m. (0044)7811946280
t.  (0044)1416444564
hire Grain Store Studios in Glasgow Centre

The quality camera straps that UPstrap builds make a difference for many great and hardworking photographers and for that I feel proud.