Monthly Archives: February 2010

all we want, baby, is everything

“Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential.  Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance.  Always, I am on the threshold.” ~ W. Eugene Smith

Jackson's Four Mile Farm by Abbie Wiersma

Jackson's Four Mile Farm by Abbie Wiersma, Abbie chose to print this on Hahnemuhle's Sugar Cane paper with the Epson black & white driver on a warm black setting

You have created some beautiful photographs.  They have been processed to give them the look and feel that you envisioned, now you want to take the next step and have them printed.  “No problem.” you think to yourself.  I’ll just run to the local office supply store or my local photography store and buy some photographic paper to print them myself or maybe you are going to take the files somewhere to have them printed for you.

Either printing scenario can result in you having your photographs transferred from the digital world into a printed photograph.  If the photographs in question are just snapshots, you will likely be fine with whatever you choose.  But, if the images are intended to be fine art prints, you have to take the process a bit further.  With the printers and the paper available today, the choice of how you transfer your image to paper will make a big difference.  That last sentence was probably a gross understatement.  Making the right choice will make all the difference.

As someone that is new to professional printing, I have a huge learning curve in a number of areas.  This week I met Abbie Wiersma who owns “Presentations, etc. Studio & Print Lab” located in Homewood, AL.  Another photographer (Karie Mitchell) introduced me to Abbie.  Karie’s studio (Karie Mitchell Photography) and Abbie’s studio are basically next door to each other.  Karie is a talented photographer and has a way of capturing people in photographs that conveys the unique spark in everyone.

Abbie is a talented photographer with some amazing work.  Her studio is the place to go if you have a photograph that you want printed in a way that brings out the beauty in the image and turns it into a fine art photograph.  She was so gracious with her time and was invaluable in opening my eyes to the various options for choosing the right photo paper and how that would impact the presentation of my work.  I am appreciative of her willingness to share some of her knowledge of printing with me.  Abbie offers classes and workshops on various topics related to photography and presentation.  If you want to expand your knowledge and get more from your photography, you should check out the schedule for Abbie’s upcoming classes.

Many thanks to Karie and Abbie for spending some time with me.

If you haven’t been to my photography site (Gerry Daniel Photography)  in recent days, I have updated the photos in my portfolio with versions that feature a new format.

No post is complete without a song.  Let’s crank it up a little for this one and go with something that rocks a bit.  The song is titled “All We Want, Baby, Is Everything” from the album “Face Control” by Handsome Furs.  What?  You want a bonus selection?  I can make that happen.  The bonus song for this post is a song titled “Dog Days Are Over” from the album “Dog Days Are Over – Single” by Florence and The Machine.

face down in the right town

“Photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.” ~ Paul Strand, American Photographer, 1890-1976

Afternoon Lake

Afternoon Lake

The past few weeks have been busy and there are plenty of things on my list of things, related to my photography, waiting for me to take some action.  The items on the list are not what I’m writing about and not anything that would be exciting to read.  Many tasks with any job are not glamorous.  That’s just the way it is.  One of the new additions to the blog are easy to use buttons at the top of the page that allows the reader to share my posts on other sites.  Yep, I want more subscribers and more visibility.  One of the other enhancements is adding a function to try and make the site more friendly to readers in their own language.  I’m sure some of the translation will miss the mark from time to time but I want to include as many people as possible.

If you are someone that enjoys following this blog (why else would you be reading it), I would appreciate your help by sharing my posts on other sites (use the buttons at the top of the page), inviting others to subscribe (if you think this would interest them, I have no agenda for just fluffing the number of subscribers with people that have no interest), and something that may be less obvious to you, please leave comments from time to time.  There are blogs that I follow and they have readers that leave comments.  Yeah, I’m a little jealous.  If you have questions for me, suggestions for future posts, or just want to let me know you are out there, I would appreciate it.

As usual I have veered off the topic that prompted me to write this post.  It may come as a surprise to some but I usually have something I want to share when I write.  You know I will eventually get to it.  Sometimes the sidebar items are my favorite parts of each post.  Yes, I could write this in a more efficient, organized way but it wouldn’t be me.  If you have never met me and wonder what it would be like to talk to me, this blog will give you a glimpse into that experience.  The most interesting conversations to me flow naturally, moving from topic to topic, going off on tangents.

Anyway, while I have been busy the past couple of weeks doing things (see paragraph one), I’ve been struggling with my direction as a photographer.  To say I have a direction is true but in a very loose sense.  What I hear from many people that like my photography is that they like my work, some have even said they love my work.  Those people are visionaries and clearly see the juggernaut that will be my photography empire.  But seriously, I have struggled to find my identity as a photographer.  The answer was simple and obvious but I couldn’t see it because I made the process a lot more complicated than necessary.

“Gerry, you think too much.”

That’s a sentence I have heard many times in my life.  Usually it’s been said by people that are frustrated with me in some way.  That’s fair, I get frustrated with me too.

The simple answer to my struggle to figure out my identity as a photographer was to quit letting external influences get tangled with my photography.  In short, the answer was to just be myself.  We are all unique and we all see things differently.  That’s a very good thing because it would be extremely boring if we all saw things the same way.  So what I was failing to hear from people that liked my photographs was that they like my vision.  They like what I see, what I capture with my camera, what I share of my world.  That will always be a moving target.

I may have to go take a shower now, that felt like an after school special on TV.  You know, the one where the kid that thinks they are a misfit finds that they should just be themselves.  You should know that there was a long pause in my writing at this point because I made myself a little sick by saying that.

That was uncomfortable, I’m sorry we went there.  OK, that was a lie, I knew where it was going and I dragged you along.  If I said I would never do that again, that would be a lie too.

That brings us to the closing section of the post.  Looking forward, Tina Westbrook is on the verge of the worldwide release of her book “Letters from Alcatraz, Forty Years Later” and it is going to be a huge success.  Go to your local bookstore, demand that they order copies, ask them to bring Tina to your city for a book signing.  You can be at the leading edge of the next hot thing, you will have a great book to read, you will get to meet Tina, and it is possible that I could be with her so you could also meet me.  Not that I would be the main attraction, Tina is much better looking than me and it is her book tour but she has asked me to photograph the events.  As far as I know I have no outstanding warrants so I should be clear to travel.  Worst case scenario, they will have to blur my face on the news footage if I am arrested but Tina would get additional free press.  Tina writes a great blog, I recommend that you subscribe to it (East Creek Photography, Where Thoughts and Images Collide).

The song selection for this post is “Face Down In the Right Town” from the album titled “Hymn and Her” by Earlimart.

rave on



On February 14th, 2009, I arrived in Santa Fe for a week-long workshop on landscape photography at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops campus, taught by Eddie Soloway.  The workshop was a wonderful experience and the facilities are both beautiful and first class.  The experience in Santa Fe deserves a separate post.  It had a profound impact on my approach to photography.

Today, one year later as I write this post, it is interesting to take a look back at the past 365 days.  One lap around the sun brought many changes to my life.  The sum of those changes are weighted towards the positive.  It would be tedious to get into the details.  You can breathe easy, I am not going to get into the journey at that level.  To try and prevent losing subscribers by boring them to death, I will just hit a few of the bigger events.  The funny thing about the bigger events is that they didn’t take place in isolation.  A series of moments, some interesting, some mundane, some happy, and some sad are the elements of any lap around the sun.  As a photographer I have the gift of capturing some of my moments with a camera, freezing and preserving them.

From the day when I arrived in Santa Fe last year to today, the following is a short list of highlights and lowlights.  As mentioned, the week in Santa Fe will get its own post at some point, it was an experience that will stay with me for a lifetime.  Almost one month to the day after arriving in Santa Fe, I was “downsized” from a job I had help for nine years.  Unfortunately it was an experience I shared with many people all over the United States.  At the end of April, I became a grandfather for the first time to a beautiful baby girl born to my oldest son and his wife.  So many people have asked me some version of , “What’s it like to be a grandfather?”  It still amuses me that I am the father of three sons, so adding another level is more amusing.

Sidebar: If you don’t know me, you very well might misinterpret what I mean by being amused about being a father.  I have three of the most incredible sons anyone could ask for, I have tried very hard to be a good Dad, but I am still me and it’s my nature to laugh about life.  Clearly it’s more complicated than that but you know that.

In June, my middle son got married to a wonderful girl/woman.  They are happy and doing well.  My youngest son is attending college and doing well.  In the grand scheme of things, I lost a job of nine years but have much to be happy about.

My search for another job was an interesting journey that resulted in me deciding to pursue photography as a career.  The bubble wrap is barely off that decision, so it’s too early to tell how it will go.  In the course of seeking a job in my former career path (my degree and the last 15 years of my life had been spent in information technology) I met some wonderful people.  One of those people is Tina Westbrook who is a talented photographer.  She is also a talented writer with a major book release coming up next month for “Letters from Alcatraz, Forty Years Later” which is her first book that is not about photography.  It’s going to be a huge success and she has asked me to photograph the events surrounding the release of the book.  Tina also writes a blog (Eastcreek Photography, Where Thoughts and Images Collide) which I recommend.

In addition to Tina, a very good friend of mine introduced me to another talented nature/conservation photographer, Beth Maynor Young.  Beth invited me to the initial meeting for a group called Conservation Photographers of Alabama and I am honored to have a chance to contribute through my photography.  It’s an important cause and close to my heart.  Beth took an interest in my photography and I appreciate her help more than I can say.

Over the past year, I have become friends with a successful and talented fashion photographer in Los Angeles, Melissa Rodwell.  Clearly Melissa and I are in different areas of photography but I have learned a lot from her and appreciate her support and encouragement.  Melissa writes a blog that I recommend to anyone interested in photography (Fashion Photography Blog).  She is a tremendous resource ad a wonderful person.

Over the past year I have photographed many beautiful locations, including parts of New Mexico as well as the natural beauty in my home State of Alabama.  The locations in Alabama  featured Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, Perry Lakes Park, and Ebenezer Swamp.

In December I published my first book that features a collection of my photographs of water lilies.  You can see it and buy it here (“a collection of water lilies, part one” by Gerry Daniel).  As I write the post today, the Dream Hat Photography Blog has been revamped and relocated to its own domain.  The new website for my professional work (Gerry Daniel Photography) has been created, is live, and is not complete, but it should always be evolving.  Last week I sent out my first newsletter.  In a moment of shameless promotion, please subscribe to my blog, my newsletter, and recruit others to subscribe.  It would help me very much to expand my subscriber base.

The span of a year included the support and encouragement of so many people in my life.  The group includes my inner circle of friends, my family, and my friends from SmugMug.  My thanks to each one of you for being a part of the continuing saga of Gerry.  Traveling along my road is not always the well traveled path and I have been known to wander.  I’m lucky that some have chosen to take the chance and be a part of the ride.

What about the next 365 days?  Hopefully I can carry the positive momentum forward and follow my dream of being successful with my photography.  My work needs wider exposure and I am looking for opportunities to exhibit my photographs.

Of course, there is always the blog post music selection.  The song is “Rave On, feat. Zooey Deschanel” from the album “Hold Time” by M. Ward.  It’s a great cover of a Buddy Holly song, listen to it, you’ll be glad you did.

secret meeting

Trees Against the Winter Sky

Trees Against the Winter Sky

So many things swirling around, on the edge of beginning this run with my dream of doing something creative and meaningful for a career/job/life, the days are full of details.  They say the devil’s in the details, but if he’s any kind of manager, he has his minions dealing with the details.  People that know me and/or have been around me in a workplace environment know that I hate meetings.  Like a lot of things, I am sure they are well intentioned but that doesn’t make them necessarily productive.  Over the course of my professional life, which covers a lot of years (don’t try to add them up), the number of productive meetings I have attended would be a tiny fraction of the total number of meetings.

If you asked people and they were honest with you, I think they would feel pretty much the same way about meetings.  They fall into what people regard as a necessary evil, some might argue they are an unnecessary evil.  I just view them as generally evil.

Nice little rant Gerry but what does this have to do with photography?

It may or may not have something to do with photography but since the blog gives me a forum for my thoughts, I may veer off onto tangents.  It keeps things interesting, at least for me.

As I post photographs from Gerry Daniel Photography to the Smug Mug Daily Community, I have an idea that some people haven’t connected the guy that posted for a couple of years as “Dream Hat” and now the guy that is posting as me (Gerry Daniel).  If they have made the connection, maybe they just are not finding some of my more recent work very compelling.  For the record, I post to the Daily Photo Community because I enjoy the activity, not for recognition.

That last paragraph was more of a sidebar, you know, stream of consciousness and all.

One of the cool things about being a new company and a company that is basically small.  It’s pretty much me but with input from some great people in my life which I love and appreciate.  The month of January was jam packed with activity and February is following suit.  Just this week, I sent my first newsletter email.  The response has been very positive and I am excited about options that it will add to being able to connect with people that are interested in keeping up with this wild ride.  There is a subscription form on Gerry Daniel Photography and if you go to the home page there is a link to the subscription form and all that is required is an email address, the other fields are optional.  It is called “Insight Newsletter” and if you have suggestions on a better names, please send them to me (let’s keep the suggestions clean, this is a business after all).  So if you are not subscribed, please go to my site and register/sign-up.

There is a group of conservation focused photographers in Alabama that are getting organized to help use our photography to promote important efforts to preserve and protect some of the beautiful natural areas throughout Alabama.  It’s my understanding that the group is currently working on their recently launched Forever Wild Campaign  Its photographers are building a visual database of the Forever Wild properties across Alabama in order to provide powerful photographic tools to enhance the efforts of conservation organizations in support of the Forever Wild Program.

I am looking for places to exhibit my work both to have it seen by more people and also to give me an opportunity to sell some of my photographs.  If you have some connections and/or can get me in touch with people that could help me make that happen, I would appreciate it.  In terms of location, I am open to having options in various parts of the United States, I am not limited to the Birmingham, Al area.

Thanks to everyone that subscribes to my blog, I am continuing to try and do everything I can to increase my subscriber base.  As always, if you can recommend me to others, I would appreciate it.  The same goes for my fledgling newsletter.

Secret meeting is a reference to the meetings I have had over the past couple of months with various people to talk about my plans and get valuable input on my efforts.  It’s also a reference to….wait for it….the song for the post.  The song “Secret Meeting” is from the album “Alligator” by The National.  Go ahead, listen to it, you need a break and good music will make you feel better.

Thanks for the love and support.

i need all the friends i can get

water lily, profile reflectionThere is much left to do on my new website.  My excitement about launching the site led me to make it public before I had created all of the galleries and added the photos.  My plans over the next week are to add more galleries and photos.

One of my favorite subjects to photograph is water lilies.  It borders on an obsession.  As of today (2/6/2010) the gallery for water lilies has been created.  As I write this post, only eight photographs are in the gallery but more will be added.

In my previous post I was so busy promoting Tina Westbrook’s book, “Letters from Alcatraz, Forty Years Later, and promoting the release party at Wildflower Wax Candle Studio & Boutique, I forgot to mention another new gallery on my photo site.  The new gallery will contain photographs related to the events surrounding the release of the book.  The gallery has it’s own listing on the website navigation menu.  Please take the time to take a look at the “Letters From Alcatraz” gallery.

My thanks to everyone that has subscribed to this blog.  If you know of anyone that would have an interest, please tell them about the blog and ask them to subscribe.  Speaking of subscriptions, I have added a feature to the Gerry Daniel Photography website that will allow you to subscribe to the site and will send you updates when new images are added.  I would love to increase the subscriber base on the photography site.

The music for this post is “I Need All the Friends I Can Get” by Camera Obscura.  It’s a fun song and fits what I am trying to do with the blog, get more friends.

hippies use backdoor – no exceptions

Hippies Use Backdoor - No ExceptionsDespite the fact that I am not a Catholic, this post feels a bit like a confessional. Dear blog readers, it has been several days since my last post. It gnaws away at me and tortures my soul. Peace will not come to me until I write a new blog entry.

Was that over the top? Just roll with it.

Anyway, I have several new topics for posts in progress (that means I have the ideas but haven’t written anything down yet). Technically this is not just a filler post. It is more of a brief update.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting a wonderful shop in Old Towne Helena, AL. The name of the shop is Wildflower Wax Candle Studio & Boutique. It is owned and operated by Jennifer and Dave Rankin. If you haven’t been there, you should go. The vibe is very positive and relaxing.

“What were you doing in the shop, Gerry?

Tina Westbrook has asked me to photograph the events surrounding the release of her book, “Letters from Alcatraz, Forty Years Later” which is due for release in March 2010. The Wildflower Wax Candle Studio & Boutique is the site of a release party/book signing. The book is going to be huge, Tina has written something very special. Make your plans to get a copy as soon as it is available.

Don’t roll your eyes at me. This is my blog and I can insert shameless plugs whenever I want. Plus, everything I said is absolutely true.

So now you know what I have been doing (sorta), you know about a great shop that you should visit (Wildflower Wax Candle Studio & Boutique), and you know about Tina’s awesome book (Letters from Alcatraz, Forty Years Later).

No, I didn’t forget.  There’s a blog post music link too.  The song is “All Downhill From Here” by Amy Kuney.  You can thank me later.

If you haven’t already subscribed to this blog, please do that for me.  Thanks