Punxatawney Phil, everyone’s favorite rodent meteorologist, will be doing his annual prognosticating next Tuesday, February 2nd. Will he see his shadow, get freaked out, and jump back into his hole? (Which will bring six more weeks of winter.) Or, will he do the right thing and hang out for awhile, chat up the locals, and bring us an early spring?
Regardless of the outcome, we’ll be gathering at James Hoban’s in Dupont Circle to compare survival tales from the recent storm and knock down a few pints to ease our aching muscles. (And feel free to embellish your stories, that’s kinda the point.)
As an added bonus, if Phil DOES see his shadow, and we are doomed to 6 more weeks of this yuck, than we’ll buy a round for all current APA members!
Sunday Open Studio is an opportunity for you to explore, experiment, collaborate, and mingle with like-minded photographers in a casual but capable atmosphere. We provide the studio, interesting equipment, supporting resources, and some active projects to participate in… but you are encouraged to use this opportunity to do what YOU want to do! Try something new, work something out, kick off a self-assignment, or just come and mingle. Bring your camera and your creativity!
In this iteration, we’ll have a few set-ups going, including a lighting test with different beauty dishes– pitting Mola, Profoto, and Paul C. Buff versions against each other. We’ll have a continuous light section where you can experiment with Kino Flo, HMIs, and LED panels and others. And, we’ll have another station working with, and thinking about, subtractive lighting. This is an event for everyone from veteran shooter to aspiring assistant to learn something new, network with assistants and other photographers, and have a good time.
2 models will be on hand for most of the day, and APA|DC chair Matthew Rakola will be slinging eggs, pancakes, and more for brunch.
Want to bring your own lights to test? Cool with us, just check let us know! (Carlton@apadc.com)
It’s been awhile since our last happy hour. We’re changing things up, this time around, and having a members only (plus one guest) happy hour on May 20th at Whitlow’s on Wilson, in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, VA.
Members, enjoy a pair of happy hour drinks on us. Keep ’em both or bring a friend, we don’t care. Either way we’ll also have some food out will likely be hitting the pool table as well.
While this is a free event, please RSVP to Erika (director at apadc dot com) so we know how many people to expect.
Our first coffee break was such a success that we’ve gotten requests for more. So, please stop by the Cascade Cafe on May 5th for an informal conversation about print promotions. We’re gathering as many examples as we can of successful examples so we can talk about the pros and cons of each style. Please bring your own and share your experiences about the process.
You’ve read all of the camera manuals, studied the lighting diagrams, and dissected the BTS Youtube videos. But, sometimes, what you really need to hone your craft is to take a few hours to break out your gear and use it in real world environments.
In the new Play Date series, we’ve taken care of the logistics for you so you can do just that. Each pop-in, pop-out play date will be hosted in the kind of location in which we, as photographers, are often asked to photograph. We provide the physical space and time, and perhaps a few pieces of gear, and leave the rest up to you. Arrive whenever you can, leave when you need to. Like a pick-up game of basketball, this is the time to keep your skills sharp and have fun with other photographers.
We’re opening the series at the soon-to-be-opened Dew Drop Inn in northeast DC, near Catholic University. Bars/restaurants can often be some of the most difficult locations to shoot in because of their use of so many indirect AND point light sources. Now is the time to figure out how to manage all of the variables, without the client in the room. We’ll have the run of the space, which includes a bar floor and a patio, from 11 am to 4 pm, and perhaps on into the evening. We’ll have some LED lighting and a few gels on hand to play with, so bring a tripod and a fast lens and let’s play!
Playing nicely with others. At APA, we try to make all of our events a win/win/win for the photographer, our chapter, and the location hosts who, in some cases, are donating the space to us. All we ask in return for this Play Date is that you show some love and tag the Dew Drop Inn and @APADC on social media in any of your shots, so we can help a small business get off the ground. We are not promising the use of any of our members’ photos to the host establishment, but you are more than welcome to work out a deal with them independently.
UPDATE : Jerry and f8 Rentals has come through again! He’s supplying a pair of LED bicolor panels, the Tokina 11-16 2.8 AT-X Pro (Canon full frame) AND the Canon 17mm Tilt/shift! The latter by itself is worth the trip! Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t note that f8 Rentals offers a 20% discount on all rentals to APA members with proof of membership. Email Erika (director at apadc .com) or Matthew (matt at apadc .com) for the code.
You know how we’re all trying to entrench ourselves in social media? Here’s an easy way. APA|DC members, give us a follow on social media and we’ll make sure to follow you back. Instant connectedness. We’ll be #Bff ‘s before you know it!
Our NEWMember’s Only facebook group. This is where you will find people looking for advice, crew recommendations, used gear, or simply a way to vent. Remember, these are your peers so keep it supportive!
Our public facing facebook page. This is where we’ll share member news, repost interesting articles about the photo world in general, and generally keep you in the loop about what’s going on around town.
Twitter. Follow @apadc 2 c articles and find out what ur missing #doitnow #apanational #dcphotoevent
Instagram. We’ll feature behind the scenes images from events, graphics for upcoming events, and we promise to <3 all of your pics.
Earlier this month, APA|DC member Yacouba Tanou sat down with one of the chapter’s up and coming shooters, contributor level member Zach Miller to talk about music, inspiration, and what it takes to make it in today’s photographic landscape.
Interview and images by Yacouba Tanou
Who is Zach Miller?
I was born in Olney, MD and raised in Gaithersburg, MD. My favorite color is blue. Seafood is my favorite food. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and Meridian Hill park is one of my favorite places in D.C.
That’s awesome Zach. How long have been shooting professionally?
I have been a professional photographer for 4 years now.
Why photography?I was always a shy person and this type of art gave me an outer body type experience. Photography broke me out of my comfort zone and forced me to go meet people. Photographs are moments in time, capturing life. A picture is forever caught, showing our amazing world. This craft allows us to slow down time to gather and collect beauty.Can you recommend any book that helped you along your journey?
I am not really a book person, but I do believe that you are only as big as whom you surround yourself with. The internet is an open book for us to see who is around and see what’s trending. I love portraits and fashion, so my quest was to find who the best photographers in the area were at the time when I started. I wanted to learn what they were doing and to find a mentor to model myself after.
What inspired you to become a Photographer?I studied Business Management at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 2008, I moved back home to Maryland in pursuit of a music career. In my spare time, I was always traveling and taking pictures. Wow, that’s pretty impressive. Are you still performing music? What’s your Musician name?Yes, I am in a band called G2O. We’re a funk, soul, and rock band. A while back, one of the band members said that I should take a couple of photography classes. Little did I know that those couple of classes would turn into a year of photography classes at the Art Institute of Washington. Who and what inspires your photography?
I find myself shooting a lot of landscape and street photography in my downtime. My inspiration comes from Ansel Adam whose work I find very uplifting.
Will you share with us how you have penetrated the market and what advice you have for the photography community?I had a day time job for a while, and realized how hard it would be to become a professional photographer if I did not take the leap of faith and follow my passion. So, I had to get my name out there, and I did so using social media. Get out and shoot as much as you can, and you will get into a flow of growth.That’s beautiful Zach. How would you describe your photographic style? And where do you see yourself 5 years from now?We are starting to view D.C. as a colorful city with a sense of style. Our city is becoming a place to be, and the rest of the nation is starting to see that. To be honest, I am still trying to find my niche, but in 5 years time, I would like to travel and tell stories that will inspire people.What’s your happiest memory as a Photographer?Well, this is a little personal. My Father always wanted to take a road trip, traveling across country on Route 50, so last October on his 60th birthday we crossed that off the bucket list. For 16 days we drove across the country, witnessing stunning views and open county. Utah was by far my favorite part of trip because before leaving the state, we ventured off to the Arches National Park. It was a photographer’s paradise. There is so much beauty in the American landscape, from California to Colorado. Plenty of “wow” factor going on out there. It was on that trip, I decided to be a travel and portrait photographer.
Eli Meir Kaplan became interested in visual media after his parents brought home an early black and white video camera. Eli’s first of many videos on the camera was a stop-motion battle between He-Man and Skeletor, which he made when he was four years old.
Always passionate about storytelling and beautiful imagery, Eli found that his purpose as a photographer was to capture genuine and intimate moments from the human experience. Clients include: AARP, Bank of America, Dwell, Essence, Good Housekeeping, Pentagram, and The Wall Street Journal to name a few.
photos and interview by Matthew Rakola
. . .
Starting with a pair of softball questions: where are you from and how did you learn photography?
I’m from Teaneck, New Jersey. I took a few classes at the International Center of Photography. One of them was a documentary photography course with Andre Lambertson that got me thinking about a career seriously. Then I studied photojournalism as a grad student at The University of Texas at Austin. I started shooting professionally in 2009.
I have to admit– I’ve been trying to come up with a witty little line that describes the huge range of work you in a single sentence. It’s just not possible. You’ve photographed everyone from farmers to restauranteurs to city kids, with an additional helping of soul musicians, athletes, and tradespeople. And, let’s not forget the CEOS, architecture, and your lifestyle images. You’ve raised the idea of being a generalist to a whole new level. Was this intentional?
Thank so much for the very kind words. Of course not! I think I have such a broad range of subjects because I’m indecisive and there are so many subjects out there I want to explore. I’m also always eager to challenge myself and expand my skills. I got into the field purely through documentary photography. I was initially focused on the art world. I went to photojournalism school, but I quickly realized that I didn’t like the assignments I was getting and I started to explore other subject matter and clients. At first I wanted to completely change the type of photographer I was and I tried a bunch of different shoots that didn’t fit my style, but I eventually found that I couldn’t leave my documentary background behind entirely and be somebody else. So in the end the decision was made for me! It’s weird because I still have the urge to do something completely different sometimes but that’s gotten less and less.
So do you consider yourself more of an artist or a communicator?
Definitely more of a communicator. That’s the business I’m in. Any time I try to be artsy it doesn’t work.
Ha! I can relate. So what kind of research do you do on a subject before you make a portrait of the person or shoot a photo story? I’ve talked to photographers who don’t want to know what the person looks like prior to the shoot because they are afraid that it will affect their own images, and I’ve met others who sill spend hours researching how others have photographed a person or shot a similar story. Where do you fall?
Good question! I definitely don’t like to see how others have photographed the person, but I do at least read a bio so I have something to talk about. Sometimes I watch a video clip if there’s one available—I read that somewhere.
How do you motivate yourself on those mornings when it’s just hard to get out of bed?
Good question. I think about prospects in the future that I’m excited about. Projects, relationships that I want to build.
Any pre-assignment rituals?
Bring anything I think I could possibly need. Charge all my batteries. Look up the person I’m photographing. Double check the address. Print out any instructions and highlight them. Load mood boards on my iPhone or iPad.
Making a portrait of a person can occasionally create a very unique bond with them– you’ve literally pixel-peeped at the pores on their nose. Have you ever developed an ongoing friendship with a subject because of a shoot?
Yes! I actually met two of my greatest friends through an assignment for The Wall Street Journal. It was just a couple hours but I thought they were pretty cool. I went back to photograph a portrait of them on my own and ended up hanging out. Actually, they introduced Takoma Park to my wife and I (where we live) and have really become our extended family. Never thought that would happen in a million years.
Did you have a single assignment or event that you would describe as being “your big break”?
Yes, as a photojournalism grad student at The University of Texas at Austin, my master’s thesis was a documentary project about a boy with autism and his caregiver. I aggressively pitched it to a lot of publications and ultimately it appeared on Time.com, which has since been replaced by Time Lightbox. It also appeared on the Reportage by Getty Images Emerging Talent website. Having the story in the spotlight on those two sites was my foot in the door of the editorial market.
What is some advice you’d give to your younger self?
Just get started earlier. I definitely took my time. I think my brain wasn’t fully developed yet.
At the end of the your photography career, at your induction into the Photographer’s Hall of Fame, how would you like to be described, and who would you like to give the presentation?
I definitely would like to be recognized for projects that had a greater purpose than just the advancement of my career and I would like my images to be described in some way as capturing authentic moments from the human experience. It would be cool if one of my future children gave the presentation. This is all hypothetical of course.
We here at APA|DC never like to sit still. We like to mix it up and try new things. Having said that, we’re trying out a new event that involves… well… sitting around and talking. In addition to our regular happy hours, we’re going to occassionally organize an afternoon coffee break to give all of you a chance to stretch your legs, look at the world from a slightly different perspective, and talk about a topic that is relevant to what we do as self-employed photographers.
On January 13th, please join us at the Kogod Courtyard (that’s the awesome covered space between the Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum) for some coffee and a very casual discussion about your new year’s goals and resolutions. We’ll talk about some organizational, emotional and creative strategies and figure out how we can help each other succeed. Afterwards anyone interested can go see the very cool Richard Estes exhibit at the Art museum as a group.