31 May 2011

Use Your Time Wisely

"Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week."
- Charles Richards

"The key is in not spending time, but in investing it."
- Stephen R. Covey

"This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Model, Laura
This one isn't so new, but its another one of those gems of wisdom that somehow still elude us.

Use your time wisely.

Simple, I know, but its mostly the most simplest of things that tend to bite us in the ass when we don't take care. In the Army, we called it "Paying attention to the little things". What exactly does using your time wisely mean and how do you do it? Well, I'll tell ya. I don't really know. Its different from person to person and you have to be the one to chose what you do.

During my periods of downtime, I try to pick up on my To-Do List and shave it down a little. This happened this weekend when plans didn't come to fruition. Truthfully, on Saturday, I had to miss a shoot due to weather. That bummed me out. I got some take-out and watched a movie. The next day plans again fell through, but instead of moping around, I shook it off and did some tutorials, studied some Business Financial Management chapters in a book I'm reading, and finished up my online Traffic School course from a speeding ticket I got a few months back. So the first day's use of time...POOR. Second day's use of time...WISE. I was flexible on the second day and took a bad situation and make something profitable out of it. I got KNOWLEDGE. You'll never make a better investment than what you can by investing into yourself.

Laura, From back in 2008
So who's unemployed right now? Who's laid-off at the moment? If you've got time on your hands for an indefinite period of time or just for the day, make some positive use of it. Exercise. Write the next chapter in your book. Call up a friend that you haven't talked to in a while. Send me some money through my Paypal Donation Button. Who care's what you do...just do something that results in a positive.

We used to have something called Hip-Pocket Training when I was serving. I hope you are being safe this Memorial Day, by the way. Hip-Pocket Training was a concept designed to take advantage of unexpected downtime for soldiers. NCO's, (the Sergeants) would have on-hand a special training planned for just such occasions, i.e., after a long road march to a destination, we arrive but our rides back home have not. The first thing we'd do was to ensure our coordinates were correct and then we'd radio in a situation report. The response is that the truck due at our rendezvous has an engine problem and a replacement can't be allocated for my mission for two hours. Now you've got mad soldiers on your hands who are cold, hungry, and tired. They don't want excuses. They want food and a hot shower. A good NCO will occupy their time with some easy training on Land Navigation techniques or risk mutiny. I used to do this same thing with my kids on long car rides. They'd get tired of sitting in the back seat for so long, so I'd quiz them on Bible history. Next thing they know, they're pulling into Grandma's driveway.

The only difference now is that YOU have to take responsibility for YOUR OWN Hip-Pocket Training. Learn a new language, computer program, or beneficial skill. Get out of your comfort zone, if you can. Stretch yourself a little by leaving your same old routines alone for a while. And while I'm at it, in addition to using your time wisely, pick your friends more wisely. Prioritize your family more wisely. Make your decisions more wisely. Spend your money more wisely. And take care for what you eat with more wisdom. Utilize your time to make a better YOU. Think about all the times you've complained that you don't have time to lose weight...read that book...or visit relatives in retirement homes. Now you've got the time. What are you going to do with it?

23 May 2011

Write It Down

“The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.” 

~ Lee Iacocca 

Model, Tawny Fein © 2011 Terrell Neasley

Model, Tawny Fein © 2011 Terrell Neasley
Here's an idea for you. Its fairly novel, easy, and actually common sense. However, despite the wisdom in it, very few people actually take advantage of the benefits this simple little action can afford to you. Let me tell you how simplistic it is. Despite the fact that I am writing a blog post on the matter, I TOO am guilty of not exploiting this ever so easy concept when possible. What is it, you ask? Well, as you've probably already guess from the title and Iacocca quote:


Yeah. Simple, ain't it. You would really be surprised at what you can achieve when you have an idea and write it down. Spell it out on paper, or on your computer as it were. Where ever you do your best thinking, (okay, except for the shower), take a pen and paper with you and challenge yourself to plan out your goals in a way that makes the most sense. After you've built your road map to success, STICK TO IT! Ever decision you make you should be able to stand up to your own personal constitution. In an almost flow chart sort of way, if the decision to do (or not do) something takes you away from you objective, strike it from you to-do list. How many of us really have time to waste with non-productive errands, tasks, or actions that have no bearing on our goals. I know I don't, even though I'm still learning this lesson, myself.

Model, Tawny Fein © 2011 Terrell Neasley

Writing things down has helped me get pointed in the more decisive direction and has made me organize my efforts into deliberate actions with less waste and more efficiency. Who's up for a cup of "decisive directions and deliberate actions"? YOU should be. You should readily wake up every morning and take a smell the aromatic flavor of efficiency and take a sip while its still piping hot. Specifically, putting it on paper expanded my scope and helped me see possibilities that I otherwise didn't account for and resulted in a plan that, with the proper execution, has the possibilities to be both profitable and fulfilling.

Model, Tawny Fein © 2011 Terrell Neasley
I say its simple, but if I said it was easy, let me take that back. Its not easy and it should't be. Any worthwhile endeavor will more likely than not be a challenge, but I dare say its worth it and that's all that matters. Doing whatever it takes should be foremost in our minds as well leave behind those that can't shake off the scales of mediocrity and complacency. Not everyone will climb aboard even though they want to, but there is a big difference between wanting to do better and doing something to make themselves better. As you rise up and climb the achievement ladder, they will remain at the bottom and watch you ascend. Either of a few things will result. Chances are, they will try to throw negative ropes around your ankles to bring you back down to their level. They don't want to be left behind. If you get caught up in that, then you'll provide them company...which misery loves, by the way. If you do not succumb, and continue to climb, you'll leave them behind. You'll likely end up with a new friend circle which is okay. Love the naysayers where they are, but don't sit with them or keep too much company there. You'll give them something to talk about and increase their worth a little when they can say they knew you back when. In a way, you will become their claim to fame.

Model, Tawny Fein © 2011 Terrell Neasley

I know you're loving these pics of Model, Tawny right? Be sure to check out her Model Mayhem profile. Yeah, she's a hottie...granted. The girl's got curves that should come with Warning and Danger signs.That much is obvious. There are a bunch of pretty faces and hot bods out there already. Tawny definitely brings lots of flair and energy to a shoot and sometimes its those intangibles that make all the difference. If you're needing a model in Las Vegas, don't hesitate to give this young lady a look. She's been beneficial for my portfolio already and I know she can bring that added something to your photography projects.

*** BTW, I'll putting together another Ball of Light session this Saturday, the 28th of May and could use a curvaceous nude model or two. Need to be available around 6pm for a few hours to shoot some sunset pics and my ball of light imagery. Get with me for more details.

15 May 2011

No Better Time

"I believe the ability to think is blessed. If you can think about a situation, you can deal with it. The big struggle is to keep your head clear enough to think."

- Richard Pryor

Model, Faerie... from a recent family session
Faerie, from our original shoot in '08
Can you think of any time in human history where social classes did not exist? How about in any culture? I haven't done my research on this, so know that I am purely speculating here, but I believe that since the dawn of time, man has been at a minimum, classified as either rich, poor, or somewhere along that spectrum. I did fairly well in Economics, with the exception of Managerial Econ in grad school, where I got the only C of my MBA. In my defense, that class ...sorry, I digress. I learned enough in the several Economics classes I took to know that in America, the majority of us fall into the mid-range area, or middle class. It's probably like that in most of the developed democratic countries. On a global scale however, the majority of humans fall to the left of the spectrum on the poor side. These folk look at our poor in the U.S. like we look at Warren Buffett. To them WE are plenty rich! If for no other reason than the fact that we have clean water available to us on demand. Few and I mean VERY few are in the rich category. However, if you concentrate for a second on the rich end, you'll find some interesting facts.

1. Of all the billionaires in the world, 41% are from the U.S. or Western Europe.
2. 1% of the wealthy control HOLD ON A SECOND...

I'm getting off my point, I think. I was about to list all these sources of income distribution and inequality, but all that does is spur debate over socialism and a distaste for the wealthy and that's not where I want to go. So let me keep this simple by getting directly to my point. My point is that when you really think about it, if you live in a free society, you have reason and just cause to be happy about your opportunities to aspire to BE more and DO more, by KNOWING more. Yes...there will always be rich and poor. HOWEVER, there is no better time in the history of mankind for you to decide which end of that spectrum you want to be on! You're not following...?

Okay, look at it this way. Yes...about 1% of the rich control more than 40% of the world's wealth. But tell me where else in man's history has he (or she) been able to affect his status in society than right now in this country or anywhere in the free world for that matter? If you lived in the 13th century and you were an average citizen, not of royal blood, how many opportunities did you have to affect your status in life? About 2 and that required you to advance in the service of the military or become the world's greatest salesman. All the way up until the 20th Century, most everyone lived the life of the worker ant or bee. You were born to labor until you died for the service of the queen bee.

But look at today. Yes, the economic conditions of life are deplorable right now. But when you look at the bridge between the rich and poor, there are two things you notice about it. ONE, its wider than ever before. Check your Census data on that. But more importantly, TWO, it's a two-way street now! More than ever, more poor people are becoming wealthy by their own accord. Visa versa, the rich do not have a life-time membership into Club Exclusivity. How many have you heard about that have lost their wealth via Wall Street, banking, or mortgage failures. Or worse, Bernie Madoff victims?

Google and Facebook are less than a decade old and stemmed from an original idea, yet they are two powerhouses in business today. Microsoft is not the forerunner they used to be. I often send my kids news reports of mere children who create an idea and net millions in revenue in just a few years. When have you ever heard of such a thing for a child who wasn't in the entertainment business? Technology has leveled out the board a little in this game of life. It takes an idea and the wisdom to cultivate that idea. Both of which require a brain. And you know what...everybody reading this blog right now has a brain and chances are you live in a free democratic society. If you reside in America or Western Europe especially, then why can we not have a change in attitude and perspective on life? We get people that immigrate here from other countries who are willing to sell all, risk all, and do all that it takes to get within our shores for a chance at a better life. The value a U.S. citizenship more than anything but family. I wonder what it is that they see in the opportunities in our country that we do not. Change your mind and way of thinking, people. Let's move beyond this monetary conundrum that we find ourselves in. If you want the economy to change, start with yourself. Whether good times or bad, you should still prosper. Make it happen. Do it with me.

"You see?...See? See what a man can do? Never mind you can't tell one letter from another, never mind you born a slave, never mind you lose your name, never mind your daddy dead, never mind nothing. Here... this here is what a man can do if he puts his mind to it and his back in it. Stop sniveling. Stop picking around the edges of this world. Take advantage, and if you can't take advantage, take disadvantage. We live here. On this planet, this nation, in this country right here. Nobody starving in my home; nobody crying crying in my home, and if I got a home, you got one too! Grab it! Grab this land! Take it, hold it, my brothers, make it, my brothers, shake it, squeeze it, turn it, twist it, beat it, kick it, kiss it, whip it, stomp it, dig it, plow it, seed it, reap it, rent it, buy it, sell it, own it, build it, multiply it, and pass it on -- can you hear me? Pass it on!" 

---Reverend Cooper talking to Milkman and some friends in Toni Morrison's book,"Song of Solomon"

I love this first video by Rob Dyrdek "You've Got to Make Your Own Luck". (Even though I don't believe in luck, the concept is sound.)

10 May 2011

Ups and Downs

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope” - Unknown

Model, VikiMae
I know I've got my challenges in these hard times. There are some moments that quite literally to depress my spirits as if quicksand were involved. Then there are times where all I can do is laugh at disparity. Those are those moments where just when you feel like it CAN'T get any worse, it starts to rain. I laugh at those moments maybe because I know they'll make a good story one day. I can recount several Army days like that, but I've known too many as a civilian as well. I feel like I can weather these storms well enough though. Sometimes you need your little tricks that help maintain sanity. Shooting nudes is one of those for me, but also hiking. I got to be on the radio just recently for NPR's State of the Re:Union recently talking about just that. We did a segment back in December where radio producer, Tina Antolini came down to hike with my Las Vegas Hiking and Outdoors Meet-up.com group to get our story which just aired over the past weekend. The episode details different aspects about Vegas, and the hiking bit comes up around minute 43 and lasts about 6 or 7 minutes. They interviewed our group leader, Alan Gegax and myself for this segment of the episode. I've got to send them a note to get them to post the pics I took of us hiking that day on their website.

I do think its possible to become overwhelmed with the suffering of others around us at times. Maybe not, overwhelmed. That might suggest its reached unbearable limits, but it can be heartbreaking for sure. Me? I think I'm built like a rock. I didn't come up soft. I got my ass kicked as a kid, until I learned to turn the table and bring that notion to a halt. I'm sure it played over into my choices in the military to take on some of the hardest challenges and training I could get. I never got to so SERE school, but I tried... HARD... and some people wonder why I would ever want to willfully subject myself to that kind of training. As a young adult, I became a father right out of the gate and had to grow up fast. I never had time to feel sorry for myself at any point in my life. Hardships have tempered in a sense to allow me to hunker down in the storms and survive the best way I can.

But it has become more than evident that many people are not so tempered by the fire. There are those around me who suffer and my heart goes out to them. These economic challenges have gripped the masses unlike anything we've known in some time. I listen to or read about people talk of giving up, surrendering life, blaming God, the President, the economy, their bosses, etc. for all their woes in life. Like someone with no hope, they fall on their butts and wail like children blaming the world. One thing I like to study is the evolution of time over the life of the planet. You learn of animals and different species that die out primarily because they did not adapt to the change in their environments. Climates change as the Earth's elliptical orbit around the sun changes over thousands or millions of years. Plate tectonics move continental land masses all over the place. At some point in time, the area of Mt. Everest was underwater and now its the roof of the world. The Sahara wasn't always a desert. There are major forces at work that shape the planet over eons of time. On a macro scale, time is invisibly slow with geological change. Yet still, change occurs on a micro-level of time, as in within our spans of life. Everybody has heard how change is inevitable, but I don't really think people really consider the meaning behind that. Humans have brains that make us more adaptable than any species to ever live on the planet, but we've become accustomed to our ways and don't understand the factors that bring about change. Adapt and Overcome!

Fighting with the gnats...or whatever they were.

"Change is inevitable. Except from a vending machine."
-Robert Gallagher

Times change. Its the only constant in life. You will experience ups and downs and just like after any storm, the sun will shine on you again. Learn to laugh. Be like a rock. Find your coping fixes that allow you to keep your sanity. I have my faith in God. I trust He will bring me through or bring me home. In the meantime, I do what I know I can and am supposed to do and let Him take care of the rest. Keep improving. Stay alive and keep on believing you can win. You never know when that moment of rescue will arrive. Dory said it best..."Just keep swimming!".

Many thanks to new model, VikiMae for being so quick to model for me over the last couple of weeks. We didn't do any nudes, but sometimes you just gotta shoot and she was more than willing to be shot. We did three sessions that resulted in some fine work. I got to get my fix for the time being. Sooner or later, her Model Mayhem profile page will get approved and I'll update this page with her new links, so you can see more of our work together as well as with other talented photographers. [10 minutes later...] Actually, here she is on my website: VikiMae. Enjoy.

02 May 2011

Need More Saturdays Like This

"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell... LEAP."  
~Cynthia Heimel, 

Model, Bayne
It was a good day. Well, a good night I should say. Not long ago I posted a video about Denis Smith and his Ball of Light documentary done by Sam Collins. My main intent behind the post was just to illustrate how you can still find something new in photography and become successful within this business by finding your niche. I should watch that 15 minute documentary every morning when I wake up just for the inspiration. I posted the link for the video and talked about it on the message boards of one of my photo groups. They decided to schedule an event based on the idea to go out and play with some light painting techniques. Well, the ball of light intrigued me most and you know me... I'll put a nude in anything. Every things better with a nude model in it.

But the idea didn't really hit me until I was talking with my friend VikiMae, (who you'll see pretty soon). Actually we were texting, I think and the thought came to mind the day before the event. I don't know if you have ever tried to secure a nude model for a shoot with one day's notice for a Saturday night, but Model, Bayne came to my rescue. She was on time and a real trooper because it got cold out in the desert. I'm talking chilly and the wind was a-whistlin'. This was PURELY experimental. I had never done anything like the ball of light concept before and it had been a couple of years since I had worked using Bulb exposures. To my demise, I had not recalled that I'd need a cable release for bulb exposures. Fortunately, my buddy JB came to my rescue or I'd have been doing a totally different experiment.

Model, Bayne
Bayne and her escort were perfect. Both were very helpful in not only posing and assisting, but also advising in my concept. Both have prior experience in photography. Bayne became even more endearing as we shared our love for film photography and the darkroom processes. It was cool to be able to talk that language to a model. Her patience and help was all to instrumental in making this experiment a success. Incidentally, she's probably the first nude model I've worked with that I didn't really see nude. I mean... I saw her but only in incremental flash bursts. These are shot in the dead of night and I'd pop her with split second bursts of light to momentarily expose her, no pun intended.

Model, Bayne
I'll definitely be working to perfect the technique. Its a little tricky to make as perfect of a sphere as I can with my ball of light and still expose the model without either one being overpowered. These timed exposures are fun and I think the fundamentals of my technique are sound. I just have to fine tune it and balance the ball and the model in perfect exposure. I'll keep working on it. Hope to get to work with Bayne again soon. If you've got an interesting project, you'd do well to consider her. The woman is the total summation of the elements of professionalism. I'm telling you...Hire her.