Presets

I’ve had numerous requests for preset packs. I’m just letting ya’ll know that they are officially on their way!

-JD

Filters!

Expect an extensive, and personal, review of filters in the upcoming weeks. I’d like to cover the differences in Neutral Density (“ND”) filters as well as polarizing filters and simple UV filters. This will take quite some time, but I promise it will be worth the wait. I’ll be giving my personal insight on the pros and cons of these tools and whether or not they are useless for your trade or truly a weapon amongst “Batman’s utility belt”. Stay tuned.

Creative Ruts

Creative ruts. We all have them. It’s only natural and we all deal with them all the time. Sometimes it feels crippling but it’s important to not get down on yourself and to drop whatever it is you’re doing and go find something that’s fulfilling and distracting for the time being. It’ll come back! For me, I just have to set down the camera and revisit some old content periodically and it call comes flowing back soon enough. It’s insanely hard on your mind but it’s so important to keep your chin up and to remind yourself that your creative mind will be back! I just recently had a bad one this past week and I had some late nights simply tinkering with old content that I was super unhappy with and it simply helped me hone in on some of the things I was doing wrong in the past. I took that and found motivation on what i’ll be focusing on in my next few shoots this weekend!
keep up the confidence in your work and in yourself!

TIPS: Support (and why not to skimp)

Every photographer knows how vital it is to have a tripod amongst your gear bag, but many people who are just getting into the hobby or profession often are scared away by highly priced tripods. While the price-tag attached to premium tripods are quite daunting, I have learned a thing a two through my past purchases that have become mistakes. For years, I purchased inexpensive and seemingly sufficient tripods and ball heads until I recently broke yet another basic Manfrotto. As I took to the internet and consulted the advice of many others, I looked back on the have dozen or so mediocre tripods I'd bought and realized I'd essentially wasted thousands on tripods that could never withstand over a year of heavy use, nor were they very stable. I still saw a great deal of camera shake in all of my night shots and this had to change if I wanted to up my game professionally. My basic cost analysis told me to swallow my pride and learn from my mistakes and fork out the funds for a truly reliable and more stable tripod that could actually support the weight of the gear it would be bearing. I also took the opportunity to go a little overkill on the tripod and ball head's weight bearing ability in the case I'd rent or buy a super telephoto. This has proven to be a wise decision. A golden rule of thumb is to buy a tripod and ball-head that support AT LEAST TWICE THE WEIGHT of your gear.

So, what do I use for my supports? Well I have two setups that I use regularly. A monopod and a tripod. Now these setups are a little overkill for most, but are very necessary when loading on massive setups like my gripped DSLR including my 500mm F4.0L II which I use for sports and wildlife shooting. These are also very long rigs that allow for higher shooting heights with guaranteed support—especially when shooting low light or astrophotography.

Tripod:

  • Induro GIT304L capable of holding 55LB

  • Really Right Stuff BH-55 capable of holding 50LB

  • (wildlife rig) Wimberley II or Wimberley Sidekick gimbal

Monopod:

  • Induro GIM505XL capable of holding 66LB

  • Induro basic swivel head

Prints!

I'm really stoked to share a small snippet of some of the work I've done with my local professional printer, POV Evolving. They're hands-down the best fine art printers in Los Angeles and I couldn't be more proud to be working exclusively with them! The color depth their team is able to produce is mind blowing! Drop me a line if you want a print to help support my work! Cheers! 

Go West, Young Man (Update 1)

Writing to ya'll from the beautiful city of Los Angeles today! I moved into an apartment in Westwood with my brother just this Friday and we are still toughing it out. No internet, cookware, or pillows... just a few clothes and mattresses on the floor (and of course a camera). It's nerve-wracking but unbelievably exciting to start this new chapter in life with such uncertainty. It's been truly humbling, to say the least. 

After my first few days here, I've already made some amazing friends and generated some very exciting opportunities to keep shooting. Although almost every inch of this town has been shot, there is still so much room for more ideas and stories to be told. If any of you know me, at least properly, you know that I love to shoot because I want to capture and save the moment like a relic.

Signing out. I'll keep ya'll posted. Let's hope I survive haha!

TIPS: Wrist Straps

Don't you hate having a bulky neck strap attached to your camera, especially when you're taking it off your neck to shoot? I did, but I didn't abandon the perceived security my Canon strap originally provided me... until a disaster happened. My 5DS took a nasty tumble onto concrete when light painting in the dark with the camera on a tripod and my jacket got snagged on the neck strap as I ran from the camera... RIP 35mm 1.4L... I wanted a solution where I could have security whenever I was holding the camera while quickly being able to remove whatever I had hanging from the camera on a tripod when in the studio or in the field. I looked around and tried a few straps but wasn't happy with any of the products I tried as most didn't fit properly or they didn't allow me to dangle my camera from my wrist in a secure fashion. I then saw a few photographers using some sort of strap made out of a cobra-weaved paracord which I was familiar with as a kid. I looked into it further and it was the perfect solution. It was extremely minimalist, I could custom fit it perfectly, and it could safely support the weight of my camera dangling from my wrist while using my hands elsewhere. A quick search on Google and a trip to Home Depot, and I was good to go with just about $10 less in my pocket. As we all know, the chain is as strong as its weakest link, and my hardware supports up to 30lbs, so I'm very confident in it! I urge you to look into making one of these for your DSLR(s) and give it a try! 

Here I used a 35lb rated quick-release clip, two 30lb rated key rings, and 550lb reflective paracord. The cobra-weave I made allows me to use the bracelet in a slip-knot fashion to secure properly to my wrist, while on the other end I've got the quick release clip which can be clipped onto my key rings attached to the base of my RRS L-Bracket. Voila! 

4P4A9981-2.jpg

PRINTS!

After many requests have been made, I've decided to make some of my photo prints available for purchase. Now this will take some time as I need to test out various printers in different parts of the country across multiple mediums, so I beg for your patience as it will payoff. When printing, you often get a result that appears different from what you see on your screen. To avoid this, I will need to spend some time with a few companies to dial in my screen calibration and print settings for each of their printers. The people I strive to work with, treat this process as an art—not a business. 

Shoot me an email at Jack@JDCreativeGallery.com if there are any photos you'd like to purchase ASAP and I'll prioritize those on the list to be print-tested! 

JD Creative_Grand Prismatic print.jpg

Updates from the mountains

A lot of people have been asking me what the heck I've been doing since I graduated back in mid-June. I've spent the past few months working as a ranch hand out in rural Montana. I've taken this opportunity to also further my photographic works in my free time. We have zero cellular reception for an hour in any direction out here and the internet in the housing is powered by satellite, which is not only reminiscent of the speeds of old school dial-up but is also very costly... reasons why I haven't been in touch with most of the world. 

It's been a wild time out here working with cattle while fighting the elements. We had a forest fire finally fizzle out just a few miles from the ranch which meant few hectic days of moving cattle and helping neighboring ranches. Thousands of acres, reduced to ash. It's quite terrifying to think about a fire that spreads faster than you can sprint! For a week, we'd go to bed looking at the glow of that fire—just waiting for it to come over that hill you see in this picture I've attached. By the Grace of God, we had a week of rain and sleet that put the fire to rest. Amen! 

Whether its forest fires, rounding up loose cattle, or getting trucks out of ditches all day, we keep ourselves busy. We currently are working around 500 head of cattle and we just completed our fall roundup last week. This consisted of re-documenting every last animal, applying new ear tags, rebranding the entire herd with the new owners' brand, and conducting many veterinarian checkups such as pregnancy checks! Lots of new operational changes to come as these winter months have arrived. Things went from 85 and sunny to freezing and six-inches of snow in matter of 72 hours, so we're now scrambling to collect and chop wood in preparation for these cold months to come. I came into this knowing absolutely nothing of what I meant to be a rancher and it was a bit of an adjustment, but I've learned a lot and there is still much more to come! 

I honestly went to bed terrified that I'd wake up to the house and fields on fire. Without a landline connected to local police or fire departments, we had no way of receiving warning from the authorities. We were on our own. 

I honestly went to bed terrified that I'd wake up to the house and fields on fire. Without a landline connected to local police or fire departments, we had no way of receiving warning from the authorities. We were on our own.