My Selfie, My Life or People Taking Selfies Around The World

My Selfie,My Life or People Taking Selfies Around The World

“I will go so far as to say without Instagram, there may never have been the word, ‘selfie.”

Ken Poirot

What happens when almost every phone has a built in camera?  There are a lot of people taking selfies. Is it a sign of being self absorbed or self reliant? Either way for some people, no day is complete until the selfie is posted.





South Africa
















South Korea


North Korea


Fly Safe,



Things Not to Say To A Bad Photographer

Things Not To Say To A Bad Photographer

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” Henri Cartier-Bresson

You are in charge of the photos.

Can you make me look thinner?

Did you get the motorbike whizzing by with pigs?

The camera you have can take amazing photos.

Take it again I was moving.

Take it now.

You missed the best shot.

You aren’t using an automatic flash are you?

Turn your flash off.

Can you make my hair longer?

I think you shot my bad side.

I wish I had that camera.

Did you get all the scenery?

I can take a better photo with my phone.

Can you make the background blurry?

Can you make me blurry and the background sharp?

I have the same camera.

Why is it blurry?

You forgot to take a photo of every course you are eating.

You forgot to take your food again.

Do you have a zoom lens?

Can you make me taller?

Can you Photoshop it?

Maybe you can get this in National Geographic.

Did you get it?

Fly safe,


Travel Photos – Catching Yourself In The Act Of Becoming Something Good

Travel Photos – Catching Yourself in The Act of Becoming Something Good

At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. And what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may, in fact, be the first steps of a journey.” 
— Lemony Snicket A Series of Unfortunate Events

Some good advice about raising kids is “ catch them in the act of doing something good.” Most of us don’t feel good about ourselves all the time and we need to be reminded of things we have done. We don’t usually take photos when we are helping a friend or family member, creating something or facing our fears. Those are usually done without any fanfare but I found a few times where I’ve done these things ( though not the best photos) and I thought I would put them up as a reminder that change and becoming who you  never thought you would be, is good.

Feeding kangaroos in Tasmania, Australia


Practicing English in Kyoto, Japan


Going On A Seaplane in Vancouver, Canada


Hiking near Bogota, Colombia


Making Jewelry in Toledo, Spain


Meditating in Bangkok, Thailand


Going on a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia, Turkey


Buying fried crickets  “chapulinas” for a snack in Oaxaca, Mexico


Driving in the Atacama Desert on unpaved roads for hours to get toI the salt flats of Northern Argentina 14,000 feet above sea level.


After school tutoring at 826LA


Ultimately the lesson is simple and powerful. If we are eager to create a world where people do their best, we need to highlight and celebrate when we face our fears, create something we are proud of and act with kindness.

Fly safe,


Touching Strangers

Touching Strangers

“On the late afternoon streets, everyone hurries along, going about their own business. Who is the person walking in front of you on the rain-drenched sidewalk? He is covered with an umbrella, and all you can see is a dark coat and the shoes striking the puddles. And yet this person is the hero of his own life story. He is the love of someone’s life and what he can do may change the world. Imagine being him for a moment. And then continue on your own way.” Vera Nazarian

There is this moment that happens when you are at a tourist attraction anywhere in the world. Someone asks you to take a picture of them in front of it. Sometimes they are alone, a couple , friends or a family. It is often in pantomime because they don’t speak English. Other times, they just hand you a camera and say something you don’t understand – but you do. I usually ask them to take one of me after. I can never have too many pictures in front of monuments or Unesco World Heritage Sites. You share this moment with a stranger who has decided to go to the same place at the same time that you did. You move on, but what if you didn’t?

What happens if you ask complete strangers to pose in a portrait together in ways that are usually reserved for close friends and loved ones?

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This is what New York photographer Richard Renaldi wanted to find out.

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He set up his camera on a street corner and asked people who passed by to pose as friends, lovers and families.

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Richard Renaldi has been working on this series of photographs since 2007.

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He creates spontaneous relationships between strangers and photographs them.

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The project is called “Touching Strangers.”

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The images are beautiful and strange and last only through the moment of the photograph.

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He has taken these photographs all over the United States.

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He raises many questions about positive human connection in a diverse society.

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What is it that separates us and what brings us together?

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I wonder what will happen the next time someone asks me to take a photo of them in front of something and I ask them to take one with me.

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Happy Holidays

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Fly Safe,

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Travel Photography

“Better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times.”  Mongolian proverb

Things I Have Learned About Travel Photography

Don’t drop your camera.

.Always have your camera with you. You will not get a good shot, if the camera is  in the room and they bring the baby elephants on the beach in Phuket. Sometimes you get lucky. You happen to stumble upon a scene at just the right moment. If you forgot your camera, are out of film, or your digital card is full, if you have to fumble around getting the right lens on, the moment may be gone . ( Nara, Japan )

Learn how to set your  flash.  ( I wrote this one for myself) Learn as much about  how your camera works as you can. Im going to make this a New Years resolution for 2013. It seems more doable than giving up my vices. (Maryinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia-or anywhere)

Ask before you take a photo of someone.  I get around this one by taking a lot of photos of people from the back or by pretending I am taking someone else.  My fear of rejection always keeps me from getting the perfect shot.  (Kyoto,Japan)

All Buddha images, no matter how small, tacky or ruined are sacred and should never be used as a backdrop for your photo. (Ayutthaya, Thailand)

People in tribal costume ( or any kind of costume)  usually expect to be paid for a photo. There are the one dollar take a photo tribes and the two dollar take a photo tribes. In fact almost anyone in a costume or native dress, expects to be paid  for a photo ( live statues on Las Ramblas  in Barcelona are particularly nasty if they see you trying to take a photo from afar) Sometimes that is how they earn a living, you have to decide if you would pay for someone else’s photo, are you willing to pay for your own? (Embera Tribe, Panama)

This one seems like a given.   Charge your battery and while you are doing that charge your cell phone as well.   ( another personal reminder). Bring an extra battery and memory card.

It seems like a good idea when you are traveling  to take a picture standing in front of every monument, landmark, historical site, statue etc . When you get home, they will be your most boring photos and you will have so many of them.   It is a different story when you are taking those same pictures of your very cute kids. Also, don’t make that face that everyone makes in their facebook pictures-. you know the one that I am talking about.

When taking pictures of family and friends in front of something, you have to strike a balance. You don’t want to say that dot in the picture is you near the  Sagrada Familia.   You don’t want it to be so close that it could have been taken in your living room. ( Red Square,Moscow, Russia  –  I know which speck I am in this picture – Louie could be anywhere.)

IPhoto is an excellent thing to use,   It works well for centering your main object, framing your landscape and  sometimes cutting the heads off of people who are always in the way of your perfect shot. At least in my Panama Canal shots they are wearing Panama Hats so it went with the theme

Sometimes taking pictures can really get in the way of  appreciating what you are seeing.  I spend a lot of time and money on being in the present moment . In Naoshima, Japan you are not allowed to take photos indoors or out in the museum spaces because they want you to experience the here and now.

Remember when you return home, there is no friend or family member who wasn’t on the trip that wants to see all your photos.  We don’t need to see them all on facebook. Just pick a few,  enough for us to be jealous of the fact that we weren’t with you, and not so many that we never need to see the place for ourselves.

Photos are great,  but memories  last just as long.

Fly safe,