Mar 22 2023


Photo by Ray Potes

When it comes to my photography/publishing practice I like to think it is a 50/50 split when talking about time space and energy. In reality though, it fluctuates. The swings can be as big as 90/10 in either direction.

The system is sensitive and swings can be caused by various circumstances like economies, romances, injuries, insecurities, moon phases, etc.

To re-balance it, I self-advise, “Shoot more.” The photos feed the zines, and the zines create more zines which are hungry for more photos. It used to be the same with darkroom printing, shoot then print then shoot then print, one informs and shapes the other.

My weird logic is to tip the scale on the shooting side so much so that the printing/publishing side is forced to catch up. This is why if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ve seen me say it 1000 times, “Shoot more.”

But this post isn’t about balance. It’s about purpose.

You start with a photo curiosity, then a photo passion. Then a photo purpose. That purpose can be simple and exploratory like self expression with photography, or it can be complicated like influencing geopolitical policies with photography.

After photo purpose comes photo commitment. This is where you consciously decide to make photography your full time gig. Intrinsic drivers evolve with extrinsic drivers. That is things like passion and mastery grow and multiply with things like achievement and paying rent.

You are somewhere along this path in your photographic journey. “Shoot more,” is only good advice if you are in the curiosity phase. In all other phases, shooting a lot is basic. Or more like it is a life style choice.

So me saying, “Shoot more,” is as if your photography is without purpose which is presumptuous and asshole-ish of me. I think my new advice to any one at any phase of development would be, “Get money.”

This is a better presumption. It presumes that you are already committed or, even better, it motivates you to be on your way. Also like weather patterns, we cycle through all of these phases, sometimes stuck in a rut, sometimes hyper with no where to go. So it is supportive, “Get money.” It conjures potential. It sparks action.

Photography isn’t about money. But all the stuff you need to do photography full time costs money. Gear, rent, food, car, computer, etc. It is time to start figuring it out if you are feeling it is time to level up.

I get questions about how to get noticed, or how to get more followers, or how to blow up. In other words, how to get money. I only know what has and hasn’t worked for me (and I am very much still figuring it out), it is different for everybody so it is impossible to say in any type of formulaic way. Of course there are generalities, but each path is so specific and unique. This is one of the reasons why I think photography is so cool, it is both relatable and unrelatable at the same time, including and especially between photographers.

Sure, there are some who are happy enough with photography as a weekend hobby, but there are also a lot of us at the crossroads looking for direction. Stay tuned for the next post. It will be about all the different ways different photographers make money. Most are doing it in multiple combinations of ways. Let us count the ways.

Mar 15 2023


During quarantine, a friend had been eye-balling a piece of property for a while and finally pulled the trigger. It is on a beautiful river and I went there as much as my stimulus would allow while the world was shut down. And I still go often.

I needed a waterproof camera for all the fishing kayaking canoeing swimming floating jumping bbqing and chilling we were doing. So I bought an Olympus TG-6. I like Olympus. This one is the latest in their line of “tough” series cameras. I got the red one. I now use it for everything and it is very close to being my most used camera since I got it.

Here is what is wrong with all digital point and shoot cameras ever made except for this one – they are very easy to break. All of them look and feel and are janky. Every single one. Also, they are slow. Very slow. From powering on to firing off a shot, you already missed all of the action. Like an hour ago.

Not this camera, it is fast. And sharp. And water proof and shock proof. It has flopped out of my pocket and onto the street multiple times and it is still going strong. This alone is my number one reason to recommend it.

Also, I like how there is zoom and the lens stays internal, there is no extending of the lens from the body. I like how there is a macro mode.

This camera will miss focus sometimes, but I’d rather have a soft photo than no photo. Most digital point and shoot cameras will prioritize focus over shooting, meaning they won’t fire until focus is locked. This only adds to the feeling of slowness.

Overall, it is just fun to use and I never worry about it. The only worry I have is that if I do break it or lose it, will I be able to get another one? There may be an upcoming shortage of them which will make them more expensive. Olympus has recently sold their entire camera division to another company. That company started a brand new camera company and it is called OM Digital Solutions. Kinda lame sounding and who knows if they will continue with this series of camera.

Yes, you might need larger sensor, you might need lots of things. For me and what I am doing (zines), this camera went from a nice piece to a crucial piece of the camera collection.

All photos here are shot jpg with the Olympus TG-6. They are then converted and seasoned to taste in Photoshop. With the smaller sensor, the image breaks up in some areas. It resembles grain to me and I think that adds to the vibes.

I also like the flash, great coverage and more than enough power.

Lastly, you’ll notice there is some “blooming” in the highlights of some of these photos. There’s a softness and a glowy-ness to the highlights.

This camera does not come with a lens cap, nor does it have one of those self closing ones. You can buy one separately among other accessories. (Another reason I like this thing, many cool accessories.) The lens is simply encased in hard plastic.

Over time this plastic has gotten scuffed up and the glossy finish is wearing off. It goes in my pockets or bag and rubs against things. I have since been keeping it in a pouch when in a bag or backpack.

At first I thought I would lose auto focus, I didn’t. What has happened is it has organically turned into a diffusion filter and is creating those effects in the highlights. I like it. Cinematographers pay lots of money for vintage lenses or fancy filters or post production for similar results.

I have no affliation with the company and am not getting any commission or compensation for my recommendation. I just like this camera a lot and if you are like me and like to have a camera on you at all times that is not your phone, this is a great one for that. It’s durable, snappy, and weird looking. It’s affordable, fun, and easy to use. 100 thumbs up, A++, 5 stars.

Photos by Ray Potes