The Spam Olympics from Sochi Comments Off

On February 13 I sent out an email through Constant Contact promoting one of our workshops. Whenever one of these emails goes out it is immediately followed by several “Out of Office” replies by people on the list who are, well, out of the office and whose email accounts are set up to respond automatically to sender.

One of my clients on the list is working in Sochi during the Olympics and I got an email saying as much. Within six hours my email address started filling up with Russian spam. That means that either their computer has been infected with malware or that their data connection is being monitored. Just to make sure, I used Google translate on several of the emails. There were several promises of big winnings in an online lottery but the one that I loved was hawking the very service that was spamming me!

It turns out this is happening to pretty much everyone who is at the Olympics according to a slew of news stories about hacker activity.

A Social Media Design tool Comments Off

By Jillian Patrick

As the Spot begins its journey into the overwhelming world of social media, I have been thumbing (is that term applicable to online browsing?) through an infinite number of articles about the subject.  It can be exhausting sifting through such a huge amount of information but when you find something worthwhile, it’s like striking gold.

Case in point: this amazing infographic that maps out social media design information, including precise images sizes for every major platform.

Special thanks to the team at alltwitter for spending the time to do this.  You have saved me an enormous amount of time and research.

Click the image below to view blue prints for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Linkedin, Instagram and Youtube.

You are welcome.


It was thirty years ago today. . . Comments Off

By Jillian Schantz Patrick
Spot Studio manager

It’s been 30 years since Peter Poulides was named one of the great travel photographers in the December 1983 issue of Travel and Leisure.  He came to my office, dropped the issue on my desk and laughed that we should do a “throw back Thursday” post on the blog.  I was amused.  30 years ago, if someone said write a blog post on #tbt they would not know what you meant.  Yet, here we are.

I pick up the magazine and look at the cover.  It is endearing.  His mother wrote what page he was featured on in the middle of the forehead of the girl on the front.  As I thumb through the 126 pages to get there, I skip over a multitude of early 80s ads for cars and alcohol.

Peter Poulides Travel and Leisure 1983-1 Peter Poulides Travel and Leisure 1983-2

I get to the article and the list of photographers is impressive.   I immediately recognize some of the greats – Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mary Ellen Mark and Arnold Newman.  Each photographer has a featured photograph and I see Peter’s image of the Greek church in Mykonos.

There is a common quality between all of the photographs in this spread and I see it clearly in Peter’s shot – stillness.  This does not mean that there is not movement and energy in these photographs.  What it means is that there is an arrested motion – a suspension that is so delicate that one more moment later, it will be destroyed.

“I was there with my partner, a writer, photographing for about 45 minutes,” Peter says in the article.  “Finally, she became cold, began shivering and wanted to leave.  I started to pack things up, turned my shoulders and was about to leave, but looked back and said, ‘just one more shot.’ This is it.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson coined this concept as “the decisive moment.”  It is the moment when all of the elements come together and for a split second are in complete alignment.  They are at peace with one another.

A good photographer is aware of these moments.  A great photographer is an essential element of the moment.

Peter Poulides Travel and Leisure 1983-3

Hey, that’s my architect! Comments Off

Over the past few months I’ve been working on an expansion plan for The Spot Studio that would add a dedicated 2o x 50 ft upstairs classroom space. In my search for an architect I was very fortunate to be recommended to Mahbuba Khan. She has brought insight and creativity to a tough project and may be even more obsessed than I am about getting it just right. Today I found out that she was awarded Young Architect of the Year by the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects. AIA announcement

Congratulations, Mahbuba!

mahbuba aia award

Here are a couple of renderings of the proposed project. This room will be above the cyclorama wall and will be cantilevered out over the main studio space.

2nd floor from coffee bar View form the back of the class1

Klyde Warren Park photo contest results Comments Off

We have winners! Last week The Spot Studio hosted two photo contests at Klyde Warren Park to celebrate their first anniversary. Several prizes were awarded including three Nikon pocket cameras and several photo accessories.

There were three categories in the adult contest:

- Reflections
- A park in the heart of Dallas
- City lights

Congratulations to the winners:

1st Place – Amy Hendricks
2nd Place – Corrie Coleman
3rd Place – Lisa Estep
4th Place – Felipe Garza III
People’s choice – Phoenicia Hudson

We also had a Kid’s Photo Scavenger Hunt and a contest for the best photos. Those winners are:

1st Place – Olivia Paluga, age 8, “High Five”
2nd Place – Elle Paluga, age 5, “Jumping”
3rd Place – Blythe Sailer, age 4,   “Sky”

Facebook Debugger to clear photo cache Comments Off

Have you ever linked something to Facebook, like a blog post or website, only to find that an old photo keeps getting pulled in by FB? This has happened to me and it sent me hunting for a solution. Facebook often stumps me but this one is pretty easy. Evidently, FB actually caches or stores the image on their own servers and when you post that URL the photo they have stored is pulled up. Go to the Facebook Debugger and enter the URL you want to update. It will re-scan the website or blog post and pull up the current photo.

Sam Abell interview Comments Off

Those of you who have taken my classes and workshops in the last year or so have likely heard me mention Sam Abell. He is a 30 year veteran of National Geographic and widely known as an outstanding photographer and a gifted teacher. I’ve taken workshops from him that have changed the way I shoot, how I see photography and the way I teach. I am privileged to have him as a mentor through the Santa Fe Workshops mentoring program.

I came across this excellent interview with Sam on that really gets to the heart of his thinking, style and beliefs about writing and photography. It’s a  must-read if you care about photography at all!

Sam Abell - Photo Copyright Philip De Jong Jr.

Sam Abell - Photo Copyright Philip De Jong Jr.

Heavy Metal Department Comments Off

I came across this slide from an assignment in 1991. I was photographing the Alamo for a magazine and got permission to get on the roof of a building across the plaza. This must have been a door that I saw in the building.

heavy metal dentistry-900px

Amelia’s first camera Comments Off

This is Amelia’s first camera at our house. I take a lot of pictures of her when she visits and always show her the results on the LCD screen. Here she is doing exactly the same thing, turning the camera around and showing me the photo she just took.

Amelia first camera-900px

I love forklifts Comments Off

After my Nikon gear, my next favorite piece of photographic equipment just may be a fork lift. They are just so handy and fun. I wish I had one at the studio.

I volunteer my services at North Dallas Shared Ministries, a well run and very effective organization that offers a broad range of services to Dallas’ poor. Last week they handed out hundreds of free school uniforms.

One of the other volunteers gave me a lift so I could shoot down on the line. That thing strapped around my waist is the Think Tank belt system for my gear. I’ve been using it and loving it for over a year. In this case it was particularly helpful because I didn’t have a loose bag to deal with.

fork lift-900px

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