In early April 2013, I was hired by the Professional photographers of San Diego County to give a two hour presentation at their annual open house. It was great to see the room full with over 185 people attending!
The following day, I lead a group of 20 talented photographers on a workshop of lighting people. We had 4 great models for the four groups of five to photograph and then come over to me for an on the spot critique! A fun time was had by all including the most awesome pizza lunch from Mona Lisa Pizzeria!
Here is a very nice review of the lecture from Darius at Lisa K. Photography (Used with Permission)
“Last night I had the privilege of hearing a presentation by Ken Sklute who was a guest speaker at the Professional Photographers of San Diego County (PPSDC) monthly meeting. Ken sure knew how to draw a crowd with over a hundred people attending. In fact, the entire staff at Photography by Lisa K attended to hear his inspirational messages and to view a small portion of his photographic and video gallery. Unless you are part of the inner photographic circle, you may have never heard about Ken Sklute, but this gentleman has a list of accolades that is miles long and has been named the Photographer of the Year a total of 32 times between Arizona, New York and California. He is a Master Photographer with 38 years experience, a Canon Explorer of Light, one of only 60 world wide, with a list of awards and achievements that goes on and on.
During the two hour long presentation, Ken shared some images from his recent travels: to see the northern lights in Canada, the volcanoes of Hawaii, the glaciers in Iceland, the baron deserts of the southwest, his trip to India along with many other places. I don’t know Ken personally, but I could actually feel the passion he has about photography, motion, and light. He shared many personal stories such as staying up all night to catch a lightning bolt, early rises to catch a sunrise or to perch on the craters edge in the middle of the night to capture amazing images of the primeval molten lava ungulate and flow.
I sensed that Ken has an old-school vein in him as he stressed the importance of composition, light, texture, and angle. He spoke of foreground, middle ground, and background and how an image is not just an image, but also an inspiration, a feeling or an emotion. Something that captures moves and invokes feeling. There is an old expression, ‘that a picture is worth a thousand works’, I am sure we have all heard this before, but on some of Ken’s images, all I could say was “WOW”. For how can you begin to express deeply rooted emotion, beauty and purpose without doing an injustice to the piece of art? Some images can transcend into pure art, magic, or passion.
Ken spoke of precarious places, dangerous places, scary places all to get the right angle, or to catch a cloud, a sunray, a river, a rock or a racecar; all of which it appeared to be his internal driving force to learn, grow, and exceed. I worry about my wife Lisa K, who also scrambles up cliff faces like a billy-goat or stands in the middle of the road all to capture that special angle, shadow, details or moment. Or worse yet, comes home soaking wet since the “best” angle to capture her client’s memories was by standing in the ocean.
Even after Ken’s 38 years of professional experience and long list of accolades, he still admits that he still has further to go, more to see, more to capture, more skills, and techniques to learn. We all can learn from this and try to always improve and expand our skills, crafts, and relationships. Since I was so inspired, we will be offering photography tips. Stay tuned on our blog and website. We will have something new each week. These tips would be designed for the casual picture snapper to the budding photographer or the growing professional.
Billions of pictures are snapped each and every day, however very few ever manage to make it off the camera or live past their fleeting moments on Facebook. Images remind us of who we are, where we were and what was happening. Take the time and the expense to obtain quality images, to process them carefully, to professionally print them and enjoy the precious moments of your life as pieces of art on the wall, or in frames on the desk or in the photo album. The jump drive, which becomes obsolete and filled with dust lost in the back of the desk drawer, provides no benefit for anyone and who knows, in a few years you might not even be able to open that file. Can anyone read a floppy disk now? What happened to all of those images, memories and history? The trick then is to capture, print the best and continually enjoy these precious moments of history.
Ken used the expression “Spray and Pray” which resonated with me. Many people take tens or hundreds of quick snaps and pray that something, please something be good or at least barely suitable. How many times have we heard, “Let me take one more just in case”, obviously we were not dealing with a skilled practitioner.
Following in Ken’s footsteps, take the time to learn the craft. Take time to compose and capture the moment. Take time to learn techniques, to learn about light and shadow, leading lines, focal lengths, apertures, styles and posing. Take the time to constantly improve and to learn in whatever you do.
And if you are not quite there yet, seek a professional. This could be a master, an artist or someone skilled in the trade. Take the time to learn their style, their quality, their portfolio, their credentials and experience before you spend your hard earned money only to be potentially disappointed. This is a case where price should be the least concern; there is a difference between a $2 Taco and a $35 Filet. Which would you rather have? What is the value of a powerful lasting memory or impression, a unique personalized experience, superior customer service or personalized artwork?
In our journey through life, remember: “Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Promise, and Today is a Present”. Give yourself a Present today, since today will never happen again. Today’s present could be a pregnancy, a newborn, an infant, a child, a family, grandma’s 80th birthday, a business opportunity or your new cool product line or event. Have it photographed and printed, enjoy it, be moved by it, and cherish it forever.
Darius @ Photography by Lisa K
P.S. A shout out to PPSDC for supporting so many photographers and hosting this event, and thanks to Ken Sklute for sharing with us, we all have much to learn.”
Ken Sklute has been honored as one of Canon’s Explorers of Light, a designation shared by only 42 top photographers worldwide. Ken has enjoyed a diverse career photographing people, professional sports, architecture, weddings and landscapes.
Phone: (602) 738-0601