juan pons

Thanks To Rick Sammon & Juan Pons, The Resolution Becomes The Focus. Hello 2014!

PCH_Deer_Sunset_Silhouette_Samsung_NX300_Wasim Muklashy Photography I cannot think of a better way to start off a new year! Woke up this morning to hear the great Rick Sammon and Juan Pons saying “he uploads some incredible work on the DPE community website” (at the 1:08:18 mark) on the latest episode of The Digital Photo Experience podcast. They were introducing the image above, "Family Time," one you’re already familiar with if you follow this blog or me on Google Plus, that I uploaded to the show’s Google Plus community with hopes of being chosen as one of their critiques.

That’s the 3rd image critique by these heavy-hitters in the past 12 months that I’ve been humbled with, further validating, at least to me, that after more than 3 decades of life-defining (and psyche-altering) mistake after another, I may finally be doing something right!! 2013 was definitely what I’d consider my breakout year in photography as I’ve finally become comfortable with myself, what I have learned, and what I have yet to learn. It’s like a switch hit me at some point in the sense of, when I used to not know something or get it wrong, I would get frustrated. Now, and I’m not sure if it’s a matter of confidence or if it’s simply naive excitement at realizing that it’s more fun when you struggle through something and finally get it right…there’s more value to that, so now (in most cases at least…) instead of marinating in frustration, that thought comes and goes within a split second, being replaced by, oh well, now I know better, I can practice that

And with that, thanks to Rick and Juan, I finally have my New Years Resolution…roll with it, and invite everything as a learning experience. God knows I know we all go through really tough times and we all go through really good times. We have lonely moments in which we believe we are alone in a world of 7 billion humans, and we have overwhelming moments reminding us that we really never alone. It’s reallllly easy to fall into the trap of sulking in the negativity, especially when you convince yourself that there’s no way out, making it way too convenient to overshadow the good, but it seems to be just that simple switch in your mind that you have to hit that transforms sulking into exploring - exploring your thoughts, your feelings, your ideas, and how and what you need to do to learn from your explorations and come out the other end with an idea of to correct it or turn it into a learning experience. At the very least an idea of what not to do and what you don’t want in your life. In other words, to look at things not as setbacks, but as challenges to overcome.

So after spending New Years Eve alone on the couch with a glass of scotch, the remnants of a nagging cold, and Anthony Bourdain’s book “A Cook’s Tour - In Search Of The Perfect Meal” (a real paper book!), in which the colorfully eloquent rebel chef travels the grittiest corners of the world in pursuit of his true passion, that one thing that brings people together like nothing else - the perfect meal - I woke up to a reminder of what life is all about…the journey, the search, the experiences, the ups and the downs, that keep us in pursuit of our true passions - learning what (and sometimes who) to hold onto, and what (and of course, who) to let go of.

So thank you everyone for being such an inspirational and positive part of my journey in 2013, and thanks to all who who graciously allowed me to be a part of yours.

And with that, I will leave you with a quote from a very good friend:

“May the high point of 2013 be the low point of 2014…”

Boom! Let’s do this thing!

Here are the rest of images from the series that "Family Time" came from, all shot on the Samsung NX300:

Why Google Plus Haters Are The Best Thing For Google Plus

Grafitti_Tuscon_Arizona_Wasim_Muklashy_Photography So recently, I’ve been seeing a few posts and articles circulating around the web that are basically hating on Google Plus and, well, as a Google+ lover, I think that’s pretty awesome. Huh!?? Yup. You see, it’s not often that something as seemingly trivial as this really rocks my boat, but considering the extremely polar opposite experience that I’ve had on the platform, and the second glass of single-malt I’m working on, I felt compelled to spurt out a late-night response to it all. This ‘rant’ centers around why I think the haters are helping the platform rise above the rest.

First and foremost, let it be known that never have I come across a more thoughtful, engaging, push-it-forward crowd than on this platform. My stream is constantly and endlessly filled with thought-provoking, intelligent, and motivational posts and material of the likes I’ve never seen before. Whenever I need a dose of inspiration, whether it be for a new image or for creative thought or to help spur some ideas, I log on and I’m consistently overwhelmed by all the wonderful madness that flows down my page.

Especially as an aspiring (and hopefully budding) photographer, I've been incredibly inspired on a daily basis by the likes of everyone from Thomas Hawk to Trey Ratcliff to Lotus Carrol, Scott KelbyDerrick Story, Frederick Van Johnson, Ibarionex Perello, Rick Sammon and Juan Pons, G Dan Mitchell and Michael Frye, Doug KayeJay and Varina Patel, Nicole S. Young, Jim Harmer, Gordon Laing, Martin Bailey, and Javier Pantoja, and this list doesn't even begin to scratch the surface (if you don't know them, Google them, you'll quickly realize they're definitely not nobodies, but rather the tastemakers behind a lot of what you see and what's in your pockets and on your phones and pads and whatnots).

And don't even get me started on the science front...the list goes on and on...(but if you're really interested, let me know, I'll share my circle...yeah, you can do that too!)

What I'm getting at is that at its core, this seems to be the only platform that allows you to so effortlessly become your own careful curator for the information that is most appealing to you, in an extremely organized manner. I want science? I click on my science circle. Photos? My photography circle. Tech? My tech circle? Backpacking and Hiking and the Outdoors? My Backpacking/Outdoors circle. Pictures, articles, links, blogs, recommendations, events, videos…it’s wonderfully insane.

And I think that’s is precisely what the haters aren’t quite used to and, quite frankly, don’t really know what to do with. You see, just because you posted a picture of what you had for lunch and no one +1’d it or commented, doesn’t mean Google+ is a ghost town (that, as of June, has more active users than Twitter), it basically means no one gives a crap about what you had for lunch. Now, if you posted what was in the sandwich and what exactly made it so good, perhaps why you chose to shoot it from the angle you did, and then posted that publicly and in some of the applicable communities (everything from the Foodies Community, the largest of which currently has 34,000 members to the Food Photography Community, which currently boasts 60,000 members), you’d get meaningful feedback and so many +1s you’ll be counting them in your sleep simply based on the fact that the post had some…wait for itSUBSTANCE! 


Over the past 2 years, what I have found in my experience is that Google+ caters not to the short attention-spanned ‘look at me look at me’ narcissism that has been the crux of most other social media platforms. Instead, Google+ has done a really good job of weeding out the meaningless and forgettable in favor of the meaningful and unforgettable. And if you really think about it, that should come as no surprise, considering Google remains the main go-to for web and information searching. They didn’t focus on weeding out the crap by mistake. The more I think about it, the more it seems to be a very well-calculated, and so far, pretty successful effort (at least compared to the competition). Sure, there’s going to be some invasive species that make their way into the garden, but compare it to the aphids that shows up by the nanosecond on “the others” and, well, we’ve got a much more fruitful garden.

Through Google+, I have had more engaging and provoking and interactions that have left lasting impressions in the past week than I get in a month on the other platforms. I have made more friends and contacts through this platform that I correspond with on a daily basis than any other social network I’ve been a part of. Additionally, I have been able to drive traffic to my personal blog and website portfolio like never before, and, hot damn, I’ve even been able to get some work out of it. All because, like anything else in this world that’s worth it, you actually have to put some time into it to see the value.

So to all you Google+ haters out there, please, I beg of you, I implore of you, please please please keep on hating, because believe you me, we’re not missing you one bit. And in the inevitable occasional event that we do…we know exactly where we can find you.

For the rest of you, find me on Google+ at www.Google.com/+WasimMuklashy.

Ok then, sorry, had to get it out of my system. I promise more photography less rant next time...

Photo Sites & Podcasts & Books & Festivals & Stuffs

So this is a bit of an untraditional post for me, but I couldn't help myself...I just finished listening to the latest episode of The Digital Photo Experience podcast hosted by  Rick Sammon and Juan Pons, which I HIGHLY recommend if it's not already in your playlist, and they were interviewing Frederick Van Johnson of the This Week in Photo (TWiP) podcast, another one that is a MUST for you photography peeps...but anyway, Frederick is apparently a modest and humble creature, which is quite refreshing, because until that interview I had NO idea about two incredible things going on in his life that actually affects us all: One, he is the new Vice Chairman of the Board at the Brooks Institute of Photography, so congrats to him.

But two, and even more relevant to us all, is his pet project, MediaBytes.com. This is perfect. The part that's most important to us photographers in this day and age is...where and how do we fit into the maddening pace of the ever-shifting industry? What direction is it all headed?

Just finished Jolie O'Dell's book, Blogging for Photographers, last week and after perusing this MediaBytes.com site and the information therein, especially regarding web marketing and how to take the best advantage of everything the interwebs have available to us, it all just seems to go hand in hand - takes the future of the profession to another level with the seeming approach of embracing the changes and the landscape rather than shunning it or begrudgingly discounting it. He's got courses and information and all sorts of stuffs. Check it.

And while you're all at it, check out the California Photo Fest next week where Rick Sammon and Juan Pons, among a who's who of additional heavy hitters, will be teaching a few workshops throughout gorgeous Central California. Been trying to get to this thing for years, but, well, paying the rent sorta trumps it at this stage...perhaps in 2014...

Thanks for everything all of you mentioned do...it's been crazy transitioning into this new life path and career and I can honestly it wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for the transparent and generous method of imparting your wisdom and knowledge in the ways that you do to help propel it all forward. I love it! Thank you...

So photogs...go do this thing!!!

And I promise, I'll be back next week with the next installment of the "3 National Parks, 3 States, 2 Weeks, 1 Crap Bag" posts...

DP'd (Again).

Sentinel Rock. Yosemite, California. Winter 2013. So this is pretty neat! You may have seen me post this photo of Sentinel Rock in Yosemite before, but I got served a bit of awesome sauce today because of it! It was just picked to be critiqued for another popular photography podcast. Check it, it's the Digital Photo Experience hosted by ridiculously respected photographers Rick Sammon and Juan Pons, and they talk about the image at the 56:22 mark. That's the third image on three podcasts in the past few weeks, including a different image on this same podcast a few weeks back for one of my oak trees. People seem to be digging some of this stuff, now, hot dammit how do I turn this into something tangible!? Get me outta this shack!

Anywho…in case you're bored and at work, here's the podcast link: http://dpexperience.com/2013/06/03/dpe-podcast-06-01-13-all-questions-from-you/

While you can skip to the critique, I recommend listening to the full thing, and subscribing to these guys, especially if you're a photographer. They provide valuable insight and tips and information and ideas and inspiration in every episode. A good listen while you're in the lightroom.