Photo tutorial Vlog #1

This Tutorial briefly describes how I tone my images.
You can use your tone curve to make your images warmer, colder or something totally different.
Have fun with it.
If you have any questions I am an open book.
I don’t believe in hoarding secrets as anyone with a camera has a different eye, different hands and they in turn will make things that are unique to themselves.

Hope you all have a great day.

It's time.

After quite a few months off the blog I think it’s time for me to come back.
I still write nearly everyday but I miss being extremely routine in my mornings.
It’s time for me to get back to that but with a new agenda.
Over the next few months I am going to be posting photo Vlogs on here for anyone looking to take their photography in another direction.
I’m not very by the book but it is my hope that with these video tutorials, and critiques I can better my own practice and help people learn the things others would not teach me.

To get this started if you are out there taking photos we need to get you shooting manual.
It is the foundation of your technical freedom as a photographer.
With manual shooting there are 3 components or setting you will need to control.

#1 Your aperture also known as an F-stop. This controls your depth of field. The higher your F-stop the more things in your image will be in focus.
The lower your F-stop the less things will be in focus. (For example a portrait with a blurred out background.)


#2 Your shutter speed.
This one is pretty self explanatory but with this tool you have the ability to either freeze or blur motion.
Higher shutter speed is what you will use for things like sports if you chose too.
Lower shutter speed is great for bringing more natural light into your photo and also for long exposures.

#3 Your ISO This stands for International Standards Organization but that has no relevance to what it does.

This tool is for when you want to keep your shutter speed and F-stop fixed but the image is still too dark.
for this you simply turn your iso up and it will make your image brighter.
The iso is tricky though because it electricity being pumped into your sensor it is not actually real light.
This can cause a problem when turning your iso over 6400 bringing unwanted noise into the image you are trying to create.
On sunnier days I keep my iso around 100-400.
On cloudy days or in dark rooms I can range anywhere from 400-3200.


Keep in mind these are just simple techniques to understand the capability of each tool in your camera when understanding exposure.
It may take a few weeks to fully grasp so use your camera often and don’t be afraid to experiment.

One thing that no one told me when I was learning is that there are no rules to photography.
Figure out your own settings, shoot sports with a slow shutter, shoot portraits with shitty lenses, do whatever feels right to you because that is what makes an image unique.
Don’t think the rules are there to constrict you they are there to set you free because once you understand them you can totally avoid them or use them at your leisure.

Hope this helps.

All the best,

What I learned from one year of blogging.

Over the past couple of weeks since the blog has ended I have been writing 20 minutes a day in my journal.
I’ve had a few epiphanies the since then.
I came to realize even more so how important constant action is.
Overthinking anything will only lead to more confusion.

I’m learning daily that stress, fear, jealousy, insecurity are all things that need to be let go of.
Most importantly I’m learning to not ask permission for the photos I want to take.
If I want to make a series of portraits I am going and doing it.
I think the fear of people getting upset at me taking their photo or asking to take their photo in the past has stopped me from seeking those stories.
Now although it is still an uncomfortable notion to seek out potentially conflicting encounters I do it.
I am doing it more than I have ever done and I am giving less of a fuck what anybody thinks of me in the process.
I smile at the mean looking men with their muscular pitbulls, I smile at the old ladies, talk to the kids on their bikes, help mothers carry the strollers up the subway steps.
In New York Stopping to talk to a friend passing you by is practically a sin. 

Social interaction here is kept to a formal discourse of dinners, brunches or night outs.
It leaves me longing to know my neighbors, talk to the people in the neighborhood, like my parents I want to be a member of the community and I don’t think that will happen if I live by the unspoken rule of this city.

My point here is your brain wants to be liked by everyone, it tells you to take the most comfortable path all the time, it begs you to stay in bed an extra 30 minutes, and it misleads you daily.

Do not let you subconscious mind decide the outcome of your life.
Let your actions decide where you want to go.
Take it from somebody who is just starting to escape the lost in thought period of their life.
Only action and intuition can set you free. 

How to embrace change.

Day 365 of 365

Sitting on my roof this morning and writing in my journal brought me right back to when I started this blog. It was a simple 365 project aimed at shooting a different photo of my hand every day for a year but I quickly realized that my love for purging my thoughts would eventually take over the photo aspect of this blog. Now 365 separate days of this blog spanning just about 3 years and I don’t know if my writing has improved much at all. lol, I don’t much care either way. This blog was medicine for me and it served as a daily reminder of the virtues I hold close to my heart. The simple process of having an idea and accomplishing it even if it takes longer than expected was still a satisfying practice. The most important things I got out of this experience were simple actions like discipline, consistency, the importance of taking risks and having a community. Most importantly be willing to look foolish. Be vulnerable in all matters of the heart.

For this final blog, I just want to thank everyone who read along and sat with me on the hard days. From the passing of our family dog Dakota, the resentencing of my fathers killer, the emotional letters on how much my mother means to me, and the countless number of photo trips. It has been a wild ride and I’m just glad I had a few readers along the way. You guys mean the world to me.

It is my hope that this blog will inspire you to take one simple action daily for yourself. You never know what may come from it.

With love, Atticus.

Claritin D

Day 364 of 365

Like clock work I woke up at 3am unable to sleep I decided to write instead of waste my time rolling around.
It’s frustrating knowing that my allergies don’t exist when I am in another region.
I know this having traveled every spring for the last 4 years as an attempt to relieve my allergies.
This lack of sleep makes it hard to focus, hard to speak or follow a train of thought to it’s fullest intent.
Every year I say fuck this I don’t ever want experience this again and every year I do.

Come next April I will be long gone from New York and from everything that I am doing that is not inline with my vision.
I talk a lot about do what you love, do what you love, but the truth is doing what you love is hard as fuck.
My gut has been screaming for sometime to get back to nature, to photograph people that are making a difference in this world, to document crucial changes, and stories.
Guess it’s time to start making more work so come next year I won’t have to experience this again.

Small obstacles.

Day 363 of 365

If you know me personally you know come spring time I don’t want to exist in the North East anymore.
I am allergic to damn near every tree here and it makes me feel sick for a few months.
More than anything this year my attitude has been strides better than it has been in any past spring.
My allergies make it hard to sleep with asthma attacks happening 1 to sometimes 3 times a night always around 2-3am.
Last night was a long one for me and I woke up few times progressively more annoyed with each interruption.
It throws my entire day off because I am such a morning person I like to work out at 5:30am and finish my writing / other routines by 10am.

This morning I said freak it.
Last night sucked but this morning doesn’t have to.
I slept in till 7:30 to get some sort of rest and I have since been on a tear of pure focus getting my work done.
Not everything in life is going to happen smooth as butter.
If there are some bumps in the road relax everyone has their own bumps to face and most are worse than mine.
The key is to start moving so you can get around those bumps don’t just sit there and say “Yup that’s it there’s a bump in front of me gotta turn around for the day.”

You wouldn’t let a rock beat you in chess, don’t let a problem that can be fixed beat you in life.


Day 362 of 365

Every summer between high school and college I spent many of my days at a reservoir deep in the woods of my home town. When I first started going there it was pristine nearly garbage free with plenty of animals to be seen. It was an oasis of sorts, you could go there relax in the warm water of a new England summer have a few beers and watch the sunset. We always made sure we put our empties in our backpacks for the walk home. As social media arose we began to post about this place. It was never a secret but it definitely gained popularity from some of our videos and photos. Fast forward about 8 to 10 years this place is now illegal to go to there are no trespassing signs everywhere. The kids after us really destroyed this place via spray paint, garbage, and other forms of vandalism. It hurts to see something you held so close to your heart fall apart.

I still hike that place from time to time but now I always show up with a garbage bag and since they have made it illegal to hike there it has been getting cleaner and cleaner. I think the destruction of this place is where my love for the environment was really ignited. Now at 26, I am started to feel the guilt of my actions on the world as well as my local environment. Specifically in the case of single-use plastics. It seems it’s all we hear about today but it is true. One look outside the window of my Brooklyn apartment and it looks like the trees at the park across the street are growing plastic bags. The streets in this neighborhood are littered with trash partly because they know that someone else (Street sweepers) will pick it up for them. I often see my neighbors throwing full bags of trash out of there 15th story windows. It bothers me but I can’t help but feel that I am a part of it. For years I have started my mornings with Iced coffee inside of a plastic cup with a plastic straw only to be thrown out. Now I have a metal cup and a metal straw and I didn’t like it at first because it almost had a metal smell to it but over time I have gotten used to it. With that being said I am exploring local workers, shops, artists, brands, and individuals whose work is practiced in sustainability. For myself, I am working on becoming more conscious of my role in using single-use plastics. Forks, knives, cups, straws, pens, plastic bags, if I can cut those out I think I will at least be helping out my local environment. Hopefully, New York can create alternatives that are less destructive to our planet as well as our city so that we can set the stage for the future of green cities and mindful consumption.


Day 361 of 365

You cannot live in the shape of yesterday.
There is only now.
Only forward into each moment. 

Which is somewhat conflicting because I work in the past so often.
I look forward with excitement just to recant moments that have just passed.
It changes the way I think.
Promotes nostalgia.
I hope that one day I won’t think in shapes of yesterday.


Day 360 of 365

I walked around this morning at 7am.
It was great, and it was the first time I’ve ever felt like I was in nature in New York City even after all the times I’ve been to central park. (NOT NATURE mainly tourists)
It just goes to show there is beauty everywhere if you look hard enough yet there is still so much trash to be found.
I think as a community Brooklyn and the rest of the United states needs to do a better job at regulating the production of plastic.
I look out my window everyday to see my neighbors throwing full bags of trash out the 13th floor.

It’s disgusting and the bottom line is that it is a lack of respect for yourself as well as the land you live on.
It’s easy to feel disconnected here and being such a nature boy it kills my heart to see the mindset of soem city dwellers.
It’s easy to think your separate from the earth here with everything being man made but the truth is this place has the most impact.

In cycles.

Day 359 of 365

If there has one thing my love for the ocean has taught me it is that everything is cyclical by nature.
Like romance, like violence, like life we all seem to view it logically in a linear shape.
Yet all of life is a cycle even death.
We only view it in a line because we mourn for our individual pain too much.
We are not rain drops separate from the ocean we would dry up if that were the case, we are all drops that are part of the ocean as a whole.

It only makes sense that our lives have cycles too.
You can be so good at something for years and regress a little in a week just to strive and become better again.
Skills, relationships, passions, all change like the tide.
If you aren’t experiencing any ebb and flow in your life than something is probably wrong or you’ve cracked the code I don’t know.
My version of life is not flat and ever lasting, it’s more of a mix of highs, lows, and in betweens.
I think that’s just fine.

Consistent action.

Day 358 of 365

If you’re American I think you could agree that most of your life has been spent trying to progress.
Sometimes it seems like were all in a race to get rich and die.
We’re taught from an early age that the faster you progress the more successful you are.
I think there is some truth in this but it ignores the process of making, consistency and commitment.
This model also ignores entirely what makes you the individual happy and isn’t that the ultimate goal?

I’ve let myself get a little off track with the easter holiday just passing.
I went back to my family’s home for the weekend I didn’t blog, shoot photos, write, exercise or even eat healthy.
I felt like a big piece of shit last night because of it.
So when I woke up this morning I had my schedule already made, my alarm set for 5:30am and now at 10am I am already done with my entire routine and I’ve also got most of my work done for the day.
By 12 I am normally done with my major to do list for client work.
This process feels so good and I always wonder why I ever step away from it.

The point I’m making here is there is really no progress in this routine.
I write just to write, I exercise just like I brush my teeth, and I blog just to blog.
These things keep me focused they make me happy and it takes a little stress of that societal ideal of constant progression. (eg. get good grades, get a job, get promoted, get a girlfriend, turn her into a wife, get a house, get a bigger house, etc. etc.) You know these pressures and instead I think it’s good just to produce things for your own happiness to make consistently and to let you instinct guide your creations with little thought but instead consistent action.

Instinct & Action

Day 357 of 365

I do not degrade my verbal vomit now 

I let it move 

let it slide 

away from distraction 

in action we find that good men act with good intention 

as rough as the outside may seem 

they do it with open hearts and help others along the way 

because to them there is no other way

Be exceptional.

Day 356 of 365

If you do anything out of the ordinary you will experience disdain even from people you love.
It’s a hard fact but people who are unhappy with themselves often project that dissatisfaction onto others.
It hurts bad especially when it’s from somebody you love.
If you are staying true to yourself you van’t let that affect you at all.
Remember you’re on your own path and stick to your values.
Exceed expectations and the good in life will eventually shine through.

What's daily will define.

Day 355 of 365

What things do you do everyday?
Run, buy coffee, eat a bagel, eat greens, smoke, practice a new language?
Now ask yourself if you do those things everyday for the next 5 years where will you end up.
That is the essence of compounding.
All good decisions made daily lead to good outcomes, all bad decisions made consistently lead to bad outcomes.
Things don’t hit as fast as we expect them to so it makes it easy to ignore their detriment or progress.
Keep the good decisions on the tracks and when things get hard remind yourself that 5 years from now you’ll be happy you chose the salad instead of the pizza, running over cigarettes, and discipline over distraction.

Don't hurt yourself to make emotional work.

Day 354 of 365

I’ve made my living and all my work on self deprecating behavior.
That in itself has a premature peak.
In football I hit too hard because I came from a dark place. 

In photography I made work because I was lonely.
The more I made the lonelier I got. 

In relationships I sabotaged the belief others had in me because I didn’t believe in myself. 

Those things get quick reactions, quick results, but they burn you out fast.
A marathon is the only way to run.
It’s changing me now.
The belief in myself has made me return to photographing faces.
Light is still a friendly site but it’s much better when it crosses your skin.
Only from a place of love not lack. 


Day 353 of 365

Over the past couple weeks I have been pushing my work to new areas with new tools.
One thing I’ve realized in art is that progression isn’t always rewarded like it is in sports.
Think about your favorite band, you’d be pretty upset if they changed up their sound.
For me progression is essential for my mental health.
I feel really good when I learn new things.
I guess the struggle here is finding some form of consistency.
I think that comes with time and I am glad I decided to try so many different avenues in photography before deciding to put my nose in one direction.
This year you are going to see a lot more documentary portraiture out of me, along with some model tests like you see below.
Do whatever makes your heart feel full.
You are the only audience to your personal work.
Let your purpose guide that work.

Buschwick Houses.

Day 352 of 365

I wrote something out this morning but I felt it was too repetitive and obvious.
So I deleted it and pasted it into my journal.
Highlighted in red.
Like my neighborhood.
Trash filled streets.
With a whistling hand thrown out the window.
There is nothing that binds us closer than blood.
Still I feel so distant from some of these people.
Now less empathetic than before
until I looked and saw the red bag by my side too.

Open and receptive.

Day 351 of 365

I’m learning more about what acting in fear does to yourself everyday.
You can’t be afraid to give wholeheartedly to what you love regardless if that thing can crush you.

Wether it be a lover or a dream.
Failure is never an end it’s a growing point, simply a for in the road.

When you try and protect yourself you only close your heart to the beauty around you.

Be bold and be more vulnerable.
Give more love.


Day 350 of 365

Visually I wanted to try something a little different today and it took me a little longer than expected.

Went to bed last night feeling a little bit more love for myself than normal.
I took a long hard look at myself before bed and reflected on times when I’ve felt most upset or hurt people the most.
99% of the time it was because of an insecurity I had in myself.
When you believe you might not be good enough you hurt people, when you act in fear you hurt people and in return you do the most damage to yourself strengthening the fear that’s holding you down.
Unfortunately for me most of my fear or lack of belief in myself has been unloaded mainly on one person over the past 8 years but I’m finally realizing for myself that you gotta love you before you love someone else the right way.

I’m only just starting to become aware of the fears that have dictated my poor actions.
That awareness is allowing me to seek vulnerability in my life.
It all comes back to love.
For me I know I have to give love as if it will never be taken advantage of and if it does well that just means the receiving party doesn’t really love them self enough.
Trust me on that I’ve been there.