Wednesday, February 29, 2012


A quick "lucima" search on twitter.

It took me a long time to come over to "the dark side". In my heart of hearts I believe that twitter brings out some of the worst elements of humanity. Particularly reminding me of that Heathcote Williams quote, "Fame is the perversion of the natural human instinct for validation and attention." Because many of the people that are on twitter are simply fulfilling their self-induced fantasies of importance. That they deserve their own TV show. And perhaps they by creating a twitter account they get their own show?

It's much the same with Facebook. In fact without Facebook, I wonder if twitter would even exist. Most of the time as I look on my news feed, I see the random musings of divas, unnecessary advice, quotes on life, reactions to circumstances but without providing the actual context, and other utterly useless updates of people who think that they're more important than they really are.

Or maybe there's something wrong with me. Maybe I'm weird for not wanting to contribute to the fodder on the news feed. Maybe I'm reclusive because I don't particularly enjoy sharing personal information to the 4,200 "friends" that I have on Facebook. (Seriously, if you have 4,200 friends what you're really saying is that you're a shitty friend to 4,190 people).

And yes, I'm a hypocrite because for all the smack I talk about Facebook, I do have a Facebook account. And even worse, I've moved even further into the dark side by creating a twitter account. How did this happen? I created my twitter account 6 months ago on a random day that I decided to check out twitter and see what the fuss was all about. As I was pondering whether or not I should create an account, I discovered that @lucima was already taken. As a knee-jerk reaction, I registered @CharlesLucima in the event some other idiot might take that too. And I don't know which idiot registered @lucima because if you google lucima, I dominate everything on the first 2 pages. IIRC, the only other references to lucima are a few Africans with that last name and a design company in South Africa. And the guy that registered @lucima speaks Spanish so WTF?

My twitter account stayed dormant since registration. I didn't use twitter because I felt FB was more than enough for me to reach my audience. But after releasing the podcast with Rodney Alan last week and having some 250 people listen to the podcast, Rodney suggested that I expand my reach into twitter to see if I could reach yet a larger audience. He was convinced that with my following I'd see a large following on twitter.

I'm not convinced.

Regardless of what I thought, the marketing guru in me agreed with Rodney that twitter provides the LUCIMA brand another quantifiable measure of my audience, reach, and pull. The only drawback is that I'd have to sell my soul.

The last time I checked, souls were losing value fast on the stock market. Might as well dump it while it's still worth something :)

What will be the key difference between my posts on FB versus twitter? I dunno yet. What I do know is that half the time, I can't post the images I want to post on FB because of nudity. With that said however, there will be a lot of overlap between my posts on twitter and FB.

What I've noticed over time is that however reluctant I might be, I've slowly acquiesced to allowing FB and twitter to infiltrate my life. But don't get me wrong, I'll never feel completely comfortable with sharing snippets of my life in real-time. And while I'll always feel that the fame game is mental masturbation, I can not refute the advantages that FB and twitter lend towards marketing the LUCIMA brand. For that reason and that reason alone it was and is important for me to get on FB and twitter. You gotta stay relevant.

What about all the stuff you share on blogger? That's totally different. Blogger is a safe-haven for my thoughts. The audience here pales in comparison to the audience on FB or twitter. You guys are the smartest and most like-minded group of people that I reach through any medium (other than my workshops). I actually purposely keep my daily feed of pictures off of blogger so as not to attract dumb people. The dummies can go over to tumblr and look at all the pretty pictures and click "like" or whatever that button is. But for the 3 of you that read this blog (okay it's more like 2 of you and the 1 random person that landed on this page via Google), I value your intellect, your patience, and your systematic way of thinking. You're probably an older male, 35-50 years old, well-to-do (working a full-time 6-figure job), own your own home, you like photography, and for some reason you have this strange habit of reading the ramblings of a young (well not that young) photographer). Don't think I don't appreciate that! I'll never give up blogger because my thoughts can't be confined to 120 characters.

But there's always more to share. Since I rebooted my twitter account I've been pretty active. Daily posts, pictures and more. If nothing else, at least you'll get to see my latest work on twitter so follow me @CharlesLucima. See you on twitter :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Exit Strategy

In retrospect, I could have wound up in a bad situation with

We've all heard the nightmares others have had with losing the rights to their websites (domains). About not being able to access their domain in light of some tricky situations. Some can't login to their account anymore because they've let their registration lapse, now they're locked out of their account. Others discover they have no legal ownership of their own domains because they have someone else build their website and register the domain at the same time. When push comes to shove the website builder can hold their domain name for ransom.

What the Professionals Think

Found this on dpreview and thought it'd be interesting to share following my recent posts on the D4 and D800/D800E. Cheers!

Friday, February 24, 2012 THE END

I actually never sent that last message. Instead I said, "Of course, thanks." and closed the window. No point tempting fate. No point giving a reason to sabotage my website further. Besides, they still hold my domain registration on so I'll have to move that to a GoDaddy or NetworkSolutions or something.

While I'm here, I would like to say good things about for their detailed statistics with uptime and response time for any given website. You can automatically have them ping your website at 1 minute intervals and create logs for that data.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Time to Say Goodbye:

86% uptime... really??? Thanks

This is a review of and lemme tell you, it's not a positive review...

I'd heard bad things about these guys but I'd always given them the benefit of the doubt.

And maybe they were always this bad and I just never really paid much attention. After all my website was on and largely remained "unattended" for the last 2 years.

But ever since my class at NYFA I've been revamping my website. First it was a move away from and onto a custom WordPress site. I tried several themes and settled on the current one you see at which took me a good week or two just to install and learn my way around the new platform.

RadioPoppers JrX: Long-term update

'Til the wheels fall off. The first JrX transmitter I purchased.

Here's the medium-term update.

Here's the short-term update.

I've been using these for a long time, since late 2009. More than two years later, I'm still in love with the RadioPopper JrX triggers.

If you use AlienBees/White Lighting strobes whether it's their monoblocks or pack/head combo, the power to control light from the trigger (on-camera) is priceless. I simply can not going back to setting the power from the back of the strobe.

Podcast: Talking about Modeling Agencies with LUCIMA and Rodney Alan

I was chatting with Rodney Alan the other day about all things photography. This was before my interview with Anderson and Jillian on One Hour Photo. Halfway through lunch I said, "I wish we'd recorded our conversation!"

Hindsight is 20-20 and we can't go back in time. So we made a new recording. Specifically about our experiences with models and modeling agencies Check it out! Let us know if you have any questions you'd like to hear discussed!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Light Leaks Evolution Explained

Actually now that I think about it, the entire journey of my photography can really be described or embodied in the retouching process that I employ. Anyone has taken a workshop with me knows that I employ a rough "3-step process" for retouching. They are: Fixing, Balancing, and Enhancing.

So it's no surprise that at this phase in my journey I have moved away (mostly) from balancing and deviated far from fixing. You can find lots of posts on this blog about my "fixing" fixation through skin-processing techniques I employed in the past. The balancing I don't talk very much about because it's a "ghost-process"; a process where I balance an image for exposure, reorganize the histogram, and create a "well-balanced" image. It's hard to put into words, I just do what I deem necessary for the image at the time I process it. Maybe I'll make this a post later on...

Le Park Table. Anneliese. January 2011. Hasselblad H3DII-31 and HC-80. 1/800, f/3.4, ISO100.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

One Hour Photo

I'll be on for the first half of One Hour Photo with Anderson Smith and Jillian Hayes tomorrow (Wednesday) 1PM EST. I'll be talking about photography, the upcoming workshop, and more! Tune in with the link above!

The podcast is up! You can listen here!

Monday, February 20, 2012


I believe in maniacs. I believe in type As. I believe that you’ve got to love your work so much that it is all you want to do. I believe you must betray your mistress for your work, you betray your wife for your work; I believe that she must betray you for her work. I believe that work is the one thing in the world that never betrays you, that lasts. If I were going to be a politician, if I were going to be a scientist, I would do it every day. I wouldn’t wait for Monday. I don’t believe in weekends.
If you’re headed for a life that’s only involved with making money and that you hope for satisfaction somewhere else, you’re headed for a lot of trouble. And whatever replaces vodka when you’re 45 is what you’re going to be doing.
Richard Avedon - 1988
We're all a little crazy. Some more than others. Most of the time you can see crazy just by talking to someone. Occasionally people hide it well although they're truly crazy underneath the shell of normality. You can usually infer crazy just by observing one's actions. For example the investment bankers are all crazy. They seem normal but they're completely nuts. The people with doctorate degrees are all nutty too but in a totally different way. Theirs is an insane ability to focus on an extremely narrow field while forsaking all else. The people who run endurance races are all crazy too. I mean who subjects himself/herself to 17 hours of torture (in the case of the Ironman Triathlon)?

Crazy people do.

Canon EOS C300

Probably a little too much camera for me but I think this demonstrates Canon's commitment to cinematography. They will be competing for RED's lunch and dinner in no time!

The release of the C300 also affects my entire decision making process regarding the Canon vs. Nikon issue.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Litmus Test

Testing 1-2-3. Ashley Chung. D3/50mm f/1.8D. 1/200th, f/4.0, ISO500

It's important for every photographer to periodically reconcile the inevitable discrepancy between the way he/she perceives his/her work and the way the world perceives his/her work.

For my own purposes, I use tumblr and Facebook to better understand whether or not a particular image (or set of images) resonate(s) with the masses. These social networks put my images in front of a large audience and allow me to quickly obtain a rough indication of whether or not I'm "appealing to the masses". Usually I don't put any weight on the written feedback but instead I look at the metrics behind the responses such as the number of positive responses, likes, notes, reblogs on any specific image(s).

Here's where I should put the disclaimer: This test is entirely unscientific.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Magic: Questions from a Magician's Apprentice

Got an email from a Magic student yesterday and I thought I'd share:

So since, I was with you on Friday - all I been thinking about has been photos. I don't mean to bombard you with all of these little questions, its just my entire outlook on this process has changed dramatically after spending the day with you so I just wanted to refer to back you and see if you could clarify some stuff for me. :)

1. So just like you said, I have been getting messages from different models shooting with Bekka. I am excited to have real models to work with but I am looking at their portfolios and it seems that they already have some pretty extensive work. I kinda feel pressured to give them something they don't have already but I don't know how to make mine look different from the stuff they already have. Is this something that I should consider when shooting more experienced models? Or you think its just a confidence issue?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Internship Specifics 2012

In order to clarify the internship questions, I wanted to lay out the details for the various positions and the application process. LUCIMA STUDIO is an ever-growing and ever-evolving business that constantly seeks to create strategic long-term partnerships with the right individuals. Here you’ll find a listing of the current positions available at LUCIMA STUDIO.

- All positions are unpaid
- Minimum time commitment is 3 months
- Average time commitment is 30-40 hours/week and 5-6 days/week
- Internships are ongoing and exist without hard dates
- Anyone can apply (especially non-photographers)
- Location for all internships opportunities is LUCIMA STUDIO


Primary role: To seek and create new revenue streams.

Responsibilities: Create strategic alliances (e.g. when I called up Samy's & Calumet or how I'm currently teaching from NYFA) including but not limited to the education department of LUCIMA STUDIO. Create sponsorship opportunities via current revenue streams (e.g. Profoto, Nikon/Canon, etc.). Maintain and develop relationships with existing and new agencies (photography & talent agencies). Create, develop and maintain relationships with key publications (pursue creation of opportunities for spec. editorials in "brick & mortar" magazines). Recognize and represent LUCIMA STUDIO in key events (e.g. fashion shows, client appreciation parties, etc.).

Magic: Lightning Rounds

Lightning Rounds with Bekka Gunther.

I shot the above diptych of Bekka during a 1-minute demonstration of a private workshop. I probably shot about a hundred images or during which I caught these two images.

Sometimes people are surprised when I tell them that it only takes me 5-10 minutes to shoot a set. My reaction is that 10 minutes is a long time to hold a model's attention. That within 10 minutes, a model is likely to repeat her poses/looks/moves. That 10 minutes is a "long-program", and not a short routine. That 10 minutes could very well result in 1,000 frames.

That there isn't anything you can do in 10 minutes, that you can't do in 5 minutes.

And while that's not entirely true, it's built on the idea that 10 minutes at a brisk pace of shooting and a dynamic level of interaction is all you need to get Magic.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The LUCIMA Stance

While it is not an officially recognized stance by the Shaolin Temple, the LUCIMA stance is a variant of one of the "Ba Shi" or "Ba Bu" (Eight Stances), namely Zuo Pan Bu (Sitting on Crossed Leg Stance). The LUCIMA stance is not combat-oriented, instead it uses the stable nature of Zuo Pan Bu and furthers it by pushing all of the fighter's weight from the back leg into the calf of the front leg. While rarely captured, I have found the only known photographic image of the LUCIMA stance in existence and placed it in a side-by-side comparison with images of the real Zuo Pan Bu.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Ahhh, but when I see images like this I'm reminded how remarkably potent the H3DII-31 performs! This is an iPhone pic of the back of my H3DII-31 during a client shoot.

I have an interesting dilemma to share with you guys. It's a little game of "Should I Stay or Should I Go"

Off the top of my head I own the following:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dr. L U C I M A: Curing Your Photography Ailments

Pedestal. Bekka Gunther with Sam Sulam at a private fashion photography workshop.


It's about as close as I'll ever get to being an MD or having a PhD attached to my name.

After teaching another private fashion photography workshop yesterday, I realized that my private fashion photography workshops are tailored to exact specifications depending on when, where, who, what, why and how the photographer is progressing on his/her fashion photography journey.

You could almost say that I prescribe a remedy for whatever ails you as a photographer. With that metaphor in mind, let recount some photography diseases I've cured in my time...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Looking for Proactive, Disciplined, and Resourceful Entrepreneurs

This is a response to the availability of internships at LUCIMA STUDIO.

Last year I thought I could train the interns to do the nitty gritty, but I quickly realized that they neither had the skill sets nor desire to execute those tasks. I was somewhat shocked when I requested my interns to figure out how to sync/share my iCal with everyone... yet no one could figure it out.

I wound up doing it myself. Something that took me less than 5 minutes of Googling and experimenting with iCal.

Being a professional photographer is really just a matter of being entrepreneurial and resourceful. I don't imagine those things can be taught. You either are or aren't independent-thinking and proactive.

And I think that's what it came down to. I found that the interns weren't capable (or driven) to think freely and push my business forward. Everyone had to be told what to do.

D800 or D800E?

Let me rephrase the question, "Do I need an anti-aliasing filter?"

If you don't know what an AA filter is, please read this and come back when you're ready.

The issue is actually "Sharpness versus Moiré"

The thing is, most of you have never shot a digital camera without an AA-filter. I'm here to tell you that you haven't seen "sharpness" until you have.