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Greg Taylor is a digital marketing professional and a music photographer from Tempe, AZ -originally from Warren, NJ. Feel free to email me with any questions regarding my company GRT2 Studios, marketing, photography or music at

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Silence of Photography

The deafening silence of photography is powerful. When making photographs or viewing photos no sound is captured. The sound of the people, the music or the weather lays within our minds.

I was inspired to shoot some Tempe architecture by viewing my friend Jon VanderMey's photos of his local architecture and sights.  ASU has some great buildings for photography - so I took advantage of this great winter day and went on a photowalk.

Typically I do a lot of concert photography and there is always sound associated with each picture. Not so today. More than the picture I made I enjoyed the silence of the subjects. I was able to create my own soundtrack to today's shoot. Do you know how powerful that can be?

What do you think about or listen to when you are taking photographs? (All photos from today can be viewed here!)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Has Digital Photography Raised or Lowered the Creative Bar?

Has the creative bar been raised now that the point of entry into photography has been lowered?

My mind wonders sometimes and during an afternoon in traffic school I posed this question to myself. Now that almost anyone can afford a camera whether it's an entry level DSLR or 'Point and Shoot' - what has happened to us creatively?

I'm sure there are plenty of arguments for both sides but I think that the creative bar has been raised. Professionals now are separating themselves exhibiting a higher level of expertise more than ever. If we took three photographers (professional, serious hobbyist and amateur) and shot 5 photos of 5 different objects - I'm sure the professional would take away the best pictures. No brainer...they have the most experience and the highest level of technical skill.

The new reality is that the professional has to be on their game so that they do not come back to the pack. No longer can a professional photographer show up and deliver mediocre photographs. My sister's cousin's brother could have delivered mediocrity - but a way. That's why they are a professional and not someone who take photos occasionally.

Granted, there may be more professional photographers but creatively the hobbyist is pushing the professional to justify their title (and fees.)

What do you think - Has the creative bar been raised? I really want to hear what others have to say about this topic...drop me a line - GRT2

Thursday, December 10, 2009

When Is Familiarity Important? Three Part Series - Part THREE

Sometimes there are situations in photography that the moment is instant and spontaneous. Capturing that moment, that feeling and making a great photograph is the only thing that is on your agenda. There is no time to get familiar with the subject or the location. - click or it may be gone.

There are rules to photography. There are rules and there are suggestions. I try to know the rules and suggestions (I am not the most technical photographer I work on instinct with settings etc.) and when it comes time to make a picture - go with what feels right.

Central Ave Boxing Gym is a place I had never been before. I never really knew what a boxing gym looked liked or what it felt like to be in one. (I can tell you now that it's very hot.) I didn't know what the lighting conditions would be like or spacial restrictions. I went and spoke to some people and observed for a couple of moment before shooting anything. This photo was taken from a balcony above the training floor. It was the place that I could get the best exposure and the best composition.

Moments like this are great when you walk into a situation without knowing anything and leave with a photograph that you really like.

The more you know about something the better your end result will be but don't let that limit you. The best way I've found to familiarize yourself with a subject is immersion. Go out and shoot something, then go photograph it again. Measure your progress - keep notes. What do you wish you did differently? Go and repeat. Great photographers are made by shooting photographs.

Monday, December 7, 2009

When Is Familiarity Important? Three Part Series - Part TWO

Concert photography is like gambling in a casino - the odds are mostly against you. However, there are those times that if you know the game well enough and see an opportunity to come up and have the nerve to follow through - the payoff is huge.

My favorite band to shoot is Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers. Local act gone national, great rock-n-roll and it's always a good time. I've seen RCPM tons of time but I have just started photographing them seriously.

Although I've seem them a lot it wasn't until I saw them as a photographer did I realize how hard this band was to photograph. With every shoot I started to realize how the stage presence and gestures were dictated by the song or tempo. Roger has a great stage presence and is very energetic (someone commented on a photo of mine and said it was trying to photograph a moth in a bright light.) After a while and after watching and after missing shots - it all clicks. Ok here comes the song (Mekong) ok he's probably going to do this...ok here's this song (Counterclockwise) I should be positioned over here a little.  Believe me it makes getting shots like this one (taken on 11/21 in Tempe, AZ) a little easier. Going back to the initial gambling analogy - you're able to stack the deck in your favor a little.

I've never shot soccer before - let alone kids soccer (or kids for that matter.) I was bored one day and I wanted to take photos and I ended up in Snedigar Park in Chandler, AZ. It was hot that day and I decided on setting up in a corner under a tree with a telephoto lens. (Truth be told I never use my telephoto lense - I don't know why.) After reviewing my action shots which were good - not great I saw this photo. A picture of a bunch of kids waiting for play to start. 7, 8 and 9 all in a row. That's what makes the shot. If I was little more familiar with kids soccer or more specifically I may have shot a great action photo - but this is what I came away with. A numeric composition.

Next post will deal with something that I briefly familiarized myself with a left with making a great photograph.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

When Is Familiarity Important? Three Part Series - Part ONE

Yesterday I commented on a "How to photograph skateboarding" article and it got me thinking - When is it important to be familiar with your subject? I'll stay with skateboarding for a moment...

If you don't know skateboarding the chances of you taking a great (not just good) skateboard photo in minimal. There are so many subtle nuances in skateboarding that make a great shot. With that being said these nuances that are predictable when you know the athlete and the sport. Here's a photo of Neal Hendrix I shot at The Skatepark of Tampa / Tampa Pro.  Neal is a perfect example. As a skateboarder he is super consistent and since was a contest run he was doing the same tricks in the same parts of the ramp - which is typical of contest runs and in practice. But if you didn't know Neal or the tricks he was doing - you would be at a severe disadvantage. (Thanks Neal for being a good example.)

I ask myself constantly - "Why am I shooting this?" Many times the answer is "because I want to" or simply "this looks cool." I'm fine with any answer that makes someone pick up a camera but if you go back to the why - it's something that interests you - right? Why else would you want to capture that moment in time?

With all that being said sometimes the subject is something that doesn't take a long time to get familiar with. In the next posts of this series I'll give examples of different subjects: subjects that I had to get to know well before I made a great picture and others that I familiarized myself quickly with before a great photo was made.

(Note: Thanks for reading my blog. Please post comments as you see fit or send me an email ( with any questions etc.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Personal Photography Tipping Points : FOUR Photos

Thinking about myself as an artist is a daunting thought. I don't know why but I am extremely uncomfortable with the label. However, I can distinctly remember photographs I have made that made me stop and say I'm on to something. Here they are:

The Vampire - This was taken during a winter trip home. We were walking through the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the opportunity just presented itself. I was actually unaware what was going on until Amy pointed it out. Her presence of mind and awareness made this happen - I just had all the right settings dialed it. This shot was altered in Photoshop to make the imagery more powerful.

Jackson Hole, WY - This photograph was the first time I pre-visualized the shot and went back to the spot and made a picture happen. I was driving to the skatepark in Jackson and saw this sight. Not having a camera with at the time made this experience what it was. I saw exactly what I wanted to capture and went back a couple of hours later and created it.

God and Basketball - (Gila River Indian Reservation) While driving around in Arizona I just sort of let the road take me. I ended up on the Gila River Indian Reservation about 25 miles south of Phoenix. After stopping to take a couple of photos I found this site. This was one of the most powerful places I have ever been. The spot was perfect. I had a basketball in the car which completed the picture.

Kristina Snake River Overlook - (Grand Teton National Park) I set out to recreate Ansel Adams' famous photograph. I took about 25 or 30 pictures of this famous spot with my camera in Black and White mode. As I was putting my equipment away I called Kristina's name and she turned to look and this is the resulting picture. This was a one shot moment that I couldn't duplicate again (much like The Vampire) photo.

These are the four photos that make me consider myself a photographer and someone who make pictures. I don't know what else to really say about it. When I look at these photos I am taken back to the exact time and place they were taken - I can't describe it any better then that...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Evolution as a Photographer : Part FIVE

So we're pretty much up to date...rather than rehash the last couple of years I want to talk about the future. Besides, if you're reading this you probably know what the last couple of years have brought me - if not send me an email or comment and I'll go back and add a 4.5 blogpost.

Today I find that I am shooting photos a couple of times a week and if I'm not shooting I'm doing something photography related. Photography is my creative outlet (I do have a 9 -5) and a way I can express myself. Let people into my world through imagery - by making pictures. (Favorite picture ever.)

I am lucky and thankful for everyone who has taken the time to comment on my pictures. I love the negative ones too. Especially the negative one's that attack me personally and are so far off based. They show me that I am on to something...

Lucky to have a great girlfriend who supports my photo journeys and often accompanies me. (Kristina at Snake River Overlook / Jackson, WY). Lucky to live in Tempe where there are so many creative people who are willing to engage in open dialogue about technology, creativity and new ideas. Arizona has helped my immensely to become who I am as an artist. Lucky, to be able to reach out to people who believe in what I do and give my the opportunities that may be more plentiful in larger cities yet harder to come by. Thanks to RCPM for their support and access along with all the other musicians who have asked me to shoot their shows (or vice versa.)

Although, I believe my photo future is bright - it's still cloudy to me. I don't know where photography will take me and I am not sure of the route I will take. My immediately plan is to enjoy the route wherever it takes me...

My photos can be found at:
Flickr Page

- feel free to contact me on Facebook or via Twitter


Monday, November 23, 2009

Evolution as a Photographer : Part FOUR

There for a while in NJ after all the travel etc. I became focused on a career. I focused on career and sports and a bunch of things that had nothing to do with the arts. I put the camera down unintentionally and didn't take a photo for a number of years. Why? Not sure...but I do know that the time I went dark from photography makes me enjoy it all the more now.

Fast forward to the winter 1997. A long term relationship I had ended in April of 1997, my grandmother (who I was super close to) passed away winter of '96 and I was at a job I couldn't deal with anymore. (Yes the one I worked hard to get and put the camera down for.) I was done with NJ. I needed a life change since - so I packed everything that could fit in my Honda Civic - anything else that was left I sold to a guy for $500 - and headed West to the Sonoran Desert.

Arizona's beauty captivated me and the logical thing was to start taking photos again. I shot everything once again. Skateboarding, landscapes, desert images, friends, strangers you name it...

I took a job after a couple of years here as the marketing guy for a company in Tempe that built skateparks. The rough part of the job was I had to take photos of skateparks and skateboarders - rough huh? SKATE PHOTOS

I was back with camera in hand and although my interest or passion has never been as strong as it today - I haven't put it down again...

NExt: Evolution as a Photographer : Part FIVE 'til today

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Evolution as a Photographer : Part THREE

Carl's photo of the Vermont lanscape really opened my eyes up to what else what out there. I was no longer a one dimensional photographer (or really picture taker at this point.)

After that I traveled a lot. Everywhere I went I brought my camera. Concerts, Sporting Events, Scenic Drives through our surrounding areas etc. Still I took tons of skateboard photos and the like but I had no limits. I felt like Carl's photo gave me permission to expand beyond the boundaries I had been constraining myself to.

Truth be told, I didn't seize every opportunity presented to me to take photos. Some trips were just too long and our travel plans were too sketchy to worry about a camera - not to mention the cost of film and processing.

I learned at an early age that taking concert photos (when anyone could bring a camera into a concert and there were no silly "no professional cameras" rules) was a difficult task. Sian Proctor at PodCampAZ, reminded me of the days of getting back a role of black prints. I learned that with a high ISO there was a substantial amount of noise in the print. I learned that when using a telephoto lens you need to stabilize it from shake or nothing will be in focus. Theses principles learned at 19 or 20 are still rules that apply today to a game that has greatly changed.

It's amazing how thinking back on my evolution as a photographer how many people were instrumental in this journey. Someone was always around me that knew a lot more than me and they were willing to share their knowledge. There are still so many great photographers around me today helping me out - it's an amazing community of sharing knowlege and exchanging ideas.

I enjoyed the art so much at this point - I don't know why I put the camera down (for the first time...)

Part FOUR: Life Without the Camera Before Arizona

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Evolution as a Photographer : Part TWO

In high school my interest in photography expanded. I grew up as a skateboarder and a graphic arts student. What a combination. My parents bought me a Canon camera - just a simple point and shoot 35mm unit. Also, available to us was a Canon AE-1 on loan from the Graphics Dept. (Thanks Mr. Goetsch) at Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS).

We would shoot everything. Portraits, skateboard action shots and other interesting items. My real interest in photography came at about 16 when I learned how to develop and process black and white film. This was earthshattering. We could go out - shoot a role of film and for little or no cost we'd have prints. Amazing...

So the cobinationof access to cameras and the availability of processing our own images made my interest explode. Nothing was left unshot.

My friend Ben Cornish was the best out of all of us. (Today, Ben is a filmmaker in Denver but is still one of my favorite photographers.) Some of his photos are iconic images of my younger days. (Weepee Portrait) His eye was better, his tech skills more advances and his willingness to share the knowledge was amazing. To say Ben had an influence on my photography is an understatement.

And so it went - we took music photos, skateboard photos and hanging out shots until one day...

...a bunch of us were in Vermont right before our senior year at WHRHS and our friend Carl Gulbish took some landscape shots. So simply, so cool yet opened so many avenues of creativity. I remember the B&W photo of the running stream with the trees and shadows from Killington - that photo changed the game for us...

Here's a link to Ben's Flickr Photostream

Part THREE: Beyond High School and before Arizona

Monday, November 16, 2009

Evolution as a Photographer : Part ONE

I spent a better part of last weekend at PodcampAZ. (The Relevant Media Unconference) The last session I sat in was The Evolution of Travel Photography by Sian Proctor ( We come a long way in the last 40 years of photography and I started thinking about my own evolution as a photographer.

I grew up in a lower middle class family in NJ. We valued time with each other, family gatherings and sports. I always seem to remember a camera laying around somewhere. The first one I vividly remember was at my grandmother's house. I don't even know what it was. All I remember is that it had the cool flash cubes that you had to place on the camera and would turn after every shot. I remember making the cubes flash but never any of the resulting images.

After that we stepped our game up to the POLAROID. Photos were taken all over - just don't let your subject move. [Sian reminded us of shaking the photo to make it developed (I thought of Outkast) and actually to this day Polaroid insists that shaking the piece of film had nothing to do with how fast the photo developed.] I think we're talking about 1979-1980 roughly. This was huge to our family. "Hey stand there..." FLASH goes off - the noise happens and the photo gets shaken and then it's instantly posted to the refrigerator.

Our family photo album was my grandmother's 'frige! Funny how my first memories of photography bring me back to my Grandmother's refrigerator on Tuttle St. in Green Brook, NJ. Photography always takes me back to a time and place that seems like it was yesterday.

Part TWO: My first camera and High School Photography

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thank You...

So much of what I do is based on other people helping me with credentials and access so I just wanted to take a moment and say thanks to everyone:

Keara Zito :  Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers (and a big thanks to Roger, PH, Nick, Jim and Jamie)
Joe Cohen : Lucero
Alana Mulford from Doyle Kos : Rusted Root / Crowfield
Kristine from Avid Exposure : Mickey Avalon
What Laura Says
Dry River Yacht Club
Johnny Dudley

Plus there are a number of artists, photographers, musicians and mentors that are too numerous to mention. You're assistance, guidance, critique and friendship is greatly appreciated and truly valued.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mickey Avalon Shoot Martini Ranch "What Do You Say..."

"What do you say.." when you have to shoot in low light? The Mickey Avalon show Tuesday night was a tricky one for a couple of reasons. The main reason being the deceptive light. Most of the time by the eye the light looked decent but the camera was reading things all over the place. I finally decided to go with 1600 Iso and my 24-70mm f2.8 lens - with manual settings. The exposure varied during the set quite often. The other reason being that I am not used to shooting Hip-Hop shows - all things considered I got a bunch of images I really like and it was a lot of fun.

Getting out of my comfort zone was a great experience. This was a great exercise to challenge myself and get away from what I typically shoot. There is so much more movement in Hip-Hop on stage and there are misc. people who otherwise wouldn't be on stage at a typical show. Mickey Avalon had dancers, a DJ and some guy taking photos from behind him while on stage (covering his flash the whole time with his hand.) This guy was enjoying the show from the stage in a hype man kind of way but I found it odd he was armed with a camera. Composing shots with all the movement and people was tough.

Photos can be seen at: or

Thanks goes out to Laura and Kristine at Avid Exposure for the access to the show.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rusted Root : Marquee Theater / Tempe, AZ

This blog has been moved to: - Come on over and say hello!

Thanks - Greg Taylor

Monday, November 9, 2009

LUCERO - The Clubhouse in Tempe

I've heard of Lucero and heard them a couple of times so when the chance came to see them in Tempe (1/4 mi from my house) I jumped at the opportunity. Their managment was cool enough to put me on the list and set me up with a photo pass - although one wasn't really needed.

Jack O was also on the bill. He delivered a straight rock and roll set that disappointed none. A lot people came to see Jack and Lucero was a bonus.

Lucero took the stage around 10:30 and played about a 31 song set. A nice mix of old and new stuff and they took a bunch of requests during the show. Definitely worth seeing again. Good night, great music and all on a Thursday night.

The venue was small. A little weird how they separated the over 21 crowd from the rest. The lights we tough for photos - but I came away with a couple of keeper. My favorite is a Pedal Steel Guitar Photo - click here

I ran into some friends I haven't seen for a couple of years at the show. After talking to them for about 10 minutes it was no surprise why we haven'e spoke in so long. They are the cool kids. The cool kids that have nothing going on and you're a sell out if you actually have a 9-5 and a career. Real interesting vibe - wasn't feeling it at all.

Next post: Rusted Root and Crowfield at The Marquee

Friday, November 6, 2009

RCPM : Marquee Theater / Tempe, AZ

What a great weekend of music. Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers delivered rock and roll to a hometown crowd like never seen before.

10/30/09 "When in Rome" Highlights: The band played in full Roman gear and/or togas all night. I don't know how they managed to do so. The crowd, many also dressed in togas loved every minute of the 2 hour upbeat rocking set. The highlights for me were: "City Girls", "Louie Louie" and "West Texas Moon" - great set selection. The energy is The Marquee was amazing as everyone was ready to have RCPM play full shows back in Tempe.
photos of "When in Rome"

10/31/09 "Disco Nights" Highlights: Roger and the guys were dressed as The Village People and played all night in costume. At one point Roger said, "I think I found the one thing more difficult to play in than a toga," about remarking on his chief's headdress. This set was full of all the stuff I love to hear that isn't always played. I love Mekong and Nada - don't get me wrong, but this night was full of old favorites. "European Swallow" to open, "Interstate", "Buffalo", "Tributary Otis" and "Persephone". Just a great night.
photos of "Disco Night"

After one long night of RCPM security started to regulate alcohol consumption and weren't as laid back and chill on night two. That aside - it was a great two nights.

I want to thank Keara Zito from RCPM Management for photo credentials and allowing me access - I appreciate it.

If you've never seen RCPM - go check them out. You'll probably knock down a few beers and a shot or two
of tequilla, forgot all your troubles for two-hours and leave saying "Here's To Life!"

Link to my live music photos

NOTE: I saw Lucero and Jack Oblivian last night 11/5/09 and will post photos and a review. Tonight I see Rusted Root and that will follow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

First Time Ever Published - Uncle June Bug's Spicy Sweet BBQ Sauce

This is the first time I've ever published my original Spicy Sweet BBQ Sauce recipe. It took me about a year of trial and error to perfect. After three years of keeping it to my self I wanted to share it with everyone. (Who knew a vegetarian could make such a mean BBQ sauce - anyone see the irony.)


1 Cup Ketchup
1/3 Cup Beer (Fat Tire or a nice Amber of choice)
1T Cider Vinegar
1/3 Cup Honey
1T Chipotle Powder (I get ground chipotle powder at our local Farmer’s Mkt)
Juice from 1 Lemon
Dash Chili Powder
Dash Garlic Pepper
4T Worcestershire Sauce
Combine ingredients and bring to boil – while stirring.
Add Honey once at a Boil
Reduce heat and let simmer for 15-30 minutes

Enjoy! Thanks for all the support I received for the new blog.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ear Candy - Music Is The Weapon of the Future

There are really good things happening here in AZ. I wrote earlier about MADCAP Theaters and how they are revitalizing Tempe with the arts. Here is another: Ear Candy.

I had a chance to meet Erin Friday night and we spoke a lot about what they do and how people can get involved. Go to their website for all the details - but I'll paraphrase:

Ear Candy collects and distrubutes musical instruments to schools for in-school education and works with programs such as The Boy's and Girl's clubs on after-school programming.

Music has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up with a father that played guitar and a mother who loved music. I associate various events and memories of my life with certain songs and artists. At a young age I decided to play guitar and had encouragement throughout my life.

Ear Candy also has an emerging artists series which supports up and coming musicians and gives them a place to showcase their skills.

Do you have a guitar(or any instrument) laying around that is not played? This is the way to give it a new home and give the gift of music.

If you see Ear Candy at an event (and you will) I encourage you to stop by say hello and see how you can help. (Link to Electronic Press Release Video) - Enough said...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Life on the Move

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. — Ferris Bueller

I hate quoting 80's movies when it pertains to my life but in this case - I agree. My life has been on the go for some time now. I see things starting to slow down a little, but not all the way. It's not like it's bad at all though.

Tonight and tomorrow we'll be seeing one of our favorite bands (Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers) in our hometown of Tempe. Sunday (after a pool play soccer match) and depending on how RCPM wreaked havoc on me - I will be finishing my move. (Did I mention anything about being a huge Yankees fan and the World Series is also happening?)

Truth be told, this is an exciting and busy time for us (so please don't think I'm ignoring the blog due to my scattered posting dates) - we are going through a lot of change. Most of it on our time line and through our decisions and all for the good. So I'm not really complaining...

Life is what you make it (uh-oh I feel an 80's quote coming on) - and I'm trying to make the most of everyday by celebrating relationships, enjoyinh my music and photography, grateful for my health and our new home.

I'm on College Ave in Tempe  - we installed a new hammock in the backyard - so if you're ever in need of a place to crash - make yourself at home...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

RCPM Back Home For Halloween in Tempe

From the RCPM website (
[The biggest rock-n-roll fiesta in Arizona this Halloween will be at the Marquee Theatre.Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers return for two highly anticipated performances Oct. 30 and Oct. 31! To help everyone get into the Halloween spirit, each night there will be a different theme.Friday - "When in Rome" Toga Party. Saturday ? 70's Night.A $500 Marquee gift certificate will be handed out to the best]

I am excited for these shows for many reasons. Besides the shows (which will rock) being home - I am moving back to my adopted hometown of Tempe, AZ that week. After moving out of Tempe - just South to Chandler, a couple of years ago - I've been planning my move back. Chandler is good, just not for me and Tempe is home.

RCPM playing once again (almost) on Mill Ave. in Tempe at one of those cruxes in my life. Coincidental - maybe, but probably not.

So on 10/30 & 10/31 - friends will be toasting one another, singing and laughing. "Here's to Life!" (Photos and show reviews to come.)

Monday, October 19, 2009


It's amazing how often my interests in photography change. Initially I started taking skateboard photos.  Documenting friends and what not until I had the opportunity to shoot pros on a regular basis.  Then I went to landscape and Americana photography  - which I still enjoy. And eventually started shooting 35mm at concerts I would attend.

One thing I never shot was portraits. I'm not sure why. A good portrait penetrates a person down to their soul - capturing their true essence at that exact  moment in time. Something happened somewhere along the line and I got brave and started taking portraits of people.

I enjoy all types of portraits. People I know, people I love, pets, strangers etc. I enjoy it all.  Asking someone, "Can I take your photo?" Is really putting yourself out on a ledge.  Sometimes, I compare it to asking someone out.

It's a moment that you share with another person. A moment captured. A moment preserved forever.

I leave all the technical stuff behind. I like candid portraits. No studio lighting - no effects. Just capturing someone at that moment.

My favorite weapon of choice is my Canon 50mm f1.8 a/k/a "The Nifty Fifty".

Portraits can be seen at:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fundraising through Social Networks (Twitter)

This is not the normal topic of post found here. Typically, I write about photo journeys and music with a couple of random thoughts here and there. Today, the topic may be a little off the mark but still important.

There are two really interesting fund raising things in front of me happening through Twitter.

@tweetsforboobs : pretty much exactly as it says.  ReTweet that their message ( Tweet for boobs and pledge $1 for breast cancer research! I just did. #tweetsforboobs Please RT) and exactly that happens.  They keep track of who Tweeted that message and they will get back to you with how much you pledged and where to send the money.

Tweetsforboobs came out of an incubator think tank here in Phoenix (Gangplank) - here is their quick bio: An ambitious attempt by a couple nobodies to harness twitter for a good cause: raising $ for Breast Cancer Research. SAVE THE BOOBIES.

For more on the analytics on this campaign go to:

Simple... Harnessing Twitter for a good cause - food for thought. 

Here's another one.  Does everyone know @Drew? Drew Olanoff - the guy who blames everything on his cancer. (excerpt copied from his website:)

On May 20th, 2009, Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer.
Ever since that day, Drew has blamed everything on his cancer. Losing his keys, misplacing his wallet, Twitter being slow, the Phillies losing, etc.Why? Because you have to beat up on Cancer to win… and you can help out.Blame Drew's Cancer for anything you want by tweeting with the hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer and it'll come here. When Drew beats Cancer we hope to have sponsors that will donate a dollar for every participant to our partner, LIVESTRONG.

Awesome and cool but how can this raise even more money? By getting other people involved. My guess is that Drew was an early adopter of Twitter. He signed up and got @ his first name.  What's that worth?

It could potentially be worth $1,000,000 - Drew Carey (@drewfromtv) thinks so.  If he can obtain 1,000,000 followers on Twitter by the end of the year - he will pledge a cool mil to Livestrong in exchange for the @drew username.

(Here's a link to @drew & @drewfromtv on CNN)

These are two creative ways the power of social networks are being used for good causes.  My next fundraising post through social media will talk about how my company leveraged SM platform by spreading the word and tying it together with ROI

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Local Music (Part II) : What's Right on Mill

The last post discussed what bands I like from Tempe and what happened with Mill Ave.  Let's talk about the winds of change.

We had a shopping center in Tempe called Centerpoint and the anchor was a movie theater.  In a matter of a couple of years the economy tanks and the byproduct is distressed real estate - hence an empty theater.

I don't remember how long it sat empty - just as I don't really remember when it died.  People who cared about the city and recognized what happened, how it went awry and how to start change.  MADCAP Theaters is born in the old movie multiplex.  I wasn't sure how this all happened so I e-mail Casaunda from Downtown Tempe to explain.  Here is her email in it's entirety:

I asked her three questions: 1) What/Who made MADCAP happen? 2) Why? 3) If you wanted people to know something about MADCAP what would it be?

Her answers: Thanks for inquiring about MADCAP!  We are very excited about where we
are heading with Thursdays on Mill and MADCAP.

My organization, Downtown Tempe Community, Inc., is a non-profit that
works with the landowners, developers, businesses, and the City of Tempe
to make Downtown Tempe a unique and vibrant destination.  After the
economy crashed and we saw that we had this extremely viable empty
building on our hands, we decided we should do something about it.
Luckily, the owners of the building, Centerpoint on Mill, were just as
excited about the idea of creating an independent performance space as
we were and gave us a lease for a mere $10 a year!  We wanted to have a
place where local musicians, filmmakers, poets, comedians, and so on
could afford to perform in front of an audience, bringing much needed
vitality back to Mill Avenue.  After brainstorming, we came up with the
Mill Avenue District Community Arts Project or otherwise known as MADCAP
Theaters.  And thanks to support from sponsors and community members we
were able to make the necessary renovations to open in June 2009.

Since then, we have gotten a great response from local artists that have
chosen to perform there, such as Dry River Yacht Club, The Dorsets,
Captain Squeegee, Isle of Essence, Azul, and so on.  We have also
acquired the Midnite Movie Mamacita, Andrea Beesley-Brown, who has been
programming MADCAP with the best B movies and film festival fare in the
Valley!  She also helped bring Rocky Horror Picture Show back to Mill

MADCAP is extremely important to bringing back the local music and
cult-classic movie scene to Mill Avenue.  Historically, Mill Avenue has
been the entertainment hub of the Valley and we want to continue that
reputation by bringing together music, art, unique businesses, and
colorful people.

# # #

This is what's going right!  I walked around Mill last night and listened to four musical acts playing on the street.  Photos are available HERE Aftwards I went to the theater and listed to a jazz quartet.  It was a feel of old time Mill Ave.  Something I haven't experienced in years.

(MADCAP also had a poetry slam and a horror film showing in different theaters at the same time.)  I was disappointed that I was the only one in the theater listening to Jazz that was not associated with the music.  We all need to step up - show our support or this will go away.

If you ignore the local arts - they will go away.  In a town where we struggle to be noticed we have a good thing happening.  MADCAP is not the only outlet either.  We have the largest First Fridays Art Walk in the country, Venues like The Sail Inn, Yucca Tap Room, Modified, Rhythm Room , The Ruby Room and The Clubhouse all with good stuff happening plus local painter DumperFoo runs the best hip-hop night (Blunt Club) at the Red Owl on Thursdays.  There is something for everything : get out and enjoy something.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Local Music (Part I)

Listening to: John Butler Trio LIVE 7/2/09 (Quincy, CA)

I'm a fiend for music.  I like all genres and I've been known to switch it up from The Clash to John Coletrane to Public Enemy all within 30 minutes My passion since I've been in AZ (almost 13 years) has been the local music scene.

Most of time here in AZ has been in Tempe.  I have seen Tempe go through some changes - some good some not so good.  The days of Nita's Hideaway, Gibson's, Chuy's and Sun Club (both a little before my time in AZ) and my favorite spot Long Wong's are gone. 

[Mill Ave. has gone through a transformation from a hip artsy almost boehemian spot to an uptight corporate anchored part of town (well documented by the movie Mill Ave Inc. by Nico Holthaus) and now a movement of change is starting again.  Movement may be too strong of a word but maybe we can call it a shift.  (I got a little ahead of myself here - for more about the "shift" and what's starting to look right in Tempe will be discussed in Local Music post two.)]

The Gin Blossoms and The Refreshments aren't playing 3 nights a week somewhere in town.  But there are so many other good bands from our city that are worth investing time in.  Here are some of my favorites:

Kinch: (I used a photo I shot of them at First Friday's for the blog's banner)

Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers: Our biggest national act that tours relentlessly- w/ no signs of slowing down.  My favorite band to shoot photos of - (LIVE MUSIC PHOTOS)

What Laura Says: Energetic and creative energy at it's best!

Dry River Yacht Club:  DRYC is an ecceltic bunch of musicians that make great music and has a lot of fun.  Their shows are something to witness...

Black Carl: One of my favorite bands here in town but one that I've never had a chance to shoot photos of.  One night our schedules will align and it will happen.  BlackCarl has soul and a unique sound.  Another band that is a lot of fun to see.

Shelby James:  Sraight up Rock-n-Roll with a Honky Tonk flavor.  My favorite track is "Talkin' Words the Rhyme With Alicia's Blues" : Classic relationship gone wrong song with a stalker point of view.

Also we have an amazing Internet Radio Station here Radio Phoenix : These guys are tuned in to what's going on and who you need to check out.  Probably the best source of information regarding shows, bands and local music news.  Check them out.

How to support local music: Go to a show - support the musicians by paying the cover charge - it usually isn't that much.  If you like what you hear buy a CD or download the tracks from iTunes or another digital fee source.  Talk to band - tell them what you thought of their music.  Get involved...

Part II : What's going right on Mill Ave.- how to keep it going...


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Welcome to the new blog

Welcome everyone to the new blog.  Things are constantly changing in my life so I thought the blog should be no exception.  Truth be told - it was a real task doing it the old way.  I hope to be able to keep this more relevant with happenings.

September is almost gone and October is here.  Time flies.  I have four events (that I know of) to cover in October plus I am always looking for more opportunities.  It looks like I went from a hobbyist to an amateur photog to a freelancer. 

I have certain struggles that everyone has.  How do I monetize my photography?  The answer for right now is - I don't.  I am choosing to take a path that will develop a portfolio while not entirely shooting for free and without stepping on the toes of other photographers in the Valley.  It's a balancing act. 

Enjoy the blog - please post comments and make this a forum for thought.


Moving Real Soon...Combining Forces

What's up folks.  I am in the process of transferring my blog from to BlogSpot. What that really means for everyone - I'm not sure. My hopes are to have a tool that I can easily update more frequently and isn't so labor intensive.

So hang on - I'll let everyone know when we jump from one platform to another. Those of you who access the blog currently from the grtaylor2photo site - stay calm - no need to change anything - you'll be redirected.

Hopefully when I get this all dialed in I can post some details about my plan for the blog and maybe a little about me etc.