“A message to beginners, hobbyist and those finding their way.”

We all have to start somewhere. Motivated by something or someone that excelled in what we aspire to be. There is a mixture of arrogant, selfish, humble and helpful photographers and a few “tweener’s” who make it difficult or easier for those that are eager to learn and grow or expand their knowledge and skill base.

But, whatever your personal endeavors are as a photographer, make sure that your equipment and energy matches the environment and job/assignment that you are suited for. If you are a sports, concert or event photographer, it’s best to travel light and have convenient storage system for your equipment when not in use. Like a vest that holds extra lenses and accessories, as an example, a photographers back pack with some of these specs, some of you may require more:

  • Camera bag is designed specifically for digital photography enthusiasts
  • Photo accessory provides an ample amount of space to carry your camera, 2-3 lenses, and accessories
  • Backpack is impact, weather and stain resistant
  • Fully customizable with adjustable padded compartments
  • Messenger style makes it easy and comfortable to use
  • Outer shell is constructed of durable 600 denier ballistic nylon
  • Available in black with navy color option
  • Interior Dimensions: 12.6 inches x 4.5 inches x 17.3 inches
  • Exterior Dimensions: 9.5 inches x 7.1 inches x 16 Inches

Price and style may vary with these accessories. If you are a concert or sports photographer, know that you will not always be allowed to use your flash during the event or you may only be allowed to shoot the opening song of the first act (unless you are hired by the promoter or venue). This makes it even more important to know your equipment and settings – the right tool for the right job/the right settings for the right shot.

If you are a wedding, fashion or location photographer, portable lighting systems and an assistant are usually helpful in some cases. A basic knowledge and understanding of lighting is a must, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the same results. The type of lenses that you use are as important as the camera body that they are attached to. If you have a $2,000.00 body and a $150.00 lens, your end result could be disappointing. If, by chance you have a $600.00 body and a $1,200.00 lens, you are half way to your objective. What am I getting at? The lens and technology should at least be on the same playing field, based on what you can afford, although it is the quality of the lens that makes the real difference.

Technology has come so far, whereas the camera makes just about anyone’s finished product appear to be taken by a professional. And there are books and on line tutorials you can search for and review. One book that my be helpful for studio photographers is:

Christopher Grey’s Studio Lighting Techniques for Photography: “Tricks of the Trade for Professional Digital Photographers” (authors, titles, techniques and prices may vary).

So, whatever your subject matter, strive for perfection, accept advice and criticism, practice and travel in order to grow, we all must be willing to learn from each other…

No matter what the level of experience we may have.

“Happy Snapping”

Thank you

‘It’s easy to be a leader. It’s harder to be trusted.’ – k/d/morris (poet) 2011




Who is? What is? And, Why is…Operation Give Back: Photography


• This idea to give back was started in Philadelphia PA on October 16, 2010 when concert and experienced photographer k/d/morris reflected on a question that he once asked an experienced photographer of a specific question: ‘How did you do that?’ with regard to an image he had seen by the photographer. The answer was dismissive and life altering. as a result, Operation Give Back: Photography was born.

• The Summer 2011 Sessions and Exchanges began on April 16, 2011 and have met *bi-weekly on Saturdays for four months (until August) for four (4) to six (6) hours a day. (*subject to change)

• It is my intent to have this grow into a FOUNDATION with the assistance of corporate and private sponsorship and contributions that benefits a “universal” community. of photographs. I use Canon technology and have both Print and digital SLR’s.

• These sessions will focus on DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY ONLY.

• If you desire PRINT – we can discuss that for a future sessions.

• You must have and bring your own digital camera – any kind/brand and format (instruction manual would be a plus)

• Teaching and exchanging ideas on settings, conditions, composition and copyright protection, landscape, still life, event and candid photography, anything you desire. This is for anyone who takes pictures regardless of your ambition, level or frequency.

• We will discuss the pros and cons of posting on the web. Bring your ideas and experiences.
• The meeting points are always TBA at least one week prior.

• We being our walk shortly there after and I will Twitter and Facebook our location every 15-30 minutes for those wishing to catch up or join in.

• We will take break after two (2) hours to relax and compare images and discuss progress and ideas.

• It will be a community circle process where we will not compare levels nor praise one more th

Where ships go to rest...

Where ships go to rest…

an the other.

• I love photography enough to give it away” so that it will come back to me.

• If you have any cables, software or accessories that came with your camera, bring them.

• If you have a laptop, we will show you how to make it all work together and how to use your laptop as a secondary monitor to preview your images.

• Make sure that you bring fresh batteries and a carrying case with camera
cleaning kit and a plastic bag or clear shower cap if it should start raining while out.

• We will discuss “How to shop” for cameras and related items.

• For the more advanced photographers, I will show you how to manipulate your equipment for low and “bright” lights.

• Locations and times TBA

Answers to Some FAQ:

• Does it cost anything to join or participate?
NO. Just buy me lunch or dinner for my time.

• Can anyone participate? Bring family and friends Spread the word.

• Are there age restricitons?
Minors under 18 years of age MUST be accompanied by an adult.

• What if I don’t have a 35mm Digital SLR?
You can still participate. After all, it is a camera and we are photographers. It’s not the camera that makes the photographer, but what the photographer creates that makes history.

• What do I do with the photographs that I’ve taken after a group session? We ask that you share them within the group by posting them and include any information and technical data possible, including copyright notifications.

• I don’t know how to copyright my work and am afraid to post on the internet, how can I protect my work?
Photographs are protected upon creation. Additional copyright information and how to insure your rights can be found at:
Or email them at: contact@copyrightregistryonline.us

• In-box me if interested. All replies are confidential.

• Thanks for your interest.

• Email me at:

• Call me at: 215-645-7161

Thank you

k/d/morris –
Photographer and Founder
Operation Give Back: Photography

•• I have over 30 years experience as a concerts, event and fashion photographer with hundreds of references and thousands of photographs.

Thank you

“Failing The Past and Reunions Through Our Lazy Eyes.”

Here we are. In the “rest” of our lives. Reflecting on first times, last times and hoping for next times.
In between the times, technology seemed to be both a welcomed foe and adversary in the growth, appreciation and (no pun intended) development of the art and craft of photography.
Shutterbugs come in many varieties and exists for a multitude of reasons and purposes. The casual hobbyist. The enthusiastic beginner. The seasoned veteran and all that glitters in between. If any of those mentioned have more than twenty years of experience with a camera, collectively, we have witnessed the transformation of the camera and transition of technology, rather we welcomes it or not.
Resistance is futile. I tried and failed. Yes, we all fail at something or another in life. It’s all part of the growing and learning process – like it or not.
I failed at my attempt to remain true and dedicated to film cameras. My twin babies. My beloved and cherished A2E’s and the joy of photography they had gave in return.
I failed my Twin AE1-Programs when I set them out to pasture after I adopted the A2e’s.
I even failed my Mamiya RB67 (which I recently had repaired and cleaned) and it’s three backs: Polaroid, 120 and 220 with waist level view finder and “eye” cup view finder and those adorable cousins 90mm and 180mm lenses. I failed them all when after twenty five years of trial and error, light meters and contact sheets, in 1996, I succumbed to the welcoming digital age and invested in twin Canon 30d’s and a plethora of accessories, as I did their predecessors.
And here we are. Together. In this place were we once actually dialed a phone, walked into a photo lab or rushed to a publisher to be first in line with that “hot” photograph – in a time replaced by point/shoot/send/like/delete That’s it. Our car engines have been relegated to search engines. And our need to stand in the center of a crowd to display our ages as they dance across our finger tips has been anti-socialized to strangers viewing and “liking” our work on the Internet and world wide (spider) web.
I am not regretful in any way, but now I am on a mission to reunite with my beloved medium that once garnished such positive reviews in print media publications and personal sales. I am on a mission to bring the value back to a medium that started it all: FILM.
I have had more of my images published from print than I have in digital. Why? Not because I haven’t tried, but because anyone with a (digital) camera these days are sometimes referred to as a “photographer” without the work ethic and journey through film and print photography. There are digital photography courses and workshops, I teach one as well. And I only refer to and challenge those old enough to have experienced and experimented with film cameras and I am in no way deducting that: Unless one has journeyed through the land of discarded film canisters, their point/shoot/send/like or delete options are being used in vain.
I was told to “keep my (print) errors and learn from them.” So, I did. I learned from my mistakes and failures. I also accepted change and the point/shoot/delete and send options. They got me. Made my eyes lazy. Not totally, but technically. I have welcomed new opportunities to learn and share.
I often challenge those who make claims without study and rarely am I challenged. I seek challenges and get a rush from debates. I am not a drama king, but a healthy and balanced debate is akin to a game of chess.
Yes, it’s their journey, but one wouldn’t sit in a room full of doctors and only quote what they have experienced through “Marcus Welby, MD” or “St. Elsewhere ” to make their claim in the medical profession without study nor practice, right?
So, I have taken a private oath to stop being lazy (complacent) and to rekindle my relationship with film and my beloved A2e’s and my Mamiya RB67 and have invited and challenged my students to do the same.
After all, some of them have made a name for themselves through – and only through digital photography. Maybe because they may not be old enough to have experienced the red glow of a dark room and the stench of processing chemicals.
Again, i say that I don’t shun anyone’s journey. I am doing well as convert from an analog photographer in a digital age. What about you?
What’s your story?
Let me touch your pictures.
I challenge you to shoot one roll a week for a year.

k/d/morris is a poet and photographer from Philadelphia who teaches both subjects. kdmorrisphoto@gmail.com

Thank you

The Learning Curve and Spoiled Cameras

I recently had a conversation with a fellow photographer and we agreed that we did not have the luxury of “deleting” unwanted or imperfect images during a photo session or gig.

We had to learn to trust our creative instincts and insure, most importantly, that there was FILM IN THE CAMERA. Yes, film. That almost “prehistoric” medium that very few use these days. There may be some die-hard photographer’s who swear by the saturation and beauty of film who come across some of us who are spoiled by technology. Technology that we asked for, but did not pursue. A search that seemed to almost ruined the learning curve of actual photography. Making anyone and almost an instant Gordon Parks or Ansel Adams with the push of a button and nothing more. This also leads me to ask if there is a loss of respect for the need to study the craft of photography anymore? Most of us had “hands on instruction” that got us to where we are today. No internet search engines or blogs to help us. We had to walk or drive to a library, open a book or (don’t faint) an encyclopedia or subscribe to a publication (Popular Photography, Shutterbug…etc) or call someone with the knowledge that we sought. I just so happen to teach photography and remind my participants of the work ethic involved, the need to actually learn your equipment and the learning curve through trial and error.

I wouldn’t have ever thought that after Hassy and Mamiya introduced digi-back and Nikon introduced a digital SLR almost 10-12 years ago that we would be carrying digital cameras in our pockets or let alone, making phone calls with them.

Although I still have my film cameras, tucked safely away from dust and harm in a cool dry (high place) and on occasion, I only take them from their resting place to remind myself of my humbled beginnings and where it began for me. I want more for them. They are predecessors to my success and calling. They deserve more from me and I want to give them what they deserve.I will first have to buy some film and batteries for the Canon A2e’s and film for the Mamiya RB67 with two lenses and two backs and then pick a day to venture into the wilderness and relive the days of yore. LOL.

So, I would like to first begin an on-line movement to select a day – one day a year – that is dedicated to “Shooting With Film” Day next year, then DO IT! On this day, any photographer’s with manual/auto focus film use SLR camera’s around the country on this day, will go out and shoot (side bar: I was a dedicated user of Fuji 800 Pro – as a concert photographer) and take the film into the lab for processing, then scan the images and (as we had to in order to) post them to the web the old-fashioned way on a page or subdirectory entitled: “Film Day 2012” and share the links on a common site or social network that we agree to establish in honor of this movement.

Who’s with me?

Summer: Sun, Sand and Snapshots

How do we choose to document moments of the season? Any season? It seems that the summer brings people together for just about any reason.
But, the summer is almost officially over. For some of us anyway. The sun, heat, sand and outdoor gatherings will all wave bye-bye until June.
As a photographer, I take advantage of each moment to capture a moment. I like to view them as an opportunity to document people in a comfortable and natural environment and show the sweat on their brows, sand in their hair or food stains from a barbecue or wedding reception.
As an admitted opportunist, I also use the season to step out of my own comfort zones and take photos of things, people and places of little or no creative interest to me.
We all have our forte of topics/subjects we prefer to shoot. Concerts are mine. Anyone in natural or existing light performing and sharing with such emotion, I capture it through my lens.
Today, I did something that most photographers do while out with friends and family: I became “photo dude.”
Yes. “Photo Dude.” that dude with a camera and unpredictable way of catching you making the most unflattering expressions. Actually, I mixed it up a bit. I am eager to share these moments with you all, but your curiosity will only be feed via my website:
kdmorris photography in a day or so (still looking over the 258 images).
Once there, go to the “Summer” tab then, leave a comment via direct email or come back this post and share your thoughts.
Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoyed your summer and documented someone’s smile or sincere emotions.

Happy holiday.
k/d/morris – photographer

Time Really Does Equal Money

Any one who knows me as a poet, knows how much I hate using clichés. But, in order to make this point 10000% relevant, I will use one that we can also AGREE with: “time is money.” That pesky metaphor that places financial value on an intangible item.
How many times have you been running late or waiting for someone or an event to start that is “running late?” it appears that we will get a lesson in various metaphors as well. Because now, our “intangible” has physical capabilities – Time is probably out chasing your money…who knows(?)
Enough with the metaphoric introduction, because by now, you get the point that I am leading up to, all you require is the reason I am (about to say what I am) saying. Ok. Here it is.
I will take a page from some of my business experiences and apply the information accordingly. When making an appointment with ANY client, especially NEW clients, require them to pay a deposit for the time and services they wish for you to render.
This way, they have committed themselves to your craft and abilities. And make sure that you have the following readily available:
• Contracts: detailing the specifics of the services to be rendered and ALL expectations as well as EXCLUSIONS.
• Policy/Policies: Have them in plain view or readily available to give to your customer(s). Your policies should give specific details and conditions as they may pertain to refunds, credits, cancellations, “failure to show” and returns.
• Release Forms: Limited, full and conditional releases can be customized to match your contractual obligations and expectations and offer additional protections.
•Time management:
Once an appointment is set. Both parties should arrive ON TIME or have the decency to call if “running late” or not going to show. Conditions for cancellations should be specified in your policy and contract.
• Value of time: It took years to master your craft and the knowledge that comes with it. You may have taken (paid) classes, purchased and read millions of paragraphs on the topic or had someone become a mentor to you as you learned through trial and error. Whatever path was chosen, it was done on YOUR time, right?
So, why not put a price on your time? Your level of skill? Besides, it is you that is providing the service and making time to take time out of your already busy schedule to do SOMETHING for someone who should be (if not expected to be) respectful of your time. Agreed?
So, in closing. And I do not wish to take up much more of your intangible irrecoverable…
Consider why you do what you do and who benefits from it. And in the meantime, always be considerate of yours, mine and their time.
You can lose more than time while waiting on that metaphoric bus to come back.

k/d/morris – poet/photographer

“Things I’ve Learned and Share: Number Five. A Symbol Of Genius.”

When Marisa Barnes-Hopkins called and asked me to be a part of “something” she was involved in, with very little explanation, other than the purpose, I signed on.
Overwhelmed and determined, she made it happen. Which brings me to “Number Five” who sat patiently but was planning her objective as most forward thinkers would. I was tempted to challenge her in a chess game to see how far ahead of the “game” she really is (was), but there was no set, so we talked and took pictures instead.
Fortunately, I had to find ways to both identify them while trying to relate to them on their level (as mentioned in an earlier post.
It had appeared that “Number Five” was eagerly receptive and observant with a sense of cool about her. I witnessed her cool transition into creativity as she avoided the group to go on her own path with camera in hand – immortalizing inanimate objects and participants doing the same. According to (some books on) numerology, five is the numerical value of genius. I am a “five” according to the charts and have been tested as such. It’s what we do with this “blessing or curse” is what makes the difference. I chose to pay mine forward. Marisa had went from leader to follower by becoming the student and artist.
And I was amazed at how they all went from that teenage posture of disinterest to “do we have to stop right now…?” enthusiasm.
I felt the same way. I could have given them an additional 8 hours and spent hours sharing what i have learned from five teenage girls whose ambition, talent and patience motivated me.

k/d/morris – photographer

Thank you

“An open response to a question on Facebook: Sincere Assistance”

August 19, 2011

• This is in response to an individuals questions, who has expressed a strong and sincere desire to both learn and be a part of a (Meet up and community) group that I started almost a year ago called “Operation Give Back: Photography”

Hey, I just ran across your photography group and I am SO hurt that I missed it, WOW. I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures and have recently decided to pursue it as a serious hobby (which basically means buying a “cool” camera). Will there be any similar sessions in the near future? If not, would you mind entertaining some very basic questions regarding brands of cameras and basic techniques to help get me started? Look forward to hearing from you. Take care

Thanks for reaching out. We meet all year round. Whereas any member can suggest and schedule a “meet up” I am open to answering your questions. So feel free to ask.

Sounds good. Well my first question would be, what type of camera would you suggest for a novice photographer? I’ve been looking at the Nikon D5100 as I like some of the effects and if needed, it can operate as a simple point and shoot but I’m very new to this so I’m open to suggestions.

When it comes to photography – always consider your long term goals and objectives, even when buying a camera.
I shoot with two Canon 30D’s – both are pro cameras. I would suggest against buying a camera for “effects” – they make you lazy or can fail to teach you the proper mechanics of photography.
Always consider what and when you like to shoot and have the right (quality) lenses and flash unit available for the occasion.
Review some of our groups early post where we included technical specs of the images we posted. This will give you an idea of what is in store.
I am selling one of my cameras with a vertical grip and batteries (charger not included) for $800.00 (it sells new for $1100.00) I bought if for $1400.00. There are pictures of it on our page.
It is or can be an expensive hobby or a lucrative business for the right person. And it can be competitive just as any other business or hobby. Know your strengths and weaknesses and CONSISTENTLY GROW. We will be watching (your work). And be ready to have your work critiqued daily. It helps and I hope this did.

k/d/morris – photographer
Founder of:
Operation Give Back: Photography

“Sometimes We Give Back: Growth and Gratitude”

August 11, 2011

“Sometimes We Give Back: Growth and Gratitude”

This post will cover two genres of art: photography and poetry.Why? Because I am also a poet and I teach both crafts.
My personality was developed with a strong sense of community, where the term “each one, teach one…” is alive within me. I had strong community leaders and teachers that always allowed me to explore my creative energies and be more productive with my time.
I came to discover both genres at almost the same time and dabbled in both until I was challenged to “do more” or was told that I could “do better.”
Some artist back down from or avoid challenges altogether. Many have gone as far to speak against the learning or structured process of art. At first, I was an “anarchist” – I tried to avoid learning the benefits of how or why to “color and stay within the lines.” There is a reason for those seemingly insignificant rules. Rules are sometimes limiting as well as liberating.
How would we know if we are “doing something wrong…” if everyone around us is constantly giving us praise for EVERYTHING we do?
That’s why I am grateful to the following:
The man working the photo-kiosk cart in the Gallery Mall (1985) who gave me a “half baked” answer to a sincere question with regard to a process. To Corvelle: an elder photographer of Jamaican ancestry, who pointed out to me what was “right and wrong” with my early (print) photographs.
To Craig Davis and Bill Brown – then of Power 99 – for recognizing my drive and dedication to photography and holding doors open for me to graciously pass through and beyond.
To Big Bob Crippen who for no selfish reason, asked me to take photos of Eugene Wilde and The Dazz Band at the Robin Hood Dell East and Warren Haskins who allowed me to work with him and hundreds of artist and photographers.
To every newlywed, group, individual, organization, corporation, event coordinator, host and artist who called on me for my professional services…
I thank you all. For it is because of you all, that I am.
And the same applies to the poets, spoken word artists, educators, writers and audience members who motivated me in many ways as well.
Each of you are the reason why I teach both poetry and photography and played a significant role in my growth and gratitude.

Thank you,

k/d/morris –
photographer and poet


Hiatus until August 7, 2011

August 3, 2011

Hiatus Due to the Passing of a friend

I will be on a brief writing hiatus from the blog in honor of William Medlock, also known to many as KOP – Keeper Of the Peace, Kurakin Flowers who transitioned to become an ancestor last week.
I will return to complete my writings as they pertain to the series: “Things I’ve Learned and Share” next week


k/d/morris – photographer & poet

‘if you walk with your head down,
you will miss your chance
to make someone smile.’
k/d/morris – poet