You may already be off on your winter vacation, but we thought it was well worth sharing this amazing presentation at Austin, TX’s SmugMug User Group: John Langford and his two-year, completely solo, around-the-world Rompin’ Stompin’ Circus of Love Extended World Tour.
James captivated his way-larger-than-expected audience with his beautiful photos, engaging stories and his advice on how to live in the moment when on your own soul-searching trek.
Check out the latest on our SMUGs blog and be sure to get the most out of your next adventure, whether you find yourself in New York or New Delhi.
(And don’t forget to sign up for our virtual SMUGs for webinars, tips and more!)
Originally posted on The SMUGS Blog:
The Austin SMUG welcomed John Langford, a successful commercial, advertising, and editorial photographer, to their SMUG. Two years ago he decided he wanted to travel the world with a camera. He sold everything he owned and embarked on a journey around the globe that he dubbed “The Rompin’ Stompin’ Circus of Love Extended World Tour.” His travels have taken through over 20 countries, and the Austin SMUG was lucky enough to have him speak during a brief layover in Austin before he heads out for another year of world travel. There was so much interest in this SMUG event that our meeting had to be moved to a larger facility. Even then, it was almost standing room only at the First Universalist Unitarian Church in Austin with over 225 people in attendance.
John’s story is intriguing and exciting. He literally sold all of his possessions and was down to whatever necessities he could pack in a modestly sized bag when he started his journey. Even his camera equipment is rather downsized for a professional photographer. He chose to travel with only a Canon G12. Not only does this small camera make for light travel, it is also less intimidating when photographing people. An energetic and engaging speaker, John dove right in with a long slide show of images he captured around the globe, accompanied by interesting back stories. He showed some amazing shots of the places he explored and the people he met along the way. His shots are not your run of the mill snapshots. His images captured the personalities of people and the small details of their environments. A common theme in John’s images are creative captures of the small mundane details (he especially has a thing for brooms) that he said likes because they illustrate commonality in the world.
Averaging about a country visited per month, John has visited places such as Australia, Fiji, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Burma, and the list goes on. This was more than a sight seeing trip. John sought to actively engage with people along the way. He talked about saying “yes” to people and being open to opportunity. In Fiji, he ended up working with a marine biologist for a while, photographing fish in pristine waters with his G12 in an underwater housing. While in Cambodia, he landed a job teaching photography to children. On another leg of his journey, he was befriended by a monk who accompanied him as a passenger on a rented motorcycle!
Though he interacts with many interesting people along the way, John is a solo traveler. Of course, he misses his friends and a sense of community while traveling and he has to contend with the loneliness of solitude at times. He developed a mantra of empowering words that he speaks to himself in the lonely times. These words include “gratitude”, “peace”, “openness”, “creativity”, “joy”, “compassion”, “acceptance”, “humility”, “willingness”, “clarity”, “playfulness”, “expansiveness”, and “courage.”
John also shared a number of quotes that he finds inspirational. The most powerful in my opinion was that of Storm Jameson:
“Only one person in a thousand knows the trick of really living in the present. Most of us spend fifty-nine minutes an hour living in the past, with regret for lost joys or shame for things badly done (both utterly useless and weakening) or in a future which we either long for or dread. . . .There is only one minute in which you are alive, this minute, here and now. The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle. Which is exactly what it is—a miracle and unrepeatable.”
At the conclusion of John’s presentation, the audience erupted in a 2 minute long standing ovation. His words and images struck a chord with our group. Not everyone is in a position to take on an adventure like John. In truth, most of us can only vicariously live the adventure through his images and stories. Regardless, I believe everyone in attendance left inspired to live life a little more fully – maybe take a few more chances, maybe say “yes” when opportunity presents itself.
John’s images and the chronicle of his journey can be found on his site Cosmic Candid Camera. Prints of his travel images may be purchased on his site.
Submitted by Austin SMUG Scribe: Michael Connell
Michael enjoys photography in his spare time. Urban landscapes, night photography, and environmental portraits are his favorite photographic pursuits. He shoots with a Canon 5D and a Fujifilm X100.
Hectic holiday? It doesn’t have to be if you plan on uploading your photos (and videos) to your SmugMug galleries! You’ve already got your hands tied with hot chocolate, ribbons and last-minute gift planning, so here’s a few tips that will help make the picture sharing part of it refreshingly easy.
1) Show Off: Badges and Slideshows
This handy feature lets you build your own mini slideshow or photo mosaic to any size you wish, and gives you easy copy-and-paste code to embed it. You don’t have to know any nerd magic to get this going, and it automatically refreshes with new photos when you add more stuff to your gallery.
You’ll find this little feature a godsend for blogs, forums and websites. Anywhere that allows you to embed Flash objects. Here’s how to do it.
2) Guest Uploading for Party People
With all those folks at your house snapping away, you need a hub where guests can pool their photos and relive the glory of your massive decorating skills. SmugMug to the rescue!
Create a new gallery for your event and then open up the gallery settings. Set any word you wish into the “Upload key” box, like this:
The next time you fire up the uploader in that gallery, you’ll see a secret link at the bottom that you can copy and share. Your friends can visit that link and we’ll automagically pop up an uploader so they can easily drag and drop in their photos from the night.
Just remember that anyone who gets ahold of the link can upload to that gallery, so be aware when you share. More about guest uploads.
3) Make and Sell Photo Cards
We’ve been talking a lot about our holiday cards this year, but they’re so beautiful we just have to tell you again. And there is truly no better, easier way to take the best photos you’ve taken (or the best photos someone’s taken of you) and pair them up with custom, heartfelt season’s greetings.
Our catalog is bursting with new designs for everyone, whether your style is vintage, contemporary, minimalist or traditional. Or all of the above. Just look for the Buy button > Create a Card option in your favorite gallery and start building your 4×8 or 5×7 masterpiece!
Read all about cards, including how to price and sell them.
4) Custom Categories for Easy Navigation
Did you know that when our pre-loaded list of Categories (and sub-categories) don’t work for you, you can create your own? And that you can edit the URL that shows in the browser bar when you’re viewing your categories?
We make it breathtakingly easy to efficiently organize your site, share the URL verbally, and even get better Google juice. It’s like Christmas came early!
Take a closer look and bone up on the basics of Categories, then take it a step further and learn how to use Categories to your best advantage. This year, you’ll have your “I will be more tidy” New Year’s resolutions totally beat.
5) Picmonkey: Funky Photo Editing
Picmonkey may be our (unintentionally) best-kept secret. But if you haven’t already tried this smart, sassy tool to edit your SmugMug photos, run – don’t walk – to your nearest Tools button and find it now.
It’s built right into every SmugMug gallery and you can do everything from basic exposure correction and redeye fix to adding graphics, words, textures, frames and filters. And more. Tons, tons more.
It’s totally free to use — even their premium features, since they’re still the new kid on the block.
Check it out now and don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your photos.
6) Camera Awesome for iPhone and iPad
If you’ve got an iPhone or an iPad, you’ve got the perfect excuse to leave the DSLR in your office. You can shoot up to 9 fps with our free camera app, meaning you never miss a moment. And apply gorgeous effects and filters to make them shine.
Best of all, your shots won’t stay locked on your phone where no one will see them. Share direct to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram and back them up safely to your SmugMug account so you can visit them year after year. Download it free right now.
Bonus! Business features for Pros
Since there’s a lot of pros out there, here are three additional features we snuck in to remind you Business SmugMuggers that there’s a lot more to your website than just photos.
A) Coupons - A no-brainer for getting your customers a little extra nudge this holiday season! With a Business account, you can choose from 5 different types and create as many coupons as you wish.. which means you can tailor your discount codes to every client. Be sure to set an expiry date so they don’t sit on a good deal forever.
B) Events and Favorites - Intimidated? Don’t be. Events let you corral galleries into groups, so your customers can easily view only the photos that matter to them most. Best of all, they can tag and save their Favorite photos to a special gallery only they can see. All which makes browsing and buying a breeze.
C) Order Branding -This feature actually consists of three separate (and awesome) tools: Cart Branding, Stickers and Thank You Prints. All of them ensure that you and your brand stay connected to your customers until the prints are sitting in their hands. And you can easily switch up your Order Branding designs from season to season, so you look super organized… even if you’re not.
GIVEAWAY! What’s Your Lifesaver?
In the spirit of giving, we’re digging through Smuggy’s workshop and rounding up some of our best swag items.
To enter this giveaway, simply comment below and tell us which SmugMug feature you find helps most during your holiday rush.
We’ll pick a random winner and announce it in this space on Friday, December 7th, 2012.
From all of us at SmugMug, we wish you a picture-perfect holiday! And we can’t wait to hear what you can’t live without.
**UPDATE** The Magic SmugMug 8-ball chose Melissa Ponder as our winner. Congrats Melissa and we’ll be contacting you directly. Thanks to everyone and have a great weekend!
- How to properly show off your photos
- Let your friends upload photos to your gallery
- How to make scandalously good holiday cards
- SmugMug’s full catalog of custom photo cards
- How to master Categories and Subcategories
- Free photo editing with Picmonkey
- Free your photos with Camera Awesome
- Make and use custom discount coupons
- Events and Favorites: The easiest path to more sales
- Cart branding, Stickers and Thank You Prints