Aug 12

Shooting Ghosts: A Book by Finbarr O’Reilly and Thomas James Brennan

Shooting Ghosts: The Authors Finbarr O’Reilly and Thomas James Brennan

A U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back from War. A unique joint memoir by a U.S. Marine and a conflict photographer whose unlikely friendship helped both heal their war-wounded bodies and souls. “Brennan and O’Reilly strip away any misplaced notions of glamour, bravery, and stoicism to craft an affecting memoir of a deep friendship”.

Thomas James Brennan  is a retired Marine Corps sergeant who served in Iraq during the Second Battle of Fallujah, and as a squad leader in Afghanistan’s Helmand province with the First Battalion, Eighth Marines. He was medically retired in December 2012 and is a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Since 2012, he has turned to journalism and in 2016 founded The War Horse, a nonprofit investigative newsroom. In March 2017 he broke the nude photo sharing scandal in the military, forcing Pentagonand Congressional investigations that have changed legislation about sexual exploitation across the Department of Defense. Brennan profiled Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter for Vanity Fair and has been a regular contributor to The New York Times At War blog. His work for At War earned him a 2013 Honorable Mention from the Dart Center at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Brennan was the military affairs reporter at The Daily News from early 2013 through mid-2014, when he was accepted to the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. He earned his Masters in Journalism in May 2015. He won the 2014 American Legion Fourth Estate Award for exposing how government sequestration in 2013 hindered mental health care at Camp Lejeune, N.C. and at U.S. military bases worldwide, prompting then-secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to restore staffing and treatment to full capacity across the Department of Defense.  Brennan is based in Jacksonville, N.C.

Finbarr O’Reilly

October 23, 2010—We’re moving up a narrow alleyway about half an hour into the patrol when a machine gun muzzle flashes from a corner about 150 feet ahead of us. The curved alleyway is two blocks long with high mud walls and it’s barely wider than a car. We are stuck half way along it with only the wall’s contour as cover. The machine gun sounds like one of the Russian-made, belt-fed PKMs favored by the Taliban and capable of firing 650 rounds per minute. Our attacker fires in controlled bursts, ricocheting bullets off the wall in an effort to strike us. There’s no way to move forward or back along the alley without getting hit. We’re pinned down.

Marines break “contact” by moving. Remaining static is the worst thing to do in a firefight. Brennan radios in a contact report and orders one of his men to fire a 40mm fragmentation grenade toward the attacker’s position. Lance Corporal Dustin Moon kneels in the middle of the alley under a burst of covering fire and lobs the grenade forward. As an embedded photographer and a non-combatant, I concentrate on taking pictures as bullets gouge the mud wall above Moon. Having something to do in such situations helps contain my fear. My shutter whirs as a projectile from Moon’s weapon makes a distinct “plunk” sound, followed moments later by the crump of the explosion.

Brennan’s Marines kneel in the middle of the lane and fire up the alleyway, drawing return fire. Moments later, a volley of .50-caliber rounds from the Marine sniper’s Barrett M82A1A SASR rifle whooshes over our heads. The Taliban machine gun falls silent. Another nearby squad team of Marine Snipers manoeuvres to hunt the insurgents, but as usual the Taliban have vanished like ghosts into the warren of compounds and alleyways, hauling their dead or wounded away with them. All they leave behind are the metal casings of spent bullets.

Jul 26

Film vs. Digital – A Comparison

Film vs. Digital – A Comparison

Film vs. Digital: With film usage and adoption on the rise, we wanted to resurrect the debate of digital photos versus analog photos.  As a film processing lab we obviously have a bias, so not going to say which is better, but just to present the differences and list advantages.

While in Eastern Sierra Nevada we shot two photos, one film and the other digital. Both the digital photo and the film photo were taken with the same settings. The left image was captured on Velvia 50, taken with a Canon EOS 3, a 50mm lens at f/4. The photo on the right was taken with a full frame Canon 6D with 50mm, 100 iso and f/4. Both images are unedited. As you can see, Velvia 50 has very fine grain and has rich vibrant colors straight from the scan compared to the unedited JPEG from the Canon 6D. And yes, you do have the option to edit digital photos but there’s something special about making a beautiful image in-camera on film and not having to spend any time editing!

Also, if you’re looking for a little less saturation, there are other great film choices, like Provia 100 which isn’t as saturated but still has great color and fine grain or you could go with a color negative film which will give you more subtle colors and has a wider range of exposure latitude.

Film Photography Advantages

  • Lower initial cost than for a comparable digital camera
  • With a higher dynamic range, film is better at capturing details in whites and blacks and can’t be replicated with digital cameras. Also film can capture subtle details lost in digital photography
  • Film is more forgiving of minor focusing issues and exposure problems
  • Film captures photos at higher resolution than most digital cameras
  • Analog film can be pushed or pulled multiple stops when needed, but the amount of contrast within the image is affected. Some photographers use this to their advantage to create the ideal look they desire, but this method still does not allow extremely high ISO speeds without impacting image tones.
  • Film photographers with a limited number of exposures available on a roll of film must think more about their images before shooting them. Digital photographers tend to take pictures first and think later. Depending on your viewpoint, this is either an advantage or disadvantage.
  • Unlike digital cameras, film cameras are future proof and don’t become obsolete.
  • No power or batteries needed. Long trips and cold conditions can be limiting for digital cameras.
  • The Darkroom photo lab scans your film photos, now allowing you to edit your images on a computer with photo-editing software or share in social media.

Digital Photography Advantages

  • The resolution in even point-and-shoot cameras, which is often 12 to 20 megapixels is high enough resolution for large prints.
  • Digital cameras also have the advantage of being able to change film speeds between individual photographs.
  • The cameras are generally lighter weight than film cameras.
  • Memory cards are tiny and can store many images.
  • Instant gratification and images can be viewed immediately. Some film photographers consider this a disadvantage.
  • You can edit your images directly on the camera.
  • You can choose to print only the images you like best.
  • Many cameras offer built-in filters.


Jul 17

Secret Life of Humming Birds photographed by Anand Varma for National Geographic

As they whizz through the air in a flurry of flapping wings and frantic buzzes, hummingbirds appear nothing more than a blur to the naked eye.

Now, high-speed footage of these remarkable creatures has revealed an unprecedented look at the unseen details of their lives, from their tiny forked tongues to the intricate wing motion that allows them to hover in the air for upwards of 30 seconds at a time.

Photographer Anand Varma filmed the hummingbirds using a camera capable of capturing 3,000 frames per second, leading to a breathtaking series of images for National Geographic that now allows the fleeting activities of these speedy birds to remain frozen in time.

While the intricacies of this ritual become apparent at 500 frames per second, they were totally invisible when the team witnessed it in person.

‘There’s stuff that you absolutely do not see with the naked eye,’ Clark told National Geographic.

‘Put a high-speed camera on it, and you’re like ‘Holy cow! That’s what the bird’s doing?’

But, filming these tiny birds is no simple feat, the experts explain.

Not only did the task require the use of a 4K camera that’s capable of shooting 3,000 frames per second, but the team also had to build special tools to better visualize their movements.

Hummingbirds are able to flap their wings nearly 100 times per second, with most of these birds in North America averaging about 53 beats per second for a normal flight, according to the National Park Service.

And, their hearts can beat over 1,000 times per minute.

Despite their staggering speeds, however, even hummingbirds occasionally meet their match.

Over the years, there have been numerous anecdotal accounts of hummingbirds being captured and eaten by praying mantises.

In one such report, a researcher observing hummingbirds was drawn over to a flowering thistle after hearing a ‘shrill squeak.’

Further inspection revealed a Carolina Mantid with a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird in its grip, which struggled for about a minute before finally dying.

The report continues on to explain that the mantis fed on the bird’s neckline until blood became visible.

And, a recent study conducted by researchers in the US and Switzerland found that this bizarre feeding behaviour isn’t all that uncommon.

All in all, the team found 147 documented cases of the practice from all over the world, with more than 70 percent reported in the US.

The researchers concluded hummingbirds make up the vast majority of birds killed by praying mantises, with the Ruby-throated Hummingbird a particularly frequent victim.

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Jun 26

The Decisive Moment: Countdown To Photographing An Eclipse

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Capture12 Photography Tours and Adventures: A Personal Journey 

The Great North American Eclipse Road Trip 2017: Mesa Arizona to Rexburg Idaho 947 miles

So here’s the deal. I’ve wanted to see an eclipse for as long as I can remember and on August the 21st 2017 I have an opportunity to do so. I witnessed a partial eclipse in the UK quite some time ago, however, not only was it partial, but also cloudy and could only get a glimpse of it through the haze.


The only issue I have is that it’s almost a thousand miles from where I live in Mesa Arizona, and I’m on a budget. Flights are expensive but saves time, lot’s of time. Hotels are expensive but comfortable, safe and a good base to work from. So to sum it all up, I can’t afford to go… Or can I? There is an alternative, drive and camp! So a Road Trip, as they like to call them in the US is on the cards. However this is not my favorite method and certainly a new experience, but affordable.


I’m actually very excited at the concept of a Photo Safari road trip. I run photo safaris for clients but have never created one for myself. Horseshoe Bend, Bryce Canyon, the Great Salt Lake are just a few sights along the way.

Let the journey begin.

Jun 24

How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse


Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 12.19.22 PMWhereas lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye, solar eclipses are not. You must take the necessary precautions to keep from harming your eyesight. In fact, you also need to use a “solar filter” to keep from harming your camera’s imaging sensor as well as for correct exposure.

A solar eclipse occurs whenever the moon’s shadow falls on Earth. This can only occur during a new moon, when the moon passes between the sun and Earth. There are two or more solar eclipses a year; which occur when the geometry lines up just right, so that part of the moon’s shadow falls on Earth’s surface and an eclipse of the sun is seen from that region.


Partial and Total Solar Eclipses

The moon’s cone-shaped shadow has two parts, the penumbra and the umbra. The penumbra is the moon’s faint outer shadow and partial eclipses are visible from within the penumbral shadow. The umbra is the moon’s dark inner shadow and total solar eclipses are visible from within the umbral shadow. The track of the moon’s umbral shadow across Earth is called the Path of Totality, and it covers less than 1 percent of Earth’s surface area (typically 10,000 miles long and about 100 miles wide.)

A solar eclipse begins as a small notch slowly appears along one edge of the sun. During the next hour, the moon will gradually cover more and more of the sun’s bright disk. If the eclipse is a total solar eclipse, the last remaining minutes of the partial phases can be dramatic. The crescent of the sun grows thinner as the moon’s shadow approaches. The abrupt darkness of totality is stunning to view, and the solar corona is an awe-inspiring sight. The sun’s corona can only be seen during the few brief minutes of totality.


Annular Solar Eclipses

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon is on the near side of its elliptical orbit. When the moon is on the far side of its orbit, it appears smaller and can’t completely cover the sun. It is during these eclipses that the moon’s antumbra shadow (the extension of the umbra) reaches Earth, causing an annular eclipse for people who are within the track of the antumbra (also called the path of annularity). During this type of eclipse, you will see a ring or annulus of bright sunlight surrounding the moon at the maximum phase.

Just as with the partial eclipse of the sun, you must take precautions and use a solar filter to view the annular eclipse. Annularity can last up to 12 minutes.


Hybrid Eclipse

A third type of solar eclipse, that may rarely occur, is called a hybrid eclipse. A hybrid eclipse is the name given to a total eclipse that changes to an annular eclipse or an annular eclipse that changes to a total eclipse. They are sometimes called annular/total eclipses. Hybrid eclipses occur when the curvature of Earth brings different points of the path into the total and annular shadows respectively.

Feb 28

Capture 12 & 12 Captured-A Juried Exhibit by Mark Klett


12 Captured will be the next show at Capture 12 the gallery, in Downtown Phoenix. The call to photographers drew a lot of attention from numerous incredible image-makers from all over the US. The resulting 12 photographers were selected by Mark Klett and promises to be a great exhibition of work. The show, in collaboration with phICA, will open on First Friday, March 6th and be a part of the weekend long Art Detour

This exhibition will be on display from March 6th through 27th. The Artist Reception will be held on First Friday, March 6th from 6-10pm with artists in attendance. Mr Klett will visit the gallery around 4:30pm on Saturday the 7th of March. So put the date in your calendar and come visit.If you are unable to attend First Friday, be sure to join us for Third Friday, March 20th from 6-9pm.

Capture12 is located in the heart of Roosevelt Row at 417 E. Roosevelt Street, Phoenix.

Jan 20

International Call to Artists


Sponsored by Capture12 Gallery and Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art (phICA)

About the Juror: Mark Klett, world-renowned visual artist / ASU Regents Art Professor. Trained as a geologist, Mark Klett photographs the intersection of culture, landscapes and time. He established his artistic perspective on the American Western landscape as the chief photographer for the Rephotographic Survey Project (1977-79). His primary research interests include landscape photography; the merger of art practice with history and the social and physical sciences; and projects that examine the language of photographic media through technology. His photography is in the permanent collections of prominent museums in the United States and Europe including the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX; the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ; the George Eastman House, to name but a few (click here for link to source). Klett currently has an exhibition, ‘Then & Now’, at the Etherton Gallery in Tucson.


What?            International Photography Art Exhibition at Capture12 juried by Mark Klett

Where?          Capture12 Gallery, 417 E. Roosevelt, Phoenix, AZ USA 85004

When?            March, 2015 – Opening First Friday, March 6th (highly attended Art Detour Weekend)


1 – You may send up to six (6) jpeg images for consideration

2 – The entry fee is $20 for three (3) images of $30 for up to six (6)

3 – Internationally-renowned juror viewing your work

4 – 12 artists in total will be selected for the exhibition

5 – Photographs must be ready to hang

6 – Collaborative marketing by Capture12 and phICA


1 – Select 12 CAPTURED $20 or $30 from the drop down menu under the ‘Register Here’ heading, fill out the form and follow the instructions to pay the $20-$30 entry fee.

2 – Once the entry fee has been received you will be sent further instruction to forward your work as outlined below.

  •          Send a single folder labeled with your name.
  •          Include a maximum of three (3) to six (6) jpeg images sized at 300 dpi, with the longest side at 1000 pixels
  •          Label all images with ‘Name_Title_Year’
  •          Also include a Microsoft Word.doc with the image finished dimensions and sales price (you are not obligated to sell your work)

 Images without the above information will not be considered.

Important Dates

Entry deadline: February 10, 2015

  • Notification deadline: February 20, 2015
  • Selected work due and ready to hang/install at Capture12 Saturday 28th February, 2015
  • Exhibition opening date: First Friday, March 6th (Art Detour March 7th, 8th, 9th)
  • Exhibition dates: March 6 – March 31, 2015

Nov 10

A Book Signing Celebration

A Book Signing Celebration


A Book Signing Celebration



A Book Signing Celebration


at Capture 12 Gallery


November 22nd

 4:00 to  8:00 p.m. 

417 East Roosevelt St. Phoenix AZ 85004

 (602) 819-1480


C. L. Gillmore is debuting her second novel, A Friend Request, that tells the story of Rose Allison and Jake Richardson’s coming-of-age in Midwestern America during the late 1960s and early 1970s when free love, the Vietnam War, drugs, and rock and roll formed their lives. Forty years later, they reunite through a simple Friend request on Facebook.

Cheryl’s first novel, Uncommon Bond, companion novel to A Friend Request, won the 2012 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Romance Fiction.
Of Roots, Shoes and Rhymes, her poetry book and audio CD won both the 2011 Arizona Author’s Association Literary Award for published non-fiction, and 2011 National Indie Excellence Award in poetry.

A Book Signing Celebration



Ann Narcisian Videan authored Song of the Ocarina, a new-adult fantasy adventure novel. This is the first book in her Delfaerune Rhapsody Series, a trilogy about an 18-year-old New Zealander who discovers she’s the fae musical prodigy who must retrieve and master three ancient instruments to save her worlds.
Ann also is the author/singer/songwriter of Rhythms & Muse a women’s fiction novel and accompanying music soundtrack. She serves as a fiction editor for sweet-romance publisher Desert Breeze Publishing, writes and edits.


A Book Signing Celebration


A Book Signing Celebration


Sep 03

Capture12 Article in the Phoenix New Times!

Stephen Gittins Talks Plans for Capture12

with Katrina Montgomery

 Phoenix New Times!


Capture12 Article in the Phoenix New Times!

To read the article in New Times Phoenix – click the image above!

Stephen Gittins is all about making things happen. “If you’re not doing what you want to be doing, you need to create the opportunities,” he says. “You have to instill motivation in yourself to push forward and find what you’re looking for.”
Gittins owns Capture12, a business that started out in 2012 as a photography workshop and has slowly morphed into a multi-functional teaching and exhibition endeavor now nestled in the heart of Roosevelt Row. Earlier this summer, Gittins relocated Capture12 from a back room in MonOrchid to a piece of prime real estate just west of Eye Lounge.

“Being right on Roosevelt Row is great,” says Gittin. “It really is a prime space.”

Last month’s First Friday opening, featuring a series of photos by Abigail Lynch, proved this to be true. Gittins says the gallery was packed.

Curating a gallery is a new endeavor for Gittins, who still finds time to make his own photographs when he’s not too busy teaching workshops.

“I’m excited about the prospects but also a bit apprehensive,” he says. “Curating is like being a performer. The work needs to be of a quality and of a standard that engages people.”

Luckily, Gittins certainly doesn’t lack the ability to identify good work. After receiving an undergraduate degree in documentary photography from his hometown in Wales, he came to ASU to get his master’s degree.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 26

August 30 D-SLR Part I Workshop

 Register Now

for the August 30th

D-SLR Part 1 Workshop


August 30 D-SLR Part I Workshop


D-SLR Workshop Info and Registration

-SLR Beginners 3 Hour Workshop

From 9:30am until 12:30pm

At Capture12 Gallery

417 E. Roosevelt St. Phoenix AZ 85202





This D-SLR workshop is tailored to those who are completely new to manual controls. Terms such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO will no longer seem mysterious as you learn what they are and how to use them to gain creative control over your images. The instructor will guide you in discovering how to maneuver through the different menu functions on your digital SLR camera. This class is great for the beginner who wants hands-on practice in learning to use his or her camera.

August 30 D-SLR Part I Workshop

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