Travel Photos: Thailand and Cambodia

These are long over due but luckily travel photos don’t go out of vogue :-). Late last year, my wife and I traveled to Thailand and Cambodia. We began in Bangkok where we were met with heavy rain before flying over to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, to see the famed temples of the UNESCO world heritage site. We then flew up to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand which is known for it’s cuisine, cooler climate, and city life. Finally, we went down to the Andaman Coast of southern Thailand where we relaxed on the beaches of Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, and Krabi.

Sunset from the summit view point on Ko Phi Phi.

Thailand is such a wonderful country, from the hospitable nature of it’s citizens, the delicious culinary options, the dirt cheap (and amazing) massages, and the beauty of the country’s landscape. I definitely want to go back because there is so much more to do than two weeks can afford.

Here is a selection of some of my favorite images, even though there are so many other images that serve as a small reminder of all we experienced there:

The upper terrace of Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat at dawn from across its moat.
A metal worker arc welding in Chiang Mai.
Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai.
Inside of Chiang Mai temple.
Alley way in Chiang Mai.
Empty lot in Chiang Mai.
Dusk in Phuket.
Ko Phi Phi beach.
Baby monkey at Monkey Beach, Ko Phi Phi.
Monkey seeking food at Monkey Beach, Ko Phi Phi. Monkey eating in Ko Phi Phi.
Beached boats in Ko Phi Phi.
Sunset in Ko Phi Phi.
Sunset at Railay Beach, Krabi Town.
Dusk at Krabi Town.

Booking Headshots through Thumbtack

I recently started using thumbtack to find new headshot clients. It’s been a really useful and easy to use tool which allows folks to find me for photography services. The way it works is folks put out a request for a photographer, and then they wait to to receive bids from professionals in their area. So far it’s been great. I recommend folks try using it to find other types of services as well (I used it look for SEO experts for my website).

Here’s a link to my Thumbtack profile so you can get a sense for how it works: Jason Dixson Photography

Photography and Videography for the 13th Annual Cafritz Awards

Last week I finished video and photography for the 13th Annual Cafritz Awards for Distinguished DC Government Employees, hosted by the Cafritz Foundation and the Center for Excellence in Public Leadership (CEPL). I’ve been working on production for the Cafritz Awards for several years now, and each year it’s a very rewarding and humbling experience, as some of DC’s finest government employees are recognized for their remarkable contributions to making this city a better place.

This year’s award ceremony was June 4th, but my end of the process began months earlier right after the winners and finalists were selected, and filming and photography began to document their stories. I photographed headshots of each of the finalists and captured a series of portraits of each of the award winners, both of which were published in the program book. The longest part of the production process was the filming and editing of five short videos for each award winner, documenting the story of their major contributions to the city.

Each of these finalists and winners are inspiring people and serve as true role models to everyone in public service. To learn about their stories, you can view the short films I produced at this link.

Here are some of the portraits used in the program book:

13th Annual Cafritz Award Winners and Mr. Calvin Cafritz
Tonya Faust Mead
John Thomas
Beatrice Williar
Allam Al-Alami
Natalie Mayers

Here are some shots from the June 4th award ceremony:

Calvin Cafritz

Some shots of the beautiful program book with my photos that the team at CEPL and their graphic design firm put together:

Portraits with the Cherry Blossoms

It’s spring again in DC and the Cherry Blossoms reached full bloom yesterday! With a busy weekend ahead photographing clients at the iconic Tidal Basin, I thought I’d take this opportunity to preview some photos from this morning’s shoot with Stephanie. She’s terrific in front of the camera, and we had an absolutely amazing time making these images.

The Cherry Blossoms are only in bloom for a few more days (hard to know when they’re going to wilt, and it’s driven mostly by the weather). Anyone interested in setting up a session with me can reach out through the contact page on my portfolio site before the blossoms are gone!.

Convention Photography in Dallas

Last week I wrapped up a four-day endeavor to photograph BBYO’s International Convention 2014 in Dallas, Texas. BBYO is a Jewish youth organization with the mission of providing Jewish teens with meaningful Jewish experiences. The list of events ran the gamut and required a range of versatility to photograph the variety of scenes that the convention had to offer, including concerts, small group sessions, the convention stage, and 2000 teens spelling out letters on a football field (photographed from 2000 feet in the air).

It was a great experience, and really pushed me to see what I could accomplish in documenting this conference and the experiences of its attendees. Days sometimes lasted 20 hours, with every moment of it offering something new.

Here are some highlights below. The first are shots from the sky of 2000 teens spelling out letters on the ground after training in CPR, as well as photos of the field in the distance as we flew into position.

2000 teens at a CPR training day, photographed from 2000 feet above.

Here are some images from the convention main stage:

Photos from the breakout sessions:

Finally, photos from the main concert events:

I’m Quitting My Day Job To Do What I Love (Photography)

A few months ago, I read an Onion article titled Find The Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life. While the Onion is a comedy publication, the sarcastic sentiment of the article resonated with me: “It could be anything—music, writing, drawing, acting, teaching—it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that once you know what you want to do, you dive in a full 10 percent and spend the other 90 torturing yourself because you know damn well that it’s far too late to make a drastic career change, and that you’re stuck on this mind-numbing path for the rest of your life.”

Running my business full-time has been a dream of mine for several years now. Everyone I know in photography (or with any small business for that matter) started out gradually, testing the waters to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are, what business model they’re going to follow, and to develop a vision of what success looks like. My initial career path coming out of college was public policy, and my education and experience brought me to Washington, DC to pursue that path. Many great things came out of it including a good Federal job that’s taught me all sorts of cool and crazy things about our education and criminal justice systems, and it’s where I met my wife when we were both just interns with big dreams of changing the world (she might still have a chance).

Meanwhile, something new was sparked inside of me when I purchased my first DSLR as I was finishing grad school and brought it on a trip to Israel and Egypt just before moving to DC. I took five-thousand photos on that trip. “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst”, according to Henri Cartier-Bresson – I’m glad I got half of that out of the way. That trip, and the kinks in my photography it hammered out, planted a seed that grew — capturing the world, both places and people, slowly became my passion and I found a way to monetize it into something sustainable.

As that passion has grown, I’ve wrestled with the decision to leave my day job to focus all my efforts on this business. While I mostly enjoy what I do during the work-week, once you figure out what your true passion is, it ruins you for everything else. All this has driven me to take the plunge to focus on my business full-time.

Still, why didn’t I make this decision years ago? It’s been said, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet” — that point has finally come for me. After many hours of planning over several months it’s become clear that my prospects of success outweigh my risk aversion (risk aversion can be a good thing, without a little bit of it we’d do crazy, reckless stuff all the time). The final decision wasn’t easy to come by, and judging the “right time” was a tough call, but I’ve been fortunate to have both creative and business input from a trusted group of colleagues, friends, family — not the least of which is my loving wife. I’ve had strong support from some wonderful clients, who’s business and support were absolutely critical to this transition.

Office Studio

My new office space!

So, what’s going to be different going forward? For my clients: The main difference will be my increased availability to provide photography services. For me: The main change will be more time to do what I love — Producing quality images that meet my clients’ needs, whether it be commercial, portrait, or event related — Translating to more happiness.

Another big change I should mention, for both myself and my clients, is my new office space. I’ve established a studio space to work on strategy, shooting (when a studio is preferred), and post-processing. While I’ll still have a desk at my new full time job, it’ll be my desk with my hours working on what I’m passionate about. And since I’m doing what I love, I can’t really call it a job, can I?

Finally, I want to take the time to thank all my friends, family, colleagues, and clients that have pushed and supported me over the past few years. I’ve appreciated all your feedback, both constructive and positive. It’s helped shape me and get me to this point. I’m looking forward to new adventures and learning more than I ever have before!

CLO Magazine Cover

Last year I was hired by Chief Learning Officer Magazine to photograph for their cover story on Thom Terwilliger, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp’s (FDIC) top learning executive.

The shoot took place at FDIC’s facility in Arlington, VA. Thom and his staff were wonderful to work with, and we created a number of terrific images both in front of their building and inside the office where they work to provide for the agency’s learning needs and strengthen its corporate university. Here’s a couple shots from the shoot that were published:

Fun. 4th of July at the White House

Just got back from the White House as a guest at the annual USO Fourth of July show where the band Fun. performed. The show and whole event was pretty awesome and fun — pun intended.

Anyway, here are a few shots I thought I’d put online for the masses. Enjoy!

Fun performing at the White House

Fun performing at the White House

Fun performing at the White House

Fun performing at the White House

Fun performing at the White House

Fun performing at the White House

Fun performing at the White House

Concert Photo Catch-Up

In reverse chronological order, here are a few shots from concert sets I’ve photographed in the past few months. They’re long over due on the blog, but it’s kinda cool to see them all in one place. Thanks to BYT for the opportunities to cover concerts for them.

Escort @ 9:30 Club

DDm @ DC9

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony @ the Fillmore Silver Spring

Willy Moon @ U Street Music Hall

B.B. King @ Howard Theatre

Trey Anastasio @ the Fillmore Silver Spring