Patrick Roddie, Episode 005 Part 2 of 2

Patrick Roddie Show Notes Part Two

Welcome to Photographer In Focus. This weeks episode is part 2 as we look at the work of Patrick Roddie. Patrick Roddie is a San Francisco portrait and wedding photographer, Who is mostly known for photographing the people of Black Rock City or Burning Man.

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005 Patrick Roddie Part 2 of 2 | Photographer In Focus with John David Tupper

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If you are new to the show please give the first few shows a listen, with Scott London, George Post, and Michael Garlington and the first part of this interview today with Patrick Roddie.

These first few shows I’ve focused on the photography around Burning Man in the Nevada desert as I think it’s worth exploring as the most creative and artistic place on the planet.

This show, was recorded before Burning Man 2014 in the Nevada Desert. Our guest Patrick Roddie, next weeks Philipe Glade, and John Brennan were preparing for Burning Man 2014 when these were recorded.

If you have any questions please leave a comment at the bottom of this page. Or follow me @JohnTupper

Today, our interview with Patrick Roddie continues, We explore What Cameras and gear patrick brings, dealing with dust as well as shooting in such a harsh environment as the Black Rock Desert in late August. We also talk about how the light of the desert is different and what Patrick does to capture the moments of Burning Man. as well as a couple great photographer stories of Burning Man. I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

So how do you keep dust out of your sensor?

One main thing is don’t change your lenses another thing is dust happens deal with it, Another thing is put a UV filter on your lens element to protect it. He brings minimal equipment 50 mm lens couple cameras keep it simple.

Patrick uses 50 mm because that’s how our eye sees with a full frame camera. So when you bring your eye up to the viewfinder it’s exactly the same field this what you’re seeing.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2

Example of a good fixed 50mm lens. By using link on this page you help the show, Thanks!

How is the light different on the playa?

It’s awesome, awesome, the surface of the playa as a nice reflector and warm light to any scene it’s so reflective out there that you can almost shoot at night. Yes in the middle of the day the light is harsh but keep it simple because any journey that you do out there you have to bring lots of supplies, a crap load of water, Chapstick, food, you have to be ready. It can be supercold, it could be hot, you never know so what that does is it has you hauling all the stuff around.

Here’s a story about the playa provides.

Burning Man, Marge Simpson Hair in a Billowing Wedding Dress

The Playa Provides Patrick Roddie With This Amazing Shot.

(#3 Marge Simpson Hair Picture)

 This is the story of the blue haired lady in a billowing white dress. Okay he’s heading out on the Esplanade and he sees a woman in a billowing wedding dress. With a blue wig like a Marge Simpson wig. Because 2009 was windy and dusty a dust cloud picked up and created the perfect backdrop to just capture her in the moment.

He mentions that he didn’t do any work on the Marge Simpson image or any image for that matter.

Talk About Your Workflow.

Patrick converts the raw to JPEG and that’s it. He uses a program called Eyeview MediaPro which has become Microsoft Expression.

  • He looks the files over and marks the ones that he likes and puts them into a folder.
  • From that folder he brings those into Adobe Lightroom and converts them to JPEG.
  • Next, for Mac users he uses a program called EasyBatchPhoto that will put his watermark on each and every image.
  • As a rule Patrick doesn’t crop he believes that that should be done in the camera it’s part of the vision of capturing in the composing the shot.

Also he brings up a good point. If you look through the viewfinder and your thoughts go to… “Is somebody else going to like this?” you’ve ruined the shot because you put that thought in between you and your subject matter. When you unveil the barrier, when others look at the shot they feel that they person is actually looking back at them.

I read a Larry Harvey quote about radical acts. Patrick says that everybody feels that they’re doing radical acts out there at Burning Man.

But I think what he was going for before I brought up the quote was the the feeling of capturing somebody by taking the portrait, to remove all those barriers is to get into such a state of being in the moment, flow, that there is no barrier between you and your subject matter.

Arcs by Patrick Roddie

While in the flow Patrick Roddie sees Arcs

(#4 Arcs )

Flow. Patrick sees a girl with short spiky hair. And he thinks that he wants to take a picture because the hair kind of matches the clothing that she’s wearing. He looked at her side and said that she’s wearing earrings that came out with a little spike on it and from the side look like a little quarter arc thing. So the hair was kind of doing these arc things that jacket with toughed up was doing this arc things so he said perfect. So he had her turn her face away with the final arc being the eyelash. So the final shot has arcs in the jacket, the hair, the eyelash, and the earring. All this happened in 2 to 3 seconds maximum. That is flow. “That’s flow, it’s awesome! It’s really addictive and that’s what I keep going back for!”

Last story comes from 2005. Patrick is driving around the neighborhood and sees a pregnant woman. He wants to photograph her so he stops. Turns out she’s a burner, and knows that he’s Patrick Roddie already and her and her husband love his work. So he does the pregnancy shoot, and then after the babies born, does the newborn birth shoot in the hospital.

They invite him to their camp at burning man that year. Its back in 2005, he was still you using film, and it took a while to get everything together. Well during that time, his ride had fallen through. So he goes on Craigslist and finds a random guy from San Francisco to drive to the playa with. It’s a long drive he shares his story how about seeing the woman and doing the pregnancy shoot and the baby. He shares how he knows the people that he’s going to be camping with. So they get to burning man and he told the story without mentioning her name, her name is Mia. They get to Burning Man and go to will call, then pass security. And right after they go through greeters his driver turns to him and says “where you camped?” So Patrick gets a print out of an email out from Mia and reads where the camp is and this guy has also has an email printed out to the same camp from the same person Mia. Yes the serendipity and the magic of the event!

So how did you make a business of photography how did you take this thing that you do on the playa to that transition?

People started thrusting money into his hands and so he he went with it he said this is good I’ll go ahead and do that. But getting the work marketing Patrick’s doesn’t believe that this is his strong suit “I’m so bad at it” he then talks about wanting the skills of Gary Fong a marketer and a decent photographer.”I’m not a marketer my best work is flying by the seat of my pants.”he says he’s lopsided on one side and he gets by and people like his work but really could use somebody to help them out in the marketing arena.

Then we talk a little bit about his yelp reviews which are very positive and. He says he has 40 or 50 Yelp reviews out there but the 40 of them are hidden and. He’s just not good with social media, He has a Facebook page but doesn’t update it regularly, he has an empty LinkedIn profile, he doesn’t tweet but has a twitter account, or. His words, “I suck at social media.”

Patrick Roddie’s Yelp Page.

“I enjoy it, I live in San Francisco, I get up and go to Burning Man every year, I’m fed clothed, I do alright I’m happy!”

“You should be doing whatever you’re doing because you enjoy that,  not as a means to an end.” -Patrick Roddie

Do you have any projects on the horizon that you can speak about?

Patricks Burning Man 2014 Gallery

Where can people find you Patrick?

Patricks website:

“My website is, that’s where people can find me.”

“I’ll photograph who you are, not just what you look like”


Thank You Patrick for your kind words while putting together these two episodes. It’s been a honor to share this with the world. I do this to focus on the work of hard working photographers crazy enough to spend countless hours and money to produce exceptional photography. This photography be it craft or art has been featured in the top museums and galleries around the world.

If you have any comments please use the comment section below. Thanks for your time let me know what you want to know and Ill see if I can help. Please take a moment to give the show a rating by using the links to iTunes and Sticher at the top of this post. Thank You!


  1. Howdy just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking
    issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same outcome.

    • John David Tupper says:

      I hope it’s fixed now. It’s a bit of a learning curve learning how to set up this stuff. Thanks for the comment.


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