Bridging the Gap from Marketing to Sales

Why is it that one of the biggest challenges businesses face today is getting their sales and marketing organizations singing of the same sheet of music? Isn’t it simple, Marketing develops all these beautiful brochures, zippy websites, sexy ads, huge direct mail campaigns, email blasts, trade show exhibits, and more… the customers are going to love what we sell. All Sales has to do is take orders, right? Well, its a little more complicated than that. The company needs to be unified by a purpose for existence with its employees empowered to deliver on the brand promise. So how is it done? It starts with leadership, vision, and culture. Then it fans out to corporate identity, company voice, customer experience, and consistency. Branding, marketing, selling, and delivering naturally devolve from the vision. Read on and I will share my secrets to building a high performance sales and marketing team.

The Key to Peak Sales Performance

The Key to Peak Sales Performance

The basic problem with most revenue deficiencies is either (1) obsolete or defective products/services or (2) a lack of trust (with the brand). Here, I’m going to address the (lack of) trust problem. Trust creates value through increased revenue streams. When customers trust the brand, they buy the products and services. Trust is the ultimate goal of all selling and marketing activities. Brands like Apple and Coca-Cola are both the most trusted and most valuable brands in the world. The first pillar of building trust is consistency; consistency in messaging, consistency in quality, consistency in fulfillment, and consistency in customer experience. When all arms of the organization work together to deliver a consistent message and consistent customer experience, trust is earned. Consistent repetition of the customer experience teaches the consumer to expect a similar experience whenever they come into contact with the brand. Consistency is best achieved when every person in the organization is innately driven to deliver on the brand promise. Employees are empowered to make decisions based on a clearly articulated business culture; a culture that also aligns with their personal value system.

Next I’m going to share with you the keys to successfully hiring talent that will energize your organization and elevate it to peak performance. Then I’m going to show you how the “right” salespeople can leverage their instinct to reach peak performance using the savvy tools created by your marketing team.

Throughout my career I have been privileged to be coached and mentored by some of the top performers in sales, marketing, and human resources. I worked for companies that wrote the book on branding. I consulted with numerous companies on business processes improvements. I advised senior executives on talent acquisition and retention and I helped companies refocus their company culture. With all this experience, I’ve synergized the best practices from these disciplines into an overall strategy for achieving peak performance in revenue generation and customer retention. It is important to note that a peak performance sales organization can not exist without a peak performance organization creating and delivering the products and services being sold. The organization must support the sale with credible proof of the promises and it must follow through after the sale to deliver the promise. Failure at any point in the process undermines trust and erodes sales performance.

The first prerequisite for a peak performing organization is a strong corporate culture. At the heart of an effective corporate culture is a list of core values, not only stated but practiced by the leadership team. When the leadership team has a set of shared core values they act as a cohesive team. On the contrary when the leadership team has divergent values, they act politically and competitively against each other to obtain power at the expense of organizational productivity. I’ve seen some outstanding organizations (and their brands) destroyed by making a poor leadership decision. As the old saying goes “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch”. Home Depot is a classic example where Bob Nardelli, although an excellent executive at GE, was the wrong choice as CEO for Home Depot. His style (and value system) focused on operational excellence, metrics, process, and cost reduction. He hired into an organization with a culture of customer service where managers were empowered to “break the rules” if needed to make the customer happy. Under the leadership of Bob Nardelli, the Home Depot brand was destroyed, shareholder wealth was diminished, customer loyalty was obliterated and Home Depot became the Walmart of hardware stores. Without going into numerous case studies of good and poor leadership decisions, lest I say more, a values-aligned leadership team is key to developing a culture that empowers employees to create consistency, ignite the brand, engage the customer, and fuel revenue growth.

Contact me if you are interested in learning the techniques I developed to recruit, screen, and place top talent possessing core values aligned to the company’s business culture.)

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs father of the “Apple Experience”

Now that we understand that top performing organizations require a culturally-aligned leadership team, the next step is to understand how that devolves into a company culture that operates at peak performance. The leadership team must develop a set of guiding principles that clearly articulate the core values of the leadership team. Every person should understand and practice the core values in their day to day work practices. All new hires must be evaluated first against the values matrix and secondly against the job proficiencies matrix. Only candidates who score high on values alignment should be considered for employment. Once they are hired, they will innately behave in ways that the organization rewards which in turn creates a more agile and competitive organization as well as a more satisfied employee. I can tell you from first hand experience, recruiting a happy employee is one of the most difficult and unrewarding efforts a recruiter can undertake – even big money opportunities may not be enough to shake a happy employee from an empowered position.

In addition to a set of clearly articulated and practiced core values, leadership must create a vision for the organization’s purpose – a “charter” for existing. All products and services offered must advance that vision. At Apple, “the Apple experience” was all about the role technology plays in people’s lives. Every product served to advance the technology experience. Apple’s former VP of Worldwide Communication explains how the vision about a product, driven by the corporate charter and company culture led to some of the most successful products:

What was important about that is the marketing team was right next to the product development and engineering teams. So we understood deeply what was important about the product, what the team’s motivations were in the product, what they hoped that product would achieve, what role they wanted it to have in people’s lives. And because we were that close, we were able to translate that very clearly in all of our marketing and communications.

The company culture and its purpose for existing form the umbrella under which all the products and services are fleshed out into distinctly branded offerings. Each offering extends the overarching brand promise into a specific proof statement of how the promise is fulfilled. There is a brand which we all know that promises “good times” in all its marketing. The company makes is a point to have its logo (and products) available at “fun” events (concerts, movies, sports events, etc.) and almost anywhere people and their families are gathering for good times. One of their most recognizable ad campaigns starts out with “Things go better with….” Yes, you guessed it, Coca-Cola, another one of the world’s most recognized brands. Refreshment coupled with good times strengthens the brand experience and creates brand loyalty. I worked at Coca-Cola during the era known as “the Cola Wars” and people became fanatical about their brand of sugar water. Was it driven by flavor or was it the experience that people came to know as “The Real Thing”? Now think about all the related brands offered by Coca-Cola. Diet Coke, Tab, Cherry Coke, Mr. Pibb, Coke Zero, etc., they all promise that you will have a fun time with their refreshment and they add a special demographic promise for each of the related products. The lesson to be learned from Coca-Cola and other super brands is that “the promise” is inherited by all the products and that promise must be fulfilled and extended by the product offering. In addition to culture stemming from shared values at the top and a clear vision for the organization’s existence, the company must speak with a common voice — that is where sales and marketing enter the picture.

Black Friday Shoppers

Buyers are not going to bust down the door unless you are Walmart and its Black Friday

OK, so we’ve developed a brand that reflects the culture and purpose of the organization and we’ve hired a band of people who love and live the brand, now how do we turn that into peak sales performance? Your probably saying just have the sales people tell the story that our marketing gurus crafted and the customer will be throwing themselves at the salesperson like midnight madness shoppers at Walmart on Black Friday. If you have the advertising budget of Coca-Cola or Apple Computer that just might happen but for the small and mid-size business that is not going to happen; it takes more sophisticated selling. The sales team has to serve as the mouth of the organization educating prospects about why they need the products and this is where it gets challenging. Salespeople must be good listeners before they can be effective brand representatives. One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make when they confront a prospect is to start spouting off a list of features hoping the list is long enough that the prospect finds one that interests them (think ice cream shoppe). This approach only works when the prospect already knows what they want and the salesperson merely directs them to the correct size, color or flavor.

More complex sales require the salesperson to evolve a latent need into a conscious need then match the company’s offering to that need. During the sales process, the salesperson must articulate benefits using the lexicon developed by the marketing organization. Just as an advertising campaign repeats a slogan over and over to create recognition, the salesperson must speak the proper lexicon when describing the offering to leverage and reinforce the brand. The salesperson is most likely to internalize and articulate a specific selling lexicon when the lexicon was developed from a business culture that aligns with his personal value system. Salespeople, like everyone else in the organization must be hired to a values-based profile, they must understand the company’s purpose for existing, know how the products improve people’s lives (fulfill the promise), and they must have an empathic ability to understand people’s emotions.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Complex sales require two types of motivators. These motivators are referred to as “public” and “personal” motivations. Public motivations are logical reasons to buy and can typically be justified in writing such as in an RFP analysis. Personal motivations are by definition kept secret and hidden from public view but play just as powerful a role in the decision process. For a sale to occur, (1) There must be “pain” – the prospect must have and understand an unfulfilled need, (2) the prospect must “feel the pain” – prioritize and consciously understand the consequences of going without having that need fulfilled, and (3) The prospect must want the “painkiller” – believe the offering fully satisfies the unfulfilled need above all other options. In addition to developing the pain and providing the painkiller, the sales professional must understand how to unseat the prospect from his comfort zone. The effective sales professional must find the proper positive and negative emotions to move the prospect to action. The pain-painkiller solution provide the logical or “public” reasons for the purchase decision but only the emotional triggers will move a hesitant decision forward to action. The emotional triggers are personal, intangible pains that need to be satisfied. The painkillers can include recognition, love, patriotism, self esteem, pride, altruism among others. Once a salesperson has mastered the process of developing the pain and motivating the prospect, they must be able to execute with an internally directed set of values that reflect the company culture, brand and product offerings using the company voice and related tools. A professional salesperson will have helped a customer make a sound business decision as well as fulfill their higher level personal needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy.

There are numerous sales models for different industries whether B2B or B2C. Each customer and industry has unique dynamics to consider when developing your sales methodology. This article is intended to discuss sales and marketing in a general manner, your organization should implement a sales methodology that incorporates these general concepts but adapts them to the specifics of your business environment. Contact me for more information on tuning your sales and marketing organization for peak performance.

Check back here for my next article which explains how social media is used to develop trust and discover prospects.

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Model: Taylor Montague at South Beach

taylor montague

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Portfolio Shoot

Model: Taylor Montague
Agency: Next Models – Miami Beach
Photographer: Sam Dobrow
Location: South Beach, Miami Beach, FL
Date: Feb 19, 2014

Posted in Lifestyle, Models | Comments closed

Impressions from Art Wynwood 2014

Art Wynwood 2014

Art Wynwood 2014

It’s art season in Miami so I make it a point to visit as many of the art shows as possible to take a pulse on current trends in fine art and especially fine art photography. Over the 2014 Valentine’s Day weekend there were two art events in town, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival (CGAF) and Art Wynwood. CGAF is a huge art festival presenting arts and crafts from numerous emerging and established artists without gallery representation; whereas Art Wynwood is a large organized exhibit by art galleries from across the world. Both shows exhibit contemporary art and photography.

Although the CGAF is a huge show with easily a mile of tents to peruse, I was disappointed by the quality of the art. This is not to say that there were no good artists but, they were far and few between. The price point seemed to be under $1000 though I did see some large pieces going for quite a bit more. It seemed to me that the food venders were the ones making the sales as the crowd worked up an appetite strolling the streets on this beautiful afternoon. Because of the diversity of the show, I can’t draw any conclusions about the current trend in art from this event other than people will purchase art on a whim if the price is below $1,000 and they can walk away with it. So the rest of this story will be focused on my observations at Art Wynwood which seems to have a more consistent theme marketing to the high end art buyer.

01-A-03897-CGAF-Art Wynwood

Art Wynwood is a contemporary art show, most of the artists are still living, and the art on exhibit was curated by art galleries targeting an international art buyer. Most of the art on display was traditional wall art (paintings, graphic art, and photography) with sculpture a close second. A few galleries were showing digital images, video, and other electronic compositions.

The slideshow below presents what I consider to be the best of Art Wynwood 2014 and represents the current art trends exhibited at Art Wynwood 2014.

Best of 2014 Art Wynwood

[img src=]13930Solid Bronze Sculpture
This bronze sculpture makes a statement about man using a beautiful golden bronze patina.
[img src=]13780Optical Illusion
Graphic illustration on a "pop art" surface where the lines of perspective drawn to the vanishing point actually protrude toward the viewer not away from the viewer. The resulting illusion causes the vanishing point to float as the viewer moves from side to side. It is virtually impossible to unscramble the illusion until the viewing angles is from the extreme side.
[img src=]13540Multimedia application to photography
Photography of the nude abstracted by shooting through a back lit diffuse material further abstracted by writing on the print and encasing surface elements with a translucent epoxy-like resin.
[img src=]13430Abstract Painting
An interesting deviation from the edgy disturbing standard in modern art, this artist paints abstract landscapes with color and soft lines to convey a sense of relaxed and peaceful energy.
[img src=]13290Metal Sculpture
Ultra contemporary sculpture of two heads with an etched look using a pewter, nickel or zinc type of metal.
[img src=]13210Textured multimedia on canvas
Heavy use of paint and textured material to create an abstract image enhanced by edge lighting to emphasize the textures and 3-dimensionality.
[img src=]13130Digital photographic manipulation for composition
An imaginary world assembled from many photographic images to create a unique artistic expression.
[img src=]13020Iconic celebrity photography
Behind the scenes photography of The Beatles on their initial US tour

Current trends in sculpture lean heavily toward presentations of the human form in abstraction whether that be from the technique, materials, or distorted dimensions. High quality craftsmanship, materials, and finishing seem to be the key factors. Ultra modern geometric works are not as prevalent this year. One new theme surfaced using neon signs with emotionally disturbed phrases to make a statement.

Sculpture Trends at Art Wynwood 2014

[img src=]4050Contemporary Etched Bust
[img src=]3960Cracked Head
[img src=]3790Conceptual Figurative Art
[img src=]3680Abstracted Human Figure
[img src=]3660Distorted Human Form
[img src=]3540Realistic Figure Sculpture
[img src=]3510Ceramic Bust of Two Women
[img src=]3500Ceramic Sculpture
[img src=]3450Devilish Bull
[img src=]3110Political Art
[img src=]3070Light Sculpture
[img src=]3360Abstract String Art
[img src=]3340Sculpture on Stage
[img src=]3330Geometric Art

One artist from Asia created a collection of figurative sculptures depicting the same female at several stages of body mass ranging from anorexic to extremely obese. The video below shows each figure as viewed walking around the display.

Popular styles in photographic art include mixed media, digital composition, figurative art, and iconic celebrity shots (Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis). Nudes and figurative art dominate the photographic scene followed by “can’t loose” iconic photos of celebrities. Digital compositions of numerous images are combined to create extreme altered realities. Some of the more engaging images effectively blend size, lighting and perspective to create a seamless integration of the different images.

Photography at Art Wynwood 2014

[img src=]4960Abstract nude mixed media
[img src=]4850Digital Composition
[img src=]4740Digital Composition
[img src=]4610Iconic Beatles Photographs
[img src=]4500Young Elizabeth Taylor Photographs
[img src=]4450Marilyn Monroe Cover Photo for Life Magazine
[img src=]4390Abstractions of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe
[img src=]4330Nudes in distressed setting
[img src=]4300Woman in Pool Illuminated Display
[img src=]4000Landfill

Emerging trends in photography include 3-D imaging with and without special eyewear. The video below presents a 3-D photographic image of a nude woman swimming in a pool. The effect is attained without the use of special eyeglasses using a prismatic optical surface.

Optical illusion created by “pop art” graphic illustration is a new trend in the art scene. Artists construct a “pop out art” surface for their graphic art. A traditional perspective drawing is deconstructed such that the lines converging upon the vanishing point protrude outward toward the viewer rather than away as the mind’s eye expects. This inversion of perspective causes the image to float the vanishing point as the viewer moves his viewing point. The video below shows the illusion and exposes the technique as the camera moves to the far side of the artwork. Even after the trick is exposed, the illusion is nearly impossible to deconstruct. It is yet to be determined if this style of art is a fad or something to evolve after people get over their fascination of the illusion. Perhaps the form will be adapted to photographic exhibits and life size backdrops for film.

Paintings are a mainstay of wall art. Most of the contemporary paintings tend to be “disturbed art” creating an edgy perception of tension, anti-utopian worlds, and dark demons with sharp edges, harsh color combinations, and textures. It is unusual to find something modern or abstract that presents a feeling or warmth, calmness, or peacefulness.

Paintings at Art Wynwood 2014

[img src=]2990Abstract
[img src=]2920Dark
[img src=]2790Abstract
[img src=]2700Abstract Nude
[img src=]2670Abstract
[img src=]2630Dark Portrait
[img src=]2600Multimedia Trash
[img src=]2580Uplifting Abstract Landscape
[img src=]2570Mao Zedong by Andy Warhol
Classic Warhol, need we say more
[img src=]2530Abstract Portraiture
[img src=]2500Landscape
[img src=]2500Large Scale
[img src=]2460Dance
[img src=]2450Eerie Portraiture
[img src=]2440People interacting with art
[img src=]2430Texture and multimedia paintings

Digital technologies are evolving in the ultra-contemporary scene with lighted mirrors, computer synchronized LED lamp sculptures, and video presentations of pseudo-medical procedures.

Mirror Art

Mirror Art

In Summary, I am not a huge fan of the contemporary art being exhibited by galleries these days because it is mostly focused on the disturbed vision of an artist. There is too much emphasis on creating discomfort in the viewer. I see the world as a beautiful place. When I create art, my intention is to take you away into a world of beauty. When I speak to gallery owners and ask them how business is doing the typical response is a painful groan followed by something like “people are still not spending much on art”. When I look at what is being marketed, it seems obvious to me. Life is tough, people don’t want to look at something that makes them uncomfortable and they certainly don’t want to spend their hard earned money on something that reminds them of misery. Well, Albert Einstein once said insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Is it possible all these gallery owners are insane or is it me?

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The Art of Perceptualism in Photography

For several years I have been developing a style of post processing for my images which I call “Perceptualism”. Perceptualism is the expression of how I perceive the experience. I choose to push the contrast, saturation and sharpness to a level of abstraction to emphasize details that typically go unnoticed as we walk on by. When I capture an image, I look for interesting graphic elements and compositional lines in a scene then focus on the story it tells. Back in the digital darkroom, I experiment with color, sharpness and texture to develop the desired outcome. This article looks back at the history of photographic art to provide a foundation for the new direction I am exploring.

I began my work in photography with black and white. I learned to look at the scene through my viewfinder as if it were monochromatic with an emphasis on light and shadows to create form and mood. The abstraction of black and white did not change the content but it could definitely change it’s perception. With the advent of digital photography, I began to see opportunities to add different levels of abstraction to the image. Those abstractions did not change the content but they certainly did alter the perception of the image and its representation. My choice of abstractions, focus, contrast, colors and hues are carefully constructed to convey my perception of the composition.

Photography began in the early 1800′s as a tool to record visual experiences as “truths” to be believed because of their documentary quality. The first photographs captured images in a grainy monochromatic format. As the science progressed, photographic images increased in resolution and contrast providing much more realistic images. But soon after the invention of photography, the debate began as to whether photography could also be art. As early as 1869 Henry Peach Robinson created realistic but imaginary images by combining numerous negatives into a single composition. Robinson’s images were artistic creations though they looked like “truthful” photographs.

Robinson’s When the Day’s Work is Done (1877). Combination print made from six different negatives.

Artistic expression in photography evolved with somewhat distorted, toned, or blurred images specifically designed to imitate the art of painting. Photographers desiring to create art would manipulate the chemistry of the process and experiment with various media for the light sensitive emulsions. Many people attribute the soft focus, grainy, toned photographic images from this era to the imperfections of the technology, not realizing these images were intentionally manipulated for this effect. This movement known as “Pictorialism” reached its peak in the late 1800′s to early 1900′s. But wait, there’s more!

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Paris to Marrakesh

Europa II

[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_01-A-02618-Intrepid Tour 2013 HDR-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]3550Paris River Boat
A beautiful summer day in Paris overlooking the Seine River toward the Eiffel Tower.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_02-A-03601-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]3340Champs Elysees
The famous Champs Elysees avenue and shopping district as viewed from atop the Arc de Triomphe. The Louvre museum which can be seen at the far end of the avenue served as the French royal palace during the middle ages.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_03-A-03614-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]3110Paris from Arc de Triomphe
This 270 degree panoramic composition of 16 images photographed from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France illustrates the impact of urban design by Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann with wide avenues, geometric traffic patterns and strict architectural facade standards. The image has been enhanced in post processing to emphasize architectural detail in this 4' x 1' wall mural.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_04-A-03581-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2930View from Pont Alexandre III
THe Pont Alexandre III bridge is considered one of if not the most ornate bridges in Paris. It is also considered a significant engineering accomplishment of the time as it is a single six meter tall steel arch design.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_05-A-02777-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2820View for Marie Antionette
The gardens at Versailles mark the peak of French Garden designs. This is the view of the gardens at Versailles as seen from Marie Antionette's bedroom window. The formal gardens illustrate the obsession of man's dominance over nature.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_06-A-02839-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2760Walled City of Avila
Avila is a medeval city in NW Spain completely encircled by walls.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_07-A-02872-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2740Casa Lis
View of the entry to Casa Lis in Salamanca, Spain. Casa Lis was originally the home of a successful industrialist, D. Miguel de Lis, and now houses the Museo Art Nouveaux Y Art Deco.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_08-A-02876-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2690New Catherdal of Salamanca
Built 16th - 18th century combining late Gothic with Baroque styles to blend with the old cathedral.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_09-A-02901-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2630Cool Respite in Coimbra
A calm place to rest from the summer heat in Coimbra.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_10-A-02929-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2640Quiet Cafe in Coimbra
High above the main city of Coimbra, cobblestone streets lead to quiet cafes.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_11-A-02964-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2580Ano da Fe
Streets of Lisbon, Portugal. "Year of Faith" - the church, especially the Catholic churh, is very influential in the lives of people in western Europe.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_12-A-03034-Intrepid Tour 2013And2more-edit-01.jpg]2570Private Club
The Moorish architecture and fountain decorate the lobby of a private club in Lisbon.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_13-A-03041-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2550Rossio Square Train Station
The Rossio train station, constructed in the late 1880's, sits above an underground tunnel considered a major engineering feat of the time. The double horseshoe entrance is a unique architectural element of this building. This railway connects to the region of Sintra.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_14-A-03044-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2490Lisbon Cable Car
Cable cars are considered on of the best methods to see Lisbon. They are frequently crowded and sadly pick pockets take advantage of the tourists.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_15-A-03066-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2470View atop the Pena Castle
The Pena Castle in Sintra is an architectural marvel and must be seen to be appreciated fully.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_16-A-03069-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2440Fortress of Pena
The Pena Castle is built on top of steep terrain with tall walls - a true fortress.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_17-A-03079-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2410Courtyard of Violet
This courtyard exemplifies the architectural genius of its designer. From all points inside and outside the castle, the architecture is a core element of the view.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_18-A-03200-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2380Goat Farmer
On the trip from Jerez to Chefchauen the simple life abounds.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_19-A-03219-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2380Heat of Ramadan
During the heat of the day, Ramadan observers rarely go outside.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_20-A-03248-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2340Chefchauen Blue
The Jews came to Chefchauen to live and work, bringing the color blue with them.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_21-A-03264-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2300Mohammed
Our guide, Mohammud, explained that Jews were eventually forced to leave the city or convert to Islam.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_22-A-03285-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2280Douar Nzala el Rhechoua
A beautiful man made lake seen on the road to Fes, Morroco
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_23-A-03322-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2260Panarama of Fes, Morroco
Fes has the largest medina in the world. The population of the walled-in old town still lives in a subsistence economy.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_24-A-03302-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2230Captive Audience
Outside the gates of Fes, we notice this horse and buggy waiting for passengers. Notice the horse'e legs are tied.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_25-A-03306-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2190Pastries for Sale
Just inside the gates of Fes, we are faced with all kinds of vendors. The time of day is approaching sunset and everyone is scavenging the market for their Ramadan break-fast. Notice those are not chocolate chips.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_26-A-03369-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2140Enter the Tannery
In the center of the medina (old city) we find a tannery receiving delivery of skins for processing into leather goods. The stench of rotting flesh is everywhere. I wonder if the mules care they are carriers of dead animal flesh.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_27-A-03367-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]2130Leather Goods
Above the tannery tourists parade through the rooms of finished product whilst stuffing mint leaves in their nostrils to disguise the odors.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_28-A-03463-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2100Enter Marrakesh
The huge medina in Marrakesh attracts tourists and vendors of all types while the mosque periodically blares the call to prayer.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_29-A-03492-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2090Snake Charmers
These snake charmers make their living by fees charged for photographing them and their snakes. Sneak a photo and they will chase you down for payment. Pay first, but don't expect a smile.
[img src= II/thumbs/thumbs_30-A-03498-Intrepid Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]2090Marrakesh Souks
Souks are individual shops clustered together in the medina (old town). Most items sold are handcrafted goods and food.

Well everyone always asks “What did you do last summer?” Sometimes it is difficult to answer without monopolizing the conversation… so this series is meant to definitively answer the question with only a few words. People say “a picture is worth a thousand words”… Here are my 30 pictures! I’ll save you from the word count. So the title gives it away, I took a trip from Paris to Marrakesh over a period of three weeks with my daughter Jordan. Since Jordan wants to become an architect, we went to many historic places with unique architecture.

intrepid map Our gateway to Europe was Paris, France. After a few days in Paris, we flew to Madrid, Spain where we met our Intrepid tour group. Our tour proceeded to Salamanca, Spain followed by Coimbra and Lisbon in Portugal, and culminating in Morocco with visits to Chefchaouen, Fes and Marrakesh. Although, I have hundreds of images (of which I will post more of in the future) this series represents my favorite images from the journey. I am adding this group to my fine art gallery on Please visit the site if you want some of these images on your own walls.

Please do scroll through the entire series in full screen mode and be sure to click on the [i] button if you are interested in the story behind the image.

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Pena Castle, Sintra, Lisbon, Portugal

pena castle

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The Pena Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Sintra, near Lisbon Portugal. The castle is an amazing work of Romanticism architecture combining several styles (Gothic, the Portuguese Manueline, Islamic and Renaissance). The castle is situated on a steep mountain ridge where it receives cool breezes and fog. The castle is surrounded by a heavily forested park of approximately 500 acres.

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Panorama of Paris from Arc de Triomphe

This image is a 270 degree panoramic composition of 16 images photographed from the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. The Arc is a center of Parisian traffic with many streets converging upon the large circular street surrounding the Arc. Due to the nature of the panorama the circle has been straightened out and the converging streets appear parallel to each other – just imagine projecting the image onto 3/4 of a circular wall while standing in the middle and you’ll get the picture.

The center of the image looks down the famous Champs Elysees shopping district ending at the Louvre which was transformed from the monarchy palace into one of the largest museums in the world. The Eiffel Tower, located near the Seine river historic district, is prominently visible above the horizon to the right. In the far distance is the beautiful Basilica of the Sacré Cœur (Sacred Heart) which is positioned on the highest point in Paris above the trendy Montmartre night club district and home of the Moulin Rouge cabaret.

The image has been enhanced in post processing to create a uniquely styled 4′ x 1′ wall mural.

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The Palace at Versailles


[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]5360Versailles Palace courtyard
[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]5130Versailles Palace
[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]4850Versailles Palace
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[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01-2.jpg]4440Versailles Palace
[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]4390Versailles Palace - Queen's bedroom
[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]4320Versailles Palace
[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]4190Versailles Palace
[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]4210Versailles Palace - ceiling paintings
[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]4170Versailles Palace - ceiling paintings
[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]4090Versailles Palace - Louis XIV
[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01-edit-01.jpg]4060Versailles Palace - View of the gardens
[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]4020Versailles Palace - glass gallery
[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]3990Versailles Palace - View from the lake
[img src= Tour 2013-edit-01.jpg]3870Versailles Palace - Marie Antoinette's residence

The Palace at Versailles is about an hour from downtown Paris by train. It is a short walk from the train station to the main gates. The Palace is a major attraction and lines to get into the palace are frequently several hours. We decided to tour the gardens instead of wait in line. After touring the immense grounds, biking several miles around the lake, catching a bite to eat, and touring Marie Antionette’s residence we returned to the main palace and were able to walk right in with very limited crowds. The late hour also provided an excellent photo opportunity with light streaming in many of the windows as well as few people.

The furniture and artwork are obviously quite old and subject to fading. These images were shot in very low light conditions without flash. Many rooms had very little sunlight allowed through the windows with massive curtains. The bright, crisp images were captured with an aperture around f/2.8 and ISO 2000 with a wide angle lens (Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L) and extensively post processed. Post processing includes adjustments for perspective (keystone), crop, white balance, noise reduction, sharpness, contrast, and color saturation.

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Scenes from Marrakesh


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This series was taken in Marrakesh, Morocco on my visit during Ramadan.

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Jordan Dobrow Portfolio

These paintings are the works of Jordan Dobrow.

Jordan Dobrow is a senior at Milton High School in Milton, GA. She aspires to become an architect and eventually own an architectural design business. Jordan has a strong aptitude for math and strong creative skills. From a very young age, she began constructing three dimensional models and building structures in the back yard. Her ability to imagine, draw and build her visions continues to grow. In her senior year, Jordan has enjoyed her class in advanced drawing and painting. This portfolio presents her work including some works in progress.

The art work was photographed by Sam Dobrow.

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