Aurora PhotoArts Tampa Bay Photography and Design. Est. 1994. Tampa Bay, Florida.
Click to return to the index of this web site. Tampa Bay Photography and Design Blog by photographer and designer C. A. Passinault. Image credits, clockwise, from top: C. A. Passinault and model Nicole take a break during a shoot in 2002. Picture of C. A. Passinault in Winter Park by photographer Craig Huey in 2007. C. A. Passinault, wearing a 35MM film SLR with a 200 MM lens, on location with a model during a modeling photography session in Safety Harbor in September 2001. Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 1Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 2Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 3Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 4Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 5Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 6Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 7Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 8Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 9Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 10Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 11Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 12Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 13Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 14Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 15Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 16Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 17Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 18Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 19Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 20Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 21Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 22Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 23Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 24Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 25Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 26Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 27Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 28Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 29Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 30Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 31Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 32Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 33Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 34Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 35Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 36Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 37Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 38Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 39Featured Portfolio Thumbnail 40
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Aurora PhotoArts Tampa Bay Photography and Design - Photography and Design Blog -




A New Era Begins This Week. - Project Iceberg: Protecting the Intellectual Property and the Trade Secrets of Aurora PhotoArts.

Friday, September 20, 2013 - Tampa Bay Photography and Design Blog Post by Chris Passinault

Curtain Works and Phantom Shootouts. Advanced technology to be developed.

I am really excited by all of the cool things that I am working on right now.
Among those cool things would be the research and development infrastructure that I’ve developed specifically for Aurora PhotoArts. I’m so jazzed up about this, in fact, that I might even allow a few secrets to be revealed in this blog post. Read it and ponder what I write here today, peeps, because this is the only place on the net which I will reveal some of these things, and the only reason that I am doing so here right now is because, first, I’ve already blogged about related secrets, and, two, I am confident that not a single photographer in Florida is capable of some of the most radical of these secrets, and even if they were capable, they wouldn’t go through that much trouble to do them.
Oh, and third, I’m posting what I am here to intimidate aspiring competitors or those who think that they are competition. The bottom line is that, in modeling portfolio photography, composite cards, talent headshot photography, headshots, and in talent career support, I literally have no peers in the Tampa Bay market. I have no competition, and those who try to compete already know this. No one else has the resources which I command. So, are there photographers out there who are better than I am? Of course there are, but there are very few, and they do not have the total, comprehensive package that I offer; photography is just one part what I have to offer, and I’m far more than just a photographer. People know that, and that is why experienced professional models and talent confide in me and come to me to help them with their careers (indeed, the greatest threat to any photographers out there is that their models talk to me. Most of those models will abandon them and go to my side, because I actually know what I am doing, and the models will come to realize, and know, that I have their best interests in mind, and that I can be trusted). At this stage in the game, again, I literally have no competition in the Tampa Bay market, and I know this because I monitor the market, and I am often surprised that those who attempt to compete with me are not better, and do not know more about what they claim to be doing. Am I underestimating those who try to compete? No. I know exactly where they are, as well as where I am in comparison. I certainly am not underestimating anyone, nor am I arrogant about this. I’m fully aware of where I stand in the market, and what needs to be done. I’m future-proofing my operations, however, and am gearing things to be able to defeat hypothetical peers, which do not yet exist, as well as to increase my lead; if I were underestimating anyone, I certainly would not be investing so much into a secret research and development program. Obviously, doing things the most cost-effective way has some weaknesses, and I will have to develop more capabilities if I am to remain a market leader while developing and retaining a new cost-effectiveness which has no drawbacks.
Also, to help prevent anyone from developing the capability to become peers and to compete with me, I have specifically engineered countermeasures and security measures into all of my operations to make my business highly resistant to being ripped off. It is my experience that many photographers in the Tampa Bay area cannot compete with me, and they will lie, cheat, and steal in an attempt to be competitive, which includes stealing from me and trying to learn the business from me so that they can copy what I do. If anyone tries to learn the business from me, and is out to steal business and marketing concepts from my business, it will be more trouble than it is worth (and those who succeed not only face devastating legal action against them from me, but their target market will know that they steal from me because they would have already seen the stolen property in use on my web sites, and that will destroy the credibility and the marketability of the thieves, as they will be seen as and known by what their unethical actions make them out to be. If people see them steal, they won’t trust them, and if they do not trust them, well, they have no chance of getting them to book them and pay for anything- Not that I am worried about anyone booking these clowns after they have seen the portfolios on my web sites to begin with).
Basically, the reason that I am posting some of this is to show others that they have no chance to compete, and to inspire them to give up and to go away (for more, there is a rather interesting post on Tampa Bay Modeling about market domination in 2014 which you simply must read as soon as you are finished reading this, and the piece will prove to be controversial, as well as accurate! I know the future because I will be the one creating it and running it; I don't just run a business, I run the entire market. Remember that).
Secrets. I keep a lot of them to myself. Of the ones that I have disclosed on the Internet, such as the tactics revealed on my Independent Modeling modeling resource web site, I suspect that no one has tried to copy those, yet, because they do not realize that they actually work, and that they are superior to everything else out there (Agencies, a middleman, are no longer the only way to have a career as a professional model and talent, and you can find and book work without going through them or without being dependent upon them. Even better, independent models and talent have advantages over those whom are dependent upon agencies, as they can take the jobs away from the agencies before those models and talent are even aware of them; when agency models and talent realize that the independent models and talent are successfully competing with the agencies themselves for those jobs, and that is why they are starving, it will change the industry forever). That will change, however, and I have extensive plans in place for dealing with that when it happens. Although a lot of photographers do steal from me, the things that they steal, they can’t get to work because they do not understand the underlying details of what makes them work, and the best secrets are simply not stolen at all because most photographers are too stupid and ignorant to know what they are to begin with.
Of course, the things that they really have to worry about are the things that they can’t see to begin with, because if you can’t see it, you are never aware of it. Also, those things which are not seen are often super secret and super effective, and you can’t study and counter something which you can’t see or are aware of, even if it is the thing which is taking away your market share the most.
There is a lot to write here, so bear with me. Lots and lots and lots of things. I suppose that I will have to break them down in easy-to-read subjects, as I do not want to overwhelm anyone out there. I know that some people don’t like to read, a big reason why they don’t learn and remain ignorant, and that these people are easily, well, overwhelmed.
That’s their problem, however, and not mine. At all. I’m not the ignorant one, and I’m not the one pretending to be something that they are not. I have spent years working hard, doing business honestly, and paying my dues; the “paying the dues” part not being easy, nor quick, and which have no short-cuts. I know what I am doing. Those who try to compete with me know that, however, which is why they try to learn from me and steal from me.
For this blog post, we shall explore six of my secret projects, and at least three of them tie into each other and support the others.
Keep in mind, however, that this is just a peek at only a few. I have things that I am working on which most can only dream of, and many which no one can even imagine, and most of them work quite well. It will be years before many of them are revealed to anyone. Some of them will not be revealed at all. Others will be used to develop marketable services and products, as well as support resources.
The point of all of the secrets, though, is not to imply, or “admit”, that I am up to something unethical or illegal. Far from it. I go the extra mile to ensure that everything that I do IS professional, ethical, and legal. I have to, because I own the world’s top modeling and talent resource web sites, and if I were doing anything wrong, it would come back to bite me (I also would not feel right about it. Also, if anyone says that I am doing something unethical or illegal, it is slander, and legally actionable. I am planning on suing people in the future, so if anyone wants to play with fire, go for it. I WILL SUE YOU!). The reason for the secrecy is that history has proven that the market is filled with unethical and unprofessional photographers, most of whom are aspiring competitors, who will lie, cheat, and steal. I’ve had a lot of photographers steal from me over the years. I know a lot of photographers are all over my web sites to try to learn the business from me and to bring me down if they can (Rick tried in 2003, and it started an industry war which destroyed his credibility and his business. These boorish, ineffective, amateur, unethical tactics are very familiar a decade later, and my outdated PAST countermeasures were able to defeat them back then. I’m way, way beyond that at this point, and am playing at a level which most cannot even comprehend, let alone counter. A jaded angry model tried the same 2003-level tactics against me recently after I simply disagreed with her about the importance and the purpose of talent agencies, and her attacks were so ineffective and, well, primitive, that they failed to inspire any kind of response from me, at all. She thinks that she’s smart? Just because you claim something does not make it true, no matter how much you want it to be true. Ooooh, publishing made-up lies about me on a freebie blogger account is going to hurt my feelings, especially after you retract any identifying information about me because you realized that you could get sued for slander. Also, the activity pattern analysis way of revealing and identifying scams, which I invented, engineered, and perfected does not work, well, if I’m not doing any activity which matches the description, morons! Do your homework before trying to go after me, especially when I am right and you are completely wrong. I’m not only better, but smarter). Most of them don’t have a hope of being able to compete with me, but it does not stop them from trying. Oh, and if you are one of those photographers, you need to stop reading this right now and immediately read and comply with my intellectual property disclaimer, which was added in the last 24 hours. You need to know, because you are reading this web site now under specific terms of use which you will be held responsible for regardless if you read the disclaimer or not.
I am working on projects and technology which will not only change markets, but entire industries (I have a saying, which history has proven again and again, that I am not limited to running a mere business when I actually run markets, markets which that business exists and operates in, and that those who try to compete with me react to what I do and attempt to adapt to the new conditions which I introduce into the industry. This gives me a complete and total advantage over the opposition, and the market is mine to do with as I see fit, literally, in my experienced, professional opinion. I know the future because I will be the one creating it, and this market is mine because I am the one running it). Today, in photography, digital cameras, cheap technology and social media have saturated the market with photographers, many of whom do not know what they are doing, and for most of them it is very, very difficult for them to make a business out of it and to make money in photography. Well, I’m different. I turned pro back in 2000, and am able to cut through all of that noise and make effective business and marketing models (pun intended, as well as ironic). I can do this because I have a lot of experience, skill, and, well, I am smarter and more creative than most photographers are. It’s all about signal to noise, baby!
My career is proven, and I know what I am doing. All of these other people know this, too, and they know of me because of my large numbers of extremely effective web sites which have dominated search results and the Internet for over a decade. I also write a lot, and, well, people tend to pay attention to what I do, and what I write. They talk about me.
I am a leader in the Tampa Bay market not just because of my photography and design skills and experience, which are formidable and puts me in the top ten percent in that area alone, especially since I am (figuratively) lethal with a camera, but because of everything else.
It takes much more than just being a good photographer to run a photography business, however. You have to have all of the parts to make it work. Of the other photographers, even the ones who are talented and are good often have no idea how to market, sell, or run a business, and this is why they do not have much of a business or a career.
If these photographers can’t help themselves in business, how are they supposed to help models and talent, especially since the point of talent photography is to give the client the tools that they need to market their careers? You MUST be able to lead, and demonstrate, by example when you are offering services in modeling portfolio photography and talent headshots. Not only can’t these photographers compete with me, but their clients will not be able to compete with my clients, and that’s the beauty of servicing a professional market. If they can’t compete with me, how do you expect to be able to compete with my clients, who are using superior and more professionally relevant tools developed from my services? Think about this for a moment.
I have the most advanced photography and design business in the world. My business and marketing models are extremely sophisticated and effective. I have more resources than any other photographer in the world, too, such as my talent resource web sites. I also have been the most cost-effective photographer in the world, being able to do professional work with far less than others photographers can do.
So, what do you think? Go ahead, think that I am full of it. I want you to think that. One of my greatest advantages is that people underestimate me.
I want you to underestimate me. In this post, however, I’m sure that your mind is going to be blown. If you refuse to believe and accept what I am writing about, however, well, it may just be part of my plan.
Regarding photography, I could teach, and make a lot of money doing that, but I would rather do it, instead, because photography and design is what I really was born to do. I make most other photographers and designers out there look less than capable, or even like pretenders, and it pisses them off.
Well, it’s true. It’s the key. No one can ever take away what I have done and achieved. One of my greatest challenges in the next few years, however, will be keeping my business cost-effective while dramatically expanding my capabilities. Regarding cost-effectiveness, I see a lot of very talented photographers out there doing incredible work, but the work is useless in business if you can’t make it cost-effective, which is one of my strengths. I see photographers out there do a lot of post production on pictures (my friend, photographer Craig Huey, calls them “photo illustrators”), and while that may give them a lot of flexibility when it comes to working with existing photographs, it is VERY time consuming; I don’t care how fast you can edit a photograph. If you have to do a lot of them, it’s not worth it. If you can’t batch-edit those pictures using an automated process, it’s not worth it (and the work that I am talking about cannot be done with software automation). Also, how inspired are your clients going to be when they look at the photographs from their shoot with you (regardless of if you give them all of the files or hold them back in an attempt to sell them back to them) and the pictures are flawed? If pictures have flaws which need to be fixed, they are not good pictures, and you will be fighting an uphill battle trying to satisfy your clients.
If you want a picture a certain way, shoot it that way. Lock in the composition and the exposure for what you intend to achieve, and take a strong photograph which cannot easily be taken out of context, by playing to the strengths of getting the photograph correct in the camera. Pretend that you are shooting with film and that the client will be reviewing your work by looking at the prints or slides, back in the days before Photoshop and digital manipulation. If you can’t pull that off during the actual photography session, then you have no business being a professional photographer. It’s a lot harder to do than you might think, too. It takes experience, learning the right way of shooting, talent, and a whole lot of skill. This is why many people are not able to make a business out of photography, regardless of what they want. The photographer who shoots strong to begin with will always have the advantage, and that would be me.
That’s how I learned to do photography back in the days of film and development, and it gives me an advantage over most of the current digital photographers. They know it, too.
I shot with a model on location in Brandon in 2009 by the name of Dahlia Legault (she was alsoTampa Bay stage actress Dahlia Legault headshot by Aurora PhotoArts. a great actress, who originally booked me for her headshots, but also did a great job modeling once I got her into that, as she is a beautiful, smart, talented woman), and after we were done, I gave her the image files by copying them to a flash drive that she had brought, and she was on her way. She was very happy with the pictures that I showed her on the camera, and she thanked me before she left.
As I was loading up my car, a guy came up to me and told me that he was a photographer (The almost amusing thing is that everyone thinks that they are a photographer now, so I don’t usually take them seriously when people tell me that). He gave me a card which was text-only, which looked like it came from Staples or Office Depot in their $15.00 business card special. He asked why I gave her all of the pictures. He asked me if I was cool with images being out there which weren’t my best.
I love it when morons make assumptions.
I looked at him. I smiled. I told him that the pictures were already great, straight from the camera, and only required minor adjustments, if any. He looked at me like I was crazy, especially when it was obvious that I only had a camera on me and not any other gear such as reflectors or lighting (like I said... Cost-effective. I outshoot photographers who use lots of equipment, lighting, and assistants, using just a camera and natural light, all of the time, and it pisses them off. Just because you have training wheels attached to your “business” and load your shoots down with extra stuff and tools does not ensure your shoots will turn out better, especially when you don’t know how to use those tools correctly to begin with, or know which tool is appropriate for different situations and jobs. Some new "photographers" are turn-key photographers who go out, buy a lot of equipment, and make the mistake of assuming that it makes them a professional photographer and an industry player immediately; most of them get mad and frustrated because they cannot outshoot photographers who are using "inferior" cameras, and can't make their money back on their "investment". Right, Jonathan? Show me someone who brings along most of their gear to a shoot, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. I'll show you a "photographer" who is NOT cost-effective, and who doesn't get the results out of a shoot that their clients deserve because they overly complicate things. Overkill is not the same thing as being prepared. If you really know what you are doing, and are a “pro” in your experience and skill instead of what you claim, you can make almost anything work. I guess that these guys are right and that I am not really a photographer because I use only what I need to get the job done. Then again, maybe not. My clients don’t believe that, and neither do I. The people claiming that I am not a photographer are often the ones who cannot compete with me, and the ones who I outshoot when they are using 10 to 20 times the equipment. Cut the fat and the training wheels, guys, and learn about what you are trying to do. Learn about the industry, first, and then try to work in it. Keep it simple and work your way up to where you need to be. It’s really your only hope! You can’t compete with me, and you know it, especially when you see my photography work. So do I, and so does the market which you are trying to sell to. No wonder I take away your business! Some of these guys are going to wear out their expensive Canon 5D MK III’s and Nikon D4's long before they come close to making their money back, especially when they have no clue what is appropriate to charge and are not booking paying work. Right, Jonathan? Isn’t running a business about making money, instead of losing it? Isn’t business about going somewhere, instead of trying to make yourself look like a professional and spinning your wheels by overdoing things?).
I told him that I did not have to worry about work being out there which was not good, just like I did not have to worry about competition (especially the way that the digital generation “photographers” practice and “learn”, such as a photographer nicknamed Hodge Podge, who in my opinion is a no-talent hack and a crass ghetto dirtbag who just wants to shoot women in bikinis and skimpy clothes; work which cripples their marketability for mainstream modeling work, regardless of how good the pictures are, and in his case, it’s lose-lose all the way around, IMO, because his photography is mediocre, at best, as well as extremely tacky. It is also my opinion that his work is also not at all relevant for modeling portfolios, which most professional models are well aware of, and which is why they will not work with him. In my opinion, Hodge Podge does not know what he is doing, nor do I see that changing anytime soon. I am so very glad that I never showed that “photographer” anything or taught him anything, because I would be partially responsible for the women that he is degrading and exploiting. Hey, shoot all that you want and knock yourself out. It does not mean that you will automatically get better if you shoot all of the time. If you only practice mistakes, you perfect mistakes, and dig yourself into a hole and ingrain bad habits which will be very hard to get away from. Why learn something which you will later have to unlearn? Recently, Hodge Podge became mad at me because I talked to some models whom he wanted to work with, and they now refuse to work with him. He shook his little fist as he cursed me out for “interfering” with his so-called “business”, and began to work with any photographer who he could find who was, in his judgement, better than me, in an attempt to learn so that he could compete with me one day. Well, it’s just too bad that those photographers can’t compete with me, either, and that the only thing that he learned were their mistakes and bad habits. “Photographers” like that end up spinning their wheels and running high speed down a dead end alley where there is little room to turn around, and where they do not see the wall rushing up in front of them until it is too late. They hit the wall at full speed. In many cases, that wall would be made up of professional photographers whom they cannot compete with. They don’t last. I’ve seen many of them come and go in the past 14 years working in and observing the Tampa Bay photography services market, and know this from experience).
Regarding the "photographer" who had approached me in Brandon, I later looked at his work on his Model Mayhem profile (not surprisingly, he did not have a professional web site, or any web site at all), which was the “web site” on his card, and everything made sense. He was obviously one of those fix-it-in-post guys, and he couldn’t even do that well. He was also a new photographer with little experience, an aspiring photographer who was trying to make it into a business, but who only succeeded in floundering around like a fish removed from water. He was also one of those guys who showed that they had no clue about what they were doing by taking pictures of wannabe models which were not appropriate, or relevant, for a modeling career. I did not expect any of them to go very far, and sure enough, they did not.
Although I will be learning great post production skills, because they have a purpose, such as in commercial work, it is not the best course of action when it comes to actual photography. I am a firm believer that you have to get it correct in-camera, and use post production sparingly. This is one reason that a lot of those sloppy “fix-it-in-post” people cannot compete with me. That is how they learn photography these days, with cheap digital cameras taking away the respect that every frame deserves, and, unlike the old days with film and development costs, when every picture taken costs money, the photographer does not shoot with making every picture taken count in mind, and they don’t compose every picture with care and with attention to detail, not making the photograph great while it is still in the camera. Go ahead, fill up that memory card. Shoot in raw in order to give yourself more latitude to fix your mistakes. See what you can correct and salvage from your cheap and sloppy technique, later. I will continue to take great pride with every frame that I shoot, and will continue to take business away from you because you will never be as good, or as consistent, as I am.
Sure, I do not know everything, and I would never think that (although it is obvious that I know more than most photographers in Tampa Bay do), but one of the beauties of that is that learning is something that I like to do. I have an established foundation of experience and skill, and it’s marketable. There are things that I can do with cameras which would surprise you, and I will continue with my high quality, cost-effective work.
It’s a good start, though. There is so much more that I am going to do.
Now, going back to secrets.
Am I paranoid? No. It just seems like I am. I’ve learned from other photographers stealing from me over the years, and I have put together new things which I do not wish to have stolen from me. Now, everything that I work on has countermeasures against theft in mind when it is developed and put together.
The results are quite impressive, as well as incredible.
I am now working toward becoming one of the best photographers in the world, and I have a good shot at achieving that goal in the next few years. Remember when I wrote earlier that I have resources which no other photographer in the world has? Well, one of the keys to me becoming one of the best photographers in the world is the fact that I am the only photographer in the world with an aggressive, innovative research and development program at the scale that I am working at, and this program is a secret one with built-in countermeasures for security purposes.

Curtain Works
I announced my Curtain Works research and development program a while back here on this web site.
What is Curtain Works?
Well, Curtain Works is an advanced research and development program, a think tank, and concept incubator all rolled into one. It is the key to increasing my lead in my business markets, especially in photography, and to remaining a leader; it may even change entire industries indirectly, although everything developed in this program is NOT shared with other photographers, and it is only used by my companies. I protect and retain the properties developed through this program, and do not export it, or make anything known which doesn't have to be known.
Curtain Works does secret research and development in photography, photography concepts, design, new forms of art, support technology, service components and workflow, web site design, SEO/ SES/ SED, and anything else related to the business that Aurora PhotoArts does, and will do.
Think of Skunk Works over at Lockheed, where a group of elite engineers thought out-of-the-box and created advanced technology decades ahead of anything else out there, technology which could be developed and sustained with the resources available then. Super-secret, "black" programs. Skunk Works created the U2 Spy Plane. They also created the legendary SR-71 Blackbird strategic reconnaissance spyplane which flew at three times the speed of sound (MACH 3) at over 80,000 feet, and was impossible to intercept and shoot down. The SR-71 was created in the 1950's, also, without the aid of computers, which is amazing. In fact, in the 1973 Yom Kippur war between Israel and aggressors Egypt and Syria, long after it was developed, the United States Air Force flew an SR-71 Blackbird over Egypt to give Israel help seeing what was going on so that they could put together an effective offensive (which succeeded brilliantly). The Egyptians could see something flying at 80,000 feet and at three times the speed of sound through their airspace, but couldn’t do anything about it (That’s how I want to be in this business! I want to have capabilities which no one else has, and which no one can do anything about!).
Later, Skunk Works was responsible for stealth technology in the form of the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter, and the stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel drone, the drone built with expendability in mind and with only what was needed, which was older, and less sensitive, technology off-of-the-shelf. Using older and less sensitive technology with the RQ-170 minimized the risk of using it, and potentially losing it (It has a single engine, for crying out loud, so losing one was inevitable. The Sentinel uses outdated stealth technology from the 70's; only what was needed, and nothing more. Iran recovered one which malfunctioned and crashed, and it is highly unlikely that Iran was able to glean or reverse-engineer much from the drone because of their limited knowledge. China and Russia got a hold of it, however, and they may be more successful in recovering useful information from the outdated technology, but in this case, it is technology which they already had and were aware of. If I were Lockeed and the U.S. Air Force, I’d be crazy for using my most advanced technology in such a drone, and I would not, and this is obviously the case of what happened here, because the risk were minimalized. That was smart). Advancements and technology from Skunk Works also made public, front-line, mainstream military aircraft, such as the F-22 Raptor, possible.
Boeing has something similar with their Phantom Works program, which recently created a concept plane to test visual stealth technology, inexpensively, using off-of-the-shelf components, called the Bird Of Prey.
Great companies such as Apple, Xerox, and other technology firms also have their Skunk Works divisions. That mouse in your hand that you are using right now and the Windows interface in your computer’s operating system were a direct result of a Skunk Works type lab at Xerox.
Great companies always have great research and development programs, and those companies which hope to remain leaders in their industries operate those programs under great secrecy, because, well, the competition tends to steal things from leaders so that they can remain competitive.
Such innovation is exactly what my Curtain Works program is all about, and no other photography business in the world has anything like it.
As photographers go, even if I never become one of the best photographers in the world, at the very least I will be one of the most legendary, as well as innovative.
I intend to keep most of the primitive photographers out there in the dark, and unable to compete in any capacity.

Phantom Shootouts
The Curtain Works program of Aurora PhotoArts will use the secret Phantom Shootouts, done through my ongoing Tampa Shootouts modeling photography event project, to execute the program and test out new equipment and concepts.
Some of the work turned out from the Phantom Shootouts program will be so advanced that I won’t even be able to show it. Of the work that I can show, it will have to be re routed and shown through other “channels” in my businesses so that their origin cannot be traced, as I do not want my Phantom Shootouts program to be followed and monitored in any way.
The Phantom Shootouts will have tight security. Very tight. Models and trusted professionals will all have to work under strict NDA’s (Non Disclosure Agreements), and they will not be allowed to use their cell phones anywhere near the test site.
Test site?
Well, I have my own Area 51 and Groom Lake for developing my projects. That Area 51 will be the primary location for most Phantom Shootouts sessions. It’s at a very remote area that no other photographer knows about.
When I invest in new photography equipment, it will be tested and perfected out there in the middle of nowhere in a Phantom Shootout session. When I want to test out new service workflow techniques, I’ll use Phantom. When I want to make something complex or high-end cost-effective, it will be developed through Phantom. Those trusted models and talent who participate with the shootouts will give me feedback, too. The photography business and techniques of the future will come out of the Phantom Shootouts.
Which is why security of those shootouts will be so tight. Speaking of security.............

Drone High Cover for Shootout Events
The analogy between Curtain and Phantom with the secret military aircraft work is no coincidence.
I design, engineer, and build robots, electronic devices, and small drones, too.
When I was a kid, I built weird things that ended up in the sky all of the time. That’s what gifted kids with genius IQ’s do. I love inventing things. I love building things that fly, too.
Wreckage of my malfunctioning flying contraptions often showed up in neighborhood yards, too, as well as in trees (My one neighbor was a mean person who hated me and my family, and her yard was crammed full of trees and dense brush, and when something that I was testing or flying would crash in her yard, it was a lost cause, because there was no way that I could go over there to retrieve it, even if I could find it in the dense landscape or reach it. Her yard became a graveyard of my crashed contraptions, and she couldn't even find most of them in her overgrown mess. She had a large number of obnoxious, very noisy Guinea Fowl, too, and I kept those birds going crazy non-stop with my inventions flying overhead. It was funny. Those birds would start making lots of noise, she'd look outside, and could not figure out what they were excited about. One of my flying inventions was extremely fast, was capable of precision flying, and could fly extremely low to the point of skimming the ground, and you should have saw those birds freak out over that one when it swooped down, whipped over their heads going over 100, and then tore back up into the sky. I still need to patent that one. It never crashed, too!). Weird devices also descended under large parachutes on occasion. I learned a lot from those experiments. Soon, most of the things that I built were pretty reliable, though, as you learn from your mistakes and work through them.
In 1986, while still a kid (and 8 years before I created Aurora PhotoArts), I designed a small stealth drone called an FK-4 Shadowwing. It was a small flying wing with a three foot wingspan, and was used for taking ariel photographs. I had a much larger flying wing shaped more like an arrowhead, the RK-1 Raven, which could fly over a mile up for long periods of time (the wing sweep was way more extreme than in the FK-4 because it was designed to handle faster wind speeds, and the FK-4 was designed more for loitering overhead), too, as well as a very cool way of retrieving cameras and film from high operating altitudes and quickly redeploying them (back then, this was needed because there were no digital cameras. I used film cameras). That high-speed robotic deployment and retrieval system was known as AVASS, and although I never did build a fully operational system of that, sub scale testing was very successful.
That’s right. I built drones which exceed the endurance of any present known military drone, and I did it back then with no money and with parts which I scrounged up or made, using nothing but off-the-shelf materials.
Drones and PhotographyDeveloped from my FK-4 prototype, I am now developing a larger, low observable flying wing which I call the RK-2 Ghost. This long endurance drone is a small robot which will be tested at the same rural location which I will conduct my Phantom Shootouts at. Once developed and perfected, I plan on building at least three Ghosts, and will be using them to support my shootout events, especially the secret Phantom Shootouts.
The Ghost will not need a pilot in the overwatch profile of its flight. It can literally fly by itself high overhead for an entire day, or even longer, if required (the exact performance is classified). It only requires a pilot when being launched and deployed, and when landing. The Ghost, built with stealth, also flies silently, and it is very hard to visually detect. It also has virtually unlimited power available to power it.
Most future Phantom Shootouts will have a Ghost flying high cover, keeping an eye on the area from high above. If anyone else is out there, I will know about it, and if any unauthorized people threaten the security of the photography session, we will simply pack up and leave (and the Ghost will be recalled and will shortly land away from the area). I’ll actually be able to see where they are and what they are doing, in real time.
Oh, and you can forget about finding the Ghost. It is a stealth drone, after all, and it will be close to invisible to most people. You will have to know exactly where it is in order to spot it.
The Ghost will carry a modified cell phone and mobile Wi Fi hot spot with an unlimited data plan, and it will be a flying encrypted hotspot which will be able to provide Internet access to support the shootout event, although that is only the secondary purpose. The main purpose of the Internet access will be to stream video to a server on the Internet. I will also be able to use an iPad on the ground to connect to the flying Wi Fi hot spot on the Ghost and see the video from the server, seeing the entire area from high above, live.
Don’t expect to see any photographs of the Ghost on any of my web sites. It is a highly classified program, and although I will have pictures of it in secure storage, no where near the Internet, I do not plan on showing anyone what it looks like (which includes the participants of the Phantom Shootouts. They will simply be able to see the live video on my iPad and know that there is something overhead, which they can’t see or observe, watching us from above). The problem with my drone program is the same as I have with my photography business, and it is that the people out there making drones will try to study what I have and reverse-engineer (steal) it. I don’t even want the military to get a hold of this (although I would make a good amount of money if I sold it to them. I should become a military subcontractor!).
At any rate, today, I went to the test site of the Phantom Shootouts, and quickly realized that the primary shooting area may be very tough area in which to support operation of the Ghost. Why? Well, there are too many trees there. While there are great areas to develop, test, deploy, and operate the small aircraft at in the area just to the east (and it is, technically, the same test area), it won’t be where we will be doing most of the shoots. The main shoot area is filled with trees, and there are few places there where the Ghost can be launched and recovered. I may not risk one of these expensive drones malfunctioning and ending up stuck in a tree, especially when the cameras can’t see much looking down through the trees, so some of these shoots may not have the high cover support that I would usually have.
I have other technologies that can be used in such tight areas, however, such as small trolley robots carrying cameras running on lines strung high overhead between the trees. Three or four of those would offer plenty of coverage, and they could quickly be deployed and recovered as-needed. This same trolley robot technology is used to augment security systems in my studio, as well as where I live. The main Aurora PhotoArts studio in Riverview will be equipped with this technology, where small robots would patrol along the ceiling over the three work bays of the photography studio, as well as over the other areas. The Joint Photography Studio (JPS) may also support this system.

Stealth Web Sites
There are other applications for stealth, too, and not just in planes and drones.
In the past few years, my web development team has developed stealth technology for web sites.
Far from anti-SEO designed to limit the web sites in search engine results, stealth web sites don’t use such crippling and inefficient techniques, as anyone can make a web site which is penalized in search engine results. True stealth sites don’t show up on search results because the search engines are not aware of them to begin with. As a result, such a site can later become high-observable, and enjoy the same search engine superiority which most of my sites enjoy.
So, what is the purpose of having a web site which can't be "seen" (they CAN be seen if you know how to find them) or found on a search engine search? Well, I can’t say, and I won’t say, for most of the reasons. I will say, however, that most of my marketing and support web sites which have Search Engine Superiority (SES) technology (SES is an advanced, more effective and relevant SEO technology. SED, which is the next level, is in development for my upcoming 4th Generation web sites, but I can't go into it here, right now, especially as it is not yet fully working or operational. I can't even reveal what SED means at this time, because all aspects of it are highly classified; you're lucky I can even acknowledge its existence. Basically, you have, in levels of effectiveness, SEO/SES/SED. A true 4th Generation web site using SED would be a nightmare for the current Mosaic Class sites, which are late 3rd Generation web sites, and would mop the floor with them in every way. Such a web site, the Aurora Class marketing and support web site for Aurora PhotoArts, which is a 4th Generation site design class using SED technology, is in development, but it is years away.) built into them DO use stealth technology, in limited use and in specific ways, to fine-tune specific search results, and to sculpt and mold specific results from some searches. I know that it kind of defies logic to use stealth technology in a web site which is supposed to be high-observable, and that the selective and refined use of stealth actually enhances overall search engine performance, but it works (This Mosaic Class site, which is the prototype, is built with 2011 technology, and although it will be upgraded, it will mostly use that dated technology, because it is heavily marketed, the opposition will be aware of it, and it will be studied. It will not use the more advanced technology, such as stealth technology, because it does not have to. The other Mosaic Class web sites, the production versions, on the other hand, will be more advanced and affective, and WILL use stealth technology and updated, enhanced SES and other technologies. The production versions of the Mosaic Class web site, geared more to marketing than support, will use 2013/ 2014 technology. They will look the same as this one, but under the hood, they will be different and more advanced, built that way from the ground up, and will be engineered with superior technology and tactics, as well as different file formats and directories. There will be a fleet of them, and most of their operating domain names will be kept a secret, so no one will be able to find all of them, even if they try to find them; you would have to know specific search terms, and it would be like trying to open a combination lock. I will not be listing them or linking to them, because I simply don't have to, although it's for security reasons, too. You never show your hand to the opposition).
As for those invisible, low-observable true stealth sites, I will neither confirm or deny their existence or use, or, if they do exist, what their purpose is and how many that there are.
Just know that I have this capability, and it is both developed and refined, as well as operational. More often than not, too, it is often what you can't see which affects you the most, or which can hurt you.

Joint Photography Studio
The JPS is something that I have been working on for about ten years, now. It is primarily designed to be used by the professional photographers in my professional photography association, the Tampa Bay Photography Society.
Although Aurora PhotoArts will have a presence in the studio, the JPS will NOT be our main photography studio. The main Aurora PhotoArts photography, design, and client support studio will be much more advanced, with three photography services bays and support areas filled with advanced technology. I cannot justify exposing our latest studio technologies and techniques to other photographers in a JPS environment, and won't do that.
The Joint Photography Studio will support shootout and workshop events, as well as photography and modeling schools which my company will run.
The main Aurora PhotoArts photography studio will be located in Riverview, Florida. The JPS will be based elsewhere in the Tampa Bay area.

Market Countermeasures
With all of my business support and marketing technology, and with a history filled with catching aspiring competitors stealing from me and attempting to learn from me without my consent so that they can compete, well, I’m over it.
When the economy crashed in 2008, Aurora PhotoArts continued to operate and book photography work, but it was in a diminished capacity because I decided to spend most of my time developing the next-generation Aurora PhotoArts company.
My talent resource sites took point over my marketing and support sites, because few were buying, and if I had addressed the issues with the growing number of web sites trying to compete with my web sites at that time, I would have shown my hand before the market was ready, and been back at square one when the market had finally rebounded.
Plus, I really became concerned about the “photographers” who had stolen things from me over the years, and if I developed new business technology, I was going to make sure that the risk of theft and reverse-engineering would be addressed.
Another point, too, was to avoid deploying and using front-line technology, so that if were stolen, then it would not compromise my business interests.
So, I booked shoots as they came and spent years developing a new Aurora PhotoArts, an Aurora PhotoArts of the future. By 2010, much of the new technology was ready. I continued developing, however. The reboot of the company started in 2011, with a new logo and new support technology. The Mosaic Class web site also began development.
Today, the technology that I am using is 2010/ 2011 vintage, with most of the new technology held in reserve or used in a support capacity which is very difficult to observe and reverse-engineer. I have a three to a four year lead time on the technology which I am using publicly, and that publicly used technology is years ahead of anything else out there.
All of this new technology, too, from 2008 on up, has been specifically engineered with security in mind, and it is designed to be extremely resistant to reverse-engineering and theft.
Need-to-know restrictions were also put into place. In short, consider the iceberg. Much of what you can see of the iceberg, what most people in the public can see and observe, is a very small part just above the surface. Below the surface, however, lies a mountain, and that larger, unseen part gives the iceberg its power and strength.
That’s all that I can say about this for now, but I will be posting more about this soon, possibly in my next blog post.


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