The Words

Just some thoughts

Alabama Botanical Gardens

Recently I was sent to Alabama, Huntsville to be exact, for work.  Unlike most work trips, I was sent out a little early to capture footage from a few classrooms for a couple projects we are working on.  I spent most of the day in three schools and probably a dozen classrooms.  I finished off what I needed to capture and was done for the day.  My plan was to get together with co-workers for dinner but I knew they were still busy with their tasks.  There was time to kill before they were ready, whatever shall I do?   Off the recommendation of one of the derby girls, I looked up where the Botanical Gardens was in relation to my location.  To my surprise the gardens were only about 10 minutes away, perfect.   Time to go commune a little with nature and take a breath.     I made my way to the botanical gardens and equipped myself with a camera body and a 24-70mm lens.  I didn’t want to load myself down with the 70-200 lens for a couple reasons: 1) it gets heavy and I get hot after a little bit, especially walking around outside.  2) as I have spoken before, I wanted to force myself to have to work within the constraints of the one lens – give myself that challenge I’m always after.  There were a few times where I really wanted that longer lens, but I had to make do with what I had. I was also armed with my other ‘must haves’ of my sunglasses and music – this day I walked... read more

Phoning it in – San Francisco by iPhone

I have been traveling a fair amount for work this year.  My travel typically consist of me flying to the location the evening before, sleep, get up and rush to various events, hurry to airport to catch my flight home.  These are quick trips and do not usually allow for time to do personal shooting of the area I’m in.  That said, the last two trips have been more than an evening which has allowed me to take, like in Alabama, at least a couple hours to explore and capture what I see.  My trip to San Francisco allowed me to take the opportunity for a couple short outings to capture the city.       This time around, I didn’t want to find myself stuck behind the viewfinder of my camera so I decided to use my phone – an iPhone 6s Plus.  I know if I’m walking around the city I will be a snap-happy person but will also isolate myself from absorbing the city during my exploration.  And, because you know I thrive on them, I wanted to give myself a challenge.  Walking around a busy city means street photography jumped front and center in my mind.  I didn’t want to travel to the ultra touristy areas only to capture the same images everyone else tries to capture, I wanted to grab the city as a whole and not (just) the iconic shots – yeah yeah I know the first image you see is of the Golden Gate Bridge, some things are just too good not to pass up.  So street photography with my iPhone, that... read more

Outer Banks Tourist

Recently we went down to the outer Banks (Nags Head area to be specific) for a wedding.  Over the past 20 years or so I have only been to a handful of weddings.  Yes they are nice and everyone is happy but sometimes they can just drag on for a long time and get kind of boring.  Sorry but it is true, all the pomp and circumstance can be a bit much for the audience – at least in my opinion.  Well anyway, I don’t want to get off on a tangent, I’m here to talk about photos.  So anyway, Carrie’s cousin was getting married and we were invited.  Given my approach to weddings I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of the long drive until these words were said “it will be nice to have the whole family together for a happy occasion instead of a funeral”  ok, point taken – and knowing this would be a more relaxed wedding I was in.   Bags packed and the camera tagging along for the ride we made the 5.5 hour drive down to the Outer Banks.  There was just enough time to check in to the hotel and change before needing to head on over to the venue for the wedding.  I had to make a really big decision, for me, and decide on bringing the camera or leaving it at the hotel.  I figured the wedding already had a photographer and, honestly, didn’t want to get tagged to shoot additional group shots.  This mindset wasn’t coming from me just being grumpy or not wanting to play nice, I didn’t... read more

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

About a month ago I commented on a Facebook post, I didn’t know it would make me go outside my comfort zone to challenge and push myself and my photography.   I like shooting.  I enjoy the whole process of photography from walking around looking for the right images, to working with models to play with light and shadows, to trying to capture the right shot at a concert or roller derby bout.  The editing of images to reveal the complete vision that I saw once I clicked that shutter button.  The thing is, all these images I create I do for my own benefit, for me.  I hang some images at group shows, give them to friends and provide them for charity auctions.  I shoot for me.  The shooting I do during my off hours are for me.   The past couple years I have been interested in finding some organization to offer up photography services as a way to help where I can.  I never knew where to go or what type of organization to approach.  The thoughts were always in the back of my mind in case I found something that I felt would be easy and fun to do.  Because it was at the back of my mind I never really brought it to the surface and researched my options.  Sure, I would think about something with animals or the homeless, those were some typical areas where people with cameras turn to, they popular areas.  These are organizations that you can get some compelling images and are great for editorial use and are universal in... read more

Street Photography Revisited

I mentioned this in a previous post but I miss walking around and indulging in one of the two loves that I have of photography – street photography.  Not only do I love walking around and getting lost within the world around me but I like to try and do that without being noticed.  No, I’m not hiding behind trees and bushes cloak and dagger style.  However, I do like to walk around camera hanging off my shoulder and shooting from the hip.  I keep at least one hand on the camera with a finger near or on the shutter button at all times.  In doing this I can snap a pic of whatever wherever without drawing attention to myself or making people self-conscious or on notice.   Recently I was asked by Andy, a photographer friend of mine, if I wanted to join him for lunch while he grabbed some local building stock for a client.  Clearing out a little time I said sure why not.  Before joining him I debated on whether to bring a camera as well or just take the opportunity to stretch my legs,grab some fresh air and enjoy the weather.  What a crazy thought.  Why would I pass up an opportunity to grab some shots myself?  With a camera in hand we met up and started out on our lunchtime adventure.  Andy was looking for houses and areas that had a DC residential flair.  Me?  I decided it was time to reengage in one of my favorite styles of photography – street photography.  While we walked around trying to find the ‘right street’... read more

Challenge 6 – Paper bag with one light

My results for the photo club challenge this go-around is not going to be for everyone.  I am not sure if what I have produced is as obtainable as my other pictures from previous challenges, and I’m ok with that.  Just like in previous challenges I have been struggling with choosing which image to show.  As is my fashion, I chop down the field to a handful, get some comments from a couple people and then pair it down to the final 2.  The difficult part at this stage is making that choice between option A or optionB, not an easy task.   Today this task is even more difficult because the final two images are so very much different from each other, from the lighting, to the composition, to the subject itself – an ocean of differences separates the two. Before we get into the final selection, let’s talk about the rules and then the process I went through in carrying out this challenge. The challenge from the piece of paper – Photograph a paper bag with one light – make it cool and the rules: Subject is a paper bag, so whatever else is in the image, the bag must be the main subject in the image not a supporting or tossed in the shot use Only one light source.  This light source could be a studio flash, a hot light, desk lamp, on/in camera flash unit, the sun.  Doesn’t matter what the light source, it can only be one light though. Make it an interesting picture. Bring one picture to the table So this time around... read more

Everything in camera

After talking about the recent photo challenge I participated in I thought that since I had the web space that I might as well talk about the other challenges we have done.  Today I will talk about the ‘in camera’ challenge   “Fix it in post” is what they all say.  It doesn’t matter if you are in film, (movies that is), photography, or any other production medium, the fall back when you aren’t sure if you have everything right or notice something wrong after everything has wrapped is “that’s ok, we can fix it in post.”  Some extra tweaks here and some extra nudges there and viola, you have either corrected the mistake or edited it to the point where it might not be what you intended but still is passable.  Now, I don’t think it is right to say this is a crutch to enable sloppy work.  Taking the lazy approach of ‘eh, we’ll fix it later’ does show a sign of a less than involved tone in the project.  But ever since photography has been around there has been editing.  As you can see in this image (the very famous image of James Dean in Times Square has edit notes all over the image. I am linking this image from an article online “Magnum and the Dying Art of Printing“)  Dodging, burning, adjusting shadows, basically the tools that are in PhotoShop today are pulled from the dark room toolbox.  Editing is nothing new.  When we are not in the studio we can’t control every element that will be captured within the frame.  Hell, even when we... read more

What is 40?

Today I turn 40.  What does that mean exactly?  Cultures and people try to place a significance on ages but to what purpose?  16 you can get a license, 18 you can vote and enlist, 21 you can drink, 24 you can rent a car.  Arbitrary years that don’t seem to fall in any sort of logical reasoning.  16 you can drive, because that was when Drivers Ed was able to be worked within the school schedule?  Well a lot of schools are removing that part of the curriculum and people are going to private lessons.  18 to legally use your voice and make decisions that alter the country by voting or signing a piece of paper stating you are willing to fight and die for your country yet that same country that you are shaping and wagering your blood on says you aren’t adult enough to take a drink or rent a car on your own?  Where is the logic in that?   Or is it our innate ability to find patterns in nature that makes us more aware of certain ages.  What is the big difference between 29 and 30, or 39 and 40?  It is just another year, but maybe we see the ‘0’ as the beginning of a new time?  A turning of a page in ages that holds within it a new door?  I don’t know.   Time is somewhat arbitrary.  The Earth spinning while traveling around the sun at regular intervals and the tilt of our axis causes day and night and the seasons.  We a human have chopped up those spans of... read more

Photo Challenge #5

  So I am part of a small photo group here at work – shocking I know.  Last year a few people here wanted to get together to talk shop and eventually we all decided to make the talks a regular ‘thing’ and the photo group was born.  Paul, my co-worker here in the studio, and I have been looking for new inspirations and making this group seemed to fit the bill.  We have a great group of people and they are all very talented and excited about creating memorable images. When we get together it isn’t just to talk about photography in general but to also challenge each other.  To keep things interesting each of us brought a few photo challenges to the table on little pieces of paper.  Each week someone reaches into the lens bag and pulls out the a challenge for us all to undertake. Typically what happens after the challenge is read is that we discuss the parameters of the challenge, establish ground rules based on what the challenge is and then off we go, see ya in 2 weeks.  So when we get together we review how each person accomplished the challenge put forth.  One by one we examine, critique, and talk about the process of how each image was created.  I love seeing how each person interprets the challenge.  We have seven people in the group and each person comes up with something completely different. With the background about the group and its purpose out of the way it is time to dive into talking about what our latest challenge is for the... read more

#WeTweetArt 2.0

As I stated in a previous post, 2014 is the year of promotion.  One of the best ways to self promote in this field is to find gallery shows to be a part of or try to have a personal gallery show.  I think grabbing a personal gallery show out of the blue with not a lot of showing history is a little too ambitious.  I don’t think it is beyond the realm of possibilities for next year, but I think this year I need to get my name out there a little more and group shows is a great way to get that ball rolling.   I was getting ready to search around online to see what shows are coming up in the area but made a quick pitstop to twitter first to catch up on the days musings.  Scrolling through the pics and wanna-be quirky quips and retweets I say a posting by @artDC about an upcoming show – #WeTweetArt 2.0 – talk about timing.  I halted any other searching and decided to see what was required to be a part of this show – no time like the present to jump in.   A few years ago I participated in a group show at the artDC Gallery – Censored 2.0 – with two photographs and enjoyed being part of the group.  This go-around the theme is open to any style and genre of artistic expression.  This will be an eclectic show with sculpture, photography, painting, mixed media, you name it and I can’t wait to walk in on Saturday and see everything on the walls.  ... read more