Sunday, April 21, 2013

I had someone e-mail the other day asking for more information on a lighthouse image I photographed along the southern Washington State coast.

This wasn't your ordinary e-mail.  The photographer was having problems finding exactly where I took the image.  So he sent me a google map of the area showing in fine detail an overhead view of the lighthouse and surrounding areas.  I was able to e-mail him back, giving him real time info on how far north he needed to go to connect to a back road to get to the trail head and the bluff where I took the photos.

We used to enjoy the ride, finding images and letting serendipity change our shooting schedule and just enjoying the journey of taking images.  Now, you can zero in on any location, anytime and know the exact place you need to stand and shoot from with apps that will tell you where the moon is rising and the sun setting.  If you are on a tight schedule as I believe this photographer was, then the new location finding apps could be well worth it.  But, sometimes you must get off the beaten path to find your own personal imagery.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 20, 2013

Dandelion or Irish Daisy

Just the name dandelion brings out an automatic negative response from people.  But why is that?  In photography we shouldn't allow previous influences to determine a potential subject or eliminate others as not worthy of our time and effort.

Is a dandelion a weed to be scorned or a flower to, be embraced.  It is both.  The dandelion greens have a lot of medicinal purposes.  The dandelion is high in calcium, rich in iron, loaded with antioxidants, and is rich in protein.  Native cultures through recorded history have used the dandelion as food, and as a healing herb.

Today we make dandelion wine and dandelion coffee.

The problem with dandelions is its ability to rapidly colonize the soil. This quick infestation damages crops worldwide and causes significant economic damage. So we can see that there are minuses to any plant that spreads quickly and overwhelms a cultivated field.

But I think one of the greatest complaints from people when it comes to the dandelion is when the flower attacks a pristine, green, manicured lawn.  We take comfort in our structured well kept residential lawns as a symbol of our ability to control nature.  When an alien weed such as the dandelion begins to take hold, we freak out and use all sorts of chemicals to kill the surly beast.

I prefer to look at dandelions as great photo opportunities.  I will not allow a negative connotation to keep me away from exploring any potential subjects.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Reflections on Photography

Photography has a interesting way to describe what it does.  When I say to someone, that I am going out shooting this weekend, they look at me as if I have gone off my rocker.  Or they say, what gun range are you going to.

Or someone would ask me if I got the shot?

In the old days we would get together and discuss our negatives.  Some people would respond, "Jim I don't think you have many negatives" ??  While looking at me funny.

We would talk about scratching on the film not an itch.

We used to go into a photo lab to blow up the image.  Nowadays if you talked about blowing something up you get arrested.

We talk about capturing an image.  As if we are stalking  prey.

There are more quirky expressions but they escape me at this time like some images I missed.

How do you protect your business interest in this crazy giveaway of the Stock Photo market? Do you shoot hi-demand lifestyle imagery?  Are you finding yourself constantly sleep walking through your shoots?  Can you ever keep up with the proliferation of imagery that hits the web on a second by second basis?

I find that I enjoy and have an interest in shooting a variety of subjects.  For me it doesn't matter if it is a studio concept shot or a close-up of a lady bug.  I enjoy photography period. By shooting a variety of subjects I don't put all my eggs in one basket but keep my portfolio open to a variety of potential clients.  Nowadays a photographer has to be aware that imitators are all over the world and a subject that sells will be copied and exploited.  You have to keep looking and shooting new work and personal work to keep your creative juices flowing.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't photograph a subject in depth and become an expert on the subject you are shooting.  By having in depth coverage of a subject you will get a valuable reputation and clients will come back to you for more images because they trust your ability to know the subject and have detailed information attached to each of the images that you send them.  But I think nowadays it is important to branch out and shoot a variety of subjects and just maybe create another niche for your photo income.

I enjoy shooting abstract images and patterns.  I am always looking for nature's patterns or patterns that I create in the studio.

I had some left over paint from another photo shoot I was doing so I decided to drip paint on my subject and to my surprise the paint didn't adhere to the surface of my subject but instead peeled away from it and created unusual colorful patterns.  I was in photo heaven.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 6, 2013

Photography is paying attention.  I enjoy the moment better because I am paying more attention to the details and not being distracted by external forces. When you pay attention you will find yourself looking deeper into the scene, subject and light. 

Your Photography is better when you have an interest in your subject.  Wanting to take images of your subject is a lot better than being bored and just going through the motions.  Photography shouldn't take away from your interest in your subject it should enhance your interest and make you more willing to take your time and explore the scene.  For me, photography enhances an experience of environment not distract from it.  With interest your images will be better.  

Do you go out looking to capture imagery or do you go somewhere and bring your camera along just in case something interests you?  I don't travel and then shoot.  I think about what I want to shoot before I travel.  Of course it never works out exactly as planned and that is the beauty of an empty memory card, so many possibilities.

The unexpected moment is why we love image making.  Let go and just take the photo, don't think.  We have all experienced moments where we just pushed the shutter and didn't even think about exposure, composition and light.