Well, the year is quickly drawing to a close. Fall color is quickly flying past, and it’s time to take look back at the “New Year’s resolution post” and check progress.
- Get Organized. Nope. Not an inch of progress. I did manage to give the site a face lift this summer, though.
- Show Off. Currently working on selecting some pictures to make LARGE living room sized prints from. Contests? I’ve entered a few online that weren’t outright “rights grabs” where you have to give up all your rights to your photo whether you win the contest or not. Last night, though, I actually did win a place in my very first photo contest with this shot:
I guess the winning photos will be in the newspaper sometime in the near future, so I guess I get another 15 minutes of fame. Sharing online? Some sort of consistency would probably help. Still struggling there.
- Try something new. Well, just about the time the weather was getting nice enough for me to start getting out the Bender, we had to go and move. Now that the year is nearly over, I’m finally pretty much done with all that, so I hope to start playing with that again. I’ve been looking at large format printers since the summer. My husband may have just made it possible for me to actually acquire one of these, and I believe there is still a rebate going on for the one I want which will make the price much more appealing, so it’s possible that by the end of the year I’ll be delving into the other end of the photographic process – making prints worth putting up on the walls.
- New perspectives. While the technical skills continue to improve making it easier for me to reproduce in two dimensions what I see in three, I’m still fleshing out how I uniquely see the world.
- Do some good. It’s a pleasure to use my photography skills and equipment in service to Christ. It’s probably an odd thing to do, but I told a pastor here, “You know how some people dedicate their babies? I dedicate my cameras.” And I do. It’s God who has given both the equipment I have and the skill to use it, and when I get a new camera or lens, I take it to church with me and lay it on the altar and dedicate it to the Lord’s service first. Do I get a lot of pleasure from it that’s not at all related to serving the Lord? Absolutely! But if that ever begins to take first place in my heart, I have a tangible reminder of where my blessings come from and who really owns “my” stuff, and that’s a blessing too. I’d still like to explore this area in more depth, though. As far as teaching, since my daughter is the one who inherited my Rebel, I get the pleasure of throwing her a tip or new technique to try now and then, as well as watching her progress.
- Challenge myself. The photowalks have sort of come to an end during the moving process. Not to say that it will stay that way forever, but . . . . Taking pictures of people I don’t know. Is it only photographers who react badly to having their picture taken? Maybe just some photographers.
- Start a project. The only “project” currently in the works is trying to decorate the new place with some of my photographs. Mostly, it’s my own indecision holding that one up. I finally made some small prints of potential candidates while mom and dad were here, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.
- Take my camera everywhere. Definitely. Good move.
Here’s another picture entered in last night’s contest that didn’t win. Enjoy.
Seeing stuff like this always makes me wish I had the decorating gene. I don’t. Boy do I don’t!!! I see nice stuff in the store but never think it might look nice in my house. I see nice arrangements in other people’s houses and never think to try to do something similar in my house. I go shopping for food regularly but never think to go shopping for anything else. I suppose I could hire someone, but i never think to do that either. Hey! At least I have matching lamps in the living room for the first time in my life.
Now that we’re all moved in, I hope to get back to my usual programming. Have no fear – there’s plenty of photography in the pipeline just waiting for me to sit down long enough to process it.
Okay, so I’ve been spending way more time out with the camera instead of sitting in front of the computer, and a whole month has passed. I can’t say I’m all that disappointed. But since the subject is Green at I ♥ Faces this week, here’s a little green.
Because sometimes you go out intending to do one thing and end up stumbling onto something else – like an icy waterfall:
or an over-protective goose:
All in all, it was a great way to break in the new boots.
There are three of us at church who have been getting together about once a month to go out and practice our photography. It is fascinating to me how all go to the same location and often shoot the “same” shots but come home with usually entirely different pictures.
An example. My favorite shot from the covered bridge trip with Jean was this one:
The shot she took which she chose to interpret for her Christmas cards this year was this one:
In Jean’s picture, I can see exactly where I was standing across the bank to take my shot. In my picture, I can get a good idea of where she was standing when she took her shot. But the different perspective gives an entirely different look to the two pictures.
, our third companion on these trips, also sees differently than I do. The day we went to The Old Mill, I came home with this shot that I’m very pleased with:
Angie came home with these two:
Another obvious difference of perspective was in our shots of the rusted machinery parts at the mill. My shot:
Is one perspective better than another? Absolutely not! God made each of us with our own eyes with which to see. I have a quote on my Facebook page (now that the election is over, and I can quit griping about people voting for who they think might win instead of voting for the candidate or party that most closely represents them – grumble, grumble, grumble) that says this:
“A photographer’s main instrument is his eyes. Strange as it may seem, many photographers choose to use the eyes of another photographer, past or present, instead of their own. Those photographers are blind.” (Manuel Alvarez Bravo)
If I were to decide that the photographs I take aren’t as good as ______________ (fill in the blank with famous photographer’s name), therefore, they’re no good, I would essentially telling God that He didn’t do a good enough job when He made me (a mistake I’ve been making for most of my life). The first problem is the sheer presumption of telling the potter what he should have done with the clay. The second problem is that this kind of thinking has kept me paralyzed for most of my life because there are SO MANY photographers out there – past and present – who are so much ‘better” than I am.
But – there have been a number of studies that have come to the conclusion that greatness has much more to do with PRACTICE. Native talent only gives most people a head start. If that talent isn’t developed with PRACTICE, people who started off with no talent can quickly overtake them with PRACTICE. I hadn’t put that all together in my head real well until I was reading an article on seeing creatively by a guy whose photography was really unique and creative. As he told the story of his dream of being a photographer, saving all his money and buying boatloads of film, hopping in his car and going on a 6-month long tour of the US, coming home and getting all the film developed, and having not one picture worth saving, I could truly sympathize. I can’t tell you how many pictures of tiny little black dots (birds) in wide expanses of flat blue sky I threw away when we moved last time. Who would ever think I had a photographic bone in my body. Except there was a shot here and a shot there . . .
So I keep practicing. I love the photography trips with Jean and Angie. Beside the good company, I get to go out and practice something I absolutely love. Why do I love it when most of the time no one sees my pictures but me? Because once in a while I actually manage to capture the feeling that I had when I took the photograph, and I look at it and feel that feeling again. The covered bridge shot above is one example. Here’s another to leave you with.
New Year’s resolutions really aren’t my bag. When a change is needed, I just go for it. Not that making change any time of the year lasts any longer than it does at the turn of the calendar . . . . But I came across a great list of photography resolutions that just plain sounded like fun at Photojojo. Which ones am I likely to (or already engaged in) pull off?
- Get organized – Not likely, but a noble goal. Maybe I can get my stuff backed up a little better.
- Show off – I have put more of my stuff up on my own walls with intentions for more. There are some shots from a recent photo outing with some friends that I want to get printed. Making a book sounds like fun. Entering contests always makes me feel totally like a wannabe next to some of the other outstanding photography that is out there, but I should probably make more of an effort to enter some contests - if only to keep me from complacency. Sharing online – I just found Pixelpipe thanks to the Photojojo post, so maybe that will make it easier to get the shareable stuff out there.
- Try something new – This one is in mid process with the Canon-Bender digital view cam combination. Boy, have I got a lot to learn about camera movements – even on an APC-S sized sensor! Once I get the hang of it, I’ll likely start trying my hand at some 4×5 film shots. At least until someone comes out with a 4×5 digital sensor at a consumer price (not in a million years!). At that point, I wouldn’t see any reason at all to stick with film. One thing I’m looking forward to trying with the new set up is trying to stitch together some panoramic shots that will hopefully be free of a lot of the usual distortions. New perspectives – since I’ve kind of determined that I want to focus this year on finding my own vision rather than just perfecting my technique, the idea of deliberately choosing different perspectives than I normally would is appealing.
- Do some good – This appeals to me on a couple of counts. First of all, as a Christian, I’m quite sure that I’ve been blessed so that I can be a blessing. Second, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts (The Mindful Eye) recently, and Marian from the Netherlands did exactly that by taking her camera into a nursing home and doing portraits of the residents (see “challenge myself” below about taking pictures of people I don’t know). I thought it was a really neat idea and started to play around in my imagination with doing something similar. (The imagination play is always the first step to doing anything outside my comfort zone.) I don’t have any old equipment to give away. Everything I have is constantly being used. Teaching someone what I know is appealing. I like to teach, and I could certainly cover the basics.
- Challenge myself – There is a group of 2 or 3 of us at church who have been getting together once a month or so to go out and shoot at different locations. The first was a covered bridge tour. Another memorable one was an abandoned brick factory nearby, an old cemetery (stones from the early 1800s), and an old grist mill. Last outing was to a local garden center that was kind enough to let us wander around for a couple of hours taking pictures. Next will hopefully be a nearby art glass studio. I also want to start giving myself specific assignments just to increase my range of subject matter. My favorites have always been (from the first time we went to Colorado when I was 16) the outdoor shots, and that’s where I really want to focus in the coming year. The greater challenge, though, will be for me to take more pictures of people, especially people I don’t know.
- Start a project – It’s already 5 days late to start a photo-a-day blog for the new year (I know . . . I can start anytime I want to ). I’ll have to think about what I would want to do here, if anything.
- Take my camera everywhere – Definitely – maybe just the Canon, though. The Bender is a bit unwieldy to be taking along EVERYWHERE. If I remember it, my phone has a reasonable 3.2 MP camera in it, I just don’t like relying on it for any kind of creativity.
So there you have it. If I’m going to do any New Year’s resolutions at all, this would be the kind that I would be willing to dabble with – frivolously, irresponsibly and noncommittally – and maybe I just might stick with some in the process.
This is probably just about the coolest thing since sliced bread.
Original picture as shot with an increase in the exposure to bring out some detail in the shadows. As you can see, doing so immediately blows out the detail in the sky and the sky reflections in the water, and the trees in the background are pretty washed out. There’s also still a lot of shadow area that is lacking detail.
Enter the concept of High Dynamic Range, which brings the world of photography a bit closer to what the eye actually sees (although this does have a touch of surrealism to my eye). Take multiple shots of the same scene, expose some to give detail in the shadows, some to give detail in the highlights, and merge them on your computer at home.
I’m pretty impressed. I think I’ll keep playing around with this and see what happens.
I was reading G. Dan Mitchell’s photography blog today. He posted a really nice shot of rocks surrounded by a lovely flowing river. After describing the shot, he said:
There is a funny story to add to this. As I was shooting, as often happens when one sets up near a roadway with a “pro-looking” gear (hey, all it really seems to take is a tripod), other visitors began to pull over to see what the photographer was shooting, jumping out of their cars with cameras in hand. This in a very dark section of the canyon. With me using a very long lens. Pointed straight down at some boring rocks in the river. Quite a few just shook their heads, looked at me like I was nuts, got back in the cars, and drove on.
This struck me as enormously funny for two reasons. One, I’ve seen it all the time, especially when driving through some of the more scenic state parks. Someone will stop and get out of the car with a camera (especially a “pro-looking” camera), and everybody else will then follow suit like a herd of cattle. The second reason it amuses me is that my mindset was always that I steadfastly refused to go along with the crowd, no matter how spectacular the view. If by chance (or parental stopping) I got drug into such a scene, I always felt kind of dorky – like I knew there was a better shot somewhere off the trail that none of the other dorks would ever find, and why in the world did I have to get stuck following a herd of dorks who didn’t know what they were doing, anyway?
Okay, so I’ve revealed my innate lack of humility.
Enjoy some of Mitchell’s photography. His aspens are really nice.