Monday, February 28, 2011

Confidence and Fear

I've come a long way since I first started my photography hobby. Prior to buying my point and shoot, I researched photographic technique for a few months. Preparation would be the key to success. Upon buying the camera, I realized that photography was hard! It took work just to get sharp photos, to get the color right, to get the exposure right. Most of the photos were just hit or miss. I continued researching and learning from the 'masters' via YouTube and library books.
Months went by, tons of hours were spent studying and looking at photos from around the Internet, and I bought a film camera. I knew the camera itself would do nothing for my photography, but I also knew that the control I lacked would be there. So began that journey and my photos weren't what I wanted.
What could be missing? What's still missing? With experience comes confidence. The more I shoot, the more I see good results, the higher my confidence goes. Confidence has become synonymous with technique. I've refined my technique through experience, and thus my confidence in my own capability is there.

We're all afraid of things, it's human nature. But letting fear control our lives, and our art, gnaws at your soul. Being different isn't always bad or wrong, it's just different.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011


The scariest part of any endeavor is failure. The prospect of letting yourself down is enough to motivate a photographic stupor. Not doing anything may seem to be a wise choice, but it's more of a catch-22. While not making an attempt will mean no negative results, it also means that nothing is learned or produced.

We need the freedom to make mistakes. I have a 365 project that's for me. I photograph something, anything, at least once a day and keep them organized so can look back. There are good days and bad days. I look back and understand the mistakes I've made and it serves as a sketch pad for future photography/videography. Mistakes then become more than just a stepping stone, but a path to better ideas and photos.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Taken Out of Context

I'm a big fan of photo walks. Whether by myself or with a couple friends, being out and about gets those creative juices flowing. The fresh air and sun help improve my mood more than you would think.

All that is leading up to today's topic of taking a scene out of context. Take the photograph above as an example. Taken at a local park, there is a parking lot and a wall separating the park from Home Depot on either side of the photo. Neither impacted my photo besides framing. I could just as easily have been walking through a forest.

Composition and simplicity go hand in hand. The problem lies in wanting to say everything in one photo. Only the photographer, in this case me, knows the entire story. I choose which part to tell and how to tell it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Faces of Creativity

There are days when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. I can't get to work on time, there isn't enough money to do all that I'd like to do, and even food doesn't sound appetizing. Every time there's a glimmer of hope for the day to improve, something has to happen to keep it as crappy as it was that morning.

Let's be honest, though. There's no wrong side of the bed (unless, of course, it's underneath). I make my own state of mind from the moment I open my eyes. A rough morning can be perpetuated by a negative attitude. On the flip side, I can make the most of that kind of day. Sometimes life wants to be taken by the scruff of the neck. I'll take that anger and frustration, tweak it some, and come up with something interesting.

A couple of ways I sort things out is with a long walk or to talk with my wife; on the other hand, I also use that feeling to express myself through writing and photography. A positive attitude is crucial for the long run, but that same raw energy can transform into something unexpected: thought suddenly becomes reality. Or in my case, I create a photograph that is 'off-kilter' or 'eerie.' My usual dreamy photographs end up on the nightmare end of the spectrum. This is a subtle result, but one I like nonetheless.

Monday, February 14, 2011


There are times when I'm surprised at the impact a photo can have. A captured moment in time can inspire action, evoke emotion, or just leave you in awe. There are timeless photos that define a generation while others define a culture or sub-culture. Regardless of the intent or result, photography can be whatever you want it to be. I enjoy documenting family events, but fine art photography has a special place in my heart. I take how I feel about a subject and the excitement of the moment to create something from within me.

My preferred style of shooting is happenstance: a photo that may not have happened had I waited a fraction of a second longer. It's easy to see something interesting, but difficult to subsequently pull the camera up (while distance focusing), compose, dial in the aperture/shutter speed, and finally take the photo. Sometimes I know that something is going to happen, and just watch. At other times, I know the exposure is close enough to capture a photo to make sure I have it. Some moments are too beautiful to pass by.