Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Pictures

Well its that time of year again! I thought I'd share a few ideas that will perhaps make this year just a little more memorable.

As we get ready for Christmas lets remember what the season is really about - I understand that retailers are concerned with their bottom line, its hard to get through the day and not be hammered with all the adds telling us to buy. Christmas is more than that, for those of us that are lucky (or blessed) enough to be amongst family and loved ones at this blessed time of year than that in itself is a truly wonderful gift.

Now having said that lets get ready to take some pictures! Hows the batteries? Make sure you have a good selection and if they're rechargeable then make sure they're charged. Before we get into subject matter and perhaps a little technique lets remember that the holidays don't start on December 25. There are lots of things going on now that will add to your collection of memories as the years go by. Here are a few ideas...

Here in Marion, the Court House is well lit with Christmas lights, they have trees on the grounds that are also lit in the evening. Get the family together and use the area as a background for some Christmas portraits. You can also try some unusual angles and perhaps selective focus for the trees and lights - play, that's what photography is about, if you are using a digital camera you need not worry about the cost of film! Remember that in the evening the light will be low, it would be a good idea to use a tripod or make sure you have some way to brace your camera. If you can you may be able to change your iso (film speed) 600 - to 1000 would be good for hand held. I have a picture on my website called "The Gathering" it was done for the Chamber of Commerce, I used the Court House as a background and allowed the people to move around freely. Because I had used a slow shutter speed the people showed movement but naturally the building is sharply in focus - a cool technique you can try.

This is naturally just one idea, here are a few more...

Family arriving for the holidays, Christmas plays at school, Christmas parties at work, putting up decorations, your neighbors and their homes, shoppers with their parcels, Church functions, preparing dinner, kids as they first see the tree Christmas morning, you get the idea, it all is up to you, the memories you create now will last a lifetime. Just make sure your prepared, batteries charged, if you use film how is your supply, is your camera lens cleaned (always remember to remove your batteries if your camera will not be used for several months - the batteries will leak).

There are a few simple rules for better Holiday pictures but guess what we've already covered them - just be ready, use your imagination and fire away and remember don't cut off Aunt Millies head!

Merry Christmas everyone, from my home to yours!

D'Arcy and Ingrid and the boys.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New To MySpace

I now have an account at MySpace, if you don't have one you should look into it. It was a snap to put together and I enjoy meeting new people and building my business through that avenue. I've added two slide show presentations of my work over the years.
I've added a link at the bottom of the page, if you now have a MySpace account add me to your list of friends if you don't yet have an account - look into it I think you may enjoy it! Myspace Page

Friday, May 25, 2007

Digital Age - Two Thumbs Up!

I can develop and print my own pictures - the old fashioned way in the dark room complete with foul smelling chemicals and groping around in the dark trying to load a roll of film on a spool. With today's technology we no longer have to endure trying to get it right in the dark room. If you want to try something different with a computer you can and you won't incur the cost of wasted paper and or chemicals that have to be harmful.
I used to send negatives to a custom lab and try to explain to them what I wanted done - burn here dodge there -not too much now. today we can manipulate the image as we please and we're provided much more freedom to experiment. The interesting thing about all this however is you still have to start with a decent image, one that has been well composed and properly exposed, with media cards you can create thousands of images and just keep the ones you want.

The Art Of Seeing

When I first got started in photography in the late 1970's I used to carry around with me a 5X7 mat board with a 4X5 opening cut out. I would hold up the cut out and "compose" several scenes. I would use different composition techniques to practice the art of seeing. Once you learn to deal with composition and if you can train your eye to view a scene with the fore ground or back ground out of focus you can develop a keen sense of seeing as an artist. Its important to first utilize the basic camera skills, in other words take the darn thing off automatic. you need to understand why one picture is better than another and how the photographer achieved his objective. Look at the pictures to the right I have included different basic techniques which will be discussed later. Can you identify what I was doing and why? How would you do it differently? As you become more involved with the craft you will soon learn there is no perfection - you will always be growing, learning, evolving. It all begins with one learning first to see. Mother was right - take time to smell the roses, take a good look at the world around you, the images you make will depict your opinion of that world! Will your world be one of beauty or will it be cynical and cold, the choice is yours beware however the power of the camera!

Having An Eye

I remember someone saying a long time ago "Boy DArcy you sure have an eye for photography". I think I was flattered but as I've gotten older I realise that rather than haveing an eye I simply dove into the whole thing. I would read everything I could find (I still have hundreds of issues of major photographic magizines. I remember working on a specific subject matter (depth of field for instance) until I was happy with my understanding of it. I believe that first you have an interest then you develop the passion.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ataining Success In Photography

There have been times when I got side tracked, when making money was what it was all about. I became involved in photography not because if thought I'd get rich but because I was passionate about all things photography. I've learned over the years to be true to myself, to not sell out, to only make the pictures that I wanted to make for the reasons I wanted to make them. As far as success goes; I don't know I had no expectations no visions of grandeur, I simply loved making pictures - sales and admiration simply fueled the flames. The mark-up on a photographers work is ridiculous, a $3.00 8X10 will sell for $25.00 easy. No wonder the public is buying up digital camera's and thumbing their noses at the "pro". Do I think that a Photographer is not worth such rates - depends on the quality of work and if the public is willing to pay it. As for me I get a bigger kick out of selling a souvenir magnet to a lady in Japan or a sweat shirt of an image I made in Oregon to someone in Ohio. These people paid good money for work that I did, the image had to stand on its own, there was no fancy selling techniques. I did and do want to be the best that I can be for me, this is a business that is continually evolving. It's funny that after 25 years when I have the camera set on the tripod I still become engrossed in the image and loose all track of time and place.
I guess in the grand scheme of things I have been successful, the passion is still there, I have visitors to my website from all over the world. My images have been purchased by customers from many different countries. I guess that's the natural progression of things - if your passionate about anything in life you simply gravitate in that direction.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Don't take yourself too seriously!

I've run into many photographers over the years, I'm still looking for one that seems to be down to earth. There is a certain smugness about this profession - bottom line, I don't care how many degrees you have, face it your just a dude with a camera. Even the greats like Ansel Adams or the Yoseph Karsh didn't seem to have the ego of some of the fellows I've bumped into over the years. I've always tried to remain humble, my motto is simple - If you've hired me to do a job, I'll do my best, if I screw it up I'll try to fix it. If I'm making pictures for myself to market to the public and you approve I'm grateful for your admiration and appreciate your support. That's it, I know there are many photographers far more talented than me, I don't belong to any affiliate photographers club, I have no degree in photography and I don't enter competitions. As I get older I accept less assignments and spend more time doing my own thing, Its a freedom I've always enjoyed - never will I allow photography to become a JOB.

I Failed Art Class

I can't sing, never could hit a note. I can't dance - two left feet, I can't even draw an apple to look like an apple. I even failed art class in grade 10. (poetic justice - that art teacher approached me 15 years later to inquire if he could hang his art in my art galllery, and it should be noted I had a very attractive blonde sitting on either side of me)! My artist talent has been challenged to be sure, but I developed a passion for photography, a passion that burned so brightly I was and to some extent still absorbed. This all when taking a photography class in high school, I remember the experience of learning about f-stop depth of field and so on. The experience in the dark room was mesmerizing! I was hooked!