Pickup Truck – painting
I was at the Santa Fe Photo Workshops. Arthur Meyerson was teaching. Arthur is a great photographer from Houston Texas. It was raining in Santa Fe that day. Our usual workshop schedule was to break for lunch then go out and shoot after lunch. As I was waiting in the lunch line I looked out the window and saw the photo posted above. Since I had my camera on me I began to photograph through the window. Rule #1 carry a camera if you want to take pictures. I think people were thinking I was nuts. This is one of my favorite shots ever. It is not photoshop, it is water on window. It was my French painter on acid period.
Palm Tree at Sunset
Palm Frond through a screen door
Palm Frond Grainy
Palm Tree Shadow on Old Metal Wall
Jay Maisel tells a story about working on a photograph in front of him only to have his wife suggesting he turn around. There was a far better photograph behind him. The point of this is becoming aware of what is in front, behind, up and down, under and over. Where IS the photographic viewpoint that is special to you. Just pulling your camera up fast and blasting away is not exactly Zen vision. My photographs of Florida palm trees were taken over time. Each photograph provides a different viewpoint. The quality of light has a lot to do with perspective and feel.
Large Florida Panther Held by a Beautiful Girl
Florida Panther and Beautiful Woman
Jay Maisel is, in my opinion, perhaps the greatest living photographer. I am honored to know him. Jay is a fantastic teacher, a wonderful person, has a great sense of humor and shares major tips on becoming a good photographer in his workshops http://www.jaymaisel.com/workshop/. The photographs I have posted are to a large degree due to his teachings. One of the main things (I think this is rule #2) Jay speaks to is “going out empty”. This means going out with your camera with no preconceived ideas or concepts. Just being free to allow what is in your field of vision (in front, behind, above and below) to ignite something inside of you, to investigate and follow the story.
I set out one morning just letting whim guide me. I drove from central Florida (Ocala) to the west coast of Southern Florida just before the Everglades. A small zoo popped up on the radar that was about the endangered Florida panther. I stopped and took some photographs through the cages. The crusty old owner comes out of the office/house and asks for a donation. No problem a donation for a good cause. We strike up a conversation and he starts telling me about this woman who keeps a full grown panther in her house. He gives me her phone number. I call her and she, for a price and a few prints, is wiling to pose with the “cat”.
We met at her house the following day. I walk in the front door and there is this “cat” the size of a large dog on the couch looking directly in my eyes. I can feel him questioning my interaction with the woman -am I perceived as a threat-? . CHECK PLEASE! While the girl was very good looking and I knew I wanted her in the shot with the cat, I forced my mind to be neutral about all guy / girl things… if you get my drift. Everything is fine, I’m a punk, couldn’t hurt a fly, I have 4 kids, don’t rip my throat out… PLEASE! please!
I know this cat could take me out in thirty seconds or less. Dead, toast, end of story. The girl and I talk about the “cat” and about the ideas I have for the photograph. I end up with her in a red bathing suit with the cat on a leash (yea like that matters) sitting on a local dock. Using a 180mm tele to keep my distance, I managed to photograph the panther and the girl including the vertical for a magazine. Even with the cat on a leash I was worried the entire time. We worked around sunset and you can see the color balance change or I used a polarizer… This was exciting, unexpected (going out empty) and I was glad to get the @#!* away from the cat. Meow.
Hot Air Ballon
Every year there is a hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque. There is color galore! Photographers eye candy. As the sun comes up the pilots start to inflate the balloons. The beautiful early morning light that lasts just a short time, the mad action of inflating the huge balloons and the color of the hot air balloons is an opportunity to get some really great photographs. You need to be fast! The light is only magic for a short time and in less than thirty minutes most of them will be over your head. However, with a little pre-planning and some greased palms you might be able to hop into the basket of one of these and get even more images. To me this was the iconic image of the morning. There were many more to be had.
For a long time I was in charge of my four ~carpet commandos~ children. There was always some problem… some sad song like; “Dad !!! Geoff put ketchup in my ear” At some point I changed my name to the Cheerio Roundup King. At some point I visualized a concept I call “I have heard all the sad songs”. I saw the image in my head and started putting pieces on the board. I hired an old friend (I have quite a few old friends) bought an old violin, shredded the hair on the bow and found a tux at a used clothing store. Black background, strobe with a grid, signed model release, some acting direction for my friend and the check to pay for his day. I learned a lot.
For a decade now I have listened to photographers and their stories about slipping shoulder straps. Cameras and lenses bouncing off the floor, falling off into the bay, in short driving them nuts. About 98% of photographers who use the UPstrap love it. I am happy I can help.
Good photography courses will teach about gesture and light. Many times to capture gesture you learn to anticipate, have your camera at the ready and have a DSLR camera with a fast motor drive. Again, carrying a camera in a camera bag will slow your ability and desire to capture something that grabs your eye. Stay ready with your camera on your shoulder. Find a camera and lens combination that is comfortable for you to carry. I like my Fuji X-E1