As photographers we see the world differently than other people do. Were we born seeing the world this way or did we develop a different way of seeing? Either way we see things that others often don’t. I was out with the Rappahannock Area Climbers Meetup group last Thursday getting ready to climb Rappahannock Rocks, a local climbing spot a few minutes from downtown Fredericksburg, VA. Keith from River Rock Outfitter was getting the gear ready to set some anchors for our climb when he took a handful of carabiners from his pack and let them spill out over the rock. He was concerned with making sure that the anchors were set correctly and never paid attention to the way carabiners looked. As he said later, “That’s why we bring Vincent!”

I feel it’s my job as a photographer to see differently, to notice those things that others don’t. Seeing differently is a unique perspective we bring to making our photos. Have you ever been out with a group of photographers and after everyone has shared their photos you see things that you would like to have photographed but never noticed? You might have been standing right next to it. You may have even looked right at it and it never registered. If we aren’t born with a different way of seeing we can certainly develop one. The more we make photos the more we develop our unique way of seeing.

Technical Info: Ricoh GR Digital 4, 250 ISO, 1/100 sec., f 6.3, 6mm (24mm equivalent)

When It Comes To Weather, Perfect Isn’t Always Prefect

I know photographers that only head out to make photos in what they feel is perfect weather conditions for the photos they want to make. If there is a chance of rain or even heavy overcast they stay at home and don’t go out. That is unfortunate because you miss out on a lot of opportunities. Sure, I have been disappointed when the weather takes a turn for the worse. But more often than not I come home with some interesting photos.

Trail in Shenandoah National Park
Trail in Shenandoah National Park

The forecast called for cloudy to mostly cloudy skies last Tuesday for Harrisonburg, VA. I knew that it was time to head up to Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park for the day! For most of us, when the forecast calls for cloudy skies, the clouds will be rather high in the sky. When you are on a mountain, cloudy skies can mean you will be in the clouds! And that is exactly what I wanted. I spent the day walking trails in the clouds.

Last Light of Day on Old Rag Mountain
The last light of day on Old Rag Mountain.

There was a break in the cloud cover but not for long. Plus, it depended on where you were on Skyline Drive. A few tenths of a mile could mean clear skies or staying in clouds. As I rounded a bend I could see Old Rag Mountain bathed in some nice golden light. I hurried to the next over look and got a photo just in time. A minute or two later, the light was gone.

As photographers we need to study more than just photography. Study the weather if you photograph outdoors. Look for changeable weather not just clear blue skies. Find conditions that will help enhance the photos that you want to make and get out there!

Go Ahead, Fail

Let’s admit it, we are all afraid of failure. We do everything we can to try and avoid failure, but you know what? We are all going to fail every now and then. So, get on with it. Don’t let the possibility of failure hold you back. I said, back in August, that I was going to put out a newsletter in September. That was my goal. Well, I sat down several times to design it. “I want this to be great!” I thought. After several attempts and the month of September now gone, I sat down yesterday, October 2, and just did it. I put together a newsletter. At this point, I thought, it wasn’t going to be very impressive but I had to get it out. The thing in the back of my mind was, if it’s not very impressive, in fact if it sucks, well, that would be a bad thing. Yes it would, but it would also not be the end of the world.

So, I sat down and in one go got my first newsletter out. It went out to those who signed up for it. Mostly friends, other photographers and students. And guess what! Yep, FAIL! I missed a couple of things that I shouldn’t have. One was glaringly obvious only after I pressed send which is usual for me. Pressing the send button somehow clears the RAM in my brain and I usually find one or more mistakes in what I have written. It was there all along but I never saw it. So my thought for today, don’t worry about getting everything perfect. The world won’t end. You can learn from your mistakes and do better next time.

I have about three weeks until the next news letter should go out. It’s going to be great, award winning even! I only have three weeks to worry about it!

Road Works

Go Anywhere, Photography Anything

If you were asked “If you could go anywhere and photograph anything, where would you go and what would you photograph?” how would you answer? For me the first thing that comes to mind is getting on US Rt 1 and heading south. I’d stop when I got to a big marker that says “The Conch Republic, 90 Miles to Cuba, Southernmost Point Continental U.S.A. Key West, FL, Home of the Sunset.” That’s where I want to go.

From there I’d ride a bike around the island. I’d spend most of the day taking in all the places that I remember, not that they would be very familiar with all the time that has past since the last time I was there. As the day is drawing to a close I would head to Mallory Square and celebrate the sunset.

What would I most like to photograph? The sunset and everyone celebrating it. I remember standing in the crowd watching the performers do their acts and watching the boats sail back and forth in the golden light at the end of the day. What a great way to spend some time before doing the Duval Crawl! What’s the Duval Crawl you may ask, I’ll save what for another time!

Photography – A Love-Hate Relationship

Whether you are a keen amateur or a professional photographer you love photography. Photography is easy to love and hate at the same time. Below are a few observations of the love-hate relationship most photographers have with photography at some point.

We love those images of early morning light but we hate setting our alarm clocks for 4am.

We love getting an image in our minds and hate the fact that it will take 27 layers and countless hours in to make it a reality.

We love the amazing images of the Milky Way but hate that there is so much light pollution that we can’t make those images in our backyard.

We love big sensors but hate the file sizes.

We love all the lenses and gadgets we buy but hate that we can’t afford a sherpa to carry it all.

We love going on vacation but hate that we have to bring our family.

We love the creative things we do as photographers and hate when someone says “You must have a great camera.”

We love buying new cameras and hate knowing that the next generation of camera is already in the final phase of development.

We love being out in the natural world but hate that there is no outlet to recharge a flat battery.

We love seeing a great sunset but we hate not being able to stop and park right when we see it.

We love images made in the vast wilderness and hate that a hotel is not within walking distance.

We love being creative and making images but we hate that things like work, family commitments and hunger get in the way.

We love finishing that image and hate is when we realize that the internet is down so we can’t upload it to several social media sites.

We love spending time getting an image to look just right in post processing but we hate that monument of realization that we haven’t saved our work in two hours just when the software decides it’s going to crash.

We love driving into the city to make images at night and we hate that the connector plate for our tripod is sitting on the desk at home.

We love all these things and so much more about photography but we hate that there is only one place that we can be at any given moment so get out when you can and know that a day with your camera beats a day in the office every time!

%d bloggers like this: