I love photography. I really do. I really really do, but i have found the last few months to be an unmotivated self critical self-depricating void. In other words i haven’t given myself the freedom or the space to create. Consequently the other aspects of my life have suffered.
Today i read an article on 500px. I didnt really engage with the article and the suggestions were almost pointless (why im not sharing the link). It did however remind me that i do actually want to take pictures. My twitter feed was full of hundreds of worldphotographyday posts and i just happened on a scene with aome very dramatic lighting.
My wife had cooked supper on the barbeque and left our window open. Smoke filled our room and the setting sun cut a sharp beam through the swirling smoke. At first i just took pictures of the “cool smoke”. An amateur mistake forsure but then my daughter happened into my room with her mettalic winged butterfly. She was excited to dance and play in the smoke and the sun reflected off the butterfly wings making a magical bright glow.
Here is the result…
Happy world photography day!
I am starting to wonder if it is my own sense of “not good enough” that has taken my joy of photography away. My own critical eye sees only the imperfections when i go to share a picture i have taken with someone else. I am afraid all of the “things i have done wrong” in lighting technique composition and post processing will be immediately obvious to everone else.
I have to admit I have trouble sharing my enjoyment of my photos with others. Maybe it is the uncertainty of what i really like about it.
Long story short i am posting a picture i took of my daughter. I like it for almost all of the reasons i don’t like it, but i do like. I really like it and i need to be ok with enjoying it rather than dumping on all the parts that i “should” have changed.
My biggest critic is myself. My greatest triumph os to continue to create even where i might have failed. To discover how many more ways there are to tell a story in photography.
Call it seasonal affective disorder. Call it depression. Call it laziness or priorities or apathy or a change of scenery. Call it what you will but I spent the last month without picking up my camera. I didn’t post process much either. Mostly I have avoided photography because for a while I lost sight of the enjoyment of it. Comparing myself to others and getting frustrated with images not turning out made me competely forget why I take pictures. So I put my camera down.
After a month I think I can finally say I want to take pictures again. I remember why I enjoy it and what I love about it. That doesn’t mean im not discouraged by my past blundera but that I still want to learn, I want to explore and I dont mind making mistakes as long as some of those are pictures I will remember and cherish and be proud of for the rest of my life. Not every actuation of the shutter will change the world but it will help me to see. And sometimes I know now I just need to put the camera down and connect with the world around me.
I wish I had some triumphal image to share with you all or some amazing announcement about becoming a pro photographer but truthfully im just happy to be back. Meandering my way through this garden of life taking a few pictures to remind me how much I have to be in awe of.
Thanks for joinig me on this journey. I promise more photos soon!
Today I had some time away from home without kids. Just free time to go exploring.
I went to one of my favorite places to take pictures.
Here is a little something I shot out there.
I set the exposure extremely long and my densest neutral density filter has a terrible purple tinge to it, but for this image I think it worked just great.
Let me know what you think.
I started going through my archives. They begin in 2008 when I switched to digital. I bought my d60 that day my first daughter was born and have shot over 25000 frames on 3 different cameras since.
I have to say I still need to go back through my film shots too but looking back 6 years and a handful of months my photography has improved by miles.
That being said I still captured aome great moments, memories and stories. If you follow my 500px account you may recognize this old photo I dug out of my archives and post processed again. Im sad to say I switched to shooting raw about 3 months after this was taken. But the tools in photoshop still allow for huge adjustments to jpgs as well.
You decide if you like this image better the original way or the new way
Link to original:
The new version:
…and there has never been a better time to go back through my archives and clean up the gigs of storage and post process a few hidden gems. 2 of my favorite shots that I shared on 500px this year were from my archives and I suspect I am sitting on a few more gems that just need the right boost from post processing.
I hope to share the process a bit but in the meantime I highly recommend taking a trip through your old archives to find those pictures you previously overlooked. Please share in the comments below.
Here is one of mine from 2013 that I processed and published last year.
Check out this awesome photo from 500px: https://500px.com/photo/84185457
I apologise for my lack of writing this past year. I feel like my whole 2014 project was supposed to focus on a more cohesive process of photography and what I found was that most months I do not have time to properly engage every aspect. Conceive of setting up testing reshooting post processing and publishing take a huge amount of time. Most months I was luck if I even got one day to shoot post process and publish. I have learned so much about photography my own process and how hard it is for me to carve out time to pursue this hobby.
All that being said I feel as though I had arrived and while at the beginning of the year I had hoped I would have a collection of 12 really unique photos that I loved I quickly discovered not every shot or every experiment works. Walking through that sometimes painful process has brought me here. I can be much more selective about what I publish and much more excited about my own personal acheivements and not so concerned with reproducing photos I had seen dozens of times before.
This truly is only the beginning.
So how did I shoot the last photo of 2014?
I had an off camera light about 280 degrees facing directly across the frame to the subject. I had the subject facing about 230 degrees. I placed a lit sparkler about 1/3 into the frame.
I played around with the fstop and iso and slowed the shutter to lengthen the exposure of the sparkler as well as the background lights.
I ended up shooting iso 200 f8 and shutter around 1/30.
This is what I got out of the camera.
Its not bad. I did crop the fingers of the sparkler holder out of the frame.
I then used a technique to create a bit of a magical feel with a duplicate layer that I blurred to about 30 pixels and then blended with the layer option “screen”
You can see this created a very cool effect but softened the edges and overexposed some of the skin.
Then I applied a layer mask to the skin and sparkler.
Adjusted the contrast and played with the curves and shadows to try and balance the light a bit better.
I also adjusted the brightness of the eyes and added some highlights. This is especially dramatic in the full resolution image but the scaled version here still shows some benefit to the process.
Lastly I did some minor color correction and sharpening.
Happy New Year!
Posted in 2014 Photo Project, Photos, post processing, setup
Tagged 2014 photo project, beginning, new, new year, new year's eve, photography, photos, post processing, sparkler
In contemplating this months shot and this years final picture I have been looking back on the past year and forward to the new one. I have regrets, hurt, losses and failures all piled into the memory of the past year but simultsneously see hope, life, laughter, joy, song, growth, and triumph woven through my memories. Not all of what happened this past year has been overwhelmingly good. My classes, my work, my parenting, my photography, and my spiritual vitality have all been arenas of failure and disappointment. In spite of that the year has been derinitively positive. My kids, my pictures, my relationship with my wife and my church have all encouraged and built up my person in the midst of heartache and struggle.
It is for these reasons that I look forward to a new year with hope and celebration. I have for no rational reason a firm thought that next year will be better and I welcome the new year with expectancy. I rejoice in the thought that a new year is opportunity for all things to be new.
Now how do you capture that hope that joy that excitement and celebration in a photo?
My thought is to shoot a portrait (a photographic weakness of mine) of a child with some backlight and a sparkler creating a picture of joy with a clear party scene. A little bit of fill light and perhaps a happy new year 2015 hat or banner to round it all out.
With 2 days left I think I can do it.
In case I don’t have a chance before the clock strikes 12 where you live…Happy New Year! Keep your chin up.
I am reminded again this year how wonderful and blessed I have been to grow up celebrating Christmas. Now, that’s not to cast shame on those who hold other traditions, but there is something joy-filled about this season that causes me to remember how good life is. For me and my family it means getting together (huge groups of us on both of my parents respective sides, and my wife’s family too) sharing the good times and the hard times, rejoicing in the season and in each other. It means trying to express our love for one another in gifts and words of encouragement. It means spending time together playing games, laughing and enjoying the outdoors. It means reading the Christmas story and watching our favorite Christmas movies (like Charlie Brown’s Christmas or The Muppet’s Christmas Carol). It means PEACE, LOVE, and JOY.
I am happy. That’s not a statement I make often, but I feel like, on this Christmas vacation, I have finally managed to relax and de-stress. I can actually enjoy the moment. Moments like the one captured below. The magical moment when the frost covered trees are lit brightly by the setting sun and the kids are laughing a playing in the snow. The freezing drizzle sparkling and shimmering in the yellow light. I wish I could bottle these moments.
I would love to tell you I have a plan for my final photo of 2014. I would love to say that photography no matter the season is #1, but the truth is, for me right now, it isn’t. Celebrating the birth of Jesus is more important than any picture – no matter how once in a lifetime. At least for now.
Merry Christmas all. And to all a good night….er good morning.
Posted in 2014 Photo Project, Photos
Tagged christmas, frost, outside, panorama, photo, photography, photos, photoshop, sunset, tobogganing, trees
Well November 2014 will go down in history for me.
I thought snow would be an easy target for a winter shoot especially here in November. That didn’t quite work out so I decided to take it indoors with a “sno” globe
A little early christmas cheer for all of you.
I will document the post processing for you, but I’m already 9 days late.
Posted in 2014 Photo Project, Photos
Tagged christmas, joy, led, lights, photo, photography, photos, snoglobe, snow, snow globe, star, tree, trees