Most photographers get into photography because they are passionate about it. What drives this passion? Fun. It is important for me to have fun when out shooting. This past summer my daughter and I attended the Waukegan Air Show and had lots of fun taking photos of the airplanes. I was able to use the high speed motor drive of my Canon 7D to really take some exciting aviation photos. This being one of my favorites. This photo is all about having fun and capturing exciting moments. I can’t wait until the show next year.
Every photographer runs into difficulty when they travel. The trip will never go exactly as envisioned, but if you are prepared then you can make the best of any situation. For example the image above. Last spring while visiting Spain, my family planned to visit the Alhambra palace. I had visions of getting their early in the day and staying late to photograph all day into dusk at the palace and fortress. Well, that is not what happened. The union workers of Spain decided to hold a general strike the day we planned to visit. Every for of travel, restaurants and stores we shut down. Luckily by early afternoon, most of the protests had calmed down (yes I photographed the protests) and the Alcazaba in Malaga was open. The fortress is beautifully preserved, and I’m glad that I was able to explore it. At first disappointed, I was able to capture a lot of photos that I really love. The “Malaga” photo shown above is one of my favorites, Catholics and Moors, Man and Women, Old and New, Light and Dark are all included in this photo.
This shot is being exhibited on January 25th at 4th Fridays at the Starline art show. If you are in the Chicagoland area, it will be worth the time to join this fun and casual art show. Click here to find out more.
You have probably read all about why film is better than digital or digital is better. What ever side of the fence you fall on this post is not about that. This is why I still shoot film.
Film makes me a better photographer. It has limitations; number of shots on a role, set ASA number, frames per second, and more. I add limitations to that as well; I use set lens focal lengths and manual focus cameras. How do these limitations make me better? Well I’m glad you asked. Having a limited number of shots forces me to be a more deliberate shooter. I need to make sure that the subject is one I truly feel strongly about. This goes hand in hand with a set number of frames per second. I cannot rely on my camera’s speed to capture a moment, I need to anticipate what will be happening. Having a set ASA number pushes me to have a steady hand, at times I need to be able to use a slower shutter speed than I am typically comfortable with. In order to have the shot be sharp I need to be able to hold the camera still. Limiting the focal length forces me to look at the world differently. I know I cannot zoom in with my feet staying still, I have to move to compose my shots. The last thing on the list is manual focus. Having to focus the lens by hand allows me to recognize focus points faster, sometimes an autofocus lens just cannot pick focus correctly and I know this will not slow me down.
Those are the practical reasons why I still shoot film. On to the non-practical. When I was young my father taught me how to shoot with a Canon AE-1. I learned everything I know about photography from him and Canon. I still know the layout of that AE-1 like the back of my hand. Shooting with film also holds a special nostalgia for me. There is something special about the wait. Not knowing if your photos will be great, or that you captured the precise moment in time is magical. I also enjoy the feel of vintage cameras. The old metal and leatherette is something that you need to experience if you haven’t had the chance to.
I don’t shoot solely on film and appreciate the speed and ease of processing digital. I just hope we never lose the opportunity to use film for photography even if it is solely for the nostalgia.
For Christmas this year I received a couple of great gifts. Two books; Vivan Maier Out of the Shadows and Street Photography Now. I think it is important for me to include these sort of items in my Behind the Shot blog. I am always looking at great photography and love to see and learn from other photographers. Since it is winter here in Chicagoland and I don’t get along with the cold, this is a great way for me to pass some time.
I love classic and vintage things. There is something about the way they are built and designed that will never be replicated. I collect and use vintage cameras, have owned vintage motorcycles and cars and drive a ’73 BMW 2002 almost daily in the summer time. One of the vintage events I regularly attend an event called Coffee and Classics, this is a casual gathering of mostly vintage european cars. This past summer I took my father out with me to one of the events. It was great spending time with him along with checking out some great rides. It was also my first time out with my Canon 7D.
Enough with the back story. When this 300SL turned down the street almost everyone took notice. When my father and I went to take a closer look, I almost pushed him out of the way to get this photo. I noticed the clouds reflecting of the polished paint and heard the jet overhead. I almost missed the airplane, but managed to get myself in position and snap this photo. When I have my camera with me (almost 100% of the time ) I notice things more, my eyes are open to light and reflections and I am always thinking of composition. This photo is was a great opportunity to enjoy multiple
2012 was a great year, I can’t wait to see what opportunities 2013 will bring. Happy New Year!
How can I capture the emotion I felt while touring Seville Cathedral with a photograph? That was the thinking behind this photo. The cathedral itself is extremely impressive, both in size and significance. I wanted to capture both the size and the religious significance, a daunting task but I feel that this photo taken hand held from behind Christopher Columbus’ tomb recognizes both. The silhouette is one of four stone pallbearers holding up the tomb.
I have to say that the Seville Cathedral, from a photographer’s point of view, is overwhelming. There are interesting photos everywhere you look.
I will be taking the next couple weeks off from posting to enjoy my Christmas break. More photos and my thinking behind them in 2012.
Occasionally you are out shooting an image just hits you. On this day I headed to a road I take to work everyday. To the right of this road a small lake had dried out and between the clouds in the sky and the dried lake, it would be an impressive scene. After shooting photos of the lake, I began to walk back to my car. At one point I turned over my shoulder and noticed how dramatic a completely empty road (in itself an odd thing in Chicagoland) looked. Making sure there was no traffic, I shot out to the middle of the street and captured this. Not something you would expect to see near Chicago, this image reminds me of how interesting the day to day we travel is.
Sometimes the ordinary can look extraordinary. Close to my house a building was being renovated. The construction company brought a dumpster out to throw the trash in and haul it away easily. Typically a very ordinary scene. In this case the dumpster was painted with the american flag on it. I was stunned by the fact that the workers were expected to throw trash into this container that contained the iconic symbol of the United States. I had plenty of opportunity to shot this shot under ideal lighting conditions, but chose harsh mid-day light in order to bring out the edges and textures on the metal.
If you would like a copy of “Trashing America” I have a limited number of signed archival quality un-mated 8×10 prints for sale. Only $25 each.
One of the skills of street photography is noticing your surroundings. Being able to pay attention to what is going on and anticipating an action is vital. In order to capture this photo of one of the police officers in old San Juan, Puerto Rico I needed to be patient. The contrast and colors of the old buildings he was standing by was impressive, but his pose was not. I initially noticed him when I walked past on the opposite side of the street, from there it was just being observant of his actions. I noticed he would occasionally relax for a moment or two in this door way. I wanted to capture this officer not looking as intimidating as he did walking up and down the block. Who knows what he is going to have to use next, the umbrella or the pistol?