Teaching others the art of photography is simply one of the most enjoyable things I get a chance to do. Leading classes, workshops, conference presentations or one on one with my daughters; every time that I have taught my creativity is re-energized. I get inspired by students to shoot more, push my abilities and improve my craft.
Thanks to those who have taught me, and for those that I have had to pleasure of teaching!
Contrary to what most blogs and articles are saying I feel the future of photography looks bright and I’m glad to help make that happen.
Don’t leave your camera at home. Your camera should be an extension of your eyes, like a pair of glasses. Without it you should feel like you are missing a part of yourself. I know it is a pain to luge a DSLR with you every where you go, but why not a point and shoot, a film camera or at the least your cell phone. You never know when the opportunity to capture an exciting image will occur. I do my best to always have at the least my Canon G10 or a 35mm film camera with me. As an example of why, the photo above was taken at the Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Fest. A few miles from my home, I went with the girls and grabbed my Canon on the way out the door. The sky was unique and resulted in a few photos that I love. So…
Don’t forget your camera!
Last year I decided to enter a competition. Not surprising-I’m competitive. What was surprising is that I entered a nature photography competition. I have never been one to stand and wait for nature to come to me, or really been a big fan of taking landscape or nature photography. The reason I entered the contest was to push my comfort zone. I know where my strong points in photography are, but how could I strengthen my weak points? Could I take excellent pictures of nature? This pushed me to go outside of my typical photography style and learn new techniques. I learned to use a super telephoto lens correctly, how to wait for an animal to “pose” for the portrait and how to compose nature and wildlife shots. After months of waiting and photographing different aspects of an conservation area, as assigned by the contest, I finally came up with this photo. I, of course, had to stalk this green heron for an hour before he or she “posed” for me. Proudly this photo of the Green Heron won second place in the competition. I am glad I went outside of my usual photography comfort zone, and became a better photographer because of it.
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.
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.