Myers Creative Photography: Blog https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Myers Creative Photography cmyers435@charter.net (Myers Creative Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:21:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:21:00 GMT https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-12/u577537011-o445936029-50.jpg Myers Creative Photography: Blog https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog 80 120 Alien Landscapes… https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/1/Alien-Landscapes I like to have a camera with me almost all of the time, simply because you never know what you’re going to see!  Last weekend I took Molly (the 11 year old puppy) for a walk on the Norwottuck Rail Trail in Amherst, and I took my Nikon with me.  The Rail Trail is a great place for color photography in the fall, and can provide some wildlife opportunities in the spring and summer, but it’s usually impassable in the winter.

However, aside from a freak storm just before Halloween, there’s yet to be any real winter weather this year, and the trail is clear.

I really didn’t expect anything to really catch my eye.  The sky was clear and blue, and it reflected nicely off of the water along the trail, but the detail areas were all various shades of grey and brown, and really not very appealing.  But I found the shapes of dead trees to be interesting, and took a few shots from different angles as Molly and I wandered along.  I had the thought in my mind that they might work pretty well as black and white images, or perhaps tinted just a bit with a single color.

Rail Trail Trees

Pretty "blah" photo!

However, when I popped the card into the computer, and began looking at what I had, I wasn’t very happy.  The shadows led to a pretty uneven exposure, and in some shots, the angle of the sun, along with the position I’d taken, had given me tree trunks that were bright on one side, and dark on the other.

But I really liked the shapes of the trees.  They just looked so absolutely lifeless and alien.

So I started playing with them.

Step one was to drain them of color.  I was using GIMP (a free image editing software), which allowed me to desaturate the photos with a slide control, using either lightness, luminosity, or an average to take the colors out, and the second step was to put a single color back in.  I used different colors for each photograph, thinking that I might display three of them side by side by side, and wanted obvious differences between them.

Then I wanted fog.

GIMP allows you to use multiple layers, and to adjust the opacity of them according to your needs.  For fog, I found that generating what GIMP calls “plasma” works well for fog.  When it’s generated initially, it can look something like this…

Plasma

The beginning of fog...

Doesn’t look much like fog, does it?  However, when you take all of the color out of it, and lower the opacity of that layer, it works pretty well!

Much better, but I thought maybe some “patchy fog” would look better.  In GIMP, you can use the eraser tool on one layer, which in this case was the fog.  By reducing the opacity of the eraser tool, and using a great big brush with “faded edges”, I took out some of the fog, which of course let the color bleed through a bit more.

Rail Trail Foggy Trees #4

In the end, this wasn’t what I had in mind when I pressed the shutter release, but I was happy with the end products.  I’ve printed my three favorites, and really like how they look next to each other.

Now I just have to figure out what to take down to put these up!

I’m out…Peace!


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cmyers435@charter.net (Myers Creative Photography) photography alien composition creative GIMP landscape https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/1/Alien-Landscapes Sun, 15 Jan 2012 10:10:10 GMT
“Seeing” Boston for the first time… https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/12/-Seeing-Boston-for-the-first-time I was born in Boston, spent the first seven years of my life there, and spent the rest of my school years in one of her suburbs.  I spent many nights in Boston when I was in college, although this isn’t the place to talk about those nights.  I worked in a Boston warehouse for a year and spent summers and vacations working at a humane society in the city.  It’s also just been one of my favorite places to visit, spending time at the museums, on the waterfront or downtown on the common or perhaps at a sporting event.

But I never really looked at the city.  Man there’s a lot to see.  All you have to do is pay attention.

I was in the city with Christine last Saturday, and we spent some time just wandering around Quincy Market, and then into the North End.  It being a Saturday, the outdoor market at Haymarket Square was in full swing.  What a great place to grocery shop if you can carry it away, (Unfortunately, we were taking the T on Saturday) and a great place to catch some color in your photos.  There’s two things I’ll note here on these two photos.

A whole bunch of beans!

In this first photo, the concept is simple.  If you fill the frame with the subject spilling out over the edges, it lets the viewer imagine that the subject of the photo can go on forever, or at least for a good while longer.  In this case, I was photographing a case of green beans, and quite honestly, there weren’t a whole lot more of them than are in the picture.  But framing it this was lets you imagine that there are lots more to see.

tomatoe in the squash

One of these things is not like the other...

Now with this one, I used the same concept, but with a twist.  (Well, actually a tomato) Adding one thing that is radically different from the rest of the subject holds your eye in the photograph.  Go ahead, just try to look away, I dare you.

Of course, you can’t hang around Boston without looking up, even if it makes you feel like a tourist.  I mean there is some pretty cool architecture around town.  Even better, there’s a very diverse mix of ages and styles in the Boston skyline.  There’s no trick to this next photo.  I just like the look of the Custom House contrasted against the more modern buildings.

Custom House

Contrasting textures.

As a bonus, you’ve got glass, granite, brick, metal, concrete, and God only knows what else, all as contrasting textures in this one.  There’s a bunch of different angles as well, emphasized by the lens distortion, and the edge of the Boston Aquarium peeking in from the right.

This next one gets included for two reasons.  First, I just think this store deserves props for still being a viable option in the middle of the city.  I mean, this is a REAL neighborhood hardware store.  Second, it’s got Bruins fans in the shot.

Tru-Value

Truly a neighborhood hardware store!

The last photo is probably my favorite from the day. As we were wandering around the North End, we decided to pay a visit to the Old North Church.  As we came up to it from the back of the church, we came across a memorial to our armed forces in the Middle East.  Comprised only of dog tags strung in rows, I thought it was a pretty powerful display.  It’s a shame that it’s pretty much out of the way.

Memorial

Dog Tags in the city,

So, even if you’re not up for carrying a camera around with you, keep your eyes open.  Pay attention to what’s around you.  There’s a whole lot to be seen!

I’m out…Peace!


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cmyers435@charter.net (Myers Creative Photography) photography Boston composition Haymarket Square https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/12/-Seeing-Boston-for-the-first-time Mon, 05 Dec 2011 17:20:44 GMT
Sometimes you just gotta let go… https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/Sometimes-you-just-gotta-let-go There are times that I plan out the shot I want, and there are others where I just let it happen.

Sometimes the photos where I just let the camera do the work turn out to be quite spectacular, even if they’re not what I expected to see.

Fall Leaves 1
The camera did it’s job!

Take this shot, for example.  I was walking along a recreational trail, when I spied some leaves in shadow that looked interesting.  Quite honestly, I didn’t think there was any way that I’d get anything useful out of this attempt.  I didn’t think there would be nearly enough available light to get adequate information into the camera.

 
However, being an eternal optimist, I set the camera to aperture priority, opened it up wide, and took the shot.  Being handheld at about a quarter of a second, it turned out to be not quite pin sharp, but I really enjoy this photo anyway.  The camera caught some great color, and the blackness in the background really sets it off well.
 
You never know what you’ll catch if you don’t try.
 
With this next shot, I was out on the local “Crop Walk” in support of Church World Service, and I of course had a camera with me. 
Crop Walk Church
BUCC Silhouette!

Approaching the center of town from an unfamiliar angle, the changing weather gave me this shot.

Now I could work on this photo for a while, and bring out more detail here and there.  I could possibly turn it into a black and white photo that has a bit more impact.  Hey, these days, there are just so many options for changing the original photo that don’t take a ton of computing power that I could come up with dozens of variations on this.

But I like it as is.  It’s got just enough color in it to keep me looking at the trees and the sky, and it’s dark and brooding enough that it brings out emotions relating to that.

Now this one was interesting!

A good day in VT!

I was in Vermont to watch Dan (my son) row.  I had been taking photos of the crew team’s races for a couple of years, and posting them on a shutterfly site (www.uvmcrewpics.shutterfly) for them, so I was relatively well known by the team and coach.  I was still surprosed though, when the coach asked me if I wanted to get out on the water in their launch, and follow a race or two.  I of course said yes, and set the camera to what I thought would be appropriate settings.

 
Hah!  Those boats move a lot faster than I thought.  You toss in the fact that the launch is being tossed up and down, the vibration of the outboard motor, the stranger angles from being at that level…let’s just say I didn’t get as many good shots as I’d have liked.
 
Still, I kept framing the scene, and hitting the shutter, and was rewarded with this one.  The background’s a bit distracting, but on the other hand it gives you the sense that this was not a solitary boat.  In any event, my sticking with it gave me one of my favorite shots of Dan.
 
With this last photo, I was at an outdoor concert, and kept pushing the camera to do more with less light as the light of the early evening faded until it disappeared completely.  The only light left was on the stage.  Once again, without using added light you need to decide on the compromise between shutter speed and aperture size.  Too slow a shutter speed and you have nothing but blur.  Too fast a speed and you don’t have enough information for the camera’s sensor.
Guitar player for “The Fools”

Just keep in mind that digital photgraphy is cheap, once you own the camera.  It costs you nothing to hit the shutter, and photos that are no good are easily deleted, either right on the camera, or from the computer once you’ve got them there.  This may not be the best, but I really like the stage light behind him, and the flow of light from the right.

 
(I really should take out that microphone, though!)
 
Keep using your camera!  Keep hitting that shutter!  You may not always get what you want, but if you don’t try…
 
I’m out…Peace!

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cmyers435@charter.net (Myers Creative Photography) photography aperture crew exposure time shutter speed try https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/Sometimes-you-just-gotta-let-go Wed, 26 Oct 2011 07:55:27 GMT
Christine and I… https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/Christine-and-I As I almost always have the camera in my hand, I don’t get as many pictures of Christine and myself as I’d like.  Although there’s usually someone willing to take my camera in hand and point it at us, there are fewer that are comfortable even holding it, and to be honest about it, I’m also very protective of my equipment.

So….I take our picture more often than anyone else.  Sometimes I simply set the camera up,  hold it at arms length, and fire away.

This one came from King Richard’s Faire last weekend.  One of the problems with this is that I can’t see what’s behind us as I’m pressing the shutter.  I took a passerby out of this one using GIMP.

Mirrors are sometimes fun as well.  Adding another dimension to the photograph gives it a little kick, and brings a touch more interest to it.  I think that we’ll probably remember taking this type of photograph a little better as well.  (Thank God Christine puts up with these attempts!)

There’s also always the camera’s self-timer.  Of course you have to find a spot to place the camera, but even more importantly, you have to picture yourself in the frame.  I have to admit I cheat a little.  most times I’ll frame the picture a little bit wider than I want it, and plan to crop it later.  This shot was taken in a field by a lighthouse in Portland.  There had been a wedding earlier that day, and we couldn’t resist the archway that had been used.  The light wasn’t the best, giving us some heavy shadow, but it was fun!

Of course, I also like to use any kind of reflective surface that might work to give us a self-portrait, like a porthole…

…which certainly didn’t give us the best image, but it was a great day, and this photo is a good memory of it!

We’ve also been captured on a store’s security video screen, a truck fender, and a subway car window!

Anyway, the point is, don’t be afraid to experiment, don’t be afraid to try something new, and thank the lord if you have someone that puts up with your attempts to be creative.

HAVE FUN!

I’m out…Peace!


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cmyers435@charter.net (Myers Creative Photography) photography composition GIMP reflections self-portrait timer https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/Christine-and-I Tue, 11 Oct 2011 19:17:42 GMT
Low light…Looooong exposure… https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/Low-light-Looooong-exposure It’s amazing what my camera picks up.  Sometimes it’s planned well ahead of time, with a pretty good idea of what the end product will be.  But at other times, you just don’t know until the camera’s finished processing the available light.

That’s what it’s all about, the available light.  Everthing the camera does, and everything you do with the camera, takes advantage of the available light.

At times there might be too much light, and you try to work around the harsh shadows that the midday sun gives you.  Strangely enough, one way to work with this is by adding more light, by using a flash.

More often than that, in my case anyway, I’m trying to maximize the use of the available light.  I’m just a fan of natural light, and at times it can be difficult to figure out the best way to use it.  Last Friday night I went to my first high school football game in years.  The lighting on the field was certainly adequate for spectating.  However, when you’re trying to freeze the action on the field with the camera, you need a relatively fast shutter speed.  I found that 1/250 second worked pretty well for my purposes, giving me just enough blur in parts of the photo to allow you to experience the speed of the athletes.  A fast shutter speed though, with limited light, means you need to boost the ISO up to the point where digital “noise” is going to be an issue, particularly in the vast expanse of the dark background.  The alternative though, is to lose the opportunity of capturing the moment.

Friday Night Lights

Belchertown Wins!

Of course, if you’re not trying to capture the action, there’s a lot you can do with longer exposures.  A couple of weeks ago I had the urge to try to photograph some horses at a local horse farm.  So I got myself up at an unreasonable hour, got myself ready for work, grabbed the camera and tripod, and off I went.

However, the horse farm didn’t cooperate.  In the early morning mist, the fields were empty.

Not to be daunted, I drove instead to the center of town, where the annual fair was resting on the common, waiting for thousands of people to pass though over the weekend, dropping their dollars at the ticket booths and fried dough stands.  It was so dark out, that I really couldn’t see too much of what I was aiming the camera at.  So I set it on the tripod, set the aperture to f11 for some depth, and hit the shutter.  With the ISO at 800, the camera decided to keep the shutter open for 8 seconds.  Being an impatient sort of guy, I hated standing there while the camera worked, but I was pretty pleased with the result.  The colors and the early morning mist made for a photo that I think is both beautiful and spooky.

Still, one of my favorites form the past month or so came from Old Orchard Beach in Maine.  With the pier running out over the wet sand and into the water, I was fortunate enoughtt o have a couple of people stay still long enough to catch their silhouette in the foreground.  It’s not the best photograph I’ve ever taken, but I’m pretty happy with it because I knew what I wanted and I set the camera up well enough to capture it.  It was also a real test of my patience, as this one was a thirty second exposure!

Remember, it’s all about the light.  If you don’t have as much as you’d like, use what you have to capture the moment.  But if you’ve got the time and you’re trying to photograph a landscape, or some other type of a static scene, take your time and let the camera do its job!

I’m out…Peace!


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cmyers435@charter.net (Myers Creative Photography) exposure time ISO patience photography https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/Low-light-Looooong-exposure Mon, 03 Oct 2011 17:49:36 GMT
You say tomatoe… https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/8/You-say-tomatoe Everyone has an opinion.  I don’t know if it’s an American thing, or a guy thing, or a human thing, but if you give someone two of anything, they’re bound to like one of them better.  When it comes to photographs, most people can give you very specific reasons why they like one picture over another.  I myself find that to be a very good thing.

Of course I have my own opinions as to which of my photographs work, and which ones don’t, and as a result, most people don’t see versions of different scenes that they might actually find more appealing.  That’s okay with me, because my style is evolving, and that evolution is based upon what I like.  It’s intended to be a reflection of my personality and my own view of the world.

There are reasons why I present different scenes in different ways.  Let’s take a look at a few, and you can make up your own mind as to which are better.

THE TATTOO ARTIST -

Tattoo Artist A

I like this shot quite a bit.  We were just wandering on Saturday night, when I spied this scene just waiting for the camera.  I particulary like the neon on the left, with the full window in the frame of the photograph.  But I like the next one better…

Tattoo Artist B

Tattoo Artist B

I lost the neon in this shot, but it does well without it.  The signage painted on the window leaves no doubt as to what’s happening, and the fact that the subjects are closer makes it much more personal.  The steepness that it was taken at gives the subjects a more powerful position, and the crazy angle that had to be used gives it a bit of a surreal look.

THE PORTHOLE -

The Porthole A

The Porthole A

We were walking around the streets of Portland Maine when we passed this side street.  This street had a really kind of squalid look to it, and I really liked the Coca-Cola sign that might have been there for decades.  I got a kick out of the sea gull on the roof of the building behind, as well.

The Porthole B

The Porthole B

I like the second version much better, however.  The sign is still featured, but there’s so much more of the street that shows what attracted me to it to begin with.  There’s the chipping and faded paint, a patchwork roof, mismatched windows, and more.  And although i might have lost the sea gull in the background, I gained a life preserver in one of the windows!

CAPE ELIZABETH -

Cape Elizabeth A

Cape Elizabeth A

Lighthouses are just cool, and this one at Cape Elizabeth in Portland is no exception.  In fact, it comes pretty close to having everything I’d think of if we were to have a discussion of lighthouses.  There’s of course the big light towere itself, but also a pretty substantial home for the keeper and well-kept grounds.  It sits high on the end of a rocky promontory, and has a commanding view over the water.  In this photograph, the sky is blue, and relatively featureless, which can sometimes be a problem.  However, in this case I think it frames the bottom third very well, and there is certainly enough there to hold your interest.

Cape Elizabeth B

Cape Elizabeth B

This second photo only has a piece of the lighthouse in it, but I like it much better.  Whenever I think of a lighthouse, the first word that comes into my mind is “isolated”.  To me, that’s what this picture says.  In the previous picture, there are tourists that can be seen if you look closely, and that just kills it for me!

So there are three that I like, and three that I don’t particularly care for.

What do you think?

I’m out…Peace!


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cmyers435@charter.net (Myers Creative Photography) alternate composition Maine opinion photography Portland style https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/8/You-say-tomatoe Sat, 27 Aug 2011 17:00:43 GMT
Slow down…you move too fast… https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/7/Slow-down-you-move-too-fast One of the things that photography has taught me something about is patience.  Like many people these days, I tend to want instant gratification.  That’s one of the reasons that I enjoy using a digital camera so much.  I can see in an instant just what kind of image I’ve captured.  That’s a far cry from my fim photography of the past.  I’ve been known to “discover” disposable cameras under the seat of my truck two or three years after the film has been exposed, and although it’s fun to have new memories of past events, it makes for poor photography.

You have to see your mistakes in order to learn from them.

So, being someone who is now somewhat comfortable in the digital age (Hey, I use a digital camera and I’m even blogging!) I’m used to having things right away.  Want to watch a movie?  Order it from “On-Demand.”  Want to hear a song?  Hit iTunes.  Want to watch a funny commercial again, or see a concert clip, or the sports play-of-the-week?  Go to Youtube.

So I love my digital camera.

The patience part comes from what I put into the camera, to get that instant gratification.

There are two types of patience that I need to exercise when I’m behind the camera.  First is the patience to wait for the right moment to get the kind of shot that makes me stop and say “Yeah, baby!”  This is especially true when it comes to candid portraiture.  People sometimes think I’m nuts because I’ll have the camera up to my eye for a loooong time before I push the magic button.

“Just take the picture already!”

Nope.  I’m waiting for the right look.

Candid

Candid Dave

Now that doesn’t mean I don’t take a lot of lousy photos as well.  I probably discard ten for every one that I like, but the ones that I like are most often enjoyed by the people they’re taken of.  I remember one instance where I was photographing a “subway guitarist” and I had a definite idea of what I wanted in the shot.  I wanted this guy, head down, concentrating on his craft, framed by people on either side of him hurrying along so quickly that they blurred in the picture.  Now that one took about 65 exposures before I got the one I wanted.

So waiting for the right shot is one kind of patience.

The second is waiting for the camera to do it’s work.  This past weekend I was on the beach in the dark, with the camera set up on a tripod, pointed at a well lit pier extending out over the water.

The camera was exposing for fifteen to twenty seconds at a time, and then taking another ten seconds to process the image additionally in order to reduce the digital “noise” in the background.

The camera did a great job, but I had a tough time just waiting for the camera to tell me it was okay to take a look.

The next morning I was out at sunrise.  Because we were only in the area for a couple of mornings, there were a lot of shots I wanted to try to fit into this early morning light.  Of course, they were all over the beach, from the inn we were staying at to the pier a quarter mile away.

Not a huge distance, but because I only had a few moments to use that light before it changed dramatically, I found myself wanting to go faster than I knew I should.  I really had to step back and tell myself that one or two really good photos were much better than a hundred lousy ones!

Beach Sunrise

Beach Sunrise

Patience is a virtue.  That’s what Mom always says.

I’m beginning to think she might be right!

I’m out…Peace!


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cmyers435@charter.net (Myers Creative Photography) beach candid patience photography portrait https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/7/Slow-down-you-move-too-fast Fri, 29 Jul 2011 16:21:39 GMT
The “eyes” have it… https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/7/The-eyes-have-it The eyes are the windows to the soul…

That quote may be older than dirt, but it remains as true today as it was when it was first uttered.  Eyes are bright and shiny, colorful and ever changing, complicated yet so simple.  They are fun to photograph, and can be comical, loving, happy, sad, bored, distraught, thoughtful, or any of another million emotions, and often convey more than one at a time.  They sparkle by a campfire, widen with surprise, and narrow with anger.  They tell you if someone is truthful or lying.  They convey depth of feeling even when they’re closed.

Eyes are fun to photograph, and even more so if you get it right.

I believe that rules are meant to be broken, at least in photography.  But when it comes to eyes, if you follow the rules, you’ll be happy with the result more often than not.

Let me say first that I’m not writing about photographs that are “just eyes.”  I’m thinking more of fuller portraits, either posed or candid.  (My own preference in photography is for candids, which require you to be thinking on your feet, and quicker with the camera.)

In either case, when you’re taking pictures of individuals, keep these two things in mind.  First, make the nearest eye your point of focus.  This is especially important if you have a limited depth of field, and if your subject is not turned directly towards you.  (Depth of field is how much of the photograph is in focus, from front to back.)  If you don’t heave the nearest eye in focus, the photograph just will not look right, no matter how good the rest of it is, how interesting it is, or how much work you do on it with software.

Your second task is to position your subject, or yourself, or the lighting, to capture a “catchlight” in the eyes.  Photographs that have reflected light caught in the eyes are much more interesting, and flatter the subject.  Photographs without a catchlight can appear to be dull.

Now if your are posing your subject, you should be able to achieve this relatively easily.  All you have to do is put the light source at some angle behind you, or perhaps off to the side.  With digital photography, all you have to do is take the picture, review it immediately, and retake it if necessary after moving either the light source or yourself.  (Hey, a lamp is easy to move, but if you’re using the sun to light your subject…)

Of course if you’re taking candid pictures/portraits, you need to put yourself in the best position for this before you think about pressing the shutter.  If you can get it, great!  If you can’t, don’t be afraid to press the shutter release, because you just never know.  Some of my personal favorites have no catchlight, because of the strength of character caught in the photo.

Be cautious if you intend to use a flash to provide your catchlight!  Full flash on your subject’s face can be less than flattering!

Now the last piece of advice on this subject has more to do with composition, and in my opinion this is much less important.

Try to place your subject one third of the way into the photograph, both from left to right, and top to bottom.  As you do this, keep the “negative space”, or empty area on the side that your subject is looking into.

Now the reasons I think this is less important are twofold.  First of all, this is something you can do after the picture is taken.  There are many, many, many simple and free software applications that allow you to crop, or resize, your photograph.  (One of my favorites is Photoscape.)  When you crop your photos, you can adjust where your subject sits in the frame.

The second reaon I think composition is less important is that this is one of the rules that I feel needs to be broken on a regular basis.  I belive that your composition has to feel right to you, because the photograph you take is a reflection of your view of the world, or in this case your subject.

Sooo…take a look at these, and perhaps guess where they were taken, and what the emotion is…

The eye's have it...

I’m out…Peace!

 

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cmyers435@charter.net (Myers Creative Photography) catchlight composition emotion eyes photography photoscape https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/7/The-eyes-have-it Tue, 19 Jul 2011 08:03:35 GMT
Equipment matters…NOT! https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/7/Equipment-matters-NOT Now don’t get me wrong, I love my newest camera.  I purchased a Nikon D7000 a few months ago, and I’m having a lot of fun playing with it (although it will do so many things that I’m often afraid I’ll try to finesse the settings too much and miss a shot that I’d have had more easily with my D40x)!

It’s a great camera.

But the photograph that I like the best out of the hundreds I’ve taken over the past few weeks was taken with my iPhone, at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Belchertown, MA.

I had my best camera with me that evening, and my camera bag was loaded with a couple of extra lenses, a flash for the hot-shoe, extra memory cards, filters, batteries, and all sorts of other detritus.  I even used it extensively that night, as I took a photograph of every luminaria individually, for a project I had in mind.

But as I walked the track in the rapidly fading light, the luminaria were being lit, my emotions were stirred by these individual memories and tributes forming a ring of light around the track, and I just had to share it.  So I pulled out my iPhone to take a quick snapshot to post on Facebook.

The first couple of photos that I took just didn’t make the grade.  They just didn’t convey any of the feeling that was in the air on that night that celebrates life while remembering and honoring those who have succumbed to this disease.

I thought about it as we made another lap around the track, and as we rounded the corner, I asked my girlfriend Christine to keep people from trampling me as I lay down on the asphalt.  I quickly composed my shot, hit the little button on the phone, and rose to continue walking.

I was more than pleased with the result.

Luminaria at the 2011 Quabog Valley Relay for Life

 This is miles from being a great photograph in the technical sense of the word.  It was taken with the iPhone’s 5 megapixel camera, which is a wonderful camera for a cell phone.  But given that it was taken in the dark without the use of the built in LED flash, it pushes the camera to hold the “shutter” open for too long for it to be exceptionally sharp.  It also breaks one of the basic rules of photography, in that the “line” of the photo draws your eye out of the frame.

However, in terms of visual impact, I think it’s great, and I’ve had many positive comments on it.

It’s especially powerful when you know a little bit about the event that inspired the picture, and when you realize that every one of those objects is in tribute to a person who has inspired someone, either to change their own life or to take on the responsibility of community in supporting cancer survivors, or perhaps in educating others about this disease.

There were also many many cancer survivors in attendance that evening, including many people I know personally that I had no idea  struggled with this disease.  (For more on “invisible illnesses”, check out Christine’s blog here!)

In any event, the point is that it’s better to take a photo with what you have than to miss the opportunity by waiting and planning and procrastinating.  The phrase that fits comes from photographer Chase Jarvis…”The best camera is the one you have with you!”  Don’t get hung up on how much a camera costs, or what the megapixel count is, or whether it’s a Nikon or Canon, or was purchased at a flea market.  Use what you have.  The memories you create today will fill your heart in the years to come.

I’m out…Peace!


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cmyers435@charter.net (Myers Creative Photography) American Cancer Society iPhone iPhoto photography Relay For Life https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/7/Equipment-matters-NOT Wed, 13 Jul 2011 18:02:28 GMT
How in the world did I wind up with more lenses than toes? https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/7/How-in-the-world-did-I-wind-up-with-more-lenses-than-toes This is how I began the process of becoming (at least in my own mind) a photographer…

Waiting to race

A few years ago, I dropped my son off at the University of Vermont as a newly minted freshman.  There is no question that I was a touch worried about him at the time.  He grew up in a town with a total population less than the undergraduate enrollment at UVM.  In essence, he was moving from a graduating class of about 200 to a school where he might have that many students in a single lecture hall.  The culture shock that young people often go through in situations like this is well known, particularly for someone in his situation, who was not active in school organizations, and who was more interested in on-screen games than on-field games.  I was glad that he was at least within a driving distance of about three hours.

You can imagine my surprise when he called during that first week of school to tell me he’d joined the UVM Crew Team; a far cry from exercising his fingers on a Playstation game controller!

I still don’t quite understand how he came to be a part of that organization, but it was by far the smartest thing he could have ever done.  It gave immediate structure to his day working with others towards a common goal, and immediate access to a group of people that have at least some things in common.

Being a club sport at UVM, it also held him responsible for some sort of community work and fundraising activity.

I had never in my wildest imagination thought that he would compete as a college athlete at any level, so there was no way I was going to miss a second of this.  And so a couple of weeks later, armed with my “point and shoot” digital camera, I drove to see his first race in New Hampshire.

Of course the camera failed that day.  The LCD screen just went blank.  I was still able to snap some pictures, but I had no idea what might be in them, although I think I might have found one or two that actually were presentable.

So I needed a new camera, and I had no idea of what I should buy.  Should I simply grab another cheap little digital snapshot machine, or should I spend a few more dollars to purchase something that was a bit more flexible.

In the end I decided to spend those few extra dollars, thinking that I’d be much more inclined to take better care of a piece of equipment that hurt my wallet a little bit.

It was the best purchase I can recall ever making…I have yet to miss any of his races, and it’s led me to learn how to use a camera in a wide variety of conditions, both in terms of weather and lighting.  It’s led me to appreciate how different views and angles work in photography, and how important it is to be prepared.  (The race might take twenty minutes, but a spectator only has seconds to record a good image.)   It also led me to appreciate how much I thoroughly enjoy candid portraiture.

I began printing the best shots I’d taken, and sending them to my son.   As my confidence grew, and my technique developed, I began sending them to him on disc, because there were just too many to print.

Eventually I began posting them on a website for the whole team to view, and I hope you’ll enjoy viewing them as well.

The picture posted here is from my first season of photographing the team.  I hadn’t planned on travelling to Philadelphia to see this race.  After all, a five hour drive each way, with a night spent in between, to see thirty seconds of a ten minute race just didn’t make sense to me.  Then I read about the Dad Vail Regatta, which happens to be the largest collegiate regatta in the nation.  I just couldn’t miss the chance to see me son compete against some of the most well known schools in the country, so I hopped in the truck at 4:00 a.m. without telling anyone I was going.  I took this shot of my son and some of his teammates just before they turned to see me standing there with a camera stuck to my face.

I got huge smiles that day!

Since that first “day at the races” I’ve taken to carrying a camera with me almost everywhere I go.  You never know just what you’ll see, or what opportunity might arise to try something new.  As time goes on, I intend to explain just how my own version of photography works, not just in technical terms, but in why I wound up with the images that I’ll present.

I hope you’ll enjoy seeing them, and hearing how they came into being!

I’m out…Peace!


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cmyers435@charter.net (Myers Creative Photography) photography crew Dad Vail UVM https://myerscreativephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/7/How-in-the-world-did-I-wind-up-with-more-lenses-than-toes Mon, 11 Jul 2011 05:53:57 GMT