Monday, August 31, 2009

Why listen to me?

Before I get to deeply into this blog, I might as well tell you a little about myself and where I sit in the universe of photographers. You can then use that to evaluate whether or not you think there is any value in anything I might write on the subject. I think this is only fair.

Let's start with who I am not. I am not a professional photographer by training or experience. I do not hold a degree in photography. I have never been a photojournalist. I do have a profound respect and appreciation for the guys who developed their passion through these time honored channels, and I hold them in the highest regard. Many of these guys are excellent teachers, writers and mentors to folks like you and I...the masses who bought their first camera to take pictures of kids, pets or other forms of flora and fauna in order to fuel other passions in their life.

Who I am is a little more simple.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy 50th, My Brother...

I sometimes go places to practice my photography: sometimes I travel to further my photography practice. And sometimes I travel for a higher purpose, and my photography just follows. This weekend was an opportunity of the latter persuasion. You see, this weekend was a celebration...of the highest order. My buddy Les passed the mid-century milestone on August 28th.

He is my oldest friend - that is, I have been friends with him for more than 35 years. We first met in Jr. High School. Our friendship survived High School, College and our entire adult lives (so far) without any major falling out. Given that my record of maintaining personal relationships has been less than ...stellar...I have to attribute this accomplishment to Les' undying loyalty to his family - and the fact that he and his family decided long ago to pseudo-adopt me as their 8th child (an honor and a privilege that I cherish to this day!).

Growing up, he was convinced he would die he lived every day to its fullest and siezed the day like nobody I have ever known. I personally have survived more than a couple of potential Darwinian episodes that began with Les yelling "Hey this!!!" He didn't die young - He enters into the middle years of his life going stronger than ever. I am sure he will outlive us all.

At times like this, photography is secondary. I brought the camera and a lens for shooting in low light conditions. I left the flash in the bag because I didn't want to be a distraction - we were here to clebrate my friend and his life. They indulged me so that I could get a few shots to remember the occasion. This photo was shot with a Nikon D3 w/ the 85mm F1.4 lens. You cannot pick a better combo for low ambient light photography.

I have always been told by my Mom that if I made it through life with one true friend, that I would have lived a blessed life. We were there for each other during some of the brightest and darkest moments of our lives...and we always will be. That is what friends do. And he is my oldest and dearest...Friend.

Happy Birthday, my brother. Many happy returns.


Friday, August 28, 2009

How I Do Star Trail Photography

From the very first time I saw a star trail image, I knew that the challenge was for me. You have to be able to visualize your composition in pitch dark, do a lot of little simple things right without forgetting any of the steps, and hope that your camera performs the way you expect it to. I say hope, because once you push the shutter button, you are committed - you can't change on the fly like you can in many other forms of photography.

This style of photography can be beautiful, and extremely rewarding if you just do a little preparation ahead of your shoot. The following information represents the things that I do when I pursue star trails. It isn't a panacea, and it may not work for everyone. But if you choose to follow this methodology, I am pretty confident you will come back with something that will work for you.

Seriously, let me offer a couple of other things to think about for the next time you decide to give this a try:

Welcome to My World

This is my first attempt at a blog. It is intended to be a forum to share thoughts and to share the output of what has become a tremendous fascination with me - photography. The images you will see here come directly from my mind's eye. They are intended to invoke emotion. Sometimes they will be just pretty pictures - sometimes they might pass for high art. This one is a pretty picture (I think)

I have been frustrated all my life by the inability to find a medium that I could transfer my vision and still have someone refer to it as art. I may still be in search of that medium...You decide...and let me know about it.