What Do You Talk About When You Talk Photography?

This photo was recently in a show at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center. I went to the opening. Didn’t know anyone. That’s not unusual. No problem. It’s always easy to start a conversation with a fellow photographer.

However, halfway into the evening, I noticed that some photographers wanted to talk about equipment. Some want to impress me with the places they’ve been. Some wanted to show me their photos and tell me and how they came to shoot that particular image.

I don’t talk equipment. I have good equipment but . . .

And I’ve been to some cool places but . . .

I enjoyed the photographers who wanted to show me their work. I’m not saying that’s good, bad, or better. That’s just my preference.

The photo shown here was the one in the show. It was taken with pretty standard Nikon equipment in a kind of cool place–off-road in the badlands of South Dakota. More interesting is how I stumbled over the broken bottle and the several ways that I tried to incorporated that bottle into images. Here, I asked my model to look through it. My model was an ex-priest, 72 years old, open, interesting and comfortable in his own skin. That last bit about being comfortable in his own skin has as much to do with the quality of the photo as the lens I was using. Other photographers will argue that with the right equipment you can capture even unwilling subjects and situations. Probably true. Not how I operate.

What do you talk about when you talk about photography?

BTW there was some good work in that show. I was proud to be included.

Moab–What If Environment Is Overwhelming?

Went on a photo shoot in Moab with Rick Cummings and several other photographers. Moab is Utah’s red rock playground. The scenery is spectacular. It is large. It can be overwhelming. The challenge is to make great photos that don’t allow the environment to take over. Actually, managing the environment is always a issue. Moab just blows that problem way-way-way out of proportion. So what to do?

I tried doing the unexpected as in putting silhouettes against the iconic red rock and blue sky. See photo above.

I tried to forget the environment, pick up a broken bottle and zoom in on the figure.

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I tried letting the size of the environment overwhelm the figure because that was true to the experience.

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I tried capturing lots and lots of detail as well as the figure. Note there is even a second figure.

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I tried letting the shadow be the subject.

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What do you think? Love to read your comments on what worked and what didn’t.

Too Posed VS Just Right

One of the things I try to watch when working with models is the “too posed” shot.

Yes, the model is beautiful and graceful (she’s a dancer, after all ) and, yes, I like the fan of water coming off her hip, BUT this is a bad photograph.

It’s my problem, not the model’s. She is trying too hard to give me something and suddenly “strikes a pose.” If I take the shot, that’s my bad. What I need to do is give better direction. “OK, that’s good, but could you shake it out, relax, and then just be yourself,” is a good example. Or “Just let it happen.” Or “Great, but you’re working too hard. Just be yourself.”

Do whatever you need to do to get to this, which is a much-much better shot in the same situation. This one feels real. It is the way someone would react standing in a waterfall, especially a cold one.

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