My theme for 2019 is fighting the creative funk that can plague photographers, to some degree, many times throughout their photographic career.
These creative funks can be caused by many things.
1. Lack of time and being busy with work, or shooting for paying customer's projects.
2. Doing the same things over and over.
3. The end of the year blah's or even just winter.
I've been identifying with most of these lately and have been trying to find ways to get back on track to making creative and interesting photographs.
I watched a video on You Tube recently, called "13 Creative Exercises for Photographers", which had some great ideas, and I'll embed the link below. There are some really great ideas here, but the one that I really liked was incorporating as many of the 9 elements of photography into your shots as possible.
By incorporating more of these elements, you are making sound fundamental photos and as any sports person knows, the fundamentals are what make you good at anything you do. Baseball players constantly practice the fundamentals of batting, throwing and catching, to continue to grow in their sport.
These 9 Fundamentals are:
There are also 5 other components that make a great photo.
3. Quality of light
5. Negative space
The more of these things you can incorporate into your photos, the better they will be and the more creative you can be in taking and making them.
I will be trying to work these into more of my shots going forward, and break out of the photo funk to move ahead again.
I hope these help.
Up next for the Camera Club is the rescheduled Salon Night which is now Tomorrow, Thursday 1/17/2019 at First Presbyterian in Fargo. The Assigned subject this month was Minimalist.
How many of you have started the New Year in a Photography Funk?
I'm sure it's not just me.
I'm struggling with mediocre shots that aren't up to my standard for what I consider great, but we all know that on average we really only get one or two "great" shots a year no matter what level of photography we are at.
I think like many hobbies and even professions, we need to get back to basics and do something fresh periodically to keep us moving forward.
What I did to break the funk was to try a new type of lighting. I did some research and found out that you can sometimes make an average flash work like a black light, and set up a few shots in my dining room to do some black light photography.
While I was shooting that with my Macro lens on the camera I started playing around with some macro shots of the flower pot in natural light, and got a nice result there as well.
Photography tends to expand to the space that you allow it to fill, so I was able to get some pretty interesting shots.
As with all, photography, it's about light and shadows, and composition, and leading lines, and... you get the picture... (Small Photography Pun).
Hope you are all working through your first of the year photo funks as well and looking forward to seeing your results at the Salons.
A shot of a Peace Plant Flower in Ultra Violet.
Small Cactus in Ultra Violet.
A Macro Shot in Natural Light.
The Holidays are upon us again and the opportunities for photographers abound. Documenting the season can give a photographer many ways to expand their photographic skills, and capture new and different subjects. There are always the family photo's by the fireplace, that we do year after year, but there are also many ways to make unique and different photographic compositions. How about taking photo's of your decorations with a different lens and making them look like a snow globe? How about taking that lens to a location you are visiting and doing some different photo's for the location, then posting them on social media and tagging the location to give them some photo's they can use to promote their event? How about trying to knock a couple of key bucket list items off your list by visiting local attractions and documenting them? How about trying to capture a family member or friend's pet with a holiday theme? These are just some ideas for making this Holiday season a photographic one.
Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful Holiday, however you celebrate it, and a Happy Photographic New Year.
My Tree as a Snow Globe, Taken with my Sony a6500 and a Meike 6.5mm Fisheye Lens.
The Sunken Garden at the Como Zoo and Conservatory with the 6.5mm Fisheye.
A more classic wide angle look at the Sunken Garden. I went their right before closing and was able to capture it without people in the shot.
A shot of the Sunken Gardens with a 90mm Macro lens.
Bucket List shot of the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis.
Another Bucket Lister of Minnehaha Falls in St. Paul.
My Brother In-Law's dog guarding the presents.
Well, another 1st Thursday of the month, and another Salon. This one has the Assigned Subject of "Starts with K". Kangaroo? Kite? Kleenex? Kickbox? Kick, Knuckle, Knobby? Ketchup... These are just a few that you can choose from. How many did you think of? I only got 2 of these and that's all I needed to complete the category, but this was a hard one. I usually have many to choose from in my catalog, but not for this subject. Good luck to all this Thursday and may the best photographs win.
PQ. This blogs Philosophical Question is more of a statement, but it is something I heard on a You Tube video about Storm Photography. The photographer said, "The reason I like photographing storms is that it is capturing a moment in time that no one else will ever see again. If you do it well, you can change someone's view of the world and show them something they may never have seen or will never see again."
I totally agree with this statement, but also will say that you could potentially create an interest in that person which could shape history.
How many people have seen a photograph of an event or place, that then decided to go there and help the people affected? How many times have photographs of a home, sold that home, and great photographs sold it for a higher price? How many times has an actor's amazing head shot photo, got them a role that changed their careers as well as the industry? These and many others are reason's why photography will always be a medium which has importance.
On the news front, there is less happening than the last blog. Very slow for photo news this week other than not posting a photo of your $650 World Series Ticket on Instagram, since someone did, and his seat was stolen.
This weeks tip is to have a reason to shoot. If you are finding it hard to take photos on a regular basis, try doing a special project for a month. Maybe it's shooting with only one lens, or focal length, maybe it's only black and white for a month, maybe it's setting up a small studio with flash/strobes or even some end table lamps and seeing what light does to different subjects. Skrim it, Diffuse it, make it hard and directional and see how it affects a different subject every day. Or better yet, see how many ways you can shoot the same subject with different light or backgrounds. Can you get to 30? If you get some really good shots, share them here. Just make sure they aren't of your 50 yard line Bison Ticket.. :)
So, the first Salon is in the books and we are into the full swing of this 80th year of the Fargo Moorhead Camera Club. This weeks Education night is on Thursday at 7PM at First Presbyterian in Fargo, and the topics will be on Preparing Your Images for Competition, and Storm Chasing with Ryan Mauk. I hope you can make it out for this one as it will be pretty interesting. Also, bring your laptop along to embed the tips and potentially create some presets to help with sizing and file naming.
This blogs Philosophical Question is, Why or Why not specialize in Photography? Some say that the only way to get to be a "World Class" photographer is to specialize in one genre of photography. (Weddings, Events, Sports, Scenery, Street, Portraits, Wildlife, etc.). My contention is that the only way to get better in photography is to try many different genre's and get better at all of them. I always talk about light being the key to photography and that you need to learn how to use and create light and shadows to make the shot what you want. Another component of great photography is composition. You need to learn to see the leading lines, the background distractions and what makes an interesting photograph. This being said, improving your scenery photography will improve your wedding photography. Improving your street photography will improve your scenery photography and improving your ability to focus quickly will improve your street, wildlife and sport photography. It all works together.
I'll have to confess that I've been out of the loop on the news of late, but the biggest news I've seen is that Adobe is updating Lightroom and Photoshop CC versions and adding Photoshop as a IPad app.
For you drone photographers... The flying kind not that you are unresponsive... DJI is updating their software so you can create a line of communication between the local airport tower and the drone pilot. This means you will be able to fly closer to an airport as long as you are in communication with the flight controller, allowing for safer operation in and around airports where drone flights are now prohibited.
This blogs tip is take a photo walk with a lens that you don't normally use. (If you only have one lens or a zoom lens, limit yourself to not zooming.)
Tonight I went out to walk my dogs and just on a whim, threw my 90 Macro on. I was interested in what I would find to photograph and found many things including my dog. By limiting your choice to a specific focal length, you will expand your view of the world and get better at looking for interesting things to photograph. I'll call this one "Braving the Fall Winds".
Well... It's almost upon us... The first Salon of the Fall 2018 season is this Thursday. I hope by now that you've entered some of your finest work and are looking forward, like I am, to seeing what everyone was able to capture during the break.
This blog's Philosophical Question is, Why is competition necessary for a photographer?
That's right, I said NECESSARY! I really think that becoming and excellent photographer takes:
1. Learning the techniques of photography. (Which is why we have education nights)
2. Learning what makes something artistic. (Get a book on the old masters of painting and other forms of art, go to museums, peruse the web...)
3. Learning how to capture the light... or create it if you don't have what you want.
4. Entering a competition to see how your photo's stack up.
5. Practicing your craft.
6. Repeating all these steps again and again.
Photography is a form of visual media that tells a story or sends a message. The competition aspect allows you to see how well you've sent that message, TO THAT JUDGE. Yes, there is a subjective opinion by the judge about how you've done, but you usually get feedback on what you could have done better as well. In that feedback comes the learning and the ability to get better at the craft of photography.
The first year that I entered my photo's in the salons, I think that I recieved 1 honorable mention. The second year, I did much better and now I do pretty well at it.
What I know, from personal experience, is that my photography has improved dramatically since I started entering competitions and that I really enjoy winning awards with my photographs. That's not to say that I've wasn't disappointed when my "Super Stupendous Photograph" didn't win that month, but you can re-enter it and see what someone else thinks and even though it didn't win at the club level, it may get chosen to go on to the N4C competition and win there.
If you have been following photography for any length of time, you know that PhotoKina, the every other year, photo extravaganza has just ended for 2018. This is the showcase where most of the photo companies release their new gear and show it off. There were some very interesting releases which are too numerous to mention, but the big news this year was Full Frame Mirrorless cameras from Panasonic, Canon, and Nikon as well as another 100mp medium format sensor that was released. Just Google PhotoKina 2018 and you can see all the info there and pick the products in which you are interested.
Get a rocket blower and keep it in your camera bag.
There have been many times where I thought that I would need to use liquid and a cloth to clean my lens, or have a professional sensor cleaning for my camera due to dust spots, when all I had to do was hit them with my rocket blower and it took care of the problem.
A rocket blower is just what it sounds like. A small bulb blower with fins that make it look like a rocket. The fins help it stand upright on a desk or dashboard.
Get a large enough one that you can deliver a fairly good blast of air, and make sure you don't touch the sensor or the lens with the tip when you are squeezing the blower. Then tip the body of your camera or lens down so the dust can exit and hit it with couple of good puffs and problem usually solved.
I also like to use it when switching lenses as a preventative measure.
Meet up Opportunities:
Lonnie Sager and I had a great time going out to Maplewood Park in Pelican Rapids Last weekend and shooting the Fall Colors. I imagine they will still be pretty good this weekend so if anyone is interested in going, please communicate with others from the club.
So, Hope to see you all at the Salon this Thursday and good luck.
Tonight, Thursday 9-20-2018 at 7 PM, is the first Fargo Moorhead Camera Club Meeting of this season and we are starting it off with an education night on Night Sky Photography. Please come out if you can and bring a friend.
FM Camera Club
Fargo First Presbyterian Church
650 2nd Ave N
Make sure to come a bit early as there is a lot of construction downtown and the doors will be locked after 7.
Hope to see you there.