I know, I'm terrible at the blogging thing. I want to say I'm sorry, but I've been exploring, and doing things, and I can't apologize for that.
I mentioned a while ago that I picked up a little Olympus OM-D EM10 and 25mm 1.7. It's an entry level micro 4/3 camera. Last month I bought a cheap flash and trigger and decided to see what I could do with this small set up.
The answer is, the same thing I can do with my Nikon and Yongnuo speed light set up, for the most part. There are some challenges, but some benefits. The sensor is small and is not as sensitive to light, and the lens is not as quick to focus in low light as my 1.4 lenses. However, due to the 3 axis in camera stabilization capabilities and lighter weight of the equipment, I can get a sharper image at a lower shutter speed than with my heavier gear.
I've been playing off on comparing my results with the two camera set ups for over a month. Not to see if one's better than the other, but to see if I could get acceptable images that would please both a photographer's eye as well as someone who knows nothing about photography. Some of my so-called tests were to try and get the same results while others were using the same settings to see what the differences were. Below the color images were shot with the same settings to see what the differences were obviously present. You can see the depth of field is more shallow in the Nikon shot. I'm not going to compare the distance of him in the frame because I didn't use a tripod. I know I didn't get up and move, but I am aware that I probably shifted while I switched bodies, and probably cropped and straightened the shots. With the lack of using a tripod, I was really trying to look at DoF and exposure differences so that I can play with the next shot. In the black and white comparison I was trying to get similar results using different settings. I didn't quite nail that, but both are acceptable to hang on my wall.
Back to the speed light set up. Again, I do these "tests" to see what I can do, not to prove anything, or to educate, I'm not really qualified for that. I just know how to make them work for me. Focusing was difficult in the dark on both cameras, but seemed easier with the Nikon and 50mm 1.4. I did use a flashlight to lock focus when using both of my cameras.
Olympus and 25mm Left Nikon and 50mm Right
Anyways, both did well for my personal use. I still use my Nikons a lot, but I feel good about my Olympus entry level camera as well. I know they say "it's not the gear, it's the photographer". Yes and no. Your gear has limits, the lower the level the gear the more limited you can be. However, if you use your entry level camera with in IT'S ability you can really get some great stuff because of your knowledge behind the camera.
Never be afraid to be curious. I may look stupid to some photographers with my lack of technical knowledge, poor posing abilities, and lighting choices, but I'm not afraid to learn, and to try. I'm not afraid to make a mistake. If I learn something it's no longer a mistake...it is then called a lesson.
I get so bored sometimes. I get bored in my day to day, my work, my craft...Boredom doesn't mean ungrateful, it just means "blah". I have a very good life, healthy kids, a good job, wonderful husband, and a cool hobby. I took these fisheye shots out of boredom. I wanted shoot, but I was too tired to go out and find something. I knew I wanted to create. Even if it was just a simple set up in my living room.
This is nothing original or spectacular, but I share it just the same. Just a little "Hi, this is what I'm up to today." We share pictures of our kids, our selfies, even our nicely plated lunch. If you really think about it, only a small percentage of our social media friends and followers actually care to see these photos and updates in our lives. By care, I don't mean clicking the "like" or "favorite" button. I mean genuinely seeking out our pages to see what we are up to. Just because our posts show up in a newsfeed doesn't mean someone actually wanted to see it.
So why do we share the most mundane parts of our lives mixed in with what's important in the moment? I think we share these things to feel connected, to prove to others we are doing something, or to remind people that we are here sharing this planet. Ok, maybe we're not going in to such deep thoughts when we post when we share that awesome colorful salad at that new trendy restaurant on social media. It's easy. We snap, swipe and tap around on our screens and POOF that thing we are doing right then and there is shared with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of other people right in moment.
Sometimes, when no one is clicking that like or favorite button we may think "What the heck?? This is a great photo, thought, shared post." Photographers like to do "like ladders" with each other in our little groups, people like to follow everyone they can on Instagram for the chance of a follow back. Why? To feel validated, wanted, maybe to feel important. As if our posts matter to the masses, when in reality only your husband or wife may appreciate that awesome dinner you just cooked and put on a plate like a master chef.
Times have changed. Our world got a whole lot bigger when social media popped up. You know what, though? Even though only a small percentage of my friends and followers are actually interested in what I'm posting...I enjoy it. I feel like I get to be apart of that big world.
We get and share information lightening fast. We get that feeling of validation with every thumbs up and heart that pops up in our notifications, and that's OK. Share on, and be safe about it. With that big world comes a whole lot of shady people. Some just want to spam you with their agenda, and some can be dangerous. We tell our kids not to add random people to our social media followers or friends' lists. We adults should do the same. So, stay safe, and don't forget to like and share.
"Capturing Life" was going to be the title of this post. It sounds cheesy and cliché. Almost every photographer will advertise or say they capture special moments, or capture life, or capture time blah blah blah. They say that because damn it it's true, but the phrase sounds so fake. So overly sentimental and ooey gooey squishy feelings. Probably because it's over used. Just like "I have a passion for photography." It's true, but every photographer has some degree of passion for photography, so...duh right? Now to run off and see if my bio contains that phrase..one sec.
Ok, I'm back, nope I didn't add that in this time. I must confess, I did on my last website. The one I had when I owned a business. I told you "I am not a professional."
So, let's get on with it. I have noticed more and more that trying to catch candid moments was getting difficult with my big cameras. Even with no battery grip and a short lens it was distracting and somewhat of a pain to carry around. I'm not saying a full frame DSLR has no place in candid/lifestyle photography, but when my family and I are just going for a quick trip down town or a small event it gets a little tiresome to carry the extra weight and people don't seem to act as natural when someone is holding a brick to their face.
My solution...get another camera. A smaller camera, but one that still gives me control over the settings. I picked up an Olympus OM-D E-M10 and a couple lenses. It's small, lightweight, and looks like a pretty point and shoot. I still get the "cheese" expression when I'm noticed, but I'm not as noticed. Or maybe my family is being nice and pretending not to notice because I've rambled on about this topic for at least a month.
I can easily do what most everyone else does and use my cell phone. I'm not saying everyone should go out and get a pricey point and shoot or a micro 4/3 (<-----that's what my little camera is). Here's another confession...I suck at cell phone photography. Flat out I am not good at taking photos with my phone and it frustrated me.
What I'm trying to say is, use what you have and "capture life". Your life, don't go stalking people. We take more pictures than any other point in time put together. Don't live behind your phone or camera, which is something I need to remind myself of, but don't forget to take the pictures. My kids are getting older and more grown up. My pets won't be with us forever. Be cheesy, be cliché, be whatever you need to be and make it meaningful. One more thing, PRINT! You'll thank me when you loose all your images when your micro SD card finally fails after being in it's 5th cell phone. Or you can't find that photo you posted on Facebook 3 years ago.
My son just turned 13 a couple of months ago. He's about to enter the 8th grade; his last year of middle school. He's grown several inches, and his voice is dropping. The boy is really becoming a man.
This little man child still needs to be told to do his laundry, clean his room, and when to take a shower. Then he'll walk up to me and give me a ton of information of something he just learned about...on his own. It could be an animal, a game, a type of technology...a couple of times even politics. As we are preparing for my daughter to graduate in 2018 we also need to prepare for our youngest to enter high school.
Everything seems to be happening so fast. I'm not sure how I will feel when my oldest leaves the nest, I just know I won't be ready for it. Neither will I be prepared when it's time for this guy to fly on his own. Generations upon generations birth, raise, and release their young in to the world across thousands of species on this Earth. Is it hard for everyone?
For some reason yesterday I was under the impression that we were going to go an evening with out rain this week. Still I packed a rain coat and my rain cover for my camera. Sure enough we get down to our first spot and it starts to sprinkle. We played around for a few minutes, grabbing as many shots as we could.
The skies opened up and then came the thunder and lightening. So, we ducked for cover. We goofed around and waited for the lightening to let up. Eventually the rain let up as well. The kids picked and poked at each other. At times, it was challenging to get my kids to focus.
I am trying to get as many photos of my kids as I can. My daughter is graduating in 2018, and my son will be going to high school next fall. Their innocent ignorance of the world is fading. My daughter is thinking more and more of her future. It's so hard to believe she'll be a legal adult in seven months. My son's voice is getting deeper and deeper and he's going to be taller than me soon. I'm excited, nervous, happy and sad all at the same time. Is this whirlwind of emotion normal at this stage of parenthood?
One of my sister-in-laws came to visit with her boys. I had to get them out to shoot because I only see them once a year or so. She lives out west, and as we all know kids grow up fast.
My family isn't unusual, but it isn't normal either. Like most married couples we have my side and my husband's side. My side of the family consists of my mother, aunt, brother, cousin and two sisters (we share the same biological father) that I don't talk to often enough. [On a side note, I do have to include my sisters' mom, her husband, and brother, because they are just that awesome, and always have made me feel like blood to them]. That's it. My husband on the other hand has his mom, dad, step mom, a few sisters, a brother, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, several cousins....grandmothers...the list goes on!
Since his family is so big compared to mine I have grown pretty close to his side of the family because I don't have to divide up time so much. I love them dearly, and I can't imagine my life with out them.
Technically we don't get to choose our family...but we can choose to make a family. We can let in-laws, steps, halves, close friends, 4th cousin's wife twice removed, or whatever in to our lives, hearts, and homes and call them family because they have earned it. Not everyone in our lives earn that title. Some are born in to it while others have shown they are more family than our own blood at times. People take family for granted. They fight, complain, and avoid. Sometimes for good reasons...sometimes for reasons that don't seem all that important from an outsider.
I can say that the vast majority of my family is in no way shape or form related to me by blood, and that doesn't make them any less than one of my loved ones. Hold them all close to you. You will suffer loss and heart ache, you may fight, but you can also experience love, loyalty, and an unbreakable bond that only family can have.
Lifestyle photography is described as "... a kind of photography which mainly aims to capture portrait/people in situations, real-life events or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday."
It is a genre of photography that has really sprung up the last several years or so. It's been around for much much longer, but when I look back at old works from photographers it wasn't something that one was hired to do regularly, but armature and professional alike had albums filled with special moments from their own lives. Celebrities and presidents would call someone in to have photos to release to the public, but in general the average Joe did not hire a professional to come follow them for a few hours in their day.
I am not a professional lifestyle photographer. In fact, I rarely do it. However, when I do take those candid just for fun moments in my life I become a lifestyle photographer. Just for a few moments. This is because what I do fits the definition of lifestyle photographer because as a photographer I am an artist. So I "aim to capture people or milestones in an artistic manner." with the little bit of knowledge of photography I have. You know what though? With the invention of cell phone cameras and even better point and shoots we can all capture those special random moments.
"The best camera is the one you have with you." I don't know who said it first, but it's true. Your shots don't have to be perfect, or professional, sometimes they don't even have to be in focus. As long as it evoke an emotion or memory.
This year kicked off with a new feel for my photography. December I officially closed my photography business. Say what? Yup. The client work I have now is much more selective. I'm not going to get in to the nitty gritty of the "Why?" right now, but it boils down to this "I'm more of an artist than an entrepreneur." So with the marketing, client qualifying, accounting, and all that goes with a business out of the way I am able to shoot what I want when I want.
So for fun, I have jumped in to Macro Photography. Shooting small things up close and personal. I still do and LOVE my portrait work. That will never change. People are interesting. We all look, act, and feel different; so I expect boredom will never peek it's ugly head with that.
Just like with portraits I have successes and failures, trials and errors. I miss things. I'm so focused on one thing, that I lose the bigger picture... Like the one below..I did not see the spider in this shot when I shot it. My focus was the spikey ball of the plant.
I know what you're thinking "How could you miss that?" It's easier than you think. I was concentrating on nailing focus where I wanted it. Lesson learned.. you would think. Nope! I missed this one too. I was curious as to why the bee was dangling. I knew he was dead, but figured his leg was caught on the petal somehow.
So, here I am, learning, seeing, and not seeing apparently. I never get sick of learning this craft. There's always something that I never heard of before, tried, or achieved yet. Whatever is burning inside you, feed that fire. Don't go on and on dreaming about the dream and just live it already. Why does everyone think you have to get famous or make a lot of money doing what you love? You know that saying "Do what you love and you'll never work another day in your life." Let's face it, we just don't want to work. I kid, if you can make a living doing what you love go for it! If you can't or really don't want to at this point in your life at least still do it. Remember what Dr. Who said "Some people live more in 20 years than others do in 80. It's not the time that matters, it's the person."
My friend makes the Arkham Knight Harley Quinn inspired baseball bat. She asked me for some product shots, and had a model already. I had to do this shoot, there was no way around it. Wicked awesome cosplayers. Let me tell you what, I had a blast. I got to play with angles and light in a whole new way. You should check out her Etsy store here.
I was worried when they were running behind, but it worked out perfectly. The lighting was awesome and the colors popped. If we were shooting earlier, I would not have gotten the look out of The Polk Theater marquee that I got.
I put a bare speed light behind her, because I knew the marquee would not illuminate her, but I wanted it to look like it did. I got some nice rim light and the effect I was after. I lit her from the front right with a speed light in a softbox umbrella. This allowed me to expose everything in the frame.
It was a good night, I think everyone enjoyed themselves.
Saturday I got to shoot an event called Play It Forward. It's a charity event of music to raise funds for our local public school music programs. Local artists came out to donate their time and talent for the cause. There was an auction for a fiddle signed by Charlie Daniels that went for $1000, two 50/50 raffles (which ended with both winners giving back their winnings), and support from sponsors such as The Polk Theater, Fresco's, The George Jenkins Foundation, and more found here: Play It Forward.
The music was awesome, among the bands were performances from local schools.
When next year rolls around, consider making a night of it, enjoy music in a great venue, and support your local schools!