Chicken (S)Wings and Breasts…..

As you may (or may not know) I’ve been working as the Lead Editorial Photographer for Zulily.com in Columbus, OH for the past half year or so.

It’s never easy segueing from freelance to staff, but this change has been made easier by the wide variety of products that I get to shoot. Zulily carries everything from jewelry to clothing to room sets, and my day may consist of any number of dissimilar items.

However, I recently had a day scheduled with a couple of special events that came together to form what will most likely be my most diverse day ever.

My morning was spent designing and building a room set for a Women’s Intimates shoot that was happening immediately after lunch. Utilizing one of our natural light sets, we put together a three wall room  with floor to ceiling windows along the back wall, with the right wall plain white, and a smaller window on the left wall. This would give us two distinct shooting areas to utilize for photographing two different colors of the same style bra.

Our model showed up on time, went through Hair and Makeup, and was dressed in the bra. We photographed her in one setting for about 30 minutes, and then had her change into the other color of the same bra, and photographed her in the second setting. Everything went smoothly, and we finished up right on time.

Next up, came the more interesting part of the afternoon….

It seems that Zulily had an event coming up called “Farm Friendly”, and one of the shot requests called for a Chicken Swing to be photographed. Although lots of different things come to mind when you put those two words together, it is exactly what the name implies….. it’s a swing……and it’s for chickens. Even better, it’s made by a company called Fowl Play.

As luck would have it, the Editorial Studio Supervisor (my direct boss) raises a small number of chickens with her boyfriend, and had volunteered their chickens as models.

So, I packed up some gear and drove out to the location to shoot the Chicken Swing.

Once there, we walked out to the chicken habitat where they had installed the swing the day before (installed might sound a bit serious….as it simply hangs by two thick strings). Chickens, as I would later find out, are suspicious of anything new and had not been very interested in the swing. So much for my hope of simply walking up to find one on the swing to photograph.

It also seems that these chickens had taken to pecking at each other, so blinders had been installed on their beaks, which didn’t allow them to see anything straight ahead (and thereby reduced the chance of them pecking at each other).

So, we picked out a very photographic young hen, removed her blinders, and proceeded to try and get her to sit on the swing…..which…..did not go as well as we had hoped. Over the course of 30-40 minutes, Chris (chicken owner/handler) would gently pick her up, calm her down, and try to place her on the swing from the back (so that he could quickly move out of the photo if she stayed on the swing). And for 30-40 minutes she immediately jumped/flew off the swing as soon as she was placed on it.

So there we were, with Amanda holding the swing in place and Chris trying to place the chicken on the swing….and the chicken immediately jumping off the swing, when Chris tried holding the chicken and putting it on the swing from the front. I knew that he wouldn’t be able to get out of the way very fast, but it was worth it to try and change things up and see if we could get anything useable.

The first time he put the chicken on the swing from the front, it stayed. He slowly backed away while Amanda held it steady. The chicken sat there. Amanda removed her hand from the swing, and it still stayed. I shot. And shot. Slowly the chicken started moving a bit and the swing started going back and forth a little. She was actually swinging. I kept shooting. After a few more seconds, she jumped/flew off, but by then, we had the shot.

Thanx for listening in!

In the Land of Dr. Evermore’s Forevertron, and other interesting bits…..

On a country road, in the middle of Wisconsin, I found a veritable treasure trove of old and decrepit machines and sculptures to photograph. To try and describe it would be to fail miserably……suffice to say that if you ever have the chance, it is worth your while to check this place out! It is part scrap yard, part outsider art installation……and it is ALL fascinating.

 

From Wikipedia….

“Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron, built in the 1980s, is the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world, standing 50 ft. (15,2 m.) high and 120 ft. (36,5 m.) wide, and weighing 300 tons.[1] It is housed in Dr. Evermor’s Art Park on Highway 12, in the town of Sumpter, in Sauk County, Wisconsin, United States.

The sculpture incorporates two Thomas Edison dynamos from the 1880s, lightning rods, high-voltage components from 1920s power plants, scrap from the nearby Badger Army Ammunition Plant, and the decontamination chamber from the Apollo 11 spacecraft.[2] Its fictional creator, Dr. Evermor, was born Tom Every[3] in Brooklyn, Wisconsin and is a former demolition expert who spent decades collecting antique machinery for the sculpture and the surrounding fiction that justifies it. According to Every, Dr. Evermor is a Victorian inventor who designed the Forevertron to launch himself, “into the heavens on a magnetic lightning force beam.” The Forevertron, despite its size and weight, was designed to be relocatable to a different site—the sculpture is built in sections that are connected by bolts and pins.[2]

In addition to the Forevertron itself, the sculpture includes a tea house gazebo from which Every says: “Queen Victoria and Prince Albert may observe the launching of Dr. Evermor; it also includes a giant telescope where skeptics may observe the ascent.” Dr. Evermor’s art park is home to a large number of other sculptures, many of which relate to the Forevertron, such as the “Celestial Listening Ear” and the “Overlord Master Control Tower“. Other large-scale sculptures include gigantic insects (the “Juicer Bug” and “Arachna Artie“), the “Epicurean” bellows-driven barbecue train, “The Dragon“, and “The UFO“. The most numerous sculptures are the “Bird Band and Orchestra” which includes nearly 70 birds ranging from the size of a child to twenty feet tall, all made from scrap industrial parts, geological survey markers, knives, loudspeakers, springs, and musical instruments, among other salvaged materials.

Every says he takes pride in allowing the original materials to remain unaltered as much as possible, using their original forms in new juxtapositions to create his aesthetic. While he himself is not often available for tours of the art park, the site can generally be accessed from passing through the surplus store adjacent to it, Delaney’s Surplus. Mr. Every also created much of the installation art for the House on the Rock, including the world’s largest carousel.

Light Trails at the Carnival

IMG_2625

As creatives, images have a habit of sticking in our brains. There can be lots of different reasons….. How’d they do that? What is that? Where is that? Sometimes, these images can serve as inspiration for something we decide to do later. This is a story about that.

Flashback to the early 80’s when I was attending Grand Rapids Junior College. The photo department sponsored a photo contest and as students, we were to help with the intake of the contest photos and the judging. We weren’t judging them ourselves, but we helped move the framed images around the department (there were hundreds) as the two judges paired all of the entries down to what would actually be in the show (this was a juried show, so not all entries would make it).

One of the entries was a time exposure of a merry-go-round at a local carnival. Shot on a tripod, the lights of the ride burned into the film to produce a semi circle of light as figures moved and became blurry at it’s base. It was the first time I had scene something like this photographed, and the basics of the image have stuck with me.

The Portland Rose Festival took place last week, and included a carnival along the Willamette River downtown. I thought it would be a great place to try and make some interesting images using the carnival rides to light paint, so I loaded up my camera and tripod and bicycled down to the waterfront.

I started with some static photos using the tripod and a wide angle lens. They looked pretty good, but were very similar to what I had seen decades ago in that contest. I really wanted the light to become the subject, and was hoping to make the light conceptual enough that it might not be recognizable. As I stood and watched the rides, I started moving closer and liked what I was starting to “see”. I use quotes around that word because one of my favorite things about photography is it’s ability to show you things that they human eye cannot see, by utilizing extremely fast shutter speeds to freeze action that is too fast for the human eye to see, or using long shutter speeds to allow movement to blend into shapes.

Moving to a longer lens allowed me to eliminate distracting backgrounds, and really started to allow the light to become the subject. I also brought in the legs on my tripod and used it as a monopod, allowing me to move it through the one second exposures I was using. After a few of these, I also started adjusting the zoom on my lens, adding yet another layer of movement into the image.

In the end, the lights on the ride were moving, the camera was moving, and the lens was zooming, allowing me to combine three types of movement into the one image.

Below are a few others of my favorites…..

Thanx for listening.

IMG_2485 IMG_2653 IMG_2618

Bucket List trip to Bisti Badlands

IMG_1907

Bisti Badlands has been on my radar for a few years now. Planning a recent trip to Moab with friends (the trip mentioned in my last blog update) got me thinking that I might be able to fit a quick trip there before we headed back to our home in Portland. Looking at the map, Bisti is only a few hours south of Moab, just over the New Mexico border….so we penciled it in and headed south.

Due to time constraints we would have to cut our time in Moab a day short just to get a few hours to shoot at Bisti. It was a huge gamble as any little thing could go wrong…clouds, heat, lodging, etc…..plus, it was adding over six hours to our two day drive home.

As we approached the border, the landscape appeared pretty bleak. Lot’s of abandoned buildings and hard scrabble farms dotted the landscape. Bisti, also known as De-Na_Zin Wilderness, is a bit south of Farmington, and adnacent to Navajo Nation land. There are no camping facilities anywhere near, so we reserved a hotel room in Farmington. We stopped on the way and dropped off our gear, then headed down to Bisti in time for sunset.

It’s always interesting trying to figure out what sunset is going to look like. I wanted to arrive with at least two hours of light left in case clouds came in and I was forced to shoot under overcast conditions. As we got closer, it seemed like it might remain partly cloudy, but there were also some rain clouds in the distance. Weather seems to move extremely fast out in these type of wide open spaces, and I was worried that I might get rained out….

Bisti is a huge place, with a couple of different entrances and miles to explore. There also isn’t a great guide to the place, so ideally one would have a few days of perfect weather to explore the entire place and plan exactly where you wanted to be in what type of light. Instead, I was going in with a couple of hours to shoot under questionable light, with no real idea of where I wanted to be. I wish I could say this was the first time I had ever been in this situation….but it happens more often than I would wish.

The weather held, and I made it to the turn off. A few miles of washboard roads with tons of dust brought me to the “entrance”. I use quotation marks because there is barely any signage, a simple gravel parking lot, and no buildings or restrooms. Just a fence, with a extremely faded photograph describing the area.

I was looking for a place called the egg farm, or alien eggs, or any number of descriptions that use the words eggs. It looked to be about a mile or so to the northeast, so I headed in that direction. As I walked, the blank plateau slowly started to morph into more interesting shapes, and the eroded sandstone, shale and lignite started to take on interesting shapes.

The sun was getting low in the sky, and I was stopping to photograph various shapes and forms as I zig-zagged my way towards the northeast. At times, i was surrounded by amazing images that I attempted to record with my camera. Often I would have to get to the top of something to see the way that I was still trying to head. Some of the hoodoos are fragile, and I took care not to step or climb anything that might be damaged by my hiking boots.

According to my GPS, I was now over a mile and a half from where I had parked, with no sign of the “eggs” section and the sun getting very low, I slowly started to head back towards the parking lot while I kept shooting. A few times, I made myself stop and take a look around at where I was. I had spent a few years thinking about being at this place, and now I was present with good light and nobody else around. There aren’t many times that I have been overwhelmed by a place that I was photographing, but this was surely one of them. The shear number of things that I saw and wanted to photograph exceeded my capabilities, time and talent by a long shot.

In the end, I came away with some great images. But…….there are a ton more there to be found, and I can’t wait to go back.

Below are some others that I like…

Thanx for listening.

IMG_1927 IMG_2063 IMG_1991 IMG_1968 IMG_1963

Mountain Biking and Shooting in Moab

As many of my friends will attest, it’s hard for me to take a trip without my camera. And, if you have the camera with you, where’s the harm in taking a few photos?

It’s not always that simple. As an example, here’s what happened on a recent trip to Moab, UT with some friends……

A core group of us from Sandpoint (and a few other places) used to go to Moab, every spring. We haven’t gone in a while for various reasons, but this year worked out that we could all get together again and a plan was hatched.

There are always some epic times on these trips. Lot’s of adventures can be had in the area, including mountain biking, photography, rock climbing, canyoneering, off roading….the list goes on and on. It’s a great time for me to shoot a lot of photos. Some for stock, some for my portfolio, and others just because I love photography.

On our first big ride, we decided to tackle a trail that I had not been on before – Poison Spider Mesa. It’s a classic Moab ride, and one of the older trails in the area. We mapped it out, and figured out how many vehicles we needed to get us all to the trailhead. The map showed that we would be on a ridge overlooking a valley, and I was excited to take my camera along and get some great images.

Taking a camera along on these rides is always a bit sketchy. First of all, it’s really heavy. My 5D along with my favorite lens (24-70mm, f2.8) weigh around 7-8 lbs. This gets stuffed into my small backpack that also holds a 3L water bladder, first aid kit, rain jacket, 2 spare tubes, CO2 cartridges, small tool kit, and food. That puts around 12-13 lbs on your back, which I strap down as tightly as I can while still allowing myself to breathe freely.

As this group of cycling friends goes, I’m a bit on the slower side….so handicapping myself with extra weight doesn’t help things 🙁 We have an agreement that we always wait for each other at intersections, just to make sure that we are all going the same way. This also makes for a great way for me to get a bit down the trail and take a few shots of people riding through. This sounds easy, but finding a great spot where the light is coming from the right direction, stashing my bike out of site, getting my camera out and my helmet/sunglasses off, and then visualizing the line that will get ridden is a lot to do in the span of 60-90 seconds. Oh, and don’t forget making sure that the camera is set correctly (white balance, ISO, and autofocus choices) and then the hardest thing….trying not to drench the camera with my sweat.

For this shot, I was lucky and found a great spot within 100 yards of where we had all stopped. I yelled back to everyone to come ahead, and had them stop just before they were in sight. I gave instructions that everyone should ride directly towards me, and turn to their right (following the trail) at the last moment.

Rider number one (I’m withholding names to protect the guilty) came through and I held the shutter button down, but only got one shot. I hadn’t double checked to make sure that my camera was set to “multi” instead of “single”, so I only got one image and the rider was too far away.

Rider number two rode through and I got a couple of good shots, but I felt I was too low to really show the view.

Rider number three rode through and now I was too high.

For rider number four, I switched to vertical and lowered myself just a bit. Unfortunately he turned right way too early and is very small in the frame (and also pointed the wrong way).

Rider number five, came through, and everything worked out pretty well (Thanx Justin!). This is that shot:

PoisenSpiderMesa

The yellow stripe you see painted on the ground is there so that you know when you are on the trail. If you ever ride in Moab, you’ll get used to looking for the various color stripes to make sure you are going the right way.

We stopped a few more times to shoot, but nothing as good as this shot. We also took a wrong turn, ran out of food and water, got a bit lost, and ended up walking a lot of hills later in the ride. One of our group also started cramping up pretty badly, but in the end we all made it out okay. There were a number of times that we shared the trail with some ORV’ers, and almost every one of them asked if we had enough water or needed anything. Moab is a place where most everyone gets along with everyone else, regardless of sport. Which is really nice.

We continued riding and exploring through the week, and unfortunately I took a rather nasty spill on the Porcupine Rim Trail. I went over the handlebars at a good clip, and tumbled a few times. Unfortunately one of the tumbles resulted in an impact to my lens which smashed to UV Filter I had on, and dented the outer ring of the lens itself. The photo of the damage isn’t very exciting, but Canon Professional Services was able to fix it right up….. to the tune of $485.00 🙁

IMG_2620

Thanx for listening!

 

AL

 

Frozen Pier – Saint Joseph, MI

IMG_0702

With the advent of Instagram and other photo sharing sites such as Tumblr, Flikr, 500px (along with countless others), we are overloaded with a daily influx of imagery that far surpasses that of not only any other generation, but any other decade. There is a lot to be said of both the good and bad sides of this. For me, however, it keeps driving me to keep making great images that maybe, just maybe, will one day “go viral” or suddenly gain me thousands of followers.
It also serves as a daily reminder that many many times my photographs pale in comparison to images from photographers that have visited the same places. Even worse, places that I couldn’t even be bothered to photograph while I was there.
Such is the case with the pier at Saint Joseph, Michigan. While I had never been there, I did live within a couple hours drive for a lot of my “formative” years….and always pooh-poohed the idea of shooting any of the lighthouses or piers along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
That all changed when I started seeing post storm images of the lighthouse in St. Joe. The lighthouse and elevated walkway were covered in ice……. not just normal thin ice, but ice that was thick and wind sculpted…..shapes that were beautiful and yet ethereal.
Once I saw them, I knew that I needed to figure out a way to be there when they were covered in layers of ice. Luckily, I work quite often in Milwaukee, WI, which is just a few hours from St. Joe. I always travel with my camera (and usually a tripod shoved into my checked baggage), and one lucky week the conditions seemed primed for some photogenic ice to form on the St. Joe pier.
The forecast was for extremely cold temperatures the entire week, and Friday night there were to be high winds (out of the west), and large waves on Lake Michigan.
I was scheduled to be shooting Mon-Fri, and luckily I had arranged my flights in and out of Chicago due to cheaper airfares. My flight out of Chicago on Saturday morning wasn’t until around noon. I figured that if I got up around 3:00am, I could drive to St. Joe, shoot for an hour or so, and then drive back to Chicago with enough time to make my noon hour flight home.
Friday night I stopped by Walmart to get some waterproof pants, spikes for my shoes, and some dry bags to try and waterproof my camera with. I spent an hour or so with the dry bags, and felt pretty comfortable that my setup was as close to waterproof as possible. I got up at 3:00am, and proceeded to drive the four and a half hours to St. Joe. Once I started getting close, there was a white-out from blizzard conditions due to lake effect snow. I made it through that, and was excited to pull up at the pier in St. Joe a little before sunrise.
It was heavy overcast, making it obvious that there would be no “sunrise” images. Due to the heavy overcast, I was forced to bring my ISO up to around 800 in order to be able to shoot. I slipped on my spikes, waterproof pants, and took my “waterproof” camera rig out into the storm.
It was still quite windy as I slowly made my way out onto the pier. Everything was covered in thick ice……but not the beautiful clear ice I was looking for…..rather, the ugly, brown ice that is the result of so much dirt being airborn while water drops are being frozen the second they touch anything.
There was only one other person on the pier that morning, and he was out watching for waterspouts.
I had the pier to myself, and I carefully walked, hopped, and jumped over giant blocks of ice, mounds of partial rime ice, and smooth sections of perfectly slippery puddles of ice that had frozen over.
I spent around an hour photographing, and by the time I got back to my rental car, my right hand had become so cold that it was numb and pretty much useless….and then it hurt immensely as it warmed back up. I headed south, and made it to Chicago in time to return my rental car, hop the shuttle to the airport, and catch my flight back to Portland.
It was surreal being on the pier that morning. Ice was forming/covering the lake, and what should have been large 12-15 foot waves were being compressed and silenced by that ice, and more resembled 2-4 foot ankle slappers. The wind whipped around, freezing airborn water and turning it into stinging spikes that hurt the face. The waterproofing of my camera worked, and I had no problems whatsoever from the cold or moisture.
All in all, my gamble had paid off and I was able to squeeze in a fun shoot between a commercial job and my flight home ☺

Thanx for listening.

Making it Rain…..

rain

One of the more memorable jobs that I have had in the field of photography involved freelancing as a printer for the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. A few times a month I would drive over to West LA, take the tram from the parking garage up to the museum, and smile to myself as my employee pass would allow me to “go behind the curtain” as it were to see behind the scenes of one of the top museums in the world.

While there, I printed black and white repro prints. I would be handed a stack of dupe negatives of pieces of artwork in their collections, and would fill print orders from around the world. These images were inserted into books and used for research, among other things.

During my lunch hours, I would quickly eat a sandwich and then stroll through the buildings taking in the amazing artwork on display (If you have never been, you owe it to yourself to visit the Getty. The site is amazing – set on a ridge overlooking Los Angeles… the buildings are impressive – they supposedly emptied an entire quarry in Italy for the facades…..and the gardens are simply unbelievable. Oh, and admission is free!).

While I was touring the museum, the staff photographers that worked there would be sitting at their desks reading, or occupying the remains of their lunch hour with some other banal activity. When I asked if they had seen any of the things that I have discovered during my adventure, they answered that they rarely, if ever, ventured out to see what was on exhibition in the museum. I, to say the least, was dumbfounded….. but not necessarily surprised. The museum had simply become a job to them…..and they didn’t want to spend their free time “working”…..no matter what they were missing out on.

It was not uncommon to talk to photographers, for whom photography had simply become a job. I like to think that we all got involved in photography because it was something we loved and felt extremely attached to…..but some photographers had lost the love along the way and were simply doing it because they needed to keep the $$$ coming in.

Back then I vowed to myself that if I ever “made it” (whatever that might mean), I would remain a passionate photographer for the rest of my life…..while secretly fearing that I may not have the talent/aggressiveness/connections/whatever to actually make a living as a photographer.

What does all this have to do with a photo of some leaves?

I’ve been a photographer for around 25 years now, and I feel that I am well past that point where I might have become burned out or lost interest. I still get excited about shooting. I still look forward to exploring new places with my camera. And I still use my camera bag as my carry on whenever I fly….lest I land somewhere without a camera when something amazing presents itself.

I like to think it’s because I’m so passionate about photography…..but I know that there are other reasons that are more manufactured. Those reasons are Stock Photography, and Instagram. Stock and IG are two things that I pursue, and both help me to remain hungry looking for photographs that will either sell, or gain me more followers. My goals are to upload 1000 images per year to my stock agency, and to upload one photo every business day to Instagram.

The photo of the leaves and rain above is a perfect example of how these two things keep me excited to try new things. I had been trying to come up with some photo ideas for the beautiful fall that we were experiencing in Boston this year, and felt that simple photos of the leaves were not what I wanted….I wanted something that would hold a little more interest. Enter the spray bottle!

As I traipsed around the bushes and underbrush near our apartment, I would position myself so that everything was backlit. Then, while holding my camera with one hand I would start spraying water to get the “rain” to fall onto the leaves.

In the end, I played around for 30-40 minutes and got some fun results. I also learned a bunch about how still you think you can hold a camera, and how still you ACTUALLY are holding it (due to some amazing, but slightly soft images). The usable images supplied me with a number of images for Stock, and a week’s worth of IG uploads.

Thanx for listening!

Here are a couple of other shots from that day…..

rain2rain3

 

Fatbikes on a Trail in Golden Fall Light

IMG_9902

One of the great things about being with a stock agency is that it not only brings in some $$$, but it keeps you motivated to shoot…..and gives you a great reason to try new things that might result in images that are unlike anything in your agency’s collection.

I had an idea that I’ve been wanting to try, and last weekend gave me the chance with some decent weather. My wife and I loaded up our fatbikes and drove over to Wompatuck State Park. Once there, I rigged up my Canon 5D to sit off the back-left side of my bike. This entailed a Manfrotto Magic Arm, a Couple of Super Clamps, an Atom Clamp, and a few other various pieces of grip equipment (see photo below). Testing had shown that I needed to use an extremely wide angle lens, and so I rented a Canon 8-15mm zoom (I kept it between 13-15mm).

I used two Pocket Wizards to trip the shutter – one (receive mode) mounted on the camera hot shoe and connected to the camera using their Remote Trigger Cable…… and one (transmit mode) duct taped to the right side of my handlebars.

We started riding and everything went smoothly for about ten seconds. That’s when I kicked one of the ratchet handles on the magic arm and the whole thing basically fell off. This happened just as some people were walking by, and immediately one of the guys started asking me questions about what I was “filming” (There’s nothing worse than trying to sort out a problem with a complicated setup while someone is asking what your favorite f-stop is).

I got everything mounted back up, double checked that everything was tight, and then rotated all handles out of the way of my feet while pedaling. We cruised around on some pretty mellow trails (no catching air with this set up!), and I experimented with shutter speeds and lighting direction. This image is one of the stronger ones and was shot at 1/25 of a second. There was a real balance going on between a shutter speed long enough to allow the ground to blur…..yet short enough eliminate camera shake.

One of the things that I really love about digital imaging is the improvements in lenses that have resulted. 10 years ago if I shot this on film, there’s no way I could have shot into the sun and not had the image ruined….lens flare would have exploded across the frame. With current cameras/lenses though, it’s no problem 🙂

I didn’t actually take a photo of my set up that day, but here’s a shot from a couple of days before when I was testing everything out on my regular mountain bike. A few of the angles are different, but all the gear is the exact same as I used….

Thanx for listening!

rigged

 

Mistakes in the Woods

IMG_8726When I have time…or get bored…or distracted….or maybe have a deadline that I want to ignore….I’ll sometimes head out on my mountain bike with my camera. Recently we had a beautiful fall day and I did just that.

The trees were a combination of green and yellow, and the trails were a golden pathway leading through the woods. I truly love photographing action when Mountain Biking, but being alone ruled that out. I started thinking about the various ways to introduce motion into a photograph with stationary subjects. Exciting motion photographs come down to one of three situations:

 

  • The subject is moving.
  • The camera is moving.
  • They are both moving.

 

Since it’s pretty difficult to photograph myself while I am riding, I had to settle for having the camera move. I have played around with a longer shutter speed and zooming before, but wanted to try and add a little something more. Something that might be a little more identifiable.

This kind of experimentation really lends itself to digital. With film, you’d have to shoot a roll, and then wait a few hours to see what you got. Then, you may or may not remember what you did exactly to be able to reproduce anything that you got that was acceptable. Being able to see the image immediately allows you to build upon small successes as you go.

As any photographer can tell you, a lot of successful images are actually failures that turned out better than expected. Such is the case with this shot. I was kneeling on the ground next to my bike (that was propped up against a tree), and trying to introduce some motion into the image by zooming while I rotated the camera. Normally when doing this, I really try and keep the camera rotating around the middle of the lens….but this time, I was a little off balance and ended up rotating the camera around on point that is very close to the middle of my front tire. This left the tire almost intact (and very identifiable), but allowed the rest of the frame the movement (blur) that I was looking for.

Here is an example of doing exactly what I wanted:

IMG_8728 In the end, I liked both images…..but the mistake of rotating around a point off center of the middle of the lens allowed the tire and wheel to by much more sharp and identifiable, which in turn, makes it a more interesting image.

 

Thanx for listening!

AL

Salton Sea – by Rick Szczechowski

beginning final_2Sometime around 2005, I drove out to the Salton Sea with some a few friends. We didn’t have a specific plan…… just wanted to check it out and see what we could find to shoot.  We spent some time at Bombay Beach, and had started to pack up to head home.  While stashing my gear and talking with my friends, I kept looking past them at the shore line where I was seeing some amazing light. I stopped talking, grabbed my camera & tripod to get the last shot of the day. It was too dark for auto focus, and manual was proving to be a guessing game. In desperation, I had one of my friends go out on the point and had him stand there so that I could focus on him. As he stood there, I realized he was a very important element in what was to be one of my favorite shots. He held pretty still for a 15 second exposure!

Rick

http://www.szczechowskiphoto.com/

http://instagram.com/rickszczechowski