I have to confess I not very good at this posting on the blog yet. I was going to do a post about a photo trip on the Los Angeles River. But it got rained out. Then I was working on a post about Fall colors a trip to the Mono Lake area last fall, I’m still working on it. I wanted to talk about composition and realized that since I’m self taught that I don’t know the right words to use in telling about composition and photos. I use to paint pictures too, maybe someday I’ll have the room to do some more but not now, so I learned to put a picture together from looking at and studying what others have done. I worked in a Museum for 3 years as a Security Officer and that meant looking at art for 8 hours a day. So that is how I got my art education. I was shooting pictures with a cheap 35mm camera and all I had was a 50mm and a 135mm lens plus a couple of doublers. So I learned to frame up my pictures by moving closer or farther from the subject. I had a black and white darkroom, so I did my own work for the most part. Yes I shot some color film but most of the time it was b/w. I also worked as a darkroom tech-photo editor for a publishing company that put out 6 weekly newspapers for 9 years. I took them into the digital age in the mid 90s. Then I lost almost everything I owned and that meant camera equipment and all my negatives and photos too.
Now I have a Canon 7D with 3 zoom lens and other new flashes and filters to play with, the comeback kid. Been shooting digital cameras for 5 years, starting with a cheap point and shoot and working up to the 7D.
So now I’m reading lots of books on photography, Digital photography. I’m starting over in a large degree because digital is different than film. But I also have the background that lots of people don’t have in photography. So I’m learning the language of photographers, schooling myself more and more each day. Trying to find time to shoot more too.
David duChemin is a photographer that I have run across and bought several of his ebooks, http://www.davidduchemin.com is his website and he runs a blog too. Much better at it than I am. However he is quick to point out that it is not that he has had an easy time of it. He puts in a lot of work and thinks highly of amateurs, since if they do good work it’s because they Love the photography itself, not because they get paid. He is also quick to point out that a Good photo is a good photo because of what is in the photo, not what equipment was used or how hard it was to get to the site of the picture or any of the many things that make a personal story about the photo so personal. It’s the photo itself.
That’s where I come in, I’ve taken good photographs since I was kid, I know this because photographers I met told me to keep shooting, people who saw my pictures liked them and I liked them too.
When I worked at the newspaper I helped people shoot better photos and shot lots of photos to show people what I meant.
Recently I was telling my son about David duChemin’s ebook Vision is Better and how at one point he talks of shortcuts, saying there is no good shortcut. If you want to feel good about your work and have good work to show, you have to work hard at it. Photography is hard work. I’ve shot a lot of bad shots too and duChemin claims the same. If you want to get better you have to look at your work and learn from it. But you have to shoot photos, lots of photos to get a feel for what you want your photos to say to the viewer. Not everyone will see it the way you do, but if you don’t shoot photographs frame after frame of it you won’t know how to make it what you want it to be. David duChemin calls it Vision, I agree. You have to have a idea of what you want to say in order to make it come out in the photograph, as well as the technical savvy to make it happen with the camera and darkroom. After all you only have what’s in the frame to make the photo with, digital or film. That final printed photograph tells the whole story.
The darkroom is now replaced with Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and other software packages for digital photo manipulation.
I worked film negatives over in the darkroom, burning and dodging, even putting 2 or more negatives together to form one final photo. Cropping the final photograph was part of it too. So the digital darkroom is not really different from the film darkroom. There is just more we can do in the digital darkroom.
So bear with me as I learn to blog. Ask questions if you want, I love to learn new things and may surprise you with knowing the answer. This blog is about helping other shoot better and not feel so bad about shooting photos that aren’t all that good YET. I am also trying this blogging thing out to get into professional photography, to see if I can get people interested in what I shoot and to maybe help me learn more about my craft as a photographer.. Leave me questions and comments on subjects you want to learn about and I’ll make it a point to answer them as fast as I can.
Hopefully I get out and shoot more and more often so that I have photos to show what I mean instead of just talking.
Anyway that’s all for now.