Seeing the world through the lens and beyond – Deborah Owen, Photographer

Archive for the ‘Photography Meanderings’ Category

When Change is Good

Looking over some of my photographs from the past year, I realized how much my shooting style has changed, not just my style of photography, but the way I shoot and what I consider prior to laying out my sessions or getting to the stage. I used to simply put the camera in front of my eyes and snap a photo and hope for the best. However this past year that changed;  because I wanted to be more authentic within myself my work has become more authentic and I rely more on my intuition. Those who know and understand me, know I am not a fan of editing and if I don’t need to spend time doing so, I won’t, but I do realize that there are those sessions where it’s needed.  Portraits and weddings are those areas that require a bit more work simply to make the photos what the client wants, however I still keep an open and honest feel about the work.

I allow my intuition to control more of what I am looking for whether it be a bride on her special day, a portrait session with a woman battling cancer, or an event or concert. I know when I put that camera to my eye, what I see will be what comes out in my images.

For example,  during concerts I  simply don’t snap every move the artist makes, but I watch the timing of the lights and choose to hit the shutter in anticipation of the lights going across the stage in a specific manner. In large shows the lights are synchronized to the music and will repeat numerous times, I watch for this to get that spectacular backlighting on the artist.  Some artists are known for their moves on stage and that too is something I look for.  With only getting three songs you have to take advantage of the moment.

2013 03 15_Dierks Bentely-Miranda Lambert_2759_edited-

During weddings I wait for that intimate moment between the bride & groom where they feel they are the only two people around; you can feel their love. Or, that moment when you are talking to a cancer survivor and you see that look in her eyes, knowing she has beat something horrible, feeling her emotion and relating it to her situation.


Intuitively I capture a moment in time which will never be repeated and preserve it for years of wonderful memories.  Change has been good, and I embrace it with fervor and passion.


Pizza, Art and a View

Fort Myers-1

I had a craving for pizza, not just any pizza, really great pizza, and in the area I live the only place I have ever found great pizza is a little joint called Downtown House of Pizza in the River District of Fort Myers.  I contacted a friend to see if he might want to join me.

Arriving late, I parked in an area I normally don’t park in and was totally turned around in the city, I actually turned down the wrong street and had to reorient myself in the proper direction.  I think his last text to me was “Follow the pizza smell”, the aroma is distinct and most delicious.  Walking to my destination I passed a gallery and overheard a conversation from a family of four which the small boy asked his mom why they were not going in to “look at the naked paintings” smiling I listened for the mom’s response, because you simply never now how a parent will react in these situations and sometimes the response is better than the question.  Her answer was “no we are not” and when he pressed on and asked “why” she simply stated “we are not going in there”.   I continued on my quest for pizza but made a mental note to go back.

I confessed prior to going in for our food, I had not been to any other restaurant in the river district, because I simply can’t pass up DTHofP….it’s AH-MAZING!  We received our hot slices and headed out the back door to see if any empty tables were available, we found one, ate and talked through 3 different sets of random strangers joining us.  Finally, we decided to venture out to a few galleries as this was the monthly “Art Walk”.  The first gallery we came to was the one I had noted earlier and it was quite active with people; curiosity maybe? Not really sure of the reason, but what I found was not just “nude” paintings, they were photographic works of art and quite thought-provoking and beautiful. Incredible composites deep in feeling and meaning.  I found myself wishing I could create those sorts of things; not nudes, but works of art that have deeper meaning than what you are initially seeing.  I think I read each and every label on each and every piece, they were unique and I kept wondering what the artist was thinking and feeling at the time of creation.  From there we were a bit aimless on our direction which really seemed to fit my day (I had done a few aimless things) and we walked down to the larger art hall to see what was displayed.  It was one artist who had taken on several different styles from collages to oils and it felt as if you were looking at paintings from three or four different artists.  We started with her Holocaust work. There simply aren’t any words to describe the feeling except emotional.  The deep fear which must have come upon the people experiencing this horrific event is unfathomable to me.  The images were strong and emotional which made it difficult to speak.  Progressing through her work we picked up on a more “old Florida” feel, very 1940/1950 vintage even though some of the paintings had been created in 2014.  I loved those pieces, the theme was light and airy; I could feel myself on the beaches of Sanibel and St. Petersburg and had the opposite effect of her Holocaust work which were dark and sometimes difficult to look at, these vintage type oils were fun and free and stirred up the longing to be at the beach.  We also noted she had a few watercolors dispersed in the collection which gave the collection the third feel of the evening.  They were mostly western Native American watercolors and I had commented to my friend to capture the imagery  she must have been out west.  A few minutes later we overheard her husband speaking to someone and mentioned she had spent time with the Indians which inspired the watercolors.

From there we headed to a hotel I had never gone in and my friend surprised me by taking me to the roof on the Skybar because I had mentioned I had never been.  The view was breathtaking!  It overlooks the Caloosahatchee River and is in between the two bridges.  The images shown are showing the downtown area and the river area.  I realize they are not the best images as they were taken with my point & shoot camera, but they really captured what we experienced.  The night air was balmy and breezy and the view allotted to an incredible conversation.  This was one of the most relaxing evenings I had spent in some time and it was the perfect ending to the an evening of enjoying great pizza, experience some incredible art all combined with a view to be envious of and conversation to match.  And to quote my friend, “we really do live in an amazing place”.

Fort Myers-2

A Final Farewell

2014 02 08_Butterflies_1256_edited-1

I really had not planned on writing tonight, but I’m home instead of being out celebrating and I didn’t know I would be as emotional about this whole New Year thing, but here I am at the computer typing my thoughts for the world to read.  So here goes….

This time last year on December 31, 2013 I was also alone, but I went out and enjoyed an evening at a local establishment (which sadly is no longer open), listened to a band who was losing their lead singer to cancer, it was to be his final performance, he passed a month later. When I first arrived at my table, I was a bit upset, they didn’t seat me with anyone……I was in a huge outdoor seating area, sitting alone at a table for four and I felt really awkward and thought maybe I shouldn’t be there.  You see I had just ended a four-year relationship and was determined that my life was going to be better alone than what I was enduring the last couple of years in that relationship.  As I sat at my table being served a wonderful surf & turf dinner by the best waitress ever, I kept thinking “2014 will be my year”.  It was quite chilly and I wasn’t really dressed for the coolness, but I endured to midnight, had a glass of champagne and toasted what was to come.  A young girl came over to me and gave me a huge hug and invited me to her table, I declined,  You see I was holding back tears, because I wanted her to know I was fine and really wasn’t staying much longer.  I finished my glass, and took the rest of the bottle to their larger table and wished them all a Happy New Year and left.  Driving home I was almost smiling at the thought that I got through the evening and I was going to be just fine.

Life simply got better, I was surrounded by friends who rallied around me and kept me encouraged in the midst of those sad few trying to discredit me and my work.  I threw myself into my photography and began to pick up more and more work.  I realized I was much more successful on my own and was regaining my self-confidence and finding my lost identity once again.  I have talent and my photography is good and even though the gossip mongers were trying to tear me down I was surpassing my own expectations!  I also picked up a new partner in my photography; my son Tommy who is incredible and he knows how to use his camera, he’s so amazingly talented and creative. We are my father’s prodigies, he would be proud of us.

Tommy allowed  me to photograph him and in return I succumbed to the front of his lens as well, not an easy task for a photographer.  It felt awkward and unnatural, but after a few minutes I began to enjoy the experience and really loved the images he produced of me.

Tommy-2 Tommy-25 Mother's Day shoot-5 Mother's Day shoot-16

As the year progressed I was able to add an incredible amount of images to my portfolio and actually had the privilege of photographing my all time favorite former Beatle Ringo Starr (bucket list).

Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr

I have had a set back or two, but I never allowed them to get the best of me, because I know I’m right where I need to be.  God is in control of my life and what I am doing.  My faith is unwavering.  The end of the year has been trying with finding out a close friend was diagnosed with cancer, thankfully she is a fighter and it didn’t win, she did! I’ve added friends to my very small circle and I love each one of them.  I also just sent a text my to my son and his response brought on the emotions.  I have two incredible boys and my youngest is a lot like me in more ways than with a camera.

So here I am ending my year in a puddle of tears, yet I know 2015 is going to be even better than 2014.  I will find love again this year because I’m ready and I know God is preparing someone for me, and I will be one step closer to realizing my dream of being a full-time working photographer.  I am beginning the new year documenting the journey back to health of a woman in the fight for her life and hope to highlight her here in the very near future.  So to all of my followers, stay tuned, it’s only going to get better.  God Bless each of you, treat each moment as if it could be your last….Love, laugh, dance and sing…… 2015 is going to ROCK!  Happy New Year!

A Year In Review

Wow can you believe 2014 is just about over?  What an incredible year and I am simply blessed with all the wonderful things I have seen behind the lens of my camera.  From wildlife to rockstars my camera has been there to document the best of the best.  Thank you so much for your continued support of my blog, it’s been incredibly successful.   Please enjoy the slide show I have prepared and HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

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Shortness of Life

Christmas-3 (Medium)Christmas is a great time to love on your family and to enjoy each other and to laugh.  I know as I grow older, family and friends become so very important.  When you are a child, you think time passes so very slowly……you can’t wait for Christmas break.  As you get older those holiday breaks come even faster and disappear just as fast.  This holiday was spent with friends and family and it could not have been any better.   I used to love decorating and getting the house ready for the boys and the visit from Santa, but lately I have not felt that inspiration to decorate.  For several years I didn’t even want to celebrate.  The last couple of years have been truly amazing and I have had so much fun with my family.  I love watching the little ones open their gifts, I have missed that excitement.

After hearing some not so good news today, I once again realize how short life can be.  We never know when our last breath will be, and we need to take each day and make it the best we can.  Dance as if no one is watching, sing in the shower as if no one is listening, love like it will be your last, and be with those that make you happy.  Let your loved ones know how you feel otherwise you may never get the chance.  We are only given so many beats of our heart, use those beats with passion.  Don’t wait, because you think you may have the time; death is not considerate of age, it can come at any time.  So for this Christmas season, I spent it with the exact people I was supposed to spend it with and will continue to let those I care about know how I feel throughout this coming New Year.

2014 A Year in Review



The year of change

Looking back through this year, I am simply humbled by what has transpired. The concerts and artists I have been fortunate enough to photograph has been incredible, I have worked with some of the best folks in the business from radio, television and beyond.  Venue management has been incredible to work with from locally in Fort Myers throughout the Tampa Bay area, just top-notch all the way.  I’ve had some incredible referrals from those I’ve worked with and photographed for which has opened up some amazing opportunities and I am so very grateful for them.  I’ve had my work featured on some major artist’s social media outlets which just astonishes me; it simply staggers my mind to know they are looking at my work.  And I have been able to meet a lot of new people in areas I would have never expected.

2014 was all about change and learning who I was as a photographer, going into the new year I wasn’t quite sure what direction I wanted to take with my photography, I knew I wanted to film events, but beyond that I still wasn’t sure. After engaging in a few different subject matters I know what and who I want to shoot.  The concerts, festivals and events are my number one choice for photography; I love the lights and bending my creativity to make the lighting work around the artists.  I have also found I enjoy weddings, especially the small destination weddings, but I really enjoy shooting them more than I thought I would initially, and I get to work with my favorite photographer, my son Tommy.  The other subject I enjoy immensely is shooting women over 40, I find that empowering and also joyful for myself and for them, especially when they see how beautiful they are.  Finally I will continue to relax by heading to the woods, ‘Glades or a local zoo and simply shoot what I want. This keeps me balanced and focused on what really matters.

This year also taught me all about those who have supported me and how incredible they are.  One of my very dear friends has fought the battle of her life, but will be starting out 2015 completely cancer free!  I love my friends, they understand me and have been there to cheer me on.   I have made a few new friends too, those who went from being acquaintances to full-fledged friends.  I can’t imagine life without them now.

Looking to the Future

With 2015 right around the corner I have to come up with my next steps in my five-year plan;  I need to sit down with pen and paper and write out what I would like to see for this next year that will fit within my goals.  I’m a planner and goal setter and for things to happen in my world I must have a plan.

2014 – This was the year for getting my feet wet as a photographer, deciding what I wanted to focus on and where I want to take this awesome business.

2015 – This will be the year of marketing myself more, hitting  major goals such as becoming an LLC and setting up a full business plan and scope of services and opening more doors for myself.  I know I’m good enough and I am constantly wanting to learn new techniques and learn from those more seasoned.

2016 – Begin the transition to becoming a full-time photographer

2017 – Open a fully operating gallery and studio

2018 – Retiring from full-time job and taking on photography full-time with my son Tommy

These are lofty goals and I know I will hit each one of them.  I don’t need to compete with anyone as my work speaks for itself and those who are in front of my lens are there for a reason.  I have been blessed with a talent, but more than that I have been blessed with the passion, to hold a camera, to view what is in my lens and to create greatness from that image.  A long time friend told me recently that my dad would be incredibly proud of me for where I have taken this love, and I understand now, what I did not understand then, my dad had a passion for capturing images and freezing time; it was his superpower.  This year I will make it mine.

Happy 2015 Everyone!

Thanksgiving Warmth

Photo taken by Jack Shealy

Photo taken by Jack Shealy

Wow this time last year, I was experiencing a bit of turmoil in my life; drama that could have been avoided, but when dealing with the immature that’s what happens.  Fast forward one year later.  I had a great Thanksgivings spent with my youngest son Tommy and the people of the campground where I was staying and where he works as a guide.  Old friends were there and so much good food I was in a food coma for hours after.  Of course while there I took out the camera, just didn’t have it at the dinner, nor did I have my phone.  I simply wanted to enjoy the meal and fellowship with those I’ve not spent time with in a while.  I really enjoy going down to Trail Lakes Camp Ground it borders the Big Cypress and so much wildlife all around makes it extra special!  Later in the evening I saw with Tommy by a roaring campfire and we enjoyed the warmth of the flames.

campfire Glowiness

It was quite chilly even for Florida standards.  I ended my trip with a drive through the Big Cypress on Birdon Road over to Wagon Wheel Road then back on Turner River Road.  Driving

Beautiful sky no cloud and that deep azure blue against the sand colored grasses of the swamp.  On my way home I stopped and spent several hours at The Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk.  No bear this time, but the swamp was still teaming with birds and wildlife. It was a marvelous Thanksgiving and I would not change the way life is turning out.

I want to thank all of my readers and followers for a great year.  I was so unsure of myself when I started this blog, but I love the outlet it allows me and I am so glad you have all enjoyed my meanderings.  This next year promises to be so much better.  Thank you for your support.

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