This past week I have been pondering a couple of questions. One is why do I prefer digital over film and why use my Canon 50mm f1.8 lens? I’ll tackle the digital question first.
It was asked on one of the Facebook pages I follow why I think digital is better than film?’ I don’t think it’s better, it’s simply different. With film you had to wait for the outcome and didn’t always know what was on that film; was it any good? was it usable? and if you didn’t work it in your own dark room and lab you were at the mercy of a third-party developer. My father had a dark room and I watched him many times manipulate his images in the darkroom element. I did some shooting with film, but never did my own developing and sometimes was not happy with what was returned to me. In the beginning of shooting digital I would take numerous photos download them and get frustrated because there were too many images to go through. Now, I tend to shoot as if I am shooting film and really think through each image before I press the shutter. I’m much happier with what I capture and processing time is cut way down because there is less of it.
The second question is why don’t I use my Canon 50mm f1.8 more often? I did use this lens a few times on my cropped sensor camera and have never used it on my full frame. I wasn’t very happy with the results as they seemed a bit soft, so I basically stopped using it. However, a couple of days ago a fellow blogger Rob Moses whom I follow (or stalk because his images are amazing and I think I follow every one of his social media sites.) had posted some incredible images using a 50mm (follow his blog here). After a few exchanges he convinced me to give it a try (thanks Rob). I only took my Canon 6d with the 50mm f1.8 attached. At first I felt hindered and kept thinking “what if I see something amazing and I need my 300mm?” After a few steps on this overcast morning I realized I was only going to take scenery and waited for the perfect spot. The water was glass-like and I was able to capture incredible reflections. I was also able to get close enough to photograph a couple of squirrels; one licking water from the branches and another eating his breakfast. Overall I think I did alright. I need to practice more before I decide to use it in a concert situation, but I liked the results, still a bit soft but with practice I think I can become quite proficient with this lens.
Experimenting definitely makes me a better photographer and I love that I will never be perfect at it, and I like that it keeps me fresh and creatively challenged. I also like that I have fellow photographers whom I’ve never met willing to give me such wonderful advice.
A day remembered: September 11, 2001
For many of us adults we can remember the day for many historic events; what we were doing, where we were and how we felt at the time. Because I am in my 50’s I remember quite a few event’s from past history such as Kennedy’s assassination, His brother Bobby and Martin Luther King. Even though I was a young child I can remember each of those days as if they just happened. Our most recent event in history was on September 11, 2001 where 343 firefighters, 72 policemen, 227 airplane passengers, and approximately 3,023 died in the attacks, not to mention all the first responders who have perished since then due to various diseases and cancers.
I know exactly where I was and what I was doing, I was teaching music and reading in a small school in Everglades City, Florida I was in totally disbelief and immediately called my husband and was crying, because I had no idea what the future for my two boys would be. Would they have to go off to war? Would they live in a world where we would always have to watch out backs? My oldest was a senior and I simply could not imagine my boy having to go off to a country where they hate us Americans. I would have been proud of my young men if they had decided to go into the military, but it was not my first choice for them.
I can’t believe it’s been thirteen years since that horrific day. So many more have given their life for our freedoms here in the United States by being on the battlefield in a war.
It was a sad and scary time for all of us. l remember the patriotic outpouring immediately after with everyone flying American flags on their cars and just a sense of total belonging to the best nation in the world. Thinking about that day and being out and seeing our first responders provide a wonderful tribute to that day, has made me realize once again how wonderful our life is here in the US. Life is short and we never know what may be around the corner for any of us so cherish each day, spend it with people you love, which I did this weekend. I spent Saturday with someone who’s been in my life for a number of years however, due to life events we’ve not been able to see each other in about seven or so years, but those few hours we spent talking will remain with me for a very long time. It’s rare someone enters your life that can make such an impact, but I am extremely fortunate to have a small handful of these wonderful people. 9/11 will forever be burned into out minds and hearts, and during this time of remembrance keep those you love close and tell them often.
Walking along the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Boardwalk I realize this is where my element is. I shoot concerts and portraits and I’m quite busy at it, but this is where I readjust, realign my thinking, learn how to shoot better and get creative. I arrived early in hopes not to come in contact with too many other humans. I enjoy interaction, but this morning I need quiet. I am going to be extremely busy for the next couple of months and I will be running non stop with events, concerts, band shoots, portraits and weddings. I needed to simply walk and to be quiet. The silence is golden, there is no one else except for me and an occasional woodpecker singing with many other birds and insects. I watch the leaves drift from the trees; fall soon will be here. It’s amazing to just be quiet for a while, to take it in and to learn from nature.
The noise level I experienced with a group of people makes me wonder why they come to a sanctuary like this, where the quiet is what you absorb. If you plan on seeing anything, you need to be quiet and sadly they will leave the sanctuary thinking there is nothing there. My morning was quite productive with many wonderful photos taken; not all wildlife, but the flora which is quite beautiful. However it was the sounds of quiet, the gentle breeze, the buzzing of the bees and the singing of the birds that I took away with me this fine morning.
I know I have written about how I became a photographer, but not why. Throughout my life I have owned a camera and I would spend hours with my father in his dark room watching the images appear on the paper. I never really thought about it back then, but I knew I was pretty good at it even at a young age. Then life happened and I put down the camera and really didn’t pick one up again until my boys were born, I took quite a few photos of them and of course I took photos of our family vacations. After getting separated from my husband I once again laid down the camera and stopped taking photos. I was working a lot and If I honestly look back at that time period I was depressed. I worked, and slept and not much else. Up until that point I had mostly used a Nikon and Canon SLR film camera with a limited knowledge of digital so I went out and purchased a cheap HP digital camera. I used it for a week and realized it wasn’t what I wanted so I took it back and traded it in for a Kodak, it was much easier to use and the battery life was really good. It was exactly what I needed. I realized to get myself out of the depression I was in I needed to get outdoors and start taking photos again.
I never shared with anyone about my depression, I was embarrassed I wasn’t in control of my emotions. I know the feeling of wanting to end my life, as I had considered that as a way out, however I had way too much to live for and could not fathom what my children would think. That $80 camera was my saving grace; my medication in a flash card.
As time elapsed I was able to purchase a DSLR camera, I purchased a Canon EOS XS and learned all I could about using it, I started with wildlife and evolved into working with a radio station taking concert photos, what a wonderful feeling that was to get close up to the stars of my youth. Exhilarating to say the least! I was able to purchase studio supplies with backgrounds, lighting and several great lenses. I learned Photoshop and Lightroom and last year I was able to upgrade my camera equipment once again. I have been privileged to shoot in some awesome venues on the West and East Coast of Florida and I have expanded my work to shooting portraits and weddings as well. I am building a wonderful business with some great repeat clients and have an incredible following on this blog and on Facebook, Twitter and a couple of other social media sites.
I know this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing with my life. I’m also thrilled that I get to work with another extremely talented photographer, someone I have known his entire life; my son. He’s so incredibly talented and I don’t have to worry about him or what he may say or do with the clients, he’s a consummate professional and proud to have him as my wedding photography partner.
With this all being said, I am so sad that so many face depression daily, and some to the point of where they feel there is no way out, I wish everyone who is depressed could rebound as easily as I have, but as we know with the great Robin Williams who was loved, so very talented and seemed to have it all together, yet he was so deep into his sadness that he felt he had no other alternative but to take his own life. We will never know what he was thinking or how he came to that decision, but I hope we can all learn. Get help if you need it, don’t feel embarrassed you’re not alone. I was fortunate, my therapist was behind the lens. Rest in Peace Robin Williams the world will miss you.
I get out into the wild as often as I possibly can. I lived in the Swamps of Fakahatchee Strand for 13 years and even though I no longer live there I still love being there and enjoying the outdoors. As a photographer it helps me keep focused and to enhance my creativity.
Today I visited another swamp area called the Babcock Ranch Preserve and took their swamp buggy tour, well worth the trip. This area is a working ranch and contains cattle from the days of the conquistador.
Wildlife abounds in this rich environmental area and they don’t seem to have the surge of exotics that have invaded other areas of South West Florida.
I have passed the genetics of photography to my youngest son, who lives in the heart of the Everglades. They are constantly battling exotics such as the snake he encountered in April of 2013; check out the article from Huffington Post below.
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