Through the Lens and Beyond, Deborah Owen, Photographer

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Early Christmas!

I am a naturally happy person. Things are not what make me happy, too many things clutter my simple life. I don’t need people around to be happy either, but I love my family and friends and I feel much more than happiness being around them, I’m joyful.  As it goes, if I get something new it’s not to make myself happy it’s because I know I will enjoy using whatever it is I have received.  However, last night I received an early Merry Christmas to me present; the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 USM II lens.  I have drooled over this lens for a couple of years and have even had one on my camera, which really increased the feeling of want and need.  As a photographer who works with portraits and weddings and large venue concerts this lens is the industry standard and I now own it.  To say it makes me happy is an understatement, it makes me ecstatic!  It simply proves that good things come to those who wait and I have waited and it’s my time enjoy what this lens can do for my photography.

I have read all there is to read about it, I’ve used it on my camera so I know first-hand what it will do for my craft and how with my skill I can create amazing images. I didn’t make this decision on a whim, I thought it through and had an opportunity that I could not pass up and I bought it.

Photo Credit to Photographer Sam Arnold

Here I am with the box!

Here I am with the box!

Next is opening the lens case to expose the goodies inside.

Next is opening the lens case to expose the goodies inside.


As I use this lens in the next few weeks I will write up a complete review……for now I am going to go and enjoy it; with a huge smile on my face!

Giving up?

You know, I write so often about what I have done and where I’m going and sometimes I have to take a step back and breathe, because there are days or weeks that I feel as if I have no time as I am going from show to show or portrait to portrait.    This past week was one of those weeks.  I really try to balance out my life with work, photography, friends and family then add to that learning opportunities.  For the ordinary person I’m sure my schedule seems to be overwhelming, but for me it’s my life.  As a creative I also need to take time to renew myself and spend time alone with the natural world.  I also need to spend time with people I care about. I prefer that one on one time as it gives me opportunity to open up (something that only happens with a choice few) and it allows me to get some much needed feedback.  These are things I need because living alone I don’t have anyone to come home to where I can bounce off my day/evening so I have to rely on myself, and I am my own worst critic. The other night after a huge concert I came home totally upset with the way I felt the shots turned out and I wasn’t sure I would be able to use any of the images as the lighting was a complete nightmare, I wanted to cry. As I was reminded this weekend I am a painter of light, so surely there was something I could use.  Turns out I had a few shots that many would call the “money shot”.

I love concerts; I love the challenge of the lights and the thought process that goes into it, but it’s stressful especially when you know someone is relying on you to do you best work.  I really felt it this week and when I looked at the images, I wondered if this is really what I should be doing.  However, that thought was fleeting as I brought up the images and I know there is nothing I want more (ok there is, but I’m being patient).  I love this and I know I am doing exactly what I should be doing as opportunities are opening up for a future I only dreamt about.  Spending time with a few friends this weekend and time out in nature has refreshed me for another busy couple of weeks. So I take a breath and keep going because my passion is being a photographer.

Luke Bryan-31 (Medium)Luke Bryan-29 (Medium)

Concerts, Concerts and More Concerts

I have been a busy lady these past few days, lots of things going on and I have been extremely fortunate to be involved with some wonderful events.  Locally we have an annual event called the Cape Coral Coconut Festival and each year they bring in some of the best bands around.  This year proved to be no different with the 80’s style hair band Lazy Bonez opening for headliner Loverboy!  What a great evening of rock music.  Typical of Florida weather (you never know what you will get) we had a November rain (yes you may sing at this point) and it was quite chilly.  However the bands played on and the crowds showed up despite the rain, proving you can’t keep the hard core rockers down!

Last night I traveled up to Clearwater to once again photograph the great girl band in the history of Rock and Roll; HEART.  Let me tell you these ladies can still rock the stage with all the classics.  What a wonderful show they put on .  This is my third time photographing them and they never disappoint my camera lens.

I have one more concert this week and it will be blues inspired with Tab Benoit and Will add photos once they have been taken.  Enjoy my journey back to the 80’s.

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Rock Concert with a Light Show

Mahaffey Theatre

Mahaffey Theatre

On August 2, 2014 I was fortunate enough to photograph the iconic Progressive Rock band YES.  I arrived early to check out the venue as it was new for me to photograph there and upon arriving I phoned my contact.  As I was waiting for him to arrive, the staff invited me to enter and enjoy the beautiful lobby area of the Mahaffey Theatre.  The employees were so incredibly nice to me it made the beginning of this beautiful evening so wonderful.  I was escorted in and was thrilled to find out I was shooting toward the front of the stage; sometimes in venues such as this I am relegated to the back of the hall, but tonight I was up front!  Again an awesome start to what was going to be one of the best concert evenings I’ve had in a really long time.  Every concert I attend is incredible, in very different ways, because I love photographing rock bands.  This night was magical because YES is one of my bucket list bands to photograph and I was honored to be the only photographer there (not including their house photographer).  As I finished up with the last song I was able to shoot, my escort led me to the back and asked if I wanted to get a “long” shot of the stage, well of course I did and I thanked him for the opportunity to do so.



As I packed up my gear to depart the venue I walked outside and the evening was so beautiful and balmy.  I then realized they were piping the concert out on the patio area so I found a bench sat and listened as I watched one of the most magnificent light shows being displayed over Tampa Bay.  Did I mention the Mahaffey Theatre overlooks the bay?  Well it does and the balmy breeze mixed with the lightning and the twinkling of the lighted palms along with the incredible music that was being emitted I was simply too relaxed to move.  This had to be heaven, because I was sitting there remembering concerts that had a bit of drama involved and realized this was well worth being there alone.  Great photos, great venue, equals a great evening.

God's Light Show

God’s Light Show

Loss of a Legend

This past week we lost a Blues legend; Johnny Winter he was 70 years old. I had the opportunity to see him twice in a years time and both times he was amazing. His body unfortunately was beginning to give out and his eyesight had completely failed, but his guitar playing was something to behold.
Born John Dawson Winter III on February 23, 1944 in Beaumont Texas and born with Albinism along with his brother Edgar Winter the duo began their music careers early. By the age of 10 Johnny appeared on a local children’s show and played and sang with his brother Edgar. His first record was recorded at age 15. Winter also played with the great Muddy Waters, BB King and Bobby Bland. (Resource: Wikipedia
I saw him first up in Clearwater where I had all access and was able to board his bus and garner an autograph, he seemed so frail after witnessing his greatness on stage. The second opportunity came in November 2013 as I was asked to photograph the South West Florida Blues Society, Blues Festival for radio station 94.5 The Arrow. It was incredible to see his fingers fly across the strings of his guitar up close and personal, snow white hair long and flowing as was his custom. I feel he left us too soon and I’m sure there was more music waiting to embark from those fingers. I feel blessed that I was able to witness such greatness in the blues world.

Rest in Peace John Dawson Winter III

Johnny Winter Feb. 23, 1944 - July 16, 2014

Johnny Winter Feb. 23, 1944 – July 16, 2014

Photography and Social Media

As a photographer with a small (non-existent)advertising budget, my advertising is solely on social media. I have more than a dozen different social media accounts and have them all tied into with each other including my blog here on WordPress. I’m not an expert on social media by any means, however I am learning and I am finding that the more I’m tied into it the more my name and services get out to the public (more about this later).
I am not all about the ‘LIKES’ on Facebook, but I know a few people who think the number of ‘LIKES’ on their Facebook page is the epitome of their existence on Facebook and having a lot of “friends” is important.  Some have felt the need to tell people to un-like Facebook pages belonging to others so theirs can become more popular. I find this quite sophomoric, but I personally don’t sweat it because I have more than made up for any un-likes I may have been the target of throughout my social media presence. The presence I am building will be constant and long-lived as will my business.
I understand the algorithm regarding ‘LIKES’ and quickly realized the ‘LIKES’ are not as important as the content of the posts that go onto the page. I have a personal Facebook account and I have two Facebook pages I use for my photography work; I may combine them someday, but for now they serve their individual purposes. My content is strong and my interaction with my followers is extremely important  and it needs to be constant and interactive. I understand what I need to do to keep my name in front of my followers. I also know the majority of my ‘LIKES’ are organic and not from my personal friends list, which is the key to social media. My goal is to get my business name and business name high up on Google search. I’m meeting that goal very quickly.  I constantly update my pages and reply to those who respond.  Facebook by design is a constantly changing media and if you don’t stay on it, you can lose the interest of those who are on your pages.  I try to update daily and use engagement with questions, photos and quotes that are relevant to my page.

Twitter: Using hashtags (#) on Twitter has become a key source of driving more interaction on not just my Twitter, but my Facebook, and Google accounts, and when I blog I strive to keep the content strong and keywords active.
Now all about getting my name out. I photograph regularly large concerts at large venues for a local radio station and I was asked at one point to make sure I took photos of their sponsors; this is the lifeblood of radio and it’s turning out to be the lifeblood of my photography business as well. One of my photos made it to a major sponsor’s Facebook page where my business name was put out there, and another of my photos recently got me a great job photographing a HUGE corporate sponsored event in Naples at the Ritz Carlton Beach Resort. Because of the photos I took for a local sponsor, when someone placed a shout out on Facebook for an event photographer my name was given. This more than made up for a few lost ‘LIKES’.

My next goal in social media is to be more present on YouTube. I have not done this much, but I will be working on some self advertising and hopefully this too will give me rise in the Google rankings. If anyone is interested in learning more about what social media sites I am on and how to go about setting up your online presence, please feel free to contact me on the form below. I will be happy to give you a few pointers.
Please check out my newest photos on Facebook, I had the honor of photographing three top Classic Rock bands, Foreigner, Don Felder (former Eagles and writer of Hotel California) and STYX! Please enjoy the photos.

Mick Jones

Mick Jones

Don Felder

Don Felder


Marty Stokes & Captiva Band @ Cadillac Jacks

2014 01 18_Marty Stokes Band_0093_edited-1

I received the invitation to hear a local band with the lead singer Marty Stokes.  I arrived at Cadillac Jacks and took my usual seat next to the pillar at a small round table of to the front side of the band.  My waitress Ashley was attentive as usual, even with the noticeably larger crowd in the establishment.  The band was a bit late in getting started (no fault of theirs as there was another event prior to their arrival).  I placed my order and prepared to enjoy my evening.  This band was well worth the wait.

Marty Stokes

Marty Stokes

Marty Stokes was on lead guitar and the only vocalist, his smooth authentic sound was a pleasure to listen to and his guitar was smoking hot.

Michael Dock

Michael Dock

Bassist  Michael Dock was hitting the bass with true blues precision.

Jennifer Mazziotti

Jennifer Mazziotti

Jennifer Mazziotti on keys and sax (more about her in a moment)

Scott Williams

Scott Williams

Scott Williams was slick on the percussion.

Their combination of covers and originals was entertaining and wonderful to listen to.  The authenticity of their originals made them seem extremely timeless.  They played one of my all time favorites Match Box and I personally enjoyed their version.  One of the originals really stood out to me; not because of the name or the tune, but because of the sax.  Jennifer is incredible, she’s not showy or a “look at me” player, but let me tell you, once she starts whaling on that sax you sit up and take notice!  She is incredible.  The song which stood out was their original Take a Little Time. Jennifer definitely made her presence known on this killer number.

If you ever get the chance to take in this Blues Band, please do you will not be disappointed.

Oh and try the potato skins at Cadillac Jacks, I think they were the best I have even eaten.  I was tempted to order a second batch to bring home!

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