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

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Winter)
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

Styx-20

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!

A Step Back in Time

This weekend I was able to attend the Riverdale Kiwanis Medieval Faire held annually at Lakes Park in Fort Myers, Florida.

What a wonderful fun event for the entire family.  Lots of fun shows to watch that will keep even your littlest trolls engaged.  From a live chess match to the traditional jousting and minstrel shows.

Knight after a joust

Knight after a joust

Chess Match

Chess Match

Magic & Mahem

Magic & Mahem

One of my all time favorites is the Barely Balanced troupe.  These three friends will make even the most cold hearted pirate laugh.  With Large (Jimmy) Medium (Cameron) and Small (Margret) performing feats of strength, agility and balance.  If you can stay late make sure you check out their fire show.

Barely Balanced

Barely Balanced

Next I must get my Craic fix.  This high energy Celtic ensemble drums, pipes and fiddles your cares away.  Another must see show.

The Craic

The Craic

Another fun show worthy of mention is the Washer Women, the best dirty, clean fun you can have.

The Faire will be happening once again this coming weekend January 18 & 19, 2014.  Get there early and plan to stay late, lots of great food, (including those smoked turkey legs), grog, including beer, wine & mead, vendors who sell every type of medieval garb and shiny objects possible and a lot more shows and games and Medieval rides for all ages.

Gregg Allman

Last night I was given the privilege to attend a Gregg Allman concert.  This was my first time hearing him live and what a treat to the ears it was.

First let me tell you about Sailor Circus Sarasota the venue in which the event was held.  It was a smaller venue, with stadium seating and floor seating.  Quaint and cozy; the seats were extremely close together and not a lot of leg room.  Not sure this could’ve been avoided, but it was still a great venue simply because I don’t feel there was a bad seat in the house.  We were fortunate enough to be in the stadium seating fifth row up and pretty close to the stage.  No complaints about that.

Unfortunately I was not granted a photo pass for this event, (I will apologize ahead of time for the bad cell phone photos) I know it’s a gamble on getting passes for out of town events, however we were close enough my iPhone was able to at least capture the feel of the stage.  Not great photos, but at least something to post with.

Now, let’s cut to the chase and get into the meat of the program.  There were two opening acts, and I felt it strange at first that Gregg’s son Devon Allman Band was the first act to open, in my mind I thought he was going to be prior to his dad.  He took the stage and it was like seeing his father (with shorter hair) up there, his sound was very much influenced by his dad, of that you can be certain. His tour is called the Turquois Tour and is based on his newest first ever solo album of the same name with a bluesy rock feel to it.  His songs were fresh and had hitting.  The song When I Left Home, was a biographical song of his life as the son of a rock star and his start in the music business.  His song Turn Off the World also was a ballad of needing to get away from life and the stresses of the road.  Overall Devon put on a great show and this listener will be purchasing his newest CD Turquois.

Devon Allman

Devon Allman

Next up was a local band (out of the Pinellas County area) called The Greg Billings Band at first I couldn’t figure out why a local band was the opening act to Gregg Allman, but one minute into this bands set and you knew exactly why!  High energy, fun to watch, and a dream to the ears.  Their first song Built for Love was hard hitting and full of great guitar.  The vocalist was on the money and never stood still (good thing I didn’t have to photograph him).  They too had released a new album and last night was the first time it had been offered, I may have to look them up on iTunes as well for the downloadable version.  They covered a song by Sister Roseta Tharpe Ain’t No Grave and received a standing ovation for this one.  Phenomenal sound, phenomenal energy and a great opening act for Gregg.

Greg Billings Band

Greg Billings Band from Pinellas County

Now let’s get to our headliner the one and only Gregg Allman and I must say (this is for the ladies) he is still as good looking as ever!  He took the stage behind  that Hammond Organ and the sound was incredible.  His line-up of musicians were as follows Scott Sharrard-guitar, Ben Stivers- Keyboard, Steve Potts-drums, Jay Collins-horns, and Ron Johnson-bass.  Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of his percussionist and he brought his son back on stage with guitar on a couple of numbers.

Behind the Hammond

Behind the Hammond

Gregg Allman

On guitar

Gregg & Devon

With Son Devon Allman

Gregg performed a few numbers from several of his albums like his latest release like Floating Bridge from Low Country Blues, Whipping Post from Searching for Simplicity.  And of course he performed the Allman Brother’s classic Sweet Melissa.   His rocking style has not faded, however he has delved more into a Jazzy Blues feels with allowing his band mates to perform a jazz number during his intermission.  Overall the show was excellent and I have Sailor Circus Sarasota to thank and Matt Mangas at 94.5  “The Arrow” for the awesome tickets;  a couple of my friends who were able to attend because of his generosity.

Another Night of Great Blues

2013 12 21_Joey Gilmore Band_0384_edited-1

2013 12 21_Joey Gilmore Band_0388_edited-1

Last night I  had the privilege of not only listening to, but photographing a blues legend; Mr. Joey Gilmore. Music was provided by the Joey Gilmore Band and was hosted by Cadillac Jacks which is quickly becoming the premier spot for incredible blues music.  A special thanks to Willie Miller of Mill-Jenn Entertainment for providing this incredible experience. 

I was fortunate enough prior to the show to meet a couple of the band members including getting to shake the hand of the legend that handles a guitar as if it were a fine glass of wine.  Such a wonderful thrill to meet Joey Gilmore.  Joey’s band consists of R Hi-Hatt Carter who provides a silky bass undertone, the man Willie Miller on drums who also hits some incredible vocals and Sonny Boy Williams tickling the keys with a flair of a true bluesman.  This four-piece ensemble was such a treat to listen to, each instrument was highlighted as well as each member lending their leads on vocals as well as back up.  So much talent in one room should almost be illegal! 

Joey Gilmore Band captivated the audience and provided a great evening of entertainment.

Cadillac Jacks is quickly becoming South West Florida’s premier spot for blues. If you live in South West Florida and not been out on Saturday to have dinner and catch a show you are missing a wonderful experience. Last night included members from the South West Florida Blues Society who truly enjoyed the experience.
If you find you want to enjoy a great evening out, head on over to Cadillac Jacks Blues night every Saturday put on my Mill-Jenn Entertainment. And on a side note, the onion rings are to die for!

Blues in South West Florida

2013 12 14_Sarasota Slim_0167_edited-1

Last night I was commissioned to photograph a blues band from the Tampa Bay area, which was performing in a new venue here in South West Florida, Cadillac Jacks.  The band lead was Gene Hardage AKA Sarasota Slim.  What a treat to the ears this band was.  Because of some personnel changes the band played a bit of everything from blues, older rock and a little funk, mixed in with a couple of holiday tunes.  The young guitarist who took the lead on vocals from time to time was absolutely impeccable.  At one point Slim and the guitarist had this dueling guitar riff going on that spectacularly stunned the audience and delighted our audible senses.  We were also graced with an audience member who played a mean harp and added a nice element to a couple of blues numbers.  What a treat it was to enjoy an evening of great music and to meet a legend in the realm of blues music. Special thanks to Willie Miller of Mill Jenn Entertainment for this wonderful opportunity. I know this writer/photographer is looking forward to future shows.

Concert Season

2013 02 18_Kid Rock_2397_edited-1

We are about to embark on the beginning of concert season here in South West Florida.  This is my favorite time of year as my partner and I are constantly checking all the venues within a 250 mile radius of our home.  We have been privileged to photograph such greats as Willie Nelson, STYX, REO, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryant, Heart and Jason Bonham, Ted Nugent, Kid Rock, Dierks Bently, Darius Rucker and so many more.  Our upcoming season promises to be just as exciting as we live the life of concert photographers.  Please keep following this journey. 

Weekly photo challenge winner

Anthony's photo

On my Facebook page www.facebook.com/kdphotocreations we held a challenge for those who follow and like our page.  The first challenge was to post a photo representing Halloween and a young photographer by the name of Anthony Bonacolta was the lucky winner for the week!  Thank you Anthony for posting this wonderful Jack ‘O Lantern photo.  Please give some props to this young man.

If you are new to my blog and are interested in seeing some of the photography from myself and my partner please visit our Facebook page.

My New Camera

Clown Fish

Clown Fish

Sunset at Bunch Beach

Sunset at Bunch Beach

Recently I made a huge purchase, one that can take my photography to a whole new level.  I know it’s not the camera that turns out great photos, it’s the eyes behind the lens however, a really good camera can help. 

I have been using a Canon EOS XS and absolutely love this little camera, I have several lenses for it, including the kit 55mm, a 70-300mm with macro, a 50mm prime, an 18-200mm and a couple of wide angle attachments with macro.  This camera has been a workhorse with very few problems.  Because my partner and I photograph in a lot of low light situations, I really felt the need to upgrade to a more pro level camera with more ISO control.  I began looking around and reading reviews on several different models of full-frame cameras from Canon; I wanted to stay with Canon because of the glass investment I already have, as most of my lenses will fit the new camera.  After much debate and deliberation and price points, I decided on the fairly new (came out in late 2012) Canon EOS 6d.  I went to Best Buy to order and had the camera within three days.  If anyone is in the Bonita Springs Florida area reading this, please go see Max at Best Buy at Coconut Point Mall, he is wonderful and was extremely helpful.

I decided to buy the camera with the 24-105mm L series lens.  Best buy also had a special on lenses if you bought certain lenses you could get $300 off, so I opted for the 70-300mm Canon EF lens.  Not to mention the great Canon camera bag that Max through in with a really nice discount.

To say I was excited is an understatement! I could not wait for delivery day.  I felt as if Christmas had come early, and indeed it had. When the camera arrived I cautiously opened the package that contained my newest edition. I have to say that excitement has not diminished.  This camera is a dream to shoot, although it has a smaller body than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III it is still a very substantial camera.  From the moment I turned it on, it felt familiar yet, new.  I have taken this camera out in several different lighting situations and have found it’s going to work for my needs.  In low light it’s fast and accurate and very little noise.  The 6d offers a lot of creative control and it also has video, but at this time I have not used the video feature (not that I won’t, but it’s not why I decided on this camera).  The best thing about this camera is the WiFi capability, yes I said WiFi, and the fact that I can use a wireless remote which I already own; my iPhone upon which I downloaded the EOS App that will completely run my camera. It will also upload photos to my iPhone and to a WiFi enabled computer.

The photos are crisp and sharp and autofocus is fast and accurate even in low light.  The 24-105 lens is excellent for low light with the 77mm filter ring; a great pairing.  With the photos I have taken so far the editing time has been diminished, which is wonderful because it will cut down on my overall processing time.

I will be using the Canon 6d for an up-coming wedding and can’t wait to put this camera through its paces.  I will also be using my Canon XS with the 50mm fixed lens.  My partner also has a Canon XS and he will be using the 18-200mm. 

I am quite impressed with this camera and will update this post as I become more familiar with the assets the Canon 6d provides. Stay tuned…

 

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