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

Growing and Blooming

Wow!  I cannot believe how much of a turn my life has taken in the photographic world.  I am beginning to make a name for myself and it’s spreading beyond the local Fort Myers area as  I have just reached the Tampa Bay area by recommendation.  My Facebook fan page has exploded and I have a lot of followers on my other social media sites.

I have to take a stand back sometimes to get a grip on how fast things are moving.  For most of my life I have doubted myself and my abilities, and I still do that with my photography too.  I know in my heart that I am good, but sometimes my head gets in the way and I wonder if I’m good enough.   I was called last week about photographing a destination wedding and was supposed to have met the couple on Saturday.  That meeting didn’t take place for whatever reason and I had resigned myself that it may not happen.  I doubted myself,  deep down I wondered if I was good enough.  I had met up with a friend Sunday evening and told him about the meeting not happening and that I was Okay if it didn’t, because  something else would come along.  Our conversation drifted to many different subjects and I really didn’t think much more about the wedding.  I had decided that I was really okay if they didn’t call.  Well to my surprise I received a text message from the groom to be that they wanted to book me for the wedding, I immediately contacted my friend and told him that the wedding was going to happen, he congratulated me and told me he knew I would be getting the job.  I love that I have friends who 100% have my back no matter what.  This knowledge makes me incredibly strong and their belief in me and  gives me the strength to realize I am good enough and I can do whatever I set my mind to.

We should all be cognizant of the fact that the good people in our lives are the ones who stand up for us and cheer us on.  I am incredibly blessed and take none of them for granted.  My one hope is I don’t fall short in that area with them.

I admire the work of many photographers as it gives me creative ideas and keeps my own methods fresh and new.  I follow several on Facebook, and watch their posts to see what they have going on.  I belong to several groups, some promote concert photographers, and some are wildlife related and I am fortunate enough to post to them regularly and I view their work, comparing my work to theirs.  I do realize there isn’t any comparison as photography is an art form and art forms are subjective.  I view the work of others with an open mind without tearing my own work apart.

This I know; I am constantly growing and improving my craft, and every time  I click the shutter my value as a photographer increases.  I also know that I am at my best behind the lens.

Me 2 Me

 

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.

2013 02 02_Turner River Road_1904

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.

Babcock Ranch-2

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.

Babcock Ranch-1 Babcock Ranch 3 Babcock Ranch-1

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.

https://www.facebook.com/KDPhotoCreations/posts/772729982749745″

Please take a moment to visit my facebook page and while there please LIKE and SHARE my page.  Thanks!

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.

YES

YES

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 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

I’ve taken an attitude of gratitude in my life personally and professionally that surpasses anything I have ever experienced.  I have a lot of folks to thank for where I am today and extremely grateful they are in my realm of success, first and foremost I have a faith in God who I believe guides my every direction.  I know I am heading on a path of complete success and it’s going to be a fun ride and I plan on taking as many of those who have gotten me to where I am with me on this adventure.

As I have stated in my past posts, I’ve been a photographer for most of my life, my first camera was a Kodak Instamatic then I graduated to a “Pocket Camera” and the best was the Yaschica my father gave me; I had graduated, so thank you daddy for that incredible gift and for the gift of understanding what it means to be a photographer.

My first camera and my father

My first camera and my father

I am also grateful for those photographers I encounter daily and get to work with I thank you for your inspiration and friendship, you guys are amazing and each of us bring something unique to our world.  I am so grateful for my friends who I have practiced on and allowed me to practice on their children and have enjoyed the photos I’ve taken, you guys totally rock and I look forward to future shoots!

GevaTommy-192014 01 05_Lidia Headshots_0170_edited-1 (Medium)

I am also grateful for my future clients who see my work and want to be included in my portfolio, without you I know I would not be as busy as I am! Thank you.

I am really thankful for the clients I have and the venues I’ve been granted access to, thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you.  I have been blessed to shoot some incredible acts and bands, without you guys that would never have been possible.

Johnny Winter

Johnny Winter at Sunsplash Cape Coral Blues Festival

Don Felder @ Germain

Don Felder @ Germain

Nonpoint @ Dixie Road House for 93X

Nonpoint @ Dixie Road House for 93X

All of us have gotten to where we are by a lot of hard work, massive amounts of criticism, hours of editing and the love of the craft and pure creativity.  Take a moment and think who was your inspiration, and if you can, thank them.

Life After Six Months

I cannot believe we are already into July!  The year is flying by and so much has taken place in the last six months.  Life changed for the better toward the end of last year, I  eliminated negative influences and cleaned out the friend closet by eliminating those who never had my back or my best interest, chose to be deceitful and blatantly lie; sometimes you have to consider the source, cut your losses, count your blessings and move forward.  I gained so much more than I ever lost as I have been blessed tenfold; so many true friends came forward to show support and have been my cheering squad and biggest fans.  Opportunities opened up that never would have if I had remained where I was, and I am better than ever.  Even with all of the great things happening I still had a difficult time forgiving.  All the right things were done and wonderful opportunities were coming my way, I really needed to forgive one person; myself.  I know this sounds selfish, but I constantly questioned why I had wasted so much time and settled for less than I deserved, and I was beating myself up over decisions or lack of.  I had been wrestling with this concept for several months and in June every time I turned around the word forgiveness was staring me in the face and every time I read or looked at affirmations that word kept creeping in and unsettling me.  Finally through some guidance I realized if I didn’t forgive the only person I was hurting was me.  All I can say about this is……what incredible freedom I have found with the simple act of forgiveness.  Every day I wake up to new opportunities and a heart full of gratitude for what I have been given.

I have posted on Facebook there are times I wake up feeling the greatness of the day and sure enough I will get some huge event or news of something happening that I will be a part of.  This was a reality in May I kept telling everyone I felt as if I was on the edge of something huge and sure enough I was graced with an important event at the Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida and was able to share that opportunity with another female photographer who has now become a friend through this.

Ritz Carlton sponsored by Intel

Ritz Carlton sponsored by Intel

This past week I have felt it again and sure enough one of the biggest opportunities will be heading my way in February 2015 as I embark on a rock cruise called Shiprocked!  So excited not only am I crossing off another bucket list item by going on a cruise, I will get to photograph rock concerts while cruising!  This will open up a huge world of opportunities for me.  I love events, I love photographing people and I also enjoy photographing the natural world where I spend my free time refreshing my creative juices.

Gator Eyes

Gator Eyes

First and foremost I am human, I make mistakes and I tend to allow my heart to guide me, but I learned a lot about myself in the past six months.  I know  I am a wonderful photographer and I love being creative.  I also have very strong intuitions about things, but don’t always listen and bypass the red flags that are presented.  I have drawn upon past experiences and realize those cautions are often there to protect me.  My faith is stronger than ever; I know I’m loved and appreciated by more friends and family than I can count and a God who loves me unconditionally.  Yes, I lost a few that I thought were friends, but I found they were mere lemmings and quite chameleon.  The world has way too many of those types and I prefer to be authentic and to lay my self out and be real.  Basically what you see is what you get and I like myself way too much to change.

Happiness abounds and I feel it shows through my photography.  The pure joy of simply holding my camera makes every day an adventure I wake up so excited for the day and can’t wait to either post my photos to share or write about my newest adventure.  I know I am walking in the path that was designed specifically for me, and this simple knowledge brings some of the greatest joy I have ever experienced.  Smiling and laughter are a huge part of my life and it shows how wonderful it all can be.  Please join my in my newest adventures and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social media you can find me on.

I realize this was not entirely about being behind the lens, but yet again, it is; as I am living out my life in front of the camera we call this world.

Freedom and happiness

Freedom and happiness

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