Recently I reconnected with an old friend through Facebook. We had been friends back in our late Junior High early High School days. He moved away and we kept in touch for a short time after; well before Facebook when letter writing was envogue. He had moved back to the same area as an adult and joined the local Sheriff’s Department as a K9 handler. He is currently retired and breeds/trains Malinois & German Shepherds. He contacted me about photographing his dogs working so I took a trip up mid June to a training facility. It was a huge field set up with obstacles and many different working dog owners. I was allowed to be on the field with the dogs working and even though the field was full of water and mud it was a great time. I met some incredible people and took some awesome photos. Out of the photos I took THIS is why I was there!
I love to experiment with my photography. And if you follow my blog you know one of my favorite spots to spend my down time is in the beautiful Florida Everglades; so why not combine the two? I was there over Memorial Day weekend and invited my camera buddies down, however I know this place isn’t for the faint of heart, the elements (hot & humid) and the bugs (mosquitoes) are voracious. The ones who showed up are not fearful of the elements and wanted to learn something new, as this adventure is definitely not for those who are intimidated by the outdoors. We met up around 7pm and took off down a very long dusty road within the Big Cypress National Preserve. The temperature was quite warm and humid due to the rain earlier in the afternoon, however the sky was clear unlike earlier in the day when I had scouted out the area.
We arrived at our destination, and proceeded to set up “shop” with tripods, remote triggers and this wonderful object called a Thermacell! The Thermacell was our lifesaver when it came to being basically mosquito free for the entire night.
As the sun set and the stars began making their first appearances, those who had never seen this site were in awe of the majesty it provided. Then came the Lightning Bugs; in a few of my photos you can see them skittering across the grasses.
We knew the direction of the rising Milky Way Galaxy because someone in our party had an app which told us when and where; of course this is why we were there, to photograph the Milky Way in complete darkness. We almost accomplished that feat except it’s rising in the south, south west sky and Miami was throwing off quite a bit of ambient light.
While waiting for the galaxy to rise, we did a bit of light painting and my photographer son Tommy Owen wanted me to photograph him with a really bright flashlight and we came up with this Star Wars type image.
I’m not entirely sure what that yellow streak is toward the left of the photo, possibly a plane heading for Miami International Airport. The orange glow is the aforementioned Miami.
I learned a lot as did my photographer friends. None of us had ever attempted astrophotography and we found it quite a challenge. We found in the dark we really needed a red gel flashlight to see our settings and we need to find a way to turn off our backlit screen. We also found that too long of an exposure (over 30 seconds) would create the beginning of star trails, and make our stars appear more blurry. We all did concur in the end that it didn’t feel as if we were out there for four hours and we all want to return in the fall/winter when the humidity will not require us to wipe down our lenses every few minutes and the sky will be crystal clear. It was a fun evening and we were able to come up with some usable images, but will still need a bit more practice.
My take away on all this is to keep growing and practicing and learning new techniques. It will keep your mind active and improve your creativity and it’s FUN.
Thanks for stopping by!
It’s not often I get this way, normally I have lots to share and lots to write about, but lately I have been in a photographic funk. It’s not something that will last as I have had them before, but I’m having a difficult time getting myself motivated to shoot anything other than concerts, portraits and weddings. I know these are my true niche because I love the excitement of it all. Especially the concerts! I love meeting people and seeing them excited like when I took photos at the Big Ole Bonfire in the Photo booth. Or meeting the artists and photographing their fans like I did this night at The Ranch (my photos have my watermark on them). I love seeing the look of excitement on peoples faces when they get to meet their rock star idol like this young man did with Sixx: AM at Fort Rock. This excites me! Check out more about Fort Rock here on my blog Festival Daze
My funk comes within my own realm of doing photos for myself. I need to find something outside of my “normal” range of concerts, weddings & portraits to shoot. I have tried the “photo a day” challenges and I feel bad when I can’t complete a day’s challenge so I stop doing them. I need something other than beaches and flowers too; I need something exciting, something that catches not just my interest, but my eyes. I need to slow myself down and create my own masterpiece, something worth sharing and talking about. But what would that be? I’m not really sure. Do I need a vacation to somewhere other than here? Maybe, or maybe I just need to take in what’s around me and see it in a different way, but how? I love adventures! I love taking adventures on my own where no one but me dictates how or when. Maybe I need a day of adventure, to explore somewhere new on my own and to get back within my grove. Or maybe I need a day with couple of my friends who are incredible photographers, who are creative and like to think outside the box. I’m sure this will pass quickly as it always does, but in the meantime if you, my readers have any thoughts or suggestions, please comment below. Until next time, from the Life of a photographer.
Even though from time to time I photograph portraits, small weddings and events I consider myself a concert photographer. I so enjoy live music in small and large venues. I’ve blogged of my works with legendary artists past and present, yet the thrill of capturing just the right shot, with just the right lighting keeps me returning to the venues over and over for the media outlets I work for. This past weekend was no different in that regard, but with two full days of shooting it put me at a whole different level mentally and physically.
The festival is Fort Rock and I was fortunate enough to work this particular festival last year, and when asked to photograph it again by the radio station I work for, I jumped at the opportunity; this year it was two days instead of one. When first approached about doing it, I knew it would be a tough gig, so I contacted a gentleman I had worked with last year to see if he wanted to be in the pit again this. Because of his past experience I knew he was the perfect choice as his work is brilliant. We made a great team and it was refreshing working with a partner who totally had my back. He constantly made sure I was okay and checked to see if I needed anything and I knew I could count on him to be where he needed to be when he needed to be there. I was asked by the station to cover the ‘meet & greets’ where the artists come in and meet with a select group of fans which was problematic for me personally to cover the meet & greets and the bands on stage performing but my partner covered what I missed.
Each day started around 9:30am and ended around 10pm, and it was a typical ‘spring’ day in South West Florida; HOT! However, our radio station tent had A/C and wow was it terrific to come in from the sweltering heat and cool off. The bands also were grateful to have the A/C especially if their time slot was after their performance.
The list of bands included: 3 Doors Down, Sixx: A.M., Shinedown, Rob Zombie and many others. If you want the full run down of photos please check out my Facebook page.
Here are a few photos from the weekend.
As a photographer sometimes it’s not easy for others to understand why I get up at 5am on a weekend to go out and try to get that perfect shot. Non photographers will never truly understand the passion we have for achieving greatness. I’m really fortunate because I belong to a Meetup group of those like-minded individuals. We have so much fun when we are together and we so enjoy our passion in life. Yesterday was no exception. We met at 7:15am for a great breakfast and then a trip a bit north to the Marie Selby Gardens; a place most had never been. We arrived when it opened and ended up leaving when it closed; not realizing how long we were actually there. This was a botanical garden full of beautiful surprises. The photos we got were simply breathtaking and we all agreed it was the most relaxing day we’ve had in a while.
]’m so glad I have great friends to hang out with on a regular basis; yes it’s true I love spending time by myself and I do this often by going camping, this is my personal renewal time, it’s not because I’m anti-social or miserable or any other rhetoric that anyone thinks. I love people, I love being around friends and family as often as I can, but I also enjoy down time where I don’t have to be accountable for anything or anyone except myself. However, days like yesterday renew my spirit as much as being on my own does, because I’m with great people. People who are tolerant and have true hearts of gold and are truly happy deep within themselves.
My life over the past few years has blossomed into this amazing dream of doing what I love, and being with people I adore. I’ve gotten to this place by my own hard work and dedication to my craft. Next week I will continue my adventure by being in the photography pit of a full weekend festival, again sharing my passion with many incredible photographers doing what we love.
There isn’t any negative in my world and I don’t allow it to permeate very far if it happens to enter. I am happy and living my life the way I want with the people I choose. My passion for my craft runs deep and there isn’t anything that can change that. I love being a photographer, I love people and I love that I get to live a full and happy life!
Oftentimes we think of a get-away as going off to some exotic destination, but for me it’s time spent alone and/or with family. Some often ask me if they can come along, but I am hesitant for several reasons; I’m on a structured day to day routine with work and any photography I may have after work or any edits, so my personal time is extremely valuable. I really don’t want to be anyone’s entertainment for an entire weekend. I also crave that alone me time, to sit and do nothing, take a nap or go on a drive or hike and not feel responsible for anyone, but myself. If I do ask someone along it’s because I know they can go off an entertain themselves or they understand my need for solitude, mind you I’m not anti-social, I love people and I love talking to them, and finding out their story, however there are times when I simply want to be silent and sit alone and ponder things in my life and clear my mind. That’s the beauty of being solitary for a time. I’m an Introvert and for years considered myself shy, but yet when around friends and people I care for I am as outgoing as any Extrovert I know. Talkative, animated and full of life, the difference is, I don’t feed off of the energy of people around me, I feed off of quiet and solitude, it’s what restores my soul.
With my day job as an administrative assistant, I am either on the phone, or dealing with residents and vendors who stop by, or our employees, so daily I expend a lot of physical and emotional energy. Then you add to that after a full day of work, I go off and photograph concerts with loud music and lots of people and heavy equipment or shooting portraits of individuals and families with children, I have to be “on point” and my energy level must remain high as I am constantly talking and directing, By the time I am ready for some down time, I’m READY! I love being a photographer and I love the excitement of the crowd and the thrill of getting that perfect shot; it’s what drives me daily, but in order to keep going I have to spend time within myself and alone so when I’m asked if someone can join me in my short weekend sabbaticals, I certainly hope they understand why I am hesitant or tell them no. I need the time to recharge my batteries within myself. It makes me better at my work, it gives me clarity to see I’m doing the right thing and it rests my body so that I can keep up the pace set before me.
It gives me peace.
This past week and into this weekend life got a bit busy. I work a full time job on top of being an almost full-time photographer. My photography work week began on Wednesday with an Elton John concert, followed by The Moody Blues on Thursday, Adelitas Way and Saving Abel on Friday and finished up Saturday with running a photo booth and photographing Trace Adkins. I did take time to join some of my fellow photographers to visit a most interesting ‘castle’ and today I met with an April bride. The week was full of music and people, and lots of photographs. To say that I’m tired is an understatement and my mind is also in need of refreshing.
Even with all the activity going on, I took a moment last night to make some observations. As I was waiting for Trace Adkins to take the stage I took a good look around me and this is what I observed; a large majority of the attendees were not really paying attention to the concert, they were on their electronic devices, either posting their activities or taking photos and videos. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it did make me wonder if they were truly missing life by not being engaged and present. Personally I try to put my phone down when I am out with friends, I don’t constantly check what is happening on Facebook or document what I am eating. I do however post quite often when I am working events, but after my observation last night I am going to try to be more present in my activity. Yes, I’m a photographer and I document life events and live music, it’s what I do, and I try to post on social media on the behalf of who I’m shooting for, but after I am done with my camera, I need to put my phone away and simply enjoy the music. We get so busy taking selfies, recording the next YouTube video or simply capturing the moment, when in fact the moment is gone never to be returned. Be present in your moment, enjoy the music, your family, your friends and loved ones. Put down your phone and dance. Music is cathartic and it take me to back to my younger days; especially with the bands I photograph, I want to take in every moment.
I am honored to have photographed some of the top names in every genre of music and to photograph in some of the largest stadiums & arenas and also incredible local events and happenings. I also get to stand next to some of the best photographers in the business whom I get to call friends.
Please enjoy the photos from the week. I truly love being a photographer.