This past couple of weeks I’ve come to the realization once again that loss is a part of life. As I was doing my thing with taking concert photos a long time friend was coming to terms with the passing of her husband. I’ve known this couple since the early to mid 70s, they were beautiful together, and a huge part of my teen/early adult life. Unfortunately his life was taken by the evil affliction of cancer. I’ve not seen them in years, but I was praying for him daily during his extensive battle, he has now received complete healing of his body; for that we are thankful, but my heart aches for his beautiful wife, children, family and friends who were closest to him; I know he will be missed. Along with death there is always life, and sometimes something incredibly beautiful, unplanned and definitely unexpected happens. It’s taken me this entire week to wrap my mind around the circumstances and express in words what I have been experiencing, but because of this friends passing, a lovely friendship which started over forty years ago was rekindled. I can’t begin to express what I feel about this, except it’s an extraordinary event; what a true blessing. Rest in the arms of Jesus Jimmy Steen, and thank you.
You hear all the time that the eyes are the window to the soul, one of my goals when I’m shooting concerts is to get the eye contact; now mind you I don’t ask for it, I don’t do anything distracting to get it, but generally it happens, even when I don’t think they can even see me as with Alice Cooper. I was way over off to the side and a couple of rows up, yet this happened;
There wasn’t anyone that I could see in his direct eye contact, I even asked the photographer behind me if she got him looking our way…….she didn’t.
On Monday I got kind of the same thing, but it was almost as if I was recognized, don’t see how that’s possible, but REO’s bassist comes out on stage and this happened;
and it continues with the other two bands Tesla………
I was invited this past weekend to photograph a local playwright’s work. He is a fellow photographer who is gifted in many areas; film, music and words. It was a happenstance meeting in the camera department at a local big box store. He had told me about this play he had written and I decided I wanted to see it. I feel we need to support all local artists of every genre of art and this fit right into my beliefs.
The story of Ophelia takes place back in the slave trade era of our nation. It is a story of love, strength and beauty in a world that sometimes was anything but beautiful.
I really didn’t get to “see” the play in the tradition form, because I was trying to see it through my camera. I am never sure of what I capture until I get home and load the images. I will allow the photos to speak the rest of the story. (To view all the photos from this body of work please visit my facebook page at: Ophelia)
Ophelia: Written and produced by Judah Williams.
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.