Mentors & Friends

I have been fortunate enough to become friends with some incredible photographers.  I have learned so much from them and their wealth of knowledge.  One in particular has really hit a nerve with me (in a good way) as to what kind of photographer I want to be.  One of the things I really dislike is editing, I want my images to need very little editing and one of the things he said this week is that we should control the camera and not allow the camera to control us.

I mainly shoot concerts and they really require me to think on my feet and to “feel” the environment, whether it’s the lighting, the fog used in many stage performances or even where I am shooting from (pit, back of house or with the VIP crowd.  Those situations change from concert to concert and It’s those very reasons I love photographing them.  I go into each venue moments prior to turning on my camera and getting off the first shot, so I must analyze quickly in my mind where my camera should be with regard to ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed; I have to, because the time I’m in the pit passes quickly and I must have at least a starting point.  The lighting for each concert can be a multitude of programmed lights and lasers or it can be a simple spot.  All require me to know and understand my camera to a point I can find my controls in the dark and change them quickly and often.  Not everyone is cut out for this type of work because it can be stressful and crowded and sometimes a bit dangerous depending on the band/crowd.  I have to be constantly aware of where I am and those around me.  Many times there are video guys and fellow photographers around me not to mention VIP ticket holders or the front row audience.  I have been bumped, pushed and grabbed by attendees who don’t like that I may be in their way, yet I try to be respectful to the ticket holders, however sometimes it does require the use of security. But, I still get my shots off even in the most difficult of situations.

It’s because of photographers like Jason I have learned and grown and will continue to do so.  I will never learn it all and there will always be new things to learn. I am fortunate to have a mentor such as this who will keep me challenged and inspire me to learn as much as I can and to keep learning.

Overall I am really fortunate to have some incredible people in my world, photographers and non photographers.  They are positive, uplifting and honest.  I except nothing less.

2013 03 15_Dierks Bentely-Miranda Lambert_2725_edited-1Near perfect lighting

2014 01 25_RoXStock_0817_edited-1 Fog machines

Luke Bryan-29 (Medium)Hot spots

2013 05 01_Midwest Express Tour_3922_edited-1Crazy colors

Cocofest 2014-90and wild crowds

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)