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Tag Archives: Lake Tahoe

Just Shoot Baby!

The Huntington Goslings

Embrace the opportunity to shoot, shoot, shoot. Whatever the subject: street, people, landscape, animals, water, buildings, etc. Just shoot baby!

Look for the light, composition and moments. Be open to possibilities, get out of your own way and EXPERIMENT. Experiment with lens choices, exposure modes, aperture settings, shutter speeds, hand held vs. tripod, move the camera during exposure. Lower the camera. Raise the camera. Try shooting without looking through the viewfinder. Use auto focus instead of manual. Or vice-versa. Be joyful in the process of creation. You just may create something you weren’t expecting, a FABULOUS photograph! Filled with emotional impact, a great story, or a profound moment. You won’t know unless you try and you can’t predict the outcome. That’s part of the excitement is it not?

I’m a pro. Have been for years. I approach my personal work as discussed above because this approach in turn informs my professional work in that I’m reasonably assured when I’m on assignment of what can be achieved through controlled experimentation. Freehand personal experimentation informs controlled client experimentation. Every time.

For example. The image above was made during a class field trip where I encouraged my students to do exactly what I’ve been proselytizing. I didn’t look through the viewfinder, had the lens on auto focus and hand held the camera just above the ground as I kept pace with this these goslings. I had no idea what I was going to get but I knew that by doing this I was bound to get something reasonable because I’ve been experimenting with this for awhile. Here’s an example of a similar approach last December in Lake Tahoe, CA:

What's Up Duck?

I’m not a fowl photographer by any means. The subjects of both these photographs is a coincidence. But the process is not. The process is what made me lower the camera and trust my instincts. Obie Wan is correct. Trust the Force.

 

Here’s another experiment:

The Wind Buffeting My Subject and Camera

Driving home from Palm Desert, I decided to pull off Highway 10 and endeavor to find a few photo ops. Winds are frequently a factor in this area so I was hoping to find a subject easily affected by wind. Seeing this grove of small trees buffeted by the wind, I decided to photograph the movement while contrasting several still components within the composition. I’m not saying that this is an award-worthy image. But it’s worth noting the value contained within: how subject movement can be photographed when other elements are not moving. The lesson here can be applied to other forms of subject movement: water sports, auto racing and the like.

Speaking of movement, time to bounce.

See ya! Comments welcomed.

Michael

 

5 Steps To Nurturing A Vision

Sunrise at 6:45am

Many times I’ve been asked by non-professional practitioners of photography how I create my distinctive imagery. This post is dedicated to providing some answers…

To be clear there are two types of creativity I wish to discuss here, the planned creation, (commercial assignment) and the “I must do it today”, creation (personal). Self-imposed deadlines are crucial for they train me to work within client-driven deadlines with a minimum of stress.

1)  On days I feel compelled to create for my book, I make a worthy attempt as soon as possible for I won’t be right inside until I do. When I was younger I fought against this urge. I don’t anymore because it became unhealthy (emotionally and intellectually) for me to ignore this creative drive. Money and sales will come in due time, I don’t fancy putting the cart before the horse anymore.

Late Evening Multiple Exposure

2)  Once I accept that today is the day to create, I plow ahead and begin my creative process. For example: I recently spent time in Lake Tahoe, CA. The views of the lake from the house we were staying at were remarkable. After several successful photos during the day and evening, I knew I had to get up early and shoot a sunrise photo and stay up very late to shoot an evening series to round out the collection.

Everybody Needs A Pier Picture

3)  Actually do the work. With joy in my heart and an eye towards the finished image. I don’t filter at this stage, I just make my exposures in as many flavors of shutter speed and aperture combinations as I deem appropriate.

4)  ASAP I look at the images and begin the assembly process. Since I’ve already gotten my image hit while shooting (page one of my book), all I’m doing is shuffling the files into the vision I desire.

5)  On commercial assignment work the difference in working through the creative process is that I’m working towards a vision the client has imparted to me. I check their ideas against the production issues and deadlines and if all goes well, I deliver an image as solid as any in my portfolio. All the previous steps are the same whether for myself or clients.

Happy New Year from Lake Tahoe, CA.

Michael

The Morning Sun Melts Away The Snow

Early Morning Warmth

A Gray Day For Sure