August 30, 2016

The One with the Morris Girls

Can I just say that I love this picture because it is not only adorable, but it is also hilarious, and it also depicts real moments in life.  Sometimes someone else gets all of the metaphorical puppies, y'know? 

Even though Charley was less than thrilled about the photo shoot, she and her big sister, Hollyann, are definitely two of the cutest little girls I have ever met.  When their wonderful mama asked about doing a shoot, I was thrilled!  Not only would I get to catch up with an old friend, but I would also be able to meet her husband and two adorable daughters whom I had seen so many sweet pictures of.  Then, I got a bonus when her amazing parents popped in with their two new and absolutely adorable puppies.  Although all of the attempts to cheer up Charley didn't quite work as we had hoped, the photo session was still an absolute joy and so fun.

This session was a reminder to me of what photography is for me.  I could never fully explain what photography is to me as being my job.  No session has ever felt like work to me.  They are never stressful.  Somehow, they are always relaxing, regardless of unforeseen changes in weather or children who aren't in the mood to be photographed or equipment malfunctions.  Every moment I capture with my camera is a blessing to me.  Every time that I sit down to edit photos, I get to relax.  I get to forget the world, get into the zone, listen to music or an audio book, and just be me.  I will edit and re-edit and "work" for hours without realizing what time it is.  As Kayleigh apologized for Charley's lack of smiles, I easily reassured her that it in no way was an issue for me.  This wasn't only because I knew that Charley is adorable enough to pull off the pouty look, but also because it really did not bother me.  I have had multiple session when the parents do everything they can think of to bribe a smile from a child and are apologetic when the attempts do not bring out smiles, but never once has it really bothered me.  Because regardless of what or who I am photographing, it makes me happy to be able to save precious moments and memories for other people.  Because in the end, that is all that matters: that you can remember a person by happy memories through pictures.  That's why photography isn't a job to me.  It's a joy.

I am hoping to get at least one good smile out of Charley next time I see her, but until then, here are some of my favorite snaps of the Morris girls.

August 16, 2016

The One with all kinds of Light

As I shared in my last post, I recently fulfilled a long time dream of capturing lightning in a photo.  While I got a few that were decent enough to make me happy, this one is truly my favorite.
14.0 sec | f/4.5 | ISO 100 | Nikon D800 | 50 mm f/1.8

There are so many reasons why I love this photo.  One of which is the fact that usually photographs are fleeting moments, but this was a long moment.  Fourteen seconds to be exact.  But it took me even longer to get to those fourteen seconds.  After finding the perfect vantage point on my way home to grab my camera, it took me about ten minutes to settle on the lens and the settings I ended up using for this photo.  

First, I had to decide between two different lens options.  Did I want to be close to the lightning and attach my zoom lens, or get more of a landscape of the storm with my 50 mm lens?  I decided to go with the 50 mm which I can now confirm was the correct decision.  I then automatically set my camera to Bulb for the shutter speed.  But I was at a loss for exactly what settings to use after that.  I played around with the ISO and aperture while snapping shots to finally decide on 100 for the ISO because I wanted to leave the shutter open for a while but also capture a good amount of light from the lightning and then 4.5 for the aperture because I wanted the lightning to be the only thing in focus.  

Then I finally reached those fourteen seconds.  Seconds are not usually considered to be a long time.  But considering that the "smile and look at the camera" photos we are all accustomed to are taken in a fraction of a second, fourteen seconds seemed like a whole minute.  

This is also a favorite photo of mine because I was in my car and listening to an audio book which is undoubtedly one of my happy places, even though I was parked in front of a random house.  I'm sure that seems like a strange vantage point, but to me taking a photo that means something to me in a random place makes that specific place special to me and only me.  I'll always remember taking this picture: where, when, why, and how.  And it will always only be that special to me.

I wish I had the ability to go through this process each and every time I wanted to take a picture.  Unfortunately, I am unable to carry my DSLR around with me all the time since the camera body alone is over two pounds, and then there's the battery grip, lenses, an external light, and other accessories.  This predicament is when most people resort to taking pictures on their phones.  

Because I am a bit of a penny pincher, I have a phone that often draws attention from people in all the wrong ways.  "Why don't you have an iPhone?" "What even is this thing?" "How do you turn this thing on?" "Let's take the picture on my iPhone instead..."  While I do wish my phone had a much better camera, iPhone cameras don't impress me enough to be worth the money.  I would rather spend my money on a small camera that packed a larger punch than any phone could.  

Normally, when I want a good picture badly enough, that I means I lug around my heavy DSLR for an entire day. This is why, as a part of the #VantagePoint project, I am so looking forward to the release of an amazing new compact camera from Light Co.  I have been wondering when someone would create a more compact version of a DSLR for years now.  If you have not yet checked out the Light L16, I urge you to do so for the simple reason of seeing how amazingly technology can move forward when great minds work together. 

Here's to innovation, photography, and all kinds of Light!