As some of you will undoubtedly remember from a few weeks ago, I have a new camera, and I am loving life playing with it! There is just no stopping the ideas flowing through my brain and the endless possibilities that keep popping up before my eyes. I want to try new things and shoot in different ways. and to show my vision of the world. I feel almost like a veil has been pulled from my creative eyes. I am seeing the world once again in a way that makes me glad to greet each new sunrise. I wait for inspiration to strike, and it seems that I never have to wait very long. Today it was a sunset. Yesterday it was a barn fire!
I am always looking to learn something new, and to refine my own picture style. I am steadily getting my comfort level back with the higher-end camera. I have been using the point and shoots for so long that I have to get my steady hand back for the longer lenses, and to see how to capture the images that I want so that they convey the stories that I am trying to illustrate. Each time I break out the camera I learn a little something that I didn't know before. I find new ways of doing things and especially seeing things. I want to show things in a perspective that maybe nobody else has tried. Although today with all of the amateur photographers out there with high-end, pro gear taking great pictures and trying to be the next Ansel Adams, it's all likely been tried. The odds are that what I do will be noticed by my small group of friends and family on facebook, and perhaps a few friends of friends steered by the linked pictures, and not much more than that.
What I would like to be able to do is to sell my pictures and make enough money to travel and take more pictures. I love to take them and to show them and to have someone tell me that they like them. My firemen friends like the stuff I do for them, at their functions, and after I get a few under my belt and get my technique figured out, I will be much better at the fire scenes too. I have been taking pictures of musicians for years, but this is the first time that I have had the gear to get a good ambient light picture of the guys on stage and not needed flash to keep the fingers from blurring.
The one thing that I don't want to be is the guy with the shingle in front of his house who gets the call for the school pictures. Senior pictures! I like doing portraits of people that mean something to me, I want to show them to the world the way that I see them., I want to be able to capture that little bit of attitude and recklessness that I see in these people. I can only really do that with people that I know. My niece is one of those people. I will give you, that she is so photogenic that it is nearly impossible to get a bad picture of her, but it is still a skill to do it without being boring about it. Catching her being goofy, without being obvious about it, and keeping her in a playful mood makes it really easy to get great shots of her. So what kind of photographer do I want to be? Well, I guess that I want to be the one that people call after an event and ask me if I was there taking pictures, because they are looking for something different, or better than what they have from everyone else. They will know that I will have the background pictures, the pictures capturing real emotion and real action, not some staged, gimmicky, "aww" shot. Not the treacly kiddie shots that most parents take with their cell phone cameras, but the picture of the guys doing the work, the grimace of pain and strain, the dust and the dirt of the events. The stuff that shows how the work gets done, and why people were there.
But then again there are always some really cool "aww" pictures too. They aren't all throw-aways. Sometimes you have to be sneaky to get the really cool pictures. I have been called paparazzi on more than one occasion! It helps that I generally know my subjects and they get accustomed to the fact that I have a camera and they never know when I may be shooting. They forget that the glass is looking for a subject to see, and when they are their most comfortable is the best time for shooting. But there are those who are ever vigilant, lest they be caught being natural, and for those subjects it becomes a challenge to get a great shot. Sometimes you can position yourself in the right place and lie in wait for the right time to present itself, or you just become ubiquitous with the camera and sooner or later you get a great shot of that elusive subject. What ever way works is fine by me, I'm not too picky about the how, I'm much more interested in the "how did it come out?" The bonus of digital is that you can take 200 pictures, be happy with 100 of them, ecstatic about 10 of them and toss the rest and be out nothing but time and experience. A person can learn.
Life is about learning, and photography is about capturing, so a photographers life is learning the art of the capture, I guess.