Sunday, February 13, 2011

Time to document my journey in photography and video...

I am embarking on a new adventure. Well not so much new as renewed. I used to do photography years ago when I was in high school in the 70's. I was not real bad at it, but I was not awesome either. I took a lot of photos, and spent a lot of time in the dark room (not always alone - but I was a teenager OK..). Most of what I learned I had to teach myself.

Fast forward some 30 years, a wife, and 11 children later, and I am finally in a position again to actually spend some time doing photography. This time I am more mature, and ready to learn in detail. Some call it maturity. I would call it a desire to leave some sort of artistic legacy. It is also about showing my children and grandchildren (I have 5 so far) how to pursue excellence, and that learning never ends. I have actually gotten to the point in my photography that I am teaching classes in beginning photography for the local community ed program. I am devouring books, magazine articles, and web blogs at an amazing rate, all while also getting my MBA. It suddenly hit me that I need to start blogging my experience. I have been posting on a number of photography groups, and have become a sort of go to guy for photography and camera advice. So maybe it is time to share as I learn.

The challenge with blogging a journey like this rather than writing an advice column from past experience is that I will be exposing not only my successes, but also my flaws and mistakes. But in the process maybe I can help others be willing to make mistakes. I have learned over these years that you really never accomplish anything great without making mistakes.

So what do I have right now for photography? Hmmmm, I am shooting with a used Nikon D80 that I got off eBay. I had a Nikon D40 that I bought brand new. Loved the camera, but some lenses won't autofocus on that body, and I did not like the single wheel that was dual purpose for aperture and shutter. I learned that a lot of photography is about personal preference with that. Some people just love the D40 and it's successors. Great cameras, but just don't fit me. I have a Tamron 24-80mm zoom lens that I got because it was REALLY cheap. It is a good lens and takes good photos. It is a little slow to focus and sometimes just does not grab the focus. But for $70 it is a great lens. Another lesson, you get what you pay for, but sometimes you can only pay for that, so make it work as well as possible.

For lighting I am currently using continuous lighting with cheap lights I got from the hardware store. You have seen them, the silver bowls with spring clips most people use in their garages when working on a car. They work great, but I am surprised how dim a 300 watt bulb is when you are trying to do photography at ISO 100. I did find some really nice AC adapters that are built to fit on the cheap lightstands I got from B&H Photo. The AC adapters came from Adorama. I love both those stores. I got two adapters, need to get several more. The nice thing is that I got a couple pieces of pipe that I am going to drill and mount on my light stands so I can put two lights side by side on each stand... 600 watts of power now. And I am going to switch to daylight balanced CFL lights, choking on the $30 a piece price for them.

I also have a background stand that I got from B&H. I am using fabric I got from JoAnn Fabric. I finally signed up on their website so that I can get coupons for more fabric for backgrounds. I need to also get some greenscreen fabric for a background for replacing the background of a photo. I also experiment with video, another blog I guess, and need it for that too.

I am on so I can find some people needing photos for their portfolio to model for me. You only get good at your photography by doing photography, so I am always looking for subjects. My goal for summer is to start to mimic famous paintings in photos. My first photo attempt will be the Vermeer painting Girl with a Pearl Earring and have found the perfect model on ModelMayhem for the photo attempt. Going to talk with her this next week when she poses for my current photography class.

So this is the start, and I hope you will learn as much as I do in this journey. Next time I will link some photos and make some notes on them.

1 comment:

  1. 11 children, holy crow! I look forward to seeing your blog as it develops. I started my photography blog just 2 weeks ago. If nothing else, it is an outlet for me. Only other photographers understand the need to shoot...whatever is available...and the constand desire to improve.