Archive for December, 2012

  • Photography lesson #1 – Don’t be a lazy bonehead

    Always be prepared when shooting.  This is great advice; too bad I blew off the most important rule of photography. Recently I went to Washington DC to photograph the area and see what I can add to my PLACES Portfolio.  In prepping for the trip I wanted to pack as lightly as possible so I could be mobile and traverse the city to see what I could find.  I took my DSLR and two lenses (24-70mm 2.8 and a 14-24mm 2.8).  My goal was to be as versatile as possible in shooting and moving around and thought those lenses would give me the best opportunity to do just that.  I made a conscious decision NOT to take my tripod as I thought it would take up too much room and I didn't want to carry it around all over the place.

    Apparently I left the dog behind along with my tripod. Sorry Albert!

    Well, that was a complete bonehead, rookie mistake on my part.  Case in point, this image below was a great opportunity to make a great shot.  But since I didn't have my tripod with me I couldn't do any long exposures when the light was better or to create multiple exposures (for bracketing NOT HDR - My motto: Death before HDR!).  This is a nice image but as you can see there is too much clutter in the background that could easily be eliminated by shooting at night (long/longer exposure) or with multiple, bracketed exposures and then layered together in Photoshop.  By darkening the background by 2-3 stops I could have easily made this a better image where the point of focus is solely the carousel and not everything else around it.

    Breakdown of why I don't like this image and wish I had my tripod.

    In this image of the DC Metro I was able to rest my camera between a wall and a rail to get a 1/8th shutter speed (long exposure) for this image.  If that rail wasn't there then there's no way I could have held that camera with my bare hands to get a sharp exposure.  Hell, I can barely get a sharp exposure at 1/30th shutter speed by hand holding the camera.  Glad that rail was there so I could make this image.

    Love the lines and architecture of this area. I couldn't do this without some stabilizing element.

    Lesson Learned!  It takes a conscious effort to make sure a good photographer has everything he/she needs to bring an image to life.  And, because of my laziness I couldn't get what I wanted.  The good news is I am going back to DC in January and this time I will not forget to take the tripod so I can redo this image and add to my portfolio.  Lesson here - don't make a bonehead move like me... be prepared and don't be lazy.  It's always better to be have it and not use it than to not have it and need it. No more laziness... SH

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  • One of my favorite LIFE moments

    In 2006 I was hosting a television show in Indianapolis called Doing Indy.  This show allowed me to go all around Indianapolis and show off the cool things the city had to offer.  I met a lot of celebrities and got to do some pretty cool things during my three-year run as the show's host, creator and executive producer.  However, there is one memory that sticks out in my mind more than any of the other experiences and that was when I had the chance to rap with Public Enemy's very own Flavor Flav.

    The one and only Flavor Flav!

    Flav was in town for Indiana Black Expo and I had been a fan of Flav's and Public Enemy for many, many years.  I knew I had one shot at this so I asked his management team if I could get an interview.  While asking about getting the interview I also told them about the show and how it was a fun and silly look at what's going on in Indianapolis.  Once I shared that with them I asked if Flav would be up for rapping with me.  His management team said, very emphatically too I might add, YES!  They went onto say, "Flav loves to do that sort of thing."  So I interviewed Flav and then proceeded to rap with him.  Here's the video of me rapping with Flav back in 2006.  Please don't ask me what was growing on my chin at the time.  I am still amazed at my many, varied and questionable facial hair decisions. The one thing I think that needs to be said here is regarding how I got to do this with Flav.  I don't have an elaborate answer... I just asked.  Never be afraid to ask a question about being able to do something cool, fun, exciting, challenging or important because sometimes the answer is an emphatic YES! Bring tha Noise! SH

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  • Advice for new photographers – SLOW DOWN

    The onset of digital photography has certainly revolutionized the photography world.  It's made making images so much easier and quicker and it has leveled the playing field by putting a camera in anyone's hands.  To own a great camera in the past one would have to drop thousands of dollars but now people can get into an entry level camera and lens package for a few hundred dollars.  And, sometimes you can find great deals on high-end used cameras and lenses at a considerably lesser price.  There is no question that digital imaging has changed the game of photography. That said, I still get asked by a number of people about how to make good images.  I get asked what camera to buy, what lens to use, what settings are best and how to compose the best shot?  I will openly admit that I rarely answer these questions because photography is, inherently, an independent vocation/hobby.  I don't mean to be rude but what I may offer can and will be different from someone else may offer or advise.  Moreover, my style of shooting is and will be different from that particular person's style of shooting so my advice may never be relevant to their question(s).  Then again, it may be completely relevant but I would hope no one shoots just like me and they find their own creative voice.  I do, however, offer advice with another piece of advice I learned when I first switched to digital imaging.  That advice is this...

    Slow Down! Treat your CF or SD card as if it were film

    SLOW DOWN!  Even though your Compact Flash (CF) or SD cards allow you to shoot HUNDREDS OF IMAGES doesn't mean you should!  Treat your CF or SD card as if it were film, only take one with you and give yourself a certain number of exposures to get your desired image.  By giving yourself some limitations you won't have to go through hundreds of images looking for the best image.  The term used to describe the people who just shoot and hope for the best is called "Spray and Pray."  The sooner you can get away from Spraying and Praying the better you are going be with your photography and it will help you find your creative voice. Lastly, by planning to give yourself goals and limitations you cannot help but become a better photographer.  You will have less images to go through and you can try a variety of settings to see what worked best - one image at a time!  When you slow down and plan you create goals.  Goals without plans are just "wishes" and you will never grow, learn or improve if you just keep wishing to be a good photographer.  Remember, just because you CAN shoot as many images as you want with digital photography doesn't mean you SHOULD.

    Just because you can shoot as many images as you want doesn't mean you should!

    Until next time, SH

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