Friday, August 1, 2014

Your First Day with a Camera

Photograph by Kristen Phillips -- soaking wet and cold, having the time of my life with my camera

Reading through all the big-shot photographer websites you see a lot of beautiful images and many varying opinions on vision, composition, gear (all the gear), film, sensors, prints, books, etc.

You know one thing that is all the same? Everyone has their story about how they first started shooting. About their first memory with the camera in their hand, that first picture that made them feel like they had found something special.

Then, they have a bio somewhere that says something to the effect of "I've been shooting since I was 11," or "I've been honing my craft since the age of 8."

Can I call bullshit on these statements? You haven't done anything seriously since you were 11 except chase girls (or boys) and cost your parents money. PLUS, nobody worth a damn cares how long you've been taking pictures. When they ask you how long you've been shooting, they are really asking one of two questions:

1) Are you any good at it yet? (obviously, look at my big expensive camera)
2) Are you sick of it yet? (obviously, look at all the crap I have to schlep around for my big expensive camera)

Looking back on all the stories that these photographers have, the story each of us has when we realized that making pictures was something we could never escape, I realize we are all chasing that first picture, the first time we held the camera, the first time printing in the darkroom.

I want to reconnect with that moment.

I want to shoot every day like it is the first day I held a camera. 

The next time someone asks me how long I've been shooting, I'm going to say it's my first day. I bet the conversation gets more interesting from there.

(thanks to zarias at DEDPXL for today's inspiration, and to Dano at Fotodano:headshots for pointing it out)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

rediscovery: assignment three

Let's recap. In assignment one, you looked through your archives and identified a few of your own images that inspire you. In assignment two, you shot a LOT. If you're me, you re-did it when you missed your original frame count and shot a LOT MORE.

Assignment three is for you to go to your favorite internet haunts and find five photographs that inspire you - by five different photographers. They don't have to be famous or rich or successful, but at least one of their images needs to inspire you.

Keep the images for later - pin them to a board on pinterest or download them to your desktop. Make one your phone background or (crazy thought) print them out and put them around your house. Let them interact with you and inspire you on an ongoing basis. 

Here are five of mine in no particular order:

Creating your own micro-adventure

Just some quick thoughts this morning as I enjoy my coffee outside, with birds chirping overhead and the sun rising over the forest, soaked with last night's rain.

That adventure you are waiting for? The one that will spark your creativity and get your ass in gear? It is waiting for you.

It doesn't have to be the month-long trip to Iceland or even the week-long raft trip in the grand canyon. It can be a weekend hike or a night spent sleeping under the stars and roasting marshmellows. Preferrably both ;-)

What I'm trying to say is that a *micro-adventure* can be just as satisfying and just as helpful to pressing your "reset" buttons as a huge, expensive undertaking can. In some ways it can be much more so; you can come home after a few days outdoors and still have enough money in your wallet for beers with your friends.

Don't do it for the selfies, the facebook profile pictures, the twitter followers - you don't even have to post it on social media. Do it for yourself. Do it to experience something new.

The adventure that your soul seeks, the smell of the outdoors, the discomfort of being a little warm or a little cold than the climate control in your apartment allows, the smell of a campfire and the freedom to take off your watch, turn off your phone, and see the world around you...

It is waiting for you.

All you have to do is grab a map, close your eyes, point, go!

(this post inspired by the shenanigans of Al Humphreys)

Monday, July 28, 2014

FJ summit: secondary

A few more images from the FJ Summit. I like these a little less than the first selections, but most are passable.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

FJ Summit: Top selections

Web resolution images from my experience at the FJ Summit in Ouray, CO
This was my first summit and I had a blast! Lots of fun people, incredible trails and views and much radio communication to keep my nerdy side happy.

Still processing my panoramas. Should have two or three of those out in a couple days.

Click on any image to enlarge.

I think this was on the Imogene run... It all kind of blurs together.

Black Bear Pass - not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Not as scenic either.

Ophir pass. Great quick run from Telluride to Ouray. Got some rain too.

Hanging out at HQ with food and vendors and people! 

Camp on Wednesday night.

Sunrise up Governers Basin on 4 hours of sleep.