Philosophy about Photography

Knowing Your Gear

After a couple of refreshing conversations with my Aunt and a close friend about various aspects of photography, it has inspired me to start a new series, “Philosophy about Photography”. A series based on my love of wisdom about the art of photography. Along with my thoughts and ideas that I’ve gathered from my time behind my camera. Let’s kick things off with the importance of knowing your gear.

When people around me see my images and realize I’m a photographer, the most frequent asked question, “Is whatever camera/brand any good?”And after a  bit of Q & A, I could steer them in a reasonable path to a camera that should suit their needs. But now… my answer is totally different. If asked the same question today my response would be, “Heck no, that camera is complete garbage!” Lol The fact is all of them are, if one doesn’t know how to use it properly. Gear doesn’t make one a photographer. In my opinion, one must have a firm understanding of exposure, an eye for what makes a stunning image and lastly know the limitations of his or her gear.

Sadly, I had to dust off my gear for this shot.

So, the obvious question is “How does one get to know their gear?” There’s plenty of ways but I want to share two habits I feel strongly about and use myself. I’ve written about both in the past and feel it’s time to revisit them both. First is to sit down and read the manuals of ALL your gear. Discover and experiment what it can and can not do. Then as frequently as you can, put what you learned into action. And not just once a month or only when you go to some event. Bring your camera everywhere you go as much as possible. Take photos of anything and everything. And don’t be afraid to test out those unused functions and features. Try, fail, learn and repeat. There’s no question, you’re going to fuck up some images. But it’s OK, just as long as you learn from your mistakes. The sooner you get rid of the idea that every image you capture is going to be perfectly exposed, razor sharp and beautifully composed the better off you’ll be.

And the second method I want to share is to develop a shooting routine. One that helps you slow down, focus in on what’s catching your eye and aid in how you’re going to capture an image. Talk to photographers that share their thoughts, knowledge and experience of shooting with you. If they have some form of a routine, try theirs. If it works, cool. If not, change what doesn’t. Heck add whatever that helps you and make it your own. Here’s a link to my shooting routine,

Both of these methods can help you get familiar with the controls and functions of your gear. Forming a muscle memory that allows you to change your settings thoughtlessly and effortlessly. The added benefit of knowing your gear is that it is a huge confidence builder. And having that confidence in yourself behind the camera is not only priceless but necessary as well. Time in time again, you will start to rely on your skills as a photographer and not the luck of spray & pray.

My perception of photography is that it is about creating images that gets people to have some form of an emotional response. Gear is only a tool that allows you to do so. And that’s why I feel it is so important to know how to use them properly. Thankfully the more time you spend behind your camera creating images, the better you’ll get at it. I would love to hear about any habits or practices you all have and use when it comes to knowing your gear. Please share them in the comment section below.

Stay safe and thanks for stopping by,

Steven

2020 Year Review

First off, I hope you and your loved ones are safe, healthy and continue to be into 2021. This year has been a complete dumpster fire, and this post is not about the historic gut-wrenching events that shaped it. But it will be about how my creativity was affected by the well fueled Inferno. And how my passions help me to keep my mind occupied and stay in a positive place during these trying times.

Like many, I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. But having some yearly goals is more my taste. I feel they are not set in stone and I can change or adapt them as the year goes on. And at the beginning of 2020, my goals were…

  • To travel more.
  • To write more and continue to develop my writing style.
  • To get a pocket-size camera.
  • And to keep building from imagination and not reality

I started 2020 in Japan with my sister and her family. And after such an unbelievable journey, I was enthusiastic about traveling along with blogging again. So, I started planning adventures for the coming year. Starting with in February for my birthday, I headed to the desert southwest of Arizona and I finally got to see the dream like colors and fluid shapes of Antelope Canyon. Then in April, I was to travel to the Pacific Northwest to see Crater Lake along with the giant coastal Redwoods. But in March, the dangers of COVID-19 were real, and the world stopped. And like so many others, I started my time in quarantine.

Being a creative individual, I didn’t have a shortage of projects to work on. Very early in quarantine, I started and maintained a daily routine that kept me busy and productive. It started every night before bed, I would write down things I would like to accomplish the next day. At first it was easy but as time pass by and I finished up projects, my “To do” list started to shrink, and I had to adapted it to help maintaining my peace of mind. Like how to stay informed on events of 2020 but not damage my peace. And start to recognize and cope with things that eroded my fragile tranquility.

My routine was so effective, there were days that I would overwhelm myself trying to accomplish too many things. And it would turn my productivity into frustration. Fortunately, I have come to notice it when it happens. I must stop what I’m doing and change my pace to let my mind and emotions settle. Catch up on shows, cook some of my favorite foods, Zoom with friends…anything other than keep fighting my frustrations. And when I feel like being creative again, I didn’t try to do a thousand things in one day. It was OK not to cross out everything on my daily list. And what I didn’t finish today, I’m fine with letting it carryover into tomorrow.

IMG_7069

Due to my lack of traveling and personal adventures, I worried that I would not have anything to write about being a travel blogger. But that wasn’t the case. I discovered that I didn’t have to make my way painfully through the TSA to write new post. This year I managed to develop, write, edit and post an astounding 20 times after my Antelope Canyon trip. Far more than last year.

The Pain of Sorting
Aesthetics
Bored and in Lock-down? How to keep yourself occupied
The Importance of Post Process
Detroit’s island Getaway
What does photography mean to You?
A Study in Color
Elements of Art in Photography
New site announcement
Memorial Day- Photo essay
The Story Behind an Image, Part 5
Aviation Expo 2020
The Truth
Banners of Change
Common mistakes made in Aviation Photography
The Right Massage
How I shoot with intent: Setting some personal goals
Stay informed and keep your mental health: How I watch the News
Photographing more Consistently: Having a Shooting Routine
Fall Color with my new little Sony

Looking over my list of post, I can remember with vibrant clarity my inspirations and motivations behind each of them. The wrestling with different ideas and how to express them with my writing voice. Along with the endless hours of searching through my photo archive for the right images to show. Some were ideas I had for some time and finally got the time to properly complete them. And others were spontaneously developed from something I had seen or read and wanted to share my opinion about it. But I surprised the shit out of myself that I came up with so much new content with such a wide range of topics while working on my other passions.

Speaking of other passions, I completed a new series of Airbus A319’s based on imagination rather than reality. From a retro Eastern Airline scheme to a NOAA hurricane hunter. I’ve been photoshopping for over 20 years and I’m always willing to learn something new. And having the time and money, it was a no-brainer to start taking online classes. I join Skillshare and took advantage of my time away from work. Taking courses from creative writing, leadership skills to new techniques in photoshop and illustrator. Your never too old to learn something new.

USN VQ 2 EP A319

One creative writing course I took, the instructor used Instagram as a platform to write and share stories. This idea resonated with me and I wanted to give Instagram another try. A few years ago, I had an account and to be honest, I didn’t understand the nature of the platform. Like how to use hashtags, what to share and really lack the patients and knowledge to let my account grow.

So, I started a new account with the idea to reach out to a possible new audience for my blog as well as share images of the things I love doing. And again, I found myself getting annoyed and frustrated with the slow pace of how my account was growing. This was due to what I was sharing, images from my adventures, my aviation profiles along with photos of my modeling projects on the same account. Three totally different audiences and once I separated them into different accounts and began posting consistently, that’s when they started to get some noticeable traction.

2020 Top Nine

Of my three accounts, @adventuresinawesome is the least successful. My post to follower ratio is nearly one to one and I’m going to slowly stop posting on that account. For one, it’s damn near impossible to get people to leave Instagram and go somewhere else, especially to a blog. And second, WordPress is a much better platform for me to share images and stories from my adventures. The account for my aviation photography is definitely my success story. It’s growing by leaps and bounds with each new post receiving hundreds of likes. The next time you’re on Instagram, be sure to check it out @far148studio and @far148models for my creative madness.

Let’s get back on topic. In terms of photography, I added another tool to my camera bag this year. During my trip to Japan, I noticed it was easier for me to use my mobile device then my DSLR to capture images without slowing down the experience of site seeing abroad. And I wanted a pocket size point & shoot camera to fill in that gap. What I ended up choosing was Sony’s ZV-1. And it arrived just in time for the peak of fall color in my area. It’s a great little addition to my camera bag and I’m looking forward to using it more. Now on to me torturing plastic.

My time in quarantine, allowed me to stretch out my builds far longer than normal. To the point of when it came to doing something, I would do it the hardest and sometimes the most illogical way possible. From scratch building new master parts to be pressure cast, to new ways to scribe panel lines along with adding various surface details. Like everything I love doing, I’m constantly challenging myself to attempt different techniques to continually grow as a model maker. Some things worked out amazingly and others got tossed in the garbage. I did manage to finish my 1/48 scale Hunter/Killer drones which I started back in August of 2019.

We finally made it to December and another holiday season. It would be a gross understatement to say, “I cannot wait for this troubled year to come to a close”. And I want to hope that 2021 is going to be better. But only time will tell. Until then, continue to stay safe, think positively and keep busy.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by my little blog, left a like or comment and welcome to all my new followers.

Until next year,

Steven

If you like what you see and read here, click the “Like” button! Along with feel free to leave a reply below or start to follow my blog.

Hello, My name is 2020…

If 2020 was a person and you had the opportunity to talk to him or her, what would you say to them?

Here’s some of the responses I’ve received from friends and family.

“I appreciate what I’ve learned about myself from you, but now it’s to get the hell on!!”
“Sit the f#%k down and chill man”
“That’s a tuffy I’d probably just say wtf 😂”
“ Lol I’d say not cool ”
“ Hmmm, I think I would say thank you for giving me the chance to learn new things and also it’s time for 2020 to leave.”
“ Id say “2020 what are you trying to teach us, and why are we not receiving your lesson/message?”
“ Oh man. Thank them, and then slap the shit out of them.”
“ Don’t do drugs. Lmao!! I hope things turn around soon!!!
“If 2020 was a person, I would thank them for the opportunity to slow down and re-evaluate what life’s true priorities are. Without 2020, my wife never would have had the opportunity to spend as much time with the kids as she has this year. Sure it’s been tough, but at the end of the day, we appreciate the change of pace. Although, I would also tell them that they didn’t have to go so far… A global pandemic is a little overboard, don’t you think? “

Stay safe and keep busy!

Steven

Leave your reply in the comments below.

%d bloggers like this: