Posts Tagged ‘photography’

New Storytelling Camera

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

20160903_003106 I bought a new camera; my third foray into the world of SLRs. My Nikon D90 has treated me well over the last few years, but I’ve been thinking about a new one for the better part of a year. I hadn’t been using my camera a ton, but I got back into it over the last year or two with the settling of our lives in Seattle. I’d always been interested in the difference between full frame (FX) cameras and cropped (DX) camera, but never had a good reason to upgrade to FX. Then, I took these pictures last May with my 50mm f/1.4 – a prime lens that has no zoom. I got lucky that the focal length worked amazingly well for these shots, but I realized I wanted more flexibility without having to replace all my lenses.

Enter the D610*.

I actually wasn’t sold that I was going to upgrade, but some passive shopping let me geek out about it. I’m generally pretty tight when it comes to buying myself things, so I mulled it over again and again and again for months. One thing led to another and I convinced myself that were there ever a time to upgrade, it was before I had a kid (more on that over at family.derecola… eventually). I have to admit that hearing a few people tell me I should do it helped. Like I said, I don’t really like spending money on tangible goods just for me. I ordered the camera late last week and, in an amazingly coincidental fashion, it came the day Dominic was born. I was actually paranoid about going into the long weekend without it. Turns out I was right, because Melissa’s water broke a mere six hours after it was delivered. Just long enough to charge the battery! After using it a bit during the birth, I have to admit that I’ll need to read the directions on this one.

I don’t think I’ll be taking concert photos any time soon, but I’m looking forward to taking pictures of family adventures. Cell phone and Facebook make a good combination, but there’s something archival about having a cluster of photos from a significant event in your life that you don’t immediately upload. I think, for me, photography has always been about telling a story. Hopefully I can tell some good stories about raising my son in a beautiful part of the country. I forsee a lot of shallow depth of field pictures of Dom with nature in the background. 😀

*If you want to know all the reasons I picked this model, other than it being FX, read this review. Ken Rockwell has helped me picked most of my gear over the years, so I trusted him to guide me through this purchase as well. I’m not sold on mirrorless… yes, I understand the benefits… so it was a cheaper FX Nikon dSLR for me.

Going Away Party

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Last night we celebrated our last weekend in the area with a pretty monumental going away party. My mom was nice enough to host; my sister and her went through a lot of effort to make sure there was plenty of food, drink and Seattle themed decoration. This was somewhat of a huge undertaking because with the 40+ years Melissa and I have spent in the area, the invite list was well into the triple digits. We had about 75 people accept and even though 20-30% of them didn’t show or canceled last minute, we still had a ton of people partying.

I wanted to document the occasion, but I didn’t want to be tied to the camera all night. A few weeks ago, I got the idea to set up a very rudimentary photo booth so people could take their own picture. I knew I could tether my dSLR to my laptop with Lightroom, but I didn’t test the ease of use with it, a shutter release remote and the camera’s timer until a few hours before the party. Well, I’m happy to report that despite it being somewhat of a low effort first attempt, I’m really happy with the results.

We had people from so many different parts of our lives, I wish everyone would have take their picture. Unfortunately, we had to set it up somewhat out of the way and I kept forgetting to remind people do visit it, so exposure was a bit limited. Still, there is a decent number of pictures of guests and some very amusing ones at that.

Thank you everyone for your commitment to making the night one we will never forget.

15 Strangers?

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Six months ago, I posted about starting my own 100 Strangers project. I decided I’d like to complete it by the end of the year, meaning I would have to get 2-3 strangers a week to accomplish my goal. With only 15 strangers in hand and 3.5 months to go before the end of the year, I can safely say I won’t have 100 before December 31st. Does that mean the project is a failure? If I’m honest, I actually think it’s been a huge success.

When I think about my efforts, the most striking thing is the manner in which progress is made. I’ll be honest when I say asking a complete stranger to take their picture is not an easy thing. Not only do you have to get them agree, you have to find a way to connect with them in a very short period of time to get a halfway decent picture. For me, this usually means “people watching” for an indeterminate amount of time and being perceptive enough to find common ground to connect on. This skill is easier than it sounds, but it requires patience and focus… traits many of us struggle with in our busy lives.

The irony of the project is many of my friends and family like to talk about it, while I don’t. That’s not really true. I like talking about the creative process or the project on the whole, but I don’t like talking about it in the moment. I’ve gotten many suggestions like “that guy would be great” or “you should take their picture” and I’ve found that to be uncomfortable. I understand they’re excited about the project (I’m excited they’re excited!) and want to help, it’s just that I don’t like an audience. For what it’s worth, I can easily take pictures in a crowd but I’m much, much more likely to approach someone if I’m not around anyone I know.

So what’s the future of the project? Well, I fully intend to continue my efforts and get 85 more strangers… I’m just not going to set a deadline. My original one was a bit arbitrary and while designed to motivate me, didn’t mean all that much. Now that I’m in it, and feel committed to the project, I’d much rather take my time and let it happen. In the end, I think it’ll be much better off because of it.