Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ready, Aim, Fire

Thinking through my shooting style as the next "challenge" in my journey of inspiration.  Thanks Kat.

If someone had asked me a year, maybe even 6 months ago, what my shooting style was my reply would likely have been "I don't know", or "I don't think I have a shooting style."  I'm so much smarter now, "tanks be to Gott" as they say with a heavy accent.

Beach Shadow
Beach Shadow

I normally shoot photos alone; my dog my only companion.  The rare times when I go to a destination with friends (who are not taking images) I rush shots and can't settle down to concentrate or make adjustments.  I like shooting photos alone-though I talk to myself, so it's likely if I had a similarly skilled photog with me,  I would really enjoy that.  I'm trying to connect with one of my FYE classmates who by chance lives two towns away.  How cool is that?

I think it's safe to say I didn't have a photography teacher. I've been my own teacher for the last year and a half.  Therefore I didn't pick up any habits-good or bad-from anyone.  I set out with my little point and shoot and started taking photos, and more photos, and more photos.  I should credit the digital photography class I took last fall for a little guidance-helping me with ISO, aperture, and shutter speed...but the info came all in a clump, without a sense of "concentrate on this" or "start here" I'm going to stay with it's mostly about me.  That comes with compliments and blame too.  99% of the time I shoot strictly manual.....if I would READ my MANUAL I could expand to aperture priority or one of the other cool functions. (Hello me, get off your butt and do this please).

Spoon Rest

Over time I've realized I don't really like shooting at home.  I will on a rainy, snowy, or miserable day-or when light pours in through the windows and I can't help myself.  I  can't see me dedicating a room to "studio" with lights, black backdrops, and those big white umbrella things-I think they reflect light somewhere.  Maybe later...never say never. 

I travel light.  I don't tote along any equipment, mostly because I can't afford it and I won't spend money on fad things....I did borrow a long zoom for a couple months last spring, and one of those might be on the wish list, but for now I'm living and managing.  I have my kit lens (which I'm starting to find limiting) and my nifty-fifty 50mm/f 1.8.  I don't even have a camera bag so when I carry both lenses, I put one lens inside one of those "footie" socks.  If I want to switch out, I can do that by just rolling down the sock a smidge, changing covers, and I'm off and running.  What can I say?  New England practicality, and a touch of poverty.  I do have a borrowed tripod.  It's always in the car and rarely used.  I'm so accustomed to physically moving around, I find it entirely too cumbersome.  Using a tripod would be a good place to make some improvements and stretch, especially as the days grow shorter and darker.

Tiger {247/365}

I love this photo. It has vibrant color, was taken in great light and then there's the lucky find of an old sloppy snow fence making those cool shadows. The fact that the side mirror looks like an ear and the headlight an eye-well that was just bonus stuff I saw much later at home.

This image typifies the rest of my style.  I wasn't looking for this shot, in fact I didn't even SEE this shot.  I parked in a lot near this car, walked right past it, across the street for some open views of the marsh (yawn).  As I was returning to my parked vehicle-I came upon this-like magic.  That's how I like to shoot.   Magically.  Something unexpected, in natural late or early day light, maybe with some lines or texture or color, and something that makes me say out loud to no one but me "oooh, look at that".  Sometimes someone replies-a nearby stranger perhaps laughing at me. Or smiling. Or considering me a candidate for insanity.

I would really, really, really, really (that's 4 reallys) like to travel for the sole purpose of taking photos.  I'm pretty tired of my home area, despite its beauty and charm.  I try to stay inspired, but I've done a lot of "work" around here.  I can't really travel (reference above about no dinero) but there is a chance I may get to go to Cuba next summer.  That would be awesome-and hot.  All depends on the pocketbook.  Got extra money and want to bankroll my trip?  Kidding....sort me.

Thanks for reading about my shooting style and letting me ramble on.  It helps me "get it".  Apparently, my therapist has trained me well or is an amazingly patient woman.

On the Doorstep
On the Doorstep


Sylvia K said...

However you learned photography, you did a super job! These are fantastic! I particularly love the LONG legs, the red car and the flowers! Hope your week is going well, Susan! Enjoy!


urban muser said...

it was interesting to read about your style. i am a lone shooter too. i am meeting up with a few flickr friends in NYC tomorrow and I don't know what it will be like walking around and taking photos with other people. i guess we'll see!

Anonymous said...

When I read you opening line, it made me think of a George Thorogood song, “I drink alone”, just replace ‘drink’ with shoot’ :-)
I learned the mechanics of photography when I inherited my dad’s manual SLR over 30 years ago. I’ve come to appreciate aperture and shutter priority, it allows me to be lazy.
I do enjoy your ramblings; it inspires me to reflect upon my own thoughts. You photos ain’t to shabby either.

Kathryn Dyche Dechairo said...

I loved reading about your shooting style. I also shoot alone and am self taught but I'm not really sure what my photographic style is. I know I gravitate towards nature and wildlife as a subject. I typically walk along waiting until I feel a connection to something before shooting it.

Brenda said...

Gee - I didn't realize you were so tall - what long legs you have, my dear :)

Like you, I am a photography loner - when I am with someone, I just can't concentrate and am overcome with self-conciousness. No good pics come while in that state of mind. I haven't talked to myself out loud (yet) but I certainly say "Ooohh - look at that!" in my head about every 5 minutes.

Love all your shots but "Tiger" is completely amazing - you had me with the shadows!

Another post that had me smiling and nodding in agreement and loving your images.

Laloofah said...

Interesting post! I enjoyed reading about your inner photography mechanics, and laughed aloud at your description of being alone, seeing a great shot and saying out loud, "Ooh, look at that," because I do the same thing! Too funny.

I much prefer to photograph alone, because I tend to notice more, and not feel guilty when a nice outing with someone turns into a self-absorbed photo shoot. :-)

And I have NO patience with reading manuals. So I know I'm not getting everything out of my camera that I could, but I prefer to push a button and see what happens. It wasn't a great trait to have in the AF when I worked around nukes, but I get by with it when it comes to taking photos. LOL

Love the red car photo - that one's really special. Bet the car's owner would love to have this photo! I think you could sell enough of your photos to raise money to travel just to take photos. Or maybe you could get a gig with a travel magazine, or National Geographic! Wouldn't THAT be awesome!

Tamar SB said...

I'm such a loner too! I love your style and love seeing your pics! I love your spoon rest, it seems so pretty!

Carol Blackburn said...

Susan, you know how absolutely marvelous I think your photos are. I love when you look at a photo later on and find out something totally different about it like your "Tiger"....:) Maybe you should do some art fairs next year and show some of those wonderful photos. It's not as scary as it seems; remember I did my first art show/fair last summer.

from Sharon said...

Great GReat Great Great...four Greats. Great write up. Great explanation of style. Great sharing of learning process, equipment, etc. Great car photo...Winner all the way around. smiles. sharon

Deborah L. Tisch said...

I like to shoot alone, too, but I'm hoping that taking an excursion with other photographers will be helpful.

How fun to read about your shooting style! You write so well and with such humor, never failing to bring a smile to my face.

That spoon rest image is very very cool

Cathy H. said...

What a wonderful read!! I wonder if the majority of photographers are loners? I am too and I do talk to myself quite freguently. Your images are beautiful. I especially like the last one!

LeAnne said...

you shoot a lot like I do, although I have indulged in a little equipment here and there. I recently bought a book on photography with all the technical stuff and got really frustrated with it. I sort of just jump in and figure it out as I go...its more fun and as you say "magical" that way.

Nadege, said...

I'm a lone photographer too and learn much of what I know on my own. But now I'm learning a lot from checking out other bloggers' images and tutorials.

I think you have an amazing eye and your photos are wonderful. Keep enjoying the magic.

Alicia said...

I LOVE the doorstep photo. And your tiger stripe photo was so creative. Well done.

martinealison said...

Une publication qui ne manque pas d'intérêt...
Je comprends votre ressentiment, c'est comme la peinture.
Pour créer j'ai besoin de me sentir seule.
Vos photos sont vraiment magnifiques.
Gros bisous et à bientôt.

Anonymous said...


Jamie said...

Wow - you make me realize I know nothing about my style - in fact I'd say I have none.

CUBA - can I say I'm insanely jealous - what an amazing trip that will be.

Kat Sloma said...

So fun Susan! I agree with Deb, you never fail to make me smile with your posts. So great to hear about your shooting style, the things you choose out of necessity but also by choice. Sometimes necessity creates the boundaries, but then we discover we like learning to work within those boundaries. I love your tiger!! Great eye.

Francisca said...

This was a pleasant read, Susan, and I relate to a LOT of it (if not ALL of it)! And the photos make me smile, too. The red car with the shadows is outstanding! A great way for me to end my day... it's pillow time. Oh, and if you can get yourself over here (I "get" the dinero point), there's lots to shoot here, plus a bed at your disposal. ;-)

Tezzie said...

I love your style...and there's a lot to be said about teaching yourself. I'm so in love with all of your images; you've got such a natural eye and instinct for capturing beauty.

A little present for you...

Have a great weekend!

Gilly said...

I love the red car photo!

I'm usually happiest photographing on my own as well, although there's also nothing like having the company of someone else who's as nuts about it all as I am. You know, the kind of person who knows exactly what you're talking about when you say 'look at that!', even if no-one else would have a clue. I think both are good; what's not good is trying to shoot when you're with someone who isn't interested at all and who stands there metaphorically tapping their foot and looking at their watch!

What I do love most of all is talking photography with the first kind of person, and going round galleries with someone like that is a lot of fun as well.

Cheryl said...

I love your line, "New England practicality, and a touch of poverty." As a New England girl myself, I understand.
Your footie sock trick is cool and one that I plan on using in the future. Normally, I just travel with one lens but you never know.
The "tiger" shot is amazing!
Traveling for the sole purpose of taking photos is wonderfully fun! I truly hope that you do it...dream big. Don't let that NE practically limit you. It's a lesson I've been learning and loving.

Paula said...

Wonderful shots! I have always loved shadow shots, but the one of the spoon is just plain gorgeous. You've inspired me to go play in the kitchen. Notice I didn't say go cook in the kitchen?