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What About Me?

July 8, 2017

You might be asking yourself what kind of title is that.  For me "What About Me?" is the question I ask myself daily.

 

Who am I?

What am I?

What are my objectives?

What are my goals?

What defines me as a photographer?

What makes my work my work?

 

When I started into photography back in 1980 these were not questions I asked myself.  In fact all that I considered was getting something on film.  Through the years and all of the countless DREAMS, I've come to realize "Who I am!", "What I am?" and so on.

 

Answering these questions helps us to form a direction........to form a Brand......a Style.....and a Path to becoming what we want to be.

 

After all what motivates you to get up and grab your camera to endure the "HEAT", the "COLD", the "RAIN" and lastly the "FAILURES" and "SUCCESSES."

 

Notice I didn't say successes and failures.  If I've learned anything about photography....especially Wildlife Photography my Failures always out number my successes.  I take risks.  I push the envelope.  I challenge both myself and my subject to create not an ordinary image but rather an image that embraces the subject that I shoot.

 

I don't strive for a snapshot. I don't strive for a record of the subject.  I want my work to reflect the very nature and attributes of the subject I shoot.

 

Merely recording a subject means little work in the grand scheme of things.  Ansel Adams didn't become who he became by merely pointing and shooting.  He studied every aspect of the photographic realm. He noted the light, the texture, the tone, the contrast, the direction of light.

 

He also learned his equipment and strove to create strict tolerances which led to perfection of the craft.

 

As a photographer I challenge you to study this craft.  Understand things like I just mentioned.  But also learn about terms such as Lens Speed, Equivalent Exposure, Depth of Filed, Scene Brightness Range.  Become a craftsman.  Become a THINKER!

 

Swainson's Hawk

Jeff Davis County, Texas

July 2017

 

Nikon D500

Nikon 600mm f4 Lens

Focal Lenght: 900mm (DX Crop)

Exposure: 1/2000sec @ f5

ISO 400

Mode: Manual

 

I couple of years ago I realized that I had lost some control in my photography.  The result was inconsistent results.  I had become convinced that I couldn't have success with wildlife shooting any other way then in Aperture Priority Mode.

 

One day on a trip to Hagerman National Wildlife refuge I was faced with an opportunity to photograph a pair of Barred Owls.  During this shoot the birds traveled from a  tree perch with no leaves and a light sky for a background to another tree perch full of leaves and less sky.

 

My exposure were all over the place.  To be honest it was a struggle.  I left shaking my head in disappointment.  That experience resulted in an evaluation of what happened and what caused the problem.

 

Both perches were receiving the same amount of light, both perches faced in the same direction.

 

The only difference was the color, tone, and contrast and brightness.  You see camera meters are based on reflective light and they are designed to render an exposure measurement of 18% gray. What I realized was that even though the perches were receiving the same amount of light the reflective qualities were different.  This difference affected the reflective based metering system.  As a result of this conclusion I returned to my natural system of shooting in Manual Exposure Mode.

 

As a result I've experienced greater control and less failure.  After all as Photographic Artists isn't that what it's all about?

 

 

Red-Tailed Hawk

Jeff Davis County, Texas

July 2017

 

Nikon D500

Nikon 600mm f4 Lens

Focal Length: 900mm (DX Crop)

Exposure:  1/800sec @ f6.3

ISO 400

Mode: Maunal

 

You should also note that these two images are full frame.  No cropping has taken place.  As I stated earlier I do push myself to a higher standard.  I do take risks and I do have failures more then successes.  But wow when I am successful...........

 

 

 

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