A photographer should be able to shoot anything and I think I’ve tried most genres. I guess I have mainly focused on Concerts, Portraits, Landscape, Wildlife, Macro.
That said, I am always interested in trying new things and looking for unexplored territories and new challenges. I’m that guy that takes the gravel road in the middle of nowhere just to see where it goes.
I got my first camera a very long time ago as a birthday present in 1964 or ‘65. One of those Diana all plastic cameras that took 120 film. The love affair was on! I bought my first 35mm camera as a teenager. A fully manual Praktica. I got my first magazine cover in 1980 with a shot of the Who showing Kenny Jones on Drums surrounded by Roger and Pete. I shot a lot of concerts in that era.
I went digital in the ’90’s with a Casio QV-100. When the pandemic caused us all to stay home I started to experiment with extreme macro. I’ve learned a lot about it and developed my own processes and I really enjoy seeing where I can take that at the moment. I have gone through many phases with photography. Various styles and gear. Natural light, constant light, flash and mixtures of those.
I’ve always loved pushing the gear and the creative expression photography allows as well as the ability to straight up document one’s surroundings and circumstances. Photography is the artistic medium and I shall ever be the eager student.
Do you have a photo tip for us?
Photography has rules. Learn them. Then learn how to break them. Never follow fads as you’ll always be behind. Cross pollinate techniques between genres. Get the job done but always leave time to experiment and explore. Every day is a school day. Keep learning and stay curious.
Patience and persistence pays off!
I shoot a lot of wildlife particularly birds. A rare to find Northern Pygmy Owl had been sighted not too far from my home in a slightly remote area. I had travelled to the area many times. Sometimes I see the owl and get a few shots and sometimes I wouldn’t see the owl at all. Even when I did photograph the owl It was never really all that close. Even with my long lenses and teleconverters I was still having to crop the photos way in to get something presentable. After several trips of no luck I made the 2 hour drive once again.
I spent a good portion of the day perched along a remote forest service road hoping the owl would make an appearance. I saw and photographed many birds that day but no owl. The sun started to drop in the west and I was thinking it just wasn’t going to be my lucky day. I was ready to prop my tripod and gear over my shoulder and hike back to the vehicle.
Just as I had resigned myself and started to reach for my tripod there was a sudden flash and flutter of feathers at my eye level in the tree directly in front of me. It was the Northern Pygmy Owl! He was so close! I actually had to pick my tripod up and take a step back as he was too close to focus on.
I reeled off a ton of frames. The camera noise was not bothering him at all. Then I saw him looking towards my feet. I was frozen in place. Suddenly he flew at my feet, scuffled in the grass and twigs there and flew back to where he was perched. He had a vole! I of course kept shooting.
What a rewarding day! It just shows how persistence can pay off. Never give up! I left the mountain that day with some amazing photos and an amazing memory.
What’s in my bag?
I have several bags and it is dependent on what I’m shooting as to what I’ll take. I have several Nikon DSLRs and a ton of lenses, a Sony, a Fujifilm camera that stays in a B&W film simulation, an IR converted camera, film cameras in 35mm and medium format. Then there’s all the lighting gear and stands and so on.
The one item that is always with me though is a BlackRapid strap. Portrait shoot or wildlife adventure, product shots or street photography you’ll find a camera on my BlackRapid Travel strap riding on my hip. Comfortable and perfect and ready to pop into to use at a moment’s notice. I don’t go anywhere without it!
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