Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Expanding Your Photographic Horizons

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Occasionally, a few people seem a bit surprised when they see photos I snap that aren't my usual and customary pretty girl pics. There's an old adage, "Man does not live by bread alone," that seems appropriate to how I feel about shooting so much eye candy over the years. I'll be the first to admit that my bread (and butter) has, indeed, been the result of shooting eye candy and it's been that way for a long time. Nearly two decades! But, as much as I enjoy having beautiful, sexy, women in front of my camera, often enough sans clothing, I can't live -- photographically live -- by only shooting pretty girls in various stages of dress and undress in spite of how much I love and admire the female form. 

Lately, as you may have noticed if you've been reading this blog, I've been exploring other aspects or genres of photography. It's still mostly people photography but it's taken a turn towards other photographic expressions. (I might soon also take a stab at landscape photography, something I've also done little to none of.) I didn't take this turn because I'm no longer interested in pretty girl shooting. I am. I love shooting pretty girl pics! But I'd be lying if I didn't admit to it becoming a bit rote and repetitive. Especially, when clients, i.e., those writing me checks, direct (make that limit) the level of creativity they permit me to engage in while I'm shooting pretty girls for them. Sure, I could try to find some amateur models off Model Mayhem or One Model Place, models who are willing to get all creative (and nude) in front of my camera, but finding them isn't so easy unless I'm willing to pay them, and I'm really not much interested in reaching into my pocket to pay for something I ordinarily get paid to shoot. If my job was flipping burgers, I doubt I'd go out for a burger dinner too often.

Trust me when I tell you my paying clients aren't much interested in having me get too creative or "artsy" with the models they also pay to be in front of my camera. But that's another story. And I'm not complaining. I'm just saying. It is what it is and I'm grateful there are people who pay models -- and me -- to shoot those pics. There's certainly less fun and exciting ways to earn a buck. Far less fun and exciting ways. You know, like flipping burgers.

Still, it's not enough. And that's why I've become so motivated to shoot other stuff. If you're someone who mostly shoots one genre of photography, whatever that genre or type of photography might be and no matter how good or experienced at it you might be, I highly recommend going outside of your usual and customary box and shooting some other stuff. You'll probably have to learn new things but that's what makes it challenging and all the more rewarding.

I'm fortunate to have found a friend who also enjoys modeling in creative ways and being a part of images that are, perhaps, a bit different and less seen. They might not be all that different but they're very different for me, that is, from what I've been mostly shooting for nearly twenty years.

When I dropped my friend, Diana, off at her car after our last photo outing I thanked her for helping me fall in love with photography again. I don't believe I ever fell out of love with it, but some of the passion was gone. That same passion I once had and now see in many newer and/or younger photographers. For a while now, I've envied their passions. Now, I feel like mine as been reignited and, consequently, I don't seem to envy the passion of others because, once again, I'm feeling that same sense of passion myself, in spite of being something of a geezer. Diana and I are already planning our next photo adventure and I'm very stoked about it. We'll be adding some new elements and I think the pics will be very cool.

Sometimes, if you shoot enough of one thing, you may need reminders of why you pursued photography to begin with. I didn't set out all those years ago to mostly shoot glamour and tease models. In some ways, I fell into shooting that stuff. Originally, I set out on my life-long photographic journey because I fell in love with photography in general. Photography has taken me in a number of different directions. Now, I'm hoping it will take me in a few more directions. It's always a journey. The journey never ends. And with new terrain to journey into and discover,  it continues to excite me, to again make me passionate about it. Perhaps even more passionate! How cool is that?

The pretty girl at the top is Dahlia, snapped at El Mirage Dry Lake, Victorville, CA, on a blistering hot summer day in the Mojave Desert. It's all natural light. Not even a reflector brought to bear on the  model. I snapped it with my Canon 5D1 and a Canon 17-40 f/4 L lens. ISO 100, f/8 at 125th. It's also one of the few nude images I've shot that wasn't something I was being paid to shoot. Well, if truth be known, I was being paid to shoot out there in the Mojave Desert that day, but not for images like the one above.

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