Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

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Two more weeks till Christmas. That doesn't give me much time to figure out what I'm going to give myself... make that what Santa is going to bring me.

I've got children and grandchildren but they're fairly easy to shop for. For my two kids, both young adults, money works. For my two grand-kids, who are 8 and 10, a quick question-and-answer session always yields more than a few options for potential gifts from Papa. But for myself?  Hmm... There's so many things I might want and, while they're all photography related, I'm still unsure what my Christmas gift to myself might end up being.

I don't need a new or another camera. Glass? I just bought myself a Canon 20mm f/2.8 prime about a month or so ago.  My main camera bag, while continually getting more and more beat-up looking, is still functional and holds what I need it to hold. Plus, I have three or four smaller camera bags for those times when I'm traveling light or lighter, gear wise. I have a pretty decent tripod, two monopods, and a pair of different heads. I have plenty enough lighting and grip for just about anything I might shoot. Modifiers? I'm flush with them. That leaves accessories.

I plan to do some photo road tripping in 2015. Not merely some, but a fair amount of it if all goes according to plan. No, I'm not taking to the highways and byways to shoot pretty models. My plans are to embark on a journey of discovery shooting landscapes and seascapes and, hopefully, shooting many of them in ways less seen; not in ways previously unseen -- there's nothing new in terms of techniques and approaches to to just about any photo genre -- but in less seen ways. And, in ways that only need to satisfy me, not some client. I've spent nearly two decades shooting pretty girls for others and that's always meant being somewhat inhibited in terms of many things. Clients want me to shoot what they want me to shoot and, generally, in ways they want me to shoot... not in ways I might want to shoot. I guess that's the price one pays for someone else paying a price to have you shoot for them.

The stuff I want to shoot will be all new for me as, for all intents and purposes, I've never shot, or even tried to shoot, a serious landscape or seascape in my life. I've been more of a bodyscape kinda guy.  I've been spending a lot of time recently reading, learning, watching videos and all that to prepare myself for my outings. I don't want to go out there and learn by trial-and-error. Sure, there will be plenty of that even after immersing myself in learning media but I won't be clueless. I might not be abundantly knowledgeable when I get out there but being clueless just ain't my style.

I'll likely also document my journeys, to some extent, in ways other than the finished photos. What I'll do later on with that documentation -- whether it's written, behind-the-scenes photo, video, whatever -- I haven't yet a clue. Well, maybe I have a clue or two but nothing in concrete. I did, however, begin shooting behind-the-scenes photos of my lighting setups before it even occurred to me to begin writing a blog. So, some documentation might later come in handy for something or another.

Back to a possible Christmas gift for myself. The more I think about it, the more I think I'm thinking accessories.  But then, I already have a bunch of accessories: I have ND filters, including an ND 3.0 (that's -10 stops.) I have two, maybe three circular polarizers.  I have ProMist filters, an FL-W filter (for shooting during the Blue Hour) and some other filters as well. I have two remote shutter gadgets. I have all the editing software I need. Hmm... Nothing comes to mind. You know what? Maybe I don't need anything? Maybe I should just save my money for some of the road trips I plan on taking? Yeah. That's it! That might be the best, makes-most-sense Christmas present I can give myself... or not give myself, depending on how you look at it.

I don't recall the name of the pretty girl at the top. I snapped it just prior to last Christmas while working a gig for a client. (Or was it the Christmas before last? Sheesh! Keeping track of time becomes more and more difficult the older I get. I could look at the date on the photo's data but I'm too lazy to do so at the moment.)

Anyway, it wasn't a Christmas-themed shoot. She was one of three models I shot that evening and she happened to have that outfit with her. Being it was about a week before Christmas -- at least I remember that much -- I asked her to put it on. I only snapped a couple of dozen pics or so of her in it. As you can see, it's one of those outfits (two pieces plus the gloves) that goes-on and comes-off fairly quickly and easily. Unfortunately, we ran out of time while I was shooting her in it so there wasn't time for it to come off, as quickly and easily it coming off might have been.  Oh well. Sometimes, time is the enemy.


LOCUTUS said...

ALWAYS love what you have to share with us. :)
YOU SIR are an inspiration.
A video tutorial series with YOU, instructing, would be awesome.
With people paying 300 bucks a pop for peter hurleys stuff. i'd think yours would crush their sales. And it would be awesome too. :D

Bill Giles said...

Not too many photographers think about using supplemental lighting on landscape or environmental shoots, but it can be useful. When you have to walk to your location, the question of how much gear do I want to pack around gains importance. David Hobby's speedlight in a Chinese lantern comes to mind as a packable light source. On the other hand, C-stands probably won't make the kit