The beauty of Vashon in the summertime!
These two - the entire time I was near them, they were never more than a foot apart!
A visit to the Michigan State University horse barn, on their breeding farm, where they breed champion Arabians, as well as Belgians, Percherons, and Quarter Horses.
The foals are in the barn, or outside in pastures, and they're curious, and well-tended by their mothers. The mares are bred yearly, according to the staff, and are clearly well cared for, and friendly, letting you touch their babies so long as you get their approval first. If you are there at the right time of the year, you can see day-old horses, still wobbly on their feet.
I like to see things, and so I wander - and I wandered into one of the breeding buildings, complete with a "false mare", used for collecting semen from the stallions.
MSU has many farming and animal-related classes, and a variety of separate farms on their campus, all of which are open to the public daily. Check them out if you're in the area!
I love to walk, and walking with a camera is pure pleasure. A trip to the midwest provides a change of scenery I can't resist!
I love to walk in the country. My family used to live in this rural area, but now there are houses appearing in all directions - including this, the final direction. I hope that the farms don't disappear entirely here.
Michigan things, in Michigan places.
In an attempt to take the photo on the right, she noticed, and leaned in with a smile - this is exactly who she is. Perhaps the most adorable living human, and also a friend.
I was drawn to her color coordination, and I love these two pictures together more than I would have liked the one I intended to take on it's own.
My aunt and uncle are my remaining family, the grandparents of my son, and wonderful people. We usually visit them in the summer, and spend a few days near Lake Michigan. We skipped our trip last year, because I was too busy with work, and it was a mistake. Because there is always time for the people you love, if you take the time, and if you can't take the time, you need to make the time.
There is something about family, the way you are loved, and pigeon-holed, and allowed to grow so long as you never pretend that you're better than the version of you that they're familiar with.
Ludington, Michigan is on Lake Michigan. I've only been there in a tourist capacity, and each time I go I learn more, and enjoy it more. The SS Badger has been ferrying cars and passengers from Ludington, Michigan to (and from) Manitowoc, Wisconsin, since 1953. It is the last coal-fired ferry operating on the Great Lakes. On summer evenings people head out to the lighthouse to watch the Badger sail into the sunset - a treat if you are a fan of ferries, romance, lighthouses, or sunsets. The town is small and touristy, and fun to walk around and look at.
I remember Michigan like this, almost always summer, the air thick and sticky, the sound of crickets, or cicadas, or sprinklers. The smell of queen anne’s lace, yarrow, and indian paintbrush. It's mid day, or the light is starting to fade.
I grew up in Michigan, and we go visit my aunt and uncle in the summer - they are my son’s grandparents, and my only remaining family. Each time I return to that hazy place, and the old family feelings. I always take a camera, or two, and some years I take pictures, other years I just drag the equipment along in case I need it, and it's always better to take it - taking pictures makes me feel like myself, and see the world in a way I love.
I like to think that my favorite camera is my best camera. It just feels right! These days though, I'm approached at weddings by people who mention that their phone is superior to my camera, and depending on how we look at it, they may be right.
I took the above pictures a few days apart, one with my full frame DSLR, a Canon, with a decent lens, and the other with a Ricoh GR2, a fixed lens point-and-shoot - though with fully manual controls - an all around awesome camera. Which one is better? I shot RAW, ran them both through Lightroom, and slightly corrected them, and attempted to make them match, more or less. I wish I'd taken the same picture on my phone, just for comparison, though I don't have the phone with the latest/greatest camera.
So, if the Ricoh, which is vaguely palm sized and easy to carry, takes good pictures, why lug around a heavy camera? Why carry either if you always have a phone with you that takes good pictures? My reason is a combination between choices, and control.
With the DSLR I have easy access to all the tools I need to take the photos I want. It's easier than the Ricoh, control-wise. Lens-wise, the even better reason, I have more options and flexibility with the DSLR. Yes, it's heavy by comparison, but I can toss it in a bag, carry it on a strap, or tote it around in one of the many camera bags.
The Ricoh is a fixed-lens camera (with an option to adapt to another focal length), so that both reduces my options, and forces me to plan/see better. I think obstacles can force us to work harder, and better, so it's not all bad. I can have fully manual control, which I love, and like a lot of cameras, it has quite a few modes, so I can also shoot relying on the camera to switch around some variables for me. The best thing to me about the Ricoh, is that it's tiny and light, almost pocket sized. If I were larger, or had bigger pockets, it would probably be pocket sized.
So that brings us to the phone camera! I rarely shoot with mine other than to make notes-to-self, and remind me of photos I want to take. I only try to take a decent photo with it if it's the only camera I have, and a one-time opportunity. The technology is better and better, but there is very little ability to quickly change aperture, shutter speed, or iso (or the equivalents).
It's all about choices - too often I chose to carry only my phone, and my only excuse is that I don't regularly carry a purse, so I can't just toss a big heavy, or light small, camera into it. And excuses suck! But cameras don't. And which photo is taken with which camera? And at what settings?
This summer has been full of natural disasters and for the Pacific Northwest it’s been one of the worst seasons for wildfires, in a long time. Earlier this summer we had the opportunity to visit the North Cascades Smoke Jumper Base, near Twisp - this is where smoke jumping started in the United States, and is a close-knit, and very professional group of people who jump out of planes, into forest fires. The dedication, and expertise of the firefighters who work there is humbling, and amazing.
The smoke from the fires blanketed the region for weeks at a time, bringing with it air quality warnings, and an eerie dreadful feeling. Sometimes we could smell smoke, sometimes just feel it.
While Seattle and Portland were staring up at a red-orange sun in a uniform grey sky, favorite landscapes burned, and thousands of people were evacuated, or on evacuation notice. One of my favorite towns was on evacuation notice for most of a month, and though their town is fine, their tourist-based summer business was as dead as winter.
California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho are still on fire in many locations.
The above photo appears in the August issue of Professional Artist Magazine - I was interviewed for an article, based on Stephen Pressfield's books/works, titled "Making the Transition From Amateur to Pro".
The article is great, and I hope some of you get a chance to check it out. I enjoyed the other artist's words and work, and am thrilled to get a chance to participate.
Two of the photos from my Small Towns project (#smalltownsproject on Instagram) were selected by Feature Shoot's Print Swap - The Print Swap is an opportunity for photographers to get noticed, and get art! Photos selected by Feature Shoot are featured on their Print Swap Instagram feed, and each contributing photographer gets a print of another artist's photo, and a print of their photo will be sent to a participant too - so it's a cool way to trade art, and see a fabulous pool of photos by photographers you may not yet know. Plus, some of the selections will be included in a show in New York City! I'm excited to see what prints show up in my mailbox!
I'm a photographer, not a blogger, and it shows! If I was a better blogger though, you'd see more pictures, so it's a tough situation. I could claim to be too busy, but most people are, instead, it's that I'm busy and eager to work on photos, rather than write.
What I have been up to? Weddings, getting work, and an interview published in Professional Artist Magazine, some kids and family work, shooting for bands, a number of video requests, and a ton of commercial work. Also, some playing catch up on my Small Towns project.
This morning I took a walk, I try to walk everyday, and lately I've been walking mostly on my own so I can use the time to work on projects and ideas (so easy to get distracted at home, or plan plans that remove the ability to have thoughts to myself for long), and to see the world around me, and get ideas for new pictures and projects. There's nothing like a daily walk alone, or with someone quiet, to make a day meaningful.
Today was a big idea day, and I took many pictures with my phone, while kicking myself* that I didn't bring a better camera with me.
Springtime and rain has forced me inside again. Or not forced, but strongly suggested that I head indoors, and do all of the things I need to do inside the house, on the computer, or in my mind. The unbelievable amount of rain we've had this year - not just record-breaking, but breaking the record of last years record-breaking rains. I don't believe in complaining about the weather, it feels haughty and pointless, so lets say I'm not complaining, just stating facts. Rain has made it hard to do much of my work, and most of my play.
I want to go back and re-photograph a few things, or go find the horsetail plants up on the loop that I need to photograph soon before the leaves (needles?) droop. I want to go on another walk, or practice flying the drone, or sit in the sun, and instead I'm checking in here, and listening to the robins and crows through the window. Some days are busy, and some days are perfect for tea and typing.
Seattle Distilling needed some bottle shots, and I visited the distillery, set up my mobile studio, and now they're done! They suggest coffee liqueur over ice cream, as a special treat. Their coffee liqueur is brewed with local coffee, and widely loved because of it's strong coffee taste, with a touch of sweetness.
THIS MOTHER'S DAY - A GIFT SHE WILL TREASURE
Our Mother's Day Special is a 30 minute mini-session, with 3 prints of her choice, and digital copies of the photos selected, to share with family and friends. $100.
- photo sessions can be family, mom-and-kid(s), just kid(s) - it's up to her!
- the photo session will be in your home, or an outdoor location of your choice - if you don't have an ideal spot in mind, we have plenty of suggestions.
- after your photo session you will receive a link to your online gallery to view the photos, and select the images you would like printed. Three 5x7 or 8x10 prints will be made, based on your choices, and you will also receive digital copies of the images you select. Additional prints, larger print sizes, canvas prints, and digital copies will be available at additional cost. You may have three prints of one photo made, or one print of three different photos - it is up to you!
-To get this special rate, book by May 31st, 2017
Book now firstname.lastname@example.org
I know it doesn't feel quite like spring yet, but I can tell spring is here because things are getting busy! I'm learning new skills (piles of books), taking lots of photos (I just bought another external hard drive for storage), meeting with a mentor (lots of talking), and soon will be trying out a new area in photography.
Add that to the miniatures project, the small towns project, the musicians & chefs project, the upcoming radio show, and all of the normal things (portrait shoots, engagement shoots, commercial shoots, band shoots, cooking-cleaning-driving-living), and there is a lot to do!
I'm thrilled to be so busy, and I love it when it's bedtime and I can rest! Enjoy the chaos and pushing-forward of spring!
*you may have noticed I didn't mention any secrets - they're secret!!
I had the opportunity to do a shoot for Snapdragon Cafe, one of my favorite places, ever, as well as their cool bar, Home Sweet Home. These are just a few of the images - it's such a great place to get to be a regular.
They're working on a new website, so they need new photos. At the time of this post it has not been updated, so I cannot take credit for most of the photos on their site today.
Check out Snapdragon Cafe, and Home Sweet Home when you're on Vashon - http://vashonsnapdragon.com/home-sweet-home
I took a walk last week, and saw the first blossom of springtime. I ran to it. Actually, I ran toward it, jumped a water-filled ditch, and then took pictures of it in a strangers yard. They were home when this happened.
It's embarrassing to be so excited, and it's just how I am. I do ridiculous (and sometimes muddy and semi-dangerous) things to take pictures on occasion.
I was so excited when I first saw the flower that I did what we all do, I whipped out my phone and took a picture. Then, realizing I had a heavy camera around my neck, I took a picture with that too. A picture I like better.
The first photo is fine - and looks good on my phone, the second photo is more accurate, and also something I would want to look at more than once - in fact, a client called dibs on it on sight. Both photos were snapshots - I didn't spend time dwelling on how best to present this flower, I was just so happy to see it that I took both pictures as fast as possible: the phone in auto mode, the camera in manual.
I hate carrying things, especially when I'm on walks. So this was a rare just-walking-around-with-a-camera afternoon, and I am glad I brought it. It's easy to think that the smartphone pictures we take are enough, and I certainly have enough of them, but I take better pictures with my camera, and it's worth the effort. I have cute pictures of my son on my phone, pictures I won't delete, but also can't do much with. I know that the phones can take pictures that can be blown up to billboard size, and the like, but it's not same, and I've never wished I took a photo with the phone instead.
Now I just need to remember that, and to take more pictures of the people I love. You'd think that being a photographer I would do this, but I don't tend to. I don't want to be that photographer. On the other hand, I want to have more pictures of the people and things I love.