The Benefits of Using a Drone for Inspections

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Today drones can be a great benefit to help industries and companies collect all types of data very quickly. The problem is most companies are unaware of how beneficial and useful UAV's can be to help inspect all types of assets and properties. Traditional methods used to inspect properties and other assets can be very costly and the safety risk can be very high for personnel that may be used to conduct hazardous inspections. That is where the use of an FAA-certified drone pilot and a high-quality drone can be very helpful to an organization.

The companies that do understand the benefits of using a drone to conduct inspections use drones for aerial photography survey's, deliveries, asset inspections, and other types of tasks. Other companies don't fully understand the great benefits of using a drone. Companies that do take advantage of the use of drone understand that drones are very helpful in getting information and valuable data very quickly and safely. Drones can provide accurate inspection data in a shorter amount of time. Drones can be used to inspect many types of facilities, industrial building, energy resources, real estate, insurance related incidents and activities, and a wide range of other inspections. Traditional inspections without the use of a drone can be risky, costly, and take a lot of valuable time. Drones in a sense can help eliminate inaccurate or incomplete data due to human errors and other mitigating factors. There are benefits to using a drone for inspections and using a FAA certified drone pilot to do the job.

Reduces Dangerous Risks and Health Risks to Personnel

Depending on the area needing inspections, drones can be used to inspect structures that may be too tall or complex. Many industries have facilities and structures that can be very complex and difficult for personnel to inspect. Drones can be used to access hostile locations, inspect tall structures and be can be used to easily access locations that may be too risky for personnel.

Data Collection

All drones are not the same and it is important to make sure that an FAA certified drone pilot is used for any type of commercial work. A high-quality drone has the capability to inspect areas because of the unique features of the drone, such as obstacle avoidance, 4K video, and a high-resolution camera. The high-quality of the camera allows a certified drone pilot the ability to inspect the properties in greater detail and can be accessed much easier than using an inspector or inspection team.

Access Properties Very Quickly

The benefit of using an FAA certified drone pilot is that inspections can be done very quickly. In a matter of moments, a drone pilot can quickly and safely launch a drone. Drones are very helpful not only for routine inspections but for emergency situations. Drones are fast and in many cases, an inspection can be completed in less than 30 minutes. The quick use of a drone can help insurance companies, engineers, lending companies, home buyers get the information they need very quickly.

More Capabilities of a Drone

Drones have the ability to conduct inspections from different altitudes and angles. They have the ability to collect accurate data because of how they are equipped. Drones can take a wide variety of images, capture in-depth and impressive video, and gain access to locations that require effective data collection. In many cases, access to some properties would be very difficult and unsafe for an individual.

No Downtime

For some companies, an inspection would require downtime. Downtime may require a company to shut down operations during the inspection to eliminate potential risk to personnel and equipment. Drones can be used to safely inspect facilities and locations with complex systems such as communication towers, radar systems, and other important and highly complex structures. Drones can eliminate downtime so operations and can safely proceed.

Saves Time, Money, and Insurance Costs

Personnel inspections cost money and so does the insurance cost to protect inspectors and workers needed to conduct high-risk inspections. Drones can help eliminate the costs and the risk. Using a drone eliminates the need, time, and cost of using high-risk equipment to conduct inspections. A company does not have a need for ladders, heavy equipment, and large commercial vehicles to conduct sometime dangerous inspections.

Drones can be used for more than just aerial images and videos for photographers and hobbyists. They can be used to eliminate the risk of personnel, properties, and save companies a great deal of time and money. More companies should consider using a drone for their inspection needs. Companies just need to make sure they hire a pilot that is FAA certified and qualified to do the job. All drone users are not the same.

Until next time!

Roger

There is Always Something to Photograph

Starting to work on a new area of photography can be a challenge but a lot of fun. I have been wanting to start shooting different types of subjects and I wanted to explore shooting more black and white images. I didn't want to shoot just anything. I wanted to shoot subjects that display a type of mood, tell a story and has a simple, minimalistic quality to them.

This past week I had the chance to visit Hanging Rock State Park in Danbury North Carolina. I wanted to hike to the top of the Hanging Rock and get a photo or two. I wanted to record my trip and do a little vlogging and capture a little B-roll footage along the way. It was a nice day, but a little breezy and brisk. Nevertheless, it was a good day to do a little hiking. My goal was not to get an image from my adventure but I would capture one or two if I could.

The hike to the top was challenging for a guy that is almost 60 years old. But I knew I could still do it. I figured I am not dead yet. As the hike began it was pretty easy until I reached that mass amount of steps, boulders, and the uphill climb at the base of the Hanging Rock. I had to take a few breaks a lot the way to do some vlog recording and rest. I am not a young man anymore.

When I reached the top of Hanging Rock I was in for a little bit of a shock. The winds were gusting over 60 mph. There was a reason I was the only one upon the Hanging Rock. No one else wanted to be there. Once I arrived I took advantage of having the whole place to myself. Normally, I would have to work around the crowds to get a good shot. On that day, that was not an issue. I had the whole place to myself.

I took a look around for a good composition and to try to get a shot that I thought was unique. I located two lone trees at the rear of the Hanging Rock formation. They seem to stand out. Even though I had passed by them on several occasions there was something special about them that day. I knew I wanted to get a unique shot of the two trees. So, I decided to experiment with shooting the image in a 4:3 format rather than my usual 16:9 format. I also wanted to shoot a latitudinal image. I knew from the start I also wanted the image to be in black and white. I was very pleased with the image and after posting the image on my social media sites, I was very pleased with the positive feedback from others.

Family Trees

Family Trees

It is always good to experiment with new techniques as a photographer. I feel creative people need and want to challenge themselves. They know the challenge makes them a better creative. It can be very easy to become bored as a photographer. You have to get out of your comfort zone and remember there is always something to photograph. For me, it took climbing a mountain, hiking over boulders, taking a lot of steps, and battling 60+ winds to get the shot. That made the journey fun.

Until next time!

Roger

New Photography Service Called "Quick Pics"!

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Have you ever needed a quick photo and did not have the time to locate someone with a camera to take a nice photo for you? Many people sometimes just need a quick photo. The photo could be a quick headshot, family portrait, pet photo, a photo of thier favorite ride, a photo for a special event, a couples shot, product photo, real estate, or even a quick photo of some commercial property. The need for a quick photo can range from a variety of situations.

People that need a quick photo don't have time to track down a local photographer. Just this morning while I was writing this post a lady contacted me to ask if she could set up a time to photograph her and her family. She wanted a few photos of her kids and wanted to be able to share the images and print them out for other family members and friends. They don't have time to travel to a studio. Most importantly, they don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a photo shoot when they only need a quick photo or two. That is where "Quick Pics" comes in.

How Quick Pics Services Work?

My new photography service is called Quick Pics and now you can get a quick photo pretty easily. If you are in my servicing area we can meet to shoot your needed photo. Here is how it works. I meet my clients and discuss what photo they need. After getting the image or images, I will professional post-process the images and then the client decides which images they want. Prices are based on the number of digital images the client chooses to purchase. After the selection is made by the client the client will receive the selected images on a CD or they can choose to download the images by receiving a personal link provided by me. Either way, the client will have their own digital images that they can print and share them any way they choose.

Schedule Your Session

So why pay hundreds of dollars for an hour-long photo shoot when you only need a photo or two? Now you have another option and it is called Quick Pics. To schedule your photo shoot and your own personal Quick Pic session contact me. I would love to be your own personal photographer.

Until next time!

Roger

Building My Youtube Channel in 2019

One of the creative projects that I have planned for myself in 2019 is to create more Youtube videos for my Youtube Channel. I want to create content that I would like to share with others and hopefully, they will enjoy. My main objective is to create informative and entertaining content without repeating the same old content you see from other channels. It will be almost impossible to not cover some of the same subjects and materials like other creators. My main objective is to give my own spin and comments on the subjects I find interesting. People that know me understand that I am pretty straightforward and honest in my opinions and that includes my opinions on many creative subjects such as photography, videography, blogging, and business. I don't want to offend anyone. I just want to create my own content for my Youtube Channel. I am looking forward to reading my subscribers comments and replies. 2019 should be pretty fun. But first I need to set up a productive workstation and studio for my Youtube video recordings and photography post-processing.

Setting Up My Work Station

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Setting up my workstation is not really a challenge. For my work, besides having a nice camera and a variety of lens, I only need a few items and most of them I already have. My first task for setting up my workstation is to make sure I have all the lighting resources needed for the Youtube recordings. I want videos to have the appropriate lighting for my videos. Some of the best Youtubers I follow are very good at having the proper lighting that is not distracting to the viewer. The good thing is lighting devices and products are pretty inexpensive. I have 2 soft-box lights and 2 small LED panels that will work very nicely when recording in my office. The LED lights are very easy to use and they are portable. I can attach the LED lights to light stands and even on my camera shoe. I really enjoy the LED lights because the lighting devices are adjustable.

When comes to sound I have the option to use a RODE mic or lapel mic. I have tested the two devices and I can tell a big difference in the quality of the sound when using a good microphone. I could use the camera microphone but it is not as good as the RODE or lapel mic.

I have a dependable tripod for the recordings. Many people don't understand how important a good steady tripod is for photography and video recordings. My tripod has many adjustment options and allows me to adjust not only the camera but the camera's height. I can adjust the tripod to even shoot over my photography softboxes. I have found that very helpful when shooting my Youtube videos.

Establishing a Schedule

Part of being a Youtube creator is having good content and uploading your content on a regular schedule. I watch a variety of creative Youtubers that release content on a variety of schedules. Some release content every couple of weeks. Some release content weekly. Some of the hard-core Youtubers even upload content daily. Those Youtubers are nuts, but they do have some very entertaining content. For me, I plan to release my content at least once a week. I am looking for quantity, my goal is quality. I do understand that if I do not upload content on regular basis, no one will subscribe to my channel.

Plan and Create Good Content

My content will vary and will continually change based not so much on what others do, but what I want to talk about, what I am doing, where I go, and things I find interesting. I don't want to cover photography gear or a lot of techy stuff. I will not be looking for sponsors because sponsors seem to have their own agenda that I may not agree with. I will be doing some limited reviews on products that I use. If I dislike a product I will let my audience know. Most of all I will be honest. I see a lot of creators that started out with great content and as they gained more fame their channels became huge advertising channels. From comments I have read, many subscribers don't like that. I understand the importance of getting paid for reviews by sponsors. However, making money will not be my main objective for building my 2019 Youtube channel. It is all about the content for me. I also plan to do some interviews with subscribers and other creators. I am really looking forward to that.

I just want to create a Youtube channel that hopefully others will find interesting. I am planning for 2019 be to a great productive year.

Until next time!

Roger 

The Importance of Capturing Images of Yourself

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Isn't it crazy how a tragic death of a friend or family member can put life into perceptive and remind us of how important memories of a friend or loved can be? Sometimes we lose a special person quickly and without notice and wished we had spent more time with them. Not spending more time with family and a friend is something we seem to regret when we find out that special someone has passed. We long to hear them talk, see their expressions, and to be able to go back and capture those special events and days with them all over again. The sad reality is, we can't.

Remembering an Old Friend

I recently had an old Air Force buddy pass away very quickly and suddenly. It was a shock to many people. My friend was actually pretty young. He was one of the kindest and most caring guys I had ever met. He loved life and he was loved by so many. I was fortunate to have lunch with him about 10 years ago and it was the last time I actually spoke to him. However, I was able to follow him on Facebook for the last few years. It was a shock to hear of his sudden passing.

Collecting Memories

After being notified of his passing I scrambled to find photos and videos of my friend. The sad reality is I had very few photos and no videos of my buddy. This was not the first time I had a friend pass away quickly. I had another Air Force buddy who passed away and I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. That lesson was to collect and keep as many photos and videos of old friends and family members so I could remember them in the future. So, every opportunity I could get, I would download images and videos of my friends and family in case they passed away suddenly. I wanted to be able to look at old photos and videos so I could remember the days we spent together. Today, each photo and video are priceless to me.

Recording Yourself

Thankful, I understood quickly how important photos, audio, and video can be when it comes to remembering someone, special memories, once-in-a-lifetime events and other special moments in my life. But, have you ever thought about how important it is to record video and photograph yourself? For many people having a photo or video shot of them is something they don't like to do. They feel they don't look good in videos and photographs. Many people fail to realize that when you are gone your loved ones and those that cared about you could care less how you looked, what you were wearing, how you sounded, how old you are, or anything else superficial. They just want to be able to see you again or at least an image of you. Today, that is very easy to record and photograph yourself. It just takes the willingness to do it. If not for you, at least for those that care about.

Leaving Your Legacy

I feel images, either photos or video is very important. Simple imagery help remind others of who you were. For example, I have 2 grandsons that I want to remember their "Pappy" long after I am gone. I don't know how long I will be around and I want them to have something to remember me by. Having images of parents and grandparents are important. I wished I had more photos of my grandparents. I have only a couple of photos and videos of one of my grandmothers that I cherish. I have no images of my other grandmother or great-grandparents. It would be so special to have just one image of them today. Of course, I can't have that but I can leave my own legacy for my grandchildren.

Taking Action

I can make a conservative effort to record myself, either through photos or video. A video is the best way for one to leave a part of their legacy. A video is very nice because one can leave a recording of their voice and those that love and miss them can hear their voice for years to come. Shooting your own videos allows you to tell others of your thoughts on a variety of subjects, your likes, dislikes, and you can ever share your life's story. You cannot do that with a photograph. In the future, I will record more of me. I will create videos of myself talking about things that are important to me. It will be a way to share a part of who I am and who I was. I will leave photos and videos for my wife, son, and my two little grandsons. Recording myself is something I have control of and something I feel is very important. I just need to sometimes remind myself how important photos and videos can be for others.

Thanking My Old Friends

I would like to thank my old Air Force buddies for reminding me how important images and memories can be. I will always remember those that were a part of my life, even if was only for short time. RIP, my friends and thank you for the memories.

Roger

Hey Creatives! Stop Seeking Others Opinions That Really Don't Care

Have you ever created a cool photo, video, drone shot, other creative product and noticed that some people don't really care about it? I see it all the time. Creatives get so excited about a product, project, or an adventure they took and some people could care less. That is ok. The problem is creatives don't seem to realize that not everyone is interested in their work. Many people could care less about what it took to capture a unique image, create a film, how much time it takes to capture b-roll, how a great drone clip was shot, how much time and money it takes to get capture an image, how a photo or video was edited or just about any part of the creative process. So, if most people don't care, why do creatives still continue to seek others approval or feedback? It is not that a creator did anything wrong or the product was bad. It is that not everyone has a creative mind and most people don't think like most creatives.

Here is the bottom line. Everyone does not care about your creative process. Most family members, friends, co-workers, the public, and just about everyone you think might get excited about your creative projects, don't really care. That is just the facts and as a creative, you have to just accept that. You also have to get away from those people. Not that you have to not associate with them, you just need to keep them out of your creative environment. In a way, they can greatly affect your creative work by making you doubt your work. Too much rejection could actually cause you to want to quit. That is not good.

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The best thing to do is find other like-minded creatives to talk to and communicate with. For example, I have a friend that is a very knowledgeable and talented painter. I love to hear him speak about his art and his painting. I love the conversations and our conversations get me excited to do what I do. We respect one another. I understand his mindset and he understands mine. My son is a very talented graphic designer, photographer, videographer and he is very creative. Some of my favorite conversations are about the creative process and discussion what projects we have going on. Sometimes we even work together which is always fun. Other creatives don't even have to do the same type of work. But they will be more likely to understand how a creative mind works and respect your art, talents, and struggles you go through to create. They can also provide an environment that may lead to more creative projects in the future.

I have learned over time that I should never create something for others and trying to create for others is a waste of time, money, and energy. I should create for myself and because I enjoy the process. If someone truly enjoys my product or services they will want them. My primary purpose is not to create and do things for money. I create because of the challenge and to simply 'create" something cool.

So stop trying to recruit others in to loving your work. The reality is, most people don't really care and you should use your time, energy, money, and talents wisely by creating something cool. You don't need others approval, just yours.

Until next time!

Roger

Choosing a New DJI Drone

Well, it is time to make a decision on what drone I will purchase next. Just recently I decided to sell my DJI Phantom Pro 3 drone. My original plan was to keep the PP3 until Springtime and then sell it to help purchase a newer drone. Then I started thinking that I was most likely not going to be flying my drone too much during the winter so I decided to sell it early. I figured until I find a buyer I would continue to use it. Little did I know, I was going to sell it faster than I expected. I was able to sell the PP3 in one day. I sold it to a gentleman from Greensboro who just happen to have several drones and he said he was experienced in flying them. However, he did not have a DJI Phantom Pro 3. I was a little nervous about a guy buying the drone and not have any experience in flying a PP3. It all worked out because he was experienced in flying other drones. That was good news for me because the last thing I wanted to do was sell my drone to a novice and he ended up crashing it and claiming the drone was defective and he wanted his money back. Thankfully, I did not have to deal with that issue.

After selling my PP3 I knew I had to save up some funds to purchase a new drone fairly quickly. Saving up money to buy a new drone is one issue I have to deal with but another important issue is what drone do I select for my next drone. I know I will be buying a new DJI drone and it will not be the Phantom Pro 4. I liked my PP3 but I wasn't too thrilled with having to carry around a large case to transport the drone. If I bought the PP4 would have to deal with the hassle of carrying it around like I did the PP3.

I want something more portable. The dilemma is DJI has some very nice small, high quality, portable drones. DJI has the Spark, DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, and Mavic Pro 2. My dilemma is figuring out which one to buy. As with any purchase, there are many factors to take into consideration and DJI makes making a decision very difficult. However, my decision will be based on two important factors; price and needs.

I am the type of guy that looks at many reviews when purchasing any product and looking at reviews online and on Youtube is how I normally select a product I plan to purchase. I have been looking at many resources and Youtube channels to find reviews from not only tech reviewer but more importantly reviews from those that have purchased several types of DJI drones. I needed specs information on each drone type as well as hands-on reviews from users that have a lot of experiences with drones. One thing I am very aware of is that many Youtuber reviews can be very misleading because some YouTubers have hidden agendas when it comes to giving true product reviews on purchasing drones. They get paid to endorse them to make money.

One good review that I did like was a review from "Cruising Off Duty" on Youtube. The review was good because it provided me with a good comparison between the DJI Mavic Pro and Mavic Pro 2. I have been eyeing both of them. Even though the reviewer was new to the Mavic Pro 2 drone when he tested it he did give a nice breakdown between the two drones. The drone specs between the two drones can be found at DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Mavic Pro.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic Pro

After reading dozens of reviews and looking at many Youtubers that do photography and shoot videos with drones I have to make a decision before Springtime. Do I buy what I know is the best drone or do I buy a very nice drone that is very popular, is much cheaper in price, and will most likely fulfill my photography and video needs? Based on the specs of the Mavic Pro 2, it is a much better all around drone. But the price tag is very high. It looks like I could get a Mavic Pro 2 for around $1500. Of course, that does not include extra batteries, SD, and other needed essentials.

Mavic Pro 2

Mavic Pro 2

Or I could purchase the Mavic Pro for around $1100 that would include 2 extra batteries. I have to decide is paying up to $700 more for the newest drone worth it. From what I have read from those that have purchased a DJI Mavic Pro they are very pleased with it. I have also read that many of those same people would buy the Mavic Pro 2 in a heartbeat if the price tag wasn't so high.

I will hold off and conduct more research on the DJI Mavic Pro and Mavic Pro 2. I will also be waiting to find out if there will be any sales on the two drones. I have plenty of time to do more research. As of today, I am leaning toward the DJI Mavic Pro because I feel it will fill all my needs as a photographer and videographer.

So do you have a DJI Mavic Pro or Mavic Pro 2? If you do, what do think of your drone? If you don't have a DJI drone are you considering buying one? If so, which one? I would love to find out your views on the drones. Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Until next time!

Roger

Go Ahead and Shoot Yourself

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Isn't the title of this post catchy? When I say people should shoot themselves I am referring to photographing or shooting video of themselves. Why? It is simple. Because today in our society recording your life is so easy to do. We see people all the time doing selfies, taking video, uploading videos to Youtube and other social media sites. Of course, most of the videos and photos are trashy, meaningless and have no real value or real purpose. However, shooting video can be very important and can serve a real and meaning purpose when it comes to recording your life.

Shooting video is a lot of fun and is pretty easy to do these days. Everyone has a camera and shooting all types of videos. However, most people don't seem to understand how shooting stories of their life and special events can be very important for future generations. People fail to realize that if they take the time to record themselves they can leave a part of their life's story and legacy behind for others. Think about it. How much do you think your family and friends truly know about you and your life? I would guess very little. Do they know when you were born, stories about your childhood, where you went to school, how you met the love of your life, your friends, historical events that affected you throughout your life, the birth of your children, precious photos of family and friends, your plans growing up, your achievements, your failures, and even your regrets. All that can be told "BY YOU" through video and on a simple little device called a camera.

The good thing is today we all have the ability to record our life and create a biography of ourselves to pass on to others long after we are gone. We can tell our own life story in our own words. Those words and visuals can be shared with our children, grand children, extended family members, and friends. All it takes is the willingness to take the time to sit down and record yourself or have your personal biography professionally done. I remember when I researching how to create personal biographies for my customers a gentleman made an important statement during a testimonial that I will never forget. He said he wanted to have his story told so he could share his life story with others long after he is gone. The biggest statement that touched me was when he stated that his grandmother was Native American and would have loved to had the opportunity to see her and hear her life story in her own words via video.

Today it is so easy to shoot/record yourself. It just takes the willingness to understand the importance of leaving a piece of your legacy behind for you those you love. Forget how old you are, how you look, if you can speak effectively, or how you may sound in a video. No one will really care. All they want is to hear is you telling your own story. Recording yourself can make that happen and it is not that difficult to do today. The bottom line is, we can all record silly or worthless video to put on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. Or we can record video that is meaningful and priceless. It just takes the willingness to do it.

Until next time!

Roger

Understanding Your Drones Capabilities

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How well do you know your photography gear? I was thinking about that and realized I don't know everything I need to know about my drone and its capabilities. I am pretty familiar with camera settings but I wasn't too impressed with my drone shots. To me, they seemed sorta flat. My first reaction was the drone camera was not that great. Then I started thinking, maybe it is me. So I started doing a little "Youtubing" and found I was not as familiar with the drone camera settings as I should be, especially the photo settings. I was finding that many of my photo images were not good at all and I needed to get a better understanding of the settings and learn more about how to more effective usage out of the available manual setting options.

Most people that have a drone that has a camera normally know enough to get the drone in the air and have the auto setting do all the work. That is not knowing your drone and its capabilities. Many times you end up with bad photos and sometimes those photos are unusable. Unusable photos equal a waste of time. I don't like wasting my time when I flying my drone. Those that know about drone batteries understand you have a limited time when it comes to battery life and time is important when trying to get good images.

It is important to understand how your drone works. You can't always blame poor quality shots on the drone. It is good to dig deeper into your drone settings. All photographers must fully understand ISO, shutter speed, types of formats, and aperture settings when using a camera. That includes the drone camera. Yes, auto settings are cool but that is also the lazy way to do. Manual settings can be very cool and produce some amazing images even when using a drone. You just have to be willing to dig a little deeper if you want to improve as a drone photographer and get great quality shots.

Knowing how your gear works are so important when it comes to doing photography. That is equalling important as a drone pilot. As a certified drone pilot I understand no one is going hire me if my images and videos are not a good as they should be. It is very important to embrace seeking knowledge of my gear. Knowledge is cool and never-ending. That also applies to any drone that has ability to shoot great images. What I have learned is not to blame my gear when it come to photography. It is me that needs to put in the work and learn as much as I can about all the gear I use, especially, when it comes to my drone.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Photographers Who Inspire Me

Do you have a photographer that inspires you? Most creatives have those they admire. I have some people that inspire me to become a better photographer, try new things, get out of my comfort zone, and explore different types of photography and creative adventures. 

Today I want to tell you about four creatives that inspire me every day to become a better photographer. 

Nick Page

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One of the first photographers I learned about when I got serious about becoming a photographer was Nick Page. Just about every photographer knows about Nick. Nick is a unique photographer that has humble beginnings. He is actually a self-taught photographer. He is from one of my favorite states for photography, Washington. He is from Southern Eastern Washington. He is a very talented and well-rounded photographer. I have always admired his landscape and travel photography. I love his images because no matter what the subject is, his images have a moody feel to them. I love his amazing coastal images the most. He is also a world traveler. His has visited many locations including China. It amazes me how he has learned so much on his own. He's also very humble and that is many times rare in the photography world. To learn more about Nick check out the links below;

Nick Page Website: www.nickpagephotography.com
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxv1rK6prSp2aoNqNyxD_Vg
Facebook: @nickpagephotography 
Instagram: @nickpagephotography

Thomas Heaton

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Another great photographer that inspires me is Thomas Heaton. Thomas is also a landscape and travel photographer from the UK. He is a very popular Youtuber. I really enjoy Thomas’s work because not only is he a great photographer he is one who likes to explain his shots and is a very patient photographer. It is not unusual to follow Thomas on one of his travels and find out he never took a photo. He is one to live in the moment and enjoy the journey and the beauty of the location he is in. Thomas is also a minimalist when it comes to his photography. I like that. His work can also be described as abstract. Thomas’s Youtube channel is also a lot of fun to watch and very popular. I admire his love for photography and his simple approach to it. To learn more about Thomas Heaton check out the links below;

Thomas Heaton Website: https://thomasheaton.co.uk
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfhW84xfA6gEc4hDK90rR1Q
Instagram: @Heatonthomas

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Brendon Porter and Aaron King (Photog Adventures)

Not all the photographers I admire work alone. Two of my favorite photographers are Brendon Porter and Aaron King from the beautiful state of Utah. Brendon and Aaron are masters at the art of night photography. Both guys visited my state of North Carolina last year to see the Autumn colors and visit the Blue Ridge Parkway. Both Brendon and Aaron have their own business and very popular Podcast called the “Photog Adventures”. As you can guess from the title they travel to various locations to take photos not only in their state but all over the country. I admire both guys because of their knowledge of night photography but also their love of landscape photography. When I got the chance to hang out with them I was blown away about their love for photography and the desire to seize every moment to get the most out of their adventures. I was also blown away at the friendship and how they feed off one another. 

What makes their adventures so unique is when they record their adventures they tell you everyone about what went right and what went wrong. Their adventures are very entertaining and I always learn something from them. Brendon and Aaron inspire me to enjoy photography and take advantage of every photography adventure. To learn more about Brendon, Aaron, and Photog Adventures check out their links below;

Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/user-407436417
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/PhotogAdventures
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/photogadventures/

Jordan Younce

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As you can guess from the name, Jordan Younce is my son. He is also one amazing real estate photographer. Every time I see his work I am amazed at how talented he is. I also have no idea where he got his talents from. Jordan is a great NC real estate photographer, podcaster, trainer, videographer, and manager with of Sleeklens. Jordan’s love has always been real estate photography. He loves residential and commercial photography. 

Our relationship is unique. We love photography and going on photo shoots together. I really enjoy going with him when he does a real estate photo shoot. I love so much from him. 

Jordan’s residential interior photos are the best I have ever seen and in my opinion, no one can match his interior home images. I would describe his interior images as fresh and clean. He as the ability to make a routine reality location come to life. I admire Jordan’s desire to go the extra mile for his clients. He offers additional services such as video and drone services that blows me away. I know by watching Jordan, I will become a better real estate photographer. He inspires me to become a better “all-around” photographer. To learn more about Jordan check out the links below;

Jordan Younce Photography: http://www.photographynorthcarolina.com
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH6ISG59IG_yg75x3_n2mXg
Instagram: @jordanyounce

There are so many photographers that inspire me. The four photographers I mentioned produce so much great content and have very impressive photography skills. Their adventures are fun to watch too. They truly do inspire me. So do have a favorite photographer that inspires you? If you do, who are they? I would love to hear your stories and why they inspire you.

Until next time, keep shooting! 

Roger

The Power of Post-Processing

In this post, I want to talk about post-processing images. In today's world, everyone is taking photos and doing some type of post-processing of their images. Today it is very easy to use some free or cheap post-processing apps or software to edit your photos. Some apps are very powerful and easy to use. However, it is important to understand not all post-processing apps and software is not the same and you can use a variety of combinations of software to get some amazing effects. The bottom line is, photo post-processing is very important for any photographer. 

So what is photo post-processing? According to Improved Photography, photo post-processing is "When shooting JPEG the camera is doing this for you in a pre-determined way that can't be reversed. When shooting RAW the photographer has to (or gets to) do this on the computer. This cooking of the RAW image using the software on a computer is one form of post-processing". So what can of software can you use to post-process your photos besides smartphone filters? The reality is there are a variety of software products you can use, like Photoshop, Lightroom, Luminar, Arora, etc... Most software products can make a big difference in most images. However, it does take patience, the willingness to learn the software and be willing to invest in some more advanced post-processing software. 

Presets can be very helpful when it comes to improving your images. According to According to Verno Ho Photography,  "a preset is a pre-configured look that you can apply to any number of photos with one click. If you're familiar with using filters in Instagram, VSCO, or any other photo editing application, then you're already familiar with using presets". The great thing about presets is you can get many great presets packages from very experienced photographers and companies. One of my favorite resources for presets bundles is Sleeklens. Sleeklens offers and wide-range of packed presents for Lightroom and Photoshop. They even have training courses to help improve your photography skills. To learn more about Sleeklens presets you can visit Sleeklens . I highly recommend their preset packages and training courses. 

So is there a big difference when you use post-processing software? Why, yes there is. Take a look at this photo of the USS Battleship North Carolina I edited. The image was shot in RAW and edited with two different software post-processing products; Lightroom CC and Aurora HDR. As you can see from the initial original photo the image has no detail and the image is basically a flat unimpressive image. However, if you apply some of the features using a great software program you can dramatically improve the image and make the image come alive. With presets, you can experiment with a variety of looks for an image. If you maintain the original RAW image you can re-edit the image as many times as you like. That is the fun part of post-processing your images. 

Initial RAW Image

Initial RAW Image

After Post-Processing

After Post-Processing

Photo-processing can make an image so much better. Filters on smartphones are cool, but nothing compares to software designed specifically to improve your photos. Keep in mind that it is a good idea to try a combination of software programs. It can greatly improve your images. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

 

 

Why Photographing Special Events Are Important

Photographing events can be a challenge and a lot of fun. On the 4th of July, I wanted to attend a special event in my little town of Jamestown NC. Jamestown routinely has events to celebrate special holidays and honors our nation's veterans. On July 4th, they held a special ceremony of the raising of the Betsy Ross flag and I wanted to photograph the event. 

The Betsy Ross Flag

The Betsy Ross Flag

I really enjoy photographing special events. I realize that photographing and videoing special events are important because photographs help captures special moments in time. I don't look at images the way many people do. For some, a photograph is a nice thing to have and may not be that meaningful at the time. But as time goes on, a photograph or video becomes priceless.  I look at not only the photograph but the subjects in the photographs. I wonder who they, their life, and where will they be later on in life. A photograph allows me to capture that very special moment in time. 

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The reality of how powerful a photograph came to me after I had photographed a veteran's ceremony in the small town of Sawmills North Carolina. I did some photography work for the mayor of the town. I had actually done some photo restoration work for him before I even met him. Then I got to meet him at a ceremony that he was hosting. When I met him he introduced me as his personal photographer to his friends, which I was honored. I photographed the event and I wanted to make sure I captured many photos of veterans in the ceremony as well photos of the mayor. I am glad I did. A few months later, sadly, the mayor passed away. It was a shock to many people. I was a shock to me. He was not an old man and seemed in good health. Later, I went back and looked at the old photos from the event and realized how lucky I was to have capture those photos of the mayor before he passed away. 

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At the July 4th event in Jamestown, I thought about the Sawmills mayor. The photo shoot was very similar. It was a small town event and I wanted to capture a few photos of the event. I wanted to capture the people there. As I looked at the crowd I began to wonder, who are these people and where will they be in the future? I learned a long time ago that photos are important because as I take any photo I realize that I am capturing history. Call me crazy but when I see old photos I look at the faces in the image and wonder whatever happened to those people? Are they still with us? One day, my photos will be considered old and maybe one day someone will wonder the same thing. 

I never take photographing special events or people for granted. I understand the power of a photograph and enjoy being able to capture a part of history or a special part of someone's life. Being a photographer allows me to do that and there is nothing wrong with being an active historian of history. My advice is if you have a camera, try to capture special events in your life. You and others will be glad you did. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Becoming a Freelance Photographer

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Photography and videography are one of those businesses that offer so many opportunities for someone that is in business for themselves. However, it is pretty much a known fact that running a photography business can be expensive, time-consuming, and most photographers and videographers don't make a lot of income. That is why many photographers only do photography on the side and make a few bucks for each job they get. Most photographers that want to make money want to start their own business and want to work for themselves. Very few rarely look at the benefits of working as a freelance photographer. In this post, I will talk about what is a freelance photographer, can all photographers do freelance work, and should photographers focus on specific products and services or should they expand their skill sets to do freelance work. 

So what is a freelance photographer? If you look up the definition on the Internet you can find a wide variety of definitions for the term. In most cases,  a freelance photographer is simply someone that does photography work for others besides themselves. Being a freelance photographer can be profitable if you can find the right business or company that needs your skills. Being a freelance photographer can be expensive because another business is normally not going to provide you with gear, equipment, and software to do a job. So a good freelance photographer has to have the proper gear to do the job. Freelance work can be very time-consuming and can require travel and additional travel expenses. Lastly, freelance photography work is normally a "contract" type of employment which means there is no normal work schedule and companies don't offer benefits. So pretty much, you are on your own. 

Now you may think that being a freelance photographer is not that great but there are some advantages to becoming one. Depending on the work, the money might be pretty good in some cases. I recently saw a freelance real estate job that was willing to pay over $75 an hour to do real estate property shoots within a 30-mile radius in my local area. That is pretty good money if you have the flexibility to do the work, the time, and don't mind the travel. Being a freelance photographer can be exciting because you normally don't do the same thing or shoot the same thing on every project. You may do portrait shoots, all types real estate shoots, special events, video shoots, or even drone photography work. So there are some benefits from becoming a freelance photographer and incorporate those services into your photography business. 

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So, can all photographers do freelance work? Many photographers have the ability to do freelance work, while others don't want to or don't have the proper gear or equipment for the work that may be required. Some photographers focus on a specific form of photography and never want to learn the needed skills to do freelance photography projects. In my opinion, many photographers would like to make a little extra income doing freelance work but don't have all the needed gear. There have been cases where real estate agents have used their cell phones to take images of homes and the images were downloaded directly out of the camera and no post-processing was done. As you can imagine the photos were pretty bad. Today, many real estate companies are looking for certified drone pilots to shoot video footage of homes and land. There are a lot of missed opportunities to make extra income if a photographer can do drone footage. 

I feel the biggest reason many photographers don't do freelance work is their unwillingness to learn new skills so they can offer their products and services to potential businesses. Many photographers are very skilled and have the ability to do freelance work but only focus on a specific type of photography or service. Now don't get me wrong, there are many great photographers that offer some amazing work through their own business and products and services are client specific. There is nothing wrong with that. I feel the issue comes from not being open-minded about taking on some freelance work when the opportunity comes along. Many photographers could not only make more money but freelance work provides them a method to advertise their services and products to those for free. The power of marketing and advertising through word-of-mouth is a powerful thing. Freelance photography work allows photographers to showcase their skills and the potential for more work is possible. 

For many photographers, the question is should a photographer focus specifically on certain products or services or should they expand their skill sets? It really depends on the individual photographer and the goals they set for themselves and their business. For me, I am always working to improve my skill sets and knowledge when comes to photography and videography. I like to study more about photography, how to create new products, and I strive to offer unique services to my customers and clients.  I have no desire to open up my own studio for a variety of reasons. One such reason is cost and overhead. Having my own studio would be nice but it would also not allow me to be flexible in my schedule so I could do freelance work. I want the flexibility to work one-on-one with my clients and customers. I enjoy providing my clients and customers one-on-one attention. That is very important to me. So, for me, freelance photography work makes sense. In my world, I can do both. It just takes time, patience, and the willingness to stay focused on building my business. 

So what is your opinion about freelance photography work? Do you do it now?  Are you considering it? If not, what is holding you back? I would love to hear your take on the topic. Feel free to post your comments on the subject of being a freelance photographer. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

Do You Really Care About Your Old Images?

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In this post, I want to do a little ranting about a subject that drives me crazy. That is the subject of people not preserving their own photos. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people don't take the time to find their old photos, digitally scan them, and properly back up the photos to a secure location. I know people say they are busy with life but aren't one-of-a-kind photos important too? I believe that it is not that people are so busy they don't have time to preserve their old photos. It is that they don't understand how truly sorry they will be when their old photos were lost, damaged or destroyed. Then it will be too late. 

A few years ago I started thinking about how I would feel if I lost all of my old photos. Then I decided to take action before it was too late for me. I gathered up every photo I could find that was not digitalized and I began scanning them. As I was scanning them I realized that many of the photos consisted of only one copy and there were no negatives or backups. I realized if I did not take the time to scan my own images a part of my own life's history would be gone forever. I would not have images that my son and his family could keep and share for many years long after I was gone. That was my motivation for scanning my own photos. 

I talk to a lot of people that say they need to have their photos scanned and preserved, but never take the time to do it. I often wonder how they would feel if they lost their old photos due to a house fire. I am pretty sure they would have many regrets for not having their photos scanned and backed up. It is pretty easy to take action and preserve old photos. All that is required is locating all the old photos you can find, gather them up, have them scanned, put the images on some storage device, and back up the images to an off-site location. It is also a good practice to have multiple copies of the files. Having photos scanned and saved have other benefits too. All your precious images can be printed, shared, enhanced and restored. 

I have personally asked members of my own family if I could get a copy of an old image to find out no one knew where the images were and the only copy that once existed is now gone. That drives me nuts. I would love to see a photo of my late grandmother who died many years ago when I was a small boy. I really miss that lady and I have actually forgotten what she looked like. Having an old image of her would be priceless. Unfortunately, no one took the time to preserve her image and no one has a photo of her. 

Do you have old photos lying around your home stuffed in cabinets, drawer, folders, or other parts of your home? How would feel if you lost those photos in a house fire? Do your old photos mean a lot to you? If they do, I highly suggest you take the time to have your old photos scanned, stored on some type of backup device, and have the files backed up. You will be glad you did. I know I am. 

If would like your photos scanned contact me. It would be an honor for me to help you preserve your precious memories. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Drone Images of the Furniture Land South Building

Well, this Sunday morning was pretty fun for me. My photography goal for the day was to take some drone footage of a unique building that is not too far from my home. The building is called the Furniture Land South Building in High Point North Carolina. Actually, the building is less than a mile from my home and I have always wanted to photograph it but never really got around to it. Of course, since I now have a drone I finally took the time to go get a little drone footage this morning and finally shoot the building. It is funny how one becomes more eager to get out of bed to shoot drone video footage when they have a drone. 

The building is massive and used when the furniture market that comes to our town. Visitors from all over the world come to look at furniture in the showroom throughout town and the Furniture Land South building is stop that all visitor makes. What really stands out about the building is the large dresser that leads to the entrance of the building. You can't miss it. I wanted to do two things this morning. I wanted to get both still photos and of course, videos with the drone. I was pretty lucky this morning. I actually thought I would have some issues with getting a good location to launch the drone and getting some good angles for my shots. Even though the place was closed on Sundays I was still able to launch the drone and get some nice images from a variety of angles. That is the beauty of drone photography and videography, we have better access from above our subjects and the skies are unlimited (unless you violate FAA guidelines). If you are a drone pilot, don't do that. 

I was able to get some nice still images and a nice "pull away" shot of the Furniture Land South Building. Below are the images and video. 

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This morning I was able to accomplish the goals I set out to do. I try to establish daily goals when it comes to my photography and building my photography business. Now, I need to decide what's next on my agenda. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Portraits Sessions With Kids Can Be a Challege, But Rewarding Too

I have stated in the past I believe it is a good thing if a photographer branches out and photograph a wide variety of subjects. I enjoy trying new things that I feel will improve my photography skills no matter what the subject is. Even though I don't do a lot of portrait photography shoots with kids I do enjoy the challenge of photographing them and sometimes the images are awesome. What makes my photo shoots even more challenging for me is I don't like to carry around a lot of gear to do my portrait shoots, especially when trying to chase down "Little Johnny". Kids don't like to sit down to get their photos taken. So, I have to go mobile when photographing kids. That is where the challenge starts. 

I don't mind chasing kids down when photographing them. Walking around observing them and trying to capture unique and unstaged portraits is my main goal for children portrait images. My goal is to get at least one special image for the photo shoot. Sometimes, I may only get one or two special images and sometimes I may get really lucky and get more. Below are four images I took during a photo shoot of a beautiful little girl that was not staged and each photo was taken on her grandparents front porch in the Spring. I believe the photos are unique because they captured the little girl emotions and her expressions were priceless. The cute and colorful outfit was a plus as well. 

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There is a little history behind the images. The images were shot about 7 years ago and taken with my old trusty Canon 60D camera. I wanted to go back and re-edit the old images since my photography post-processing skills have improved over the years. I knew when the images were taken it was important for me to make sure I shot my images in "RAW" which would allow me to work with all the data from each image if I needed to in the future. It is important for any new photographer to remember to shot in RAW when possible. It is always important to save all your images and back them up. You never know when you may want to go back and revisit them and improve the images. You can do that if you shoot in RAW and don't lose them. 

For me, portrait images of little kids can be fun but it requires me to be observant and ready at all times. Kids photo shoots can be short or take longer than most portrait shoots. I always remain myself that I have to disregard time when it comes to photographing kids. I am on their time, not mine.

 It is great to have your own studio to photograph kids and have all the gear you need to take awesome well-planned images of the kids with fancy props, but what is the fun in that? I like the challenge of sneaking up on the kids to get my shots and using the natural environment around me. That is more fun for the kids and a big kid like me. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Preserving Your Old Photos is So Important

I have always loved old photos. The types of photos where there is only one original copy that still exists. One-of-a-kind photos are special and many times are irreplaceable if they are lost or damaged. The sad part is many people don't think about very old photos until they are lost or damaged. Many historic and family photos are usually located in old boxes or still in an old glass frame where the old photo is usually stuck to the glass and can be damaged if you try to remove it. Believe me, I have had my share of photos that were difficult to remove from an old glass frame and several times the print was totally destroyed. 

Today, people don't think too much about photos because we live in a digital world where current photos are easily taken and shared. But for many old photos that are printed and where is only one copy that is not the case. Old photos need to be taken care of, restored (if possible) and most importantly digitalized. If an old photo can be digitalized it can easily be shared and treasured for years to come. Sadly, some people don't think about it until an old historic or family photo is lost forever. 

Below is an old photo I restored for a friend that is no longer with us. He was a mayor of a small town in North Carolina who truly wanted to help preserve the town's history and had me restore several very old photos that were over 75 years old. He only had the originals and wanted the old photos digitalized so they could be shared for many years to come. He understood the importance of restoring old images of the past and took steps to do that. If you look at the old photo and think about it, those people are gone forever and that photo help preserves their life's history and legacy. That is a power of an old image one-of-a-kind image. 

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Do you have old images that need to be restored and digitalized? If you do I suggest you take the time to gather up those old images and have they scanned, enhanced, and stored away. It is important to take the time to do that. I personally gathered up every photo I could find and scanned them so I could preserve them. The tasked took me over 5 days to sit down and scan every image I could get my hands on. It was tedious work but it was worth it. Now I have all my photos backed up and I can share them. Just remember, once an old image is damaged, destroyed, or lost you can never get it back. 

If you have old images you would like restored or if you have old photos that you would like scanned just let me know I can do that for you. I would love to help you preserve your photos and history. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger