Photography

Drone Photography Requires Practice, Planning, and Patience

Flying a drone and doing drone photography can be a lot of fun and helps to get those creative juices flowing. However, flying a drone can present some challenges. It takes practice, planning, and patience. It is fairly easy to simply learn to fly a drone for fun but when your goal is to actually photograph or shoot video of a subject the tasks may require a little more focus and effort.

One of the first challenges is finding a place to get a lot of practice. It requires finding a place that you can safely and legally fly your drone. Many people that first get their new drone usually want to find an open field and fly it to see how far and high their drone can fly. When you have a drone that has a camera you have the desire to want to see all the views from the camera you can't see from the ground. Now that is cool, but it can be dangerous. As a drone pilot, you have to take into consideration your surroundings like trees, power lines, people, buildings and many other things that can damage your drone or even worse hurt someone. When I got my drone may the first goal was not to test the limits of my drone. My main goal was to find out how to properly fly the drone, learn the technology of the drone, how to fly it legally, and most of all how not to crash it.

 AirMap App

AirMap App

Another challenge to flying a drone is finding a place to fly the drone where you can legally fly it. Yes, new drone owners don't think about that when they get a new drone. Most new drone owners launch their drone and want to see how high they can fly and what they can see from a high elevation. That is cool, but it can be very dangerous. There are limits and restrictions on flying a drone. For example, since I am not a certified drone pilot the highest I can legally fly my drone in most situations is 400 feet. I know my drone can fly much higher. For me, learning my limits and restrictions is pretty easy. My son is a certified commercial drone pilot and provides me guidance on what I am allowed to do when flying my drone. To find out where I can legally fly my drone I need to know exactly where I can fly my drone either for practice or to conduct an actual photo or video shoot. To do that I use a simple app called "AirMap" for my DJI Phantom Pro. It provides me with information on where I can fly my drone and where I cannot. It uses my current location to display my limitations.  As you can see from the AirMap App I have limitations. The orange circles indicate where I cannot fly. You can see why planning where to fly is very important. The last thing you want is to get slapped with a $10,000 fine for flying in a restricted area.

On my last drone shoot, I visited a local park called the Oak Hollow Park in High Point North Carolina. My goal was to find a nice location to practice flying my drone. Now I would not recommend flying your drone if you are not confident enough to fly it over water. The Oak Hollow Park is surrounded by a large lake called, you guessed it, the Oak Hollow Lake. After flying the drone a couple of times and getting accustomed to the controls I felt confident enough to not crash my drone into the lake. Once I scoped out the lake and surroundings I started looking for a subject to shoot. There was a couple of fisherman in the lake and I started to video them but I thought that would be pretty boring. Then I realized that I could get a photograph and video of the Oak Hollow Golf Course which was located across the lake about a half mile away. On a previous video shoot, I tried to get a video of another golf course in my local area but was unsuccessful. However, I figured if I could reach the Oak Hollow Golf course from the park I could possibly get a nice area photo and video of the golf course. After a couple of dry runs near and over the golf course, I was able to get the shots I wanted.

 Aerial View of the Oak Hollow Golf Course

Aerial View of the Oak Hollow Golf Course

All-in-all, my day of photographing and shooting video was a lot of fun. I feel more confident as I continue to get more practice with my drone. It is always good to practice as much as possible, plan your shoots, and be patient when flying a drone. My drone is a very expensive and important part of my photography gear. I don't want to lose it due to poor planning and a lack of practice. I am enjoying my drone photography and I plan to do a lot more of it in the future.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

Lessons for Building a Photography Business

As photographers who create their own business, we all want to be successful in building our businesses by offering a variety of products and services. We want to build our brand have a lot of customers and clients. Over the last couple of years, I have learned a couple of important lessons in building my business that has made my business life less stressful and more enjoyable.

The first thing I have learned is to not get all worked up about making a lot of money by trying to pressure people into buying my images or taking advantage of my services. Of course, I love when someone purchases an image or two from me. It shows me they appreciate my images so much they actually buy them. I love those customers and clients and will bend over backward to support them and provide them with the best services and products I can. I am very loyal to my customers and clients because they are loyal to me. The reality is I don't need people's money. I don't do photography to pressure people into purchasing my products and services. I want people to want what I have to offer. If they don't that is not a big deal. I have gotten to the point in my life and in my business, I have no expectations of people anymore. If people buy or want services from me, great! If they don't, I will not lose any sleep over it. That attitude has greatly reduced all the stress of selling and reaching goals that others think I should be at based on a specific time frame. I have learned not to listen to others that have never created or struggled their own business.

Another lesson I have learned is I don't need a lot of clients or customers to be successful. In today business world, success is measured by how many followers, subscribers or likes you have on your social media feeds. Having thousands or even a million followers, subscribers or likes does not mean anything. Many small businesses are successful with a small number of clients or customers. It only takes one great client or customer to make a difference in the success in building a business and you never know when that special relationship will happen or who that special client or customer will be. Just one client can make a big difference in launching one's business. Until you find that special relationship you can do things to continue to build your business and strengthen your brand. You can learn from other successful business minded people. You can study what they did to become successful. One such business owner I enjoy following is Gary Vaynerchuk on Youtube. He is not your typical business owner or speaker and has a unique take on business, social media, marketing, and branding. He can be a little aggressive in presenting his message but that is fine with me. He is honest and sincere in his messaging and I like that.

 Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk

If you are a photographer that wants to be successful, measure your success based on your expectations, goals, and achievement, not according to others expectations. Creatives have unique talents and skills. We want others to appreciate our work. Many creatives thrive on that. In my opinion that is not necessarily a good thing. I believe as a photographer, videographer, or filmmaker your primary focus should not be to make a lot of money.  One should always be working hard every day to build one's business and their brand. One day, those that appreciate and enjoy your products and services will come and when they do you must have something special to offer them that they cannot get anywhere else. Strive for quality, not quantity and make your business uniquely your own.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

 

My New Toy and Tool; DJI Phantom Pro Drone!

As most people know drones have become very popular today. More and more people are getting drones for a variety of reasons. Most of the time people want a drone because they are fun to fly and give the pilot a cool view or perspective of a particular location or subject that most of us can't see without the use of a drone. Photographers, videographers, and filmmakers are increasingly interested in drones and the unique footage they provide. That includes me.

 DJI Phantom Pro

DJI Phantom Pro

Just recently my son gave me his old drone. He gave me his Phantom Pro from DJI. He got a new and bigger one and he thought of his old dad. I wasn't really sure if I would ever use or want a drone. I did think they were cool and I was very interested and impressed with all the technology that goes into a drone and what they are capable of doing. As a kid, I never had or was interested in remote control devices and to be totally honest if a drone did not have a camera I would not be interested in today's drones. As a photographer, a drone with a camera will come in handy in the future for me and I have a lot of plans for the drone.

Once I received my drone I knew I needed training, practice, and a lot of information on how to use the drone, how to take videos and images, and information on when and where I could fly the drone. There is more to flying a drone than just taking off and landing. I got together with my son who started training and teaching me about flying my drone. My son is a very talented photographer, videographer, and certified drone pilot. What is great for me is that even though I am not certified to fly in many locations (the cool places), I can fly at more interesting locations that he can fly in as long as I am with him.

 Drone Sample Test Flight

Drone Sample Test Flight

My plans for using the drone is simple. First, I need to practice with the drone as much as possible. I don't want to crash my new toy. I want to get comfortable with the controls and be able to shoot unique images and videos with the drone. The DJU Phantom Pro drone does take nice images and I am very impressed with the quality of the 4K video. I plan to continue to scout out locations to video. One location I plan to photograph and video in the near future will be off the coast of North Carolina. I plan to shoot a lot of video and photos in the North Carolina mountains as well.

For me, having a drone opens up a lot of opportunities to capture interesting footage and images that I could have never had the opportunity to capture. Becoming proficient in shooting drone footage allows me the opportunity to offer additional services to my clients and customers. It will allow me to shoot footage for those that may request unique landscape or real estate footage. Having a drone will allow me to become more creative with my work and hopefully provide more quality images to my customers. If you are a photographer and don't have a drone, I recommend getting one. Not only are they a lot of fun they are can be a useful tool for any photographer.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Vlogging at Sunset Beach, Bird Island, South Port, and Bald Head Island

Vlogging can be a lot of fun and is increasing more and more with the help of Youtube. Vlogging a special event, trip, or even everyday task can be entertaining for many people today. I see many well-known vloggers and filmmakers taking advantage of vlogging. For me, vlogging is a method to record special events in my life. Just recently, I vlogged a trip I took and I wanted to record my trip for personal reasons and to share with those that might find the adventures interesting or entertaining. Vlogging to me is a way to explore another creative process and improve my videography skills.

My trips involved visiting four locations and vlogging some of the sites along the way. I visited Sunset Beach, Bird Island, South Port, and Bald Head Island in North Carolina. My objective was to record "B" roll from my vlogs that I plan to put on Youtube. I am new to recording a vlog and I did understand I needed a lot of "B" roll footage to create a good vlog so I could tell a story. I needed to record clips as I traveled to each location and clips that would feature the uniqueness of the locations. So, with that in mind, I recorded a lot of video footage. Actually, I recorded more video footage than still photos. After studying other videographers, I found out that you can never have too much footage you plan to be a vlogger.

My first stop was Sunset Beach in North Carolina. Sunset Beach is a location that my wife and I try to visit each year. We stay at the Sunset Beach Inn for our anniversary each year. This year marks our 36 anniversary. Besides celebrating our anniversary, I wanted to shoot video at Sunset Beach and capture a couple of early morning sunrises images. I also wanted to get a nice time-lapse of the sunrise. I have ever done a sunrise or sunset time-lapse but I was able to capture for both events. Surprisingly they turned out pretty well. I discovered that there is a reason why most people don't do time-lapse. Time-lapse take a lot of time to capture. Getting the morning sunrises at Sunset Beach was a lot of fun except for having to get up a 5:30 a.m. for the sunrise. Lucky for me, I am an early morning riser so it wasn't too difficult for me. I was surprised how many photographers were present for the sunrise. It was great to see others that shared the same passion and enjoyed seeing a beautiful sunrise and start to a new day. Checkout the Sunset Beach Sunrise Time-Lap or Sunset Beach Sunset Time-Lapse videos.

 Start of a New Day

Start of a New Day

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My second stop on my journey was Bird Island. Bird Island is a unique location to photograph and shoot video. The location is very quiet and calming for many people. From my hotel, it took me about 1:30 minutes to reach the location. I would have gotten there quicker if I had not stopped to get all the additional "B" roll footage I needed. On my walk to Bird Island, I had the chance to stop at the old Kindred Spirits mailbox. That is a nice location to stop and take a break. What is unique about the Kindred Spirits mailbox is there is actually things there to read that are in the mailbox. People enjoy reading messages left in the mailbox from those that visited the mailbox before them. You can actually leave a message too. So, if you get a chance to visit the mailbox, I suggest you sit back and enjoy reading the messages, enjoy the sunshine, and the sounds of the ocean waves. It is very relaxing. One interesting note, the manager at the Sunset Beach Inn, told us that Nicholas Sparks visited that Inn about a week before we arrived and she said he was planning to write a story about Bird Island and the Kindred Spirits location. So, if you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, be looking for a book and maybe a movie in the future.

 Kindred Spirits at Bird Island

Kindred Spirits at Bird Island

My third stop on my travels was to South Port, North Carolina. South Port is a nice quiet little town on the coast of North Carolina. What is unique about South Port are some of the homes. Some of the homes were built back in the late 1800's. The town could be described as a "Slice of the South". The town is very nice and has a southern charm to it. The town has sailboats and a relaxing waterfront to enjoy. What is also unique about the town is that several Hollywood films were filmed there. If you visit the town hall or museum you can see what films were done there. Several of the films were romantic films that most ladies will remember.

 South Port Bird

South Port Bird

South Port also has the Bald Head Island Ferry. We were able to take the ferry to Bald Head Island. My plan was to photograph and record video of the Bald Head Island Lighthouse. The lighthouse is not like other lighthouses off the coast of North Carolina. Not only is the structure of the lighthouse different from other lighthouses, it is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina. For me, it was very difficult to video or photograph the lighthouse. Selecting a composition was very difficult. I realized there were not too many options for photographing or videoing the lighthouse. That is why you don't see very many awesome photos of the lighthouse. It is difficult to find a good shot. That did not stop me. I needed "B" roll footage. Visiting the island was worth the time. I suggest if you visit Bald Head Island, plan to eat before you go. Food choices are limited and can be pretty pricey. If you plan to explore the island, rent a golf cart. If you go, enjoy the island.

 Bald Head Lighthouse on Bald Head Island

Bald Head Lighthouse on Bald Head Island

 Bald Head Island Port

Bald Head Island Port

My vlogging adventure was a lot of fun and I learned a great deal from the trips. I learned that I need to take a lot of video footage and still photos if I plan to continue vlogging in the future. I did have a lot of footage from the trip and I learned I need to be very selective on what footage will go into my vlog. I had to cut out a lot of footage because my video from my trip was way too long when I post processed the footage. I learned that time-lapse footages take a lot of time and I am not sure if the time is worth the reward. The most valuable lesson I learned from post-processing a video is to create video content in segments. I created my video as one video and put it together after the trip. It would have been better if I had created a vlog for each day rather than wait to do all the footage at one time.

I enjoyed vlogging my trips and I was able to purposely capture photos and videos I can look back on in the future. I will be vlogging more in the future and I will get better if I continue to work on my vlogging skills and storytelling. When people ask what makes a good vlog, the answer is not the equipment you use or the places you visit. A good vlog is all about the story. To see my vlog of the trip visit my Roger Younce Youtube Channel at "Sunset Beach, Bird Island, South Port, and Bald Head Island Trip".

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Getting Up to Get That Sunrise

Are you a morning person who likes to get up super early and go outside on a cold windy morning and take photos? I am, sorta. It all depends on my reason to get up and go outside and get an early morning photograph. I really don't have a problem getting up early. I usually am awake around 5 a.m. Most nights, my body only requires about 6 hours of sleep. So, one a recent trip, I took advantage of my insomnia and got up each morning to get a nice morning sunrise photo on the beaches of Sunset Beach in North Carolina. After getting up at 5 a.m. and having a half a bucket of coffee I was on my way to get a beautiful sunrise image.

The temperature the morning I ventured out wasn't really that bad. However, it was a windy morning with winds around 20 mph. I arrived about 45 minutes before sunrise to set up and get the shot. My objective was not to get a photograph of the sunrise. My objective was to get an early morning video of the sunrise and the red morning sky. I wanted to capture the beauty of the red morning sky and the soothing sounds of the beach at high-tide.

I wasn't surprised at the number of photographers that were out to capture the sunrise that morning. I understood why they wanted to get an epic shot of the sunrise too. It was actually pretty nice to see so many people that shared the same passion for natures beauty and photography.

 Morning Photographers

Morning Photographers

Below is the video I captured that morning. I wanted to capture the beautiful red sky, the sun, and the waves as they came in during high-tide. It was nice to video the morning sunrise and at the same time have the opportunity to enjoy the moment while my camera did all the work. Sometimes, as photographers, we get so focused on a shot and never take the time to enjoy the special moments and live in the moment. That morning, I did.

It can be a pain to get up early in the morning to get a unique image. I want to get the shot because I am aware that that special image will never come around again and I don't want to miss my opportunity to capture it. I enjoy sleep as much as the next guy, but I also know I a take a nap later. If you are not a morning person, do what most photographers do and at least get a sunset image. Below is a sunset video I shot the same day. It was a great day.

Until next time, get up early and keep shooting!

Roger

Real Estate Photography

In this post, I want to write about getting out of your comfort zone as a photographer. Now, before I begin, I want to make it clear that my opinion may not be the same for all photographers. I am only stating my opinion about getting out of "my" comfort zone and challenging myself to become a more skilled photographer.

Recently, I started thinking about my own photography and wondering why I should only photograph specific subjects. I photograph landscapes, wildlife, nature, pets, to headshots and portraits. I thought, why shouldn't I do real estate photography?
I have the camera, lens, tripods, and knowledge of how to take all types of photos. So, why not real estate? After thinking about it I realized there was really no reason why I should not make that a part of my skill sets. So, I decided to get to work on developing my real estate photography skills.

For me, I am pretty fortunate to have a very talented son who is a great real estate photographer. Jordan Younce is not only great real estate photographer he is a talented videographer, trainer, creator, graphic designer, webmaster, drone pilot, and CEO of Sleeklens. Jordan does a lot of real estate photography and figured if I hung out and assisted him when I could I could develop my real estate skills. I knew I needed real estate properties to photograph. I needed to be able to access nice homes and properties to practice taking real estate images. Tagging along with my son would give me a variety of properties fo photograph and build my real estate photography portfolio.

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Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph the perfect place in Asheboro North Carolina. Jordan had a real estate photo-shoot and I asked if I could tag along. The home was beautiful 3800 sq foot, 4 bedroom home, with a large pond, and over 230 acres of beautiful land out in the country. Such a location give a chance to improve my real state photography skills. I had a variety of subjects to photograph. I also had the opportunity to shot video, collect a variety of images, and shoot some nice "B" roll footage for my video about the photo shoot. I love to shoot "B" roll footage. Below are a few images from the photo shoot.

The real estate photo shoot in Asheboro North Carolina was a fun shoot. I got to spend time with my son, learn from him, photograph some nice real estate and improve my photography skills. I took the opportunity to develop and improve my real estate photography skills. Most of all, I got out of my comfort zone and worked on learning new things. That is always refreshing. Yes, learning new things can be a challenge, but it can be a lot of fun too. To view my video from the photoshoot, visit "Asheboro Real Estate Photo Shoot" on my Youtube Channel and feel free to subscribe and leave a comment if you like.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Finding Your Niche in Photography

Should a photographer have a niche when it comes to photography or should a photographer be able to photograph anything? A lot of photographers seem to struggle with that question when they start out in photography. Should they study and practice to be great at one type of photography or study various styles, forms, and photography practices? I can see the pros and cons of both schools of thought.

 Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Every photographer wants to be great and known for their work and many people have no problem being specialized in one type of photography. There are those that love landscape, wedding, portrait, pet, event, wildlife, nature, real estate, drone, and many other types of photography. Most people choose their type of photography based on their passion and some do a particular type of photography for monetary gains. In most cases, they have a niche and stick with it. For me, I started my journey in photography with landscapes and locations like Utah.

But is having a niche or one particular style always a good thing? I believe having a niche can be good, but I also believe it limits a photographer from learning and growing as a photographer. Now, don't get me wrong, a photographer doesn't have to know all types of photography to be successful, but wouldn't it be great if a photographer possessed a variety of creative skills that he or she could use if needed? Many photographers are routinely asked if they photograph things they normally don't photograph all the time. If he or she can't do a job, some people may think they must not be a "real" photographer.

When I started in photography I did like most photographers and thought I needed my own niche or speciality. I thought I needed to find one type of photography and do just that one style. I was told I needed to find my niche. I felt if I devoted my time, money, and energy into one style or type of photography I would be successful. Something inside me told me that was not the way to pursue my passion for photography. My passion in photography has always been to capture moments in time, no matter the subject. I realized I needed to study various forms of photography and even study videography.

My belief stems from a belief I have always had as a martial artist. When I began my martial arts studies when I was 13 years old I learned under one style. For years I thought that is all I needed to know to become a good martial artist. After learning the basics of the style I was studying I realized I needed to know more to become a skills fighter. I needed to studying other forms of martial arts to become a better martial artist. In a sense, my niche was not having a niche. Photography to me is the same way. After learning the basics of photography, I felt I needed to learn other forms and techniques of photography. I did not need a niche. I needed to learn all that I could from others. I needed to find my way. There is an old saying that Bruce Lee said that applies to my martial arts days, my life today, and even with my photography today. Lee said, "Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own'.

 North Carolina Zoo

North Carolina Zoo

I feel everyone has their opinion whether it is good to have a single niche regarding their photography. I can see why some people feel that way. A niche can be a good thing and for some photographers very profitable. I choose to not have a niche. I love to photograph all types of subjects. I love to photograph landscapes, nature, wildlife, pets, portraits, sports, and even headshots for clients. However, I choose to not do weddings. I can't handy the drama from the divas. For me, I photograph what I like and try to improve my skills all the time. I never know when I will need some specific skills to help someone out.

I want to learn new things and learn from others. I want to do more video in the future. Videography will allow me to expand my skills sets and help to tell a story. I want to create stories. I want to write more blog posts about photography. But to do that I need to know myself, become more observant of my limitations, and continue to strive to become a better photographer.

A niche can be a great thing. For me, a niche limits my ability to grow and become a better and more skills photographer. Do you feel each photographer has to have a specific niche to be successful? I would love to hear your views on the subject. Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Finding Another Mini-Tripod for Vlogging

As some of you know I am looking to getting into more video production in the future. I have all the equipment I really need. I  recently began conducting an inventory of all my gear to make sure I have everything. One item I know I will need to shoot video will be a good high-quality tripod that can support my DSLR camera and lens. I have 3 standard tripods and I had one mini-tripod. Noticed I said, "had". I had the Mama Win 2-in-1 Camera Tripod +Cell Phone Tripod, iPhone Tripod Mount for about one year.

 Mama Win Tripod

Mama Win Tripod

I ordered the Mama Win tripod in 2017 and used it occasionally for minor recordings and usually for just holding my cell phone. I never got the opportunity to travel with it for a photo shoot. By all appearances, the tripod looks very cool and I thought it should be very sturdy and strong. I was wrong. While simply attaching my DSLR one of the tripod legs snapped off. I thought, what a piece of junk? I was a little shocked by the weakness of the tripod and definitely thought it would last longer than it did. I figured over time and with some continued use the product would eventually break down, but not that quickly. Oh well, what should I have expected from a tripod that cost less than $20.00? I have to admit, it did look cool though.

 Patekfly Tripod

Patekfly Tripod

Since the Mama Win turned out to be a piece of junk I knew I had to purchase a new tripod for my upcoming vlogging adventures. I decided to go with the Patekfly 12 Inch Flexible Camera Tripod. The Patekfly has over 120, 5-star reviews on Amazon. I like the way the tripod has flexible strong legs that have minimum parts that can snap off. It supports my Canon 80D and Tamon telephoto zoom lens. I was a little concerned that it may not be able to hold up the weight of the camera and lens. It seems to be a stronger tripod.

If you are looking to purchase a mini-tripod for your camera, GoPro, iPhone, check out the Patedfly camera tripod. It comes with attachments to support can a DSLR camera, GoPro, or iPhone. The cost is no bad either. It cost under $25.00 on Amazon.

I will keep everyone posted on how well the Patekfly tripod holds up in the field when I am out working on shooting video in the future, so stay tuned.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Spring Flowers Photo Shoot in Kernersville

Yesterday was a great day to head out and find some images of colorful Spring flowers. I love this time of year in North Carolina. The colors of spring are really starting to show up. I normally venture out and drive the back roads of my state to find beautiful flowers and plants. Yesterday, I decided to take a different approach. I decided to go where I was pretty sure I would find some nice images. I went to Kernersville, North Carolina and the Paul J. Criener Botanical Garden.

I had been there before. I went there last year but I didn't see a lot of color and beautiful flowers. I made the mistake of going too late in the season and most of the very impressive flowers had already reached their peak. I was not going to make the same mistake this year. Below is a video I posted on my Roger Younce Photography Youtube Channel about my trip to  Kernersville.

I highly suggest if you are near the town of Kernersville of any location with a botanical garden, I suggest you take advantage of the photo opportunity to capture a few nice images of nature. Most nature photographers are aware that there is a small window of opportunity to get great shots. To learn more about the Paul J. Criener Botanical Garden visit Paul J. Criener Botanical Garden.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

The Car Hop

Sometimes as a photographer I get lucky and get to photograph subjects that I normally don't have access to. My passion is photographing landscapes, nature, wildlife and some portrait work, but I like to try other forms of photography when I can. About 2 years ago I attended a local car show in my town. I have always like photographing old cars. On that day, I was fortunate to be able to photograph a model that was there.

While walking around the car show I noticed that a few people were gathering around a car and I became curious. My wife and I went to the location to see what all the fuss was about. It turned out that people were gathering around to watch a model get her photo taken with some old cars. I noticed a photographer taking his photos and how the photographer seemed to be working together to get a few shots. My guess was the photographer was working on some type a pin-up calendar by the way the model was dressed. Of course, I did not want to interfere with the photographer and model but I thought it would be cool get a few images of the model since she was willing to pose for the shots. She seemed to not mind other photographers taking photos of her and providing several poses for the shoot. What was cool was the photographer planned his shot very well by providing the model with a variety of nice props to use for the shoot.

What is cool about having a model is that a model is someone that willing to pose for photos. It makes taking photos so much easier for the photographer. A good model pretty much knows the shots the photographer is trying to capture and goes through a variety of poses for the photographer. I was not her photographer but it was fun to try to capture a few images as she posed for her photo session with her photographer. I call my photo of the model the "Car Hop". I don't know who the model or who the photographer was but I do appreciate them letting take my photo. I think it turned out pretty nice.

 The Car Hop

The Car Hop

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Absorb, Discard, and Add to Your Photography

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One of my favorite quotes was by the legendary Bruce Lee. His quote was “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own" The quote can apply to so many things in life and even in one's photography. When I look at the quote I see three elements that are very powerful and meaningful. When it comes to photography I like to break down the quotes into each specific element, studying them, and apply them to my life.

The first element of the quote states that one should absorb what is useful. In photography, there are so many things that a creative person can study and obtain for his or her art. However, the question is, what is useful? Of course, the answer to that question is different for each individual. I see so many photographers that fail to absorb what is really useful. They feel everything is useful or important. The reality is, not everything is useful or even important. Many times we do not need the latest and greatest equipment, gadgets, and spend money on things that do not bring true value. I have seen some photographers spend so much time and energy on nonproductive adventures and materialist items that are not helpful and bring no real or productive value to their craft. There are those that devote a great deal of money on repetitive activities that bring no real value to the development of one's photography. Some photographers equate being extremely busy and spending money on what they believe will improve their skills as a useful benefit, but in reality, it is a waste of valuable time and energy that could be used more productively. 

The second part of the quote is disregarding what is useless. I actually love that part of the quote because I am all about ridding myself of things that I find useless. Useless things could be how I spend my time and money, ineffective communications, wasteful research, interacting with unsupportive people, and trying to revive worthless past practices that really are not productive. One of my latest productive actions involves Facebook. Using Facebook as well as Instagram to market my photography products and services was a waste of time and money. I was able to see that there was no value in continuing to use the social media outlets for my business and advertise my brand. Using Facebook and Instagram was a waste of time and money. I decided to discard Facebook as a marketing tool and unpublished my Facebook page. I actually deleted many other posts about my photography business, because I realized that many people were never really interested. Of course, I don't need to waste my time on such people.

The third element consists of adding what is specifically your own. Bruce Lee was a master at that. In his martial art practice, he studied all he could from others, hacked away the things he found useless and used what he determined was useful for him.  He made his martial art practice and study uniquely his own. The art of photography is somewhat similar. A great photographer studies other artist and works hard to improve his skills. Over time, a great photographer will learn what is useless and what is useful. He or she will eliminate what is not needed and focus on what will help him or her improve their skills. By doing so, he or she is free to create more effectively. Their work becomes a part of who they are and is uniquely their own.

Bruce Lee's quote has always been a great quote I that feel it can be applied to not only in photography but in life itself. I personally do not like wasting my time, energy, money, and life on useless activities. I do enjoy ridding myself of things and people that do not help me grow. There is nothing wrong with making things in your life uniquly your own; even in your own photograpy. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

New Mabry Mill Image Added to My Gallery

I just wanted to post an announcement that a new image of the Mabry Mill is now available on my gallery. The new version was taken in early Spring in the morning. You can find out some great historical information behind the Mabry Mill by visiting "History of the Mabry Mill" website. If you love old mills like I do, checkout my mage at  "The Store". The image is available for purchase as a metallic paper print of metal print and comes in a variety of sizes. To see a full view the image just click on the image on the store page.

 The Mabry Mill

The Mabry Mill

If you have any questions about the image please feel free to contact me.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Blue Ridge Mountains Visit and My New Camera

One of my favorite places to visit is the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia. I am pretty lucky to have access to both states. For me, the drive to my nearest access to the park is about two hours away. Each year I look forward to visiting the Parkway even though I see a lot of the same locations. A lot of people may find it crazy that I go back the same locations and photograph the same sites. For me, each visit is different depending on the time of the year.

This year was different for me because I purchased a new lens and a new camera and of course, I had to test them out at the Blue Ridge Parkway. The parkway was a great place to test my lens and camera. I have access to beautiful mountains, landscapes, valleys, and historic sites throughout the Parkway. I wanted to test out my new Canon 80D and see how well the dynamic range was on the camera. I had read the dynamic range was very impressive. I was very impressed with some photos I took while on my trip.

My first stop on my 9 hour trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway was the Mabry Mill in Virginia. The Mabry Mill is one of the most photographed locations on the entire parkway. Thousands of visitor from all over the world viist the Mabry Mill each year. Below is a little history of the mill.

Around 1905 Ed and his wife Lizzie Mabry set in motion actions to realize the dream of their own gristmill.  With the help of a neighbor, Newton Hylton, they built the gristmill, waterwheel, and water supply flume system with hard work and hand tools. By 1908 the gristmill was in operation and people from as far away as eight miles were bringing their corn to be ground.  Also by this time, Ed Mabry was ready to move on to his next project which was to build a sawmill on the left side of the gristmill.  While Ed was busy building the sawmill, Lizzie took over the milling duties at the gristmill.  Many said Lizzie was the better miller of the two.  There was a problem though.  Because the streams used to supply water to the mills were small, there was not enough needed water power.  Due to the lack of water power, the process of grinding the corn at the Mabrys’ mill took longer than at some of the other nearby mills.  Mills with plenty of water power would at times grind too fast.  The resulting friction turned to heat which would then burn and scorch the cornmeal leaving it tasting bitter.  Because of the low water power problem at the Mabrys’ mill, it was known as a slow grinder.  Due to this problem, the Mabrys could not grind the corn fast, but they also never burned or scorched the cornmeal which resulted in some of the best tasting corn meal around. This news spread fast which brought many loyal customers to the Mabry’s little mill.

Soon the sawmill was finished and Ed began to build a woodworking shop on the right side of the grist mill.  This shop had a double-bladed jigsaw, a wood lathe and a tongue and groover all run by the water-powered waterwheel.  This completed the gristmill complex with the sawmill, gristmill and woodworking shop all attached.

I really enjoy photographing the mill and try to visit each year. Last year, I got a take a great photo of the mill in the winter and frozen ice was on the wheel of the mill. This year I got a great shot in early Spring. The mill opens up in later April each year. For photographers, photographing the mill can be a challenge due to crowds each year. It is good to plan your photo shoot at the mill early in the year or after late October. In late October, the mill will be closed but it is easier to photograph the mill.

 The Mabry Mill

The Mabry Mill

I was able to get a couple of other images with my new camera that shows off the dynamic range of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since it was Easter weekend I photographed this very colorful display that was positioned along the roadway. I had to stop and get the image. Last year I stopped in October and the display was covered with hay and pumpkins. This year's display featured some very colorful displays for Easter.

 Blue Ridge Parkway Easter Display

Blue Ridge Parkway Easter Display

Another great image was an image of the blue ridge mountains. I found this image fun to shoot. I wanted to capture the mountain range and the lone tree in the foreground gave the image a dramatic feel to the image. Many of the trees have so much character and a photographer could spend a week exploring just the trees along the parkway. I love the blue colors of the mountains and this photo demonstrates why the Parkway is so special.

 The Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains

I had a great time testing out my new camera and telephoto lens. I always enjoy visiting the parkway because every visit is unique. If you get a chance to visit North Carolina or Virginia, you have to take a day or two to stop and photograph the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is must-stop for any landscape photographer.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

Beautiful Looking Glass Falls

Every year I am always looking for places to visit and photograph before the crowds start arriving. I love to photograph waterfalls in North Carolina. Of course, I have my favorites. One of my favorites is Looking Glass Falls in near Asheville. It is a beautiful 60 ft waterfall and people come from all over the state to visit the waterfall. It is also a very popular summer hole for many people, including photographers. Looking Glass Falls is not like some waterfalls that are difficult to access and may require a lot of hiking. It is actually located roadside which makes it pretty easy to access. I had no problems taking my image because I chose to photograph the falls during the off-season. There was no one there. It was pretty nice to have the waterfall all to myself.

 Looking Glass Falls

Looking Glass Falls

It's pretty easy to access Looking Glass Falls by traveling on U.S. 276, Forest Heritage Scenic Byway, near Brevard in the Pisgah National Forest. To get to Looking Glass Falls, take U.S. 276 North from Brevard about six miles. Or take U.S. 276 South from the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 10 miles.

Directions from Downtown Asheville (about 36 miles): Take I-240 West / I-26 East. Continue on I-26 East to Exit 40 for Highway 280 (and the Asheville Airport). Take a right onto Highway 280 West and go 16 miles toward Brevard. As you enter the Brevard area, you will see a big shopping center on the right (with Wal-Mart). Just past the center, turn right onto US Highway 276 North (Forest Heritage Scenic Byway) to enter the Pisgah National Forest. Go 6 miles.

What is very cool about the waterfall is it is always open. If you go in the summer, be prepared to deal with the crowds. Getting a great image of the waterfall is very difficult in the summer months due to the volume of visitors at the falls. If you are a photographer that loves to photograph waterfalls in North Carolina, I highly recommend visiting Looking Glass Falls.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger