Choosing to Live in a Little Home

Just recently, I had the opportunity to interview a couple in Hickory NC. Kevin and Carolyn Turner have a little home that I really wanted to photograph and do some videos of their residence. I wanted to interview them and find out what it was like to live in such a small home. Their little home is not much bigger than what is called a "tiny house" these days. The Turners were very nice and it was a pleasure to find out why they chose to live in such a small home. Their home is very nice and I could see the attraction of living in a small home. If you have ever considered living in a small home you may find my interview with the Turners very informative. Enjoy the interview.

Using a Drone For Commercial Use and The Importance of Using a Certified Drone Pilot

Today more and more businesses are using drones to survey all types of locations. According to Geospatial World, “There is an aerial revolution happening across the globe. Drones have emerged as a highly viable commercial tool with applications in numerous sectors, most notably, construction. This isn’t surprising, as their benefits range from on-site safety to a level of project monitoring which wasn’t previously possible”. Today photographers are using commercial and non-commercial drones to survey all types of sites.

Recently, I visited a construction site in Jamestown North Carolina and did some surveying of my own. In Jamestown, major road construction is ongoing and the road construction is massive. I was interested in knowing how much progress was made on the new road. I could see locations were the road was being built but I wanted to see the true progress of the road construction. However, getting a true representation of how much had been completed required the use of my DJI Mavic Pro drone.

Using a drone to fly over a construction site is not so easy. If you do it right and understand the does and don’t when it comes to FAA regulations you will be fine. If you don’t understand the FAA drone regulations or you are not a certified FAA drone pilot doing commercial work you can be hit with some pretty steep fines. One of the reasons why I feel it is important to become a certified FAA drone pilot is that is important to understand how to legally fly a drone. Commercial drone operators must comply with restrictions and understand how and when drones may be used. The FAA prohibits drones being flown:

  • outside of the operator’s visual line of sight

  • when visibility is less than three miles

  • at night

  • less than 500 feet below a cloud or within 2,000 feet horizontally from a cloud

  • directly over people not directly participating in the drone’s operation

  • higher than 400 feet above either ground level or a structure, whichever is higher; and

  • without permission in controlled airspace

I find there are many uses for flying a drone and being a certified FAA drone pilot can be profitable. To learn more about flying a drone or if you are in need of an FAA-certified drone pilot, contact me. Maybe, I can help.

Until next time!

Roger

Capturing the Moody in Photography

One of my favorite things about photography and capturing a great image is being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. I also like to hear about what is takes to capture a great image that has a moody feel to it. In this post I will let you know what it took to get one of my favorite images of a farm in North Carolina. I call the image “Storming Morning on the Farm”.

Morning Storm on the Farm

Morning Storm on the Farm

A few years ago I had to travel to a location to work about an hours drive from my home. I had to make the trip ten straight days. Along my route I had the joy of seeing different landscapes, including country sides, and farms. While on my drive I was looking for potential photograph opportunities. The only site that interest me was a small farm off the main road. I was interested in farm, building, and landscape surrounding it. I loved the way the farm was secluded from the surrounding area. I was taken by the composition and the surrounding elements of the location.

Each day I traveled by the old farm I told myself I was going to stop and get an image of the farm. For nine days, I did not. I was lazy and kept telling myself I would get it later. Finally, on the tenth day, I knew I had to get the shot no matter the conditions. On the final day, I did stop. Once I stopped, I realized the conditions were worsening due to an approaching storm entering the area. The cloud cover was low, and dark, and the rain began to fall. At one point, I figured the photo would be terrible due to the conditions. However, I continued to get as many images as I could before the conditions got too harsh.

Little did I know the conditions played a major role in capturing the moody of the day. The clouds and rain provided me a photo that I could have not gotten nine straight days earlier. I was very lucky to get the photo of the old barns and farmland. I did not get the shot I originally wanted. I got the shot I was unknowingly hoping for. I was so glad I stopped.

Until next time!

Roger

Capturing Images of The Carolina Field of Honor

One of the best things about being a photographer and someone who loves to capture images using a drone is visiting unique locations. Some people don’t realize some of the best locations are within in an hour of their homes. One such place is the Carolina Field o Honor in Kernersville North Carolina. In this post I want to cover what is the Carolina Field of Honor and about my experience was in capturing images from the location.

What is the Carolina Field of Honor

The Carolina Field of Honor has several functions for it’s visitors, but the main function is the veteran’s memorial. The veteran’s memorial was officially dedicated back on Memorial Day in 2014. The memorial’s main function is to serve as tribute to fallen service members of the armed forces. The memorial is an important part of not only the town of Kernersville, but also for other surrounding counties and even the state of North Carolina.

Why I Chose to Photograph The Carolina Field of Honor

I had visited the Carolina Field of Honor not long after is was officially opened in 2014. I had seen some images of the memorial on different websites and social media outlets. To me, there was not enough images of the Carolina Field of Honor Memorial location.I felt the memorial needed more visual imagery to showcase it importance for the communities and help visitors not forget our fallen heroes. I wanted to create not only photographs of the structures, but I wanted to provide aerial imagery of the memorial.

Getting Drone Footage at the Carolina Field of Honor Memorial

Prior to visiting the memorial I did my research and found that taking photos of the memorial was not going to be too difficult. I chose a day when I felt the site would have few visitors. I chose the middle of the week when not only fewer people would be there but kids would be in school. Schools love to take students there to show the kids the memorial and explain the reason why the memorial was built. One the day of my photo shoot, no kids visited the site. That was a great thing for me because I had the entire memorial to myself. For a photographer, that is awesome!

As part of my planning, I had to find out if I could fly my drone at the site. As a FAA certified drone pilot I understood there are steps you have to take to find out if you can legally fly at a location. Many people that are not FAA certified do not understand the rules for flying a drone and that the FAA can fine them if rules are not followed. I had no desire to have the FAA fine me. So I did my research.

AirMap App

AirMap App

Part of my research was to find out if I could fly my drone so I could get some drone footage. I used a very useful app called AirMap to determine where restricted areas are anytime I go to a location to fly my Mavic Pro drone. While visiting the location I found out I was slightly within restricted airspace of the Triad Park where the Carolina Field of Honor is located. I first thought I may not be able to fly the drone. However, in some cases, a drone pilot can request a waiver from the FAA to fly in a restricted airspace. In most cases, getting approval could take 90 days. However, at the Triad Park, I was fortunate to be able to request a limited temporary waiver while I was onsite using the Airmap app. I requested a one hour flight time and the permission to fly up to 400 feet. For those of you that may not realize it, 400 feet is the limit drone pilots can fly. After getting the permission to legally fly my drone I took the air to get a few pass over shots of the memorial.

it was a lot of fun to be able to capture images and video of the Carolina Field of Honor. As a photography and a drone photographer it was a way for me to help remind people of the veteran’s memorial in Kernersville and why they should visit the Carolina Field of Honor.

To learn more about the Carolina Field of Honor visit Carolina Field of Honor website.

Until next time!

Roger

Social Media Platforms Vs Having Your Own Website

Facebook-Twitter-Instagram

As most people know that read my blog regularly, I am not a real fan of social media platforms even though they are extremely popular in our society today. Just because a social media platform is popular doesn't mean it has real value. Three of the most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In this post, I want to express my views on the three platforms and explain why having your own website can be much more beneficial for one's business and even one's personal life. But first, I want to share my views on the top three social media platforms.

FACEBOOK

One of the biggest social media platforms is Facebook. Facebook has been around for a long time and over the years has had its problems with security issues, privacy issues, content bias, and poor leadership in how the platform was being run. I remember back in the day when the use of Facebook was fairly innocent. Families and friends could post articles and express themselves on a regular basis. It was fun. But today Facebook has become a platform to post content that is, in my opinion, brings no real value to my life, especially if I want to use it for my business or to advertise my content and brand. It is not a place to express one's thoughts, ideas, and creative processes. It is limited and greatly controlled. Post on Facebook is never current. Think about it. Have you ever liked a post on Facebook and went back to find a post a week or later and it took you forever to find it? That can be very frustrating and total waste of my time.

If you are a creative person who likes to express yourself, Facebook is not a great place to do that. You are limited by what you can put on Facebook. Besides, most people are not going to read a long article listed in a post on Facebook. Facebook is not made for that. Thankfully, one can visit an external link on Facebook if Facebook does not block it. Depending on who reviews content, information is routinely blocked by Facebook. They can do that. It is their platform. I understand why content may need to be controlled, but I don't like the idea of someone else deciding what should be controlled and limited when it comes to my content. With my own domain, I get to decide what content can be posted, when it can be posted, and how much. As the owner of my site, I am in control.

Facebook is a good platform if you want to see what others are doing and to be kept updated with friends and family. However, it is also a place to waste a lot of time and energy on mindless content. Facebook is also a place to be bombarded with advertising you really don't need or want. If you have your own website, there is no advertising that needs to be ignored or blocked. Better yet, with your own website, you can put as much advertising as you want for free.

Facebook does have some useful attributes but for me, it is a waste of time, energy, money, and productivity. If I want to hear from family and friends, I can always pick up the phone and communicate as we did back in the good old days. There is nothing truly social about Facebook in my opinion.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is a different beast from Facebook. Where Facebook provides you with the ability to post more content, Instagram is all about photos, favoriting post, likes, and followers. If you have the need to be liked and followed it is the place for you. But not for me. I do enjoy the ability to get feedback on the content I post. When I post a photo on Instagram I am looking for feedback and not likes or followers. I could care less about how many followers I get and I am not going to buy followers and many Instagram user do. Like Facebook, Instagram can present the illusion that people on Instagram are popular and successful, but the reality is many are not. I have followers on Instagram. Do I personally know them? No, I do not. Are they real? I have no idea. Do I care? Not really. That is why I do not spend too much of my time on Instagram. Instagram, like Facebook, provides me with no real value in my business and personal life. However, if you like to spend most of your day looking at other photos, it is the place to be. For me, I would rather be out taking the photos.

As for me posting content on Instagram, I am limited. I cannot post active links to my Instagram post. No one is going to copy a link I post on an Instagram feed to get to my website no matter what click bate image I use for a photo. Having to copy a link is too much trouble and a waste of others time they are not going to do it. However, Instagram is good for posting images. As a photographer, I like that. What I don't like is how the quality of my photos are presented on Instagram. As a photographer, I want to present my images that I may want to sell in the best possible way. Facebook and Instagram are not the best resources for showcasing my images. By using my website, I can present my images more effectively.

Instagram is a better platform than Facebook in my opinion. Facebook, in my opinion, is losing ground in the social media platform arena. Instagram is growing more in popularity for the masses, but I am becoming less-and-less a fan. I can post photos on Instagram, but I can't post my content. For example, even with this post, I would not be able to express myself or provide information the way I would like on Instagram. Instagram was not created to do that. Instagram has limits. Limitations are not a good thing for a creator. That is why I rarely use Instagram today. I prefer my own website with no limitations.

TWITTER

Oh, Twitter. How I hate Twitter. Of the main three social media platforms, I hate Twitter the most. The reason is that Twitter over the years has become a place where a lot of people like to complain, harass, attack others, and post some of the most useless information on the Internet. I rarely visit Twitter or post there. If I do, I post on photography related topics. I do have followers and I follow a selected few. In other words, I don't follow or care about others that don't have similar interest. I don't care about retweets or random followers. I do enjoy blocking followers that want to follow me and really don't know me. Blocking Twitter followers in one of my favorite activities when I do go on Twitter. I do have to give Twitter a couple of thumbs up. Twitter has increased its character length and allows me to use hashtags. But most importantly, it allows me to create active hyperlinks for my website. So I can redirect people to my site. Which is where I want my followers, customers, and future subscribers to go. The goal for me is to redirect my visitors to my website. As I mentioned earlier, I hate Twitter.

WHY I LIKE HAVING MY OWN WEBSITE

There are a variety of reasons why I enjoy having my own website over using social media platforms to distribute my content. One of the main reasons is I like owning my own website. I am the owner. By being the sole owner I get to create my own content. I get to decide what I want to put on the website, how much, the design of the site, who can post to it, when I want to post information, and I can express what information is important to me. I get to share my interest with others and hopeful, over time, meet others who share the same passions. If I want to advertise anything I can do it and it requires no additional cost to me. I can get analytical data, reports, site activity information and even sell my products online. I am the creator of my website and that is very important to me.

Having my own website allows me to build my own brand. I understand that building my own brand takes focus and time. It is a process. If you took a hard look at many successful creators, you will find they have developed there own brand and utilizing a great website helped them do it over time. Building my own brand is a continuing process and over time my brand, views, and photography business may change. That is okay with me. I like "change". I like the journey and looking forward to new experiences over time.

Owning my website allows me to be more creative with no limitations like having to adjust to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter company policies. I get to be creative in what I want to develop as far as information, products, and additional content. As a creator, it is important to have no limitations. Creators who are limited cannot create or express themselves when using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When using any of the three social media platforms, creators can only provide a snapshot of their ideas during a specific moment in time. Over time, their information gets lost within the garbage the social media platforms collect and propagandizes.

Another important reason that I like having my own website is I have the ability to collect feedback on my website. I can collect and review productive feedback for others. I also have the ability to control feedback that is useless. For example, I can review feedback before it is posted to my website. I get to choose if I want the feedback to be public. On many social media platforms you don't have to the ability to remove replies from trolls that love to post stupid replies to get attention. By having my website, I get to decide if the feedback provided within the post will benefit others in their growth as a creator. My goal for my website is to build a great community. I cannot do that on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It may sound like having my own website sounds like having the power to control others. It is not. Having my own website allows me the ability to control what information I allow in my life without being limited by others. Trolls are not allowed on my website. Just the "Cool Kids".

If you don't have your own website and have considered it before, I suggest you go for it. Having your own website can be a learning process but well worth it over-relying on social media sites and apps to share your thoughts, ideas, and views. My advice is if you are considering getting your own website (I use Square Space), do your research, buy your own domain, evaluate your website features, and then get to work. It can be a lot of fun.

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

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. 

Jamestown-flag-ceremony-northcarolina-event-holidary-memorial-flag-veteran-veterans-crowd-community

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. 

Jamestown-flag-ceremony-northcarolina-event-holidary-memorial-flag-veteran-veterans-

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

Drone Photography Can Be Fun and Profitable

In the photography world, today drone images and drone video images have become more popular. It takes a skill drone pilot get great images. I am not talking about the person in their backyard trying to fly their homemade drone and hoping they don't crash it or hit someone. I am talking about photographers that are looking for unique images that have a totally different perspective than the traditional photography and videos that are shot from ground level. 

As I fly my DJI Phantom 3 drone more and more I truly appreciate the images that come from the drone. I have the option to shoot nice still images with the drone. More impressive is the quality of the video footage from the drone. When I fly my drone I make it a point to capture still images and video footage during every photo shoot. I want to get a unique view of my subjects. Just recently I flew my drone in High Point NC with my son, Jordan Younce. He is a very talented drone pilot, photographer, videographer, and photographer trainer. I learn a great deal from him during our photoshoots. He and I went into downtown High Point NC to shoot some videos and stills with our drones. He was working on a drone video series for his company and I was just wanting to shoot some drone footage to improve my drone skills. My other objective was to get images I could use for future advertising. 

During my flights, I was able to capture a couple of unique images from downtown High Point. I captured some overhead footage of a nice business building, a new construction site, and a video of a small portion of downtown High Point. Drone photography provides me with an opportunity to look for images that I cannot get when doing my normal photography. I actually get pretty excited when I see what I can actually photograph or video from hundreds of feet above me. Below are a few images I captured;

Aerial View of Downtown High Point in North Carolina

Aerial View of Downtown High Point in North Carolina

Aerial View of Downtown Construction in High Point North Carolina.

Aerial View of Downtown Construction in High Point North Carolina.

Drone photography can open up a whole new world for photographers. It can be a little expensive to get started. Of course, you need a decent drone and it is very important to get FAA drone certified. Getting FAA certified opens up more opportunities for a drone pilot. It is also important to know that to fly commercially in the United States, all drone pilots that offer commercial services as a business have to be certified. Believe me, the FAA is continually looking for individuals that violate that policy. Youtube has many videos of drone pilots that have been slapped with fines for improper drone uses and safety violations. 

It takes patience and most of all practice when flying any drone. The last thing you want to do is crash your new drone or even worse, hurt someone because you don't have the skills to fly a drone. Drone photography is not that easy. Just search on Youtube for "Drone Fails" and you will see what I mean. I do not regret getting into drone photography. It opens up new opportunities for me and I can provide new services to my clients and customers. There are businesses that need certified drone photographers and videographers. So, why not provide those services to them. As a photographer, I don't understand why I would not want to do that. 

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

travel-dock-pier-sunrise-photography-photographer-carolina-beach-rogeryouncephotography-ocean-morning-water-youtube-vlog-vlogging-southport-island-roger-younce-blogger-blog-blogging

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

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

Planning a Biker Portrait Photo Shoot

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It is that time of year again to start planning for some awesome portrait sessions. I love this time of year. It gives me a chance to enjoy being outside and shooting all types of photography. One of my favorite types of photography is portraits even though I don't do too many session throughout the year. I am mainly a landscape, nature, and wildlife photographer, but I do like to challenge myself to shoot all types of photography (except diva weddings). That is why photography is fun, but yet a challenge. A good photographer and creative person understand they have to step out of their comfort zone to grow as an artist. Sometimes that can be difficult for some photographers. 

One of my favorite types of photo shoots this time of year are biker portrait photo shoots. I love to photograph bikers because the portrait sessions allow me to be more creative and work harder to come up with a unique image that a client or customer will enjoy and want to share with others. Since I do not have the luxury of a fancy studio I have to be a little more creative in where, how, and when I shot my biker portraits. Biker photo shoots require me to do scouting for unique locations and many times the location is selected based on the biker, the bike, and the overall objective of the what would make a great and unique biker portrait image. 

Things that I have to take into consideration is finding the right location or scene I need for my biker portraits. Lighting is very important for all my photo shoots and can be a challenge. I like to use natural lighting for all my outdoor photo shoots. I have to consider the time of the shoot, shadows, and the weather conditions. Permission to shoot at a location is very important and it is important for me to a little planning to get permission from an owner of a property before my planned photo shoots. I have found that is always a great idea to find different locations to shoot in case my original location will not pan out. It is not uncommon to have to switch locations for biker photo shoot. Sometimes, switching location is needed to get a particular shot you cannot get at a single location. 

I will have an opportunity to conduct a biker photo shoot with a great guy. I will call him, "Buster". Buster and I met to have a discussion about his biker photo shoot. It is always a great idea when planning a biker photo shoot to sit down with your client to discuss the plan for the photo shoot and work out any details like what to bring to photo shoot like props, clothing, gear, and equipment. I find it is a good idea to discuss what the plan is for the photo shoot and work out any details that might be misunderstood. When I conduct any photo shoot it is very important to work out the details of how the photos will be used and to get a signed photo release contract signed. Many photographers fail to do that and that can sometimes be something one may regret later on. 

As or 10 am today, I receive confirmation from the owner of the property I want to do the photo shoot on Friday afternoon. So as for now the next biker shoot with Buster is a "go". More to come...

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce 

 

 

I Finally Got the Chance to Photograph Linville Falls!

Well, I finally got the opportunity to photograph the Linville Falls in North Carolina. It is hard to believe I live in North Carolina and haven't photographed the falls before now. I have been through the area many times and never had the chance or time to visit one of the most photographed waterfalls located on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. The Linville Falls located near milepost 316.4 or about 66 miles from Asheville North Carolina. There are a variety of locations to photograph the falls but I was looking to photograph the falls from a familiar location to others that have photographed the falls before. 

When I arrived the visitors center was closed and there were a few people there. After doing a little exploring of the area map my wife and I started our hike. The hike to the spot I wanted to photograph the falls was not very far from the visitors center. Actually, it was only about a mile to the overlook I wanted to do the photoshoot. The overlook I chose to photograph the falls is called the Chimney View. The Chimney View Overlook would allow me to photograph the upper falls and the lower falls. The view also had some very nice cliffs. So, I knew from some of the photos I had seen before online, that was the location I needed to find. 

One of the main things I wanted to do was to experiment with my new Tamron 18-400mm lens and see how well I could zoom into the waterfall. I had seen many other photos of the Linville Falls that were taken from the Chimney View Overlook and many of them were taken from a distance. I wanted to see how well I could zoom in with my new Tamron zoom lens. I was very impressed with how well I could zoom into specific spots throughout the scene. Having a new zoom lens for such a shoot provided me with a variety of options to find specific shots and allowed me to be a little more creative and seek out unique compositions. End the end, I found that a vertical shot of the upper and lower falls was my best option. 

I was very happy with the photo I got from the Linville Falls. It was nice to finally get the shot that I wanted to get for several years. In the end, it was all worth the wait. If I had taken the same shot without my Tamron lens, I would not be able to get the shot I got. Sometimes waiting for the right time is worth the wait. 

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If you ever get a chance to photograph the Linville Falls, I suggest to select a time in the middle of the week and not wait until the peak season. Even in the middle of February, the place got pretty crowded and the Chimney View Overlook is pretty small and it will be difficult to set up your gear to get a great shot. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce 

Why Do Photographers Do What They Do?

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Have you ever wondered why people like to do photography? I am always been fascinated by why people like to take photographs or shoot video. It is fun to explore why some people find photography and videography so interesting. Some people love the artistic aspect of the two mediums. Some people are very creative and like to create new things and share their work with others. Many people get into photography and videography because they want to make money and want to do it as a business venture. Of course, there are many other reasons. 

For me, it is all about capturing life and in a way, leaving a legacy after I am long gone. Many years ago, I started taking photos to capture special events. Some of the photos I have taken over the last 40 years are some of the most important treasures of my life and the images are priceless to me. I have always enjoyed taking photos and shooting video. While on a cruise, my wife and I met an interesting couple who we had dinner with one night. I got into a discussion with the husband who was an amateur photographer. He and I talked about photography and I was fascinated in hearing how much he enjoyed photography. He told me he takes hundreds of photos where ever he went. My wife picked up on the fact he had a nice looking camera that was much better than mine and said: "you like to take photos, so we need to get you a better camera". My wife understood that I enjoyed not only taking photos of interesting locations, but I loved to take photos that had special meaning to me. From the beginning, it was all about the moment and the ability to capture special memories and preserving past images of not only my life but the lives of others. As I get older, my passion for capturing memories and special moments continue to be my main reason for taking photos and shooting video. My passion for photography is not understood by many people like family and friends. I tend to drive a lot of family members and friends crazy.

As my photography journey has grown I realized that the more I studied the art of photography and how important video could be, I have learned I could do more and I am not limited to one specific form of photography. I have learned over the years that I do not need to learn everything about all forms of photography. I have learned that there are some forms of photography I do not like to do. For example, I love to shoot landscapes, wildlife, nature, simple portraits, couples, etc... However, I have learned I have no desire to shoot weddings all day. I don't want the hassle of shooting a wedding or dealing with the drama and stress of shooting such events. That is why I love to shoot landscapes so much; mountains don't talk back and I don't have to please a landscape. 

It is important to learn what motivates you and to learn what you really love to do regarding photography. The art of photography is a creative journey that is unique to each photographer or videographer. It is a never-ending journey that never ends because there is so much to learn and the art of photography continues to evolve very quickly. That is a good thing. 

Whatever your passion or reason for doing photography is, continue to develop your skills each day.  There are so many ways to improve one's photography skills. The first step is to find your passion, and go for it. That is what great photographers tend to do. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce