The Importance of Capturing Images of Yourself

roger self portrait.jpg

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

Remembering an Old Friend

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

Collecting Memories

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

Recording Yourself

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

Leaving Your Legacy

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

Taking Action

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

Thanking My Old Friends

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


Enhancing a Special Image for an Old Friend

One of my favorite things to do in photography is to help an old friend with an old photo. Recently, an old friend sent me an old photo he has taken and wanted to know if the image could be blown up and asked if the quality of the image good enough to have it printed so he could hang the image in his office. He stated the image meant a great deal to him so of course I wanted to help my old friend out. Below is my friends story behind the image;

On my first trip to Amsterdam last April I was able to see some great sites; the famous channels, the thousands of bicycles, buildings, tulips and of course the home of Anne Franks. But it was my excursion to the northeast town of Volendam that made the trip. Volendam is a Dutch town on the Markermeer and is well known for the colorful wooden houses, traditional clothing worn by some of the residents and the old fishing boats in the harbor. The waterfront of the town is packed with seafood vendors, souvenirs shops and restaurants and let me just say the food is awesome. After my meal, I was walking along the waterfront and I wondered what it must be like to sail the open water and what that freedom must feel like. I was also impressed with the many old fishing boats that I had seen and when I saw this particular boat pull into the harbor after a day of fishing I was struck by its beauty and elegance for its age. Much like me this ship is old and still functioning in order for that family to keep fishing. An old boat is still very much the backbone of the family so they are able to provide that daily haul of fish. I took some pictures of the boat as it pulled in because it looked cool in the lighting and moved through the water like it had a purpose. This boat reminded me that even the old have a place in the world – we just have to keep moving with a purpose.  

As I looked at the photo I felt that the image needed some work. My friend sent me an image that had been edited and it had a moody feel to it. So I decided to do some work based on what had already been done. His edited image provided me with a starting point. I knew I was going to start by using some of my favorite presets in Lightroom to begin the editing process. I like to use presets because I feel they give me a quick start to the creative process of editing an image. I have hundreds of presets and my favorite presets are those available through Sleeklens. Sleekens has a variety of great presets for just about any effect I could ask for. I started the post-processing by finding a nice moody preset that would bring out the clouds in the image. The image also needed come clarity, sharpening, exposure corrections, color enhancement, lens corrections, and leveling of the image. My friend also wanted me to suggest what would be the best size for the image. I suggested a 10x20 print so the image would not have to be cropped and so the smaller boats would remain in the image. I also suggested that the image should be printed on metallic paper to bring out the moody colors of the image, depth, and details. Below is the original image and the edited moody image. 

Original Image

Original Image

Edited Moody Image

Edited Moody Image

I truly enjoy enhancing old images. I understand that images that may not be a big deal to others are many times very special and have special meanings for others. It was an honor to help out an old friend and I believe the new and improved image will look great in his office. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce