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

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

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

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

Nifty-Fifty Day

Today I wanted to have a little fun and do shot some images with a lens that I haven't used in a while, but really love to use. I wanted to go out on this beautiful day in Jamestown North Carolina and shoot some images with my old trusty Canon EF 1.8 50mm lens. I really had no real subjects in mind for my trip into town. However, I wanted to see if I could capture any nice photos in my little town. My goal was to find some images within a 5-mile radius from my home. This time of year the trees are starting to bloom and some beautiful flowers are starting to show up. So I wanted to concentrate on those types of subjects for my images.

Anytime I shoot with my 50mm lens my main objective is to find subjects with a lot color. I love shooting with the 50mm lens because of the availability of light and the sharpness of the images the little but powerful lens gives me. Today was a pretty nice day to do a little photography. The natural light was not too harsh and there was some cloud cover. I ventured out to see if any of the local parks in Jamestown had any colorful subjects to shoot. My main objective was to locate some flowers.

I wanted to share a few images of my trip today. I was pleased with the images because I did get what I was after; color and clarity.

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Every photographer should have a nifty-fifty lens in their bag. It is one of the most useful lenses a photographer can own. Yes, the lens can make a photographer work a little harder to get a shot, but that is fine with me. My 50mm lens has no stabilization and no zoom. So it requires me to really think about my shots. I had a lot of fun shooting some nice but simple images today. I got the opportunity to put my old trusty 50mm lens on my new Canon 80D camera and capture some nice images. What a great way to enjoy a beautiful day.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

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

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

 

Does Your Photography Website Represent You

Do you have your own photography website? Does it represent you? I have always been interested in studying other photographers work and wanting to find out if their website (if they have one) represents them or does their website reflect what they feel their audience wants to see. A website can be important for any business and can be very important for photographers. Most photographers want to share their work and receive feedback from others using a variety of methods. Today, many photographers share their work on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero. Those are great advertising methods but they really don't allow others to get to know a photographer. Sadly, having a good photography website is slowly becoming a thing of the past. But, websites can be very effective if a photographer can create a website that that truly represents them. My question is, do a lot of photographers give up their creativity to please others, achieve fame, or seek to make a buck or two? I tend to notice that with many photography websites. 

What I see when reviewing a lot of photography websites is a lot of repetitive information given by photographers that is not that original. That is not really the photographer's fault. Photography information and topics can be very repetitive. Repetitive photography tips, tricks, and technological information can become very overwhelming to many people and sometimes, very boring. When having your own website it can be very easy to get hung up on repeating the same information over and over again and losing your audience on your own website. What most photographers struggle with is creating new content that is informational and entertaining while hopefully keeping an audience. Many of today's photography websites do not do that. 

In my opinion, a photographer's website can be more interesting if it can effectively represent the photographer and what he or she wants to photograph regardless of all the advice by other photographers. Some photographers say you should focus on a particular style of photography and make that one style your specialty. Some photographers say you should shoot all types of photography and be well-rounded.. I really don't follow the logic behind either view. I feel that you should photograph the type of photography you enjoy and are passionate about. I feel one's website would be more effective if more photographers would do that instead of trying to follow the same model as others. Many times being original as a photographer can be very cool and personally rewarding.

Not that my website will win any awards but I do like to create and build my website based on what I like to photograph and how I feel about photography in "my world". I like to express my views on having my own photography business. I can do that because it is my website and I can be as creative as I want to be.  I am aware of what types of photography that I don't care for or enjoy doing. If you look at my website you will not see a definite theme. My website is not technology based. I don't share a lot of tips, tricks, or gear information. I am actually all over the place. I photograph landscapes, wildlife, nature, and even biker portraits. I photograph such subjects because that is what I like and I find creatively rewarding. I don't photograph images just to please others. If others like my images, , products, services, and views, that's great. But, pleasing everyone is not my main goal. 

Trying to develop a website and a style that will please everyone is not my ultimate objective. My website reflects who I am as a photographer and as a creative person. I enjoy creating new images, styles, unique products, and services that I find fascinating and interesting. If one looks at my website one can see that it does represent me. I love to visit landscapes and photograph their beauty. I love to capture interesting images of nature. I enjoy photographing amazing animals. I am very passionate about capturing images that tell a story. I want to offer products and services that I find interesting and I believe others will too. I want to share my thoughts about photography and life in my blog to anyone that might find my views interesting. I want others feedback. Those are just a few things about my website that represents who I am and my photography journey. 

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So do you have a website that features the same information that other photographers post? Or, does your photography website reflect your style, creativity, and your uniqueness? My advice is not to follow everyone else but study them, learn from others and share yourself with an interesting website. Keep in mind anyone can build a flashing website with all types of information that is many times very repetitive. People will visit a website with a personal touch. Allow them to take a journey with a photographer. If you have a website that truly represents you, people will want to follow you on your journey. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Colors of Spring are Coming!

Well, it is that time of year when the great state of North Carolina and other surroundings states get to enjoy some much-needed rain. Some people don't like rain but I do. Rain is vital to our area producing some of the most beautiful colors in Spring. I created a simple slideshow of some my images of flowers in the Spring of last year. The images are part of my SquardUp Collection. For those that don't know, the SquardUp Collect offers some beautiful metallic prints in three sizes, 10x10, 12x12, and 16x16. Most people that purchase the SquardUp prints use them to brighten up there homes. I actually have 3 prints for my home. 

Below is my "Colors of Spring" slideshow to help get everyone pumped up for Spring. 

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 

 

 

A Beautiful Beaufort Sunset

One of my favorite things about photography is the opportunity and many times luck of capturing a photo when it was not expected. Part of capturing a great image is capturing the correct light without to use of external man-made lighting. As most photographers know the best time to capture beautiful light is usually in the morning or at sunrise. I watch a lot of photography videos and it is funny to me to see a photographer spend all day talking about capturing a great image and he or she actually waits until sunset to take the image. There is a good reason for that. Sunset can provide the best lighting for an image. 

One of my favorite images was taken on the coast of North Carolina in Beaufort, North Carolina. The image was taken right before sunset near a dock with sailboats. My original plan was to take some photos of the boardwalk and the bridge in the area. I was set to take some photos of the bridge and happened to look behind me and noticed a very beautiful yellow and golden sunset behind the sailboats. The reflexion of the boats in the water also made the view very special. I learned a long time ago to always look around for unique images. I learned to always look behind you to see if a nice image is there. Actually, some of my favorite images came from looking behind me and was not my original goal for some photoshoots. 

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The Beaufort Sunset in one of my favorite sunset images. It is not the traditional sunset image but it is very special to me. I love the boats, reflections in the water, and beautiful colors of the sky right before sunset. If you are interested in ordering a metallic paper print or metal print visit “Beaufort Sunset” on my website. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

The Little Things

Over the last few week's I have been exploring and studying other photographer's work and have become very inspired. I have seen photography videos and images showing photographers in beautiful locations all over the world. The images were amazing and I would love to have been able to travel and have the opportunity to take the same photos. Then reality set in. It got me thinking that there are many times things I can shoot that are small, beautiful,  and many times overlooked. We all have a tendency to walk right past very beautiful things with very pretty colors. This past week I set a goal to seek out photo opportunities right in my own back yard. I wanted to see if I could find colors and details in small little things that would make a great image. I wanted to also test out my new Tamron 18-400mm telephoto zoom lens. I was not disappointed. Below are a couple of photos that I shot of very small flowers found locally. I love the detail, colors, and clarity of the images. 

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The reality is, there are so many beautiful images you can shoot right at home if you can't travel. You just need to take the time and make the effort to go explore and get the shot. 

Roger Younce 

Reediting a Not-So-Old Image

As most people know I love waterfalls. I can't get enough of them. When I can't photograph a beautiful waterfall I do the next best thing; I reediting the ones I have. Today was a great day to look through some of my favorite waterfall photos to see if I could work some creative magic on an old image. I decided to work on a small but beautiful waterfall called the Mountain Meadows Falls. My objective was to use a combination of Lightroom CC and Luminar to edit the image. Here lately, I have started my editing process by beginning with Luminar. Luminar provides me with a nice baseline to start my edits. Some of the presets are great for landscapes and provides some creavity options to work with. 

Mountain Meadows Falls is a simple waterfall in North Carolina and the location provides a nice hidden type of mood to the image. I wanted to focus on the rock formations and the beautiful flowing water from the falls. After I found a nice preset in Luminar I exported the image to Lightroom and used a couple of my favorite presets from Sleeklens. Sleeklen presets are awesome and there many preset packages to choose from to get the look I wanted for the waterfall. I think the image turned out great and judging from the positive feedback from my socials media channels, the image was a hig hit.  

 

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Mountain Meadows Falls. 

Until next time, keep shooting. 

Roger  

Misty Moring at the Craggy Gardens

As a photographer it is always nice to have some type of plan when you visit a location. However, not all adventures go the way one plans. In some cases, a photo shoot can turn out to be a waste of time and no nice images are taken or the ones that are taken are terrible. But, there are those times when what one would consider a bad location can offer some amazing results even though the plan falls apart. Take for example, my recent trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, near Asheville.

My wife and I decided to get up early on the last day of our four day stay in Asheville NC and stop by a location that I had never been to before, Craggy Gardens. My objective was to photograph some flowers located on the top of the mountain at the Craggy Gardens and take a few images of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains mountain range. At the start of my trip it looked like the weather was going to be perfect. As we traveled North on the Blue Ridge Parkway the weather looked great with partly cloudy skies. There were some beautiful low line clouds over on the tops of some of the lower mountains. As we headed North the weather begin to change. The clouds and winds started to become an issue as we got closer to the mountain where the Craggy Garden was located. I began to think the trip was going to be a total waste of time. Visibility was terrible.

When I arrived at the Craggy Garden Visitor Center I was hoping to get some information on the best places to photograph the well known flowers in the area. The problem was the visitor center did not open until 10 am. We arrive at 9 am. As my wife and I sat in the car the weather seemed to be getting worse. The mist and the winds began to pick up and visibility was pretty bad. I could see about 20 yards in front of me. I wanted to venture out to see if I could find any trails that might lead me to the Craggy Garden overlook even though I knew I would not be able to get an image of the area and mountain range because of the poor weather conditions. As I ventured out to explore the area I found a trail that looked interesting and I wanted to find out where it led.

Before entering the trail head and the forest I was aware that I did not bring my camera. My plan was just explore the area in case I wanted to come back and revisit the area when the weather was better. I felt that there was no way I would be able to find anything interesting to photograph. I entered the trail with really no real expectations. As I entered the trail head I realized that the further I hiked the more interesting the location became and how the mist and clouds began to offer some interesting views of the location. The location became misty and moody and I became more excited about the location even though I forgot all about the flowers I intended to photograph. The more I explored the trail the more I knew I had found something special.

As I continued my hike I realized I had to return to my car and get my camera and return back in to locations and get as many images as I could before the scenery changed. I am so glad I did. When I returned to the trail I was so lucky to be the only one on the trail. I had the whole misty and moody location to myself. Below are two of my favorite images from my visit to Craggy Gardens. 

The Misty Craggy Garden

The Misty Craggy Garden

Into the Craggy Garden

Into the Craggy Garden

The moral of my story is never give up when you think you have nothing to photograph at a location. There is always something to photograph. If one is lucky, any unplanned or accidental adventure may provide a great image or two. I am so glad we took our trip to Craggy Gardens, It was windy and cloudy, and the weather did not cooperate but that is what made the adventure so cool. For me, the weather was perfect. 

Until next time. 

Roger 

Note: Both images are available for purchase as a metallic paper or metal print  at "The Store". 

 

Photography is All About Trying New Things

When it comes to growing as a photographer it is important to remember that you are never as talented as you think you are. Being a master photographer is not possible because being a master means you make no mistakes and requires perfection, which doesn't exist. Talented photographers want to become better at their craft. Growing as a photographer requires the willingness to try new things. Trying new things can mean trying new gear, learning from others, learning new techniques, using new software, taking an adventure, etc...Basically, trying new things can be an endless task and that is alright. It is all about the journey and the destination is just a bonus. 

In my journey as a photographer I have realized that I make a lot of mistakes and I know very little about photography. Do I want to know everything about photography? The answer to that is, no. What I do know is I enjoy learning new things and trying to make my old work better. Believe me, I really hate a lot of my old images. I look back at my images and can see just how terrible my photos were. I am glad that I am able to see some improvements of my work every year. The key for me is to keep shooting, try new things, and learn from my mistakes. 

In a recent photo shoot at Hanging Rock State Parkway in North Carolina I wanted to see if I could get a better image of the Lower Cascade Falls. I have been there several times and I really enjoy visiting the waterfall. However, I have never really liked the images I had taken there in the past. My goal was to take several images of the waterfall and try some new workflow ideas with the newest images. I had a pretty good idea or what style of image I want to create. However, as with all my post processing sessions, I have no idea how the photo is really going to come out. For me, that is the fun part. 

The Lower Cascade waterfall is a small one but the amount of water was very good due to recent heavy rains. I wanted to get to the waterfall before the visitors started showing up and trying to swim at the base of the falls. You can see by the image that the waterfall has a lot of rocks that visitors love to climb, which is not a very smart idea. Luckily for me, the water was too cold and no one wanted to take a quick dip.

I decided to take most of my gear in my new camera bag and my tripod for the shoot. I wanted to make sure I had all the gear I needed for any shot. I took a variety of shots but my composition choices were limited. I was able to get a couple of nice images I could work with. After returning home, my objective was to work on a completely different workflow to see if I could produce a better image than I had taken before. That is the trying new things part.

Part of trying new things in photography for me consisted of doing some irregular post processing. I shoot all my images in RAW and on this occasion I did some bracketing. My post processing consisted of using Lightroom, Photomatic and presets from Sleeklens. I am a big fan of presets and collect as many as I can. Presets saves me a lot of time in processing and gives me a great baseline start to work with. For my image I used bracketed photos of the waterfall, used Photomatic to get a slight HDR effect and then applied a nice preset. My goal was to create an image that had an artistic feel to it. I wanted clarity, sharpness, and color. Below is the before and after photos of the Lower Cascade WaterFall. The first image is straight out of the camera with no possessing. The after photo was the look I was going for.  As far as I am concern it turned out pretty nice.

Lower Cascade Falls (Before)

Lower Cascade Falls (Before)

Lower Cascade Falls (After)

Lower Cascade Falls (After)

Photography is all about trying new things and finding out what works for you and your style. I feel one should work on developing a style that is all your own and never listen to critics. Better yet, don't be a critic. I feel it is very important to continue to learn something new whenever you can. You never know how much better you will be next year by trying something new, so keep shooting.

Roger