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

Understanding Your Drones Capabilities

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

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

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

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

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Photographers Who Inspire Me

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

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

Nick Page

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

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

Thomas Heaton

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

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

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Brendon Porter and Aaron King (Photog Adventures)

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

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

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

Jordan Younce

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, keep shooting! 

Roger

Drone Images of the Furniture Land South Building

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

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

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

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

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Real Estate Photography

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Capturing a Unique Image

As a photographer, it always fun to experiment with all types of images. By experimenting, it allows a "creative" photographer to try new things. I love to photograph landscapes, nature, and wildlife, but I also enjoy capturing unique portrait images. One of my favorite portrait images came from a visit I had the honor to go to in North Carolina. The event is only held in October and getting tickets is very hard to do. I was lucky because I knew someone that had connections that could get me in the event. I was told the event featured an environment created to represent a special place in history. I love attending such events because it allows a great opportunity to capture unique images of the past. 

The Lady on the Porch

The Lady on the Porch

During my visit to the historical event, I was fortunate to see players that represented individuals of the past. The players walked around the site and portrayed their characters very well. I was able to photograph soldiers, adults, children, a schoolhouse the children, animals, old buildings, and unique and historic items from the past. However, my favorite image came from two women who simply sat outside a cabin on the porch. When I saw the two women in their costumes I knew I had to get the shot. Not only was the setting great the women played their characters with no regard to the people around them. The image of the lady I captured was very special to me becuase the lady was willing to work and pretend I was not around. However, the best thing she did for me was to pose for me. When I started to take the shot, she actually stopped sewing until I got the shot. I loved that about her. I knew immediately what I was going to do with the image. I wanted to create an image that looked like a painting. I wanted to create a feel for the image and the feeling had to represent the past. The image is called the "Lady on the Porch" and is one of my favorite portraits. 

For me, photographing a variety of subjects only makes me a better photographer. Photography can allow all photographers to shoot a variety of subjects and situations. I personally cannot understand why any photographer would ever become bored and say there is nothing to photograph. There is always something to photograph. I love to photograph all types of subjects and events, except for weddings. I do not have the patience for weddings. However, I do respect those that do. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

A Photographer's Life Should Be All About Balance

Let's face it, photography is a lot of fun and a true passion for many of us. Most photographers love to travel and go see unique places and they sacrifice a great deal to get some amazing images. However, I have noticed a negative trend from some photographers that I enjoy following today. I have noticed a trend where some photographers are trying to do too much, too quickly. One travel photographer that I follow plans to do some meet ups as he travels across the United States and leaves for Europe. That sounds exciting but he plans to do about 8 to 10 "meet-ups in 4 days. Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy meeting up with other photographers to get some great shots but after about 2 days I would enjoy sleeping more. 

Some of the photographers I follow are young men and women and are much younger than I am and can go “non-stop”. At one time in my life, I was one of those people. I felt I was unstoppable and I would be that way forever. I was a little mistaken. Over the last couple of years, I have followed several photographers and their journeys and I have really enjoyed watching them capture great images, travel to unique locations, and tell their stories of their adventures. Their journeys and adventures are very inspiring and entertaining. But, I wonder is there a price they may pay in the future for the amount of time, money, and energy that they put into their craft. I see photographers that travel very heavily to get unique images and frankly, I don’t see how they can afford it. I see photographers spending a great deal of money on equipment and gear they I guess they really can’t afford. I see photographers that devote more time to their photography than they do their own families and friends. That is not a good thing. 

In my opinion, there has to be a balance between one’s love for photography and other more important things in life. It is not a good thing to concentrate on one thing. If you do, you miss out on other important things in your life like family and friends. I feel that some photographers try to do too much and they will eventually burn themselves out. That could be avoided if they work smarter and not harder. In my opinion, understanding the importance of balance comes with age and maturity. 

What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Never Stop Learning!

I have always been someone that likes to study others and try to figure out how those that are skilled in a particular art become so highly skilled in their craft. What I have noticed is that many outstanding photographers seem to have a couple of unique qualities; a desire to learn more and drive to become better at their craft. What I have also noticed is great photographers are never really satisfied with their work. I know for me, I continually go back and work on old photos that I took many years ago. I want to make them better. By the way, if you want to go back and work on old images, make sure you shoot in RAW.

It all goes back to never stop learning. For photographers, it is much easier today to improve one's skills. I continually seek to study other photographers to get inspriation and to find out how they created a beautiful or unique image. Today there are so many great photographers who specialized in a variety of styles and I really enjoy that. I enjoy studying photographers who specialize in nature, landscape, and wildlife photography. I even look at wedding photographers work even though I have no desire to photograph a wedding. I don't have the patience for that. For me, it is all about learning and I learn a great deal from other photographers. They do inspire me to do better. 

I have found that a great resource for learning and improving my photography skills is through the use of Youtube. Today, photographers on Youtube provides so much information on products, equipment, software, tips and tricks, webinars, online classes, free tutorials, and so much more. Just this morning I found some great tips and tricks I could use when using Lightroom. The video was from photographer Jamie Windsor who demonstrated 10 great Lightroom features that I could use in the future to help me with my post processing workflow. If you would like to see the video check it out at 10 Lightroom Features Tips. They are pretty cool and can be very useful.

For me, photography is an art form that has no ending and I will never learn everything about photography and that is great. For me, my journey in photography keeps me wanting to learn more and to find out how much I can improve my skills. I have seen over the last few years that my photography has greatly improved. I look back at the images and I had taken in the past and they really were pretty bad compared to what I do now. I want to improve my skills as a photographer. I know to do that requires me to never stop learning and enjoy my journeys as a photographer. That starts will a continued desire and a strong drive to learn more.

Until next time, keep shooting! 

Roger Younce

Sometimes You Have to Go Back

As a photographer, I have not always liked the photos I have taken. I actually delete a lot of my photos and I am not one to keep thousands of photos that I will never use. Telling people I have thousands of photos is not a "badge of honor" for me. To me, I would rather have 100 great photos than 10,000 worthless photos. As I sometimes review my past images I have a great desire to go back and conduct another photo shoot at the same location. I want to see if I can produce a much better image than the last time. In most cases, I do.   

One reason I am able to create a better image is through the process of time, study and experience. I look back at some of my old images and I have to admit, most were not that great by my standards. Luckily for me, my standards have improved and that is a good thing. I have learned more about photography over the years. I have learned more about my camera, composition, lighting, post processing and how to use some important accessories like filters. My photography has improved because I have taken a more proactive approach to studying other photographers work, listen to photography podcast and even taken advantage of a endless access to photography channels using Google and YouTube

What I have learned over time is sometimes I have to take the time to look back at my work and ask myself, can I do better with the knowledge and experience I have now, and can I capture a better image I can be satisfied with? The answer to that question for me is, yes and no. Yes, I can create a better image and no, I will probably never be really satisfied. If I was satisfied I would not try to improve my photography skills even more. That would not be a good thing. Let's face it, most photographers are never really satisfied with their images. 

For me, I will be going back to some locations to get a better image. I have actually started creating a list of places I need to go back and visit for another photo shoot. I need to. Frankly, I am tired of looking at the same old images and the ones that are not up to my standards. The only way to get a better image is go back and do it all over again. Not as a task I feel I have to complete, but as one I want to complete for myself. So, if you find yourself not liking your old images or tired of look at images you took years ago, think about going back to some old previous visited locations to get more images. It may do your photography soul some good. 

Roger's Tip: Stop telling yourself you need to take more photos. Tell yourself, I will go get more photos. 

Until next time, keep shooting,  

Roger