photographer

The Internet Can Be a Waste of Time for Many Creatives

I have a question for my fellow photographers, videographers, and creatives. Do you feel there is too much of the same content on the Internet and it is continuously being rehashed over and over again? I do. I see the same content repeated by many people on all types of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, personal and commercial websites, and my favorite, Youtube.

In my opinion, there is really no real content that is unique. The same information is being regurgitated over and over again and packaged as being new. Take for example, if you search on how to take a photo? If you search on that simple topic you receive dozens of links to videos, websites, and pretty famous photographers that repeat the same information. I find it a bit interesting how many hours and days a person invest in reading and viewing the same content and not really producing a unique image. For me, looking over the same content no matter the resource is a waste of valuable time.

I enjoy what the Internet has to offer to me. I have learned a lot of great information when researching a particular topic. I also have caught myself wasting a lot of hours and days looking at the same content hoping to find something totally new. Basically, I wasted a lot of my time when I could have been out producing and creating new content.

Dave Morrow

Dave Morrow

For me, I enjoy studying great creators that provide content that is original. Some great creators understand the importance of being unique and actually get really bored recreating the same old content in a different package. No matter how you present the same material, you haven't produced anything new. One Youtuber I find interesting is Dave Morrow. He is a landscape photographer that ventures into the wilderness on hikes that last weeks. He does not waste a lot of time on social media sites, does little post processing, and provides content that is us unique and very interesting. For him, it is all about the journey and not producing the same old content. I like that.

So, do you find the same information on the Internet useful or a total waste of time? Do you find yourself wasting your time looking over the same old content? Let me know your thoughts. I would love to find out what you think.

Until next time!

Roger

Real Estate Shoot in Greensboro...Carroll Bellemeade Apartments

Shooting real estate can be a lot of fun and a bit of a challenge. Recently, I took a trip the Greensboro North Carolina to do a little real estate photography. One of the locations I chose was in downtown Greensboro. I wanted to shoot a very nice apartment complex called the Carrol Bellemeade Apartments. I really like the look of the apartments. I liked the design the color scheme and the exterior layout of the apartments. I wanted to get a overview shot of the apartments and I chose to shoot from a roof top of a nearby parking garage. The parking garage would give me the shot I was looking for. Even through the apartments are still under construction they are at still a great piece of real estate to photograph.

The Carrol Bellemeade Apartments are luxury apartments according the their website, Carroll Bellemeade Apartments. To learn more checkout their website. The interior photos of the apartments look very nice.

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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

Choosing the Right Tripod For the Job

When it comes to selecting a good tripod it can be a little confusing. All tripods are not the same and selecting one may come down to what you need to shoot. In this post, I want to go over some of the most common types of tripods. I own all these types of tripods and use them regularly. When I use them depends on the shoot, the camera, the lens I use, and most importantly the types of images I want to capture. Let's look at the most popular types of tripods that you may want to consider for your photo shoots.

Ball Head

The ball head tripod is a very popular tripod for many photographers. It is my go-to tripod because the flexibility it provides me during a photo shoot. Have a rotating ball allows me to place my camera in wide-variety of positions. However, the ball head does have it issues when it comes to using a large and heavy camera with a heavy lens. Since the tripod requires a locking screw to secure the ball head, there may be an issue with the screw not being able to lock the ball head in place. In turn, that may cause the camera to move and affect the stability of the camera. In most cases, the ball head tripod works great if your camera and lens are not too heavy.

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Fluid Head

When it comes to shooting video you cannot go wrong with fluid head tripods. The fluid head allows a photographer to simply drag the head. It allows more control by providing a degree of friction when you have to pan and tilt. The result is a much smoother shot when shooting video. I know when I shoot any video I like to use the fluid head tripod. No one likes video that is choppy and shaky. If you are going to shoot video I highly recommend getting yourself a fluid head.

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Pan and Tilt Head

The pan and tilt heads is a unique design. It has two axes that work independently. If you need to pan and tilt you can simply twist and lock your camera into the position you need. The pan and tilt head does have an advantage of the ball head tripod. It makes applying a minor adjustment for your camera must easier. However, the pan and tilt heads design are larger than the ball head and can take up more space. I really enjoy the flexibility of the pan and tilt head.

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Gimbal Head

I am a big fan of the gimbal head. I use mine when I shot video and I looking for smooth shots. The gimbal head is great because it allows the camera to be perfectly balanced. The camera's weight is completely balanced which allow me to move the camera horizontally and vertically. There are all types of gimbal devices to choose from. I have a gimbal head for my iPhone and it makes shooting video smooth and effortless. Gimbal heads are nice and great for shooting video, but be prepared for the price. Most are pretty pricey.

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Pistol Grip Head

I have to admit when I first saw a pistol grip head I was a little confused. I was confident I would never have a need for it. I was wrong. I love the pistol grip head tripod. I like the tripod because of its size, weight, and how quickly I can position it. It is very easy to use and convenient. All I have to do is just throw it into my bag and I am set. I never thought I would use the pistol head tripod and I probably wouldn't if it wasn't free. I am glad I tried the pistol grip. It has come in handy for me on my simple photo shoots.

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Monopods

A monopod is not used by too many photographers. However, there are some advantages to owning a monopod. First the monopod does not require a lot of setup. Secondly, it's easier to carry when you walking around in a crowd or taking it along on a hiking trip. In many cases, a monopod can be seen at a sporting event, like a football game. Other sports photographers use monopods. I like the use the monopod to stabilized video shots that require me to move my camera from side-to-side and forward and backward. You can get some uniques shots and video footage when using the monopod. Plus, monopods make great walking sticks.

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In this post, I covered six types of tripods. Each tripod is unique and can be very helpful when shooting images or video. I really enjoy m gimbal devices. They have helped me in becoming a better photographer and videographer. Yes, using a tripod can be a little cumbersome, but the pros do outweigh the con of using them.

Until next time!

Roger

Social Media Platforms Vs Having Your Own Website

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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

Social Media Can Be a Waste of Time for Photographers

Over the last year, I have been taking a close look at how important social media can be for my photography work. Over the year I have felt that it is important to devote a lot of my time in creating consistent content for my social media platforms. I believed that if I created a lot of content and used social media it would help me distribute my work to others and maybe even help me to make a little money along the way. However, I have started to look at my photography journey a little differently lately. After carefully examining my current views on how I develop content, distribute content, use time management, look at the cost versus reward, and quality over quantity, I have come to a conclusion I need to make a change.

My views changed when I took a look at a Youtube photographer that has a unique view of what helps him to become a better photographer. He approaches his art of photography in a unique way that I really find interesting. He does not use social media in the same way many photographers use social media. He uses it very sparingly and selectively. He is very selective in what he puts on social media, how his content is distributed, and even how much time he devotes to editing his content. In other words, he does not put content on social media platforms for the sake of just posting something on social media. His does not concern himself with quantity. He focuses much on quality and capturing unique images at unique locations. He enjoys the journey and it is important to him and what it took to get a photograph that most people will never have the opportunity to capture or be willing to do what it takes to capture. He is not interested in taking photos of the same locations that thousands of photographers have taken. That is one reason why Dave Morrows spends 9 months out of the year hiking through the country recording his journey's as a photographer. He writes journeys and feels even the art of writing helps him improve his skills as a photographer, communicator, and most importantly, a creator.

So is social media important? Yes, I feel, not at the expense of devoting hundreds of hours on any social media platform. Social media can be useful but you have to ask yourself, at what cost? Today many people, including well-known photographers spend many hours on social media. I am guilty of that as well. I have spent many hours posting new images, old images, sharing others images, and reposting meaningly post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other lesser known sites. Has it helped my photography? The answer is no. It has put me in the same category as many other photographers who really are not growing as photographers.

The importance of social media is an illusion of success. Photographers continue to distribute the same old content with no originality or uniqueness. If you take a close look at social media content by photographers you can see photography information is reposted and repackaged many times. The information is repetitive and becomes very boring. Over time, looking at the same content, even from different photographers (including the ones I admire), becomes valueless. That includes content from Youtube and even photography podcast.

If you want to hear a unique view and perspective on photography checkout Dave Morrow's Youtube Channel. He has a unique perspective on photography that I believe will make you look at your views on photography differently.

Let me know what you think of the video and feel free to leave your comments. I would love to hear them.

Until next time!

Roger

Going From Full-Time to Part-Time As a Photographer Is All About How You Look At It

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Wouldn't be great if all photographers and other creatives could take their love for their craft and be able to do it full-time. The reality is, most of us can't, for a variety of reasons. That can be very frustrating but it is not the end of the world if you can't go full-time. Sometimes you just have to do a little juggling of your priorities.

I just started a new job that requires me to work at least 40 hours a week and the job is not a photography related job. It is a security job where I have a responsibility for a very important high-profile location and over 50 security officers. It is not a photography related job but it does help pay the bills. For over 7 years I haven't worked a normal 40 hour a week job. Over the last 7 years, I have had the opportunity to photograph locations and take trips to do other creative projects. I was lucky and I was content. I loved having the opportunity to do what I love. However, as most photographers and creatives know, doing what we love doesn't also pay the bills and provide us with a pay to buy all the new equipment we need and funds to travel to unique locations to get cool photographs. Another reason most of us work is to provide for our families and save for retirement. The last thing I want is to be broke when I decide to retire for good. Besides, I am still a young man who is not ready to retire for good yet.

It is frustrating for some creatives to not have the opportunity and funds to do what we love to do when they want to do them. Most people have to work. It is called "life". For me, I decided to go back to work on a regular job for a few years and then retire for good. When I retire I can go back to doing what I did over the last 7 year; more photography. Do I need to totally stop doing my photography projects until I retire just because I have a regular full-time job again? Obviously not. I can still do creative projects when I can when I get off work, the weekends, and while on vacations. I just need to do a little planning for my projects. I can still plan short-term and long-term projects and continue to do side jobs for my customers when I am available. Some people think if I can't do my photography full-time, they should just give up. People don't have to do that. They just need to do a little reorganizing of their priorities. I have always believed that people have more than enough time to do a lot of things they enjoy. The problem is we all tend to waste too much time on worthless activities that have no real value. Everyone has time. If you look at the things you do throughout the week, you would be amazed at how much time is wasted. The time that could be used to do the creative projects you love.

If you work a full-time job or two, don't feel you have to give up on developing your creative skills. Just find ways to adapt to your schedule and do what you love when you can. Focus on quality and not quantity. The main thing is just don't quit! For me, it would be great to be a full-time photographer, but for now, I can be a part-timer. There is no shame in that.

Until next time!

Roger

The Benefits of Using a Drone for Inspections

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Today drones can be a great benefit to help industries and companies collect all types of data very quickly. The problem is most companies are unaware of how beneficial and useful UAV's can be to help inspect all types of assets and properties. Traditional methods used to inspect properties and other assets can be very costly and the safety risk can be very high for personnel that may be used to conduct hazardous inspections. That is where the use of an FAA-certified drone pilot and a high-quality drone can be very helpful to an organization.

The companies that do understand the benefits of using a drone to conduct inspections use drones for aerial photography survey's, deliveries, asset inspections, and other types of tasks. Other companies don't fully understand the great benefits of using a drone. Companies that do take advantage of the use of drone understand that drones are very helpful in getting information and valuable data very quickly and safely. Drones can provide accurate inspection data in a shorter amount of time. Drones can be used to inspect many types of facilities, industrial building, energy resources, real estate, insurance related incidents and activities, and a wide range of other inspections. Traditional inspections without the use of a drone can be risky, costly, and take a lot of valuable time. Drones in a sense can help eliminate inaccurate or incomplete data due to human errors and other mitigating factors. There are benefits to using a drone for inspections and using a FAA certified drone pilot to do the job.

Reduces Dangerous Risks and Health Risks to Personnel

Depending on the area needing inspections, drones can be used to inspect structures that may be too tall or complex. Many industries have facilities and structures that can be very complex and difficult for personnel to inspect. Drones can be used to access hostile locations, inspect tall structures and be can be used to easily access locations that may be too risky for personnel.

Data Collection

All drones are not the same and it is important to make sure that an FAA certified drone pilot is used for any type of commercial work. A high-quality drone has the capability to inspect areas because of the unique features of the drone, such as obstacle avoidance, 4K video, and a high-resolution camera. The high-quality of the camera allows a certified drone pilot the ability to inspect the properties in greater detail and can be accessed much easier than using an inspector or inspection team.

Access Properties Very Quickly

The benefit of using an FAA certified drone pilot is that inspections can be done very quickly. In a matter of moments, a drone pilot can quickly and safely launch a drone. Drones are very helpful not only for routine inspections but for emergency situations. Drones are fast and in many cases, an inspection can be completed in less than 30 minutes. The quick use of a drone can help insurance companies, engineers, lending companies, home buyers get the information they need very quickly.

More Capabilities of a Drone

Drones have the ability to conduct inspections from different altitudes and angles. They have the ability to collect accurate data because of how they are equipped. Drones can take a wide variety of images, capture in-depth and impressive video, and gain access to locations that require effective data collection. In many cases, access to some properties would be very difficult and unsafe for an individual.

No Downtime

For some companies, an inspection would require downtime. Downtime may require a company to shut down operations during the inspection to eliminate potential risk to personnel and equipment. Drones can be used to safely inspect facilities and locations with complex systems such as communication towers, radar systems, and other important and highly complex structures. Drones can eliminate downtime so operations and can safely proceed.

Saves Time, Money, and Insurance Costs

Personnel inspections cost money and so does the insurance cost to protect inspectors and workers needed to conduct high-risk inspections. Drones can help eliminate the costs and the risk. Using a drone eliminates the need, time, and cost of using high-risk equipment to conduct inspections. A company does not have a need for ladders, heavy equipment, and large commercial vehicles to conduct sometime dangerous inspections.

Drones can be used for more than just aerial images and videos for photographers and hobbyists. They can be used to eliminate the risk of personnel, properties, and save companies a great deal of time and money. More companies should consider using a drone for their inspection needs. Companies just need to make sure they hire a pilot that is FAA certified and qualified to do the job. All drone users are not the same.

Until next time!

Roger

New Photography Service Called "Quick Pics"!

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Have you ever needed a quick photo and did not have the time to locate someone with a camera to take a nice photo for you? Many people sometimes just need a quick photo. The photo could be a quick headshot, family portrait, pet photo, a photo of thier favorite ride, a photo for a special event, a couples shot, product photo, real estate, or even a quick photo of some commercial property. The need for a quick photo can range from a variety of situations.

People that need a quick photo don't have time to track down a local photographer. Just this morning while I was writing this post a lady contacted me to ask if she could set up a time to photograph her and her family. She wanted a few photos of her kids and wanted to be able to share the images and print them out for other family members and friends. They don't have time to travel to a studio. Most importantly, they don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a photo shoot when they only need a quick photo or two. That is where "Quick Pics" comes in.

How Quick Pics Services Work?

My new photography service is called Quick Pics and now you can get a quick photo pretty easily. If you are in my servicing area we can meet to shoot your needed photo. Here is how it works. I meet my clients and discuss what photo they need. After getting the image or images, I will professional post-process the images and then the client decides which images they want. Prices are based on the number of digital images the client chooses to purchase. After the selection is made by the client the client will receive the selected images on a CD or they can choose to download the images by receiving a personal link provided by me. Either way, the client will have their own digital images that they can print and share them any way they choose.

Schedule Your Session

So why pay hundreds of dollars for an hour-long photo shoot when you only need a photo or two? Now you have another option and it is called Quick Pics. To schedule your photo shoot and your own personal Quick Pic session contact me. I would love to be your own personal photographer.

Until next time!

Roger

Building My Youtube Channel in 2019

One of the creative projects that I have planned for myself in 2019 is to create more Youtube videos for my Youtube Channel. I want to create content that I would like to share with others and hopefully, they will enjoy. My main objective is to create informative and entertaining content without repeating the same old content you see from other channels. It will be almost impossible to not cover some of the same subjects and materials like other creators. My main objective is to give my own spin and comments on the subjects I find interesting. People that know me understand that I am pretty straightforward and honest in my opinions and that includes my opinions on many creative subjects such as photography, videography, blogging, and business. I don't want to offend anyone. I just want to create my own content for my Youtube Channel. I am looking forward to reading my subscribers comments and replies. 2019 should be pretty fun. But first I need to set up a productive workstation and studio for my Youtube video recordings and photography post-processing.

Setting Up My Work Station

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Setting up my workstation is not really a challenge. For my work, besides having a nice camera and a variety of lens, I only need a few items and most of them I already have. My first task for setting up my workstation is to make sure I have all the lighting resources needed for the Youtube recordings. I want videos to have the appropriate lighting for my videos. Some of the best Youtubers I follow are very good at having the proper lighting that is not distracting to the viewer. The good thing is lighting devices and products are pretty inexpensive. I have 2 soft-box lights and 2 small LED panels that will work very nicely when recording in my office. The LED lights are very easy to use and they are portable. I can attach the LED lights to light stands and even on my camera shoe. I really enjoy the LED lights because the lighting devices are adjustable.

When comes to sound I have the option to use a RODE mic or lapel mic. I have tested the two devices and I can tell a big difference in the quality of the sound when using a good microphone. I could use the camera microphone but it is not as good as the RODE or lapel mic.

I have a dependable tripod for the recordings. Many people don't understand how important a good steady tripod is for photography and video recordings. My tripod has many adjustment options and allows me to adjust not only the camera but the camera's height. I can adjust the tripod to even shoot over my photography softboxes. I have found that very helpful when shooting my Youtube videos.

Establishing a Schedule

Part of being a Youtube creator is having good content and uploading your content on a regular schedule. I watch a variety of creative Youtubers that release content on a variety of schedules. Some release content every couple of weeks. Some release content weekly. Some of the hard-core Youtubers even upload content daily. Those Youtubers are nuts, but they do have some very entertaining content. For me, I plan to release my content at least once a week. I am looking for quantity, my goal is quality. I do understand that if I do not upload content on regular basis, no one will subscribe to my channel.

Plan and Create Good Content

My content will vary and will continually change based not so much on what others do, but what I want to talk about, what I am doing, where I go, and things I find interesting. I don't want to cover photography gear or a lot of techy stuff. I will not be looking for sponsors because sponsors seem to have their own agenda that I may not agree with. I will be doing some limited reviews on products that I use. If I dislike a product I will let my audience know. Most of all I will be honest. I see a lot of creators that started out with great content and as they gained more fame their channels became huge advertising channels. From comments I have read, many subscribers don't like that. I understand the importance of getting paid for reviews by sponsors. However, making money will not be my main objective for building my 2019 Youtube channel. It is all about the content for me. I also plan to do some interviews with subscribers and other creators. I am really looking forward to that.

I just want to create a Youtube channel that hopefully others will find interesting. I am planning for 2019 be to a great productive year.

Until next time!

Roger 

Choosing a New DJI Drone

Well, it is time to make a decision on what drone I will purchase next. Just recently I decided to sell my DJI Phantom Pro 3 drone. My original plan was to keep the PP3 until Springtime and then sell it to help purchase a newer drone. Then I started thinking that I was most likely not going to be flying my drone too much during the winter so I decided to sell it early. I figured until I find a buyer I would continue to use it. Little did I know, I was going to sell it faster than I expected. I was able to sell the PP3 in one day. I sold it to a gentleman from Greensboro who just happen to have several drones and he said he was experienced in flying them. However, he did not have a DJI Phantom Pro 3. I was a little nervous about a guy buying the drone and not have any experience in flying a PP3. It all worked out because he was experienced in flying other drones. That was good news for me because the last thing I wanted to do was sell my drone to a novice and he ended up crashing it and claiming the drone was defective and he wanted his money back. Thankfully, I did not have to deal with that issue.

After selling my PP3 I knew I had to save up some funds to purchase a new drone fairly quickly. Saving up money to buy a new drone is one issue I have to deal with but another important issue is what drone do I select for my next drone. I know I will be buying a new DJI drone and it will not be the Phantom Pro 4. I liked my PP3 but I wasn't too thrilled with having to carry around a large case to transport the drone. If I bought the PP4 would have to deal with the hassle of carrying it around like I did the PP3.

I want something more portable. The dilemma is DJI has some very nice small, high quality, portable drones. DJI has the Spark, DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, and Mavic Pro 2. My dilemma is figuring out which one to buy. As with any purchase, there are many factors to take into consideration and DJI makes making a decision very difficult. However, my decision will be based on two important factors; price and needs.

I am the type of guy that looks at many reviews when purchasing any product and looking at reviews online and on Youtube is how I normally select a product I plan to purchase. I have been looking at many resources and Youtube channels to find reviews from not only tech reviewer but more importantly reviews from those that have purchased several types of DJI drones. I needed specs information on each drone type as well as hands-on reviews from users that have a lot of experiences with drones. One thing I am very aware of is that many Youtuber reviews can be very misleading because some YouTubers have hidden agendas when it comes to giving true product reviews on purchasing drones. They get paid to endorse them to make money.

One good review that I did like was a review from "Cruising Off Duty" on Youtube. The review was good because it provided me with a good comparison between the DJI Mavic Pro and Mavic Pro 2. I have been eyeing both of them. Even though the reviewer was new to the Mavic Pro 2 drone when he tested it he did give a nice breakdown between the two drones. The drone specs between the two drones can be found at DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Mavic Pro.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic Pro

After reading dozens of reviews and looking at many Youtubers that do photography and shoot videos with drones I have to make a decision before Springtime. Do I buy what I know is the best drone or do I buy a very nice drone that is very popular, is much cheaper in price, and will most likely fulfill my photography and video needs? Based on the specs of the Mavic Pro 2, it is a much better all around drone. But the price tag is very high. It looks like I could get a Mavic Pro 2 for around $1500. Of course, that does not include extra batteries, SD, and other needed essentials.

Mavic Pro 2

Mavic Pro 2

Or I could purchase the Mavic Pro for around $1100 that would include 2 extra batteries. I have to decide is paying up to $700 more for the newest drone worth it. From what I have read from those that have purchased a DJI Mavic Pro they are very pleased with it. I have also read that many of those same people would buy the Mavic Pro 2 in a heartbeat if the price tag wasn't so high.

I will hold off and conduct more research on the DJI Mavic Pro and Mavic Pro 2. I will also be waiting to find out if there will be any sales on the two drones. I have plenty of time to do more research. As of today, I am leaning toward the DJI Mavic Pro because I feel it will fill all my needs as a photographer and videographer.

So do you have a DJI Mavic Pro or Mavic Pro 2? If you do, what do think of your drone? If you don't have a DJI drone are you considering buying one? If so, which one? I would love to find out your views on the drones. Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Until next time!

Roger

Go Ahead and Shoot Yourself

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Isn't the title of this post catchy? When I say people should shoot themselves I am referring to photographing or shooting video of themselves. Why? It is simple. Because today in our society recording your life is so easy to do. We see people all the time doing selfies, taking video, uploading videos to Youtube and other social media sites. Of course, most of the videos and photos are trashy, meaningless and have no real value or real purpose. However, shooting video can be very important and can serve a real and meaning purpose when it comes to recording your life.

Shooting video is a lot of fun and is pretty easy to do these days. Everyone has a camera and shooting all types of videos. However, most people don't seem to understand how shooting stories of their life and special events can be very important for future generations. People fail to realize that if they take the time to record themselves they can leave a part of their life's story and legacy behind for others. Think about it. How much do you think your family and friends truly know about you and your life? I would guess very little. Do they know when you were born, stories about your childhood, where you went to school, how you met the love of your life, your friends, historical events that affected you throughout your life, the birth of your children, precious photos of family and friends, your plans growing up, your achievements, your failures, and even your regrets. All that can be told "BY YOU" through video and on a simple little device called a camera.

The good thing is today we all have the ability to record our life and create a biography of ourselves to pass on to others long after we are gone. We can tell our own life story in our own words. Those words and visuals can be shared with our children, grand children, extended family members, and friends. All it takes is the willingness to take the time to sit down and record yourself or have your personal biography professionally done. I remember when I researching how to create personal biographies for my customers a gentleman made an important statement during a testimonial that I will never forget. He said he wanted to have his story told so he could share his life story with others long after he is gone. The biggest statement that touched me was when he stated that his grandmother was Native American and would have loved to had the opportunity to see her and hear her life story in her own words via video.

Today it is so easy to shoot/record yourself. It just takes the willingness to understand the importance of leaving a piece of your legacy behind for you those you love. Forget how old you are, how you look, if you can speak effectively, or how you may sound in a video. No one will really care. All they want is to hear is you telling your own story. Recording yourself can make that happen and it is not that difficult to do today. The bottom line is, we can all record silly or worthless video to put on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. Or we can record video that is meaningful and priceless. It just takes the willingness to do it.

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

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