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

Myths About Being a Travel Photographer

One of my favorite types of photography to do is landscapes. I have always felt that you don’t have to travel half way around the world to be considered a travel photographer. I have followed a few travel photographers on Youtube and I have noticed most of the most popular travel photographers believe anyone can be a travel photographer. There are some myths about what it takes to be a travel photographer.

I want to share a great vlog by Brendan Van Son and his opinions about being a travel photographer. Brendan is a very popular Youtube photographer and videographer that travels all over the world. Many times people believe that you have to travel all over the world to get great images. Some people believe the life of a travel photographer is glamorous, when it fact is not. Take a look at his video about the 12 myths about being a travel photographer and let me know if you agree or if you have any myths about being a travel photographer. Enjoy the video.

Whether you travel only 2 hours from your home, across your state, visit other states, or visit other countries, you can be considered a travel photographer. Now go photograph something cool.

Until next time!

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

Vlogging at Sunset Beach, Bird Island, South Port, and Bald Head Island

Vlogging can be a lot of fun and is increasing more and more with the help of Youtube. Vlogging a special event, trip, or even everyday task can be entertaining for many people today. I see many well-known vloggers and filmmakers taking advantage of vlogging. For me, vlogging is a method to record special events in my life. Just recently, I vlogged a trip I took and I wanted to record my trip for personal reasons and to share with those that might find the adventures interesting or entertaining. Vlogging to me is a way to explore another creative process and improve my videography skills.

My trips involved visiting four locations and vlogging some of the sites along the way. I visited Sunset Beach, Bird Island, South Port, and Bald Head Island in North Carolina. My objective was to record "B" roll from my vlogs that I plan to put on Youtube. I am new to recording a vlog and I did understand I needed a lot of "B" roll footage to create a good vlog so I could tell a story. I needed to record clips as I traveled to each location and clips that would feature the uniqueness of the locations. So, with that in mind, I recorded a lot of video footage. Actually, I recorded more video footage than still photos. After studying other videographers, I found out that you can never have too much footage you plan to be a vlogger.

My first stop was Sunset Beach in North Carolina. Sunset Beach is a location that my wife and I try to visit each year. We stay at the Sunset Beach Inn for our anniversary each year. This year marks our 36 anniversary. Besides celebrating our anniversary, I wanted to shoot video at Sunset Beach and capture a couple of early morning sunrises images. I also wanted to get a nice time-lapse of the sunrise. I have ever done a sunrise or sunset time-lapse but I was able to capture for both events. Surprisingly they turned out pretty well. I discovered that there is a reason why most people don't do time-lapse. Time-lapse take a lot of time to capture. Getting the morning sunrises at Sunset Beach was a lot of fun except for having to get up a 5:30 a.m. for the sunrise. Lucky for me, I am an early morning riser so it wasn't too difficult for me. I was surprised how many photographers were present for the sunrise. It was great to see others that shared the same passion and enjoyed seeing a beautiful sunrise and start to a new day. Checkout the Sunset Beach Sunrise Time-Lap or Sunset Beach Sunset Time-Lapse videos.

Start of a New Day

Start of a New Day

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My second stop on my journey was Bird Island. Bird Island is a unique location to photograph and shoot video. The location is very quiet and calming for many people. From my hotel, it took me about 1:30 minutes to reach the location. I would have gotten there quicker if I had not stopped to get all the additional "B" roll footage I needed. On my walk to Bird Island, I had the chance to stop at the old Kindred Spirits mailbox. That is a nice location to stop and take a break. What is unique about the Kindred Spirits mailbox is there is actually things there to read that are in the mailbox. People enjoy reading messages left in the mailbox from those that visited the mailbox before them. You can actually leave a message too. So, if you get a chance to visit the mailbox, I suggest you sit back and enjoy reading the messages, enjoy the sunshine, and the sounds of the ocean waves. It is very relaxing. One interesting note, the manager at the Sunset Beach Inn, told us that Nicholas Sparks visited that Inn about a week before we arrived and she said he was planning to write a story about Bird Island and the Kindred Spirits location. So, if you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, be looking for a book and maybe a movie in the future.

Kindred Spirits at Bird Island

Kindred Spirits at Bird Island

My third stop on my travels was to South Port, North Carolina. South Port is a nice quiet little town on the coast of North Carolina. What is unique about South Port are some of the homes. Some of the homes were built back in the late 1800's. The town could be described as a "Slice of the South". The town is very nice and has a southern charm to it. The town has sailboats and a relaxing waterfront to enjoy. What is also unique about the town is that several Hollywood films were filmed there. If you visit the town hall or museum you can see what films were done there. Several of the films were romantic films that most ladies will remember.

South Port Bird

South Port Bird

South Port also has the Bald Head Island Ferry. We were able to take the ferry to Bald Head Island. My plan was to photograph and record video of the Bald Head Island Lighthouse. The lighthouse is not like other lighthouses off the coast of North Carolina. Not only is the structure of the lighthouse different from other lighthouses, it is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina. For me, it was very difficult to video or photograph the lighthouse. Selecting a composition was very difficult. I realized there were not too many options for photographing or videoing the lighthouse. That is why you don't see very many awesome photos of the lighthouse. It is difficult to find a good shot. That did not stop me. I needed "B" roll footage. Visiting the island was worth the time. I suggest if you visit Bald Head Island, plan to eat before you go. Food choices are limited and can be pretty pricey. If you plan to explore the island, rent a golf cart. If you go, enjoy the island.

Bald Head Lighthouse on Bald Head Island

Bald Head Lighthouse on Bald Head Island

Bald Head Island Port

Bald Head Island Port

My vlogging adventure was a lot of fun and I learned a great deal from the trips. I learned that I need to take a lot of video footage and still photos if I plan to continue vlogging in the future. I did have a lot of footage from the trip and I learned I need to be very selective on what footage will go into my vlog. I had to cut out a lot of footage because my video from my trip was way too long when I post processed the footage. I learned that time-lapse footages take a lot of time and I am not sure if the time is worth the reward. The most valuable lesson I learned from post-processing a video is to create video content in segments. I created my video as one video and put it together after the trip. It would have been better if I had created a vlog for each day rather than wait to do all the footage at one time.

I enjoyed vlogging my trips and I was able to purposely capture photos and videos I can look back on in the future. I will be vlogging more in the future and I will get better if I continue to work on my vlogging skills and storytelling. When people ask what makes a good vlog, the answer is not the equipment you use or the places you visit. A good vlog is all about the story. To see my vlog of the trip visit my Roger Younce Youtube Channel at "Sunset Beach, Bird Island, South Port, and Bald Head Island Trip".

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Finding Another Mini-Tripod for Vlogging

As some of you know I am looking to getting into more video production in the future. I have all the equipment I really need. I  recently began conducting an inventory of all my gear to make sure I have everything. One item I know I will need to shoot video will be a good high-quality tripod that can support my DSLR camera and lens. I have 3 standard tripods and I had one mini-tripod. Noticed I said, "had". I had the Mama Win 2-in-1 Camera Tripod +Cell Phone Tripod, iPhone Tripod Mount for about one year.

Mama Win Tripod

Mama Win Tripod

I ordered the Mama Win tripod in 2017 and used it occasionally for minor recordings and usually for just holding my cell phone. I never got the opportunity to travel with it for a photo shoot. By all appearances, the tripod looks very cool and I thought it should be very sturdy and strong. I was wrong. While simply attaching my DSLR one of the tripod legs snapped off. I thought, what a piece of junk? I was a little shocked by the weakness of the tripod and definitely thought it would last longer than it did. I figured over time and with some continued use the product would eventually break down, but not that quickly. Oh well, what should I have expected from a tripod that cost less than $20.00? I have to admit, it did look cool though.

Patekfly Tripod

Patekfly Tripod

Since the Mama Win turned out to be a piece of junk I knew I had to purchase a new tripod for my upcoming vlogging adventures. I decided to go with the Patekfly 12 Inch Flexible Camera Tripod. The Patekfly has over 120, 5-star reviews on Amazon. I like the way the tripod has flexible strong legs that have minimum parts that can snap off. It supports my Canon 80D and Tamon telephoto zoom lens. I was a little concerned that it may not be able to hold up the weight of the camera and lens. It seems to be a stronger tripod.

If you are looking to purchase a mini-tripod for your camera, GoPro, iPhone, check out the Patedfly camera tripod. It comes with attachments to support can a DSLR camera, GoPro, or iPhone. The cost is no bad either. It cost under $25.00 on Amazon.

I will keep everyone posted on how well the Patekfly tripod holds up in the field when I am out working on shooting video in the future, so stay tuned.

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

Blue Ridge Mountains Visit and My New Camera

One of my favorite places to visit is the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia. I am pretty lucky to have access to both states. For me, the drive to my nearest access to the park is about two hours away. Each year I look forward to visiting the Parkway even though I see a lot of the same locations. A lot of people may find it crazy that I go back the same locations and photograph the same sites. For me, each visit is different depending on the time of the year.

This year was different for me because I purchased a new lens and a new camera and of course, I had to test them out at the Blue Ridge Parkway. The parkway was a great place to test my lens and camera. I have access to beautiful mountains, landscapes, valleys, and historic sites throughout the Parkway. I wanted to test out my new Canon 80D and see how well the dynamic range was on the camera. I had read the dynamic range was very impressive. I was very impressed with some photos I took while on my trip.

My first stop on my 9 hour trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway was the Mabry Mill in Virginia. The Mabry Mill is one of the most photographed locations on the entire parkway. Thousands of visitor from all over the world viist the Mabry Mill each year. Below is a little history of the mill.

Around 1905 Ed and his wife Lizzie Mabry set in motion actions to realize the dream of their own gristmill.  With the help of a neighbor, Newton Hylton, they built the gristmill, waterwheel, and water supply flume system with hard work and hand tools. By 1908 the gristmill was in operation and people from as far away as eight miles were bringing their corn to be ground.  Also by this time, Ed Mabry was ready to move on to his next project which was to build a sawmill on the left side of the gristmill.  While Ed was busy building the sawmill, Lizzie took over the milling duties at the gristmill.  Many said Lizzie was the better miller of the two.  There was a problem though.  Because the streams used to supply water to the mills were small, there was not enough needed water power.  Due to the lack of water power, the process of grinding the corn at the Mabrys’ mill took longer than at some of the other nearby mills.  Mills with plenty of water power would at times grind too fast.  The resulting friction turned to heat which would then burn and scorch the cornmeal leaving it tasting bitter.  Because of the low water power problem at the Mabrys’ mill, it was known as a slow grinder.  Due to this problem, the Mabrys could not grind the corn fast, but they also never burned or scorched the cornmeal which resulted in some of the best tasting corn meal around. This news spread fast which brought many loyal customers to the Mabry’s little mill.

Soon the sawmill was finished and Ed began to build a woodworking shop on the right side of the grist mill.  This shop had a double-bladed jigsaw, a wood lathe and a tongue and groover all run by the water-powered waterwheel.  This completed the gristmill complex with the sawmill, gristmill and woodworking shop all attached.

I really enjoy photographing the mill and try to visit each year. Last year, I got a take a great photo of the mill in the winter and frozen ice was on the wheel of the mill. This year I got a great shot in early Spring. The mill opens up in later April each year. For photographers, photographing the mill can be a challenge due to crowds each year. It is good to plan your photo shoot at the mill early in the year or after late October. In late October, the mill will be closed but it is easier to photograph the mill.

The Mabry Mill

The Mabry Mill

I was able to get a couple of other images with my new camera that shows off the dynamic range of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since it was Easter weekend I photographed this very colorful display that was positioned along the roadway. I had to stop and get the image. Last year I stopped in October and the display was covered with hay and pumpkins. This year's display featured some very colorful displays for Easter.

Blue Ridge Parkway Easter Display

Blue Ridge Parkway Easter Display

Another great image was an image of the blue ridge mountains. I found this image fun to shoot. I wanted to capture the mountain range and the lone tree in the foreground gave the image a dramatic feel to the image. Many of the trees have so much character and a photographer could spend a week exploring just the trees along the parkway. I love the blue colors of the mountains and this photo demonstrates why the Parkway is so special.

The Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains

I had a great time testing out my new camera and telephoto lens. I always enjoy visiting the parkway because every visit is unique. If you get a chance to visit North Carolina or Virginia, you have to take a day or two to stop and photograph the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is must-stop for any landscape photographer.

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

 

The Benefits of Quitting Social Media

Well, I finally did it. I finally decided to cut the cord with all my social media accounts. Some people may ask why. It's pretty simple. My social media accounts were providing me with no value, wasted a lot of my time and energy, and I wasted a good chunk of change trying to promote my Roger Younce Photography business using social media. I fell into the trap of trying to build an audience and like most social media addicts I wanted to have more likes, followers, clicks, and have my boosted promotions viewed.  After 2 years of using social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Vero, and Instagram I realized that using social media was a complete waste of my time. I even had 510 followers on my Roger Younce Photography Facebook page. I have no idea if I really had 510 followers, but Facebook wanted to make me think I did. Did I mention I hate Facebook?

I have been considering getting off my social media sites and apps for a long time. Then my son sent out a post about landscape photographer, Dave Morrow, who explained why he deleted his social media accounts. After reading his comments and watching his video about the subject, it made me realize I just needed to do it. I had been thinking about it for a long time. You can read his story, This Photographer Deleted His Social Media with 1.5 Million Followers or watch his video. 

Over the last 2 or 3 years, I have spent a tremendous amount of time on social media sites that I could have spent doing things to help me become a more productive photographer. I was focusing on the numbers of hours I spent on photography and the number of photos I could post. I figured if I posted a lot of my work on social media sites or got a lot of likes, received so-called friends, or followers that would equal success and be profitable. I was totally wrong. Sadly, it took me 3 years to realize my mistake. 

This morning was my first morning of not grabbing my phone and checking for new comments, likes, or followers on my social media accounts. It felt great to not have those accounts to check and I immediately felt I had new energy to focus on other things. I immediately began thinking about what I could do with my new free time. I began making a list of the things I wanted to do with my new free time. I will work more on developing my website, planning more blog posts, study videography and incorporate that art into my photography and other creative processes. I want to become a better photographer by studying others work, watch tutorials, and other photographers on Youtube. I want to work with other photographers and videographers. I want to travel and take better quality images than I have taken in the past. That will require me to go back to some of the same locations that I have visited in the past. I want to spend more time in nature and less time behind a computer screen. By not having wasteful social media accounts to read, I can do that now. 

As a photographer or a creative person, do you find spending time on social media sites helps you or hinders you? Some people say social media is just part of our culture today. I have said this before, social media is not social. It is an illusion. My advice is cut the cord and get off social media. Spend more time doing things that are much more productive and creative. Go out and create something awesome!

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 

Photography is More Than Just Getting the Shot

We have all heard the motto that "it is not all about the reaching a goal that is most important, but it more about the journey". When it comes to photography and wanting the capture a nice photograph of a location you have never visited that motto can be a great one to remember. Recently, I visited a state park in North Carolina that I had never heard of before even though I from North Carolina. The state park gets very little publicity, but my wife read that the park had a waterfall as one of it's major attractions. Those that know me know I really cannot resist photographing a new waterfall. With the information I got from my wife and the photos she found of the waterfall I thought we would take a road trip and check it out. My objective was to get a new image of a new waterfall and add it to my collection of photos of waterfalls from North Carolina. 

South Mountain State Park in North Carolina was not a far from my home. The trip was only going to take about 2 hours from my home. According to what my wife and I read about the park was the park offered clean campsite, hiking trails, a beautiful flowing creek, and best all the water that is called, "High Shoals Falls". Finding the park was not that easy and took my wife and I deep into the back roads of North Carolina. On the back roads, we saw large farmlands, old country homes, and nice roaming pastures. I was actually surprised that the state park was so far off the beaten path and at times wondered if we were lost. After about 2.5 of driving, we finally made it to the state park. 

When we entered the park we found the park to be rather nice, clean and there were very few visitors. We kind of planned it that way. We decided to visit the park on a Monday to avoid the crowds that we read could be large on the weekends. We made the right decision to visit on a Monday. Once we entered the park we entered a very nice visitors center and got directions to the waterfall. The waterfall was only 2 miles from the visitors center.

We had read the hiking trail to the waterfalls was only one mile, one way. We also read the trail was flat, and it was a moderate trail. Well, the trail was one mile long but the trail was not flat or moderate. The first part of the trail was flat, but about halfway into the hike, the trail became a little more difficult. The trail had large roots from nearby trees near a nice flowing and beautiful creek. The trail had some steep steps that had to be taken to get to various parts of the trail, and more importantly, the last quarter mile of the trail consisted of steeper steps and large boulders to confront. As we got closer to the base of the boulders my wife decided she would stay by the creek side and enjoy the nice weather and listen to the flowing water from the creek. She was the smart one. I decided to venture to the top to get a photo of the waterfall that was not visible from the location where I departed from my wife. My guess was, I was not too far from the waterfall. I was wrong. 

Once I departed my wife, began the short but tiring journey of climbing steep stairs and rocks to get to the summit. On my way to the top, I passed a few people. I passed two young girls on my way to the top (or should I say they passed me). I also had an older gentleman pass me that was coming done from the falls. He had a great deal of difficulty coming down the step stairs descending from the upper falls. I knew the hike was very difficult for him and he stated he had a lot of physical issues. Walking was one of them. I had a lot of respect for the old geezer. He could barely walk but he did not let that stop him from venturing to the top to snap a photo or two of the waterfall even though he had taken the trip many times before. 

Once I reached the top and beside the High Shoals Falls, I was impressed by the amount of water from the falls. Recently, the area had received a great amount of rainfall. So the volume of water was impressive. However, I was disappointed in the view. I found out very quickly that there was no real way to get a good composition for my shot. Another issue was the direction of the sun. I had to shoot directly into the sun and that was not going to work at all. There was a small platform to work from and I was continually dealing with mist from the waterfall. I did take a few images but after I reviewed them they were not worth keeping. After being a little disappointed I packed up my gear and began my journey back down the trail to meet up with my wife. Coming down the trail was a little tricky and it was a place that one would not want to fall, sprain an ankle, or break a leg. As I came down the trail I began to think about the old man I passed and wondered if he made it down okay. I did locate him resting on a boulder 30 minutes after I originally met him. He was taking his time and being careful in his decent. I could tell it was not his first rodeo.  

After meeting up with my wife, I informed her that I did not get a good shot of the waterfall. Then I started thinking that the trip was not a total waste of my time and getting a special image was not that important. What made the trip special was I got to enjoy an adventure of visiting a location that I had never heard of before. My wife and I got to spend quality time together enjoying a beautiful day. My wife got to do a little mediating by a nice flowing creek and enjoy some private time in nature. 

Those in photography, including myself, sometimes get so hung up in getting that "special image" that we can work with and share with others. But, the image is not what made the journey membeable. What makes a journey special is the what happens throughout the adventure. Sometimes is best to go with the flow and enjoy the experiences, sights, sounds, and challenges from an adventure. If one is too focused on getting a great image, one can miss out on what is most important and it living in the moment. 

If you get a chance to visit South Mountain State Park in North Carolina, enjoy the park. It as very nice campsite, a beautiful stream to fly fish and hike by, numerous hiking trails, and most of all a nice waterfall if want to push yourself to the top. Just remember to enjoy the journey. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

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 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

Enhancing a Special Image for an Old Friend

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

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

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

Original Image

Original Image

Edited Moody Image

Edited Moody Image

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

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

 

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".