Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lifes a Beach: Go photograph with your kids.

Commercial photography is a lifestyle, not a job! If your business keeps you busy photographing on assignment or for stock, when the weekend comes around picking up the camera is often a chore. My former studio manager became a massage therapist a few years ago and I once asked her husband if he got a lot of massages and the his reply was a smile and rolling of the eye. Our business is our work!

For years I rarely picked up a camera unless it was business related or traveling to shoot stock and I always felt a little guilt for never photographing great events like my kids, leaving that 'job' to my wife whom I bought a point and shoot. What a mistake, now that my son is in college and daughter soon wraps up high school.

However, it is never to late to redeem ones self as I have re-discovered the joy of 'snapping pictures', something I teach my students to not do when critiquing their images. Obviously there is a difference when snapping pictures for fun and and creating images for business in which they turn out like snapshots. There is a clear difference between snapping pictures and building photographs and each purpose is clearly different.

On my road to redemption, I recently purchased the coolest point and shoot camera: the Nikon Coolpix P5100. After chatting with Joe McNally a month ago about the one he had, I ran out and bought one. I love the fact I can carry it in my pocket, it is easy to operate, AND it is 12 mp-more resolution than my backup Canon 40D! My only regret is that i did not buy it at Amazon where I would have saved $100.00 on the price.

My kids are mostly grown and if you have teens you know that they are beginning their own lives and rarely have time for you. Maybe its payback for the many times that my photography business took valuable time away from them.

I was fortunate last weekend to yank my daughter away from her teen activities and head for a night at the beach with me in Seaside, Oregon. Seaside is our hot spot on the coast and the spring break capitol of Oregon. It's a fun spot with rides, aquarium, seafood, kite flying, and our famously clean beaches. My daughter is a star in her high schools photo program (I had nothing to do with it) and she loves photography! She is in her second year in the photo department which incidentally is run by one of my assistants from 20 years ago. They spend a lot of time developing B&W film and printing under the enlargers, something I haven't touched in 15 years. I kinda miss it! This year it was beginning digital so she has plenty need for my old Olympus 20N.
We lucked out with great weather while snapping away at the colors, textures, water and rocks, moving rides, and each other. We talked techniques, drank lattes, had some ice cream, ate a bowl of clam chowder later and then visited the aquarium. It was great fun. I cant wait until we can break away again

If you think you have all the time in the world, you really don't. Go photograph with your kids!

Photo Notes:
All shot with the Coolpix.

Bumper cars:I used the Coolpix to shoot three bracketed exposures (+2, -2, N) of the bumper cars and then used Photomatix to generate and tone map them. If you want to know more about this technique, visit Ben Willmore and his new DVD.

The merry-go-round and the Seaside panorama were shot in multiple frames and then stitched using Photomerge in Photoshop CS3. Truly amazing!

The handsome fish is a wolf eel. Beauty is in eye of the beholder!

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