Monday, March 31, 2008

New Pictures a Comming

I am taking some pictures at Pine Creek High School tonight. Keep you eyes open over the next couple days.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Winter Wonderland!


I woke up Easter morning and found myself surrounded by 4 inches of snow. What did I do? I got out and tried to get some great pictures. I started on my street then went to a local park. I took some pictures in the street and then went down another street. I then came to a bridge and thought I could get some great blurred water pictures. Well upon getting to the stream bead I found that I had my ISO set to 800. Way too high sensitivity for the pictures I was taking. Lesson...

ALWAYS CHECK YOUR SETTINGS BEFORE SHOOTING!

Anyway this is one of the pictures I ended up getting. I like the way the river leads your eye and there is little color so your eye is drawn to the detail.

Flash




As promised here are some sample pictures I took with various lighting. The first picture is with the natural lighting in the room. It is not enough to allow a good exposure with a fast enough shutter speed to eliminate camera shake. The second was taken with the FL-50 pointed at the ceiling to achieve light bounce.

With this flash I have the ability to light just about any situation I would experience at this point in my journey. The other way to get a clearer photo is to have a lens that will allow more light. These lens can get very expensive very fast. For now I will master the flash and the lens will come with time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Newest and Bestest

There are so many gadgets and extras that you can spend money on in photography. New lenses with bigger f stops for more light, new memory cards, new camera bodies, etc... Well right now I am looking at getting a flash to mount to the top of my camera. (hot shoe) I could spend from about $100-$2000 and that is just the hot shoe flash. I am surprised how much difference a flash makes.

I in the next couple days I will be posting some pictures with and without the flash. I anticipate quite a change in the quality of light.

Another project I am working on is to put together a slide show for the Meetup group. Over the next month members of that group will be telling their vision of a song's story with pictures. The song can be anything and you can take any pictures you would like. I will also be posting that when I am finished.

Right now I am thinking of telling a story about self control with money and the toll that debt takes on some families. I am thinking about doing this for a couple reasons. I have been listening to Dave Ramsey quite a bit lately and I myself am working to live debt free. Keep your eyes out for that over the next month. If you have any ideas let me know.

Finally, I have been working on putting together a sample portfolio so I have something to show when someone asks, "what have you worked on?" I hope to have the basics of this laid out in the next week or so with the intention of expanding as I go. Business cards are on their way as well.

Sorry for not having any pictures to show right now but they are coming soon.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

St Patrick's Day

I hope everyone is wearing their green. Saturday I attended the St Patrick's Day parade downtown alone. It was an interesting experience because there was no one to watch and follow. All the shots I took were my ideas and I had to find space in the crowd to stand. About half way through the parade there was a float of little cheerleaders. These girls were about ten years old in general. There was one girl that was just staring off into space and had no interest in the parade. Unfortunately I have no picture of that because it would be a classic before and after. As soon as I pointed my camera in her direction her expression changed to what you see here. I guess her mom must take lot of pictures of her. The other unfortunate thing is that I have no idea how to get a hold of her parents to send them a copy of the picture.



We have also had some beautiful snow here the last couple days. This is my attempt at capturing a winter wonderland. I tried to work with the rule of thirds with sky and white trees in the top, tree in the middle and bottom of tree in the bottom.



Friday, March 14, 2008

Keep on Truckin'

I am reading a book called Trump 101 right now. Mr. Trump talks about his drive that brought him so much success. He says if anyone can talk you out of your dreams you are not passionate enough. You have to smart about how you go about achieving those dreams as well.

I talk about this because I submitted some stock photography to shutterstock.com last night. The review period of the pictures should be about two days. Well without hesitation they denied all 10 of my pictures. Ouch. That is quite a blow to the enthusiasm but I will keep pushing on. I will back off from the photography side of things right now but not quit. I am going to keep updating the site every day.


My wife judged a dance contest a couple weeks ago and she received some roses. I like this picture from below the roses. I think it looks neat.

It is snowing here so hopefully I will have some neat snow pictures to post tomorrow.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stock Photography

Lately I have heard a lot about stock photography websites. Photographers load their images and pictures onto a website. People can then pay the website to download pictures. For each time a photographers picture is downloaded that photographer gets some money. The pictures can be of anything in the world that does not infringe on someone else's work. A picture of a couch, a dog, the sky, a glass of wine will all be acceptable.

Shutterstock.com happens to be the website that I am going to try to get my pictures on. They pay 25 cents per download so if one of my photos gets downloaded 50 times I get $12.50. If I get a couple hundred pictures on the site and they get downloaded 50 times a month then the potential is huge. They do have an approval process where they evaluate 10 of your finest and approve or disapprove and then you get started. I am putting together my ten best right now so we will see how it goes. I will keep you updated.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Changed the Name Again

I know I know how can we keep up with your website if we don't know where it is. Well this will be the last time I change it around. I wanted to have a name in the address that people could Google if the wanted to find me but still keep it separate from my photography business.

I think that I am going to be forced to buy a flash. I have been reading some books about portraiture and low light photography and they all seem to assume that a photographer already has an additional flash. Before I do by that flash though I am going to see if I can take a mini lighting class with one of my contacts. Maybe there is something else that I can do?

I decided on a name for the company as well. Illuminating Photography. It was just one of those things that spoke to me when I heard it. Also it helps eliminate being stuck in a loop where people think I only photograph one day a year. (thanks Scott) The name is also the winner of the poll that I had posted.

Starting this business is going to be hard because I do not have years and years of experience but it is something that I love to do. If I can combine what I love to do and make a little money to support it at the same time I will be thrilled.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Business is already coming!

First of all thank you to everyone who is voting and leaving comments. I will have something nailed down here soon.

I was putting together a game plan for a photography business last night and thinking that I need to expand my portfolio. In walks my wife and she has already got a job for me. I am taking some pictures of a dance class. I have a camera (obviously) and some knowledge but I need another source of lighting. I have not trained in studio lighting nor do I own any so I am researching an external flash. This should be a good learning experience.

Speaking of learning I have been reading all that I can about photography business and about business in general. Having confidence in what you are doing speaks so loudly to clients and gives you a personal boost. I am excited to get rolling and will keep you updated on my progress. Before my first job I am going to shadow a few photographers that I know. Hopefully they can give me even more pointers.

Here is a link to the FLASH that I am looking at in case you are interested.
Yikes it might be cheaper to get a set of STUDIO LIGHTS.

Then again maybe not. I think that I need an external flash for my camera before I can effectively use studio strobes.

Thanks again for reading.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Business Name

I am starting up a business. I have come up with a couple names and I want to get some opinions. Let me know what you think of them or if you have any ideas. Thanks for any input.

Valentine Photography
Mark Valentine Photography (I added my first name to that one)
Valentine Creations
Valentine Photo Creations
Illuminating Photography

Right now I am putting together a business plan and getting some cards made up as soon as I figure out a name. I am going to hand out some cards while I am out around town. I would like to start with something low key but we will see.

Any advice on starting a business or photography would be great. Thank you

There is a poll that I have setup on the side of this page.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Pictures as promised

These are the pictures I took Saturday in Old Colorado City. They have not been retouched and I have not included all of them. Below each of them is the "subject" of the picture.

Light


Cold


Regret

Soft

Red


Door Handle

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Old Colorado City

This morning I attended a photography meetup and we went on a scavenger hunt. We started at a local shop and split up into two teams. From there we set out on our way looking to photograph things like hot, cold, crisp, guilt, love etc... It was about two and a half hours of walking around and into stores. We met lots of nice people and I actually was able to meet Michael Garmen. After we all met back up we went to see a local portrait studio.

I also think that I am going to go back to the JPEG format. I ran out of pictures yesterday and today. Granted it was because I forgot to erase them from my card once they were on my computer but that should not limit me two days in a row. RAW format was giving me about 150 pictures and JPEG will give about 350. That will be a better option. RAW is a great format but I am still an amature so RAW is like flying a jet and I am still learning how to get off the ground.

Because of today I think I was able to get some work in the photography field and made quite a few contacts. I will post some pictures later tonight.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

There is white again


I really like this picture because the eyes are in focus and you can still see the detail in the dogs hair. The background is out of focus so it doesn't take away from the subject of the picture. I do have some spots that are pure white again so they have no detail in them.

With this picture I also started using the histogram on the camera. The histogram will show you how much of the picture is light and how much is dark. If the graph ends up too much on one side or the other the picture will be too dark or too light.

I found this site that explains it a little more.
http://www.digicamhelp.com/camera-features/advanced-settings/histogram1.php

How about Begging?

Maybe someone will read my blog if I start updating it every day. So here goes. I may not have new pictures with every post but I am going to try and talk about something that is on my mind for the day and photography.

Now with that out of the way I present you "stick on the steps".


I like this photo because it uses a diagonal line and has good depth of field. I am trying to see pictures in everything that I do and see the world in 2D. I do have a problem with the exposure though. I was shooting in jpeg mode so I cannot change the exposure after the fact. I have too many areas that are pure white so there is no detail in those pixels.

Overall I do like the picture because my goal that day was to work on the depth of field and I think I captured that aspect.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Water of Life


I took this picture last weekend. I had taken several of someone drinking from one of the natural springs in Manitou but none of them looked right. I decided to zoom in and see if I could stop the water in the persons hands. My favorite part of this picture is that the water dripping through the hands is clear as well as the stream. It is black and white to take away the focus of color and draw the eye to the hands.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Manitou Springs and Hockey

This past weekend Heather and I went to Manitou Springs and took some pictures. It was fun to be with a bunch of other people taking pictures. It seemed to give the timid more courage and the experienced more to talk about. I took some pictures of motorcycles and the river but I think my favorite this weekend was of Heather. We were walking back to the car and I asked her to stand by a tree and this picture is what resulted.


This weekend was full of picture taking. I also attended my nephew's hockey game and took some pictures there. The best of all of those was his sister in the stands getting into trouble. She would ask and ask me to take her picture so I have a lot of her pictures.

Between the two events I did not have time to go home and unload my memory card and I filled it up. I am thinking about going to a compressed .jpeg format again so I have more space until I get another memory card.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Colorado Springs Photography Meetup

This previous weekend I attended a meeting in Manitou Springs with other photographers. I have joined a "Meetup" group of photographers in Colorado Springs and it was a great meeting. I am energized again about taking pictures and getting up and going again. There are lots and lots of professional contacts in the group as well as people with point and shoot cameras. No one was judgmental of us and they all just wanted to take pictures.

My wife and I are in the process of moving and work is keeping me busy but I am wanting to get taking pictures again. I think this group will help me get out there as well.

I added a link to the group site in my links here.