From the inception of photography the person on the business side of the camera has been attracted to reflections. Capturing people in mirrors, sunsets over water and any image that a reflection can improve on. A photo of a sky scraper would be dull in anyone’s view. But add a unique reflection of the building across the street now you have something. I was watching a fisherman row his boat on a small lake this summer and was attracted to the scene primarily because the reflection of him and his boat was a real artistic vision. When the trees around the lake added their color I couldn’t get my camera up to my eye fast enough.
On the beach earlier this summer I had my camera glued to my hand all day. The water and sun provided me with more reflection photo opportunities than I could take in. I guess most photographers feel the same way. A well placed reflection can add grand dimensions to a photo if your looking for them or just happen to look up at a glass covered building and see what has always been there. Now just take the picture.
After being assigned to shoot the local area Rodeo for the past few years I have become to some a fixture. “This guy with the camera is okay”, they seem to think as I pass by or pick out my spot on the rail. It can be a tough clic to get into. Photographers can get a bad rap by getting in the way or lurking around where they are not welcome. Even well established pros can be kept at arms length by publishing unflattering photos of cowboys face down on the arena floor or cowgirls in anything but most attractive poses. That’s not to say that I don’t have those shots because I sure do, lots of them. I just don’t publish them. At least I don’t where any Rodeo people would see them. My business card is floating around the Canadian circuit and if I’m going to continue to get requests for prints I will tow the line.
This year the weather didn’t cooperate very much for the three day event. It was dark and cloudy for most of the events and this made sharp clear photos pretty tough. But I did complete my assignment and came up with the photos expected of me. Before and between the events my camera is always on patrol for good images in the crowd and behind the scenes. This year I wasn’t disappointed. My favorite photo came from far away from the arena. A little girl playing on the back of a big truck used to pull a very large horse trailer was by far my best opportunity for a great photo. Lucky me she was willing and her dear mother was just as happy to have her photographed. After I e-mailed her mother copies. As it often happens children make some of the best subjects.
Street photography is an aspect of my professional development that continues to be a work in progress. Snapping candid photos of unsuspecting people on the street is the easy part, capturing a truly interesting and quality photo is where my challenge lingers. Once in a while It just pops up in the view finder like some from the water park series last summer. The Rodeo I shoot every year always provides dozens of good opportunities for good “street photos”.
Knowing that, I look for them between action shots of the cowboys and livestock. It can be easy to find good street photo opps at outdoor gatherings like Rodeos, farmers markets and street fairs. People are generally up beat and in good humor. That alone can be all you need to get your shot. Most dress for the event too, unlike the same people just walking to the car after a trip to the store or walking to work. I suppose what I’m learning is just some age old photographic basics; you just have to be patient . The good photo your after needs your effort in time and planning. Very few subjects just walk up to you and smile.
For the last few years I have made the trip to the local rodeo here in Cranbrook British Columbia with my cameras. I am granted a press pass and this gives me some pretty good access to get close to the action. Over the three day event I get some great shots and have fun doing it. It’s hard to narrow the list to just a few for my blog post. I hope you enjoy photos I’ve posted as much as I did shooting them.
During a road trip to Spokane Washington a couple weekends ago, my buddy and I stopped by the park near downtown. As I was walking around the park with my camera I couldn’t help but hear the joyful screams of dozens of young children. When I rounded the corner of the on site snack bar I found what was creating all the fun.
I attended the air show photo contest and in the end I think it was a great weekend. I was a little out of my element meaning that I rarely shoot on such tight deadlines and with strict guild lines. I altered my approach early on figuring that they were looking for photos that would translate to marketing photos like pics for a poster or brochure and not straight art photos. When your standing with a group of twenty or more photogs aiming at the same subject you soon feel the need to separate your style from the others. Over all I was happy my final submissions. Three photos in each category, in flight, static (on ground), and people at event. With one overall for a total of ten. Since the event I have had some nice feed back on my choices. Here are the ten I submitted. The winners will be picked early on in September.
I recently entered a photo contest in my home province of British Columbia calling for photos that would present my photographic abilities. The contest boosts that it will unveil the “Best amateur photographer of B.C.” or something like that. For once I took the submission call pretty seriously. I do enter a few contests from time to time. Most often to compare my stuff to others. Nice to know how you measure up sometimes. I get surprised and once in a while get pretty close to winning or a least the top two or three. Because this contest is based in my home province I thought I would send the full list of allowed submissions. I was able to send a total of five photos. After several hours of short listing from as many as 300 I was able to reduce the first list of a couple dozen to only the five I was allowed to submit. It was sure hard to cut the list down. I wanted to show a good cross section of the photos I like best so these are the five I picked. As it turned out I was selected as a finalist and I am off to shoot with about twenty other finalists representing their regions of the province. I should know how it all turns out by Sunday night. I’ll let you good or bad…..
The trouble with being your own boss is that you have to work when you have to work and not when someone else suggests it. The result is I have been busy the last few weeks, a little too busy for my cameras or my blog. However I did take a 36 hours holiday on the first of the month and I did pack my cameras like a baby tote. I ended up with some pretty good shots that I’m happy with but this one stands out as my favorite. While boating with a pal of mine I noticed this young couple wading in the shallows and kissing. I asked them if they would do it one more time and they were more than happy to comply. Too bad they didn’t take my invitation to contact me because I would have happily gave them a print in exchange for the photo release I will surely need for this one. Oh well, that’s photography.
I must first temper this post with a point of sadness. My sympathies are directed to the people that have suffered a loss at the hand of these tragic fires. Even while looking through the view finder at the images I’m about to shoot it’s impossible not to feel their deep sorrow. At all of the fires I’ve photographed over the past year no one lost their life and there were no serious injuries. Just property loss as if that wasn’t enough. The lives of the people displaced continue to sway from; glad to be alive to what do I do next. Truly sad indeed. Last week four buildings on the main street of our town burnt down. Three weeks before it was a house just on the outskirts. A year before it was a house about five miles down the highway.
While photographing the fires I did not feel helpless because the fire fighters were on site and doing all that they could. Another thought while looking through the view finder is what a tough job those first responders have. The danger is obvious. Sometimes I feel compelled to scream out warnings but I know they would never hear me. I need to remember that this is what they do, they are operating right in their comfort zone.
I’m not a great night photographer yet and fires are the toughest to shoot at night. It seems as soon as you figure out the metering the fire flares and you are forced to either push the button or re-adjust. Auto is little or no help at all. All the action from the fire fighters adds to difficulty in framing and exposure. One thing that is always a common denominator is the drama. That is what any photographer wants to capture, not the tragedy, that needs no author it speaks for its self.
It’s hard to hold back too long without posting a set of fly fishing photos. It would be a stretch to say I have thousands of them but I probably have several hundred. I was a fly fishing guide for many years here in British Columbia. Mostly the South East corner, (where all the fish are). Not many people would disagree with the thought that the S.E. corner of this province is the real fly fishing Mecca of North America. Some in Montana fight me on this one but my only response is to say, “Come try it out for your self”. I packed a camera along on every trip. For myself and for my fishing customers.
It would take me hours to go through them all to find the ones I like the best. Here are a few that I have always liked. Photos where I did get the results I was going for. Grip and grin photos are what you get most of the time with fishing snap shots. I always tried to get a photograph and not just a snap shot. Because I live in the heart of the Rocky Mountains it’s kinda easy to get a great back ground scene and wonderful water colours. I don’t think I could ever pick out a favorite photo. I do know that I have a few hundred that I enjoy looking at over and over again. Lots of great memories are attached to them. I have decided to post a few fly fishing photos in this blog because even for non-fishers I think we all can imagine being there at that moment. All the fish I ever photographed were released live shortly after the grip and grin.