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Some of the greatest experiences in photography aren’t about photography


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Some of the greatest experiences in photography aren’t about photography

 

Photography is a gift to me. I love the whole process of creating night photography images. But photography has brought me far more than that. I’ve had rich experiences that I would likely never have had otherwise.

 

https://photofocus.com/inspiration/some-of-the-greatest-experiences-in-photography-arent-about-photography/

 

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Long ago and far away, I had a friend who was a dancer in the community college dance troupe. I liked the idea of photographing dancers and mentioned it to her. 

She suggested I speak to the instructor about photographing dress rehearsals. I did and got permission to shoot. The instructor liked the images, used a couple of them for the publicity flyer (with my permission). I was allowed to set up shoots at the dance room and more posters and images in the newspaper appeared. 

 

From out of nowhere, I got a call from Fresno Ballet. They wanted me to shoot their troupe too! It wasn't a paid gig but I didn't care, for me it was an opportunity. 

We made 3 calendars together, quite a few posters, etc. The high point was when I was asked to get a specific shot at the dress rehearsal for the annual Nutcracker. 

I brought my RB67 and color negative film. The crew doing the lighting, all the other chores that are needed to put on a show, etc. was present and at work (union wages). I got 5 glorious minutes of shooting the "snowflakes" - ballerinas in white outfits on pointe and one of those photos was published as a large spread on the front page of the entertainment section of the Fresno Bee - a McClatchey newspaper with a large circulation. Somewhere I still have a yellowed copy of that page. 

 

I guess I could have been a local photography rock star if I'd played that right. I didn't. Still, it was an amazing experience and photography is what opened the doors. 

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Those are cool. Back then, photos like this were considerably more challenging due to inherent limitations of film. I love film, but for high-ISO images with high shutter speed, it's really hard to beat digital.

 

And it is amazing what doors photography opens. Whether opportunities or experiences, it opens quite a lot of doors.

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7 hours ago, KenElevenShadows said:

Those are cool. Back then, photos like this were considerably more challenging due to inherent limitations of film. I love film, but for high-ISO images with high shutter speed, it's really hard to beat digital.

 

And it is amazing what doors photography opens. Whether opportunities or experiences, it opens quite a lot of doors.

Thanks, sometimes I miss shooting dance. The challenge of having just one instant to take the image, or fail. Kind of exhilarating!

 

The last one was a Canon 5d with a 135 f2 L (I MISS that lens!!!). I shot that at a performance in Bellingham around 2008, the artistic director already had his chosen photographer so I only did it once. 

 

The other two are film. 

I know the top one was an RB67, I did the "mirror up, just fire the shutter" trick. I don't remember what the middle one was but judging by the grain probably the RB again. A huge, cumbersome brick of a camera but the larger film size made for quality imaging. 

 

It is really hard to beat digital, I haven't shot film in a LONG time. For your night photography a 4x5 film camera with full movements might allow some interesting perspectives sometimes but it's a lot to lug around and no longer cheap to buy film or have it processed. Plus digital can tell you instantly if you succeeded, that's pretty huge. I've seen rigs where a photographer mounts a medium format digital back on a 4x5 camera but that's major $$$ and again, a lot to lug around. 

 

A huge part of photography ends up being related to mobility, the best camera is the one you have with you. Going out on a night photography expedition probably means you are bringing along lots of things you'll need during that time - water, food, a comfortable way to sleep, etc. I don't know how people do it to be honest, hat's off to you!

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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On 4/23/2022 at 8:55 AM, KuruPrionz said:

 

 

A huge part of photography ends up being related to mobility, the best camera is the one you have with you. Going out on a night photography expedition probably means you are bringing along lots of things you'll need during that time - water, food, a comfortable way to sleep, etc. I don't know how people do it to be honest, hat's off to you!

 

Film is a little too fussy for me, and I really like the possibilities with digital, as much as I love the way film looks. I don't miss threading film or any of that either. I want to roll up my sleeves and get to it.

 

Night photography expeditions do require a lot of things. Water, food (or at least snacks of some kind, but I do often bring a sandwich), and associated gear. I have most everything in my bags and are ready to go, and I have some redundancy (two tripods, two cameras, multiple batteries, multiple SD cards, etc.) so that it minimizes the chances of things being forgotten or there's back-ups if something goes awry. But that said, I can carry all the stuff with me. I just need to be well-organized.

 

Most of the time, I sleep in motels for these night photography excursions. I don't sleep in my car or outside much. I need to get some sleep, especially since they're typically multi-night excursions.

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26 minutes ago, KenElevenShadows said:

 

Film is a little too fussy for me, and I really like the possibilities with digital, as much as I love the way film looks. I don't miss threading film or any of that either. I want to roll up my sleeves and get to it.

 

Night photography expeditions do require a lot of things. Water, food (or at least snacks of some kind, but I do often bring a sandwich), and associated gear. I have most everything in my bags and are ready to go, and I have some redundancy (two tripods, two cameras, multiple batteries, multiple SD cards, etc.) so that it minimizes the chances of things being forgotten or there's back-ups if something goes awry. But that said, I can carry all the stuff with me. I just need to be well-organized.

 

Most of the time, I sleep in motels for these night photography excursions. I don't sleep in my car or outside much. I need to get some sleep, especially since they're typically multi-night excursions.

A redundant system is a reliable system. I started when digital was not an option, did the whole film thing. I even took a photo of a coffee pot with an 8x10! Even back then it was pretty spendy to shoot 8x10 and it is a different discipline. I'm glad I learned to slow down and look at the light/shadows but I don't miss film either. 

Digital is just so much cleaner, all those nasty chemicals!!!! 

After college I worked for a few years in film based photo labs. My manager and later to be best friend always got law enforcement and medical accounts to keep money flowing in. 

There is nothing you can name that I have not seen. The motto at the first photo lab I worked in was "As long as I don't have to smell it."

 

Now law enforcement and medical can just get their images instantly. I am grateful for digital x-rays, those were big sheets of film and they took a lot of chemistry and time to get developed. Smelled nasty too!!!! 😇

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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This was super fun and totally absurd as well. None of us expected the water to go over her head but her hair was soaked. Lol...

 

I never would have done this without photography but the aspects that were not photographic are vivd memories of a great event. 

It's also a reminder that sometimes you get one shot at something. 

 

Lacy 24.jpg

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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1 hour ago, KenElevenShadows said:

Hahahahaha! This is great!!!!

 

I guess the driver was going fast enough that the water shot over her head.

 

It all started with a deep rut that I noticed one day while walking to work. Over the next few weeks I scheduled a photoshoot with a local model, ran the idea by her and got approval, found a driver and coordinated everything so we could get this shot. My condo was nearby, with a warm bathroom where the model could change into dry clothes comfortably. I left my car running so we could get there quickly, it was pretty brisk outside and my hat's off to her for going through with it. 

 

And luckily, the driver nailed it, the model nailed it and I nailed it. You can't buy that and repeating the shot would involve a change of clothing, filling the rut back up with water and trying again. I hadn't arranged for any of that, I just trusted that we would succeed. Yet another time when shooting digital and getting an instant image made life better. While the model changed I brought the photo up on my computer so we could get a better look at it. 

 

Much more than photography involved but photography is why it happened. 

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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44 minutes ago, KenElevenShadows said:

Glad it worked out. Did you also also put the camera in burst mode and get a bunch of shots? Also, did you pre-focus? Was this handheld? Just curious.

 

Single shot, I've shot a lot of dance so "one shot, one kill" is how I roll. 

That's a Canon 5d with an 85 1.8 lens, the lens is fast to focus, very fast. 

Hand held, focused just prior to and one shot, it's do or die!!!! 😇

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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