Tag Archives: light

Being a photographer …

these days means little more to most people than having a phone or buying an expensive camera and setting it to full auto.

Taking what they get because an image is just an image, right?

I feel sick when I look at photographs that have been photoshopped into submission.

Jpeg files that leave little room for development because so much is lost.

I still shoot film quite often and develop my prints in a borrowed darkroom.

The possibilities of what an image can be are endless.

When I shoot digital, I shoot RAW.

I’m amazed how many digital “photographers” I come across who have no idea what RAW means.

Maybe it’s wrong, but I dismiss them immediately.

Getting lucky now and then doesn’t make one a photographer.

It makes them lucky and cowardly.

A true photographer realizes that yeah, once in a while, we get lucky, but knowing when and where to shoot is an art.

Up hours before sunrise.

Hiking miles in the dark.

Sunburned and thirsty, dirty, scraped, wet, exhausted and sometimes bleeding.

I will likely never be a “discovered photographer”, but being real is more important to me than faking it.

I feel the light, hear the wind, understand the rain.

As do my fellow photographers.

We see beyond the end of our lenses.

We are what we shoot.

And proudly, we work for our shots.

We are a dying breed, but at the end of the day, understand what it really means to be a photographer.

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Light, to me …

is much more than simply the absence of darkness.

I watch it.

I chase it.

I adore it.

The golden hour, and there are two, are my favorite times to be alive.

I didn’t take courses in photography, though I wanted to.

I learned through trial and error.

Light is unforgiving.

If I miss the perfect moment, it doesn’t offer a do-over.

It is Edwardian in its boundaries and doesn’t allow room for foolishness.

I love that about it.

It is constantly changing.

Sometimes, it is indescribable and others completely intolerable.

It gives what it gives; therefore putting the burden of catching it on my shoulders.

It keeps me centered.

It makes me yearn for something that, to a layman, is intangible.

As a photographer, however, I understand the language of the light and revel in it.

It is what fuels me, sustains me, makes me who I aspire to be.

I work as a nurse so I can be a photographer.

It is all I ever wanted to be and the light, inexplicably, seems to understand that.

I’m a child of the Creator and He has given me an eye for His magnificence.

I am, beyond description, blessed.

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Light, in every season, in several circumstances and with unimaginable awe makes me fall, literally, to my knees in thanksgiving.

I adore and will, as long as I have breath in my body, seek the light.

It is HIS gift to me and I praise HIM, through photography, for it.

Amen.

On this stormy night …

while Barry Manilow played in the background, I spent some time catching up on photo editing.  I culled through landscapes, portraits and random shots of various things that caught my eye.

Soaring

The photographs are often exactly what I expect them to be, but not always.  Sometimes, there is more to them than I saw with my eyes; images within images that make me realize, again, just how much there is to see.

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The intimacy of holding wonder and beauty in the lens of my camera with nothing but light and shadow in between is profound; the effect it has on me is sometimes startling.  Just as a piece of music that soars and resonates takes my breath, so do the images.

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Contrast, light, shadow, color, reflection … they capture my imagination and intrigue me, teaching me something new every time.  The same shot taken a hundred times will always yield a different result as nothing, not air nor wind nor water nor light, stays the same from one moment to the next.

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I find, on occasion, that I have missed shots because I have become so mesmerized by what I was seeing that I forgot to click the shutter.  At these times, the magnificence of nature or the human spirit permeate my very being and make me more than I was before; more aware, more real, more emotional, more grounded.  Simply more.

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There will always be, no matter where I go or what I do, more to see and experience.  There will be new ways to feel old emotions and catalysts that will throw me where I never thought I could go.  That is the beauty of photography.  Every shot is an original.  Every shutter click is a memory kept.  Every image is a monument to a single, solitary moment in time.  The wonder of that knowledge never fades and it never, ever gets old.

After The Storm

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace ~ Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

Light’s Little Surprises

Light.  A photographer’s best friend and worst enemy at the same time.  I think it is safe to say I spend much of my time chasing the light, hoping to beat it to the punch and be there waiting for it when it decides to bring out the beauty of whatever it is that I have come to see.  Sometimes, though, light throws me a bone and lets me see it in ways that I wouldn’t have imagined.  One of those times happened here.  This shot was and continues to be one of my favorites and it was a complete surprise.  I got some curious glances, but they weren’t the first and likely will not be the last.  Thankfully, I never go anywhere without my camera … not even the bathroom, which is where this glorious image was found.  I’m grateful for every shot, but I always feel a little like I’ve won the lottery when I get a great shot that I wasn’t expecting and didn’t have to work for.

A dance with shadow and light

On this past Fourth of July weekend, while many folks were out and about boating, traveling, vacationing and watching fireworks, I was walking a beat in the middle of the countryside, immersing myself in a life that I knew absolutely nothing about.  Although color and vibrancy is expected to surface on a holiday such as Independence Day, with the flag flying and fireworks blasting, there was more to what I was seeing than just color.   A wise man once told me that no photograph that is about color should be developed in black and white.  I’ve held onto that advice and have learned along the way that sometimes an image is about color…  And sometimes it’s not.  The ones I was looking for were about light and shadow and I was not disappointed.  So while the rest of the country was caught up in the celebration of freedom, I found myself caught up in the lives that live under the beauty of that freedom.  I spent the Holiday weekend with a bunch of rough, cigarette smoking, tobacco chewing men, tough, driven women, brave kids of varying ages and a myriad of horses, mules and dogs.  A small group they were, but nonetheless, an interesting bunch of people who held a common interest.  On this particular weekend, they brought their campers, horse trailers, wagons, bridles, saddles, grills, tables and vittles and set up camp.  In a flat piece of bottom land in Scott County, VA, what was just a bare place became a starting point for the week ahead.  Each day, beginning on Independence Day, the riders planned to mount their horses or mules and the wagon masters to hook their equines to their wagons and take off for the day.  There was friendship alongside friendly rivalry, but at the root, there was a love of something that bonded like glue.  Photographs can only take me so far and without the intimate knowledge of how a group of people thrive together, the story stops at the image.  When I first showed up with my camera in hand, there were, as expected, some curious glances and several “who is that” questions mouthed amongst themselves.  A close knit group who didn’t have the time or inclination to entertain outsiders, especially ones who knew little to nothing about horses or riding, they were leery of a strange woman with a camera.  I was fortunate enough to have an invitation to this event and was, after a few hours, accepted as part of the gang.  My main goal, secondary to photographing the happenings in and around the camp, was staying out of the way.  I asked questions when there was something I didn’t know, and kept my eyes open for anything that could be used to document what these people were about.  Though there was plenty of coming and going, I was drawn, not inexplicably, to the lined faces of the older men, the laughing smiles of the children and the character of the animals.  Shadows, shades, contrasts and light have always fascinated me and here, with these people, there was no shortage of real life happening right before my eyes.  No one posed for photographs or changed their habits in the event that they might find themselves caught on film.  They did what they had come to do and paid little mind to the gal with the camera around her neck.  After three days trolling the bottom field in the hot sun, I had a “tog tat” around my neck in the outline of my camera strap and a collage of photographs that reminded me, as I developed the RAW files in Lightroom, why it is that I so love being a photographer.  In each face, line, smile, grimace, frown and laugh, there was evidence of a Creator who is able to take the same features and make them different millions of times over.  I am thankful for the opportunity to, for just a little while in a span of time, be a part of something that previously had been foreign to me.  These people work hard, live hard and play hard.  They have lives outside of the wagon train, but for this stretch of days, they come together to share what they love.  And this time, I was allowed to be a part of it.  So to those who made these images possible by doing what they do and being what they are, I am grateful, for without a subject, be it human, animal or nature, a photographer is just a person with a gadget hanging around their neck. I don’t want to sit by as life happens around me and let lessons that I could have learned pass me by.  I don’t want to regret not learning what makes people tick, what makes them laugh or cry and what makes them want to work so hard to accomplish something.  I don’t want to let the colors in the world blind me to the brilliance of shadow and light.  I want to be more than just a gadget rack.