Morning Mist On the Medina River

It is interesting looking back at these photographs which were made in 2007 using my first DSLR, a Canon 10D. A couple of things come to mind. First, you can get quite a lot of information out of a 6mp RAW file if the exposure is reasonably good. Also, I used a tripod more then and the images are better for doing so. I was way too busy trying to shoot trophy images to recognize those things at the time.

I purchased the 10D from a pro photographer after he bought a new Canon 30D. In truth my envy for his 8mp sensor camera was overflowing. The older 6mp camera seemed quite inferior measured against such a fine photographic tool as the 30D. In hindsight the 10D was nearly perfect for an inexperienced wannabe photographer.

The 10D started me off on a series of Canon gear, 10D, 5D, 40D and 60D. All had good qualities and each improved upon the previous camera. The 5D was something of an outlier, it had the advantages of full frame capture but functionally it reminded me of a clunky oversized 10D. Only the 60D was purchased new and that was a struggle on my shoestring hobbyist budget.

Fortunately it is easy to find excellent used gear one or two generations old. People still think the newest cameras will always make the best photographs. My current Sony A7II 24mp full frame camera is a generation or more behind current standards. It has quite modest specs compared to newer models. Even so, I sometimes struggle to use all the performance it is capable of providing.

After years of practice I finally get it. Photographers make photographs and cameras capture light. That is a good thing to remember when considering new gear.

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Phototrice Calendar No. 34 – North America

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Phototrice Calendar No. 34 – International

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Phototrice Calendar No. 35 – North America

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Phototrice Calendar No. 35 – International

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Phototrice Calendar No. 36 – North America

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Phototrice Calendar No. 36 – International


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Phototrice Calendar No. 37 – North America

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Phototrice Calendar No. 37 – International

Drowsy Boy

The source photograph for this completed work was made nearly eight years ago with my first DSLR a Canon 10D. Many of the photographs shot with that 6MP camera still print well up to 16×20 inches. You have to work a little to get good output in color but black and white output does not require much extra work to get acceptable prints.

This is another of my augmented images. It is composited with several textures in the background and blended into the image of the subject. One of the interesting things I’ve discovered while experimenting with compositing is that a small amount of texture often enhances a sense of depth in portraits. Perhaps the noise introduced by overlaying texture at low opacity somehow makes the human face look more natural. Not sure but it seems to work for me.

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Phototrice Calendar No. 15 – North America

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Phototrice Calendar No. 15 – International

Finding A Project

Abandoned Ranch House
Abandoned Ranch House
I’m interested in photographing in rural Texas and the southwest region of the US. This area has a colorful past that is disappearing very quickly. My goal is to save a few fragments as images supplemented with some written words. It is an entirely selfish pursuit given the fact that I have no credentials as a historian.

Non-professional photographers have many motivations for picking up a camera to make pictures. Reasons run from a fascination with technology to creative expression or even visual note taking. There are as many reasons to make photographs as there are people. The trick is to find what motivates you as an individual.

Personally I find it difficult to just drive or walk around looking for something to shoot. Having a project gives me context to help identify subjects that tell a story. I generally have several projects underway and switch between them to keep myself motivated. It is a strategy that is perfect for me.

It is important for me to shoot in places I know rather than going off to exotic locations to find images. I’m sure many people are completely bored by familiar surroundings. So shoot what interests you whatever that may be. Non-professional photographers have to be self motivated because there is no art director to guide your work.

I believe it is important to show your finished work rather than keeping it hidden from the world. Everyone has unique vision so share your images. Make prints or publish a book or create an online gallery. At the moment my work is mostly displayed online in web galleries and blog posts. My goal is to someday be able to sell a few prints but for now my audience is on the internet. There is an audience for just about any type of photography so find your audience.

Abandoned Ranch House B&W
Abandoned Ranch House B&W