Thursday, December 31, 2009

startup costs

I am ready for 2010 to begin.

Upon reflection, 2009 wasn't as bad as I previously thought it to be. I am still a bit miffed about how the last few chapters of my life have played out, but there were still many enjoyable moments in 2009. That chip on my shoulder can get heavy, but it is a constant reminder that I need to keep moving forward. If I get tired, that chip pushes through a jolt of angry energy through my system. I'll take anything I can get. I am not good at much, but I am good at tricking myself into pushing forward.

My entry into the 30s was very rough, but I am ready to smooth my sails and embark on a new course. Where? Anywhere but here.

So I finally bit the bullet and bought a semi-professional camera. I wonder if I will ever be in the market for $6,000+ camera bodies. I hope so, because that will mean that I've progressed significantly and have been able to generate enough income to warrant that kind of equipment.

Now that my new camera is on its way, I now need to start picking up "glass." This is getting very expensive, really quickly. Mr. Obama is doing all he can to help, and I appreciate that.

I enjoy Tuesday nights at the studio. I learn a good deal about composition and lighting, but it is also nice to hang out with other people with their sights set on improving as photographers. It doesn't hurt that they are all good people. Maybe it's because I don't know them that well, but for now, I thoroughly enjoy everyone's company. = )

Goals. We all set them. Very few of us keep them. I am often hesitant to set goals, because I have a tendency to reach too high and kill myself in trying to reach them. We'll see.

Someone once defined success as hanging on long after others have let go. I love seeing the hoards of people at the gym starting January 1st, because I get strange satisfaction of watching the mass of people dwindle. It doesn't make me feel better that others are failing. I simply enjoy hanging on.

2010, I don't know what you have in store, but I know that I will be hanging on.

Monday, December 28, 2009

forgetting the past, moving forward

2009 year was unfortunately another year of purgatory.

2010 will be a year of rediscovery and rebirth. I am going to reinvent myself and forge a new path.

I want to set lofty but realistic goals. Is there any other kind?

Every day I want to either pick up my camera and shoot or at least constantly train my eyes to scope out scenes and analyze light. This is how I will grow. If I don't grow, it won't be because of a lack of effort on my part.

I hope lots of professional photographers received new cameras for Christmas. I am looking forward to relieving someone of their old gear.

I am ready to jump.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Head Shot

"Derek, I don't know if you're familiar with the belief that some aboriginal tribes hold. It's the concept that a photo might steal a part of your soul. What are your thoughts on that as someone who gets his picture taken for a living?"

"Well I guess I would have to answer your question with another question. How many abo-diginals do you see modeling?"

I had to get a head shot taken to be uploaded to the photography studio website. The whole experience reinforced how much less comfortable I am on the other side of the camera. The lights literally made me sweat. I don't think being photographed potentially takes parts of a soul captive, but I do believe a photograph can momentarily capture someone's essence. All that aside, I just don't like getting my picture taken. Something about a headshot bores and scares me.

I had the opportunity to shoot some models a few weeks back, and it was an educational experience. No one who wants to be a model should have my disposition to having their picture taken. Generally, I find most women enjoy having their picture taken. Some a little too much. There are countless examples of this on the web.

One of the models was more experienced than the other, and it was very evident. Some people just love the camera. And a of few of them, the camera loves back.

I need to set some photography goals for 2010 and 2011. If I don't, there is a very real possibility that I will be wasting my time. Artists are not always the best teachers, and I want to make sure that my time and energy doesn't go unanswered. It's not my passion that I am questioning. It's that I want to channel my passion in the most efficient way possible. You would think life's blows would have taught me some patience by now, but I still always want to go all-out full-steam ahead.

I've only had my DSLR for a year, and probably only seriously played around with it for about half that time. Unfortunately, whatever I did know will most likely have to be relearned. I recently decided to switch from Nikon to Canon. I'm looking at a semi-professional camera, so it's kind of like selling a tricycle (though I love the thing) and buying a whole different bike with new and different features. We'll see how that goes, but I am not really looking forward to that part.

As an apprentice, no one is going to sit down and teach you the basics. It's sink or swim, and I kind of like that. Sinking is my therapy. Swimming my life.

Friday, December 18, 2009

new beginnings

So I am a 30 year old apprentice at a photography studio.

Life threw me yet another curve ball, and for the moment it appears to have been one that I cannot hit.

Not sure how I got here, and I am still puzzled and confused by what the purpose and meaning of the last 16 months of my life are. I am starting to feel that I may never know. And that kind of bothers me.

I can't close that chapter of my life, but there is no reason why I cannot start writing new chapters while leaving old portions open for further speculation and analysis at a later date.

That new chapter, I believe is photography. I am passionate about photography for some of the same reasons I love writing. We all have things to say. Some of us are better at articulating them than others. However, with more complex and moving messages, I think even the best orators cannot match the delivery of artists.

Growing up, I wished I had artistic ability. If wishing could be measured in people, it would have been China. Sadly, I discovered I had none. I couldn't draw or paint worth a lick. Still can't. My hands could never control a pencil or brush the way I wanted to. Somehow a camera felt more natural in my hands, and I was hooked the moment I tried my first point-and-shoot. Emotion could be captured, a mood or message creatively framed.

As I embark on my first steps of this journey, I am only painfully aware of how lacking my current skill set is and see all too clearly just how much more room for improvement there is. After taking a two-day seminar with a photographer whose work I greatly admire, I couldn't even look at the photos I had taken in the past year without cringing. I hope this means I am on the right track. Like anything worthwhile in life, I know this will not come easy, but I am willing to endure everything that comes my way.

The word "photography" is formed by the fusion of two Greek roots- "photos": light and "graphein": write. This is my attempt to write with light. And this blog is a medium to help me remember the journey.