Monday, September 24, 2012

A Discussion of Successful Photography

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
                                                 –Albert Einstein

I am feeling totally inspired after reading an ebook provided absolutely free (for a limited time) by one of my favorite photographers, Robert Rodriguez, Jr.  This 45 page .pdf book, "Insights from Beyond the Lens: Inside the Art and Craft of Landscape Photography" can easily be downloaded for an ipad or as a .pdf.

I actually did download it onto my ipad a month ago, and immediately enjoyed looking at the pictures.  Rodriguez's stunning landscapes are always amazing – he captures breathtaking images of seemingly perfect settings. His philosophy, "less is more," and his holistic approach to enjoying the experience while studying light and shadow and balancing these with composition are what makes the final image appear "perfect." Go to to see more of what I am attempting to describe.  The photo below, he talks about as a "failure" and explains why in the text below the image

This image is one he describes as a success. He explains that successes are made by learning from our failures, and in the long run "Those who view and enjoy your work will only remember the successes."

In the long run, I preferred reading the .pdf.  I was impressed by the layout and the multimedia presentation of the ibook (especially his video-walk through the Hudson River School of Photography), but my poor eyes are getting old, and so actually reading the copy on my large monitor was far easier for me. 

I was fortunate enough to have taken a workshop with Rodriguez two years ago.  In this ebook he reminds me of the importance to stay motivated (and avoid clutter).  Today I was inspired by reading his carefully chosen words (and quotes) and he also provides a reading list of books that have inspired him.

Rodriguez works hard to create images that "go beyond the ordinary" and he is a very generous teacher who provides excellent information on his website, in his blog, in his newsletters and especially in this wonderful gift of an ebook.

"Success is not counted by how high you have climbed but by the people you brought with you."
                                                                            –Wil Rose

Robert Rodriguez, Jr. must be very successful because he knows how to take many people along with him and yet he continues to surprise us with newer and better images all the while he teaches and inspires and provides wisdom and beauty to anyone willing to share the vision.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Levitating Your Subject

I belong to several Meet-up groups. They are a great way to hang out with other photographers and shoot different things than you normally might shoot. I was intrigued recently when I got an invite to join a session of "Levitation Photography." People floating in thin air? How can we make that happen? I was wondering if there was going to be some machinery that allowed people to be blown by strong air currents into a floating position. No such luck.

When we arrived, it was explained to the group by the leaders, that Levitation Photography is actually a popular cult technique that students and photographers are playing with. Google it and you'll see all kinds of images others have come up with - you'll even find several You Tube videos telling you how to attempt it. Or, go here to see more.

Organizers Bryan and Allen told us all that there are two basic ways to achieve a "floating blissfully in the air" look. One is by instructing your subject to jump but be aware that they need to look like they are NOT jumping. Hair can't be flying, clothes can't be moving upwards, feet need to be flat.

The second method requires a tripod, several exposures and some photoshop expertise, by merging layers of the scene before the model steps into it and after.  A large group of us broke into two smaller groups and experimented with both methods. The experience was fun!

Don't know where I can ever utilize this experience, but I will say I enjoyed the camaraderie and seeing the results of other meetup members and it is always great to discover new photographic challenges.

Thanks to our very talented models! Keep shooting, friends!