Day 2 (there is always something learned from these kinds of experiences if you take the time to bring something away with you. )

Mina Santiago sticking to a commitment.

Mina Santiago sticking to a commitment.

Day 2 of the New Year brought yet another cold weather shoot; in fact it was colder than day one. 16-year-old model Mina wanted some time in front of the camera in a wooded setting. The location would be the beautiful and rustic Tohickon Valley Park located up in the hills above the Delaware River in the Point Pleasant area of Pennsylvania.

The weather a crisp 28° F, with a light wind, mostly sunny and just an all-round normal winter day for this area. You know… one of those days when you look out the window and it looks so nice until you step out the door and turn around and go back inside.

The shoot was short about 45 minutes at best. Mina did not handle the cold as well as the previous day’s model. But I have to say she did follow through with her plan and got a few new images that she needed.

I feel there is always something learned from these kinds of experiences if you take the time to bring something away with you. I found that the camera and lens were not working in the same manner as it would in warmer weather. I had some focusing issues that I had never had before in cold weather. Most times that I can remember if I was out in the cold I would be shooting a landscape and had plenty of time to get focus. But on this day the shoots needed to be captured quickly before it was time to wrap the model in a blanket. Then there was the inevitable redness that would soon appear on the edges of the nose and spread to her face and bare skin. Goose bumps… and then it’s time to say “stop” and we did.

So for next week’s shoots I’ll into the studio and get creative.

Day 1 with Tiffany (in the cold and the wind is a bit of a stretch for both photographer and model.)

1/125 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 165mm

1/125 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 165mm

Happy New Year everybody! I am usually writing a blog post about reminiscing about the year past and which photos were my favorites. But I would like to say I started the first day of 2016 off a little different from what I have in the past. It was cold here in the Northeastern part of the USA and it was windy too. But I had a wonderful time shooting outdoors with a model that I have worked with in the past and it was the perfect day for this project. Tiffany needed fresh shots and I wanted to do something that would tie her into the city in which she lives. Bethlehem Pennsylvania is a beautiful city with some strong culture and history. So local people will recognize the elements in the images as being shot in Bethlehem and others will still see good images none the less.

I really have to hand it to Tiffany (aka LayDeeFly) for braving the cold and even worse the wind and coming out on a day when most people are recuperating from the festivities from the night before. The Steel Stacks as they are known to the locals of Bethlehem are actually a national icon. The Stacks are the remnants of the once world-famous Bethlehem Steel Corporation that turned out tons upon tons of steel that built iconic structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge and so much more. The city is also rich in Moravian history as well. I could go on and on but this post is not a history lesson, but rather a lesson on growing and stretching. Stretching does no one any good unless it hurts a little bit and as the hurt fades away the endorphins kick in and you ride that high till it fades away.

So getting out and shooting on New Year’s day in the cold and the wind is a bit of a stretch for both photographer and model. I think more-so for the model because she was in a body suit. But with use of a blanket and a fury hat and several retreats to the car for a little heater break we did it. Shooting around the Stacks and in some instances just standing in the middle of the street was so easy because of the lack of people, there were very few. We did draw a fair amount of attention when people seen a girl wrapped in a blanket wearing a buffalo hat with horns and knee high socks walking down the street. But that’s the fun of it all; hearing the horns honking from the passing traffic was actually heartwarming.

So as the sun was starting its final decent we made our way to the bridge that overlooks the Steel Stacks and captured some final images, then it was coffee time.

Gonna be  great year!

2015 (Problems are the pot holes, all roads have them. Your job is to learn how to get past them.)

I call it the 10,000 mile sunset because that's about how far from home I was when I captured it.
I call it the 10,000 mile sunset because that’s about how far from home I was when I captured it.

The sun set on 2014 and here we are in 2015, a new year with new goals or resolutions. Hardly! As one may know from my previous posts I think the whole “New Year’s resolution” thing is a bunch of crap. Just because the date or number on a calendar changed means you, have to all of the sudden make a plan to do something that you should have already been doing in the first place and you waited till a certain date to try and do it. Hardly makes any sense at all if you ask me. …but who am I, just the world’s worst blogger. Maybe it is me, but anytime I set out on a so called “new year’s resolution” it just ended up by the wayside about three weeks in to the New Year. Again as I said when I posted last year about this time; reaching goals and conquering challenges are more of a mindset and a knowing of “this is something I just have to do.” After all you get and up each morning and brush your teeth right? And maybe brushing of the teeth is a bad example because you can actually get out the door without brushing your teeth. There are no teeth police that will come and beat you down for not brushing your teeth. Although it would make for a miserable day. But how about leaving the house without your clothes on? Ahhh… see now that right there would be something you just “have” to do, you have to put your clothes on. Or there will be police and the whole day would just be ruined. So goals are like clothes, doesn’t really matter what they are, just that they are yours and you have to wear them.
I will agree however a new year is a great milestone in everyone’s life and this would be a great time to sit and reflect back on 2014 and look at all the fun you had or didn’t have. See it was the lack of fun in 2013 that had me motivated enough to make changes for 2014. So for me 2014 was a great year for several areas of my life. No not all areas of my life were great and if they were it would most likely mean I was Kardashian. However I feel very good about my accomplishments with my photography. I learned a lot of new techniques in both shooting and editing and really this is something that will happen every year if I keep up the push. Rather than just thinking I have learned enough to make a great photo is no reason to stop. I can make a great photo, hell I can make a down right awesome photo… of a sunset 10,000 miles away from home. But it is the knowledge I learned about working with people in the past twelve months that I think is the most rewarding. Now you have to know I am 18 years into a catering business that specializes in on-site cooking. So… yeah I’m a people person. And with my photography I have never really had a problem when it comes to dealing with a client on the business side of things and I also do very well in working with people when it comes to posing. But this year I ventured outside of that comfort zone and I wanted to learn how to produce a model shoot, I mean a full scale on-location photo shoot and a big studio shoot. This is a whole new animal compared to just taking the standard portraits and headshots. So without going into details both the studio and location shoots went very well. But before that could be achieved I had to learn how to work with models on a level that would allow me to accomplish large scale shoots. So all along this road that I traveled down in the past year I met some really interesting and wonderful people. I made some really nice friends, some of whom are just the coolest and most wonderful people. Of course there were a few not so nice idiots on that road but that’s ok.
I was also able to travel to Thailand & Laos this year and that was not only good and fun, it was also a challenge. I say a challenge because I actually lived (not vacationed) in Thailand for one month and I had never lived outside of the states for a whole month in a place where I can barely speak the language. For one week I stayed in the Gulf of Thailand on Koh Chang and although that part was kind of a vacation of sorts, I viewed it more as a place to expand my horizons and learn about the Koh Chang Archipelago that has now become part of my life and I know will never leave. I found a treasure that Thailand has to offer that few people know of and I’ll leave it at that. I think most would say “oh yeah it is a great place to vacation” and there are a lot of resorts there. But what I learned had very little to do with resorts and beach goers. What I learned was the natural beauty of the Koh Chang Archipelago and I just seen the tip of the iceberg so to speak. So yes there will be many trips back to Koh Chang in the future.
I also lost about 40 lbs of body weight this past year, due in part to this magical thing called “just doing it.” You know, it is that thing where you exercise and make better choices about what you eat. Magic? Hardly! More like wearing clothes as you leave the house each day… it is just something you have to do.
So is life perfect? No and far from it. But life does need guidance and direction. Even people who have life after death experiences (whether you believe or not) say they seen or we’re headed toward a light. They never say they just wandered aimlessly. So goals are like the guiding light and you should always be heading in that direction. You choose the light and you choose the road to get there. Problems are the pot holes, all roads have them. Your job is to learn how to get past them. …I know it all sound easy when we read it. Now just go and do it.