The Selfie Stick (along the way of the whole trip I was hit with the selfie diarrhea… eww).

Angel & Me

My Angel & Me

The “Selfie Stick”… it was only a matter of time and the inevitable would happen. A way for people to capture a selfie of themselves literally anywhere. There has been so much written lately on the topic of selfies. As a photographer I really do follow this change in society. Although I rarely take a selfie with my mobile phone I do find myself (like most photographers) taking a selfie as test shots. Most times it is for checking the lighting, the camera is on a tripod and when I have no one else around to be a stand in, so I’ll jump in front of the camera. I guess it doesn’t really count as a true selfie unless I was to go crazy and post them to social media. I will admit I have made a fair amount of self-illustrations, again usually when I’m working on a new technique in Photoshop. But somehow I’m not really self-absorbed with it.
However I do follow social media closely as I’m always promoting my own photography and illustrations. After all this is pretty much what the modern day photographer does to promote. Instagram for me is the place of recent that people really have gravitated toward. I get so much activity and business from Instagram it is amazing. Now while following Instagram and Facebook I see so many selfies. Mostly teen to college aged girls, but I say “mostly” although the trend seems to be changing and I’m starting to see more and more older females and guys putting up the selfie.
Let’s take a look at the selfie ordeal, shall we. So ok your out to dinner with friends and you want to capture the moment so you and your BFF squeeze in tight and take a selfie. You captured that moment and off it goes to Facebook oblivion for all your friends to see and comment on. Then five minutes later you do it all again. But dare I ask… If you shot the first selfie to capture the so called “moment,” what was so different about five minutes later that you needed to capture the moment again? I really don’t quite get it. Now I don’t worry about offending this type of person with this blog post because I know 100% for sure they’re not reading it because three sentences into the post they had to stop and go take a selfie (no joke intended).
I did read an article just the other day about a young man that committed suicide because he could not take a perfect selfie. He became obsessed with taking the perfect selfie and after some time he became withdrawn and depressed and offed himself. After reading this I thought not too much about it, just thinking that this particular person obviously had some mental problems and the whole selfie thing just was the end result. …Or was it? Are we going to start (or have we already) to see the beginning of a new era of mental disorders spawned by technology and the ability to take a photo of yourself? Just saying… I don’t know the answer to that question; but____ selfie diarrhea is all over everybody’s social media. Maybe you’re not the one posting the selfie but there they are all over your Instagram feed. Just now as I’m writing I go to my Instagram and I see five selfies out of the first twenty photos in the feed. Now I just went to my Facebook feed and the third post was a selfie. Now I really don’t think the selfie is a bad thing, however I would question the mental status of someone who is posting several selfies a day, or an hour. I would think several selfies a days would be a bit much, but again I see it all the time. And as I stated earlier I’m not off limits to posting a selfie, but starting back last July I kind set a self-imposed rule to kind of give my selfies a purpose. While finishing up a photo shoot with model Cynthia Ann she asked if I could stand behind her while she captured a selfie with her “awesome” photographer (her words not mine) and then she did the same with the makeup artist. So I kind of got in a little bit of a habit of capturing a selfie with the models right after the shoot is over. Although the photo is usually posted to social media the big laugh comes at the time we’re capturing the selfie and I never really pay too much attention to it after that. So that is my personal rule, no selfies unless you have a pretty girl standing in front of you. Cool rule I think lol. Crazy? Maybe, but not enough to kill myself if it turns out bad lol.
So let’s end where we started… the Selfie Stick. There is more to the selfie stick then first meets the eye. See like the young man who could not take the perfect selfie, I noticed many people of recent trying to capture themselves in just the right way. I recently spent a month in Thailand and all along the way of the whole trip I was hit with the selfie diarrhea (eww). I seen people contorting themselves and standing in weird positions, even falling down because they were trying to capture the selfie. And yes I saw the selfie stick everywhere. Now this is my observation; most people I noticed when using the Selfie Stick hold the stick up above so the camera is looking down. This is one (not the only) of the techniques that photographers use to capture… a… well… fat person. Yup my blog so I can say it. And not just fat people but it is a technique used to stretch out the loose skin we all have around our neck as we get older. Overweight or not, most people are conscious about the loose skin around their neck and the Selfie Stick can help reduce this if used at the correct angle. Then not to mention Google puts a softening to your photo automatically… oh you didn’t know that? Sure Google and I’m sure others do it too, put a softening filter to photos that have faces in them and you can turn the option off if you like, but most people don’t even know about it. They just know they look so dam good in their iPhone.
Time will tell… but I’m laying my money down on the bet that the selfie disorder will make a lot of people a lot of money much the way other fake disorders have made shrinks money for years. They (whoever they are) say “OMG you posted ten selfies in 9 minutes your gonna die” and then the therapy starts along with support groups and I could even see some moron selling anti-selfie pills… don’t laugh your spouse is most likely ordering them right now for your teen. Who cares if somebody takes too many photos of themselves? Not me, I think it is downright hilarious, just like the people that say Fast Food is evil because it made them fat or people who kill themselves texting. I could go on and on all day… OMG maybe I have a disorder because I laugh at other people short comings in life… oh that group therapy session will be soooo much fun.

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My wife & I.

Nicole & I

Nicole & I

 

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Just having fun at Thepsuda Bridge

 

 

Friends ( personally I do not know anybody, but my Facebook says I do) lol :-P

Photographed this sunset while walking the dog on January 1, 2014. 10,000th photo shot on my Canon 6D

Photographed this sunset while walking the dog on January 1, 2014. 10,000th photo shot on my Canon 6D

So for many years now I have had a personal Facebook page and I have had friends come and go from my friends list. I watched as the list grew to twenty then fifty, seventy and it seemed to hang around seventy for some time. I never felt compelled to make it go higher. I have seen teenage girls and others who have over a thousand friends listed. I asked one this one girl if she really knew all the people on her friends list and she replied very fast “sure I do.” At the moment when I asked her that question we were out at a restaurant with other friends. So I asked her to come over and sit at my side of the table. Using my phone we sat together and started inspecting here friends list and I would ask her “how do you know this person and that person.” I would mostly pick the older males on the list and of the older males we started to see that she knew very few of them. Her mother asking “yeah just how do you know all these men?” She soon admitted that she was guilty of accepting pretty much every friend request that came her way for about 3 years. Reason being “that it looked cool” to have a high amount of friends on your page. Now she is 19 and in college, so I pointed out that it just doesn’t look to cool from another angle. I mean to each “his/her own” I always say, but I always regarded the “Friend” list on Facebook as people I actually personally know. I may not have met them in person, however we do live in an age where we are able to reach around the world and have a personal interaction with someone via webcam, file sharing and chat. After all many of you who know me personally, know I met my wife as a 100% cold contact via Skype and see was 8000 miles away. So each person on my Friends list (currently 233) I have personally interacted with in one way or another at one time in my life and it meant enough to me to add them to my list. Some are people who I may not have known at all and were sent my way by a current friend because they wanted to see photos and that is fine. But then I will soon interact with them commenting on their posts and soon enoughI have a reason to keep them on my list because I find they are interesting in some way. I was just chatting with a photographer friend last night about camera flashes. I have never met him in person but he is a very interesting photographer and posts very nice work. I belong to a private Facebook photo group in Thailand and many of those members are also on my friends list .

So again I never felt I had to go out and find Facebook friends but it just seemed to happen. Will I find 1000 of them? I seriously doubt it, because I don’t want that. So as my photography has evolved and hopefully improved I started up a website, soon followed by this blog page on the website and now comes the next step, the “Reckless Pixel” Facebook page. I have a plan to be a better photographer and a better known photographer, so I have to promote and use more than one cyber avenue. Most of the entire Reckless Pixel page will give me a place to post my photography and let people comment as they always have in the past, only now they do not have to be on my friends list. This keeps my personal Facebook page more personal while letting everybody see my photography.

In closing I would like to thank all the people around the world who read this blog, I am amazed every time I look at the WordPress statistic page and see all the different countries that click on my blog. Same goes for my pages at Adobe’s Behance site and my Twitter. So thanks for looking… and I know there are many viewers out there that never hit the “Like” and never leave a comment, but still enjoy viewing my photography. I know because when I do meet people in-person they will make a comment about a photo they have seen. They didn’t hit “Like” and they never left a comment but I know they seen it. So here we go with something new for 2014 the Reckless Pixel Facebook page.

Happy New Year everybody.

Enigma Photography (Please don’t be “that” guy.)

Actual "enigma photographer" in action.

Actual “enigma photographer” in action.

Don’t be that guy. I guess you could say I was a little naïve because I really did not think he existed. The enigma photographer. Rather I thought it to be a myth or some sort of urban legend. But to my utter surprise it was as true as the sunrise you’ll see tomorrow. Before I get into the unrevealing of this horrid tale I would first explain my mindset at the beginning of my digital photographic life.

My first digital camera was a Hewlett Packard 2 mega pixel (count them… 1, 2 mega pixels). I did not even own a computer at the time. I had no email address, web presence or PayPal. I didn’t know an ISP from a JPEG. I loved that C-200 and I soon filled the 8 mega bite card and I could only view the photos on the tiny screen on the back of the camera. I had to call a friend to ask; what to do next? My dear friend said “you need to download them to your computer.” My what? “Or you can go to a camera shop and they’ll put them on a disc.” What do I do with the disc? “You put it in your computer.” My what? …Hummm I guess I need to get a computer. I didn’t have the money because I just purchased this state of the art digital camera. So I shelved the camera full of photos until I could get a computer and that was several months later. Seriously my life into digital photography got off to a very slow start. I had no idea what the workflow of digital was at the time. Only thing I knew was it was all the rage and boy did I feel stupid. So time passed and I educated myself on what I was getting into and since then the process has always been this; take the photos, download, view, edit, share and or print. But I never forgot about how stupid I felt when I shot my first digital photos and had to wait several months to view them.

So I have heard this legend of laughter about photographers that purchase a DSLR and shoot photos by the hundreds or more and never view them. Ok, a bit hard to grasp I know, so let me explain. As most of my blog visitors know I have a small BBQ catering business and while out on a job this past summer I seen this enigma in action. He was a normal looking young man, he arrived at the party in the earlier stages and I noticed his DSLR. It looked to be a mid-level Nikon and he appeared to be somewhat of an amateur although he was taking the time to compose his shots and he seems to know the proper way to hold the camera. So my wife and I are preparing food for the serving time, but I kept watching him as he was getting shots of the arriving guests and all the hugging and salutations. So one thing you have to know about on-site catering; when I am setup and I’m cooking & preparing food in my makeshift outdoor kitchen, we’re under a small tent with aprons and gloves trying to keep a standard of cleanliness. Hey we’re preparing food, right! Well for some reason unknown to me, this food prep area has a sign that only cigarette smokers can see that says “PLEASE COME SMOKE CIGARETTES HERE.” It has always been that way. So this older gentleman walks our way and fires up his smoke and a conversation with me. He was cool, an older family member and also quite interesting. So while I’m working and listening to him, he notices me watching the guy with the camera. He says “look at that fool, taking all those photos that we’ll never see. I stopped what I was doing and asked what he meant. He goes on to tell me that the boy is his nephew and he does this at every family get together. The boy and his father both take hundreds of photos and this in turn makes the other guests not take as many photos because they assume the nephew or his father will email or post them to social media. Wrong! They just leave the photos on memory cards or they download them to disc and never get around to doing anything more than that.

So I took what he said with a grain of salt because I found it hard to believe someone would spend money to purchase a DSLR to shoot photos and never look at them. So as the party moved on the guests all sat down to eat and afterwards the cigarette guy comes back to have the “after dinner smoke” and brings a few fellow smokers along. Again I find myself talking to this man when the father & son “ace photography” team comes walking up and the uncle/brother starts to rip on them about taking photos that nobody will ever see. At first his brother says “that’s not true.” The uncle says “ah come on where are the photos from”; and he rattles of five past family events that they photographed and no one ever seen the photos. I speak up and say “is that true” and the father goes on to say that yes he was guilty of this horrible way of photographing family events and other events and travels only to leave all the photos on CDs or on memory cards. His theory is that he will one day sit down and organize and edit all the thousands of photos. Yeah right!

So it was not a myth and I seen it with my own two eyes, “enigma photography” in action. Hey it takes all kinds to make the world go around. So all I have to say is “don’t be that guy.”

Harlan Illustration-3Still tweaking it. Sometimes I sleep on what I’ve done and re-visit the next day and have a new thought or idea. To me this is a little too much contrast and color, but I think it fits right in with motocross. In motocross like most Motorsports colors of the machines as well as the apparel and helmets have bright colors with a lot of contrast.