Rain Perspective (And we sat in the car looking at the rain… and then got out and started shooting. )

1/100 sec at f/3.5, ISO 160, 70 mm

Shooting in the rain… Who the hell wants to stand out in the rain with a camera and capture photos? Why would you even want to do that?

Ok, so let me jump right to it and say that I learned a vital lesson several years back. “Photos have to be interesting” and if they are not interesting… well they may just be what is referred to as a “snapshot” and while snapshots may hold a lot of love, memories and meaningfulness to the people who are associated with the snapshot. However if we are trying to create something other than a snapshot, we must do something that will in some way capture the viewer’s attention enough to look at our image. We know photography is subjective, like art, music, dance, food and beauty, it is all subjective. But let’s set aside the fact of Subjectiveness and focus on being interesting.

Some subjects are photographed all the time and not every photo of that subject, whether it be a person, place or thing is interesting. Iconic landmarks are photographed everyday all day long, the Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge and the Eiffel Tower are just three that come to mind. However many of the photos are nothing more than a snapshot, they all look exactly the same. Even people… let’s take a sports star for example. He/she we see their photographs all the time as they kick a soccer ball, swing a tennis racket or a golf club. Maybe it is a photo of them scoring a winning shot and for today and a few days later the photo is interesting. And next week they score another winning shot and last week’s photo is not all that interesting anymore. But if we take them out of their normal setting and place them in a setting that creates juxtaposition… well, now we have changed it up and maybe create an interesting image of this person.

One day I captured the local steam engine as it chugged down the tracks. I see it coming, I have my camera on the tripod and just as the train gets closer the rain increases from a very lite drizzle to a steady heavy rain. Not quite a downpour, but enough to ruin the series of photos I was about to take. Sure I still clicked the shutter… I don’t know why, but at the time I thought “why not” I’m here, the camera is set up and… Ok, so I pack up and go home and when I look at the photos I see the rain doesn’t look as bad as I thought it would. Also I notice that the rain is creating steam to rise from the boiler of the engine creating a more dramatic scene. So I chose one photo and I edit out the power lines and road signs as I always do and then post it on-line. I should also mention the train had a Christmas wreath on the front because it was the Christmas season.

Original edit for print and Historical Flemington website.

So, later that year I am contacted and asked if the image of the train can be used in a holiday tourism campaign and for a local website. The art director seen many images of that old steam engine, but none that had the look & feel of my image.

Lesson Learned. Changing perspective can make a photo more interesting, this I already knew. So let’s use rain as a change of perspective.

I had an outdoor photo shoot scheduled with a model and of course it turned out to be a rainy day. The model, Tiffany is very determined and is not at all bothered by the rain. Like a true professional she decided to “roll with the flow” and make the best of it. We found some roof overhangs and tried to stay as dry as possible. In the end we had some really nice images. However we both decided to reschedule the shoot for a few weeks later so we could work with some nice weather.

A few weeks later…

The rain was harder than last time. And we sat in the car looking at the rain, made a few comments about the rain and then got out and started shooting. Needless to say I have good gear so I’m not at all worried about the water. So here again we find ourselves in the rain, even harder than last time and no roof overhangs. Just two people in the rain, but two people who could care less because I for one know that “right or wrong” the images we are creating will be… shall we say different. Tiffany on the other hand, is a small little girl with enough determination and enthusiasm that would make anybody happy to be in the rain.

In the end it is about two things: 1. Are you happy about what you have created and 2. Was it interesting?

Instagram is my latest flavor of social media; I can get a “half decent feel” of how interesting photos are by the response I get. It is not so much the amount of “Likes or Hearts” but more so it is about knowing your followers and knowing what compels them to take the time to leave a comment. Also knowing who never really comments on anything, however today they were moved to take the time to leave a heartfelt comment. Or even better, they take the time to send a direct message with a comment.

So yes shooting with Tiffany in the rain generated some interest. Shooting with Tiffany in the rain again two weeks later generated even more interest. I would have thought that it would have not been so interesting because it was so similar. I was wrong… again, but wrong in a good way.

One more thing to mention and truly a key component to any photo shoot… rain or no rain, is have an interesting subject.


Heading Back to Prison for July (I’m waiting her final word and really hoping for a yes.)

Wet stones & bare feet.

Wet stones & bare feet.

My how time moves quickly and it is almost thirty days since the June shoot at Eastern Sates Penitentiary. Now July is here and as we approach yet another night of fun I still don’t have a model locked in. I have a favorite whom I have asked and I’m waiting her final word and really hoping for a yes. If she comes onboard for this shoot it will be very much different from last month. After all she is a very different person with a different look and personality. I truly loved the work that Nicole and I did at ESP in June and I am still pulling edits from that shoot, but I want July’s shoot at ESP to greatly contrast June’s shoot… I really hope she says yes and if she does I will post her Name and Instagram here on my blog so readers can get a sneak preview. I will say that she is interesting, very interesting, impactful and young and I have never shot with her before, although I have been wanting to for a long time. So for now it is fingers crossed.

Weather Talk (was it politically correct to call myself retarded?)

Black Rain

Black Rain


So how’s the weather? Boy I have wanted to do a blog post on this for a long time. When people talk about the weather I cringe, and when they start going into weather history I want to just step in front of a fast moving bus and end it all. To listen to the average person talk about weather history such as “I’ve never seen weather like this before, first it’s hot then it’s cold” and blah blah blah. Please just slice my feet with a box cutter and stand me in rubbing alcohol. I would feel so much better. I know I’m far from perfect and I try very hard to hide all my little problems such as OCD, retardation and narcissism, along with many others. But when I hear the “weather” talk and it lasts more than thirty seconds I start getting visions of a 2×4 whacking up side someone’s head or the term “curb job” comes to mind. Let’s face it people are fucked up and sometimes they just like to flaunt it. But hey, who am I… right. Well I’ll tell you who I am; I am the guy who “does” actually remember last year’s weather and the year before and the year before that. For one, I take photos nearly every single day of my life and I save them in folders according to date. If I want to see what a given day looked like five years ago I just open that folder and look. It gives me a fairly good idea of what the weather was and after viewing the photos of that day I remember “oh yeah” it was 90 degrees that day… and so on.

So that is really the thing that drives me insane the most, when I hear people talk about the weather and complain about the weather. Two things here;

1. You can’t change or stop the weather although there are conspiracy theorists that will swear Dick Cheney is flying around seeding clouds and it has to be Dick Cheney because he just looks so evil & guilty. So he’s up there trying to change the weather.

2. It seems nobody really remembers or I should say has an accurate account of what happened last year or for that matter last week.

If they stop and think about it they remember, but there lays the big problem “stopping and thinking.” The weather is the everyday public’s big pacifier. And to get even more critical the media really controls the weather. Unless you go to an accurate source for your weather such as NOAA (there are others too) you are just hearing what some “talking head” is spouting. Sure the talking head has credibility because the producer added a prefix to his last name and said let’s call him Glenn “Hurricane” Swartz that will make this idiot so much more believable. In between reading (info from a website) the he/she weather person is judging the local chili cook-off or reading birthdays of centenarians. What knowledge this person must have to “read” the weather. With my catering business I once catered a large graduation party for a young man who officially had the title “Meteorologist.” He was smart and well educated, but his father said “I hope he really uses this degree and doesn’t just become a weather man or I’ll just shoot myself.” I had to laugh as did everyone else.

Seriously though, people just talk about the weather when they have absolutely nothing else to say but they want to hear words come out of their mouth so they open their lips and weather talk comes out. It is almost as if the words have been sitting there all day just inside their lips waiting for just the right moment. It is like the words see “ok the brain is slowing down now, everybody up and ready” and then like soldiers ready to jump out of a plane on the word “go” the brain stops and “weather talk” come dribbling out of their mouth similar to a baby spitting up. I want to take a napkin and say “there, there stupid fool you’ll be ok you just had some stupid weather talk fall down your chin.” “Let’s get you cleaned up and you’ll feel better.”

Weather history, global warming and all that crap and it is crap people. Yes the planet may be getting hotter; Like that never happened before? Is man causing it? Sure he is. Will he stop causing it? No. It’s like how a medical professional takes care of you. They don’t want to cure you; they want to make money from you. The real doctor who cares about a human life is pulling shrapnel out of a little girls leg who stepped on a land mine in some third world country and he’s working for nothing or next to nothing. The doctor who cares for you sees you as a country club payment, it’s a business.  Global warming is the next big money maker; if you fix it you can’t make money from it. Ok back to history of the world’s weather, now follow me with this. The world is 4.5 billion years old, right. Take the pen lying on the desk in front of you, lay it down and from tip to tip it is a timeline that represents 4.5 billion years. How long has man been accurately recording the weather? A few hundred years, how big is a few hundred years compared to your 4.5 billion year time line? So throw your stinking statistics out the window. I rest my case.

I have no problem with someone asking about the weather, such as “is it going to rain today” or “what is the forecast for tomorrow.” But the next time you hear someone actually talk about the weather just stop and really listen, most times it is laughable. For a real laugh check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2HpB5CGfLQ