Want To Improve Your Photography Skills? (I decided to give myself an assignment and make something happen.)

Long Exposure Photography

Long Exposure Photography

Part one of two:

If you really want to grow as a photographer you have to be challenged. Imagine a video game with one level… Kind of doesn’t really exist and why? Boring! How about a race where you are the only competitor? Not much of a challenge. But take anything we do in life and add a challenge to it and it becomes interesting. After all what is life in and of its self? Just a bunch of challenges, that’s it, just a bunch of challenges.

So you want to grow as a photographer? Give yourself a challenge. Or as I like to call them “assignments.” It doesn’t matter whether you are a total beginner or a professional, or whether you are a hobby shooter that just got a new camera for Christmas. Or a working commercial photographer. I can tell you first hand that there is no greater thing that you could be doing to improve your photography skills than going out and capturing images. But the process must be focused and have a purpose or a goal. It must have an end result that you want to accomplish. Example; you say to yourself “I have the whole day free and I want to go and capture images and just have fun.” Ok… Was there any kind of plan? Or are you just gonna go out the door and hope something happens. Now don’t get me wrong, walking out the door with the camera and having it with you all the time is a great habit to get into. After all I wrote a post sometime back about the best way to capture an amazing photo is to first have the camera with you. Sounds stupid I know, so yes always have some sort of camera with you… And don’t get me started on the “well I always have my iPhone.”

Now let’s get to it. Think of what it is you want to get better at. Do you want to take better portraits? Maybe you want to improve your landscape skills. How about you shooters that would like to capture sports? Or do you just want to improve a specific skill? Myself a few years back I decided I wanted to improve my long exposure skills. But rather than just going out and letting something happen I decided to give myself an assignment and make something happen. In the end I hit my goal and the accomplishment felt good, not to mention I had a few great images that I could print and hang up. The images drew lots of compliments and most of all I improved my long exposure skills and I have that tool under my belt. I don’t always shoot long exposure, however it is so nice that when I want to do it, I can. It makes a nice skill for capturing exotic backgrounds that I use in my Photoshop composites. And it all started with a personal assignment. Here is a breakdown of what I did.

I looked at a lot of long exposure photos at the various places I visit on the web. I read as much as I could on the subject, also spent some time at Youtube. But it doesn’t matter whether you read ten books, watch twenty videos and talk to fifty people about it. You still have to go out and do it. Now for long exposures a photographer needs a neutral density filter for the lens. It helps block light allowing the shutter to stay open for long periods of time hence the term long exposure. So I purchased the filter and then I chose a location. Many photographers like to capture moving clouds or moving water with long exposure. I chose water because it is always available. Clouds on the other hand are not always optimum or there may just be no clouds that day. So I have the equipment, the location, the subject and I chose a day when I had plenty of time available. My assignment was to successfully capture some great long exposures of a sunken forest and a local reservoir. The image would show the old tree trunks rising up out of what would look like ice.

So where’s the challenge you might ask. First and for most I chose a very cold day in the winter to do this and that was no fun. But that is when I had the free time and it increased the challenge. The rest was just a matter of calculating how long to keep the shutter open and composing or framing up the scene. Not falling in the water or getting the camera and gear wet also added to the challenge. After about 3 hours I was ready to call it a day and head home. Upon downloading the images and to see my work unfold in front of me was very rewarding. Then came all the fun of editing and choosing whether to keep the color or go with a black & white. In the end I hit my goal and learned a new photography skill along the way.

Now I challenge you to give yourself an assignment. Plan it out, read about it or take a class on it. Write it out and make a plan. Gather the gear you need. Purchase the proper gear or borrow from a friend. Make a gear checklist and plan your date, time and subject. Expect the unexpected after all it is a challenge. Do the assignment with another photographer. Some people are motivated to workout at the gym with a workout partner, so maybe you can do this with your assignment.

In part two, I will talk about a much larger and more complex assignment.

My favorite photos from 2014

The Big Day

The Big Day

Every year about this time I like to sit and reflect back all the photos that I shot in the previous year. Of course it is nearly impossible to come up with a single choice and say “this is the best.” So rather than say one photo is better that all others I choose to put them into categories and make a brief statement about the photo.
Of course I will start with my wife. I think this photo of Munn is my favorite of 2014. It was just a quick shot with no real setup. But she was so happy to start her very first real job here in the USA. Although she has worked for our catering business she had never really officially worked anywhere else. The photo was captured just outside in the yard moments before she got in the car.

Model Chloe

Model Chloe

I post photos to the 500px website from time to time and I have learned it is extremely hard to post a photo of a pretty female face and get a score above 90.0, unless you give the photo some sort of strange edit such as overly white eyes or some other in (my opinion) bizarre edit. So this photo of Philadelphia model Chloe received a very high score of 96.2 in less than 24 hours and I might add that it was one of my favorite model shots of the 2014 season.

Happy Pixel 1/1000 sec at f/3.2 ISO 100 200mm

Happy Pixel
1/1000 sec at f/3.2 ISO 100 200mm

Like most people who are photographers and have pets, I too take a lot of photos of my Bichon Pixel or as we usually call her “Pixie.” I loved the back lit structure to the photo.

Street Side Cafe'

Street Side Cafe’

My favorite food shot of 2014 was of food I never even got to taste. While doing a model shoot in Historic section of Bethlehem PA, I was walking with the model from one location to the other and as we walked past a sidewalk café an older couple were just about to dive in to their lunch when I see these sliders the waitress just put down on the table. I stop and engage the couple with a “hi, hey that food looks delicious” and the man who was clearly not happy to see me had a look of horror as if I was going to request a bite of food. The lady on the other hand was very pleasant and I asked if I could just take a single photo of the slider burgers. I actually shot of three quick shots and every time I look at this photo I get hungry. The photo is also nice because it uses the rule of thirds, the rule of odds and has leading lines. But most of all it just looks like you could almost taste those sliders.

Model Reese Maddox

Model Reese Maddox

I love my extreme close up face shots and the shot of model Reese Maddox is just so damn beautiful. Her face is very plain & natural in the photo and it was at the beginning of the shoot. Then add in that creamy green bokeh and the yellow flower in contrast to her striking ebony beauty, it for me, makes a very interesting shot.

20140817-_MG_8810untitled-Edit

Model/Actress Kendall Strampel

I think my most memorable shot of the season was with teen model Kendall Strampel. It was our first shoot together and it all came together very quickly over the time of a few days. I was running late to the shoot, it was August so it was hot and I meet Kendall and her parents at the location. I for whatever reason under estimated this young lady. I’m thinking “ok teen model with just a little experience and she’ll be very nervous and I’ll have to explain a lot and direct a lot to get any kind of a good pose,” let alone a great pose. At least that is what I thought beforehand and boy was I dead wrong. Although the framing of this shot was off it is my most memorable because it was the very first click of the shutter for the shoot. I said “ok stand here and give me something (a pose).” I received the biggest smile with a hand up that was creating some negative space and a triangular shape to the arm and again while the shot is not perfect, at the moment I looked into the back of the camera and I was sort of dumbfounded… the girl is an amazing model and the whole shoot that day was awesome, her parents are wonderful people and so many great images came that day. When I look at this photo I remember the day I met a very talented young lady.

Kendall Strampel at the gate to the medical ward at Eastern States Penitentiary

Kendall Strampel at the gate to the medical ward at Eastern States Penitentiary

By far my most favorite Photoshop composite is “Krazed Kendall” where we see Kendall in a gas mask behind the locked gate to the medical ward at the famed Eastern States Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The gate was never shot with the intention of ever using it as a background. The shot of Kendall took place a few months later at Lockridge Park. It was the end of the shoot and we wanted to get a little crazy so we brought out the gas mask. Putting it together in Photoshop resulted in this very striking image. Kendall’s dedication to personal health & fitness really makes this shot.

Cigar Break Reese Maddox (model)

Cigar Break Reese Maddox (model)

My favorite for best use of props is Reese smoking the cigar in front of a cigar shop. Love this photo and it too had a huge score over at 500px. The cigar is not real and this was so impromptu, just a spur of the moment and I happened to have a fake cigar.

Amanda_8_5_14-8333untitled-Edit-2

Model Amanda Lennon, Hair by Megan Motter

My favorite hair style shot was that of the lovely Amanda. The hairstyle created by hairstylist Megan Motter. I received so many comments about this photo. Also my favorite Glamour style shot too.

Ambré_Stockton_Fashion

Model Ambre Baxter

Although I have many fashion shots this shot that I did in the autumn with the amazing Ambré Baxter was a great shot. And I have to say I wanted the coat off and she said “no it’ll be fine” and how right she was.

The Gate Keepers

The Gate Keepers

My favorite location shot is certainly the Gatekeepers shot from the shoot I did at Eastern States Penitentiary with models Reese & Tishana. The dresses are designed by Owned by Lisa_J of Philadelphia, hair by Its The Gurl B and makeup by TeDara Watts.

Iron_Factory_9-21-3986

Model Cynthia Ann

And although I worked with many models in 2014 I have to say Cynthia is the most amazing young lady for being able to connect with my mind while shooting. And I say this because it really is almost kind of scary. I’ll think of what I want to tell her to do and as I look up to say the words she is already doing it. Her posing is endless and not repetitious. She comes to a shoot with a personality that turns the shoot into a show of sorts. She is perverted, silly, smart, flirty, professional and a down right amazing model. You come away from the shoot exhausted from laughter.

Gurdy

Gurdy

My most favorite animal shot goes to Gurdy. She is no longer with us. Rest in peace you beautiful creature.

Thai Taxi Ride

Thai Taxi Ride

Best “Street Style” photo was the Thai Taxi Ride.

Ancient Siam City

Ancient Siam City

My favorite Landscape photo for 2014 is this temple shot from Ancient Siam City in Thailand.

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.

My favorite sunset. Siam Bay on Ko Chang, Thailand.

Cobra Village, Thailand

Cobra Village, Thailand

Most favorite action shot.

Angel & Me

Angel & Me

My favorite selfie with my Thai angel at Thepsuda Bridge in Kalasin Thailand. Waiting for that awesome sunset that never came. So we started taking selfies lol.

I was going to stop at ten photos, but I have so many favorites. I encourage everybody to take the time and go back through your photos from 2014 and pick your best and share with your friends. Remember; You need to have a good filing system that works for you so you can always find your special moments when you want them. Today we have cloud services (some free) that let us sync our photos. More and more cameras are coming equipped with WiFi allowing direct uploads. Honestly now is a great time to sit down and organize photos. I did a post on this last year but simply put what works for me is to put all my photos in folders by the date they were shot.

2015 is going to be a great year for my photography I know. Why? Because like last year I set goals and I reached most of them and had a lot of fun along the way. Happy New Year everybody.

 

 

 

 

Urbex Shoot Part 2 (when its hot and the model is melting… take a cigar break)

Cigar Break 1/200 sec at f/2.8 ISO 160 145mm natural light.

Cigar Break
1/200 sec at f/2.8 ISO 160 145mm natural light.

 

Part 2: So for this particular shoot it started off as an Urban Exploration shoot of some sort, but ended with more of a “Street Photography” feel. Finding this location was rather easy as Reese (model) and her boyfriend were very familiar with the Moravian ruins in this park because this is a place they have frequented many times. This obviously made finding the location almost too easy. Key thing here is many people sometimes overlook the obvious. Many times we have great locations to shoot all around us and close to us, but we fail to see it or realize it because the “everyday” can seem so common place. I say “kudos” to Reese and her boyfriend for seeing this location for what it was. The crumbling plaster, stone & bricks made a wonderful setting for this type of shoot.

Now another “must” have for and urban shoot is a model that is not afraid to get into it and climb up, over or on stuff such as walls & windows. Reese is just that. Without asking she will find a spot and I just let her do her thing. I don’t want her to get hurt of course, but she is in great shape and takes it all in stride. The goal when setting up your shot is to try and get something different. With that I mean; most any place you go on the planet earth has already been photographed with or without a model. So try to get a different angle, look or feel. Go and do an image search on Google for “Golden Gate Bridge” and see how many images come up that were all shot by different photographers at different times/years and they all look the same. So getting that unique shot is the goal, but not always easy.

Now as I said this photo shoot started off as an Urbex style, but after taking a short lunch break we found ourselves in the streets of historic Bethlehem, PA. See the location of the Moravian ruins was located just a stone’s throw from all the activity of the city. So now we move along to locations that again were very familiar to the model and her boyfriend. Once at a location I look for even light and a nice background. Maybe some texture to the background or color that will play off the models wardrobe. With the shots taken at the ruins the orange in the broken bricks played well with the colors in the model’s skirt. Sometimes things work out this way and other times not, but great when it does. So as we moved around, keeping in mind to stay rather low key because after all we are in public and at any time a policeman could nix everything and chase you away. Key thing is be courteous, polite to the public and non-intrusive. We shot at the Sun Inn, a location that has a lot of history dating back to George Washington and other notable dignitaries. Moving on and suffering from the heat of the day I could see Reese starting to melt and I know when the model melts it’s a “wash” and you call it “a day.” But before that happened I look across the street and seen a cigar shop in shaded/even light. And it just so happens I had my cigar props with me. So now it’s “game on” and we’re going to shoot a model in front of a very well-known cigar shop, with permission of course. So I go in and meet with Nate and tell him what I want to do and I show him my fake hand carved wooden cigars. He is so impressed and we joked and talked a bit. Of course I offered to give full credit to the cigar shop and I will send them some photos.

Out front, shooting from a tripod I captured some really great images of Reese with the cigar in hand. With people walking by looking at a very pretty young lady with a lit cigar, it was interesting to see the looks on their faces. I was extremely courteous and stopped every few seconds to let people pass by; I really don’t think we bothered anyone at all. Total time spent was seven minutes although it seemed a lot longer. Then we moved on and I did have one micro intrusive moment when I see a senior couple getting ready to dive into a gorgeous lunch at a street side café. I asked for permission to shoot the food and not their faces. The lady was happy and agreed, the man looked as if I was going to eat his lunch, and he looked mortified. But I shot two clicks and moved on.

So now the shoot is winding down we’re headed back to the parking area and I see a window. I think by now you what is going to happen… sure Reese is up in the window and we get a shot that got raved reviews from the Facebook crowd. I posted from the camera to Facebook with no edits and people loved it. I loved the fact the model had that much energy at the end of the soot on a very hot day. Reese you killed that soot for sure.

Personal Photo Favorites From 2013 (I would rather have a selfie of me punching Kim Kardashian in the face but…)

1/250 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 175mm

1/250 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 175mm

So after mulling through all of the better photos I captured in 2013 I wanted to choose some of my favorites to share with you. As I had stated in an earlier post I always have one photo of my wife that will really stand out and be my favorite of the year. I also wanted to include some additional photos as well.

So I really feel that of all the photos I captured of my wife in 2013 this one is my favorite. A little story about the photo; this photo was shot at 5:49pm on July 29th. As you can see the sun in July is still very high in the sky. I had to shoot a wedding in five days and not being a wedding photographer by trade I was doing my homework and preparing for the big day. I wanted everything to be right. I spent a lot of time reviewing video material by Cliff Mautner. Mr. Mautner is one of the best wedding photographers of our time. I say this because part Cliff’s style is to just go and shoot using mostly available light and minimal flash. His style and approach is very organic and not over the top with a “Broadway” like production to shoot a wedding. Also Cliff is a Nikon Ambassador. If company like Nikon is going to trust him with talking about their products… well I think Cliff might know a thing or two or ten about photography.

One of Cliff’s prize techniques is shooting brides in the middle of the day with high sun and no fill flash. So I had to try this technique out for myself. In short the; put your subject between the camera & the sun and use a dark background. That is it that is all you need to do. Then meter with the camera off the subject’s face. Look at the photo and the front lighting is even across my wife’s face with this wonderful rim lighting. If she had been wearing a darker color shirt would have been even nice for the rim light on the shoulders, not to mention that if this was a bridal shot with the veil, the veil would be very nicely back lit with a glow like effect. So to conclude; I walked out the door and captured this shot in about 5 minutes. The color, lighting and smile all come together to make it a very nice photo. I love it and I will print and frame it.

Pixel (aka Pixie) at day 2.  1/640 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 200mm

Pixel (aka Pixie) at day 2.
1/640 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 200mm

My favorite photo of Pixel (aka Pixie) was shot at 11:17am of May 27th at a roadside rest area along route I-78 in Pennsylvania. I had received Pixie for the first time the day before. I had lost my previous Bichon Poo to liver cancer and a mere 20 days later Pixie had come to fill the void and ease the pain of Snuggs rapid departure. So on the second day of having Pixie my wife and I had a road trip planned to visit my father and we just couldn’t leave this little creature home. We stopped to stretch our legs and to let Pixie have some fun. It was our first chance to let here run and be free in the wonderful green grass of the springtime. Using my trusty (you’ll pry it from my cold dead hands) Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM lens I shot this wonderful candid shot. She had been running and moving so fast to & fro it was nearly impossible to get a great shot of her. I made a squeaking sound and she stopped for just a few seconds and looked right at me. I love the photo and after posting to Facebook a friend had commented on the light & dark green background as an adding quality to the photo. She was so right it just gives the photo a “good” feel.

Photoshop composite of NY motocross rider Harlan Hoose.

Photoshop composite of NY motocross rider Harlan Hoose.

My favorite Photoshop image of 2013 would be “Shattered” a composite of a motocross rider that I had captured in the springtime at our local motocross track. His name was Harlan Hoose and he hails from New York State. Harlan and two friends had made the long trek down to Raceway Park in Old Bridge Township just to practice. I happened to be there and Harlan Had asked me if I would capture some images of him. This was one of the first of many photos. In the original photo Harlan was just sitting on his bike waiting to go onto the track and I captured a close up focusing on his eyes. So several months later I used the photo as the main element in a Photoshop composite that I call Shattered. With time I grew to like the image even more. Thank you Harlan it was nice meeting you, Anthony & Jordan that day.

1.1250 sec at f/2.8 ISO 200 200mm

1.1250 sec at f/2.8 ISO 200 200mm

My favorite nature shot would be this photo of the Wild Foxtail Grass. Captured at 4:57pm on October 14th right here on the farm where I live. The contrast in color between the background and subject is what I love most about it. Also it didn’t hurt that it received so much affection on 500px.

Sunken Forest 172 sec at f/22 ISO 50 24mm

Sunken Forest
172 sec at f/22 ISO 50 24mm

My favorite Long Exposure photo is this image of one of the “Sunken Forests” at Merrill Creek reservoir located in Warren County New Jersey on top of Montana Mountain. It was cold and very windy that day, but in the end it paid off because I came home with some really nice images.

American Bald Eagle

American Bald Eagle

My most favorite wildlife shot of 2013 would have to be, hands down the one of the images I captured of an American Bald Eagle. It was amazing to see this beautiful bird right here in the town where I work, a rare sight for sure. The photos are not Nat Geo quality but still my favorite nonetheless.

At The Train 1/1600 sec at f/3.5 ISO 200 200mm

At The Train
1/1600 sec at f/3.5 ISO 200 200mm

My most favorite candid shot of the year was taken at the Flemington train station. I was first trying to capture the expression on the little boy’s face and then in the background a young lady and a child stepped from the train. I re-focused at captured a wonderful candid photo.

Selfie in a jail cell.

Selfie in a jail cell. Sussex County, NJ.

Lastly my most favorite selfie would have to be of me in a jail cell. I would rather have a selfies of me punching Kim Kardashian in the face but I’ll settle for the jail cell shot.

It Wasn’t Me, The Screen Saver Did It ( Lesson learned, try to finish what you started you may surprise yourself.)

Sumalee Illustration

Sumalee Illustration

 

Sure is funny when my screen saver shows me the error of my ways. For many years now I have had the screen savers on my computers set to read a folder full of my own photos. Vanity maybe, but I find that I like to see my own photos rather than looking at an aquarium, changing sky or babbling brook screen saver that can be downloaded and is full of malware that will destroy the computer. So of course this is nothing new and many people load their screensavers full of personal photos. However I have found that this can be useful in a crazy kind of way. As the screen saver drifts from photo to photo currently (Windows 7) it will also add and change effects of the photos. Many times I have left the room only to return and find a photo with an effect that I love and never thought of it myself as I was performing the original edit.

So today it happened again, I left the room for a few minutes to get a cup of coffee, upon return I seen a photo illustration that I had made a few months ago. The illustration started with a background that I wanted to bleed a face through and meld the two together. The face photo was that of a young friend of my wife and after sometime of working in Photoshop I got the opacity of her face to where I felt I liked it, but I just wasn’t getting that “feeling” of completion with the image and I bailed on the whole illustration, as happens to me many times. When I create illustrations it is a feeling of racing to a known destination and sometimes I will arrive at the finish line and have a feeling of “this project is complete,” good or bad, it is complete. However sometimes it is like flying to the destination only to reach down and pull the ejection seat at full speed and bail on the whole project because the “feeling” I’m shooting for just isn’t happening. That is what happened the day I was creating this illustration of Sumalee. I saved the Photoshop file and put a JPEG in my screen saver.

So today my screen saver showed me the error of my ways and it was right there in black & white. Yes black & white. Actually it was more a sepia or brownish color. So simple I know and the reason I never thought to try B&W during the creation was because B&W usually comes at the end. I’ll explain; to get to black & white I first go through a full color edit, I do this with photos & illustrations. It is a system that I learned from Vincent Versace. So because I had pulled the so called “ejection seat” during the process I never got to the point where I could apply the black & white edit. Lesson learned, try to finish what you started you may surprise yourself.   

 

Autumn Grass (Really? Weeds Can Be Art?)

1/1250 sec at f/2.8 ISO 200 200mm

1/1250 sec at f/2.8 ISO 200 200mm

Ok so who would have thought a photo of weeds would score so high when up loaded to 500 Pixels dot com. I took about 5 shots of the wild grasses on October 14th in late day (5:00pm) sun light. I was actually getting light reading using the in-camera meter and getting ready to do some test shots using my wife and pet dog Pixel (pardon the pun) as  models. The purpose of the whole shoot was to get some action shots of Pixie as she had grown in the past month or so and I had taken any photos of her growth. I keep a running photo diary of her life. So anyway… While waiting for my wife to get the dog and her throw toy together I was metering light using the wild grasses that grow here on the farm. After downloading the photos I realized I had some normally good shots of the dog running and playing and… wait a minute… these wild grass shots look great… oh look if I run some Photoshop wedding actions on them they appear even nicer. Actually in my opinion they look really good. So I pick the best one of the set and run an action and did some minor tweaking back in Lightroom and whala… Done! So I post it to Facebook and I get a moderately good response with 20 Likes from the Nature Lovers photo group I belong to.

So some time passes, 2 months to the day to be exact and I was sifting through photos in Lightroom and I thought “hey for kicks & giggle” let’s put the photo “Autumn Grass” up on 500px and see what kind of response it gets. Now for those who do not know www.500px.com is a photo art community of mostly photographers. And because there are so many photographers there one tends to get a better gauge of how good your photos stack up against others. I had learned from watching Scott Kelby’s weekly show “The Grid” that if you want to; let’s say make a night time sky shot of stars, you might first ask yourself what does a good night time starry sky photo look like. Well, go over to 500px and search whatever it is you’re looking for. Sadly enough for me most times my search results are extremely depressing because I will see Nat-Geo quality photos and know I could never reproduce such great quality prints. 500px is also a place interior designers and others go to look for great quality photo art. It can be ordered with several different mounting options, from canvas to acrylic to paper or even aluminum float frames. So yes even a simple photo of wild grass in autumn sunlight would make a nice canvas print.

Now I had joined 500px back in the spring of 2013 and I found it rather childish and annoying at first. Let me clarify; 90% of the comments I received were to the tune of “liked your photo, now go like mine.” To me it was like a bunch of little teenage girls… oh your hair is great, but isn’t mine better.” I mean really it was that bad if not worse. So bad that I deleted every photo I had up. But I found no way to delete my profile so I just never went back. But when I seen Scott Kelby using the website more as a tool I became intrigued and went back to revisit the site. This time I came with a plan of attack. I picked out my 10 best photos that I felt would make a nice canvas print. I uploaded and seen a lot better response this time around. In fact a few of the photos were the same as what I had loaded in my first time using the site and this time they received a much better score. 500px has a scoring system or rather I should say a “Pulse” system that scores the photos by how quick the Likes & Favorites come in on the photo. The scores have names like Fresh, Upcoming, Popular and Editor’s Choice. So this then can actually lead you to being a better photographer or at least that is my opinion. Because once you do a search for what it is your getting ready to go shoot, you are going to try to out do what you seen in you search results. And if not out do, maybe at least strive to shoot something as good as what you found already posted. SO you do not have to be a photographer to go checkout the cool photos at 500px, anyone can set up a user name and have fun. Some of the most amazing landscapes & wildlife shots are on this site, go check it out and have fun.

Autumn Grass 500 Pixels

Autumn Grass 500pxart