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Beginner Photography: Not Wildlife

Soooo, this weeks’¬†live show topic is wildlife. Thing is, we did wildlife a month ago and I wrote a blog post on my attempt then.

Wildlife is a near-impossible task if you are not a dedicated wildlife photographer. It takes time, patience, and the proper gear. None of which I have! I went on a hike with my family this weekend and did not come across any wildlife besides an errant squirrel or a far-away bird. There were a lot of dogs on the trail, mine included, so what little wildlife may inhabit the area avoided us. So I took photos of what I had, which is my family and a beautiful setting.

For whatever reason, every shot I liked I wound up converting to black and white. My family was wearing bright colors which were distracting, and even though there were some nice fall colors in the trees, the sky and water both looked murky. 

I focused on the backlighting of the sun behind the kids when we were at the stream, which cast some interesting shadows. I think I was able to capture some of the joy of a warm late-fall day, moments of peace in a tumultuous time.

Trail shadows 


I cannot figure out how to separate my black dog from the background


I love the ripple in the water and the motion of her hand


A pause in motion


Soft glow


Girl in flight


I’m gonna be honest, this did not feel like a successful shoot. But I had a hell of a week and this was a moment of brightness. Please let me know what you would have done differently with these shots.¬†

Also, I’ll be in CT starting tomorrow, and¬†I’m be going out to shoot some real wildlife with Chelsea, Tony, and Justin! So I’ll have some actual wildlife work to show for myself. Keep an eye out!

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Live Show Recap: Candid Family Photos

Hey there! This week we looked at your candid family photos and they were lovely. Chelsea is sassy on tequila this week and it was great. Justin was drinking sambuca and that is gross.

Tony chose a confusing password in reference to War Games. No more guessing!

Next week the topic is wedding photography because that works for me.

Let’s start off with some¬†photo news:

  •¬†$89 deal for Lightroom and Photoshop
  • Tony switched back to iPhone! Traitor. “Your old phone was like trying to hold a fish.”
  • Apple Drone!
  • GoPro Karma¬†crashes!
  • Nikon D5600
  • Nikon headcount reduction

Let’s get into your¬†photos. I’ll highlight our picks here:

Over to me for some of  your questions:

Time to look at a portfolio! Beautiful photos, great eye. Include contact info, pricing, some way to hire you. But if you’re trying to market yourself, you’ll want to lead with your marketable work instead of your artistic photos.

Here’s my cat peeing.

Back to me for a question:

  • how to get started with bird photography without spending all the money? Get a 300mm zoom, a bird feeder and a bird blind. Here’s a few videos to help you get started. “The video has helpful information if you can get over my jacket.”
  • “Robots put me out of business again!”

Now to chit-chat! Our favorite segment where you say dumb or funny things and we enable you:

  • Chelsea’s camera strap is a guitar strap. She doesn’t recommend it.
  • Tony is the Mr. Rogers of photography
  • +1 for Tony’s chill
  • Tony was indeed there for the boudoir video
  • “old guy looking younger or a young guy looking older”
  • is Tony and undercover superhero?

Back to your photos:

  • our girl Brittney killing it again this week!
  • “I was reaching for the P myself”
  • “why didn’t you guys tell me my booty was so fly?”
  • “I wrecked that outhouse”
  • hotel del coronado
  • swim kids
  • bread makers
  • “In some cultures, when they dog is old they take it out to sea
  • “babies gone wild”
  • beach punks
  • laughing
  • backlight
  • photo album
  • gross, gross baby
  • tree house
  • horse face
  • beach babes

Back over to me for some questions and comments:

  • dream feature for camera tech on a smartphone? Camera to phone transport. Telephoto lens capability. Aperture control.

And right back to photos:

  • “always keep your family photogenic”
  • too cool for school
  • sad¬†baby
  • this photo reminds me of Siobhan, because she wants white guys to stop talking”
  • musical family

Back to me for a question:

  • live show prep? Hahahahha no.

Aaaand back to photos:

Ah, back to me:

  • 6D Mark II next year? Finally a tilt screen?¬†

Back to photos:

I feel the need to point out that it was Tony’s idea to fly the drone inside. It is so loud. But no one died, so I call that a success.

“How are you gonna land it?” “I’m not, this is my life now.”

“That was stupid.” “I wanna do it again!”

We scroll through the remaining¬†photos before we head out. And that’s our show! Next week we’ll look at wedding photography because I said so. Byyyyyye!

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Beginner Photography: Candid Family

Hey there! This week the topic for the live show is “candid family photos” which is right up my alley. So, this isn’t really a formal genre, but it certainly follows the rules of some other more established topics like street photography. It’s all about capturing the mood and expression of your subjects, giving the viewer a “slice of life” view.

You’ll notice most of my photos in this post are black and white. That’s because I’m photographing children, who tend to wear bright colors, and I’m shooting in my house and outside which have distracting elements. Converting photos to black and white helps to focus the viewers attention and eliminates distractions.

While most of my family¬†moments would realistically include the TV or cell phones, I managed to capture my daughter goofing around on the couch, and her and my stepson outside playing with my neighbor’s grandkids. It’s hard for me to objectively know which of these images are successful. This topic is more sentimental than many, and I can’t help but judge these images on my feeling towards them and the emotions they elicit more than the technical aspects. These certainly don’t have the sharpest focus, but I tried to capture movement and expression above all else. I used low f/stops (which aren’t actually that low since I’m using a micro 4/3 camera) and auto ISO and shutter speeds.


My regular weekend view.


This is pretty much the essence of Eloise; pretending to be a cat.


I love this one. The expressions, the movement. The car and post make an unfortunate background though.


Gleefully collecting leaves to throw in the air


Rule negotiation.

So how’d I do? What could I have done better? I wish I’d gotten some sharper images of the kids throwing leaves (I didn’t post any here because they weren’t great) but I still have trouble balancing my shutter speed and exposure. Time to revisit the basics!

Can’t wait to see what you all come up with this week!