Shooting Style

I would like to start by saying that I actually finished this post yesterday; however, WOW. Was it looooong… So, I took a day to let the ideas I wrote about my shooting style simmer for a little bit, and now I’m ready to write a summarized version of that long list with it’s long descriptions. Haha.

After writing my long list of what makes up my particular shooting style, I must say that a lot of what I chose throughout my journey did come from the photographers I followed online. This is especially true for my equipment, the fact that I love natural light, and the fact that I mainly try to shoot in manual mode. This is not to say that if a there comes a moment when I need to work specifically in creative modes to get the shot (Av, Tv, etc.), that I won’t do this. (I’m particularly thinking of two(?) New Years ago when the lighting was changing constantly, but I knew that I wanted to keep a specific ISO level:

I just tend to prefer shooting in manual for the most part, but it really allows me to control exactly how I want the image to turn out. And I like that.

However, I rarely will pull out a flash and often try to avoid using man-made lighting – usually only during a wedding reception do you see me working the man-made light(s) – and I feel that this is where I could open up a bit more, learn some things. Like I said, most of the photographers I’ve followed and learned from also used natural lighting, so I’m actually quite nervous and find it difficult to control certain flash units in regards to what I want to see in my image. I would like to expand my knowledge here, for sure.

In regards to other aspects of my shooting style, I would love to begin shooting more of my everyday life and routine (at home and outside), but usually I set up photo excursions for myself because I feel it’s too much of a hassle to take my heavy camera with me everywhere I go all the time – especially when that weight is added to my purse with all of its TOEFL/ESL books. Actually, Ive been thinking of getting a point and shoot (eying that S95!) in order to make this goal a little bit easier, but we shall see. Maybe I can just work out more. 😉

And as I’ve mentioned before, I love shooting a variety of subjects, and I’ve loved every wedding I’ve shot, but I’m trying to capture more of my everyday because I find it enjoyable and soothing. And I’m inspired by so many others who do it so beautifully. It also allows me to stop, observe, and think about what I’m shooting: the story behind it, how it makes me feel. I usually prefer shooting alone for these reasons, too, because otherwise I can sometimes feel a little too rushed, but if I got out with friends on some excursions, I can also find it enjoyable depending on the day.

So, with that, there is my summarized version, which I feel is still somewhat lengthy, but trust me, the other one would not have been nearly as succinct. LOL.

Thanks for stopping by, and I can’t wait to read about your particular shooting style! 🙂


A Camera-Less Photowalk

I’m starting my FYE Journey of Inspiration course section now, so for one of the first assignments I went out for a camera-less walk. I headed to Da-An Park, where I hadn’t been in quite a few months. There were quite a few things that were different compared to the last time I was there. In fact, I made quite the list, but I think I will only name a few.

The first thing I noticed was the new playground play equipment for all of the kids and some new pathways that were created. It actually made me a little sad because I feel like every time I head to a park in this country, there’s fewer and fewer trees and less and less grass. Sad, but true. Along the pathways, though, I noticed a few pretty pink and white flowers that I was not expecting to be there since most flowers in this country are on their way out. They were a lovely surprise and made me happy.

One other thing that I noticed that was not so happy was the countless conversations about “waiguoren,” or foreigners, I heard throughout the day. That one was not so nice. It seemed like no matter where I turned yesterday, everyone was talking about foreigners. Some conversations were harmless, some were annoying (partially from partial understanding as well as partially from actually understanding). And one family even made me feel like a circus freak as they pulled their child over to stare at me and mention everything that made me different from them, without even saying anything to me or even acknowledging that I was a person. Thank you, random, rude family.

Anyway, as I continued my walk after back towards my student’s home, I stopped in a smaller park there before heading to class, and noticed the sunlight that shone off of the amphitheater style steps. This made me a feel a little bit better; so, I chose to bask in the sunlight there with a minimum number of people surrounding me and read for about twenty minutes. There were other details I noticed, such as how the sunlight reflecting off of the tree leaves really shimmered as  the warm breeze blew through them. Also lovely. 🙂

Overall, despite the myriad of comments about foreigners that really did pick at my brain for the rest of the day (but that you also learn to ignore over time), it was a lovely day – especially weather-wise. It was warm; I finally was able to enjoy some sunshine, and it was nice to take a breather. I feel like lately, everywhere I’ve been going is a place that’s next on the agenda. I’ve been meaning to go out and take some more walks, preferably on a daily basis, so this was a nice start in relation to that, too.

Taken in Da-An on a sunny day in the past.

A Review

I feel like before I can move on in my FYE progress, I should stop and finish up the review section of how far I’ve come throughout this course journey.

Looking back through all of my previous posts, it’s obvious that I really care about finding the story behind my subjects when I shoot. It’s a bit hard at times, especially when I’m with a group of people who are in a rush to move on to the next adventure *cough*husband*cough*cough*. lol. In all seriousness, though, I really do believe that it’s an important element for me within my photographic process. While many times I do find myself clicking away in a new place because I want to remember everything, most of the time my best images come from when I watch, observe, examine the light and angles, and really take into account what’s happening before actually clicking the shutter.

I find inspiration in light and color, and love it when the two combine in such a way that it makes me feel happy or brings about a sense of something special, or magical.

Actually, any magical feeling in general gets me really inspired and excited. (I’m thinking of how much I also love fog. Haha) For instance, while this isn’t light, it still makes me feeling something, something surreal, exciting, magical…

Again, there’s a sense of emotion here that really gets my soul stirring. I love it. And after reviewing my images again, along with some of my previous posts, I love picking out the details of something bigger or greater and capturing those, whether they’re from my everyday life, an adventure, or just a photowalk throughout my neighborhood/city. It’s the details and emotions that I really find myself getting excited about.

One thing I noticed (and am still noticing – especially after about two months of not having my camera by my side) is my fear to approach something outside of everyday objects, nature, or buildings, that gets me feeling inspired or excited to capture. Yes, I’m talking people. What else has more emotions or stories than us humans? I want this, and I’m working towards it, picking up where I left off while home. I love everything about taking portraits – especially of love – and I’m still working towards overcoming some of those fears day by day.        Day by day…

Overall, this course has been a great process thus far. I’ve loved every single assignment, and I’m looking forward to the new assignments coming my way in the inspiration courses, as I still feel I’m searching a little bit for my process techniques in relation to my eye. I have definitely learned more about what I love to shoot and why, and as time goes on, I’m starting to look a bit more at where the last couple of assignments here left off – the process and the techniques behind my images. As I continue on my journey, I need to remember to take more time to look at where I’m at, realize what I want to capture, why, and then figure out the best way to really create the image I see and experience. All with a new camera and, sometimes, in quick instances. 😉

Thanks again for stopping by, and I hope to see you here again as I continue on in the future! 🙂

New Light

My new camera is in hand! I am definitely still getting used to the new layout of buttons, but things are going well thus far. I’ve started to receive my new assignments from Kat’s Find Your Eye courses, so I realized that I better hurry up and finish those previous assignments, which is what I’m about to do. Haha!

One of the previous assignments challenged us to go out and look for new light. I am used to shooting in natural light settings, mostly because I don’t own my own flash units, so I did the best that I could in my situation: shot at nighttime. It was a little bit hard, not in relation to ISO or anything like that, but definitely in relation to finding inspiration at nighttime. I didn’t venture far, and since we live up in the mountain and it was 11:00 PM; so, I used what streetlights I could. At first, I started out taking photos of the moon hidden behind the clouds. It seemed pretty, but it was hard for me to figure out exactly how I wanted to capture it. Then the clouds parted a little, and it made for a brief spooky image:

It wasn’t entirely what I was looking for out there; in fact, I wasn’t sure what to expect, really. Then on my way back in, I found this image waiting for me:

I really liked the stark florescent lights against the warm glow of the city in the distance, and the balcony levels all add different lines and dimensions, which definitely caught my eye.

However, overall, I don’t feel these two images are best work, but I’m happy I did nighttime light shots because it gave me a chance to really test out my new camera’s ISO levels as well as learn a few other things – like filter effects – that my camera offers. I found it hard to not have the sun. Not so much because of the darkness or for technique reasons, but more so in the fact that I just find the sun to be so…inspiring. Every day the sunlight is somewhat different than the day before. It really brings out a beauty in things that we may take for granted or see on a daily basis and forget about. And sometimes if we forget about our everyday things, sometimes the sun will hit it at just the right angle, and when that happens, well, it’s magic for me. This goes for people or other subjects as well. But the sun is ever moving, and I think that’s what makes it so amazing and inspiring – when I get to catch it at just the right moment for it to illuminate something that I may not have noticed otherwise.

I think that is why the balconies caught my eye. I see those quite often, but it was this time, in the darkness with man-made lights, that really illuminated the lines of them, and to me, I got to see something in a new way – a new light, if you will. 😉 That image is the one that really made me feel inspired. All of the other images I captured were just shots I took and will probably delete in the near future, but that one. That one represents a spark of inspiration, something that got me excited: some shadows, some light, some lines, some contrast, and I like it, despite it not being one of the “favorites of all time” images.

Two More Days

Well, the time is practically here! Come this Wednesday, I will be purchasing my new camera. It’s definitely taken me a while to figure out which one to buy. I continually went back and forth between the Canon 60D and the 7D. There are pros and cons to both of these cameras, but in the end I finally decided on the 60D. While in many respects the 7D is considered to be a bit more of a “professional” camera compared to the 60D, there are a few things that the 60D can offer me that the 7D cannot. Savings, for one. Haha. Even though the price wasn’t too much of the main issue in deciding at first, it ended up being one of the top three factors. (Jeremy was even really sweet, saying things like: “I just don’t want you to feel like you have to settle/are settling,” and so on and so forth. He’s so supportive! lol)

See, before my previous poor ol’ little Rebel broke, I was planning on purchasing another lens. With the approximate $400-500USD savings, that is  in fact a potential lens, which is a bit more important to me than the body – especially when so many features of the 7D and the 60D are incredibly similar. It’s also the potential for the scooter that Jeremy and I have been talking about getting for, like, a year, which will also allow me to go out and explore more areas for more picture taking. (A fair tradeoff, I’d say.) (And don’t forget to factor in the expense of new CF cards, too!)

In addition to the price, I also like the fact that the color depth is better in the 60D than the 7D. I alternate between shooting RAW and JPEG, and in the end, I LOVE color, so I am definitely smitten with this feature.

And finally, while at first I didn’t think that I would be too thrilled by the flip screen and all of that jazz, I found that you can put it back facing you, and the resolution is better, so I feel that in the end, I’d be better able to review my images afterward. (Who doesn’t love great instant gratification?)

“But what about the 8fps and the practically unnoticeable shutter lag of the 7D?! And the sturdier casing?!” you say?
“But what do you mean, ‘Eh?!'”

The shutter lag in the 60D is still better than my previous Rebel, and I don’t shoot sports or wildlife, so while I was definitely attracted to this at first, in the end I realized that for me, it wasn’t as enticing as the color depth, and yes, I admit, the price.
And as for the casing, this was one of the hardest things to get over in relation to the 7D, but I fell on a bus, breaking my 50mm 1.4, but leaving no trace of damage on my plastic-cased Rebel XS. (My problem is with the battery connectors.) So, way to go, Canon, with your strong plastics! Haha. Again, not the deciding factor; so, I’m not too worried about it now.

Overall, despite the fact that some people still aren’t even sure why Canon made the 60D, it’s a reasonable price for a great camera that will continue to allow me to grow and work towards my goals. And I like that. Throughout the decision process, I even made [two] SWOT charts – one for each camera – which helped me decide as well. SWOT charts have never failed me in any decision making process. Call me a geek, but it’s seriously one of my favorite business tactics I learned throughout my business courses. (It was even what helped to create Amazon! Swoon. <3)

Anyway, I am very much so looking forward to this Wednesday, and cannot wait to start using my new camera! Expect many more posts and pictures soon! 🙂
Until then, have a great weekend, and thanks for stopping by!


Inspiring Processes

In relation to my last post, when it comes to the general photographic process, or any creative process for that matter, the creator always has his/her favorite parts, or finds certain sections much more inspiring and energizing. For me, I’m in the process of making the beginning process work to my advantage – by diving in and just doing something. (Right now this includes this blog, working towards a blog and website(s) that are more me, as well as other related photography plans. The plan is to share these with you in the near future!)

However, for one particular assignment for my FYE course, specifically related to the photographic process, it was hard at first for me to think about the parts of the process that truly inspire me. I think that part of this has to do with the fact that I’m waiting for just two weeks for an upgrade purchase, but after some contemplation, I think that I’ve narrowed it down to the times when I am studying my subject, sometimes parts of the editing process, and also when I am able to see the finished product.

When an idea first comes to me, I feel really excited about the idea of making it happen, but as I mentioned in the previous post, sometimes where to start can be a bit too overwhelming for me, so I often lose inspiration not long after the idea. *Sad face* HOWEVER, if I can get my idea started and get myself motivated to start somewhere (working on it!), once I have my subject in view, I am truly inspired by the story s/he/it tells, playing with light in relation to him/her/it, and basically how I want to portray all of these different elements in the photo. I most often feel the most inspired at this point in time.

When I get home and after I’ve reviewed and picked the images I like the best – sometimes a truly daunting task  if I get carried away during shooting – there are times that I love testing out new techniques, actions, and elements in my photos. In addition, if I’m feeling creative but don’t have a lot of time to go out shooting, I often use this as an outlet, as it is a way for me to test out new ideas and create. So, sometimes I find this time and process to be inspiring.

Finally, I often feel really inspired to move on and keep creating once I’ve gotten my work up where it needs to be, whether it’s on a wall, my blog, or the photo galleries for my class. I find myself feeling excited and ready to create again when this happens. It just feels good to finish a project that I’ve dedicated time and effort to, as I’m sure most everyone can understand.

Overall, though, I think that the actual shooting of the subject, deciding how to document what I’m seeing, the story it holds, and the elements surrounding it is what is most inspiring to me. I truly love documenting with my camera!

Taken by S.C. Hadley

Interested in learning more about your own eye? Join Kat’s mailing list to find out about future FYE classes!

Beginning the Process

Every time someone goes to create something, there’s always a process. An order that is followed, and sometimes, the actual starting of a project is the hardest part – where to begin? At least, that’s how I view it sometimes. As I learn more and more about different creative processes in relation to my own as well as The Creative Habit*, I am starting to break through those blocks that often hold me back at the beginning of a project or idea.

See, I’ve always been the kind of person who likes to dip her feet in. Waiting to test the waters, to see if I will freeze, fail, or somehow get hurt. And I’ve come to the realization that sometimes, I just need to dive in. Sometimes, it’s better just to start somewhere. Anywhere. Otherwise, [I] won’t do anything, nor will [I] know what else needs to happen. I have lots of plans and ideas running through my head. Writing them down helps since I don’t have a working camera at this moment in time in order to execute some of them. (Two weeks!). Some of the ideas, though, which should be easily executed, I often think as difficult because there are too many options for where to begin. However, lately I’ve been working hard at actually doing things, anything, in order to start, and it has felt good. Today I took a little bit of a break from the question and answers I’ve been giving myself as well as the implementation of some of these tasks/plans, but I’m ready to get back in. See, for me, my ideas and plans get me really inspired and energized and ready to go, but sometimes I need that little push to get me  moving. Sometimes I just need someone to give me a shove into the pool. I’m learning to be that person for myself, too. Motivating yourself can be hard, but I’ve come to realize that as long as you start somewhere, you can make the necessary adjustments from there.

As the end of 2011 draws near, I’m hoping to have some awesome new things to share with you all. I’m still here working away despite not posting as often as I’d like, and I’m hoping that my giant belly flop leap into more photography related endeavors won’t leave my chest and stomach stinging…

Taken in Kenting**

Do you dive right in or test the waters? What do you do to get yourself up and moving and motivated?

*I don’t make any money off of this link, nor am I affiliated with this link in any way. Just read this book if you’re facing the same creativity blocks I’ve been facing!
**Visit there if you ever get the chance Create an opportunity to visit this place!