Beach & Countryside

Linda and I have been back home from our visit to Sweden for almost three weeks now. Things have settled back into their normal routine; or at least as much as they can during a month where the temperature in the morning at ten o’clock is 100 and keeps rising and rising until it hits 110+ around seven o’clock in the evening. I have just this one last set of pictures I wanted to share from our trip before I get back to writing and posting pictures about “normal” life.

This set is one that I like especially. They tells a story about the landscape. I am anxious to see what folks from the area think. Do my pictures match how you see the place where you live? I also think these pictures tell a story. In fact, I’m not going to tell the story in words. I’m going to just lay them out here and let you enjoy them without me interrupting. See if you can “read” the story these pictures are trying to tell you and comment below.

I appreciate all of you who dropped by to read this series. I am already looking forward to out next trip to Sweden. It may not be next summer but the next time we’re out there it will definitely (if I have anything to say about it) be summer!

Happy Thursday!

P.S. Check out the set on Flickr here >

Jake Johnson's Picture Perfect Course

My wife and I take Pilates a couple times a week. You can picture me doing Pilates, can’t you? Maybe not. Anyway, that is where I first met Jake Johnson. It turns out that behind the laid back, easy going personality, is a successful commercial photographer. Well, well! When I found out he was teaching a series of photography classes, I immediately signed up for the entire series. (Jake and local photographer Dawniele showing the class how it’s done.)

Jake Johnson - Picture Perfect Course

After completing each class, I had to ask myself, why did it take me so long? If you own a camera (that goes double if you own a DSLR) you owe it to yourself to learn how to use it. Whatever level you’re at, there is always more you can learn about exposure, camera settings, lighting, composition, editing; the list goes on. My point? Stop sitting back and letting your camera make all the decisions.

Jake Johnson - Picture Perfect Course

As I become more familiar with my camera, as I understand how to see light and to control it, I become a better photographer. I am not saying I’m all that and a bag of cheese-its, just better.

Jake Johnson - Picture Perfect Course

These pictures are all ones I took randomly over the course of the last class. We all took during being the “model” so if you don’t like the picture it’s the photographer’s fault. If you like it, then it’s totally the model. That’s fair, right? (Pictured is local fashion photog Stella).

Jake Johnson - Picture Perfect Course

Scary bug alert! This guy showed up as we were taking group pictures and supports the quote by Joe McNally, “Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left the location.”

Jake Johnson - Picture Perfect Course

Happy Friday!

Sanford Road

A while back I listed my first real camera on eBay; a Canon EOS Rebel X 35mm SLR with a 35-80mm lens. It was a Christmas gift from mom and dad probably close to twenty years ago. I had it on there for 6 days and five hours before deciding to cancel the sale. I decided I’d rather keep it so it now sits on a mini tripod stand on the book shelf inside the entrance to my office.

While the old camera is now more decoration, it reminds me of friends, family, home and of Sanford Road. Here are a few pictures from home I took with that old camera.

This place was named “Goode Stuff”; a second hand your junk is someone else’s treasure shop. The guy who owned the place’s name was Chuck and he was a real character. His other job was running the other actual town trash dump. I wish I had a picture of the store’s signage.

I don’t remember this gentleman’s name who lived here but if you waved at him he would wave back really big. I never missed a chance as I drove by. I saw him each day on my way home from school, him sitting there, thinking deep thoughts I suppose. I wish he’d been there the day I took this picture. I do not have a clue why he was not.

This last picture is a house was right around the corner and down a hill from where I grew up. I didn’t know the old timer who lived there but dad once said he was a good fellow.

I’ve Seen the Light!

The more I read and learn about taking pictures the more I think, “hey, these guys know what they’re talking about”. I like Jeremy Cowart’s advice on becoming a better photographer, “Just shoot a lot of pictures”. I also read books. I recently picked up Scott Kelby’s The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2 (Yes, I read Volume One). Take the first chapter: Using Flash like a Pro. It talks about light. I decided to test his ideas out and these are the results.

First, I am taking these pictures of myself. Perhaps that’s obvious. Maybe not. However, if it’s not obvious, I blame it on the remote which makes this kind of thing possible.

I started with a white (and then black) background since they reflect light differently; cardboard from the Office Depot

I then moved to the black background. Softer?

I then tried turning the ceiling  light off and used the garage door light. I get a somewhat different lighting. I’d say much softer still.

When I started to see the differences in the view finder I got the idea to open the side door to the garage just a little, gradually opening it more and more. Here’s a little garage door light. If that light were on the top of my head I’d claim it was a halo and sell my likeness on eBay.

Here’s a little more. (Thanks for bearing with me. I know that looking at pictures of me might not be super high on your list of fun things to do but since I did this on my lunch break, and since I work from home, I was the only one around to take pictures of.)

Here’s a lot. I didn’t realize I was squinting until I looked at the shot.

Thanks for joining me on my experiment. Now, wasn’t that fun?

My Recent Visit to Nashville [Part 2]

Cumberland River
My Dad lives in Madison, Tennessee on the banks of the Cumberland River. It’s quite a spot in general but one of the more interesting things to see are the tug boats and barges. Our first afternoon hanging out we spotted not one but two tugs coming slowly down the river against the swift current.

That gave me plenty of time to grab my camera and take a couple dozen shots. While the first barge was hauling what appears to be big rocks, the second appears to be hauling coal.

These next two shots get in closer to show details of what is being hauled. Some of that detail also looks a lot like snow!

I hear it is still coming down in many parts of Nashville and that folks out there are very ready for a break from the white stuff.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures of the boats. If you’d like to see more visit the following and let me know what you think.