As you might have guessed from the lack of updates here, my job almost succeeded in eating me alive. Almost.
Oddly enough, it was my job that indirectly tipped off an identity crisis when it comes to photography. When I started training, I learned that two of my cohorts dabble in the craft. One of them happens to be really good at it.I’d rather not share his work here right now (as it will probably lead him here to this blog, which I’m not ready for him to find). Feel free to leave me a comment if you wish to see it. The thing about his portfolio is it made me feel like an inferior photographer. I saw through the fisheye lens and liberal post-production work to suss out solid composition and excellent timing. I am especially impressed with his shots of birds. Given how much I like birdies, I suddenly felt a bit unworthy. The praise posted did not help things. I had a bit of a meltdown over it, and only chats with a few different friends helped me determine what to do in regards to my future in taking pictures.
Long story short, I’ve started to really accept that I’m a technician and not an artist. When I raised the question of quitting photography on Facebook on Writing.com, the point was raised about artistic photography making a statement. Here’s the thing. I don’t always see photography that way, especially artistic works. When I view photos in a physical gallery or exhibit space, I look at how the photo utilizes foreground/midground/background facets of composition. I also consider how much I can immerse myself in the scene on a base level. Ultimately, that’s what I try to do with my photography. I aim to engage sense beyond sight. I want people to imagine the texture of flower petals, the scent of a goat’s enclosure, or hear the breeze jostling objects in a scene. I do this through various in-camera/in the field techniques. I feel that the vast majority of post-processing takes away from achieving this goal. Yes, this does apply to the work of the photographer I mentioned earlier.
When I’ve dabbled in competitions, I have had some success. Aside from my YBS Top 100 milestone, I have people favoriting/voting for my photos on I Shot It. I can’t say for sure if these people are experiencing what I share on a sensory level. It’s all anonymous, kind of like an actual gallery where I’m not around to directly observe their reactions. My photos seem to do things for some people, though. I guess I have that going for me.
Ultimately, camera technique interests me way more than post-processing (even if I can stomach Lightroom). I care more about finding lenses that will best fit my budget and subjects than I do about actions. Staying quiet to not disturb the wildlife I photograph is more important to me than staying on top of photo software updates. If these priorities mean I’m a technical photographer and not an artistic one, then that’s what I am. Why I keep trying my hand at artistic pursuits I’ll never know.
Being in the technical camp means I don’t have a whole lot of support out there, but I do have some. Ken Rockwell’s op-ed on RAW files echoes some of the sentiments I have when it comes to the craft of photography. I suppose it’s nice to see someone echo my thoughts when that person’s photography background is way different than mine. As I dove back into photography courtesy of working in a photo lab, I saw some lovely things come out of developing film by placing it through automatically timed chemical baths and nearly no interference in printing. Some customers I developed film for were taking photography classes and brought their film to my store. It was fun to see their work because it was really gorgeous. Because of that, I got to see stunning work created without post-processing meddling. If there was ever a moment that my anti-manipulation dogma took root, this would be it.
It all boils down to this. I’m a technique freak that’s been trying to bite off more than I can chew. I’ve gotten lucky in that regard in the past, but this time around it finally became too much. It’s in my best interest to stay focused on improving technique since my desire to make a grand statement on a topic with my photos doesn’t appeal to me. Here’s to actually staying true to my technique-oriented self. I hope I can do this.
So what else did I photograph during this particular sojourn to Florida? Plenty. I admit much of it was for a special Mars and Darwin book I plan to give to my parents this year, but there were still moments worthy of sharing here.
(As a matter of fact, that is my husband being silly at a playground. Why do you ask? :-))
We explored new places this time around, including DuPuis Nature Preserve in western Martin County. I drove by the place many times in my late teens and early 20s but never actually visited. I finally got there on our last full day in the wang. I also took my husband to the Port Mayaca Cemetery to show him the mass grave for the victims of the 1928 hurricane. I had been there a few times before and was kind of surprised at the changes I saw with the place. It was my husband’s first time there, though, so I set aside my surprise to show him around. By that point, though, I’d already been handed a couple other surprises.
During this trip, we discovered a park in Sewell’s Point that I had no idea even existed; stoppedd by Bayside Marketplace only to find it way more crowded than I expected; and tiptoed around at least a dozen Portuguese Man O Wars. These new adventures provided contrast to revisiting some of our old haunts. We probably won’t return for at least two more years, and that’s a trip I expect to have a lot of new adventures. Until then, enjoy these slices from South Florida.
My husband made the suggestion that we revisit Bok Tower and Gardens. We were last there in 2012, but I think he really wanted to go back so he could take lots of pictures. I can’t say I blame him.
Even though we’ve been to Bok Tower in December a couple times before, the sun has never been this bright. As a result, my pictures are sharper than usual. I’m not going to complain since this gave me more opportunities to photograph the tower while emphasizing contrasting colors. Granted, the reduced cloud cover allowed for much deeper blue skies. Even when there has been sun on previous trips there has been enough cloud cover to mute everything.
We wandered a good portion of the grounds, including the Pinewood Mansion in all its holiday glory. While snowmen were next to nonexistent, there were lots of other splendid subjects for still life and even action photography. So let’s take a trip into this Central Florida dreamscape.
I have a lot to catch up on, and for the sake of getting it done I’m not going in chronological order. So let’s kick off with something fun. By fun, I mean birds. I love photographing birds. You should know that by now.
Not surprisingly, one of my favorite things to do when I visit Florida is photograph all the birdies I encounter. If my husband and I are at a park, we’ll trail birds as long as possible. Well, I’ll tail the birds, and he’ll watch me. 😀 The birds amuse us both, but our reactions are far different.
We visited a lot of different places in Florida but didn’t see a huge variety of birds. That was a bit of a bummer, but I managed with what I found. Between beach-dwelling pigeons and a crap ton of little blue herons, I had a field day with photographing these little dinosaur descendants. Had I seen more varieties (including cormorants, roseate spoonbills and sandhill cranes) my head would have most likely exploded. On that note, enjoy my birdy shots! I know I have tons of fun with them. 🙂
I know summer is winding down. No, it doesn’t feel that way in much of the Midwest what with our lovely heat wave. That said, I keep seeing the back to school sales and am starting to carve out more plans for our autumn break trip. Yes, my husband and I are going on an autumn break vacation. Why not? Before we head out to Illinois, though, there’s a bunch of stuff from this summer that I ought to recap.
The biggest trip was going to New Jersey and Philadelphia (with a quick stop in Delaware) for a week or so. New Jersey has the notorious image of being an industrial wasteland and the home of Snooki. This is true of north Jersey, but South Jersey is very different. Go to South Jersey, and you’ll see what I mean. It is the Garden State for a reason, and there is a variety of natural wonder still to be enjoyed. This applies for Delaware as well. Our stop in Delaware was actually at Cape Henlopen State Park, which is a great place to visit. Bring your Off, though. I wandered on one of the trails and received two dozen mosquito bites for my trouble. That is not an exaggeration. I actually counted them because it was a painful experience. Even with the inspect trouble, I managed to snag some photos of the beauty of the natural world in and around the Delaware Bay (which flows along the southernmost parts of New Jersey and influences the biomes in other parts of the area as well). This is an area I spent many summers, so I knew it pretty well when I visited for the first time in nearly a decade. Many things have (surprisingly?) stayed the same, including the natural splendor that I want to share with you. I hope this post makes to reconsider what know know about New Jersey.
While I spent a lot of time in Lake Wales during my winter break, I visited other places in Florida as well. My husband and I wandered around and stopped by a few locales in South Florida. Some were familiar ground while others were new territory for me. There were also moments to honor long-held family traditions and ponder what has changed in my hometown. Every time I go, I realize that Florida is nice to visit, but I was not cut out to live there (even though I was born and raised in that state). Here are some slices of the more ordinary details of the state. Are they really that ordinary? I’ll let you decide.