Thursday, March 29, 2012

Our Own Engagement Session

I haven't blogged all year, and although it has not been completely visible yet, this year has already felt like a whirlwind, and I am just trying to stay on the ground to put one foot in front of the other. If only there were more than 24 hours in a day, I could achieve all of my dreams at a quicker pace and still enjoy the family and friends that I have while they are still around me.

This engagement session with Lianne and I was on her birthday weekend, and with her away from me most of the time we have to get the most of our time together. Luckily for me, my sister and her boyfriend came to celebrate her birthday with us and helped us take these photos, and although we had a general idea of the photos we were looking for, each of us had a location and each of us an idea of what we wanted, and before we even got dressed it began with us letting go of our pre-conceived ideas about how we wanted things to go. Although we could have said let's not do it, we chose to go ahead to see what could happen.

I have posted just a few teaser photos on my Facebook page just to keep the 500 or so fans I have there interested. I apologize for not making this (my blog) more of a priority. As the year progresses and big things happen before me, I realize this year is becoming a growing year in all aspects of my life, not just photography. Every aspect of my life is growing and changing in big ways. With marriage, buying a home, getting a promotion after a hard trial and finally seeing some progression in my work as an engineer, keeping up with photography and making the necessary moves to grow as a photographer has taken extra effort. I am grateful for all of the support, continued following , and encouragement even through this lack of public activity.

For my thoughts on this engagement session all I had was the location picked out, Lianne had her location picked out, and we discussed the theme as country because of our country-chic wedding which included my cowboy hat and our cowboy boots. Colors were discussed loosely but we ended up just going with clothes that worked. The purpose of this shoot was to have pictures for our invitations, and my original idea was to stick with very detail oriented close up shots, and as you can see what I ended up with was much more scenic and story-telling.

As a student to life, I have attempted to make a consistent effort to seek challenges and continue to learn and push forward. My focus and drive remains on the single steps in front of me and when I look up or start see the bigger picture I begin to realize the overall vision and direction that these steps are taking me as if I did not know where they would take me. When big things begin to happen I am surprised and try not to get too excited to lose my footing, but it reminds me that the little steps are important, the hard work, and the fact that every experience counts towards learning and the big picture, good or bad.

Another thing I had in my mind for our shoot was the lens that I wanted to use. This lens is not your typical portrait session lens and If you can guess which lens I am talking about, it's probably more intimidating than most even for photographers let alone someone who is not. I had originally planned to take all of these photos with a remote; I know, kind of ambitious, probably a bad idea, and I don't presume that they would have been nearly as good as they came out if I had done that. When you have limited resources and limited time something has to be compromised. Thank God for my sister and her boyfriend for deciding to come celebrate Lianne's birthday. We didn't tell them that we would be taking pictures.

I did the setup and test shots as can be seen from the first shot and the teaser from Facebook, and we did three full takes with reviews. The first I gave Grant, my sister's boyfriend, the least control and the least instruction. I gave him a remote shutter button to press and told him to fire away. The second take, I took away his remote, kept the frame locked on my tripod, and taught him how to catch focus with a shallow depth of field in a large scene with fairly small subjects. Finally the third take, I unlocked my tripod and allowed him to follow us and practiced with him to get the correct frame when we settled to our post. The resulting images are life-long treasures for sure and by the time we got to Lianne's location he needed little instruction and it took just two takes and a critique of what we liked and didn't like. The whole experience was smooth and full of learning, I hope Grant and Dawn had as much fun as we did.

With photography, I have taken steps first to fall in love with photography, then dreamed about what it could become, and now I have been taking steps towards those dreams. In recent steps, I have worked to improve and practice my writing and storytelling by creating this blog, I have collected and cataloged my work to offer an online store for fans and friends to purchase photos, I have solicited other avenues of work in commercial photography to become published in magazines, and lastly but certainly not the complete list of steps I have researched other types of photography; right now, I am learning more about astrophotography. Part of my drive for taking these steps is that I find myself bored and restless with producing and shooting the same type of work over and over again. When photography becomes a grind, I look for opportunities to change and grow to keep my perspective fresh. Sometimes the guidance about what steps I should be taking is found within other's words to help steer me in the right direction, sometimes it's criticism, and most of the time it's just spending time dreaming, observing what is current, and praying and reflecting how to use myself, photography, and what I see in front of me together.

I hope you enjoyed this post!