One of the many interests I have and sort of "dabble" in is photography. It's hard to explain the satisfaction of going out with your camera and capturing something beautiful using angles, light and color. Of course, when you get it absolutely right the very first time, that's even better. I enjoy taking, what to me, are beautiful pictures, but I am under no illusions as to my aptitude for this wonderful artform. Yes, it is art. To set up a shot just right, you have to have some kind of artist aesthetic. Composition, just like in painting, is important, and it certainly does help to at least be aware of some of the art "basics" when it comes to color, light and composition. When taking portraits, just like with the old Mestros of old, it is the portrait that captures the essence of the person that touches you the deepest. Anyone can take a picture of another person, but very few can truly capture the essence of who that person is. As I've meandered in this playground of interesting people, amazing equipment and breath-taking pictures, I have started collecting a few favorite photographers. People who's work inspire me. Challenge me. Push me to keep shooting for that perfect picture.
One of my favorite photogs, is Annie Leibovitz. Hardly a surprise there. I'm sure most folks really enjoy her work. Then again, who can blame them. Her pictures, expecially of people, don't just capture the moment which they were in, but imprints a small piece of their soul as well. If they are laughing, you can almost hear the laughter. If they are pensive, you find yourself wondering what they were thinking of the second the shutter opened and closed. You see people as they are. Honest. Stark. True. In those frozen moments, they are all beautiful.
I happened to stumble onto an article that was talking about her latest project for Disney. It's called the Disney Dream Portraits. What a delight they are. She has skillfully used her amazing talent as a photographer to capture these actors, dancers and athletes enacting characters and scenes from the Disney stories. Blended in the whimsy post production and the result has been just magical, in my opinion. It's different and yet very her, all at the same time.
Another photographer whom I have come to enjoy a lot, is a local man, Titus Bartos. An amazing man, with an incurable sweet tooth, who takes these incredibly captivating portraits of people and landscapes alike. I can also vouch that he likes to share what he has learn't with those of us who are still learning. I did a basic digital camera lesson with him a few years ago, and really enjoyed my time learning how to use my camera better and how to keep the technical aspects of photography in the back of my mind when taking a picture. While I wouldn't blame him for my shortcomings, I do give him credit for the things I have gotten right. He captures, not just the essence of the person, but also the emotion of that moment when the shutter snaps open and shut. His landscapes often leave me with a feeling of reverence or sacredness. As though I am being permitted to witness God at His work.
I've just recently discovered another photographer who specializes in wildlife photography. His blog is simply named Chris the Photog. His blog is short and sweet most of the time, and he also has some "how to" on how to get the perfect picture of a fat, mischievous squirrel or a beautiful finch. His joy for what he does is evident in his work. Every day is a celebration and he takes you along to celebrate with him. Whether it's waking up early in search of grasshoppers or playing around with a new lense. He takes you along on these amazing "journeys" into nature where you get to see the subjects up close. I suspect Chris must have the patience of Job. Probably why I wouldn't do overly well as a wildlife photographer.
If you would like to see some of my adventures and misadventures into Photography, you can click here.