Tuesday, November 9, 2010


(Check out my photography blog at rlemanphoto.blogspot.com)

I've been an avid "hobby" photographer for all of my adult life, and have made money here and there doing the occasional portrait shoot for engaged couples, brides to be, families, etc... but I've never really been too serious about it. Taking wedding pictures is nice and all, (shooting two weddings in the 4 weeks), but I've never really been super jazzed about it.

Taking landscape photos is fun, I especially like hiking into places that are a little too rugged for people who are afraid to get their feet wet/knees dirty (eg most namby pamby photographers I've run into, prudes) In fact once upon a time I stood waist deep in frigid ice water to get a shot of an ice bridge that had formed over a small stream. And another time I hiked 1/4 mile through waist deep snow to shoot some abandoned cabins/barns that were covered in fresh snow. Did I mention I was wearing jeans and tennis shoes both times? Not my most intelligent move, but I was happy with the end results.

I've taken a few product photos for work and friends, sometimes interesting, mostly lots of bending and stooping and cursing. I spent 4 hours last night building a light box the size of a refrigerator to take pictures of tubas and trumpets and the like. Lots of duct tape and foul language was involved.

I've discovered in the last year that what I really enjoy is event photography. When I was younger I went with my buddy squirrel to snowmobile hillclimb competitions, and ran the still camera while he ran the video. The camera sucked and my position was awful, but it was still a blast. Recently I've been taking pictures at a lot of music venues, and I am lovin' it. I've got a CD release party coming up in January, and am looking for more opportunities. As I've progressed as a photographer I came to the conclusion that trying to force a pose to get the "perfect shot" is frustrating and often fruitless, (speaking of pictures involving people, other types of photography are less applicable to this statement). What I really enjoy is the "hunt", sitting poised with my camera waiting for the perfect shot to come to me, and in music venues and other similar events this philosophy works exceptionally well. When your subjects aren't focusing on posing for you, but are just being themselves and rocking out to the music, there are seemingly endless excellent shots to be had, if you have the patience to wait. In today's world of super high-speed cameras it is too easy to just snap off hundreds of photos and hope some turn out well. But if you really take the time to compose your shots and wait for the right moment, an incredibly higher number of your pictures will turn out well. Now not to say I'm not guilty of blazing through my memory card at light speed at times, but I try to avoid it as often as I can. This not only gives you better overall pictures, but also avoids wasted space on your memory card, (not that memory is a huge issue these days).

One more difficult and often frustrating parts of event photograph is that you usually have no control over the layout of the area. While sometimes it's just a pain (those pop-up shades at the Halloween concert were the bane of my existence), it also makes for an interesting challenge, forces you to be more creative with your shots, and is very rewarding when you can use or work around the environment to get a great picture.

Here's a few pictures I've taken at some music gigs. Sorry for the waterfall effect, can't get them to stack side-by-side. In no particular order:

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