Model Mayhem Has Been Good To Me!

I broke down and paid for a model and I couldn't be happier with the results.  Don't get me wrong, i've been lucky to have worked with some amazing models over the last couple of years.  There is something about the change in dynamic when it's a paid shoot.

 I worried less about how much time I was taking and took the opportunity to work different angles and lighting positions.  I'm fairly new to off camera flash and wanted to spend some time playing with the light that a one light setup provided.  I was shooting with a Fuji XT1, a 56mm 1.2 lens and a Yungnuo 560 Mark III Speelight and the Yungnuo 560TX radio transmitter mounted atop the camera.  The flash was used in conjunction with a small, square, softbox.  

I worked with an amazing model from modelmayhem.com Marie Jean .  She arrived on time and ready to work and I believe we achieved some beautiful results.  

I'm a fly by the seat of your pants kind of photographer.  I try not to have too much of a preconcieved notion of what i'm going to achieve.  I have a general ideal but I am flexible with where that takes me.  I wait to see how the model works with me and the situation and try to capture what happens without too much direction.  

Most of my photography has centered around landscapes, still life and the occasional portrait.  Lately I have been excited by what I have been able to accomplish with portraits using both natural and off camera flash.  Light can be tough to master.  It's always changing and can either help or hurt you depending on how you use it.  The goal is to remember what worked and add that to your tool kit.  

For this shoot I had an idea that I had never tried and had no idea how it would turn out.  I've traveled some in Italy and Greece and have always been taken with how widows show their respects to their partners when they are gone.  In Greece there is a tradition that a widow dresses in black for the rest of their life.  I wanted to add some beauty to this idea in the form of the subject and some flowers.  The idea was great, but carrying it out took patience for me and the model.  Marie was fantastic and worked with me until I got the results I wanted.

The hardest part of the above image was getting the focus right.  I am still learning the capabilities of my Fuji XT1.  The light was very low in the studio and it was impossible to see well enough to use manual focus.  I set the focus to area mode and was able to capture this shot.  I couldn't be happier with this image.  I actually used the out of camera jpegs and worked them a little in LIghtroom.  

It was a pleasure working with Marie and I hope we get to collaborate again in the near future.  Here are a couple more images from this shoot.

Copyright Wineberg Images 2016

SoYou Think You're a Photographer?

 I've been around for a little while. I've worked in the photography industry off and on for close to 20 years. Since digital took over there has been a growing sense in the photography community that "true" professional photography has been eroded away. This erosion caused by the new ease of use of digital equipment.

With digital tech you are able to see your results immediately. The learning curve shortened and people are able to create images, for purchase, that are acceptable to the general public, with very little time in the saddle. With film you had a process that took days and sometimes weeks to produce professional looking images. The expense was 100 times what it is today. Most professional photographers were shooting film until around 2005. It is only in the last 10 years that digital has taken over. It used to be a specialized field that involved the use of chemistry in darkrooms.  Figuring out lighting was a long and slow process.  No camera back to look at to see results.  Polaroids were the only option for immediate feedback and we all know what a polaroid looks like.  It took years to master photography.  Because of this photographers were able to charge larger sums for images.  Photographers weren't a dime a dozen.   Imagine how you would feel if you had taken years to master your craft and someone out there, with six months of experience, is your competition.  Some will say that if you were an amazing photographer you wouldn't have any trouble keeping clients in this situation, I disagree.  The problem is that when someone can get similar results, even if it is lower quality, they will go with the cheaper option.  Ask the former employees of Sports Illustrated or the Chicago Sun Times.  So when someone starts talking about the "everyone is a photographer" topic I understand where they are coming from. Just look on Instagram or 500px and you will see 1000's of amazing photos from 1000's of amazing photographers. Before the interweb and digital these people would have fallen to obscurity.  They never would have been able to express themselves to such a large audience and for that I am grateful. It's a hard pill to swallow, progress is, but one that we will have to swallow if we are going to move on and adapt.  You know the saying, adapt or die. Call yourself what you will, I know what I am and I don't need someone else to validate it for it to be true.  So pick up that camera and create your art!

 

Yosemite Drama! Not the Ahwhanee?

In 1990 my college buddies talked me into a backpacking trip.  We hiked from Tuolumne Meadows, through Pate Valley and finishing at White Wolf.  We did this trip in seven days.  This was my first backpacking trip.  I was the ultimate noob!  My pack was full of things I had no business bringing.  I was totally out of shape and had no idea what I was getting into.  On top of all of that I woke up with an abscessed tooth the morning we were supposed to depart.  A quick trip to a local Oakhurst dentist allowed me to make it to the trailhead in time.  Needless to say the physical part of this journey was not enjoyable.  What I did find was that I had discovered the place that brought me closest to, whatever it may be, that created all of this.  Yosemite, from that day forward, became my church.  What does this have to do with photography you ask?  From that date on I have spent many hours photographing both the valley and the backcountry of Yosemite.  Both on film and more recently digitally.  

This week, on Friday, I depart for another photographic journey to Yosemite.  We have been blessed with several feet of snow at higher elevations in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  The Yosemite high country is blanketed with the beautiful white stuff.  The Valley Floor has seen more than just a dusting over the last few weeks and i'm curious if we are going to be lucky enough to see it this trip.  As of this writing two small storms are on track to hit while i'm there.  I save a ton of money by staying in the Curry Village tent cabins.  While heated with propane heaters several blankets will be necessary.  

There is a new twist that has recently happened in the valley.  The concessions company that lost the contract for all of the businesses in Yosemite is fighting in court, for compensation, for the naming rights of practically everything in the park.  The Ahwhanee, Curry Village, the Wawona as well as the title of the park "Yosemite National Park" has been claimed by this company.  With the exception of the later, everything has been renamed temporarily.  Only a judge will decide the outcome and I'm sure it will take years before it is resolved.  You can read about it here.  I don't really care what changes are made, I will continue to call these locations by the only names I have ever known.  That I know is true.

My last trip to Yosemite happened in February of 2014 and I was lucky enough to catch a departing storm from the Valley View parking area.  It is my favorite image to date of the valley.

There are two additonal images from this trip that I love.  One of Upper Yosemite Falls and the other a view from the road that I captured out my car window.  You never know when an amazing image is going to happen.

I will be uploading video throughout the weekend as well as images to my Instagram account.  This will be the first photographic journey I will take with my Fuji XT1 and  i'm excited to see what I can accomplish with this new tool in a place that is close to my heart.  

How Do Photo's Make You Feel?

How a photo makes you feel is subjective.  We all take photos throughout our lives of special events, where we've travelled, our children, beautiful views and so on and when we look at them they bring back memories and the emotion of that time and place.  These images most probably won't be winning prizes for composition or be showcased on the cover of magazines but they are beautiful to us because they are our memories, our experiences.  But what is it that makes a photo universally amazing?  A photo that when you look at it you can't look away or you have to share it with a friend.  A photo has to make you feel something, happy, sad, angry, aroused.  For it to be great it has to elicit some kind of profound visceral reaction from a broad audience.  This is what I strive for in my photography.  I hope that when I show my images to someone, or they come across them online, that they stop and say this is beautiful or this makes me think or they just want to soak it up.  I know that my photography is  a work in progress and that it will always be.  What I also know is that with each photo I take I get closer to that place, to that emotion.  Every time I take the time to think about what it is that I am seeing through the lens my images get better.  I read a post by Brett Birdsong called "Shoot What Matters" on dedpxl.com and it resonated with me.  He talks about shooting from the heart and not worrying about what shots people say you should get or "what some intoxicated intern behind a desk at a wedding blog tells you that you should see".  I could spend the rest of my life shooting the things that I know will rack up likes or comments in my feeds or I could do something different.  I could shoot what I love and put my heart into each and every image, leaving a little bit of me in each pixel.