Middle of the wedding season...

Man, what a season so far. By far, it's been our busiest summer yet. We've enjoyed being a part of everyone's amazing days. It's humbling to be picked from hundreds of local photographers. Capturing the special moments on such a momentous occasion is crucial. Not just any one can pick up a camera and do it. It takes a certain emotional investment in the finished product. 

Drew and Leslie Green July 29, 2017

Jon and Amanda Daly

Jon and Amanda Daly

Music Appreciation :)

"A painter paints his pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. We provide the music, and you provide the silence."

Leopold Stokowski


People often ask me if I get tired of going to my husband's shows every weekend.  They say that it seems like it would get boring.  My response is always the same: "No, of course not.  No two shows are the same."  I have the pleasure of being around truly passionate musicians who love what they do, so much that they've dedicated their entire lives to making people happy through entertainment.  I don't believe most people understand the commitment and sacrifice that these musicians make in order to share their love for this art.  It is hard work.  Much time and thought is invested into playing the perfect guitar riff or writing lyrics that will touch the listener's soul.  Those examples are meant to be simple; composing is very extensive and complicated.  You may be thinking, "yea, right," or maybe you've thought that music was more a hobby than a career; maybe you still think that... (To each his own :) )  However, consider a world without music, one of silence.  It is almost impossible to imagine.  Musicians paint our world with beautiful sounds that evoke emotions within us and provoke us to take action.   Their music moves us forward, reminds us of our past and gives us hope for the future.  

I've had the privilege of witnessing this brilliance; therefore, what kind of photographer/person would I be if I didn't share it with the world (or at least my friends on Facebook).  The camera can merely give one a glimpse of the passion and dedication invested or of the fulfillment that these artists must feel when a fan sings along to a song that he/she wrote or waits around for an hour after the show just for the opportunity to meet them.  I'm content with capturing glimpses of time because I know that they then become permanently saved; those glimpses are frozen forever for each to savor, consider, and discuss.  

Although the picture above is Kip Winger, I am referring to all musicians and those who help to touch lives through music.  I simply used this picture because I liked it.  :)

Although the picture above is Kip Winger, I am referring to all musicians and those who help to touch lives through music.  I simply used this picture because I liked it.  :)

Be well, capture a special moment, then put the camera away and breathe it all in.  You'll have time to reflect later. Oh, and go enjoy some live music.  There's nothing else like it.  :)

Kerry Smith

Candid shots at a wedding

Candid (of a photograph of a person) taken informally, especially without the subject's knowledge.

One of my favorite things to do is get candid shots of people being real, hence the term candid. I think it's a wonderful accomplishment to feel like the "essence" of a person had been captured. At our most recent wedding shoot, we had three photographers and an assistant throughout the day. I was relegated to the male getting ready shots, while Kerry took care of the beautiful ladies. We took roughly 1800 shots over the course of 2 days and the final product consisted of 600 dang-near perfect pics and a beautiful video from Animoto.com. Here are my two favorite "getting-ready" shots from Adam and Kassi's wedding.

Kassi getting ready at Rumour's in West Memphis, AR.


Pic of the week

While editing, I happened to run across this picture that I took a few months ago.  I like the intent looks on the mother's and son's faces.  I feel like it tells a story.  My favorite types of pictures are candid shots like this one.  

 

I have a pretty firm understanding of composition; however, I am continuously learning about lighting - the more I shoot, the more I learn.  I am very thankful for my amazing and talented husband.  He's such a good teacher and has been very patient while I figure it all out.  Until next time, don't forget to live each moment, and capture what you can. 

Who knew?

How is it that I can live in a place almost my entire life without knowing about places like Botanic Garden of Memphis?  I was completely in awe and the flowers had barely even begun to bloom. However, the fish were swimming, the turtles were sunbathing, and the geese were laying.  As you all know, I am new to this whole capture the moment experience, so I am presenting you with my first attempt at photographing fish.  The pictures turned out much better than I expected.  :) This journey is challenging and enlightening.  Here's to living life to its fullest and trying to freeze a little of it in time along the way. 

Home again, home again

We decided to take a much needed "vacation" and head up to the mountains for some photography practice. It was a great learning experience (I learned I need a different lens for nice landscapes). 

Truly, it was a ton of fun and I know Kerry enjoyed it, as well. Hopefully, we'll be able to continue traveling some and we will be able to document our learning experiences over time. 

Click on this link to view more of our shots from this weekend...

1st Birthday shoot with Ember Hill

Words cannot describe how crazy cool this kid is. She's adorable, funny, awesome in front of the camera (she even loves to come around to me after I take a few photos so she can see how she looks). I loved getting to try out my new lens with Ember. 

Although I was a little disappointed at the lack of nice scenery this time of year I think some of the outdoor shots turned out splendidly. 

No lens yet

So, with all the ice and snow, I do not have my new lens yet. UGH! Patience is not a virtue I suffer from. It's driving me nuts waiting. In the meantime, I'm practicing lighting techniques on my beautiful bride. She makes it easy.

I've got shows every night for the rest of the week, and then I have to start getting ready for the Winger shows. It's doubtful that I'll get to play anymore, before I actually have to work with the new lens. I'll post those up when I'm done.

See ya soon,

DS

Lovin' my new lights

So, my buddy (and musical mentor) Tim Simmons stopped by the house the other day, while I had my lights and soft boxes scattered across the living room. I was trying to figure out my new Yongnuo triggers and camera settings, etc. (it's a big pain in my tuchus!) After much coercion, he reluctantly stepped in front of my lens for a few practice shots. 

The funniest thing about this shot is that my favorite pic was the very first one I took. This was before I changed the setting, moved the lights etc. It was just a practice shot to see what I needed to change in the room or on my camera. After I took the first shot, I moved all of my lights around and adjusted my ISO, shutter speed and such... but, no result was a good as the first shot. Hmmm... I wonder what I should attribute this to? Too much studying recently... Who knows? I tend to over-analyis things. I'll try to work on that.

Anyway, here's my very first attempt at a "headshot" after studying Peter Hurley's The Art of the Headshot. Click on the image to see a larger version in a Lightbox.

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I'm looking forward to shooting Alan and Lyndsey next week. I'm also shooting Ember's new pics. The last pics won her Most Photogenic (well, she won it... I just took the pic).

See you guys soon,

DS

WooHoo! New Lens is on it's way!

We decided to improve our game drastically today (actually we've been researching lenses for a few weeks now). Today we purchased one of the most sought-after lenses on the market. The Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS. I can't wait to take this "glass" out and practice with it. I'll post some pics up after we've had a chance to check it out. 

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It makes me so happy when we move gear from the Wish List to the Owned List on the gear page! I can't wait to watch our gear list grow over the years.

Photo Booth

While working with my client, CPG Inc., I noticed they hired a photo booth to be setup in the lobby. I thought it would be somewhat cheesy, but it turned out to be awesome. Everyone loved it and had a ton of fun with the theme and the props. They were setup with a camera exactly like Kerry's (Canon Rebel EOS XS 1000D) and they had an Alien Bees Strobe/Flash set-up. The pics looked great. I'd like to know what program they used to manage and print the pics on-site.

First HDR Shoot

I am so excited that I found a motorcycle and a Jeep to shoot. Chris asked me if I wanted him to clean his Jeep. No way, I want to see what the mud looks like in HDR! It was fun trying different angles of both vehicles. I can't wait to shoot some more. 


Photomatix Pro is a super cool program and it really allows me to tweak each picture. Once I'm done with it there, Lightroom 5 really puts some nice glossy finishing touches on it. 

I think I'm shooting Tyler's Jeep this afternoon and I'm really looking forward to that.

Walking in Memphis

Old man winter has overstayed his welcome. Today, he took a brief respite, so to celebrate the warm weather, D and I decided to take a trip to Memphis cameras in tow.

We started at the South Bluffs and ended up at the corner of Crump and Kentucky.  The sun was so beautiful shining through the windows of this old building.  Also, the building had so much character (including the graffiti :)).  We'll share that in other pictures.  

Needless to say, it was a very peaceful and well-needed afternoon with my love.  We were going to shoot some more but decided to have dinner at Double J instead.  Consequently, nap time won over shooting more pictures, so home we went. We'll post some more of today's pics in the LandScapes folder.

KS 

A Nice Read

I just got in a few more books from Amazon (it's an addiction). My latest find was Michael Freeman's The Photographer's  Eye. In his introduction, he mentions the great Bauhaus teacher from the 1920's, Johannes Itten. While Itten was speaking about color in art, he told his students: "If you, unknowing, are able to create masterpieces in color, then unknowlegde is your way. But if you are unable to create masterpieces in color in your unknowledge, then you ought to look for knowledge." 

I would like to assume that in my "unknowledge", I have created a few pieces that are stirring or at least interesting to look at (but by no means a masterpiece). This may not be the case, but let's assume that maybe they are interesting. I hope to find a number of sources to draw from. I want to be a photographic sponge (without the mildew buildup).

So, even if this blog is just a personal journal that no one ever reads, I'll be able to look back at it in a few years and hopefully see some progression made in my understanding of composition, exposure and color. 

An abandoned shack, just outside Proctor, AR. 

An abandoned shack, just outside Proctor, AR. 

One day, I'll go back to the places that I'm shooting now and take some new shots of the same subject and see what my eye does differently with it. It will be an interesting experiment. 

DS

The beginning...

Well, here we are at the beginning of another adventure. As if I hadn't stretched myself thin enough yet, Kerry and I are getting into the photography business. We are currently in the midst of collecting gear and reading every piece of literature we can find on the subject. Fortunately, there is no shortage of friends who are willing to sit in front of our lens and be scrutinized from every possible angle (in very unflattering light). We're working on that last part. 

I have noticed an "abundance" of photographers out there who are willing to teach us through books, YouTube videos and online classes. The thing that is missing though is a thorough understanding of any one aspect of photography. I can find 5 minute videos on Aperture Priority, which is a great overview and it gave me a decent understanding on the concept, but no real world application was shown. Basically, they are all, "Here is the shot a f1.8 and here it is again at f8,f,12,f22,f30", which is nice, but just doesn't do it. 

I've had to research several different sources to final come up with a somewhat dubious understanding of Canon Speedlite and flash/strobe triggering. They tell me I could use the camera's RF signal, or I could use a Pocketwizard trigger, or I could use the optical trigger from the built in flash. But, as of yet, no one has explained why I should choose one over the other or if they just all do the same thing. I feel like most of them are willing to give you just enough information to create a state of confusion.

So, here's to years of practice, study and experimentation. I look forward to sharing our pictures with you and feel free to critique our photos and give us your ideas. 

See ya soon,

DS