Archive for June, 2009

New Website Enhancements

Posted in Website on June 30, 2009 by bobshank

My website has been an ongoing project and a labor of love for a little over a year now. It has gone through one major change so far, which is still being worked out to my liking. It takes a little time, but I do enjoy keeping up with my website and adding new features to it.

Just today I added some basic design features to make the pages look a little more consistent. I also added an index to the bottom of the main page so visitors can more easily find exactly what they’re looking for on my site. One dilemma I debate over is how much to include on the main page. I’d like to put everything in easy view without the visitor having to scroll down at all, but this just isn’t possible. To include everything I want and to make it easy for visitors to find everything, I need more real estate on the main page. So when you view my website scroll down a little to see what I’m talking about. Do you think this is this okay and obvious enough for visitors to navigate?

I also added a new page called “Client Login” where clients who I am working up an order for can view and proof their images. As I’ve said, I do enjoy working with my website. I try to keep it simple and easy to navigate while attempting to display and feature some of my photographs.

What do you think of my website?

Learning Baseball

Posted in Baseball on June 29, 2009 by bobshank

Coach K, the head baseball coach at East Stroudsburg University, hosted his summer camp starting today. It is an excellent opportunity for boys to learn how to swing the bat better and more consistently. This camp is all about repetition and learning!

I arrived just after lunch with my camera and monopod to begin capturing the action. I positioned myself along the first base side and fairly close to the batter. My goal was to capture the nuances of the batter’s swing and hopefully get the ball in the photograph as well.

I ran through a lot of frames in a short time and thought to myself, “Boy, I’m so glad this is a digital camera!” It is just so much cheaper and easier with a digital camera. I can quickly discard the ones I don’t want. After a while, the boys started playing some games where they were instructed to put their newly learned skills to use. It was obvious that the hard work paid off and some very nice line drives came off many of the bats.

Then I got to thinking… Just as the boys are learning the parts of a good swing, so I am learning some of the fundamental ways to photograph baseball. The boys need to learn about the batters’ swing and I need to learn more about photographing the game they love to play!

So, I am learning baseball. What are you learning?

A Photojournalist Approach

Posted in Photography on June 28, 2009 by bobshank

Yesterday I photographed a reception for my cousin and his new bride. They were married in Mexico but since all the friends and family couldn’t get away for the big day, they had a reception so everyone could party with them closer to home. It was a great day, with loads of friends and family, good food and drinks, and games.

I had the enjoyable task of trying to capture some of the flavor of the day with my camera. It was fun to just blend into the background and snap a few photos of people in conversation and laughter. Kids and adults both had a wonderful time and the photos were relatively easy to capture.

I have not had a ton of experience with this photojournalistic approach, but it sure was enjoyable. I used my 70-200mm lens so I could keep a comfortable distance and try to capture special moments as they happened. One thing I learned was the importance of staying in a spot and being patient. Just looking around and observing people in conversation and some of their mannerisms was extremely valuable. I watched for a while and then could often anticipate where the action might take place.

This style of photography often times called photojournalism attempts to caputre the natural action as it happens. Yesterday I enjoyed stepping into the role of photojournalist. It was different and it was fun.

Do you do any photojournalism?

Emotions

Posted in James, My son, Photography on June 26, 2009 by bobshank

My son, James, and I just watched Dances with Wolves tonight. This is one of my all-time favorite movies. It has been quite a long time since I had seen this movie and my hadn’t seen it before tonight. As we watched the movie we experienced a variety of emotions: happiness, anger, empathy, and great sadness. Obviously this movie was successful in stirring up all kinds of emotions.

Shouldn’t our photographs do the same? We take photos all the time and we attempt to capture incredible moments that tell a story. After all, the old saying is, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

If this is true, then we owe it to ourselves and to those who view our photographs to make sure that we capture and even evoke emotion with our photos. You can view a hundred photos, most of which appear ordinary and flat; but when you find that one photo that expresses emotion you immediately know it.

So, are you attempting just to capture colorful subjects or are you willing to create photographs that evoke emotion?

Big Prints

Posted in Photo Display, Prints on June 25, 2009 by bobshank

Today I just picked up some 11″ x 14″ prints that I had printed for a photo exhibit. I have had plenty of digital photos printed before, but only one or two of this size. 11″ x 14″ prints show a lot of detail and make for beautiful prints. The photos I had printed are all wildlife subjects: elk, deer, and birds. To see the hairs of the hides and the plume of the feathers on these photographs is absolutely amazing!

If you haven’t printed a large print, you really need to give it a try. Take a few of  your favorite photos and print them or have them printed by a professional photo lab. See how larger photographs look and then share them with others.

I am looking forward to getting my photos into frames and seeing the finished product. There just something about a physical print that is unlike anything else. Computer images and digital frames are okay and easy to share, but large physical prints are something else. I believe that photos were meant to hang on walls and be seen by people. I am eager to share these prints with others. What about you? Do you have photos to share? How do your large prints look?

Be Camera Ready

Posted in Camera, Photography, Preparation on June 24, 2009 by bobshank

The Boy Scouts have a great motto: “Be prepared.”

I need to heed this great advice more often. Here is the scenario: I am in a town or driving along a country road and spot something that is photogenic. My camera is tucked away in the camera back or, worse, sitting at home. This example of ill-preparedness happens much too frequently. We have to be ready at a moment’s notice to capture the action or moment. We cannot waste our time digging through camera bags or kicking ourselves for leaving the camera back home.

I know it is not New Year’s Day, but can we make a resolution or promise to be better prepared and start practicing ways to be camera ready? I am seriously going to try this. What about you?

Looking Forward

Posted in Photography on June 23, 2009 by bobshank

There are a lot of things to look forward to in photography. The next shoot, the next equipment purchase, or the next photo to print. There is plenty to look forward to in photography.

I personally am looking foward to the upcoming Photo Walk on July 18th. It looks to be an exciting event and 20 people are already signed up. You can find more information here. I hope you can join us!

I also am looking forward to our upcoming Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience in September, too. I always like to find an excuse to be out on the mountain with the elk, but joining fellow photographers just makes it that much better.

What are you looking forward to?