Monday, September 28, 2015

Fun times ahead...but remember those less fortunate.

So, the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk is this upcoming weekend.  Just a few weeks ago I had no clue what this was or what was involved.  I received an invite from one of my previous instructors and signed up.  This is a worldwide event where 50 walkers/photographers from each city that is participating all meet up for a photography outing.  There are approximately 1000 cities participating in this worldwide event.  For my local event, it will take place in downtown Mobile, Alabama.  We will meet down at Cooper Riverside Park and all set out for 2 hours of photography fun.  Afterward we have plans for grabbing a bite of lunch and getting to know others in the industry from our town and surrounding areas.  Great opportunity for a meet and greet.

Our setting will be in downtown Mobile... many great photo opportunities will be available to include historic buildings, abandoned buildings, people bustling around town, shopping and just the city itself. I have walked through the downtown area before and grabbed some great photos.  I think my favorite part of walking through downtown Mobile and taking photographs had to be my visit to The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (  Visiting the cathedral was a real treat.  I was just in awe of the beauty of that building and all that it represents.

Downtown Mobile is so full of culture, history and life.  You can visit every day and always see something different and new.  There are couples strolling the streets, businesses booming with the locals and visitors to our great city, and sights of a city in the process of rebuilding downtown to attract more visitors and to make it more inviting.  Of course, along with this you have the harsh reality that not everyone is fortunate enough to have a home, to be on the streets of downtown Mobile for an afternoon outing or enjoying the day.  Much like many other cities you will find the less fortunate individuals who are forced to live on the streets, struggling from day to day just to get by.  When I'm downtown I try to keep this in perspective and remember that this can happen to anyone.  No one plans on becoming homeless or set out as a life goal to end up living on the streets.  As winter approaches in the next couple of months, let's remember that.  Clothing donations that go directly to the homeless, and not through a resale store, are accepted at First Christian Church, 1419 Government Street, in downtown Mobile, Alabama.  When cleaning out your closets, please consider this.  They accept donations all day on Tuesday and during afternoon hours on Wednesday.

Returning my focus back to the photo walk...there's a new little twist to this whole adventure.  As some of you may know, Bayfest was scheduled for the same weekend.  After 20 years, Bayfest has called it quits, and the streets of Mobile appeared to be quiet and uneventful for the photography event.  Well, not so fast... There is a new festival coming to town to replace Bayfest called the Ten Sixty Five.  Two stages, lots of bands and FREE.  Now, this will present quite a challenge for 50 folks wandering around downtown snapping photos for 2 hours because, ummm, the festival is held in downtown Mobile.  Now, this can be viewed in one of two ways.  This can be looked at as a huge pain in the backside for navigating the streets and getting great photos... OR... this can be looked at as a gift.  Free festival with lots of people, endless opportunities for candid street shots, entertainment shots, people eager to grab their moment in the camera spotlight.  I think I'll go with the second option... I welcome the photo opportunities!

Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk, October 3rd

Scott Kelby announces the official date of his highly anticipated 8th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk™, the world’s largest photo walk! The event is happening Saturday, Oct. 3, in thousands of cities all over the world.  The Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk, dubbed the world’s largest global and social photography event, has grown immensely in size and popularity since the inaugural walk in 2007. Last year, more than 30,000 photographers of all walks of life and skill level converged to explore their corners of the world through photography and social community.

The concept of a Photo Walk is simple. Photo Walks are created by Walk Leaders in cities all over the world. Walkers  meet up at a pre-designated location – downtown areas, zoos, business parks, you name it! – to spend a few hours socializing, capturing images and sharing with like-minded people. At the end of the photo walk, most groups convene at local restaurants or taverns to share their images and experiences over food.

In addition to the event, photo walkers will be able to upload their favorite picture to our popular Photo Walk contest for a chance to win a digital copy of the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby. We will also name a Grand Prize winner and 10 finalists to be selected by Scott Kelby himself!

The event is free, but pre-registration is required. Register at, locate your city and complete the free sign up form. You can also apply to be a photo walk leader in your area.

This year, we encourage every photo walker to help support this year’s initiative to “Walk with a Purpose” by donating $1 to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya!

Additionally, participants can connect socially before, during and after the event using the hashtag #WWPW2015 hash tag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Connect with us on our flickr page at

About KelbyOne: Formerly The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and, KelbyOne is the leading resource for online creative education worldwide. For more information, please visit

Friday, September 18, 2015

Outgrowing the Camera Bag...

So, it all started out as a modest setup, equipped with all of the basics that I needed to get going. I started with a Canon Rebel T5 bundle, which included the 75-300 mm telephoto zoom lens with a f/4-5.6 maximum aperture (Canon) and an EF-S 18-55 mm, f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens (Canon). Starting out these lenses were just what I needed.  I could use the smaller lens for macro shots and the longer zoom lens to bring distant objects seemingly within arm's reach.  Funny how you think that's all you will ever need when starting out.  How just those 2 lenses can be the complete package you need to do all that you want to do.  Now, fast forward in time... a year later.  I am an information seeker, so I am constantly reading information on photography, watching videos to improve technique, looking at the work of other photographers, reading what others use, and all of the different types of equipment available to not only make my life easier, but to drastically improve the quality of my images and help capture the images that make you feel and understand the story that is being told.  And this is how I figured out that I was far off the mark on all that I needed to photograph those great images that all photographers hope to capture.

And here it begins... the outgrowing of the camera BAGS.  I, at first, thought I would be able to stay contained in the standard Canon camera bag that was included in my bundle.  That lasted for about 3 weeks before I upgraded to an Acme Montgomery Street backpack.  I thought it was the most awesome thing ever.... I could put my camera in the side section for easy access, put my lenses, and other assorted equipment in the main part.  The pictures online in the advertisements made it look like I could pack a small army in there, and the bag appeared very flexible.  Shoot, I could even put a small laptop or tablet in there and be on my way.  Well.... it wasn't exactly all of that.  I found it very inflexible, and quite a pain to get my other equipment out of.  I spent more time cursing the bag than finding it useful.  Granted, it was a nice bag, and it was far roomier than my standard Canon bag, but still not what I really wanted or need.  Now, this is before I started adding more equipment... so let's move on to that.

Through all of my research and reading adventures I discovered all kinds of things about lenses, filters, stopping motion, blurring motion, etc.  I bought a ND filter kit, UV filters, CP filters.  It didn't take long to figure out it was a real pain in the backside to switch the filters from one lens to another, so time to purchase a duplicate of the UV filters and CP filters.  The ND filters weren't used nearly as much, so I would just stay with the one set.  And, of course, there is the Neewer TT560 hot shoe flash speedlite for the camera to bounce flash and help take those beautiful portrait shots we all want to take, the extra batteries and extra chargers... you get the picture. 

Continuing my information search I discovered a 2.2X telephoto lens that attached to the end of your existing lens to give you a closer view of the objects you were viewing/capturing.  I had hoped that this would take care of the mid range that I was having trouble with in my current starter lenses.  You see, those lenses range from 18-55 mm and 75-300 mm.  There is a section in the mid range of the 50's to 70's that isn't quite reachable with just one lens.  This was becoming a huge headache because I was switching lenses back and forth depending on what I was shooting on my outing.  For example, walking through downtown I wanted to capture a shot of the tall buildings in front of me.  Well, using the 75-300 mm lens I found that I was far too close in proximity to capture the image, so I had to use the 18-55 mm lens to get the shot.  If I saw something in the distance I wanted to photograph, I had to change lenses.  This went back and forth throughout the day.  So, the mid range lens would be perfect, I thought, to take care of this problem.

I purchased a Sigma DC 50-200 mm 1:4-5.6 HSM camera lens with AF and optical stabilizer.   This is a really nice lens.  Images are beautifully captured and the lens responds well with the autofocus and my changing positions to quickly capture the moment.  The lens is great for events, portraits, landscape, and handles the mid range beautifully that I was having problems reaching between the original 2 lenses.  Love the Sigma lens.  It captures just enough of the lower lens range and enough of the telephoto zoom range on my original to get the job done.  Still, with the range running from 50-200 I was having to switch between the smaller lens and the mid range lens to get the photos that I needed to get of the downtown images. 

So, this is where hopefully my last piece of major equipment comes in for a while....At the suggestion of my husband, to make my life easier, and probably his too... truth be told, I really needed to get a second camera body.  This would allow me to have both lenses readily available, equipped with the filters on both, 64 gig cards to accommodate my raw images, and no need to switch lenses throughout the day.  And just like that, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I found a sweet deal on a Canon Rebel XS on Ebay.  It was marked much higher than I paid, but the best thing ever was the three little words..."OR BEST OFFER."  So, I made what I considered a low offer that would never be accepted ($100.00), but hey... what did it hurt to try.  And, to my surprise, they accepted and I had the camera 3 days later.  Now, I realize this is a model that is several years older than my current Canon, but let me tell you... I have zero complaints.  I took this camera out for a test spin yesterday and I am beyond pleased.  This camera was well loved and handled with caring hands.  The images I took yesterday were just as clear and crisp as the images on my newer model Canon.  Sometimes the gamble pays off and you score big.  I am the queen of bargains by nature, but this was a real gem I stumbled on.  So, now I have 2 cameras and no more worries of switching lenses to get it right. 

And, this brings me back to the title of this post... Outgrowing the Camera Bag!  Clearly I did just that.  I now have made another purchase of a camera bag that will hold ALL of this equipment, and my new tripod that I failed to mention earlier.  It's an awesome backpack that unzips and all of your equipment is laid out in nifty individual, adjustable compartments, right before you.  No digging around to find the lens hoods, the right lens, the filters or chargers.  It's all right there in front of you. Best camera bag ever... well, until I outgrow this one :)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Gulf Coast Life...

Living on the Gulf Coast offers many opportunities to get out and enjoy nature.  Why spend the day inside when you can get out and enjoy life?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

A final resting place...

This photo was taken inside a local mausoleum.  The inside of the building was beautifully decorated, and just entering the building you felt a sense of tranquility and serenity in the air.

A little too close for comfort....

In Bienville Square, located in downtown Mobile, the squirrels are known for being overly friendly when it comes to letting you know that they are in need of a snack.  This little guy wasn't the first one to climb on me that day, and I wasn't overly concerned; however, there was a little part of me that hoped he didn't see his reflection in my lens and decide to attack the competition!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception 2

Interior shot of The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, looking toward the entrance doors.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Interior shot of The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, looking toward the sanctuary.

It Could Be You

The face of homelessness is becoming far too familiar.  Things happen... Circumstances change.  Life is unpredictable!

Perceptions, Misconceptions and Realities... The Journey Begins Here!

Welcome to my blog!  As a photographer trying to breakout in the industry, I plan to share some of my photos and experiences with my readers and some of the things that I encounter throughout my journey.  I have always had a passion for photography and taking what I always thought were really great photographs for many years.  Growing up in the South provides many amazing photo opportunities with all of the beauty that can be found along the Gulf Coast, and I always had my trusty camera phone ready to capture a beautiful image.  Facebook became my digital media landing spot, where you will always find friends ready to give you a pat on the back and "like" the beautiful moments you captured with your phone.  This lures one into a false sense of photography skills because, let's face it, in this day and age nearly all of modern society has a camera phone and, well, doesn't that make all of us photographers???  Validation from Facebook friends and family just encourages you to think that you have the skill set to become the next Ansel Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson.  Taking a nice picture of a beautiful sunset, or changing a good picture taken downtown and changing it to black and white, surely means that you have mastered the art of photography.  I love black and white photography, in particular.  The changes to a captured image by adding heavier contrast to the black and white images can make such a dramatic change and change the emotions connected to viewing that image.

It wasn't until I acquired my first real Canon camera and started reading the 500+ page PDF file about how to use that camera, and the features that it offered, that I realized that taking great photos was far more involved than aiming at your subject and clicking a button.  That was a huge misconception, and I soon realized that taking a great picture with a camera phone was luring me into a false sense of photography skills and that I needed academic help to get on the road to fulfilling my life's dream.  I enrolled in classes at a local university, downloaded hundreds of hours of videos from many different sites, read books and signed up with many different sites to gain as much knowledge as I could. Aperture, shutter speeds, light, exposure, composition, white balance, ISO, F-stops???  Far from just picking up a camera and pushing a button.  So, I've been on my educational journey for the past year, absorbing all that I can, trying to be the best that I can in a field that I love.  I'm an information seeker, so I enjoy learning all that I can and fitting all of the pieces together.  Is this a challenge?  You bet!  Am I excited each time I get that ah-ha moment when it all seems to click?  Absolutely!  Photos should tell a story, invoke emotion, make you feel... that's what my goal is.  I want to capture great images and make the viewer pause for a moment and just feel whatever it is they feel when they look at my images.  What it makes the viewer feel will vary according to their perception, and that is great!

My journey is just getting underway... I've learned a lot, but there is always room for more knowledge.  Every day is a learning experience.  New ideas, new information, new places to photograph, a new adventure.  I hope you will follow along while I share my experiences, photographs and special moments.