It was winter on a late afternoon in 2000 in a small community college located in Rockville, Maryland. The weather was brisk, and you could hear and feel the wind nibbling at the tip of your ears. Everywhere you looked, it was dark and gray…not even the late afternoon sunshine could change that. There was ample space in the main parking lot, and there was barely any activity around campus. It felt as though the world had come to an end, and it was only myself and a few others on campus who didn’t get the memo.
In all honesty, I preferred it this way. One of my greatest fantasies is exploring an abandoned town…satisfying my curiosity with everything I found from abandoned family pictures to diaries, to books and personal items. Anyway, there I was…walking along a curved path from the parking lot to the Art building with dead leaves quietly floating around my feet while the naked trees barred me from indulging in any sense of isolation.
As I enjoyed the trance ambiance, I made my way to my figure drawing class thinking about the beautiful figure model assigned to our class. I figured the day was right to have her all to myself. May be I would share her with one more student at the most…may be two or three if everyone was quiet and laid back. Even better, the instructor might leave the classroom for the entire session. And as soon as he was gone, the model would undress, and the classroom would change into a garden overlooking a timid waterfall on a nice summer afternoon. She would float around the garden in her naked awesomeness while I chased her around with a chalk and a drawing board.
Needless to say, I soon arrived at the classroom, and to my disappointment, the classroom was crowded and noisy. I felt as though I had gone back in time and attended a spectacle at a coliseum in ancient Rome. What the hell is this shit? Everyone was chitchatting and moving around unnecessarily while this beautiful creature lay vulnerable and naked in the center. Even though the student’s conversations were tangible and appropriate, it felt as though they were barbarians chanting for the blood of this creature to be spilled only for the emperor (the instructor) to appease the crowd and give the order. It wasn’t what I had hoped for. Sadly, as I started to draw in the middle of all that noise, unnecessary chatter and restlessness, I actually felt alone.
One of the frustrating things I observe in Maryland is that people are afraid to present their real selves out to the public. On one hand, I am eager to absorb people no matter how crazy, silly, goofy, angry or immature they think they are in private. I mean…whats there to judge; I was off the charts too the last time I checked. On the other hand, there is always the fear that people may see you for what you really are and may threat you accordingly or avoid you all together.
I find the latter annoying just to say the least, and it does make Maryland a somewhat difficult place to live compared to California where a day doesn’t go by without you running into someone with a fresh personality.
Thankfully, my lack of enthusiasm for Maryland was somewhat broken during a gig I worked on a few weeks back. It was nice to see people let loose and be themselves for a change. Even though it was all work for me, I felt encouraged to get into the grove with a few dance steps myself. Why waste a good moment? Let it all out. The clients didn’t mind. No stress, all fun. Good gig.
Yesterday, myself and Yanju went to the Quality Inn hotel to shoot a church gathering event at one of the hotel’s banquet halls. Before hand, I had visited him in the morning to discuss how how we were going to approach the event,and what structure we were going to have in place. After a few hours of planning and testing, we had an idea of what we were going to do. Although, the entire session went quite well, we unfortunately encountered some problems. The fact is, you can never be prepared for the unexpected.
For instance, we had a Nikon SB-600 which operated intermittently under Nikon’s wireless commander mode. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to simultaneously engage the event participants in a cheerful conversation…as they maintain their rigid poses…while you are busy fiddling with a problematic piece of equipment. And at the same time, you are hoping they don’t loose their patience.
Let me put it kindly, if you suffer from high blood pressure, and you want to take up event photography, you will most likely collapse and die with a camera underneath your belly. You think I am kidding? Okay! Anyway, there is nothing wrong with the unexpected if you learn something and make corrections towards the future. I mean…if you are not willing to face problems, how else are you going to gain experience?
Myself and my family friend named Yanju went on another photo session. This time around, we focused on portraits, and I decided to put my knowledge of cinematography and lighting to the test. There was no shortage of family and friends as volunteers for a photo session. However, my sister was quick to oblige, and you know what? She turned out to be perfect for the shoot.
For this session we used the Z96 Led lights on stands. I cannot vouch enough for these lights. These are dimmable, battery operated, small and handy lights. For this portrait, we used the traditional three point lighting setup with a fill light just below her face and to the right of the camera. This photo above was taken by Yanju after my light setup.
I went fishing today. Oh yeah, I went fishing. I shaved and freshened up. I decked myself up in a nice shirt with a fresh pair of jeans and wore a pair of fancy black shoes. I looked okay for a young guy who will definitely grow up to be a shrewd cynical old man, but I ain’t telling anyone that…at least not anyone who doesn’t read blogs. I am sure you’re asking yourself a question. Why the fancy outfit? Man…I’m single. Sure enough, I went to a birthday party. The birthday girl is a family friend. Yeah, I know; we are all family friends down here in Maryland. I am sure you can guess why i bailed to California in the first place. So anyway, she is celebrating her 21st birthday, and I am thinking, “There are going to be some fresh fishes at this party. Right? And, I might as well go catch me some fishes. Right?”
Yeah right! I got there and sure enough, there were plenty of ladies. However, I didn’t step up to any of them. It wasn’t because I didn’t have the courage to do so. I just dreaded the idea of getting tied down as an aspiring artist considering my previous relationships left a bad taste in my mouth with regards to this issue.
I mean…I am going to have to spend all that energy talking her up, going on a date, going on more dates, taking her phone calls, picking her up and spending all this time I don’t have. You know what I mean. Right? I am sure some of you are married. My sympathies to you by the way. Of course, I am just kidding. However, I forward this issue to you. Would you rather be independent and successful as an artist, married with a few projects here and there, or do you believe you can juggle both?
After a night out on a photography session with a family friend, I am glad that I could at least remember how to operate a camera. You would think it is as easy as remembering how to ride a bicycle, but as you can imagine, I was wrong.
As a result, I am led to ask this seemly important question. What kind of photographer are you? Are you an experienced photographer, an opportunistic photographer or both?
This is a question I believe anyone who wants to take photography seriously has to ask themselves. The premise for this question is based on the idea that not all situations within photography are favorable and not all subject matter are interesting.
I just received a call from a long time family friend today who is also a avid photographer like myself, and he has invited me for a photography session tomorrow, and I can’t say that I am not excited. It’s been a while since I placed my hands on a camera, and I was beginning to fear that I was getting a bit rusty. I haven’t been able to get myself going on anything tangible since I graduated from college back in 2010. Don’t get me wrong, if I had tried my best, I could have made the most of the time after graduation with some good side jobs.
However, while I was in California, it was always between maintaining a regular job to pay the bills or loosing my independence and returning to Maryland. I am pretty sure most Artist can testify to the situation above…especially artist living in difficult places like L.A. These are Artist who are struggling to break in to any art industry while they are stuck on a cash register for majority of a week with a Sixty thousand college loan. Anyway, here’s to riding the bottom hard with one of my other stills of the bottom part of the Golden Gate Bridge. I took this photo with a bit of some sunlight left on the horizon. The vehicle in the photograph wasn’t planned, and in my opinion, it takes away from the main subject.
I saved myself some dollars today after purchasing a used vehicle. It is in moderate condition, and there is nothing wrong with it. However, I was more excited about the fact that I wasn’t going to be stuck at the house since there isn’t a hint of public transportation anywhere in Brandywine, Maryland.
On way back from purchasing the vehicle in Virginia, I was busy scanning local neighborhoods for anything photographic. Anything at all. A few run down mills caught my eye, but as I suspected, I may have to visit Washington D.C before I am motivated.
In the mean time, I can update the blog with some of my favorite stills from San Francisco. Here is a photo of the famous Golden Gate bridge. I wanted a unique perspective of the bridge that was unknown to all, and after several attempts to search the area, I found this spot.
And it all starts…I relocated from California to Maryland near Washington D.C two nights ago, and I already feel an overwhelming desire to return. Unfortunately, this is no longer an option for the near future considering California’s unemployment rate is at a all time high.
As of today, California unemployment rate stand at 11.3 percent compared to Maryland’s unemployment of 6.9 percent. There is no doubt that the job opportunities in Maryland is quite refreshing compared to California. A quick look in the employment listings, and you can spot the difference.
However, considering all the faults that California has laced itself with over the last decade, it still remains one of the most desirable destinations in the U.S.A. The scenery is mesmerizing, and it offers plenty of stimulation to any artist who is lacking in inspiration and ideas. The photo above is a prime example of the type of scenery available. I took three photographs with a maximum shutter of 42 secs to complete this HDR photography.