A Baptising: Gathering at The River

Baptism-42A very large part of a Christian's walk is an outward statement to symbolize the change that is made within. Every denomination has something that fills this need. When a Christian decides to be baptized it is an outward testimony that the person has buried their old life, dying of self so that they can rise again and let the love of God live in them and be spread through them. Though it is a tradition, it is not ritualistic. There is no magic in baptism. The way my pastor likes to put it is this: "If you go down in the water without your heart cleaned first, You'll only come up a wet sinner."

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Baptismal services are a beautiful thing to witness if you never have before. Though our church has a baptismal pool inside the sanctuary(remains covered underneath the choir unless in use), our church most always opts for a baptismal service at the river. I like the sentiment a little better in the river because, it's so obvious that being baptized in this water isn't exactly cleaning you physically. The water is murky and brackish in places, a mixture of sand and mud and dark water doesn't exactly sound like something thats going to make "whites whiter and colors brighter". It's a true statement about the cleansing of ones soul. Enjoy the photos!

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5 Tips for better Landscape/Streetscape photos

Landscape and Streetscape Photography Tips I am not a certified teacher, nor do I have a case of awards and accolades at home for all my photographic adventures, but what I do have is experience and I hope you find this helpful in some way! If you are not a landscape photographer, you should still try using some of these ideas, because I have found it to be one of the most relaxing escapes to do these types of photos even though I am primarily a portrait and wedding photographer.

I love taking photos of people; I hear their stories and try to make myself blend in with them to where you can see the real them through their photos, but sometimes that can get very stressful. Zack Arias said in an interview once that his hobby is his passion and it also happens to be his career and that if he isn't spending time with his family, he is better honing his craft because it is what he loves. I firmly agree with that. I have been asked numerous times why I decided to start taking photos and my answer has always been "Because I can't afford hobbies that don't make money." Though of course this was said as a joke, it was true. I love photography, but I had to focus on it terribly hard because I wanted to become great at it.

Well after being well in to a year after my first paying gigs, I feel I have learned a lot and have definitely seen my stress level rise. One way I have found that I can continually sharpen my photographic skills, but relax is landscape photography. There is something relaxing about being by yourself in nature and not having to focus on what you see in someone but rather what is all around you.

Click "Continue Reading" to see my tips on better landscape photography!

#1 - Use a Tripod

Landscape and Streetscape Photography Tips

This of course is an obvious one. When anyone thinks about landscape photography, they see a camera on a tripod. Being a mostly handheld shooter myself, I had to really learn to work with the constriction caused by the handy device. I have used many types of tripods over the years and yes, having an extremely nice tripod is great but completely unnecessary unless you are doing some commissioned extra large prints for a client. For exposures under a minute, you can feel safe with a light tripod unless its an extremely windy. I do not have a very nice tripod. The legs are actually from a Targus tripod system I bought at Walmart and the head is a used Manfrotto head that I found on sale. Before that though, I was just using a bargain bin Kodak brand tripod that I picked up at a yard sale. (If you have a light or flimsy Tripod, make sure to weigh it down some how! I normally tie mine down with my camera bag. #2- Know When Not to Use a Tripod

Landscape and Streetscape Photography Tips

Tripods are not always a necessity. I personally have had five or six camera bags, some big and some small but the one thing they all have in common is that they make carrying a tripod cumbersome; even if there are straps on the side or bottom of the bag, it usually is more of a nuisance than anything else. There have been plenty of times where the light was just right and I pulled out my camera and got the shot I wanted. If there would have been the task of taking my tripod out and getting it set up, I could have missed the photo or lost the composition I had in my head because I had focused too hard on getting the tripod set up.

#3- You Don't Have to Use HDR

Landscape and Streetscape Photography Tips

Now I know that HDR is a beautiful thing at times, and when done right it can create some of the most astounding images. I have never been able to make an HDR that I was happy with and I choose not to. There are plenty of people out there with tutorials on how to make HDR images but I have found that shooting with RAW and exposing for the mid-tones, I can show the image a little love with the dodge and burn tools and be completely happy with detail in most all of the dynamic range.

#4- Stopping Down Isn't Always Needed

Landscape and Streetscape Photography Tips

When I first started doing long exposures and night photography, I was using really stopped down apertures such as f/16 or f/22. My thought was that the image would be sharper and more things would be in focus. But what I figured out, and you will too, is that smaller apertures focused at infinity will look the same but the larger aperture will take less time for the same exposure. For example: Having an exposure at f/16 ISO: 100 with a shutter speed of 30 seconds if the exact same exposure as F/4 ISO: 100 with a shutter speed of 2 seconds. How crazy is that!?!?

#5- Focal Length is Your Friend

Landscape and Streetscape Photography Tips

Now, I have seen some amazing landscapes taken with all types of focal lengths, but different focal lengths can create the exact look you are going for. When I go out shooting landscapes, I normally pack a standard length( 35mm or 50mm. Most likely the 35mm), an ultra wide (14mm) and a Fisheye. All of these lens types can be found for amazing deals. The Nikon 35mm 1.8 is sharp piece of glass for only $200 and Rokinon have manual lenses in all three of these types ranging from $200 - $500 each. With a longer focal length, such as a 50mm or and 85mm, it is very hard to hand hold without shake in lower light situation. I try to never shoot a focal length at a shutter speed slower than my focal length (Example: I wont shoot an 85mm at 1/60 of a second, but I will shoot a 50mm at 1/60th of a second.)

My favorite type of streetscapes are with my 14mm or 8mm fisheye where I steady myself up against a light pole or a wall and bring my shutter speed down to around 1/15 or 1/20 of a second (If I am really steady, I can do 1/2 second exposures this way. The image about is an example of this type) This allows me to catch the blur of cars going by and also expose for enough ambient light to capture the scene without causing too much if any camera shake. Are these pictures perfectly tack sharp? not in the slightest, but they are a ton of fun to take and extremely rewarding. All in all, a shorter focal length will produce better handheld shots than longer ones when using slower shutter speeds handheld.

These are just my opinions and take them as such. This is what I have found is very comfortable for the work I like to do and if you decide to start doing this as well, you will find what works best for you as well! I love learning and passing things along to others, so I hope you have enjoyed it!

Thank you very much for reading! Like and share with your friends to pass along the relaxing art of landscape and street scape photography!

Do you have any places you have been or would like to photograph? Let me know in the comments!

Mobile Phone Photography

So, everyone and their brother have smartphones now and Instagram is flooded every day with square cropped images featuring anything from someone's beautiful hipster lunch to the most beautiful cliche sunset you have ever seen. But pro photographers have also jumped on board and started doing some amazing work with their phones. Some of my favorite work with phones are the numerous big name street photographers who like spending time away from their DSLRs and sometimes even find a small rangefinder bulky and in the way. There are so many beautiful images to be seen so I figured I would share some of mine! Enjoy!

Turn to clear vision

Sleepy kitty

Cortana chip

Baseball on the iPhone

Bird attack

Relaxing on the wal

Boat

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Double exposure

Barber shop

So do you take photos with your phone? Do you have something you would like to share? Well post it on my Facebook wall, on twitter or in the comments below!

My First Baseball Game

So, there is nothing more American than baseball. It's out "Favorite Pastime!" but I can't believe that I have gone almost 24 years of my life without going to a professional baseball game. I didn't grow up very sports centered, but I played 5 years of varsity soccer in school and 2 years of golf. Baseball never really interested me. Everyone said that going to a baseball game isn't really about the game anyway but I never went because I figured I would be bored out of my mind. I didn't plan on taking my camera, but I am so glad that I did. I am not a sports photographer, nor am I a street style photographer but I do enjoy dabbling in both and that is what I was able to do here. The game was a ton of fun to watch, the entertainment all around the field was great and the crowd was super friendly and relaxed. I love watching football and pretty much any level (especially high school and college) but when I watch football, there is nothing else my attention has to juggle. I love football for that but it gets very intense. At a baseball game, I have come to learn that the experience is what you go for. I enjoyed being able to just sit there with my family and enjoy the crowd, and the entertainment and running in to friends. Oh and the game.

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Well I did take my camera out a few times to capture some things and I even shot some with my iPhone. I love iPhone street photography and was pretty happy with the way these turned out. Enjoy!

Baseball on the iPhone (This was taken with my iPhone5 with KitCam and edited with Snapseed)

Thank you for reading,

-Jarrett

Pelicans Game-5

Change your Perspective: Using a fisheye lens

060_Blackwattle Bay Rokinon 8mm Tests

First, let me say that the lens in discussion today is the Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 fisheye. This a fully manual lens that allows you to fine tune every little detail but does not include the comforts of automatic modes of any kind (Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program, etc etc) or even autofocus. But what it offers are crisp beautiful images with plenty of contrast and clarity.

Fisheye lenses are nothing new. They were first invented to be used for weather instruments and astrophotographers, so the entire sky could be captured from horizon to horizon. I am not an astrophotographer.

They have since, been adapted to many different types of photography. The largest is definitely skateboarding and other extreme sports and the exaggeration of lines can turn a difficult trick and to something legendary on film. I am not a skateboard photographer or videographer.

So... why the heck do I have a fisheye lens?

Funny you should ask...

Street Photography

This is a given. Street photos can be taken with anything, if you go out looking for something in particular and that is exactly what I did with this particular outing. It was July 3rd and I was out at Barefoot Landing to capture some of the nightlife for my blog and the blogs for my day job. I think all in all, they turned out pretty well; either way, it was the perfect opportunity for me to realize how awesome this lens really is.

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Real Estate Photography

This is something I do a lot of at my day job. The neat thing about this lens is that excites you about using it. I don't know how to explain it, but even using it in real estate photography makes that type of work fun again ( keep checking back for my upcoming full length post on real estate/resort photography!) It takes a little more work is post, to get the distortion to an acceptable level, but I think it is worth for the type of shots I have been able to get with it.

WB 332-8

Family and Beach Photography

This is by far my favorite application so far. With this lens, I am able to get family of 10 in to creative poses and have fun with needing a ladder or something crazy. In this particular shot, they decided they wanted a shot of everyone with their heads close together, so I slipped on the fisheye and was able to oblige with no resistance or time to figure out how to make it happen. But then I decided to keep it on for a few more shots including this jumping of all the grandkids.

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Sellers Family-18

Wedding Receptions

This is probably one of the most fun applications for this thing. Walking around, I was able to really get some great shots of people enjoying themselves on the dance floor and hanging out. Even a fun shot or two of the bride and groom.

Mitchell and Kaitlyn
Mitchell and Kaitlyn

What do you think would be a fun use for a fisheye lens? Maybe you have one, and use it for something in particular? Leave your opinions in a comment below! Be sure to subscribe to see some of the fun things we have coming up!

-Jarrett

Photo of The Day: The Barefoot Movement

So a couple weeks back, I had the opportunity to shoot a band touring through Myrtle Beach. They are a bluegrass based quartet with an awesome sound. The venue was a little place called Shell Crackers in Pawley's Island, which is just south of Myrtle Beach, that I had no idea even existed. It was a little hideaway just off the highway that ended up being a beautiful venue for any show! One of the members of the band is from the area, so this was a private party of sorts with a very intimate feel. I went for the express purpose of taking photos but ended up really enjoying the concert. They are an awesome group with tons of talent and I hope to work with them again in the future! Enjoy the images! Barefoot Movement-46

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Street Photography: Barefoot on a Breezy Night

So the Barefoot Landing is in full swing this year with their 25th Anniversary celebration. Because I work in the resort industry, I have learned to stay out of the populated areas but last night I was drawn to go get some photos down there, I am very glad I did too. I love street performers but Myrtle Beach has very few of them because of the zoning laws and permits needed that are not easily accessible. But the loophole is the privately owned shopping and entertainment centers where the companies hire performers to come entertain the crowds. Well walking around I jacked up the ISO with my new Rokinon fisheye and gave it a whirl. Comment below with your favorite images!

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This little guy was really digging the magician there. But he was pretty amazed by the crazy looking lens I had on the front of my camera too!

Thanks for looking!

-Jarrett

Photo of the Day: On the Road and Born Again

So, I meet new and interesting people every day. Working in the resort industry you meet millionaires, musicians, quirky vacationers, traveling salesman and everything in between; but sometimes you meet someone on a mission. For this fellow in particular, his mission is to share with people the Word of God. His name is Tony DeLLomo and through blessings from God he has been given a mission to travel around the country in his RV sharing God's Word. I like his approach opposed to other people on the street corner yelling in to a microphone telling everyone they are going to Hell. I am a Christian and I believe that people need to see the love of God through us and Tony found a unique way to use his freedom of speech by completely covering his RV in Scripture for everyone to see, then he waits for those to approach him before witnessing to them. He was a super nice guy and a really interesting conversationalist. He travels with his dog all year round doing the Lord's work.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Photo of The Day: Blur The Lines

I am not landscape photographer but I do enjoy fun shots and working on little projects and learning more about the art of photography. I am a big big fan of Youtube and how much I have learned just by being able to watch the video set apart for use. The newest thing I have enjoyed learning about is Long Exposure photography and using ND Filters to have longer exposures in good light. An ND filter is short for Neutral Density filter which is basically sunglasses for your camera. This photo was taken in a slightly unorthodox way by using an 85mm lens which is telephoto and normally saved for portraits. These types of shots are normally done with wide angles to capture as much of a scene as possible.

Let me know what you think!

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Photo(s) of The Day: My night in Black and White

So, for my sister's last Spring Break as a high school student, we decided to stay down at my family's beach house. It's a nice change of pace considering it's about the same distance to my office but a very different bit of scenery. Anyway, because our beach house is inside a gated community, they have a limit on how many cars can be at each house at a given time and that usually means I end parking in the overflow site and walking in. This gives me the opportunity to breath in the funny little streets while I walk in. These photos are walking around, meeting up with some friends and taking advantage of the eery light provided by laptops, in the wifi area. Enjoy!

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Now keep in mind, these images are all shot hand held with a standard 50mm 1.8 lens with no flash. The ISO had to stay a little high but considering that I think the camera handled it very well! It was fun to be challenge by the available light and take photos unaware to some and quite obvious for others! Street photography is a very different style where you have to have a lot of nerve to not care what anyone thinks about you and your camera. Though I am no street photographer, these do have a little street flavor to them

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