Photography and its 31 flavors

I’ve been buying photography books for awhile now, they are interesting and (hopefully) helpful. The reasoning behind buying them varies as much as the content of the books.

There are books for all sorts of stuff: lighting the nude, shooting in crappy light, using a single flash, improving this, composing that, and all come from various types of photographers. All of which had their purposes in writing and selling books. So many approaches, philosophies on how to photograph, how does one pick their flavor, create their style, and do their thing? I don’t know, but I’m finding that learning both the philosophy behind people’s images explains some of why they shoot the way they do. Is there one right way to shoot? Nope, it’s ART, it’s personal creativity, expression, seen from their viewpoint. There may be reasons why commercial photographers shoot the way they do, the client, but they still are the eye behind the lens.

Long rambling story short, just as in life there are things we can see from images motivations, moods, and emotion; and there is a lot of things going on in the background or under the surface that we don’t know.


Landscape Photography


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I’ve loved landscape photography, the different means of capturing beauty of places I’ve been to, and places I want to go to, and places it FEELS like I’ve been to but never have or will, but the photo itself was an amazing experience.

As was shared with me, Ansel Adams wrote (somewhere?) photograph what you FEEL, and not just what you see.

I recently adventured to Horseshoe Bend near Page Arizona, and am so glad I did. What an experience, the whole thing from wanting to do it for a year+, to spontaneously jumping in the car because there were going to be CLOUDS! I learned a bunch out shooting, one major point was to know where you’re standing. I found this out after spending 15-30 minutes on a shelf of rock that was only 3 inches thick, and hanging over the cliff. The beauty of the HB was incredible, to see the awesomeness of Earth, Water, and Air all in one place, and to stand at the edge and see was beautiful. I learned about how to shoot in the day time, under clouds, and sometimes with a little sun. I found that I need to trust the camera, and not give into the immediate feel of the image is too dark (only because it shows up on the little LCD super dark, in the middle of the day >.< ).

Landscapes are a treat, you get to go somewhere beautiful, and be… though, they are challenging in making sure you’ve scouted your spot(s), and are prepared for what may or may not occur. I decided to photograph the full moon rise a week or so before my HB trip. I scouted it for a two days before the rise, and when it happened, everything but the Sun worked out. It was still wonderful as I drove nearly ~600 miles within the Phoenix valley, and played with a lens that was more like a telescope. I’ve better learned what is required for both prep and execution of images of these places and events.

Shoot what you feel, because if you can capture that the people who see your imagery, your feels, may experience those feels through what you’ve shared. What an amazing gift, to share a feeling, for all involved.


I haven’t posted on the blog for a while, and after coming back and checking it I had 15,000 comments. Ugh, talk about fail.

Quick fix though, through the admin interface, to just empty that table. Brilliant and easy, I think. We will see.

Photo Projects – Phoenix

Trying to find or make a project that will get me out of my normal car photography. I was thinking about photographing some of the local Catholic churches in Phoenix. I found one off of central phoenix, but didn’t get out of my car to take the photos. Will learn how to link after uploading it to Flickr.
It’s strange, trying to find something that is unique or at least known for Phoenix or Arizona, besides the cactus… Maybe this means a photo trip up to the Grand Canyon again, will have to see.

Until next time!


New Kit

Late last year I splurged, I’m telling you I went totally out for a new kit… and man was it absolutely worth it. I am loving the Canon 5D MkIII, it’s a beautiful kit.

I need to play with my flickr account and learn how to imbed the images from Flickr on here, so I can show off what I’ve been able to achieve with the kit. It’s been challenging as the jump from the 20D to the 5D was almost 8 years of tech in one day.

More on this later.

Leading Lines and Geometry


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Being new to photography I am faced with the challenge of composition of my images, right now it seems even more so than normal. I think time will definitely help with composition, time behind the camera will help me train my eye to develop the shot before making it.

Having really enjoyed the Avengers movie recently something Loki says caught my attention in regards to photography and composition. He tries to monologue regarding his thoughts on humanity and their need to be ruled. Specifically (if memory serves) calling out that that is our purpose, or that we have a need to be ruled and commanded.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a believer of rulers and crazed domination but when it comes to people and photography it does help to throw out some direction or masterfully insert said direction in the help of leading lines.

I think that those who are used to looking at art, photography, and other visual media have a higher awareness of how to pickup on what the artist/creator of said piece wants them to see or if there really isn’t a point they find one. Those of us who are a little unlearned rely on two things: the artist and our subconscious. There are many tricks in order to do this, or so I am reading.

An example of humanity and their want/need to look at things someone wants them to see or when someone is playing a joke, is the effect of pointing at something, in a general direction, or just randomly with a sense of meaning. Watch and see who will immediately respond by looking, I’d assume people you’re with will first. Then pay attention for those around you that you may have caught their eye. People will look.

A friend/co-worker and I had this conversation a few weeks ago after seeing Avengers and now that punk has been pointing at things randomly on our morning drink walk to get out of the office for a few. Yeah, I fall for it.

Lines seem fairly obvious, leading to your subject or adding elements to bring to or take away. However there is something spectacular that may not always be a hardline, the body. I wonder what it is of the face that draws the eyes to the eyes, or the lips, mouth, etc. Think about the rest of the body, how manipulated just right poses a magical or possibly calculated ability to draw the eyes and manipulate the imagination.

Now to Geometry.

I love photographing building, architecture, and cars. I think there are amazing shapes people have put time and effort into bring out or to put in their creations. I try to find these and capture them in my photographs. Downtown Phoenix has been one of my favorite places to capture the lines in the buildings.

Now, geometry when it comes to composition as my dad pointed out is interesting. it’s not all about literal shapes in the photo, though it can very well be. It’s more about the shapes the mind perceives, those that provide stability or remove it to add tension. Something I need to focus on with my composition is building the image with both literal and perceived shapes within the image. I think it will take some training and retraining my mind in order to find both and then make them meld. Maybe I should have taken geometry in high school.

Thanks for dropping by.

PHXCC 2012 – “Boba the Pimp” (Red Boba Fett)

Phoenix Comic Con was awesome!

I had never been to one of these, so being my first and wanting to get some indoor work with people in I naturally brought my camera. Cool enough my friends have been going crazy for what seems like years making helmets of ‘The Fett’. For kicks they (maybe one of them, I dunno) painted one red and dropped an Adidas logo and some pinstripes on.

Bring on “Boba the Pimp” (which came from Wil Wheaton when he was autographing something for “Boba”) which is fitting with his bling.

Boba the Pimp

Now you’re on the Internet as Boba the Pimp Paul!!! Hahaha.

One of my favorite shots I was able to get was of Boba and this gal in an awesome Star Wars costume. I will be honest and admit I have no idea whether she is a Sith or Jedi.

ComicCon was an experience, I can’t wait to go to more over the years. One day have some of my work displayed.


Check out the rest of the Flickr Gallery here.

PhotoDaemon’s New Look

I had the wonderful adventure of visiting the Phoenix Comic Con this year, and in so doing shared a few of my cards with my site on it. It was an incredible experience for me especially from a photographic sense. I was able to shoot down on the vendor floor amongst the exhibits and then had the joy of visiting a panel on body painting. Due to the nature of the panel the photos will remain unpublished.

Now, I’ve been working on getting the landing page a little nicer than before. It’s no longer following the BSD man page style, as fun as that was. It is now a little more professional or at least easier on the eyes. There is room for great improvement, but my html skills lack especially while using the command line. (Yes, I was editing via Vi).

More on this another time.


Thoughts: Focus

Focus, a simple concept.

As I sit and think about this I’m probably over complicating this topic but recently I’ve been realizing that I’ve been assuming too much about photography. This as probably many of my future and all of my past posts are from an unlearned perspective.

Photographs transcend snapshots, simple captures, they inspire and stir emotion. A picture taken to remember an experience can bring memories and emotion from a time past, a photograph has the power to stir emotion in people who were never there.

Compositionally building a photo and putting something within 4 frames is dependent on many factors. One of my current focuses is Focus, why? I want my photos to not only capture the moment, my son sick but resting on the couch or eating pizza at the table making faces, I want to convey their personality.

After reading and doing a little bit of study in composition I learned about Depth of Field and life presented the opportunity to work on Depth of Field and Focus, well started me on focus.

I started to ramp up my serious shooting in late August early September and in so doing I try to learn every time I pick up the camera. (Honestly, I don’t know if I learn every time but close enough.) Through this process I am learning when to trust the camera and trust my eye. This is proving to be a challenge as I’m not always sure what exactly is in focus, time will provide the lessons.

The following captures were of my oldest son, he was sick with a fever and we were relaxing waiting for the medicine to bring his temperature down. While he was laying on the couch with his juice I pulled out the 200mm and the tripod to take pictures of him as close up as I can yet still be far away.

The shot below is one of the first where I was dialing in the focus, I decided to rely on manual focus to get focus where I wanted. As you can tell from the shot I was a tad bit off of my subject:

Conner on the Couch

The next image I was very close to being on the money, close enough that it takes a few seconds of the eye find that I believe I have his left shoulder almost perfectly in focus. Regardless this is one of my best shots to date.

Conner on the couch

With my subject being at least in focus I continued to try and capture what really was an adorable but miserable time for my kiddo.

What is awesome (this edit comes months later) is that I was playing with an extremely shallow depth of field. As I was able to focus in on him and get him clearer I was able to create on my favorite sets of images.

I will continue to edit this as I remember 😛

Thoughts: Touch up work

I’m a noob, but by trade I’m an analyst and so finding the abnormal is what I’m pretty good at. This leads to a number of things and challenges in various parts of life, but I think it’s a skill that may come in very handy with photography.

When it comes to composition I’m not quite sure if I look differently at images and find the parts I find appealing. I feel my perspective may be on target with the composer of the image and sometimes not so, which fine. This is the way it is, I’m ok with this. It will be fun as my photography progresses and the feedback I get on how people respond to my composition. Honestly right now I think it’s 90% winging it when I find something I want to shoot, but I haven’t really put much of my shots out for public display. I do appreciate all the feedback given on any of my “work” imagery, written, verbal, etc. I’ve learned over the years that feedback is almost always welcome (negative criticism mentioned in my mentor post that does not provide anything useful is not welcome) and brings wondrous new perspective.

Ok, enough rambling! Touch up work, it pains me to know that I have debris somewhere in the camera/lenses that shows up in my shots. Thank you Aperture for being able to retouch and clean this up!! It can be a pain, but I think it’s very worth it especially when you’re putting images out that represent part of you (we value what we value, and to each their own). I try to a maddening degree to get the photos cleaned up that I share free of these spots, will invest in a cleaning soon, because it distracts from what I want to share and display. This is me, I want to share my shot not my debris.

I love pictures, images, photos, creative things. As I learn more about photography it intrigues me how people shoot pictures of beautiful things and people, especially women. There nothing like a beautiful woman captured well in an image, sexy, erotic, spectacular, gorgeous, etc. What amazes me is not just how photographers shoot images of beautiful women, but the massive gradient of composition to almost no composition. And further, when I see Pro photos with debris that can easily be edited out I have to ask “really?”. I’ll leave it at that, I don’t know the situation behind it and they are doing a number of things right given the situation. Thank you to those that take these amazing pictures, I’d be scared to death to be in a room with an attractive woman let alone a naked one. We’ll see how that goes.

Happy shooting, and remember to flash the photographer… I mean, yeah.

Enjoy and cleanup your shots when you can, ADD people like me will appreciate it!