Monday, July 11, 2011

Alaska the start of my summer break.

Well it has been awhile since my last post yet again but I am here to update this again and blog about an amazing trip to Alaska with my dad. June 19th which was the Sunday after I took my last final of spring quarter in school Dad and I left early that morning to drive to Sea-Tac airport to catch a flight to Alaska. We had been planning on doing this for about 5 years now and this year finally we got to go. We were headed to Petersburg Alaska and Majestic Eagle Lodge. ( Well for anyone that hasn't flown up to Petersburg the only way to get there is via the "milk run" besides the 2 day ferry ride. We left Seattle and flew to Ketchikan which was about a 2 hour flight on a boeing 737 400 series. A short stop there and were were in the air again and headed to Wrangell which was a grand total of 24 minutes in the air before touchdown on a short runway and a pretty hard stop by the pilot. Wow as we were sitting in Wrangell waiting to leave to Petersburg I was looking at the mileage in a magazine between the places telling dad this next hop has to be really short. Well the flight from Wrangell to Petersburg is a grand total of 15 minutes, no drink service on that one. They literally get high enough to get through the mountain pass then you are on approach to Petersburg. We land in Petersburg and there are no jetways (there were only two in Ketchikan) and we basically parallel park next to the "airport" The airport is one building that contains ticketing area, baggage check, security, greeting area, and baggage return which is basically a hole in the wall with some pieces of rubber hanging down where they slide your bags through. We walked down the stairs and into the building.
        In the waiting area we saw two people holding a sigh for Majestic Eagle Lodge and we said hi then Wendy came and said hi and we knew her as she is the one we booked with at the Portland sportsman show and the owner of the lodge. Cathia and Tommy were the next two we met and then James. Once our Bags came and we identified them James quickly took them to the waiting vehicle outside for us and loaded everything up. This was the first clue to dad and I we wouldn't have to do to much up here except fish and relax. Dad and I rode with Cathia and Wendy in one vehicle while Tommy and James had our bags in another  vehicle. We took the scenic route to the town of Petersburg and drove along the Wrangell Narrows where dad and I got our first look at the water we would be fishing in. It was so smooth. On the way to the town we passed Eagles Roost Park where a huge tree used to stand that many Bald Eagles used to hang out in. Interesting story about that was last year that tree fell and when the went to clean it up they found 43 dog and cat collars in it. Don't let your small dog or cat out I guess. Anyway we went into town where we stopped to get our fishing license and King Stamp. While we were there dad and I decided to get soda to have at the lodge so he got a 12 pack of Pepsi and a 12 pack of Diet Coke grand total $17.00. Wow!!! Anyway we loaded back into the vehicle with Wendy and Cathia and headed towards the landing to get a boat to cross the narrows and get to the lodge. We got to the landing and went down to the dock and got on a boat which turned out to be out boat for the week I think but it was really nice Aluminum with a 50 horse outboard and 6 horse kicker motor. Turns out those were the boats we fished out of all week. Well I got to drive the boat over to the lodge because if Wendy drove she was then a guide. It had been awhile since I operated a boat but it all came back pretty quick. The short run from the landing to the lodge was fun and we found out that we just put the boat on the beach and a pulley system is used to secure the boats in deep enough water so they don't get beached and to pull them back to the beach to board. It was a pretty cool little system. When we saw the lodge it was like the Hilton sitting next to Motel 6. Majestic Eagle Lodge was beautiful and the lodge next door, well not so much. We got off the boat and headed up the beach to the lodge. Shortly after we got there James, Tommy, and Cathia arrived in the other boat with all the bags and brought them up to the lodge. Since we were the first ones there we got to pick which cabin we wanted so Cabin 3 (out of 4) became our home away from home for the next week. The time after that was spent making sandwiches for lunch and going through orientation with James about how to fish for Kings and Halibut up there in Alaska. Little bit later that evening dad and I went out and trolled for Kings for a bit but no luck but we came back to a fantastic dinner with all the crew as we were the only clients there until tuesday. It was fun to sit down with everyone and get to know them and tell fish stories while eating dinner. Shortly after dinner it was bedtime for dad and I as it had been a long day.
    Monday gave us the opportunity to  get up to an awesome breakfast and then we followed the crew from the lodge the 11 mile run down the narrows out to Sumner strait. There we took a left turn and ran for awhile longer past Woodpecker Cove and on to Station Island where we anchored in 60 feet of water to chase Hali's. Well a couple hours of awesome fishing but no catching resulted in pulling anchor and following the crew up the strait past the entrance to the narrows and to the flats around Level Island. You know you are there by not only the depth but also the 1000's of Crab pots around there. Just troll into the middle of them and anchor up. Again another few hours of awesome fishing but no catching. The crew from the lodge let us know they were headed to another hole they wanted to try but dad and I decided to head towards the narrows and troll for Chinook again. We headed that way and trolled for a couple of hours without any luck and so we headed back to the lodge. No fish but we were sunburned it was a beautiful 70 degrees and no wind that day. Bout 25 minutes later the crew from the lodge arrived whipped but no fish. Oh well the weather was gorgeous. We got revenge on Halibut by having Halibut Fish and Chips that night!! lol Again another dinner with the crew from the lodge and another great time of stories and "fish tales" Talked to James that night about a morning King bite is what he thought. He told us where to troll so dad and I decided it was the early morning bite on tuesday for a few hours then back to the lodge for breakfast.
      Tuesday saw dad and I up at 5 and on the water by 5:20 trolling right where James told us to. About 40 minutes in almost 6 am dads pole goes off with what turned out to be a really nice King. I even tried to help it escape by hitting it in the head with the net but dad was determined not to lose it and into the net it went and into the boat where it got a club on the head for its trouble. It had to have run at least 4 times but dad was to stubborn to lose it. Well a few more passes through the area again caught us some seaweed but no more kings so we headed back to the lodge. There we had a great breakfast and talked about heading to station island for some Hali's. Dad and I hung around the lodge for awhile then decided to head out for Hali fishing. On the way thru the narrows it started to rain on us but we continued on (whats a little rain). Well we got to station island and anchored up and looked toward level island and saw the squall we had just come through, oh well past us now we thought. A few hours of no Halibut we decided to pull anchor and head toward the Stikeen River to try for Kings. well we never really got there before the next big squall hot and dad and I decided to turn tail and head for the lodge. Fog, Rain, and wind resulted in some rough water by inside passage standards (2.5 foot waves) plus it was the first day for Gill netters so we had to go around a few of those. The long wet run back to the lodge was just that long and wet but there was warm clothes and hot chocolate there when we got back. It was awesome. Tuesday saw the arrival of two other guests and again a great dinner with everyone including crew. There was a report of the lodge next door coming home with lots of halibut and they went to Level Island so that is where dad and I decided wednesday would be spent.
    Wednesday was up at around 5:30 into the lodge to have some cereal and make a few sandwiches to eat while fishing and in the boat headed for Level by 6 or so. We were anchored and fishing about 6:45 just us and a few 100 crab pots. At about 8:30 dads pole got the knock knock from a halibut who stole his bait. So quickly he rebaited and down to the bottom again. Soon after FISH ON!! It was a fun  little battle that resulted in a nice little halibut being the target of the first ever halibut harpoon shot I ever made. Well wore out the Halibut came to the side of the boat where he was gaffed and brought aboard. BONK BONK with the club and that halibut was done. About 19lbs not huge but tasty none the less. About 10 minutes after dads fish  is in the boat my pole does the Hali dance and it is FISH ON!! It was another epic battle and a successful harpoon shot by dad and a few mins later one really tired Hali. Dad tried to gaff it with no luck and it wanted to run again. I got it back and one more failed gaff I told him use the net. ( I think it was payback for his salmon) A nice job with the net and a few Bonks with the club we had twin hali's on the floor of the boat. 9am we are killing them. (so we thought)  A few hours go by and nothing the bite had turned off. then my pole does a little hali dance and buried and I thought wow this is big. For awhile I thought it was the bottom then it started to peel line.. WOW I had a fight on my hands. Dad and I were figuring 100 plus pounds easy. well after bout 20 mins a huge Skate came to the surface 4 to 5 feet wide and easily over 100 lbs. BUMMER! Oh well the fight was awesome. We cut the leader and to the deep it went again after a pic while still in the water. Two more Skates later none as big as the first it was time to head to the lodge. Beautiful run back and we were met on the beach by Tommy and Cathia who took the Halis out of the boat and hung them while I went and got the camera. James came down and there were high fives all around. Watched James fillet the halibut and then met the last group that had arrived. Another great dinner and bed time again.
       Thursday saw another up early day and out to Level Island again. We figured this time if the bite turned on and we got one or two we would head in instead of staying out all day. Well it was really slow till about 10:30 when my pole bounced a few times then nothing. I figured the thief halibut had taken my bait. Picked up the pole and started to reel and then figured out he was there. I got it to the surface pretty quick where it rolled over and played dead. Dad got the net and netted it and then it woke up. well it took quite a few bonks on the head to calm it down but it was the triplet of the two we had gotten Wednesday. Figuring that was the bite as I had two good hits and we saw one caught in front of us we pulled anchor and headed in. Oh forgot to mention we hooked a crabpot with the anchor that day so had to pull not only the anchor but the crabpot too. ugh! Thursday night like usual was a great dinner and while all the other guests went to bed dad and I hung out with the crew on the porch of the crew quarters and had what Cathia called Jello shots. I think it was jello colored rum but oh it was good.
       Friday turned out to be a lazy day as we were both tired and run down from both fishing and possibly the "jello shots." I caught a ride into town with Wendy and a few other guests to go Herring fishing and so I could find something for Liz. I was referred to Diamantes in town. Not sure if it was my favorite shop but I am pretty sure I was there favorite customer at least that day. With my wallet considerably lighter it was back to herring fishing which I had done some of before I shopped. There is a spot outside the Petersburg marina where one of the canneries in town has a pipe the puts all the fish guts back into the water and 1000's or herring gather there. We would cast small hooks into the swarm and sometimes get 6 herring at a time. We even hooked a few Dolly Varden and a few flounder. That was truly feel good fishing and catching as the 6 of us caught well over 200 herring and a few Dollies. Back to the lodge where dad and I hung out the rest of the day. What an awesome place to stay. Friday night dinner was Halibut "Beer Bits" as she called them same thing as monday night. SO GOOD!
      Saturday was the day to leave and it was sad. While it was nice to be going home it was sad to leave such a wonderful place. Wendy and the crew run a top notch lodge up there. Saturday breakfast was awesome like usual and we all loaded into the boats and headed into town to get the fish packed to be sent home. Said goodbye to Tommy at the lodge and James and Cathia at the fish packing place. Wendy dropped us off at the airport about 45 mins before our flight and we said the last goodbye there promising ourselves we will go back.
   There are so many other great stories of that week but to write them all down would take all day.

To the Crew at Majestic Eagle Lodge:
Wendy "the boss"
James "the fish surgeon"
Cathia "jello shot master"
Tommy "Token Red"
If you guys read this thanks for everything it was amazing! You all run a top notch lodge and we couldn't have asked for anything more. Wendy Your lodge is beautiful and we will be back again hopefully this time with the wife. James your enthusiasm for fishing is just awesome and i enjoyed talking with you it was fun. Cathia and Tommy you two are awesome couldn't have asked for better service from both of you!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

So much for timely updates

Wow has it really been over a month since I last updated this? Oh well time flies when you are having fun. (or buried eyeball deep in school work) Lets see we are a whole 4 weeks away from the end of spring quarter and I will be so happy when it is done. This has easily been the toughest quarter I have experienced at AI due to taking three classes with extreme workloads all in the same quarter. Typography, Business, and Advanced lighting have all given me fits this quarter and there is still four weeks to go. I see the light at the end of the tunnel though just hoping it is not a train.
Typography--I still have a hard time finding any interest at all in this class. I often find myself wondering why I need this class and how does it apply to being a photographer. In all my years doing photography I have never once photographed type well at least for the purpose of understanding it. I also highly doubt I will ever look at a wedding invitation I have to photograph and think "Wow that is really bad typography" Oh well four more weeks and I am done with the class. Must push myself through.
Business was a lot of work as we had a minimum 10 page paper due by midterm and we have a rather large presentation due at the end. The second presentation is in teams so that helps as I know I have a good team. Just seems like a lot of work for a business class.
Advanced lighting has been a tough class from the beginning. the first shoot to now the 3rd shoot and one more to go. There still is a Nike shoe haunting me from this class the teacher has sent it back 4 times to me. I so want to get rid of this shoe but at least I know I will get it perfect. Today was shooting human form. "Show emotion through human form without the face being a dominant part of the picture." I feel this one went really well thanks to awesome models and help from one of my very good friends who not only modeled but also helped with posing. The whole Idea was to focus on muscle definition and he knew how to bring that out so there are some awesome pictures as a result.
This week I go to Reno to shoot the National bowling tournament and see the friends from Florida whom I bowl with. We always have a good time every year where ever we meet for nationals and hopefully this year I will bowl up to my potential. Will be a nice break fro this stressful quarter but will still have to bring some work with me.  
Then 4 days after my last final dad and I board a plane to Petersburg Alaska where we will stay at a lodge and fish for 6 days! I so can't wait for this trip it is something we have talked about doing for years.
Well this was a short update for this month. Probably won't blog again till after alaska as finals will plague me till then.
Have fun and Keep those shutters clicking..

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

School One intense quarter.

Well so much for timely updates of my blog. it has been about 5 weeks since the last update as things continue to be so busy. I am now in the second week of my 4th quarter of school and even though it hasn't all been great fun and has been very stressful at times I am still loving it. Mostly loving all the photography classes I have gotten to take and all the great students and instructors I have met. This quarter brings me into Advanced Lighting and it is definitely more intense. The first project out the gate is one of those that sounds kind of easy when you first read it but it is something to this day challenges even the best professionals. the paper we got is as follows:

"your assignment is to produce a layout in which two images of an architectural and/or landscape are presented next to each other. The view and the framing of the subject in each image is to be identical. The presented size of each image will be the same. Each view will be made at a different time of day and/or under a different weather condition. The goal of this assignment is to produce two aesthetically strong and distinctively different images from the same view."

So when I first heard about this assignment I was thinking a few things and a few places. well none have worked out as planned and it is much harder that taking a pic at night and one during the day. Actually it is kind of easy to get the first dynamic image but getting the second one that is dynamic also is just not that easy. Try it if you want to it really is not that easy. This assignment in fact has been posted in a few magazines as a tool to help professionals.
       The second assignment is a Nike Shoe shoot. We have to be able to work with the branding and such that is NIKE. We have to be able to follow all of Nike rules in producing ads and they have to work. It is the assignment the teacher sends back the most. He shot shoes for Nike for many years so it is like actually working for Nike.
       Third we shoot pictures of the "human form" This one is the shoot that he says most people are the most uncomfortable with. capturing the human form but no faces. I am actually very lucky in this shoot as I have a model and a great friend that are open to helping me with this. I have ideas so I am excited for this shoot.
      Fourth is environmental fashion. I dunno much about this one yet but I do know actual fashion editors will help with the grading of this one so it will also have to be spot on.
      In addition to all this all the costing and contracts and releases and any other thing you would need for a professional shoot must be submitted too. Welcome to the world of professional photography. All I can say is Bring it on!
     This quarter will be intense that class alone is enough to really keep me on my toes. You throw in intro to business, Typography, and Astronomy this quarter will be busy! Oh well Alaska awaits at the end of the quarter for a week of fishing!
     This class along with doing stuff on my own really keeps me clicking away. I know all the intense work and frustration now will pay off big time at a later date so I am totally willing to keep on going. I still try to get into the studio and have met some amazing models whom I have worked with. All of them I will continue to keep in touch with and hope to work with them again. I have many ideas to shoot but school assignments need to be done first. The good thing is some of my ideas can be turned into school assignment work so I get stuff I want to do and get to complete assignments.
     Well enough rambling for this week. Keep on clicking.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Style and critique

Well it has been awhile since I last updated my blog and I know I need to get better at it. Oh well I will try.. I can't believe I am almost done with my 3rd quarter of school. Next week is dead week and wow big time pressure to finish some big time projects.. Thats ok though as that is the way the school works and I think I enjoy the stress to  point. Art History final??  well I don't enjoy all stress. Anyway enough about school.
       I have been talking to photographers and some of my teachers who have done photography and the one thing they always say is yeah develop a portfolio but don't put pictures in there of stuff you don't want to do. In other words if you don't like fine art photography don't put it in your portfolio. Also another big thing is make sure you can explain to someone why you put a piece in your portfolio and that means beyond "oh cause I like it" Be able to explain why you like it. The last thing they said is your portfolio helps people see the style you like to work. What do you like to do and  how do you like things to look. When you  do this it helps people understand what to expect from you.  Not everyone out there is going to like what you do but as long as you are confident and continue to learn and grow that should be what is important. I have learned a lot in my lighting class and I have started to develop my own voice and style of what I like. Even in my own class some people aren't as thrilled with my style but we all realize technically the pictures work. You can still follow the rules but at the same time bend them a little to keep your style. Photographers have to continue to grow and reinvent themselves and expand what they do in order to survive in the cut throat world that is out there. The biggest thing that I have learned in this school is lighting is everything. If you fail to learn to use lighting the right way you are putting up a major barrier to you ever being great. Such subtle changes in light can bring a simple photo from bad to great. Once I understood what "Flat Lighting" was and how to avoid it my pictures became much more dynamic and i was able to see light in such a different way. This does have its downfalls too though as i tend to watch TV differently especially dramas and such. I start to see the lighting and how they affect people by the lighting and yeah it is frustrating at times.
         Another topic that kind of ties into the whole bad vs great is that of critique. Like I said earlier not everyone will like your style and you have to learn to accept that. One advantage I have had is I have been with most of the same students in photography for almost 9 months now so we are brutally honest with each others work. That can be hard to deal with at first. Technically we all know what we are looking for and what we like. Sometimes a picture can be technically great but we just don't like it therefore we can offer feedback to that extent and we continue to help each other grow. This becomes hard for me when people ask me about photos I sometimes have to be careful with what I say. I look at pictures so differently now. I always try to find what I like in every picture first before I say what I don't like and that helps with a lot of things. I know I am not technically perfect on everything and I do know I can count on the other students to point it out when I am not and I am ok with that I have learned to accept it for what it is. It is the path to becoming great which one major step is don't just put your pics on facebook or wherever for your friends to look at as your friends will always say things are great. Get them out there to other photographers who have more knowledge and such they will be your best resource. Just be prepared to accept the criticism as it is not always easy.
   Well I guess I have rambled long enough I will sign out now until next time. Keep that shutter clicking cause I know I will.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Photography-- The under valued art

So this blog I am going to vent a little about my frustration with some people. I constantly look on craigslist and other services for people needing photographers and I am constantly amazed at what people think photography is worth. "I need a wedding photographer for 4-6 hours but I don't want to pay more than $400"  and "oh yeah I want a disk of the images so do with as I please"  Are you kidding me? Providing this person only needs you for four hours that is $100 an hour. Pretty good you may say. Here is the kicker those pictures are not going to burn themselves on the disk they want, and 85% of the time they won't come straight out of the camera on to that disk either. So that means since my camera which is not a cheap model either can't burn cd's yet, (I am sure it is coming) that means there has to be a middle program to do this for you. Sure windows 7 can burn files to a disk pretty easily but you want to hand the RAW files over to someone and let then "do as they please." Don't know what a Raw file is?? Well maybe you will photograph a wedding for $100 bucks an hour then. Sure you can shoot JPEG and let the camera do all the work and process the image for you but it only does what it is programmed to do. Remember it is a computer too. Then you just transfer your images to the computer and then to a disk and you are done right? OK if you are happy then you won't survive in this business and I won't have to worry about you as competition in 6 months anyway. Thanks. Any wedding photographer worth anything will edit pics to make sure unsightly things are not present in photographs. Tags on wedding dress? How would you like 500 pics of you or your wife in her dress and the tag is out on every one? I have seen this and I have spent the time to edit every one of the tags out of 200 plus pictures. Not a hard thing to do but time consuming. So since I spent this time my time has now gone past the 4 hours and now I am down to less per hour. I haven't even burned the images yet. Now there is the little thing of advertising so create two files of each picture one with a watermark for the web and one without a watermark to be printed. Kind of scary how much work goes into this. So after this has been done and the pictures are burned now delivery time. I personally won't send someone's wedding photo's through the mail as I want them to come see them so I know they are happy. Add some more time please and reduce monies per hour. So as you can see it is way more than just the time spent at the wedding shooting or any other event for that matter it is work that entails a lot of time if you want it done right.
Please don't call me and tell me that the reception hall was expensive, the church was expensive and your dress was $5,000 dollars so you want me to photograph your wedding for $200. Sorry not worth my time as my time is more valuable than that. I don't do this as a hobby this is my life!   
In this world everyone is buying these expensive cameras and thinking they are photographers. Like one of my teachers said "throw a rock in Portland you will hit a wanna be photographer and it will bounce off and hit someone that thinks they are a model!"
Just because someone buys a expensive camera does not make them a photographer. In fact most people will tell you the most important thing in a good camera is mega pixels. Mega-pixels is something that camera companies use to sell cameras. Give a photographer great glass (lenses)  an 8 MP camera and proper lighting and they can shoot just as well if not better than the 25MP camera. The trouble is people don't understand this and therefore undervalue the art. Take the time to learn what it takes to produce spectacular images and then you will understand why we as professional photographers charge what we do.Here is a little thing to think about Photography is light and those little flashes on your camera are not enough, especially when not used properly.
 Just remember there is way more than what you all see at the event or wedding to get to the final product that you expect.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

week 2 photo school student

Well survived the first week of school and wow it was interesting to say the least. New teachers new classes and a lot more to learn. At least this quarter we start to get into the best part of the photography program. I started the lighting basics course where you really start to learn what light does and how it affects your pictures. The instructor we have was a corporate photographer for NIKE for 15 yrs and really knows his stuff on lighting so this is very exciting time for me. I look forward to this class each week. Definitely start to look at how light affects each object that you photograph and how that can be changed. Photography is light don't forget.The first two weeks was planning for and photographing the flat paintings downstairs. Doesn't seem real tough till you have to set your light to get true color and detail. 77 shutter accusations for 5 total pics. Less than some of the other groups too I think.  Also I am taking an image manipulation class which is a photoshop class. Then there is  Art History. Pretty sure I have never met a teacher that can spew more information in 2 and half hours in my life.. Wow she is quick with info but it is interesting so it helps. Interesting fact I didn't know was the rocks at Stonehenge weigh between 40-45 TONS! Some came from over 150 miles away. Amazing how all that happened. Fridays bring a class to me for the first time at this school and it is Photojournalism. This week is capturing the dramatic moment interesting concept and definitely a lot harder than one may think it is. Well not to much to say in this blog but next week in lighting is properly lighting two dimensional so it should be fun. It is going to be a steep learning curve but in all will help me make incredible improvements in my photography resulting in better pictures. Really now starting to see the benefit of taking the picture correctly the first time and not worrying about photoshop as it save time and ultimately will save money. Until next time keep clicking away!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Welcome to my Blog.

Well here we go into the world of blogging.  Never thought I would ever get into this but I always have so many ideas floating around in my head about my passion of photography I thought I would start one. If you read my introduction you know I am a student studying Photography and Design and I love it. I have been doing photography for over 20 years now but this education is a dream come true. Not only is it a great chance to learn from people that have or still actually do work in the field it is an amazing opportunity to be surrounded by incredibly creative minds. The people I go to school with are all very talented and have amazing skills but like me are looking for the things that will bring them from good to GREAT! I will be great I know that nothing will stop me from that.
Tomorrow starts the third quarter of school and from the very first day we were expected to use our cameras but this quarter brings the classes I have been seriously waiting for. Lighting!! So excited for this class and I can't wait for it to start. Photography is light and the proper use of light brings a photograph from good to Amazing. Those are the steps I am looking to make.
Speaking of lighting and photography I can't wait to find out what the next project we get to do is but I do have some ideas of my own. Down the line I have some amazing Ideas and I am always looking for models who may want to help me out. If this is you please let me know as I would love to bounce some ideas off of you.