Choosing the right film camera can be incredibly overwhelming. There are seemingly endless options out there for you to use. But, worry not. If you’re looking for a simple camera that can be found for a reasonable price, the Canon AE-1 gets the job done, …
Portrait photography is one of my favorite genres within the craft. To meet someone and make a portrait of that person, or people, is special. While working for different newspapers, it was portraits that made up so many daily assignments. The goal was to photograph …
The creative journey is different for everyone. It can be a slow ascent, then a whiplash-fast descent and everything in-between, and then it can change again. And that’s okay, because it’s all part of that journey.
Do not fret fellow creatives. There are ways to pause, create and feel fulfilled.
Greenery is in full green around Michigan. Tourists and seasonal residents have arrived to experience the area in its peak season of beauty. Summer in northern Michigan is so gorgeous that it makes one forget that ice, snow and clouds spend more time in the skies than sun.
Due to the beauty and warmth of summer, that also means that it becomes incredibly busy. Obligations, chores and family require time that all takes away from making pictures, writing words, crafting textiles or whatever your chosen creative pursuit may be.
In fact, summer can be one of the times where my creative output is put to the test. If you blink, the month is gone. Summer used to threaten to be one of my least creative times. Thankfully, I employed some simple tips to keep that from happening.
This leads me to my first tip about how to be creative during the summer…
1) Make Time for Yourself
This is the most important point on this entire post. If you don’t make time for yourself, no one else will.
Schedule a block of time that you’ll use to do what fulfills you.
Once you have a dedicated window that belongs only to you, it’s not only empowering, but you’ll also find that it gives you permission to do what you enjoy doing.
2) Don’t Overthink Things
This is one of the most challenging aspects of the creative process for me. Before heading out to take pictures, I can fall down a rabbit hole of decisions. Decisions like: What camera should I bring? Where should I go? What should I photograph?
I’ve learned to simply choose something, quickly, and then act on and be accepting of that decision.
A perfect example is that recently I’ve not been taking as many photos as I normally do. With my iPhone in hand, though, it’s easier than ever to take pictures.
Whenever someone asks me if a cell phone can take good pictures, I answer with a resounding “Yes.”
Photographing with a cell phone is so convenient, and the quality is at such a high level, there’s no excuse to not use it, if using nothing else.
3) Don’t Wait for the Perfect Time to Create
If you wait for a perfect time to create, you risk the danger of not creating. Try to get outside of your head and have fun with taking pictures.
One aspect of photography that I’ve noticed is that once I take some photos, the rest become easier. By starting out taking pictures, you’re basically priming the creative pump. Once you’ve taken some pictures, the rest tend to come easier.
In this post, you’ll see some images that I made recently with my iPhone. I’d love to have a long-term project to post here or a photo essay of something meaningful that I photographed with my film camera. But, I don’t have those things at the moment.
What I do have on me is an iPhone though. Boom, there you have it.
I made some photos at varying times throughout my workweek and at different times during any given day so that, even though the days were busy, I was taking photos. The photos on this post are the results of those captures.
Some of the photos posted here are during errands and some are taken during my lunch hour at work. One was taken ten minutes ago, as I’m listening to some Tom Petty on vinyl on this beautiful Sunday evening.
To close, try to find a plan that work for you and with your schedule. One of the most important aspects of creating is that you need to tailor your schedule to you. Carve out some time, even if it’s a few minutes a day, and soon you’ll find yourself more fulfilled as you make time for yourself to create.
As always, thank you for making time to read my posts. Please subscribe to my blog for updates on new posts and more photography tips.
It was December 24, 2022. Our plan, by way of yearly tradition, was to travel north and visit family for the holidays. Nature’s plan, though, was to make the Michigan roads as undriveable as possible through a weather assault of wind, snow, cold and ice. …
Tell someone you’re going away for a weekend to Saginaw, Michigan to take photos, and you may receive puzzling expressions—I certainly did. The responses of wonderment I received were mostly from the people I encountered in Saginaw, too. Saginaw is often on lists, but they’re …
These days it’s almost impossible to be interested in photography and equipment and not end up down the rabbit hole that is the camera forum. Talk of DxO scores, sharpness, aberration and, of course, megapixels, dominate the subject matter.
None of that matters.
My first internship after graduating with a degree in photojournalism was at the Monroe Evening News. At that time, it was a newspaper that cared deeply about capturing the best images to tell the story.
The camera gear I was issued was a Nikon D1, and a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, and a flash.
It was perfect.
One day, upon noticing the camera I was using, someone asked,” How many megapixels is that?” I had no idea. I was so busy navigating the nuances that are required to visually document a story, day in and day out, that I never cared to look at the specs.
Immediately after receiving that question, I went back to the newspaper and looked up “How many megapixels does the Nikon D1 have?”
The answer? It has 2.74 megapixels.
So, fast forward to recently. My Canon 6D has been a faithful companion and tool for many years. Seriously, this is one incredible photographic tool. I’ve photographed numerous assignments and personal work using this camera and it has never let me down.
However, when working as a freelance photographer, it’s important to have an adequate backup camera. While looking for one, I knew I needed to buy a Canon (this is only because I have a lot of great Canon lenses. There are lots of fantastic camera brands out there).
Canon 1-series cameras are built like tanks so that’s the direction I headed. After doing a lot of research, I landed on the Canon 1DX. It’s full frame and weather sealed, which is really important. But, one of the most important specifications of this camera, to me at least, is that it’s shutter is rated for 400,000 cycles. This is incredible.
This number tells me that some serious research has been done on making this a tough camera. The next most important thing to me is autofocus. After using other Canon 1-series digital cameras, I was confident that the autofocus of the Canon 1DX would be just fine.
Recently, I was commissioned by downtown Traverse City to make some images of downtown Traverse City. I’m really looking forward to this since I’m usually walking the streets of downtown Traverse City anyway, as it’s one of my favorite areas for street photography.
Walking downtown with the Canon 1DX recently has proven to me that this camera is a more-than-capable camera. It’s autofocus locks on blazingly fast and the files have been wonderful.
Since, Michigan has all kinds of crazy weather, I’m confident this camera will hold up to whatever weather it encounters since it’s weather sealed.
So, I’ve brought up weather sealing a couple of times now. Why? Here’s why. One day while on assignment for the Traverse City Record-Eagle, I was supposed to make winter photos of downtown scenes. It wasn’t just winter weather that day though. It was rain, quickly turning to ice.
While walking downtown and making photos, there was a layer of ice on my camera and lens. It was so much ice that I said to myself, “If this camera still works after this day, I’ll commit myself to Canon cameras.” The camera worked flawlessly, so I stand by them to this day.
Just because the Canon 1-series cameras work great for me, obviously doesn’t mean that they’re right for you. The purpose of this post is to explain why this camera can be amazing and why it’s the right one for me.
When I’m looking for a camera that I know won’t impede my ability to get a photo, I’m reaching for this one.
And, it has 18 megapixels. But, that doesn’t matter.
As photographers, we obviously would like to photography when the light is optimum. The golden hour, the blue hour, sunsets, sunrises—these are all times of day when the light can turn gorgeous and can result in exquisite images. But, what do you do when the …
On Assignment for The Wall Street Journal: “How ‘eDNA’ Might Transform the Search for Missing Service Members”
In the span of only a few days, I went from receiving a photo assignment from The Wall Street Journal, to feeling Lake Huron spray hit my face as we sped toward shipwreck Pewabic, trying to beat inclement weather. As a freelance photographer, when I’m …
When you open your email’s ‘Inbox’ to find that an editor has reached out for you to take photos, it’s exhilarating. Making pictures, being creative, having access to photograph interesting people, places, things, etc., and making money—it all can be as thrilling as it sounds.
The reality for many though (me included), is that there can be significant gaps in time when these wonderful photographic opportunities take place. When you aren’t receiving photo commissions, it can be difficult.
This, my friends, is where the self assignment comes in.
You’ve probably seen some visually arresting and/or gripping humanitarian photo stories. Instead of waiting and hoping that interesting photographic subject matter finds its way to you, seek out your own interesting photographic story ideas.
Many times I’ve photographed something on my own time and on my own dime, then approached afterward to photograph a similar story, but as a paying gig.
Making images that are your own idea usually results in fantastic photos because you’re able to photograph what you think is interesting. And, the photographs can usually be made without a deadline. You have complete freedom to follow through with your vision.
Photographing regularly and with purpose will also result in improvements to your photography since you’ll be advancing your experience.
You don’t have a photographic vision? Absolutely fine.
If you enjoy being creative with your photography, set aside a weekend every once in a while and simply photograph for the sake of photographing.
You can head off to the big city or just travel to a small area in the middle of the country. The important focus here is that you’re committing time for yourself and your craft that allows you to focus on creativity and producing art.
Architectural photography has been deeply fulfilling for me lately, so recently I spent a weekend in Chicago photographing nothing but architecture. I made it a priority (and I always make this a priority) to plan a trip that would be as budget-friendly—without compromising safety—as possible.
The days were long, with photos being made from dawn until dusk. Creative time is not to be squandered, at least by me, so it’s always important to me to maximize whatever time I have.
My days and photographic locations were my own to plan and decide.
When my photographic weekend in Chicago was finished, I’d walked away with tired legs, but also a fantastic body of work that was new and exciting to photograph.
Make time for yourself and your creativity and you’ll find that the rewards are many.
Call it foolish, or maybe it’s the result of being raised to be humble—I think it’s a Midwestern thing, but it took me far longer than it should have for me to consider myself a photographer. As I was exploring the craft of photography, I …