This post is part of a "Daily Double" here at the SCU Blog. There's a terrific podcast that's airing at the same time as this post. Bob's experience as a professional photographer is going to be so relevant to so many of you. He started out in this industry as a photojournalist and he's shot just about everything.
Bob and his wife Holly have been good friends for a whole lot of years. Many of you, if you've attended IUSA or WPPI have met them as regular volunteers at both conventions. He recently moved away from the wedding side of photography to focus on commercial and fine art. Well, last fall he was here in Sarasota, and as I posted last year, the work he showed me just blew us away.
There's a multifaceted message here and it applies to everything you do. First, it's so important to stay focused on special projects as an artist. You need to keep doing something in your life that keeps you focused on the importance of the craft. For example, you might be unchallenged with your business as a school photographer, but that doesn't mean you can't be working on a special project that keeps that passion to capture the ultimate image alive.
Second, this is all about pushing the edges of the envelope and combining your creative spirit with the tools technology keeps giving us. It's about experimenting and constantly asking yourself, "What if?"
Third and last, it's about being happy. If you haven't watched it already, check out "The Happy Secret to Better Work with Shawn Achor. As an artist in photography you can't create images that tug at people's heart strings if your heart isn't in it!
Bob needs to be in your network. You'll find more images on his website . Last November he had an article in the Professional Photographer, called "The Art of Play", with a subtitle that says it all, "Creativity expands exponentially when you embrace the possibilities of Textures, Layer Styles and Blend Modes". He's an excellent instructor and available for seminars and individual coaching on artistic techniques. Plus, we're really proud to have him on the faculty of Skip Cohen University! Give him a shout at email@example.com.
Travel. For a photographer it's awesome. For a photographer's spouse traveling with a photographer, not so much.
Travel for a photographer is a wonderful experience. It's almost like we are given a fresh set of eyes. New vistas, color and subject matter all play into a great visual experience he or she wants to capture. The problem with travel? The portability, or should I say the lack of portability of the gear. It's really hard to capture an image with the camera one leaves back at home or in the hotel room because it just got too heavy to haul around all day! Or, in my case left behind because my wife was tired of me carrying extra cases of gear on our vacations.
In order to keep peace in the family I bought a point and shoot. Yeah! Happiness in the spousal world. Boo, unhappiness in the photo world as I tried to work with files that fell apart when I tried to push them to larger sizes. Sell that point and shoot camera. Yeah! Buy new point and shoot camera with more mega-pixels and pro features built in like bracketing. Disappointment once again when trying to push files to a larger size. Seeing too many of those pixels in mega size. Sell that point and shoot and enter the Panasonic Lumix micro 4/3rds GH2 camera. My prayers were answered!
The Lumix GH2 is a different animal in that it's a small, lightweight, and best of all has an interchangeable lens system and produces a file I can push almost anywhere I want to go with it. I took this system to France on a twelve day trip and carried it constantly, all day - every day. No discomfort or sore shoulders. As a bonus the camera is more like what your everyday tourist is carrying so there was less hassle from officials because the gear does not look 'pro'.
The GH2 even has a couple features I would like to see on my regular 'PRO' camera. There's a touch screen that allows you to access camera settings without having to scroll through multiple menus. One of my favorites is being able to preset the bracketing of exposures for three, five or seven stops in 1/3, 1/2 and full stop increments, then with the flick of a switch on top of the camera shoot a single exposure or choose to use the bracketing. When on holiday I can't always take the time to measure exposures or add light to a scene so a multiple exposures are the order of the day to cover your butt, especially in places like cathedrals where a seven stop bracket just barely covers the luminance range of the scene.
I'll talk about the processing of the images for this look in another post but wanted to share how I was able to capture the original files in this one.
PS The GH2 is now my go-to camera for many of my 'PRO' jobs especially as more fast glass is becoming available for the micro 4/3rds system.
All images copyright Bob Coates. All rights reserved.