This is my first throwback blog post, and it will more than likely be my only throwback blog post.
I decided today that I needed to sift through the hundreds of pointless sets I made on my Flickr account and reduce it to a simple, easy to navigate space.
I use to be on flickr all the time, but now days, I don’t do a single thing. I use to post whole sets and in image on top of image, but have come to only push one or two images every so often. But, like most social media, you have to take it into moderation and sometimes people just simply don’t care about the bulk, they just want to sift through the goodies.
So, instead, I will leave the bulk (of my information) on this blog. Even this blog, I will try to keep the excess photos to a minimal, and the information to, well, whatever is on my mind during the current moment of writing the post. You’re here to read my thoughts are you not? Mwahahaha,
Back on topic, while sifting through my old [stuff] on flickr I came to realize, I went through some funny times in my photographic development. You gotta start some where I suppose, and this, ladies and gentlemen, is definitely somewhere very strange, but developing as a photographer never stops.
Just keep seeking. Keep educating. Keep learning new things. Above all, keep experimenting. You always grow, but you can only grow as a photographer if you keep doing something new, something different, keep training your eyes to constantly see differently.
Welcome, to the development of my process through digital photography.
Mind you, I was a pre-med student before I started studying photography, so all of this was experimentation through my own accord and research. And this was, at the time, the best of what I could do. My failed attempts or early progressions are otherwise undocumented and completely lost.
First Image Ever Posted on Flickr
Flickr was a gateway drug of my choice to realizing that there was a social media site dedicated to photography, so to speak anyway. I spent hours back in the day sifting through so many photos online and immersing myself in different groups to figure out what was possible with a camera. Flickr helped me alot but I didn’t ever point me in a direction of “good taste” because there was just a lot of garbage mixed with the great images but I was too new to everything to tell where that cut off point was between the two.
First Time Discovering the HDR Effect
Early, early, early on in my digital life I fell into an HDR hole. For those of you that don’t know, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It’s a process that takes three exposures, one exposing for highlights, one for midtones, then one for shadows, and combining it into a single photo with an extremely broad dynamic range. Nothing wrong with HDR by any means, it’s just very easy to abuse the living hell out of it and start manipulating images to the point of torture. This was the start to my HDR abuse. To make matters worse, I had a free trial of Photomatix, and HDR program. The free version watermarks the images and saves them to a horrifically low res. I didn’t know much about sizing, and my 5 megapixel Nikon D40 didn’t produce large images to begin with, so I would horrifically work my limited Adobe Elements skills and cover the water mark by copy/pasting/stretching pixels. What did I care.
My first ever photoshoot I shot my friends left hand drive supercharged DA Integra. I used the hell out of HDR and had no sense of white balance. Super grainy, over saturated, pretty rough for sure.
First Long Exposure
This was taken at my home town. I was trying to capture a graffiti that was posted up outside of my neighborhood. No tripod, no sense of white balance, I didn’t even shoot on manual. Whether I knew it or not at the time, it was my first slow realization that the shutter had different speeds for different effects and lighting situations. More mad HDR for sure.
First Self Portrait/Tripod Use
DOUBLE FIRSTS! For those of you that may or may not know, a lot of my images are self portraits. I like photographing people, but I am always up at strange hours and at that time, I was a super shy about the fact that I liked to photograph, so I shot myself. I didn’t know at that point that I was about to open up the endless box of self portraits that night. I remember buying a tripod at Best Buy so that I could experiment with shooting humans (myself) rather than just shooting random things here and there. Again, no sense of white balance.
Peak of my HDR Usage
This is probably the craziest HDR I had done up to this point. I’m not really too sure what else to add. I just loved the hell out of some HDR oversaturation.
First Time Selectively Coloring
My flickr is not documented with more examples, nor my personal archives of selective coloring. I have since lost the days of my selective coloring due to a hard drive meltdown, but it may have been for the better. I rocked the shit out of selective coloring, and I’m glad I stopped. For those of you that do it, if you’re in to it, do you. It is just no longer my cup of tea.
First Time I Switched to Manual Controls
Through experimenting I realized different numbers were changing in my viewfinder and different shutter behaviors in different situations. I worked in-home care at the time and I took care of an autistic child while his parents were at work. He had two boxer dogs and we decided to go outside and play. It was dark and dreary out and I couldn’t get anything without blur because they were moving too fast. That’s when I realized that the shutter, or at least what I thought at the time, “the noise of the click” needed to be shorter and more quick. So I tossed things into manual and tried my best to make it work. Though it took me forever to finally figure out what everything did. Definitely wasn’t during this sitting with the dogs though.
Last Time Using HDR
This was the last days of summer, the storm clouds were rolling through, and I found my best bud strolling around on his bike. So I pulled out my 10.5mm fisheye, snapped off an image, and used HDR for the very last time. I didn’t know it at the time, but for some reason, I was done using the effect, and I uninstalled my garbage, watermarked version of Photomatix and forget it ever existed.
First Time Manually White Balancing
I remember reading around what white balance was, but I still had no idea what I was doing. I just remember that the light in the room was terrible overhead lighting, super orange. The key light was on the right spilling in from a window. So I remember fiddling with kelvin temperatures in the camera and turing off the overhead light so that only one light temperature was in the image. Slowly learning, but no real idea of what was actually happening.
First time Using Pop Up Flash During the Day
First huge experiment in my development as a strobist. Learning that you can fire a flash to fill in shadows of a backlit subject. Crazy day for sure. Shot on the roof at my job while I was on the clock. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to know about the hatch that lead there, considering that I had to use a chair and a box to get up there.
First Time Using Off Camera Flash
This was HUGE for me. First time using flash externally. I had my Nikon SB600 Speedlight unit on a lightstand, shot through a white umbrella and fired using Nikon CLS. For those of you who don’t know, Nikon CLS stands for “Creative Light System” which sends a signal from your camera to your flash wirelessly like a trigger through the pop up flash. The only drawback is that the flash must be in line of site of the flash and has to be able to pick up the signal. Shooting outdoors in the sun, things got pretty tricky.
Last Time I Updated my Photography MySpace Page
I grew up in a digital age where kids had Myspace. Myspace as been majorly changed since, and has more or less been completely forgotten, but when I was going through highschool/beginning of college, Myspace was the place to be. Myspace was insanely crazy in that you could customize your layouts using your own custom html coding that you either got from template sites or built yourself. Fortunately for me, I was the kid that people paid to get their profiles lookin’ good. The people who paid me were generally bands, but I used this knowledge to build a page of my own for promotional reason for my photography. This was the last time I had customized my MySpace profile. I wish I had a screen cap of the actual page, but I only have the pieces of what I was supposed to look like after it was layed out with my own custom buttons and banner. I was such the coding guru back then.
So there it is. An extremely long, and extremely pointless post on my early days as a digital photographer. Strange times indeed, but a necessary thing to recap on. I’ve come a long way as a photographer and I have these images to remind me so.