Photography and Me

That's Me in the Picture

For those who have found their way here, I thought a bit of an introduction might be in order.

My mother tells me that as a child, I always had a camera and loved using it.  As a teenager, I thought I wanted to be a film director and ended up majoring in film production at NYU’s School of the Arts. In my freshman year, I was introduced to SLR cameras and the darkroom.  I recall really enjoying this, to the point where I was using one of my parents’ closets as a darkroom for developing film and I’d spend hour after hour making prints in the school’s darkroom.

After graduation, I didn’t have access to a darkroom any more and while I still took a lot of photos, my interest in advancing as a photographer gradually waned.  I mostly shot vacation snapshots and pictures at whatever rock concert I could sneak a camera into.  By the 1990’s, I no longer owned an SLR, just a series of point-and-shoot cameras, moving from film to digital when the first generation of consumer digital cameras came along.  I always loved taking pictures but didn’t give a lot of thought to it.  Point.  Shoot.  Share.

I began to get ambitious about shooting photos again but no camera ever satisfied me.  I wanted more from my photos than I was getting.  Even after I upgraded to a DSLR, I was never capturing the images that I saw in my mind when I would press the shutter button.   I realized that it wasn’t the equipment – it was that I didn’t know how to use what I had properly.

So I studied.  There are a lot of terrific books out there, some of which I’ll list in future posts, that discuss everything from techniques to composition.  I especially loved David Busch’s books on Nikon cameras (his Nikon D700 book has a permanent place on my desk), which not only explained how to use the various controls and settings but also explained why you’d want to use them.   Scott Kelby’s books and videos are wonderful for explaining a wide variety of concepts in plain English (his 3 volume series on digital photography is a great starting point for newbies).  I also started reading a lot of photography blogs.

I believe it’s important to look at a lot of photographs.   When I see one I like, I look at it closer.  I try to analyze why I like it, try to understand why I think it’s “good” or “bad.”  What’s the difference between their photographs and mine?  One thing is, when I see a photo by someone else I like, I always go “wow!” and hold my breath.  I don’t get that from my own photos, but that’s because there’s no element of surprise.  When they come up on screen, I already know what’s going to be there, I know what was going on when I shot it, I know the steps I took to process the image in Lightroom.

And of course it’s important to take a lot of photographs.  And spend time analyzing the results.  What worked?  What didn’t work?  What can I do better next time?

A little over a year ago, I had the chance to invest in a new photography studio being started by some friends.  PASM Workshop is a great facility located in San Po Kong in Hong Kong.  That’s not just because of the physical space or the equipment.  It’s because there are so many talented photographers hanging out there, most of whom have been unbelievably generous in terms of sharing tips with me and teaching me some of their techniques.

These days, my favorite subject is musicians.  I love shooting bands, whether they’re world famous or local cover bands.  And living in Hong Kong and traveling around Asia gives me the ability to see (and photograph) a wide variety of places.

A final note for now.  I’ve been uploading photos and galleries based on stuff I’ve shot over the past year or two.  The entries are all back-dated to the original shoot.  But I’ve gone back and reprocessed every photo posted here.  “New and improved?”  I think so.


One Comment

  1. jisampedro January 7, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    Quite interesting your experience in how you started with photography. Sure you will get better results as now you have more knowledge, experience and has taken more pics.

    I still need to learn more, of course, it´s not an easy path. I feel identify with you when said about other people photos, and the wow factor. Hope I can get more often with my pictures.

    Congrats for the new blog 🙂

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