Where’s your camera?

Fuji X-E2 panoramic mode

A few years ago I finally started to carry my camera every where with me. I think of it like my watch. I can’t benefit from owning a watch and using it as needed if I don’t wear it.

This is why I am constantly looking for a camera solution that I can use all the time. For the most part my cameras have been more like a clock than a watch. They are big and bulky.

This is why I am now enjoying shooting with the Fujifilm X-E2. It is smaller and lighter than my Nikon D4, but like my clocks at home I am keeping the Nikon D4 because it does serve a purpose for my commercial work.

Maybe you think I am like my dad asking you to join the “Nut House” by carrying your camera.

Most people think of packing the camera for taking it on vacation as I did to St. Thomas this summer with my family.

We now have photos of my wife and daughter on the same beach, Caneel Bay at St. Thomas, where my wife’s parents went for their honeymoon.

Why not just use your camera phone?

Today’s camera phones take wonderful photos, but there is a reason all the pros are not shooting jobs with them. The photos do look great under ideal light and on your phone. For me a photo is not a photo unless you can make a large wall print of the photo and this is where most smartphones fall apart.

I want to put a print on my wall at home and I don’t want to miss out because I decided my camera phone will suffice.

We put our photos up on our walls to enjoy all the time and help us remember those places we have gone in our lifetime.

For our anniversary dinner we took one of our daughter’s friends with us to Tokyo Boat where we had a Hibachi dinner. The girls ordered Ramune. Ramune is widely known for the distinctive design of its bottle, often called Codd-neck bottles after the inventor, Hiram Codd. They are made of glass and sealed with a marble; the codd head is held in place by the pressure of the carbonation in the drink. To open the bottle, a device to push the marble inward is provided. The marble is pushed inside the neck of the bottle where it rattles around while drinking. Therefore, the drinks are sometimes called “marble soda” outside of Japan.

You can see the excitement of opening the bottles by the girls. Having my camera helped me to capture this experience and treasure the moment forever.

I looked up around the walls of the restaurant and realized they too celebrate using photographs of customers. I like this so much more than just the famous people that come to a restaurant and they put those photos up. This is a place that celebrates everyone person.

Of course I captured the volcano created by using an onion on the grill. We discovered this was our daughter’s friend first time eating Hibachi and she was enjoying the show.

Isn’t all of life worth recording? While we didn’t plan all week where to go for our dinner, by having my camera with me all the time I get to capture slices of life.

What all these snapshots of life are doing for me is keeping my eye fresh. I am not taking a lot of time when we are going some where to make photos, but by always shooting and reviewing my work I am building a library in my mind.

What about each of these moments is nostalgic to me? Can these photos carry the same meaning to others who were not with me? If I were to go back what would I do differently if this were a commercial job?

I love to play my trumpet and for most of my school years I played in the band and orchestra. When I went to East Carolina University I played in the marching band and played in the Jazz Band.

I had a lot of talent, but I never really practiced enough to play professionally.

I work with Dan Cathy and I love to talk with him about the trumpet. Dan almost became a professional musician before joining the family business Chick-fil-A. Here is a link to Dan playing.

Today he is still playing for fun. Dan knows that he cannot just leave the trumpet in the case and when he decides to play just pull it out and play. Every day Dan plays his trumpet for about thirty minutes to an hour.

You see photography is very similar to music. Ansel Adams a concert pianist was doing photography on the side just like Dan Cathy plays trumpet while being the CEO of Chick-fil-A. It was this discipline Ansel Adams brought to both that made it possible for him to excel. He explored Yosemite for years shooting it over and over before he finally had a break through. He applied all the years of shooting to turning the corner and learning how to capture what he was pre-visualizing rather than just capturing what was in front of him.

Do you really want to get better? If so where is your camera? You need to shoot every day, just like a professional musician you must practice so when you do perform it is at your highest level of ability.

By the way when you shoot every day you now have something to share and connect with others through things like social media, newsletters and blogs. Now you may know why you haven’t been successful on social media, you don’t have anything photographically to share on a regular basis, because you are not shooting on a regular basis.