When I called Paul Bacher to get an update on the snowboarding conditions yesterday he said they were just about ready to light the christmas tree. I wasn’t quite sure what he meant, but soon there I was climbing around in this little tree stringing lights as Paul and Aaron packed out the runway, poured water on the jump to firm it up, and got the generator ready for lights, camera, action.
To succeed as a photographer you gotta have talent they tell me. Ok, talent, what are you and where do I go for a second helping? I turned to the dictionary and here is what I found: Talent is a natural aptitude for a thing. Aptitude is a natural ability. Natural is something that exists or is caused by nature, not made by human kind. Read– out of reach, unattainable by human kind.
This search for talent looks like it might be a short one that already ended. But, I’m still curious how talent is defined in a photographer and where this natural ability makes its appearance.
Some have told me that I have talent for photography. I believe that they say this because they find a photograph I created engaging, beautiful, or surprising in some way. When I look for the mysterious talent amongst the process of creating those images I’m hoping that there will be an ‘ah hah’ discovery that will unlock the floodgates of talent in my future image making. I’m also hoping to find proof that little me is actually Mr. Big Time the bearer of great talent. Instead I see that these examples of talent are merely the product of countless unimpressive little details all coinciding in a moment that I looked through an electronic gadget and pushed a button. Surely there must be more to this! There are two areas within this process that I suspect talent may be hiding.
1. In the previsualization of an image. In order to be considered talented, I believe it’s necessary for an image maker to have images flash through his mind. These are ideas that are later created as photographs. I would define […]
I remember walking out of the post office and looking up to catch just a glimpse of the small yellow helicopter zipping by overhead. For the months since, anytime I’ve heard the beating of helicopter rotors I jump up and scurry to the windows with binoculars. This little fixation started before the MD 530 came to town, and it’s not just limited to helicopters. I love flying, and not surprisingly, some of this passion for flight splashed onto the machines that make it possible. I think it’s well understood that I’m always very excited by the opportunity to create aerial photographs. This particular shoot was a real treat being able to watch and photograph this incredible helicopter in flight. Special thanks to George and Charlie Mandes for working with me to make this a reality. As an aerial photographer I’m very dependent on the pilots to help bring all the pieces together into a photograph. As you can see, they both did a great job.
Ingredient list for a big smile and some exciting aerial photos:
One fan of flight
One passionate photographer
Two skilled pilots with good communication
One beautiful winter sunset with mountains and alpenglow
One aircraft with opening windows (Husky A-1B)
One aircraft to model (MD 530F)
Toss the ingredients for approximately 45 minutes. More results displayed below.
Great, ok, now say cheese, smile and look into the camera. Umm, not quite, how about a real smile? Can you show me a real smile? hmm, how about I throw a snowball in your face that should help.
Trying to talk a smile out of a model isn’t much fun and doesn’t usually work anyhow. That’s one more reason why I love to photograph people in the outdoors doing things they really enjoy. The smiles that you see on a good sledding hill, after a great surf session, while kitesurfing, after a sick snowboard jump, etc., these are the priceless grins. Surfers often call this stoke. When viewing these real smiling moments I find a grin forming on my face too. It’s only natural to smile back at them, you can feel the pleasure, the thrill, the good times.
Here’s a little collection of photos with those smiles that come naturally in the great outdoors.
In my last post, part 1, I went on about how it can be difficult to actually separate your passions from the many things you like in life. Some signs of NOT following your passions reveal themselves in obvious ways. If you are working on something (a career, towards a goal, a project) and the work feels like a drudgery, mustering the enthusiasm or energy for the work is difficult, or the work is the means to the goal only. I’d venture to suggest that you are probably not pursuing something you are truly passionate about.
Q: How do you know if you are passionate about a thing?
A 1: The energy, commitment, enthusiasm, and desire to pursue the passion wells up within you spontaneously without effort on your part. In other words, it’s easier to follow this thing than it would be to ignore or avoid it. When you turn away it gnaws at your insides. In the morning when you are laying comfortably in bed the desire for it makes you throw the covers off. I don’t have to try and get excited about photography, I just am. I don’t try to muster the enthusiasm to do a photo shoot, instead there seems to be a boundless supply of motivating desire for it.
A 2: The pursuit of a passion is satisfying and rewarding in the present moment. According to my definition a passion can not be solely embodied in the future. I think it’s possible to be passionate about reaching a goal, but if you find that the process is not a pleasure then I think it’s time to reconsider. The best way I can explain this is a surfing analogy. For about 10 […]