I have always taken first day of school photos of my kids but it is usually in a hurry as the new routine has thrown all of us off kilter. That being said, I look at the hundred of photos that appear on my Facebook feed of other first day of school photos and wonder what’s the purpose? Is it to make the kids feel special? Is it to document that they went on the first day? Is it to share with friends and loved ones? Are we ever going to print those out and actually save them as a keepsake? Do we just like taking photos?
There are over 300 million photos loaded to Facebook everyday. There are a billion photos of Instagram. It is estimated that we have taken well over 3.8 trillion photos to date. I would imagine that most of those have and will not see the light of day. The person pressing the button even thinks they are rubbish. However, others see pass being our of focus, have the date electronically imposed on the picture, the squinting eyes, the unevenness of the lighting, …, they just see their loved one. I admit that I have devalued the services of others and have tried to cook a five course meal (maybe three) because I have a oven and stove but I realize that certain things take talent, education and experience to be done right (or at least better than I can).
This year I decided to be deliberate in my first day of school photos and even put out an invitation to friends that they could come by and take advantage of my passion, knowledge and experience. No strings attached.
I was surprised how few came over but with so many photos being taken, most people do not value a quality picture versus a documentary snapshot. Photography has become a commodity for most.
For those that did come over, they appreciate the photos, have asked for prints, have indicted they will not be ordering school photos and that the photographs will be displayed in their home in some manner. I guess that is one small step…
I have been actively involved in Boy Scouts ever since my son joined over eight years ago. I have seen so many wonderful things and understand the “true” impact that Scouting has on our future. I also believe in the organization so deeply, that I see that I will be involved in some manner for the rest of my life and the organization is even in my will.
Thus, I have decided that if any young man earns the rank of Eagle, I am willing to take their portrait and provide prints celebrating their wonderful achievement for free. This week, I was fortunate enough to do my fourth session. As a reminder to those unfamiliar with Scouting (besides the media portrayal), to cap off the many requirements to earn your Eagle Badge, a Scout is required to plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or community. Between, these four young men, over 500 volunteer hours have been donated to the Longmont community. Thus, my gesture is small compared to the impact these young men and the Boy Scouts of America is having on the community.
I also get a kick out of seeing the Scout’s and their parent’s expression when they see the final product. With the proliferation of cell phones, digital cameras and social media outlets, everyday moments are captured by the millions every second. People do not care about what goes into a good picture such as the framing, the depth of field captured, background clutter, the use of negative space, or even if the picture is in focus. The last one drives me crazy as some of the pictures I see memorialize life events such as newborns, graduation and once in a lifetime family gatherings. For such events, I not only like to post them to my particular social media outlets of choice but I actually get them printed out, framed and displayed.
Many of these events have required such hard work and dedication that they deserve better than an out of focus photo with the wrong date stamped in the corner. So, if you or someone you know has achieved something that should be properly documented give me a call and we can work something out.
While I love being a photographer, I do not like the way I am captured by the camera. Like most people, I see the 10 extra pounds (who am I kidding, it is more like 20lbs) and I don’t like my chipped, coffee stained teeth and crooked smile. However, due to a quest to get better at my craft daily, I take quite a bit of self-portraits. Your probably thinking to yourself “Yea but Grey, everyone takes self portraits, evidenced by the infamous holding the camera out front with one of your arms pose.”
You are right but I capture a deliberate photo that is thought out, well lit and in focus while most photos taken today are a blurry snapshot that merely provides evidence of being somewhere at some point in time. No offense intended but there is a difference, especially in the years to come.
These are some Easter photos that I took Sunday. While the weather was quite nice, nothing has started to turn green so the traditional “Spring” photo will have to wait a week or two.
If you want and I would argue that you need a portrait that you will cherish for years to come, give me a call.
This weekend, we were double booked half the time and the other half, my wife and I were planning on playing tag team to get the kids to their respective appointments. Sometime during the week, the weatherman started throwing the “B” word and talking about 10 to 18 inches of snow. Organizers started to worry, plans become clouded and contingencies were being made. On Friday, the dreaded started to happen. Events were being cancelled even if they were inside due to the safety of travel concerns.
When I woke up Saturday, there was only a light dusting. It was obvious that the B word was not going to come to fruition. So after breakfast, I grabbed the kids and we headed out in search of for some photography opportunities. Well that was what I had in mind. They wanted to go to a few stores to do a bit of shopping. That worked to my advantage as I had done them a favor, now it was time for them to help me out. A few hours later, we had visited several spots I had previously identified and they had a birthday gift for a friend and some new soccer socks. Win/Win.
I sometimes worry that I am doing the right thing.
Since the entire family had President’s Day off, we decided to get out and enjoy the day and do a short hike (5 miles). It was a new area to explore right below the Flatirons that was accessed by parking in a residential neighborhood. The trail was well kept and there were plenty of hikers, joggers and dog walkers enjoying the relatively warm day. Not only was I amazed how well kept the trails were but also by how wooded the area was with plenty of beautiful of lichen covered boulders to climb, play and pose on.
That is where the rub is, I was supposed to be enjoying being outside with my family but I kept looking around and envisioning potential photographs. I noted which way the light came through the trees and if there were proper shade on certain rock formations. A couple of very fit joggers ran by in matching outfits and all I could think about was what a great lifestyle shoot that would be if I could just catch up with them (darn cold or just the fact of being out of shape). We even came across a large water tank that was painted sea foam green and I imagined how that could be used as a backdrop.
Was I in the present with my family or was I in la la land? Since we agreed to get out at least once a month on a scouting hike, I am going to rationalize that I am just good at multi-tasking.
I needed a moment to clear my head (many argue that is where I start at), so I stepped outside and took a quick walk around the building. That is when I noticed the JAMS PLACE food truck setting up shop. I grabbed my camera and got off a few frames before the hungry masses descended on them.
Jeff and his wife Marla (JAM) have been operating this food truck for the last 18 months and loving every minute of it. The set up for lunches within 30 minutes of home and then move to another location at night. They find that the number of local brew pubs in the Boulder/Longmont area makes for a prime area to operate. They believe they could keep 3 truck busy if they could duplicate themselves.
As Jeff (former programmer) stated, “It beats working at a desk”. Hmm…