Free Agent

A camera has been my constant companion for over a decade. I started my own photography business in 2015. As expected, it was slow at first but it gradually picked up. By the winter of that year, it had slowed down to a trickle. I was desperately seeking work, and quite frankly, income. The only things free in life is the air we breath and light from the glorious sun.

At that time, I started working as an IT Consultant for my families business. I enjoyed working for them. I love my family and was grateful to get out of the corporate environment I had been in for years. I sorted every IT problem that I could and wasn’t really needed on a daily basis, so I wished them well and am now a free agent.

When a person works for someone else, their income is usually consistent. When you work for yourself, it is rarely consistent. It was time to go. I’m a much stronger and better person, when I have to be quick on my feet. I don’t have the option to sit back and pick and choose projects or clients. I am willing to work with anyone. I don’t have the benefit of a large surplus of cash to sit on, and I don’t believe in taking welfare from the government when I’m able to work.  In other words, I better get to work!

What do I do?

I am a landscape, architectural, and portrait photographer. I cover several areas of photography. You have to today in order to survive. I sell landscape photographs on several stock photo sites, but I also do local portrait sessions, weddings, and events.

I also do photo retouching that usually consist of removing blemishes and color correction. I have been a constant user of Photoshop since the days of MS-DOS.

With the help of friends, I produce a weekly podcast about life, liberty, and the unending pursuit of happiness. That consist of setting up mics, setting up and managing the software and settings, audio editing in Adobe Audition, and publishing on the site as well as producing a video version for youtube in Premiere Pro CC. The podcast taught me about time management and logistics. At one time, we had co-hosts from the East Coast of the US, Ireland, and Australia. As you can imagine, managing the time table and getting everyone to show up at the same time in three different time zones can be a nightmare.

In addition, I have also written and published five travel photo books. Four of these are about Ireland, a project that took years to complete. I am still working on the last piece of the puzzle, a book of my adventures across the Emerald Isle and the misadventures I managed to get myself into over a decade.

My academic background is varied. I started out majoring in IT Security. I love all forms of tech, so it was right up my alley. After a few years, however, I started to hate the idea of spending the rest of my life in a dark room staring at monitors. I love the outdoors too much to dedicate the majority of my remaining days in a cubicle or server room. That may sound vain to some, but it is a matter of choice. I passed every class and certs with an “A”, so it wasn’t a matter of failing. I was minoring in Art at the same time.

At that time, my family was having some problems, so I did somewhat of a 180 and changed my major to Criminal Justice. I minored in Forensics, so there was still technology involved. I graduated with honors in less than two years. It was a great decision. I had some of the best professors you could ask for. Though we had heated debates, most of them always welcomed debate on the Constitution.

Photography?

What is Photography?  According to Wikipedia, Photography is the science, art, application and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film.

That is as good as an explanation as I can give.  To a journalist or street photographer, it may merely be a medium used to capture and document a scene.  To a landscape photographer, it may be more of an art used to evoke an emotion.

I, for example, take photographs, not pictures.  Pictures are selfies and snapshots you or I may take throughout the day.  Photographs belong on a wall.  They are either art or documentation of a time, scene and/or event that can’t be captured again.  A simple example of this would be wedding photographs.  The wedding of two people usually only happens once, so it is important to not only capture it, but to save the prints.  If and when the digital world ever crashes, it may be all you have left.

There are scientific elements, of course, but after doing it for years, I do it without thinking.  There is the exposure triangle to help you with ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed, but at this point in my career, I can look up at the sky and know where my settings need to be without thinking.  That took years of making mistakes.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  An overexposed photograph has happened to the best of us.

Then there is the composition element of a photograph.  There is the rule of thirds, leading lines, and symmetry to name but a few.  They are important to learn in order to be respected by your peers, but once you learn them and prove you know them, you can break them.  I enjoy breaking rules.  🙂

The image below, for example, is moody but far from perfect.  It is unbalanced.  Think of content you see as weight.  If you put that weight on a scale, it would tip to the left.

The composition in the next photograph is perfect, but it doesn’t have the soul (Does that even make sense?) of the previous photo and it doesn’t evoke emotion.

The last photo in this series is from Inch beach in County Kerry, Ireland.  It is a special photograph to me, because I was there and it helps me remember that day and the fun we had running down the beach.  One similar to this sold within a day of publishing it, so the place is special and I got all the elements correct that day.

Photography, like any other medium or anything in life, is what you make of it and how hard you work towards improving your craft.  I’ll be doing a post every week focusing on Photography.  My life is full of ironies.  I’m a photographer with one eye and a podcaster with one ear.  Life is entertaining.  🙂

Elainé’s Senior Photo Shoot

I was honored to do a Senior Photo Shoot for my little cousin at South Carolina Botanical Gardens this past weekend.  She’ll be graduating in a few weeks and going on to College.  It’s hard to believe that she is graduating high school.  It seems like only yesterday, when I was pushing her around in a stroller.

I am immensely proud of this young lady and wish her all the luck in the world.  We are all incredibly proud of her.

New Blog?

Many of you may come to this blog from a Google search or social media link.  If you read this in early to mid 2017, you may think that I’ve not been doing this long.  You would be wrong in that assumption, but I can’t blame you for thinking that.  Though this is technically a new blog on a new server, I’ve been blogging since 2005.  Several friends and I did a fairly popular podcast from 2005 to 2011.

We stopped the podcast due to being burned out, I think.  I don’t recall exactly why we ended it, but that seems to have been the reason.  I ended the blog in 2013.  At the time, I was working in the security field and couldn’t write about what I was doing.  I still can’t, but I can write about what I’m doing now.

I, like so many other people, needed a voice again.  The years of keeping my mouth shut and my head down had taken their toll.  So, I decided to reactivate this url that had been sitting dormant for a couple of years.

The subjects of my posts may be a bit random, but they are based around politics, tech reviews, photography gear, photography, writing, and general observations from a unique American perspective.  I also write about Ireland (long story) and am still working on a book of short stories about my travels through Ireland.  I have published four travel photo books about Hibernia.

You may ponder, politics and tech reviews?  They don’t generally go together, but my background is varied.  I grew up in a business and majored in IT security before moving over to Criminal Justice.  I am best known for my photography.  Everyone needs a creative outlet, photography is mine.  Though, I do dabble in writing fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.  I am all over the place.  It is due to growing up in a business and having to be multifaceted.

Now you know a tiny bit of the back story of this blog.  Thank you for visiting the blog.  Take a seat and enjoy the randomness.  🙂

Writing

Some people have asked me why I stopped running a blog and writing regularly.  I managed a blog and wrote regularly from 2005 through to 2013, almost a decade.  I also produced a podcast with friends from 2005 to 2012.  At the time of the ending of the blog and podcast, I was finishing up my last year of University.  To put it mildly, I was burn out.  The toll of a full-time job, academic life (sleepless nights with books and Earl Grey), a social life, the blog, and the podcast was too much.

Since giving all of that up, I finished up my college days and worked for various organizations, universities, and media groups.  I also run my own tiny photography business, but like so many other people in the field, it’s not profitable these days.  Not to say that you can’t be successful at it, but it takes years upon years of mere starvation to build up a customer base big enough to sustain a business.  I still love it, but at this point, it is just the occasional side income.

For a while now, I have wanted to start another blog.  I have been talking to friends about it for a while, but even though I have a varied background in everything from photography to criminal justice, I didn’t know where to start or what subject to concentrate my efforts on.

To give a minute bit of background about one subject I will be covering frequently, I caught spinal meningitis as an infant while in the hospital.  I’m not crying about it, but because of that, I have several health problems that will be with me until the end.  I have hypopituitarism, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, and Addison’s disease to name a few.

Due to a multitude of health problems, I am also dyslexic.  This is just an annoyance.  When I was in college and writing papers and doing the blog, I managed to rewire my brain into working correctly.  Back then, I could type out a perfectly coherent and accurate ten page report in less than an hour.  My writing ability has trailed off severely since those golden days of yore.

I was talking with a friend that’s a doctor yesterday about the trouble I’ve been having in the last year or so.  She said that there was a study published recently that proved that writing regularly actually helps the brain fight the effects of aging and slow down the progression of common problems like dyslexia.  She didn’t bother giving me the name of the study, but if I find it, I’ll link it here.

Her exact words were, “Write it, damn you, write it! What else are you good for?”  I laughed at the Joyce reference.

Having health problems is not an excuse for me, nor should it be for you.  Take those problems and use them to your advantage.  Giving up is easy, overcoming barriers is hard.  I’ve published five books.  I graduated at the top of my class, even though my family was told not to bother because I would never live long enough for education to matter.  I have been to more places and done more than most people with no health issues.  I’ve been dead twice and have been told on multiple occasions that I’d never live this long, yet here I am.  I was told twelve years ago that I’d be in a wheelchair in five years, yet I’m still walking and running.  Bust through barriers and make the most out of life!
I’m going to do exactly what she suggested and what I’ve been wanting to do for a while, write.  I’m going to write every week day.  Some posts may be about politics and the impending repeal of the AFA (Obamacare).  Other days, I may write a personal story.  One way or another, I have to do it.

It may take me a while to get back in the swing of things, but it will get better.  I’m not going to worry about stats, as I did so much in the past.  I’m just going to write.  What else am I good for other than photography?