Cameras… Harley’s… Crossroads

When it comes time to see this country, embrace a large dose of freedom and fresh air which is good for the mind and soul, traveling by motorcycle is one of the best ways to go. But adding camera equipment, clothing for all types of weather conditions, and even a sleeping bag can be quite magical. Songs have been sung, stories have been written, and movies have been made concerning this type of experience. Anticipating and  getting ready for such a dream come true. This is what you’ll need to hit the open road with your camera: Pre-trip check list… Camera equipment Bungee chords The Glides,”Harley’s” pre-trip inspection and service Clothing list Leathers, a jacket, and chaps Wallet with money and cards Cell phone, Ipad, and Ipod with chargers Thermos Leatherman utility tool Emerson super cqc-8 T.P. Good to go! Once leaving the busy and hectic freeways accompanied with the stop and go traffic of Southern California with all its grayish colors and hardness of concrete and steel with tense drivers white knuckling their steering wheels as if choking the air out of their own lives, one can start feeling energized and the twinkle in an observant photographer’s internal eye awakens. Nothing like being on the open road for days or even just hours and approaching a gigantic mountain side, interesting crossroads, or even a flat plain in the middle of nowhere which can be full of life and eye-popping scenery. I wondered, “Where to now?” With the Harley’s v-twin engine still running, I kicked the kickstand out and got off. With camera in hand, viewing the scape through the camera lens, I realize in a moment of clarity… “I am already here, I have arrived!” Thus, the camera is pointed towards a scenic view and, with a slight twist of the camera’s focusing lens and quick press of its shutter release button, memories and art have just occurred. Motoring with photography as a companion is...

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The Dos & Don’ts When Photographing a Wedding

DO have 2 cameras, 2 lenses, 2 batteries, etc……. Two of everything just in case of equipment failure for this is some one’s most important day. DO start taking intimate photographs of the couple days, maybe even weeks, before the actual wedding at various locations. The couple’s favorite park, beach, etc……morning and afternoon light works best. DO get to know the couple and family in a good light-hearted manner. This is a joyous occasion for all. This also goes for the photographer. DO get to know the person who is doing the wedding especially the priest, rabbi, minister, or justice of the peace, captain. etc… Ask for permission if you can photograph in the facility. Ask if your camera’s flash can be used and how close can you get to the ceremony. Ask if there is a sacred area where one cannot photograph. Respect is warranted. DO wear proper clothing for the wedding. No need to wear a tux or suit-type attire for you will be moving around a lot. Slacks and a nice shirt and shoes will suffice. DO arrive at the wedding location much earlier then the actual wedding to get yourself comfortable with the surroundings. DO deliver the final product AKA photographs on time. Good customer relations do go a long way. DO introduce yourself as much as possible to all the family and guests at the wedding. DO save your favorite and best photographs of the wedding for they could be used as a resume. DO bring your business cards. You never know. DO have fun when you have a few minutes to spare. Eat a little, dance a little, it is a joyous day!   DO NOT do any mind-altering substance or drink alcohol before or during the wedding. DO NOT get involved with any family disputes. It’s none of your business. DO NOT let anyone use your cameras. One little accident could ruin the day. DO NOT keep personal items in your clothing such as wallets, keys, loose change, etc…..keep it all in your camera’s pack or keep it all hidden somewhere in the wedding’s facility. DO NOT be sick if possible DO NOT not show up. If you cannot show up, get another photographer quickly. DO NOT...

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How-To Steps on Preparing Oneself for Taking Photographs

1. This is probably thee most important step. Treat your camera equipment like a master tradesman would treat his favorite and most used tool. Make sure the eyepiece and lens are dust-free & smudge-free by using a non-scratching cloth. 2. If using film, always have an extra roll of film on hand. If digital, an extra SD card should be on hand. One could take his/her absolute last photograph and then, when least expected, there’s one more that could be taken. 3. Always have an extra battery on hand. There’s nothing like all of a sudden the camera quits due to being “out of gas.” 4. It helps if one is willing and able to walk,  even jog, all throughout the course of a day from before the sun is up until the sun goes down. Climbing, crawling, kneeling, and also patiently waiting could be in one’s horizons. 5. Always have money debit, or a credit card on hand. There’s nothing like when unexpected tragedies arise concerning camera equipment or a quick fix that needs to be done. 6. If photographing via motorcycle, please bring a plastic bag to cover the equipment and the equipment’s bag just in case it rains or snows. Even a little dew in the air will destroy equipment. Cameras, lenses, & water do not mix. 7. Have a clear camera lens cover. These work great to keep lenses scratch free. 8. There are more ideas I can give but a lot of this is common sense mixed with experience. Two cameras and two lenses are better than one just in case one set-up breaks. So in saying, you will be multiplying steps 1-7 by...

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7 How-To’s Concerning Taking a Simple and Clear Photograph

1. Make sure the lens is completely clean. 2. When focusing on the subject, keep the subject in the center of the viewfinder and also fill the viewfinder at least 75%. 3. If the subject is moving, try to keep the subject in the center of the viewfinder with 75% of the viewfinder filled. 4. If shooting in black and white, the less subject matter in the viewfinder, the better. Question: Why does this happen? Answer: I don’t know, it just does. So in this case, “more is less!” 5.  Do not move camera. No shaking, sneezing, coughing, etc….. 6. If photographing at night or in places where utilizing natural light is the only way, use a tripod or adapt and improvise by using a door jam or the back of a chair… something stable. A cable release helps when you’re starting to practice different f-stops and speeds. P.S. All those thousands of camera flashes that go off during sporting events don’t work. The flash is only good for a few feet, not hundreds of feet. 7. Have fun and experiment. Use your good eye and don’t think too much while taking clear pictures....

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You Never Know Unless You Try

I have found out that in real life and also in one’s deep passions like photography that there can come a time when people will criticize, laugh, and even ridicule one just for trying. Right before the twilight evening segment was going to begin at one of the Miramar Air Station’s air shows, I proceeded to set up my tripod,  re-load my Minolta SLR with fresh film,  hook up the cable release, and covered the eye piece, placing it in bulb position. I noticed that the other photographers that were there were from very prestigious magazines, one from an aviation magazine and even one from an institution from D.C. All of them were all putting their equipment away. One of these photographers asked me, “What are you doing and whatever you are going to try and do cannot be done.” My response to this was, “I was invited by the graphic artist from the Miramar Air Station to photograph their air-shows so I’m going to at least give this a try!” Realistically, this was ALMOST impossible to do because the subject matter, “the blue angel jets” were hundreds of feet away, the sun had already faded, sporadic explosions were about to commence so in essence I was not quite sure what and when I was going to shoot… for my camera was pointed at almost complete darkness and shadows. I then proceeded to take an estimated wild guess on aperture, f-stop, etc… In the wink of an eye, a pyrotechnic explosion burst and my cable release button was twice pressed quickly. The following year, the graphic artist from Miramar explained to me that this shot helped Miramar Air Station win “Best International Air Show” of the year and it is shown in the following year’s air show magazine. The same people that informed me that this could not be done were also at the following year’s air show. I showed them the air show’s magazine in which this photograph was published. I did have to show and tell them all,  “Sometimes all one has to do is try!” Eyes & mouths were widely open was the next scene....

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