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Being a "Generalist" Photographer

Since the young age of 12 when I started taking images, It was never about a certain subject that I wanted to photograph, it was always about just taking pictures and documenting moments, places, people & things as they happen. I didn't really care what I was shooting just as long as I was capturing something. It was always fascinating to me when I would take a roll of film into the grocery story and turn it in for developing, only to get it back a week later and get to see the images.

My mom always told me that I see things differently than most people. Meaning I could see a good photograph in almost any scene. I think this comes from our time in the car when I would say, "hey, that would make a nice photo" and she didn't see what I saw until I explained it to her. Some of it has to do with understanding composition and some of it is the ability to visualize in your mind the image you want to create, no matter what the subject.

While I was in Oregon a couple weeks ago and again with a friend back in Colorado, I've had the same discussion 2 times in 2 weeks. There are times when I need to be told, "it's time to head back to the house" or "we need to go eat". Both discussions stemmed from me never wanting to leave the location where I'm shooting. Anytime I am around moving water, it's worse. My friends seem to be more logical than I am when it comes to doing photography. Sunset end, they pack up and are ready to be done...Often times I find them waiting on me to take "just one more shot". I get these visions in my head and I don't want to leave until I have captured the right image.

I've always had a love for nature and capturing the landscapes but I've always loved the act of photographing a bit more. I think a lot of my work does combine the landscapes with other aspects and subjects but I wouldn't say I am just a landscape photographer or a night sky photographer. I have several photography friends who like many different types of photography too. Some just want to shoot landscapes, some just want to shoot at night and that's fine. It sure makes planning much easier. It's these friends who I am thankful for as they are giving me friendly reminders that the day is over and we need to take a break from photography. You could say I am obsessed with it, it's what I want to do all the time. I see things everyday I want to photograph. I'll be honest, yesterday I was driving home and saw a beautiful tree in bloom with amazing purple flowers. I noted where it was so I can go back and shoot it. I'd be shooting it right now but it's pouring down rain outside. Maybe tomorrow. I just love being with my camera and taking images.

Anytime I'm in a location shooting one thing, I can often find myself drawn to something else as well. I am always looking for smaller scenes within larger scenes. Paying attention to what's around me also helps to identify what may make a nice image.

Over the years I have used, sold and kept many lenses. Like most photographers, I go through phases of really wanting to focus on one thing or buy a specific lens for this one type of photography. Only to not use it down the road and end up selling it. Right now I am in a very good spot as far as cameras and lenses go. I've got one camera that is dedicated to night photography with a couple lenses and I have another camera that is dedicated to everything else. I've toned down my lens collection over the years and now feel I have a great small set of lenses that can do just about anything. I take advantage of these lenses when I can. It took me a long time to find a good macro lens after getting rid of my Canon gear back in 2013. I have probably bought and sold 4-5 different macro lenses since then because none of them worked the way I wanted...I am currently using the Sigma 105mm 2.8 art macro and it's beautiful. I love the images I get from it. So I am sticking with it and I've been shooting it a lot!

There are some pros and cons to shooting everything you see that catches your eye...

When you shoot more, you learn more. You learn what your lens can do, you learn what your sharpest f stops are, you learn what you can and can't get away with. I am always wanting to learn more and continue my passion for photography so that I can help others. Also, just being out shooting you get a keen eye for what may make a good composition as a photograph. Some of the cons are not spending enough time with your family because there is always something to photograph. Having too many images to sort through, is that really such a thing. Too many hard drives. At times I know the amount of images I take is overwhelming to say the least. I am very thankful I have all the images though because on days like today when it's just pouring outside, I can write blogs and catch up on work. It's kind of natures way of saying, "it's ok to slow down a bit and breathe"

There are so many things around us that can make a good photograph if we just look. I love that about photography, I never want to be cornered into only shooting one kind of photography because my senses want to experience it all. While they are not currently on any hard drives, I used to shoot wedding, portraits, sports and pets too. Another great way to learn more about photography is to shoot other kinds of photography. Macro is way different than landscape and having the understanding of what it really takes to create a good image in each subject will help you to visualize your images when you're shooting them as well as help you understand the techniques you need to use when you're shooting.

Go out there and try shooting something new, something different form your norm. I think you'll be happy you did.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my ramblings and I hope this gives you a little better insight into the kind of photographer I am and some of my thinking. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Please remember to contact me directly for the best prices or use discount code CPJASS at checkout for up to $50 off your purchase of any image.

Thank you to Sigma Lenses , Moab Papers, Robus Supports & Overleaf Lodge and Spa for their continued support of my work and workshops.

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1 Comment

Goodmorning and Thank you Darren for inviting me to your Blog.It's a great idea.. And I'm totally fascinated by the depth of your passion , adding to your creativity and variety of your photographs, and photography skills. I will read more later and have to say I enjoyed your thoughts. Have a great day.

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