Tag Archives: photography

Please Spring It On Me

It must have been nearly a month and a half ago that, when walking home from the grocery store on a sunny minus 6 degree day, I first smelled motorcycle exhaust. Knowing full well what a mirage is, what does one call it when they smell something that is not really there? Is that a nasage? The ground was still covered with snow and the streets had not seen the likes of a motorcycle in months but I was somehow still smelling motorcycle exhaust.

How bad did I want this day to come? Obviously pretty bad. I know for a fact she misses me. She sits cold and alone since late last October in a metal box listening intently for my footsteps. Excited, she would become, on those winter days when I would show up to check on her, but dismayed at the sight of three feet of snow blocking her way. I swear that whimpering was heard when the rolling metal door was pulled down and darkness once again settled across her.

The day is here. Yesterday she was again made legal and within hours her battery will be installed. Soon she will feel the mount she has waited for all winter (yeah, okay, that was a little gross, perhaps over the top, but just like my riding style, I’m not turning back).

So “What’s the plan?” you ask. Ride, ride, and ride some more and contribute to this blog things that are of interest to those who, you guessed it, ride. Things I like, things I don’t, rides I enjoy, rides I don’t, services of value and none of those that aren’t, probably won’t spend too much time speaking of things I know nothing about unless of course it pertains to politics as, not even those involved in politics know anything about politics yet we all have opinions. I’ll provide links to some useful websites and those that are best spent looking at when you are at your day job wasting your time.

If you tripped over this entry only because of a search for motorcycle related content, you may be wondering just who is Rob Weitzel? I’m a professional photographer, photography instructor and motorcycle enthusiast from the central prairies in Canada who also enjoys long walks between navigational beacons that to some, appear only as ground-holes containing sticks surrounded by well-groomed sod.

While keeping track of my on-bike exploits, I will attempt to provide a smattering of education and entertainment perhaps on both the subjects of motorcycle riding and, as always, photography. I’m also a Motorcycle Safety Instructor, so with any luck you will pick up on some valuable riding tips.

I continue to modify my V-Strom, a 2008 “Wee”  and when there is a moment to spare I will bring you up to speed on the modifications already completed.

For those of you interested, I have posted a few FREE VStrom wallpapers for your use here. The latest of which titled “V-Storm” consists of an image I captured of my bike with an approaching storm just coming out of a mountain range in northern Colorado. It was created using three layers. The original image with the bike cut-out and then two transparencies of the bike dropped back in place, one of which was made black & white. Hope you like it.

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www.rwgp.net pretty much explains my business interests which range broadly from helping market small businesses to photography.

Now get your ass out there. Lean into some corners and accelerate on exit. There’s more photography, golf, & motorcycle content coming soon. Thanks for stopping by.

Cheers!

7 Reasons You May Not Want to be a Professional…

7 Reasons You May Not Want to be a Professional Photographer or Golfer

It’s been mentioned before. As a matter of fact it was on Feb. 18th, 2013 that I first commented on one of the deterrents to becoming a professional photographer and implied that at some point there would be a follow-up entry on the subject. The comment, that 3.4 percent of a professional’s time is spent shooting and 96.6 percent of his or her time is spent doing everything else that is involved in running any business may have been too heavily weighted on the “shooting side”.

Way back then, 13ish months ago, and perhaps still holding out hope that the industry would in some way start to recover and that the proverbial cream would rise to the top, I was still optimistic that those I had taught and mentored would have a reasonable shot at earning some cash, maybe even a living as a photographer. Now, even less so.

Today, if asked, by someone I had a strong dislike for and who was graced with the most amazing of skills, if striving to become a “professional” photographer was a a wise decision, I could not bring myself to encourage their pursuit.

To be completely honest, when asked about the feasibility of a career in photography, I would liken an individuals chance of real success in the industry to be akin to making it on the PGA Tour. Very, very, very few make it. Of those with the greatest of work ethic, most will invest a great deal of time and expense only to wallow a while at the club or qualifier level and then sell their clubs in disgust and self-disgrace. Some will win on a rare occasion but will have to keep their day jobs in order to keep up with new advances in technology. Fewer will make it to “the dance” with a chance to play regularly. Most of them will find that they would have been better off financially in keeping their day-jobs and competing on long-weekends than sluffing around at the bottom of the tour eating bad food, drinking worse whiskey and nurturing their bad backs by sleeping in a tent. Getting your card, does not mean keeping it is easy. Only those who “win a major” will be afforded a chance to rest on their reputation a while the work roles in. Don’t get me wrong, I believe there are more Tigers and that some may have the skill, and more importantly the drive and business acumen, to reach the top-level and surround themselves with an entourage of supporters to look after the 96.6 percent so that they can focus only on the task at hand, just not very many.

Not unlike the game of golf, most of which is mental, most of the photography game is not physical. It has nothing to do with gear or your ability to use it although having the budget to buy the best helps. These days, almost everyone has the ability to quickly learn the basics. Success in photography often has more to do with creativity and your ability to market yourself and your business than it does your ability to make good photographs. You have to make the best of bad lies, play well under pressure and sink a bunch of putts.

Becoming a professional golfer means giving up golf. In order to succeed in golf, you need to give up playing golf. You won’t play with your buddies, or your family, and you won’t drink while you do it. Similarly, pro photographers make fewer photos than a hobbyist and dedicate significantly less of their time to shooting. They spend way more time selling, editing, managing social media, and accounting. You won’t make photos socially and you won’t drink while you do it. A pro golfer plays less golf but spends a great deal more time on golf-associated details… range practice, short-game practice, putting practice. You want to be good at golf, you work at golf. Those who do nothing but play the game stay average or below. You want to be a pro photographer, you give up on photography and you work at it. Reason number one that you may not want to be a professional photographer… you actually want to enjoy making photographs.

Reason Number Two: You may not want to be a pro photographer or golfer… if you like your family. The sacrifices are very similar. They both work all the time. The “traditional work week” of a golfer is spent working (practicing all day, every day) and then “family time” is spent working (competing Thursday through Sunday with more practicing thrown in for good measure, not to mention the bar time with the boyz, and more time spent on the range practicing and more time in a corner feeling bad for one’s self). For a photographer, the “work week” involves the business of photography. The evenings and weekends (family time), when non-photographers and the subjects of photographers are available to be photographed, is spent making photographs. What this means is that time with family and friends is next to non-existent.

If you enjoy regularily dining with real family and friends on foods of great variety, you don't want to be pro golfer or photographer.

Your time at home will be spent with someone beaking you for your inattentiveness while you contemplate your next photo or tweet.Morning Lecture - 1/400 sec. @ F4.5, ISO 2000 - 150mmMorning Lecture – 1/400 sec. @ F4.5, ISO 2000 – 150mm

That may lead to a… ScrapScrap - 1/800 sec. @ F5, ISO 4000 - 200mm1/800 sec. @ F5, ISO 4000 – 200mm

but with any luck it will end in a forgiving… CuddleCuddle

You won’t enjoy being a photographer or golfer if you don’t like yourself. In both cases you will spend a great deal of time alone. It may or may not be due to your looks.Solitary LivingSolitary Living - 1/2000 sec. @ F4.5, ISO 1000 – 180mm

You may not want to be a photographer or golfer if you can’t handle  being subjected to constant self doubt and re-evaluation.RWGP8683

Reason number five you may not want to be a pro photographer or golfer… There are snakes in the grass and, it’s a real rat-race out there. Whether the rats or the snakes come out on top remains to be seen but either way, in both professional ventures you will have to be extremely competitive and have a bit of killer instinct. Without it, you will likely come and go without being noticed.RWGP8889

You may not want to be a pro photographer or golfer if you, in any way shape or form, lack confidence. Unless you can puff up your chest, spread your wings, and say with conviction that you have what it takes to get the job done, you will fail. You have to be able to take charge of every situation, believe in yourself, and most importantly, finish. Your competition should be afraid of you.RWGP8694

And the 7th and final reason you may not want to turn pro… You are doing it for the money. Surely I need not elaborate on this. The desperation and stress placed on doing anything that you love for money will surely remove your love for it.

If you love photography so much so that the idea of doing so for a living has actually crossed your mind, give long and hard consideration to it and then, keep your day job, for it will pay the bills and provide you with the leisure time one needs to actually go out and make photographs. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do but sometimes it would be nice just to make photos for the sake of making photos, not because I’m invoicing someone to do so. Earning a living from photography, at least for me, has meant less time making photographs.  So if what you really want to do is make photos, just keep doing it. Keep clicking and sharing – good will come of it and you will continue to enjoy it.

Thanks for reading and allowing me to combine three or four passions in one blog. The photos above were all captured during a recent visit to the San Diego Zoo. There are a few more images below the contact form that I just could not find a way to work in.

Spring is just around the corner and with it comes my time on the range and time on my bikes (two things I love dearly), as well as more time earning a living by making photos and teaching others to do so. While at it I will continue to offer a diverse range of services and conjuring content for these pages. If you need me, let me know.

Please “share” with the buttons below as well as comment in the provided fields. I read and appreciate everything and do my best to respond promptly to all feedback made by humans.

Problem with making photos at a zoo is they are often not open during the time of day that offers the best lighting conditions. That combined with the fact that I was at the zoo with two adult women who I believe were there to “put miles on their new walking shoes” meant working rather quickly. I tried to make the best “compositional practice” out of a somewhat hasty visit and had fun doing so. I had no budget and no restraints, only a few moments to try and capture some memories… the reason we take photos in the first place.

Most of the variations in camera settings stemmed from having to adjust for lack of light (higher ISO as there was a lot of working in complete shade) or a desire to include more detail and depth of field (higher apertures) Let me know if there are any that stand out to you.

Why Light?

What difference does light make? Why can’t you just shoot everything in available light? Any of you who have attended one of my in-class workshops have no doubt heard my opinions on the importance of learning to light . You’ve also heard the emphasis placed on the importance of learning exposure and camera control before you move into trying to learn about lighting this way developing an understanding of how to control both.

Lots of people only think of learning about lighting when it comes to portraiture but lighting is important in every genre of photography.

I will get into a great deal more detail at some point on how to light especially portraiture but for now I thought I would share a few photos of the same subject in different colours and different amount and positions of light. Obviously all the same subject but each feels a little different. Each a different mood and a different area of detail. None of which have been particularly cleaned up.

All shot with a 50mm Macro on ISO 100 at 1/250th

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Ambient Light Only – @ F5.6

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F8 with a touch of flash from front lower left.

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F7.1 Light from left side

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Same as above with a little creative white balance.

The to change the mood a bit I intensified the light by moving it slightly closer and changing the position. I was intent on going black & white in post.

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Light was moved to a position a little higher and further to the back.

F9 for a bit more detail and depth of field with almost all light from directly below.

F9 for a bit more detail and depth of field with almost all light from directly below.

The point of all this was only to emphasis to you how with one subject, one lens and pretty much one composition, you can create a variety of images with slight changes in light and colour.

Now let’s go back to colour and change subjects.

F9 @ 1/80th

F9 @ 1/80th

F9 @ 1/160th - Notice the light (from the flash) is the same as above but the ambient light has been reduced by increasing the shutter speed.

F9 @ 1/160th – Notice the light (from the flash) is the same as above but the ambient light has been reduced by increasing the shutter speed.

1/160th @ F29 the the light moved way back right.

1/160th @ F29 the the light moved way back right.

All along I was looking at the bird like portion of the flower and wonder if it was there to attract a certain bird or insect or to deter the same.

All along I was looking at the bird like portion of the flower and wonder if it was there to attract a certain bird or insect or to deter the same.

Go out and play with light. The more you play, the more you learn.

Up next. My trip to the San Diego Zoo in some rather shitty lighting conditions but I had to shoot. If I did not share what I shot people would start thinking I’m a photographer. (a not so inside joke)

Have a great week.

What’s Playing While I Write This? Talkin 2 Myself (feat. Kobe) by Eminem – Recovery

Thanks for reading and, as always, you are invited and encouraged to “share” with the buttons.

Southern California Bearing a Camera and a Little Skin.

“Finally!” Is that your response?  Your response to my getting around to a blog entry that has a little more to do with the technical side of photography and a little less to do with everything else you have found here of late? Well I don’t blame you.

I won’t apologize though. Fact is, running a photography-related business tends to be more about running and less about photography every day and if I did not compliment it with various other revenue generating activities, affording to be a “photographer” would be, shall I say, unaffordable. At some point in the not-to-distant future I am going to go off at the fingers in a bit of a rant on that subject, the glories and the pitfalls of it, but for now, I’ve been to California, and while there, on three occasions, a camera ended up in my hands. Triggers were pulled.

Devona & I flew into San Diego in mid January only to experience some of the best winter weather they have ever had. Most of them, the residence of California, were a tad disturbed by drought and fires in some areas of the state. We, on the other hand, just happy to be able to shed some layers.

So shed we did, in the back yard of a place we now affectionately refer to a Casa Moretti. It’s sweet to have friends who live in houses, the amenities of which, list longer than most five-star hotels. The layers came off, the beverages were poured, the football game being aired on the 64″ outdoor television sitting above a fireplace in close proximity to the pool… what did I tell you?  Nice digs. Looks fairly peaceful.

Casa Moretti

Casa Moretti – This would be a quick scenic with a 70-200mm as I did not want to risk the delivery of a beverage due to my having gone hunting for a lens.

And then the tranquility was gone. Within a few minutes, the kids were in said pool showing off for Aunt Devona & Uncle Rob prompting Uncle Rob to dig out his camera for this… Goggles the Crime Fighter

Goggles the Crime Fighter

Goggles the Crime Fighter – Canon EOS-1D Mark IV – ISO200 – 70-200mm @ 165mm, 1/640th @ F3.2

Goggles the Poser

Goggles the Poser – - Canon EOS-1D Mark IV – ISO200 – 70-200mm @ 130mm, 1/250th @ F4

For the image above I dragged the shutter a tad slower than I normally would for an action shot at an attempt to show a little movement (blur) in the water behind the subject. The shorter focal length and increase in aperture value gave me a bit more depth of field rendering more detail in the background.

A little later in the evening we were introduced to crack… Not that kind of crack, not plumbers crack, but Cardiff Crack. Believe it or not, that is a particular cut of steak. One which rivals any cut of beef I’ve ever had. Trying to describe it without any education in the art of butchering meat would just be to fail so I’ll leave the describing to them: “Cardiff Crack is a delicious USDA Choice tri tip that is trimmed, marinated, and infused with a one-of-a-kind Burgundy Pepper marinade, which through a secret process, permeates the beef and results in tri tip that is incomparably flavorful and tender and highly addictive.” Find out more at cardiffcrack.com

If you are ever anywhere near the Cardiff Seaside Market 2087 San Elijo Ave. Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007, I would highly recommend you grab some, find a grill and some beers, sit back and enjoy. Oh yeah, the beer is for the grilling as good red meat is best served with good red wine.

Now I’m hungry. Thanks for reading. Feedback always welcome. Spam, not so much!

Thanks for reading and, as always, you are invited and encouraged to “share” with the buttons below.

 

It’s All About the Photos and…

It’s All About the Photos and the Artwork: A good online presence starts with great photographs and effective art. A great video can allow you to quickly introduce visitors to your business without their having to search your site for information. Rob Weitzel Graphic Productions can assist you in creating or choosing the right visuals for your website. Check out the links to “My Online Work” and “Photo Portfolio” to see some of my websites, photos, and videos.

Social Media and Content Marketing Strategies: Perhaps you are just now considering a Social Media Campaign (FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn,) or a new Content Marketing effort in the form of a Blog or Podcast. Perhaps you’ve started but lack the time or resources to continually manage it. Social Media and Content Delivery are important tools in developing new relationships and maintaining existing ones. Content Marketing refers to the regular delivery of pertinent information to your customers and prospects through mechanisms such as links within your social media or social networking status updates or through blogs or other online posts. Rob Weitzel Graphic Productions can help develop or continuously manage your social media or content marketing efforts.

Social Media is not just about quantity of followers, it is about quality of followers and your ability to engage with them. Anyone can acquire volumes of irrelevant pulse-free followers who have no real interest in the content being delivered. The true value of social media is found in one’s ability have their family, friends, acquaintances, customers, and potential customers express interest in and share the information being distributed. It’s about interaction. You need your friends to tell their friends.

Available for Consulting or Projects by the day, week, month, or portions thereof. Rob Weitzel Graphic Productions provides a service that helps small and medium-sized businesses update their websites and get started with their social media identity. From determining the right platform for your business and initial profile setups that can include graphic design, photography services or selection of images, to the development of marketing strategies, social media policies, usage guidelines, and content delivery routines for effective campaigns.

Whether your business requires only an initial boost to get you up and running or a few hours per week, or month, of continuous marketing assistance, I can help you.

Other Services Available: Logo Design, Banner Design, Consulting, Creative Copy Writing, Podcast Development, Multi-Media Presentations,SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Website Design & Updates.

For project quotes and estimates fill out the contact form below or touch base via 306.535.5997 - Note that my Consulting Clients pay my Consulting Rates and not my Commercial Photography Rates.

My next blog post will be full of photos and photographic information from my recent visit to the San Diego Zoo. Thanks for reading.

Thanks for reading and, as always, you are invited and encouraged to “share” with the buttons below as well as comment in the provided fields. I read and appreciate everything and do my best to respond promptly to all feedback made by humans.

Some of The Best Photos I’ve…

Some of The Best Photos I’ve Made Were Likely Made Over 30 Years Ago

Years ago, when I first became interested in making photographs, I would actually shoot. Take pictures with only one purpose in mind and that singular purpose was to create images.

Like lots of people, eventually the creation of those photographs lead to encouraging feedback. I believe that positive feedback was what initially prompted me to want to learn more about photography.

That desire to “learn” greatly altered the path my photography was taking. The direction moved away from a desire to make photos towards an emphasis on learning how to make photos. I believe there to be a difference.

All in a sudden, nearly every photo I shot was with the purpose of learning rather than focussing specifically on the subject. I became focussed on the craft more than the art itself if that makes sense.

There is something that happens to shooters who become teachers and I think it happens early on. Interestingly enough, I think it halted my creation of images that matter to me. I got hung up on the cameras, the gear, the technique, and no longer on my desire to create images. From the learning phase I transitioned into a teaching phase wherein every photo was an example from which someone could be taught or learn.

Yes, when hired to do so, I would tell a story with my camera, but I was being paid. I was telling someone else’s story.  If I was hired to photograph something that interested me, better photographs were created.

{And now, we interrupt this programming to bring you a few photos as that is likely why you are here in the first place}

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Perspective is very interesting and at a certain age one comes to realize that you really don’t have any until you have lived for a while.

When I was first fascinated with action photography there was no money for cameras or film, literally. The shit camera my parents had made some of the best memories. The memories and the photographically prompted recollections are what photography is all about, is it not? The capture of a single moment in time in such a way, that when presented, moves us into history.

The camera that I made my first good photos with was some old 35mm manual focus Pentax thing that was lent to me. Believe it was a K1000. I really had no idea how to use it. An explanation of the sunny 16 rule rings a vague bell from way back when, but really I think the lender just set it for me and I shot. I made good photos with it. I made photos of things that interested me.

Now I am starting to look around and wondering once again, “how can I photograph that? What matters to me? What or who is special enough and impactful enough in my life to make me want to photograph it or them?”

In 2004 I started to write a book about the journey I took to really learn photography.

Some of that content will find its way in here because I spent the time writing it and feel there may as well be some use made of it.

It is very interesting to read it now and see how different a path life can take than the one a person thought they were going to take.

Right from the beginning there was a significant amount of content that mentioned my now ex-wife. Now there is a path change.

This is a path change lots of photographers seem to have in common… ex-wives. Nope, not in common that we all had the same wife, but that the craft and the business tends to impact family-life in a not-so positive fashion.

Our careers tend to be a wee bit anti-social. We work when others socialize (lots of evenings and weekends) and, if we are really into making photos, we in a rather sick way, start to resent time spent with others because we are not getting to make photographs.  There were days when we would have company over and I would sit and look at the colour of the sky thinking about the photos I could be making in that light rather than yapping about whatever happened that week in the lives of people with real jobs.

Interesting now how I am starting to see more value in the concept of those “real  jobs” because those people have social lives… and time off. Time doing some things they want to do, time not thinking about work. It’s called a work/life balance.

This shift I am feeling is not one that will take me away from making photographs or teaching others to do so, but I do believe it will have me once again taking photos because I want to and for the reasons non-photographers take photos… because they want to make pictures while bearing witness to things that matter to them.

It’s strange how for the longest time, if attending a family gathering or social function, if I picked up a camera, I quit having fun and went into work mode. Then I would start being this “editorial guy” who took tonnes of pictures, but because I was not getting paid to, never actually did anything with the pics. There is also the expectation that wherever you go, as a photographer, you are going to take photos so one really never gets any time off.

This year, I went to my family Christmas gathering and did not once pick up a camera. I just wanted to have Christmas again and enjoy the company of those important to me. Granted they probably all feel less important because this dude with a giant camera (Uncle Paparazzi) did not hassle them all day. ;)

I think this blog entry is a public admittance that this New Years Eve, for the first time ever, I’m going to make a resolution. A resolution to find a good work/life balance. Not entirely sure what that will look like and I hope it does not look like me begging for change on a street corner someplace, but I know it will involve my working less and socializing more. More friends, more recreation, more fun. Perhaps I will find a regular schedule that will afford me an opportunity to become a board member or volunteer somewhere, both things the sole proprietor of a one person enterprise  can’t do as the schedule always has to be open and flexible to revenue potential.

The one thing I won’t change this year is my desire to help people make better photographs. Outside of making good images for myself, the one thing that has always floated my boat is seeing it click for someone else. When they realize that controlling that camera has become almost second-nature and they now can get to what they really want to get to, and that is capturing images of that which is important to them.

Happy New Year y’all!

Thanks for reading and, as always, you are invited and encouraged to “share” with the buttons below as well as comment in the provided fields. I read and appreciate everything and do my best to respond promptly to all feedback made by humans.