Saturday, November 24, 2007

For The Love of Water

This year we were blessed with summer weather right up to the beginning of November. And, I had the opportunity to spend two full weekends at the marina and literally created hundreds of photographs of the beauty surrounding me there. I just love water and sometimes I feel like a "fish out of water" when I'm not playing in it or around it.

Now that the snow is making its way towards us, I thought it would be cool to reminiscence about this year's long summer days by the water. And to also share a few of the newest editions to my upcoming line of fine art prints available for sale. :-) Have a blessed and joyous weekend!

Friday, November 23, 2007

All Alone

While photographing the marina during our extended summer this year I met this gentleman walking along the lake. He is homeless and everything he owned was in a shopping bag over his shoulder. He walked over while I was taking pictures and started sharing with me all of the changes to the marina as he use to swim there as a child. We had a wonderful conversation that lasted over 30 minutes and I really enjoyed spending time with him and talking about sports, boats, birds, photography and "stuff." Although I didn't get to pray with him, we did share words of encouragement and I kept reminding him that God hasn't forgotten about him and that his present condition is temporary. Although he seemed depressed (and understandably so) his eyes lit up when the conversation became encouraging and I could see that there was still hope in his heart.

When it was time for me to leave he shook my hand and thanked me for the conversation and we both went our separate ways. What was interesting about this encounter was that he never asked me for anything nor did he share with me how he ended up homeless. He did share with me that he was in a shelter and that it was fairly safe. One of the last images of the marina that day was this man sitting by himself with his feet hanging over the cement wall. As I turned and the view changed to the height, power and money of the downtown skyscrapers I couldn't help but think to myself "there but by the grace of God goes I."

Technically this isn't a perfect photograph - it was a hurried "snapshot" as the sun was setting I was trying to capture the orange hues of the sun against his face. He didn't care for my impromptu portrait so I didn't ask if I could take another one. But, the more I look at this photo the more I like it because to me it speaks of the homeless experience in America. Just like the homeless people in streets, you can see his face and yet you can't. You can see his eyes and yet you can't really tell if they are there. You can see his blue-ish clothing and yet it it blends into the blue background of the sky and water. And in many respects it is this "I see you but I really don't see you" component of homelessness that allows this condition to continue. I didn't intend to make a political statement but in many ways this photo is the face of homelessness in my country. And, IMHO the time has come for this condition to die.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

My Photography Class Rocks!

My photography class ROCKS! I have to say it again as I am so happy to be in this class. All, and I mean ALL of the photographers are so good that every time we get together their work challenges and inspires me. This is a special group of visual artists and I thank God for making this possible. I've been trying to get into this class for the past two years. But, given the high level of talent and expertise of my classmates I'm glad that it took so long to make this happen.

There's something special about being around people who are good at something you enjoy. You can challenge one another and help each other pull out new aspects of your gifting that you didn't know existed. And that's what my classmates do to me every week. What makes this experience even better is that not only are my classmates great photographers, but they are also great people.

May this testimony encourage you to invest in developing your God-given gifts. I am a living witness that not only will you get better at something you love to do, but you will make new friends who will inspire and encourage you long after the class is over. Be blessed and keep shooting!

During every class we share our assignment images with everyone for feedback and instruction. This particular class focuses on composition and lighting and how to make your images tell a compelling story regardless of the subject.

Just practicing my bounced flash technique as I LOVE natural looking light even if it is artificially created. By the way, these two dude's work is so good that they are operating on another level beyond mere humans. Yes, their images are that good!

In this image my classmates are posing for me so that I could get the bounced light "right."

Here, the famous Jim Summaria is teaching us an "old skool" lighting technique that allows us to balance natural light with artificial light to emulate a professional strobe. Shooting techniques like this are quickly fading so I am super grateful to Jim for sharing these tips with us.

I like the balanced lighting in this test image as it looks natural and diffused and yet, it isn't. Hmmm, inquiring minds want to know how did you do this? You'll have to take Jim's class to find out. :-)

Another test image that I liked.

The Master at work. Doesn't he look like Richard Gere?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Exciting things are happening!

Introducing the new online store for Samuel Barr Photography! I am so excited about this new service as it makes ordering prints of all sizes even easier than before! The new online store is built entirely in Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Flash and contains a short portfolio and smooth animated transitions. I am uploading the major events from 2007 just in time for the Christmas shopping season. Please check back often as I will update my blog with the latest photo library updates available in my new store. God is good, and he is moving in my life in a mighty way and I'm so happy to share this exciting advancement with you. Be blessed and keep shooting!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Impromptu Headshots

This year I've probably shot more head shots than I ever would have imagined. And, most of them were "on the spot" and unplanned. I'm becoming well known for taking pictures of friends and strangers alike. I LOVE people and I love photographing people so I can't help myself.

One of the lessons I've learned from photographing so many different people in so many different situations is that the best head shots are those where you simply relax and let your personality shine through. I realize that there are tons of fancy lighting equipment and special backdrops that can really help in producing a quality head shot. But, I'm going to let you in on a little photographer secret - there's nothing more powerful than a genuine smile.

For example, the images below were all shot on-the-spot and yet have something "special" about them. It's not the backdrops (one doesn't even have a backdrop or wall) and I didn't use any fancy lighting equipment. What makes these images special is that all of the models in them are truly beautiful people. And, for the few minutes we were together they let their real personalities come forward and that's why these impromptu head shots are so special. Just something to think blessed and keep shooting!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Playing around in the dark

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. While shooting several night shots for black and white images for class I started "playing" around with different exposures and shutter speeds. And to my surprise I was able to change the way some of my images appeared by deliberately manipulating the light metering and automatic exposure compensation. I know it sounds to "techie" but the results were several really cool night images. May these images inspire you to experiment with your gifts to take your level of proficiency to a new level of excellence. Have a blessed and empowered week and never stop exercising your God-given talents!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Changing of the Guard

Well, it is finally winter. We've been hangin' on to the warm weather as long as we could but yesterday Mother Nature made it clear that it is time for a new season. Although the extended summers of the past few years are probably signs of Global Warming, I have to admit that I've been loving each and every one! There is nothing quite like playing tennis in early November in 70 degree weather surrounded by autumn leaves.

So, in honor of what has been a beautiful summer, and in recognition that there is a season to everything, may these images be a reminder of God's divine plan for change and growth in our lives. The death of one season always means the birth of a new one. Have a blessed and empowered day!