Archive for the Notes Category

December and Final Notes

Posted in Notes with tags , on December 31, 2010 by AZSalsman

2010Yippee!  Whoohoo! Alas! Whatever word describes the final triumph.  365 days of photo taking.  One entire year of my life devoted to the craft of photography. One full year, 365 steps in this journey, has come to an end before a new dawn begins.

If you had asked me at the beginning if I would make it through the year, I would have given a tentative yes – good intentions and all. But there was something inside me that said that it is doable regardless of the daunting task and that I HAD to succeed. So, I set out on the trek to see where it would lead.

I recently read on someone else’s blog that they identified the difference between a “picture taker” and a “photographer”.  I agree – as I see it.  A picture taker captures the fact that you were there.  A photographer captures the story that goes with it.  The former is of little interest to me.  The later is where I find my joy.

I have yet to do a thorough evaluation of the photos taken during this process but as I do a random check, I see that things have changed and grown.

A few days ago, through a photography website to which I subscribe, I  found out how many people have or are undertaking this challenge.  Many are nearing the end or have ended. Others are just starting.  But all regardless of the level of their craft, have different goals. Most are faithful to it. Others get overwhelmed with trying to include it in their daily habits.  But invariably, everyone learns something – whether it is about photography or about their lives in retrospect.

Through the year, one of the hardest things, I feel, about photography is truly understanding and executing is the capturing of light.  Photography, after all,  is all about light.  More than the technical aspects of getting the right exposure settings, it has to do with the intensity, the right kind,  and reflective qualities from the subject that creates the story.  This is the hard part of the craft.

I did learn that there is a photo everywhere and every time. You just need to look.  You need to be aware. You need to be willing to see the world around you in completely different ways. Then you discover something new, something grand, something unique.

So for me, right now, this task is complete.  The goal was defined as “to take and post one picture each and every day for one year”. That year has ended. To do less, would have been to sell the challenge short always wondering if you should have tried harder. To do more than that initial definition, would have been to saturate and muddy the purity of it all. Thus, it ends.  Where to go from here, I don’t know for it doesn’t end – it just begins anew.

To those that have followed along to various degrees through the year, I thank you.  Do not fear for I am sure you can find some way to occupy the few moments you spent checking that day’s entry.  I encourage you to pick up a challenge and grow. To others, thank you too.  This would not have meant a thing if there was no one to share the imagery. To God, I say thanks for the rich beauty created for our benefit, our enjoyment, and our existance.



WHAT I HAVE LEARNED (well, a partial list, anyway):

  • Life is a series of pictures. Put together, they become a movie.
  • The is a difference between being a “Picture Taker” and a “Photographer”
  • Photography is about capturing light
  • Set the ISO then your Aperture then your Shutter Speed
  • For handheld pictures, the shutter speed should be the same or faster than the focal distance
  • If all the technical stuff of taking photographs is beginning to overwhelm and frustrate you, revert to the automatic settings of the camera so you can regain the enjoyment of your camera…it should always be fun.
  • There is a picture to be taken everywhere.
  • A white index card taped to the back of your external flash is an excellent diffuser to soften the flash while directing the light forward to your subject.
  • There is always something new to learn.
  • My bucket list for photographs to take:
    • Forced Perspective
    • Self-Protrait
    • Painting with Light

November 2010 Photography Notes

Posted in Notes on November 30, 2010 by AZSalsman

Today feels like what I might image a runner feels like as he rounds the final bend of the track after pursuing a long race during a track and field meet.  You have paced yourself, persisted when the muscles ached and the mind played games, and the thrill of the starting pistol has long warn off.  Yet, now, you smell the aroma of the finish line and you feel like you have just begun.  Your energy picks up again, you ask yourself “So soon?” and you find it in yourself to suddenly arouse your energy to sprint to the end.

One month, 31 days, 31 images remain. I can’t even remember those early days…yet.  I will when I gather this year’s images in some sort of photo yearbook. I will be interested to see how things have changed and developed over the 12 months. Hmmmm.  I do know that I will feel a real void, an emptiness if you will, on January 1 when I will no longer be posting a new photography or having to struggle to forge a fresh image.  But I am sure I will miss it too.

what have I learned through November?  I did manage some new things this month.  One was the opportunity to attend a photography conference presented by a couple of professional photographers.  Although it was mainly aimed at teaching people of the basic use of their cameras, I learned a lot about many things I thought I knew (yes, I know…there are somethings I don’t know).  Metering techniques, effective use of aperture and shutter speed.  It made an immediate impact on how I ought to approach photography.

The second thing during November was the evening I experimented with smoke photography.  I had been wanting to try it for some time now and finally took the opportunity to do it.  Not only was it the success of capturing the random grace of the lines and swirls along with it’s spontaneity and unpredictability, but it was also the creative fascination with what you can do with the images – endless, in fact.  Look for more this month.  I will try to it again and maybe improve on  it and experiment with it a little more.

Anyway, you be the judge. And if anyone has the audacity to suggest a challenge for myself for next year in any fashion … speak your mind – share it and then run for your life, I’ll be chasing you with a meat cleaver  or open arms…it depends.

October Notes

Posted in Notes on October 31, 2010 by AZSalsman

Well 10 down, 2 to go. That is 365 less 61 days.  That makes 304 days of new and, somewhat, fresh views of the world as seen through a camera lens. Okay that includes the 4 or 5 days lost in the hospital. 10 months making this the 10th end-of-the-month update note.

It has reached a point that much of the challenge is simply meeting the challenge itself and less of creating the artistry of the photo….but then that is often when we learn the most or our skills are called into account.

One thing I have learned this month came from someone’s comment – and I can’t remember who said it or where – but he/she indicated that I find different perspective to everyday objects.  I began to realize that that is true and one aspect of photography that I enjoy.  There are so many people shooting so many different subjects that it can be difficult to find a niche. On October 10 – Porcelain Angel, I took a photography of a porcelain sculpture that was part of an exhibit at our church.  I thought of taking it from the top down.  Suddenly there seemed to me an intimacy with the same piece – a new perspective and appreciation for a piece of art that did not previously appeal to me at all.

I have a few ideas for the next month but we will see.

September Notes

Posted in Notes on September 30, 2010 by AZSalsman

First, I have to toot my own horn for a moment:

I won FIRST prize in the “People” category in the “Amateur” division.  The photo contest was the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Photo Contest. Don’t know what the competition was but I entered and I won.  The prize was just a certification but I got chosen.  Thanks, Roy Adams, for being my subject.  What is more is that he image that won was really my May 1 photo-of-the-day! (

May 1, 2010

Today’s landmark is marked by the end of the 10th month and 273 days. Only 92 days and photos to go! Other than the few days missed in the hospital, I cannot believe the numbers. Certainly days and periods have provided challenges or seemed more like work than a creative challenge. But that is when you learn the most!

This month saw me working a little more with my flash. It can be mounted but most often I used it’s wireless aspect so I don’t have the “deer in the headlights” highlights and start shadows directly behind. Often, I found I was in a small space with that flash and fund that the light could bounce on all the walls like a photographers “softbox” reducing the harsh, direct light.

I am hoping the weather here in Phoenix will cool off a bit soon (it is unseasonably hot) and I can get out more to expand some photography options.

Bring it on, October!

August Notes

Posted in Notes on August 31, 2010 by AZSalsman

It is hard to believe that this month has come to an end.  It certainly presented me with great challenges.

First, I kind of feel bad for having to miss a few days due to being in the hospital.  Technically, it does break a perfect run for the year but considering the circumstances, I can accept the absence and still hold my head up high feeling successful in the year’s endeavor.  I do not plan on going back to fill in the spot.  That thought fills like it denies the spontaneity that is part of photo of the day.

By this time of the year, I feel that somewhere along the way, the playfulness has transformed into work – a fulfillment of an obligation instead of a creative challenge.  It does still work.  Perhaps I have grown in my understanding of photography to a level that I no longer have to think about the things I had to be consciously think about in January.  I need to revisit my ultimate go: what do I want to achieve through this project and with the photography skills I have learned.  There are certain things that I need to explore and experiment with and some of those areas require that I step beyond myself – my shynesses, my insecurities, my comforts.  Hmmmmm.

To those who regularly or semi-regularly check in to this blog….thank you.  It means a lot.

July Notes

Posted in Notes with tags , on July 31, 2010 by AZSalsman

It is the end of July already. It is hard to believe that summer is half over. Although, for me, I do have an excuse….I was out of the country and half way around the world for half of the month.

this month proved to be a good month for working on photography skills. The reason is simple: travel. With my two week mission trip to Bulembu, Swaziland. Not only was the area a fertile field of photographic images providing plenty of new imagery for me, but it was not my usual stomping ground so there was a precious opportunity for new stimulation.

In addition, I have been reading a book on photography entitled Photography for the Joy of It by Freeman Patterson and André Gallant. It is a very good book looking at all aspect of photography without concern for the technical aspects.  I am beginning to really understand the way the light metering works and how to use that to achieve the image for with I seek.  I feel, too, I better understand how to approach a potential image with purpose, creativity and communication.

There is a potential photography in virtually everything.  We just need to be conscious of it and looking for ways to capture the vision we have in our minds.  The challenge is to capture to a viewer can gaze upon it and gather the information you wish to convey without the benefit of the sights, sounds, smells, context of actually having been there.

All in all though, the project was fun and all in a day’s work.

NOTE: Service Is Being Interrupted

Posted in Notes on July 12, 2010 by AZSalsman

Please note that I am about to head off to Swaziland, Africa for two weeks on a mission trip.  Access to the internet and daily activities will be very uncertain.

Needless to say that my daily posts will be just as erratic.  I promise that I will continue to take pictures…plenty of them….but will choose one that I will have for my daily post.  Then I will post in batches.  Be patient.