How Do You Separate Family And Photography ?
Welcome back to another week for those that have been following along and a special hello to those of you that are new. I promised you video tutorials for the New Year and I am very close to making this happen. In the meantime enjoy this week’s blog. If you would like to share some of your ideas as well as learn new tips every week please sign up to be notified of new changes on this blog.
I believe that learning about photography cannot be too serious and sometimes it is fun just to share stories of our adventures in photography. This week I will take a break from the technical stuff and discuss something that affects many photographers. How do you separate your family life from your photography? I have been told by a number of successful nature photographers that to be the very best in this field you cannot have a family! Does this mean I can never be successful? Should I keep my day job? Do I have a viable future in photography? I return again to the question; is it possible to have a family and be a top-notch photographer?
First of all I admit I am new to this whole family life situation and trying to balance my wants and theirs is not always easy. I have a passion to shoot anywhere, anytime, and anyplace; the problem is that my family wants more of me! I feel like I am being torn apart at the seams as I miss my family when I am out on the road shooting but when I am home all I can do is scout the internet for possible places to photograph. Am I alone in this or is there someone out there that feels the same way I do. I am not saying that you cannot have both the family and success in this field; I am just trying to find out what others think on this subject.
So I am going to offer a couple of suggestions that have worked for me. I encourage others to write back and share what has worked for them. At the end of it all I will post some of those stories and we will see if there are some common threads to success.
Whether I am out photographing or at home I try to enjoy every minute and never take things too serious. In this business that can be hard as the arena of photography is flooded with those that want to be the best. It does not matter what photography site you look at there are stunning photos everywhere. Competition gets harder all the time in this business as standards getting tougher and photographers become more dedicated. I really try to bring my family with me as much as possible but my girls are at the age that they do not want to be anywhere around me, let alone a thousand miles from their friends. At times I have had to bring them along, and let me tell you the looks of evil I got from them in the car especially when I kept making stops along the way to photograph. My wife on the other hand loves to be out with me but gets caught between spending time with her daughters and time with me and since the girls want nothing to do with photography this makes for quite the dilemma. How do I get my wife to join me and not feel guilty about not being there for her daughters?
I know some of you out there are thinking why not go alone and let your wife do her thing. Well the problem is if I am gone for any length of time my wife worries tremendously and begs me not to leave, as I seem to always end up in some predicament. I am one of those people that trouble follows and if something could go wrong let me tell it does. I have already in three years of photography broke my arm, wrist, ankle, all in different accidents. I have had to replace my camera several times due to droppage and even come close twice to drowning all in the name of the game to get a good picture. So I guess I can understand why my wife does not want me to leave the house.
This past trip with my wife to Olympic National Park in Washington State was a very difficult situation. We spent three days immersed in blizzards, waist high snow, and freezing temperatures. Now I am not sure how much of a trooper your partner might be but this situation was tough. I was trying to find a good foreground before the sun rose but when my poor wife was dragging behind. Every time I looked behind I could see her body shaking, nose running, and her eyelids turning to icicles. I would have left her in the car but I was going to be out all morning and leaving her in the car would have been just as bad, besides I did not trust her to be there when I got back. So I decided to move forward despite the problems my wife was having. I had always wanted to visit this place in winter and now my opportunity was here, I just had to make it through the waist deep snow and convince my wife not to stop.
Needless to say I was happy with the shot I got but I had let my wife down. Her expression of frustration was there on her face and it is something I won’t forget ever. We returned back home as she shivered away all the way home without speaking a word to me. So all I could think was how could I have handled this differently….
Since then I have made it up to my wife and I have done everything in power to kiss her butt. So what happens the next time I want to go away? What happens when I need to shoot somewhere I know I should not go!
Do not get me wrong; I love my wife more then anything but I do love my photography.
So if you have any suggestions or ideas that have worked for you, please share them and hopefully next time I am out with my wife I will know what to do.
Photography Tip Of The Week
Shooting in winter conditions can be difficult and trying to expose correctly for snow can be the toughest. It is already tough enough to get out of your warm house and shoot in the cold winter conditions. That is why it is necessary to have all the simple guidelines when shooting in the snow.
First of all, when exposing for snow it is important to retain details in the snow and not blow the highlights. Many images had the potential to be stunning but lacked detail in the snow. So when shooting in winter conditions I like to bracket my images and lean toward overexposing as the in-camera meter likes to compensate for the brightness of the snow and turn white snow a dull grey. This is why I like to shoot three to four images beginning with a compensation of minus one and working towards a plus two as every scene varies. There is no simple solution when it comes to exposure and you need to read your histogram to make sure you are retaining the details in the snow but not blowing the highlights.
I encourage everyone that is serious about winter photography to learn to shoot in RAW. Shooting in RAW gives you flexibility that is needed to correct exposure without damage to the image. Unfortunately, shooting in JPEG, the camera makes the decision to expose for you based on the in camera meter. The problem as we discussed earlier is that in-camera meter compensates for the brightness turning snow to grey. RAW images allow you a greater range of flexibility to retrieve lost data in Camera Raw that would be lost permanently in a JPEG format. It is worth taking the time to learn the process of capturing RAW if your camera has this format. I had to learn the hard way as I was too stubborn to learn to shoot in RAW and it took me several experiences of losing images from photography trips to change my mind. Today I am happy to admit this might be one of the most important things I have ever done to improve my photography.
If you have any questions about this tip do not hesitate to write me and let me know what you are thinking.
Until next time I encourage everyone to really enjoy the journey and not the destination.