Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Autumn Flowers

Before The Frost

We tend to think of Spring as the season for flowers, but some plants display brilliant color well into autumn.

Autumn Flowers

Focus stacking was applied to extend depth of field and show more of the flowers in focus.

Camera:    Nikon D810
Lens:        Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2015 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 2, 2015

Are You Serious?

Finding Words to Explain the Inexplicable

Someone asked me today whether I was a serious photographer. 

Well, he didn't exactly ask. He presented me with an observation. 

"I feel that you're more serious about your music than you are about your photography.

I was at a loss for words. How do you respond to something like that? 

I've devoted a great deal of time and effort to both my music and my photography. I can't say that I prefer one over the other. They're both integral parts of my life, parallel channels of creative expression. 

But the observation caught me by surprise, and I struggled to put my thoughts into words. In particular, I found myself wrestling with the meaning of the word "serious."

a photo of a truck and filling station in the bodie ghost town
Truck and Filling Station - Bodie, California

Serious can mean consequential

"A serious accident left three people in serious condition."

I don't drag my camera into war zones or violent protests. I don't document crime scenes or ecological disasters. No one is going to be liberated from prison based on one of my photos.

I focus primarily on aesthetics. My photographs are designed to be enjoyable. They may be beautiful, memorable, or humorous, but they're not consequential.

Serious can also mean influential.

"Gustav is a serious artist. His work is taken seriously by serious collectors because it communicates serious themes."

My work isn't well-known or highly-regarded, and even if it were, I wouldn't recommend imitating it. Artists need to learn to trust their own instincts and tastes and vision, and they need to learn this early in the game. So seriously (ahem), I believe that we can neglect this meaning of the word.  

a photo of a Crescent Moon Setting Over a Bristlecone Pine
Crescent Moon Setting Over Bristlecone Pine

I'll tell you what I do take seriously. I'm serious about producing photographs in a variety of conditions. I've worked hard to develop skills that enable me to capture photographs at a certain level of technical and aesthetic quality. Every year, I push myself to learn a bit more, because there's always more to learn. 

And because you can get better if you continue to work at it. 

And because when the moment presents itself, I want to nail the shot. I don't want to come up empty because I was unprepared to make the most of the situation.

That's where I'm serious - in my photography, in my music, and in other pursuits. I'm serious about being able to turn what I have imagined into reality. You can't do that without putting in some serious time and effort.

I finally told my friend that I don't know whether to think of myself as serious or not. I just make photographs. I just put time into building my portfolio and developing my skills as I go along.

And here's one more important thought. Never take yourself too seriously. You need to keep growing. You need to keep working hard. The minute that you start thinking of yourself as a success, you'll be tempted to slow down and coast on your past glories. 

Don't let that happen.

Stay humble. Stay hungry. Stay focused. Stay driven. Because that's what it means to be serious.

Camera:    Nikon D800
Lens:        Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED

Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2015 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved