Wednesday, November 20, 2013

REWARDED


  Last evening I had a phone conversation with my brother Jim. Now if you know me, you know that this is not a rare occurrence. Jim and I talk all the time, especially since we both share the same passion for photography. I usually call Jim when I have been somewhere neat or got an opportunity to do some unique photography and we share techniques, thoughts on equipment and other photography related things.
  Last night's conversation was a bit different, however. Granted, it started like most of our calls, but took a turn when I started talking to him about something that had happened to me over the past few days
  For the first time in a very  long time I was experiencing happiness. Most friends and family who are close to me know that the last year has been pretty rough for me. Due to multiple circumstances, that I won't delve into, the happy times have been few and far between and definitely didn't experience a long term engagement.
  Photography over that year has been a valuable outlet over this time and has provided tremendous relief and up until the past few days, I thought great reward. I had sold prints, started a business, taken portraits for individuals, teams, leagues, etc. I even rediscovered my first true love of photography in Sports Photography which was kicked off by getting a couple of games down on the field at the University of Tennessee football games. I have made it a goal of mine to get into the sports photography business with either a wire service, newspaper, web site, etc. and am going to try and achieve this in the next 2-3 years. Pretty exciting.
  As I explained to Jim on Tuesday night, though, 2 great experiences over the last few days have completely changed my outlook on what is truly rewarding about photography.
  Sunday morning I posted the image you see above on both my Facebook and Google+ streams title "ELATION". It was my favorite shot from a day of just casual shooting at Hiwassee College's Homecoming basketball games. I was excited about the shot because I captured an emotional part of the Lady Tigers' close win on the day. I got 45 likes on FB and that is a good day for one of my pics but it was nothing compared to what happened that evening.
  A young lady named Nikki Dean reshared my image with a headline that read:
"Precious Memories. Thank You Jerry Denham". You see Nikki is the young lady #10 with her back to me in the shot catching/embracing the other girl in the shot. She considered the picture a "precious memory". Never has one of my sports images been called anything like that before.
  A few minutes later, another young lady named Haylee Morrow reshared the same image with this as her heading:  
"My favorite picture from all the years of playing basketball! I just love this and Nikki! Thank you to Jerry Denham for this awesome picture"
  Haylee Morrow just happened to be the other girl in the picture that Nikki Dean was embracing. What I didn't realize I had done was capture a powerful, emotional moment between these two girls that lifted my picture from being a good image to being something completely special to these two girls. 
  What an incredible feeling. 
  The very next night I captured this image:
     Now I happen to know #32 Caston Moses here in this picture and his family. He goes to school with my daughter and she is a cheer leader for Caston's Vonore Middle School basketball team. 
  He had just had a fantastic individual game as well as his team outlasting their opponent in 3 overtimes for a victory. As close as this game was I definitely wanted to capture some emotion on the Vonore team whether it was dejection from a loss or jubilation from a hard fought win. Luckily, it was latter. When the game finished Caston walked away from the huddle and let out this big yell and I just happened to have the camera pointed at him to capture it.
  Like the shot of the girls from the Hiwassee game, I was excited about this shot because of the situation and capturing that decisive moment of victory for Caston.
  That night, when I posted my pictures from the game, I singled out this one and tagged his dad, Greg.  Although I had captured a really good shot of Caston early in the game taking a jump shot, Greg made the emotional attachment to this image because it anchored a somewhat breakout game for Caston and one that Caston was caught up in emotionally as well. Greg messaged me and thanked me in the same way that the young ladies from Hiwassee had done the night before.
  So when I was talking with Jim on Tuesday the happiness I was feeling was not from making a sale, getting tons of "likes" or +1's, or awesome comments. What it turned out to be was that my happiness was a bi-product of making other people happy. It felt and still feels tremendous and has carried over til today. I have been a new high that I haven't experienced in a long time. 
  Now I know that the true reward of being a photographer is not only capturing the moment but capturing a moment where someone can see the picture as something more than just a picture.
  Gosh what a feeling.
 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

ROUND BALD RAYS

ISO 200, f/16, 1/6 second, 10mm
After patiently waiting through complete cloud cover the skies opened up and gave us some awesome light and rays over Round Bald.

EPIC

ISO 100, f/20, 2.5 seconds, 10mm
  Wednesday's sunrise was one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen. It is primarily due to the view we were looking at on Round Bald in the Roan Highlands.
  One of the neat things about Round Bald was the long grass that was covered and highlighted by the heavy dew. I was completely soaked within 5 minutes from walking around in it. That was the only drawback. When the sun started to crest the mountains on the far horizon, that dew started catching that light and created some magical highlights against the green grass. It was just awesome.
  I positioned myself next to this group of rocks that were engulfed by the grass and the rocks captured that same light as well. It was just a complete epic light show in the sky and on the ground. With the fog-covered valley separating the two, I don't think it could have gotten any better.

Friday, June 21, 2013

ROANE CLEARING

ISO 200, f/16, 1/6, -0.3EV, 10mm

  Our last destination on Richard Bernabe's Roane Highlands First Bloom Workshop was just up the Appallacian Trail from Round Bald on a gathering of rocks that made for some neat compositions looking to the north, south, and especially looking back west toward Round Bald from where we had hiked from.
  We were on these rocks for at least 3 hours watching nature do it's thing. When we first arrived, the cloud formations toward the west for sunset were incredible and we were expecting epic light. Somewhere around 7:00-7:30 the gray clouds we watched approach for an hour or so finally overcame the scene and we were completely engulfed in cloud cover giving us doubt of seeing that epic light.
  The 4 women our group of 11 gave up on sunset and started their way back to the parking area. About 20 minutes after they left the clouds parted like Moses parting the Red Sea. Just in time for us to see the ladies hiking their way up to Round Bald. Richard let out a couple of large WOO-HOO's and we could hear the ladies laughing across the way.
  Our patience paid off. We ended up seeing some terrific light and cloud formations directly over Round Bald and the setting sun.
  The entire time we were on these rocks I found my favorite composition in front of these few rocks that seem to all be pointing in the direction of the sunset and Round Bald with Rhododendron blooming just the other side of them. I made sure and rushed back over and capture this sunset in this spot and luck should have it that right above it everything seemed to converge right where these rocks were pointing.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

TAYLOR BARN ROLLS IN

ISO 100, f/20, 0.6 seconds, -0.3EV, 16mm
  Boy, you just can't beat a morning that involves hey rolls, an old barn, sunrise light, and fog. Yep, believe it or not, I had all of these converge into a fantastic, yet quick morning of photography.
  Instead of driving to Vonore and shooting on the way to work like I normally do, I took a detour towards Sweetwater in hope of finding some hey rolls on old 68 highway. Luckily, at the old Taylor barn, the field was littered with rolls and a little bit of fog in between the trees in the background. the sunrise was slightly blocked by clouds was diffused enough to not overpower the scene but create enough nice light against the gorgeous clouds. It was a perfect scene.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

MUDDY ICON

ISO 100, f/22, 0.6 seconds, +0.3 EV, 10mm
  Since acquiring a wide angle lens I have made it a point to re-visit places that I have taken shots of before just to see what the new lens can do for new compositions.
  This afternoon I made the trek down River Rd to see what 4-6 inches of overnight rain did to the Tellico River. Wow! Completely swelled up the Tellico River and turned into a brown, muddy mess.
  After driving roughly 12 miles down the road and finding a few neat cascades to shoot, I made my way back to Bald River Falls. As I thought, directly in front of the falls was completely covered in spray as if it was raining. The spray did not carry over to the parking area side of the road though, leaving a decent composition with a small grouping of trees splitting the Bald River in two before it joins back together under the bridge and dumps into the Tellico. 
  At 10mm focal length, the two form leading lines up to the falls from the bottom corners. Wouldn't have been able to capture it that way with my old 19mm lens.
  Normally, the water coming over the falls is just white and beautiful. Today it was brown with mud but pouring heavy over it. You can see the heavy spray coming off the falls to right as well.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

SEEING THE LIGHT

ISO 100, f/16, 0.6seconds, 10mm
  Normally, when I'm out photographing waterfalls, the shining sun is detrimental to getting a good image of the water. This morning, however, I stumbled upon a scene where the sun made everything magical.
  The biggest part of my morning in Tremont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was spent trying to keep water from getting on my gear from falling rain and drips off of overhanging branches. I thought I was gonna get to photograph falls all day long from the cloudy skies.
  At about 10:00am though, the sun poked it's head out of the clouds and seemed to ruin my waterfall expectations. I gave up and got in the car and started my way out of Tremont. On my drive out I noticed a huge grouping of butterflies on the ground next to the road and I pulled over to try and capture a photograph.
  When I parked, I happen to notice some fantastic rays of light shining down through the canopy of trees on the Middle Prong of the Little River. With all of the rain that fell, when the sun started shining, it burned off the wet rocks, grass, and trees that were wet from rain. This burning off created a mist and when the sunlight strikes the mist, magic happens.
  I immediately forgot about the butterflies and scurried to find a composition to capture the sun's rays.
  The scene got better as I got closer to the water. Soon working where the rays formed a fan-like formation in the center of the river with the green, moss-covered rocks and trees with golden sunlight and shadows contrasting on them making a wonderful foreground around them.
  I did go back and shoot the butterflies, but they failed in comparison to seeing this light.