Look to this space shortly for coverage on XR in San Francisco and Sacramento.
I’ve begun a partnership with these organizations to aid in bringing attention (and possibly funding) to the plight of our very special kelp forests off the coast of Northern California. Did you know that these forests—the home to countless creatures—have been almost entirely wiped out due to a perfect storm of environmental factors?
If this were occurring on land there would be a public uproar, but since it is taking place underwater, few people know the horrendous impact warming seas and an ecosystem out of balance is having on these delicate forests.
Purple sea urchins have eaten much of the bull kelp forests and have created urchin barrens, effectively a dead zone where the kelp cannot take root again.
Already the loss of the forests (and the corresponding overabundance of purple urchins) has caused the State of California to have to shut down the abalone season this year. The abalone are realistically not coming back as long as urchin barrens hold sway off our coast.
This is what good beer looks like!
It was quite the family event here in Davis, and it was the 50th anniversary of the festival’s founding! Be sure to bring a tent to help keep yourself out of the sun when you go. I went Saturday and saw many beautiful arts and crafts booths, plus many musicians playing and sweating in the sun. Sadly I was a credit card carrying fool and everything—and I mean everything—was cash only. I enjoyed a cup of coffee.
I was trying out a 24-70mm lens that really pops.
Bad photos can ruin getting top dollar when selling your home.
I see it all the time.
My rate for 25 polished, high quality home sale images is right now a $225 flat rate for Davis, Woodland, and Dixon
Meet me at 6:35PM at the Super Owl Brewery in Davis this Wednesday with your DSLR to learn how to make fun and beautiful portraits with only a few simple settings in your camera. Also get ready to have an afternoon beer! Event is free!
Calling all young storytellers and aspiring photographers!
On Sunday, January 13th at 2:00 PM, meet Davis photographer and credentialed teacher Ethan Applegarth at the Three Ladies Cafe in Davis for a unique storytime event where children create a guided story, enact scenes from the story using provided toys, and learn about photographing miniatures.
Ethan and his audience will collaborate to create an interactive story (using toy monster trucks and fairy princess figurines) that children will then help photograph. Get ready for a fun and stimulating adventure that includes hands-on learning as children work together to tell a story with Ethan's prompts and guidance, create interactive scenes using provided toys, and then snap pictures using a professional camera. Ethan's children will also attend. He will post a selection of images to his website in the days following the event, and will select some images to add to the Three Ladies Cafe's walls for their January art display.
This family-friendly event is best suited for children ages 2-5. *Children are welcome to bring a toy of their own to be included in the storytime dioramas, but please remember that this will be an interactive event where toys and dolls will be shared by multiple children. Adults are welcome to participate!
What would you wish you had with you to express yourself? Would you choose a musical instrument? A pen? Pencil? I would choose a pen and paper to write, and a camera to take pictures. I live through being able to express myself in different ways, and photography is only one part of many ways I express myself. You perhaps are similar.
What person only chooses one mode of communication? What person only speaks in one way? We all express ourselves through different modes of communication. Some dance, some sing, some pray. Others write or act.
Have you noticed that wonderful art can speak to you directly, that someone who created it was finally able to assemble all the parts into an emotionally moving whole? Whatever shape or form this art takes, if it carries power for you, learn from it. Let it speak to you. If you practice art, then pursue it with all the drive you can muster. Pour yourself into the work. Never stop learning. Try, try again, and eventually what you create will speak to others in ways you never expected.
Photography is such an art form—a form of higher communication—which carries its own power and meaning for others when they see it. Does a photographer ever know for sure what they are going to create when they work at a session? Perhaps they have an idea, but they let the art form (and their practice as an artist) take over. They allow themselves to speak through the art, and the art speaks through them.
The smoke is finally clearing in Davis and Sacramento, and it’s time to reflect on how our California climate is changing. Global warming issues are close to my heart, and my project, the Ash Canyon Predators and Prey project, follows the drying climate and big cat and ungulate (bighorn sheep and deer) behavior patterns in a remote canyon in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument in southern California.
My cameras (Stealthcam G30s) have been out for three years now, with batteries and SD cards changed about once every 10 months. I currently have 13 cameras deployed. During this time the region has witnessed a remarkable warming and drying. Canyon streams, once brimming with aquatic life, have turned into trickles or muddy puddles. Insects and bird life has vanished. Changes are taking longer to be felt for the larger animals, but they, too, are stressed and often hungry. I hesitate to predict what will happen next, but the heavy rain year and superbloom we had over the 2016-2017 winter has long since faded, and the struggle for survival once again is on for canyon wildlife.
Global warming is real. Our smoke season this year is yet one more indicator that we are living in a drying and warming world.
Photography is a wonderful tool for recording these climate changes, and making a record of what once was and could be again. I continue to work the Ash Canyon project, and expect to learn more about how big cats and ungulates are altering their patterns of behavior in this new, harsher climate reality.
If anyone knows of an engaged couple, please pass this on to them. This is going to be fun!
-Engagement Photo Shoot Giveaway-
Ethan Applegarth Photography is giving away two free engagement photography sessions (and up to 25 edited downloadable photos) to two lucky couples. This drawing is for a shoot in either Davis, downtown Sacramento, or the Winters/Woodland wine country.
This drawing is open to ALL engaged couples.
Drawing ends on Friday, November 30th.
Feel free to share this drawing with a couple you know who might be recently engaged and needing a photographer.
PM Ethan Applegarth Photography to enter, I will draw two names at random at the end of the month.
1) Only one entry per person.
2) Photo session must be completed by January 31st, 2019.
3) The winning couple and photographer will arrange for a date that’s mutually convenient.
4) Session cannot be gifted or given away to others. Not redeemable for cash.
Halloween Portraits October 31st at Boheme, downtown Davis
Join Ethan Applegarth (the undead Davis portrait photographer) in howling in Halloween on Wednesday, October 31st from 2PM until 5:30PM. No matter if you come as a ghostie or ghoulie, witch or she-devil, you and your frightening family will be transformed into a polished downloadable high quality image sent straight to your email inbox for your haunting pleasure.
For 10 dollars per edited image, Ethan will take your Halloween portrait, for you to keep and own for all eternity. Allow 7 days and the thrice hooting of the owl at midnight for your images to be delivered.
Oh boy, has it been a busy family photo shoot time here in Davis! I am filling so many spots each week that I am seriously starting to wonder if I’ll get time in edgewise to watch the Dodgers go to the World Series—each game is happening right at the time the sun is setting and the light is best for photo shoots!
I suppose I could do portrait sessions at 6AM, but what’s the fun in that? Heading into a mini-session I bring the highest energy possible—this helps kids to laugh, adults to let their guard down (it can be scary having your photo taken!), and fires me up to do my best work. The trick is to look out for my clients and give them what they are looking for, even if they don’t always know.
Many people come with a hidden idea of what they would like—it’s up to me to find it, and give even more. I always make a point of asking, “what image brought you to me?” or “what did you see that you liked?” I am at a professional point where I will probably start giving potential clients a look through my portfolio right before the shoot—when they see something they like, I’ll be listening! A busy, busy week.
Get a good night’s rest. It helps the skin. Don’t worry with too much makeup on the day of the shoot, the photographer can make most wrinkles disappear in their post-production edit.
Look in the mirror before the shoot and rotate your face from side to side. Does one side look better than the other? Almost all people have a “best side” of the face. Approximately 60 percent of people have the left side of their face as the best, and some small minority of people are ambifacial.
Relax, this is fun! Put your shoulders back and be confident the photographer will make you look good. Chin down. Catch stray hairs across the eyes or waving in the breeze above your head, unless you want that wind-blown look.
Think of fun poses to strike! Give ideas during the shoot. I love it when my models (for that’s what you ARE for the session) are filled with energy and fun!
Imagine being pulled from the top of your head by an invisible line, it makes you stand taller and allows your head to rest at a confident, natural angle. Your back relaxes as it’s pulled upward, and your shoulders and arms hang naturally. Let your hands be completely at rest—this is hard to do! Move from your abdomen as you walk or sit. Think of how dancers move—feel and control your core.
The photographer will be aware of the light—that’s their work and you don’t have to worry about choosing it for them. Some tips, though: a professional will be looking for good top lighting, side lighting for that Rembrandt-type of look that accentuates the best look of your face, or soft lighting, especially angled, which will make your skin really glow. Photographers have been known to get their best shots in bathrooms at times because the light from a side window or overhead lamp reflects very well in a small, white space.
Don’t worry about smiling all the time. A fixed grim is too hard to hold for more than about 5 seconds, and becomes phony if you try too hard. Let your facial muscles relax in between smiling and even give your head a little side-to-side shake to help reset your muscles. It gets harder and harder to smile after about ten minutes of portraiture!
White clothing can be tricky to photograph, because it can throw a camera’s white balance detection off in certain lights. It can also cause the in-camera image to get something called “blown highlights,” where the digital negative loses some detail. Your photographer should know what to do to minimize this, but it might add a little complexity to the shoot if lighting is tricky (like full sun).
The closer to dawn or dusk, (or deep shade at midday) the better for beautiful photos!! Sometimes the best time is actually “the blue hour” just after the sun has set. Choose your portrait times as close to sunset as possible if you can, or just after. While the sun is setting you might hear your photographer refer to this time as “the golden hour.”
Do tell the photographer if something isn’t working for you. They forget you might be in an uncomfortable position and it helps to speak up and say you have to move! A good photographer will love you for being honest, and you will look even better being at ease.
What defines “professionally taken” photographs? One of the first things a lay person tries to do is define the quality of the equipment used to take the photo, but the fanciest camera in the hands of someone inexperienced will only take photos that look inexperienced. An enthusiast tries to define the qualities of the image—color, composition, etc, and this is closer to the truth, but anyone can get lucky and sometimes does. Perhaps they will try to define attitude and artistry, which is yet closer to the truth, but still a good attitude and appreciation of art can only get so far in the actual creation of images.
A professional uses the habits of mind—the combination of technique, preparation, repeatability and eye—in taking professional images. The mind guides the head which guides the eye. The best photographers already have ideas on what they think they want to see, can guide subjects to look their best, and yet are still able to improve on this with opportunities to discover more in the scene.
Eye first. Apply your artistic eye to the image. If the bride is about to throw the flowers, you position yourself to perhaps capture the look on her face as she throws—or would it be better to catch the bouquet of flowers, streamers awry, as it sails over her head? Make a plan.
Preparation and technique: did you consider ambient lighting and are able to position yourself for a cross-shot where illumination favors the people in the image, their surprised and eager looks? Is your flash metered? Focus preset? Are you writing to a CF card as well as SD? Are you on auto-white? Set ISO higher but not too grainy. Get out of focus lock. Better get that 50 on front instead of the 85 prime, this is going to be a wider scene. Preparation can go much further than this.
Repeatability: Rinse and repeat, according to your art. This is hard in image-making. Try it. It’s easy to occasionally get lucky in picture-taking, but to take different clients with different feelings on different days and give results in a measurable way; that takes resilience, patience, control of equipment and technique, and an application of your eye with unique preparation.
I chose to call this blog “burning up the shutter” because it is an accurate description of photographing children, especially young ones! They move and jump, and all the time it is very difficult to get them in focus—let alone to take a great image!
It’s strange to think that only fifteen or twenty years ago most people were still shooting with film, with the 24 or 36 exposures per roll, which changed the way we had to shoot, for better or for worse. I remember this vividly as a high school student in the late 90s. Questions I used to ask myself: “Do I really have to take that photograph? Is it overexposed? Is something better coming along to shoot once my roll is full?” I had to ask myself this all the time. It made for a tight control of the camera, and the necessity of mastering at least some picture-taking techniques.
Now there is enormous wiggle room to risk amazing shots that may or may not come out well.
Today it’s different—find a scene or a setup that leads to something interesting for the kids to play with—a jungle gym comes to mind (!)—and set them to it! Introduce parents into the mix, and, voilá. Let kids run, because I will follow them with the camera and cover the good shots with another thousand shutter actuations to spare. Does this cause my cameras to age quickly? Yes. Does it also capture the action when needed? Absolutely yes.
I have no choice with children—they move too fast! The type of photography I do today was really not possible in the late 90s.
Where I would normally take 24 or 48 exposures in 1997, then go to the photo lab darkroom and painstakingly sift through the detritus of another day’s exposure experimentation, I have shifted my expense into running through camera bodies, not film. This is not for the feint of heart—these cameras are finicky and grains of dust have caused them to jam before (It was a $540 fix)! A Nikon D810 costs a chunk of change, but the upkeep can also be expensive.
This is the hidden cost associated with children’s photography, and a signpost of what may come next. What new era of still image-making awaits us? What new business types—beyond children’s action photography—may come next in the field of photography?
Just because we live in the world of digital doesn’t mean everything comes easy. It certainly doesn’t mean we can stand still.