Trying to Make a Simple Portrait

I love my Granddaughters! I really do! Sometimes though it's a mission to try and make a simple portrait. On our way back from picking them up at Cape Town airport we stopped at Primi Piatti, a restaurant chain that you cannot really go wrong with. The stairs leading up had a beautiful brick wall to use as a backdrop for some nice quick portraits. So I thought. LOL! After many tries struggling with flipping hair and "two fingered puckered posers" and "duck faces". And, "my hair is not right." I finally got one image that I really like. The one you like is up to you so I posted them all.

Back to my Roots

Last weekend I headed over to Muizenberg to pick-up my surfboard after a repair from a mishap the previous weekend. The waves in Muizenverg were nonexistent so I took a drive to see some of the other breaks that I have not visited yet, namely Kommetjie (co-mick-ee) and Long Beach.

Well I never got to Kommetjie as I spent much of the late afternoon watching and photographing surfing at Long Beach. There were quite a few people in the water and as I was unfamiliar with that break, and recognize the territorial nature of surfers, I decided not to surf but watch and shoot. I titled this "Back to my Roots", because my professional photography career started out by photographing sports. I really like the action and the fact that you have to anticipate where the peak point of action will happen to get a good shot. Additionally, I've always preferred shooting sports in Black and White. I converted this and made specific adjustments to my taste. I like the overall drama of the image. The point at which you don't know if the surfer is going to make his turn and the dramatic sky and mountain behind him. I did not have my long lens with me, but I quite like how this wider shot turned out.

Surfer, Long Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

Surfer, Long Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

Surfing, Women, and Superheroes!

This morning I was thinking about the awesome experiences I've had while in Cape Town. When I dig deep though my most meaningful experiences have been centered around the people I've met. Two of these people are women and they competed against each other in the South African Longboarding Championships. They are Roxy Davis and Tarryn King.

Roxy Davis and I at Surfer's Corner in front of Surf Emporium and Roxy Surf School. 

Roxy Davis and I at Surfer's Corner in front of Surf Emporium and Roxy Surf School. 

An image that I made of two Awesome friends and great people, Shani Du Venage (L) and Tarryn King (R)  At XpressionOnTheBeach

An image that I made of two Awesome friends and great people, Shani Du Venage (L) and Tarryn King (R)  At XpressionOnTheBeach

Both of these individuals have become my friends and I hold them in the highest regard.Actually, if you've ever seen them surf, especially at the same time they are like Surfing Superheroes I am still amazed every time I see them in the water and see the things they pull off. And not just in a surfboard either. Also on Stand-Up-Paddleboards. On top of all that they occasionally throw some top tip my way. Whether it is a small detail from Roxy that changes everything about my surfing to Tarryn encouraging me to "commit! She says, you must commit to get that big wave!" It is rare that you have World Class Athletes giving unsolicited advice to a novice. I consider myself very lucky. I can say that whenever I do miss a wave I think to myself that, from Tarryn, I did not "commit", or from Roxy, that I am still looking down at my foot position too long. My most unforgettable and best lesson was by Roxy. I'd been bugging her for a coaching session. Then one day, out of the blue she asks if I'm busy the next day. I planned on surfing so that's what I told her and then she asked if I wanted to meet her in the morning before the shop opened for a private lesson. Without hesitation I said I would be there. I learned so much in that one lesson. I learned that I was looking down at my foot position too long. That my paddling frequency was not fast enough to catch bigger, faster, stronger waves, as well as other tips. It was small details, not necessarily big things, but small things that made a "big" difference. To give you some perspective here, Roxy is a 7 time winner of the South African Longboarding Championship and has represented her country on the International surfing scene. How many athletes have the ability to win something 7 times! She is foremost a Mom, a wife, an entrepreneur and an incredibly humble and generous person. She started out renting beach umbrellas on Surfers Corner as a teenager. Then progressed to renting surfboards after being sponsored by Roxy S.A. She eventually opened her store, now Surf Emporium in Surfers Corner on Muizenberg Beach. She is involved with charities and sits on the Board of Shark Spotters. But do not be fooled, this woman according to her husband William, is a fierce competitor and hates to lose. Not hard to believe from a professional athlete. Then there is Tarryn King, formerly Tarryn Kyte, who married a great guy and SA Champion in his own right, Thomas King. Tarryn is a really sweet woman and an unbelievable athlete who works at XpressionOnTheBeach directly next door to Surf Emporium. She was also a student of Roxy's and learned to surf at Surf Emporium. Tarryn as well, is one of those people that you would never guess is a professional athlete from her humble and welcoming nature. She is a tremendous surfer and is now touring with the South African Surf Team and competing in the SUP World Championship in Mexico. Tarryn won the Final at the SA Longboarding Championship in which Roxy also competed. Here lies the dilemma. Both are my friends, but both cannot win. I cheered them both on, and hoped that their trip to SA Champs would be filled with camaraderie, and good times. Alas, there could be only one winner, or maybe not? If you go back to the beginning, could there be one thing, skill, behavior, or technique that was passed on by teacher to student. What if the initial experience with surfing was so awesome that inspired the student to continue and achieve great heights. Frankly, I don't know how long Tarryn was taking lessons with Roxy, but I know that in my own experiences, I have always been able to take something from every lesson in whatever topic and apply it to future skills. Talent and a lot of hard work have paid off for Tarryn to become the Champion she is. She will be a Great Champion. I congratulate her in her achievement. I feel that the Women's South African Longboarding Championship will remain on that adjoining porch on Surfer's Corner between Xpression's and Surf Emporium for a long, long time. It matters to me not which way it goes on that porch. Just keep it on the porch!  And I'm also sure that Roxy can look over with a smile and be happy. What better person to win against you than a former student and friend.

Portraits of My Granddaughters

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My Granddaughters have become accustomed to my camera being around and the constant clicking of the shutter in their direction. They are so cool because they love our portrait outings or literally in this case my seeing a great background and suggesting portraits. They loved the idea probably because I allow them to be themselves. We had so much fun. These are a few of the ones I really liked.

Walk on a Fiery Sunset - 248/365

I continue to post my 365 images as I get to them. It was tough enough to make the images let alone post them everyday. To that end I am still catching up and I plan to make a small book of all of the images. I'll have more information on that as soon as I get some information on details and possible publication methods. I want to get back to real photographs that you can hold in your hand and not just see on the computer. Nothing beats having an album.

I made this image one evening when I saw this beautiful fiery sunset and there were a couple of people walking on the beach. I wanted to convey how nice and simple life can be by just taking a walk with a loved one. I made this with my Fuji camera and I made three exposures and combined them to be able to get the bright light of the sun and the shadows in the same image.

Walk on a Fiery Sunset

Spring is Here in the States

So that means the majority of weddings are here also. Here are some things to think about when hiring a photographer. Remember a photographers website will only show the best, so if it doesn't look good, walk away! If you go for the $500 wedding photographer, that's exactly what you're going to get. GET AN ALBUM! You'll look at that a lot more than the video. Do you really need video? Most photographers can do video clips for you. Whomever you're hiring for video is not Steven Spielberg. Don't expect a Hollywood production for $3000. Not gonna happen. Remember that when the expensive meal, flowers, chair covers, DJ, and cake are gone all you have left are the images. If your photographer does not initiate a meeting or lunch or portrait session with you prior to your wedding, do not use that photographer. The first words out of a good photographers mouth will be to ask what you expect as a final product. When you hire a photographer you will probably not have a detailed schedule so you can't be very specific about time. Remember his time is money. The average time of a wedding from start to finish can be up to 8 hours so don't book the photographer for 4 hours.  A good photographer will attend the rehearsal to meet the important people. The  Best Man and Maid of Honor should actually help in keeping the Bride stress free. Let them know that they may be asked to be a trouble-shooter. Don't pick a drunk. Make sure the DJ knows to announce important points in the event and does not let those happen without the photographer present. Have the wedding planner organize as much as possible. That is why they get paid. And last but not least remember that if everyone at the ceremony jumps in front of the photographer with their iPhone when you are walking down the aisle, you images will not look good!

 

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