Blogodocious ramblings of a landscape photographer living in Maine.
"Snow Beach at Latty Cove, Maine." Jan. 4, 2013.
Yeah! Happy holidays from Nate Parker Photography! Woot! It's been a pretty good year here and this is meant to be a giving back moment of sorts- that, and hopefully something of a solution for those always perplexing gift ideas and stress of the holidays that we all can have. I always really enjoy Christmas and New Years but inevitably the whole thing ends up being somewhat stressful what with finding the right thing to gift your loved ones with and also the money to get them with too- so I figured that in the spirit of giving and making the happy go around, some free fine art photographic prints should help to spread some good cheer! Eh? Here's the dealio:
Three (3) matted prints will be up for grabs. They are 11"x14" inches matted to 16"x20" on off white mats, or maybe some 11" inch squares matted to 16" inches- Two (2) of the prints will be for locals= you gotta meet me at the coffee shop to pick them up! One (1) of them I will ship to anywhere in the North American Continent of the Planet Earth. For Free. So therefore, the one I ship I may reserve the right to downsize to a 5"x7" matted to 8"x10" because it can get pricey. Whatever. Alright- you still with me? This is all free remember! With an arbitrary value of up to $95 American dollars that's not so bad for free! To Enter: leave a comment here saying what your favorite christmas song or christmas movie is, share this post on your social media of choice i.e. Facespace, Youbook, Googletime, and make sure that there is an email link in your comment so that I can get back to you if you are that bigtime winner! Oh and if you are that winner, I'll happily take a couple of those gingerbread man cookies or whatever :-) Drawing will take place and all entries must be in by...... the new moon of December 17th 2013 at 12:00 pm (noon) Eastern US Time. Winners prints will be selected by me, or I may decide to bring a few that you can pick from. There you have it and that's all for now.
Now go out there and win! And have a great day, Nate from Maine, Usa.
Maine Coast Acadian Storm, Nov. 18th 2013
But year after year it always proves that it's more a time of rest in spirit than in reality! See the deal is that after the rush of the end of the season on the island and the fall colors of autumn have passed and the winds of november give the place a real ghost town effect all of a sudden- I always gravitate to hot chocolate and movies and working on images from the summer and organizing etc. Anything but feeling pressed to make catalog worthy imagery and or advance my place in things. It's important to rest sometimes like theres no hot if theres no cold, no rich if there's no poor- right, you know what I mean. So November comes and I feel relief in some ways, but then I go out with my camera- like just to look around, with no real agenda, and year after year I end up making some of my best images of the year then. Like these from last November: (but this was an unordinary trip far away off the island which proved to be ridiculously inspiring for photography- The Olympic Peninsula in Washington state:
"Ruby Beach Sea Stacks" Nov.7 2012
"Mood Swings" Nov. 5 2012
"Shi Shi Beach Sea Stacks" Nov. 6 2012
"Martha's Vineyard" Nov. 24 2012
"Rippogenus Driftwood" Nov. 9 2011
"r." Cape Cod Ma. Nov. 23 2011
"Order Your Fresh Killed Goat Whole or Half" Nov. 24 2010
Before then (2010) it's more of a blur and not so good. Anyways, you know how inspired you are when it's beautiful in the summer and you're hot to go make vibrant sunrise images or then the fall colors are popping so you're working hard to make nice autumn photos, then winter photography with beautiful snow drifts and into spring with the fresh greens of new growth and waterfalls of winter melt runoff, but November just usually leaves me feeling really uninspired and I don't like to have to force it then. So this year I'm trying something entirely new and made a small studio set up with off camera flash and backgrounds and am making still life studies of sand dollars and shells and veggies that Sophie grew and stuff like that, and it's proving to be real interesting, at least warm and comfortable and it's near the beer or coffee pot which is always nice. But either way it's a productive and interesting way to get through the brown stick season and into the winter snows. I'll leave you with a couple of those for now-
How does November affect your photography? Do you do anything different?
Have a good one- Nate.
Waterfall Bridge on Hadlock Brook in Acadia.
Happy Holidays all! For my take on the whole crazy 'Black Friday' Christmas shopping madness day celebrated by so many Americans I'll personalize it by coining it "Black and White Friday"! So my offer to you holiday shopper and gift idea needer: take 30 Percent Off any of my print prices between this Friday of November 29th, Black and White Friday, and Midnight EST December 31'st 2013 (theoretically you should only consider the black and white prints because of the name of the whole affair, but I certainly will apply this sale price to the color prints as well) and give the gift of a beautiful long lasting fine art photographic print. My print sizes will fit into most readily available frame sizes that you can get off the shelf at your nearest box store, or you can have your local framer make it a nicer presentation. I can send them already matted for you in white mats or in a shipping tube that you can have mounted however you like. Email me at Nparker8@gmail.com to discuss options. Prints are here: http://nateparkerphotography.com/f693929117 and over at the Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/nate.parker.73/photos_all
Support your local small businesses and in return we'll support yours! Happy Holidays again and safe traveling and enjoy visiting with your families if you can (dual meaning there-!)
When November hits I always tend to hibernate in the area of photography. For instance right now its a balmy 28 degrees f outside but blowing a house-shaking 24 knots off the water with gusts to 34 which equals an apparent air temperature of 1 degree. Sure all you need to do is 'button up' but when you really get down to it unless some giant amazing celestial once in a millennia event occurs within sight of here I'm not taking the camera back out until the snow flies or else I get a better idea. Until then I've finally realized my long considered plan to make a home studio of sorts for setting up macro's and other still life's and studies and things in the comfort of my own home! How cool is that! Within 10 feet of the coffee maker or beer fridge, tethered to Lightroom and my 27" screen, warm. Can make some images then fizzle out and realize something else a bit later and have the set-up ready to reanimate and make more. The only real challenges then are subject, composition, lighting and exposure. Pretty much just what you'd face out in the field but with the added creative challenge of having to stage something that looks good and not just stupid or cheesy or completely typical and mundane. So, not to say that I overcame any of those particular challenges today, but I did end up with one set-up that I liked enough to work on and develop. Which brings me to the next part of this edition: plug-ins.
Plug-ins are cool! You know plug-ins are cool, but if you don't yet know that plug-ins are cool and you are a photographer that likes to make more work for themselves after the fact of the capture (like we do, the rest of us, who spend lots of time developing pictures, and like it) then know that plug-ins are wicked cool! Here's some of my fav's: all the "Nik Software" suite plug-ins, which are now Google owned and are called now something like "the Nik Collection by Google" or some odd bit. Contains Silver Efex Pro 2 which is my personal favorite black and white conversion tool and although Photoshop black and white channel conversions are cool there's just a bunch of things that makes SEP2 the go to app for black and white. For the color there's the Nik Collection Color Efex Pro 4 which has a bunch of sweet stackable and tunable effects that will realistically, or ridiculously theatrically enhance and pop even the most mundane of images. There's a bunch of others in the suite like Dfine for noise reduction, Sharpener Pro for print output sharpening, etc that would take too long to fully describe. But a most interesting new option which I'm utterly surprised has been released is this new Analog Efex Pro film emulator which is seeming to be going the way of the Visco Films softwares, etc- and for once I'm in the mood for it~! http://www.google.com/nikcollection/products/analog-efex-pro/
Here's the dealio: I'm in the mood for something completely different! Gotta keep working forward on my photography, but I'm not afraid to take a departure from the norm for a while, especially that it's now November! So here's what I'm on about: studio set up macros and or still life's with off-camera flash shot on backgrounds then developed through a bunch of different plug-ins. After all it's November and there's nothing but tumbleweed deadness blowing around outside before the winter has yet to start proper, and I've made some satisfying enough work for my portfolio for this calendar year to try something different for a change. Oh and here's another that I've recently found fairly intriguing: the "On One Perfect Photo Suite" software solutions, been checking out the public beta Photo Suite 8 which is here: http://www.ononesoftware.com/products/suite8/launch-center/. What I like about these plug-ins suites is that they have nice preview screens with interesting preset options that can lead to ideas that I wouldn't have considered otherwise. The On One Suite and the Google Nik Collection Suite have interesting dynamic contrast and texture enhancing algorithms that have helped a bunch of my recent images find more midtone details that in the end are invaluable if that's the tool that it takes to get where you need to be going. So where I may have once spurned a software suite full of presets as unimaginative, now I know that there's only so much time in this world for your next image and either you'll find the solution for it's development or you'll do your old tricks the best you can and then move on to your next image and start over, and it's sometimes the quick and easy solutions that these suites can often provide that will make your catalog images last.
Here's some other plug-ins that I've found valuable: PTGui (Panorama Tools Graphic User Interface) now in release 9.8.1 that was my go-to pan stitcher for 360 vr's and equirectangular projections when I was in my panorama phase and is still a great fall back option when Photoshop can't quite crunch the numbers in a stitch these days.
Photomatix for those hot and tangy HDR's that you rebellious ones like! http://www.hdrsoft.com now in updated version 5.0 as of Nov 20 which is interesting (apparently adding some kind of: "Contrast Optimizer Tone Mapping for realistic-looking results, new Fusion method for real estate photography, multiple settings batching, and option to enable fusion from a single RAW file." hmmm.. probably still looks like fake maple syrup was poured all over my what would have been yummy bacon- nonetheless...
Oh- and for mobile: Nik Snapseed! Mextures, Hipstamatic, and Dyptic.
One more thing! Black and White Friday Sale!!!-
As of this Friday, November 29th- all Black and White prints at my website will be 30 percent off until January 1st of 2014! Any order placed between 11/29/13 and 1/1/14 will be automatically reduced by 30 percent- email me at Nparker8@gmail.com to verify and to place your order.
Have a good one, and here's one more for the road- (I thought this one was good but you guys (the inter webs) loved it and drove me crazy for a few days telling me as much: which I love you all for-- so thanks for that!) and, I used at least a couple plug-ins to realize the final version of this one:
Thunder Hole Storm Waves, Acadia National Park, Maine.
Rocks on the surface in the fog. Eagle Lake, Acadia.
It's not just photographers but since I'm coming at this as a photographer then I'll speak to photographers, but it's anybody who pursues a craft passionately and this goes for sports and music and a whole slew of other stuff as well. Almost everybody at some point always says they want to be a master and go pro, be the king of the hill, your name next to the definition of the thing in the Wikipedia. As if that will guarantee to be somehow remembered and revered. And it's because we're constantly being sold to- but hey: we love it! We love the next big thing- the next super massive megapixel lowlight super fast fps 5k waterproof miniature low calorie wifi enabled retro and good for the environment awesome piece of kit, or new software, or new technique. I read the blogs everyday trying to keep up with the crazy innovations- and really it's absolutely incredible. To remember that my first outboard "hard drive" in 1980 when I was 8 years old was a cassette tape that connected to my Texas Instruments Ti-99 computer that ran Basic, had 4k's of ram, and a modem that you would put the telephone onto to connect to whatever it connected to back then- is a ridiculous thing to consider. Long live Moore's Law and long live innovation! But- I actually am trying to get to a point here: there's a point when we can forget that it's not all about the stuff and the advancements and the techniques and classes and blogs about all that stuff- it's about what we can do, and doing it. You know, just do it- as it were. Just make your work.
But the thing that gets me riled the most, and this is nothing new- it's been going on in all kinds of different pursuits forever- are all the blogs and tutorials and new equipments and social media commentaries that make it seem that if you are not a "pro" then you're not living up to your potential. It's one thing to have a burning drive to always be getting better and wanting to achieve to be a master of your medium, to be inspired to create great work. But the only people who make the best work are not limited to say the "Canon Explorers of Light" or the guys who have those blue vests on the sidelines of the football games shooting with 300mm telephotos. The best work is made by people who have just got it. And to get it, in this guys opinion, you're not going to be all full of delusions of grandeur. You're not going to be possessed by equipments, you're not going to be comparing, you are going to be content. We have to arrive at a place of bliss in our craft where technique is a foregone conclusion, using our cameras like we breathe- you don't think about it you just do it until you take a moment to actually notice that you're breathing. Same thing with developing- you might not know where you're going to take the image when you start to work on it, but ideally the process is a natural evolution of realizing what it is that you're seeing, and to get to the finished edit is as natural as one foot in front of the other while walking. There's as little need to worry about your walking technique after you've gotten that down as much as there is to worry about your post processing style. If you're comfortable developing your images then why compare yourself to that guy who has gotten hundreds more "likes" on their picture than a similar one you made. Just keep making the work because you like to. Remember why you started doing this in the first place. Sometimes I'll remember my different reasons for becoming a photographer, from wanting to share with my Mom and Dad this amazing place that I was with as much detail and visceral sensation of "feels like you are right there in the scene". Or another reason was that I wanted an outlet for creativity that I could pursue on my own time and that I was entirely responsible for the success or failure of- and one that I could control from start to finish- from photograph to print. One that I could put my name on as a solo venture, not part of a team, and have that satisfaction of making a thing as best I could. But I've always had a day job. I started photography as a hobby, didn't go to school for it- I went to school to be a jazz musician, and I'm not a jazz musician anymore, but I love being a photographer. I always pursued picture making with as much passion as I could muster for it and always have had a voracious appetite for learning it and new techniques and mastering the equipment and softwares etc, but I'm willing to guess that if I had to do it for a living my idea of it would be completely different. I only photograph for pleasure and if I don't want to go make any pictures I won't! I think I'm kind of coming at this blog post in another way where I haven't been making much new work for the last couple weeks and ordinarily I'll start to have a kind of a panic at a time like this thinking that the mojo is slow and or low or that some personal quota isn't being met or something. But more the opposite- I feel really content with my work this year and have been spending lots of time just going through the catalog and working on older images and things and planning the next shots instead of just frantically going out and reshooting the same thing over and over. It's become more obvious to me that it's a lot easier to photograph in a new area that is fresh on my eyes than the one I'm so familiar with on this island here, so I'm looking at maps more. Anyways- where was I: keep your day job and just try to achieve your own bliss with your work and then you'll more likely be remembered. Here's a sports analogy (which isn't something I know much about but hear me out) college football games are often super exciting and thrilling to watch because those young guys are giving it their all in order to get noticed by the NFL scouts on the sidelines, not to mention that they are not all destroyed from years of professional injuries etc. Then the pros are sometimes maybe more calculated and finessed in their playing out there, except for playoff season when anything goes. Anyways- when we are coming up as photographers we initially photograph everything: from bugs to bushes, to railroad tracks with a guy with a guitar walking down them and portraits in front of brick walls. Hopefully you'll do your best to stay away from HDR and pick good friends, but there will always be some embarrassing side trips along the way. But the way does not have to be a destination of becoming a pro. Good for you if you really want to do that, I mean it! And I wish you all the best of success, and I'm sure those of you who do endeavor to make your living off photography will do the best you can do and make the rest of us of the photographers collective proud as a whole= you'd better: it's up too you! But I just want to make pictures that I like and that I want to make, on my own time and to my own satisfaction. Maybe I'll have a couple beers while developing them and maybe I'll finish them quick or maybe I'll take a few days at it, nobody's telling me otherwise so I do what I want! And I think that my work reflects that= I think that it's pretty good and has a confidence of 'I do what I want!' It took a long time to get there, really after photographing for 13 almost 14 years now it's just been the last year or two that I have achieved this kind of personal bliss of finally knowing what I want my images to look like.
Bottom line is: don't let em guilt you into thinking that you should be something or other- just do because you want to and you like to do and you will get better everyday at doing just that. Just an opinion. What do you folks think?