Monthly Archives: April 2010

every day is earth day

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

On Thursday morning, I will be driving to Cherokee, NC to attend a NANPA Spring Regional Event.  The location is in the Great Smoky Mountains.  From the advance material for the event, the photo tours will be in a variety of locations and elevations.  A change of scenery will be good for both my spirit and my photography.  The views will be spectacular whether I am at the higher elevations or in the lush valleys with beautiful flowing streams.

It would be easy to go into descriptions of those areas, but that’s what I hope to do with the photographs from the trip.  My challenge is going to be to take the time to “see” what is around me and try to capture the beauty with the camera.  Taking a lot of photos is a solid practice but being selective about what to shoot is key.  Some basic guidelines I try to follow on every shoot include:

  1. Be aware of what is in the frame, many great shots can be ruined by an object that wasn’t noticed
  2. Look for interesting perspectives, don’t shoot everything from a standing position, don’t hesitate to sit on the ground or move about to find an interesting perspective
  3. Pay attention to the edges of the frame, sure you can crop later but try to avoid taking photos without regard for the edges because you can crop later, recompose the shot if possible
  4. Notice the separation of objects in the frame, sometimes a step to one side or another, or changing your angle can make all the difference in how the objects in the shot relate to each other
  5. Bracket each shot, what you see with your eye and what the camera records are often not the same
  6. Shoot a scene in a variety of aperture settings, variances in depth of field can be subtle but very important to nail the shot you want
  7. Remember you are painting with light, bright and dark areas can present some difficult exposure issues, be prepared to make adjustments if possible, in some cases you might need to note a location and shoot it at a different time of day
  8. Be considerate, if you are with a group, don’t hog a great spot or obscure the view of others around you, polite goes a long way
  9. Have fun, your feelings are transferred to your images, take time to find the “wow” and shoot that

Note to self: The above list is for you to remember, don’t get out there and just start snapping away.

The short list above is probably included in recommended practices in many photography articles and publications.  Every now and then, I need to remind myself about the basics.  Is the above list all encompassing?  Of course not, I hit some high spots.  Photography as an art involves paying attention to detail.  It’s easy to become overwhelmed in a new location and forget the basics.  It’s also easy to become so comfortable with a location and forget the basics.

reflection of spring at Turkey Creek

reflection of spring at Turkey Creek

In the shameless promotion section of this post, some of my work at Gerry Daniel Photography was fortunate enough to have a feature that was shown on “Wake Up Alabama” this morning.  My sincere thanks to Rick Jackson for creating the feature, to the team at “Wake Up Alabama” for the air time, and to CBS 42, the local CBS affiliate in Birmingham, Alabama for allowing Rick to produce the segment.  It was filmed at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, a land tract that is part of Alabama’s Forever Wild Program.  There are a number of these beautiful natural areas that have been designated as “Forever Wild” and there is a list of others that are being considered.  Alabama has an amazing variety of terrain, wildlife, plant life, and unique ecosystems.  We have abundant waterways throughout Alabama.  Keeping the waterways fresh and clean is an ongoing effort by a lot of dedicated people throughout Alabama.  Other photographs from Turkey Creek can be seen in the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve gallery.

Let’s go with something that has a good rhythm. The song is “Tightrope” by Yeasayer from the album “Dark Was the Night” which was released in February 2009, features a variety of artists, and will benefit the Red Hot Organization – an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS.

upcoming articles

“Plans get you into things, but you got to work your way out.” ~ Will Rogers”

The past week was pretty busy.  The upcoming weeks have a number of events planned.  All of this making it a productive spring and good start to the summer.

There are several blog articles waiting to be written.  Topics on the list include:

  • Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve
  • The work of Abbie Wiersma
  • My ongoing photography website, blog, Twitter redesign project which involves much help from Kerri Shotts and her company, photoKandy
  • My trip to the Stray Art Salon
  • Some blog articles that fill in parts of my background story (Gerry, the early years) but relate to photography (loosely)
  • My upcoming trip to a NANPA event in Cherokee, NC to shoot that area
  • My upcoming trip to San Francisco

So stay tuned, there is much to talk about.

The song for the post is “Not California” from the album “Funnel Cloud (Bonus Track Version): by the group Hem.  The song is simply beautiful.


“Some have greatness thrust upon them, but not lately” ~ Frank Dane

spring flowers, 4/15/2010

spring flowers, 4/15/2010

It was a beautiful day in what has seemed like a long week.  The light was nice late this afternoon.  Tomorrow morning will be an early start to try and capture the morning light as the sun rises at Ebenezer Swamp in Shelby County, Alabama.  The photographs from this afternoon are all downloaded to my computer, I have only processed a few.  The flowers in the two photographs in this post were very small but size and beauty are not dependent on each another.

more small spring flowers, 4/15/2010

more small spring flowers, 4/15/2010

The title of the song for this post is “Lately” from the album “Keep Your Eyes Ahead” by Helio Sequence.

light enough to travel

“I see my path but I don’t know where it leads.  Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” ~ Rosalia de Castro (1837-1885)

sunset in a truck window

sunset in a truck window

A sunset reflected in the window of an old pickup truck.

The song is “Light Enough to Travel” from the album titled “Blue Horse” by The Be Good Tanyas.


“Don’t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one, Helen Keller is the other” ~ Erma Bombeck

Stagnation is overly harsh and doesn’t accurately describe my recent struggles with photography.  Restless and confined are probably closer to what I have been feeling.  If you add my usual amount of self-criticism, throw in a number of loose ends as I try to learn how to get my photography off the ground,  the cascading effect presents a challenge.  No doubt, I will find myself in this spot a number of times if I want to keep evolving as a person and an artist.

Reader: “Thanks for sharing, Gerry.  That was so touching, informative, and inspiring.”

Me: “Relax, I could have written that opening paragraph a lot of different ways.  It’s my blog, I get to do the setup.”

Reader: “Yeah well, I’m the reader and that whole stall thing you do where you fill space on the blog post makes my butt tired.”

Me: “Your butt’s always tired.”

through the windows

through the windows

Yesterday afternoon, I took some steps to change my regular, obsessive, structured process of shooting.  Wait for it…I shot everything hand held, no tripod, no cable release, no mirror in lock-up mode, and not preset bracketing.  Take that!  I was out there, totally winging it, walking the edge of the razor.  I know what you’re thinking, “What a rebel.  Did crowds gather to watch the wildness of that activity?”

All I can say is that you can expect more renegade shooting.  Deal with it.

Nature photography will always be important for me and will always be part of my work.  As I have been going through the redesign project for Gerry Daniel Photography, Gerry Daniel Photography Blog, and my Twitter account (renegade_photog), I am moving towards a broader description of my work.  The sites are being redesigned through the services of photoKandy and the project is going very well.  Branding, a professional site design, and SEO (search engine optimization) are important elements to any business and the new design will go a long way towards helping me in those areas.

textures, shapes, and wrinkles

textures, shapes, and wrinkles

The song for this post is titled “Fame” from the album titled “The Clarence Greenwood Recordings” by Citizen Cope.  If you are someone that enjoys a good song with good lyrics, this one could be for you.  If not, then it’s for me because I like it, a lot.  I am not now and may never be famous, fame isn’t really a goal.  The song deals more with the factors in our society (America in particular) that focus on fame.

son’s gonna rise

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” ~Confucius (551-479 BC)

It’s easy to get caught up in the details and a lot of time can be consumed by details.  Monday morning was the last time I took a photograph.  Luckily, I took quite a few so I have some images that have been waiting for me.

baby blues

baby blues

Work continues on the face lift for my online sites.  Photography is like any other business, you have to adapt, you need to be sure you have a solid foundation, and you need a plan for where you are going.  If you don’t plan for change, the chance of survival becomes more difficult.

Editor’s note: In another life, in another job, it was not unusual for someone to note that I often state the obvious.  I plead guilty but to state the obvious, you have to at least be able to see the obvious, that aspect is lost on a lot of people.

This is a song that I like a lot from an artist that I enjoy.  The title of the song is “Son’s Gonna Rise” from the album titles “The Clarence Greenwood Recordings” by Citizen Cope.  He has a little help on the song by a guitarist that you may have heard, a guy named Carlos Santana.  I’m trying to bridge the gap between the more current music and some of the older music (Trixie, I heard you).

always like this

“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.” ~ Marcel Pagnol (1895-1974)

dew on the pansies

dew on the pansies

Monday (4/5/2010) was a nice opportunity to capture some early splashes of color in the early morning light.  Many of the flowers were coated in a fine mist of morning dew.  Processing a photograph isn’t difficult or particularly time consuming.  Part of my regular work flow when I am shooting is to bracket each shot.  My camera is set for three shots in a set.  In situations with an abundance of light, I’ve found that when my DSLR meters at zero EV (exposure value), it can often be overexposed and the highlights are blown (bright white or light areas with no detail).  My first shot is at -1 EV, then -2EV, then at 0 EV.  In addition, I find it tough to know exactly which depth of field (DoF) is going to be the shot I like the most.  Depending on what I am shooting, I will know what I want in focus and what I want out of focus (this is DoF for the anti-jargon crowd), but subtle differences can make a differences in a particular shot.  So that means that I will shoot at various settings for the aperture to manipulate the DoF.  All of this means that it’s common for me to have 12 shots of the exact same scene.

ADHD alert: At this point, the non-photographer and/or easily bored person has either stopped reading, fallen asleep, skipped down to the photograph, or is clicking the song link.  Yeah, I know but there’s a lot of traffic in my head.

The photograph (shown below), before processing, is a very crisp, clear image.  Somehow, I saw it more as a painting and went for that look.  It’s my photograph so I get to choose how I want to present it.

flowers painted by the morning sun

flowers painted by the morning sun

In all the rush of recent weeks, I had forgotten to add a member link to the Alabama Rivers Alliance.  I am proud to support their efforts and be part of the group.  A permanent link has now been added to the blog for that organization.

The song for the post is titled “Always Like This” from the album “I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose” by Bombay Bicycle Club.  Give it a chance, it’s a fun song.


“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

The weather is getting warmer, flowers are blooming, and spring fever is everywhere.  Well, pollen is everywhere too, but there’s always a trade-off.  The early morning light is one of my favorite times to shoot.  The dew this morning was like a fine mist, no large droplets.  This photograph of pansies will give you an idea of how it looked.  Click on the photo to see the image in a larger size with more detail.

pansies covered in morning dew

pansies covered in morning dew

The featured song for this post is “Shadows” from the album “Still Night, Still Light” by Au Revoir Simone.  Go ahead, listen to the song, you know you are curious.

A new edition of the Gerry Daniel Photography newsletter was sent out last night.  If you would like to receive a copy of the email, just let me know and I will send it to you.  You can sign up for the newsletter by clicking the “Subscribe To Newsletter” link on my photography or by clicking the link in this sentence.  The trick is that if you want the one that was sent yesterday, you will have to let me know.  Otherwise, I will just think you are a new subscriber and you will get all of the editions that follow.

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