This last weekend we spent some family time in Saugatuck, Michigan. Rachel and I decided to bring the Fuji X100T along and shoot all the pictures with it.
I'm currently reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, a book I'm enjoying very much. There's a passage that caught my attention:
On the first day of class, Jerry Uelsmann, a professor at the University of Florida, divided his film photography students into two groups.
Everyone on the left side of the classroom, he explained, would be in the “quantity” group. They would be graded solely on the amount of work they produced. On the final day of class, he would tally the number of photos submitted by each student. One hundred photos would rate an A, ninety photos a B, eighty photos a C, and so on.
Meanwhile, everyone on the right side of the room would be in the “quality” group. They would be graded only on the excellence of their work. They would only need to produce one photo during the semester, but to get an A, it had to be a nearly perfect image.
At the end of the term, he was surprised to find that all the best photos were produced by the quantity group. During the semester, these students were busy taking photos, experimenting with composition and lighting, testing out various methods in the darkroom, and learning from their mistakes. In the process of creating hundreds of photos, they honed their skills. Meanwhile, the quality group sat around speculating about perfection. In the end, they had little to show for their efforts other than unverified theories and one mediocre photo.
We want to avoid overthinking our photography and become paralyzed.
Planning, strategizing and studying are all good and useful but eventually we will need to take action.
We need to finish what we start.
We need to be closers.
Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world. In a sport where every millisecond counts, you'd think he had the best running technique. He didn't.
The real difference comes to light when you compare him to his rivals. While everyone is tense before the race, he's smiling and already having fun. While everyone runs like perfect machines, his form is natural, light, and yet powerful.
Is he having fun because he's so good? Or is he so good because he's having fun?
I believe it's the latter.
Perhaps we could apply this to our photography. Perhaps we should loosen up, have more fun, improvise more, think less, forget about proper technique, dismiss proper composition.
This is a question that comes up every once in a while.
Years ago I decided that I wanted an email address like email@example.com. It looked cool, I guess.
otero wasn't available in any of the major domains, so I started to look for alternatives. I eventually found ws. This is the domain for the country of Samoa and I guess they weren't selling many because they started promoting it as an acronym to website.
adrian - otero - website
That was the idea. I liked it.
Today, I don't know of anyone using that domain in that way.
Anyway, about that time, Twitter launched and I had to get a username. I went for "adrian otero ws", aows. I loved how short it was.
Over the years, I kept using the same username in every social network and platform I signed up for, including Instagram. That's where my photography career started, and since I couldn't find a better / easier username I stuck with it.
And this is where aows comes from.
What makes a photographer great is not their camera gear or their skills.
Photography is about the long game, it's about perseverance.
When everyone else sees nothing, they find something. In times when others shy away, they perform their best.
Determination is invincible.
I took the Rolleiflex out and tried to make a few images in Chain O'Lakes, here in Indiana. I talk a little bit about the main features, what I like, and what I don't.
This is not how my evening was supposed to go.
I should've paid attention to the signs. I was too tired, and spilled the developer. Still, I went ahead.
I'd started this roll of film last year and just finished it today. It'd spent so much time in the camera that it didn't want to get in the reel.
It was a hard fight that went on for over 45 minutes, started on my desk and ended on the bathroom floor. Never before had I given up a roll.
As I opened the changing bag, I saw the result of my hard work: exposed, wrinkled and useless film. I really wanted to see those images. They are gone now.
Sometimes I wonder.
I've used continuous shooting mode on and off over the years. But for the last few weeks it's been the default mode in all my cameras, for both moving and static subjects. I love it!Read More
Photography can be a bit messy. It's not just cameras, but all that comes with them: lenses, batteries, memory cards, cables, tripod, computer, hard drives... These are some tips to keep your gear under control and always ready to go.Read More
I made the mistake of limiting myself to one genre. I'd dream of images I wanted to create just to end up feeling frustrated because the place I was at didn't offer that.Read More
I used to believe that every frame should count. A higher ratio of "keepers" would definitely mean I was a good photographer.
I was dead wrong. No, not every shot has to count.
Photography should be more about experimenting than about being certain, more about playing and less about thinking.
I got to spend a couple of days in Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana. It was my first time there, and I really enjoyed the city. I didn't have a lot of time for photography, but I did what I could.
This is the video of our weekend in the city.
Waking up and getting out early in the morning is always, always worth it. Some days, though, the payoff is huge. After a month and a half of daily outing early in the morning here in Indiana, I finally got what I was looking for.Read More
I recently read the book Make your bed by William H. McRaven. It's a just ok read, but the subtitle intrigued me:
"little things that can change your life"
The basic idea is that even the smallest things you do early on can trigger a chain reaction that will determine the rest of your day.
It resonated with me. This might sound familiar to you as well:
A lazy and unproductive day starts the night before, going to bed a bit later than usual. I'll get up a bit later and will be a bit more tired. Less time and less energy mean fewer things getting done. It's around noon when I realize I haven't done much, and usually give up my whole day by then. "It's already too late and I'm tired, I better leave this for tomorrow".
A productive day, on the other hand, starts by going to bed at a decent time, getting up early, and trying to accomplish something before the sun is out. Writing, going for a walk / run, or getting out to photograph are essential in my morning routine.
The day won't seem so overwhelming when it's still 8 or 9 in the morning and you've already accomplished something, even if they are small things.
And yes, I make my bed too.
How do we measure progression in a creativity work like photography? I'll be clear from the beginning: there's no progression in photography.Read More
The Elkhart County Fair was one of my first experiences in America when I moved here back in 2013. It was definitely different from what I was used to, to say the least.
6 years later, I went back. It was a fun day of fair food, attractions and even a Demolition Derby.
I made this image early on a foggy morning in NW Spain. The atmosphere was beautiful and I hope to have captured that with this picture. You can watch the video where I make it here: "Wildlife" photography with the Bronica.
Remember: there are two sizes to choose from, 6x6 and 8x8 (inches). In both cases, the matt and frame are 12x12 (this means a bigger margin for the 6x6 print).
Shipping is free to the US. International shipping is a flat rate of $14.95.
last few days for White Moon
White Moon is my bestselling image to date. Since I released it later in the month, it's still available at a reduced price. Hurry up, the offer will end in just a few days!
A new image will be released every month and offered at a reduced price during that time. After 30 days, it will be sold at full price. They will never be on sale at any time in the future, the rate during the first month will be the lowest, ever.
want to know more?
You can find more information about how I create my images and all the details about pricing on The Art and Craft behind my prints.
I'm back after a couple of weeks without videos. This time, from Lake Michigan, my favorite place to photograph in Indiana.
It was a long but very productive day. I revisited old places and used my newest lens for the first time.
This is a common misconception.
Minimalism isn't about having a lot of negative space in our images.
Minimalism is about what we include and, most importantly, about what we don't. It's about removing everything until we are left with just what the image requires to tell the story.
Early this morning during my walk I ran across a couple of dragonflies, just laying on the sidewalk. I have no idea if they were sleeping, resting or dead. I do this walk / run every morning and I had never seen them do that before.
Of course, I had my RX100VA with me so I tried to make a few images. I was able to get really, really close, and they didn't move.
I think I'll bring my bigger camera and some extension tubes tomorrow, just in case. It could be a great opportunity to do some "macro-insect" photography.