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6 days, 23 hours ago 26

 

 

Please indulge me in some rambling thoughts!  I was talking to another gentlemen of my age, (crotchety old man talk!), and we agreed that things sure are different than when we grew up.  I’m not saying that people are courteous, or nice, or hospitable anymore, that would certainly be stretching my point, but….. things are different.  While I am not the arbiter of what is good behavior, I would like to make some suggestions to my fellow photographers;

 

1.  When in-the-field, treat other shooters as you would like to be treated.  Don’t step in front of someone else blocking their shot.  Don’t make a loud noise while someone is trying to photograph a skittish animal.  If you need to work close to another person’s spot, ask permission to “squeeze” in!  Let me offer an example.  One of the locations I do a lot with groups is Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park.  It is almost always crowded so I encourage my groups to get there plenty early since the best spot to shoot from is not a very large space.  If you arrive and others have the good spot you’re out of luck.  Now its a decent hike in and you do it in the dark so I have  a suggestion.  My last time there my group got in early and we had secured the best shooting spots.  Just before the light was going to get terrific, and it did that day, another group about as large as out (a dozen people) arrived.  At first they were verbally upset that we had the good spots.  Here is where playing nice comes in.  I went over to their leader and said,  ”listen the light is about to happens, why don’t we try to squeeze your guys in with our group so everyone get a chance at the good light!?”  It was tight but everyone got the shot, even some of my folks, after they knew that had the shot left their spot for some from the new group.  Everyone left happy, and an ugly confrontation was avoided, and we did the right thing.  Play nice!!!!

 

2.  Share what you know!  A few years ago a photographer who will go un-named (no reason to be ugly – play nice???!!!) did a beautiful book on a very scenic area in America.  The book had many stunning images and it was of a place few people knew anything about.  Many photographers questioned the author about where these beautiful scenes were photographed.  The photographer steadfastly refused to reveal their “secret” spot.  I have to be honest, it frosted me.  If a scene is on public land, and going to it, to make photographs, does not in anyway harm the environment, I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t gladly share your information.  The area in this book has now been discovered by many and I’ve seen hundreds of images from this location, so the photographer did not protect their work!!!!  They should have Played Nice!!!!

 

3.  Never harm any living thing just to make the shot.  If you have to harm an animal or put it in danger, or harm or destroy a plant, flower, or tree to make the shot, walk away.  No image is worth destroying the subject!!!  Play Nice!!!!

 

4.  Be honest about your images.  I once heard a photographer tell a long bloated story about lying under dead leaves for two days until the bear got close enough to make an image.  First I don’t believe him, and if it is true, he’s an idiot for allowing a wild animal like bear to get that close!  Hairy war tales are not needed, just make wonderful images that require no story at all!  Play Nice!!!!!

 

5.  Share your toys!  Have you ever been making a shot and have a fellow photogpraher say I would  love to make that  shot but my lens is not wide enough or long enough!!!???  When you are finished hand them the lens you are using, (if it will fit their camera!)  If I get the shot and you don’t,  it doesn’t make my shot any better!!!  Play Nice!!!!

 

6.  Offer to help.  If you see someone struggling to make a shot and you can see the mistake their making, offer a little help.  Maybe it’s because I teach workshops, or maybe I’m just observant, but I see people all the time having trouble making a shot and doing something wrong.  I try to be gentle, and offer to help.  I’ve never had anyone say bug off.   Most people appreciate a hand.  Same goes for a family group wanting their picture made in front of some scene, offer to shoot the picture so everyone in the family gets to be in the image!.  It’s just embarrassing when a 45 year pro shooter (me)  can’t find the button on their camera!!!    Plays Nice!!!!

 

7.  Be careful how you critiques other’s work!!!   You don’t have to draw blood, to help someone see how they could have made a better image!  Almost all images have something positive to say about them, start there, and acknowledge that the photographer had a good idea, then start showing how a few changes would have brought that image to fruition more successfully. If your goal is to help people get more excited about making good images, don’t crush them in the process! Play Nice!!!!

 

8.  If you think you’re the best photographer in the room, you may be wrong!!!!  If you are sure you’re the best photogpraher in the room, never say it!  Today one thing is very true:  Even if you are an exceptional photographer, there are a many, many more just as good or better than you!  Today great shooters are a dime a dozen.  It’s the fact of photography today, we enjoy more wonderful shooters than ever before,  So the next time you start feeling like you can’t be beat, step carefully, pride goes before a fall!!  Remember, Play  Nice!!!!

 

9.  Don’t be a snob about your gear!  We invest a lot in our camera gear, and we are proud of our choices, but be careful not to put to much stock in your gear.  Rod Planck said it best, “Technique trumps equipment overtime!”   Want to find something to be proud of?   Be proud of how careful you are in your execution of this craft!!!

 

10.  Don’t put to much stock in what others say about your work!  You’re probably not as good, or as bad, as they say you are!  Play Nice!!!!!

 

Have a blessed day!

 

the pilgrim

 

…..and Play Nice!!!!!!

 

Grain Silo, Wall, South Dakota

 

1 week, 3 days ago 4

 

 

Early next month I’m headed to Peoria for a one day seminar and then on to my long awaited Route 66 trip!  After I mentioned it here on the blog, several very nice folks stated sending me images they shot  along Route 66and where they were, wow, what a great photo community we live in!  I want to thank Robert Jenson, Jeffrey Stoner, Jimmy Upton and Dan Greenberg, (who I called and he went over the top to help me!)  So anyway I’m asking for your help out there!  I plan to cover the part of Route 66 from the News Mexico East border to the turnoff to Las Vegas on Highway 93 from Route 66/I-40.

 

If you have driven this section of the Mother Road, and have suggestions please shoot them to me by email  billfortney@earhtlink.net.  I’ve been known to offer a free eBook as a way of saying thank you!  I have 2 and half days to cover this section of the road, and I know I can’t hit every spot, but the ones I’ve been sent so far are all on the list!  I plan to blog all that week and share my adventures from the road.  Shortly after that I will be the guest blogger on Scott Kelby’s blog and tell the Route 66 road trip story!  that starts, Monday,  March 16th.

 

This shot by Robert Jensen is one of my favorites, can’t wait to work it over!

 

 

Let’s get this ball rolling!!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

Flash!!! Mountain man braving the winter discovered in Bloomington, Indiana!

 

 

1 week, 4 days ago 8

 

 

I stole this shot!  Well I didn’t steal it, but I saw on very much like it and loved it so much that I called the photographer that  made the photograph to find out where she shot it!  She very graciously told me all about the location and I then caught a cab the next day and road out to the Gas Pavilion in Chicago to try to see what I could find.  This is where you step beyond duplicating what someone else did.  When I got to the pavilion, a rather simple structure, I went into the middle of it and sat down on he ground and just starred at it from all angles, soon the ideas started to flow, I was in the zone, and the images came in rapid succession!

 

Here are some of my favorites;

 

 

High Art?  I have no idea, but fun?  You bet

 

…..and all from this,

 

 

 

 

Back to yesterday, have fun, it’s just that simple.

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

1 week, 5 days ago 10

 

 

I’ve seen this done a lot better, but it is still a thrill to see the light cast these shadows in my own yard!

 

Better?   What does that mean?  I look at the work of lots of other photographers and I often say, “man I wish I’d shot that!!”  Just the other day I was looking at Rick Sammon’s work, “Wish I had shot that!”  Then some of Ian Plant’s wonderful landscapes, “Sure wish I had seen and shot that!” Jack Graham and Guy Tal, you bet, same response.  So what’s the point?

 

I can tell you what the point isn’t, outshooting any of these folks!  The world doesn’t need another Guy Tal, or Jack Graham, Ian Plant or Rick Sammon, there is already one of each!  When I was younger I wanted to be John Shaw, or at least as good as John Shaw, but what’s the point?  It finally dawned on me that I need to be Bill Fortney, and the best Bill Fortney I could be.  You see, being the best “you” can be is fun, it’s not a competition, it’s as series of growth experiences, sometimes you fail, sometimes you win, and it’s all fun.  You never loose, and you never come in second in that contest!

 

The questions is “do you make photographs to impress others, or because you enjoy the process?”  I’m not judging, I used to make images in hopes they would be appreciated by others, now I make them because it’s fun!  The real of joy of not worrying about the other guys or gals work is you can genuinely be happy for others when they make great images.  In the past it was maddening to see others out shoot me, now I’m happy, and I actually get inspired by them!

 

Look at this way, in a great old western movie I love, “The Fastest Gun Alive.”  came one of my favorite quotes, “there’s always a faster gun!”  If you were to become the best photographer in the world today, in 15 minutes someone would surpass you.  Seems kind of pointless doesn’t it!?

 

Striving to be the best you can be is a good  thing,  just don’t tie your expectations to what others are doing!  Trust me it will be a lot more fun when you do!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim