Also from my sailing trip I posted about on Monday, is this week’s wallpaper Wednesday! FYI, if you’re not yet, consider following me on Instagram where you can constantly see photo’s there that are not viewable anywhere else, click here: Kate Benson Photography.
Opportunity, for a photographer, comes in many forms. In the beginning of my career, I wanted to take the camera everywhere. Today I know myself well enough to balance shooting. Professional photography, feels like it uses a different part of my brain than recreational photography did. Years ago, I read a study on professional athletes. The study had monitored their vitals while they worked out and observed that as soon as the athlete barely started to work out, sometimes just stepped onto a treadmill, their heart rates went up, their bodies started preparing for the workout before it started. Is it odd to say that is what it feels like to have my camera with me? I can do things but if I have my camera on hand, I am always a photographer. If my camera is within reach, I’m almost obsessively thinking about everything I see, asking, “is it worth getting my camera out for this moment?” But always, it isn’t till the camera is out that I know if it was worth it or not. When the camera is in my hand, I think differently. I’m organizing every angle of light, the world outside my lens blurs, my speaking, like my thinking, is concise, to the exact point. My husband, friends and family sometimes say I’m bossy. But the truth is, my brain just doesn’t work the same and it’s all about the shot. Not about anyone’s feelings, not about dangers, it’s about the light, the exposures, colors, compositions, it’s shooting. So I am careful. Recreationally, I rarely take my camera. I like that my friends and family like me and I don’t want them to disappear when I am making memories with them. Funny how a photo, recreationally captures a memory, but professionally it tells a story (true or not).
So a few weeks ago when I signed up to go on this amazing hike in the Everglades hosted by my friend Christopher (who works for the Florida Trail Association, which I joined, and highly recommend joining)! We would head a few miles south on one trail then due East, through the Everglades following not a trail but an old logging railroad until it met up with the Florida Trail a few miles later. Then we would head a bit more South to Roberts Lake (off trail but easier to find) hike around the lake, then back to the Florida Trail and a few more miles then back at the start. Confusing? How is this, we hiked a big Q shape where the bottom of the Q wasn’t on a trail. And I decided to bring my camera. The best shooting of the day was around Roberts Lake. The ground there, unlike most of the hike, was covered in water, and the swamp was just that, swamp. Yes there were alligators. And yes, snakes too. And a wonderful collection of other animals and plants. And yes, it was kind of scary to be walking around in the Everglades swamp, not being able to see what you were going to step on, or how deep you may sink into the mud and water, but it was beautiful.
I don’t know that I made any new friends on the trip. Holding my camera by default makes me way more serious. But fortunately most of the hikers were already friends (and family) that I know and love (and know me without a camera in my hand). So I believe they probably forgave me for any of my bossy/me first behavior that may have happened, and I suspect the hikers I didn’t know yet were perhaps distracted themselves by the beauty of the Everglades, or the direction of the compass when off course, or their cameras themselves. Some of these shots will likely show up as Wallpaper Wednesdays. But for the moment, here are two shots from around Roberts Lake, showing off the serious beauty of this giant park.
One of my goals, year after year is to shoot more fine art work. In a seminar I helped ASMP South Florida host this year on pricing and marketing your work, it was mentioned that if the genre of photography doesn’t make up a certain percent of your income, don’t focus on it. That said, I agree that maybe on your website you don’t focus on it, but when you are inspired to shoot something, whatever it is, shoot it. So that is what I did last week. I had a portrait session I was shooting at the beach. Usually, in the time while people change, I am busy reviewing shots, making quick edits, etc. However on Thursday I decided to do some shooting for those moments. I dropped them on my computer and really loved some of them. This is one of my favorite shots!
Monday I posted a bunch of my work from the Kentucky part of my summer trip, today I’m posting from an earlier part of the trip, the Oregon part. One of my best friends tied the knot on the Oregon coast and this wallpaper is from the beach she married on. She grew up visiting this coast and while we were students are Rhode Island School of Design together her thesis was a collection of images from beaches inspired by (and including) this same beach where she married. If I could find some of her work from RISD I would post it. Her images were unbelievable. But she decided to shoot only for recreation only after collage and now works as the image buyer for Adidas. Maybe seeing this post will convince her to at least put some of her images online somewhere. Even if it’s just a Flickr account. I’d love to share with you her version of the beach, but until then, enjoy mine.
It seems when I am going to travel somewhere my schedule fills up completely before and after the trip. This, I’m sure, has nothing to do with me calling and warning clients I’ll be going away and so if they want images before I travel to schedule asap (note my cyber sarcasm). So everything went on hold while I busted my butt photographing everything possible. Then off I went to Phoenix, Oregon, and Kentucky. It’s a really nice time of year to get away from Miami, where it is brutally hot. But, in true Miami style, I was welcomed back by Tropical Storm Isaac.
So I’ve got nothing to do but sit down and write. Actually write a blog post. I couldn’t leave the house if I wanted to and shooting from in here to out there would look about the same as shooting a grey card at the moment (get it, because of all the rain? It’s not a white out like in a snow storm, it’s a grey out… like in a rain storm…. oh never-mind).
Truth be told, I didn’t take too many pictures while I was traveling. But in Kentucky, I couldn’t resist documenting our “Fishing & Shooting” day. Yes, a day where you drink beer, fish and then drink more beer and shoot. It took a lot of convincing to make me stop shooting my camera and try my aim at the guns, I’m not really into firing guns. I have no problem personally with them but (and this is really girly of me) we had a wedding 3 days later and the last thing I wanted was a bruised shoulder with my pretty little dress. I know, such a girl. Alas, I did fire a few rounds, I believe hitting mark (clay pigeons, not anything alive) a few times. I actually re-applied some of the gun aiming technique to my camera shooting in low light and found it really worked. It was a pleasant surprise. Here are some of my favorite shots of the day.
(2018 Edit: I took this gallery down because looking back on it years later, it was a little bit embarrassing! Luckily, my photography skills have significantly improved!)