How time flies when you’re busy! Here I am wondering not only where December has gone, but where all of 2006 has gone! What a great year it’s been.
Winter is officially here in Salt Lake. The air is crisp, the days are shorter, and—most importantly—the ski season is in full swing. I’ve yet to get into full photographer mode for skiing quite yet, as I still need to get my early season powder fix (quite possibly my biggest weakness), which brings me to my point: if you want to be a photographer, you must be committed to being a photographer. Everything else is secondary. Warmth is secondary. Comfort is secondary. Sleep is secondary. Time is secondary (if that makes sense). At times, fun might be secondary—although I think any shooting experience can be fun.
I say this because there are too many photographers who are on the cuff. Many people go skiing and take some pictures while they’re up there, but how many go skiing TO TAKE PICTURES. There is a very limited number who do. That’s why professional photographers are exactly that—professional. Does a businessman come into the office to watch a couple movies and maybe get some work in? If you want to get serious about photography, commit your time and efforts to it when you go out. This doesn’t mean you have to be some straight-faced, no-nonsense type of person—but it does mean you have to have a serious idea of the photographic goals you’d like to accomplish for that particular day.
Luckily, photography is a profession that allows us to have fun and be “professional” at the same time. It’s most important to keep a solid balance between the two, and make sure to get work done when work needs to be done. FYI—this was more a confession/diary monologue of sorts than anything else. I feel as though I need to recommit myself to that which I love most (well almost most—see pics for explanation!). Happy Holidays!
With the arrival of my son (our first!) just around the corner, I’ve been inspired (and asked by my lovely wife!) to approach some new areas of photography previously shunned like the plague. All in all–it has been a great experience. I’ve found that anything is possible if you’re willing to throw caution to the wind and get outside your comfort zone.
I’ve been shooting some classic “belly” shots of my wife for remembering’s sake. I’d never shot anything like this before, and in general–I’m not a huge people person as far as photography goes. I feel as though I don’t have the proper training and background. I often compare it to skiing–skiing powder is so different than skiing moguls or groomers. But while technique for skiing each particular condition may be different, the fundamentals are all still the same.
So I decided to check out several websites with maternity pics and see what I could learn. The web is such a useful tool for research these days. It’s so easy to go online and look at hundreds of images in just minutes. Use it!! Don’t use it for plagiarism purposes, but use it to get the brain juices flowing. It never hurts to get an idea of what others that know what they’re doing–are actually doing!
To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I just relied on my knowledge obtained from all the stuff I’ve shot in previous years–and found that much of it applied here as well. Lighting is crucial, depth of field is key, and composition will make or break the shot! I grabbed my tripod and a utility light (the type with the cage that hangs from the ceiling) and used our wall as a background. It’s painted a neutral tope color, so it worked alright. I taped a piece of tan wrapping paper across the light to soften it up a bit and just started going to work. Plug in the cable release and set up the camera timer and VOILA!!
By no means am I ready to open my own studio (nor do I necessarily hope to go that direction), but I was pleasantly surprised with how things turned out that night. Don’t be afraid to try something new, you just might surprise yourself!
Wow—another week away from Utah and I’m ready to stick around for a while. Stops on this whirlwind business/pleasure trip included NYC, Boston, Lake Winnipesaukee and Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
I was super stoked to be able to get to Boothbay. For some reason, I’ve been wanting to get to Maine for some time. So many cool images to be made there. While the weather didn’t fully cooperate, I did come away with some great stuff. How could you not in a place that quaint, cozy and beautiful? Lighthouses and miles of rugged coastline provide endless shooting options. One thing’s for certain—if you’re going to shoot (or do anything for that matter) in Maine, be prepared for rain. I learned first-hand how difficult it is to set up shots while trying to adjust the tripod, hold the umbrella, and keep my camera dry. Stinging wind and sea spray were just salt in the wound. Where’s my assistant!?! Riiiight…..
Weather, however is such a key player in making beautiful images. In fact—shooting in good weather—i.e. searing sunshine—is quite often the worst photographing weather around. My point is, if you want to make lasting, dynamic images, be prepared for weather. A good photographer doesn’t necessarily have to welcome diverse weather, but he/she will always find a way to produce keepers—rain or shine.
When confronted with flat lighting conditions, look for scenes with rich tonal contrasts. These scenes will translate into great black and white images. After shooting more and more in B/W, you’ll learn to view scenes in tones instead of colors. I’m definitely still working on it…now you should too!
Until next blog—cheers!
It’s fall in the Wasatch, and that means breathtaking images, 24-7. Well—almost 24-7. There’s no time that makes me want to be a full time photog more than fall—it’s just so beautiful, so unpredictable, and so easy to make awesome photos.
We had a strong cold front move through the area last weekend, and with it came the first snow of the season. Booyeah! Not only does it get me excited for skiing, it makes for amazing images. After getting lost in Wasatch Mtn. State Park at 5:30 am, I managed to work my way down to a spot overlooking Deer Creek Reservoir. Green farmland, whispy fog and fading storm clouds made for an engaging sunrise shoot. As is frequently the case, I was overcome with the beauty of this area! As the clouds turned bright pink with the rising sun, I was glad to have my Grad ND filter. As I’ve mentioned before, this could be the single most helpful tool in capturing heartstopping images. It allows you to capture detail in the foreground AND detail and color in the sky—which was really the focal point of this image with the pink clouds. If you are serious about scenic photography, and don’t own one—go out and get one now.
The greatest thing about fall is the opportunity to shoot all day long. Not just confined to sunrise and sunset, you can search the forest floors for pleasant “isolated landscapes” in open shade. Fallen leaves, early morning frost, or rushing streams or rivers lined by fall foliage all make for dynamic images. When mid-day approaches and the light gets more harsh, look for backlighting. Aspens literally turn neon with the sun behind them. Make sure to take a polarizer with you, as it helps to reduce glare and intensify colors—making golds and reds pop against a deep blue sky.
If you can’t manage to get to a location with the classic sprawling landscape composition, screw on a macro lens and take a walk through a park or a mountain trail. There are countless isolated scenics waiting for a creative eye. Happy fall shooting!
Wow! These last few weeks have been a whirlwind of early mornings and late evenings. I’ve managed to take some time off from remodeling my house to get out and get some quality time behind the lens.
The wildflowers up in Albion Basin are pretty much at their peak right now (if not slightly beyond). Regardless of how many times I go up there, it’s still a wonderfully serene experience–not to mention ridiculously beautiful. I always manage to see some great wildlife–especially moose. I was fortunate to stumble upon a group of four bull moose one evening. Sweet! Needless to say, it was a chore fitting all of them into one frame–I think the best I got was three. It’s important not to forget compositional elements when shooting wildlife. Occasionally, I’ll just shoot a straight-up head shot, or “documentary” wildlife shot–if it’s a spectacular animal. But you can make your wildlife images so much better if you simply take care to include other compositional elements. Pick a part of the animal to emphasize, include blurred foreground elements, or try to get down low or up high for a different perspective.
While not as prolific as last year, the wildflowers in Albion Basion are still a “smorgasbord” of color, shape and texture. I’ve found the best time to shoot the wildflowers is dawn or dusk–preferrably just before the sun rises or just after it sets. Light overcast days also provide spectacular soft, diffused, even lighting for the flowers as well. I took a bit of a different approach to Albion Basion this year, and tried to wander off the beaten path. While I did make a number of “iconic” Devil’s Castle wildlfower images, I had a blast finding new and undiscovered spots.
I just recently did a mountain biking shoot for Solitude Mtn. Resort. That place is awesome–and definitely lives up to its name. On the trail at 7:30 am, it was great to be back on my bike–not so great to be hauling my 25 lb. camera pack–but nice to breathe fresh air just the same. I was experimenting with some cool blur shots, and different angles as well. Solitude’s singletrack bodes well to finding new angles and opportunities for unique action shots.
Lastly–I’ve been putting a newly purchased macro lens (Sigma 150mm 2.8) to the test and it is awesome! I was tentative in purchasing anything other than Canon “L” series glass, but I am super impressed with this lens. I’ve only had one opportunity to test it out so far, but its image quality absolutely blew me away. Color, contrast and clarity are off the charts–rivaling my Canon L series lenses for sure.
Thanks for reading!
Well here I am–nearly two months after my last post. It’s unbelievable how quick time flies when you’re busy. Fortunately–some of the last 6 weeks have been spent behind the lens. I’ve had opportunity to travel to Southern Utah as well as go back east. Sweet! I’ve been wanting to get some skyline shots of NYC for some time now. I had a perfect evening (albeit ridiculously humid), and made several quality images–the best being right at dusk–or twilight.
For all the aspiring photogs out there that may or may not read this, dusk is an awesome time to shoot. This is the time where the sky registers a deep blue (almost purple at times) and the city lights glow a warm yellow. There’s still enough light out to keep detail in the shadows, and the sky is not completely black. For those of you that put the camera away when the sun goes down–don’t!! Many photographers refer to this time as the “magic hour”–and it can last anywhere from 20 minutes, to over an hour.
As you browse my images on, you’ll no doubt notice the importance that light plays in each individual photo. It’s interesting that one of the greatest times to shoot is when the light is waning. I made several images both before and after this favorite, and neither was as good as the image made at dusk. The sunset was lackluster at best, and soon after dusk, the sky grew dark, leaving me with a lifeless black canvas.
You’ll also find that, in many instances–right before the sun comes up is an equally beneficial time to make awesome photographs. This shot near Lake Powell, UT was made about 20 minutes before sunrise.
Although there was no direct light on the foreground, I was able to register both sky and foreground as seen with a graduated ND filter. This is a scenic photographer’s best friend! Many photogs now choose to simply process the image in Photoshop for the sky and the foreground–call me a traditional, but I prefer to capture as true an image as possible–on site.
Here’s several other images from the past couple weeks. Enjoy!
I went down to Las Vegas for Memorial Day weekend and made sure to visit Valley of Fire State Park. Valley of Fire is located about 55 miles NE of Vegas. Just a short 40 minute drive or so and the strip malls and casinos are replaced with surreal redrock and multi-colored hoodoos. Being my first trip to VOF, I was excited to see what shooting opportunities awaited me. Needless to say, I felt the usual anticipation of visiting a new area–wondering if I’d be able to produce some solid images from what little time I had to spend there.
No more than 30 seconds from the park entrance, we rounded a bend and I couldn’t hold the smiles in. Vibrant redrock stood delicately balanced against a grey desert backdrop–creating the stark contrast I was hoping for. I just had to get out and shoot. This was the first of several stops, but by far the most scenic was Rainbow Vista. This scenic overlook provides a stunning panorama of VOF, stretching for miles into the distance. Mounds of pink, orange and yellow sandstone rose like soldiers marching in the distance. The sun was getting low in the sky, and the side lighting was awesome for capturing the texture and shape of these “soldiers”.
Despite my unfamiliarity with the surroundings, the outing was a success and I feel as though I came away with some decent desert scenics. Desert shooting is a new experience for me–one that I hope to repeat often. It’s amazing how many “microscapes” there are in VOF. I would love to spend more time out there. Enjoy the images!
Hello! And thanks for visiting Adam Barker Photography. What you see on these pages is the realization of one of my life’s greatest dreams–to share my love of nature and the outdoors through my photography with anyone willing. Please check this site often–it is constantly evolving. I will frequently be placing new imagery up and posting about my photographic adventures and endeavors and would love to share them all with you.
Please feel free to visit the contact page and drop me a line with any comments you might have, or just to say “hello”. In the meantime, I’ll be busy skiing what snow is left (and there is plenty–btw), waiting for the PMD hatch to start coming off the Provo River, and toting my camera along to catch all the action. The next scenic “masterpiece” opportunity comes with the wildflowers of Albion Basin and other locations in the Wasatch. Sweet!