My DSLR Anniversary Post

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April marks my one year anniversary as a DSLR photographer. This post is both a celebration and a thank you card.

I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the many talented members of The Café who have given me an unbelievable amount of encouragement and support. I'm both proud and honored to be a contributing member here. Regardless of comments about natural ability or having "the eye" I know, without a doubt, that I wouldn't be taking photo's that please me nearly as much if I had never found this community and made friends with folks who have guided me, offered constructive criticism, let me in on PP tips and tricks and generally offered selfless help whenever possible.

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of collaborating with, not one, but two very talented Café members. Once again Woody (Czechman01) opened up his home and studio and was ringmaster for the main event.

Laura Johnston joined the forum as a contributing photographer after learning about the site while modeling for Woody. She is equally talented on both sides of the lens and brought an invaluable amount of artistic input to our shoot.

Laura also brought along her friend Tara. Like Laura, Tara is an incredibly beautiful and talented young women; she turned out to be a natural in front of the camera and was a large part of the creativity that flowed during this shoot. Great "find" Laura!

The energy and immense talent that these two brought to the shoot combined with the fact that this was my first shoot this year that wasn't constrained by a certain set of self-prescribed rules (The Hollywood shoots) resulted in photo's that are, for me, my best ever.

Thanks to Woody "learn to see the light" Vondracek my friend and mentor....as always........the beautiful Tara Sova (talk about a great industry name!) and the incredibly talented and stunning Laura Johnston. And last, but not least we worked with an MUA/Stylist that we had not used before, but whose creative input impressed me greatly.....Elaine Harrison.

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Wow, I think this takes you to a new level man... It's funny you mention "seeing the light" because it's clearly made a difference in your photos.

These are beyond anything you've done before and while the models are obviously beautiful :wink: the lighting in these is what makes the difference for me. I'm not a fan of the crazy hair and funky makeup, but these are inspiring... no less.
 
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Stuart, there are a few people on this forum whose posts I really look forward to and I must say that you are one of them. Your talent has grown exponentially in such a short period of time and the images you post here are incredibly stunning. Keep up the good work my friend and keep sharing your talent with us.
 
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The first shot is intriguing and really brings out the beauty of Tara. Love the use of DOF in that shot and of course the beautiful and talented Laura in the background doesn't hurt at all either. Laura's pouty look in #2 showcases her talent and while it breaks the unwritten rule about the whites of the eyes showing under the pupil she pulls it off nicely. Love your setup shot in #3 and of course we can never see too much of Laura in #4.
 
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Congratulations and thank you for your posts!! Your work is truly an inspiration for the amateurs (like me) and pros here, and I know I appreciate the wealth of talent you have shared with us (ME) during my time here.

Oh, by the way, these shots are awesome, and Laura, Tara and Eileen seemed like they were a joy to work with!!
 
J

jasonlawton

Guest
I come on here to check your work out also. I like your photography and yet another great set of images. Keep up the encouraging posts

Jase:smile:
 
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Wow! Your work is even more amazing knowing how short your learning curve was! I will be happy for a learning curve three times as long if it gets me to the same results. :smile:
 
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One year, only?

I'm impressed Stuart. I've seen some incredible photos from you that made me believe you did this already for years. With that much talent I'm curious what you'll have for us in the second year... :smile:
 
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I really have anjoyed watching you grow as a photographer Stuart. You enthusiam and spirit are contagious. keep up the great work..
Thank you Eric. Support and encouragement from friends like you have made all the difference!

Beautiful as usual Stuart. Great to see Laura again as well, love the last one especially - WOW perspective!
Thanks Frits. The perspective on #4 flipped me out when it popped up in Aperture. I really didn't even remember taking that shot. It has a kind of animalistic quality to it that I really dig.
I'd like to be able to say that all of this stuff is carefully planned and expertly executed, but that just isn't the case. More like a lucky accident.

Wow, I think this takes you to a new level man... It's funny you mention "seeing the light" because it's clearly made a difference in your photos.

These are beyond anything you've done before and while the models are obviously beautiful :wink: the lighting in these is what makes the difference for me. I'm not a fan of the crazy hair and funky makeup, but these are inspiring... no less.
Brian.....whether shooting natural light of studio light I think "seeing the light" is absolutely *the* key to getting the right feel for an image. This is something Woody has been preaching from day one and I've kept it in mind when shooting, but this was the first shoot where it was like a light bulb went off. I saw a certain lighting scenario and thought......"man.....that's *it".
For the Hollywood shoots I knew exactly what I wanted, but seemed to struggle to actually make it happen in the studio. Even though I am happy at the way those sessions turned out overall I have to say that forcing something doesn't seem to work as well for me!:smile:
Thanks!

Stuart, there are a few people on this forum whose posts I really look forward to and I must say that you are one of them. Your talent has grown exponentially in such a short period of time and the images you post here are incredibly stunning. Keep up the good work my friend and keep sharing your talent with us.
SJ,
That is very kind of you to say. It truly is supportive comments like yours that make such a difference in my energy and enthusiasm and one of the main reasons that I invest so much time in to trying to improve and continue to take it to the next level.
Thanks!
 
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The first shot is intriguing and really brings out the beauty of Tara. Love the use of DOF in that shot and of course the beautiful and talented Laura in the background doesn't hurt at all either. Laura's pouty look in #2 showcases her talent and while it breaks the unwritten rule about the whites of the eyes showing under the pupil she pulls it off nicely. Love your setup shot in #3 and of course we can never see too much of Laura in #4.
Gordon,
Both Laura and Tara and just wonderful people and are a joy to work with. It's amazing what a difference that makes in terms of, not only the overall quality of the work, but also the fun factor!

Thanks!

Congratulations and thank you for your posts!! Your work is truly an inspiration for the amateurs (like me) and pros here, and I know I appreciate the wealth of talent you have shared with us (ME) during my time here.

Oh, by the way, these shots are awesome, and Laura, Tara and Eileen seemed like they were a joy to work with!!
Keith......man, I really appreciate that, but keep in mind that I'm an amateur too.:smile: I've been fortunate to have had a lot of help and to have been able to work with a lot of folks that really help me look good.

Laura, Tara and Eileen are classic examples of surrounding yourself with talented people who ultimately make you, the photographer, look good.

Having Woody in the room never hurts either!:smile:

Thanks Keith!

I come on here to check your work out also. I like your photography and yet another great set of images. Keep up the encouraging posts

Jase:smile:
Hey Jason! Thanks for the kind comments. I greatly appreciate them. It's always encouraging to know someone likes my photo's enough to seek them out!!

Wow! Your work is even more amazing knowing how short your learning curve was! I will be happy for a learning curve three times as long if it gets me to the same results. :smile:
:biggrin: Thanks Anthony!

One year, only?

I'm impressed Stuart. I've seen some incredible photos from you that made me believe you did this already for years. With that much talent I'm curious what you'll have for us in the second year... :smile:
I've been interested in photography for many years. I started shooting a Pentax ME Super film camera that I got for Christmas when I was 15. I did some PJ work for my high school yearbook and took a class my senior year to learn to develop and print my own film, but basically lost interest when I entered college and other things took priority. I really got the bug again about a year ago and started doing research in to DSLR cameras. I'm glad I went with Nikon....otherwise I may have never found this place!
Thanks Daniel.
 
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Happy Anniversary my friend! :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

It is MY priveledge and MY honour to know you, firstly as a friend, and secondly as a photographer over the last year.

Your friendship and encouragement mean more to me than you will ever know. :redface: :redface: :redface:


Oh yeah.......... the photographs aren't that bad either! :eek: :eek: :eek:

Beautiful, exciting in your face images!


G :cool: :cool: :cool:
 
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Happy Anniversary my friend! :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

It is MY priveledge and MY honour to know you, firstly as a friend, and secondly as a photographer over the last year.

Your friendship and encouragement mean more to me than you will ever know. :redface: :redface: :redface:


Oh yeah.......... the photographs aren't that bad either! :eek: :eek: :eek:

Beautiful, exciting in your face images!


G :cool: :cool: :cool:
Hey Graeme......well you have certainly been an encouraging element and a huge inspiration with your wonderful NL portraits. Nice to have friends like you!
Glad you liked the photo's!:smile:

Excellent, excellent catch lights.

regards,

Paul.
Thank you Paul!
 
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Stuart, these are absolutely wonderful...I love each of them, and you must post more.

I have also enjoyed seeing you here...I'm coming up on my 1-year anniversary (May), so I think I'll do something like your post...

Great idea, and thanks for your stunning posts...
 
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Congratulations Stuart. Your images of Laura are excellent - the thing is they are so not Woody. I guess what I'm trying to say is that even in the presence of such a brilliant photographer like Woody your unique style shines through.

Thank you for all your encouragement, mentoring, troubleshooting, your pointed and extensive critiques, your PM advice, and your guidance. You inspire me nearly every day. I am so glad you are part of this wonderful site, and think all would agree that we are darn lucky to have you here.

Fred
 
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Congratulations Stuart. Your images of Laura are excellent - the thing is they are so not Woody. I guess what I'm trying to say is that even in the presence of such a brilliant photographer like Woody your unique style shines through.Fred
Thanks for saying this Fred because it's the same way I feel and the reason I enjoy working with Stuart. He doesn't follow me around doing what I do, he's following his creative instincts and thinking for himself. AND... he's so good he's making ME a better photographer!

Yea, Stu's made a lot of progress in the last year and yes, he's shown a lot of progress since we've been working together... BUT if you look ay MY WORK since we've been shooting together I think you'll agree that my work has improved.

That's why Stu and I shoot together... we feed off each other's energy. We're both very competitive, creative, anal retentive individuals but in a healthy way. He's got his thing and I've got mine and when the shoot's over we talk about what we did well and what we didn't.

This is no longer a mentor/mentee thing. This is a very healthy collaboration... IMO anyway. :wink:
 

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