Be ’12 — June

Yes, I totally bombed the May Be ’12. The planned shoot didn’t happen. The rest of the month was booked. Bummer.

"RedOakCoveredBridge-0075", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

“RedOakCoveredBridge-0075”, copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

June Be ’12 fared a bit better, but due to a crazy busy schedule, I didn’t get anything posted in a timely manner. I spent some time evaluating things in my life, realizing I was spending far too much time wadded in a knot about things that just weren’t worth it and not nearly enough time doing things I love. I took action about some of those things, and refocused my direction toward things that are more important. Among them, my photography. It’s what I love. It is a true passion. Working on my art fulfills me in ways little else does.

"RedOakCoveredBridge-0041", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

“RedOakCoveredBridge-0041”, copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

Currently I am spending a good bit of my free time working on my July Be ’12 / personal project. I will share some of those details and pic’s later this month, if I am able. Since it is also a project in progress,  I may not be able to post much about it until it’s completion. (Don’t you love when people say enough to let you know something is up, but not enough for you figure it out? <insert evil giggle>)

"RedOakCoveredBridge-0059", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

“RedOakCoveredBridge-0059”, copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

So here are a few images from June at the Red Oak Covered Bridge in Meriwether County. We had to try twice for this shoot. The first day we didn’t get going early enough. Just as I got my equipment ready and was setting up the tripod, a couple of Harley’s drove up. I thought, ok – while they visit I have a bit more time to get set up, scope out some shots, no problem. A while later, as they prepared to leave, I began moving into place … and here come four more. So I decided to pack up and try again another day. The next week, we did rise much earlier. We were nearly finished before the first visitors arrived, and I was able to work around them to finish up.  I’ve included a couple of images that have an interesting detail. Do you see it?

"RedOakCoveredBridge-0023", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

“RedOakCoveredBridge-0023”, copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

"RedOakCoveredBridge-0069", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

“RedOakCoveredBridge-0069”, copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

"RedOakCoveredBridge-0071", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

“RedOakCoveredBridge-0071”, copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

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Published in: on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 11:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Be ’12 — April

20120428-JohnstonvilleGA-002", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

20120428-JohnstonvilleGA-002″, copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

So, April didn’t pan out for me very well at all, at least where making pictures is concerned. The shoot I had planned was to take place on the way home from a two-hour meeting west of here. Unfortunately, the two-hour meeting lasted over seven hours, I gained a few passengers for the ride home, and the whole plan just disintegrated. Roy took me out later in the month, and we had a good time and discovered some interesting local history. I made some good images, but not what I had imagined for the April B ’12.

"20120428-JohnstonvilleGA-012", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

“20120428-JohnstonvilleGA-012”, copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

"20120428-JohnstonvilleGA-012", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

“20120428-JohnstonvilleGA-012”, copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

We visited Johnstonville GA, which has an interesting history, including a State Historical Marker about it being the first county seat in Monroe County (it is now in Lamar County). This brick building, and a restored schoolhouse, are all that is left of the town.

"20120428-SandyCreekCemeteryButtsCoGA-005", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

“20120428-SandyCreekCemeteryButtsCoGA-005”, copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

"20120428-SandyCreekCemeteryButtsCoGA-010", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

“20120428-SandyCreekCemeteryButtsCoGA-010”, copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

We also found a very old cemetery near Barnesville, the Sandy Creek Cemetery. It has graves from the 1700’s, many that were marked only by a rock, and many that were unmarked. Most interesting, it has graves from all the wars, including the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, War Between the States, WW1 and WW2. We talked to a young man who was volunteering his time to maintain the area. Although we did not see every bit of the cemetery, he confirmed there were soldiers from every war there. It was an awesome find in this rural area, and definitely someplace we will return.

May is shaping up to be a bit of a let down too. After last year’s project, and making images every week, it is ironic to me that this year is proving to be so challenging. I’m afraid my over-commitments are showing, and beginning to take their toll.

Friday night, Roy and I went to Zack Arias‘ studio for a medium format night. Zack had arranged with Capture Integration (CI) to set up different sets and bring a wide variety of medium format (MF) cameras for us to use. I am SO glad I attended! I have zero experience with MF. Back in my film days, I always thought of it as a pie-in-the-sky dream that maybe someday I could pick up a used system. After I came back to photography and made the leap to digital, it became an impossibility, something I’d never own or get to do, simply because of the price and inexperience. I was apprehensive about going to the event, being in a crowd so far out of my league, being around so many people I didn’t know. But it was really great! Zack is a truly amazing guy, as well as photographer. His wife, Meghan Arias, is an amazing artist, with whom I connected immediately. We became fast friends and I can’t wait to get together again sometime. The people from CI were unbelievably kind, knowledgeable and helpful. I shot my first MF camera. I shot with a $50,000 camera set up. The images are unbelievable in their depth and clarity. (Yes, I was able to keep the images I wanted to.) The detail when magnified is exponentially better than DSLR. What I came away with is that MF is no longer an impossibility. Yeah, I may never be financially able to own one, but I wouldn’t hesitate now to rent one for a vacation or special reason. I discovered “I can do this”.

And it felt good.

Blessings!

Shannon \o/

Published in: on Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Be ’12

2012 is well underway and is shaping up to be as busy as ever. I had a hard time deciding on a project for 2012. I have an ongoing personal project, but it is not particularly intensive. I wanted my main project for 2012 to be challenging, yet doable, without the stress I incurred with my short deadlines last year. (I don’t know how people who have a full time job and family *ever* finish a 365 project!)

Announcing Be ’12! Be Creative~Be Intentional~

The Challenge: For each month in 2012, plan an intentional creative photo shoot. Pick a date. Pick a location. Plan what you want to accomplish on the shoot. Post your best photos.

Why participate? As non-full-time photographers, it’s easy to let your creativity languish. There always seems to be something more pressing to do. By accepting the challenge, you will make creativity, enhancing skill, and creating work an intentionally planned part of your calendar.

Q & A:

What if I don’t have a blog?

You can post to Facebook, Flickr, or some other social-type place. If you don’t have a blog and want to start one, Be ’12 is a great reason to! There are many great, free blog hosting sites. I have found WordPress (this site’s host) and Blogger to be nicely user-friendly.

How does having a project make me a better photographer?

It gets your eye behind the lens. One of the best ways to improve your photog skills is to simply shoot. You learn your gear. The more you use your gear, the more familiar you will become with it. You will learn what works best for the style and type of work you do.

Can I use a client shoot for the project?

You can if you wish but I would strongly encourage you to use this year’s project as a way to push yourself creatively. I plan to have client work this year, but I’m planning to do the creative work for me. My planned January shoot is going to be at the workshop. There should be a model, and I’ll be traveling to a part of Atlanta I haven’t been to before.

How did your project last year help you?

Most importantly, I learned to always have my camera with me. I can’t make the image if I don’t have the gear 🙂
I learned to “see” images. Everywhere I go, I see images I could make. Often I don’t get to actually stop and make the shot, but I’ve learned to look at things differently.
I know my gear better than ever. And that means I also know there is a huge amount I still don’t know. I’m going to attend a 101 workshop next week hosted by a friend of mine–just hitting on the basics again will help me reinforce the foundational knowledge.
I saw a marked improvement in my images by year’s end. Just getting out there and shooting cause my work to get better and better. I have some great work to show potential clients.
I also learned discipline–making the images, post processing, posting weekly. It was a commitment to my work and to myself.

If you decide to participate in Be ’12, leave a comment (or email me) so I can follow you. Let’s see who we can be in 2012!

"Sunset Clouds", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

"Sunset Clouds", copyright 2012 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

Published in: on Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

52-’11 / Week Fifty-Two / December 25 — December 31 … The End

This is absolutely the hardest post of them all. Partly because it’s the last one of the 52-’11 Project. Can you believe I did it??

It was the hardest mostly because I am soooo uncomfortable on this side of the camera! I decided a couple of weeks ago that I wanted my last image for the project to be a self-portrait. Way outside my comfort zone! Due to a technology impasse, I had to bring along my VAT (Voice Activated Timer, aka Roy :-)) to snap the shutter for me. Definitely a challenge to set everything up for the photo, then try to explain from the wrong side of in front of the camera the adjustments I thought were needed. Great learning experience for us both!

It’s a bittersweet end. I have learned so much! From “bring the camera everywhere I go” to a better understanding of the art. Fun. Stressful. Satisfying on the good weeks, not so much on the difficult weeks. I’d encourage everyone to try a self-challenging project. Find one that suits where you are in your craft, and in your life. Make it your own. If you’re up for it, join me in 2012.

"Me", copyright 2011 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

"Me", copyright 2011 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

(Watch for an announcement of my 2012 project. Even though I had no takers last year, you are invited to join me on a new goal/project for 2012 :-)

God Bless every one of you who have followed along or offered encouragement.

Published in: on Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

52-’11 / Week Forty-Six / November 13 – November 19

This week’s image is from a wedding shoot. Somewhat stressful because it was last minute, incredibly special because it made me a (step)mother-in-law. Nathan is Roy’s 2nd son and the first of our children to marry. His wife is a beautiful and lovable Polish (yay!) girl. The wedding was in Savannah GA on a gorgeous fall day. This in one of my favorite images. The joy of the day is evident on both of their faces. 🙂 Congratulations Nathan and Simone! We love you very much!

"Simone and Nathan", copyright 2011 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

"Simone and Nathan", copyright 2011 Shannon M Herren, All Rights Reserved

Published in: on Monday, November 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment