New York City Photoshoot

 

Leaving New York City via the Brooklyn Bridge

 

By David Morefield

Recently, I received an invitation from a good friend of mine at Casual Films to come to New York City and shoot the town. Given the timing of the invitation, I decided to take my son and make it a father-son trip.

This was my son’s first time to visit New York City and it was exciting to experience the excitement with him. Aside from being a photography trip, this was also a chance for the two of us to hang out and bond. Earlier this year, the two of us had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. and we greatly enjoyed that trip as well. In the future, I would like to go other places with my son, as he is a great travel companion.

We stayed out very late at night and we were blessed to have mild weather while we were in New York City. Normally, it is cold enough to expect snow, but during our trip, it stayed in the 40’s which was absolutely perfect.

Before we left, I purchased tickets to the Empire State Building and paid extra for the Express tickets. We found out later that this probably saved us 5-6 hours of standing in line at the Empire State Building. If you are travelling to New York City, you have to visit the Empire State Building and I would strongly suggest that you buy the express tickets in order to save precious time. You can buy them here.

When travelling to a destination where I am going to shoot, I do research in advance and make a list of locations that I want to go to. I plan to go more in depth about how to plan for a photography trip, but to be brief, I prefer to have a list of enough places that I cannot make all of them. This way, if I arrive and there is construction or some reason that I cannot shoot, I have other places that I can immediately go to instead of having to stop and do research.

My son enjoyed the research prior to our trip and I put him in charge of navigation. It was very fulfilling to say, “Son, plot me a course to Grand Central Station” and then see him tell me exactly how we would go using the subway system. It was a great opportunity to see him take charge in a big city like New York City.

We are both looking forward to the next time that we are able to go someplace and shoot.

Triptych Prints Now Available at Fluffyshotme Photography

Triptych Prints now Available

By David Morefield

 An Exciting announcement about Triptych Prints

Recently, I have received inquiries about offering Triptych prints. I have read your requests and I am responding by providing some triptychs for sale in my gallery.

If there is a print that I have in my gallery that is not currently available in my Triptych Prints gallery, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will see if I can accommodate your request.

At this time, I do not have a way of grouping Triptych Prints in such a way that you purchase the set in one click, so please be aware that you will need to purchase all three prints in the same size and media in order to complete the Triptych.

I can offer Horizontal and Vertical Triptych Prints, but my plan moving forward to continue to make triptychs available upon request of my clients.

5 Tips for Planning a Photography Trip

Flatiron Building at Night in New York City

By David Morefield

 1. Make a List of Locations to shoot on your Photography Trip

When planning a photography trip, I like to make a list of locations (complete with addresses) that I would like to shoot in advance of my trip. This saves time and eliminates downtime. If you only have a couple of days to visit somewhere, you want to know in advance of some places that you would like to shoot in order to maximize your time. Of course, along the way you will likely find things that you also want to shoot and that is what makes a photography trip exciting. You may leave thinking you will get one thing and by the time you are back home, you found a gem along the way. The picture above is a great example of something that I did not plan to shoot, but the opportunity presented itself and I am glad that I took the time to shoot.

2. Research the locations that you have selected for your Photography Trip

When travelling to a location to shoot, it is wise to research in advance in order to find out if they rules regarding photography. For instance, Grand Central Station in New York City requires that you get a permit in order to shoot inside using a tripod. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time in advance of my trip to New York City to get a permit, so I was not able to get the shots that I wanted. Of course, when I return to New York City, I will apply well in advance so that I can get a permit.

Another example on my recent trip to New York City was the Empire States Building. They do not allow professional cameras on the observation deck, so I borrowed a mirrorless camera to take with me so that I could get some nice shots to stitch into a panorama.

The bottom line is that you want to identify obstacles in advance, if possible, so that you can avoid unnecessary delays. Time is precious on a photography trip.

Street Vendor in New York City

 

3. Remain flexible on your Photography Trip

I would advise against trying to plan every moment of every day on a photography trip. Part of the adventure for me is going some place and discovering things to shoot along the way. Your list of locations is a great blueprint for where you want to go, but keep your eyes peeled for opportunities along the way. The picture above is of a street vendor that I found near Rockefeller Center.

Kind of funny, but something that I got in a fortune cookie has stuck with me, “Be like the bamboo tree, sway with the wind but keep strong roots.”

 4. Ask Permission to Shoot at Locations that you Stumble Across on a Photography Trip

Barber ShopI was staying my friend’s apartment in Manhattan recently and just down a few blocks away there was a very cool Barber Shop. The men running the shop were outside opening up one morning and I stopped to speak with them about shooting inside of their Barber Shop. Not only did they agree, but they were very friendly and inviting.

 

This is one of the aspects of a photography trip that I really enjoy – meeting people along the way and hearing of their stories. If you are ever in need of a haircut in New York City and want to go to a really cool place, then I would suggest that you visit the Blind Barber in East Village and ask for Robert.

Robert is a second generation Barber and provides a classical Barber experience in a very trendy neighborhood. they even have a speakeasy in the back, so you can get a shave, trim and then a drink; what a great idea!

5. Keep a Journal on your Photography Trip

Something that I enjoy is keeping a journal of my travels. This not only helps me write on my blog later, but it provides personal enjoyment when I go back and read my notes about my trip. Coupled with the pictures that I take on the trip, the Journal brings back memories of the sights, smells and the emotions that I felt on the trip.

During my trip to Washington D.C. with my son, I wrote about how proud I was of him for knowing so much about history. My son is a huge history buff and schooled me a few times at some of the locations that we visited. I love history, but admittedly, he is more advanced in some areas. It was very fulfilling to sit back and listen to him tell me about places; he is only 15 years old. Yes, I am a proud father.

When I read back through my journal, it’s like I am right back in Washington D.C. with my son having a great time and I am able to reflect on his accomplishments, our trip and it helps me extract details that I will use later when keywording my pictures for sale or writing their descriptions.

How did you Learn Lightroom?

Vietnam Wall

By David Morefield

One of the most common questions that I get asked by beginning photographers is, “What do you use to edit your photos?” I use Lightroom and Photoshop. The best way that I can explain the difference is that Lightroom is my General Practitioner and Photoshop is like a specialist; I really only go to Photoshop when I need to perform major surgery.

Of course, the follow up question is, “How did you learn Lightroom?” Honestly, much of what I learned about editing from from a photographer in Paris named Serge Ramelli.

Serge Ramelli has some excellent YouTube videos that he has shared, but those are just introductions into what he teaches. In order to get the full benefit of his tutorials, you really need to purchase his tutorials. Not only does he do a good job of explaining what it is that he is doing, but he includes a copy of the photo that he is working on so that you can follow along and learn how he achieves those effects during post processing.

Of course, as a photographer, when you have a vision of what you want the end result to look like and you know what is needed in post-processing, you can better plan your shot when you are on location. I find that many times, I am walking backward through my shot starting with what I want as the end result and then it is up to me to capture what is necessary in order to produce that finished product.

Without a full understanding of Lightroom, I would not be able to connect the dots from what my vision is to what I take with my camera. This is where I believe Serge Ramelli’s tutorials will become a great tool and help you learn lightroom, I know that I learned a lot from them.

Follow the link below to check out his tutorials
PhotoSerge

My Trip to Washington DC

Vietnam Wall

  By David Morefield

Some of you may know that my son Caleb was pretty sick when he was in the eighth grade and because of that, he missed his class trip to Washington DC.  I have a good friend that told me that she would make sure that Caleb got to see Washington DC when he was healthy and after telling Caleb, he was no longer disappointed about missing his trip. I had no idea that she was not only going to make sure that Caleb got to see Washington DC, but she was going make him feel like a Rockstar!

It started with a flight on a private jet to Manassas, Virginia and then we went to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy near Dulles Airport. From there, we proceeded to our hotel and began our weekend of adventure. Caleb and I enjoyed museums by day and then at night, we walked through the city of Washington DC and took in all of the sights. Of course, being the diligent photographer, I took my bag of tricks with me so that I could bring back some great pictures of our Nation’s Capital.

Many of you know that I have very strong patriotic feelings about the United States of America; after all, I have traveled the world and there is no other place on this planet that I would rather live.  Along with my love for my country, I have a high level of respect for those who have served our country, both living and deceased. When I visit a place like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, I look at all of those names and recognize that each and everyone of those men or women had parents, friends and a future. Yet, they are immortalized on a wall because they went to a foreign country to take up arms when their Country asked them to go.

Iwo Jima Monument

Caleb and both stood in reverent silence as we both took in the magnitude of the monument. The following morning, we visited the Marine Corps War Memorial, aka The Iwo Jima Monument. We embraced the sun as it rose and I was able to get some great shot of the memorial with the city of Washington DC in the background. Once the sun was up, we took a walk to Arlington National Cemetery and I visited a couple of my friends who are interred there. Caleb and watched the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visited JFK’s burial plot. Caleb and I then headed to some museums along the Washington Mall and saw the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives Museum.

As we toured Washington DC, Caleb and I tried to take it all in in the three days that we were there.

In all, I think we got around nine hours of sleep in three days. Caleb and I had a great time in Washington DC and I even got some great pictures while I was there. This will be a trip that we will remember for a lifetime.

 

Treat’s Guide to Photography Terms

 

 By Treat by Shutterfly

Have you ever read a definition of some common photography terms that still gave you the feeling of “huh” afterwards? A definition that probably could have used an illustration to paint a better picture?

Well, the great folks over at the greeting card company Treat.com have too, so they decided to make an updated list of photography terms while also adding illustrations to definitions they thought could use some additional explanation.

Their resource includes a massive list of photography terms (around 500), almost 50 illustrations, some nice scroll functions, and an easy-to-read interface. It’s also an updated list with newer terms around digital photography that aren’t on some older lists found online.

Ready to get learning? Check out the glossary here.

 

A Note from David: Every once in a while, I come across something that is so well done concerning photography terms, that it’s better to simply recommend it to friends rather than try to reinvent the wheel. Many of you may be familiar with Treat.com’s parent company  Shutterfly.com . Once you understand these photography terms and their relationship to each other, you will be able to further understand the nuts and bolts of photography; ultimately making you a better photographer. The above was posted with permission of Treat.com. 

How to Disable Autoplay Videos on Facebook App with IOS 7

 By David Morefield

I have had a many of my friends asking me about why it is that they are getting warnings from their service providers about overusing their data plan. My first question is, “Do you have an iphone?” If yes, my next question is,  “Do you use the Facebook App on your phone?” It seems the answer is always a resounding yes.

The latest Facebook App uses an autoplay feature for videos that are posted in your newsfeed. This kind of bandwidth usage is sure to kill anyone’s mobile phone plan if they use Facebook a lot. To complicate the matter, when you go into the settings of the Facebook app, it seems that you cannot turn this feature off. The feature is not controlled by settings reached through the app, but through the settings on your iPhone.

Follow the following instructions and you will be able to disable autoplay videos on Facebook app.

1. Go to the Settings Menu on your Home Screen.

iphone-settings-icon

 

2. Scroll Down and select “Facebook” on the list

iPhone one

 

3. Selecting “Settings”

iPhone two

4. Disable Autoplay Videos on Facebook App by selecting “Off”

iPhone three

Now that you have solved the issue for your own phone, please share this with your friends using the buttons so that they too can save on their data charges. I am not sure why Facebook did this, but for those without unlimited data plans, this could get rather expensive very quickly.

5 Tips for Beginners in Landscape Photography

Sunrise at Steinhagen Reservoir

 

 By David Morefield

1. You do not have to live in some exotic location in order to produce great landscape photography that people will like and appreciate. Last year, I went to Israel and got some amazing shots. Yes, I have sold some of them, but my best selling print is of a location in Central Texas not far from where I live. Not sure where to go in your area? Hop in the car and go find something.

2. You do not have to have $12,000 of camera equipment in order to get great landscape photography shots. Currently, I am shooting the Nikon D7100, but I got started with the Nikon D5100. Learn to master what you have and enjoy shooting, don’t obsess on your camera envy. I was on a shoot once when a guy with a Nikon D800E and about $13,000 in glass walked up and asked me, “What settings are your shooting for the sunrise?” I asked him if he was shooting JPEG or RAW. He gave me a deer in the headlights look and I suggested that he keep it on Auto. You think buying a $300 pair of basketball shoes will make you into an NBA player? Just because someone has a bunch of equipment, it does not make them into a photographer.

3. Read the Manual to your Camera – Yes, I said read the instructions. You really should know all of the functions of your camera even if you do not plan to use all of them. You never know in Landscape photography, you may see something and have an “Ah, ha! Moment” where you quickly roll the dials and get a very special shot that you would have missed otherwise. Being that I like to shoot early in the morning or late at night, it is during those times as the light is changing, that I need to be quick to make adjustments before the light changes even more.

4. Shoot with other photographers. Not only is this generally good advice for just learning from one another, but you will make lifelong friends with the people that you go out and shoot with. I know that some of my favorite moments in the past years have been on photoshoots with friends.

5. If you are like me, the only expectations that you have to consistently meet are your own. I love the fact that I get to shoot what I want, when I want and how I want; it’s freedom. People will come to recognize this in your work and if they like it, they will will likely buy it. Learn from others, but develop your own unique style through experimentation.

My Letter to Jesse Ventura

 By David Morefield

I do not often use my site for a forum on political issues, but when it comes to our Country’s Veterans and their families, I believe in standing up for them; afterall, they stood for us. That said, I wanted to take an opportunity to write an open letter to former Gov. Jesse Ventura in hopes that he may read it. 

 

Open Letter to Former Governor Jesse Ventura

Dear Mr. Jesse Ventura,

Yesterday, you took anything positive that you have done in life and flushed that down the toilet, leaving an eternal legacy of being one of the biggest douchebags this Country has ever known.

If you think you are “clearing your name” by winning a $1.8M lawsuit against the widow of Chris Kyle, then you are sadly disillusioned. All you accomplished yesterday is causing further hurt for the grieving family of man who honorably served his Country. That family is not limited to the widow and children of Chris Kyle, but includes all of his brothers in arms and their families as well.

In pursuit of your own image, you have successfully alienated yourself from anyone who has ever served this Country by military or civilian service. Your actions are inexcusable and I hope that you will be treated as a leper wherever you may go. When you speak, I hope that others will continue about their way as if you are not even a frog’s fart passing in the wind. When you sit down for a meal, I hope that it will be in eternal solitude.

It has been said, “With age comes wisdom”, but you are the personification of the exception to this expression.

The action that you took yesterday was dishonorable and irreparable damage was done. You crossed a line and messed with an honorable man’s family. I hope that one day, you will issue a public apology to the Kyle family for the continued distress that you have caused them, even then it would not be enough for the hardship that you have pressed against them despite the death of Mr. Kyle.

 There are some things that you just don’t do and one of those is attack the widow of a servicemember.

Shame on you!

Sincerely,

David Morefield

Owner – Fluffyshotme Photography

 

If you agree with my letter, please share it with your friends to show your disgust for what Jesse Ventura has done

Pastor Boaz Omugah from Chemelil, Kenya

 By David Morefield

As many of you may know, I have been to Kenya a couple of times with my church on mission trips. During my first trip in 2009, I met Pastor Boaz Omugah from Chemelil, Kenya. He is a very special man and I am glad to be able to call Pastor Boaz my friend and brother.

Chemelil is located about 30 minutes outside of Kisumu, Kenya near Lake Victoria. When I first arrived in Chemelil, I was asked to take a look at a little boy named Collins. Collins had gotten his thumb stuck in the sprocket of a bicycle chain a few weeks before we arrived and his thumb and hand were badly infected. This was not something that a little Neosporin and a Band-aid would cure. I gave Collins an injection of Zylocaine and then cleaned his wound with the supplies that I had on hand. We then took Collins to the Kisumu General Hospital where eventually my team was able to get the boy help.

I got to see Collins again while visiting Pastor Boaz in 2010. To this day, Collins and I stay in contact through people like Pastor Boaz and his son Benard. That is entirely another story; what I want to write about is that a church brought Pastor Boaz to the United States this week in order for him to attend a conference with other ministers. During his trip, I was able to meet up with him and I took some video so that he could share what it is that he does in Chemelil, Kenya.

Pastor Boaz has 46 children in the home; most people would call them orphans, but Pastor Boaz and his wife Helen care for these kids as their own. Aside from raising 46 children in his home, Pastor Boaz runs a church, a school and teaches in Kisumu at a Bible college. In addition to those responsibilities, Pastor Boaz stays busy helping his community when issues arise. The local police call on Pastor Boaz to take in troubled teens on a somewhat regular basis. The man is just amazing and has a real heart for the Lord.

Another reason that I wanted to take a moment and write about Pastor Boaz is that he has been asking me for the last eight years to try to get some people who are trained in Agriculture, to volunteer and come to Chemelil to teach him and the people of his community how to become self-sustainable. Pastor Boaz would like to learn modern techniques of farming so that they no longer have to buy food and can feed themselves. Food and clean water are a challenge for his community, especially during the dry season.

Pastor Boaz is also looking for people to come and teach at his school with whatever skill you may be able to bring to his community. When I went back in 2010, I had promised Pastor Boaz that I would teach a computer class when I returned. I was really surprised when they asked me to teach basic networking 101. As Kenya is beginning to make major leaps forward in technology, those who can do even the most basic work can get good jobs (something that is very hard to do when you come from a tiny village).

If you or someone you know would like to go to Chemelil and help Pastor Boaz realize his vision for sustainability, then please either contact him directly via the information in the video or you can contact me and I will pass the message. Lord willing, I will return to Kenya in the future to help with the effort as well.