The Power Of A Comment

gigi-embrechts-blog-81

gigi-embrechts-blog-81

Sometimes life can be confusing especially with all the information that is at our finger tips. I have to be so careful of my addiction to learning on the internet right now. When I decided a few years back that I needed to learn and attempt to master a skill I turned to the internet for inspiration. I was drawn to the amazing photographs that would appear on my screen. I also realized how many beautiful things there were in my world and wanted to try to capture not only the image but what it was saying to me. So I began my journey of education in everything photography.

I would say I am self-taught, but that is not true because it is the talent and generosity of others that have help me learn photography. Their sharing of techniques and photos, and education and technical advise that has brought me to my skill level today. I have met and work with some amazing teachers over the past years. But with all this education there is one thing no one can teach me and that is how to find my gift, what I want to give to the world what makes my photography a kind of art only I could offer.

This question has been on my mind for quite a while lately. I get so sidetracked watching and learning what other photographers are doing yet not able to find what I am called to do.

Recently I decided to work on an old photograph I took of a friends dog and give it an artful feel. I posted this photograph my Facebook page and it got many comments. Most admiring the beauty of this dog.  But a few comments came through that changed my thinking and made me realize maybe I do have something to offer that is uniquely me.  The comment said  "I wish I knew how you bring out their personalities!" Or this one from someone who recently viewed my website "I can see you have a real passion for horses."   It made me realize that this is not only what I do, but who I am. I see animals deeply when I photograph them and it seems to come through me and at just the right moment I capture them.  I know I need to honor that and work in that direction.

Denver

Denver

Funny how it  can only take a few kind words to set you on your unique path.

I feel we all have gifts to give, if you are seeking to know what yours might be, just ask and listen and it will be revealed to you.

Day Of Rain

Day Of Rain

The Creative Process

gigi-embrechts-78

gigi-embrechts-78

Most photographers today realize that unless you are doing photo journalism the image that comes out of camera and the image you have in mind are far from each other. If you are a photographer like me who wants to create fine art photography  the camera is just the start. Something like an artist first pencil of the rough image, or a writers first few sentences this is not the final product but just the beginning.

With all the digital tools we have to create it is no wonder we are seeing some amazing digital art and photography all over the web. When I first started down the photography road and just learning to get comfortable with my camera I remember looking at those amazing images and saying "yes but they are not real they were photoshopped" like photoshopped meant that the photographer did not have to have the camera skills to take the photograph but opted to just do something with it in Photoshop. As I learned and grew I realized this is far from the truth.

You have to be an accomplished photographer to get a great image, even if it is just the starting part. You need to know what subject your subject is, where to place the subject in the photograph, how to direct the viewer to the subject, get great exposure and focus and do this all under great light which is really like your paint. A photographer with experience hopes you will linger in the photograph and connect as they did to the subject. What comes out of the camera is only the start to achieving this goal.

Sometimes however in the case of this photograph, I had no idea what I wanted to do with this image. I just knew that when I saw this mare and foal I loved the close connection they had. There were many distractions in the background but I  was focusing on them. In fact when I uploaded this image I passed it by several times due to all the distractions, and just wrote it off as a lesson in moving to avoid distractions and  get a better angle. I did not delete it, but it was going to live in my archives as a lesson learned for quiet a while.

But it kept haunting me because of the eye of the mare and the connection she had with her foal, Something told me it was worth looking at again. Then it dawned on me that if I play with it maybe I could use the digital tools I have to make something create something.

Here is where I started and the different things I tried before getting to the final image at the top

After trial and error of this photograph I had finally created something I really loved. It started as just a photograph, but it would not leave me alone and ended up to be an art piece I loved so much I made the investment to have it framed and is now hanging proudly on my wall. It also taught me to look at photography a bit different. Look for the art, look at my subject more and know there could be a hidden gem in there. I do not always have to take the perfect photograph when it comes to background and distractions but I do have to make sure the exposure is correct, the focus is right and the subject is placed where I need it to be. But the bigger lesson is to slow down and listen to what my subject wants to say. Then it is my job to create and tell that story.

This image will be available for purchase on my website https://gigiembrechts.com

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Learning Photography It Never Ends

I have had a few jobs in my life, a professional pet groomer, a horse farm manager, a guest ranch cook (don't laugh I am only giving you a few of the many jobs I had) I will stop there because these are the three I most enjoyed, the rest were, well just jobs. It was time to get serious and learn a craft, something to master, something to dive deep into and never quit. I chose photography. Probably at the best time because digital was just coming in to play, and the worst time because more and more enter this field and it is in a free fall right now where nobody knows what is coming. New technology, software, cameras, books,  seem to come out weekly and you have to keep up with it all or you can get lost in just a short time.

So I have been learning and practicing for over 6 years, and see no end in sight. But I wanted to share with you some early work and where I am now.

I had no clue what I was looking for in this photo, how embarrassing

Nice photography but not really much more than a snap shot

In focus, closer and expression

Although at the time I loved this, I see many technical problems

This is a bit better and tells more of a story

I am not anywhere near where I want to be, and honestly I doubt I will ever reach "it" what ever that means. But I am glad I took the time to learn and practice and attempt to master this every changing industry.  Every year I make a calendar of images from the previous year. I save the calendars as a reminder of just how far I have come and how much I have learned.

I thought I would share just a few of the places I learned and got inspired.  If you are just beginning with photography don't get discouraged. Looking at where I started should be encouraging enough.

  1. Here is something to think about

http://alesserphotographer.com/blog/2013/5/28/look-at-this

2.   If your starting out and still do not understand aperture and how to use it here a good article to read.

http://photofocus.com/2013/06/09/understanding-aperture-a-simple-explanation/

3. If you want to know where I started my education here is a great website that will really jump-start your learning.

http://www.learntotakephotos.com

4.Want to see what you need to achieve? This website has some of the very best photographs. You will understand why it takes so long to get to this level.

http://500px.com

5. Got Money?  Go here to purchase gear. Great customer service and they have everything, I mean everything!

 http://www.bhphotovideo.com

Let me know if you need any other help, ideas or direction, I am glad to give back the same way others have helped me. None of us get there alone.