[photo post] Random Shots from Family Christmas

The title says random and I’d say that’s pretty accurate. As most of you know by now I’m not exactly into taking family portraits so what we have below are mostly shots of my parents’ dog, Chico. Also below: My sister playing Watch Ya Mouth, my gran’s profile, my mom-in-law brushing her dog, Casper, and one of several shots I took while playing with light trails using my in-laws’ Christmas lights.

I don’t want to make a post where I run down all of the gifts I received, but I did acquire a few new toys for my camera that will likely get their own post. The photos below were taken with my new 85mm lens (a birthday present to myself) that will also make an appearance in a later post once I get some more sample photos taken with it.

While I don’t have family portraits to share and I’m not sharing my list of new goodies, I do want to say that I’m very fortunate. Moving away from Kingsport was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I honestly have no desire to ever live there again. Living away from family has had many benefits, not least of which is staying away from all family-related drama. But although our families have drama, we have wonderful families. I have the greatest parents and in-laws on the planet and could never ask for better. They’re beautiful people whom I love very much. This year was the first year since moving away from home I had a truly difficult time leaving them. I’ve felt pretty low lately and it was great to be reminded of the amazing people in my life that support me from afar.

That was a total cheesefest. Let’s get on with the photos. Y’all know the deal — get the high-res versions and a few extras on my Flickr account.

One more quick thing: below is our annual crazy family photo, the quality of which has been greatly improved thanks to the invention of the selfie stick. I’ve also included a short video of my folks being cute. Enjoy!

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Staycation Part 2: Photography Class and Photos For Class (And Not For Class)

**I’ve taken some PTO lately in an attempt to eat it up before the end of the year. No real agenda for the week but over the next few days I’m going to share little bits of what I’ve gotten into. Dig it.

We’ve covered this before but I’ve been going to a non-credit photography class at Pellissippi State Community College for the last month or so. It’s been a pretty cool experience, meeting only one night per week.

There are 11 people enrolled in the class but in the nights we’ve met thus far I don’t believe everyone has been there all at once. It’s also been pretty interesting to see the wide variety of other people taking the class. While I’m not the youngest person in there, there’s only one person younger than me, which was expected. Most everyone else are older but their reasoning for pursuing the hobby vary from wanting to take photos of grandkids to being retired and being told by their spouse they “can’t just fish all the time.” The only thing most everyone has in common, with the exception of about three people, me included, is no one has any experience to speak of.

And I don’t say that to be ugly – in fact, it’s been a pretty awesome thing. Personally all I know about photography I’ve learned from working in videography for years (teaching myself and learning from peers) and reading countless articles on the subject – hardly anything formal. The class covers very basic photography starting with the exposure triangle and “how do I use my camera?” For the most part, I already knew everything we’ve gone over in the class but I’ve never been taught the material so it’s been very helpful having someone that knows what they’re doing actually telling me what these theories and techniques are, how to execute them, and why they work the way they do, often in full-on dummy terms.

While I’ve not learned anything earth shattering, one way this class has helped me is in how it has pushed me to have my camera with me always and take more photos. A couple of weeks ago our assignment was to take photos of our favorite subject and I shared some of those last week, but last Sunday Erin and I went for a ride out to Kingston and found a small park where we fed some ducks and I snapped several pretty nice photos of her:

This past Thursday’s class we went on a “field trip” around campus just trying to find interesting things to shoot. I strayed away from the class and shot a lot of stuff – leaves, trees, lights, spider webs, the pond – anything I found interesting while messing around (and learning) my camera’s advanced settings in various outdoor light. I ended up capturing some pretty sweet textures:

Finally, these aren’t really for the class but I do intend to present some of them this week. Aside from my wife, two of my favorite subjects to photograph are my dogs. It may seem like I take more photos of the Beest and that may be true but only slightly so. The truth is that Trudy just hates getting her photo made – she moves around a lot, won’t look at you when you have a camera or if she does she’s usually pissed about it so your photos of her look ferocious when she’s anything but. Anyway, here’s some pups:

As usual, if you want to see these in high-res as well as anything else I’ve shot in the past, check out My Flickr Stream or you can Follow me on Instagram.

We had a great Halloween and day-after Halloween but I have a ton of stuff to process for that post. Brace yourself for that hopefully tomorrow in Part 3…

Christmas 2014 in Pictures

Well, we’ve done it again. Another year of yuletide joy has come and gone. As per usual, Erin and I hit the Tri-Cities in full holiday force with all the snark, joy and bourbon stashed in a flask that you could ask for. Obviously my DSLR was beside me for most of the trip and I kept snapping, though what I captured was hardly standard family holiday fare; rather, it appears that all I really want to do is photograph the dogs and that’s okay.

Before I get on with the photos I wanted to celebrate a few gifts my folks got me fresh from my Amazon wish list:

  • NEEWER 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra-High Power Digital Camera LED Light (like this one)
  • TASCAM DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder (like this one)
  • Opteka RC-4 Wireless Remote Control (Like this one)

These were all on my wishlist as they’re hopefully going to help me finally get going on this documentary I want to try out for my tattoo shop and frequent blog topic 2 Ton Gallery in Kingsport, TN. Just a few more things left and I can actually start. I’m sort-of nervous, sort of PUMPED!

Anyway, on with the holiday photos. As usual, you can find the whole set on my Flickr account.

Also, a nice family photo taken by my parents:

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And finally, a few selections from Instagram:

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Our new #santa for #Christmas next year

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