These are possibly the most important Photography lessons you will ever learn!
I recently had my first ever Seminar event in Kansas City last month. It was a phenomenal experience and I was awe-struck that over 50 people wanted to spend the day listening to me talk about my passion. It was the pinnacle of my career thus far and the one thing I had drempt about since the inception of EverydayHDR almost 5 years ago. Knowing all of this going forward I decided I had to make this Epic for those who attended the course.
Of course, Epic is not always easy to accomplish on a minimal budget!
I made a series of videos that I think you may get some value out of as well. These are the most important photography lessons you will ever learn! While they are not overly technical, they are extremely important! I played each video before the start of every lesson throughout the day to ensure that everyone there received valuable training. Now I am releasing them to you!
Important Photography Lesson #1
This one may seem very obvious, but let me tell you I have done this several times. One time it was the camera, one time I left the battery on the charger, and another time I left the SD Card in the computer. I don’t care who you are, with this lesson it is not “If” but “When”. It will happen to you and you will say… “Damnit Blake!!!”
Important Photography Lesson #2
Again, another obvious one. From now on I will stop calling these obvious because I think you understand the point of them. However, one time I was in San Francisco on Treasure Island shooting a long exposure shot of the San Fran Skyline. I had to pee really really bad and I was in a pretty quiet people free environment surrounded by tress. I walked over to a tree and started to do my business, about 5 seconds into it I hear a crash and I immediately thought someone was there.
I recovered myself pretty quickly and looked around. There was no one. I didn’t see my camera either. I walked around, turned my flashlight on and I saw it slowly falling down the hill. I had forgotten to secure my front tripod legs fully and down it went. True story…
Important Photography Lesson #3
When I was shooting in Cannon Beach Oregon a few months ago I had a ton of gear with me! I had two full bags, one with camera gear and one with video gear. I was in the parking lot of Indian Beach organizing my gear and very excited to go shoot. I put one bag on the shoulder and launched the other on the other shoulder. I had forgotten to zip the bag and my 70-300mm lens and a 600 EX-RT Flash went skidding 15 feet across the pavement of the parking lot. Lets just say I check my bag twice before putting it on my back!
Important Photography Lesson #4
Another Cannon Beach story. It was dark, very dark on the coast in Ecola State Park. I knew the rain was about to come but I wanted a long exposure shot of the coast at night so badly. I prepped my camera in the car with all of the necessary settings so all I had to do was setup the tripod legs and fire. I ran out there and braved the wind and impending storm. I reached the vantage point and snapped a 30 second exposure… nothing!
I knew it was dark out there so I increased the exposure to a minute… Nothing…
I almost took another shot when a buddy of mine, Scott Kyle, from HDR Insider said, “Is your lens cap on?“
It certainly was. I felt horribly embarrassed as we had just met and then the rain came. We settled for a beer instead of photos.
Important Photography Lesson #5
One time I was in a once in a lifetime location in a very foreign place. I was new to photography, very new. I had no idea what the settings were so I bought 3 books about beginning photography to go along with me on the trip. I was reading about White Balance one night and decided I’d adjust my settings to match my environment instead of let my camera do it. I was amazed by the success!
The next day I was asked to shoot a once in a lifetime event. I was floored by the opportunity. I quickly assembled my gear and went along for the ride. I must have shot over 300 exposures that afternoon and was stoked to upload them to my computer. When I got back I uploaded them only to realize I shot the whole thing in Tungsten White Balance! Even worse… I wasn’t shooting RAW yet! I am still beating myself up about that to this day.
And the Grand Finale:
This video was the introduction to the HDR Master Class course and set the stage for the days learning. While it is funny, it points out the idiocy of HDR and those who get into it. We have all been there… Photomatrix, Horrible Offensive Colors, Vibrant skies… the list goes on!
I had a blast making this production and it is the reason I look like crap in Lesson 1 (above). I was up all night producing this and wanted to wake up early at the Lake House to capture the morning light. It was great to have a location like this to shoot. My wife’s Uncle graciously opened his house for it. I don’t think he knew I was going to do this 🙂
I certainly hope you enjoyed these as much as the seminar did.
What a fun series to wake up to. I could really relate to singing to the music alone in the car on a photography road trip. But….an Olympus? Couldn’t you have driven over a Canon?
Thanks! I would have made it Nikon but I didn’t even want to put up the money for it to run it over 🙂
Now that was a very low blow, Blake.
awesome, funny….you did forget the skit-“you forget to bring extra FULLY charged batteries[I have had friends who had extra batteries but not recharged]….you forget to bring extra empty-no images on them-memory cards [ditto, have full, undownloaded to their computer or any downloadable storage device]…it starts to rain and your camera does not have a plastic bag-etc protecting it….you lock yourself out of your car, with your engine running, and all your camera gear inside your car-[always carry extra set of car keys with you]…or they go someplace and they get hungry-thristy and they did not bring a water bootle-full of water or some food…or they do not bring some paper towels for when you have to do a #2 and there’s no facililties around and you’re by yourself…or you have a senior moment and you forget where you are and don’t remember how to get back to your car..or you go to some where and you bring the wrong lens or the place is closed…etc”
I take it you may know someone who had done all of these 🙂
Brilliant approach, Blake. Enjoyable and informative. A winning combo!
Another couples of strings added to your trusty bow, Blake.
Actor and director.
I would add videographer, but I am a little suspicious of that unassisted pan-zoom in one of the clips.
Brilliant location for the last clip, very stylish. And I love how people grow to look like their telephones.
Great job, I loved them… and lived some of them.
Thanks Chris! I always wanted to be a movie director, that was my dream job. I guess I’ll stick to the small game 🙂 no assists here. The zoom as added later.
I’ve only experienced 2 of the six goofs. I’ve tried to move on, but remember. These reminded me of my pain.
May I add my lessons?
Always check that camera setting are correct. I was showing someone how to shoot BW JPG, and the next day as I was shooting, I didn’t discover that until I got home. No color information. Screwed.
Also, I was shooting a senior portrait for my daughters girlfriend many many years ago, and it was a dreary rainy day, so of course I wore my orange rain slicker. The poor girls skin and eyeballs were orange ! And this was before I started shooting a gray card.
Live and learn
Oh man! That’s too funny! We just have to learn from it that’s all we can do.
Very entertaining and excellent points… I’m sure we have all forgotten one or more of those things!
Sure have! It happens to the best of us!
great job making these..always fun to learn with humor. I was at Indian Beach in late Jan 2014 (came in through the parking lot in Ecola)..it SNOWED on the beach..Very very awesome. That was the storm that popped about 19″ on Corvallis
Hilarious! And I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of some if not all, and some worse. I was carrying my camera roller bag up the WOODEN (not carpeted) stairs in a friend’s house, and suddenly, almost at the top, the inner divider bag came out and bounced all the way down the stairs to the ceramic tile (not carpeted) floor below. After I recovered from cardiac arrest, I tiptoed down the stairs expecting to find glass and plastic shards. Everything was in place, secured, intact and nothing was damaged. I had stopped to take a picture on the trip and had NOT rezipped the inner divider correctly. Yikes! Hooray, Lowepro!!
Oh man! So many stories come out from the woodwork with these experiences. All of them are tough to read!
Lens cap is my downfall….thanks Blake. Very creative.
How do I get a copy of the card shown in Vid. # 1
Not sure what card you are referring to?
I really enjoyed these videos! I could identify with a few of the situations. I love that you are so human! Cudos to you!
Thanks Diane. I wish I could say they all never happened, but…
Thank you for your awesome videos and tips. I thoroughly enjoy them and feel so at home having the unexpected surprises with the camera. Looking so forward to the next.
🙂 thanks Marleen! We are all in this together, even our not so good times
Very clever, Blake. LOL! Good reminders, but in reality not funny sometimes.
Excited to go out and photograph an early, snowfall, sunrise, I jumped in and started my SUV. Suddenly clouds parted revealing a snowy, full moon over Mt. Crested Butte. I got out of the drivers side door and began shooting before the clouds covered the moon. About the same time I realized my SUV was in Drive and slowly creeping across the driveway and down the side of the mountain to homes about 200 feet below. I ran to try and catch up with the car, needing to throw my camera down to get in and put on the brakes.
Fortunately, a 2.5-foot snow bank stopped the vehicle, giving me time to get in and put on the brakes. Damaged the camera but my car didn’t crash into the homes below. In a matter of seconds I saw my life flash before my eyes. I now try to put the brakes on my enthusiasm. ☺
Those are good reminders. Luckily I’ve never dropped anything too expensive. I couldn’t afford to. I have found the zipper on my bag open a couple of times but was fortunate nothing came out.
I always double check that the lens is attached securely to the body when switching lenses, and I have dropped my B&W circular polarizer a couple of times as it can come unscrewed through use. One time it was about a 30 minute hike back to the spot where I lost it, which I was able to determine by reviewing the photos & noticing where the exposure changed.
I was on my way to catch a plane in a rental car and spotted a neat winter snow scene. So I pulled over, put my keys in my coat pocket and put on my mittens. When I got to the scene, I stuffed one mitten back in my pocket, took the pic, and headed back to the car. But lo and behold, no keys in pocket. I tried to retrace my steps as best I could thinking maybe when I’d pulled my mitten out that the keys had come with it. But where was I when I did that?? Time was running tight if I was to catch that plane. Finally I spotted them, barely visible in the deep snow. I made my flight, but only barely. Lesson learned: Always put your keys down deep in your pants pocket, not a coat pocket!
The night you left your lens cap on at Ecola State Park was the same day I had a new rain coat on and when I put my 200mm in the inside pocket (like I always did with my old rain coat), that’s when I found out it wasn’t a pocket at all. The lens bouncing three times on the street and rolling to the curb confirmed that!
Those were super and yup, think we’ve all been there. I’ve yet to dump my cameras out of my pack but honestly the zippers are such a pain that I’m surprised it hasn’t happened. I did however manage to roll my very first Canon film camera down a glacier! 🙂 Hoping to have time this summer to get through your tutorials and get some decent HDR done with my landscapes – we shall see!
I can relate to most all of them at one time or the other. I grabbed my backpack that wasn’t zipped closed and my 70-200 went flying across the parking lot. $200 repair bill and all is well. A lesson learned.
That’s a hard pill to swallow!