Schoepf’s Barbeque here in Belton, Texas blesses my home with a double dose of love. Not only does that wonderful aromatic fume drift by my house when the winds are favorable, but most weekends, I have the pleasure of falling to sleep to the thumping of the distant bass drum, some indistinct bass guitar, and cheering crowds at the end of every song. I guess that would be annoying to some, but I enjoy it.
This is a little take-away from a wedding I helped shoot recently. The focus of wedding photography, fittingly, is the bride and groom, but there is so much more going on: relationships, history, feuds, and innumerable others stories in progress. As soon as I ran across this photo back at home when reviewing the whole set, I loved it.
Pumping diesel for heavy machinery, sporting a hardhat and safety goggles, using a unique but most likely purposeful grip, and even providing shipping containers for a background: this is the kind of photo I throroughly enjoy finding. I see them a lot more than I have a chance to capture them.
I never could have dreamed this day would come. The only thing that would top an indian (of the American variety) walking into my day in full regalia would be moving out to the reservation and going native myself. I had seen the “Native American Dance” performance slated on the schedule for our school, but for all I know, some dude in blue jeans and a dollar store head dress was going to strut in with his cultural spiel. Just because I would beat myself if it did turn out well and I was not ready, I had to scout a potential portrait location.
An elementary school cafetorium is not exactly the most inspiring backdrop for an American Indian portrait shoot, so I took a little walk behind the school as soon as I arrived that morning. Just two weeks before, I had been day dreaming in that very grassy field, which was much more tall and Great-Plains-wavy then, what it would have been like hundreds of years ago, pre white dudes. The gentle, brown sea sparked the beginning of a (most likley ill-fated) novel idea. Long story short: there is no better, close place for the potential shoot.
Then, into my cafetorium walks Tallbear. I swooned. I recovered, helped hook up the sound system, took a few shots with some tastefully 80s colored backgrounds, pondered the possibility of wrangling them into an impromptu portrait shoot, then swooned again.
I have really fallen in love with the Ee-S focusing screen for the Canon 5D. This is not a review in the sense that I will try to cover everything, but it is in the sense that I am sharing my thoughts on Canon’s über-accurate manual focusing screen. I have been using it almost totally in conjunction with Nikon lenses. The why will come later, but I mention it now because using it with Canon or non-Canon lenses is actually quite a different experience, and the answer to this question will make a little more sense with that information in mind.
Basically, the matte screen from Canon is made to manual focus wide aperture prime lenses. Since almost all (if not all) cameras display (in the viewfinder) at about f/2.4ish, the depth of field you see is quite different than the actual depth of field on an 85mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.4, or some such lens. Meaning, you never really know if you are crystal clear where you want to be crystal clear and you just have to trust that the camera focused right where you wanted it.
For a simple answer, I would say, choose a wedding photographer by looking at other weddings they have shot. If that work would satisfy your requirements, then you are done…assuming you can afford it. There are other details, for sure, and this issue can become quite complex and difficult, but if you have found a wedding photographer who has already consistently produced the quality and style of work you want, then you will most likely be very happy with the results.
I have one caveat to that. When checking out wedding photography, make sure you look through a full album from one wedding. A photographer’s “greatest hits” only tell you that they will have a couple keepers from each wedding. See how a photographer covered one full day. For something as important as a wedding, most of us want a professional who can consistently capture photos throughout the day.
There are many aspects of photography, many different paths down which it might lead. My own path is a journey in pursuit of reality, or “true reality” as I like to call it (though I know how redundant that sounds), and with the potential of photography to freeze a moment in time, “reality” is indeed a common pursuit in photography, but not the “true reality” or the spiritual reality which lies behind, through, and all around that surface-level reality. I heard a quote that really seemed to be attempting to bridge the gap between the surface reality and the deeper and wider reality.
In the biographical documentary about James Nachtwey, War Photographer, Nachtwey said, “It’s more difficult to get publications to focus on issues that are more critical, that do not provide people with an escape from reality, but attempt to get them deeper into reality, to be concerned about something much greater than themselves.”
I have been challenged by War Photographer, a documentary film about the “anti-war” photographer James Nachtwey. As it points out, though he may have started out with at least a partial desire for the travel and adventure, he has become something of an anomaly: he is a quiet and hopeful photographer, who believes his photography can make a difference, even in such overwhelming issues as war, poverty, hunger, and disease.
He says in the film, “We must look at it, we’re required to look at it, we’re required to do what we can. If we don’t, who will?”