My Big Year

Stephen Fisher Photography, Northern Cardinal, MaleIt’s HARD to imagine 2015 is almost here! I’ve been sitting here in my studio thinking about all of the good things that happened to Stephen Fisher Photography this year.

I sold some art and I won some competitions! Those are GOOD things, but not the BEST thing that happened to me in 2014.

The VERY best thing that happened this year is that I allowed myself the opportunity to be creative with my photography. If I had a box (and I don’t)…I allowed myself to get out of the box. If I had lines (and I don’t)…I allowed myself to get off the line. I finally allowed myself to be ME creatively…

I have a “style”, and I’m comfortable with it! I’m through trying to figure it out. I’m just going to embrace it…nurture it…and hope to just get better and better.

As a matter of fact…I can’t wait for 2015 to get here!

 

 

 

 

 

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sub-jec-tive

Stephen Fisher Photography, Aransas Bay, Water Street, Rockport TXI didn’t grow up in a politically correct world…

Not EVERY kid got to play in EVERY game. Not EVERY kid received a trophy or a medal for JUST showing up. Back then, there were WINNERS and there were LOSERS. And our society was OK with it that way…

Judging art is not a politically correct process. Artists submit their art and HOPE it gets juried into an exhibit. Then a judge…or a panel of judges…comes in and selects a winner. It is a TOTALLY subjective process. The judge(s) pick what THEY like…or what impacts THEM from all of the art on display.

It’s a fair system…even though 100% of the artists who DON’T win complain. They might not express themselves publicly, but they still shake their head and mumble…”I don’t get it!”

I’ve judged, and it isn’t easy! No one tried to influence me…no one offered a bribe…no one did anything. I just looked at the art and chose what I felt…in my humble opinion…was the best. I don’t recall ever considering the artist…or how he/she was going to feel. I just did the best I could!

I just went 0 for 2 last week in competitions. As you might expect, I REALLY though both of my pieces were WORLD CLASS…winners…above the rest…done deals! It didn’t go my way this time.

And YES…I shook my head and mumbled to myself…”I don’t get it!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Growth

Stephen Fisher Photography, Nature, Crane House, Lamar TX, Deer, Buck, White Tail BuckOK…So we left the Crane House yesterday around 10:00 AM. It took all of 30 minutes to get back to the Rockport house. It’s so close, but it feels like it’s a different world…

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that the Crane House is SPECIAL for me…for a whole LOT of different reasons. Some personal…some professional…

It was there that I decided photography was the direction I wanted my professional life to follow. I had retired early and was enjoying life. Even though I usually had a camera with me…calling me anything more than an old guy with a camera in his backpack was a stretch. I knew NOTHING about photography…except that I liked making snapshots of some of the awesome places I was lucky enough to visit.

Literally…All it took was seeing the Whooping Cranes for the first time and I was HOOKED! I wanted to make GOOD images of these birds. It became the driving force in my life. No more boats…no more golf…I only wanted to make good photos of birds! I wanted to be a BIRD PHOTOGRAPHER!

I still enjoy avian photography, and I’m sure I’ll always shoot them. But I’m not just a bird photographer any more. I’m a PHOTOGRAPHER…

Making meaningful images of nature is something I strive for just about every day. Maybe it’s a beach scene…maybe it’s a mammal…maybe it’s just an old dock. I’m doing exactly what I want to do with my life…

 

 

 

 

 

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Crane House 2014

Stephen Fisher Photography, Crane House, Johnson Ranch, Sunset, CloudsEvery year we book a couple of days at the Crane House Retreat in Lamar, TX. The Crane House is part of the Johnson Ranch, and has been  the winter home of Whooping Cranes for years. This special place holds a lot of good memories for me…

I honestly feel that this place is responsible for me wanting to be a professional nature photographer. Years ago Sharon called me from the Crane House while she was visiting with her parents. She was so excited to be sitting out on the wonderful screened porch watching the Whooping Cranes come in for corn. I remember her saying that someday I need to come here…

A couple of years later, she and I booked the Crane House. I spent almost every minute there making photographs…and they were bad! But I was hooked on the magic that happens on this ranch.

I met my friend and noted Rockport photographer John Martell here. Guests here have exclusive use of the property. No one else is allowed through the gate. John was representing the Crane House in the 2009 Coastal Bend Wildlife Photo Contest, so he was allowed access. I left a note on his truck asking him to stop by the house at the end of the day. We met…and have been friends ever since.

Sharon and I got married here at the Crane House a few years ago. Owners Al and Diane Johnson were kind enough to allow us to be the first…and to my knowledge the only…wedding at the house. It made our special day even more special…

So there are many reasons I love it here. Being able to get on this property for a few days every year has left me with many fond memories. It is truly a unique place…

This image is of a spectacular sunset on the property on Sunday this week . It’s the first landscape I’ve ever shot here, and I like it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Road Trip

Stephen Fisher Photography, Rockport TX, Water Street, Sunrise, Pier, DockTomorrow morning we’ll be driving over to Hot Springs Village, AR from Houston. I’m bringing MOST of my photography gear, but probably will only shoot landscapes.  I’ve been there before, and know the area fairly well…but NOT well enough!

Here are are a few of the things I’m doing to try and maximize my chances of making some decent images;

  1. I’ve been looking at Google Images and Bing Images of what OTHER photographers found in Hot Springs Village to shoot. It’s a good place to start.
  2. I went to 500px to see what some GOOD photographers found of interest to shoot. There are some VERY good images here…
  3. I use The Photographer’s Ephemeris to see the sun angles at any location. Of course I always have a compass with me, but this is a very helpful program.

OK…So thats the plan! I’ll drive around tomorrow evening to see if I can find a special spot to shoot the next day’s sunrise. I’ll also be looking at where the sun sets. I feel like I’m giving myself every opportunity to do something on this trip…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wings Up

Stephen Fisher Photography, American White Pelican, Aransas Bay, Rockport TX, These guys are HUGE!

You don’t really realize how big until they get out of the water and start stretching. The American White Pelican is an amazing bird…

These pelicans are relatively easy birds to photography. They just gracefully glide through the water slowly…usually in small groups.

Once they get out of the water and climb up on something, you can fully appreciate the size of this species. They like to spread their wings and allow the sun to warm their core temperature…

Well, this is the shot I wanted to make. I saw all of these seawall rocks covered with vegetation and knew it would offer a lot of texture and interest to the image. I didn’t have to wait too long for this bird to start posing for me…

 

 

 

 

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Busman’s Holiday

Stephen Fisher Photography, Aransas Bait Company, Fulton Harbor Marina, Rockport TX, Fulton TX, Bait StandsThat’s EXACTLY what I’m going to have…

A “busman’s holiday” is a vacation or a trip where you do what you normally do…somewhere else! I’ll be driving from Houston to Hot Springs Village, AR next Tuesday to see my family for Thanksgiving. I’m driving for several reasons…

First…Sharon’s pack of Italian Greyhounds will be with us…all three of them! Fun…

Second…The Fisher men have an annual golf game…regardless of weather…on Thanksgiving Day. I’ll throw my golf clubs in the back of my truck and hope the cobwebs and dust on them don’t get everything dirty.

Third…Air travel for me anymore is just about NOT worth the hassles.

And MOST importantly…I can bring just about EVERY piece of camera gear I own with me!

Hot Springs Village is located in the Ouachita Mountains and has lots of wooded land and beautiful mountain vistas, and I’m going to do some shooting there. I’ve got a few shots mapped out in my head. We’ll see what happens…

This image has NOTHING to do with this trip. It’s the Aransas Bait Co. stand at Fulton Harbor. I made this image about a week ago and decided to share it today! Cool place…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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American White Pelicans

Stephen Fisher Photography, American White Pelican, Whooping Crane, Rockport TX, Migratory, Whooping Cranes get most of the buzz here in Rockport and along the Coastal Bend! But…If there was ANY other species of bird that excites people ALMOST as much as the Whoopers, it’s the American White Pelican…

These guys are HUGE… They can weigh up to 30 pounds! Most of the time they’re found in large “squadrons” swimming, eating, and resting together.

Their migratory habits are very similar to the Whooping Cranes. They come here in November and usually leave by April. This gives the locals and tourists PLENTY of time to enjoy and photograph these majestic birds…

 

 

 

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Bird Mode

Stephen Fisher Photography, Brown Pelican, Texas Photo Ranch, BirdsWell…I just got flat out skunked this morning!

I was hoping for some real drama over Aransas Bay this morning. I knew there was some weather coming in, and thought I could get a good “scape” in before it got wet. It started to rain just after I set-up, so I made it to the Jeep before ruining some gear…

I need to start getting into “Bird Mode” again anyway! I haven’t used Canon 1Dx or my 400mm glass in a while. While I haven’t been SHOOTING birds, I’ve been thinking about them a lot.

I made some real mistakes in the 2013 Wildlife In Focus Photo Contest…rookie mistakes! I’ve got some things up my sleeve that just might work out for me this time.  We’ll see…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cabin Fever

Stephen Fisher Photography, Fog, Piers, Docks, Marina, Boats, Rockport TXOK…It’s been pretty cold and rainy here in Rockport for a few days. The rain is ALWAYS welcomed, but cold weather is NOT one of the reasons I love living in the Coastal Bend.

I haven’t been able to get out and shoot during this cold snap. While I don’t really mind COOLER weather, being cold and wet just doesn’t motivate me to go hunting…

I woke this morning early…even early for me! I was making a cup of coffee at 4:00 AM. While the coffee was brewing, I went out on the deck and was pleasantly surprised to find it slightly warmer…but still drizzling and foggy.

I wanted to shoot SOMETHING today! I needed to get out there and find some light some where…now. I threw my gear in the back of my Jeep and drove to a new place for me. I had PLENTY of time to get set up…it was still dark and foggy.

This small marina generated just enough light for me to make this image. It was tough to eek a keeper out of this shoot, but theres something about this image that made me want to work it up.

Theres actually a lot going on in the image. I like the marina still engulfed in fog. The residual rain puddling on the walkway adds the texture I needed.

I’m glad I went out and tried this morning! This image probably will NEVER make it to canvas, but I worked pretty hard to make it happen. I feel better now…

 

 

 

 

 

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