Sometimes Life Wants You To Change – My Year In Review

Hello and welcome to this years final blog post!

Well, it’s been a few months ago since my last post and I’ve missed some promised topics. I’m sorry for that, but there was a lot of change in my life this year. And so I want to give you a personal review of my 2012.

Sometimes life wants you to change in a dramatically way. Well, I’m fine – don’t have any kind of disease, luckily. But also “trivial” happenings can touch your mind and cause a change in thinking and acting.

Anyways, my change in life started in January when my girlfriend decided to break up our 11 year relationship. My whole world collapsed that final day in January and I lost the most lovely person in my life that always gave me the power and encouragement to go on through hard times and to realize my ideas and create new visions during all those years of our relationship – from school to apprenticeship to university education and the vision of getting a great job to feed a family. She was always my motivation and inspiration. Nevertheless we failed on our sorrows during the last year which was the most hardest time we went through …

Breaking fresh ground

After I’d lost the love of my life, I still wanted to realize the visions I had all those years, but couldn’t realize for lack of time because of my university education, yet.

Anyways the year began in a good manner. I got a photo assignment of a company that develops and produces technical wallpapers. They hired me to create new product photos and this was a great assignment. Also one of my motocross photos was published in a physics schoolbook of a notable German publisher. That really drove me in terms of commercial photography this year.

In February, Tina, a fellow student, invited me to shoot one of the games of her volleyball team. There I met Fiona and some other nice people which helped me to forget about the trouble of the past month. During spring I had a good time with all those people – no matter if we had barbecue in the garden or had board game parties, visited music events, went snowboarding or just hanging around and talk. I met interesting people and discovered new places and it was worth it.

Due to the snowboarding with Fiona I rediscovered skateboarding for myself. I just wanted to stay fit for snowboarding during the summer so I started to skate again at the age of 29. Well, the most people at home think that this is a silly idea, but it really helped me to get through that hard time of realizing that my girlfriend left me. I found some new kind of sense of life in skateboarding. It’s like music – it helps you to recharge and to strengthen your character and mind for upcoming tasks. And so skateboarding took a big part of my free time this year. And yeah, it brought me new friends, too. Meanwhile I’m loving to cruise through the streets, watching for new spots and coming home totally exhausted, noticing: “Yes, you are still alive!”

Me skateboarding again after canceling it 11 years ago

There was a point where I couldn’t life in our flat anymore because it reminded me of my broken relationship, so I decided to move away just for a few months. I moved to Giessen, the city where I studied and shared an apartment with five other people. I never shared a flat before with so many people so it was some kind of an adventure for me. Here I met Jan, an ambitious amateur photographer. We learned a lot from each other in terms of photography and talked nearly everyday many hours about photography and projects.

I also met another talented professional photographer this year – Kae Hall. She’s a wedding and portrait photographer from Alsfeld. For me she is the best wedding photographer in this area because she has an awesome clean, timeless and modern, bright style. She invited me to take part as a second photographer in a wedding reportage in June. This was the preparing for my first own wedding reportage of my friends Jessica and Timo. Maybe you’ve read last years November posting about my first Engagement Shoot with them. After that they asked me to make a photo reportage of their wedding near Hamburg in July. I accepted and was allowed to document a lovely and cheerful event. Thanks Timo and Jessica!

The Wedding of Timo and Jessica

While living in the shared flat in Giessen Tina told me that she and Fiona wanted to travel to New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. I thought that this would be a great idea to clear my mind from the separation. So I decided to come with them and booked a flight, too. But than I┬á was dubious about it and if I should spend so much money for this five month trip because my dream was always to travel the USA. I just was a bit anxious about traveling on my own, but accidentally I found an old acquaintance on the internet again – Doreen. I read Doreen’s blog and well, she was traveling on her own through South America. She gave me a lot of needful tips and finally I decided to cancel the New Zealand Trip with Tina and Fiona and booked my flight to the USA in late August to travel along the West Coast from Seattle, WA to Los Angeles, CA to Tijuana, MX.
I made thousands of images and they keep alive billions of impressions that I got during the journey. Here are just a very, very few ones:

The Dodge and me on our tour along the US west-coast

Seattle skyline

At Mt. Rainier, WA

Baywatch ­čśë

Spaceshuttle Endeavour – its last flight, Los Angeles, CA

I don’t know what to say – just WOW! That was the best travel I made so far! I rent a Dodge truck and drove along the coast through all the great cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, made a short side trip to Lake Tahoe and went on to Los Angeles – I visited a Rodeo in Tacoma and Kurt Cobain’s House at Lake Washington, his memorial park in Aberdeen, Mount Rainier etc. etc. I visited lots of skate parks like the ones in Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Carlsbad and skate spots in San Francisco (thanks to Aaron Kyro), I met a lot of friendly and helpful people. When I stuck in the sand with my truck at Kaweah Beach ten men pulled my car out like it would be self-evident. I really love that country and will come back soon! ­čÖé
(BTW: If you want to know what camera gear I took with me: Nikon D3, Nikkor 70-200/2.8, Kenko 2x TC, Sigma 24-70/2.8, Tokina 11-16/2.8, SB-800 Speedlights, SU-800 Commander, SuperClamps, ND-Grad-Filters, Gels and a Toshiba Netbook. Everything fit perfectly into my Lowepro CompuTrekker AW. )

Well, beside all that there was also some sports and music band portraiture this year with the volleyball team of my friend Jessica and the band At Eaze.
Those projects were a lot of fun and I am glad they asked me to do the shootings. I did it with all my passion for photography. Thanks!

At Eaze 2012

Ladies’ Volleyball Team┬á Giessen 2012

After my USA trip I moved to Munich in November – leaving behind my old live on the countryside and finally forgetting about my broken 11 year relationship.
And here I am, living in Munich, Bavaria and starting a new stage of life – on my own, initially.

Home Sweet Home – leaving the countryside …

… moving to Munich, Bavaria

I’m looking forward to new photography projects here in Munich. There’s a lot to experience and many ways to express myself here in terms of photography.

This year showed me that there’s no time to mourn after somebody and believe that live is less livable. There are always people and ways that can help you to find new inspiration and happiness. Just do it! ­čśë

Well, that was my year in review. How was yours? Maybe you want to post a link to your blog or leave a comment!

Anyways, I wish all of you a great passing of 2012 and that all your good dreams and wishes will come true.

See you next year when I’ll present you my photography agenda of 2013.

Bye!
Chris

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This was 2011!

Hi and welcome to my first blog post for 2012!

I hope you had great holidays!

So, what’s up? At the moment I’m working on my Bachelor Thesis in General Management. I will graduate in March, hopefully. ­čśë
Well, more about the prospects of 2012 in one of the upcoming blog posts …

Today let’s look back on my photographic aspects of 2011.

2011 I began with a new approach: “Going professional.”

In 2010 I already sold a lot of things that I wouldn’t need anymore. From the proceeds I bought photo gear. While the 4th quarter of 2010 paved the way for this approach, with new photo gear, methods and ideas, now it was time to put it into action.

Therefor I started my own flash photography project. This should help me to practice the usage of flash in the field.
I was almost obsessed by using flash and available light in the best way possible just to move on from that dull looking amateur photos – in order to create photos that have that professional clean look.┬á It’s bad, but I never really mind the light – until now. Like Dave Black says: “Light is the greatest influence.” And he’s absolutely right. It’s so obvious that light MUST be the greatest influence because photography means “drawing with light”! So why don’t we use the light to create awesome “light paintings”? This was the first thing I had to realize before I could go on.

I read lots of books and blogs of professional photographers all year and analyzed their photos. That help me to increase my knowledge while the regular shooting increased my practical skills. I learned the theory than went out into the field to practice until I got acceptable results. It was that easy, indeed.

 

SPORTS
I started my personal flash training with shooting sports. Therefor I asked the local sports clubs if it is possible to take pictures during the training. This also helped me to learn something about the planning of shoots and making arrangements. It was not always that easy to cover a training session or even a game. It needs so many permissions that it is really elaborating to establish a shoot. Often coaches are skeptical toward using flash because they think it could disturb the athletes. So, it needed some cogency to arrange a shoot. But it was worth the effort.
Finally, I shot several indoor and outdoor sports like swimming, motocross, track and field, handball, basketball and football during the year. My favorite sport was motocross. Since I went to the first motocross race with my uncle in 1989  I like it. It was always fun to watch it, but to shoot it was much better! As I shot it the first time and saw the results I was amazed! The results were awesome! I made a quantum leap from dull amateur pictures to high-quality professional images.

I also used professional off camera flash solutions and techniques to realize high-quality images in extreme dark gyms. This effort helped me to contrast from competitors once more. Now I’m ranking┬á a bit higher in the Mount Olympus of our local sports photographers. ­čśë

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTOJOURNALISM

Thanks to all these flash tips I got from the pros and the intense training, also my press photos became better. The coverage of the opening of the MUNA museum for example was just fun to cover. Shooting indoors with flash was suddenly easy-going!

 

 

 

 

 

In June the village in which I’m living was underwater because of heavy rainfalls and a dried out soil. When I woke up from a short breathing pause and glanced out of the window on that evening,I saw how the water had flood the meadows in front of our house. It also flood the households near the river. I grabbed the camera and covered this disaster. I sent the photos to the local newspaper immediately. Finally, the German Press Agency (dpa) bought them and the next day I found my photos in well known German newspapers and online magazines. On one hand a success for me, but on the other hand a flooded village. That’s life.

 

 

 

 
COMMERCIAL
Commercial photography was another very interesting thing I did in 2011.
I love the clean look of commercial images and wanted to know more tricks about commercial photography. My sports images had already a commercial look so I used these techniques to create car shots. I also searched the web for great car photographers. Studying their photos helped me to get similar results in my own style.

 

 

 

EDITORIAL and PORTRAITURE

I also acted in the field of editorial and portraiture in 2011. Well, I nearly got through every field of photography that I’m interested in. Portraiture was the most difficult. I tried many lighting setups and read Joe McNally’s Books that helped and inspired me a lot.
This portrait of a bassist was some kind of elaborating. I shot one flash through a window on the 2nd floor, another one through an umbrella from the camera left and a third one I used as contour light from the camera right. I gelled all flashes wit a CTO (except the contour light) to create a sunset look.

Another highlight was my first Engagement Shoot with Timo and Jessica in November. They asked me if I could take nice pictures of them for their marriage invitation cards. And so I did.
They wanted the shoot to be in the nature, so I looked for nice places around our house and found some. For the whole shoot I used flash and 300mm to 600mm lenses to create a smooth background that doesn’t distract from the couple. With a fresh and bright style the images looked great for an invitation card of a happy event like a marriage.

 

 

 

CONCERT

Okay, now we are coming toward the end of my 2011 flash experience. Concerts. At Eaze hired me to cover one of its shows in October. I know the band since 2008 and covered a lot of their shows, so I had the possibility to use flash for the coverage. This wasn’t my first try to use flash in a concert, but it was the first one with an professional approach. Off camera flash helped me to keep the disturbing low, to create clean images and to reveal important subjects like the drummer and the audience. At Eaze loved the results and that’s so much honor. Thanks.

 

 

 

NATURE

From August to September I shot Ospreys at the reservoir and this was the only field of photography where I didn’t use flash. But I will. It’s an elaborating project for this year. I will also use remote cameras to capture unique moments of wildlife. This project will be hilarious – I’m sure.
I went several times to the reservoir nearby to capture Ospreys while they are hunting fish. The problem was: A focal length of 600mm was much to short to get close-ups. Well, seems like I have to rent a larger lens next time – maybe 800mm and use it with a teleconverter. However, the hours at the reservoir were the most extensive photography moments of 2011. I loved the silence and the opportunity to watch some kind of wildlife that people around don’t really notice. Local nature has plenty to offer you just have to look for it. Also photos of mushrooms in the wood can look professional if using fill flash.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I learned a lot about using flash and creating interesting scenes and therefor created fantastic images. I learned to use the light because “Light is the greatest influence.”. And I learned that if you want to learn something about photography you better ask the pros. Forums are a great thing to exchange experiences, but you should never use a forum to learn photography. Ask the pros, buy their books, go to professional workshops and practice what you have learned! That’s the best way.

Well, this was my review of 2011. A year of flash photography. A year with a professional approach. A year with much better images than the years before. A year of personal success in terms of photography. So, let’s see what we can do for 2012. ­čÖé

I wish all of you the best for 2012!

Bye!
Chris