Photography Tip-Don't Wait To Take The Shot

Here's my photography tip of the day/week/month (heck, maybe of forever)-If you see something that you want to photograph, don't wait! Take the best shot you can as soon as you can, because it might not be there next time! I almost learned this lesson the hard way, but fortunately I didn't. Here's the back story:

There was a slowly crumbling house along one of the bike routes I ride. I had ridden by this house maybe 75 times over the previous 5 years and every-time I did I always wondered to myself "what's the story is behind this". Then, last Fall, after I got my vintage Rolleicord Va, I was inspired to drive out to the house on a Saturday morning just after sunrise to see what kind of photographs I could make. The day wasn't perfect. In fact, there was a slight mist in the air but I was compelled to go out there and photograph it.

I set up my Rolleicord, which was loaded with a roll of Delta 400, and made several photographs of the house.

Day 336-Needs Work

Good Intentions

Roof Detail

As you can see, the house was old and falling apart, which made it a great subject for the camera. I was very happy with the images I made that day, but I still wondered what stories this house had to tell....

Burnin' Down The House

Earlier this Summer I started thinking that it would be neat to visit the house again and see if I could document some additional decay. Well, imagine my surprise when I rode my bike by it one day in August and saw that it had decayed a little faster than I thought, it had burned to the ground!

I made it out to the house last week with my Rolleicord (loaded with Delta 400 again) and made a few images of the charred remains. Here's a pretty good representative shot of what was left:

At Least We Have The Memories In among the rubble and charred wood was a few of the metal shingles, which were a unique part of the house. I don't know what caused the house to burn, was it set intentionally to make it easier to clear out? Or perhaps it was arson? I'll probably never know. I'm just glad I was able to capture the house before all this happened. Now that it has burned I have a bit of a photographic story of the house that I never would've had if I had waited until "the perfect time" to make the initial photograph.

I hope my little experience with "almost waiting too long" has inspired you to have a sense of urgency about your photography. Sure, the perfect conditions might not exist on a particular day when you pass by something that you find interesting, but take a minute to stop and make that photograph because it might be your only chance!

Photo Share And Discussion-The Camera Doesn't Matter Edition

Last week's photo share and discussion (#29) was interesting because Frank, one of the "regulars", and I got into a discussion about the fact that most of what makes a great photograph is how you envision and compose the scene, not the camera you use to capture the image. Frank posted a few images that he took with a low megapixel Kodak EasyShare camera  from the early 2000's while he was in Australia on business. Here's the video from the hangout:

I try to do one of these hangouts on the Google+  page for Mark's Photography Spot each Friday at 8PM Eastern. If you want to join in the fun be sure to follow  the Mark's Photography Spot page and I'll add you to the list of people that get invites. If you don't want to, or can't, participate live you can watch the recordings on the YouTube Channel. Either way, I hope to see you on a future hangout.

Happy Shooting!

July 11th Photo Share and Discussion on Google Plus

Last night I held one of my "Photo Share and Discussions". I've been trying to do one of these each Thursday at 8PM Eastern. The objective is to get together and discuss recent images we've shot/processed as well as talk about all things photography related. I do these through the Hangout feature on my Google Plus Page. Here is last night's edition:

I would love it if more people would join in. I can have up to 9 additional people on the hangout besides myself. Right now there is a core group of two to three that participate each week depending on their schedules. If you are interested in participating live on future hangouts please let me know. An unlimited number of people can watch the hangout once I start the "on-air" broadcast portion. The broadcast is also recorded and posted at the Mark's Photography Spot YouTube channel.

Friday Photo Share For January 25, 2013

Welcome to the Friday Photo Share for January 25! This week we'll review the results of the photography poll question "Do You Shoot JPEG or RAW?", discuss a few images that were uploaded to the flickr group and reveal next week's poll question:

Remember to join the flickr group and share your images. I'll discuss some of the images each week as well as every once in a while post one to the blog. I will link back to your flickr account which could get you more views. You can find the group at:

Over here on the blog : I have set up a weekly Photography Poll that you can answer (on the right sidebar). I will change the poll question each week and discuss the results each week her on the "Friday Photo Share" video. This week's question is "How many photographs do you think you'll take in 2013?".

I am also still soliciting your feedback for a new design of the blog. Please leave your comments here or on the blog about how I can improve the look of the blog or any Wordpress themes that I might want to check out to improve the look and functionality of the blog as we build our community.

If you like what you see here, Please Subscribe to the channel!

In addition to this channel, you can also follow me here:

Mark's Photography My Google+ Page: The Mark'sPhotographySpot flickr group: My Flickr Site:

As always, thanks for your support and feedback. Happy Shooting!

Happy New Year And Some Photography Resolutions For 2013

It’s resolution time again. As 2012 ends and 2013 is right around the corner many of us make resolutions for the new year. Well, in addition to the usual ones of “lose weight” or “get in shape” how about some photography related resolutions?

As for me, there are a few things I want to accomplish photography-wise:

  1. Take as many photographs as possible.
  2. Purchase some new equipment, a fast-prime lens (24-35mm) as well as a macro lens so I can try my hand at photographing little things.

For Mark’s Photography Spot:

  1. Focus the channel on helping the typical person take better photographs
  2. Do as many equipment reviews as possible with the reviews focusing on whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth when purchasing new equipment.
  3. Build some interactivity into the channel.

My suggestions for your own photography resolutions:

  1. Resolve to get your camera out of “Auto”-Take the time to learn about the other modes of your camera such as shutter-priority, aperture-priority and “Manual” so that you can learn how to “drive your camera” as much as possible.
  2. Resolve to shoot as much as possible-Get in the habit of taking a camera with you wherever you go and start looking for opportunities to make photographs
  3. Be critical of your work-Really look at your photographs and decide what you do and don’t like about them then try to improve the next time you go out.

That’s about it. I’m excited for 2013 and I hope y’all have a safe and Happy New Year!


Happy Shooting!

Film Photography: Overview of How To Develop Film At Home

I had a roll of 35mm film from my Yashica GSN camera (stay tuned for my film camera video!) that needed to be developed so I documented the process to give you an idea of how easy it is to develop film on your own. I included a few of the developed images at the end of the video so you can see the results of the development process:

This is just a basic overview of the steps in developing black and white film. I plan a much more in-depth video(s) to cover the specifics of film developing including the equipment, chemicals and technique required. I'll also cover the steps involved in getting your developed film onto the computer, including scanning and editing the images.Stay tuned for that in the next month or so.

In the meantime, maybe this video will get you thinking about film photography and maybe even developing your own film.

Happy Shooting!

Marks Photography Spot Is Now On YouTube

What's better than a photography blog? A photography blog with a YouTube channel! :-) I'm proud to announce that as of today, Mark's Photography Spot is on YouTube. I decided that I could make more of an impact on helping people enjoy and get better at photography by integrating video into the mix. I plan on using the channel to dig a little deeper into how to use cameras, software and other equipment in order to make better photographs. The videos will be an addition to the content of this blog and I think it will enhance the quality of the overall experience.

Here's the first video:

I'm Looking forward to the future and sharing more of my photography with all of you via YouTube.

Happy Shooting!

The Latest Addition To The Family-The Yashica GSN

I think I'm getting hooked on old cameras :-) After having so much fun with the Rolleicord I decided I wanted a classic 35mm film camera. A lot of the research I did suggested I get a vintage reangefinder camera, preferably one ffom Japan that was made in the 1970's. Turns out there are a lot of thise. But I finally settled on a camera, the Yashica Electro 35 GSN. I did some research on a few rangefinder and classic camera forums and found what seemed to be a nice example from a guy in Japan. I bought it last week and it arrived yesterday.

Here it is:

My initial impression of the camera is great. First off, it is nice and heavy, like a classic camera should be. The camera seems to be in very good shape. The cost was just over $100 with shipping. The guy I bought it from had very good feedback from others and the camera has supposedly gone through a recent CLA (clean, lube, adjust) which included replacing the seals. By the looks of the camera I think it is as advertised. I needed to pick up a battery for it and I also need to hook up one of my Canon camera straps in the interim, until I find a proper strap and case for the camera. I plan on loading up a roll of film in it this weekend and seeing if I got my money's worth.

I'll report back with the results.

Happy Shooting!


My First Attempt At Developing Your Own Film

Everyone I talked to or read about on the web said that developing your own film is easy and fun. Well, today I tested that theory. I developed my first roll of film. Here's the final result: As you can see, the film came out with actual images on them, which was a pleasant surprise :-) I went into this 1st attempt with very low expectations but the end result was (almost) perfect. I say "almost" because there are at least two frames that are damaged in some way. The frames are the 2nd and 3rd (from the bottom). If you look closely you can see the left side of those frames has a purple "blotch" on them. I'm not sure how that happened but my uneducated guess is that either that section of the film was touching another section due to improper placement of the film on the reel (highly likely due to my error) or that that section somehow didn't get any developer on it.

Either way, its something I need to correct next time, but I need to figure out what caused it first. If any of you have any ideas what caused it, please let me know.

Other than that, I'm very happy with the outcome. This was a "junk" roll of film meaning that I didn't have an critical images on it. I have one other roll like that that I finished shooting today and I plan on developing it here in the next week or so.

One roll down, many more to go!


Blog Upgrade In Progress

I just wanted to let "Y'all" know that I am in the process of upgrading the look (and hopefully the functionality) of the blog. So, over the next few days or so you may see the blog go through a few changes as I play around with various options on the new theme that I plan on using,Suffusion, which seems like a great theme with a lot of options. I'm hoping to add a more robust gallery to the site as well as make the blog more interactive.

Stay tuned for the "New and Improved" version of Mark's Photography Spot!