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The Portrait, My Achilles Heel: Images 109-116

Cape Cod 2013     Cape Cod Family Portrait 2013

Winter 2012 Family Portrait     Winter Family Portrait 2012

Summer Family Portrait 2013     Summer Family Portrait 2013

Whole Family 2013     Whole Family 2013

My Mom and Her Boys     My Mom and Her Boys

Fall Family Portrait 2014     Fall Family Portrait 2014

My Boys 2014     My Boys 2014

My Somebody     My Somebody

I have never been accused of being a “portrait photographer”.  I am not good at people pictures.  I shoot landscapes, seascapes, lighthouses, sunsets, waterfalls, nature, flowers, maybe some wildlife.  NOT PEOPLE!!!  I can’t really explain why, but it is definitely not my forte.  It is the weak spot in my repertoire.

I have had a lot of people ask me if I would take family portraits of them after they see my landscape work, but I always steer them to other Photographers that have the skill to do them justice.  I have met some AMAZING portrait photographers over the years and I will highly recommend them whenever I am asked.

I have the patience to sit around and wait for the right shot when it comes to sunrises and sunsets as well as for the right shot with wildlife, but I just don’t have the patience when it comes to portraits.  I also don’t have the foggiest idea how to pose anyone or how to get the lighting right.  I deal with natural light and generally inanimate (or at least very slow moving objects) that don’t even know or care that I am there!

But, there are times when I have to suck it up and take a Family Portrait.  When all my brothers (and their families) were in town around the fourth of July, 2013, my Mom wanted to get some family shots.  So, we went to the beach and I took shots of each individual family, the whole family, all the grandkids with Grandma, and my Mom with her four boys.  They came out all right I guess.  At least my Mom liked them.

Each summer we go to Cape Cod, we try to get a Family Portrait as well.  We try to take a Family Portrait every Fall or Winter that we often use in our Christmas Card.  I love to see how my boys have changed over the years, how they have grown and matured.  The regular Family Portrait is a great way to document these years, retaining it forever.

And then there is my beautiful wife.  She is the one who stages all the Family Portraits.  She pics out the clothes, she chooses where everyone stands and pics the location.  I just have to show up with the Camera and the Tripod, set the timer and hit the button….lots of times….she always makes me take at least 20-30 shots to make sure we get a perfect one.  Now, she is the first to admit that she often takes a terrible picture.  She has a knack for closing her eyes right as the shutter clicks. I can’t tell you how many family shots I have deleted because her eyes are closed!!  That is why I often take quick candids of her when she doesn’t even know I am taking it, like the one above.   She liked this one so much, she used it for her business card!!

I think they all came out pretty good, but they are miles away from the quality I have seen from some of my favorite portrait photographers.  Let me know what you think!!

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor

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Same Image Four Different Ways: Using Silhouette, Natural Light, Long Exposure, and Flash: Images 105-108

Dock Bench 1     Bench on a Dock at Cayuga Lake (Long Exposure)

Dock Bench 2     Bench on a Dock at Cayuga Lake

Dock Bench 3     Bench on a Dock at Cayuga Lake (Flash)

Dock Bench 4     Bench on a Dock at Cayuga Lake (Very Long Exposure and Flash)

I am sitting here in Snowy and Frigid Rochester, NY, thinking about summer.  We are in a stretch of sub zero temps and what feels like endless snow.  I am really looking forward to the spring and watching all this snow melt away.  This past summer, my family and I got the chance to meet up with some of our California friends while they were visiting their family at the Family Compound on Cayuga Lake.  What a gorgeous setting.  They have this great dock that is in an L-shape, creating a little swimming area for the kids.  My wife got to try Paddle Boarding while we were there and she is hooked.  I snapped these pics out on the dock, looking out onto Cayuga Lake.  I took several shots of the water and horizon, but the shots with the bench ended up being the most interesting.   I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Counting the days till summer…

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor

Lighthouses: A Beacon With Meaning. images 63-69

Cape Cod Light     Cape Cod Light

Chatham Light at Twilight     Chatham Lighthouse at Twilight

Chatham Light at Noon     Chatham Light at Noon

Highland Light, Cape Cod     Highland Light, Cape Cod

Genesee Lighthouse     Genesee Lighthouse

Sodus Lighthouse, Pier     Sodus Lighthouse, Pier

Sodus Point Light     Sodus Point Lighthouse

My wife has always been drawn to Lighthouses.  She wasn’t able to really express what it was about the Lighthouse that she was drawn to, but she always felt a gravitational pull towards them.  We spent our honeymoon in Maine and this was the first time I had an opportunity to photograph a Lighthouse.   We visited several and found lots of great Lighthouse knick knacks that we started decorating our homes with.  Gradually, over the years, between my photographs and paintings my mother did as well as the knick knacks we have acquired, we have an entire bathroom devoted to Lighthouses.  It was this bathroom that finally led to an answer as to why she was a Lighthouse fetish.

Her brother came over to our house one day, and, of course, had to use the bathroom.  He came out of the bathroom completely shocked!  He then explained that he has a bathroom in his house that is also devoted to Lighthouses.  He and my wife began talking about how they both have been drawn to Lighthouses for years now and he was able to tell us a story as to why he thinks they share this fascination.

Their maternal grandfather died off the shore of Long Island, near Montauk.  He was a passenger on a ferry.  The ferry was carrying more than it’s capacity that day, and a freak storm struck, capsizing the ferry.  Many people drowned that day, swimming in the frigid waters, trying to reach shore, using the Beacon of the Montauk Light as their guide.  That Beacon was the last thing their grandfather saw.  They never knew their grandfather, as this all happened before their mother and father had even met.  But, nonetheless, they are drawn to the light just like their grandfather was that fateful day.

For my wife, the beacon of a lighthouse is a call to home.   It is that sign of a safe haven.  Her true north.  So I have developed a love of photographing lighthouses.  My Maine Lighthouse pictures are all in a box somewhere.  They were taken over 20 years ago on a Canon AE-1, a film camera.  one of these days i will find the negatives and get them into digital format.  For now, I will continue to take a picture of every Lighhouse I come across.  Next summer will be Cape Cod again and I would love to get some shots of the several Lighthouse on the cape that I haven’t gotten to yet.  I hope soon to be able to travel back to the West Coast and shoot all the Oregon and Washington Lighthouses.

For more of my Lighthouse Pictures visit my sites:

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

Image #2. Bay Sunset. A Great Evening With Friends Results in a Phenomenal Capture

Bay Sunset

A good friend of mine had a groupon for an evening party boat rental out on Irondequoit Bay.  It was late in the season, already September, but we decided to book it anyway.  We kept our fingers crossed for good weather and it worked!!!  We had a gorgeous day.  However, it did not go off without a hitch.

We drove to the location where we were told to go to pick up the boat.  Four couples packing coolers stocked with food and drink.  The sun is shining, the temperature is warm, and we are all excited for the night away from kids.  However, the water level in the bay has been very low all summer and is especially low now.  Apparently, all the boats are now being docked at the mouth of the bay because the levels are too low.  They “forgot” to tell us this when we called to make our reservation.  So, we have to get back in our cars and drive all the way around the bay; and our time of rental is supposed to begin in 5 min.  We are supposed to have 2 hours, and the drive is going to rob us of 15 min of that 2 hours.  This is where my wife stepped in…

I love my wife.  I do.  The best advice I can give someone is, “Give her what she wants, when she wants it!”  She is a reasonable person, but if you try to change the parameters after something has already been agreed to, she ain’t havin’ it.  She strolled up to the counter; I went outside….  After a few minutes, My friend and my wife exited the rental office and we had 2 hours with the boat, beginning the minute we launched from the dock.  She gets her way, more times than not.

We hopped in our cars and drove around the bay.  There was a back up at the dock so we didn’t end up shoving off until 30 min after we were supposed to, but no bother.  Fun times ensued.  Good friends, good food, good conversation, good laughs, good views, good booze.  An all around excellent evening.  My friend, Mark, and I had to jump out at one point to get the boat unstuck off a sand bar!!  I had my camera with me (of course) and took many pictures.  As we were heading back to the dock, approaching the end of our 2 hour tour of Irondequoit Bay, I snapped this Photo of the setting sun.  I hope you enjoy it!!!

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor