Archive for the Oxnard Category

Caring with Cameras

Posted in California, Oak View, Ojai, Oxnard, Ventura on June 28, 2007 by lenscapremoved

We’re using this cool site that the Ventura County Star uses for community service. I’m trying it out to explain something that Dave is doing to give back to the community. Check it out. Let me know if it doesn’t work for you.



Sand is just tiny, little rocks

Posted in luttrell, Oxnard, Snappers, Ventura on June 25, 2007 by Keith Smiley

By Keith Smiley
Beyond the map stars contributing writer

Since I only recently tricked Brad into letting me play with the blog, I haven’t quite gotten into the groove of posting photos and whatnot. But now that I’ve made up an overly-official sounding title and given myself a byline (see above) as if I’m actually doing something constructive, I’m going to try and catch up on the past few days of pictures. And by pictures, I mean mostly snappers.

What a Corona ad would look like if it was realistic. I’m not quite sure why there was so much stuff piled in one chair with no sign of the owners.

As Brad mentioned, Greg Cooper, a former student of Dave’s who currently teaches photojournalism at Brooks here in Ventura, took the time to show us some new places to photograph. Last night, he took us to Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, where there was great light all along the beach. Just as we’ve seen all over Ventura County, the people here are very open — even as five guys with cameras wander up and down the beach. Some people stop and ask if we’re Brooks students and are interested to hear that we actually go to school in Kentucky; other people pretend we’re not even there. It’s exactly what we want.

Brad, Elliott and I walk hand-in-hand down the beach in Oxnard. Do I have to tell you Elliott is the one in the middle?


The problem I had was there were just too many silhouette pictures to take, and I was striving to not take them. I wanted to use the nice light, and more so I wanted to challenge myself to capture something more complex and substantial than a silhouette. What ended up happening is I missed out on what were probably the best pictures out there.

Check out Brad’s post about the harbor, specifically the third picture in it (the silhouette of the surfer and the lifeguard stand). The photo is simple, nearly monochromatic, and I’m sure Brad wishes the people under the lifeguard stand didn’t run together with the supports, but it’s still my favorite photo that I’ve seen from yesterday — I say that with the disclaimer that I haven’t seen Ed or Elliott’s takes, so I could very well change my mind — and I wish it’s a picture that I’d taken. In its simplicity, the photo does a lot to represent the mood of the California beach.

By the way, this is Brad, so you know who I’m talking about:

There was way too much text in one place, so I figured I’d toss in a picture from a few days ago.

When I went out to shoot last night, I was too focused on not shooting silhouettes to recognize that I was in a prime place for them. The silhouette is one of dozens of tools and tricks that photographers have available; any of them can be cliché, and any of them can be overused. But they also all have a place where they can be incredibly effective. The techniques themselves are easy to learn — it doesn’t take long to figure out panning or how to shoot a silhouette — but learning when to use each one and when to strive for something more complex or creative is a far more involved process. It’s something that I think we’re all making progress on out here as we chase the light every evening.


Marking it down

Posted in California, luttrell, Oxnard, Smiley, Snappers on June 24, 2007 by lenscapremoved


          I fear that everything I shot tonight would be ripped apart by a professional critique. It’s not that I think I’m still in a rut. It’s actually the opposite. I felt like I was in a groove. While this sounds great, it’s a common problem with photographers, especially young students. It’s all too easy to love a picture just because you worked hard to get it or because you finally matched that magazine cover photo that you liked so much.


          Western alumnus and current faculty at Brooks Institute of Photography, Greg Cooper, took us out shooting tonight. I really appreciate that kind of hospitality. He showed us a great harbor in Oxnard where we were all bound to shoot the stereotypical. This brings about the quandary of whether or not we should be shooting these cliché shots.            Sometimes you get a killer shot that is great because it’s the same technique but your photo stands out for whatever reason. Separation was great, light was just perfect or maybe you just got lucky and all of your colors match up perfectly (I’m requesting that Keith post his semi-stop sign photo later to exemplify this). These cliché silhouetted beach shots are pictures we can’t take at home, but are they really benefiting our portfolios and expanding our abilities? Probably not.


          My exposures are getting much better though. The varying types of light have helped me get quicker with picking an exposure and getting it right. I’m also getting better at watching for moments. So even if these lame calendar shots aren’t going into our portfolio I am training myself to watch for features more often.          I want to say I don’t care what we shoot as long as I’m learning. But I feel that maybe I would be cheating myself to assume that all experiences are equally valuable. This same idea scares me because it’s impossible to know what I’m missing out on. The only way to know is to try and do as much as possible. I’m keeping a list of things-to-do, and it’s growing fast and my days are disappearing. 

         I think it’s time to consolidate my ideas and expand the amount of time that I’m spending shooting. Soon we’ll flip the page to another cliché calendar photo as July is around the corner. I’m running out of days to X off.