Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Photo Sniper

Are you a photo sniper? Maybe you know a photo sniper? I think of myself has a photo sniper. I like to shoot unsuspecting random victims. Someone who unknowingly shows a side of themselves for photo snipers, like me, to capture and share with others. My favorite - other photographers.

I have great admiration for portrait photographers. Some of them can get the most stunning photographs. The details, the light, the beauty that they capture, truly amazes me. Personally though, I prefer and admire, photo journalists, or in my case, photo snipers, who catch people unawares and captures a true, unplanned moment and expression. Real Life!

To all of you photo snipers out there - I hold my camera up to you and salute you for sharing that one special little piece of time with the rest of us.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Unexpected Happened

This summer I started a series called, "Spur of the Moment". The intent was to get people out photographing. It was also, from a business and marketing point of view, a way for Alternative Focus to stay in front of it's customers.

How it worked. I would post an upcoming "Spur of the Moment" and then ask people to send me 2-3 photographs to share. For the most part it worked and was a lot of fun.

During all of this, something unexpected happen - a lot of the "Spur of the Moments" were centered around community events, so I spent a lot of time going to local community events - and I found myself not only enjoying photographing, but I found myself feeling 'grateful' at each event for living is such a vibrant, active, loving, giving, and fun community. My "Spur of the Moments" weren't just about photography anymore, or keeping my customers/students involved, it became more about the community in which I live and enjoy.

You don't have to travel to enjoy photography. Your own backyard is the perfect place to photograph. Happy "Spur of the Moment", it truly does 'just happen in a spur of a moment', so keep your cameras ready at all times.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Art and Soul of Photography

The best camera, the biggest sensor, the newest, or the latest - may help images look somewhat better, but this does not make someone a 'photographer', or an 'artist'. I was recently asked to be the blogging editor for a new blog, "As I See It".   The purpose of the blog - to focus on the passion, the art, the soul of a true photographer. To get a glimpse of the artist within. Not the technical or what gear they use. It is the soul of the photographer that we wanted to focus on.

I am surrounded by photographers. I belong to the Skagit Valley Camera Club and I organize/produce photography workshops, so I get to see a lot of  images. Not everyone is a 'great' photographer, nor are all images technically correct, but it is the passion behind them that really shows in their work and it is what drives them. This is the true inspiration, it is not what kind of gear they have, it is their soul that shows through. In this way I am very lucky and grateful to be surrounded by such passion and beauty.

In our workshops we do teach the technical, but we also try to instill the passion, the creative side of photography, hopefully pushing our students to be more than just someone with a camera.

by Tony Locke

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spur of the Moment Fun

Busy lives lead to little time to do the things we want.  Spur of the Moment photo outings is set up to encourage everyone to come out and photograph, spend some quiet time with like-minds and your camera.

Our first one for the season was to the Tulip Fields.

Betty Wright

Gretchen Thompson

Karla Locke

Ron Zuber

Tony Locke

Bev Rud

Per Lea

Next it was flying high with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Anacortes Paddlefest.

Anne Elkins

Karla Locke

Lynne Hann

Ron Zuber

Tony Locke

Friday, May 25, 2012

Conquering Photography one lesson at a time....

There are literally thousands of books, websites, blogs, workshops, classes and YouTube videos on photography, Photoshop and Lightroom.  This brought the question to mind, "How do we fit in?".  

When I started photography workshops, I decided my niche market was going to be the beginner to average photographer - those that were just starting and wanted to know a little more. I felt that they were being ignored and that market was growing faster than any other market.

Once I teamed up with Dick Garvey, we aimed our classes towards beginner to intermediates. It was all about learning and having a good time. We had some great classes and the talent of our repeat students grew.

With this ever-changing industry and the internet, it was time to reflect and decide what was next.  What was next? To keep people engaged in photography, to help them not only develop, but to maintain their skills.  To conquer photography one lesson at a time.  To provide a building block of tools, skills and creative outlets for them.

2012 is all about having fun, engaging others and to keep on learning.  Join us in our Spur of the Moment photo outings, How do I'd do that?, and our user group on Photoshop and Lightroom. It is a great way to keep learning, to build, to have fun and to engage with others.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hanging out in the tulip fields

Sometimes it is just plain fun to hang out with a bunch of photographers.  Our workshops are always fun, with a little underlying seriousness to them.  For fun this summer I decided to do a series of 'Spur of the Moments' photo outings. Inviting photographers to come with us to wherever the camera leads us, to have fun, photograph, share and hang out. 

For the first outing we went to the tulip fields.  You cannot live in Skagit Valley and be a photographer without photographing the tulip fields. This year I heard grumblings from a lot of photographers about how tulip photos all looked alike anymore. There was nothing new.  Did this mean boredom had set in? We were uninspired? No imagination left? 

I thought, what does it matter? Why not just have fun and hang out. Enjoy the evening, the camaraderie of others and see what happens.  Why stress out about a perfect shot, or how to be different? Sometimes the same ole, same ole, is actually quite fun, relaxing and comforting.  Sometimes it can release those creative juices and inspire something new. Maybe not a new version of a tulip shot? But something later on might happen.

Enjoy the same ole, same ole - you never know where that might take you.........

The fun shots! 

Gumby was a big hit with the group.  Photo by Per Lea

photo by Bev Rud

Group Shot

Fish eye lens with yellow boots - photo by Per Lea


Now for a more traditional serious shots!

 photo by Gretchen Thomas


photo by Tony Locke


photo by Betty Wright


 photo by Karla Locke