My Annual Thanksgiving Message: We Are a Part of Everyone We Meet

 Robert M. Sammon, Sr.

Robert M. Sammon, Sr.

It's that time of year (already), time for me to repost my annual Thanksgiving message, which I've been posting for several years. If you have a comment on the topic of "We are a part of everyone we meet," please share it here with a Comment.

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If you lost someone this year, or know someone who lost someone, you might find this well-known quote comforting: We are a part of everyone we meet.

Several years ago, late one December afternoon, my dad and I were sitting in his study. We were having a nice talk – and a nice time. I looked at him and thought: He looks so happy. The light is just right. I should take a picture - because it might be the last good picture I ever take of him. He was fading.

I thought about taking the picture for about 10 minutes, holding back some tears – thinking about what it would be like not to have him around, after having him around for 88 years - as my dad, and later on in life as the first-pass editor for most of my books. (He was a great editor.)

I finally asked him if I could take a shot. He said sure, with a smile and nod. He knew what I was thinking. I asked him to look out the window, and I took a single shot.

My dad, 91, died suddenly and peacefully and quickly on April 3, 2010. A few hours before, while I was on the other side of the country, I had a dream about him: He had pushed his walker aside and was standing up straight. I had not dreamed about him for at least 20 years. Hummm....

Sure, I am very sad. I get waves of tears. I will miss him more than he probably ever realized. He was my dad, a very big part of my life – in fact, half the reason for my life. :-)

Those of you who know me know I enjoy quotes. Here is my favorite: "We are a part of everyone we meet." Want proof? My dad, Robert M. Sammon, Sr., was a photographer, getting me started, along with my mother, in photography with his cameras and basement darkroom. But more important, he was a good dad - which I try to be. Everyday. I am very glad we met.

You might want to keep that quote in mind when you meet people. I sure do. You may have more of an impact on someone than you realize. 

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Here is what a reader of my blog wrote about this picture when it was first published:
- it's full of symbolic, emotional content
- looking into the distance, contemplating the edge (the end) is near, time (watch), space
- life is behind him, yet he is still connected to this world (watch again)
- going through the daily cycle (circular movement in his arms, leading to his aged face)
- growing older by the day
- drawing ever nearer to the edge of darkness
- still grounded to the earth by the cold metal of the walker
- walker keeps him in the photo and connects him to the photographer, his son, his future
-   carry on, carry on my son
- but I am not long for this world
- long have I watched and guided you, but now I am content
- my gaze is directed elsewhere.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Rick

20 Tips for Home Studio Portraits

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Post by Ann Marie DiLorenzo

 At the Canon booth at the 2018 Photo Plus show in NYC, Rick Sammon promised the audience that he’d give at least 10 tips during his presentation. Well, Rick actually gave 20 tips. Here they are!

1) When you think you need 2 lights, use 1 light. When you think you need 3, use 2. (A Frank Doorhof quote)

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2) Be aware of other lighting in the room; you want your speedites lights to be the main source of light.


3) Umbrella spreads light evenly; soft box allows you to control and shape the light. 

4) If you want an interesting portrait, don’t light the subject’s entire face. 

5) For a portrait with few shadows on your subject’s face, you want the subject’s nose to follow the light; have their nose face the lighting source.  

6) The size of a subject’s pupils affects our impression of the subject. The advantage of using a speed light is that the pupil doesn’t have time to close down, making the photo more inviting. 

7) Never touch the model. 

8) The larger the light source, the softer the light. The closer the light source is to the subject, the softer the light. 

9) In lighting, inches matter. 

10) Shadows are the souls of the picture. 

11) Never underestimate the value of a good model.  

12) Use your camera like a drone - move the camera up and down to effect the viewer’s perception of the subject. If you move the camera down lower, the model has you get a greater sense of power. 

13) When looking through the viewfinder or at your LCD monitor, use border patrol - look at the boundaries of the photo and make sure what you want is in, or not in, the 
frame. 

14) Don’t amputate the subjects at the joints.  

15) Name of the game is to fill the frame. Fill the frame with the subject.

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16) The background can make or break the shot. 

17) Most important thing in a photo is the mood/feeling. Backgrounds create moods. 

18) Dead center is deadly. If you place the subject in the center of the frame, the viewer’s eye gets stuck on the subject and doesn’t look at other things in the photo. 

19) Use gels over the light source (speed light)  - red or blue to create an effect. 

20) Focus on the subject’s eyes in a portrait.

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Want more tips on home studio portraits? Check out Rick’s KelbyOne on-line classes.

Gearin' Up for My Utah National & State Parks Road Trip

 Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah.

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah.

Susan and I are heading out next week for another awesome road trip, where we’ll be exploring Utah’s State and National Parks. Photos to come.

For now, I thought I’d share with you “what’s in my carry-on bag” to give you an idea of the gear I use for landscape photography - and why. Here goes.

Canon R (mirrorless) with new 24-105mm IS lens - my new “go to” camera/lens for travel photography.

Canon R lens adapter ring - so I can use all my Canon lenses on the R.

Canon 5D Mark IV - for shooting videos and stills.

Canon 16-35mm lens - my main landscape lens.

Canon 24-105mm IS lens - for tighter landscape shots.

Two Canon battery chargers and a total of four batteries, so I always have power.

Really Right Stuff ball head - in case my luggage is delayed, I can buy a tripod on site and still use my RRS ball head. I never lose site of my ball head. I do pack my tripod in my checked luggage.

Delkin Devices SD and Compact Flash cards/card reader - to safeguard my photographs.

 Goblin Valley State Park, UT.

Goblin Valley State Park, UT.

Black Rapid strap - for easy camera handling when I am not using my tripod.

Breakthough Photography magnetic ND and polarizing filters - for long exposures and to reduce glare/darken a blue sky.

Two head-mounted flashlights - one for me, one for Susan.

Canon G7 X - for fun shots along the road.

Allen wrenches - for tightening my tripod legs and camera plates.

Platypod - for low-level, creative shooting.

Blower to keep my sensors clean - and lens cleaning cloths to keep my lenses clean.

I have another bag for my computer stuff. So I have a total of two carry-on bags.

All this gear fits in my Backlight 26L MindShift camera bag, shown above.

For great deals on gear, check out Adorama - more than a camera store.

All my gear is listed here.

Needs some tips on travel photography? Check out my KelbyOne classes.

Explore the light,
Rick