In case it wasn’t already obvious, one of my biggest passions is photography. Captain Obvious has entered the building. To be honest, it’s become a monumentous learning curve that uncovers just how many things I don’t know as I (attempt to) master new skills, dive into new opportunities, projects and classes. I’m also super passionate about networking with other photographers, learning from them, finding new resources and sharing cool and useful sh*t. So I decided to add a new feature to my existing blogs – one that might stray a little more into the personal realm and away from the music, festivals and travel. Welcome to G(irl)photographer. And yes, that (irl) really does stand for “in real life,” because I want to share my real-life experiences with you, first-hand.
So I’m now going to completely irrelevantly skip to the holiday weekend and Black Friday/Cyber Monday, which I despise in all its’ consumerist glory. But there’s a reason. I wanted to talk about local resources for photographers – specifically one I’ve recently become quite a bit attached to. Austin has this giant photographer’s Mecca off Anderson Lane called Precision Camera, and it’s kind of the holy grail of all things photogeek. And before you proceed, this is not a sponsored post and they are in no way paying me to say any of the following. Nice or otherwise. So if I get my facts wrong or screw up and convince you to buy a brand new camera/lens/anything that you don’t really need, that’s entirely my fault and not theirs. But I do like them, and they probably won’t mind if you do actually buy that camera/lens/anything… so read on, friends.
It all started about a year and a half ago when I made the decision to switch from Canon to Sony (yikes, ouch, goodbye $$$…). I’d shopped around online and was a little hesitant to drop several thousand dollars online at a gigantic faceless photo megastore and even less enthusiastic about buying from Amazon. So I did some digging and found myself ordering from Precision instead. Best decision ever – they actually helped me set up the camera, snag a few good lenses and learn the new camera menus. Not kidding, that was like learning to ride a bike all over again. But you’re dyslexic, the menu is tiny and complicated and you also lost your glasses. It was SO not anything like any camera I knew and I just glazed over trying to figure it out. Also that was a really shitty bike-riding metaphor.
Anyway. They made me feel a little less freaked out about the transition, helped me learn and also gave me that glowing little sensation in my tummy for having put my money where my mouth was, supporting a local business. Win-win. From there, I took off all year merrily photographing lots of things with my new Sony Alpha a7iii all over the country.
More recently, as I was returning home from said crazy year of travel, festivals, concerts and photography, I saw an Instagram post for their Sony Alpha Experience – a full day of classes taught by three Sony masters. For the grand whopping fee of $19. I signed up on the spot.
It was like they’d created these three classes just for me; a perfect mix of expert advice, some technical leveling up, breathtakingly incredible images to boost the Inspo Meter, and just enough networking to sell me on this class thing. I met the new owner, Mr Phil Livingston, who is a super cool guy with a very big passion for creating a valuable local photography resource in our humble town. Our first class was Shooting Action with Patrick Murphy-Racey, acclaimed sports photographer, ex-Sports Illustrated photographer and an incredible photojournalist. So much of his content was incredibly relevant to me in concert photography, as very seldom do I find myself snapping a stoic, slow-moving artist (see below, for many nimble, fast-moving creatures I’ve captured). Next up, we heard about the crazy travels and adventures in less-than hospitable locales in a seminar titled The Art of Storytelling with Taylor Rees. The day wrapped with the incomparable energy and enthusiasm of Scott Robert Lim, along with invaluable technical know-how in his class Going Prime Time. I walked out of the store incredibly inspired, with a bunch of new techniques and tools in my nifty little photographer’s toolkit. And bonus? I didn’t actually murder my bank account buying any of those amazing new prime lenses. Yet.
(HINT: Friends and family – buy me prime lenses for Christmas. You know where to go.)
Ok. No more sharing.
I later sat down with Mr. Phil Livingston and said “How can I help you guys share what you are doing? How can I help local photographers know about the resources available to them? And how can I support Precision as a super-duper awesome local business that really deserves not only recognition for their contributions to the photography community, but a little more recogition for the mere fact that they are not some giant faceless big-box website?” I actually did ask him all of those things, in one very big drawn-out enthusiastic question, and he kind of looked like a deer in the headlights of the Kail Enthusiasm Train. Sorry, Phil.
But we decided that I could use my supreme Powers of Blogging (AKA the stuff I ramble about, and sometimes people actually read…) to share my experiences and start encouraging you, my readers, to try stuff out as well.
Side note: still not getting paid anything for this… that’s not what this is about.
Also a side note that was probably already pretty apparent: I am a massive supporter of the Shop Local movement and will always put my money where my mouth is. Or my blog, perhaps…
So… aside from sharing this fun experience with you, and begging you to consider grabbing your new camera gear from a local spot, I also wanted to preview what’s next. If you’ve made it this far through the above (slightly irrelevant and possibly nonsensical) post, I want to invite you to the next set of nifty educational opportunities at Precision. Which happen precisely one week from now and will cost you all of zero dollars to attend.
Yep. Precision Camera is hosting their annual Winter Expo on December 6 and 7th, and it includes two full days of absolutely free classes – everything from nighttime photography, portrait lighting and nature photography to video technique. I will most definitely be catching The Wonders of the Night Sky (this is my newest foray), The Art of Travel and Storytelling (doesn’t that just have my name written all over it??) and By Path or Paddle – Photographing the Natural World. But here’s the full schedule:
I can honestly say that rocking up for the Sony Alpha Experience was one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. It gave me an opportunity to learn from some incredible teachers and find inspiration and mojo in tackling grand new photographic adventures. Like so many of you, I’m pretty much just a random newbie who grabbed her camera one day and decided to see what she could do. I still have so many things to learn… and that’s a really good thing. But if there’s anything I can impart upon the photographers reading this, it’s to know your resources, network and learn like a crazy person, and continually challenge yourself to GET BETTER at what you do. Get outside of your comfort zone. The sky is the limit.
Now get out of here before I start throwing around more cheesy inspirational one-liners. I’ll see you next weekend at the Precision Camera Winter Expo.