A day of photography

Hi everyone,

I had the pleasure of photographing two really kick ass woman today.  I have photographed one of these ladies weddings already and I will be photographing the others in a few months.  I have been wanting to take some pictures outdoors at this local park for sometime now.  There can be some beautiful light that bleeds through the trees and I tried my best to capture that light.  I did adjust my composition several times and corrected my exposure and used an off camera flash.  It was really a fun day and these two ladies are also great friends so hearing them tell old stories was hilarious.   I am glad the ladies let me photograph them and add some pictures to my portfolio.

There were a few things I wanted to focus on.

  1. I really wanted to play around with the color of nature in the background and use that to add a different aspect to the photograph.
  2. I tried to focus on the eyes as much as possible.
  3. The models expression was something I kept battling with.  I have always been a “journalistic/natural” style photographer.  We even laughed a few times during the shoot because I really felt odd telling me to look a certain way.  I wound up scratching my lame attempt at doing that and said, “talk, laugh and just enjoy the day”.  After I did that I got some really  nice photographs that I was happy with.

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I had a lot of fun today.  The photography shoot lasted for about 3 hours.  I played a lot with color in the post processing.  I was really trying to extenuate the color in a few of the photographs and I was happy with the end results.  I always feel I can do better and as my journey grows I will just keep developing my skills.

Thanks for reading and I hope you are having a great weekend!

Chris

PODCAST | PIXEL TW-283 WIRELESS REMOTE TRIGGER

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Hi everyone,

In this podcast I give a little over view on a cheap alternative to give you wireless trigger capability on your DSLR.  The trigger I got is called the PIXEL TW-283 Wireless Remote Control for DSLR.

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This system has some pretty neat features for a really affordable price.

  • 2.4Ghz
  • 80m + distance which is roughly around 265 feet
  • 30 different channel options and customization
  • Single, multiple and bulb mode options
  • Timer mode
  • Long exposure mode
  • You also have some customization options to save your own settings.

I have noticed when using this device that the control will automatically take two exposures when I only want to take one exposure.  So when I have the camera in single exposure and the remote in single exposure it still takes two exposures.  If you hit the shutter button on the remote hard and very fast then you can get one exposure but if you click on it at a normal pressure it takes two exposures.  It is not bad but can be a bit annoying when using it.

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The trigger and the remote are both made from plastic but feel sturdy enough to at least handle one fall.  They each have screens that can light up at night so you can easly access the controls.

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The buttons on the control are tactical and feel good.  I never felt like I was missing a press or did not feel like it was sturdy.  The design is comfortable enough to use for long periods.  There is no little string holder option, so you won’t be able to attach a wrist handle for those cases where you might drop it but it is attached to your wrist.  You can probably buy something that will attach to it I would imagine.  The product so far has done what it was set out to do and what it tells us it should do.  I have not had a missfire yet but only the future can tell on how long the device will handle after long periods of use.

Thanks for listening and I hope his helps you out!

I do not work for Corel!

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Hi everyone,

Need to clear something up.

So the past few months I have been getting messages, YouTube comments and e-mails from frustrated Corel users.  I was recently made aware that someone is sending people searching for Corel support to my channel for help.   I do not, nor have I ever worked for Corel.com or Corel in general.  I do not work in the support aspect of Corel either.  I hope this video explains it a bit better.  I understand that some people may be frustrated,  but I only create videos to help people using the software learn different techniques to enhance there post processing.  I started this video series on my own and do not take advisement or suggestions from Corel on what to cover or create for my channel.  It is all me and only me that does the content on my channel.

So if you are frustrated with technical issues, software loading issues or something dealing with the support or warranty of your software you will need to contact Corel.
I just make photography tutorials to help people understand and learn the software.

Thank you. 🙂

The GEAR | 2017 Edition

Hi everyone,

I have been asked if I could talk about some of the gear I use and why I use that particular gear.  I use and have used different brands of cameras over my 17 years of photography.  My first camera was a Minolta SRT 202 film camera and I freaking loved it!  I then went to digital and purchased the Nikon D40 which was announced in 2005.  I purchased this camera for the only reason that it came with two lens and was cheaper than the other brands.  Over the next few years I upgrade my gear according my needs in my photography growth.

MY CURRENT GEAR

  • Nikon D500
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    NIKON D500 | RELEASED 2016

    The Nikon D500 is my main camera.  This is the beast that carries all the weight and all the responsibility for capturing the shot.  This camera is great and the low light performance is undeniably awesome.  I took pictures at 10,000 ISO and still had usable results.  This camera also does 10FPS which helps me in my nature work which was an added plus to me purchasing it.  The build quality is superb and feels very sturdy in the hands.  It is the little brother to the Nikon D5 so that should give you an idea on the build quality of this camera.

  • Canon 7D
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    CANON 7D | RELEASED 2009

    The Canon is my secondary/back up camera.  I purchased this at a pawn shop in great condition for a little over $300.00.  I had been searching for a secondary camera for a while but did not want to buy a brand new camera.  I honestly did not have the money to get a brand new one, I just spent my tax return on the Nikon D500!  I went to several pawn shops and accidentally came across one selling a great used Canon 7D.  I could tell this camera was used by a photographer because it was beautifully taken care of.  It came with a bag, lens caps, cards, triggers, CD’s and strap.  The lens had already been sold by the pawn shop so I got it without the lens.  The camera works great and it even came with a battery grip.  It was a great find and I am glad I got it.

  • Fujifilm X30
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    FUJIFILM X30 | RELEASED 2014

    The Fujifilm is my little carry around camera.  This camera is really small and I can put it in my bag.  It gives me RAW options plus full manual controls.  The digital viewfinder is a little weird because you can get false grain sometimes when in reality there is no grain in the shot.  It depends on the ISO you are setting it at.  The camera is unique in its design because the ring around the lens is not for Fstop adjustment but for the ISO adjustment.  I really enjoy this little camera and would recommend it to anyone.  It is a bit of a learning curve when using it but once you get used to it you are golden.

  • Canon t4i
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    CANON T4i | RELEASED 2012

    The canon T4i was given to me by one of my friends and  I use it a lot.  I don’t care to go into the story here but I will say she was awesome, kind and sweet.  I use this camera to always remember her and take pictures for her and give me that feeling like she is with me taking them also.   It is a great little camera. 🙂

Lens:

  • Nikon 35mm F1.8
  • Nikon 50mm F1.8
  • Canon 50mm F1.8
  • Canon 70-300mm F4/F5.6

You can probably tell that I am not set on one brand of camera or manufacturer.  I have used both Nikon and Canon and I love them both.  I do see some subtle differences between the image quality but nothing that would make a dent in the final results.  The gear to me is important to an extent.  I know there is a lot of people who say the gear does not matter and that is true to a point.  There are certain projects, clients or photographic jobs that require a higher end gear set.  This is true in really any job you do.  Now don’t get me wrong, I do agree when starting off in photography you should work with your skill level and the gear required for that skill level.  I have slowly worked my gear up to better cameras to fit my growth in photography.  I did not go out and buy the most expensive DSLR when I was starting out.   I had no reason for that high level of gear or need for it.  I have always updated my gear according to the kind of work I was doing or starting to do.  When I was hired for a job I would push the camera to its limit.  When that camera could not go any further I would upgrade.

I shot weddings using a Nikon D40 for several years, but then over time I needed a better quality camera to help with demand and requests from my clients.  The Nikon D40 just could not cut it anymore.  I then upgrade to the Nikon D5100 and loved the camera.  I used that for about 3 years than upgrade to the D7100.  I used that camera for several years then upgraded to the Nikon D500.

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NIKON D40 | RELEASED 2005

 

 

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NIKON D5100 | RELEASED 2011

 

 

 

 

 

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NIKON D7100 | RELEASED 2013

 
Some other gear I have:

  • DJI OSMO
  • YONGNUO TRIGGERS
  • NEEWER FLASHES
  • BLACK RAPID STRAPS
  • VARIOUS PLUGS AND CHORDS
  • BATTERY CHARGERS
  • EXTERNAL BATTERY PACKS

I have grown in my photography so my gear has grown with me.  I hope to continue to grow as a photographer with learning, practice and continued drive.  I have several projects I want to work on this year and I am excited about that.  My gear really does reflect my growth as a photographer.  I would not buy gear if I didn’t need it or use it.  It is important to purchase what you need at the time not what you might want.

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,
Christopher Oneil

Encouragement and Support

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Hi,

The past few years I have always had this nagging feeling of failure that sits in the back of my mind.  Failure seems to occasionally knock on my door of confidence to remind me to stay grounded.  It likes to remind me that giving up is not an option because I know I can do better.  So when I fail at something I keep trying until I succeed or finish it.  I have always been the type of person that was harder on myself than anyone else could be on me.  Growing up my parents always new that I would practice, practice and practice doing something if I loved or enjoyed doing it.  This was with baseball, martial arts, video games, my music and my photography.  The one thing that really helped me except the failures and to grow above them was the support of my father and mother.  I remember I would throw this tennis ball against the side of the house over and over again.  I did this to practice catching the ball from different heights.  This would help me out in the baseball field.  My father would hear this ball bounce off the side of the house so many times that he would come out and finally say, “ok Chris, time to stop”.  I laugh thinking about that!   The point is that my father let me do that for almost an hour before he finally had enough of the noise and told me to stop.  He let me practice and grow even though it would occasionally drive him nuts.

I wanted to share this because I think people forget how important encouragement and support can mean to someone.  I see a lot of people giving critiques to other people’s photographs but giving no real value or support.  I see a lot “this sucks”, “Don’t do that”, “you should have done this”, “this looks like crap and I don’t get it” and so on.  I think a lot of people who are in the photography community have forgotten where they started from. I think a lot of them are so engulfed in the popularity of their channels or success that they apparently disregard what it means to be a mentor.  Everyone starts from a humble beginning when doing photography or any kind of creative work.  I see so much blatant, over saturated and meaningless critiques that only boost the elite feelings of the critiquer.  I wish there were more people trying to encourage and take time to look and see what the person sharing that photograph was trying to represent.  I know there are great people out there doing that but we seem to be over saturated with crap now.

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I think you can critique someone and give them the opportunity to grow by positive reinforcement and encouraging criticism.  Sitting at a desk and saying to someone, “that sucks, you did this wrong, do it this way and it will not suck so much” does not help anyone.  I get that some people might not have the eye for photography but I don’t understand the concept of being overly condescending about it in your critique.   I would not be doing what I am doing now unless I had good people around me giving me meaningful, encouraging critiques that help me grow and not want to make me give up.   I have said this before that photography is an evolving creative art form.  Photography can be represented, processed and captured in so many different ways.  When looking at someones photograph and critiquing their work it can be very subjective, but when you realize that and take in to account the persons creative view then you can start the real process of critiquing there work.  You might look at a photograph and say to yourself “I would not have done it that way”, and that is fine but you’re not that photographer.  You have to look into the perspective of what they were trying to capture and help them enhance and build on that idea so when they take that picture again, in the style they want to, it will be just a little bit better and help them represent their creative work in a better form.

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My dad was one of the most supportive people in whatever it was I did.  If he had a critique he would do it in such a way that made me want to build on it and learn from it, not give up and feel like a failure.  Some of these photographers, you-tubers and so on need to remember where they started from.  Start educating, helping people grow when critiquing their work.  Don’t give them the opportunity for failure or the ammo to fail.  Instead remember where you started from and embrace the opportunity you now have to help someone grow.  Don’t be dick about it.

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,
Christopher Oneil

Doubting yourself and your work.

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Hi everyone,

I wanted to talk about this on my blog because it is a common statement I get in my e-mails.  I have received a lot of recent messages pertaining to self-doubt or the feeling of not progressing.  I can only really talk about this from my experience and point of view, I unfortunately cannot step into your shoes and speak exactly to what you are feeling.  I hope at least this blog post will maybe help in small some way.

I started my journey in photography many years ago using 35mm cameras.  The first photograph I took was amazing, maybe not amazing to you but to me it was a national geographic worthy photograph.  The simple reason why it was amazing to me is because it was the first photograph I took completely on my own.  When I say completely on my own I mean no help, all in manual mode with manual lens.  You might look at that photograph and say “Chris, it’s completely over exposed, out of focus, to contrasted and full of grain”.  If I were to listen to your obvious observations I would absolutely agree,  but this is what you are not understanding and missing.  You see this photograph is not just a picture to me it is the beginning and first steps towards my long photographic journey.  It was the first step in a long road of learning, progressing, developing, creating and understanding photography.
Years ago I took the first jump into the puddle of photography and then let the ripples guide me to my next photographic accomplishment.  You see, we all have to start somewhere.  We all have to dip our toes into the dark waters of the unknown.  We all start from the beginning and over time with practice, patience, study and determination you will see your work grow and progress.

THE FEELING OF DOUBT!

I constantly doubt myself and my ability as a photographer.  Every photography shoot I go into I say “can I do this?”.  I am not saying that because I don’t think I am capable of doing the job but I always look at is as a new experience and a new challenge.  I always try to educate myself on whatever particular job I am doing.  Photography is a constant learning process.  You are always going to learn something new, something unique, different and creative that you never thought of before.  You might watch another photographer and be inspired by their work and then you go and create your own interpretation of that creative idea.  Doubt is a healthy thing as long as it helps push you to better your skill or creative work.  I have never met one photographer that said “I got this, no problem… hold my drink!”.  I, as a photographer have confidence in the fact that I understand the fundamentals of photography,  but photography is constantly evolving and changing not only creatively but technologically.  You can take two different photographers and place them in the same situation with the same tools and both will come up with completely different concepts.  That is the beautiful thing about photography and creative arts.  You have the ability to take the tools of photography and bring your own creative and personal touch to your work and share it with the world.

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Some of the e-mails I get are from young photographers just getting out of highschool.  One such e-mail was from this young student who told me they felt left out and they could not compete with their other friends.  They talked about their instagram followers and how they don’t have a lot, that there Facebook is minimal and they feel they are not learning or gaining progress in their photography fast enough.   I am going to give my point of view on this from my own personal experience and how I see the world of social media.

  • Most importantly I do photography because I love taking pictures and being creative.  I don’t do it for instagram, Facebook, YouTube or any other social media platform.  I first and most of all do it for myself.  I enjoy and love photography because it gives me an outlet and platform to let my creative voice scream out loud.
  • In regards to how many media platform subscribers I have, this is honestly something I don’t think about.  Though it is very cool and great to share this with people who enjoy my work or videos it is not the reason why I do this.  I would still do this if I had zero followers, to be honest I was doing it before instagram, Facebook, MySpace, 500px and many others.   I do it for me and for my photography journey.  I don’t look at my accounts saying “oh, I need to do this because I am losing subscribers or followers.”  That is something that never crosses my mind, my work is not defined by how many people like it or share it.  To me my work is defined by the feeling it gives me when I hold that print in my hand.  I will share it with the world but I am not effected if not everyone likes it.  You will see people with millions of followers sharing horrible photographs but people with amazing and beautiful creative work have such a small base of followers.  Don’t let numbers decide whether you’re a failure or success, let your work speak for itself and if people want to follow you or interact with you then that is a plus but it’s not the definition of success.
  • When I started out in photography I took in as much knowledge as I could.  I read books upon books, watched VHS videos on the subject, talked with other photographers and read magazines.  When Youtube came out I found an entire new world of educational material from other photographers and creatives willing to share their experience with the world for free!  You have so much educational material out there to help you learn and discover the important fundamentals of photography at your fingertips.  You can interact with these other creatives in a way that you could never do before and learn so much almost in an instant.  So let yourself embrace the plethora of educational material out there and get inspired by what other photographers are doing.  This statement will lead into my last point.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other photographers!  This is a detrimental path to go down.  When you are starting off as a beginner, mid level or even a pro don’t get sucked into the idea of “oh, that persons work is so much better and I suck!”.  You don’t suck, well at least I don’t think that way.  When I look at another photographers work I don’t compare myself to them.  You know why?, because I am not them!  I am my own photographer and my own creative and comparing myself to someone else is complete nonsense and a waste of time.  I look at their work and I get inspired and excited because it shows me the possibilities of what I can do in the future.  I watch and learn from them so in the end it will help me become a better photographer.

In the end we all doubt our own work.  This is not something unique to one person it is a common thing that happens with all creative people.  Photographers, artists, journalist, painters, writers and so on.  I have been on my photography journey for almost 17 years now and I am still constantly learning.  Some of my work I love and some of it I hate. Some photographs I share and I think they are crappy but people like them, some photographs that I think are awesome some people don’t think the same.  Photography, art and the creative world can feel overwhelming sometimes especially in the age of social media.  We all feel sometimes that our social media presence and acceptance defines our successes or failures.  I think that is a sad way to start your creative journey weather that is photography or not.  Whatever it is that you do remember you do it because you love it and you like the joy it brings you.  The other stuff is just an addition or a plus but it should not define your creative photography journey.

Well, that is my two cents.  I hope that helped anyone who has sent me e-mails regarding this feeling which is an absolutely normal feeling to have.  You are not alone because it happens to all of us.  Just keep learning, push yourself to work hard and most of all enjoy your creative photographic journey.

Sincerely,
Christopher Oneil
oneilchris.com

 

Raven Rock Park | Sort of Vlog

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Hi everyone,

I recently took a nice hike at the Raven Rock Park in Lillington NC.  I have been wanting to visit more places this year and really just enjoy the outdoors.  I have few places to visit.  This was one of them.  I have been there before but it was for a photography shoot I was doing.  I went this time to just enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the really big rocks!  I do want to kayak down the river at some point.  It would be a two day trip.

Some other places I want to visit this year.

  • Route 66 – I would like to travel down part of route 66 and see the old buildings and photograph them.
  • Yellowstone National Park – I want to go here so bad, because its freaking Yellowstone national park!
  • Chimney Rock state park – It is a beautiful location and has some amazing photographic opportunities.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway – I have been there once but it was for a photography shoot and only had a limited time there.  I want to go there again and take in the beauty and see all the waterfalls.
  • Wild Horses in the Outer-banks – There is a little island that has wild horses on it.  You can camp there but you are not allowed to have contact with the horses.  You can watch them and photograph them but if you are seen feeding, touching or interacting with them they will take you off the island.  I can only imagine some of the beautiful photographs I might be able to get from that location!
  • Acadia park in Maine – I grew up in Mass and had gone to Maine several times.  I want to go back and photograph this location.  I want to do early morning photographs with the sun rising next to the light houses.
  • Some other places I would like to visit are Utah, Montana, Tennessee, Wyoming and many others.  I obviously can’t do them all but I wan to start with the first couple this year.

The video I am sharing I call the “sort of vlog” because I am not really vlogging but more sharing the experience with you.  If you want  you can see this location for yourself by visiting the link I provided below.

Thanks for watching and I will talk with you soon.
Chris

http://www.ncparks.gov/raven-rock-state-park/history