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Jul 04, 2017
I was miserably sick with a summer cold. But the city of Amarillo was going to do something new with the Fourth of July Celebration Fireworks. They were going to launch them over downtown. I could not miss an such a photographic opportunity. One of the troubles for many artistic photographers is the math of the art. Unlike painting or drawing or other forms of art, the mechanics of photography is based on physics of light and the mechanics of the camera. An odd fact about me, I am dyslexic and strong facet of that is a particular form of dyslexia know as dyscalcula. Not only do I jumble up letters, but even worse I jumble up numbers. I should have been a painter I guess but when I took up the camera, I muddled through, memorized the formulas and practiced them over and over. Now I do photographic math problems in my head like some people do crosswords. What does this have to do with the 4th of July Fireworks, well sort of nothing and everything.
The city listed where the fireworks were going to be launched at. I called a friend to find out roughly at what altitude the shells would explode. Then I thought about what is the most iconic building downtown. From there I plotted a course to put that building between me and where they were going to launch the fireworks and the math started. I choose the Santa Fe Building. I choose it for several reasons. One, honestly it's my favorite. I love the 1930s architecture. And to me, while it may not be the tallest, it is the classiest and most beautiful of the buildings in downtown Amarillo. It is 188 feet tall. So to get the fireworks just above the building I had to do some simple geometry. I guess running all those numbers in my brain had some effect as I nailed it.
Anyone can be good with modern cameras. In auto mode, most new cameras can create some wonderful images. Point and click and you got something nice. I don't want to be good with a camera. I want to be a master. And to do that, one has to learn stuff and be good at stuff you might not think about. Photographers seem to fall into three categories. Artsy kinds who get composition. Often though artsy photographers are impatient and don't take the time to master the mechanics or the math of photography. Often they get good photos because they understand what to photograph. But when the more technical shots come, they will often fail. Then you have the technical scientific photographers. These folks can spit photo-geek-speak faster than an auctioneer can rattle. But often they lack that natural eye and while their photos are technically perfect, they lack the art. The last kind and the one I am working on becoming is an artsy-techno-photo-geek (should I copyright that term? I just made it up but it fits perfect). To be able to nail a technically monster of a shot and do it in an artsy manner, well that my friends, is the thrill of the game for me.
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