Adam Bird, Photographer RSS

After working as a professional in photography full time for over a decade, there are some things that I've learned. First, is that I'm always exploring. There are new things to photograph everywhere. With this blog I'm hoping to share what I know and learn from those around me.

To see more of my photography please visit www.adambirdphoto.com and feel free to ask questions or leave feedback, adam at adambirdphoto.com

Archive

Feb
17th
Wed
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Clicks for Quakes

Here’s the idea.  Get 20 minutes in front of the camera for $30.  Get an email with a hi-resolution image from the shoot.  Get a tax-deduction for all money donated.  Haiti gets the money.  It’s that awesome.  I will be joined by photographer Sasha Wolff to pull this whole thing off.

Come to the studio, give money for charity, get great pictures.

Two days, February 27th and 28th, from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.  Bring your family.  Bring your friends.  Bring your dog.  Bring you computer, we don’t care, we’ll photograph everything that can walks, carried or rolled through our door.  Walk-ins welcome, or make an appointment by calling Innereactive Media, 616-682-9370.  Facebook Event Here.  Studio address is 289 Front Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, Mi.  Google maps here.

If we can get enough people, we’ll raise more then $3000 through micro-donations.  Power to the people.

This event is only possible with the help of www.socialsasha.com/, www.innereactive.com/ and www.adambirdphoto.com

Dec
19th
Sat
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I don’t get to photograph swimming all that much, but when I do it is a challenge that can’t be denied.  Water in the air screws with autofocus, making it difficult to get continually sharp images of the swimmers.  Many pools tend to have nearly antique lighting, yellow to orange with age.  A photographer must also be wary and careful on the pool decking, at a crowded meet, overbalanced with a large telephoto lens it’s easy to fall or drop a camera.
To adapt, I’ve learned how to predict swimmers breath strokes and time my autofocus activation appropriatly, giving me some pretty bad ass shots that I quite like, where I can show people the eyes and expressions on swimmers face as they’re immersed in competition.  Using a Canon 5D Mark2, which is not a common sports camera, gives me clean hi ISO files using a full frame sensor, taking full advantage of the 400mm f/2.8 that allows me to stay away from the water and the crowds to shoot safely.
This just continues to prove that no matter what the situation, given enough time, or enough money (or hopefully both) you can walk away with a compelling image in any situation. [o]

I don’t get to photograph swimming all that much, but when I do it is a challenge that can’t be denied.  Water in the air screws with autofocus, making it difficult to get continually sharp images of the swimmers.  Many pools tend to have nearly antique lighting, yellow to orange with age.  A photographer must also be wary and careful on the pool decking, at a crowded meet, overbalanced with a large telephoto lens it’s easy to fall or drop a camera.

To adapt, I’ve learned how to predict swimmers breath strokes and time my autofocus activation appropriatly, giving me some pretty bad ass shots that I quite like, where I can show people the eyes and expressions on swimmers face as they’re immersed in competition.  Using a Canon 5D Mark2, which is not a common sports camera, gives me clean hi ISO files using a full frame sensor, taking full advantage of the 400mm f/2.8 that allows me to stay away from the water and the crowds to shoot safely.

This just continues to prove that no matter what the situation, given enough time, or enough money (or hopefully both) you can walk away with a compelling image in any situation. [o]

Dec
12th
Sat
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I was photographing a food pantry at a mostly local church (30 minutes drive isn’t far, but it’s certainly not next door either) and I was struck by a few things.  First, the church, Allendale Community Christian, only has 20 members, and every single one of them was volunteering to distribute 5,000 pounds of food to people in the area that were in a particular situation of need.  People helping people. Sweet.
While working this particular assignments, I was also struck by the produce and light.  Call me silly, call me overly artsy, but I thought that it was beautiful, so I made a photograph to share.
Here it is.

I was photographing a food pantry at a mostly local church (30 minutes drive isn’t far, but it’s certainly not next door either) and I was struck by a few things.  First, the church, Allendale Community Christian, only has 20 members, and every single one of them was volunteering to distribute 5,000 pounds of food to people in the area that were in a particular situation of need.  People helping people. Sweet.

While working this particular assignments, I was also struck by the produce and light.  Call me silly, call me overly artsy, but I thought that it was beautiful, so I made a photograph to share.

Here it is.

Dec
5th
Sat
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It snowed, enough that during ESPN tv time outs they used leaf blowers on the field to clear the snow. Seriously.  It was also cold as all get out, I’m wearing three layers below the belt, and another four above.

In spite of the weather, I’m pretty pleased with how some of the photography worked out.  Carson-Newman was my client, so I don’t have much for great pictures of GVSU, even though they’re my alma mater and the local talent.

All photographs you see here shot with a 400mm f/2.8, a lens also known as the ugly monster.

Stay warm!

Dec
2nd
Wed
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Nov
5th
Thu
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Bride, Beauty and Photography

The best part about photographing weddings is that, by nature, I see my subjects at their most beautiful.  So much joy, spontaneity, love and life that is in the air, and everybody is in costume and dressed to the nines.  Where else does this ever happen anymore?

As an artist, I’m always working on improving my photography, which is why it is important to collaborate and try new things.  This was my first time working with this crew, but the results are fantastic!  This was a model bride shoot, a time to experiment when not under the time constraints of a wedding day and to take risks with new ideas.  I think that we made more then a few iconographic wedding photos, and it tickles me pink to see how well they turned out!

These images were made with lots of help.

Allison Bower, makeup artist, www.allisonbower.com.  She did a fantastic job of taking the pigments to the next level).  Chelsea Fink wore the dress, the looks, and was incredible to work with.  Chelsea can be found on model mayhem.  Erin Gulch did the a fantastic spanish inspired hair, www.gulchdesign.webs.com.  She gets mad respect for using just a few flowers for those inspired little details.  Beth Gumina did a bridal bouquet that was flawless, with a color pallet that fit the shoot perfectly, www.guminasflowers.com.  Angie at Renee Austin, www.reneeaustins.com let us use this incredible dress, and during fashion week no less when they were already super busy.  And my last big thanks goes to Rex North of the Cascade Hills Country Club for allowing us to access to the incredible facility they have there, www.cascadehillscc.com.

As always, I’m looking for and loving feedback, tell me what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong.  As a photographer there is always room for improvement, and I need your help to do that!

[o] Adam

Oct
25th
Sun
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Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Oct
9th
Fri
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Not many people know this, but this is the photograph that pushed me over the edge  into becoming a professional photographer.
I took this picture when I was seventeen years old.  A high school friend, Tino Chippola and myself skipped the last three hours of school, got in his old mustang and drove into the nether regions of Detroit to photograph the abandoned Jefferson street train station, an icon for aspiring photographers, grafitti artists and vagrants.
We wove through the gritty streets of Detroit, decaying even in 1997.  After parking we walked through the weeds and towards the hulking station.  It was the only standing building nearby, no parking lots, everything around it just acres of weeds.  It was classic Detroit- no guards, no signs, no fence, no doors.  As we walked closer and closer, a man or perhaps a boy, maybe our age or maybe older, approached us and wanted to know if we wanted a tour of the station.  I remember every pore screaming danger, do not walk around the abandoned strain station with a stranger who might kill us and take my camera. The stranger said he was a poet.  Tino was all for it, pointing out that the stranger wore a crucifix, and thus must be good people.  Me not being Catholic, I had no argument to the contrary.  So in we went.
The main concourse was covered in a litter of garbage, mostly paper strewn about.  Every window of the hundreds overhead was broken, letting pigeons nest everywhere.  Near the back were stairs that went up the 20-something stories to the roof, and also the basement below.  We were warned, ‘people live in the basement and people die in the basement’ eliminating it’s exploration as an option.
Up we went.  Me, being the pessimist, watched every step, even though only a wrecking ball could damage the reinforced concrete stairs.  Often there was no railing, stolen for scrap, leaving an abyss in the middle of the stairs.  Tino, ever gregarious, chatted with our guide constantly as we stopped on different floors, looking around, taking a picture or two.
Our guide said that the roof was the best part, and it lived up to his word.  From the top of the building we had a panorama of the city below us.  It was the tallest structure for miles around.  As we gaped at the view, I took a quick picture of our guide as he stood watching us.  I knew it was good when I shot it, but until I processed the negative the next day, I didn’t know how good.
This picture pulled me into photojournalism, into portraiture, into making pictures of people.  Our guide never led us astray, kept us from floors that were dangerous and patiently answered every question.  We never paid him any money and none was asked for.  This was my first time experiencing true kindness from a stranger.  In exchange for my trust, I was given a moment to photograph, one of the most personal images I have ever taken.
This photograph represents everything that I was at that time.  A poet, a thinker, a stranger, alone, surrounded, and proud.
My only regret from that day was that I never got his name.

Not many people know this, but this is the photograph that pushed me over the edge  into becoming a professional photographer.

I took this picture when I was seventeen years old.  A high school friend, Tino Chippola and myself skipped the last three hours of school, got in his old mustang and drove into the nether regions of Detroit to photograph the abandoned Jefferson street train station, an icon for aspiring photographers, grafitti artists and vagrants.

We wove through the gritty streets of Detroit, decaying even in 1997.  After parking we walked through the weeds and towards the hulking station.  It was the only standing building nearby, no parking lots, everything around it just acres of weeds.  It was classic Detroit- no guards, no signs, no fence, no doors.  As we walked closer and closer, a man or perhaps a boy, maybe our age or maybe older, approached us and wanted to know if we wanted a tour of the station.  I remember every pore screaming danger, do not walk around the abandoned strain station with a stranger who might kill us and take my camera. The stranger said he was a poet.  Tino was all for it, pointing out that the stranger wore a crucifix, and thus must be good people.  Me not being Catholic, I had no argument to the contrary.  So in we went.

The main concourse was covered in a litter of garbage, mostly paper strewn about.  Every window of the hundreds overhead was broken, letting pigeons nest everywhere.  Near the back were stairs that went up the 20-something stories to the roof, and also the basement below.  We were warned, ‘people live in the basement and people die in the basement’ eliminating it’s exploration as an option.

Up we went.  Me, being the pessimist, watched every step, even though only a wrecking ball could damage the reinforced concrete stairs.  Often there was no railing, stolen for scrap, leaving an abyss in the middle of the stairs.  Tino, ever gregarious, chatted with our guide constantly as we stopped on different floors, looking around, taking a picture or two.

Our guide said that the roof was the best part, and it lived up to his word.  From the top of the building we had a panorama of the city below us.  It was the tallest structure for miles around.  As we gaped at the view, I took a quick picture of our guide as he stood watching us.  I knew it was good when I shot it, but until I processed the negative the next day, I didn’t know how good.

This picture pulled me into photojournalism, into portraiture, into making pictures of people.  Our guide never led us astray, kept us from floors that were dangerous and patiently answered every question.  We never paid him any money and none was asked for.  This was my first time experiencing true kindness from a stranger.  In exchange for my trust, I was given a moment to photograph, one of the most personal images I have ever taken.

This photograph represents everything that I was at that time.  A poet, a thinker, a stranger, alone, surrounded, and proud.

My only regret from that day was that I never got his name.

Oct
8th
Thu
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is it really a recovery when it’s jobless?
Oct
6th
Tue
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Julian Arizola, veteran of the Grand Rapid Fire Department will be participating in a chili cook-off against the police and ambulance people.  I love assignments where I get to photograph people active in trying to maintain/improve the community.  And, being able to do a photograph in the kitchen of Salvatore’s (one of the big supporters of the cookoff) just makes for a better image and more fun.
I love making a good portrait.

Julian Arizola, veteran of the Grand Rapid Fire Department will be participating in a chili cook-off against the police and ambulance people.  I love assignments where I get to photograph people active in trying to maintain/improve the community.  And, being able to do a photograph in the kitchen of Salvatore’s (one of the big supporters of the cookoff) just makes for a better image and more fun.

I love making a good portrait.