Gift List for the Photographer in Your Life by Algernon Parker

The perfect gift for photographers are always hidden from non-photographers, while in plain sight for enthusiasts as well as pros. Photography usually starts out as an expensive hobby. The expensive part never goes away. A smart photographer always finds ways to accumulate the gear needed for the job. There are those jewels that every photographer needs or wants that will not break the bank. With this years holidays and the ever popular Black Friday amongst us, I have compiled lists with hopes of helping others find the perfect gifts for that special camera toter who loves to create images. These lists are divided into three categories. Light Modifiers, Accessories, and Cameras & Lenses are the categories I have come up with. Take a look at the lists below and purchase what you need right from this site if you want to avoid the crowds this season. I tend to stay way from the crowds by using sites like Amazon. I may be adding more to these lists as I come across more deals. Be sure to stay tuned and let me know how these lists can be better.

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Critiques: Are They Destructive? by Algernon Parker

As a photographer, critiques are where we get feedback from our peers. Peer feedback is very important in any creative art. The brutal honesty of other photographers is what we need as artists. Family and friends could never be this honest about something they know I care so much about. This is a great way to measure progress on improving your craft. As I always say, a photographer should always look to improve and learn more each day. Critiques are a huge part of my development as an artist. In my opinion, many experienced photographers forget how it was when they were learning. Somehow, they were taught how to make a good image and avoid common mistakes. I have been in many Facebook groups and forums where newer or inexperienced photographers are bashed or joked for the mistakes made in their images. Constructive criticism is meant to be a way of helping someone understand the art of photography. Destructive criticism is what I have witnessed on most occasions throughout my photographic journey.  

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Introducing AEparker (Algernon Parker) by Algernon Parker

Yep...  It's me.

***Algernon Parker Photography, formerly Known as AEparker Photography*** 

Who is AEparker?

Every photographer has a story or reason for the love of creating images. Who is AEparker? Well, I am Algernon Emmanuel Parker. The initials are where the name AEparker originated. My love for photography started almost five years ago. I don't have a long history with photography as many photographers do. I was not traditionally taught the art of photography. Hard work, studying, practice, and persistence has brought me a long way.

A Hobby

Evan Echlin and Daniel Cruz discovers a weird jungle gym in Lisbon, Portugal.

Most people that know me, know that I am finishing a career in the US Navy. It feels so good to be at the end and on the verge of a new chapter (that’s another blog post). My love for photography began when I was deployed in 2009. At the beginning of this deployment, I felt more grown up than I had ever felt. I was practically a newly wed and missing my beautiful wife dearly. I knew I needed something to distract the thoughts of missing my family so much. I had deployed before and had not felt this strong attachment. While on deployment, I continued to search for a hobby that would work for me. One night my coworker, Evan Echlin was messing around with what I thought was a huge camera. I did not understand it but was intrigued.  After watching him, I thought this could be my distraction. 

Port Visit

Port visits would be easier to document memories if I had a huge camera like that one. Of course, I thought that this camera would "take great pictures." My wife found out about my new interest and sent a camera to me. When I finally got my new Nikon D60, I immediately began shooting any and everything I could find. The first port we visited when I got my camera was Lisbon, Portugal. It was great! Evan and I began a huge photowalk all over the city of Lisbon. I was excited to see what I had documented. After a little practice and frustration, I was determined to use this camera in manual mode during the whole visit. Lisbon is a beautiful and bright place. I had no idea of how to handle the bright daylight, but I continued to shoot and have fun with my new camera. When I returned to the ship for the night, I was in a hurry to view what I had captured on my HP laptop (yes, there was a time before Apple entered my life...lol). I was shocked at the results I got. My images were either blown-out (too much light) or underexposed. What was I doing wrong?

Deep in the night life of Lisbon, Portugal

My first panoramic shot in Lisbon, Portugal.

Research and Determination

This is the point in my photographic journey where I started my R&D. No... not research and development, but research and determination. I was determined to figure out how to use this camera. I had the luxury of being on night shift, so I had more free time than I normally would. I began with the internet. Yes, sailors have the internet to keep them occupied at sea. The internet was extremely slow; it is unbelievably slow at sea. That did not stop me. As I would wait for one page to open (sometimes 10-15 minutes), I had another tab open on the browser reading a forum. My favorite forum at this time was Digital Photography School. Due to the lack of help I got from other photographers that were  at sea with me, I turned to photographers online for a lot of the knowledge I needed. Most of the photographers online were glad to help. There are some that still despise the new wave of photographers these days. The fear of other photographers taking their market was something that I did not understand at the time. Another site that I used to do my researching was Digital Photography Review. I was also able to order books from Amazon. This made my area in the shop into a mini photography school. Reading books and practicing with my camera was all I could think of doing. This worked well as a distraction from the devastating aches of missing loved ones. I had become really familiar with my camera and I knew a little about what I was doing. I just could not wrap my head around metering for light. Then, a book was recommend to me by the forum that I was constantly on. Understanding Exposure by Bryan F. Peterson was the key to me learning what I needed to know about this creative art. Peterson, along with other photographers like Joe McNally, had become my goto for information. I read blogs and books about photography. I soon learned how to pick out good blogs to read. With all of my reading and practice, I was ready to test my knowledge when I returned home from deployment. This was truly the beginning of my love for photography. 

Keep Shooting 

When I got home from this deployment, I wanted to show off what I had learned. The perfect models for my new found love was my brand new daughter, my son, and wife. Of course, I was extremely happy to be home. The experience of a deployment is like no other. The first chance I got, I pulled out my camera and started to shoot. After these short few years, I continued to shoot and get better. I have developed somewhat of a style, and continuing effort to improve my craft. I briefly thought that I would lose interest in photography, because I have been known to start something and forget about finishing it. Finishing photography is impossible. Photography is a long journey that will never end until I end. 

 

Describe a never ending journey that you are very passionate about. How does your journey make you the person you are?

 

 

Fast Pace of Event Photography by Algernon Parker

The photographer tasked with covering a huge event should be one who can handle stress with no problem. I have 20 years in the US Navy to thank for the experience of working in stressful situations. Many crack under pressure, but event photographers cannot afford to sweat a panicking bride or a micro managing executive. 
Types of Events 
There are plenty of events that require a photographer to preserve or document the occasion. The first event that comes to my mind is a wedding. Weddings can be some of the most stressful events for brides, grooms, and photographers. There is so much going on and no do-overs. The memories of a wedding are very important to the client, because it marks the day of joining or partnering with another person. If a photographer misses a shot or fails to deliver quality on time, this will lead to unsatisfied clients. This will also lead to less repeat customers and less referrals. Receptions are another event that can be a bit stressful. The most common type of reception is a wedding reception.

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Seiki 39” 4K TV First Impression by Algernon Parker

In my quest to find an external display for my MacBook Pro w/Retina, I came across a lot of reviews online about the option of 4K TV as a monitor. My first thought was negative. A television couldn’t possibly be as sharp and colorful as a real LCD monitor. 

I read review after review. I also researched by watching Youtube videos that were quite informative. A 39 inch display is very tempting because of the screen real estate. The size alone would benefit anyone that depends on productivity. After all of my researching efforts, I decided against the Apple Thunderbolt Display. I also decided against the Samsung 27 inch and an Asus 27 inch display. The size, price, and resolution attracted me to the Seiki. 

 

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