Saturday, July 10, 2010

The making of a documentary in Crisfield

"The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE." ~ Ernst Haas

Last week, I was asked to follow director, writer, producer, and cinematographer Salyer McLaughlin of ID Makers around Crisfield as he filmed a high-definition promo-video for the Crisfield Chamber of Commerce. I have worked with video photographers in the past, and though still and video photographers are thought to be very different, we do have a lot in common.

Being a photographer for a newspaper means you oftentimes have to get the story in one photo, though I prefer photo-essays, which are a combination of photos that need no words. The one-shot deal comes into play when their is a tight deadline, which is most of the time. When deadlines are not tight, I have time to play and enjoy what I photograph.

People sometimes wonder why I take so many photos. To a photographer, and to an editor, composition is everything. For example, I might take 20-30 photos of a speaker, hoping that his/her hands and arms are giving me the right action. The proper gestures are very important, because when all is photographed, edited, and ready for the press, or this blog, I need to relay to you what I see.

A photographer freezes moments in time. You can hold a photograph, study it, walk into it. There are no voice-overs, no rewinds, no fast-forwards, and no pauses. Only a moment between photographer and subject that has to speak, "A thousand words", as we say in the business.

Video, on the other hand, captures our eye with movement, color, and curiosity, "What comes next?" There is no "next" in a photograph, only a moment to be dissected.

I love to be around creative people who see things as I see them. Still photographers and video photographers are on the same page when it come to what to capture. How we capture it is what makes us different.

While I was photographing Salyer, I was reminded of how much time and energy goes into both a video and magazine photos. When I used to shoot for magazines (that was back in the 64 Kodachrome slide days), I would sometimes take up to 200 photos, and narrow them down to 20-30 before sending them to the editors, who would pass them around a table before deciding on 2-6 photos, depending on the size of the story. Imagine editing a video? It's a lot of work! As a matter of fact, the fun in both still and video photography is in the actual shooting. The work comes when it is time to edit.

When people flip through a magazine, or even a newspaper, they have no idea how much work went into getting that image to you. A video takes weeks, months, or years depending on the length.

Video is also more complicated than shooting with a still camera because after the shooting is over, the right moments must be strung together so that the viewer sees what the video photographer wants them to see. The last video I was involved in took two years to complete; over 400 hours of video had to be edited into a two-hour package. It made my work seem a little simplified, to say the least.

A big "Thanks" to Slayer, who saw eye-to-eye with this photographer. It was a pleasure, and I will see you at Clam Bake, Crab Derby, and Boat Docking. I look forward to taking more photos of you working, in-between my own work, of course.

For my readers, the next time a photograph catches your attention, or you like a video or movie, do a little reading. Who took the photo? Who participated in the movie or video?  It takes a village to bring you one image; it takes a city to a bring you a five-minute video.

Shooting from the Olde Crisfield Crab and Steak House.

A little shooting from a boat was in order.




It never hurts to carry an "extra" around with you.

We met some nice people along the way, enjoying all Crisfield has to offer.



The captain had a good time, too. Thanks, Jay.

We love to ride scooters and bikes in Crisfield - Take 1...

Take 2...

Take 3...

What's next?

I think I'll get in on the action.


It was a nice day for a ride in the back of a truck - or in a car with the top down. Thanks to Dr. Mike Atkins for hauling us around.

We love to fish and crab in Crisfield...









A little direction is in order.





Bird watchers will love Crisfield.

Are you ready to visit Crisfield yet? If not, you will when you see the video. But you don't have to wait until Salyer entices you. Come now! 

Maybe I will get one of those fancy cameras one day. Nah, I'm retired!

Visit Salyer's site and click on the You Tube link to see his work.

7 comments:

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Totally Totally awesome captures Patty. Retired? yeah right!
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Patricia Hildenbrand said...

As always, I really loved your images. As a fellow photographer though, this part is something I'm especially fond of:

"People sometimes wonder why I take so many photos. To a photographer, and to an editor, composition is everything. For example, I might take 20-30 photos of a speaker, hoping that his/her hands and arms are giving me the right action. The proper gestures are very important, because when all is photographed, edited, and ready for the press, or this blog, I need to relay to you what I see.

A photographer freezes moments in time. You can hold a photograph, study it, walk into it. There are no voice-overs, no rewinds, no fast-forwards, and no pauses. Only a moment between photographer and subject that has to speak, "A thousand words", as we say in the business. "

Patty said...

Noe, Noe. Yes. Retired. Either I sit home and watch soap operas or I stay busy doing what I love.

Patty said...

Patricia: Glad you enjoyed the photos - and the text. People don't understand that it makes a difference to the eye of the beholder, whether they know it or not, where things are placed in a photo. So all our hard work is not only for us, but for the viewers.

Rhonda said...

Patty, we had a great time getting to know you during our first shoot in Crisfield and what a huge help you were guiding us through the town showing us the best places to get the perfect shot - and at any time of day or night! You are such an interesting person and we can't wait to see you again:) Thank you!

Patty said...

Rhonda: Thank you. It was fun. I have some photos of you and Ever that I need to email to you - as soon as I get around to that folder again.

Salyer said...

Patty, Oh Patty--You are one of a kind... and we are so lucky to have your support and friendship. We had an amazing weekend in Crisfield getting to know you and Larry and many on the Chamber and others (John, Jay, Terry, the Atkins, Richard, Allison, Doug, Sue, Kathleen et all. What we enjoyed most was observing how much you guys really love your town. Oh sure, you have your challenges like many communities do these days but you all seem to truly embrace your lives and are making the best out of what you have been given. And what you have is a very magical setting. Much more than a place you have people who really care. We felt at home right away. Thank-you so much for loaning us your bike and scooter for some of the shots. We will be posting some of the out takes soon and will return for round 2 next week. We are so looking forward to continuing our journey in Crisfield and getting to know you even more. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. Salyer