Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Type of Photography?

I was always intrigued by photos in magazines, for as long as I could remember. As a kid I loved being in front of the camera, video or photo. I enjoyed the funny faces, the memory, and seeing how other people saw things. I also enjoyed stealing people's cameras and taking random pictures, giving them a big surprise.

I then entered a stage in my life where I thought spies were the coolest things in the world, and one of the best things spies could do is take pictures. I remember going to our local 'junk store' and purchased a small spy camera that took small 35mm film. I remember taking hundreds of photos with it of random things; rocks, trees, friends, animals, and tons of other things. I ended up with many of those orange film canisters, and used those to hide things in (who looks in those things anyway). Going to the store to get them processed, waiting the hour+ while my mom shopped was one my most eager times. I was always in a rush to see how my pictures turned out. I actually still have a few of them today.

I think this is why I enjoy the photography today. Some of the main things I love to take pictures of are my pets, landscapes, lightning, animals, and just nature in general. I enjoy being able to capture what people see as cute, or amazing. Something that makes them smile, or sparks a memory from their past. This is also why I enjoy living in the time that I do, because the internet allows me to share my photos with strangers in a mass scale. Not to mention, no more film to buy.

Currently I only have the kit lens that came with my Nikon 3100 , which is an AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6g VR. I also purchased an AF-S Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G VR. These two lenses have been working great for my photos, however, I am finding I want more. One of the things about doing pictures of nature, is detail. With the lenses I get, I can actually pull off a pretty close picture and get decent detail. However, I normally have issues getting the desired bokeh (blurry background). Since my money is tight, and lenses being expensive (but so worth it), I tend to stick with what I have access to. Currently, I am limited to what American TV has to offer and luckily for me they carry a good amount of Nikkor lenses for my camera and at normal price I can get from anywhere else. Few weeks ago I put in an order for a 50mm lens, and waiting eagerly for it as they have been out-of-stock and haven't yet restocked it. One of the main things about this lens is the f/1.8g that is has, should be able to give me the bokeh I am looking for. I also purchased a Macro Lens set on Amazon that should be allow me to do some Macro photography with it (link for product). I'm hoping this well let me have more fun with nature photography. I'm thinking my next purchase is going to be a smaller one, and surprising by this Best Buy has a great number of filters for sale that have good to great reviews. The one I am specifically looking at is the Polaroid Optics 58mm HD multicoated neutral density fader filter so I can do long exposure pictures during brighter days so I can get that misty looking water in photos.

I was also looking into playing with fire, light graffiti, and splashes (thanks to Alex Koloskov for that). Most of these pictures will be better if I have the filter and 50mm lens.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Santa, Introduction


Who is Santa? No, I'm not talking about that jolly guy from the North Pole. I'm talking about me, Steven Santamour. My nicknames over the years have changed, but for the past 10 years most people call me by my first name or by Santa. Mainly this is due to it being in my last name and growing up we mostly called each other by our last names because there were 4's of everyone. Four Steves and four Mikes and then a few others with the same name. It was much easier to call everyone by their last name, well besides mine. So they cut of half if it and luckly, that was Santa. Before that, due to my heritage, they called me Chief but quickly faded as that is when 'racial' names started to become big issues (even if the person didn't care).

So what makes me who I am today? I'll go all the way from the beginning and then go over some of the highlights that I remember that allowed me to make decisions that I have. I was born into a military family, the Air Force. My mom and dad met there, and the funny thing about that is my mother is from Watertown, Wisconsin and my dad is from (pretty near) Watertown, New York (I found this to be pretty neat in itself). I have one brother is is four years older than me, and one step-sister (through my dad) that is seven years older than I am. I didn't really have much of a relationship with my step-sister as she lived in New York (not the city) and I was too young when she visited then. I can't remember much prior to when we moved to Racine, and only remember a few things from that time. This was from about K-2 grades, and I do remember a few things during this time that shaped me into what I am today. 

I have no idea when this was, but it was during my time in Racine. I remember getting Simpsons tennis shoes and I remember my mom yelling at me. I don't remember what I did, but I remember it made me pretty mad. I turned to her and told her that I was going to run away. She told me, go ahead but if you leave those doors don't come back. Like any child, I said fine and put my Simpsons shoes on and walked out the door. I didn't even manage to get down the block where I played in a puddle and got my shoes dirty. Without thinking about it, I ran home crying and my mom didn't say a thing about me running away. This always stuck in the back of my mind no matter what I did, my mom would always be there. Even if she said she wouldn't. I also remember getting in trouble a lot, I don't remember what I did, but I remember it happened a lot. I use to get spankings all the time, and when I was really bad the belt came out. When I was really really bad, my dad used his hand (yes his hand hurt worse than his belt). Over the years, my tush go pretty tough and soon spankings no longer worked and my mom couldn't wait until my dad got home so she used a yard stick. Much to her dismay, it broke on my butt and I laughed at her as it didn't hurt anymore. This was the point where spankings stopped and groundings started. She started to take away things I enjoyed, mainly the computer and Super Nintendo. The reason I told this part is between the spankings and the groundings, I learned at a young age that everything I do has a consequence: good or bad. If it was bad, was I willing to take it? To this day, just about all my decisions are based of off those spankings and groundings. I would like to thank my parents for having that hard love that many people today believe an unnecessary punishment for kids. 

From there we moved to a small village name Reeseville, which is also in Wisconsin. There I started out as the bad boy from Racine but quickly toned it down as I started to know people. It wasn't until middle school that I started to get into computers, and High School when I got into webdesign and Macintosh computers. I played the alto sax in elementary, wrestled in the sixth grade and senior year, football from seventh to senior, chorus from sixth to senior, plays from sixth to senior, musicals from sophomore to senior, did a few years of forensics in there somewhere, and did a few years of basketball. Outside of school I also did bowling, which I still enjoy doing today. Mostly during this time I simply learned to fine that line right before getting into trouble, and push the limits on that line. I did cross it a few times, but as I learned young everything I did I knew there could be a bad consequence.

High School my main source of cash was working on a farm with a few friends. This included bailing hay, milking cows, fixes fences, and anything else that needed to be done. I also did a roofing a summer where I learned that it was not something I wanted to do. After graduation, I went into the retail world at a Sportings Good store (can't even remember the name). During this time, my friends and I were deep into fantasy games such as Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and a text base game called "Realms of Despair". We also spent many nights sleeping over in tents, or crashing in the bedroom at Syrj's (one of the many Mikes in the group). These times taught me the meaning of true friendships. After graduation, I went into a more specialized retail that I would enjoy. I started working in the electronics department at Staples, which happened to have a few friends from school which made it fun to work at. In a year or so, Staples started to offer a program much like the Geek squad and by this time I was familiar of basic repairs and fixing issues on computers. As everything, it came to a stop by getting fired. Horse play was my last strike, and it was due to shooting a rubber band into another employee's eye. Yes, I did yell headshot. I took a few months of unemployment in which then I was kicked out of the apartment due to my roommate not paying the rent (even though we were paying him). I moved back into my parents house, and to be honest I don't remember what I did. I think it was about 2 months of unemployment until my friend Evans (one of the Steve's) got me a job at Herzing in the call center. I was only a few days of quiting when I was told that one of the guys in the IT department walked in and quit. I told them I would be able to do basic computer support if they needed it. Long story short, I'm still working in the IT department to this day. I am currently finishing up my Associates in Information Technology (finished early 2013).

Last winter I picked up a new hobby, and it was something I always enjoyed. I love to manipulate photos with Photoshop, but I was always intrigued with taking photos. I decided to jump into the photography and purchased a Nikon D3100 and a 55-100MM lens. It also came with a kit lens 18-55MM lens. I jumped right in, clicking away at everything. Photos can be located at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/blu3dagger/

Some other general things about me:

I'm 27, and will be turning 28 in 9 days (August 21st). I own to cats; Mushu (named after the dragon in Mulan) and Wooks. I love dragons and have a dragon tattoo on my upper arm. I have this thing if my friends have something I need to have the same thing but better (especially in the computer world). I love to play video games (MMORPGs, First-Person Shooters), camp, fish, and sports. My football team is the Carolina Panthers (closet thing I have to home town team), and I'm an anti-packer fan. It's not because I don't like the organization, as they are a huge benefit to Wisconsin and I love their business is set-up. I just don't like them since everyone else in Wisconsin does. With that said, I tend to do opposite of what most other people do. I currently live in Glendale, WI and also single.

Mainly, this blog is going to cover my photography hobby and some of my rants. Hope you enjoy my blog!