Summer of Senior Portraits

     Summer is here and that means it’s time for the class of 2019 to get the glam on in front of the camera before they graduate next spring and head off into the great wide world as adults. First, there is one more year high school, reports, tests and as some young women love and some young men dread the senior portrait session ahead of them.

     For most it’s their chance to show a more adult side, be the jester for one last time or just be the person they really want to be. It is all meant to show the world I have arrived. At Vagabond Photography we strive to help bring those dreams to the photos we create with our Seniors.

     We understand that sometimes what our Senior’s has in mind for an outfit is not always what the parent had in mind or will approve of. Recently with changes in the fashion industry to push young kids to dress more like adults (not necessarily always in the best ways) we have seen that trend reflected in our photography industry as well when clients bring outfits. The one thing we always recommend to all our clients (seniors, families and engagement couples) if it’s not something grandma and grandpa would hang on their walls at home or mom and dad would put on their desk at work because it might be seen as a little to provocative maybe it would its best also if you bring an alternate outfit so both parties are happy in the end.  

     The great thing about senior portraits is that is doesn’t just have a be a quick simple headshot for the year book like in years prior where we all lined up sat for a minute and a half and then were back in class. We can feasibly go anywhere and do almost anything (but not hanging your photographer from a rope off a cliff). Vagabond Photography is nestled out in East Troy, WI we are 40 minutes from the lake front & downtown in Milwaukee, 50 minutes from our state capitol in Madison and all around us in the perfect lake and nature settings. If there is another place outside of those areas that holds special meaning to you and your family we can travel there as well.

     Including sports and hobbies into our photo sessions is something we have always tried to get our clients to do more of. It brings the feeling of this is part of who I am into the photos and allows our Seniors to experiment with different poses that include their passions.  If possible bring your pets as well. While we understand at some locations it is not possible to have them there but when they are it always brings in the possibility of unexpected hilarity which translates into beautiful photos.

     Dates book fast we only do few sessions a day at Vagabond Photography and we do this to give out Seniors the right amount of time in front of the camera to bring their ideas to life. We are also able to do group sessions so if you want to incorporate a senior portrait session with your friends. We have all had that one friend we have grown up with who might as well be family and it is always a fun time when we can bring friends like that together.

     We look forward to hearing from you.

The wedding of Jess and Derek Dutkiewicz

Weddings, are something special for everyone involved, there is always a lot of stress building up to the big moment where they say “I do” and then are presented for the first time because there is always so much in motion. From there it’s quick do the posed photos and then onto the party where the stress of the day hopefully fades away into the happiness of the night.

Over the weekend we had the privilege of being the photographer at our good friend Jessica and Derek’s wedding. It was the first wedding for the season for us over at Vagabond Photography and to see the happiness and joy in their eyes it made the day truly memorable.  

Going back over the day in my mind two moments really stand out. The first was the ring ceremony. It is my guess from a little bit of stress and nerves it made it hard to slip the rings on and Father Danczyk knew just the joke to make bringing some light and laughter to a special(if not somewhat stressful) moment. The joke was along the lines of good things take time and sometimes it’s not always easy, I believe.

The second stand out moment came during the reception. The best man Tony Z. and a good friend of ours gave one the most memorable speeches I have heard in a lifetime of attending weddings as a guest or photographing them. It was a mix of a lifetime of memories that Tony and Derek have shared thrown in with some classic Jonny Carson style one-liners.
(when they first met) Tony: Hey Derek wanna help shovel driveways for 5 bucks a driveway?
                                   Derek: Hell Yeah.
(over a summer)         Tony: Hey Derek wanna go fishing?
                                   Derek: Hell Yeah.
(repeat over multiple life time events and always with laughter with the response “HELL YEAH”)
(Oct 1, 2015)                Tony: Hey Derek wanna going to Canada deer hunting?
                                   Derek: I can’t I’m with Jess now.
(Oct 2, 2015)                Tony: Time to find a new hunting buddy.
                                    Derek: Laughing the hardest I’ve ever seen him laugh. Needless to say,  
                                               Jess laughed, but not at hard.

In those moments there is the joy and a little frustration. Not just between the bride and the groom at the altar of love where the rings are being a little fussy. Also between two good friends, who in that moment knew how to throw that one little jab at his friend to make the night more memorable for themselves and to everyone in attendance. As a photographer getting that special candid moment can sometimes mean more them than a posed photograph with the entire wedding party, because looking at the candid many years later can bring back a flood of emotions and you’ll start laughing all over again.

At Vagabond photography our goal is to be able to tell the story of your special day whether that be in a slideshow, an album or in the select photos you choose to hang on your walls. Moments like the two listed above make the love of our work so much more fulfilling and easier.

Jess and Derek, its was such a privilege to be a part of your wedding and I wish you both nothing but the happiest of days and I cannot wait to see your smiling faces again.

Now here’s a sneak peek from Jess and Derek’s wedding day.

Clean Rivers Clean Lakes Conference 2018

Last week we had the joy of returning for a third year, to cover the Clean Rivers Clean Lake Conference for our friends at Sweetwater based in Milwaukee WI at the school of fresh water siences.

This year’s Clean Rivers Clean Lake Conference was held at Alverno College. Alverno College has such a beautiful campus and was a great location for this event, the staff was amazing and very helpful. If you ever have the chance tour this beautiful campus I highly recommend it.

This year’s discussions and panels focused on creating purposeful drainage areas inside the urban landscape, porous pavement, new policies and regulations and how we as good stewards can do out part in these endeavors.  

As much as it is a day of work for us it is also a learning day. I come from a family with farmers and every year I am impressed to see what these fine people come up with. Some of it in the past I have taken back with me to my uncle’s farm to see if there is something we can put into practice as it pertains to curtailing field runoff into the streams and waterways.

Here are some of the photos from this year’s Clean Rivers Clean Lake Conference.

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DJI Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian Review

The Phantom 4 Pro obsidian model by DJI is a little power house of a drone. When it first came out in August of 2017 and began shipping in September. It quickly sold out and many drone enthusiasts like myself were forced to wait till the next run came out to the public. I ordered the end of September and it came at the end of November. Hello early Christmas present.

 DJI Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian

DJI Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian

Why the Obsidian model? For me, my choice to go with the obsidian model over the standard Phantom 4 pro model was what I believed to be was and has proven to be is its more visible in the sky above me.  I flew, with my neighbors Phantom 3 prior to purchase and while easy to see up against a high gray cloud or down in the marsh from on top of the hill it was still very hard to see above 200 ft on a clear blue-sky day.  The only downside to this is when I am flying in a valley area in the winter with no greenery on the trees the P4P Obsidian can be harder to locate if you glace away to spot a nearby plane or bird. This is also why we added strobe LED’s to it.

In addition to the DJI Phantom 4 Pro (P4P) I looked at the Inspire 2 by DJI while it has more features on it and interchangeable cameras and its base price is around $3,000 and I would have wanted to upgrade the camera which meant more money given to DJI. With the P4P the price tag was cheaper with the base model coming at $1,500 and for I realistically need to do with my it for my company it was more than capable enough to handle the day to day operations.

Getting what you pay for is something I really like, when I bought the P4P I also invested in two extra batteries. The battery for the P4P last about 30 minutes in optimal conditions and takes about 45 to 50 minutes to completely charge. This way I can keep flying with minimal down time. I compared it to the battery for the Yuneec Typhoon H and DJI seems to have a more durable battery and overall life span when comparing the two.

The camera on the DJI P4P comes with a 20-mega pixel 1-inch CMOS sensor which is really nice. I do wish the lens was a little bit bigger/longer, it has FOV 84ᵒ 8.8mm/24 mm (35 mm format equivalent), I’m used to shooting with 50mm lenses on my DSLR so this is something that I have to get used to on the drone. Though it is amazing with the wide-angle shots and being able to create nice panoramic photographs.  

Setting up the camera for the drone is fairly simple, I am not the biggest fan of the “Auto” setting for still photographs they tend to come out dark and require more post work. The manual setting is quite easy to work though when using the touch screen in conjunction with the dial on the right-hand side of the controller.  As for the video it is super sharp in 4K it feels like you could almost reach out and touch what you’re flying past.

As for the controller there a few different ways to configure it. I set it up similar to a PS4 controller so my left stick is forward and back on the left stick and the right stick is set up for panning left and right as well as climbing and descending in altitude. The nice thing about the sticks is they are adjustable up and down by spinning the stick clockwise or counter clockwise. I think this is a great feature because it allows you to set the control sticks to better fit your hand. There are also two programable buttons on the under side of the DJI controller.  It allows you to setup special features. I do a lot of photography before sunset with my drone and in the low light conditions the red strobe light on the front arms are able to be turned off by setting one of the function buttons to do so.  This is a nifty little feature because the camera is not picking up the excess red light from the strobe lights.

 DJI Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian Remote

DJI Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian Remote

The P4P also has three different flight types all of them are select-able from the controller on the left side. They are marked by the letters P, S and A with a little switch below them. They stand for Positioning, Sport and Attitude.  In the Positioning setting the drone stays pretty level and is great for video and shooting stills on a single plane. The drone will also react to commands a little bit slower than in the other settings I have found and will also fly a bit slower as to not get the props in view.  In sport mode you can feasibly achieve speeds of 45mph. I have only flown in this mode a few times in a large farm field and I can say that 40 is defiantly doable but your collision and avoidance system is greatly reduced so your likely hood of a crash increases.  In both the P and S settings when you take your fingers off the stick the drone will stop and hover where you left the drone at.  In the Attitude setting the forward sensing and GPS sensors are turned off and unlike the P and S settings when you take your fingers off the control sticks the drone will drift with the wind. I am not the biggest fan of this setting because I have yet to find a use for it when I fly. It does still fly at a faster speed like in the sport mode. You will notice in the P and S modes the rear lights on the drone are green and the front will be red, and when you are in A mode the rear lights will be yellow/amber and the front will still remain red.

 Marsh Pano Photo on a DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Marsh Pano Photo on a DJI Phantom 4 Pro

On one the recent updates DJI gave the P4P a few of the features the Mavic series has which is the panoramic modes. For a still photographer like myself this is something that is really handy. Now I can just tap on the screen and bring up the pano style I would like to use and tap the screen again and the DJI flight app does the rest. I cannot say enough how much I like this it has really taken out of guess work and fiddling with pictures in post to make sure they all fit together correctly. Now don’t get me wrong I still have to put them into the post editing software but at least all the photos are grouped together and are in one batch.

Overall, I think this drone is everything a entry level drone pilot to a semi pro/pro drone pilot could really ask for. The drone is extremely responsive and handles wells and is also quite durable. The price point can seem like it is a bit on the expensive side but you are getting what you pay for and more. After looking and doing research on the P4P for about six months and they buying one and now flying the P4P for the past four months I couldn’t be happier with my choice in drone type and manufacture.