Author: Robert

Historic Brattonsville

Historic Brattonsville – Spring 2019

My photography began many years ago as a hobby, then laid dormant for a couple of decades before I picked up a camera again, intending to shoot for my own enjoyment. I still take pictures for pleasure, but my hobby has begun developing in ways that I would not have expected. A good case in point is the time I have spend at Historic Brattonsville over the past year. To be clear, I’m not out there that often. I started last summer at the Battle of Huck’s Defeat. At this point I show up for special events and the odd […]

2018 Top Ten Photos

It’s taken long enough. This should have been done at least a month ago, but it has been a difficult process. I have worked through all of the images that I took last year and finally compiled my list of my 2018 Top Ten photos. Honestly, this is far more important to me, than it is to you. I recognize that. But it is a necessary experiment, I believe, in order for me to continually work at improving my work. The Process The process of choosing the top ten for 2018 wasn’t difficult because I am such a masterful photographer, […]

Sharing family pictures

The Value of Prints

I love my technology. I am more tethered to my phone than I want to admit. I use my tablet for a variety of reasons – both professional and personal – throughout the day. My television is delivered via the internet. Even my car knows how to communicate with my devices and with me. Technology has opened all sorts of new doors for us in photography, too. We don’t worry about film. We can see an image as soon as we take it (usually with our “phones”). We fix (almost) everything after the picture has been taken. We upload it […]

Photographing Ice Hockey

I got my first chance to shoot ice hockey a few days ago. A friend of mine has a son who plays and I finally pestered him enough that he told me that I could come and shoot at a regional tournament being held at the rink where his son plays. Before going, I knew 3 things: Rinks are dark. Yes, it’s light enough to see, but our eyes are much better than camera sensors, so relatively speaking rinks are dark. Hockey moves fast. It’s not Nascar, and I wasn’t shooting pros, but even at this level kids skate faster […]

Robert Clay Photography Family Pictures

Family Picture Time

I remember as a kid, dressing up for family pictures, going to a studio (or Sears) and being told to lower my chin, tilt my head and place my hand somewhere. Then, once I had assumed this unnatural posture, I was to remain perfectly still. And smile. And relax. And wait until my brothers and parents all cooperated in the same way. Getting 5 chins in just the right place can be a challenge. Family pictures, I think, should represent the family. As they are. I know that most Moms don’t want to hear that. Most Moms want family pictures […]

camping under the milky way

Expectations in Photography

A good friend, with a rather negative outlook on life, once said to me, “The problem that you optimists have is that you are often disappointed. You’re always expecting the best, and when it doesn’t pan out, you are let down. I, on the other hand, never expect the best, so I am often pleasantly surprised!” There is, I suppose, some truth is what he said; though he still didn’t convince me to move over to the dark side. I continue to expect the best and, truth be told, things usually do work out pretty well. There are exceptions, of […]

The Battle of Huck’s Defeat 2018

I’ve begun volunteering with our local museums. The Cultural & Heritage Museums of York County, South Carolina is a family of four separate museums, including Historic Brattonsville, a 775-acre Revolutionary War site. One of the highlights of the year at Brattonsville is the reenactment of the Battle of Huck’s Defeat. I’ll leave the facts and significance of the battle to the experts and focus our attention here on the reenactment and the photographic opportunities it presents. Kevin Lynch, the site manager at Brattonsville, describes the home site as a “target rich environment” for photographers. Candid portraits of historic interpreters, landscape photographs, architecture, wildlife, macro […]

Blacksmiths at Historic Brattonsville

Environmental Portrait

So the 52 week photo challenge that I began as one of this year’s goals has proven to be… um… challenging. It’s not that the assignments are too difficult. It’s the time thing. You would think that with seven days in the week that there would be plenty of time to conceive of an idea, plan it and then execute it. Especially something as interesting as an environmental portrait. That has not proven to be the case. But that was part of the reason for taking on the challenge. I know I need to spend more time with my camera […]

Hemlock Falls – It’s a matter of perspective

When I first began to try to take pictures of landscapes, I would inevitably try to capture an image of wide, sweeping vistas. You know, those epic mountain ranges, or cloudscapes or tree lines.  Somehow, what I saw with my eye never quite appeared on the back of my camera after I took the shot. Since then I have learned a bit more about cameras and specific lenses and how they “see”. In a nutshell, I can tell you that they don’t see like our eyes do.  More importantly, I have learned that I rarely want a picture of that […]