Just My Thoughts

Nothing too profound here. Just my thoughts on photography, my journey in it, and a few other things I might have learned along the way.

Processing “Historic” Photographs

The first photograph in history was taken in 1826 or 1827. Obviously, there was no “time stamp” embedded into the image to help us be more specific. A dozen years passed before the first photograph to include a person was made, and that was largely an accident. About a year later, in 1839, the first intentional portrait (which happened to be a “selfie”) was made. The first war photo was shot in 1847, during the Mexican-American war. Matthew Brady became famous during America’s civil war for the thousands of images he took during that conflict. Brady followed on the earlier […]

2019 Worldwide Photo Walk

For the past several years, photographers around the world have gathered in their respective communities on the first Saturday in October to walk around, take pictures, enjoy one another’s company and even raise money for an African orphanage. They are part of Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk. For the first time, I was able to join a dozen others in Rock Hill and participate. Candidly, my participation was far more focused on the local element, rater than the worldwide scope of the day, but the event gave us a good excuse to get out and shoot together. The weather cooperated […]

Battle of Huck's Defeat 2019

The Battle of Huck’s Defeat 2019

Exactly one year has passed since I began taking pictures at Historic Brattonsville, in York County, South Carolina. My first major event was the Battle of Huck’s Defeat in 2018. That happens to be the biggest event of the year at Brattonsville, so I was eager to return this year, especially since I had a better idea of what to expect. So I went with some specific shots in mind. Photographically speaking, there are a variety of genres available at an event like this. Obviously, there is the action of the battle. There are also portrait opportunities, both posed and […]

Sunflower fields

Visiting the Sunflower Fields

The Draper Wildlife Management Area in York County, South Carolina is managed by the state’s Department of Natural Resources as a small game hunting area. But in the summer, they plant large tracts of sunflowers and corn, knowing it will attract game later in the year. In the summer, however, it attracts photographers. They come to shoot flowers, and families, and brides, and pets. That’s why I often prefer visiting sunflower fields early in the day, before the crowds show up. I was planning my annual trip to Draper, reading the reports of others who had been watching it for […]

Portraits of Flowers

When I picked up a camera again a few years ago, my chief interest was landscape photography. My wife and I were spending more time hiking and backpacking, and I wanted to find a way to record the sights that we were seeing along the way. So, if you look at my earlier work, you will see a lot of scenery, waterfalls, leaf color and skies. About the time my grandchildren came along, I figured out that cameras took pictures of people, too! So I’ve been trying to improve as a portrait photographer. There is broad agreement in the photographic […]

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 […]

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 […]