Model & Portrait Photography; A Hobby, A Passion!

During the last few months I’ve returned to a hobby that I’ve always been passionate about, Photography (yep, it’s so important to me, that I capitalized it, even though I don’t need to lol). It’s been such a blast to work with local models, and we’ve learned a lot from some very helpful photographers. Christy and I love shooting pictures. She has an amazing eye for composition and catching beautiful, natural light. I am good at getting people to relax, laugh, and just have fun. It feels great when you show someone (who was totally anxious about having their photo taken) how beautiful they really are. We’re having fun, creating awesome memories, and making people happy! It’s just so cool 🙂

When I was in High School, I got my first “real job” at Burger King. After I bought my parents gifts with my first check, (Mom: one plant in a pot, Dad: chocolate covered peanuts), I started saving up for a used SLR film camera. It was an old, sturdy 35mm Chinon CM-4. I bought it used 30 years ago, and it still works fine. This thing is solid! Now, I am using all digital equipment, but I love old cameras!

So, now zooming forward to 2013, we’ve started shooting still photos of people. I’ve loved learning about the new technology available with digital imagery, and I’m glad that I learned the basics in college in the 90’s. I know how to use the “Manual” mode and develop film (I’m so glad I don’t have to do that now!). We’ve purchased new and used photography equipment, as we could afford it. So now, we have a studio at our home that was set up for very little money (thank you eBay) and are able to create some fantastic photos. Of course, we’ve taken hundreds of photos for commercials of products, and client locations, but photographing people is different (for one thing, they have feelings, unlike a new car or plate of spaghetti, well, spaghetti might have feelings, you never know, maybe we just can’t hear the screams while they’re boiling! lol).

I love the experience of meeting a person who wants some great photos of themselves. If you’re like me, you don’t enjoy the experience of having your picture taken. If I’m being silly, it’s fine, but as soon as Christy says, “Be Sexy!”, I have no idea what to do, other than point my finger at the camera, raise one eyebrow, and pretend I’m some slick metro-sexual on the cover of GQ, then we just laugh, and don’t get any “sexy” pictures lol!

It’s so wonderful to meet someone who’s shy and doesn’t think they are “photogenic.” I meet with them before the shoot is even scheduled. We talk about their interests, ideas and passions, then schedule a shoot at a location that fits the “theme”. I give some direction, help them to relax with encouragement and humor, then I see this incredible transformation from a Nervous Nelly to Confident Super-Model! We go to rivers, downtown, the beach, wherever we can drive, and get some amazing shots. Then after a little Photoshop work (not too much, I like to keep it as natural as possible, unless we’ve planned on giving it a certain look or mood), I send the photos to them via email. They’re so happy! They reply in all caps about how much they LOVE THEIR PHOTO! How awesome is that? They excitedly tell me how much their partner loved the pics too, or how proud their family is. It’s great, and since I can’t draw or paint, this is art I can create that keeps me motivated, and inspires me to continually improve my skills.

If you live within 100 miles of Eugene, it’s very possible that I will come take your picture. I’m still learning and this is a hobby, so I’m doing a trade for pictures deal with people. Basically, the model offers their time, in trade for digital copies of the photos. I consider this extremely fun, and if you’re willing to throw in $20 to help with the cost of gas, I’ll come as far as 100 miles from Eugene to take some lovely pictures of you. Of course, it depends on my schedule, and how polite you are with your request 🙂 Please Contact Us.

Have a great day,
Donovan Werts
Owner/Producer Donovan Productions

Donovan’s Trip to the NAB Conference in April 2013

Update: Thanks to the generosity of Clients, Family and Friends I’m going to the NAB Conference in April!

I want to go to the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Conference in Las Vegas in April this year. Technology is changing fast and I want to be able to keep up. Donovan Productions strives to give our business clients, and non-profit groups, the very best in video production service, content delivery and fair prices.

Our mission is to promote others with creative, attention grabbing commercials and long-format video, so that they can serve the community and have businesses that flourish. Everyone knows how tough the economy has become, and we aim to help people stay employed, by helping keep business open. Can we do that with creative video production and advertising ideas? Yep, we’ve proven it over and over! I went to the NAB Conference in 2009 and it was fantastic! I learned so much about new technology, video/audio equipment, advertising trends and creative software that it really helped me serve our clients and help grow their businesses.

I am raising money for the cost of the trip, and admission fees for the NAB Conference. As hard as we work, we never get very far ahead because we’re always purchasing better video/audio equipment, computer hardware and software, and giving our video production services at fair prices so people can afford to advertise. I’m requesting donations to help me with the cost of this trip to the conference in Las Vegas. My goal is to raise $1,000 (We’re 80% there!). That includes the admission price for the conference, classes, airline tickets, an inexpensive hotel room, and money for food (while the conference is in Las Vegas, don’t worry, I don’t gamble lol).

If you’d like to help me raise money for the trip to the NAB Conference, please click on the “Donate” button below.

Donations can be made if you have a PayPal account.
There is an option to click if you don’t have a PayPal account and just want to use your credit card
(Click on “Continue” to the left of the PayPal log in on the donation web page).

If I’ve given you good service, made your day a little brighter, helped your doors stay open at your business, or promoted your non-profit group, please consider making a donation. It will come back to you in the form of even better service, and lots of gratitude 🙂

Click Here for more information About NAB 2013

Click Here to read Comments from a few of our Happy Clients

Thank You Very Much,
Donovan

Where Eagles Dare to Nest

Photo Credit: Phillip A. Redlinger, Eugene, OR.

I always get excited when I see an eagle soaring above. It’s usually a very quick glimpse, but I feel lucky and blessed to have seen one. Quite often, I’ve seen eagles during times in my life when I was facing a challenge or seeking some kind of guidance about making an important decision. I don’t really consider an eagle sighting some kind of “religious sign”, but somehow seeing them inspires me. For example, I was walking by the Umpqua River years ago, reflecting on what I should do about an unhealthy relationship I was in. I heard a chilling scream and looked up to see two eagles clutched together, plummeting towards the water. At the last second they separated and flew off in opposite directions. It was an awesome experience, and it helped me realize that I needed to let go of the unhealthy relationship (aw heck, if that’s not some kind of sign, I don’t know what is!) lol.

Now I’ve had a different, even more amazing experience seeing eagles. There’s a nest in a very tall tree at the northern base of Skinner’s Butte in Eugene, OR. A friend told my sweetheart Christy about it, and we went to check it out. The best way to find the nest is to park on top of Skinner’s Butte and take the trail from the northwest corner of the parking lot, then hope that there’s someone else there who can show you where to look. It’s very difficult to spot from the trail, and we had trouble finding it even the second time we went. (If someone can send me better directions, please Contact Me and I’ll revise this post).

When we first saw the nest, the mother was feeding three eaglets. We also saw a male sitting in another tall tree nearby. The treetop nest is about 75 yards north of the trail, so you’ll need binoculars or a camera with a good zoom lens to get a clear view.

The third time I went to watch the nest, I met Phillip and Jean Redlinger. They were very friendly and knowledgeable about bird watching and hiking. They had all kinds of cool gear (binoculars, a very nice camera with a huge lens, a GPS unit strapped to a backpack with what I imagined were other other high-tech goodies, and a monopod). Jean and Phillip sent the still pictures included in this post and I’m very thankful for their generosity!

On one of our visits, Christy and I took our cameras. I shot some video footage that we edited together in the clip below (there’s no audio).

I’m so glad that we learned about this family of eagles. It’s been a very moving experience each time we’ve visited Skinner’s Butte, and the fuzzy gray eaglets are growing fast. I’m thankful to the well-informed, friendly people we’ve met on the trail. They’ve taught us about the history of the nest and we’ve enjoyed seeing such a rare, beautiful sight. We have also been inspired to get outdoors more often (away from our computers) and plan to do more hiking. Seeing a mother eagle put pieces of rainbow trout in an eaglet’s mouth is something I’ll never forget!

I hope you take the time to see the eagles’ nest, Donovan

Here are a few more pictures that Phillip Redlinger sent to me. Click on these thumbnails to open a larger image:
  

Losing It!


You may think the title of this blog refers to the third image in the picture strip above (and you may be right), but in this case “Losing It!” refers to losing weight. In August 2011, I made a commitment to improve my health and shed some pounds. I was tired of being tired and looking old for my age. I realized that I wasn’t getting any younger (an amazing insight, huh?) so I joined Gold’s Gym here in Eugene.

I decided to sign up for a trainer because I normally injure myself when I start a weight lifting/exercise program at home, plus I thought it would help motivate (force) me to stay with it since I set appointments to meet with the trainer three days per week. He showed me how to use many different machines/free-weights, and what muscles they would strengthen. Having a set routine for certain days of the week really helped me because I had a plan each time I walked in the door (less stress for someone who is into planning…alright, who whispered “OCD”? lol). I also learned about good nutrition. It’s amazing to think that I’ve lived most of my life being pretty clueless about eating healthy. Or more accurately, I chose to stay ignorant (there’s all kinds of good, free nutrition advice online). Of course, I knew the basic rules, but I sure didn’t follow them very closely, and junk food was so comforting when I was stressed out! Not knowing about good nutrition, being sedentary sitting at a computer to edit video most of the day, watching too much TV at night, and having heart disease “in the family”, was leading to a pretty predictable end.

As of today, I’ve lost 45 lbs. I go to the gym four days a week. I do 30-minutes of cardio (the elliptical machine) and 30-minutes of weight lifting each visit. I eat mostly natural, whole foods now, and “cheat” rarely (now that I’m eating healthy stuff, the junk food makes me feel kind of sick). I feel stronger and younger than I have in a long time. There isn’t a deep philosopical point, or punchline to this post, but I’m proud of myself for sticking with it. I encourage you to care more about your health if you haven’t been. Stress, fear, depression, bad habits and ignorance of a healthy lifestyle simply aren’t good excuses. I know from personal experience.

As far as the picture above is concerned, I like it, my sweetheart Christy took it, and if you look at the other pictures of me on this site, you can see the difference. I look as young and handsome as a 20-something guy – you’ll notice that I’ve turned off the ability for people to post comments 🙂

Here are two websites that I’ve used to learn about exercise and good nutrition:
Livestrong.com has lots of great articles, recipes, and nutrition facts.
FatSecret.com can help you keep track of calories consumed/burned (never thought I’d be a “calorie counter” but this site makes it easy), plus they have a cool smart phone app that you can download for free.