5 Photos, 5 Stories: Bill, the Photographer (#4)

I mentioned in my “5 photos and 5 stories #1” that because of the immense sight of the Grand Canyon and my humble lens I was going to take easy on photographing at GC.

This plan was quickly changed after I met Bill at the rim of GC. The evening of our arrival, hubby and I took a walk at the rim toward the village for dinner, where I met Bill. He was standing by the sidewalk of the rim busying with setting up his tripod, camera, and lens. I walked up to him with my Canon on my shoulder, “Are you going to shoot the sunset scene?” He replied, “This is the spot.” He took a looked at my camera and lens, I asked him the camera settings. Hubby has zero interest in photography, he left me there and continued his walk.

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Bill began his first shooting at around 6:00 pm while kept talking to me. He said, “I’m testing my camera/lens and watching the sun lights. 20 minutes later when the sun gets down right above that canyon wall, I’m going to start shooting different spots of the canyon down there.”  A few minutes later, Bill asked me to get my camera ready to aim at a particular spot (I didn’t expect to shoot with him) and felt the pressure. He said to me, “In about 5 minutes, the sun will be down there (he pointed to the spot) and you are going to aim at this one (he pointed to the spot down from the rim.). You can try with aperture between 7 to 9.” So he snapped first; I followed him. This went on for the next 30 minutes.  He said, “When you go back to your hotel, look through these shots from your laptop and compare them, then come back here the next day and do it again and again to get better pictures. That is how you learn. Remember the sun light won’t be the same when you are back next time.”

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In between shootings, Bill explained further, “If you want to shoot the sunset scene in the Grand Canyon, you need to know when and where the sun reflects on which spot. If you get it right, you can capture the structure, texture, and colors of the rocks at the same time. Go ahead shoot that rock now, then shoot the same spot 5 minute later. You’ll be able to  see the difference.” he said. “But, how do you know when and where the sun reflects on which spot?” I asked. “Well, I have spent a lot of time to study how the sun sets before I came here. I have been here 20 times. The first time I came here, I hiked all the way down to the bottom, camped there a couple of days, crossed the river, then hiked back up here. I was a lot younger and was in much better shape.”

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Bill then asked me to show him my shots, which made me very nervous. He told me bluntly, “This one is off the center.” “This one you need to try 55mm instead.” “Need to include shadows.”  It was like I paid him for a photography lesson. His final advice was, “Take three shots and merge into a HDR image, then move it to the Photoshop to perfect the image.”

When the sun was disappearing, Bill started packing up his tripod and lens into his camera bag. “How many lens in your bag?” I asked. “12”, he said. “Will I be able to view your photos on the Internet?” “I don’t put my stuff on the Internet.” he answered. “Where do you put them?” “Galleries and studios in New York City and Santa Fé.” “Wooow!!”

I, then, noticed that we hadn’t introduced ourselves to each other. “My name is Amy, I’m from Texas”, “Texas?! I live in Boston, my name is Bill.”. “I feel so privileged talking to you, Bill. Thank you for the lessons…” I watched him pick up his stuff, then walked with him a few steps. “I will be up there before 7 tomorrow morning to shoot sun rising if you want to join me.” He said. But, hubby and I had already planned to hike the next day.

I turned around and saw my hungry hubby standing by the rim. I walked up to him, “I’m so sorry… you won’t believe how much I learn from this guy, he is a photographer. Do you want to hear about him?” I asked. Hubby looked at me with a smile and replied, “Where are we going to eat?”

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So what have I learned from Bill? I’ve learned that photography is not all about camera.  After all, Bill doesn’t have a fancy camera (He said to me he’d like get a camera like the one I have.), but he is a remarkable photographer. What it takes is passion, commitment, patience, and never-ending perfectionism, like Bill has.

Thank you, Raewyn for giving the opportunity to share stories through this challenge. Please visit Raewyn’s Decocraftsdigicrafts to view her beautiful photos.

 Thank you for reading. Happy Wednesday! 🙂

99 thoughts on “5 Photos, 5 Stories: Bill, the Photographer (#4)

  1. What an absolute thrill Amy! It’s terrific that he took the time to be with you and share his craft. It’s also great that you paid attention and listened, and stopped to take in this magical lesson. Your photos are awesome! 😀

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    • I didn’t expect a lesson from Bill at all, thought it was going to be a 5-min conversation. What I really learned about is in the last sentence. Thank you for reading, Jet. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t tell you how many folks we’ve met on hiking trails or scenic overlooks during our travels where conversations with complete strangers have lasted well beyond 30 minutes. I’ve even become friends on Facebook via birding in Texas because of this common love of photography. What a wonderful encounter and stunning collection of shots. Well worth hubby’s growling stomach 🙂

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    • I believe, Ingrid. You’re so much fun to talk to. Bill was sincere and willing to share. This conversation will stay with me. Hubby is always patience with my hobby, I feel so lucky. 🙂

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  3. Good morning, Amy. Amazing photos! They make me wanting to visit there again and soon. This is one of the most interesting posts (stories) I have ever read. Bill sounds like a very nice guy (and great photographer) and you are so nice to share this experience and the lesson with us. I keep thinking if it were me, I probably wouldn’t remember most of the conversation. ha.
    And I like your husband’s dinner question!
    THANK YOU! It’s grey outside, but I am joyful… after reading your post. 😉

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    • So glad the story brought you some joy. You’re a writer and have shared so many wonderful stories that made me smile, laugh, and read with tears… Your comment means a lot to me, Helen. Photographing is Bill’s life-long commitment and Grand Canyon is his love. I was so lucky to spend a little time with him.
      Thank you so much for reading. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful images! Bill sounds a wonderful person who would like to share his experience and knowledge – lucky you Amy to meet him 🙂 I agree photography is not about a fancy camera..but it is about lenses 😀 – and of course, dedication and commitment 🙂 Thank you for sharing your fruitful travel experience 🙂

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    • Glad you enjoyed the story. I admire Bill’s passion for photographing and Grand Canyon. I agree lenses can make a difference. Thank you so much for reading, Indah! 🙂

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  5. At last the wait is over. And it was worth the wait. That was some great lessons. That dedication and passion is quite admirable. People like him are the real photographers. It was a pleasure reading your story. And great sets of photographs.

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  6. Wonderful story and so true! It takes a lot of patience to comeback to the same spot over and over again or better yet to sit at the same spot and watch the lighting change. Great story.

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  7. It was meant to be Amy – sometimes if we are open we meet the most incredible people. Bill brought you along on his journey, that was priceless. Awesome for you, and kudos to Bill for being a very generous person. This was a fantastic story! and the photographs – the BEST!

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    • Thank you so much for complimenting the photos, Mary! The way you interact with us and teach us how to appreciate painting is like Bill shares his expertise. Except, you do regularly. Thank you so much for reading the story. 🙂

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    • It was a pleasant encounter; and be able to taking photos with him. 🙂 I can’t ask more from hubby. Thank you so much for reading the story, Lola! 🙂

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  8. Wow! Not a surprise that there exist a Grand Canyon enthusiast. It truly is a grand place from expert photographers like Bill and Amy. So are you thinking of showing your best images in a gallery?

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  9. Now, that’s a story and that’s what I mean when I say that I learn a lot about photography from your blog. (I’m getting better at standing in the right place. Even improving on where the light is coming from but I’ve not yet graduated to going back to the same place and shooting them over again…but I think I may try. Not necessarily in the Grand Canyon just yet!)

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    • Your photos are beautiful and tell stories, Simon. I will try to do the same, I also need to practice my patience.
      Hope you get to visit Grand Canyon in the future. 🙂

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  10. Good thing he encountered you. If it had been me, I would not have known how to follow his instructions. I don’t read manuals. LOL It looks like he gave you some invaluable lessons. The photos are stunning!

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    • He helped me to get cool shots of Grand Canyon while sun setting. I don’t think I can get these shots ever again, unless he shows up. 🙂 Thank you for liking these photos. 🙂

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  11. Amy what a wonderful chance encounter where you could learn so much. I love the fact that Bill’s camera wasn’t the most expensive but his patience and technique was superb. The photos you captured are remarkable. Extra points for Hubby and his patience.

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    • Now I know what it takes to get a great photo behind the scene. Thank you so much for your compliment. Hubby was very patient. Bill and I spent 30 min shooting photos, we started the conversation 20 min before that and continued to talk another 20 min. after the shoot. 🙂

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    • I agree… A lot of hard work to get a great shot like Bill does. No wonder his photos are placed in galleries. 🙂 Thank you for offering me the chance to write stories. 🙂

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  12. Wow. Great lessons from Bill and from you, the student. He has great tips, although I can hardly relate since I know so little. But these photos are fabulous. Love the purple tint you captured along with the orange.

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  13. Amazing photos, Amy. But what a lesson in photography you got there. Bill sounds like a wonderful guy, and what a random lucky encounter. Did you get the chance to meet him again? Sounds like no to me 🙂

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    • Thank you so much for reading, Mabel. His decades of photo experience in Grand Canyon probably is not possible for me to learn in a short casual conversation. If I practice day in and day out like he suggested I may be able to learn, but I have a full time job. 🙂 No, I really didn’t expect to meet him again. Glad you like these shots. 🙂

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      • Not only a great photographer but a very kind one too. I’m sure you learnt a lot in that short casual conversation. It sounded inspiring too. You are already good at photography, Amy. Miles ahead of me 🙂

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        • I think Bill is very kind. But the people who were told to step away from his spot might not agree. And, he told quite a few tourists that he was there first, etc. He was pretty firm. The prices of these galleries in NYC and Santa Fe are as high as some people’s annual salary. Those photographers are not doing for hobby though. 🙂

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  14. Amy, what an extraordinary experience! And what absolutely gorgeous photos you captured!! Your story is so on point about patience and perseverance being a hugely important part of photography. Clearly it has paid off for Bill. Thanks for sharing. I felt as if I was standing there with the two of you (and I would have felt nervous showing him my photos too 😉).

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    • Thank you for reading, Ruth! I have learned what it take to be a professional photographer, and appreciate even more of their effort. 🙂

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  15. Stunning photos, Amy. Amazing story too, and quite a fortuitous meeting. I think you are lucky to have learned a fair bit from a master photographer. I’ll be watching you more closely. 🙂

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    • I’m flattered by your comment. Pressure in on when Dragon is watching. 🙂 But, I don’t have PS and 12 lenses to play with; and I won’t go back there another time any time soon.
      Some years ago, I visited a few galleries in Santa Fe, I was stunned by the prices they marked up (can be as much as some people’s annual salary). One of the sale ladies said to me that many were sold to the America Corp, banks, resorts, 5-star hotels, etc.

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  16. Great story, Amy. I am quite a bit like both you AND your husband. I am committed to my photography and love to talk about it. But when it comes time to eat? Love these photos, by the way. So where did you eat and was it any good? We’ll be in the area within the next month or two!

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    • There are not many choices, only two restaurants by the rim, cross the street from the village. Both were pretty good. There is a cafeteria in the village, they serve pretty goo breakfast and lunch there.
      Thank you for reading the story, Emilio. My husband is interested in politics and sports. He does not think he needs to learn to photo when he can visit the Nat Geo for photos. 😕
      Bill said to me the best time to shoot sunset scene in Grand Canyon is August. We were there in August a decade ago. I thought I was going to die because of the heat.

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      • My husband said that actually the restaurants were in the “village” by the rim and the cafeteria is cross the village loop and the rail in the Maswik Lodge.

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  17. The photos and story of your chance meeting with Bill has made a fabulous post Amy ! I was over awed by the sight of the Grand Canyon when we visited a few years back would dearly love another trip . I totally agree re your summing up … juggling all those qualities is jolly hard work at times 😉
    Gorgeous gallery of photos .

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    • I don’t believe I could learn anything from him in less than one hour for all he has done for decades. To be able to recognize what it take to be a photographer is what I have learned. Thank you for reading, Poppy! Hope you get to visit this grand place again.

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  18. What a great guy, Amy, and those photos are stunning! My technical knowledge is too limited to learn much in that situation, but just being there and watching the light change in such company would be an inspiration. Thanks for sharing. Shame he doesn’t have a website. 🙂

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    • I don’t think I learned anything, but it’s fascinating to know there are so much these photographers do so much more then just clicking. You’re right being surrounded by the scene is inspiring. 🙂 Thank you for reading the story, Jo 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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