How I Clear My Mind When I’m in a Photography Rut


At some point or another, we all can get caught in a rut. 

 It doesn’t matter if the work we do is creative or analytical, the process can become frustrating. 

 Whenever I’m in a rut when it comes to taking pictures or even when I want to clear my mind, I pack up my camera with only one lens and I head to downtown Norfolk.

What do I do when I’m in a rut? 

I take more pictures! 

 I walk around the familiar streets without being shy to capture anything or anyone I come across. 

 Sometimes I capture great moments and other times I use this time to clear my head. 

 This particular photo excursion was different than most as after some time I didn’t have any pictures to show for it. 

 Usually, this is fine because these projects are rarely published. 

 Most of my street pictures will continue to be unpublished. 

What was different about tonight was I went into Waterside to warm up a little bit and to my surprise, there was live music.

 Everyone was being safe and socially distant but it had been so long since I’ve seen or heard live music. 

 I knew this was time to enjoy myself so I sat down for a good 30 minutes and listened to Ms. Amy Kaus. 

 She sang plenty of covers that night. 

 Some that I knew and most that I didn’t, but either way, I enjoyed my time. 

I was able to relax, clear my mind and even come up with a few different ideas. 

 Here are a few pictures from that night. 

Amy Kaus at Waterside Norfolk

Amy Kaus at Waterside Norfolk

Amy Kaus at Waterside Norfolk

Amy Kaus at Waterside Norfolk

Amy Kaus at Waterside Norfolk

Amy Kaus at Waterside Norfolk

Thanks for viewing. 

Gelani Banks

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Battle of the Bay - Men’s Basketball Edition

15.9 Miles. 

 That’s the distance between Hampton University and Norfolk State University. 

 Two Historically Black Colleges and Universities out of 107 spread across the this side of the country. 

 And these are the two in Hampton Roads. 

You guys follow me and know that I love taking pictures at both schools whenever I have the chance. 

For this game I was tasked with taking pictures for Hampton and that’s okay because I truly have love for both sides.

Especially since they aren’t in the same conference anymore. 

I can also say that after the two HBCU’s that I attended (Lincoln University and then Oakwood University), that NSU and HU are my favorite. 

 This game wasn’t my first time attending “The Battle of The Bay,” but it was my first time taking pictures for this rivalry basketball game.  

And it will not be my last. 

I hope you enjoy the pictures below. 

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Hampton vs Norfolk State  in the Battle of the Bay

Thanks for viewing!

Gelani Banks

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What it’s like to take sports pictures during a pandemic

Whenever I take pictures at basketball games, I try to get as close to the action as possible. 

However, I saw a different story here so I wanted to show you guys the whole gym. 

I’m at the first home game for the Norfolk State Lady Spartans.

250 people. 

That’s the max capacity allowed in Joe Echols hall on this warm Sunday evening.  

 The only sound we can hear is the fake crowd noise coming from the sound system. 

 Have you ever heard crowd noise when the home team is shooting a free throw? 

Not only was this game odd because there were less than 100 people present, but I also had to take pictures from the stands. 

The NCAA has a rule where only two photographers can be on the baseline at one time. 

I was the third. 

 At first, being told that I couldn’t take pictures from the usual spot was frustrating. 

 But after a while, I started to become grateful. 

It had been over eight months since I took photos at a meaningful sporting event. 

Being present at this game with all of its social distancing and Covid-19 protocols was not only a blessing to get back to doing what I love, but it was a memorable opportunity to try something new. 

 Hope you enjoy the pictures below. 

Gelani Banks


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My First Sports Photoshoot

Don’t ever let someone tell you that you need all of the best gear to take sports pictures.  People will say you need the newest version of the 70-200mm 2.8  and the newest full frame DSLR or Mirrorless. 

I didn’t have anything close to that and yet this is my first time taking sports pictures with my own gear. 

I had an 8 year old Canon T3i that I “stole” from my sister in law and a “nifty 50” that I purchased for $120.  

It was my best friend at the time.

Most would roll their eyes at this set-up.  

Especially for sports.

However, the fact that I had the most primitive gear helped build my skills as a photographer. 

I wasn’t relying on the fanciest technology to get the best picture.  

I had to know what I was doing and fail a bit before I came out with a few worthwhile pictures. 

One of my co-workers has a football team named the “Pedigree Dawgs” and I asked him if I could take pictures of one of his practices. 

At first I was nervous, but soon I started having fun and these are the results.

How cool is it that I have the pictures to look back at while seeing the growth I’ve had over my photography journey. 

It’s a constant reminder to keep taking pictures because that’s the only way you get better.

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Gelani Banks


A Grateful Heart Is A Giving Heart

This year during the beginning of the holiday season I had the opportunity to capture video for the Finney Family Foundation Annual Turkey Giveaway.  

Dorian Finney-Smith and his family donated over 200 turkeys to families in need in Portsmouth and Norfolk, VA.  

Such a blessing to document this beautiful event that impacted many families. 

I hope you enjoy the recap video below. 

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