Using Manual Focus

As time goes by, I find myself trying to wane off all automatic features offered on my camera. Shooting on Manual, AV, or TV has been the most rewarding educational experience I’ve had as a photographer. It’s helped me improve my composition skills while giving me complete control of my creativity. Manual focus, however, seems to have become my Achilles heel, especially, and almost exclusively, when it comes to night and low light settings. My focus here was the far-off Queen Anne Cell Towers, which have been an image I’ve attempted to take for some time now. At the same time, my attempts have rendered results both good and bad. It’s the sharpness of my manual focus that always seems to be the judge.
Looking at the shot below and being reminded that it was taken without the balance of my tripod makes me appreciate my growing sense of patience. I wholeheartedly recommend learning all the options your camera offers. Using those tools and getting off manual modes with not only help you grow as a photographer. It will also help you create your unique vision.

Seattle Night Photography

From afar Seattle is a beautiful city with a skyline to match. When we come upon the south or north side of the city, there’s always that feeling that we’ll be home soon. No matter the direction we’re coming from, there’s always the urge to take a detour, stop, and take a few pictures of the sunset or the onset of dusk. I’ve often found myself testing my wife’s patience with my child like excitement. I took these one night on our way home from Tacoma. Thanks to my wife for not leaving me on the side of the road.

Long Exposures

There’s no doubt that the view from our balcony is picturesque. And as the weather gets warmer and then rain and cloud cover Seattle is infamous for disapapate, I will surely be spending more time it. Though, as of taking pictures has definitely taken a back seat to my writing. I still find insiration in learning new and old photography tricks and tutorials to keep one of my greatest passions alive.

Morning Stretch

Prior to this mornings workout, I headed up to the roof deck to get a different view of the cloud coverage I wake up to on more than a regular basis. I manged to get a few shots in before my scheduled time at the gym. With Covid-19 still raging and our travels more restricted. It seems that more and more time is spent closer to home. For sanity sake, I’m doing everything possible to stay safe, busy and artful. I hope you all do the same.

Afternoon Fog

When we arrived home yesterday, my wife cimmediatelty called me to the window. We’ve seen a fare share of fog and haze since we moved here, but somehow, it still grips us like a good horror or better yet, slasher film will. While I’m sure there will come a day when the site at my window or balcony won’t send me diving for the camera will come. I feel somewhat of a reward still feeling that rookie glow. Enjoy it while it lasts.

A Visit to Kerry Park.

I feel as if I’ve been chasing the light a lot lately. So much so that I think something different needs to come, and soon. Yet, that time won’t come along until I know I’ve taken that perfect shot, which brings me to this weekend’s short visit to Kerry Park. Though beautiful in that you get a beautiful view of the city from an unobscured view, the crowded spot reminds me of a tourist trap. I think, by now, it’s safe to safe to say I’m a bit of a loner when it comes to photography. One of two people is okay, but when a spot gets crowded with people taking selfies with their phones. I find myself craving solitude. Below is a favorite from my relatively short visit to Kerry Park. On a related note, after joining a Seattle photography group earlier today. I noticed a post featuring an image of the space needle. One that looked almost the same as mine and the countless other pictures of the monument. While by all means, a great shot. It reminded me that I cut my own weird and unique cloth. Angles and all, I want to sidestep the norm.

Capturing the Sunset on Manual Mode

ISO 800 f/7.1 1/200 sec

While it might be somewhat intimidating for a beginning photographer to shoot on full manual mode, I can’t think of a better way to learn photography and learn your camera’s settings and functions, as someone who learned photography during the film camera days. There is a big difference between developing your mistakes in a dark room or turning it over to a photo lab rather than uploading them to your computer. Digital photography is excellent because it allows you to make mistakes without the cost of money or space. Whether you’re taking pictures from your window seat or out in the wild, I strongly suggest switching to manual mode and even taking your lens off autofocus. You’re going to learn a lot more that way while taking total control over your photography experience.

Photographing Sunsets on TV Mode

Understanding full well that my obsession with running out on the balcony or up to the roof to watch/photograph the sunset each night will eventually fade. I’ve taken to abandoning my camera’s priority mode while switching to manual focus on my lenses. Though manual mode is, by far, the best way to learn. With limited time and a plate of homemade tacos waiting for me on the inside, I switched to TV mode, changing my shutter speed with each image. Those unfamiliar with TV mode allow you to change your camera’s shutter speed and let you play around with the amount of time. Giving you the power to create a sense of motion in your images. Below are a couple of pictures and their settings. As you can see, their taken from very different ends of the spectrum, yet the results are similar.

ISO/100 1/11 seconds at F 32
ISO 800 1/2000 at F 4.5

Smoke on the Water. A.K.A. Haze Part II

As bleak as the haze and smoke of Seattle mornings can be. Knowing full well that there will come a time in the day where the skies will part, and the sun will make an appearance. It’s something that has made living in Seattle a lot easier. Sure, it rains a hell of a lot, but it rarely rains all day. And while this morning, haze or smoke is new, not to mention scary. However ominous, and perhaps part of what’s being termed as “The new normal.” I’ve gotten used to watching as the thick haze disperses, giving was to the sun.
Like clockwork, it happened yesterday. Unfortunately, this time, the haze didn’t lift. It just moved slightly west to Puget Sound. Having never seen such a sight. I grabbed my camera and headed to the roof deck. Below are two of the images I managed to capture.

Here Comes the Sun

I spend a lot of time thinking about the kind of pictures I’d like to take. As someone who became interested in taking pictures in his teens, but didn’t own an SLR until his mid twenties. While debatable, I’d say photography has become the greatest passion in my life. As someone who made his name as a music photographer, built a strong portfolio as a studio photographer and worked continuously on a project called “Left Behind”. I feel that I’m always dedicating whatever spare time I have to learning, testing and putting new projects to work. It wouldn’t be overstating if I said it was. While my time on the East Coast offered an abundance of beautiful sunsets. Living in Seattle, an area with many lakes, bays and waterways at every turn. I have long imagined myself waking up in the early hours and driving to a spot where I can watch the sun rise.

Sunrise-1