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.

The Kind of Pictures You Always Wanted to Take.

Aside from music, photography has been the longest and most constant passion in my life. Over more than thirty years, countless rolls of film, and thousand and thousands of digital images, I’ve learned and decided that in the end, less is more. Instead of taking and keeping a million images I might like or look back on with lessened enthusiasm. I’d instead take, save and share the ones I carefully composed and maybe planned. Learning to shoot on manual and TV modes while arranging and carefully composing my shots has given me the knowledge and the ability to take the kind of pictures I want. Proving that you’re never too old to learn new things, and there’s always plenty of room for improvement. Therefore, keep shooting, keep learning, and aspire to shoot the pictures you always wanted to.

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.

Adding Shadow

Back when I was giving my studio photography an overhaul. A mentor and close friend who was going over some of my old sessions. Adding, “What did a shadow ever do to you?” It was something I had heard at an International Center of Photography workshop but wasn’t sure how to correct it. However, once I learned, it was as if an entirely new world of depth and creativity opened up. Just aa I began adding what I learned to my studio photography, I found myself adding shadow to my landscape photos. To add definition to my landscapes and interiors, partly and considerately more to put shade and add anonymity to the people, often strangers in my photos. It’s helped me in a lot of ways, including sales.
It’s also made me think of myself growing increasingly introverted and wary of close contact with others. Below are a couple of images I took before exiting Gas Works Park this afternoon.

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.

Exploring AV Mode

Over the years, I’ve experimented with all the available modes and functions of my Canon. However, the AV mode (Apeture Value) is, by far, the least explored. Aperature Mode is an important feature that allows you to choose your f stop while the camera typically chooses the ISO. Choosing this mode is great for a bokeh effect, which a term for blurring your background. It should be noted that the smaller the aperature number the larger the shutter opening and vice versa. Simply put, f 1.8 is a lot bigger than f 22. Below are several mid day images I took from the balcony. The first and third were taken of the North West and the second of the North East.

f 11 ISO 200
f 11 ISO 200
f 32 ISO 10