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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Though it’s only been a few days since we moved into the new Condo, I’ve quickly taken advantage of the roof deck, the amazing views, and floor to ceiling windows. As the credits were still rolling on a rather inspiring art doc. I mounted my camera, set my ISO to 200 with an f.9 at 30 seconds. Though I shot this through the window. Surprisingly, and perhaps due to the absence of a flash, had no glare. Prior to our move earlier this week, I had been using my camera sparingly. Perhaps the move and the new surroundings will warrant more use.
Over the last week, I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the features on my camera. Experimenting with long exposures and mapping out areas where I’d like to put my ideas to work. Being that the symptoms of my sorta/kinda diagnosis have consistently worsened in recent weeks and months. My wife has become warier of my jetting off in the wee hours of the night without her.
So one night, just before dusk. We drove down to Seattle’s International District, where I immediately realized why, when it comes to photography, it’s almost always better to go it alone. After passing up a half a dozen spots that she deemed unsafe. We settled for Dr. Jose Rizal Park. A nice place, but one I had taken pictures from at least a dozen times. From her continually telling me to move to spare people from having to simply sidestep me. To telling me where to focus and complaining about why I had chosen to take long exposures and her getting cold on a brisk June night. Needless to say, I did not have the opportunity to take many images or follow through with any ideas I might have had. Instead, I spent the ride home explaining camera settings to a woman who, more than not, refuses to take any pictures. Overall, Dr. Jose Rizal Park and the overpass that leads you there are great spots to capture the city of Seattle, I-9, the sunset and T-Mobil park, I highly recommend visiting.
As I continue to experiment with light, composition and my imagination while trying to adapt to a two cups of coffee a day routine. I find myself trying weirder and more unorthodox ways to create images that will hopefully stand. I started the idea by borrowing some of the empty bottles, jars and vases stored in the kitchen, The ones featured below were shot while inserting my Canon 15mm fish eye lens in a vase and placing it directly on top of an object. Luckily, I was able to both fit and remove my lens and camera without any damage. I like how the vase somewhat served as a filter.
Okay, maybe I’m finally losing what’s left of my mind. Due to the loss of a family member and a constant reminder that my neurological issues are continuing to fuck with my balance. I’ve been doing my best to stay busy and creative. For the most part, I’ve splitting my free time tending to my music column United By James and reconnecting with my love of photography. Along with purchasing some Neutral Density Filters and a wireless remote, I’ve been revisiting and getting reacquainted with my Canon 5D’s many functions and even planned a few photo related outings for memorial day weekend. As for the picture on the right. I took it after hearing about a family members passing. It was shot 5:43 pm on a tripod at 1.0 seconds and f/14. The ISO was 250. It was taken to convey loss and perhaps the sense of loneliness we tend to feel when losing someone we love.