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.
While our original plans to ferry to one of the many Washington state islands in search of oysters was sabotaged by the threat of two and half hour traffic and the long lines that usually manifests in the search of good food. We altered our plans in order to add a chilled out vibe to our holiday. So, after a home made breakfast and a stop at Third Place Books, we headed to Warren G. Magnuson Park to get some sun and warm beach vibes. Despite the holiday, the park wasn’t overpopulated. Which made for a relaxing day that featured the smell of nearby cookouts and the sound of children enjoying their time together on the beach. Aside from taking a few images, I read a few chapters from the Johnny Cash autobiography I picked up. As I get older, I find myself adjusting to a more laid back, relaxed lifestyle. While I’d say it hasn’t been easy. I like where it’s taking me.
Earlier this Monday, we embarked on a trip to find Seattle’s Luna Park. While the park is noted as a great spot to catch the sunrise. I know better than to expect my wife to get out of bed early enough on the weekends, or any designated holiday, to accompany me to a spot that doesn’t provide coffee and a hearty breakfast. Knowing that our usual way to the area was constricted by long over due repairs and construction, we took the long, local route. Talk about a headache. The alternate route took us three times longer than usual. While allowing us to pick up a couple of bagels and coffee. I was promised that there would be no more trips to the area until the bridge was reopened. All things said, we both really enjoyed the beautiful weather and breath taking view of the city we’ve called home since June, 2017.
Though my legs and the rest of me remain strong. My balance, or lack there of have made many things I once took for granted, difficult, nearly impossible and downright dangerous. Though just a few blocks from me. There comes a point where the steep incline is so extreme that, know that attempting to navigate it would risk irreversible damage, or even death. Risks my wife, keeps me from attempting. Whereas my first days and weeks living in Seattle had me walking and learning the local bus lines. It’s not as if I haven’t already explored the pier and whatever else the downtown area offers. There is still a desire to revisit and photographs aspects of the area. As Rudolph Steiner once said, “One can ascend to a higher development only by bringing rhythm and repetition into ones life. Rhythm holds sway in all nature.” Thanks again to my wife for granting my wishes while keeping me off the steep incline.
Like many, I enjoy the solitary feeling that photography lends me. Adding people to the equation, no matter the relation or lack of, can bring on unwanted stress and, in some cases, anxiety as someone who worked in and ran a studio years ago. I often felt overwhelmed by the stress and anxiety. Feelings that went with booking sessions and trying to get people to arrive on time, allowing for the rhythm it usually takes to complete the cycle of a photoshoot. I learned a lot during those days. A lot more about myself, patience, and making others feel as unaware of the camera and the hot lights. More about relationships than I ever did about technique or studio lighting. There are times when I miss those days. Many of which where I’d approach things differently. However, to be honest, it’s not often.
And while taking pictures from my balcony or from the roof might get redundant. The fresh air, the colors, and the feeling of being on top of the world have lasting qualities and rewards. Here’s hoping we can all find our peace and refuge.
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.
I’ll fully admit to having some sort of learning disability. Being that i’ve never been able to read directions or follow through with the many projects I become involved with. That sai, the decades I’ve spent taking pictures and picking up knowledge wherever and whenever I can have been quite rewarding. Figuring things out as I gc and learning many lessons from try and do, or through trial and error can be difficult and even maddening at times. However, when I finally do get it right, it feels like a major breakthrough.
“Location, location, location” and “Just look at that view.” are perhaps two of the most repeated terms in real estate history. As someone who often chose location over the view. I’ve had the somewhat common experience to have faced alleyways, brick walls and even have an eye shot of a great big Burger King sign. However, moving to our current home we’ve often turned our attention from the television to either go out on the balcony, up to the roof deck or just saddle up to the windows. It’s true that time often allows us to take even the most beautiful things for granted. However, I can’t recall a day when I didn’t race to the window or balcony to watch the sun go down. The reason for composing this shot was the positioning of the boats and the dramatic manner in which the sun was protruding through the clouds.
I’ll admit it, I know nothing, nor have I ever spent much time working to up my photoshop game. If you’re a photoshop fixer-upper, I applaud you. Leave your contact information and rates in the comment section. Sooner or later, I’ll be contacting you. I never had the time, patience, or skill s to master the art of retouching. Instead, I try to get it right the first time and make any needed adjustments in Lightroom later.
While unearthing images from my earlier days, I surprisingly still find pictures I love. The image below is a long time favorite. Shot in NYC on Pier 84 just blocks from my apartment on W48th st. Over the years, the tag on Charo’s bra became more and more of an eyesore. So much so that I put in a call for a photoshop minded editor on one of my social media pages. Luckily, a long time friend, one who’s friendship predates this ’97 photo. Stepped in and remedied a twenty-plus year issue in a matter of minutes. In the end, I wanted to thank that friend while sharing the before and after. If I ever find myself in a bind with a photograph or anything in general, I won’t hesitate to reach out.
Despite no longer working as a photographer, one who’s not yet set up a website to sell my images. I suddenly find myself overthinking and beating myself up for not learning new things fast enough. Add to it, the recent health battles that have put the kibosh on my more adventurous aspirations to take chances with my safety while attempting to get the results I want.
In the end, it’s all about having fun and taking your time while learning new things. Results are rarely perfect, and making mistakes are one of the many essential parts of learning. I look forward, though it never may come, to a moment where I can take my time and not get so flustered over the mistakes I make along the way.