Below is an image I took outside our condo. As a born and bred New Yorker, I immediately thought of the cities countless bike racks. Having never seen a bike locked to it. I’ll assume it’s a sculpture. With some serious down time, I feel my immediate surroundings are providing little inspiration. With time on my hands and an itch to get out there and shoot. I’ve decided to take some steps to get back to the basics of focusing and composing. Here’s to the weekend.
Now that the temperature is rising. I’m looking forward to visiting the many places I’ve mapped out to take pictures. For now, though. I’m staying close and shooting what I can. In my prior post, I went out a bit too late to catch the rush hour traffic that passes our building each night. It’s been a while since I’ve delved into long exposures and night scapes. I’m looking forward to the days, weeks, and months to put those ideas to work.
Last night was the first in recent memory when snow didn’t blanket the earth and, the temperatures raised above freezing. Not that I don’t care for an arctic climate. It’s just that long exposures require a bit of waiting. Something I find difficult when every inch of my body is trembling and my fingertips are giving the rest of me dirty looks. Though I might have picked a bad time and place to capture the lights of passing vehicles, it felt good to step out and capture some long exposures.
Before heading out into the 28 degree night. I put on enough layers to keep me from freezing to death. Here’s a shot I took before wising up and thinking that, in a few months, I’ll be wearings shorts and a short sleeve t-shirt. Until then.
Having a child like enthusiasm for things hasn’t always rewarded me as an adult. In all honesty, it gets me into trouble more times than not. As I’ve mentioned in the past, there are many things that raise the eye and perhaps, make me jump off the cliff before bothering to see what’s waiting below. For example, when I went to the gym today, I was able to see what you’re seeing in this photo. After just a few leg presses, I quickly headed back to my apartment to grab my camera. As I pushed the door of the community room open. I realized that, not only was I still dressed for the gym, but my walker lacked snow tires. After almost falling on my ass. I fired off a few shots before struggling to get myself back in the building. Lesson learned or put it on repeat?
As we returned home from Baltimore, I asked my wife to stop the car just a few feet before entering the garage. If I wasn’t going to ask that she indulge me in another photography detour. I might convince her to stop for just a moment for me to try to capture a moment that I’ve been talking about more and more over the last couple of weeks. Knowing that we were just a few feet from our destination and being somewhat overcome by an enthusiasm equal to that of a just adopted dog on a ride back to his/her new home. She agreed and even left the car to see what all the hub bub was all about. As someone who has become obsessed with night photography and long shutter releases. The walkway that takes you from the front of our condo to the back was all the inspiration I would need.
When thinking of photography and whatever approach I might decide to take in the near future. Much like life itself, I can’t help but think of minimalism. What that actually means? I’m not sure, but living out of a suitcase over the past months with a single camera body and a 50 millimeter lens has been difficult yet educating. Moving to Arlington, I’ve found a renewed interest in photography and documenting my new surroundings. With my newfound interest has come a desire to approach each picture with a new sense of purpose and focus. Asking myself, what attracted me to this image and what message, if any, do I wish to convey? As much as I’ve alway been to telephone lines and cell phone towers. I can’t help but think, with all these connections and gigabytes, we seem to be communicating less. Sure, we talk a lot. But, are we listening?
I’ll be honest. I hadn’t spent much time taking pictures since arriving in Virginia. It’s not that I’m at all dissatisfied with what the area offers. Let’s just say, I’ve been kept busy with other things. Wheres keeping busy is always good. Keeping ones sanity is even more important. As things such as tai chi. meditation and the gym have become integral parts of my daily routines. That extra moment of fresh air and solitude with my camera are just as, if not more important to the balance needed in life.This shot was taken the other night after a trip downstairs to the gym. At the time, the air was cool, as the sun was just beginning to descend. I had my camera set to manual mode and set to the slowest speed I could use without a tripod. As recent weeks and months have proven, as my health and balance continue to worsen, my passion for things that were always important to me, haven’t wained.
Upon hearing that, due to her heart problem, my step mother had not been vaccinated. We wisely decided to change our plans to sit in labor day weekend traffic and head south to Baltimore for some crate digging at Celebrated Summer Records and enjoy violently attacking crabs in order to rob them of their juicy insides. (Poor undeserving things.) All jokes aside, L.P. Steamers is out of this world. Before arriving, we passed a number of places I wanted to stop and take pictures. This river and the Domino Sugar factory just across the way, were just one of the stops we made. The bench image was taken in Baltimore’s Little Italy.
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.