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.
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.
Everybody has a story to tell. Rich or poor. Young or old. Black or White. We all come from diverse backgrounds and have lived different lives. Yes, we’re all related to this earth and one another to a certain degree and share a common bond, but in so many other ways, we are unique. As I get older, I’ve tried to become less of a talker and more of a listener. Though it’s taken a lifetime, I’ve come to understand and embrace that the only time we learn is when we listen. So, after years of talking, I look forward to the hopes I can become a better listener.
It’s often I find a friend who not only shares my passion for documenting the off-limits. Even more of a rarity when one asks if they can come along. When that friend just happens to have worked with me in a studio environment. The urge to capture that beauty among the rubble is surely alluring, but then again. When will I have time to spend wandering with this friend. Why would I steal time from this perfect moment, only to turn it into something it was never intended to be? Realizing just that so quickly not only allowed me to enjoy her company. It served as a lesson in that I in order to become a better communicator. I need to become a better listener. I’m not there yet. Far from it, but knowing where I want to be heading just might get me there faster. The images I posted below will hopefully express my intention to include her while allowing her a sense of ambiguity.
After a week recovering from a food poisoning incident in Seaside Heights the weekend prior. We headed to Gravesend with a new found sense of balance and a hearty appetite. Throughout our train ride to Brooklyn I found myself growing more and more irritated due largely to some of the behavior of some of the riders seated around us. The family of five who seemed to be fine with their boys writhing around in his seat while smearing his cheetos all over the seats, windows and polls while using the available seating space as his personal germ spa. Or the completely lost couple unsuccessfully tried to find their destination via speaker phone. Each stop a confusedly loud exchange of “!!!%&^&*!!!”. Add to it the nose pickers, fast food consumers and steady flow of panhandlers and I was about to come undone. To top things off, the regular lecturing on tolerance and why I should neither speak up nor be even slightly effected by “Ignorant People.” I was quickly becoming my own worst enemy. Sitting there in my own boiling hot kettle of poisonous thoughts. Luckily, for everyone involved we finally reached our intended stop, With some much needed fresh air and our pizza related Nirvana in sight, My anger began to dissipate. After multiple slices at L&B Spumoni Gardens we headed back to Manhattan where we enjoyed the rest of the day in the West Village and Chelsea before eventually heading home. While my day was, by no means, perfect. I came away with some important lessons that I hope weren’t wasted on an old, sometimes unappreciative curmudgeon. One can only hope. Enjoy every slice. JD