In a recent exchange with a long time friend. The words “I just want to be happy.”impacted me more than anything they had said during our long, often embattled, friendship. Those five words summed up the ultimate goal we should all reach for. For me personally, creativity and, to be more specific, photography are integral in being, and remaining happy. As photography has gone from a hobby to a job, and back to a hobby. I still hope to learn and grow. While I no longer think of things in terms of competition or being the best. (Believe me. I never came remotely close.) I hope to achieve things that never seemed possible. In the end, photography is one of the most important keys to my happiness.
Heading out, I reminded myself that I din’t want to set up in the same spot or take the same photographs I did the day before. Although I was happy with the results. I had no intention of repeating my actions, whether it be by documenting the same subject matter or staying safe by depending on the same settings. With little or no traffic passing. I looked toward the street lights and that coming from the buildings lobby to capture this image. By day two of my little experiment, I can’t help but be happy with the results of getting up early, experimenting with long exposures and enjoying the little moments of solitude.
As the weather gets warmer I hope to further explore my love for night photography, long exposure and the endless search for light. The image below was taken on Dolly Madison Blvd. at around 8:30 pm. There wasn’t nearly enough back and fourth traffic, but I really enjoyed the moment and the lights coming from the buildings across the blvd. I’m quickly learning that I enjoy things when I’m not worried about mistakes.
In my last post ‘Sunrise’, I briefly spoke of waking before dawn to have a chance to watch and capture the sunrise. Well it turns out that on that particular day, there wasn’t much sun to speak of. What eventually came over the horizon was a bit anti climactic. So, as the following day approached and I suddenly began to overthink that the studio end of my photography and how much I miss photographing people. I decided to clear my head and indulge myself in some night photography. I love the soft light at dusk and the feeling of solitude that comes over me. I took this shot before 7:00 pm as my wife was making tacos.
Before returning home the other night, we stopped about a block from Dolly Madison Blvd. to capture the light coming off the buildings across the way. Throughout the freezing winter, I’ve collected countless ideas and places where I’d like to experiment with night photography and long exposures. With the warmth of Spring upon us and my wife’s willingness to stand idle, I was left to my own devices.
Though I’ve missed my photo gear, I can honestly say that the last months I’ve spent living out of a suitcase have been educational. This time has reminded me how happy my trips abroad have been, mainly since I was traveling with the bare essentials. With the weeks closing on our condo in the rear mirror, the impending move is just days away. I find myself feeling grateful for getting to know my 50mm better lens and capture the many things that catch my eye and capture my imagination. As one who’s long been intrigued with light and shadow, there have been countless opportunities to be creative and work towards bringing my vision to life. From the day we arrived at our hotel, I became fixated on the lights above the bar on the hotel’s ground floor. Something about it reminded me of the Death Star depicted throughout the Star Wars saga. Just like the movies. I needed to find the right angle or spot to fire. Once I did that, I was able to go into manual and take my shot. Though I’ll be going back to work on my manual focus. I thought the images below were pretty cool, with only a short time left before moving day. I’ll be sure to be roaming the halls, looking for light and looming in the shadows.
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.