Using Manual Focus

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.

Seattle Night Photography

From afar Seattle is a beautiful city with a skyline to match. When we come upon the south or north side of the city, there’s always that feeling that we’ll be home soon. No matter the direction we’re coming from, there’s always the urge to take a detour, stop, and take a few pictures of the sunset or the onset of dusk. I’ve often found myself testing my wife’s patience with my child like excitement. I took these one night on our way home from Tacoma. Thanks to my wife for not leaving me on the side of the road.

Long Exposures

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.

Night Photography and Long Exposures

For years now, I’ve been obsessed with night photography and long exposure. Though heading into the night with my camera doesn’t suit me as well as it once did. I have been blessed with a relatively spacious balcony, oversized windows, and a roof deck open to me at any time of the day or night, with more and more time spent on the patio and the onset of after-dinner laziness keeping me from going up to the roof. I’ve been experimenting with using my windows as a sort of filter. I set up a shot that would test my manual focus skills and my patience in waiting for the shutter to open and close. Not to mention the amount of time it takes for the image to appear. Though not long by any stretch. It seems like forever when you’re just standing there waiting for something to materialize.

At the moment, long exposures and night photography are what is driving my passion as I still have so much to learn and mistakes to make. And as frustrating it may seem at times. Learning new things has always been and still is a driving force in creating any form of art.

Settling in.

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.

… And when there’s darkness.

As going out each night to capture light while using long exposures seems to be getting easier. zI quickly find myself wanting to experiment more as the results are impressing  me less and less. Part of it might have to do with my wife insisting on accompanying me and getting a bit cranky over the time I spend. By now, I’m pretty sure she’s tired of me saying “One more and we’re done.” With that said, she’s been a great assistant. Below are a couple of images I captured just outside our lobby door.With my camera mounted on a tripod I  had it set on full manual, including manual focus. My ISO was 100  f22 at ’30  second intervals.

Searching for the Light

Headed downstairs tonight to take care of some unfinished business. During the day this parking lot is filled with a combination of parked vehicles and ones coming off Rainier Ave. South in search of a good parking spot and some groceries. As I continue to shoot in manual mode, I’ve gotten back to explore my cameras many features to get as creative as possible.

Night (1 of 2)

Night (2 of 2)

Finding Light in the Darkness

If it were up to me, I’d be out there taking most of my images after or around dusk or just before dawn. They are, for me and I’m sure many others, the best times of the day. And while, through practice and understanding, Drive-Thru (1 of 1)Drive-Thru II (1 of 1)I came to love long exposures and shooting in manual mode. While for may, the times of day mentioned are usually set aside for family or getting ready for a days work. It only makes those moments more special when you can slip away or coax a loved one away from their own down time to join you. On my second night I trade the balcony for the parking lot of our local bank. With my wife insisting on tagging along and knowing he lack of patience when it comes to certain things. I made and checked all my camera setting before we left. The images below were shot at 100 ISO F22 at ’30 second intervals.

 

Capturing Light in the Dark

 

As a attempt to maintain some or my remaining sanity and quell some of the boredom that has me counting the same commercials that air several times nightly Signed (1 of 1)within one half hour cycle of television. I find myself spending less and less time wondering why I own a TV and searching and finding more creative ways to spend my free time. Aside from keeping a chart to keep track of my activities, or lack there of. I’ve been doing a lot of writing, listening to music and delving into the growing list books I have yet to finish. Mosat importantly, I’ve decided to dust of my camera and return to my love of night scapes and long exposures. I took these two from my balcony Monday, just after midnight. (Oh, isn’t that officially Tuesday?) Regardless, I’ll most likely continue stepping out at night to take a few long exposures. Only time will tell.

Balcony II (1 of 1)

 

… And then the Sun came Down

We were returning from a rather long drive from … when I asked my wife if we could take a slight detour towards downtown Seattle’s Pioneer Square area to watch the sun set, When discussing some rather important issues while enjoying  some rather light hearted activities during the day.

Sunset-1

Though we originally hoped to buy a condo in Pioneer Square, a tour of the neighborhood, it’s homeless encampments and the missions just a block from what would become our doorstep were a rather harsh reality we weren’t willing to invest in. Add to it the looks better in pictures condos we toured and we almost immediately started looking elsewhere.

Short story long, we found a parking spot close to the ferry and found some great spots to take pictures. There are few things I enjoy more than night photography and chasing sunsets. I’ve been hoping to capture a few sunrises, but during the times I’ve been able to catch them, I have been without my camera. Maybe soon. Until then.

Sunset SODO-1