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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Below are two of my favorite images taken while I was out at the Seattle Center. The one on the left is of the space needle. Having already taken countless pictures of the monument, I wanted to use a more unique approach. Though the trees branches might seem like an obstacle to most. I saw it as a way to make the image stand out. The one on the right is the monorail set against the MPOP museums twisted architectural facade. Despite falling down and thoroughly embarrassing myself. I had a great time.
Though I don’t talk about it much, my balance is shot. Since my overdue diagnosis in the fall of 2017, my symptoms have gotten steadily worse. As of late, I am almost entirely dependent on a walker. Despite any issues with said diagnosis, I do my very best to do the things that bring me joy and fulfillment. Earlier this week (Monday, to be exact.) I took a walk over to the nearby Seattle Center. It not far by any stretch. However, being dependent on a walker can make things incredibly difficult and downright risky. Needless to say, it felt good to get out and explore an area that served as my temporary residence when my wife and I first arrived in Seattle almost four years ago. The further I walked, the more confident I felt. The voices inside my head, repeating, “Come on, you got this.” You know, the one you hear from your personal trainer at the gym? Yeah, that one. It was a beautiful, warm, and sunny day. After months of Seattle rain and fog, I wanted to take it all in. After an extended stay at the Seattle Center, I began to head towards Taylor Ave before crossing Denny Way and heading home. About a block past Denny, my walker hit a curb wrong, and down I went. It must have looked gruesome because a passing car came to a sudden hault, got out, and helped me out, “My God, are you alright?” I was hurt but more embarrassed than anything. I thanked him for his kindness before carefully navigating the several blocks that remaIned. I was clearly exhausted but crossed the avenue to get a picture of this poster that basically says it all. As I arrived home, I noticed the black and blues and the bloodied jeans I was wearing. Looking back, we all fall down, whether it be literally or figuratively.The important thing is that we get back up and never stop trying,
With the pandemic still raging and a lack of traveling options available. There really haven’t been a lot of opportunities to get out in the wild and take photos to share and talk about with the small community created here.That’s not to say that there isn’t a whole lot of things happening here in photo geek territory.
About a week back, a woman who used to model for me asked that, due to an upcoming job review, I remove any suggestive images of her. (Which I was more than happy to do. ) After removing any and all images or history of her, I was asked to remove a number of tags and categories. Some of which made me think that, maybe it was time to call it a day and shut down the blog for good. All good things must come to an end and there’s no shame in calling it a day when that day comes is, more than not, a good thing. Yet, here I am, still holding on and holding it down. With Spring coming in the not so distant future and Covid vaccines being distributed as we speak. There’s hope for new adventures, stories and pictures. And while I have grown bored or capturing images from my balcony. I still find myself springing to action and racing outside to capture the beauty that shows itself on a daily basis.
When we arrived home yesterday, my wife cimmediatelty called me to the window. We’ve seen a fare share of fog and haze since we moved here, but somehow, it still grips us like a good horror or better yet, slasher film will. While I’m sure there will come a day when the site at my window or balcony won’t send me diving for the camera will come. I feel somewhat of a reward still feeling that rookie glow. Enjoy it while it lasts.