With the rainy season upon us and second wave of Covid-19 wrecking havoc on people everywhere. I’ve been trying to find ways to spend my time and stay relatively sane. During the week, I’ve gotten into the habit of working from home, taking much needed breaks and going out on the balcony for a breathe of partially fresh air watch the sun set. In the past, I’d await that moment when the sun descends behind the mountains. Since purchasing a Neutral Density filter, I’m able to capture the look of dusk during the middle of the day. I love how the filter helps smooth out the water while giving my long exposures the contrast I need. It certainly didn’t hurt the the rain that day brought some really nice cloud cover. This was one of my first attempts with Neutral Density Filters and though I have a lot to learn, I love the effects.
I feel as if I’ve been chasing the light a lot lately. So much so that I think something different needs to come, and soon. Yet, that time won’t come along until I know I’ve taken that perfect shot, which brings me to this weekend’s short visit to Kerry Park. Though beautiful in that you get a beautiful view of the city from an unobscured view, the crowded spot reminds me of a tourist trap. I think, by now, it’s safe to safe to say I’m a bit of a loner when it comes to photography. One of two people is okay, but when a spot gets crowded with people taking selfies with their phones. I find myself craving solitude. Below is a favorite from my relatively short visit to Kerry Park. On a related note, after joining a Seattle photography group earlier today. I noticed a post featuring an image of the space needle. One that looked almost the same as mine and the countless other pictures of the monument. While by all means, a great shot. It reminded me that I cut my own weird and unique cloth. Angles and all, I want to sidestep the norm.
Okay, maybe I’m finally losing what’s left of my mind. Due to the loss of a family member and a constant reminder that my neurological issues are continuing to fuck with my balance. I’ve been doing my best to stay busy and creative. For the most part, I’ve splitting my free time tending to my music column United By James and reconnecting with my love of photography. Along with purchasing some Neutral Density Filters and a wireless remote, I’ve been revisiting and getting reacquainted with my Canon 5D’s many functions and even planned a few photo related outings for memorial day weekend. As for the picture on the right. I took it after hearing about a family members passing. It was shot 5:43 pm on a tripod at 1.0 seconds and f/14. The ISO was 250. It was taken to convey loss and perhaps the sense of loneliness we tend to feel when losing someone we love.
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.
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, 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.
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 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.
Before moving to Seattle’s Columbia City. I had been living in a corporate apartment with the two suitcases of clothing and necessities I had brought from New Jersey . And while that three months offered me the chance at the minimalist lifestyle I had craved for years. Over time, I began to miss some of the things I had in storage. As strange as it might seem, being reunited with my tripod became a reoccurring train of thought.
So with after a week of unpacking an prioritizing what goes where. I grabbed that tripod, shook off the dust and headed downstairs to Rainier Ave. South. With tripod in hand and my sites on the oncoming traffic. I sprinted across the street and perched myself somewhere between Washington Federal and Ark Lodge Cinema and played around in manual mode. Below are several of the shots I took with my lens open at 30 second intervals. In the coming days, weeks and so on. I hope to work on my long exposures and nigtscapes. I’m looking forward to getting away from the TV and taking in some of that fresh night air.
When I left the home last night. I thought I had it all covered. Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Camera with battery and card? Check. Tripod? Check. Off I went, as I drove to my nearby destination. After I parked and unloaded my vehicle. I realized that something was missing. Searching both my car trunk and my fading memory, I realized I left the tripods.release plate on the kitchen table. Disappointed yet undaunted, I tried to make the best of it. I found a nearby stoop to keep the camera steady while the shutter remained open. I took two shots, this being my favorite, before heading home in search of the missing piece. Surprisingly, the two images I did take came out pretty damn good.
With the help of a good friend and fashion forward photographer. I’ve embarked on a new project that hopes to connect my rock and roll background with his years of experience in fashion photography. In the time II’ve spent learning from him. I’ve come to realize that I’m in the midst of starting over. In recent months I’ve invested in new new studio gear, software and as of yesterday. Purchased a new camera in the Canon 5D Mark III. Fridays session was shot tethered through Capture One and was shot entirely on a tripod. Shooting from the tripod allowed me to better communicate and interact with the model while spending less time fumbling with the camera. The choice more than quadrupled my production in half the time it would take otherwise. The path is set. Everything starts here.
Armed with a recently purchased tripod and a fresh out the box circular polarizer. I headed south on Rt. 9 to Fords Ave. for one of my favorite spots to photograph sunsets. After an over priced and underwhelming slice of pizza and a quick stop in at my friendly, way out of the neighborhood record store. (You know the one that prices every fucking item in the store higher than anyone else on the planet.) I made my way towards the power lines and set up my tripod in time to watch the sun slowly set over the industrial setting.
To add to the industrial feel the scarecrow like towers offer were too larger than life objects that looked to be a skateboarders wet dream. The barrels, wide enough to drive a car through and hollow enough to deliver ear shattering echoes. While it’s taking me a bit of time to get used to working on a tripod. According to a friend and mentor. It’s a much needed step in my growth as a photographer. As for the filters. I owe a thank you to the sales woman at Adorama for her recommendations and taking the time to make fun of the old, crappy filter that was attached to the lens I brought in.