I often come across scenes or subjects and think, “yeah, that’s something”. Sometimes they work, sometimes not. The main thing is, I think they are something when in most cases they are far from something. There’s that little voice that tells me to shoot first and ask questions later. Sometimes it is later when I realize why I thought there was something there. Sometimes I’m left wondering.
A short selection of pre-sick photos. It all went downhill after these.
But, happy to say, I am all well now!!!!
So it’s Saturday which is probably not a good day to post but I actually started this post on Tuesday with full intentions on posting for Wednesday. Not sure what happened there. Between still recovering from being sick and going back to work at my normal job, time flew by pretty quick. I won’t elaborate or bore you much more on my quick getaway, only to say that I’m not pleased with where my photography is heading. These are some of the photos I took on Assateague Island and although they are technically OK, I absolutely LOVE the colors I am getting from the Fuji, I’m just not feeling them artistically. I need to get a little gritty again as none of my “pretty” picture are going to get in a galleries anytime soon.
What I do need is to not think about how I’m going to find that next great shot but just go find it, if that makes sense. In other words, all of my favorite photos that I took where just happenstance. Scenes or subjects I just happened to come across and I made the best of it. Stop thinking, start doing
Yes, you read that right, an all-reclusive vacation. Considering I have been sick the last four days my vacation week turned out to be a dud. Oh well, there’s really not much I can do about that, I guess. I’ll just have to move on and go about my daily duties on Monday and try not to look back too much.
Of course not looking back is a little more difficult when you have a slew of photos to sift through. Taking a quick glance at them, I find that the photos I did manage to shoot aren’t helping my cause any. I had this grand idea to take a short drive to Assateague Island to shoot the “wild” horses on the beaches. It’s right around the corner from Ocean City, Maryland where there are plenty of inexpensive hotels, especially after Labor Day. I told my wife it would be an easy drive and at the least we’ll be able to have dinner by the shore for at least one night. She was hesitant but agreed it could be a decent quick getaway.
As unusual at it sounds, considering I live in western Pennsylvania, I have never been to Ocean City Maryland. It seems like EVERYBODY around here goes there at least annually. I really had no desire, it’s just not my thing. I prefer secluded over crowded when it comes to beaches and a little more dynamic when it comes to cities. So it never crossed my mind. But I have always wondered about Assateague and I thought it would be a good photo-op.
To make a long story short, the trip there was an easy six hour drive and we got an inexpensive room right on the boardwalk at the top rated hotel. The boardwalk was everything I imagined and although my wife likes it since she grew up around boardwalks on New Jersey shores, I just don’t feel it as much. But it was pleasant enough to walk on during the evening. Just too many people for my tastes, which probably attributed to my down fall. Anyhow, dinner was great and we settled in for the evening since I planned to get up early enough to take the long ten minute drive to Assateague before sunrise.
My wife, Cathy, doesn’t normally like to go on my early morning photo jaunts but she decided to ride along with me and I’m glad she did. I enjoyed the accompaniment. We pulled into the island park while it was still dark and it was a little tough to maneuver since I didn’t really know where I was going, nor where I would find any horses. But as I was driving into the entrance the shadowy figures of about a half dozen horses standing next to the road made it known that they were there….somewhere. That and blobs of manure on the road that I had to dodge ;-)
Since I don’t get to take too many seashore sunrise photos I thought I would find a beach parking lot and try a few shots until the light brightened up enough to go horse hunting. As soon as I got out of my car to grab my tripod in the trunk I realized I was going to have problems. The humidity and mosquitos were both relentless. I kind of expected both but it just seemed magnified when I was there. And the photography became a constant battle of wiping of lenses and wiping off my dripping face. Throw in the fact that I’m wasn’t really prepared equipment-wise to be taking on such projects (no ND, gradient filters, wide lens selection, etc.), I knew things just wouldn’t go good.
This shot is typical of the lousy photos I started taking from that point on. The “thing” in the air is, I’m guessing, a mosquito in flight as it was buzzing around the camera. The image has a weird “haze” to it as I was constantly trying to clean the lens and shoot before it fogged up again.
I’ll continue on later in the week when I’m feeling a little more energetic and after I had time to process some photos.
First of all, my anti-virus software tried to stop me from entering my own site. It said it had reported malicious content! That’s something I need to look into. Has anyone had a problem when coming here?
These are a few scenes from a vantage point along the river across from Pittsburgh. I saw some great light the other evening and wanted to catch it before it left. I whipped down the first side street I came across and ended up in an industrial /office/warehouse area on the edge of the river. Not much of a vantage point but I had to make the best of it. As always I was more interested in shooting for black and white but the color just won out this time around.
I decided to let the other county fair photos that I mentioned in the last post let lay on the cutting room floor for now. I wasn’t getting much out of them so it’s best to leave them in hiding for now. I may revisit them at a later date, just to double-check if I like them. There is nothing wrong with the photos technically and that is where I am kind of drawing the line. A technically good photo isn’t always a good photo and sometimes I have to mercilessly edit myself. There are already too many lame photos out there.
I peruse a number of camera gear forums and it seems I inundated with technically good photos of nothing. I am guilty as anyone of snapping photos of stuff (see todays photo ;-)) just for the sake of seeing how “great” it is technically and how “great” my camera/lens performed in taking the photo. But after a while I get tired of clicking on a post only to find a “great” photo of someone’s lamp, or kid, or streetlights, or stuffed animals (usually in low light to show how great the high ISO looks), etc., etc., etc.. Looking at test chart photos in reviews just hurts my eyes. I want to see real photos, thank you.
I totally get the excitement one haves when the gear they purchased performs well, but I don’t understand how they can’t at least attempt to put some Photography 101 lessons to use and try to use a little composition to make the photo a little interesting. I have scads of test photos that I shoot around the house when I get a new piece of gear, just to get the hang of it and find its strengths and weaknesses, but I have never felt the need to publish them for all the world to see. Once I know the gear somewhat I then head out and try to take real photographs. Even then I still need a little real world use before I am comfortable with the gear. Before I buy gear I do look to forums and blogs and try to do a little research. It’s really hard for me to separate the photographer from the photograph but on occasion I have liked the way a photo rendered a subject enough to look into the gear that was used. I always give more credit to the photographer than the gear. I don’t think I ever looked at a lamp photo taken at high ISO and made a decision that I liked a piece of gear. But, in turn, I have seen well composed travel photos that piqued my interest on the gear used.
My recent change to Fujifilm was in part because of all of the great photography I was seeing done with it and I liked the look of the photos. Their claim to fame with the X-Trans sensor is the color, among other things, and it does have a “look” to it that I like, even though I shoot for black and white more often. But the lenses were the main reason for the switch and I haven’t been disappointed yet. I have some more on the way and I can’t wait to try some test shots! ;-)
The county fair that is. As promised in my last post I said I was going to shoot some photos at the county fair after it was over. It was, thankfully, another beautiful summer day and, although a bit hot walking around, I found the grounds to be a lot drier than they have been in the previous years. No slogging through mud. I did run into a gentlemen who asked why I was taking photos. I am surprised I was never asked by anyone in previous years. Anyhow, he said his family owns the rides and he pointed out a few that they own that are quite rare and old and gave me a bit of a background on them. Quite interesting.
I was planning to show a gallery of photos like I did in the last post but in the interest of time (as in, I have none to process the photos) I am just going to post one photo this evening. This is a photo of a simple, yet spectacularly beautiful ride that is full of color. The color image does, of course, look nice but, since I was planning on black and white images when I went out to shoot, I thought I would try something a little different and go with a split tone black and white image to better accentuate the lines in the photo. What do you think?
Hopefully I’ll have time to throw some more pics up during the week.
As someone who likes to work in black and white most of the time, I have a slight problem when it comes to shooting color. When I have photos where the subjects are all “colorful” I tend to take it to the extremes. I really want to jazz up the saturation, contrast, and vibrance to really make it COLORFUL. Of course I do know when too much is too much and I try not to push colors beyond the limits of my files, but I tend to go to that point and back it off a little from there. Like Jerry Seinfeld joked about “extra strength” and “maximum strength” aspirins, “I want to know how much can kill me and then just back it off a little from there”.
So with my annual visit to the county fairgrounds while the Country Fair was being setup, I decided to keep the color in check this time around. Fueled by the film simulations in my Fujifilm camera, I went with the “Classic Chrome” look when processing the images in LIghtroom. The colors are slightly muted and the contrast is slightly tweaked to give, I’m guessing, a Kodachrome-like slide film look to the photos. I like the look as it doesn’t look like I’m trying to be hip and giving my photos a “vintage” feel yet it does tone down the digital look.
As for the photos, I usually like to visit the fairgrounds a day before the fair starts, when things are being setup, and a day after, when they start to tear things down. I like the look of the rides, although they’re not making it easy on me as they get the same rides every year. I keep hoping for something different to mix up my photos a bit. That creates a challenge in itself but I try to push myself anyhow to look at things differently and to try new perspectives to keep it interesting. The “before’ photos I usually do in color and I try to shoot for black and white with the “after” photos. If all goes well, I’ll be able to shoot the “after” photos next Sunday and I’ll be sure to pass them along.
I had this post in draft for almost a week and couldn’t think of anything to say to add to the photo, so I just let it linger there for a while until I came up with something. Anything.
Since it’s been a week and I had no creative writing juices flowing, I’ll just have to put up something. I took this photo while walking around the city last weekend and I thought the scene looked borderline creepy, which I like. Which is to say I like creepy looking photos, especially when I get to take them, but I don’t like creepy things in general. I don’t like horror movies and about 90% of what qualifies for primetime television drama shows these days. Way too much gore for me. I don’t want to fill my head with that stuff before I head off to sleep. Those are more gore than creep, I guess, since things like spiders and old abandoned houses, which are usually classified as creepy, don’t bother me at all. Ok, if the spiders a re large, maybe. ;-)
This particular scene is actually through a window of a technical training school. I peered through the window to see if there was anything worthwhile to photograph and I spotted the “dummy” sitting in the chair. I had to go around to another window for a different perspective just to make sure it wasn’t a real person, as it looked quite lifelike. Again, the word creepy came to mind right away. I ended up taking a few sh0ots from various angles, some focusing on the patient a little more but I liked this overall scene the best. Black and white was a natural, of course.
Finally, I was able to walk about and take some photos the other evening. It felt good to just “focus” on taking photos as I walked around the city of Pittsburgh on a beautiful summer evening. The sole purpose, besides taking photos, was to get the feel for my Fujifilm camera. I have been casually taking photos with it since I bought it but I haven’t really got to know how it and I get along. The image quality is great, no question there, but how a camera responds to my needs as I walk around looking for photos is a pretty big factor for me. I found it did well in that respect but there are a few niggling issues that I have with the handling, which I’ll expand on in the next post.
Being that most things are “tall” in the city, I found myself shooting a number of portrait oriented photos.
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