Go Out for One Photograph

A few months ago, I went out to photograph one particular scene.  I had dinner nearby and got to location around an hour before sunset.  I set up my tripod and continued to photograph that one scene until the sky went dark completely.  The whole process took a few hours.

This is very different from my normal photographic outings.  With afford storage of digital photography, I usually just go out and let the environment inspires me.  Normal outing usually results in hundreds of exposures, most of them are of different subjects.  However, as I continue to photograph, I find that sometimes I just want to photograph one particular subject from one particular prospective.  Of course, light condition changes very rapidly during the golden hours.  So, I was really photographing the same scene in different lights.

Needless to say, this kind of outing is very different.  For one, I don’t have to walk around with all the equipments.  By aiming at producing one great photograph, I spend a lot more time in selecting that tripod location to get the best composition possible.  This might take a few trials.  I also get to observe how the different lighting conditions affect the subject.  Most of all, after everything is set up, I can really enjoy the scenery.


The Privilege of Creating Art

The host of Photo Focus, Scott Bourne, posted a blog titled “You Think You Got It Bad?” this week.  Scott was responding to people’s lack of appropriation for what they already have.  He encourages us to put things into prospective and see what magic we can do with what we have. 

That blog post speaks to my heart.  The amount of things going wrong this world simply can’t be counted.  Even in the states, there are honest people who worked all their lives and now can’t afford to eat.  People who can’t afford health insurance have to give up treatment for their love ones.  Too many of our veterans are still living on the street.  These are happening without counting effects any major catastrophes. 

Of course, these are problems that we can’t solve.  However, putting all these together, one has to realize how lucky we are to be able to create art, to be able to create beauty.  All through history, there are people who gives up everything just to create art.  We all heard of stories about famous painters spend their lives painting without selling anything.  They didn’t give up because of what they didn’t have.  They didn’t give up for lack of recognition.  Perfecting their art is all they were after because creating art is a privilege.

That’s right, regardless of how good we are, we should know that creating art, in and of itself is, a privilege.


Getting Attached to My Gears

I never thought this could happen.  During my last trip to San Diego, I rented a lens from Lens Rental as usual.  This time, I rented a wide angle lens.  I had heard lots of good things about this particular lens and I was excited to be able to try it for the trip.  However, when I tried it on the field, I failed to get any good images out of it.

For a long time, my photography lent me to crop tighter and tighter.  Often time, I would zoom really close to get a very small portion of the scenery.  This practice unexpectedly affected the way I see things.  I stopped playing attending to the whole scenery in front of my.  Instead, I constantly scanned for only the elements I wanted. 

So, with the wide angle lens, my mental vision did not match want I saw through the lens.  Even when I tried to composite on the viewfinder, my lack of experience with wide angle lens hindered my ability to find good compositions.  After about a day, I gave up using the rented lens. 

I know that if I keep using the lens for a period of time, I will be able to get comfortable with it and produce acceptable images.  However, I never thought that my gears have such a profound effect in changing the way I see things.


Get Your New Gears Way before a Trip

A few weeks ago, I went on a trip to much anticipated trip to San Diego.  A long trip justifies getting new gears.  A week before the trip, I bought a camera plate that I wanted for a long time in B&H.  However, that camera plate was made for the vertical grip which I didn’t have.  A few days later, I went to B&H again to change it.  Then, I discovered that the camera plate did not fit into my tripod head.  So, the day of my flight, I went to B&H again and bought a quick release clamp for that camera plate.  By that time, enough things had gone wrong that I bought my tripod head with me to make sure that the quick release clamp would fit.  Long-and-behold, it didn’t fit.  So, after all that, I went to San Diego without updating my tripod setup.

B&H is a little out-of-the-way for me.  In that week and a half, I went there 3 times.  I had wanted to change my tripod setup for a long time.  However, I didn’t plan ahead enough to do so before the trip.  It is very easy to fall into the temptation to buy every place of gear we want.  So, I usually procrastinate until right before a trip to get want I absolutely wanted.  However, this time, I played it too close. 

So, give yourself enough time before a trip to get and test your new gears.


How Photography Changes My Traveling

I get to travel at least a few times a year for my non-photography related job.  Of course, I usually bring my camera on these trips.  It is interesting to see the changes in the way I travel due to photography.  A few years ago, I didn’t plan much when traveling.  For a short trip, I just explored the area once I got there.  For a weeklong trip, I usually plan a few places to go. 

Since picking up photography, I now do some extra preparations.  I might look at some pictures online and see what to expect.  From that, I can see if I want to rent or buy extra gear.  Beyond picking a few destinations, I look at how much time is needed to travel there.  Form that, I will loosely plan the day and try to get there around the golden hours.  In addition, I actually aim to go to fewer places.  This way, I can spend more time photographing in each destination.  This will give me a better chance to get a better photo.

All these planning have become my habit from photographing in Manhattan.  Some of them came from established photographers like Scott Bourne and Brooks Jensen.