One of the best things about being a photographer is that every single time you go out shooting, you can learn something new, which is a bit unique in my opinion. Take another hobby, like music. Now, I have great respect for all musicians, because the limits of my musical inclination ends at the piano. However if your hobby is, say, playing the piano, you can play for hour and hours, and while you undoubtedly will get better, you may not learn anything new. Same with writing. Or painting. You will continue to progress in your skill, but you may not learn anything new. When I am out shooting, especially if I am with another photographer, I find that I always come back, not just a better photographer, but more equipped to handle a wider variety of photographic situations.
It doesn’t even have to be limited to what you can learn physically about the camera itself. It can be a different angle to shoot at, or the time of day to be in a certain part of the city, or a certain location. I’ve been photographing downtown Pittsburgh for three years now and have spent many an hour on the North Shore of Pittsburgh shooting in and around PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. However, on a recent photowalk with fellow Pittsburgh photographer Brad Truxell I found a great new location not 200 yards from where I spent countless hours shooting that offers a fantastic and unique view of the city. Now I can’t wait to get back there to shoot it again, as it was a bit cloudy the last time we were there.
The other great thing about photography is that you can instantly learn from any mistakes you made (see my last post). Just about every time I got shooting, I will be looking at my pictures when I get home and instantly wish I would have moved my tripod 2 inches to the left and used f11 instead of f4. Next time I’m out shooting, I will do just that. It’s not just about getting better with the settings of the camera, it’s being able to see a scene and know the best angle to capture it from, knowing what time of day to be there. These are things that aren’t always evident at the time of the original shot, but can be instantly corrected.
To go along with the theme of looking back today, my shot has a bit of a vintage feel. This is one from the 42nd Street Subway station in New York, which we saw a lot of when we were there (the subway in general not just this station). The last time we were there, I had taken a few shots of the subway that I really liked, but I wanted to try to take a different approach to the panning/motion blur that I did last time. I also wanted to try to incorporate someone standing in the subway station. I was pretty happy with the way that this one turned out, and knew I was going to post it as soon as I looked at it. That is after I processed it of course.
In honor of the Kodachrome being officially phased out I gave this one a Kodachrome filter in Color Efex. I’ve never shot with the film (thought my first camera was a Pentax film camera of some kind) and only know what I’ve seen of it in pictures, so I’m not sure how accurate it is. I still liked it though, and it gave me the old vintage feel that I was looking for in this shot, where it could have been taken anytime in the last thirty years. I added a bit of grain as well as the pillbox border.
Two days with no HDRs, I know, I know. But if you look carefully, you will the blog is called HDR Exposed – Photography and More by Dave DiCello. So consider this some of the more, and we’ll be back to the HDRs tomorrow!