They say the best camera you own is the one you have with you. I put that to the test today... I headed out on yet another unseasonably beautiful spring-ish day. I was sitting inside as the sun streamed through the window and I realized the day was passing me by and it is absolutely ridiculous if I didn't take advantage. Threw together my must-have quickie kit (D600 camera, 24-70mm and 70-200mm lens... then threw in a 35mm for funsies). I tend to favor zoom lenses because I started out as a music photographer, I've started contemplating forcing myself to use fixed lenses... soon, but not today. As a matter of fact, I remembered everything but an sd card. What does that mean? No taking photos. The worst time to realize this is when you've picked your spot, gotten out of your car and get ready to take that first photo (which is exactly when I realized I'd forgotten my card).
I thought about it and figured I had three options. 1) Go home and stay there, no photos to show for it. 2) Go home, grab my card(s) and go back out braving the horrible end-of-day traffic or 3) Use my iPhone instead. Option number three has always made me cringe in the past and this time was no exception. That being said, the quote at the beginning of this post popped into my head and I decided to lean into my mistake and actually try to do a legitimate set of photos with my iPhone... just to see how i felt about it. After all, "don't knock it till you've tried it" right?
I learned a couple things from this experience. The first one: if you're shooting images of people they are far less self-conscious and possibly couldn't care less if you're taking their photo with your phone. Where as if you're pointing a legitimate lens at them, they turn away, look down and generally look uncomfortable. In other words, you're far more incognito... so that's a plus one for iPhone. The second: I'm far less likely to compose an image properly when using my phone thinking I'll edit later and I feel more self-conscious taking images this way... or should I say a bit more embarrassed that I'm taking images with my phone instead of my camera; so i end up taking less care when hitting actuation for the image. The third: if you zoom in at all, the quality of the image goes to crap on my iPhone (4s). This may be a little less the case with newer versions of the phone, but mine is all I've got to go on. The fourth and final thing I learned: the phone doesn't handle extreme lighting situations. Bright sun can't be dimmed nearly enough and super dark situations have really poor resolution.
All that being said, if you can manage to take images in the right circumstances, they can come out absolutely lovely, which is the case with the very first image in the set below. After that, I got varying degrees of ok to horrible. I left out the really horrible ones but here they are. It was an interesting experience, but I'd much rather (by about a mile) shoot with my pro camera. I love my Nikon and I still believe it's the best one I own, despite being unable to use it today out in the field.
Last week the weather was unseasonably gorgeous in Seattle. Then again in February this city always fakes us out with 60 degrees and warm sun. It's like she's trying to remind us that the world isn't completely grey all the time and if we just hang in there a little longer, it'll be fabulous once again. I stopped by the cliche Seattle landscape shot, Kerry Park's overlook. I managed to get a beautiful panorama and played with my new love of HDR. In case you're not familiar, it's a technique in post-shoot editing that allows you to take several photos of the same composition but with different camera settings to capture the best possible lighting for image that wasn't naturally possible (there will be shadows and dark spots with such bright sunlight but i can take really dark images and really bright images, combine them and make something beautiful). It was especially helpful with the bright reflection off Rainier's snowcaps.
You can see the rest of this set with shots at the Ballard Locks, graffiti around town and generally sunny shots of the city here. It was a really great day of exploration and shooting. Now on to capturing more people, landscapes are great but it's time I start getting into moving, thinking, feeling subjects again.
I grew up in the country. Not the whitewashed fences, ruffled dresses, drinking sun tea on the porch kind of country... the dusty, long, unpaved roads, no movie theater for 50 miles, one restaurant where everyone met on Sundays kind of country in Kentucky. I ran around barefoot ninety percent of the time, spent most of my time outside, helped my dad cut wood and may have even had a cow as a pet for a while. I love the city, Seattle is a fantastic metropolis where any and everything is available, but I also love the feeling of quiet solitude and genuine kindness that comes from knowing every single person in the town where you reside.
I visited my family for the holidays as most people do, but this time was a much longer stay than normal, so I decided to take a trek out of the big city (Louisville) where my parents now live and out to the country in search of some uninhabited farms where nature had taken over and begun to take back what we had stripped from the land for so long. What I found were beautiful disasters and powerful emotions. Two places that grabbed my attention happened to be burned out houses. Strangely, the second had still been smoldering as I came upon it, but no one was in sight. I wanted to capture emotional destruction in my photographs this time, not just capture a moment. I want to start telling a story with the photos I take whether they're of people, animals, landscapes or buildings. The most powerful images are the ones that speak to you, tell you their story. I think these will weave a little tale that may just stick with you.