Three anniversaries of ‘firsts’ have been in a state of convergence for me this fall. Number one is my daughter’s first wedding anniversary. The next is the fourth anniversary of my first visit to Utah. And, the last one is the third anniversary of my first article being published here at Photography Life. Each of them in their own way has caused me to think about why many of us replace our camera gear on a frequent basis…and quite likely do so needlessly.
Millions — perhaps billions — of people take pictures every day. Famous places and people have been photographed more times than anyone can count. All of this leads to the deluge of images that we are seeing online and in social media. Every time that a photographer visits a beautiful location for the first time, thousands of people already photographed it under the best possible conditions (and the worst conditions, and everywhere in between). Recently, I have heard more than a few people say that photography has become boring to them; everyone copies everyone else, and it doesn’t seem like there is anything new left to photograph and explore. Is that mindset justified? Can photographers still create unique photos?
Over the last three years, I have been photographing cities with an IR-converted Nikon D80 DSLR while traveling on business trips. I am very fortunate that my job duties involve the administration of international projects, so I travel once or twice per month, mostly in Central Europe, but also in Western and Eastern Europe. Whenever I travel, I try to plan at least a very short window for photographing, even if it is sometimes only 1-2 hours long. In this article, I share some insights after photographing with an IR camera for almost 3 years in roughly 20 European cities.
The name Henri Cartier-Bresson does not immediately remind most people of landscape photography. It shouldn’t; he wasn’t a landscape photographer! Instead, of course, Henri Cartier-Bresson was a street photographer — arguably the founding father of the genre. However, although he rarely took photos of nature, his intimate approach to street photography still has value to people who prefer the company of grand landscapes. One technique is especially worth learning, no matter what genre of photography you do: the decisive moment.
I think that so many of us love photography because of its inherently dichotomous nature. On one hand photography is an art form which allows each of us incredible creative latitude for visual expression. That is counterbalanced by the complexity of the technical considerations that can come into play when creating images.
In the past month, I have visited more National Parks than in any other time of my life. I have seen some of the most beautiful places in the world under incredible conditions, and I managed to take photos of landscapes that I had heard of since I was a young child. That’s why I am happy to say that today, August 25th, marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in the United States.
When a wedding photographer suddenly finds himself in beautiful landscapes with no people to photograph, what does he do? He becomes a landscape photographer! Well, let’s be honest… I’m definitely not a landscape photographer. I’m more of a guy traveling through some amazing places with a couple of landscape photographers who happens to point his camera at the same stuff they do. So what was this experience like? Glad you asked!
I am an amateur photographer and have had a DSLR for approximately 10 years. It is only in the last 2 years that I have started to get seriously interested in wildlife photography. I feel like I am in the early days of building a portfolio of images. Living in the middle of a small UK town, like most urban locations, there is a surprising amount of wildlife around. Unfortunately, with a full time job and a small baby I found I had limited time to get to know the animals in my neighbourhood let alone the local nature spots. So when we moved house 3 years ago and were discussing what to do with the derelict patch of land out front and the idea of turning it into a wild flower garden was discussed, I thought it might be a great way to learn some macro techniques.
Or at least a longer focal length than conventional wisdom suggests. I’m always reading that so-called street photography is best undertaken with a prime lens within the 35mm to 50mm range and I understand the merits of this range for reasons I will elaborate on further down. But convention is naturally a gauntlet that Alpha Whiskey cannot ignore. So before meeting my date I decided to kill an hour in town the other night shooting with a telephoto zoom and mostly at the maximum focal length (210mm: 420mm equivalent field of view).
Photographers have the power to reveal the origins of alien life on earth. All we need do is grab a camera, lens and some extension tubes (or a macro lens or close focusing filter) and ‘the truth’ will be revealed! [Read more…]