Touring New York through Photography

April 20th, 2016

I love taking pictures.  And I love my camera.  Every time I use my camera, I think I need to learn more about the science of photography.  I've tried learning.  I understand the basic concept of f-stops and aperture and such.  But I can't seem to wrap my head around why I want to use a particular f-stop or aperture.

Mom even got in on the action.  She bought a Great Courses class for me to try and figure things out. I was excited as I watched the classes.  I felt like I was getting a better understanding about ISO's and such.  Dad inhaled the class quicker than I did.  But he was a photographer back in the day.  He had a darkroom in the house and everything.

After going through the first half of the lessons, Dad and I went out to practice our photography skills.  I was ready to put all of my lessons to use.  On a random Sunday afternoon, we went to a local park and started shooting.  After a few minutes, I realized I couldn't put my lessons to use.  Nothing seemed to work and I left that afternoon feeling super dejected.

Now let's be honest, I feel like I can take good pictures with the automatic settings.  But I also knew if I ever want to graduate to a better camera, I needed to understand the fundamentals of photography.

When I was planning my Solo NYC Trip, I wanted to have a few events on the calendar.  As I was searching TripAdvisor, I came across the NYC Photo Safari.  I liked the concept.  You had a tour of the city and you were being taught the fundamentals of photography with a professional photographer.  Two birds.

I met Zim near the Empire State Building.  Her first question was "What do you want to get out of this tour??" Ummm...

I explained the story about the f-stop and Zim smiled.  "You know, camera companies spend millions of dollars to make sure the camera takes amazing pictures in automatic settings.  Do you think you're smarter than the camera manufacturers??"  I laughed.  Because it made total sense.  Zim went on to say that shooting in automatic isn't a bad thing at all.  In fact, there are two different automatic settings.  Her goal was to get me out of the automatic-automatic setting and into the automatic with benefits setting.

Zim's methods were easy enough.  Take a picture how you would take a picture.  She would look at them, give you feedback on the picture and how to make it better.

Good concept, but the Empire State Building is at an angle.  Did I want that??  Probably not.
This time, I used the windows as a guide (the second column of windows to the right, to be exact).  The building no longer leans)
Horizontal or Vertical.  Angles.  Zoom or walking closer to the subject.  I learned how to bump up or down the exposure when needed.  I was told many times I was being "greedy."  I wanted too much in a shot.  Which sounded like me.

I learned several things...

Consider the angles.

Know your subject.

Mirrors are your friend.

There are reasons to slow down the shutter speed.

Signs can be interesting.

There are multiple ways to take shots of art.

And always look up.

I'm ready to take pictures for the next trip now.  Let's do this.


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