One of the advantages of documenting my own life in a blog format is that I can choose a point in time and revisit it, for whatever reason. I decided to go back 10 years in my photo archives for this post, to have a look at the pictures I was taking and
cringe critique myself. I’ll be the first to say they are technically rather terrible, although I did edit the one above for my Tumblr header, so at least it was somewhat salvageable.
10 years ago I was living in the USA, a two hour drive from New York, and I was there often to photograph and explore the city. At the time I only had a low-end point-and-shoot camera (Canon A80), but if I were using the cameras I have today back then, I probably would’ve taken the same pictures. Probably similar compositions, even from the same vantage point. This is why I tell people who are learning photography that buying a DSLR right away isn’t absolutely necessary. In fact, shooting with a compact digital camera is the best practice situation before graduating to a DSLR, because you form your own compositional style without worrying about the operation of the camera or its heft. Then, once you know what kind of pictures you want to take, you can start adding more control to the pictures by upgrading equipment.
Photography technology is changing all the time, but pictures have always been about content and how the brain interprets the image through the viewfinder. When I was at Grand Central Station on Good Friday in 2005, I remember how chaotic it was with people rushing to catch a train somewhere for the Easter weekend. I don’t think it was rush hour yet, and it was already quite busy. These were the camera settings:
ƒ/3.2 / 11.4mm / 0.5 sec / ISO 50
I shot without the flash, which slowed down the shutter enough to make for some nice motion blur. I especially like the photo below, because one person stood still long enough to get more or less in focus, while everyone around her is moving. You’d think this would be a simple scenario at a train station, but finding a person motionless without people directly around to block the line of sight in the busiest train station in New York City on one of the busiest days of the year is not as easy as it sounds.
I’ve had 10 years since this photo to improve my equipment and figure out my style and come up with an editing process. I’ve improved my equipment (although very slowly), and learning how to edit has been very painstaking (I’ve pulled out a lot of hair), but I think the one thing that has changed the least over time has been my composition style. I’ll probably need another decade to decide whether this lack of change is a glass half-empty (stale!) or a glass half-full (consistent!), but the picture-taking will roll on regularly, regardless.
Original post: Good Friday. Manhattan. Jewtopia.
March 25, 2005
Album: New York City [March 25, 2005]