Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reminder to Do Better ~ Exploration Thursday

"Legislative Halls"
(1/25 sec.@ F/3.5, ISO 640, 18mm fl, indoor low lighting, Ontario Legislative Building)

A quick post of a quick edit. Will be using this shot as a personal reminder to revisit Queen's Park in Toronto soon, since the day I took this I was forced to handhold a camera balanced on a railing to get a halfway decent exposure in such low light. Tripods were not allowed the day I was visiting due to the volume of people traveling through on tours. But return I will. Why? For a better shot of the rich and historical interior of the Legislative Building. It's quite stunning. And this photo really doesn't even begin to do it justice. It's alright, but it's not the best I can do... am I allowed to say that?

You've had this experience I'm sure. If only you had the right gear with you, if only you had a camera with better ISO quality above 300, if only there was better light, if only the security staff would send everyone but you home so you could get "the money shot" sans tourists. But the reality is, not every location or subject that takes our breath away is an ideal photo op. And I'm the first to cringe when a vision I have for a image can't be pulled off without better preparation or a return visit... or two... er, three...

But I always make a point of returning, a little more prepared, a little more aware... dare I say even a little wiser (wiser? more wise? do we have an English major in the audience?) This is the joy of photography for me. I don't have to sign up for workshops (although if I had the money, there's an African safari shoot with photographer David DuChemin next year I'd be signed up for quicker than you can say "Bob's yer uncle!"), I don't have to go to school, I don't have to disappear for years to follow a photo guru to the corners of the world... I can make myself learn. I can look at this picture and if I use my noggin, I can see that I need to find a way next time to lower my ISO, use a faster lens instead, aim for visiting on a sunnier day with the glass ceilings letting in more light. That's just the tip of the ol' ice burg.

If you're struggling with getting better shots and don't know where to begin, look at what you have taken. Common, really LOOK. What's missing, what would work better, what didn't you have? And look at everyone elses work online and in books. Compare them to yours. Then decide to learn what it will take for you to get it next time. I'm a huge fan of libraries... photography books you can devour at no cost. And then... you pick up your gear, and you get back out there.

I may not always post a winning shot, but if I let that be the criteria for being a photographer I'd never take another image. And that's not an option for me... now where's my own gear? I need to take some photos, and learn a few more things. I need to explore. It is after all, Exploration Thursday.

Have a great long weekend Canada! And to our American friends as well! While you enjoy it, pull your cameras out and have fun learning what not to do! Thanks for the ramble gang!


  1. Thank you Cliff! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one :) Hope you've had a lovely long weekend this July 4th!!!