It's funny how as a kid, you feel like you're being "dragged" from place to place. Like the world (otherwise known as your parents) is somehow against you, and the mention of going some places makes you cringe and even dig your heels in a bit. Of course the reality is, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, you take home memories and had lots of fun.
As an adult and growing photographer, I've found myself at one of those places plenty of times, chasing some old ghosts and creating some new ones for farther down the road. Gairloch Gardens in Oakville is a place I've been to so many times in the last six or eight months and looking back, I can see how I've grown. I think my skills are coming along, and who knows, maybe I'm finally starting to find an artsy side.
Since my first shot, I had an inkling inside that this place could offer more. If you've read my blogs or looked at some of my previous shots here or on Facebook, you've seen this place plenty of times. Leaves on the trees or off, black and white, sepia, smooth water, rough water, there's been lots of change, but yet I still haven't found what I wanted. Always left thinking there was more potential.
In seminars, reading and talking to people, one thing has become crystal clear. A good shot starts with good light. Whatever you put in front of the lens is meaningless if the light is bad. Sure, you can do lots of touching up after the fact in front of the computer, but that really isn't ideal, though it is often unavoidable.
Another thing that I seem to often lack is focus. I spend a lot of time in low light situations and because of that I spend a lot of energy thinking about getting my light right through the usual triangle of settings, but I can think of more than a few occasions where I thought I had something to be proud of when I got home, only to find that I was out of focus. There's nothing that can cure that. With an out of focus shot, your only options are to a) delete or b) turn it into something abstract. Abstract shots can look phenomenal, but again, I still lack that artsy side.
So now I find that if I can find good light, write "focus" on my hand so I can come home with something sharp, my only real challenge is to find an interesting subject and hit it from a good angle.
For the past few days, I have been working the night shift but quite honestly, I've been struggling through them. Sleep doesn't always come easy during the day. A couple of nights ago I saw some potential for a nice sunrise and as luck would have it, I was able to use some vacation time and get out early.
Madly dashing home, I had enough time to grab my camera, a fresh memory card, throw a tripod in the car and head on down to Gairloch to await the sunrise. Unfortunately day 1 didn't go quite as I hoped. The clouds were much thicker than I expected and after about 40 minutes, the first drops of a coming shower were falling. The morning gave me some practice, but nothing particularly stellar.
This morning on the other hand, everything seemed to fall into place. Out early again, time to get home and then head back down to the lake. I admit I was pretty worried as I could see the sky rapidly changing colour as the sun began to approach the horizon. Luck was on my side though and I had my time to get in, parked, set up and start clicking.
Here at the park, I have two purposes. One is to capture a long exposure to flatten out the water and soften up the clouds as they slowly move. The other is to get a faster shutter shot to get some texture on the water. Each has its own challenges, but with the help of some patience, and plenty of trial and error, I'm happy with how they turned out.
I'm excited to say that aside from removing an uncooperative duck, and straightening my horizon line, these shots are otherwise untouched and are published as they came out of the camera. That doesn't mean that I won't tinker with them later though.
Having watched some folks with far more talent than I, I've seen how surreal a photo can look and I'm finally lucky enough that I have some shots that I'm proud of that I can use to do just that.
If anyone does read this, be sure to keep an eye out. I'm very excited about my next shoot. I have a rare opportunity to do something really special (to me) and I plan to take full advantage. Next post will be in a few days or so. Thanks for reading.