Monday, March 4, 2013

Scott Kelby, That Nikon Guy, and Frozen Butt (part) 1

Come of Night    One of my pictures got the most favored (of the month) in one of the photography forums I hang out with.  It’s just a very small accomplishment but boy did it motivate me a lot!  But not only that.  My Double-Trouble photos also got some attention and, to be honest, seeing the results of that session was one of the highlights of my photography life.  So yes, I was happy with my self, my photography, and totally up for more.

     I was a new subscriber to ThatNikonGuy on Youtube.  At the time, he launched a photo competition with the theme "Long Exposure."  Boy was I happy and confident.  It was a theme I'm quite familiar with.  And add to that, the prize was a ThinkTank bag.  I happen to be on the market for another photography backpack and I'm a fan of ThinkTank.  So yes, I was keen to this competition and I really want to win the bag.

     But long exposure is such a wide-ranged theme.  Anything long exposure is just anything in photography.  That makes my choices too many, it's a bit hard to decide on which to focus into.  That was until I found out about another photo contest (will be writing about it on my next blog).  It directs me to go for landscapes/cityscapes.  And the plan is, if all else fails, I will always have Double Trouble for back up.

     What keeps ringing on my ear are Scott Kelby's constant critique on most photos shown in his show.

  • Nothing beats a good-looking subject.
  • Right place, right time.  Do whatever it takes.
I do agree with both.  It's like when watching American Idol or related shows, some could be really good singers, but it's a matter of song choice.  And I've been seeing the same effect on my past photos as well.  I get to execute techniques like light trails and stuff.  But the photos in whole doesn't give much impact since the elements aren't just strong enough.  As for being at the "right place" at the "right time."  I do agree.  I do avoid overcast lights and shooting at noon.  But I also didn't pay much attention to the "proper" time where light is just right.  Hey, I'm still learning after all.

     So with my confidence on this subject, and with those lectures I kept hearing, I decided to put out all I got and make no excuses.  I heard about a workshop where the students agonized on the thought of getting together at 3 am for a shoot.  Something the teacher required.  But that's what it took for them to get into the best setting for a really nice landscape scene.  And right now, I'm willing to do that as well... or so I thought.

     The first thing was scouting.  But with the winter's cold and slippery snow/ice (more the latter actually), I thought of recalling the places I've visited first.  And if nothing else attracts my attention, then I'll be off visiting random places.  A bit impractical for my time constraints but again, I'll do whatever it takes... yeah, right.

Seoul, nothing special really came to mind except for that Dungdaemun Gate that I already took picture of.

Gangnam?  Probably.  But not a lot of the places I've seen there come screaming "Pick me!"  
Paju, Anseong, Hwaseong, Ilsan, Daejon, all the places I could think of just gave me blanks or scenes that don't really make me want to go and take pictures (for the competition).  That was until I went to Suwon.

Suwon wasn't really on my mind at first.  I was only there for 2 reasons.

  1. I needed this location for another competition (future blog).
  2. I had to meet a friend for some other activities.
And it was unfortunate for my first reason as I was unsuccessful on my photo session.  But was also glad for the second reason since I got a place to stay for the night.  Though I do have a place I regularly stay at whenever I come to Suwon, it's nice to change venues every once in a while... which lead me to a new discovery.  

     There was a bit of a problem with me staying the night at my friend's place.  So I had to take a cab back to Suwon Station at 3 am.  On my way, we passed by a strange looking over-pass in the middle of the road.  I was only able to note a street address (actually a junction) a distance away from that over-pass.  So as I came back to Suwon Station, I had a light meal and took another cab back to that location.  I think the driver found it very strange for someone to stop at that location.  It was, after all, a junction where there's nothing else around.  But I showed him my tripod and explained, "I'm a photographer and I saw something there that I want to take pictures of."

     So here I was at 4 am, walking to the said over-pass.  The first objective was to find what to photograph and how to photograph it.  This and everything else before the blue hour comes.  On one of my past blogs, I mentioned about Scott Kelby talking about not giving up on a scene.  "If the initial photograph doesn't work, walk around, take a different perspective, shoot wide, shoot up close, just don't give up.  Something must be there that caught your attention."  And I intend to do that.

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