Week 23 (1/6/2014 – 1/12/2014): Pier C, Hoboken NJ
Picture taken on 1/12/2014 at 3:58 PM
A new year and a new perspective. One of the keys to making progress is the idea that only by searching for new ideas and perspectives will you truly grow. Therefore finding new perspectives in life and photography is my goal for 2014. This week I decided a good way to challenge myself would be to set out in Hoboken to find a new perspective on some of the locations I’ve so often photographed over the past year.
Starting out on 4th street I begin working my way towards Pier A park. When I arrived at the park I noticed that there were quite a few puddles still around even though it was a bright blue sunny day. I’m a big fan of puddle pictures, so I set my sights on one rather large puddle at the corner of Pier A. As I crouched down to get a good angle an old man tapped me on the shoulder and asked what I was photographing. I proudly hit my camera’s review button and showed him my most recent shot. He responded with a “Wow” and told me that reminded him of something he did when he was young. Intrigued, I asked him what it was that he did with puddles when he was young? He proceeded to stand over the puddle and intensely look down into the shallow pool of water. I initially thought he was checking himself out but then he explained what he was doing. He was standing at such an angle that he couldn’t see himself, just the reflection of the sky in the puddle. He said I’d stand here and look, look into the puddle, and if you do it long enough you can lose yourself in it’s reflection. Little did this man know he had just in part described my goal for the day. You see as this man stared into the puddle he wasn’t simply looking at the ground, no he was gazing into the deep blue sky but only from a new perspective. As the old man stood there for a few more seconds in silence I could see he was adrift in the skies reflection and found happiness from this new perspective. That’s what I want in 2014, I want to find happiness through the eyes of a new perspective.
After my nice interaction with the old man I continued on my quest for this week’s picture. I took pictures looking straight up trees, crouches at ground level, and I even fired off some no look shots while chasing some birds. Although I might have looked like a real oddball to anyone that may have been observing, after they saw my pictures they would understand. Eventually I worked my way back towards 4th street and the took one final detour at Pier C, or as I like to call it, Hoboken island. I’ve attempted to get a picture from the winding entrance of Pier C many times. This time I decided to drop to one knee and see what perspective that brought. What I saw was how the railing of the path was leading directly towards the city skyline. I snapped of a couple pictures until homing in my settings then leaned directly against the railing for what would be my final picture.
The focus of this week’s picture was finding a new perspective which essentially meant I needed to find a unique composition. In this week’s picture the look that I was going for was one of a focus to blur effect on the railing that led to the city skyline. To get this look I had to set my aperture not too small (f/22) nor too large (f/1.8). A logical approach was to split the two numbers and that’s exactly what I did. I shot my picture with an aperture of f/11 which usually puts mostly everything in focus but because I was so close (actually touching) the railing it gave a good blur to the city skyline. Below is an example of how the closeness of the railing and use of focus points got me the “blur” look I was going for. This picture is identical to my featured picture from a setting (ISO/aperture/shutter speed) standpoint but as you can see the skyline is a lot more in focus. This is the picture that I think most people would take at this low angle. I took this picture first, then to get a “new perspective” leaned into the pole to get a new spin on the view.
As I edited the picture in Lightroom, I wanted to emphasize the metallic look of the railing along with the lights that were built into it. To do this I worked with the color sliders but unlike last week, I was actually adjusting the colors not black and white shading. As a result of tweaking the green in the railing you’ll notice all the green in my picture really pops. I wanted the green to stand out so it would first draw your eye to the railing then the green of the railing transitions into the green of the city skyline.
Overall lot of my “new perspective” shots involved getting lower to the ground or closer to my subjects than usual. I encourage you to do the same with some of your pictures this week. After you take a picture pause and ask yourself, without changing your subject how can you adjust your composition to get a new look?