Week 28 (2/10/2014 -2/16/2014): Hoboken, Washington/13th
Picture taken on 2/15/2014 at 7:52 PM
Like many people my age, on a usual Saturday night there is a good chance you’ll find me out at a bar with friends. This past Saturday night however was not my usual evening. This weekend was different because I was providing 24/7 support for work. Working in IT has it’s perks but it also occasionally carries some unique responsibilities, one of those being support coverage. This weekend was the first time I held this role in a long time and it’s not one that I take lightly. While covering support I need to maintain my wits and have a quick response time if I get any calls, therefor going out to a bar isn’t on my social menu.
Coincidentally this weekend the newest season of “House of Cards” released on Netflix so that provided the perfect means to pass my Saturday night. Though I had a good TV binge in the queue, I decided to pop outside for a little with my camera. Earlier in the week I took a picture which I planned to use as this week’s post. My goal for Saturday night’s picture hunt was to try my hand at recreating and or improving my previous picture. The original picture was shot on Washington street and was more of an accident than a planned image. When you’re attempting to take a picture in the middle of the street you can imagine how one might feel rushed. It could be the possibility of getting hit, or just the fact that people gaze upon you like you’re crazy. Regardless of the reason, while shooting my original picture from the middle of the street I felt rushed and thus fired off some quick pictures, a few of which were not in focus. After reviewing the unfocused batch of pictures, I actually liked the way the blurred imaged looked. Fast forward to Saturday night, my goal was to not leave this round of pictures to chance. My plan was to use the manual focus of my camera to create a “controlled” blurred image.
My chosen spot was at the corner of 13th/Washington. As I stood at the corner waiting for the light to turn red, I fiddled with my focus to get a blurry but clear enough to see image. During one of my practice pictures I accidently got a taxi in frame which triggered the idea of creating an picture that represented how I usually recall Saturday nights. I waited a couple of light cycles until again having a taxi staged for the picture. Once the light turned red I darted out into the street and captured this week’s image.
The more I learn about my camera, the more artistic freedom I have to create the images that are in my head. Although this week’s picture wasn’t an exact representation of what I mentally saw, it was close. This is the first time I used manual focus for a featured post and I’m happy with the result. Manual focus gives you the freedom to choose the exact focus you want rather than relying upon the camera to make the decision. It would have been nearly impossible to shoot this picture if I only relied on my camera for focusing. When in autofocus mode your camera needs to focus on something in order to shoot. There is a setting to override requiring focus but it’s easier to put your camera in manual. Putting your camera in manual focus allows you to take a picture no matter what the focus is, blurry or razor sharp. The reason I wanted to achieve an out of focus image was because of the effect it creates. The effect that results from images being out of focused is often referred to as “bokeh.” Most of the time bokeh is used to create separation in a picture between the subject and background. The intensity of the bokeh usually increases as your aperture gets larger. This technique is used a lot in portraits such as head shots. In my picture instead of focusing on one subject and blurring out everything else, I blurred out the entire image. I wanted to use the blurriness to create a sense of disorientation from looking at the picture. I also wanted to use the blurry lights to create the composition of my image in the form of leading lines. All of the lights are pinched inward to pull your focus onto the blurred out taxi. The leading line composition was meant to represent the usual progression of a saturday night, increased blurring over time and ending in a taxi.
As you can see by applying some of the lessons that I’ve learned, I was able to create the image that I wanted. Of course some chance was involved this week, but the lesson to take away is that once you start to build your photography toolbox it’s important you know what concept to take out or apply to achieve the image you’re going for. Your creativity will always be limited to the speed that you’re able to think of your feet and apply your knowledge.