Photo 112 out of 365 – “Forgotten Tracks”

Settings: ISO 100, f/2.2, 1/250 sec, 50mm lens

While home in Massachusetts this weekend, I spent Thursday night at Faye’s brand new home in Groton, MA.  Faye and her fiance just moved in a month ago after supervising the whole building process.  The home is beautiful and Groton is a gorgeous rural quaint New England town.  We did a little exploring yesterday and came upon this dirt road down the street from her house.  It had an old sign that said it was a fishery of some sort – so we parked the car and went for a little hike.  We stumbled upon these overgrown railroad tracks in the woods.  I am very attracted to overgrown things…  also abandoned things.  They have a sort of mystery and history and are very sad and beautiful to me.  I love the lighting in this photo, though looking now, I wish I had used a higher aperture setting to get a little more of the shot in focus.  Maybe f/8 or something?

When I got home last night I did a little show and tell with my grandfather.  He is a very talented professional photographer.  I kick myself daily that I didn’t spend more time learning the trade from him while growing up… though he lived far away in Buffalo, NY so it was difficult.  I remember the dark room in his basement and I remember posing for many shots as a child in his little garage studio.  His true passions were nature and landscape photography though.

My grandfather has a reputation for being critical at times, so I approached the show and tell of my blog with a thick skin.  He actually kept fairly quiet… I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.  One thing we discussed though, is that he thinks the quality of photography overall is declining because everyone has a camera and everyone thinks of themselves as a photographer.  The other factor, is that there is no cost for film anymore… so people can take hundreds of photos of the same thing – and then think they’re a photographic genius when one shot comes out really good.

I guess I see his point to some extent.  Though I personally see the ability to take more pictures and make more mistakes as a good thing.  I explained to him, that I am constantly learning from the shots I am taking.  Just like this “Forgotten Tracks” one… looking at the shot and the settings… next time I would make adjustments and do it slightly differently.  But I really am trying to get better and am trying to learn the craft of photography, so I truly appreciate his feedback.  Here is an example of a critique I thought was very helpful:

This was a flower shot that I liked quite a lot.  His criticism, was that the bright yellow-hued stem in the bottom middle of the frame is distracting.  I totally agree – though I don’t think I ever really noticed that before.  He said, that if he were taking that shot, he would have snipped off that one stem with a knife.  What a concept… I rarely manipulate the subject I am photographing… I more just capture it as it is.  I guess the lesson is that you should make sure to pay attention to EVERY detail as you’re taking a shot.  See EVERYTHING.  Of course, now you can fix that in the post process, but it’s best to make it work from the beginning I think.

Anyway – it’s all a learning process.  I have hundreds of days to keep learning from my mistakes – I’m excited to see how much I improve by the end of this year.  Good stuff.


4 thoughts on “Photo 112 out of 365 – “Forgotten Tracks”

  1. Good advice Nell and good background story. For what it’s worth, I actually liked the f setting in the first photo. I am big on the tiny details, in photos and in painting, but the tracks are so intricate; it’s nice to be force-focused in on the subtle beauty of the old wood.
    …Like I said, for what it’s worth.

    • Thanks Bryn – it’s worth a lot. You’re the second person that’s said that – and I totally see where you’re coming from. appreciating it more now than when I wrote that. 🙂

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