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.