From Prentis: Rey, A very interesting shot. It has a very moody air to it. You guys certainly come up with a lot of interesting material. This photo indicates that you had to do a little hiking to be there, and planning to be there at the critical moment to capture those shadows. I am interested in your approach to photography, specifically how often do you go out solely to take photos? Do you scope out locations to return to with gear or is your gear always with you? You appear to be a photo-a-day kind of shooter. Do you do a lot of driving or walking around looking for photo-ops? I think you understand what I am asking and it is really a question for both you and Ed.
On this particular photo…
Rey: I took that photo a few weeks ago. I had been at home in the late afternoon and noticed that the light was very striking, so I grabbed my gear and headed for an Audubon park, not far from home. I entered the trails with the goal of trying to capture what looked like really great light, but the light was fading fast and everything was going to grey. I was disappointed for sure, and headed back to my car. But interestingly, right next to the parking lot, this bank of trees and the long shadows and striations of light coming through it caught my eye. You can read about the three images I captured and merged and how I post processed them in the original post. So for this shot, no, I really didn’t have to travel far or do any planning. It was right there.
On planning and destinations…
Ed: With respect to planning our shoots, we try to go out together once or twice a month, and usually pick a location near us – we’re blessed with many state parks and forests near home, so landscape opportunities abound. Boston is also a favorite destination when we want to do some street photography as well. But most times, it’s a last minute trip, without a lot of planning involved. Individually however, we’re always looking for an interesting shot, and these sometimes present themselves when we’re not expecting them, or when we’re intentionally scoping out an interesting subject or venue. The point is that there are photographic opportunities everywhere – you just have to be able to see them in order to be able to capture them.
Rey: I used to regret the fact that I didn’t live near a gorgeous national park or other spectacular destination, and as primarily a landscape photographer, I’d come to the parks near my home and feel let down, and wish I was at Yosemite or the Grand Canyon. But over time, as I traveled more, I realized that it’s all about the light – great light on a mundane subject can yield a fantastic image. And average light on a spectacular subject will yield a flat, lifeless image. Once that became clear to me, I started looking for beautiful light everywhere I went, and that became my creative challenge, my photographic inspiration.
Rey: I have gravitated towards having gear with me all the time. The camera industry has obliged by making camera equipment smaller. I’m a big fan of the micro-4/3 platform, as you can tell from some of my posts on the blog.
Ed: I have a three-tiered approach to camera gear that keeps me ever ready. First, I always have my iPhone with me. It usually works pretty well in most situations, and offers the advantage of being a camera, editor and a means to share, all in one. The well-worn cliché that “the best camera is the one you have with you”, is certainly true – the less than perfect shot is infinitely better than the “one that got a way”.
Second, I frequently have with me my SX230 HS Canon P&S camera, 12 megapixels, full manual controls, and it comes in handy during my commute, while on a walk downtown during a lunch break, or when I suddenly have an opportunity for a brief, unexpected side trip to a point of interest. Many of the photos taken with these two cameras have been good enough to post on 2 Guys or my own website, and I don’t usually label them as such, because I think it’s important to focus on the image, not the gear.
Finally, when I’m on a “real” photo shoot and want the best results I can get, I’ll take my Nikon D90 DSLR, and either a Nikon 35mm f/1.8 or my go to lens, the Nikon 18-200 zoom lens. It’s not a very compact rig, but the results are excellent. So between the three, I’m always covered. And as Rey said earlier, you always need to be prepared”.
The bottom line…
We’re always looking for the interesting shot, and have learned to see and appreciate the light. And we do our best to always be ready to make the capture, whether it’s with anything from a smart phone to a DSLR. There truly is beauty and drama all around us – right in our own backyards.
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Thanks for your questions Prentis and we hope we’ve shed some light on our approach to shooting.
We’re always happy to answer any questions our fellow photogs may have, so don’t hesitate to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And in the meantime, get out there and see the light.
Rey and Ed