If you’re going to do something… take the time to do it

I found Bucky the Beaver in a restaurant in Washington D.C.

So, this last week I went out to Washington D.C. to support my alma mater, Bemidji State University, as they were playing in the NCAA "Frozen Four" Division I Men's Ice Hockey National Championship Tournament. Since I was going to be road tripping out of Northern Minnesota to a place like Washington D.C., I was excited to try out some of the new photography techniques that I've been learning about... controlling lighting foreground/background using the inverse square law and off camera flash, controlling the light angle and getting more depth and dimension in my photos. So, I brought my camera body, three lenses, a Nikon SB80 Speedlight, a mini-tripod for the camera, a light stand, a 60 inch convertible shoot through/reflective umbrella, and extra batteries. I quickly found out that you're not going to shoot any good pictures if you're not out to shoot good pictures... simple statement, but let me explain. My main purpose for going on this trip was to watch the hockey games. I didn't even take the umbrella and light stand out of the trunk of the car because I knew that if I took it out I'd have to carry it with me all day.
bridge1 A bridge near the Holocaust Museum Thank you Ryan for holding my flash on the other side of the memorial Thank you Ryan for holding my flash on the other side of the memorial I used a little off-camera flash to fill in the shadows
I used a little off-camera flash to fill in the shadows
I did manage to take some decent photos, but because I was traveling with three other people who were in D.C. to watch the games and do some sight seeing, we were so busy running from one place to another that it was hard to set-up for any well planned shots. There were a few instances where I did pull the flash out and have one of my fellow travelers hold the light as I moved around some of the monuments to photograph them... but honestly, everyone shoots the big statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting in his chair at the Lincoln Memorial, and if I wanted a good photo of him, I'm sure I could find some great photos on Flickr. I want something different. I also used the flash as a fill light as I was taking photos of my traveling partners for some outdoor shots. I put an omni-bounce head on the Speedlight and held the flash out as far as I could with my left hand as I took the photos with my right hand. Again, not the most creative shots, but it added enough light to get rid of the harsh shadows created by the sun and filled in their eye sockets with some fill light. The shots that I liked the best, were some of the natural light shots that I shot with my 50mm f1.4 lens, they had some nice depth of field. All-in-all I guess I learned that if you're going to go out thinking that you want to shoot good photos, you need to focus on taking good photos and not worry about the people around you, and feeling rushed because they want to keep on moving. I've also found that I am much more of a people photographer... I do like other photos as well, but I like people. They are just interesting to me. Plus, for me, if there is something worth photographing without people in it, most of the time, it seems that it's already been shot by photographers much better than I am. Now I realize that the photo to the right here is not a "great" example of a people shot. This was just a quick shot, like most from this day, that did not get much thought because we were rushing from one place to another so fast and photography was not my main purpose for being there. I just wanted to post this photo to show a shot where I did use an off camera flash to add some fill light. I guess one question that I have to ask myself is... "Self, how do I go about shooting people in great shots, without being a burden to them?" Do I ask a subject to go with me on a "photo shoot" and let them know that I want to focus on photographing them... it may take time to set up my shots and experiment to see what I like and don't like? Do I go out on the streets and photograph random people? I think to get good shots, at least someone who is just starting out like me, I need to be willing to take the time to set things up the way I want them, and if I plan on getting good shots, I have to make the photography my main reason for being out so that I am not rushed in going from one place to another. As far as subjects go... I think that it could be anyone, either people that come along with me as photo subjects, or random people that I meet while shooting. I do, however, need time to think through what I want to do on the shoot, and have time to properly execute the shot(s). Just a random thought, after a long road trip (24 hours driving out there, and 22 hours coming back.)

I'll leave you with my "Where's Sponge Bob?" shot

I'll leave you with my "Where's Sponge Bob?" shot.

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