What I love most about photography is that there is always something to learn, something to try, or ways to gain a new perspective on something you’ve shot hundreds of times. It is extremely comforting to review images that I shot two, three, four years ago and see how much my work has changed. There are even photos from this time last year that are much different from what I’ve shot this summer. One of my biggest learning experiences has included the Chicago skyline and fireworks. Naturally, I decided to head down to Navy Pier on Independence Day to use my skills on shooting these subjects.
While waiting for the fireworks to begin, I had plenty of time to shoot the skyline and the harbor. I can’t count how many times I’ve sat down by the Adler Planetarium admiring the skyline. Sometimes I’d be carrying a camera phone, occasionally a point and shoot, and most recently a Canon DSLR. I’d click the shutter, hope for the best and move on to the next thing. I never really used patience in my work. Up until recently, I didn’t fully understand the importance of waiting and being patient. I think the above image of the skyline showcases this change in my work big time. I couldn’t have placed that seagull in the left. There was no way I could have moved the boat. I just had to wait for the scene to match my vision. I think it makes the image much more interesting.
The sun dips below the horizon. Cue fireworks. I remember very clearly my days of hand holding a point and shoot, waiting until JUST the right moment, hitting the shutter and…. discovering yet another strange, unidentifiable blob on my screen. Fast forward to July 2012. I’ve got my tripod and my cable release. Shooting fireworks has gone from frustrating to fun! I’ve learned the importance of framing the fireworks with another strong element, and how to dial in for the bursts. Photography is about reading and learning. About not being afraid to ask questions and be given answers you feel YOU should have thought of. I’ve heard it said that you’re only a “beginner” once and that you should use it to your fullest advantage. That is exactly what I’m doing and I could not be happier with my progress thus far. I hope to come a long way from where I am now and never stop honing my skills.