Change of scenery is good, or so they say. As a small child, I distinctly remember the day I interrupted my parents during a discussion they were having about something that now escapes me. Over and over I kept hearing sentences beginning with “They say”. So I finally interrupted with the question “who are they“? My father replied “The experts.”
You can imagine my small, below-age ten mind conjuring up the scene of a large room with Experts sitting around a large table, handing missives to their staff to dispense to who knows who. Perhaps into thin air for an unsuspecting soul to wander into the mist of the knowledge.
So while I am drawn to landscape and water (with a smattering of plant) subject matter, once I became comfortable with my infrared cameras (a Nikon D800 and a D750 each converted to capture different parts of the infrared spectrum of light), I pondered “what about architecture.” How would an IR image be different than making a visible light (color) image and converting that color image in processing software to black and white?
I have long been a fan girl of the black and white architectural work of Julia Anna Gospodarou and Joel Tjintjelaar (although as far as I know, they don’t shoot infrared). And since I live less than 50 miles from the City that Never Sleeps (New York, NY), I was waiting for an opportunity to head into “the City” (as we say in these parts) and, photographically speaking, stretch my wings.
A couple weekends ago, I was lucky to spend most of a long, summer day with Eduard Moldoveanu in New York City. He shoots a lot. Every weekend he has plans to go shooting something and his work encompasses a variety of different subjects. He has shot extensively in the World Trade Center area. He was most anxious to return to The Oculus to shoot. What did I know? He was the The Expert for the day. He led. I followed.
The Oculus is an amazing structure (located near the Freedom Tower and the Ground Zero Memorial) that is the entrance to the PATH (transit train) which runs between lower Manhattan and New Jersey. Check out all the particulars on Wikipedia here for the designer, history, (gulp) cost, and some very lovely color photographs.
All that being said, the space is a graphic delight. We arrived before 8am on a Saturday morning and had the concourse to ourselves (because we were not there during commuter hours). Imagine standing on 40,000 square feet of white Italian marble. I thought I was walking on the ice surface of the world’s largest NHL hockey arena. The space was filled with natural light through the 700+ glass panels measuring an average of 50 square feet each.
As with new construction on any scale these days (ask me: I am in the throes of house renovations), it is behind schedule and over budget. Even on Saturday, we had to avoid construction workers doing their best to get this beast finished. Most of the complex opened to the public earlier this year. Put it on your photographic bucket list.
I need to find my processing style with this “new to me” subject matter. First attempts were fails. The work didn’t feel right and I am not too sure what I am presenting here will be my final versions. Consider them sketches.
I am grateful that I can always return to the RAW files and reprocess them once I figure out the processing I need to do to get the end result that is in my head. This has always been my Waterloo. I’ve made great strides over the years. I find that I can only absorb bits and pieces when studying. And I lean on those who are more proficient at it than me, grateful for their patience and tutelage when I ask questions. Eventually, the experts’ words of wisdom seep into my grey crainial matter and stick. And then I feel as proud and excited as the day I got my driver’s license.
There is so much to learn that I empathize with those photographers who are not as far down the rabbit hole as the rest of us: gear, software, processing, more gear, printing, tutorials, videos, workshops, more software followed by more gear. Rinse and repeat.
But all that comes with digital photography shouldn’t put anyone off. After all, you are just starting to spread your wings and try something new. The experts say that learning new things as you age, rewires your brain and prevents dementia.
If that is true, I shall live to be 150 years old with my mind intact because that is how long it will take me to get through all the how-to photography tutorials and on-line workshops I have on my To Do List.
So in the name of Ansel, get out there and shoot something different. Get out of your comfort zone, off the couch, and spread your wings. Look at Eduard’s portfolio. He’s got a huge wingspan. You, too, can fly.