My Hometown Looks Incredible Eerie During Winter Nights

Bacau-at-Night-Bogdabo-resized-5
So here’s the deal. I’ve been struggling to get back into photography for a while now

The reason I left? I’ve been struggling to get better at it.

I knew I really loved making pictures, I knew what my pictures should look like, but I just couldn’t make them. I just couldn’t find the right dial to turn on my camera, the right aperture, focus distance or ISO speed.

I wanted to convey a particular mood of the scene I was witnessing, I knew it would turn up a good photograph (maybe even great), but I couldn’t find the right settings to capture that moment. That feeling, actually.

I couldn’t work the light. And the light, as they say, is crucial to photography.

There’s a quote from Ira Glass relating to this struggle. Watch the video below; it’s exactly what I was going through (and still am). It’s frustrating as hell and discouraging and can be isolating, as you feel alone in your struggles with the craft your pursuing.

 

What you are doing is not that good

It has ambition to be good, but it’s not there yet. What you’re actually making in that stage is a disappointment to you. And it’s brutally painful to be disappointment by your own creation. Probably that how most parents feel. 

So that’s what I was going through some years back. And I quit. As I’ve previously said, I quit adding content to my photo blog on Blogger in 2013.

I’ve tried to get back, though. I’ve bought a macro lens somewhere in 2015 and I began trying again to scone my skills. Having a new focal length (90mm) and the nature of the lens (fixed focal) forced me to get out of my comfort zone and learn new stuff. It lasted me several months, barely.

Again, the frustration kicked in. Those superbly lit, incredibly sharp macro photos you see all over the net? Didn’t happen. It turns out, shooting macro photos handheld is incredibly difficult! As I didn’t had a tripod back then, the lens got less and less used.

After several portraits attempts (which, btw, the Tamron does a wonderful job at), I eventually sold it in exchange for a fixed focal 35 mm.

What’s ironic is that the old iPhone camera is the one that got me to shot photos again.

I know, I know, “Not a real photographer!” you say. But think about it. I was fed up with carrying a bulky, heavy DSLR camera with me all the time. I remember it got to the point where I would witness all events in my life through the camera’s viewfinder, out of fear of missing some important shot. That’s tiring.

Enter the lil’ ol’ iPhone camera. You already have the mobile phone with you, because we live in a world where we’re all connected, all the time. The gear is small enough not to bother you yet powerful enough to capture some interesting compositions.

OK, not that powerful. But together with the wide array of photo editing apps out there, even the most untrained and uninitiated photographer can snap interesting enough photography.

So this happened – I got interested in photography again

I began looking for cool subjects to shoot, searching for rays of light, interesting shadows and contrasting colours.

I started taking long walks after work, just to look for interesting aspects of day to day life I could capture. I began seeing everything with fresh eyes.

I guess reading a lot on creativity really inspired me, and it’s nice when you have so many creative people to siphon inspiration from.

Then it hit me. I was looking at it all wrong. The streets IS the interesting subject for my photography.

As I made it a habit to go for long walks after work, I realized my town had this weird, eerie, yet beautiful vibe about it.

During hard winter times (it can get as low as -20C/ -4F), people usually tend to stay inside, enjoying the warmth and coziness of their apartments. This leaves the town empty, quiet and cold.

I wanted to portray the feeling it gave me wandering the streets alone in winter’s bittering cold.

So I used cinematic filters build in Lightroom to convey the images a noir, dystopian look (I was shooting for that Blade Runner look).

As I shot more and more photographs, I really started to appreciate my small little town, with it’s quirkiness and dark, reserved character.

So I give you Bacau at night. Let the dark stillness of the winter nights inspire you!

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

 

10 Photography and Productivity Sites I Read

chase jarvis blog

I’ve been away for a while, mostly out working, doing side projects and learning new tricks. But my fingertips were itching for a new blog post, so I’ll give you a short one, bullet-point list style, as this kind of posts were raving all through 2016.

Keeping myself busy has been my mantra recently. I have really gotten into life hacks, productivity apps, reading a lot of self help books and tech blogs. Whenever I have some spare time, I tend to either open Pocket on my phone to catch up with my overdue reading list, or scribble down ideas for blog posts, or do 10 minutes of French on Duolingo.

I also began running a lot lately. I run, in case you didn’t know.

More importantly, I started street photography again. There’s a queue of “keepers” on my Lightroom timestrip that are dying to make out to Instagram. Soon…

I think all of this comes from the scary realisation that I have wasted years of my life on trivialities. Got caught up in the 9 to 5 routine (more like 9 to 7), heading home, grabing dinner and two bruskies in front of two or three episodes of House of Cards. Better yet, whole weekends were spent binging on the latest airings of insert favorite show here.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 sites I’ve read in 2016 (and still do), without any specific order:

1. Instagram

Instagram!?” I hear you screaming in disgust. “Is this a joke?” I kid you not, blog reader. I’ve been on Instagram for over a year now and I’ve been following some really influential photographers there. And it helped me a lot.

Instagram is a great place to meet creative people all over the world and build a small (or big) community centered around photography and the visual arts. I learned a lot about composition, framing, landscape photography and how to build a fanbase.

If you can find your way to the talented people out there on the social network, it can become a wonderful tool for inspiration in photography.

link to bogdabo's Instagram feed

My Instagram Feed

2. Medium

Wait, I know what you are thinking. This is not a photography website. Wrong. The same as Instagram, there are tons of publishers on Medium wanting to get their content out into the world. You just need to find the ones that interest you the most. Vantage is just one example.

link to photography blog Vantage on Medium.com

medium.com/vantage

Anyway, I haven’t put Medium on the list for photography.

It’s the life changing (yes, I used that phrasing) content from people like Garyvee, Benjamin Hardy, David Heinemeier Hansson, James Altucher, etc that’s of real value to me. Please give it a shot and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

3. Digital Photography School

Admittedly, I don’t browse it much any longer, but I had to put it here because I’ve grew up with it. Back in the days, when I bought my first DSLR, a Sony Alpha A200, I used to devour the site. I knew all the articles.

Darren Rose created the site to help fellow photographers getting started with digital photography and it grew into a behemoth over the years. Definitely your number one site to go to if you are just starting in photography.

link to photography website https://digital-photography-school.com

digital-photography-school.com

4. and 5. Chase Jarvis – His Blog and CreativeLive

Chase Jarvis is an award-winning American photographer, director, artist, and entrepreneur”. That’s straight up from his bio, other attempts to try and describe him would be utterly useless.

He’s one of the first photographers that stuck with me since my beginnings and I’m still reading his blog for inspiration.

link to chase jarvis' blog

chasejarvis.com/blog/

He’s also the man behind CreativeLive – hence the number 5 on our list –  an online education platform targeting creatives. You can find there tons of courses, tutorials, workshops and whatnot, in vast areas from the creative industry (photography, video, design, audio, music, etc) both free and paid.

It’s a great tool to keep your creative muscles flexed.

link to the education platform creativelive.com

creativelive.com

6. James Altucher

I’ve mentioned him before at number 2, but I believe he deserves a separate spot. He’s been a real inspiration to me, particularly in making better career and life choices.

He’s an entrepreneur, a writer, a millionaire, a bankrupt, a millionaire again, a bestselling author, a hedge fund manager, a blogger, a podcaster and many, many other things.

PS: I think I might’ve copied his writing style a bit. 

link to james altucher's website

jamesaltucher.com

7. Eric Kim’ Blog

A staple of street photography, eric Kim is a Hanoi based photographer with a huge talent for capturing captivating moments on the street.

He started as an amateur photographer, building his blog while working in a company, and making street photos in his time off. His blog became a major success and now he tries to educate people on the art of photography through his workshops and books.

He’s another big inspiration that helped me move past the fear of approaching strangers in the street and really start making photos.

link to street photographer's eric kim's blog

erickimphotography.com/blog/

8. Casey Neistat

More a Youtube personality than a photographer, Casey Neistat is a vlogger amassing a large number of followers on his channel. His videos are smart, creative, witty and have a sick soundtrack.

As many other artists on this list, he started from humble beginnings, moving to New York to follow his own path. He got a job washing dishes, bought a Mac computer and a camera with his savings, and started shooting and editing short clips in his spare time, on the streets of the Big Apple. Shortly after Youtube has launched, he started posting his clips online and the rest is history.

Some people disprove him as a hipster with a Youtube channel (which, in fact, is actually true) that charges a fortune to influence people to buy stuff over social media (which is also true), but he has a way of directing that really stands out.

He took Nike’s money, flew all over the world until his budget ran out, filmed everything and made it an ad. And it’s ridiculously good. Give it 4 and a half minutes:

9. Fstoppers

Your go-to site for news about photography. It’s a humongous community of both amateur and professional photographers, reaching over 1.5 million photographers and around 4 million pageviews a month.

I need not say more. Bookmark it now!

link to photography site fstoppers.com

fstoppers.com

10. Dpreview

This is the site that I used to read BEFORE I even bought a DSLR camera.  It’s the go-to place for in depth camera/lens reviews, having the most comprehensive database of consumer digital cameras in the world.

Their reviews are professional, in-depth, unbiased, full of pertinent tests and real-world performance analysis. They were bought by Amazon in 2017 so, well… I don’t know why I brought that up.

You need to buy a new dslr camera but you’re not sure what suites you? Hit the link below:

link to photography camera review website dpreview.com

dpreview.com

The End

There you go, 10 of the most frequented/loved sites that I read.

The list is totally subjective, as you might have guest, so you might find some of them not quite your style.

The list is also not complete, as I’ve omitted some other interesting sites due to laziness.

Stay posted though, I have a few more articles lined up that I think you’ll like.

Cheers!