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!