Shooting

Photog-ing is a time consuming process. You have to have the time to scout locations to do some shooting. You require time to plan out the framing and composition of what you’re about to shoot. You have so little time to tweak your setting to ensure you have a properly exposed shot, before the shot disappears. You need time to sift through the numerous shots you’ve taken, to see which ones are passably acceptable. You must be patient with your time to edit your photos in post-processing. At the end of it all, through this entire process, you may come out with just a handful of shots that you’re actually satisfied with. Looking at it, you can finally release that long bated breath that you’ve been unconsciously holding, admiring all your hard work come to fruition. Or so the hope goes.

Seeing as how I’ve been on Winter Break, a break filled with nothing but time, a friend and I managed to find ourselves wandering the streets in search of an opportune vantage point that beckoned to us. Our first stop was the 88 steps located in Monterey Park, which was led into by a small unnoticable alleyway. The top of the steps are almost like a backdoor exit for an elementary’s school baseball field, but this small area that’s not fenced off provides for a beautiful view of the SGV.

We reached the area just as there was a small break between the clouds that just seemed to perfectly expose the mountains off in the distance. Unfortunately for me, having been so out of practice (my last time out w/ my camera was probably back in April when my friend and I previous went running around LA), I had the foresight to bring along my tripod, only to forget the tripod attachment for my camera, in addition to leaving the wireless remote/shutter as well. So my best shot of this view had to be done by hand, which came out less than amazing. As usual, all images can be found on my smugmug.

Our next destination that I had in mind was the 6th street bridge in dtLA. I’ve always heard of how iconic it is, but even though I live in/around LA, I’ve never really taken the time to appreciate it. This  location became even more interesting as, while researching, I read that the bridge was scheduled to be demolished/rebuilt soon, due to structural instability in the event of an earthquake, or so I’m told. In trying to find a site that would provide a good view of said landmark, we found ourselves on the 7th street bridge, which was just a hop, skip, and a jump away. I’d venture to say that this wasn’t the best place to try and shoot the 6th street bridge (all my internet browsing left me grasping at air), but we were able to have some fun in the middle of the street. =X

Disappointed and ready to seek another place out, we hopped into my car and proceeded to drive away. Not too far off however, I noticed a lil thoroughfare that led to train tracks that was adjacent to the viaduct that all these bridges run over. We ended up spending quite a bit of time here, what with the many train rails, several abandoned train cars, and a wall full of tagged up graffiti. I was having some trouble with my camera’s autofocus at this time, so some of my shots came out out of focus. Which really irks me. (Additional note to self: check ISO before the start of any shooting! I was shooting at ISO 1000 for most of the night, which is great in low light situations, but there are other ways to compensate for that. I was so disappointed to see all the grainage that was evident upon closeups of my shots. Yes, noob mistake. But that’s how we learn, eh?)

There was this really long wall of graffiti on the side of what seemed to be an unloading bay or facility of whatever of sorts. I think one of my coolest shots of the night was a shot I got of myself (using the wireless remote) using this wall as a backdrop. Granted, as a suburban kid living in a bubble within a bubble within a bubble, I have no idea what any of these tag marks are or what they represent. Nonetheless, it was pretty cool to see what some may call urban decay on display, and how vivid a disparity this provides juxtaposed against the small quiet suburbs not 20 minutes away from here.

Upon departing here, we remembered an abandoned hospital we saw enroute to our bridge shooting locations, and we thought it could potentially be another fun site to scout out. I took a few shots, but ultimately wasn’t too impressed with what I was able to come up with. I know the limitations when it comes to shooting usually doesn’t lie with the equipment but in the hands of the one using the equipment. I’d like to say that, perhaps, I can lay 10% of the blame for some of my shots on my gear, seeing as how I shot the entire night with a Canon 30D w/ a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 lens. But the newer models with their clearer images at high ISOs and better/new processors and bigger sensors only serve to cover up inadequacies in one’s shooting technique, so it was a humbling reminder that I still have a lot of room to grow. Which means I just need to get out there and shoot some more.

But alas, we come back to the issue of time. And even though I have so much of it right now, it still feels as if I have none of it. This doesn’t even qualify as a first world problem, I think. Anywho.

I leave you all with a panoramic shot stitched together from several frames taken atop the 88 steps, overlooking the SGV at night. Not the most amazing shot you’ll ever see, but not too bad a shot either to give you a glimpse of how wide and expansive the SGV is. This links to the image on my smugmug, at size X3, because I don’t want to put it here to stretch out this site any further, and creating a link to the original size would be much too large.

p.s. I just noticed all three images I have on here have a center subject (that may or may not be entirely centered/straight/horizontal). So much variety right? I’m working on it.

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