Capturing the Moment

1-26-11 Photo of the Day: Urban Vines


We live in this jungle of brick and mortar; steel and copper vines creeping ever upward towards the heavens.


8 responses

  1. risewiththesun

    I like the name for this photo “Urban Vines” I hadn’t thought about wires in such a way and it seems so fitting now. I really like the brick next to the pipes.

    Just out of curiosity, I’d like to know how you got into photography? I realized my passion about a year ago and always wonder what it’s like for other photographers. 🙂

    January 26, 2011 at 12:23 am

  2. Many thanks Risewiththesun!

    I always had a general interest in photography. About two years ago I decided that my point and shoot just wasn’t enough for me. So I sold some things and took the plunge into the world of DSLR photography with the Canon 40D.

    Ever since, the world has really opened up to me in an artistic way. And I’ve loved every step of the journey.

    Photography is, for me, a passion. One that I embrace. Art is waiting to be found everywhere. It’s our duty, and privilege, as photographers to set it free.

    How about you? What got you so passionate about your photography a year ago? I’d love to know. 😀

    January 26, 2011 at 9:45 am

  3. risewiththesun

    I think I’ve always loved taking photos and I appreciated it more when I was studying abroad (though still with a point and shoot). I starting using a dSLR to take more “professional” photos for my mom’s website and somehow through out that journey, I’ve inherited the camera itself. 🙂

    I always wonder where to draw the line for accessories though. There are always awesome lenses I feel like I should be using and external flashes and etc. I haven’t really taken classes and was wondering firstly, where do you draw the line in terms of camera equipment, and secondly have you taken classes?

    January 26, 2011 at 10:53 am

    • Nice. Inheriting a camera certainly imbues a bit more meaning to it for you. That’s always good, and it can bleed into your work.

      As far as accessories go, For a long time I was right there with you in the sentiment that I wanted to have everything. Now!

      Though, I’ve learned through patience and time that using what you have with you to make a great picture happen is better than owning all of the gadgets in the world.

      For example, a good external flash is a wonderful, I repeat, wonderful thing to have in your bag of tricks. But I made the conscious decision to wait a few months before getting one. The reason? It forced me to learn how to cope with not having one. I had to become more creative. I couldn’t rely solely on a good flash to get me out of bad lighting situations. It forced me to practice in low light, in darkness, and in fast motion situations.

      I’m a better photographer for it.

      And now that I have a good flash for my camera, I know how, and when, to use it, and when to leave it off.

      Simply put, don’t overly rely on tools to get you by. As Chase Jarvis,, is so keen to say. “The best camera is the one you have with you.”

      Oh, and by the way, I’ve only ever used the pop up flash on my camera twice in the entire time I’ve owned it. Neither shot turned out well. 🙂

      On the other hand, good lens glass is an amazing boon to producing a great image. That being said, they are extremely expensive. So it’s a balance.

      There are some things a $100 lens simply cannot do.

      But, at the same time, you can do amazing things with $100 glass.

      As for classes, I have taken a few from other photographers. They were highly beneficial. I’ve found that I can learn something from anyone willing to teach me.

      I haven’t had any formal training. Just a lot of blood, sweat and sore index fingers. I’ve taken over 31,000 shots in the last two years. Because that’s the only way to really improve. I had to do it to make it happen.

      That’s where the passion comes in. That will to keep going. 🙂

      Thanks again, and, by the way, I really like the photos on your blog.

      January 26, 2011 at 11:19 am

  4. risewiththesun

    WOW I’M SO GLAD you said what you said regarding the lenses and the flashes. Thank you!

    I’ve been looking at a wide angle lens for awhile and still can’t get myself to purchase one. However, you are so RIGHT to learn to take photos with what you have. I do feel like I know my camera well because of this and I know how to take photos with what I have.

    As for the built-in flash, I totally agree. Not one photo has turned out well with it on! Why do they have one built-in in the first place?

    I’ve wondered if I should enroll in a class and some times I feel like I’m missing out on important information. But I do agree, I like to learn from anyone who is willing to teach me as well as a plethora of youtube tutorials!

    January 26, 2011 at 11:39 am

    • My lens bag contains a nifty Canon 50mm mk1. The best lens ever.

      The kit 18-55 lens. It’s pretty useful if a tad soft.

      A 28-105 as a backup catchall lens. Handy in a pinch.

      And a 75-300mm. Great for longer shots, and portraits when you want a massive amount of bokeh and have the room to stand back a ways.

      No L glass yet. Too expensive, although I’ve rented them a few times for weddings and whatnot.

      All of these lenses perform admirably. None of them are more than a few hundred dollars.

      If you have a crop sensor on your camera, I’m assuming it’s digital, then it would be a good idea to get a really wide angle lens.

      Consider that your camera will “see” a smaller angle of view than the actual lens is rated because of the crop factor. If you shoot with film, or a full frame digital, that’s not an issue.

      But, and this is a rough estimation, my 18mm lens actually gives me around a 35mm field of view. I still get the depth of field of 18mm, but less actual image area.

      So, going for an 11 or 12mm, or thereabouts, is a great way to get a good viewing angle for your landscape and wide angle shots.

      Consider a Tamron lens, or perhaps a Sigma. There’s nothing wrong with getting one of those, and you can usually find them on eBay or similar sites vastly cheaper than a stock Canon or Nikon lens.

      And don’t be afraid to take some classes.

      You never know what you might learn.

      Just don’t break the bank on any of it.

      A good rule of thumb for photography accessory purchases is to never spend more than you make with the photos you take.

      If you don’t make money with your photos, just use common sense in your buying decisions. Would you buy a coffee maker that costs as much as that lens? Do you have the available funds? Would it put you in a bad place financially? Or create an unnecessary burden on you?

      If not. Get the lens and go have fun!

      Hope that helps. 🙂

      January 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm

  5. risewiththesun

    That helps a ton! (thank you!!)

    I’m thinking of maybe renting a 12mm for a day or two and using it at different places to see how it turns out!

    I’m curious to know what you do in low light situations? Like indoors at night? What settings do you usually have? Especially without an external flash?

    And I’m so glad you recommended a Sigma. I’ve been looking at a few on Amazon and they’re third the price as of a canon lens!

    What are your favorite places to take photos? Or rather do you have a favorite?

    January 27, 2011 at 1:31 am

  6. Hey Risewiththesun,

    You definitely should rent that 12mm, you won’t be sorry you did.

    Go out and use it like it’s the last lens you’ll ever get to use.

    In low light situations I tend to set my ISO nice and high, usually around 1600. Because you can with today’s DSLR cameras without getting too much noticeable noise. If the noise is too high, check it down to the next level until you can no longer distinguish it.

    That being said, I still find myself not minding the occasional noisy image. Which leads me to the next thing I tend to do.

    Black & White images. When you are shooting in a dark place, many times it is necessary to set your camera with a low shutter speed, high ISO, the widest aperture your lens can accommodate, and, if you have the option, set it between +1 and +2.

    It also helps to set your white balance to the room first. If you plant to shoot Black & White, it’s best to set your balance to favor blues. That way you’ll pick up more detail in skin. Seem counter-intuitive? It is until you realize that setting a white balance to a more orange/red bias will tend to blow out detail in skin.

    This allows you to capture images in low light situations that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. But why did I mention Black & White and then go off on a tangent about settings?

    Because even though you may be able to capture a decent shot under these circumstances, many other times it will look better if you take away the color.

    Generally, and this is very general, pictures taken under low lighting circumstances without a flash tend to be a bit blurry. A less than crisp color photo is generally considered a no go, but you can get away with so much more, under the label of artistic license, with monochromatic images.

    Anyways, that’s just an option to play around with. I recommend shooting everything in color and using a program such as Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture to do your greyscale transformations. Always better to have the option of having it in color.

    Another trick you can use to your advantage when shooting indoors in a dark area is to focus your camera on the brightest object near your subject, hold that focus, and recenter on your subject. If you use autofocus in these situations this is extremely helpful. If you use manual focus, it helps as well because a more brightly lit object will be much simpler to focus on with your eye than a dimly lit one.

    I also find that using only the center focal point on the camera helps. That way you aren’t fighting the camera’s desire to focus on the brightest point in the room. You get to choose what you focus on, then recenter.

    I also set my camera to the ‘One Shot’ shutter setting. Which means it won’t attempt to change focus when I move my focal point around.

    My favorite places to take photos indoors or in the dark?

    I’d have to say concerts are a personal favorite. I love the challenge of shooting the crowd, because they move so fast, and the band, because the lighting is always so haphazard.

    A fun thing to try is to set your camera on a tripod, or any sturdy spot, and set it to a long exposure watching over the crowd. It can take a few attempts to get it right, but the results can be magical. You end up with a sea, nearly literally, of people. And if you do incorporate a flash into that you can freeze one element of the photo at the beginning while having the rest of it swim by. Something to try.

    Thanks for the interest and great talking with you!

    January 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm

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