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Improving Your Eye for Photography and Going out to Shoot

These past few days I have caught myself shooting a lot more than usual. When I am not working, I still get the urge to go out and shoot, whether I take out the drone, my Nikon, or the little Micro 4/3 camera. Recently, I have been shooting tons of aerial photography and I finally decided to ease off a bit and shoot with my Nikon some more; I’ve realized how much fun it is to just create awesome images with any camera. I think that getting out there and shooting whatever it is you want to shoot is something that drives you as a photographer and can really help improve your eye for photography in general.

Last week a buddy of mine who now goes to graduate school at Temple University called me and asked what I was up to Sunday. I didn’t have anything going on at the time so I mentioned to him I was free. He is also someone who enjoys photography so he brought up going to the top of the Rockefeller in New York City. This to me sounded like a great idea, it was something I had always wanted to photograph, but not something I ever got to doing. So I decided to say the hell with it and go out to New York to grab some sweet photos of the city during sunset.

We got to New York, parked the car in the garage, and walked out to Rockefeller Center. We arrived around 4:00 p.m. to buy tickets and get in line to go to the top. I brought my Nikon D610 and D750 with a 24-70mm f/2.8 and an 80-200mm f/2.8 (old school lens and still my favorite). We get to the top of the building around 4:30 p.m. or so and decide to get out to the top deck immediately so we didn’t miss anything. At 30 degrees and 70 stories up, it really was a bit chilly and the sunset was farther away than expected. With more and more people coming up every minute hogging all the good spots to shoot, we stayed up there waiting for the sun to fall as we switched back and forth between lenses.

I had one shot in mind this entire time and that was the classic, wide city view. However, that didn’t hold to be true for long. While I was up there, I found this one glass panel that gave off a cool reflection of the Empire State Building with the Freedom Tower in the back and I knew this was the shot I needed to get. It is funny because I took this picture first on my phone and walked away thinking it was cool, then I remembered I had brought my camera, so why not knock it out of the park with that? We both went to town shooting and had a blast with it until it was finally dark. We got the shots we went up for and then decided to grab some food from BRGR (awesome burger place in New York) and make our way back home to go through all the photos.

From this excursion I had, I realized that I went to take one specific, classic top of the Rock photo and while I was there, I ended up trying to be more creative to get something that I hadn’t seen done before. This isn’t just the case for this one situation, but rather something that applies to anyone’s photography. It is so helpful to go out and shoot whenever you can, however you want. Try new things out, take risks, and be creative. It is that little bit of effort we put into the photos we take that helps separate us from the other photographers out there. Everyone sees things differently, so express them how you think they should be expressed and create images that have meaning to you. No matter how much I involve myself in photography, I still love it way too much.

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David Wilder's picture

Nice read. It is so easy to fall into a slump and not shoot. Call it creative block, laziness or what ever. The best thing to do is shoot through it. Inspiration, as you saw, only happens when you are open to it. Getting out of the house and shooting opens your mind to the possibilities. Great advice!!

Ty Poland's picture

Thanks David! I catch myself doing this more often than I should which is why I do my best to go out as much as I can and shoot, even if I am shooting the same thing again and again. There are always ways to improve and I think that this is one of the best ways to get out there and do that.

user 65983's picture

Nice! I am going to be in NYC in April and I want to find some roofs to shoot from. The problem with Rockefeller is the cost and the amount of people there.

Ty Poland's picture

I would definitely recommend going to the top of the Rock, I think it is $40 at the most and when you get the ticket, you can stay up there however long you want. The only thing you can't really control is the amount of people that will be up there haha

user 65983's picture

That's the prob. Pushing though people to try to get a decent shot.

Suzette Barnett's picture

Ty! These shots are fantastic! There's usually plenty around us to get inspired by, we just have to go. And I love that even when you have a specific shot in mind, you still find something you didn't see earlier ;)

Ty Poland's picture

Thank You Suzette!!

Lukas Petereit's picture

True words. Sometimes you have to get out of the box. There are so many ways to capture your favorite object, but most people just copy the frame of other people. Creativity is key.

Ty Poland's picture

Thanks Luke! Creativity is key!

Ralph Hightower's picture

Thanks. Multiple cameras work. I have three SLR cameras, one is loaded with B&W film, the other with color, and the other is loaded with ones and zeros (digital).

Bonnie Strunk's picture

Most of the time people are not able to capture the best photography. But if they becoming optimistic to learn how to shoot best things then they are capable of shooting out of wonderful photos.