While choosing locations for our photo escapades, we usually prefer less-travelled roads. However, some places offer such visual temptation that skipping them would cause us sleepless nights.
Therefore, during our last photo trip of 2014, we couldn’t resist visiting the famous Alcatraz Island. We knew that we had to take the first sailing of the day to avoid the crowds and get the best possible light (although night tours would be even better).
Each time Kasia and I approach such a popular location, our objective is to capture the place in “our own way,” avoiding clichéd shoots. After all, we photographers should always try to contribute something new and personal to an already huge body of work.
We found that the best way to get creative is to limit your gear to a minimum. One camera and one lens is the best solution. We went for the Fuji X100T and X-T1 with the XF 14mm F2.8 lens. If I were alone, I would probably go with the X100T only.
In a compact location with such rich visuals, we found that composition, light and creativity are the key components of an interesting image. I often see photographers standing in one spot and shooting images like a madman with the proviso that “I am sure I will get something.” DON’T DO IT. It is the wrong way to approach photography. You will get a lot of junk and a little bit of mediocre imagery.
A good photograph requires a lot of mental and physical effort. The way we work is that we always look for composition and light first, without even touching the camera. Then when I visualize something interesting, I usually look into the viewfinder (still no pressing of shutter buttons) and examine a scene for its potential. If I like what I see, I start composing, which usually means changing my position in relation to a scene. I try to go as high or low as I can and walk around the scene. In most cases, I just walk away without taking a photograph. It just doesn’t work. However, if I find a great composition (more about this in later posts) and match it with interesting light, only then do I press the shutter button.
We had only about three hours to walk around and try to create imagery that would be worth keeping. Given the dark nature of the place we thought to shoot in B&W and the latest film simulation from Fuji – Classic Chrome.
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