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06-25-2014, 07:58 PM   #1
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What should I take pictures of?

So I've had my camera for going on two months now and have tried taking as many photos of as many different things as I can. Gone on hikes, gone to parks, even gone to a music festival. Problem is, I feel like I've run out of things to photograph. I live in a boring suburb of Cleveland filled with useless stores, houses, condos, apartments, factories, and car dealerships. The landscape here is flat and boring, the parks are either trees or open mowed fields, and the two rivers that are nearby are wide and featureless. There aren't even flowers at the parks around here (unless I pay $65 to join a private type park). I have a baby, I get home from work at 4:00pm, and we have one car. It's hard for me to drive 30-45 minutes to get to somewhere a little more interesting (countryside, downtown, etc) I can only take so many pictures of sparrows, geese, trees, and my baby. I don't have a macro lens so the few wildflower around here are not to exciting to photograph.
So what can I go and take pictures of? I love hotdog rapt so far but am feeling very underwhelmed with my uninspiring subjects. I did love shooting at the music festival though. But financially, it's not feasible to take advantage of very often.
Thanks and sorry for the long post.


Last edited by Another dyemention; 06-26-2014 at 07:42 AM.
06-25-2014, 08:05 PM   #2
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If you think of all that uninspiring stuff as colorful shapes with great shadows, you'll have plenty to shoot.
06-25-2014, 08:08 PM   #3
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I think that is sort of my problem. My lack of experience and knowledge. I've seen pictures of leaves on a branch that looked better than my best pictures. I just don't know what to look for. Or more specifically, how to look at my surroundings.
06-25-2014, 08:30 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Maybe it's time to do some more reading about composition, light, working the scene, etc and simplify things with the goal of improving your images regardless of subject. Your baby as a subject alone could allow a ton of possibilities as far as composition, lighting, and styles of portraiture, etc and makes a lot of sense given your busy schedule.

06-25-2014, 08:33 PM   #5
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Sometimes editing can take a lame photo and make it into something
06-25-2014, 08:41 PM   #6
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Buy a book!!! Ive read several times Mr. Freeman rights good books about composition, eyeing, etc.. It will help you a lot
06-25-2014, 08:47 PM   #7
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One thing that is helping me is that I realize this: Photography is art.

It obviously can be photographing something exciting and cool, but it also can be about composition, lighting, shadows, and many other elements... which you... the photographer has to put together into an image to make it appealing.
06-25-2014, 09:02 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Another dyemention Quote
I think that is sort of my problem. My lack of experience and knowledge. I've seen pictures of leaves on a branch that looked better than my best pictures. I just don't know what to look for. Or more specifically, how to look at my surroundings.
Having grown up in one of those boring Cleveland suburbs, I understand your point and you're exactly right about understanding it's a lack of experience and knowledge. The other response you got, about seeing things, is the key. Turns out, making good or great photographs isn't easy, takes some learning and practice and work.

The light there in greater Cleveland, and the shapes and the people are just the same as Paris or Oahu. Visiting family a few years ago, I escaped the day after Christmas to wander about the downtown Cleveland lakefront. Just let go, leave your ego somewhere and don't worry about making bad pictures. Pay attention to what gets your attention. Take time to see what it is.

Learn your gear so it's not in the way. Understand that light has only 4 properties: intensity, color, quality ( hard & soft) and most importantly, direction. Invest your time in watching all the free videos at B&H event space after kids are down. Find a copy of Bryan Petersons "Understanding Exposure", it's most of what you need.

You need to understand exposure and composition and finally, after you take enough photos, you'll take the Magic Image, what Marines call the Magic Round, when the shooter finally gets all the muscles connected to the brain and it shifts from 90% skill and 10% confidence to 90% confidence and 10% skill and you're hitting the target..

Its all there and you don't need lots of expensive gear. With a tripod & time, you could make the corner of the garage an interesting story. The real problem is, there is too much to see, to much input so you have to learn how to see past the clutter.















Last edited by Brooke Meyer; 06-25-2014 at 09:08 PM.
06-25-2014, 09:20 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
With a tripod & time, you could make the corner of the garage an interesting story. The real problem is, there is too much to see, to much input so you have to learn how to see past the clutter.
Exactly! I'm so inspired by Bill Gekas who creates truly amazing pictures having his daughter as a model. Talking about babies, they never can be a boring subject.
And check what a boring place he's using for his art.
Bill Gekas Photography Blog: Laundrette... the idea, the space, the light.

He has blown my mind, so I set the camera on tripod, and ended up with tons of boring pictures and hurting back It's no as easy as it may look.
So, there are so many challenges around.
06-25-2014, 09:21 PM   #10
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More Stuff?

Hello AD, welcome to the Forum!
As others have said, photo ops are everywhere, if you learn to look. Whether it's colors, shapes or designs, it's there.
But it certainly helps to have interesting scenes to start with, and interpret in your own style. Also, a bit of reading about composition will help;
10 rules of photo composition (and why they work) | Digital Camera World
Beyond that, you may be somewhat held back by gear limitations, too. Do you have any prime lenses? If not, I'd suggest looking at a (used) fifty, perhaps a Pentax M or A 50mm f/1.7. Probably less than $100 in good shape. Although it's more work to use (and slower, also) than a modern lens, you will see a very different result, too. One you may come to enjoy more.
For future music events, look for a short telephoto prime, 85mm, 100mm, 135mm in M or A smc Pentax, or a few select 3rd-party teles. This will allow those great tight close-up shots at a wider aperture (resulting at lower ISO, usually) than the zooms. Sharper, too. Lighter, also. Can you tell I like primes?
That fifty and a short tele will be great for candids of the baby, as well.
And stay on the lookout for a fast 24mm, 28mm or 35mm prime at a good price. Another fast prime and you literally double the shooting ops, because low-light and slow apertures aren't stopping you.
I believe a better understanding of composition, form and color, along with a couple useful and fast primes will peak your imagination.
jmo,
Ron
06-25-2014, 09:26 PM   #11
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Pick a theme. Letterboxes, road signs, lamps - whatever. Then think about how many different ways you can shoot that subject and commit to making at least one image every day. Get up early, stay up late. Get close with a macro, do a telephoto from across the road. Shoot low angles, high angles, shallow depth of field, light painting at night. Experiment with post-processing, multiple exposures, focus stacking, panoramic stitches - whatever can keep it fresh.

Or pick a lens and use it exclusively for a month, mindfully working your way through its full repertoire - at minimum focal distance and infinity, wide open and stopped down, for portraits and landscapes or action shots. Join a "Single In" challenge and feed off the enthusiasm of other participants, and learn from them.

Most importantly, have a camera with you all the time.
06-25-2014, 09:37 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeepThrob Quote
If you think of all that uninspiring stuff as colorful shapes with great shadows, you'll have plenty to shoot.
This is the best advice I can think of if you're asking this question. If you're not predisposed to seeing inspiration in the subject matter or the colours or the lighting that's in front of you, you need to change your mindset - or change hobbies

QuoteOriginally posted by Another dyemention Quote
I've seen pictures of leaves on a branch that looked better than my best pictures
You can read books about composition and stuff which is maybe an okay place to start - but I would recommend using your own eye and trust your gut. All the composition rules are based on what makes things look pleasing to the eye, usually figured out by greek mathematicians millenia ago, but they are generalised and don't take into account things like tonal weighting and intent (conveying feeling) etc, and if you spend time trying to remember and follow rules you won't develop your eye. Your eye already knows what is pleasing to it (it's what the rules are based on after all).

For inspiration about how and what you can photograph, just browse some galleries and check out other peoples photos. I often find the best photos that appeal to me personally are rather simple in subject matter - sometimes of nothing important at all. It's more about how those shapes and colours interact with each other on that confined space known as a picture. But then I'm a lover of abstract art.

Try squinting through the view finder, or as you walk around to blur shapes into the abstract. Try not to look too deranged if you turn your screwed up fact to observe other people in public - you may frighten the fauna away, potentially losing a good photo opportunity.

Here's an exercise: try taking photographs from around your garden and home - without going out to look for amazing photo opportunities. If you can learn how to look at the ordinary things you've seen a thousand times before in a different way, the larger world will be a goldmine of possibilities compared to that tiny space.

Best of luck! I hope you find that inspiration.
06-25-2014, 09:56 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
If you're not predisposed to seeing inspiration in the subject matter or the colours or the lighting that's in front of you, you need to change your mindset - or change hobbies
It has been two month between work, baby, and camera. Only two month. Don't be so cruel
06-25-2014, 10:26 PM   #14
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The emphasis was supposed to be more on the inspirational angle and a little less on the "piss off and go find a new hobby" angle

Just adding one more important thing: gear. Don't mistake me here. Better, expensive gear won't suddenly bestow you with the magical ability to take amazing pictures. But DIFFERENT gear might help you find some inspiration.

If you're going to be taking photographs of "boring" things, it's going to help to have a fast lens. It will help you isolate your subject from the background allowing you to capture that simplistic beauty, instead of having a busy picture, where everything is fighting for attention.

Macro is also a good one for that. You already have a macro lens by the looks of things, so potentially you are already sorted in that area. If you are using kit lenses though, you probably won't have a fast one (probably 3.5-5.6) so getting a faster lens is probably going to change your game the most. Otherwise you could look at extension tubes to increase your macro options and are quite cheap at about $30 or less I think.

If you're financially strapped, you can buy a simple old school manual 50mm 1.4 lens from ebay for around $20 iirc.
06-25-2014, 10:39 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I know exactly how you feel. I've only had my K200D since the first of may. One thing I did was to jump into the Single in June challenge. And let me tell you it's been a challenge. I've found though that I've gotten some decent pictures by just having the camera with me and shooting random things. I keep thinking I'm going to run out of things to shoot but I haven't yet. Everyday things that you tend to ignore look totally different through the view finder. Another thing I find fun is the alphabet game here. I find myself looking for different items for the letters every day.
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