Second part of my trip to Washington DC.
My first time in Washington DC. We visit Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument... and many other popular spots in the capital.
We are on the road again, and we share a few thoughts about the nomadic lifestyle we've had over the last 2 years. From Chicago, Illinois, where I also make some images.
We left Indiana a few days ago. On our way back to Europe we'll be stopping by 4 big cities: Chicago, Washington DC, New York City and Amsterdam.
Actually, we've almost completed half of this tour: I'm writing this from Arlington, VA, as we are getting ready to leave for the big apple later today.
The image above pictures the Washington Monument. I made it yesterday, and I think I've got a few more with some potential. Photographing big cities is not my natural habitat but I'm having a lot of fun so far.
I still have a few more days left on this trip, and until then everything will be a bit slower around here. See you out there!
This is a 10-minute long exposure under pouring rain and next to hundreds of cars and trucks stuck in rush hour. The conditions were perfect, though, I had been waiting for a day like this for months. When I finally got the chance to create the image I had envisioned, I wasn't going to pass on it.
I'm glad I didn't. This is still one of my favorite images, the first print I've ever sold and now, part of the Image of the Month collection.
Take advantage of the promotional price for the first 30 days, it will never be this cheap again!
Remember: there are two sizes to choose from, 6x6 and 8x8 (inches). In both cases, the matt and frame are 12x12 (this means a bigger margin for the 6x6 print).
Shipping is free to the US. International shipping is a flat rate of $14.95.
A new image will be released every month and offered at a reduced price during that time. After 30 days, it will be sold at full price. They will never be on sale at any time in the future, the rate during the first month will be the lowest, ever.
want to know more?
You can find more information about how I create my images and all the details about pricing on The Art and Craft behind my prints.
A short video with a few tips about tripods.
Nobody sees the barn. Once you've seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn.
They're not here to capture an image, we're here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces an aura... We've agreed to be part of a collective perception. A religious experience in a way, like tourism...
They are taking pictures of taking pictures.
Second part of the mini-series "A day in the life". I show you what I do on a slow day.
As an APS-C shooter, I was interested in what Sony had to announce today. These are some of my thoughts on the new a6100 and a6600:
- Both cameras have 1:1 aspect ratio!!! Finally, after all these years.
- The a6100 looks like a wonderful camera, a true successor to my beloved a6000. The pricing and the feature set put it too close to the supposedly superior a6400, though. Should we expect a price decrease soon after launch?
- The a6600 is a minor update to the a6500. Price was expected, but I was hoping for a price drop on the a6500.
- Nice to see the Z battery making it to APS-C, but I don't understand why they didn't use it in the a6100 and a6400 as well. Now we have models within the same line that use incompatible batteries. Being able to use the same batteries is one of the greatest advantages of my combo a6000 + a6500. Maybe they see the a6600 as a b-camera to a full-frame body?
I have no need for a new camera as of right now, but if I had to buy one (for stills)... which one would it be?
To be honest, I'd just go for another a6000. At $400 is half the price of the a6100, I think it's still one of the best deals in photography. Now, it's still unclear how much they've improved the sensor and the processing capabilities. The a6000 does suffer of some banding, and it'd be nice to know those issues are fixed in the new entry-level body. With what I know now, though, I'd have to go with the a6000 as my choice.
That lens, though
Something I'd been thinking about was to add a longer telephoto lens to my system. I really like the compactness of the 55-210mm, but sometimes I just wish I had more reach. The only choice I had was the full frame 70-300mm... until today. Sony announced the APS-C 70-350mm f/5.6-6.3 lens, a very nice 105-525mm equivalent range!
I'm seriously considering it for when it comes out in November. My only concerns are the size and the weight, it is definitely bigger and heavier than my compact telephoto, and I think twice and three times before increasing the size and weight of my backpack. We'll see.
Lastly, the 16-55mm f/2.8 looks like the dream lens for APS-C cameras but it's not something I need (neither the optics nor the speed). I'm very happy with my 16-70 f/4, a slower lens but much cheaper, more compact and with longer reach.
We were in Yosemite. It was Christmas Eve and a big snowstorm had just passed by, leaving a beautiful white layer all over the park.
There weren’t many people around, but when we arrived at the Tunnel View viewpoint to photograph sunrise, we found a couple dozen photographers and their tripods anxiously waiting for the moment.
The landscape was beautiful. The valley was still sleepy as the light started to hit El Capitan. Everyone was focused on the scene, including me. Everyone but Rachel.
After taking a few shots, I saw her backing up. I thought she was going back to the car, it was freezing after all. But I noticed she kept shooting, in the same direction, and I couldn't figure out what in hell she was capturing.
I walked towards her and turned around. Then I saw it. I remember wondering: "How didn't I see it before?"
As beautiful as the landscape was, this scene was something else: all those photographers lining up at the viewpoint, all making the same images over and over.
I wasn't able to make a great image of them, this snapshot is all that remains. But I still remember the feeling of seeing something that was there, in front of you, that I couldn't manage to see before.
It was an eye-opening moment, a lesson I will never forget. I consider this to be the day when I learned how to see.
Keep your eyes open, always.
After using all sorts of cameras, from phones to medium format, I've come to the realization:
The best camera is the one you master
When you know your way around your camera, how to perform everything you need to do, and do it without thinking, you are free to pay attention to what really matters: what you are trying to capture.
Make your camera as simple as possible (shoot in P mode, or aperture priority) and master everything else you might use.
The longer you take, the faster the scene will fade. The sharper your camera, the sharper your mistakes will look.
In this video I show you everything I do since I wake up to when I go to bed. Everything related to photography, of course. It was a fun day with some pretty images to be made as well.
Actually, I'd go so far as to say that dissatisfaction is something desirable.
When we look at our idols -musicians, writers, businessmen and women, photographers...-, we think they've all got everything figured out. In reality, most struggle with very similar things we struggle with.
Successful people use this in their favor.
Success comes when we embrace that dissatisfaction and turn it into a force that pushes us to create more.
On the other hand, satisfaction might lead to a lack of motivation and ambition.
Just remember to want the right things (why and what you create, not how), try to stay as consistent as you can (don't be all over the place), and let that dissatisfaction drive you.
Like it or not, smartphones have changed photography forever. But photography isn't the only thing they've changed: look around when riding the bus, waiting in line at the grocery store, or dining out. Most people are physically there, but their minds are far, far away.
Even though mine is a mostly distraction free phone, this happens to me way too often: I pull out my phone to check the time, end up opening a few apps and still have no idea what time it is when I put it back in my pocket.
This is why I wear a watch.
The same thing happens when I want to just take a quick snap. It's never just a snap, there's always something to do on your little device.
This is why I always bring a standalone camera with me (RX100VA).
The photos look better and I never find myself wasting 15 minutes browsing through the menus of the camera.
Avoid the exposure
The simple act of pulling your phone out to take a snapshot can trigger a chain reaction. We didn't mean to reply to that message, we weren't thinking about checking the weather, we surely didn't plan on opening Facebook. It was just a quick photo.
Sometimes avoiding exposure to what triggers a bad behavior is our best option. Bringing the RX100VA with me has kept me away from my phone and saved me many wasted hours.
This last weekend we spent some family time in Saugatuck, Michigan. Rachel and I decided to bring the Fuji X100T along and shoot all the pictures with it.
I'm currently reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, a book I'm enjoying very much. There's a passage that caught my attention:
On the first day of class, Jerry Uelsmann, a professor at the University of Florida, divided his film photography students into two groups.
Everyone on the left side of the classroom, he explained, would be in the “quantity” group. They would be graded solely on the amount of work they produced. On the final day of class, he would tally the number of photos submitted by each student. One hundred photos would rate an A, ninety photos a B, eighty photos a C, and so on.
Meanwhile, everyone on the right side of the room would be in the “quality” group. They would be graded only on the excellence of their work. They would only need to produce one photo during the semester, but to get an A, it had to be a nearly perfect image.
At the end of the term, he was surprised to find that all the best photos were produced by the quantity group. During the semester, these students were busy taking photos, experimenting with composition and lighting, testing out various methods in the darkroom, and learning from their mistakes. In the process of creating hundreds of photos, they honed their skills. Meanwhile, the quality group sat around speculating about perfection. In the end, they had little to show for their efforts other than unverified theories and one mediocre photo.
We want to avoid overthinking our photography and become paralyzed.
Planning, strategizing and studying are all good and useful but eventually we will need to take action.
We need to finish what we start.
We need to be closers.
Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world. In a sport where every millisecond counts, you'd think he had the best running technique. He didn't.
The real difference comes to light when you compare him to his rivals. While everyone is tense before the race, he's smiling and already having fun. While everyone runs like perfect machines, his form is natural, light, and yet powerful.
Is he having fun because he's so good? Or is he so good because he's having fun?
I believe it's the latter.
Perhaps we could apply this to our photography. Perhaps we should loosen up, have more fun, improvise more, think less, forget about proper technique, dismiss proper composition.
This is a question that comes up every once in a while.
Years ago I decided that I wanted an email address like email@example.com. It looked cool, I guess.
otero wasn't available in any of the major domains, so I started to look for alternatives. I eventually found ws. This is the domain for the country of Samoa and I guess they weren't selling many because they started promoting it as an acronym to website.
adrian - otero - website
That was the idea. I liked it.
Today, I don't know of anyone using that domain in that way.
Anyway, about that time, Twitter launched and I had to get a username. I went for "adrian otero ws", aows. I loved how short it was.
Over the years, I kept using the same username in every social network and platform I signed up for, including Instagram. That's where my photography career started, and since I couldn't find a better / easier username I stuck with it.
And this is where aows comes from.
What makes a photographer great is not their camera gear or their skills.
Photography is about the long game, it's about perseverance.
When everyone else sees nothing, they find something. In times when others shy away, they perform their best.
Determination is invincible.
I took the Rolleiflex out and tried to make a few images in Chain O'Lakes, here in Indiana. I talk a little bit about the main features, what I like, and what I don't.