Finding the Time to do Photography Part 1- Business Trip to Las Vegas
The Fire Wave at Valley of Fire State Park.Exposure: ISO 160, 4 minutes, at f/16. EOS 5D Mark III with EF 16-35 f/2.8L II.
About a month ago, a question was posed on the DPS Facebook Page, “What is the number one obstacle to you taking better photos?” While some answered that they were unsure how to set exposure in Manual mode, and others thought their gear might be limiting them, the overwhelming number one answer was TIME. In this day and age of being always on, always connected, and always on the go, it can be difficult to find time to do photography. Like many, my day job, which isn’t as a full time photographer, keeps me busy and eats up much of my time. On weekends, I can occasionally make time but often life and family get in the way.
Scenic Drive in Valley of Fire. 1/10, f/16, ISO 100. EOS 5D Mark III with EF 24-70 f/2.8L II.
So what to do when you need a fix? There are several things you can do. What I do is to take advantage of my job when I can. I do occasionally travel for work, and when I do, I bring my camera with me. While I may not have an entire day, often I can find an hour at the end of the day, or I can even go shoot at night. This was true when I went to Las Vegas recently for a trade show. I had two days of training seminars, two days of trade show setup and four full days of trade show to work. Was I tired at the end of the day? Yes, but photography is how I relax, so it seemed only natural to eschew the neon glow of the restaurants and casinos and go grab my camera.
First of all, the day I arrived, my flight got in earlier in the afternoon. I rented a car and headed out to Valley of Fire State Park, about 45 minutes northeast of Las Vegas. I got a mixed afternoon of clouds, which parted for a nice sunset. I then hung around for darkness and got a few night shots just to finish things off.
The next day, the work began, but after my work day ended, I headed out to the strip to shoot some of the neon. The Vegas strip is an awesome place to shoot no matter what you like to shoot. Cityscapes, architecture, or people, it’s all there and it’s there every night. You need only spend an hour and you’ll get more than your fill. The beauty of it all is, Las Vegas makes its own light, so you can shoot 24-7 there.
Valley of Fire Storm. 1/1000, f/8, ISO 1600. EOS 5D Mark III with EF 24-70 f/2.8L II. I managed to catch the Valley of Fire on one of the few days it rained all year.
Elephant Rock, in Valley of Fire, at night. 15 seconds, f1.4, ISO 800. EF 24mm f/1.4L II.
Get over your objections
I know what your objections will be:
- I can’t carry everything I need.
- I don’t have room in my luggage.
- I’m tired after a day of work.
I’ve said all of those myself, and at times, this attitude won out. But if you have a passion for taking pictures, you’ll find a way. I carry a small travel tripod- a Gitzo 1541T. It fits right in my luggage. I realize that one’s a bit pricey, but there are many other options. Try a Gorillapod. They are small, lightweight, and come in a variety of sizes to fit almost any camera. Perfect for traveling light.
Don’t want to carry a DSLR? Get yourself a smaller setup you won’t mind carrying. I own a Canon G16 for when I don’t want to bring my full kit. I can still shoot RAW, have full manual control, but it’ll fit on my belt. And if you do want a DSLR? Consider minimizing your kit for travel. Pick one or two lenses that can cover most of the standard range. I always have a hard time minimizing, but when I do, I usually carry my EOS 5D Mark III with EF 16-35 f/2.8L II and EF 24-70 f/2.8L II. This is the kit used for the shot of Fire Wave, and of Scenic Drive. I added the EF 24mm f/1.4 for night shooting. If you’re using a DSLR with an APS-C sensor, an 18-135 is an excellent choice for a do-it-all lens.
I’m not saying finding the time is easy. Sometimes it will require sacrifice. But I have never regretted spending even a minute with my camera, even when I was tired, or pulled in many directions. If photography is a passion for you, you make time. I’m not saying every day. But I do make it a point to make time to indulge my passion. You should too. Even if it’s just a minute. In part two, I’ll discuss ways to make time when you’re at home.
EOS 5D Mark III with EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II. 5 seconds, f/11, ISO 200.
EOS 5D Mark III with EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II. 1/25, f/8, ISO 640.
Fire Canyon. EOS 5D Mark III with EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II. 1/5, f/16, ISO 100.
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