Dark Skies, Bright Lines

Suburban Parking Lot - Austin, Texas

Suburban Parking Lot – Austin, Texas

I mention this, not as an excuse, but as a statement of fact. Living and working in the suburbs, while full of benefits, is a disadvantage for photography. Especially street photography. Commuting by car, in a hermetically sealed un-cultural bubble, from subdivision to industrial park and back, is not conducive to creativity.

It’s hard to see details. Or if you see something worthwhile, it’s a hazard to photograph safely, while piloting a car. While I didn’t particularly like New York City when I was a teenager, I now long for the visual stimulation. The walk though the city streets, the subway rides and drama of a congested and chaotic city, makes for great photographic fodder. I’m happy that I live in Austin. But someday, I would like to shoot in NYC for a month, uninterrupted.

I have romantic notions of seamlessly slipping in and out of Photography Mode, if I lived in a vibrant world-class city. I would use an iPhone or pocket camera for the perfect observational tool. Because of the lack of everyday opportunities, I make it a point to visit downtown, or shoot events and generally overindulge in photography during my trips.

Here’s a rare for me, suburban image, I shot with my iPhone. I like the emptiness with the graphic white lines and threatening storm clouds. I punished a lot of pixels, over processing this black and white, created in the iPhone with Snapseed. There’s almost a painterly quality to the skies.

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6 thoughts on “Dark Skies, Bright Lines

  1. I completely understand you! I feel this daily, and try to get in central Austin as much as possible to photograph more interesting subjects than what I see daily in suburbia. I am hoping to make it to New York next year for the 1st time, and I cannot wait! But, you bring up good points. So I will take this as a challenge to myself and look to shoot something in my suburban environment over the next week and post about it. Thanks Andy!

    1. On the positive side, if you get good at seeing stuff of interest in the suburbs or a smaller city like Austin, then it’s like a kid in a candy store, when you get to New York.

      There’s so much to shoot in a place like NYC. The challenge then becomes, not to get overwhelmed.

      1. I know that overwhelming feeling. This will sound horrifying but my first day in NYC I didn’t take any photos. None! I just wandered around taking it all in. Actually, while it was a bit overwhelming, I really wanted to take in the city without the distraction of the camera. Sometimes the experience becomes the priority over the photo for me I guess.

      2. There’s something to be said about taking in a place without a camera getting in the way.

        I’ve lived in NYC so it’s not that new for me. But it is new from a photographic perspective. I wished I took more pictures when I was a kid but I wasn’t that into photography back then.

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