Artists in all mediums have a bad habit of sticking to what they know they’re good at and experimenting less eventually. While becoming great at what you know is valuable, taking moments to challenge yourself is also valuable. I decided to do just that the last time I went into the city and had a photo day. (I mean NYC, for those newbies who are unfamiliar with how often I travel in.)
Rather than rushing to find the nearest buildings and statues, I paid a visit to Brooklyn Botanic Garden and gave flower and nature/landscape photos a try. This is about the experience I had being someone who doesn’t normally shoot nature.
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Even though I’ve been in and out of the city numerous times throughout my life, I never once made it to the botanic garden before. The scenery was beautiful (albeit still a bit dead since spring just started) and a breath of fresh air from the houses, apartment buildings, and busy traffic outside the park. I wish I had more of an interest in flowers and plants since I think the garden is a haven full of variety and education for anyone at any age.
If you’re into that sort of thing and in the Park Slope or Prospect Heights areas of Brooklyn for the day, I highly recommend you visit!
Sure, there were plenty of stinker shots I took that ended up in my RAW folder; it happens to everyone. However, I didn’t suffer too much in this area. One thing I pride myself on is having a decent eye for what makes a good photo. The challenges I did come across were minor things such as experimenting with my own positioning to get the image in my head and getting my exposure right in the daylight. (Yay being more used to low light than sunlight.) Even if images needed some cropping later, I had good starting points.
Editing the photos is where I started having a bad time. While I’m proficient enough in Lightroom, I have a specific style best suited for things like my concert and city/architecture work. My city/architecture style especially focuses on grey and brown tones, which usually mutes color saturation and vibrancy heavily. I also have practically zero experience editing any sort of nature photos (or at least doing so well).
Disclaimer here – I already know the above end result isn’t all that amazing and could use some constructive criticism in case I experiment in this sub-genre again. But above is a before and after comparison of one of my sakura tree images. Between the tone of the afternoon sun and the Nikon D5200’s internal color processing, the original image is dull. I used a moody urban preset I created and saved myself as a starting point and made alterations as I went along.
FINAL RESULTS & THOUGHTS
Am I completely thrilled with my end results? No. Do I regret pushing myself out of my comfort zone and giving something unfamiliar a try? Absolutely not. I have a fear of becoming too comfortable and growing bored of the art I love making, and doing things like this keeps things interesting (and yourself humbled). I’m not aiming to be a professional nature photographer now, but I hope I can take away some new tricks from this experience and any feedback I get from others.
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