“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Perhaps one of the most overused lines ever, but so it begins. Over the course of the next few months, I will be traveling from Toronto to New York to ??? back to New York to New Mexico to Utah to California to Japan to Hong Kong. Everything is ahead of me and nothing is behind me. It’s the most exciting time and also the most intimidating. Once you can overcome inertia, you can come to terms with the job or family or whatever ties that bind us, and face the tarmac in front of you with courage. In my case, as always, there are those who question my sanity. I’ve questioned it myself. But we have but this one life to live. I don’t want to die having not taken some risks, having not felt the freedom of traveling. And so it begins.
Leave me to hell and let me go by my own route – Famous American frontierswoman Calamity Jane
“The American West”– what do you think of when you hear those words? Perhaps Cowboys and “Indians,” a lawless place governed by the gun and horse, prospecting for land and gold, desolate landscapes and beating sun, leathery skin and darkened faces?
What I think of is some combination of all of the above, as well as the incredible light that you find in that place. The sun shines differently there and the golden hours around sunrise and sunset are truly something to behold. The rugged setting and lighting of the American West make for one of the most fertile photographic and artistic backdrops on Earth.
Here is a photo of yesterday’s Toronto skyline. I shot this from the CN Tower (once the world’s tallest free-standing structure) Observation deck through a curved window that was reflecting the lights from inside the room. This made for a difficult shot to begin with.
Add the fact that I was using my new camera and new lens (and I am very unfamiliar with it) as well as having no use of a tripod, I was wondering how this was going to turn out. Well, the answer was “pretty well.” I used a circular polarizer on my lens so that I could use a lower ISO setting (125) and slow down my shutter speed further. That way, I could get the streaks of light from the moving traffic, get the clouds and the steam rising from the buildings to have movement as well. If I used a higher ISO with no polarizer, I would have had too much light; if I used a faster shutter speed, I would have no light/cloud motion. So this was a fun experiment that worked out pretty well! Oh, and I did this while drinking a beer as well, so we killed two birds with one stone. I look forward to taking photos with this new camera when I head out on my next adventures. Our blog posts should be even more vibrant in the not-too-distant future as a result. Hope you will enjoy them.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out our recent posts featuring Cuba and Bali, please have a look.
Camera set-up details are below
Nikon D810 / 16mm focal length, ISO 125, F/4.0 at 15.0 seconds, circular polarizer, no tripod, one handed shot with beer in other hand.