One of my favourite photography exercises is going somewhere you’ve been many times before and trying to find shots you haven’t taken. I find there’s always something new to shoot if you consciously look for it.
My favourite time to do this is right before golden hour so that I can follow the light as it shifts and casts shadows on potential subjects.
Not to mention, its also therapeutic. When you force yourself to look at a familiar place in a new way I think it makes you appreciate your surroundings more. On top of that, you get plenty of exercise!
I started photography when I got back from my trip to the Azores in 2016.
That trip inspired me to invest in my first camera as soon as I got back home to Florida.
I went to Best Buy, bought a Canon Rebel T5i which came with a 18-55mm f/5.6 kit lens. I spent around $600.
Here are a few raw shots (june, 2016)
A few months later I bought a new lens: the 50mm f/1.8 Price: $96
This lens introduced me more to the technical side of photography. I looked into portraiture because I started to understand more about aperture, bokeh and compositional elements.
A year later I realised a wider angle lens suited my photography interests better. I loved taking wide-open landscape shots at the beach, and creating a better sense of place in my images.
A birthday gift that year was the Canon EF-S 10-18 mm f/5.6 ($200)
here are some raw photos
A few months into photography and the original kit lens for my Canon Rebel T5i drowned in an unfortunate canoe expedition! By this time I mostly used the 10-18mm anyway, so it wasn’t a huge loss.
For me, the 10-18mm and 50mm were a practical combination. It was the perfect focal-length range to use for a variety of circumstances. I used the wider lens for landscapes and the prime lens to get up close in detail.
During this time I followed a bunch of photographers on Instagram to see what they were using to get the final results they posted on their feed. Most of them used a Canon 5d Mark iii with a 24-70 f/2.8 lens. This gear setup cost over $2,500 at the time and was far off my budget.
Summer was approaching and with it, a family trip to the Azores! This was my chance, I thought, to take my photography to the next level. I couldn’t afford the lens along with the camera body, so I opted for the Canon 6D (used- $950.) I didn’t realize beforehand that my wide angle lens couldn’t be mounted on a full-frame camera.
The summer of 2017 I bought the Canon 6D and attached the nifty 50 lens to the Azores with me.
2017 Azores summer (Canon 6D, 50mm f/1.8)
To this day I still use this same exact setup.
My most recent purchase was the Yongnuo 35mm f/2.0 lens ($90) which, for me, is a preferable focal length for on-the-go travel photography. I brought this combo with me to the Azores, South America, and New England. It’s perfect for what I like to do.
In total I’ve spent somewhere around $1,900 dollars on photography gear these past four years. Considering how expensive equipment is, let alone new equipment, that price isn’t bad.
The truth is, after everything, I didn’t need to spend that much money. I wanted to.
If you’re just getting into photography, you don’t need to make a huge purchase right off the bat. Even the Canon Rebel I bought was steep to begin with.
I easily could’ve found a cheaper camera, in fact my nana gave me her old point-and-shoot that she had stored away in a closet. It introduced me to film and the fact that I can make meaningful images with whatever you put in my hands.
That’s the moral here. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, or any at all to get your first camera. There’s a good chance someone in your family has one tucked away in their closet. If not, theres plenty of affordable cameras online.
Do your due research, but don’t feel pressured into spending a month’s pay check. There’s actually a lot of influential photographers on Youtube that talk about this same thing: Gear doesn’t matter, practice does.
With the camera you have, go out and take photos. Practice until you like the images you make. Practice until you get a firm understanding about how your camera works. Practice until you think to yourself, “how could’ve I made this photo better?” Naturally, the creative direction you choose to pursuewill be clearer. At a certain point, you’ll know what you’re interested in photographing and what setup best supports that.
Even when you feel the only way to get better is to buy a new, expensive camera keep practicing with what you have.
With that said, buying a camera is an important investment in yourself. It means you want to pursue creativity and grow as a photographer. However, that shouldn’t be confused with thinking,
“the more money I spend the better my photos will be.”
That statement couldn’t be further from the truth.
When you’re ready, make the investment. But not a moment before.
As a photographer the quality of your images is not defined by low aperture lenses or a high number of megapixels.
As a photographer your unique vision and perspective, your experience and technique is what creates better, more meaningful photos.
Don’t forget that.
Hey guys, If you have any questions about this article, camera equipment or photography in general, please let me know in the comments below!
Winter in New England passed seamlessly into Spring and Summer. Now in the heart of August, I reflect back on some of my favourite photographs during those colder months. Down below I compiled 10 photos that bring me right back.
The photos here are part of larger collections. If you like what you see, follow the link to view the full set!
Mt Hope Bridge connects Bristol and Portsmouth.
Though for me, crossing over this bridge symbolises reuniting with family.
I took this photo on a photography walk, a creative exercise I like to do anytime I’m feeling uninspired.
The Ten Mile River Greenway is a scenic route that goes right through Slater Park and a few other recreational spaces. I remember looking through my camera roll and feeling re-inspired to get out and create more!
This photo is part of a double exposure collection that merged my summer photos in the Azores with winter photos around New England.
Pictured here is my cousin Amelia outside our family home in Pawtucket, RI. At the bottom you can see a palm tree and a building both taken from scenes in Lajes do Pico.
photo taken with my point and shoot Nikon one-touch 100
This is my cousin little Kailee.
Kailee is this little brown eyed, dark haired, mischief-in-her-voice girl who calls out my name and says, “I’m gonna getchyu Ryaan”
In the month of May I spent two weeks in Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts with family & friends.
During this time we made it a priority to walk along the canal at least once a day, although usually it ended up being two or three thanks to how scenic it was during the spring.
As of now I’m in North Dakota looking back on New England’s coast. My five month trip has come to an end and now I’m left with photographs and travel-journal entries that glimpse into my experiences. My time there brought back an unquestionable bond I have with my home state and for that I’m happy to share this with you!
Buzzard’s Bay home– May 13,2020
Water glistens like summer eyes. Blossoming spring, birds chirp the theme and the sound of woodwork beyond the pond centres me.
hey guys, I’m Ryan
I really appreciate you checking out this article! If you enjoyed scrolling though PLEASE share with your friends & family!
If you want to see more of my travels feel free to check out my other blogs and articles as well. You can find my trips to South America, Florida, the Azores, and most recently New England.
Fort Myers, among other popular Florida destinations, is known for its beaches, shopping centers, and fishing lifestyle. You and your loved ones can experience fun-outdoor activities whether that’d be swimming, kayaking, or sightseeing, dine at delicious ocean-side restaurants and wind down at the end of the day with a beautiful sunset view. If you plan […]
I arrived in Lajes do Pico last night around nine.
I was here two summers ago with my family and before that I lived here for a little more than six months after I graduated . Coming back to this island for the third time feels normal now.
My first visit was unlike anything I experienced in the past. When I stepped outside the airport doors I felt a profound sense of adventure. I heard stories about this island growing up but now that I was here in the flesh it was completely surreal.
Everything was a subject to my curiosity those first few weeks. The simplest of things were fascinating to me. For one, I couldn’t get enough of the fact I was on an island and at anytime of my choosing I could look out and view the seemingly infinite sea. I spent a large portion of my time walking along the wall (the locals here call it ”o muro”) listening to the ocean and watching the sunset behind mount Pico.
At first I was totally enveloped by the natural beauty and as time passed I eventually became conditioned to routinely sight seeing. It wasn’t that my surroundings were any less beautiful, no, definitely not. It was more so that I was familiar and less intrigued with them.
When I stepped out of the airport doors last night I wasn’t filled with the same profound sense of adventure I experienced say, the first time I arrived more than three years ago, or when I arrived in Cartagena, Colombia last summer. Instead I just felt normal ,which isn’t a bad thing but it isn’t as exciting.
This time around I know the landmarks, I know the town names, the bakeries, the restaurants, the architecture, the roads, the street names, the people, the language. I know this because I’ve spent close to a year here and after awhile an unknown place becomes home.
As a traveler I seek that sense of adventure or “wanderlust” but I also understand that constantly seeking adventure elsewhere greatly limits our ability to notice it right here. With that said, there’s an abundance of opportunities here for me that I can’t wait to experience and share with you!
Take the metro or taxi to Caribe Station. From there go to the North Bus terminal (Terminal de Transportes Norte).
Buy a ticket to either Guatape or El Peñol at the ticket booths. There’s one or two bus companies that go there. It should cost between $12,000 – $14,000 COP each way or around $4 USD. Total: $25,000 COP = $8.00 USD.
The bus will stop for passengers along the way, expect between 1 ½ to 2 hour drive.
You can either get off at the base of El Peñol or you can go to Guatape if you plan on exploring the town.
At Redington Shores, you’ll find everything you need to unwind and relax. For miles there’s an abundance of natural beauty stretched along the Gulf of Mexico. I come here often usually to watch the sunset by the pier and catch up with needed alone time.
I don’t know a single person who doesn’t want to travel. I think its within the human psyche to want to go to places we’ve never been. We are explorers by nature. We are curious to see the unknown.
Traveling is important in whatever form it takes. A road trip to the next state over can be just as valuable as a flight to a foreign country. To be more accurate however, it’s more so the mindset of the traveler than it is actually traveling.
At the same time though, traveling in general has the ability to shift one’s worldview, which brings me to my first point.