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August in New York State

Another summer has come and gone, too quickly as always! Seems like I just packed away my sweaters and pulled out my sundresses, and now it's already time to switcharoo right back.

Still, I'm super grateful for all the adventures I got to squeeze into this short few months chasing sunshine and waterfalls.

1 of 2 of my fave shots

2 of 2 

last few rays of sunshine on this family hike

When I first started this blog 5 years ago, I had an early post with one of my first ever waterfall shots (link here) and where I talk about my struggles in shooting landscape photography. Reflecting back to those beginning days, I do feel like I've made some strides in my landscape photography in these few years.

But something was off and I didn't immediately know what it was. I still gave it my all when taking these shots, but I knew it wasn't the same feeling as when I do a portrait or product or food shoot. I mulled it over the entire trip as we spent multiple consecutive days chasing numerous different waterfalls.

family photo right before the storm hit

peeking out from under my hiding spot to catch a glimpse of a fellow hiker

calm after the storm

These two serendipitous shots during/after the sudden thunderstorm were hugely satisfying for me and that helped something click in my mind. I think generally, photography skills can be broken down into two big buckets: technical skill and creative skill. Creative skill to me is the framing, composition, and the artistic vision -- the creation of something that could not exist without *me*.

With landscape photography (and other types like astrophotography as well), there is a very high demand on technical skill: having the right camera settings, being there at the right time (chasing golden hour or sunrises), having the right gear, etc. I definitely feel weaker in this bucket comparatively speaking, and so it's hard to not feel like someone else could have come to the same waterfall and taken the same or a very similar photo. As much as I like some of the shots, I feel like I don't see myself in them.

The one exception in this post being waterfall photos #1 and #2 due to the serendipitous nature of those as well -- it was a rebellious detour past a "closed" sign and the timing happened to be absolutely perfect for those sun rays to be streaming through just right.

That's also why I find street photography to be a good cross-over between landscape and portrait photography. A lot of the elements are already there, like the architecture, but so many things can change instantaneously based on the luck of the timing -- maybe there's construction, or a street performer, or new graffiti -- giving way to the opportunity for different framing and composition.  There's something that's very sincere and genuine about that "in-the-moment", and that feeling can't easily be replicated or recreated. And to me, that's what makes it special.

this intersection also happens to be the names of the two lakes we visited! 

All in all, it was a good trip and I did enjoy and appreciate more of the beauty and serenity of nature. Maybe that was the environment I needed to get all deep with my photography thinking and musings, who knows. And it was an undeniably good opportunity to practice more landscape photography.

Hope you enjoyed these photos! Thanks for reading :)


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