If you want to be a better photographer you need to practice. I do it all the time. Practice is stellar because you can give yourself an assignment and have no one looking over your shoulder.

I was in Nashville on a speaking/judging trip for the Tennessee Professional Photographers Association and scheduled some extra time to photograph Nashville and try out some new ideas.

Break out the tripod for night photography

Obviously a tripod was needed for this photography session. I experimented with time exposures and reflections on the water, and had my trusty MeFOTO RoadTrip tripod with me. I have found the RoadTrip to be the tripod that meets my height and stiffness requirements. Better yet, it folds into a small enough package for travel.

Try a new lens

The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge in black and white with 8mm fisheye lens. 6 sec, f/20 and ISO 200.

I don’t often use my Lumix 8mm f/3.5 fisheye lens. And, I know why. It’s because I haven’t spent enough time to know what the resulting image will look like. I brought it to try out on the walking bridge in Nashville. With cool architecture in graphic display against the night sky I thought I’d see how it would perform.

Paired with my Lumix G9, I tried many different compositions. I liked this one the best. Symmetry keeps the complex shapes simple. I converted to black and white because of all the different types of lighting. Different lights led to many distracting pockets of color.

Catch the reflections

The Nashville skyline on the Cumberland River. 1.3 sec, f/4.5 and ISO 200.

My current all-around walkabout lens is the Leica DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0. It’s a similar field of view to a full frame 24-120mm lens. The Nashville cityscape from the walking bridge is gorgeous. Lots of colorful lights reflecting on the water add to the story. There was an area of no reflections closest to the camera and I wasn’t a happy camper.

I got an added bonus as a barge with a spotlight was working its way down the Cumberland River. Suddenly I saw the vessel and ran across the bridge to see if I could add more interest to the scene. You be the judge.

Things I was playing with here were the reflections, sharp delineation of the lights in the buildings and how the light fades into the sky from the skyline. Since this was a time exposure and the tug boat was scooting right along it is a little soft but it works for me. I did reposition the tug just a bit by combining it with another frame in Photoshop.

Musician in a club

Nashville guitar player done up in neon in post production. Original capture 1/10s, f/3.8 and ISO 200.

Nashville wouldn’t be well represented without at least one image of a musician. So into a nightclub for an adult refreshment and some guitarist photography.

Since I shoot musicians as part of my job, this was like a busman’s holiday. No holds barred on the processing and in keeping with the NashVegas theme I hear about, I made this an electric presentation playing in post. I used copies of layers set into different blend modes along with messing about with extreme curves adjustments.

In another post, I’ll explore the NashVegas theme in creating images with neon lights lining the streets. Stay tuned!

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob