Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Cloudy Day, Perfect Light

It's wonderful to be out walking in New York on a sunny day. People's spirits are up and there's more smiles all around. But a bright sky and dark shadows at street level make getting a well balanced exposure almost impossible, especially with the way I try to shoot surreptitiously. But with a cloudy overcast sky the light is much more evenly balanced, even if people's moods aren't, and that makes for a much easier time of it on the street.

I've been out shooting for a few days this week. They've been days in the bank, so to speak. I love being out with my camera. It's something I must do, otherwise I go through street withdrawal. But that doesn't mean that every time I'm out shooting I come away with great material to work on. It's being out on those days when I'm not in the 'groove' that the grunt work gets done. I have to look harder, be more alert, and try new techniques. 

I worked with a new focus technique with my X-Pro1 today. Put the camera on manual focus mode, and using the optical viewfinder, zoomed in with the control wheel and refined focus with the AF-L button. There's definitely a learning curve to be worked out with the technique, but the results were promising.

 After reviewing my work I realized that I came home with more than I thought I had captured. I spent the day around 14th Street and Union Square. There's a Christmas market set up in the square and the aisles are very narrow. Isolating one subject was just about impossible. But on the fringes of the square, at the farmers market, the crowd thinned out a little. I aimed to get an image of this gentleman, but somewhere in the deep recesses of my unconscious I framed this. A shot of just the one person may have worked out, but the girl looking at me from the background adds a much deeper dimension to the image on several levels.

That's why getting out to do the grunt work is so important, sometimes ya just get lucky!


  1. Gene, great blog giving us insights into your work process. Excellent street images of the people and streets of NY. Here, he looks like a dock worker from the movie On the Waterfront with Marlon Brando and the girl looks like a fashion model on her day off. (The b&w pics, like this one, have an excellent tonal range to match the mood and lighting of a cloudy day.)

  2. Very nice, Gene. Even stirring. The extra dimensionality of the two subjects, the reflexivity, gives it real life depth. -- SWMo