Thursday, May 24, 2012

Got It!

Shooting on the streets of New York sometimes seems like 'shooting fish in a barrel'. I feel like I just can't miss if I keep my eyes open and stay alert. The density of the population is almost a guarantee that, no matter what time of day or night, there will be something happening - a story unfolding - if only I am tuned into seeing it.  

Doesn't have to be a specific story. When I feel there's something there - a motion, a body position, a facial expression, an interaction - I unconsciously have my own story. My aim as a street photographer is to capture the essence of the moment and let my viewer inject his/her own life experience into the moment and create their story. Not every shot I take is successful in creating the story atmosphere. It may have been present when I took the shot, but when I see the image after uploading, it sometimes appears flat or lifeless.  Then again, sometimes I know I've nailed it. 

As I walked past this gentleman on Broadway my eyes zapped in on his face. By the time it registered I was already past him. So I stopped for a second and looked in a store window, checked my camera settings, turned back and slowly wandered past him shooting from the hip. I took five shots as I worked my way past him. This was the last shot. When the shutter clicked I knew I had it in that one frame. 

I don't ever look at the LCD to check my shots while I'm out and about. That's distracting and bad practice. Through trial and error, by not looking at the LCD, I trained myself to 'know' if and when I nailed a shot . Later, when I'm sitting on the train heading home I go through my shots to delete the grossly out of focus or the shots of the sidewalk or sky. But I always reserve judgement on anything else until I upload the shots and see them on the computer screen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Check This Blogpost

Scott Kelby is not one of my favorite people. But he definitely serves a purpose in our world of photography. On his blogpost today the guest blogger was Vincent Versace. I had a great opportunity to take a four day series of classes with Vincent which was presented at B&H Photo in New York City. I don't ever see myself working the same way he does, but I certainly respect the effort he puts into his images. At the end of the Kelby blogpost is a video that Versace produced of his images of Burma. It's really worth taking a look at.

Monday, May 21, 2012

DUMBO Streets

As I mentioned in a previous post, The New York Photo Festival was running in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. The schedule has been extended to the end of the month of May. You can view the announcement here

As I was walking towards the Brooklyn Bridge, I saw this couple rushing purposefully in my direction and loved the way they were moving in sync with each other. I see this often - people who walk together tend to be in step with each other. They were both leaning in rhythm as they walked. They were so purposeful as they moved, almost as if they had just decided that they needed to get home for some undefined business. I tried to come up with something witty or pithy to say about the stop sign with the arrow perfectly placed between their shoulders but couldn't. Maybe I should have a contest to see if anyone comes up with a winner caption.

A Quick Update

This is just a quick note to point out an addition I just made to my blog. If you look to the right of this blogpost you'll see a square box with a QR code. Scan this in to any mobile device you may use - iPhone, Android phone, iPad - and with it you can access my blog on your device. You can generate your own code for whatever you need at Kaywa.

I'll be posting a photo later this afternoon.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Long Walk in Manhattan

The weather in New York over this weekend was gorgeous, and I heard the city crying for me to come visit. I wanted to get in earlier in the week but some restrictions were being applied, so I had to forgo that. There was a photo show called the NewYork Photo Festival that I wanted to see, and since it is always presented in a very scenic part of Brooklyn, called DUMBO (District Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). which has a waterfront park smack dab in the middle of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, I knew that even if the show was a disappointment (more on that in a moment) there would be lots of shooting opportunities.

The first time I attended this photo festival was in 2009. There were photo exhibits on every street, in every available space, and even on a Thursday afternoon there were hundreds of people walking the streets and attending presentations and panel discussions. I found much of the photography exhibited not to my liking or taste - it was rather avant-garde and/or conceptual - but it was certainly challenging and thought provoking. The crowd of people at that event was a mixture of editorial/curatorial types, doers (photographers), and peepers (wanna doers). The event was fun to be at. 

I went to the 2010 and 2011 events also. They were a little disappointing to me  - very likely due to my high expectations - there just didn't seem to be the same kind of electricity in the air and the crowd. I thought that visiting the festival on a Saturday would be optimal because there would probably be many more people there on a beautiful weekend day than during the work week. There wasn't. 

In general the festival had many fewer presenters and discussions scheduled, and there was much less work exhibited. The overall theme of the festival was the fine line separating documentary and fine art photography. I'm particularly attracted to the subject because it's very much the type of work that I shoot. Most of the work presented that related to the theme was presented in the Powerhouse Arena which pretty much is a glorified book store. Some of the work exhibited there was spectacular -  but I think that's to be expected from such names as Eugene Richards and such. The remainder of the work was mediocre at best. I spent far less time at the festival than I had expected, but that turned out to be a blessing. I walked through the park area and headed towards the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian path thinking that I'd walk until I got tired then hop on a subway or bus back to Penn Station. By the time my energy began to flag I was so close to Penn Station that I decided to complete the walk - 5 1/2 miles. I slept really well that night.

And, by the way, I got lots of great shots. I think I've found the right combination to make my Fuji X-Pro1 very easy to hand hold comfortably by using the Fuji auxiliary hand grip and the  Thumbs Up CSEP-2. I was very interested to take some of the same shots in the park that I had originally shot with my Nikon D700. I hope to be posting some comparisons later this week. 

I love to wear Panama hats. Whenever I happen upon another gentleman with extraordinarily sophisticated sartorial tastes, I'm moved to get a shot of him. That's the Manhattan bridge in the background.