Thursday, November 15, 2012

School Trip

My latest read is a book entitled Art & Fear. I really enjoy the book because the writers are not journalists, social scientists, or psychologists trying to make an intellectual statement. They're artists who understand the subject from the inside out. One of the salient points they make, which really struck home with me, is that a general observer looking at a work of art can enjoy the product of the artist's efforts, but that in itself does nothing to enlighten anyone about the processes that culminated in the actual image. Understanding that process is of much greater importance than the pleasure of viewing the final product. 

When I studied and learned from each of the three mentors I've had in my life - Bill Monroe, Professor Raphael Bronstein, Mario Cabrera - I certainly appreciated the quality of what they created. But, not being them, I could never produce exactly that, so why bother. What was of importance to me, and what each in his own way showed me, was how they went about producing the end result. Talking about what in an image makes it work or not work may be interesting, but it does nothing to help me grow my own processes and subsequently create my own voice and output. 

Out for a walk in Manhattan yesterday, I wandered around Lincoln Center. For me street photography is nothing if there's no actors in the scene. I need people - so I have to go where there's traffic. A group of students on a school trip to the theater were milling around outside the Vivian Beaumont theater before the show, just doing their teenage thing. They were so rapt in their own very important worlds and stories that none of them took any notice of me snapping away.The buzz of energy was contagious. And then, in an instant one couple mugged this shot for me, I clicked, and a second later I no longer existed for them. I went on to shoot about fifty more images that afternoon and didn't give this one a moment's thought. But it turned out to be the best shot of the day. I had to be there and be ready for the moment when it happened. If I hadn't taken twenty shots before that moment, I don't think I would have been able to grab this one.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Back At It

After several weeks delay due to tropical storm Sandy, New Jersey Transit is finally running trains directly into New York City. I was definitely getting stir crazy and suffering Big Apple withdrawal. Hitting the streets again felt really good. But in all honesty, after just two weeks off I felt a little rusty - my reflexes not as quick, my attention drift. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to do it more often to get my mojo back.

I was particularly interested today to put the new images through a workflow with my iPad. It's a bit trial and error, and will take some experimenting but I was quite impressed with the ease of integration with Lightroom on my iMac. The new iPad processor is blazing fast and the Photosmith app on the iPad was designed to interface cleanly with Lightroom. I exported my keyword hierarchy from Lightroom to Photosmith on the iPad, set up an IPTC info preset and tagged all my photos, selected the picks, color labelled them and synced them to my Lightroom library with all the pertinent metadata in about 15 minutes. And this was my first time using the software.

I have yet to decide on how I will back up my images while I'm traveling - probably with a small hard drive and some kind of 'cloud' upload, but for now I'm really pleased with how this whole process is shaping up.

As I said before, I have some 'ring' rust from the two week layoff, but had fun on the street anyway. More shooting later this week and over the weekend. This shot was taken with my Fuji X-Pro1 and 35mm lens. Not that it makes a hell of a difference, but it was shot at 1/250th second, f8, ISO 1250.

More importantly, the guy had a really interesting face and posture, and he gave me a great expression just as I snapped the shutter.