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Monthly Archives: January 2010
Ah, Cole Porter. The man knew his way around a melody, a sentiment, and a good piece of photographic advice!
I was just about heading out the door for a safari in Tanzania (trying to obey the new rules and going with just one carryon bag….more on that in a later post), when one of my favorite clients, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, called with a last minute and pressing need for a series of new skylines shot in the morning, from a place that I had previously shot at night (see above shot).
Fortunately, the weather was clear and cold, and I had gifted the contact who let me up here originally with a nice print from the previous session. He remembered me and was happy to arrange getting me up on this same roof before sunrise. Lesson one: be nice, follow through with print promises for folks who help you, because you never know when your paths may cross again.
Lesson two: if a place looks good at sunset, it’ll probably look pretty good at sunrise too! Just remember the words of that photographic sage, Mr. Porter (Cole, not Elliot; although the latter had a lot of good advice too, albeit without the catchy melodies).
Lesson three: Use those JPEG parameters when you’re in a hurry. I always shoot RAW & JPEG, and I’ll work these RAWs up for the client when I get back, but in the meantime, the JPEG below, and others from the D300s in Vivid mode, will tide them over nicely.
I was up there for a couple of hours (lesson 4: wear layers, and spring for a quad grande latte at the early opening Starbucks you scouted the night before), shot through the twilight to early sun, shot brackets for HDRs, and made plenty of multiple shots to be stitched into panos….but all that waits till I get back.
In the meantime, the client has a collection of pix that will get them through their most immediate need. And I don’t miss my plane to Africa because I’m doing RAW conversions!
So the blog (not to mention the comments moderation) is gonna be quiet for the rest of the month….unless the Serengeti now features wi-fi….which I kinda hope it doesn’t!
I first went to Haiti in the late 70’s when I was still a photographer on the staff of the Hudson Dispatch in Union City, NJ. My wife Peggy and I were so blown away by the culture, people, and the poverty that we sponsored several Haitian children’s educations for many years, until the NGO we did it through folded up during one of the really violent spells a while ago.
They have a saying down there, “beyond mountains, there are more mountains,” which pretty much sums up what has happened to this nation in recent history. Every time they seem to be getting over the hump of one problem, another bigger and more serious one raises its ugly head.
I don’t see how this current problem could get any worse, and they need our help. We like to give through both the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. They seem to be efficient with getting stuff done. Although efficiency in the face of a total collapse of infrastructure is definitely a relative term.
On the home front, we’re going to be facing our own earthquake, one that was started in the faultline that shook up yesterday’s Massachusetts runoff.
No, we don’t need no stinkin’ health care reform. Our system is just fine. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at this brilliant multimedia from the AP’s Evan Vucci.
The sad reality is that you don’t really have to look as far as Haiti to see neglected, desperate segments of a population struggling for basic healthcare. You can stay home and see it right here.
No passport required.
As a travel and location photographer, I rarely get to work in a studio, but that doesn’t stop me from looking for what I call “studios in the street.” These are interesting, found backgrounds—usually painted murals, textured walls, unusual facades—that make great backdrops against which to photograph people, either in posed portraits, or just grab shots as they walk by.
Last week in Miami, using some of the mystery gear that has many of you in a major tizzy (more about that later), I used the same technique. But before you going searching the EXIF information of these pictures, these examples are not from that assignment! So you can relax.
The takeaway from this post will not be some top-secret coded reference to the gear (seriously, there was an entire deconstructionist discussion on DPReview (or was it Nikonians? I forget) on the use of the word “huge” in my last post that rivaled the bulls__t you’d hear in a post-doctoral seminar in Proust at Princeton!)
No, the advice I can give you here is in certain travel situations, it’s often a good idea to find an interesting background first, and shoot what comes along in front of it. In the case of street murals, billboards, etc. I often just wait for some kind of activity–walkers, joggers, bicyclists, etc to occur in front of it, as I did below in Havana.
Or, if I find an interesting person who’s part of the city scene, I’ll often bring him or her to the background and use it as a studio backdrop, as I did with the musician in New Orleans above.
So keep your eyes open on your next trip for studios in the street, and you’ll be surprised how often they can help you make pictures where they might not otherwise exist. It really helped me, much more than did the equipment, make some interesting shots last week in Miami, when the weather completely went south, or more accurately, went north on me.
Now, as for that equipment, hit the jump for my thoughts on that…. Continue reading
I’ve been down here in Miami for four days now, and it’s been freezing and either rainy or cloudy the whole time, except for one afternoon. Then it was just freezing and sunny.
I’m shooting another one of those jobs that I can’t share with you (until the client uses the pictures) and it’s a gig that I can’t even show you the gear I’m using (that’s proprietary too).
It’s one thing to play a priest on the internet (for that I’ll go to hell, but at least I won’t lose a client….they’ll all probably be down there with me:-)), but I don’t want to be one of those photographers you read about who do behind-the-scenes Tweets, posts, and videos of their ad shoots and then get fired because the client is furious because you’ve jumped the gun and trumped and precluded their own announcements.
Plus I haven’t figured out Twitter or Facebook yet, so I’m safe in my Luddite-ness. Who says ignorance isn’t bliss?
But that does explain the shot of the back of my head and the back of the camera for this post. We’re shooting aerials of Miami…at twilight.
As Paris Hilton might say, “That’s huge.”
Hit the jump to find out what I can tell you at this point! Continue reading
….will be much tougher than Love in the Time of Cholera. I just flew down to a job in Miami from Newark Airport (good old Terminal C, my home away from home and the same one that was shut down the other day because somebody waltzed up the down staircase) and while it wasn’t too bad, it’s not going to be the same either.
The time of one carryon and one carryon only is coming. Especially on overseas flights. I’m flying to Tanzania in a couple of weeks, right through Amsterdam, and I’m currently figuring out how to jam two carryons worth of stuff into one bag.
It’s a safari and I thought my only concern was the 33 lb. limit on my checked bag for the regional charter in country. Now I have to get the long lens gear, audio stuff, and the backup stuff in one bag that will pass muster in Schipol Airport (and weigh less than 13 lbs). Remember the Minox? I might be the first guy to shoot a safari on a cellphone. What the hell, it worked for Chase Jarvis!
Hit the jump for a couple of strategies to consider: Continue reading