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New Hope, PA 18938
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Monthly Archives: August 2010
The reception for New Hope: In Character was Friday night at the New Hope Arts Center and we had a large and very responsive crowd.
Besides the local luminaries, many of whom were on the wall AND in the crowd, several old photographer friends showed up, including the Geographic’s Mike Yamashita, NY Daily News sports shooting ace Linda Cataffo (we started at The Dispatch together, but the years have been far kinder to her!) and The Record’s Peter Monsees (we’ve known each other since grammar school), The Intelligencer’s Rich Kennedy, and freelancers Jerry Millevoi, and Arun Paul.
Here’s a web gallery of the show. The prints, some as large as 30×40, were made by Aspen Creek Photo. This is the consumer lab division of West Coast Imaging. We had to keep the costs down on this job and WCI’s excellent custom B&W printing was not in the budget. But Rich Seiling and the Aspen Creek crew did magnificent work on the consumer prints that just looked great.
I’d love to take credit for the good looking files those prints were made from, but it was the Nik Silver FX Pro plug in that made those flawless B&W conversions so easy, even I could do it!
The prints were mounted by another crackerjack outfit, Philadelphia Photographics. Jack and his crew turned the job around quickly and perfectly….and they even delivered!
I can’t guarantee it would be the same for you, but photographing friends and neighbors was one of the most rewarding projects of my career…and one huge benefit was that all I had to do was walk two blocks to work—no metal detectors, no baggage handlers, and no crowded overheads! It’s the lowest carbon footprint travel photography I’ve ever done…..
….they couldn’t do any better than Geographic shooters, and all around wags, Cary Wolinsky and Bob Caputo did in this short piece. Talk about being shot out of a cannon (that’s cannon with two “n’s”), they launched their new blog, Pix Boom Bah, with this wacky video.
The site looks like a place where humor and high production values will help teach basic photography concepts, served up by these two veteran Geographic shooters (and fledgling standup comedians!). Finally, photography has its own mini Monty Python troupe!
Some of my friends and colleagues have been sharing some great information lately.
Nevada Weir, adventure travel photographer extraordinaire, shares a great post: The 10 things she wished she knew before becoming a professional travel photographer and the 10 things she’s glad she knew. Take number three in the “glad she knew” category:
I knew that I had some great traits for a traveler: I can handle alcohol; I can sleep anywhere; I have an “iron stomach”; I have a bad sense of smell; and I remain very calm in times of stress or uncertainty. All very useful for the solo traveler.
Funnily enough, I have all those same traits (especially the alcohol-holding abilities) EXCEPT that I do go to pieces in times of stress and uncertainty….but I’m working on it, sometimes even without the alcohol part!
To find out where Jim Richardson has been parking his fedora,why Stephen Alvarez craves getting high above all things, and why Joe McNally won’t confess to a swami, hit the jump. Continue reading
Nikon announced several new lenses today, one of which I got to play with a while ago.
Of course, I knew that an announcement was forthcoming, I just didn’t know when (because like the husband, the photographer is always the last to know).
In fact, If I hadn’t gotten a nasty email from a Czech photographer this morning who absolutely hated one of the pictures used in the official Nikon web announcement (namely, mine!), I would have never known the lens was launched.
Ah yes, there’s nothing quite like getting a new orifice torn while you’re enjoying your morning java to really jump start your day!
Unlike my critic, however, I was blessed with the opportunity to play with a prototype of the 28-300mm for a couple of days out in San Francisco last February.
I have to say that this lens, along with the venerable 18-200mm Nikkor, has completely turned my head around when it comes to the viability of a variable aperture uni-zoom as a professional tool. This one, in particular, blew my mind and spun my head around 360 degrees…(think Linda Blair in The Exorcist!). I couldn’t find a downside to it.
It’s sharp end to end, not too big or heavy, and ergonomically pleasing to use. It features a zoom lock, which is important because, while it’s not overly large for what it is, it’s a substantial piece of glass, and I highly recommend keeping the zoom lock on while you’re walking around. You can read about the specs here and also see the full-sized samples here .
You know I’m not too technical (they had to loan me an FX camera, a D700, to shoot with) but I can tell you that this is an awesome piece of glass. You literally could shoot a whole job with this baby with no compromise that I could discern (although I’m sure someone in, um, the Czech Republic might be able to!)
The VR works well and makes up for the F/5.6 at the long end (although, as a regular user of the 70-300mm VR on my D90, this is no surprise, or hardship, for me). If I were an FX travel shooter, this lens would be in my bag (paired, most likely, with the 16-35mm f/4 VR).
Man, that would be a combination (throw in the 24mm f/1.4 and the new 85mm f/1.4 for available light and bokeh issues, and you’re in FX travel-shooting heaven, my friends! Four lenses that can do it all). But if you could only carry one lens for your FX explorations, this would be it, no doubt.
Here’s another frame of a very cool performance artist called Chi Energy, whom I bumped into while shooting the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco:
Hit the jump for more of Chi and San Francisco with the new lens… Continue reading
Tech info: D90, 18-200mm
One of my favorite ways to use a wideangle is to move in really tight on a subject, getting as close as I can to it (without being pecked, kicked, slapped or arrested) and have it fill one side of the frame, while letting the background fill the rest.
It’s a great way to create a strong, storytelling picture of inanimate objects or people (or roosters). You just have to be careful, with people, not to get so close that you distort their features (unless you want to).
Here’s another example, using one of the Gorgon heads at Magnis Lepta in Libya as an anchor for the composition:
Tech: D70, 12-24mm
Or this shot of the Place of Refuge on the Big Island:
Tech: D80, 12-24
Most of the time, the side of the frame I place the subject on depends on which way he, she, or it is looking. You always (well, almost always) want the subject looking into the frame (don’t ask me why, it just feels right).
For the Hawaii shot, it was a gray afternoon, and it wasn’t twilight yet, so I set the WB to tungsten, orange gelled my SB 800 flash (which was being held by my brother Gary, who was the writer on the piece, and fired through my little portable handheld umbrella system). I underexposed the background by about 2 stops and ramped up the flash till it looked right.
So move on in with the wide angle for stronger compositions….but be careful not to ruffle any feathers!