Sunday, March 31, 2013

I went to a bike race and . . .

From top to bottom: Kurt Boone, a former bike messenger and and enterprising black entrepreneur with his book "Asphalt Warrior", 2010 Olympian from Mexico in the women's road race - Ingrid Drexel, seen with her team 4 pictures down,  a spectator with a pensive look at the beautiful sunset on the NYC harbor near the Statue of Liberty, 2 racing dudes with neat jerseys excited about racing, an example of the benefits of shooting in the magic hour, the hour before sunrise and sunset when the colors are simply awesome, the 3 top finishers at the press conference and finally the winning prize(s)

It was my 1st time shooting a sporting event at night and this was especially tricky because of the speed involved since there were 2, 5K running races that preceded the bike race (30K = 18.6 miles) on single speed (fixes/track bikes). A truly exciting experience and a shout-out to that cute "down-under" couple I met, she was from Australia studying law at NYU and he was from New Zealand.

Red Hook in Brooklyn seems to be a very hipster "place to be" along with Brooklyn as a whole taking on the prominence Manhattan used to have. Lots of young, good-looking, fit, smart and friendly people here.

So, I came for a bike race and bumped into a sunset - not bad for my 1st sports night shoot.

Friday, March 29, 2013

I wonder what she's thinking about?

I know what she was thinking. "I have to get outta here and change my view on sick day compensation to look good for my run  for the mayor job."

Sick day pay

Interestingly, this news came out on Good Friday. Clearly this was good news for many in NYC. How interesting to note how some people can change their minds? I'm clueless about what she (Christine Quinn) was thinking on this subject. Even if she stated her reasons publicly, how do we know if she was telling the truth?

In the end it is a "good" thing for many.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

the feminine touch

If you look good, you can sell yourself (Christine Quinn as a potential NYC mayor) and you can sell things (beautiful models selling cars at the NY Auto Show). I attended the 2nd press day at the auto show and kept asking models to pose by the cars because as I saw it, they make the cars more attractive than they already are.

Beauty gets attention but organic (human) beauty lends itself to a heightened form of aestheticism. Another thing I noticed as a photographer is that most people look way better in person than their images in the media.

But I and other photographers and videographers had a common problem = white balance or getting the lighting right. The ceiling lights were very bright but not uniformly so and in some places a different hue plus the cars were so shiny that there was a lot of reflected light going every which way. Both incidental and reflected light at the same time - an exposure metering nightmare.

The bottom line for car connoisseurs and potential buyers is what gets your attention, the looks or the technology? The looks or the real person behind the "look"?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

a white car?

I renewed my lease with a newer version of the "black" Nissan Altima 3.5S I had before. I now have a 2013 "white" model. So you might ask, what's the big deal about a "white" car?

Well, for starters, I never had a "white" car before and secondly the concept of "whiteness" is on my mind lately thinking about how to quickly and more accurately adjust the white balance on my camera. This is tricky stuff, especially when there are different light sources in your frame.

"white" has an abundance of good things to say about it - like all the symbolism that the color "white" presents. And white is the presence of all colors, while black is the absence of color - right? Go ahead, google "black has all colors" and there are different opinions about this.

Bottom line:  white = good, black = bad

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

in your face !

The Many Lives of William Klein

Some say that the purest form of photography is "street" photography. After watching this video, I agree. Like a famous photographer once said, "If your pictures aren't any good, you need to get closer to your subject."

That's where the "in your face " phrase comes from. I find that the photos I take that are close up ones usually reveal more character and if getting close doesn't work, use a telephoto lens. But if you both engage your subject to allow yourself permission to get into their space, then good photo opportunities will avail themselves

Nowadays most people don't care if you take their pics unless if they're celebrities are are hounded everyday or "bad" people who cherish anonymity.

So, feel free to get in their face!

Monday, March 25, 2013

ever find a new cool place?

I found a cool, new place on Facebook with very interesting photos - the kind of place that is interesting, motivational and perplexing all at once. It's called Campbell's Loft

Campbell's Loft

Composition, lighting, portraiture, and overall photographic character is to be had in abundance.

Check it out. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

another winter storm in Spring?

Here we go again. Maybe only 2 - 4 inches but this weather is getting tiresome. We're nearly in April and these cold blustry days with snow/rain just seem endless. But just you wait. I bet our summer will be insufferably hot.

Maybe I'll get some good human interest photos? Showing how we humans deal with the adversities Mother Nature throws at us.

We'll wait and see. All the action doesn't start until 6 a.m. tomorrow.

My camera is weather sealed. We'll see about that too.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

everyone can use a a mentor

When I first started with photography as a hobby, I was shooting everything on "auto" or later when I got a little bit smarter and braver on "P" mode which is auto without the flash. Guillermo (pictured here) immediately told me that I had to shoot "Manual". Well, that was scary because I was still climbing up the steep learning curve with my Nikon D7000 DSLR cropped sensor camera. I bet you don't know the difference between "crop sensor" and full-frame, do you?

But hanging around this guy and a few other photogs who were shooting freelance stuff I learned quickly through doing in addition to reading magazines/books/blogs. But nothing beats a person who is both critical and supportive and can lead by example. Maybe that's what we need in our politicians?

Who's your mentor? do you even have one? if not, why?

Friday, March 22, 2013

science fiction = prophecy

The Big Read = Fahrenheit 451

Is the future now? Was Ray Bradbury a prophet? Are ideas and people who think, express and put them into writing enemies of the State and /or our culture?

Does the media serve as a codependent in this attack on free thinking? Have you listened to our newscasts and interviews with thought leaders (whoever they are). Have you noticed the abundance of softball questions thrown at them versus hardball questions which are usually ignored or spun in ways that are truly inscrutable?

What are the most brain numbing parts of our culture? Are they so overwhelming that to even try to ignore them is an impossibility?

Maybe we're not burning books but surely not encouraging more hard thinking.

Watch out - for the future is now.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

is your favorite park as nice as mine?

I did a shoot this evening at the Split Rock golf course clubhouse in the Bronx, NYC. What a beautifully remodeled building after the original art deco style of the 1930's when Orchard Beach was constructed as part of the CCC. This beach is part of Pelham Bay Park: Pelham Bay Park

This was a benefit put on by the Friends of Pelham Bay Park. This park is the largest one in NYC and the biggest secret in NYC. Over the years when I have posted photos from this park, no one believed these were from NYC. For more than 40 years I've run and hiked the trails throughout this park.

BTW, the blonde lady is Marianne Anderson who is the Park Administrator and the other lady is Elizabeth Gonzalez who is the President of Friends of Pelham Bay Park.

I'm biased but I really don't think you'll find a park as nice as mine.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NYC press pass perks

Today I enjoyed one of the perks of being a member of the press - free admission to the many museums in NYC. I visited the Guggenheim today and was able to bypass the admission lines and was offered up to two free tickets.

See my album here:  Guggenheim w/press pass

2 things: 1) no photography past the 1st floor due to contracts with private collections that are on loan to them 2) leaning over the low partitions and looking straight down can cause severe queasiness.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

who's watching your back?

Nothing is secure anymore. Nothing is a sure thing. Nothing can be fully trusted

In the above pic, Big Ben in London has my back. But if someone wanted to steal my pic, they could just like someone in Egypt stole my wife's email account but I stole it back (haha)

Healthy relationships are anchored with the knowledge that each partner has the others back. When questions or uncertainty come to the fore, things start to unravel.

I wish someone was watching my back during each step of getting to the magic "65" when Medicare kicks in, social security benefits are taken, etc. All of us need tax advice. It's a crime to be taxed twice on earnings that we worked hard for.

From now on, I'll be watching my own back. You should too.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring is coming?

It's cold and windy and more snow is coming tonight and two days from now Spring is supposed to be arriving. I was out doing a shoot for a client today and the rawness of the weather got my attention when I realized how cold my fingers were on my camera body. That plus the difference in temperature between my face and the viewfinder constantly created a buildup of fog on the glass that impaired a clear view of what I was shooting.

The photograph above is my daughter with that forlorn look riding up in the tram to Mt. Pilatus in Switzerland on a day like today.

Emily Dickinson
clr gif

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

taxes = melancholia

Doing my taxes today and the results weren't good. Retirees like me would like to know why our social security benefits were taxed when we earned them and are taxed again when we get them? Their philosophy assumes that people who are doing well off with pensions, etc. really don't need social security benefits. But we earned them - nuff said!

BTW, that photo is the Pacific ocean near San Francisco - cold and treacherous on a foggy day. Perfect ingredients for a melancholy mood.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

when ideas reach fruition

It's nice to see ideas, concepts and possible solutions to problems work. I had that experience today using fill flash with a remote wireless speedlight mounted on a monopod to wash out an area of disconcerting light in a room I was photographing.

Simple as that - when the physics make sense and the implementation is technically sound, problems are solved. This and my car mysteriously fixing its own problem both in one day, that's a good feeling.

I hope you have a day like mine.

Friday, March 15, 2013

a man died here

He jumped from the 33rd floor of his building this morning. Witnesses say his body exploded when he hit the ground. See that fresh dirt? That was put there to cover up his remnants. See the blood stain? Just some of the larger amount that was originally there.

I only heard about this four hours after it happened. The area pictured above was only scanned by the curious onlookers who knew about the event. For most, it was as if nothing happened. Some people watched me curiously to wonder why I was photographing the sidewalk?

But isn't this the story of our lives? We are but wisps in the wind, the momentary breath of cold air that rushes and quickly disappears as we breathe on a cold wintry day. What motivated him to die this way? If you were going to kill yourself, how would you do it? Pills, slashing your wrists, overdosing, jump in front of a subway car . . . ?

As for the more tawdry aspects of this event, did he lose consciousness before he hit the ground? Did he have second thoughts while falling? Did his whole life stream in an instant before his mind?

Our lives are short to begin with. Take care - take good care of yours.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

the tourists are out in droves!

Last year when I traveled through Europe I was dismayed by the crowds of tourists that were practically everywhere I went. Then yesterday while taking photos on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, I quickly realized that everyone I passed was speaking in another language. 

The world is shrinking. There must be more discretionary money on hand for peoples all over the world. And would you believe it, this was my first time walking the whole bridge. You know what they say - people who live in a city visits its traditional sightseeing spots less than tourists do.

I met two girls from Barcelona who spoke English better than I spoke Spanish. That's always bugged me - me and most Americans  - inability to speak other languages. But we got one fact clear - Spain is a beautiful country

But NYC will always be the "Big Apple"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

me and the Pope

This is something I wanted to get since I started working for my newspaper. They're not easy to get. One has to meet their stringent requirements since it seems they aren't in the habit of giving these out readily.

After going through 3 layers of security just to get into One Police Plaza, right across the street from City Hall, one goes up to the 13th floor (doesn't that alone forbode an ominous experience waiting for you?) you submit your applications with photos that have been published in the newspaper to prove you deserve this pass. I did. I meet the qualifications and then . . .

The papal announcement came on the battery of TVs in the office. I was beaten by the Pope. He got his  annunciation before I got mine. But why not? Isn't the Pope "God" on earth? Who am I?

A NYC press photographer, that's who!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

want to go way back in time?

Photographs bring us back in time. Art helps us transcend the here and now. It establishes historical truths and for me it encourages flights of fancy. These pictures are from The Cloisters, a museum specializing in medieval art:

The Cloisters

Ever wonder if your photo albums and now hard drives because how many people print their photos? Will what you captured on camera be relics of a past long ago providing people of our future with images of their past?

I'm here now. Who will share my images of the present?

Monday, March 11, 2013

he sang his heart out

Meet Tyler Greer from the Truman HS Choir, Bronx, NY who sang the national anthem at a Women's History Month Commemoration event put on by local Congressman Crowley and his voice broke near the end. He was embarrassed but everyone gave him a standing ovation for his passion and his effort.

This should serve as a metaphor for the way this country should engage each other when we differ with each other politically. Less factionalism and partisanship and more efforts to compromise and work to together. 

Try your best. Be willing to fail. Support those who strive to better themselves. Be civil.