Thursday, March 30, 2006

Where have I been?

Well, those of you were around last week know why I was an absent blogger. Sam was in town for "Spring Break". In Sam's case this is actually a week-long birthday celebration. This means that while I took many pictures this past week, very few of them are fit for posting - they tend to be more of the vacation-variety snapshot.

Those of you who frequent the New York art scene (I do not count my self among you) will recognize this as being the open-air garden area just east of MoMA. This is a big-old waterfall fountain, and one that I would love to spend hours taking pictures of... unfortunately, I found myself in the cold, without a tripod and with a low battery. Also apparently we had a spectator that I was unaware of, but that Sam noticed.

I'm still trying to learn how to best put my flash to use . In this shot it really upset the color of the image - though it's really ok, because I like the shot in black and white. In this shot the flash provides fill lighting for Sam's face and torso - without it she would be a heavy silhouette. I wasn't quite sure how to treat Sam's midriff... in the photo. Eventually I decided to leave it alone since burning it wasn't producing very interesting results.

Update: Midriff now removed. Disolved into a sea of blackness

Friday, March 17, 2006

Another shot from last weekend's jaunt

This week has been ridiculous. I spend Sunday night doing a strike at the Downtown Cabaret in Bridgeport. I then worked two 15 hour days in a row, leaving work and heading directly to the Cabaret for a light hang. I was hurting pretty bad for a few days, so Wednesday was a recovery day. Yesterday was spent in preparation for Sam's arrival.

So here we are, and me with no new photos.

Hey pretty lady
As you can probably tell, either by the purveyor or his merchandise, this shot was taken in Chinatown. The shot started as a bit of a color study, but I've been getting a bit braver about taking pictures of people - so I kept shooting until something interesting happened in frame.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

More NYC

Here's another shot from my recent trip into the city.

As you can probably tell, this shot spent some time in editing. I pumped the saturation over-all and then selectively pulled it down in areas. I then used the color gradient tool to do a little bit of manipulation on the shading of the people in the shot. I particularly like the way the 'Lotto ATM' light shines through the tape meant to obscure it.

Points to anyone who can pinpoint the location of this shot.

Shooting in NYC

A landmark occasion. Today marks the first time that I ventured into the city for the express purpose of taking pictures. I was unencumbered by hangers-on to slow my trekking. Sweet. I walked from Grand Central down towards City Hall and then back up again. I zig-zagged the whole way of course. I will be posting many shots from today's adventure. Here is the first.

I want some Fish
The energy in Chinatown is utterly insane. I could stand all day and take pictures there. In fact, I probably should have. NYC affords a certain amount of anonymity to the photographer who is a little afraid of shooting strangers. I just kept shooting people buying and selling. This is the keeper. I'm glad I was looking through the lens at this moment, otherwise I probably would have walked away, embarrassed.

A little behind

Well, I've gotten a little behind. We had some tremendous weather this week. On Friday, I went out (without a jacket) and took a few shots.

A new tree
Of all the shots I took on Friday this is my favorite. The sky gradient really came alive when I started to go to work on the raw file. I did a bit of saturation and color-temp tweaking.

I can't stress enough how excited I am for the return of good weather.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Sunday wandering Westport

That's about as accurate a description of my Sunday as I can come up with. I spent some time at the Bearing Hill Beach then made my way over to Earthplace... sorry... it'll always be NCEA to me. Heehee.

Sunlight makes it through
I took this shot from the bottom of a particularly extreme bit of tree-ness. As you can probably guess this is at Earthplace. I was hoping I'd see some animals (preferably of the cloven-hooved variety), but no such luck. I originally shot this completely upside down. I gave it a 180 degree rotation in post. I like the sunlight playing off the bark.

Update: I made it to number four. Awww yeah.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Icy Winds

I managed, for the second day in a row, to leave the office while a little sunlight was still on the horizon. I headed for Compo Beach to take some tundra-like shots of the icy solitude. The wind was outrageous. It blew little face-cutting particles of ice around and making my exposed skin burn. I was fortunate enough to have brought along gloves but I forgot, entirely, the benefit that a hat would provide. By the time I made it back to the car (180 shots later) I was shivering and I couldn't feel my fingers or toes.

Silvery Tents
These tents proved to be particularly interesting. I'm not accustomed to seeing tents on the beach in the winter, and the 30mph winds made them particularly attractive subjects. I took many shots of the tents from the outside, and even a few from the inside. It wasn't until I started tweaking the raw files that I began to see on-screen what I had seen in person.

I am exceptionally pleased with this shot.

Update: Well, according to flickr scout, this shot has shown up as #3 on flickr's explore pages. Yay for interestingness!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Another Snowy One

Unfortunately, on this particular snowy day I wasn't "trapped" in Chicago. I decided that on my way home from work I was going to catch a little bit of light and take some pictures in the snow. As soon as I got on the road however I realized just how suicidal it was driving around and so I nixed my original plans and went after some low-hanging fruit.

I've actualy wanted to stop at this rest stop and take some pictures in the past. Today seemed as good a time as any. There was even a news crew set up to record a live segment in front of the traffic. Yeah, that bit never gets old.

Truck Headlights and Golden Arches
I took a number of shots, all of them came out fairly mundane. I had to spend a decent amount of time in Photoshop tweaking and poking until I had usable material. In this particular shot I added a serious amount of vignetting. I like the feel it gives the image. I also bumped the various exposure and curve settings. I chose this as the best of the bunch because of the gleaming snow illuminated by the truck lights. I was worried about condensation today so I made a bit of a scarafice: I rode around with the heat off so my camera wouldn't have to make fast temperature adjustments. I'm not sure if it paid off or not, but I didn't have any serious condensation. So thats good.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Flickr, Interestingness and Addiction

I had, on Monday, the opportunity to read this article on FlickrNation. The article presents 10 tips to get more people looking at your photos posted on Flickr. Most of the tips seem to center on building yourself into the community. I like this. I used to only favorite those pictures taken by friends which I wanted to have a way back to. Now I use the favorite button like a thumbs-up, or a "Nice Job". When I give someone the thumbs-up they see that I have done so and take a look at my pictures in return. The same concept works for commenting as well.
I am now addicted. Looking at random pictures commenting and favoriting away. There's nothing disingenuous about this either. I love looking at random snippets of peoples lives and its great to give someone a thumbs-up. I'm an addict now.

So, is this all just attention whoring? Yes. But also no. Other than the occasional ego stroke, the fact that people are viewing my pictures puts on the pressure to produce and to maintain a level of quality that I otherwise wouldn't.

File it under pressure to produce. Despite the way I was feeling after work I decided to take some outdoor pictures. I've long thought about shooting some pictures along this particular stretch of the Post Road in Norwalk. It's particularly ugly and commercial and even features a stunningly rusty radio tower. The weather, however, was a bit more than I bargained for and I didn't go nuts walking around the area.

Evening Commerce
My goal for the evening was to take a series of photos, at different exposures, that I could later use for HDR processing. Unfortunately, I'm a terrible novice at this particular technique and so I didn't really manage to produce anything. I did however produce a nice non-HDR still image. Here it is.