November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

As always, the Patrick’s have a lot to be thankful for—our wonderful son and special daughter, our three great grandchildren, Cole, Chloe and Cameron, our many friends and our good health.
Janice and I are also thankful this year for our newest members of our family—Blaze and Pepper.  They have been with us a little over a week but they have firmly cemented themselves as members of the family—all 2 pounds 3 ounces of Pepper and all 2 pounds 5 ounces of Blaze.
All three of our grandchildren have played at the base of our kitchen table so it is only fitting that Blaze and Pepper also do so.  Da’Girls are a real joy.  Although we have papers saying that Pepper is 100% toy poodle, I know that she is really 50% toy poodle and 50% turkey.  She is everywhere and into everything.  Blaze on the other hand is Miss Sweetie, most of the time.   Of course there are times that Blaze thinks that she has to act like her sister.  Janice and I have spent many hours playing with them and watching them run around our house.
In the photo, Pepper is on the left and Blaze, who has a little white on her chest and the tips of both of her back feet, is on the right.
Enjoy and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 at 50mm, ISO 1,600, f/6.7 and 1/30th of a second with a Nikon SB800 using a LumQuest 20/80 attached.
Post Processing:
Lightroom:  Set black and white point, added contrast.

November 18, 2011

Jay Maisel Workshop #10

Jay:  Welcome to New York. This photo is totally about gesture. Look at his expression.  Look at how he has forcefully positioned his arm.  Look at how he is separated from everyone else—by focus, by the lighting, by being the only male, by not being engaged with everyone else at the table.  He is a New Yorker. How did you get this one, yell look like New York?
Me:  Just saw it and shot it.  Didn’t think about it.
Jay:  Good, leave the thinking home more.
Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 at 250mm, ISO 1,600, f/5.6 and 1/350th of a second.
Post Processing:  NONE!

November 15, 2011

Jay Maisel Workshop #9

Jay liked this photo because it did such a good job of isolating the subject and showing gesture—which brings me to how Jay thinks about photographs.
According to Jay, photographs are usually about three elements—light, color (or lack of color) and gesture.  It is the job of the photographer to determine which element is most important to the photograph and then select the angle, cropping and composition that supports the selected element.  Before I went to the workshop, I believed that my most successful (i.e., the photographs that I liked best) were ones that I saw something within a scene and then successfully showcased that element within my image.  The workshop did two things for me—it confirmed this fuzzy idea that I had haphazardly followed and it made me really focus on asking and answering a very basic question about a shot before I took it—what am I trying to project in this photo.
By making us (the workshop participants) shoot in jpeg and show “right out of the camera”, he forced us to make the decision about what the photo is about before we took the shot and he made us eliminate all distracting elements in order to distill what we wanted the photo to represent.
This photo was taken of a woman buying some ice cream at an out-door vendor.  To me, the subject is not the transaction (her face and the money in her hand), but it is the intensity of her face.  The money merely supports and gives context to that intensity.  I originally took the photo at f/11 which made both her face and the money in focus, but as I looked at it on the back of my camera I thought that I did not get what I wanted—there seemed to be some confusion about what was the subject, the woman, the money or the transaction.  I quickly changed my f-stop to f/5.6, focused on her right eye and retook the photo. 
Whether anyone likes the photo is not important.  To me, what is important is that I saw something—the intensity of her look—and was able to capture it as I saw it in my mind.
Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 at 300mm, ISO 1,400, f/5.6 and 1/180th of a second.
Post Processing:  NONE!

November 11, 2011

Jay Maisel Workshop #8

Jay did not critic this photo.
I saw this guy giving directions to two girls but could not get the shot because the girls were in my way.  After he finished, I told him that I thought his bag was really cool.  He immediately told me that it was not his but was his niche’s bag and he was taking it over to her house. 
I asked if I could take a photo of him pointing like he did when he gave the girls directions.  He was a little reluctant, but then he agreed.  After a few minutes, he really got into the scene.  I had a couple shots that I liked but it seemed that something was missing.  I saw the guy on the bike coming up the street and so I suggested that we take another shot with the bike in the background.  I think the bike helps sell the shot as street photography and helps add depth to the overall photo.
I know that some people might be concerned by the pole behind him looking like it was growing out of his head.  It does not bother me because of its size and because this is a street photo, not a portrait.  The thing that I do not like is the red sign and alarm on the pole.  To me, red is a very hard color to control in your images and I think that they take the viewer's eye away from the main subject—the bright pink bag.
One thing that I forgot to mention earlier is that I h ave presented a few photos that were in 4x5 format rather than 2x3 format.  The Nikon D3 has an option to change the format from 2x3 to 4x5.  So, this was done in camera with Jay’s permission.
Jay and I got into a big discussion as to why I wanted to do this.  I told him it was simple:  I had less real estate (i.e., distracting background) to worry about in a 4x5 format and I thought that the 4x5 format was better suited to photographing people.  Jay listened, but I do not think I made a sale. 
Jay said that he thought that all photographers look at things from a specific perspective—a wide or telephoto perspective.  He told me that he had a telephoto-perspective which meant that he zeroed-in on slices of a scene thus eliminating a lot of distracting elements.  He told me that he never thought about how people might look at scene from different aspect ratios.
Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 at 62mm, ISO 400, f/8 and 1/180th of a second.
Post Processing:  NONE!

November 9, 2011

Jay Maisel Workshop #7

Jay did like this photo.  No, he did not like it because of the girl.
Jay:  How did you get this shot?
Me:  I took this this early this morning on my way to the workshop.  I was photographing some details on a building when this lady yelled from across the street:  “Whatsa doing?”  I replied that I was photographing the building behind her.  She replied:  “I’ll give you something better to take.”  At which she began to strike various poses.
Jay:  You are s@#%#*&! me. 
Me:  No.
Jay:  Something like that has never happened to me in the sixty years that I have walked these streets.  You lucky son-of-a-@#%#*&What makes this photo so good is the fact that the subject is completely separated from the background.   It is separated by color, sharpness, focus and gesture.  As you look at the photo, there is no doubt what the subject matter is.  Even though there is the separation, all the elements of the photograph work together.  Nice job.
Me:  Thanks.
Jay:  Your skill as a photographer is definitely enhanced by your luck.  I hope you never get unlucky. (shy smile on his face)
Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 at 300mm, ISO 1,600, f/5.6 and 1/250th of a second.
Post Processing:  NONE! 

November 4, 2011

Jay Maisel Workshop #6

Jay did like this photo.  I liked it, but have some reservations about it.
Jay:  Did you ask this guy to pose for you?
Me:   No.  I saw this neat background and then waited for people to walk in front of it.  I liked this guy because he looked at me and because his shirt was a solid, bright color that seemed to go with the background.
Jay:  Although his look is not really an inviting look, it still draws the viewer into the scene.
Me:  I am not real happy with how I have him placed in the center of the frame.
Jay:  You talking about the rule of thirds?
Me:  Yes.
Jay:  @#%#*&! the rules!  Does the photo have impact?  Yes.  Does it draw you into it?  Yes.  So, @#%#*&! the rules!
My thought:  Not sure about that!
Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 at 300mm, ISO 1,600, f/11 and 1/250th of a second.
Post Processing:  NONE!

November 1, 2011

Jay Maisel Workshop #5

Jay did not like this photo.  I liked it.
Jay:  What is this photo about?  I have no idea what you are trying to convey here.  There is nice light and an interesting shadow on the Brooklyn Bridge and then there are two homeless people.  What am I suppose to look at?  What am I suppose to think?  Did you trip your shutter by mistake?
Me:  It’s all about opposites—the largeness of the bridge versus the smallness of the men; the beautiful golden light on the top of the bridge versus the murky shadows on the bottom of the bridge; the cleanliness of the top of the bridge versus the dirt of the bottom of the bridge; and finally the dejected look of one man versus the smiling of the other man. 
Jay:  Yea, right.
You:  ?  
Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 at 300mm, ISO 1,600, f/8 and 1/180th of second.
Post Processing:  NONE!