December 20, 2011

Jay Maisel Workshop #15

Jay did not officially critic this photo.  He did, however, look at it on my computer while I was reviewing my shots from the day.  Jay wanted to know why I did not include this one in my selection for the day.  I told him that I was not sure that people would see what I saw in the image.  At which, he said “%@#*! them” !  Jay liked how the image raised questions:  what is going-on? why so much white? who are these guys? 
Anybody have any answers to his question? 
Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 at 170mm, ISO 1,600, f/8 and 1/90th of a second. 
Post Processing:  None!

December 17, 2011

Jay Maisel Workshop #14

Jay:  OK, what’s the story here?
Me:  Again, this is at Bryant Park.  I saw this man sitting there lost in his thoughts.  He looked so dignified that I wanted to have a portrait of him lost in his thoughts.  So, I asked if I could take his photo.  I took a couple shots but was not happy with what I was getting.  The background was very distracting.  I moved to my left in order to minimize the distractions.  His expression did not change throughout my ventures.
Jay:  That’s what you did but you did not answer the question “what’s the story here?”
Me:  His name is Lucas.  He has three grown daughters that he reared by himself—his wife died in childbirth with the youngest.  He has worked two to three jobs most of his life.  He is 77 years old and his daughters have told him that he has to stop working and start living.  He said that he thought that he had been living for 77 years.  He did not know what to do.
Jay:  Even though you do not know what the story is, you know that there is a story.  You also want to know the story.  Did you offer him any of your thoughts?
Me:  No.  I think he knows what to do.  He just needed someone to listen to him for a few minutes.
Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 at 150mm, ISO 2,200, f/5.6 and 1/350th of a second.
Post Processing:  None!

December 9, 2011

Jay Maisel Workshop #13

Jay:  Where did you find this much green in New York City?
Me:  Bryant Park
Jay: Three things make this photo successful.  One, the harmony of the colors.  Two, the soft lighting on her.  And, three, her very pleasant and warm look.  Her eyes are engaging the viewer.  Nice, but I am not sure that I would consider this to be street photography.
Me:  I refer to this type of shot as street portraits because I often move the subject and do some directing.  She was setting in a chair and I just moved the chair to face another direction so that I would have the ivy as my background. 
Jay:  I like the term.  But, I am not sure what criteria I would use to judge it.
Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 at 120mm, ISO 1,600, f/5.6 and 1/500th of a second.
Post Processing:  None!

December 6, 2011

Jay Maisel Workshop #12

Jay: Really good concept, but you did not hit it out-of-the-park.  If the subject is man crawling out of a hole, then the man must be tack-sharp (which this one is not) and the background elements should be slightly out-of-focus—thus making the man the SUBJECT!  Great perspective—street level.  What the hell were you doing lying on the sidewalk. 
Me:  Yes. 
Jay:  If you are going to go to that trouble, then bring me back a real winner, not this want-to-be idea on paper! 
At this point, Jay talked at some length about working the subject.  He said that a great concept poorly executed produces another bad photo.  You must constantly refine your idea so that you distill it down to only the elements that you consider “the story.”  That may mean that you give up on it today and go back tomorrow—but, you go back until you get what you are seeing in your mind. 
While Jay was talking about refining your photo, my mind wondered to a Joe McNally seminar that I attended with Steve Schuencke.  Joe was working with a female model and the images that were flashing up on the screen were good, but, he keep working it, and finally, a photo flashed up and you hear a collective “wow” from the attendees.  On the way home from the seminar, the only think that Steve and I talked about was Joe working the image. 

Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 at 300mm, ISO 1,600, f/11 and 1/180th of a second. 
Post ProcessingNone!

December 1, 2011

Jay Maisel Workshop #11

Jay like this photo because it zeroed into what was important—her suspicious eying me—yet still provided adequate context as to what was going-on.  Jay did say that this might have been a time where he would have opened-up the lens to f/5.6 to blur as much as possible around her eye. The lady’s name is Juda and she is an camera-woman who works with independent film makers in New York.  We talked before I took any photos of her.  She gave me permission to photograph her, but did not want me to interrupt the filming that she was doing.  So, I tried to stay as far away from her as possible during my shots.

I wanted the photo to be totally about how she was eying me.


Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 at 180mm, ISO 1,000, f/8 and 1/180th of a second.

Post ProcessingNone!