Monday, December 20, 2010

Miami On The Bay

Ho, ho, ho, and a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka,  Good Kwanza, Feliz Navidad, Happy New Year and Feliz Ano Nuevo.  Have I left anyone out?

For all of you in the frozen north, this is Miami in December.  The photo of Biscayne Bay viewed through a park bench was shot in Alice Wainright Park in the middle of a beautiful Miami winter's day with the temperature hovering around the low 70's.  Also, for those of you keeping score, I shot it with my Leica M8. 

This photo is available for purchase in sizes up to 20x30" on my webpage by clicking here.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Leica M8, redux

As I posted yesterday, I just recently purchased a Leica M8 with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton lens.  I'm still deciding whether to keep it or not. I took this photo yesterday and just love it.  I think it's got a real vintage look, almost like a 1970's Rolling Stone article.  I love how the Nokton paints the bokeh in the background.  Some reviews I've read are a bit critical of the Nokton, saying that it doesn't render the bokeh in the same creamy manner that Leica lenses do, describing the bokeh as harsh.  I wouldn't describe it as such.  I think it's more shimmering and it gives the photo character.  My Canon lenses render creamy backgrounds, but none shimmers and adds character like this Nokton.  

Auto focus, though, is still an on-going battle.  After ten years of shooting Canon 1 Series cameras with lightning-quick, razor-sharp auto focus, focusing by hand is a slow and painstaking process.  Henri Cartier-Bresson is famous for stating that photographers needed to anticipate, wait for and seize the "decisive moment."  I doubt he would have felt the same had he carried a state-of-the art Canon 1 Series instead of a manual focus Leica.  Just auto focus and squeeze off four or five shots.  The "decisive moment" will be in there somewhere.  Not so with the Leica.  Each shot is essentially "hand-made".

Still, I like the camera.  It shoots so differently from any other camera I own or have shot in the past few years that I feel it will cause me to stretch my boundaries as a photographer and artist.  In the end, that can only be good.  For now it stays. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Leica M8

Just recently purchased a Leica M8 with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton lens.  I'm still deciding whether to keep it or not.  After a decade shooting top-of-the-line Canon 1 series cameras with razor-sharp auto-focus and primo L lenses, going back to manual focus is a bit disconcerting.  Still, I'm very intrigued by this new addition.

This is one of the first shots, taken of friends while out at dinner.  Love the bokeh background, some say it's a bit jarring and not as creamy or smooth as Leica lenses, but I like it.  The lens renders photos in a really classic way, much like an old model from the 40's or 50's.  I took some shots today that I'd swear look as if they were taken in the early 70's.  I'll post those tomorrow. 

For now, the Leica stays.  Who knows, may be tomorrow I'll vote it off the island, but don't really think so.  Besides, it just looks sooooo cool on my shoulder.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Barcelona Street Scenes

Located directly on the northeastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, Barcelona has a rich history dating back at least 2,000 years when it gained prominence as a Roman town under its old name, Barcino. Spain's second largest and arguably most beautiful city "is full of what European cities are known for (outdoor markets, restaurants, shops, museums, and churches) and is fantastic for walking with an extensive and reliable Metro system for more far-flung destinations.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Carleigh & Eric's Wedding

After the wonderful comments I received as a result of Lizzie & Frank's Engagement Gallery, I thought I'd continue the theme by posting a wedding. 

Carleigh & Eric were married in St. Joan of Arc's Catholic Church in Boca in October, 2009.  The train is a relic located in the local Tri-Rail station.  As always, I tried to capture the feeling of the day rather than just a bunch of boring poses. 

Click here to view the entire gallery.  Click here to leave a comment.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lizzie & Frank

On a cool and unbelievably beautiful afternoon in April, I photographed Lizzie and Frank in the Brickell neighborhood of Miami, right by the bay.  At the time I was kicking myself for not bringing my polarizing filter in order to deepen the sky.  In fact, I really didn't need it because the day was just so gorgeous.  The only thing lovelier than the day was the couple themselves. 

Click here to view the entire gallery.  Click here to comment on this post.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Most Important Image Ever Taken?

I stumbled across this video while surfing the web.  Although not about photography in the way I or any reader would use the word, it still is technically "photography".  Also, it's set to Pink Floyd, which is always cool and brings back memories of smoke-filled, midnight showings at planetariums. 


Adobe Plenoptic Video

First, a definition: "A plenoptic camera, also called a light-field camera . . .  is a camera that uses a microlens array (also known as a lenticular lens array) to capture 4D light field information about a scene."  Click here to see the entire Wikipedia article. 

Adobe has recently demonstrated a light-field camera that is truly amazing.  Through software, it actually lets the user refocus the image through then entire depth of field.  Light-Field cameras are able to do this by refocusing the image through many, smaller lenses much like a bug's eyes focus through many small lenses.   Essentially, an unprocessed image looks totally blurred, but can be focused at any point in the depth of field.  It can be focused after the fact.

Ratrix, a company out of Germany actually makes light-field cameras for sale and will also modify existing cameras to work with their light-field software.  Click here to see their products.

Check out the video.  It is truly amazing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Portrait of a Young Candidate

Katie Edwards
Currently the Executive Director of the Dade County Farm Bureau, Katie Edwards is the Democratic nominee running for Florida State Representative, District 119.  Comprised of parts of unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Homestead, Florida City, Redland, The Crossings, Country Walk, Richmond West, and Sweetwater, District 119 is very geographically, ethnically and racially diverse.

In April, I spent a day following Katie and her campaign volunteers around as they engaged in old-fashioned door-to-door politics in order to meet the voters and garner the necessary number of signatures to qualify for the primary election without a filing fee. 

None of the photos in the essay was staged.  I had complete access to Katie and was granted unhindered freedom to photograph at will.  The photo-essay shows an earnest and eager young candidate who engages the voters and her campaign volunteers with friendliness and respect.  This is democracy at work.  Click here to view the gallery.

10 Things Photographers Should Not Do

Brian Auer has an interesting piece on Epic Edits listing 10 things photographers should not do.  My favorites are number 2, "Don't lust for gear", and number 9, "Don't ignore the rules". 

Photographers are a curious group that includes hard-core gear-heads on one extreme and the touchy-feely artsy crowd on the other.  While I love the gear (don't get me wrong I really love my gear) to focus (pun intended) on the gear misses the mark entirely.  Photography is about the images, it's about what you can capture and how you can display it.  To focus on the gear is not only super expensive but totally misses the mark.  The gear-heads might as well be talking fuel-injectors or hard-drives.

It's all about the images.

As for the "rules", yes there are compositional rules for photography.  In sum, you should learn them and commit them to memory so afterward you can intentionally ignore them.  That's the difference between accident and intent.

Click here for the rest of Brian's article.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Suburban Knights

NPR has done a very interesting profile of work by Venice-based photographer, E.F.Kitchen in which she photographs medieval reenactors from The Society for Creative Anachronism.  According to NPR, Kitchen "photographs with a large-format 8x10 camera, and makes her own prints using an old-fashioned platinum  process" which takes about a month for each print.  Click here for the article.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rockabilly Culture

"Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music, and emerged in the early 1950s.
The term rockabilly is a portmanteau of rock (from rock 'n' roll) and hillbilly, the latter a reference to the country music (often called hillbilly music in the 1940s and 1950s) that contributed strongly to the style's development. Other important influences on rockabilly include western swing, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues. While there are notable exceptions, its origins lie primarily in the Southern United States.
"The influence and popularity of the style waned in the 1960s, but during the late 1970s and early 1980s, rockabilly enjoyed a major revival of popularity that has endured to the present, often within a rockabilly subculture." Wikipedia.

I love the music and think the culture is kinda cool, at least in measured doses.  The Gawno Magazine has some wonderful photos of Rockabilly Culture taken by Erik Refner.  The photos are in black and white, very graphic and photo-journalistic, exactly what I like and exactly my style as well.  Click here to see these truly great photos.

How to set metatags in blogspot.

Excellent (and SIMPLE!) tutorial on key-wording and SEO from Tweak My Blogger.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Is it the camera or the photographer?

Those of you who've seen me shoot know I use top-notch equipment, mostly Canon 1 series cameras and Canon L lenses.  These are the very best cameras and lenses that Canon makes; they are in fact the definition of "world class".  The cameras are big, heavy and built like tanks. So, when people see me with one of these really big, impressive-looking cameras I often hear "wow, I bet you can take really good pictures with that camera!"  Hmmmmm, ggrrrrr, . . . it's like nails on a chalkboard.

Yes I can, but truly it has very little to do with the gear.  Good photography is in the eye and in the heart.  If you know how to frame an image and you love this craft you'll take "real purtty pictures" no matter what gear you use.

Don't believe me?  Have a look at this video.  Lee Morris shot an entire photo session with nothing but an iPhone and lights.

The iPhone Fashion Shoot - Lee Morris Shoots With The 3GS Fstoppers from FStoppers on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Father's Rangefinder

I first fell in love with photography at the age of fourteen, after borrowing my father’s Konica rangefinder camera.  I immediately appreciated the special magic of the medium: the little box in my hand enabled me to stop time. In a frame of 35mm film, I could literally capture a fleeting slice of existence that was here one moment and then gone the next.

I also very quickly learned an iron rule that governs this special magic: in photography, there are no second chances. What would be a great photo at one moment, may only be a snapshot a moment later, a blink of an eye, a parting of the lips might make all the difference. One moment you’re Robert Capa, a moment later, you’re just a guy with a camera.

Through this blog, I hope to more fully express my love for this craft.  I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I will enjoy writing it.