Every once in a while I shoot a band that’s so good, it makes me question what I’ve been doing with my life. After shooting Five Alarm Funk at Mercury Lounge last weekend I came out thinking, “Well, I’ve been doing it all wrong… I should have started playing the drums years ago, instead I wasted my time learning to walk and feed myself, how useless is that”… and thinking was about all I was able to do, as my senses were pretty much useless at this point, having retreated to their happy place to recover and avoid all the nasty things that fell into the category of “Not Five Alarm Funk”. Continue reading
I’ve been very lucky to have had the chance to work with some extremely talented models in the past, but truly gifted models few and far between. For every great model I’ve worked with, there’s been many that haven’t even gotten past the initial interview. Having a pretty face or a good body doesn’t make you a model any more than having the latest gear makes you a photographer. Cheap and accessible digital cameras have spawned a whole new wave of both “photographers” and “models” over the last few years, and while everyone has to start somewhere, leaving the starting line is something only few manage. Here’s some of the things I look for when choosing a model for a shoot (Warning: slightly NSFW images after the break).
It’s amazing how easy it is to fall out of the habit of posting regularly; it’s also embarrassing, as I teach courses on blogging and web-marketing for artists that continually stress how important it is to keep a regular posting schedule. These last 6 months have thrown my life into chaos, but in ultimately really good ways. I’ve been laid-off and re-hired, changed positions to a much more stressful, but more rewarding job… I’ve ended a relationship and moved out on my own again and I’ve done some serious re-thinking of the direction I want to take my photography. All of this has meant a myriad of reasons, well excuses really, that I don’t have the time, energy or motivation to work on a post.
I’d really like to give a huge thanks to my readers as it’s really because of you that I’ve found the motivation to get back on the horse; all winter, even though I’ve been neglecting the site, I’ve been getting comments and messages from people all over the world that are interested in my past work, reviews and tutorials. I want to let you know that it’s a constant source of inspiration and encouragement to know that the time I put into writing isn’t wasted and my words aren’t being lost in big internet ocean.
So it’s time to get my butt in gear and pump out some content. I’ve got a ton of great shoots to talk about since the last update and I’m going to try and get to all of them. For now, the above image is a sneak-peak of what I’ve been up to at the Howard Smith Paper Mill… more to come, so stay tuned.
Like I said in the previous parts of this ongoing review, I bought the NEX 7 primarily for use with my Leica lenses, but when Sony came out with a cheap, fast 50mm prime I couldn’t resist giving it a spin. Manual focus lenses are great for when your subject isn’t moving around much, but there’s times when autofocus makes your life a whole lot easier. The lens sports an all metal body, circular aperture blades and built-in image stabilization; I was prepared to be satisfied with even mediocre sharpness in a lens with all these features and a price tag that’s comparatively easy on the wallet. After playing with it for a couple months now, I’m giving this lens five stars, a gold sticker and two thumbs up. Continue reading
It’s been a crazy month for me, shoots almost every weekend and post processing during the week has kept me from posting as much as I’d like. But busy is good, I’m not complaining. I’ve got plenty of material half done for upcoming posts, but I felt I had to sneak in this short one in the meantime.
I’ve said this before, but I feel like it needs it’s own post to really drive the point home; when in doubt, leave your flash at home. As little as 5-10 years ago it would have been unthinkable for people to start popping away with their flash at many venues, but it seems that the more proliferate digital cameras get, the more people feel they need to use them anywhere and everywhere.
I was shooting the Orleans Festival last weekend and no surprise, almost everyone attending had a camera around their neck. Good, great… amazing even! I’d love to see everyone with a camera, the more the merrier, but what really blew my mind was the complete lack of respect I was seeing in the use of those cameras. Continue reading
The abbreviation DPI has become one of the most used, but least understood term in relation to digital photography today, bar none. Every time I teach a photography class I end up having to do a 15 minute spiel on what it actually stands for and why most people should try their hardest to erase it from their brain in relation to what they think it means. It’s particularly confusing because it sounds like it’s being used correctly most times. If you value your sanity and the sanity of those around you, please keep reading. Continue reading
For the longest time I was convinced that street photography looked better in black and white. It makes sense; Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Bruce Gilden and all the other masters all shot in black and white, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me. During the course of this winter I was definitely feeling bored with my photography. I thought it might be the lack of good shooting weather and the general blah of the winter months but then I started thinking more about my self-imposed monochromatic style. I wondered if it was truly a choice or whether it was a crutch I was leaning on that was keeping me from growing as a photographer. Well a while ago, completely by accident, I re-discovered color which prompted me to go back and take another look at some of my favourite black and white images. Continue reading
In my last tutorial, I talked about all of the photographic benefits of shooting from the hip, and while I got a lot of positive feedback about the techniques themselves, many people were concerned about the social aspects of hip shooting. They felt that they’d love to try it, but they were worried that they would be perceived as being surreptitious, sneaky or sketchy for shooting without raising their camera. I completely understand where they’re coming from, but in the end, the key is to remember that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with shooting from the hip; you’re not doing anything wrong or illegal. If you can convince yourself of that you’re halfway there. The other half is learning how to defuse confrontations before they start. Continue reading
If you’ve been following along with my street work, you’ve probably noticed I do most of my shooting from waist height and there are a couple very good reasons why. In a previous tutorial we talked about visualizing the shot, if you haven’t read it, you should give it a quick read before we continue as most of the stuff I’m going to go over this time is dependant being able to “see” what your camera sees without looking through the viewfinder. Shooting from the hip isn’t exactly a new concept; photographers have been doing it since before street photography was even considered a genre. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s exactly what it sounds like, taking a picture without raising your camera to your eye, its use stemming from the hand gun technique of the same name.
The main reason many street photographers use this method is to maintain a low profile and keep people from reacting to a camera being around, trying to preserve the natural moments in life of people immersed in their environment. I’m definitely of the school that thinks street photography is best done as candid as possible; otherwise it’s just an unnatural pose that happens to be on the street. Continue reading
The main reason I bought the Sony NEX 7 was to use with my Leica M kit, even though many reviews that said the NEX 7 sensor has a serious flaw that makes it unsuitable for use with wide angle rangefinder lenses. The NEX 7 sensor has a layer of micro-lenses, these micro-lenses focus the light hitting them from the lens onto the photo-receptor sites of the sensor. On the NEX 7 they’re built with SLR type lenses in mind that sit much farther from the sensor than rangefinder lenses, the light coming from SLR type lenses striking the sensor at nearer to perpendicular angles. Rangefinder lenses, especially wide angle ones, have rear elements that extend much closer to the sensor, causing the light they focus to hit the sensor at much more oblique angles the further they strike from the center. The micro lenses of the NEX 7 sensor can’t seem to handle light hitting them at such extreme angles which leads to color shifting and lowered sharpness at the edges and corners. I won’t dispute this makes the NEX 7 less than optimal when paired with such lenses, the question is: “Is less than optimal still good enough to take good pictures?” The first lens I’ll be taking a look at with this in mind is one of my favourites, the Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 Heliar. Continue reading