I have been putting so much work into my latest project Track Or Die NYC (www.TrackOrDieNYC.com), that I have been neglecting my photography as a whole. Seeing as I am on the injured list for the moment with a knee injury, I took the time to catch up on my work load. My beautiful daughter asked me if I was free on Wednesday so we could go to the zoo and regardless what I had on my agenda, I made myself available. I cant recall the last time I went to the zoo with my little girl and as she is getting older by the day, i look forward to every possible moment we have together. We made it to the Bronx zoo at around 11:00am and since the Zoo is free on Wednesdays, It was packed full of children on field trips. It’s a shame that I live about 5 blocks from the zoo and never visit the animals to say “Wassup” Today I would be shooting with my Nikon D90, 50mm 1.8 & the 70-200 2.8 VR aka The BIg Doofy Lens. We walked through the zoo and I have to say the heat was making me sweat in places that I didn’t know you could sweat from.
The 1st animals that we would see is the Bears. Beautiful beast that move very graceful in spite of their massive size. There were 4 bears out today, 2 of which were playing in the water, 1 walked away from the crowd while the last put on a show for the many spectators. Since I didn’t bring any filters with me today, I chose to bump up my aperture and lower my shutter speed. From my test shots I felt the exposure was better with a higher aperture and a lower shutter rather than a faster shutter and a lower aperture. There was more than enough sun light for the shot I was going for, it was just a matter of finding the right positioning. In my head, the bears were posing for me and with that mentality I shot away. I think I captured some awesome shots of the bears in their man made habitat.
Next we made our way to the Polar bear exhibit. There was only one Polar bear out today which wasn’t that exciting to watch. The Polar Bear had a blue ball that didn’t seem too entertaining for either of us. I knew we wouldn’t spend that much time watching the Polar Bear. I snapped a few shots from 2 different angles before moving on to the next exhibit.
I was most excited about visiting the King of the Jungle, The Lion but upon my arrival, I noticed the Lion was lazy as hell. We stood around waiting for some Lion action but we would only get love from the Lioness today. I guess Disney’s the Lion King was correct. The Lioness are the more exciting ones. If only Timone & Pumba was here as comic relief.
The next exhibit would be located right next to the Lions and would unfortunately be out last of the day. The Gazelle’s seem to only want to eat and keep their faces buried in the grass. Not much for entertaining animals. I captured a few shots before the thunderstorm hit us. Seeing as I didn’t bring my camera bag, I didn’t want my camera to get wet. So much for my day at the zoo.
We made it back in time to just miss the rain. Although the trip to the Bronx Zoo was short, I still had an awesome time and adventure with my daughter. This is something we could possibly do once a month. I love you Bubbles.
Coleman Skatepark, located directly underneath the Manhattan Bridge was just given a full Hollywood makeover. Although I don’t skate as much as I used too, I wanted to come out and support the IrollNY.com session and dust off my blades. Just going around the park made me realize how rusty I am. I did a few tricks then broke out my camera to get some shots of the fellas. It’s a great feeling when you show up and people still ask if you can shoot a pic of them. I guess my style of photography is still appreciated in the blading scene. It was awesome to see faces that I haven’t seen in a while and shred (well as much as I could). Check out the Photos.
Ricky Rodriguez – Top Soul
Ramelle Knight – Disaster Back Royale
John Stephens – Fishbrain
John Stephens – Back Royale
Brian Rivera – 180
It’s been quite some time since I have been on my Blades, however when I heard there was going to be a comp coming to Flushing Meadows, I knew it was time to dust off the ol Fruit boots and blade. The weather in NYC has been unpredictable as of lately and the original date of the comp was scheduled for Saturday June 2nd but was postponed to Sunday June 3rd. Of course it didnt rain on Saturday but by the time we realized that it was too late. This comp would be the 1st NYC comp in the WRS (World Rolling Series) of the season and it was scheduled to be a pure street comp organized by Trevor Johnson & Craig Benabu (IrollNY.com).
I loaded up my chrome bag with my camera equipment and skates and rode my bike from the Bronx to flushing meadows. It’s been a long while since I shot blading photos so needless to say I was very excited. Upon my arrival I saw a crowd of bladers spectating the comp that had already started. I made my rounds and said “what up” to those who I haven’t seen in a long time then threw on my blades to get some warm up tricks in. Not more than 30 minutes after I arrived the rain started coming down which would delay the competition. Once the rain ended, we made our way to the Maloof skate plaza which was located a few yards down.
Somehow I ended up as one of the judges of the comp so I wasn’t able to shoot photos of the comp which was fine by me. I was never really one to try and shoot the action of competitions, i like shoot what goes on outside of the comp. skaters are more relaxed and focused which makes for better photos. So here are some of the photos that I shot from the event while I wasn’t judging.
Danny Figgz – Top Torque up the ledge
Jordan Baez – Backslide
Ruben Prez – Monkey Flip
Carly Sanchez – Makio
Wakums – Back Farv
I have been seen riding all over the city on my Strada bike (StradaCustoms.com) or as Ramelle Likes to call them “Skinny Bikes” and while riding I always see the most interesting and fascinating things. Although I never stop to enjoy them because i hate taking my foot off the pedal the images are captured with my minds eye. This ride I linked up with my cousin “Boogie” to embark on this journey from Union Sq to Coney Island via NYC green paths. I never took this specific path to Coney Island so I definitely wanted to bring the camera along to document this event. I loaded up my North Face Pouch (not fanny pack) with the ol D90 and some electrolytes and headed down to union Sq. I met up with Nurse Mike and proceded to L.E.S. to link up with my cousin and his two friends. I cant say there was much effort put into these photos since My main concern was not falling off the Bike while I shot the pics. I did however check each shot and settings while shooting and stayed in full manual mode while using the 10.5mm fisheye. This was a interesting ride to say the least. We almost got lost once we hit green point BK but some how got back on the right path. I also made my 1st YourDailyJuiceBlogTV Edit.. Check out the Photos and the Video. Overall it was a fun ride and very productive day. After we arrived and hung out at Coney for a few we then rode back to the Bronx which was the real journey but i was too tired to shoot or film anything at that point.
Extra Low Angle
Who You Lookin At?
I was going through my skate photos via FaceBook and I came to the realization that since I started taking photos my collection of personal skate photos have basically stopped. I’m not sure why but maybe other photographers don’t like to shoot someone who also shoots or maybe i just don’t skate when the camera is out but whatever the case may be, I WANT SKATE PICS DAMNIT! Although I take photos I am still first and foremost a “Rollerblader” and would like to have shots to look back on if that unfortunate day comes where I am unable to skate anymore. I have been shooting mostly portraits lately and I feel like in some cases I have been going with what I know and not testing unfamiliar waters with my Photography. I decided to start a series of self skate photos where I would only use my Nikon D90, Tripod and 1 speed light and see what I could capture. I have seen many people just pose when it comes to skate photos and not actually do the trick and that’s not what i’m about so I called on Navin Hardyal of Skeptic Media to come out and film the the behind the scenes of this project.
I arrived to a empty Monroe Ledge which gave me enough space to set up my equipment and after framing my shot I set up the Tripod accordingly. Using the 50mm 1.8 lens, I had to distance the tripod pretty far away from the ledge. Doing this would allow me to capture the entire length of the ledge from beginning to end. Once that was done I adjusted my focal point and set my exposure for the ambient light. I decided to test out different setting to see what worked out best for me since I was shooting with a off camera flash. My 1st shots I dialed in f/8, 1/200th ant ISO 400. The most difficult part of this shoot was he 20 second timer which only allowed me 20 seconds to press the shutter skate away from the camera and make it to the point of focus. I strapped on my Valo Skates did a quick stretch and got in some warm up tricks. I planned on keeping my tricks simple today since I didn’t have much time to shoot. Let’s just say I had more misses than hits but with each shot I learned what to do for the next. This shoot was probably one of my most difficult to date. I feel I take fairly decent skate photos of others but the art of shooting yourself is a whole different ball game. Check out some of the shots with the 0mm 1.8.
(Back Farv, Monroe Ledges. Bronx NY)
(Back Unity, Monroe Ledges, Bronx NY)
Next up I wanted to get more of a unique look so I replaced the 50mm with the 10.5mm fish eye. To get the full detail of the subject which was myself, I would have to position the tripod directly in front of the ledge that I was skating. This gave me absolutely no space for error or I would land right on my camera. Still with only a 20 second window to get all of this done I was pretty exhausted from the repetitive back and forth. We spent about 30 minutes at Monroe before they close the gates for the night so that basically ended the shoot. I plan on doing about 5-6 more locations to complete this series which hopefully will improve with each shoot. If you think this is easy I welcome you to give it a try and give me feedback. Here are the final shots before we had to leave with the 10.5mm fisheye.
(Royale to Fakie, Monroe Ledge. Bronx NY)
(Makio to Fakie, Monroe Ledges, Bronx NY)
I have a few projects that i’m working on, I have been riding bikes a lot and have met some cool people that I would like to shoot while riding. I have been traveling light lately. No camera bag with multiple lenses and flashes, just a fanny pack, camera, one lens, no flash or filters and more imagination. Its like when I 1st started shooting and didn’t have as much equipment. Less weight on my back makes for a better shooting experience.
Until next time…….
I shoot Nikon, plain and simple. So whenever I get the opportunity to test out new Nikon or Nikkor lenses I take it. So I recently acquired a Nikon 10.5mm 2.8 DX fish eye lens from Sam DeAngelis, a fellow Tri state area photographer and a recent converter to the Canon movement (Thanks Sam). Now for those who read this and aren’t aware of most of the photography mumbo jumbo, I try to write in such a way that you get the basic jist of things. So with that being said let’s move on, A DX lens would be a lens that can only be used on a camera with a cropped sensor and not a FX or full frame sensor. A fish eye lens on the other hand,is a wide-angle lens that takes in an extremely wide, circular or hemispherical image. Now I really didn’t know what I was going to use this lens for since its more of a specialty lens but for me the adventure is always in the doing. Now 10.5mm mean I would have to get extremely close to my subject to get a clear image while the actual fish eye effect adds a more rounded look to the image. I decided to take some test shots of some friends at a video premiere that I attended (Previous blog) to get some test images to work with once I got home. At 1st glance this lens looked very small and strange, has a small lens cover with no threads to apply a lens filter.
Since this is a Nikon lens with the aperture of 2.8, you know you’re getting some really good glass and a lens that’s great in low light situations. The motor is pretty quick with my Nikon D90 and very sharp at 12 mega pixels. So onto the photos.
This shot of Angel was taken with My Nikon SB-600 on TTL mode at ISO 1250 f/4 and a shutter speed of 1/320th of a second blah blah blah. I could have raised the aperture up so his face wasn’t so blown out but overall not bad with the flash.
Now this photos was either to promote Johnny’s aka Papi Mumbles Reggaeton mix tape for the streets or his line of Pernil flavored Blunt Wraps. Either way this was shot with very low lighting in the subway station of NYC. ISO 1250, f/2.8 and a shutter of 1/60th of a second. I converted this image to back and white because I felt like it and that’s my final answer on that matter.
The last shots I took of the night were of my God daughter Heaven-Monroe. I did use my Nikon speedlight for these two images, however I pointed the flash head towards the ceiling to get some fill light since the ambient light really wasn’t helping (rarely ever does). Both are shot at ISO 1250, f/2.8 and shutter of 1/320th of a second. I like how I was able to capture her child like innocence while still maintaining a sharp low light photo.
Overall I had a great time shooting with the fish eye lens. It’s not really a lens for portraits, I still would recommend the Nikon 35mm or 50mm 1.8 for all your portrait needs. If you’re looking to capture wide scenic shots then this is the lens you may want to try. I don’t know if the 10.5mm Fish Eye is a lens that I would carry with me on a daily basis. Still a great lens for my collection, I can’t wait to capture some skating shots with it. My next installment, I will focus on HDR images and give my opinion on them. Please feel free to post any comments or feedback that you have, I take criticism very well..or do I?
Until next time people.