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.
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 spent 2 days in Hartford C.T. chilling, drinking and shooting photos. I wanted to try and shoot some country life since im surrounded by city life. This tree was recommended to me by Joseph Bertram, a 91 year old retired business man/photographer. We spoke about photography and how it’s changed over the years and he even showed me some of his quite impressive photoshop work (much better than I could do at the moment).
This tree is the largest tree in all of Connecticut and definitely bigger than any trees that I have seen in NYC. This photo clearly does not represent how massive this Sycamore tree is but you can get some more info if your interested from CTMuseumQuest.com . This is a prime location to shoot with numerous vantage points. You have the lake where some people go canoeing or fishing, also the Bridge with a clear view of the whole lake. check out the shots.
These 2 shots are each 6 layer HDR shots. I look forward to going back to C.T. and shooting some more of the country side. I did get other shots from this weekend, however there were the only 2 HDR’s.
While on my quest of Photography knowledge, I came across a very dynamic yet artsy photo via google. The photo caught my interest so I did a little more research into the development of such an image. The image was called a HDR image and for those who do not know what HDR is, I will explain it to you. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and an HDR image consist of multiple images of different exposures rendered into one image. Here is a link of some amazing HDR photos. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/03/10/35-fantastic-hdr-pictures
So now that you have a brief understanding and visualization of a HDR image, it’s time for me to go in and contribute my 2 cents on HDR. Now I am not a ” Professional Photographer”, my knowledge come from 40% google and youtube, 60% daily shooting and 10% from the talented photographers that I come across. With that being said, my word is not the bible on these topics. Simply a understanding of the steps i took towards development and my opinion.
Items you may need to take a Sweet HDR image.
The way I see things in life is “it’s all about the preparation”. It’s easier to complete any task if you prepare for it in advance..well in most cases. So my checklist for HDR.
- A tripod or Mono-pod and remote. The reason why I suggest these items are because you are taking multiple shots of the same image. Any slight movement with affect the outcome of the final product. While the tripod or mono pod will prevent any camera shake, the remote will prevent any movement that your hand will cause during the actual shutter release. So if you have shaky hands like myself, I suggest you get a tripod.
- Set your exposure bracketing in your camera. I set my exposure bracketing on my Nikon D90 as the following 2 under – normal – 2 over. What do I mean by that you ask, well in bracketing mode your camera will take a series of photos with different exposures. I chose the 1st to be 2 stops under exposed then normal then 2 stops over exposed. Once again, I am not the HDR GURU so feel free to go about it your own way.
- Download HDR software to process your image, my software of choice is Photomatix by HDRsoft. I edit all my photos with Adobe Lightroom 3 and what’s pretty sweet about Photomatix is that it has a Plug-in just for light room which allows me to complete the editing process right in lightroom after its been rendered in Photomatix.
- Twizzlers…..I just really like Twizzlers, don’t judge me.
Now these two images were taken on Monday night just to test out my 10.5mm fish eye and also the bracketing under low light using only ambient lighting (natural light). These are my 1st and only 2 HDR images and they hold no comparison to those in the link above but gimme 2 weeks and I’ll have a better understanding of HDR and Photomatix.
The fish eye was able to capture everything in the room from a very close distance. The overall image looks really wacky and to me gives a mixture of reality with a touch of fictional presence. Once again this image is a compilation of 3 different photos each taken at a different exposure
So finally my overall take on HDR and Photomatix, as a Photographer I appreciate all forms of art and photography. The work that’s put in to making these photos are not a walk in the park. Photomatix is has a very user-friendly layout that will get you started on your HDR and the final steps are up to you to correct in lightroom or photoshop. I am more of a fan of traditional photography rather than HDR images. I do not see myself doing much HDR work, however I will dedicate some time to learning this method of photo rendering and development. I believe a well-rounded photographer is a more successful photographer but that’s always up for argument. I hope I didn’t ramble on too much and you got a brief understanding on what it takes to Create a HDR image. I will write-up another blog in the near future on HDR once I have a little more experience in the development. A project that I’m looking forward to working on would be shooting vintage style pin-up models under a studio setting. If any of you who read this have a interest in getting pin-up style photos then shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can set up a shoot that I can blog about.
Before I sign out I want to thank everyone who stops in to read my blogs and also to those who leave feed back. This week alone I have reached 1000 hits and its only Wednesday.
Until next time…..