Life, Learning and the Photos taken in between.

Posts tagged “tips

A Day At The Bronx Zoo.

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. 

 

 

 


10 minute Photo Shoot with My Bubbles.

This past weekend my daughter Rhayne was treated to a hair and nail session from someone who used to be a really good friend to me. As much as I do not mind sitting in the Salon while she gets pampered as I normally do, this was a day that I avoided being the only guy sitting in the salon. Fellas if you have a daughter take her to the salon, it means more to them then you think. After the hair and nils were done we spent the weekend hanging out and doing Daddy-Daughter stuff. Time flies when you have a child  and I often wish I would have started photography when I was younger to have shots of her growing up. Now standing at a little over 5’1 my little girl isn’t so LITTLE anymore. I decided on Sunday before I took her to her other home that I would shoot some photos of her just so I can have and seeing as she always wants to see what goes on in a photo shoot I decided to make her the center of attention and turn her into the model for the day.

It haven’t shot photos at home since I moved into the new apartment and my living room isn’t as big as my previous so I had to get a lot more creative with my lighting setup. I decided due to limited space to run a 2 point lighting setup and see what I could create as far as lighting as concerned. I broke out the impact collapsable black backdrop, setup my light stands and umbrella and since I don’t own a light meter, started making guesstimates. This shoot took all of 10 minutes with setup and. These photos were a Birthday Present to myself which I will have printed and framed in my apartment (minus the water mark of course).

I shot these with my favorite lens the Nikon 50mm 1.8 and 2 Nikon Speed lights. 1 shoot through umbrella to camera left for a softer main light and and one set behind the subject (My Baby) to try and make somewhat of a hair light but due to my limited space it didn’t really work how I wanted it to.  Either way the photos came out great although she doesn’t like to smile just like her daddy, I hate taking photos unless I really have to. Check out the shots and leave feedback if you want.

My favorite shot .

Switched to only one light for more of a dramatic shot.

Can’t go wrong with Black & White.

awwww

Not bad for a to minute shoot in my living room, Rhayne is excited to have her own page on the Blog and told me she checks the site everyday. What more could a father ask for? Next shoot with be using a 3 point lighting setup with more space to shoot and the whole shabanger.

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I have a few more projects that I’m working on and I will be hopefully doing a video entry by August. My Birthday is this Thursday the 21st so you better wish me a Happy Birthday If your reading this.  Oh and By the way, my sweet logo was designed by Troy DeZeeuw, thanks a lot Brothaman..

Until Next Time……


Self Timer Photos at Monroe Ledges.

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…….


2nd time’s a charm for the 35mm.

The quest to understand Film is and ongoing journey for me. My 1st roll of Ilford Hp5 400 was a disaster in my opinion, not even half the roll came out correctly. Adorama had a buy one get one free sale on HP5 400 film so I picked up a few boxes so I could get more practice in. I was determined to get it right this time around so I made sure all my settings were correct before every shot I took. I took in some reading material on film photography via google and I even went out and bought a hard cover book to read on 35mm photography (Title : The NEW 35mm Photographers Handbook). The Last book I read was Probably Catcher in the Rye back in High School. I just like how Film looks compared to Digital. You can easily get a film look from a digital photo using Lightroom or photoshop but I don’t feel its the same quality. Soy milk may be milk, I need a cow damnit.

(Someone grabbed my Camera)

Over the course of 2 weeks I went through 2 rolls of Film, really taking my time and carefully choosing what I want to shoot since a roll of film only allows 36 shots. There was the “A Chosen Few Comp” in NYC one weekend and the Puerto Rican Day Parade the following weekend. I shot both with my Nikon D90 however I was able to sneak a couple of Film shots in along the way. What I did differently this time around is overexpose each shot by at least 1 stop depending on the lighting conditions.

(Caught My Bubbles off guard)

The majority of my shots were taken during the day so I was shooting at fairly high shutter speeds. I made my way to Pier 62 with Dave and linked up with Jedi  and had a pretty sweet skate session but the day ended early due to the heat. I wanted to get some portrait shots of both Dave and Jedi in different locations in the park which both had different lighting conditions.

(Jedi @ Pier 62)

(Dave)

We left chelsea and figured that the would grab some food and end out day at the River Ave skate park in the Bronx but shortly after we arrived a we got ina huge brawl with the neighborhood chumps which lead to Carly needing 6 stitches over his eye. Not bad for taking a skateboard to his face but definitely not called for.

Since i’m still getting accustomed to the film format, the shots I take are very random. Once I become comfortable with the outcome of my exposure choices then I will be getting into the shots that i do with my Nikon D90, I am interested to see how off camera flash will look on film. Maybe thats what I will do with the next roll if im not to much of a sucka.

Next up on this Roll were the few Shots I took from The “A Chosen Few Comp”. I shot mainly digital for this event because I wanted to get the shots and be able to send them out the following day. The did lose interest in this contest after being kicked out of spot after spot so I decided to drink beer and talk sh!t for the last sot of the comp. I walked around and got some pretty good portraits during the comp while in staten island. Sometime taking a ride on the ferry is all you ned to clear your head.

(Earz)

(Evan G)

(Jigs FTS)

(Ralphy)

(James Perez, Staten Island)

(Victor)

(Brian “Lord Brian” Perry, ShutupandSk8.com)

I finished up the last shots of my roll at the Puerto Rican Day Parade which was held in NYC last sunday. I was part of a skate through for the parade which was organized by Ray Mendez and Given the green light by John Leguizamo (I always have to Google how to spell his name the right way, Im sure he does too). We basically strapped on the blades and had full access to the Parade to enjoy the festivities and shoot content.  Towards the end of the Parade I put away the digital and took some film shots. I honestly didn’t know how they would come out since I was moving while shooting a moving subject but im pretty hyped at the outcome.

(Jigs checks his equipment in public)

My overall take on my second set roll of film, Im happy with the turn out and cant wait to get on my 3rd roll. I am starting to get the hang of choosing the correct exposure on film which is slightly different then with digital. I just purchased a fanny pack for my camera (yea 80’s style boyeeee) so i’ll be able to take my camera with me when I go out for my daily bike rides which should bring for more content on the blog.  I did take a chance and tried to get some action shots with with the N80 and I have a little more work to do to get them just right but it was still a great experience. Needless to say, I have been using my $30 3mm SLR more than my $900 DSLR. It’s not about what you have it how you use what you have, I learned this 1st hand. Normally I would clear out the background to not have so much distraction going on but these action photos were basically for testing purpose only. Check out the action shots.

 

Check out the Video Put together by Flip The Script for the Puerto Rican Day Parade http://vimeo.com/25075782

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Modern Day Vintage Collection.

I have been to a few photo galleries as of lately and the images that left the most impact were the old Vintage portraits. Seeing as I prefer portrait photography, I wanted to try and create a vintage set with my good ol Nikon D90 and went out to get some shots. If you have kept up with the blog over the past few months you may have noticed my shooting style changes every now and again. I’m still in the learning process and trying to test the photography waters. At times I have found myself shooting more with a strobist setup which requires me to carry tons of equipment to sometimes simple shoots. I still love doing strobist work but I wanted to try to do more with less. So since my last shoot which was “Sophia’s 1st Photos”, I found shooting without flash to be a little more exciting and offers equal amount of  creativity as a strobist shoot. Ok enough with the rambling, bottom line is I put away my speedlights and started doing more with less.

I have been told that the best way to create a vintage style photo is through Photoshop which is cool however I use Adobe Lightroom 3 and refused to install Photoshop in my Macbook. Dominik Wagner aka D Wag came from Berlin, Germany to work a photography project on the New York Rolling scene.  I have been showing him around to a few spots which means im in the city a lot more pounding the pavement. During my travels I took some shots of the fellas and random people that came across my path. I ave never been to shy to stop a stranger and ask for a random hug or photo op. I  tweaked the photos during post production using Adobe lightroom 3. These shots are my 1st batch of the Vintage collection, grain and low saturated colors play a major part in the final product of these shots.

Sam DeAngelis puttin in work- Brooklyn,N.Y.

Tito taking a bail – New York, N.Y

D Wag – Coney Island, BK

Ryan Smiling for the Camera, Red hook,BK

D Wag – Brooklyn, N.Y.

I have no idea who this dude is but he was sitting at one of the spots where we were skating, with a look like that Could you resist a photo op?

I always save the best for last, my beautiful daughter and her dog. Daddy’s little girl is not so little anymore.


Sophia’s 1st Photos

The easiest most generic photographs require 2 words, “say cheese”.  The type of photography that I prefer is more candid and pure. The more comfortable your subject is, the easier shooting them will be. For this shoot my options were limited which made me think outside of  my comfort zone. Nelson is an old rollerblade buddy and long time friend who along with his lady Christina, just had their 2nd child and asked me if I would take some photos of her. I honestly felt honored to do so and after I made the mistake of forgetting about our 1st appointment I made sure this time I didnt miss it. Young Sophia is 3 or 4 weeks old and although I brought most of my equipment I decided to so try something totally different with these shots than what im used too.

For a while I wanted to do a blog called “The Minimalist Project” and that project requires me to do more with less. Anyone can get great images when they use all this fancy shmancy  equipment but  I wanted to capture quality shots with the bare minimum, Camera, lens, no flash just use whatever available ambient light and shoot away. It’s been argued by many that flash photography is not good for infants and im not one to take chance with babies. Once they reach 1 year old, kids are fair game and should be able to start washing dishes and pump gas.  So what I did here was use the available sun light coming from the window to light up the subject. Since the location that I was shooting only had a window on one side I had to find a way to get light on little Sophia with the amount of space provided. This is where the 12″ Impact Reflector Disc Soft Gold/White come into play. I used this small collapsable reflector dish to bounce the available sunlight from the background of Sophia to add highlights to her face.  Before bouncing the light, the shadows were really strong and contrasted on her face which I really dont feel is a good look for a baby.

So here are the shots that I captured of not only Sophia but also her big sister Gabby. Gabby was so photogenic and full of energy and I enjoyed shooting her. I think she enjoyed the reflector dish more than I did. So these images were captured with my Nikon D90 and a Nikon 50mm 1.8 prime lens with apertures valies set between 1.8 and 2.8 to create a shallow depth of field. All post production work was done in Adobe Lightroom 3. I went for a few different looks with each image just for fun. Nelson and Christina Loved the pics and that is goos enough for me.  Check them out.

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Until Next time.


Late Night Long Exposure

Yesterday was a beautiful March day in NYC, the climate was about 70 degrees and sunny with everyone out enjoying the weather. I wont lie and say I seized the day and took full advantage of this warm weather by shooting. I stayed in bed for the most part of the day because my model for the day flaked on me (you know who you are) and I was looking for a new subject to shoot for the day. Safe to say I didn’t find anyone within the time frames I needed so I pretty much was just gonna stay in and catch up on some work that I let pile up. Around 3pm I received a phone call from Toy (good friend) asking me what I was doing for the day and that call was exactly what I needed to get off my ass. I took a ride to his area in The Bronx to get some portrait shots before we took a trip down to the city. Those photos will be in my next blog if I ever get around to them.

We decided to go down to Union Square where there are enough faces to capture and always something interesting going on. I met up with a few local skaters while down there, two of which I used as my subjects for today’s blog. Since I had all of my equipment, lights and flashes with me from the earlier shoot I wanted to try a few shots that I had in my head  for a while.  I took a shot at long exposure once before and I fell in lll, fell in lllll, damn I can’t bring my self to drop the L bomb so lets just say REALLY LIKED how the shot came out. I liked it so much that I used one of the images for my business card. If you havent seen that shoot check out the Fall in Central Park 2010 blog. By the time I set up my equipment and finished my 1st beer of the night, I had already lost all of the ambient light which gave way for some really cool light trails from the cars in the street.

I took a few test shots to get the correct settings dialed into my Nikon D90 so I could get this shot right the 1st time. What I was doing different this time around was using flash during the long exposure. I didn’t know if the flash would have much of an impact since the shutter would be open for so long but it was worth a try. For the 1st shot I dialed in an aperture of F/22 and a shutter of 3 seconds and since the ambient light was basically non existent I bumped up the ISO to 1250. The good and the bad of a higher ISO (sensor sensitivity to light) is that the photo does come out brighter however Digital Noise becomes more visible. When using a model during long exposure you need to 1) make  sure you have something to hold your camera without any movement. I don’t care how steady your hand is, you will not be able to hold your camera completely still for 3 seconds. Any movement will give motion blur and therefore leave the shot out of focus. I did not have my tripod with me today so I mounted the camera on my flash stand. 2) Make sure your model stays as still as possible to make the effect that much cooler. I set up my Sb-600 with Impact shoot through umbrella to camera right about 45 degrees from the subject and just waited for the cars to come by. Since the shutter is open for so long the moving cars will not be captured but the trails from the head and tail lights create a pretty sweet effect to the image.

Jordan Baez – Union Square, NYC. 2011

Evan Grimball – Union Square, NYC. 2011

This photo is a late entry but an great entry none the less. I had the pleasure of shooting Christie during her trip from Queens to the Bronx. Unfortunately by the time we finally linked up the sun had basically set and all of the natural light was gone. We found a location over the Cross Bronx Expressway where I could set up the equipment and get some shots. This was my favorite of this shoot , taken at F/22 ISO 1000 and a 3 second shutter.

I’m pretty satisfied with the outcome of the shots, It’s definitely the look I was going for. I think the pics came out great “and that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so!” Once the weather gets a little better I will dedicate a full day to long exposure and see what I can get from that. Before I get out of here, there was a shot that I had in mind since I first started shooting, It’s a very simple yet not so simple shot. I had the opportunity to shoot it last night and im pretty hyped at the outcome. Check it out and if you have any feedback please feel free to comment below.

Evan Grimball – Fishbrain. Union Square, NYC.

Until Next Time.

Shardy