Sunday, July 31, 2011

Newport Folk Festival: Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples at the Newport Folk Festival, July 30, 2011

Legendary vocalist Mavis Staples took the Quad stage this past Saturday at this years Newport Folk Festival.  Staples, who looked to be having a lot of fun onstage, had the crowd dancing and singing along.  She brought The Decemberists' frontman, Colin Meloy out to join her for the second song of the set, "The Weight," before he headed over to the main stage for his own set to close the festival's first day.  She and her band performed a rousing version of "I'll Take You There" that turned into a soul clap sing-a-long.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Central Park: The Beauty Of Trees

Earlier this year, I was in Central Park with my camera.  Spring buds were blooming, the weather was perfect ... not too cold, not to hot.  I had spent a good portion of my time photographing flowers.  But, there were a few trees that caught my eyes.  From a vantage point across the park, I saw a line of beautiful flowering trees.  I made my way to were they were and went about trying to capture them.  As I made my way around a curve to capture them from another angle, I noticed people in one of the trees.  I found it fascinating that the branches left a gap where the person were standing.  The tree quite simply looked like a living picture frame and thus reason this image is one of my favorites.

I find something very beautiful about bare trees.  Their limbs tend to take on the the look of long beautiful arms preparing to do a Woodstock era hippie dance.  I'm also fascinated by tree grids.  Without their blooms and leaves the lines can be seen unhindered ... the trees all lined up and perfectly spaced.  Of course, the lines are beautiful with leaves as well.  I just don't see the same dancing imagery.  I know, it's a weird thing to be fascinated by but, to see these grids at work in large areas is magnificent to me. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Models: Experiments With Selective Color

Early last month, I participated in another workshop involving models.  This time out, instead of designer clothes, it was a lingerie.  I'm still horrible at directing models but the two young ladies that modeled for us were so fun and easy to work with that even a horrible director such as myself could manage some halfway decent work.

One of the models reminded me of an old school pin-up model.  The minute I saw her and the pieces she was wearing, I knew that most of her photos would likely end up in black and white.  I've been slowly but surely editing the photos and I was correct, most of her images have ended up in black and white.  But, I've been having fun experimenting as well.  I share with you today, my experiments with selective coloring.

The above image was my first attempt at using selective coloring.  I also think it's my best attempt to date.  This has turned out to be one of my favorite images.  When I took the photo, I remember commenting to a fellow photographer that I felt awkward standing over her to get the shot.  Maybe it's just me, but, it feels weird standing over someone while they're lying on the floor.  Awkwardness aside, I think the shot turned out nicely if I do say so myself.

My original desire for the above photo was for her lips and the space in front of her to remain red while the space behind her was left without color.  At some point during my experimenting, I decided I liked the look of the red bleeding through in back of her.  It just dawned on me that I never did an edit carrying out my original plan for the image.

Above, I've left the background color while taking the color from the model.  Something about the finished image makes it look like she has been inserted into the photo. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Coney Island Mermaid Parade: Happy Pairs & Warrior Women?

Last month, June 18 to be exact, I ventured out to Coney Island for the annual Mermaid Parade.  It's the perfect place to capture images of people in costumes.  

As you may know, I feel that portrait photography isn't my strong point.  But, I knew moments after I started taking photos that sunny Saturday, that the majority of my photos were going to be portraits.  What I hadn't envisioned was that I would create a black and white series.  The colorful costumes are wonderful sights but when I started editing I kept seeing them sans color!

More photos HERE

In keeping with the water theme, the above images capture a couple of striking Viking ladies.

Above, the first couple were a part of the parade ... a sailor and his bride, again keeping with the water theme of the parade.  The second couple apparently got married on the beach after the parade.

I didn't turn all of the photos black and white.  Color images can be found HERE.

Summer: Coney Island

About a month ago, I was out on Coney Island.  Of course, I had my camera with me!

Parachute Jump, Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY - June 18, 2011

I took about a half dozen images of the Parachute Jump trying to translate what I saw in my head to my camera.  I didn't want a wide shot that captured the whole structure nor did want just the top portion.  I couldn't put into words then what I wanted, I just knew I'd know when I found the right angle.  Now I realize that I wanted to give the feeling that I might be climbing up the structure.  Originally, I envisioned the image as black and white.  However, when I sat down to start editing, the image told me it didn't want to lose its color.  I went about trying to figure out what the image wanted and ended up with a high contrast "retro" type image.

Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY - June 18, 2011

When I took the above image, I knew based on the skull, that I wanted the image to be rather dark and gloomy looking.  I wanted it to look ominous.  I wanted to give the feeling that if you got into one of those buckets, you would mysteriously vanish.  I don't know how well I captured that but that's what I was after.

Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY - June 18, 2011

I've been fascinated by retro imagery for a while now.  I gave it a try with a Holga and well, that experiment didn't turn out well at all!  So, I've settled on using editing software to make my digital images look old.  I of course need some practice.  I envisioned this image as an old postcard.  A part of me wants to flip it over and read about Aunt Birdie's Coney Island wish you were here vacation.

Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY - June 18, 2011

I love black and white photography.  But, I often find it difficult to take the color away from scenic images.  Flowers, landscapes, water, etc. always feel right in color.  As I was preparing a number of images for a black and white series, I decided to give this beach shot a go.  I've found that as much as I like it in color, I now like it more in black and white.