Shades Of Sepia

Photographic art & community shared thru photography.

Photographers Squared: The Great American Shoot Out

 

 


 
Mindy Veissid & RA Friedman put together a very nice video conference (at B&H) about how they became photographers. Both are actually beautiful stories, and I recommend anyone who’s thinking about becoming a photographer to watch this video. They also talked about the current project they are involved in. Although this is somewhat a long video (slightly more than an hour) it’s worth watching. A lot of what they talked about I’ve mentioned in my blog. Well spoken video. I wish them luck on their project. Enjoy.

Are You A Limited Thinker?

Ernest Withers, civil rights photographer

Ernest Withers, civil rights photographer

In terms of photography, do you limit your creativity due to repetitiveness? Are you stuck in the same way of doing things over and over? This can be a good thing, and a bad thing as well. Sometimes it’s a good thing because often times there is just so much to know and learn when it comes to photography and graphic software, sometimes it may be best to just stick with a couple of basic tools and take it from there. On the other hand repetitiveness can turn in to habits, and habits often don’t inspire you to do things different in order to get those creative juices flowing. I was listening to a Youtuber not too long ago, and the person talked a little bit about studio photography. The veteran Youtuber confirmed what I’ve been thinking for a long time, and that is studio photography can be extremely confining. I agreed with his statement so much; and I dare to say that I think THAT’S when a photographer runs the risk of being repetitive, tedious and tunnel visioned. From my experience, I’ve talked to way too many photographers who became so closed minded as a result of years of doing the same thing day in and day out; their ways have become “the formula” that they feel every single photographer should do as well. As I’ve always said, it is common knowledge amongst photographers that photography is an artistic expression. There are parts of photography that have absolutely nothing to do with technique or the tools, but everything to do with emotion; and sometimes just being at the right place at the right time. Which makes the huge difference between studio and street photography. Studio photography is often predictable (males have set standard poses, women have another set standard poses, children, and couples); whereas you have to work a lot harder with street photography (you can’t always control the elements in your frame (including lighting)). If you’ve ever talk to any photographer from the old school, they’ll most likely tell you that a great photographer can take photos with a $10 dollar camera. In fact, you’d probably never convince some of those old school photographer to switch to all digital.

People who are just getting in to photography may not realize just how many types of photographic genres we have out here (professional photography is not limited to only weddings). Some of these genres include, but not limited to: sports, electronics, clothes, Ariel, marine, wild life, domestic animals, astrophotography, journalism, forensic, microscopic, industrial, landscape, architectural, fashion, children, event, real estate, concert, show room, cellular, satellite, blue prints, roller-coaster, scientific, food, inspector, vehicle, travel, nude, advertising, homes, stock, equine, agriculture, plant life, documentarian, action, fireworks, night clubs, and street photography. Within these genres we also have specific photographic techniques such as, b&W, pinhole, HDR, light painting, infrared, lomography, tone, glass, metal, wood (rare), and so much more (the list is just too great to write them all). Heaving read what I’ve just written, why would you confine yourself to only one way of doing things? Why would anyone insist that photography can only be done one way? And why would you limit others by trying to teach people your way is the only way? There is so much potential in photography, and all those things I’ve mentioned is what makes photography so fun! Especially street photography, because we never know what beautify we can find were we life. If you want to really become a photographer, it is very important to master your camera and editing tools; but it is even more important to have creativity (Photoshop can’t give you creativity).

© ShadesOfSepia.com

Photographers Be Mindful Of Trademarks

10291081_10154710109520357_5115024295667995982_nThis is a beautiful photo taken by a talented photographer by the name of Erskine Isaac. I recommend that you check out his website, its called 1Vision Photo. Erskine’s lighting skills are incredible; as well as the ability to bring out the beauty in his subjects, regardless if male or female, young or old. Now, before I start I’d like to quickly make it clear that the purpose of this article is NOT to talk down, or nitpick a photographers work! I think it is quite evident that Erskine is talented, and needs no critiquing from me (or anyone else for that matter).

Long before I decided to make photography an official serious hobby; I spent many many years learning about the complications of copyright, trademarks, right of publicity, etc, etc. As a blogger, I knew that these things are very important because when creating my OWN content, as well as writing ABOUT other people’s content,  and use of copyrighted images and fair use; I needed to be on point. Now that I am a photographer, unbeknown to me all that research came in handy. Also, like a responsible blogger I try to be, I’d like to stick a disclaimer that I am not a lawyer; and everyone’s circumstances are different. I am only giving my opinion as to how I perceive the particular photos in this article. If you are seeking legal advice, there are plenty of websites you can google, or simply consult a copyright/trademark attorney.

Erskine’s first photograph got my attention almost immediately; however it wasn’t just the beauty of his photography but the USPS logo. I guess because of all the reading I did on copyrights, I sort of trained myself to always lookout for these kinds of things. Now, it wasn’t that I thought the USPS logo made the photo ugly or anything; I was really concerned about trademark infringement. Although copyright, trademark, and even patents can go hand and hand, they are very different depending on the medium and or how that “likeness” is used.

I will try to explain this as simple as I possibly can without writing a whole storybook. If I where to take a picture of the USPS logo alone (in a artistic way); or even Photoshop it and make it transformative; this would fall under our First Amendment rights as a photographic artist. HOWEVER, once you take a 10646980_10154706727865357_8581234414480831288_nphotograph of someone wearing that same trademarked logo, everything changes from art to representation or association. Now you may be walking on the edge of “commercial use.” Get it? I’m not necessarily saying that you can’t still create something artistic because someone is wearing a trademarked logo; but the photographer really needs to make sure that the photo is transformative (or at least bear minimum, make sure that the registered trademarked logo isn’t the primary focus in the photograph). Another huge factor is if the image is studio photography or street photography; we have a lot more leeway when it comes to street photography. I think we have two issues here, first off, most major business and corporations charge licensing fees to display all of their trademark images. A lot of these companies charge thousands of dollars to license their logos; there are also many companies who will not give you permission at all. Now, again, I don’t know what the situation is, he probably does have permission. On the other hand, the guy in the picture probably knows the photographer and asked him to take a picture of him and his girl (which I think is more than likely the case). The problem is USPS isn’t going to care about that, all they know is that their logo is being used by a photographer, that embedded his copyright on the same photo that has the USPS trademark. The second is the perception of representation and or association. What do I mean? Can the photo be interpreted being used in a dating promotion? Could the trademark holder possibly perceive the photo to mean that USPS also own a dating website? Can the photo be interpreted as endorsing another product? Or can the photo be interpreted as USPS condoning a particular behavior during work hours? Was the picture taken on USPS property? All of these perceived grounds can be enough for the trademark holder to seek action. I used the word perceived because in this case it doesn’t matter what the intend was, its what it looks like. In reality, the photo could have been just a every sweet innocent photo.

This would have been a different scenario IF the photo was sold to be used in an article talking about the subject’s life, getting married etc. Or maybe even an article on his “act of kindness” to others; in that instance the perception of the photo would change from representation/association of their trademark logo, to an article of the guy who just happens to work for USPS. Photographers need to beware of  situations like this, because if a photographer sells a picture like this the subject most likely will not have the authority to sign the model release; in fact you may need a model release and a property release. The last photograph is the best in terms of the logo being hidden. My opinion is that poses like these are a much better option for hiding prominent logos. You can’t tell at all that he is actually wearing a USPS uniform.

There is one last point (yet separate issue); when a photographer sells their images as stock photos, there is no way possible for that photographer to know what the buyer’s intent is (neither is it any of our business). In other words, the burden of proof (a model release) is on the buyer. However, I think a responsible and professional photographer should make note to the buyer whether a model or property release is available (with contact information of said model); this would immediately tell the buyer whether or not they can use your image for “commercial” use or not. A model’s contact information is important, because if a buyer likes THAT particular model(s) but would like to see different scenery or scenario, you can easily contact that model for another shoot. Most mega business, advertising agencies, etc, already know to ask for a model release. Ok, I’ve written enough. For more on this subject I suggest that you use Google, or converse with other photographers, or consult a copyright/trademark attorney.

© ShadesofSepia.com

Central Park | 72 Street NY | October 25, 2014

Hi guys! Today I went to Central Park with some friends and had a good time as usual. Haven’t gone out to take pictures in a while, felt good with my camera back in my hands, and positive company. It seemed as though every photographer was in Central park today; I guess they are trying to get as many shots  as they can before the winter season sets in. It was very cold this morning, but I was glad I didn’t wear extra clothing, ’cause it got really warm. We thought that the leaves would be more colorful, but unfortunately much of the area was still green. Hopefully we will see some more color next couple of weeks (hopefully it will not be cold then). Lots of people jogging and playing with their animals. I saw some really adorable dogs today. It appears that a lot of people either love to propose, or get their wedding photos done in Central Park too. Although the water was kind of dull and green, at the same time it was quite spectacular in some areas. I actually got some shots of people rowing their boats, it was cool to see up close. There is so much culture in NYC it’s ridiculous. We stopped by a street fair around 82 street, that appeared to have been put together by a local elementary school. Didn’t take any pictures of that though, I was pretty tired by that time unfortunately. Enjoy!

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Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Central Park 72nd Street NY

Using Extension Tubes

DSC_0023_65mmMuch to my surprise, extension tubes work much better than I thought! Not saying I didn’t have to do any work to get the shot; but I discovered it’s much better using tubes then those macro filter close-up lenses. Let me start off by saying that there are many different ways and methods of micro photography. That I can think of their are four major methods of micro photography. The first is using a telephoto lens. Technically, it is my opinion that a telephoto lens isn’t really a micro lens, however sometimes depending on the lens, you can get really nice close-ups that would be considered micro photography. Telephoto lenses are usually used a long with a prime lens. It works by  increasing your existing zoom capacity. Some high end lenses have them built-in. Google to learn more about telephoto lenses. Second, is using a macro close-up lens, I’ve written an article here. In essence a macro close-up lens is a magnifying glass for your prime lens. The third is to use a professional micro lens; there are many different kinds of micro lenses, so I suggest that you maybe rent one so you know what’s best for you. The fourth and last one is extension tubes. Extension tubes are an alternative to buying an expensive professional micro lens. Extensions work by creating distance from your sensor and the back of your main lens. The above photo is a photo I took of my lotion bottle. I had very nice bokeh control; I find that although I got the same results whether using my prime or zoom lens, I found it easier and more flexible to use my zoom. Also, I don’t need to get up as close to the subject as with the macro close-ups. There was a little bit ghosting but that’s fine; it was more likely due to where I had my flash, and shutter speed. I think the sample is good enough to post. Although I save an incredible amount of money buying these tubes (was only a fraction of the cost of a real micro lens), Nikon’s micro lenses deliver a little more sharpness. But I haven’t practiced enough using the tubes, so I may change my tune in a couple of months. But like I said, my opinion is that you get maximum flexibility using tubes along with zoom lenses. Also, don’t believe the hype about the “auto focusing,” I still needed to go manual. Which isn’t a bad thing, but I suggest getting one without the auto focus capability, because you’ll be paying a little more, and you’ll still wind up using manual most of the time anyway.

 

© ShadesOfSepia.com

The Missing Art Of Photography

Native American Arts CouncilI absolutely love technology and the things we are now able to accomplish by using it. However in terms of photography, although we can do incredible things we couldn’t do before, sometimes I think true art is fading away because of technology. It is almost as though there was a trade off or something. I have pondered this for several months now, and I think I have pinpointed the reasons why. I think the biggest reason of them all is the fact that, it cost an incredible amount of money to get a BFA. In today’s world, unless you got a family history of photographers, very few would take that risk and spend that kind of money (unless of course you also want to get into videography, video documentarian, and or other specialized areas other than photography). Even with full-frame technology, a lot of photographers have ditched their dark rooms for digital. In addition, technology has changed photography in such a huge way that, now all you have to do now-a-days is simply open up a book on photo editing and start reading. literally anybody can become a photographer, whether you are professional on or not is another matter. I believe this is the point where photographic art (or I should say the interpretation of art) started to die off (or got clouded) in my opinion. The reason why I feel this plays a huge factor is because, there are a lot of basic things that many photographers should know and understand but don’t. Some of those things are White Balance; what it is, and what you use to correct White Balance (be it in camera or not); understanding the capabilities of various lenses and when to use them; how to “see light,” is just a few things that are missed by not going to a formal school. However, at the same time you don’t necessarily need to go to college; there are lots of lower cost certificate courses one can take that would teach you these important basics. The way the economy has been (we are still not in good shape, despite “America overcoming the depression”) more and more people are learning by way of self teaching. I personally think that self-taught photographers are one of the best type of photographers, because you are forced to practice what you can’t learn in a traditional school. I have mostly self taught myself the same as many others have; I also think that this is one of the best ways to also help build your creativity in many ways. The problem is that people tend to take the easy way out, and learn only one thing and not the other. There are many things that go in to taking photographs, and if you only focus on one thing you miss a whole other world of knowledge and experience.

People who find it easier to focus on one area of photography have the tendency to think that photography is easy; or try to earnestly help others by critiquing someone else work, but they’re limited without an open mind, or awareness of other aspects of photography. I truly think this is one of the reasons many “photographers” have a problem seeing photography as an art form. Even after completing a basic certificate program, or a level I/level II course of ANY photography class/school, you’ll discover photography is an art form. Too many closed minded photographers try to make art technical; but art isn’t always technical, it’s about expression, expressing what your heart and imagination sees. Photographic art is also about allowing the subject tell it’s story through your photography. One of the important things that a real photographer must be able to do is to observe things. If you live in a city, take a walk for at least a half an hour and observe some buildings. Buildings are an art form; churches are an art form, houses are an art form, bridges are an art form, cars are an art form. Why are all these an art form? An architect had to design them and draw the blue prints! Yes? Makes sense? Even snow, upon close inspection has unique patterns. Get it? So yes, photography is an art form. With photography we create new art by capturing existing art. If you consider yourself a real photographer, you must broaden your mind and not be “tunneled visioned.”  Otherwise, you’ll wind up like so many who think that only learning Photoshop will make you a good photographer; or only having a “Canon” camera will make you good photographer; or purchase any expensive “good camera” and keep everything on automatic; or “all you need is HDR (or fake HDR) to make you a good photographer. Again, since photography began we’ve had phenomenal photographs from phenomenal photographers; and neither did Adobe, metering, flash umbrellas, or any other of today’s modern technologies that many photographer clutch to existed then. What does this tell you? It’s the photographer, not the equipment. Unfortunately, you can’t change what people perceive about your photos. Not everyone will even understand your photos, sh*t not everyone will grasp what you’re trying to accomplish; but what matters is how you perceive them. Getting different reactions from the public or a fellow photographers photos comes with the territory; but know that photographic art is not about whether or not you got too much, too little, or a “tad” -/+ exposure (or whatever); it’s about how that artist chooses to express their work. Whether the person perceiving your photos understands it or not, that’s their problem. Many of the suggestions I’ve heard are so insignificant it’s unbelievable.

© ShadesOfSepia.com

A Good Example Of White Balance

Hi guys. All my fans know that I hate spending hours using photo editing applications (just for a few photographs). I often use at least 3 applications to create my desired result. If you’re just starting out in photography, don’t let that scare you. I just prefer more than one application, because some applications do certain things better than others; sometimes one application doesn’t have the feature I need, or the tool that I want to either correct, treat, or filter an image; or create that artistic look I desire. Having said this, to be honest, I was quite lazy with this particular photo. I had so many photos to sift through, I just didn’t want to do any major surgery on these photos. However, at the same time, I thought I would use this photo as a perfect opportunity to talk about “White Balance.” As I’ve mentioned before, my blog is NOT a technical blog, so if you want a more scientific explanation of white balance click here. In essence, the best and easiest way I know how to explain “White Balance,” or “Color Balance,”  is that your camera measures heat/temperature emanating from different light sources. The warmer the light source, the camera will interpret the light as anywhere from orange to deep bright red based on the Kelvin system. The cooler the light source the sensor will interpret the cool in various shades of blue. Sometimes other colors in between depending on what the readings are based on a scale. Keep in mind the type of light makes a huge difference, ie, candle, tungsten, florescent, reflected light, etc. Please visit the links I’ve provided if you want to know more in detail.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the celebrity’s name right now, but I think its Susan Surandon. I should point out that their are many ways to correct White Balance. I never use any of the built in presets in my camera because they are never accurate for me (in extreme lighting conditions). White Balance is probably the only thing on my camera I set to auto; I prefer to correct my White Balance on the computer (its one less thing to worry about when shooting). The first photograph of Susan is a unique one; I say this because the lights were not really that warm. Actually, I think it was more of the bad choice in paint. It wasn’t until I really delved into photography that I realized how important paint is when it comes to photographs. Someone may think that a paint color looks awesome; but it doesn’t always compliment a subject when photographing; not only that, what ever light source can amplify the paint color, and sometimes even reflect it. The first Photo I’ve posted of Susan I’ve made no White Balance Correction. As you can see, the choice of paint made not only Susan too warm, but the entire environment. In the second photo I’ve corrected the White Balance by decreasing it down about 1,400-2,000K  from its original white balance measurement. As you can now see, the “White” in the color is more balanced, the environment blends, and Susan’s skin looks more natural, and her dress is practically untouched. I’ve also touched it up by using some softening techniques. Keep in mind, White Balance sometimes requires a bit of patience. Too much cool, your subject will look blue and sickly; too much warmth, and your subject will look like they have a skin disease; or the environment will look like it’s from the planet mars. White Balance is very delicate, and care must be considered. Sometimes after using other processes, you may find that it is necessary to adjust the White Balance again as a finishing. Hope this helps.

© ShadesOfSepia.com

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Inti And The Moon

After I left Madame Tussauds, I decided to go directly home. As I was walking towards the train terminal I started to hear some nice music. I could not really figure out the genre of the music. I’ve noticed that nowadays a lot of musicians are mixing up their styles of music; I can’t tell what anything is anymore. I guess technically it would be indie music I guess. The music came from a two subway musicians that are in a band called “Inti and The Moon.” It is interesting because although their literature states that their music is a mixture of Latin-south American rhythms, as well as jazz and middle eastern; however, when I heard it, it sounded more like a mixture of Mexican guitar and hints of Incan melodies in the background. Their style of music is quite nice, I liked it the moment I heard it. I liked it so much I purchased their CD. The CD is called “Strange Constellation.” It’s a very mellow and relaxing type of music (just about all is instrumental). I tried going to their website printed on the CD, but it doesn’t appear to be working right now. However, I did manage to find a couple of their youtube videos. Many of them appear to be rehearsal videos. I discovered they have remade one of my favorite old Spanish melodies/songs the CD; the song is called Moliendo Cafe. Here is another video of them performing live here, these guys are very talented. I really liked how they performed this music. If you are culturally diverse as I am, it is worth giving these guys your support. Although their website doesn’t appear to be functional, here is additional contact information that is printed on the CD:

Phone: 646-427-0894

Email: intiandthemoon@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/intiandthemoon

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Madame Tussauds | 42 Street In NYC | October 4, 2014

Hi guys. I’m back with another photographic adventure! Today I went to Madame Tussauds wax museum! It was my second time visiting. It is such an awesome place to be; the waxed figures look so real. There is no words I can find to really describe it, this is one of those things you’ll have to go visit yourself. Despite the fact it’s a little on the pricy side, it is still worth every dollar to go see. Madame Tussauds wax museum is really a combination of both modern and past history; paying tribute to not only phenomenal celebrities that made it big, but also people of the past who’s made an impact on the civil rights movement, such as MLK. Unfortunately, the elevator wasn’t working for us today, for whatever reason; many of us wind-up walking up to the ninth floor where the tour begins. I didn’t mind, cause I didn’t want to immediately go back home in the rain 🙁 . The crowds outside Madame Tussauds was crazy, and to my understanding, when there was elevator trouble, the line was still growing. I don’t remember Tussauds being quite so crowded. It must have been the last rush of vacationing tourist I’m thinking?  I saw some old wax figures such as Denzel Washington, Lady Gaga, Nicholas Cage, and the very handsome Anderson Cooper, sigh. I’m very surprised they did not have Don Lemon yet; then again maybe they did and I missed it? There was also a couple of new ones such as Kim Kardashian, Sandra Bullock, and ABBA. I didn’t by any real souvenirs this time, there wasn’t anything that really stuck out for me. It seemed to be all the classic stuff that tourist would purchase (to say they visited NYC, kind of items). Then again, Tussauds always had a very small selection of merchandise. However, they do have a very good poster collection that I recommend people check out. The staff there are very friendly and very professional. Its a great place to take your kids and give them a little historic background. In fact, they actually have a little mini movie theater (cost extra); currently they are showing a short Marvel cartoon for the kids. I haven’t seen the cartoon yet, but it must be good, because the waiting line is almost always long. Because of the nature of this event, I have decided to only post one picture inside this post. The reason being is because the photos I’ve taken are really portraits, which I feel should have it’s own separate category. Please click on the following link for more photos from Madame Tussauds.

 

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Redhawk | Native American Arts Council | Yorktown N.Y. | Sept. 20, 2014

Salutations everyone! Today I went to something called FDR Pow Wow & Native American Festival. In essence it was a day of education Native American Indian history, and celebration of the Indian culture. First, I have to say that I thought I wasn’t going to make it; because it would be my luck that the train I needed to take downtown was out of service. I started to go back home, but I realized if I took a cab I would be on time before the charter bus departs. Well, turned out that we didn’t get on the charter bus until 30 minutes after scheduled departure. Although we reached the event a half hour late, getting there was well worth the wait. I really enjoyed myself today, and I can tell that everyone else did too. It was as exciting as I imagined it to be. To my understanding, this was the last NY event until next year, so I’m really glad I came. The weather was decent enough for photos (despite the clouds pushed its way in off and on). There was a lot of traditional Native American dance performances; from the very young to middle aged. I think the dancing was the best part of the event, because the colors used in the traditional Indian wardrobe was breathtaking! There was a bird trainer who gave us a lesson as well as a live demonstration of the hawk. Sorry, I don’t remember if there was a specific name for this particular hawk. If I were to take a guess I would probably say red hawk. One thing that struck me was that they took a moment to honor, WWII veterans, Chineese veterans, cops and firefighters of 9/11; that to me says a lot about Indian culture. They had all kinds of traditional Indian food; including deer, buffalo, Blue fish, & salmon. A lot of the plates I saw looked very heavy on the carbs; so I settled on a Indian taco. It was quite delicious and spicy. It was basically chilli and vegetables. There were also lots of hand made jewelry, bags, incense, t-shirts, and more. Much of the proceeds go towards Native American scholarships. I must say, some of the hand made stuff was really expensive, but the ones that were, were made with good quality material. This was a beautiful event, and I do recommend that my readers go to this event next year. Hope this inspires other photographers to do more of their OWN thāng, and not follow the leader. Photography means the creator in you! Not the opinion of someone else who likes to hear themselves talk all the time. Enjoy!

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Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

Native American Arts Council

 

 

I Know You Got Soul | Brush Park, Mount Vernon N.Y. | Sep. 13, 2014

Today I visited one of the most coolest events I’ve been to in a very long time. It was a vintage car show called “I Know You Got Soul” located in Mount Vernon NY. The cars were all awesome, I got wonderful vibes from the people there, and it was just an all around good family event. This was one of those events that I really wish I had someone to drive me. It was really a far walk from the train. I’ve done enough exercise to last me three weeks! I am exhausted y’all. LOL. However, I am not sorry I went, it was totally worth the hassle of getting there. The only other thing I wished was that it did not rain. Knowing I had such a long walk back to the subway, I did not stay as long as I’d liked; the vintage cars still kept coming in! Compliments to all the car owners! Not only can you tell they are collectors of cars, they love their cars too; all the owners have maintained their cars very well. I saw some cars that should be on television (WOW, and I do mean WOW). They even had beautiful motorcycles there. They were playing just about all the old school songs I remembered and danced to as a kid, including Joe Tex. All but the exception of one song was from the 1970’s and older. If you are a classic buff, you really missed out on this event, this was really a nice place to take your whole family. No attitudes, no crazy people acting silly, everyone was respectful and having a good time. I was blown away by a female performer (I should have taken video but it was too late in the song), she sang her rendition of Aretha’s song “Ain’t No Way.” That woman tore up that microphone! I apologize but I don’t remember her name, I think it was Natash C. Coward. They had a lot of food from different vendors, chicken, ribs fried fish, you name it. Because I had such a long walk back, I didn’t want to take the risk of eating anything and becoming fatigued. I am definitely looking forward to attending next years event, hopefully I can get a ride next time. Before I close, I want to inform you of a center for the arts. Its called AC-BAW (Association of Community-Based Artists of Westchester), and I found them walking along fourth ave, in Mount Vernon. I was so surprised because I didn’t expect to see anything like that in the midst of a shopping area. There was a really nice gentlemen that welcomed me in. I must have stayed about a good 10-15 minutes admiring the art. The nice gentlemen welcomed me to an event happening tomorrow; but to be honest, I knew ofter my walk today I would be too exhausted to go to their event tomorrow. However, I am very interested in the kinds of art I saw, it was very interesting. He even talked about an art class happening tomorrow. I was going to ask permission to take a picture or two; however, I think  the AC-BAW needs it’s own blog post. One day I will go back there. I could not post all of my pics in this post; there were so many of them I loved. However, here are my best picks. Enjoy!

 

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I Know You Got Soul

I Know You Got Soul

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I Know You Got Soul

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I Know You Got Soul

I Know You Got Soul

I Know You Got Soul

I Know You Got Soul

I Know You Got Soul

I Know You Got Soul

I Know You Got Soul

Van Cortlandt House Museum, Bronx N.Y. | September 3, 2014

Hey guys, today I decided to pay a visit to the Van Cortlandt House Museum; it is in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. It was a beautiful outside today; however it was sunny as all hell [note to self: for extreme sunny days like this, bring my ND filter not CPL. 🙂 Lesson learned]. I had an incredibly hard time figuring my settings while taking photos outdoors, the sun was particularly ferocious on this day; but I think I’ve handled things like a trooper. I was forewarned that I could not use a flash at the museum; but when I actually arrived, most of the rooms were so dark, it was almost impossible to get a good exposure without the use of a tripod (which I am sure that would not have been permitted either). I had trouble mostly because there wasn’t enough sunlight. The most trouble I had was the first room I went in located on ground level. I was the only one inside the museum, I closely looked around the house to see if there appeared to be any light sensitive devices; once I was comfortable that there was none, I realized then that the caretakers probably just didn’t want flashes going of in people’s faces (which is understandable). I Then whipped out my external flash and did my thang. Unfortunately I still had to do a lot of processing when I got home. The rooms were blocked by mid-height gates, therefore I could not get up close and get the kind of shots that I wanted. There was a beautiful clock that had to have been from 1700’s; but I couldn’t take a good shot because it was stationed on the far side of the wall, and the gate prevented me from getting that good shot. 🙁 However, I did manage to get a partial side shot (I’ll try to remember to share that later). Even with my flash, the first room was too dark (at the moment & time) for my automatic focus to work properly, and I couldn’t use manual because I couldn’t see perfectly to measure the focus… Oh rats…

The museum is a very, very small home with three floors (basically a mini mansion). If I understand correctly, the Van Cortlandt home was built for Fredrick Van Cortlandt in 1748. It was a very weird feeling walking in to a non-modern home; however, I really got the feel of what it was like to live in that era. Now I understand what Oprah meant when she did a press interview for the “Color Purple.” 🙂 Even the steps are noticeably different; they are much thicker and with a greater vertical length (it was definitely a little more of an exercise than a walk up the stairs). I’d say the staff has done an excellent job in preserving the home and the original owner’s possessions; this is not an easy thing to do, considering 90% of the home’s furnishings and clothing can’t be older than 1810 i’d say (last item purchased/entered). The house was setup in such a way, it almost felt like the original owner(s) were coming back shortly. After I finished my visit @ the Van Cortlandt home, I walked around Van Cortlandt Park, and took a couple of nice shots there too. Enjoy!

 

Van Cortlandt House Museum

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Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt House MuseumVan Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt House Museum

How Many Pictures Is Too Much?

James Presley Ball (1825-1905)

James Presley Ball (1825-1905), Black Photographer

This is one of those questions were, if you ask 300 photographers, you’ll probably get 300 different individual answers. To be quite honest, in my opinion, I think there is no right answer. Again, it all depends on the photographer. Photographers from the older school of thought, may tell you that if you take a lot of photos, it seems too “amateurish.” Or if you consider yourself a professional, some may suggest that you have not “grasped” the art of photography. Noticed that I have put quotes around the word “grasped” on purpose, because everyone has their own personal take on photography. In the world of expressive art, the only rules that matter are the ones that work in a given situation. Some professional photographers think that if you’re a “good” photographer, you should be able to frame all of the proper elements, lighting, and portions in one single shoot. However, this doesn’t always work in street photography. You don’t always have control over your photographs outside of a studio; which is being able to capture your subject for how it is actually seen, in it’s true environment.

So, how many pictures is too much? Actually, there is never enough, and there is always too little. Your subjects, regardless if the subject is a living person, animal, or an inanimate object, everything has various dimensions to them. Dimensions is what helps to tell the subject’s story (irrespective of light). Just like when you meet someone in person, no one person represents one thing; so why would people think this wasn’t true about photography? In the real world, depending on the type of photographer you are, and the type of clients you work with; some clients don’t even want you to edit your photographs. Many clients prefer to only see RAW photos, so they can pick and choose what they want for themselves, as well as edit them. In this case, you best believe you must have a lot of shots for the client to choose from. If it means 20 different versions of the same portrait, so be it.

The other side of this is, have you ever got home and evaluated your shots and discovered you should have taken a particular shot in a different way? Not necessarily because you think the current shot was bad, but maybe you realized that the photo would have had greater meaning. We don’t always have this opportunity in street photography; however, if you have a paid model you can. However, bottom line is that, if you don’t come home with a lot of photos in your camera, it could have been there was nothing interesting to you, or your imagination may not have been turned on. Regardless of the situation, I don’t think that one should put to much mind in to these types of questions, because in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Your gut feelings will be the most important.

© ShadesOfSepia.com

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village August 21, 2014

Salutations everyone! I hope both my curious visitors and my long time admirers are enjoying my blog content so far? Today I decided to get up early and walk around two sections of the Bronx: Morrisania & Claremont Village. I didn’t shoot too many photos today, but that’s ok. Photography should never be forced, but a natural occurrence (at least when it comes to street photography). To be quite honest, I didn’t expect to take a lot of photos, simply because I was not in landmark areas. However, much to my surprise I always manage to  find photo opportunities. Which proves my point that, it’s just a matter of keeping an open mind. Remember that old saying, “seek and you shall find?” That statement holds true for just about anything I can think of. I also discovered one other thing, how difficult it is to take photos in a moving car LOL. I was so curious to see if I could pull it off; and I actually was able to get some good shots! However, being in a moving car also meant that I had to think 3 and 4 times as fast, because each turn the cab made changed my exposure immediately. It was indeed an interesting exercise. As always, I enjoy the beauty of the Bronx, it’s culture, and SOME of the beautiful spirits of people that live in it. I encourage more photographers to come up here every once in a while. There is a world of photo opportunities here, in places you least suspect.

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Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont Village

Chinatown, NY | August 9, 2014

Salutations everyone. Today I visited Chinatown in Manhattan. I haven’t been down there in ages. I have to say, if it were not for the fact that I was in the company of good friends, and that I always enjoy myself on every outing with them, I would have never gone to Chinatown. I would not have chosen this location for myself/solo. First, it was incredibly crowded and has made photography quite difficult for me. To date, Chinatown had to have been the most difficult and challenging place for me to take photographs. The other thing, I didn’t realize that some Chinese street food vendors really have it out for photographers. One woman gone ballistic because a friend and I was taking pictures of fruits she was selling. Not only did she try to chase us away, but she was showing a follow vendor how we were taking photographs. Huh? A fellow photographer explained that in China photography is practically forbidden many situations. Then I also realized that that woman probably thought we were food inspectors, and probably was scared we would get her shut down. Because she didn’t speak English, it would have made no sense to try and explain anything. But you know, on the other hand it’s sad, because in that split second, I’ve learned first hand what a closed world the Chinese live in. For them, Chinatown IS china. Anything outside of Chinatown is most likely unbeknown to them. However, in the end it did not matter to me, because I was enjoying myself with good people, who also happen to be photographers too (we can all relate LOL).

Unfortunately, I didn’t shoot as much photos as I would have liked; not because the Chinese had issues with us, it was just too damn crowded. I’ve learned that this is something that’s not for me. I wouldn’t go unless I was with friends. However, on the upside of things, I did manage to obtain some really interesting shots. So I guess I can say it was kind of worth it. We were at a park near Bayard Street. Again, a whole new world. There were people playing live traditional Chinese music, as well as singing in their own language. Please don’t take this the wrong way (it is not meant to disrespect), but when I heard them bang that Chinese musical symbols, it immediately took me back to those old 60-70’s karate movies. It also made me think I’d wish I’d gone to the Hong Kong Dragon boat festival. But to be honest it was too far, plus I’d rather go with my photo group. I’ll see if the guys want to go next year. Speaking of martial arts, there were people performing what looked like Tai Chi. This was a pain in the ass for me, because they were practicing in very dark shade, and it was difficult finding and adjusting the right camera settings without disturbing them. Well, like I’ve said, despite the minor difficulties and annoyances I’ve experienced; I obtained some great shots today! So I’m not sorry I went. Plus I got to laugh and have fun with some new friends.

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Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Bronx Walk

Alberto Korda 1928-2001

Alberto-Korda

Alberto Korda 1928-2001 was a Cuban born (Havana) photographer, best known for his very famous shot of military leader Che Guevara. Alberto used his camera to document revolutions of his time such as Che. Alberto was a book maker and an encyclopedia sales person, who became one of the most famous photographers of his time (and partly ours). Alberto died of a heart attack at the age of 72.