Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Just a quick fun shoot, testing out a new rental studio...figured a Halloween theme would be a good thing to try! Of course, I use the term "theme" very loosely: as you can see it's really just our model Maegan wielding a big knife from my kitchen, but I think it is pretty cool nonetheless!

Happy Halloween!
Maegan's other name is Ms. Stabby

Happy Halloween!
The background is white 9-foot wide seamless paper. It can look white, gray, or black depending on how you light it, how far the model is from the background, etc. This specific studio was a tad too small to make the white seamless go completely black: there was just not enough room between me and the background.

Happy Halloween!
Creepy.

Happy Halloween!
SCARY!!!!!

Happy Halloween!
Psychokiller!

The studio passed the test (it existed, and all the stuff worked)...and bonus points to me for not getting randomly searched on the subway while carrying an eight-inch chef's knife and a mask in my gear bag!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Headshots!



I am doing headshots now! For the past few months, while I was working on the 50/50 Project, I was also secretly learning and practicing my new headshot techniques. Well actually, that makes me sound like Batman...all I really did was study other photographers work that I like, and try to learn from it. I have also been systematically working on learning more photoshop, specifically skin retouching and color correction, etc. Got a good textbook on photoshop, and have been scouring internet photoshop forums and youtube videos for more info. It's really amazing what you can learn just from those two places! I should have went to "YouTube University" and saved my dad a lot of money!



Maybe one day I will talk about the photo techniques and photoshop how-to that goes into these images...but I have to leave something to blog about in the future :)

Thanks to Alissa Laderer (model) and Kim Y (make-up artist)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

50/50 Project: Video!



Here is a video slideshow of all of the pictures that I took during the project. Check it out and let me know if you like it! Don't forget to turn up the volume!

Friday, October 15, 2010

50/50 Project: It's Over!

THE END!
I took this picture on day 4 I think

So the 50/50 project is finally over. Fifty days of shooting something every day with the ol' 50 mm lens. Here are my thoughts...pros first, then the cons:

-I got a lot of pictures that I really like simply because I "had to" have my camera with me that day for the project...these pictures would have otherwise not existed.

-I feel much more comfortable with the 50 mm lens in terms of knowing what the frame will look like before I put the camera to my eye, I know where I will have to stand, what f/stop, etc to use, to get a certain look. Since I didn't crop any of the pictures for this project, it forced me to slow down and inspect the entire frame before pushing the shutter.

-It made me think about photography every day, and I started to miss setting up more organized shoots and having the freedom to choose whatever lens I want for the job!

-It helped me be less timid about just taking the camera out with me all the time, and I got better at not hesitating when I think I see a good potential photograph unfolding and just taking a few pictures.

-On certain days it was kinda fun looking for "the picture."

The cons:

-It was kind of a pain in the ass to have to force a picture on days when I wasn't feeling it, or was too busy to do something interesting. Those days were usually weekdays after work, around 9 PM when the sun is down and I was feeling too lazy to leave my apartment. Those are the days when I was even too lazy to set up something interesting in my apartment. Those were usually the days when I took a picture of food!

-It's hard to "force" creativity, and I often was just taking a picture to get it over with for the day.

-It wasn't really possible to take my camera with me everywhere. I couldn't take it to work because there is no secure place to put it. It's sometimes awkward to have a big camera with you when you're out to eat or doing simple things like running to the store.

When I thought of how this project would go, I had a different idea than how it turned out. I wanted to use it to break some of the barriers I had with street photography, and use it as an exercise in just taking pictures out in the general public, or approaching strangers and not being timid about my intentions to get a cool picture. I wanted to work on more lighting setups outside, and try lots of techniques that were new to me. That's not really what happened...and I realized a few things about myself. First, I am not a street shooter. Some people are good at it, but I still like having total control over the scene, the subject, the lighting, and the intentions. I am still not entirely comfortable with taking pictures of strangers in public without their consent. This may sound sketchy, but there are some great street photographers out there who can make an everyday scene like a city commute look artistic and have a message. Not me! As far as the lack of well thought-out lighting setups etc, it just came down to lack of time or energy at the end of the day!

Overall, I was happy with the project about half of the time. When I wanted to do it, it was fun...when I "had to" do it, it was a drag! Am I glad that I did it and was able to finish? Yes. Would I ever do it again, or even consider a longer project like a 365? Hell no!

Oh by the way, here is the last picture:

Day 50-Love
Day 50! The End!

Since Day 50 happened to be my 30th birthday and all, Mrs. GWC came home from working all day, made a delicious three course meal from scratch (brie and cherry preserve toasts, stuffed mushrooms, and basil-tomato salmon with pasta with pesto sauce). I took this picture from right across the dinner table after we ate! She has supported me through all of this photography craziness, from buying gear that I probably shouldn't have, to photoshoots, to all the editing time, to all my babbling about photography, and has never complained during the last 50 days when I was out looking for a picture, or when I had to take my camera out with us to some social event. Sometimes, when I wouldn't want to take a picture that day, she would motivate me to get it done, and say it's just 49 more days, it's just 25 more days, etc...

Thanks baby, I love you!

Well that is it for the project. I plan on putting together all of the good pics taken in some type of youtube video slideshow, so check back soon!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

50/50 Project: Week 7

Day 43-shoot from the hip baby!
Day 43

Day 44-getting in the Halloween mood!
Day 44

Day 45-really getting in the Halloween mood!!!
Day 45

Day 46-my cousin Pauly's head
Day 46

Day 47-mutant flowers
Day 47

Day 48-had some trouble lighting this knife in a recent Halloween shoot, so thought I'd learn how to do it right...
Day 48

Day 49-the last day of my 20s!
Day 49

Only one more day left!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Italy: Part Due!

Capri
Capri was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen...not that I've traveled a lot, but regardless!

Here are some more pictures from Italy. No real message here, just some pics that remind me of good times. Now that summer is really over and work is back in full-swing, I miss the amazing weather and sun and carefree vacation mindset...you know, when the only goal for the day is to drink at least two bottles of wine and explore a cool city on foot, eating everything along the way!

Roma
Night in Rome. When you can shoot at high ISO with good glass at night, the colors are out of control!

In Ravello
Ravello again...I guess the townsfolk get used to this view eventually?

Castel Gand-olfo
This is a town near and dear to my heart. So is the sexy lady walking down the street! Yeeeah baby! I can't say the name of the town here, but it starts with Castel, and the second word rhymes with "Andolfo" but starts with a "G"

How could I mention Italy and not show any pictures of food? Well I can't! The next Italy post will be all about food!!! You'll gain five pounds just reading it!

See some more Italy pics here!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

50/50 Project: Week 6

Day 36-bedtime place
Day 36

Day 37-endless rain makes my windows gross...even though they were just cleaned!
Day 37

Day 38-Been waiting for this movie to come out for years. Probably my all-time favorite TV show...I would define my tastes as classy, refined, and I enjoy subtle, understated humor!
Day 38

Day 39-All-American, a Long Island classic! The best burger joint in the world! In fact, if you're from LI, especially Massapequa, it is your duty to comment on this post below and let everyone know what your favorite order is. Mine is a double-double, large fries, and vanilla shake, mmmmm! C'mon, leave a comment; don't let me and America down!
Day 39

Day 40-the beginnings of home made chicken soup, perfect for this chilly weather and a scratchy throat
Day 40

Day 41-the glass is half full! It is a metaphor for my life, silly!
Day 41

Day 42-soldier boy wakes me up when no one else will
Day 42

One more week and that's it! Yay!!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Shoot it? Keep it? Delete it?



Just some quick thoughts here...since almost everyone shoots digital nowadays, and it's easy to snap, snap, snap away all the time like a little jackrabbit, let me ask you this: What do you do with all those pictures?

If you're like me, you probably just put them on the computer and look at them once, maybe send them out to friends in an online gallery or facebook, and that's it. Well I guess I should clarify...I used to do that--not anymore. The amount of files just became ridiculous to manage. Hundreds of pictures of otherwise mundane events clogging up my hard drive. When I wanted to look at a specific picture I could never find it amongst the sea of crappola.



I fixed the problem a few different ways. I shoot a little more selectively now. I try not to just take pictures for the sake of taking them, which thankfully leads to less pictures of nonsense, and less pictures of virtually the exact same scene taken in rapid succession. Part of this comes with time, and becoming comfortable that you nailed it and don't need to keep shooting more frames "just in case."

But what if you still want to shoot rapid-fire style AKA the "spray-and-pray" approach? Well, you have two more opportunities to cull out all the crappy pictures before they become a permanent part of your hard drive. Try to get into the habit of deleting obviously bad pictures right in the camera, before they ever make it to your computer. You know the shots...too dark, blurry, blinkers, etc. Just trash 'em! Five almost-identical pictures of your niece doing something really cute? Pick the best one and junk the rest!



Your last chance happens as soon as you put them on your computer. Delete all the junk as soon as you look at the pictures the first time. If you use any good photo management program it will let you select all the "rejects" and then delete them all in one keystroke (in Lightroom just hit the "X" key"). Do this ASAP. If you wait too long, that days shots will just get lost in the stream of constant digital pictures that keep coming and coming, and then you will soon ask yourself "where the hell did my 500 GB hard drive go?"

I took all the pictures in this post a few months ago one day in Riverside park...probably shot 50 pics, deleted maybe 15 in camera, and then deleted about 20 as soon as I saw them on the computer. Out of the rest, these are the best three. Well not really the best three, but the other pictures are of my wife, and I bet she is pretty tired of seeing herself on this blog ;)
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