Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Card 2012

Merry Christmas!

If you've been following this blog even occasionally, then you probably know that for the past four years we have been shooting a family Christmas card that is a little, um...non-traditional. Every year I think it gets better, and now with the baby in the mix the possibilities are endless!

My wife thought up most of the idea for this one, I wanted to add the elves (it just wasn't ridiculous enough), and my mother-in-law supplied most of the "props" including the two dolls on that back table that she made by hand when she was younger. My wife and I supplied the cute little baby!

Shooting went remarkably well, the baby was great and only cried once! The actual shooting part only took a few minutes once the lighting and everything was set up. The compositing in Photoshop took more than a few minutes, but was totally worth it. I strung together all the test shots in a little movie below just to do something with them, and since it's kind of funny to look at them all then see the card come together!

Merry Christmas!!! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Best project ever.


We have been working on this project for over nine months and it's our best work yet! Of course, the credit mainly goes to my beautiful wife, however I did have a small, yet important, role in the pre-production stages of this project! :)

Emma Josephine was born about 7 weeks ago and is doing great! She is starting to smile now; undoubtedly getting ready for a long life of getting her picture taken by yours truly! Maybe I will change my name to DWC...Dad With Camera.

In usual GWC fashion, my wife took behind the scenes pics of this fancy setup, which utilized a sheet and the sunlight coming in a widow behind me. We tried other setups, light-colored blankets, warm fuzzy things, baskets, etc, but Emma managed to poop or spit up on all of the other "sets" except for this one. And to top it all off, she wouldn't sign the model release! That being said, she was still the cutest little model I have ever had the pleasure of working with!

We love you Emma!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sometimes when you need it to, it all comes together

A preview of my last shoot in New York City!


So here is the deal...remember that post I wrote last month about GWC coming to an end? Well that was an April Fool's joke, but it wasn't entirely false.

In the last month things have been really busy and I have had some exciting life changes going on! So busy, that I went an entire month without even taking my camera out of the bag! So busy, that this blog has been auto-updating for the past month because I knew I wouldn't have time to write every week.

What happened is that I am starting a new job out on Long Island, and in April our lease in NYC was up so we moved out here early! My new job doesn't start until July out here, so I commute into the city on the train like the rest of Long Island does. It's not terrible, but it takes up the free time I used to have for fun stuff like photography! We have been unpacking boxes for the past month on the weekends, while also trying to do all the other things that come with living in a house, such as hanging up stuff over the windows, and getting new furniture, etc. My wife and I are almost done with the major unpacking but there is still a ton to do and we are more exhausted at the end of the weekend than on Friday night!

And about this new job...it's really a big change in my life, and there are more serious "adult" responsibilities involved than pretty much any other job I can think of. It's going to be the busiest I have ever been, and any free time I do have in the first few years is going to be spent with family. So needless to say, I won't be arranging any more model shoots out here on a regular basis! It was fun while it lasted, and in NYC it was very simple to just find someone that wanted to shoot, but out here it will be a little different. I don't have the time or patience to coordinate models, MUAs, and assistants for the 2 hours on the one off-day I might have per week. I definitely won't have time to edit a whole bunch of stuff from a shoot afterwards. I'm getting too old and have too many responsibilities now to continue to give away all of that time for free. I never really looked at it like that before, because I enjoy the process so I didn't think of it as "free" but regardless, I just don't have the time any longer.

I still plan to shoot on a regular basis, and maybe I will in fact have time every once and a while to coordinate a real shoot out here on LI, but the days of shooting a few times per month and at a whim are over. Friends, family, food, and my life will continue to be subjects that I shoot, and what I am going to do with all those pictures is anybody's guess. I shoot family and other stuff all the time, but I usually keep it from this blog since people don't want their pictures up here and if you're reading this you probably don't come here to see my family pictures either! But maybe that will change? I don't know. Maybe I will find a new muse, or show less pictures and write more words...who knows?

But for now, there are still the pictures from my last shoot in NYC to show you! This was the perfect last shoot...I tried to coordinate a MUA and assistant, but at the end of the day couldn't find anyone that was available. Model and photographer only, the way I started doing this thing, except the only light I used was the sun. Not even a reflector. It was an unseasonably sunny and warm day in Central Park, with the flowering trees blooming early this year. I have been trying the technique of putting things right in front of my lens and shooting wide open to make some interesting blurry shapes that frame the model with limited success in the past, but this time the flowers on the trees were perfect and it worked out great. Couldn't be happier about the final shots...all the magic came from the camera and the sun, not from photoshop!


If you noticed, the flowers on her top match the real flowers...it was meant to be!

More to come next week...

Model: Yelizaveta Naumenko

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Black and white and red.





Let's talk about cutting off people's feet. No, I don't mean in a "we need to dispose of this body quickly" way (you sicko!), I mean in your pictures! I try not to do this. I get annoyed when it happens. But sometimes when the best shot of the bunch has a cut-off foot, that's just the way it is! It actually used to bother me a lot more a few years ago, but now I just say "Eh" and move on. It's really not that big of a deal.

I find that I often run into this problem when I am shooting people who are walking. The way I usually do these is I lock the focus with AF, then switch to manual focus and leave the focus alone. Then I try to walk (backwards) at the same speed as the model. If I do it right, we keep the same distance as when we were standing still, and the focus stays good. Also, since I am shooting these at a slowish aperture (around f/8), I have some leeway with the focus since the DOF is forgiving at that f-stop. The last part of the technique is that I have to crouch about halfway over to keep the perspective correct when I am shooting with a medium-wide lens (35 mm). So, sometimes when I don't crouch low enough, while walking backwards, and trying to frame the shot through the viewfinder and simultaneously look next to the camera with my open left eye to avoid walking into pedestrians, trees, fire hydrants, bicyclists, and cars, I cut off people's feet! Doh! Maybe what I need is a spotter, kind of like if you've ever been to a gym where someone is spotting some other guy squatting and holds the guy ever-so-gently by the hips while he squats up and down with him...um, wait a minute, nevermind...that sounds like a bad idea!

More to come...

Model: Miss Te
MUA: Danielle Klatsky

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Not a poseur

Remember when I wrote that on-camera flash gives you the freedom to work with your subject and not let the lighting get in the way? This is what I was talking about.






No "poses" here.

More to come...

Model: Miss Te
MUA: Danielle Klatsky

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Broken wall

After a quick walk to a new location, we shot some more with on-camera flash.


Although it seems like it should just be an easy brainless technique, sometimes the on-camera flash look is hard to pull off. First off, you need the right subject (it looks best on younger thinner people with good skin). If you shoot your grandma with the on-camera flash it will look less-than flattering, and she will probably slap you for sticking that big camera with the bright flashy thing in her face! Second, you need the right setting. Since it's kind of a trendy style, I think it looks best in some settings (like a city street), and out-of-place in other settings (like in the forest at sunrise for example). That being said, I've seen some pretty good pictures with on-camera flash in all types of places, which brings me to my next point. The mood of the shot is probably the most important. This is not the lighting you want to use for "nice" soft portraits, or taking pictures of newborns, or cute family pictures. It's a kind of in-your-face lighting, unabashedly crude yet sexy too. Since the lighting is so simple, it lets you focus on the subject without breaking the flow of the shoot by having to adjust lights every 2 seconds. When I shoot this way, I am looking to capture those "in between" moments where the subject is not so self-aware, and this is best done with rapid-fire shooting. You figure out the basic look you want from someone then fire off a couple of frames and see what you get!




More to come...

Model: Miss Te
MUA: Danielle Klatsky

Friday, April 6, 2012

The blue door


These next few posts are just going to be pictures from a recent shoot, shown in the order they were taken. We shot few different looks one afternoon in the West Village. Started out near the Christopher Street subway station and just walked around for a few blocks looking for interesting locations. It's such a great area for this kind of photography...nice buildings, quiet, and not too much foot traffic to deal with.


A few headshots in natural light first.


Then the rest with on-camera flash.

More to come...

Model: Miss Te
MUA: Danielle Klatsky

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's not really the end of guy with camera.

About my post yesterday: The end of GWC.  As many of you guessed, yes it was in fact an April Fools joke!  No, I didn't sell my camera and accidentally put a check for $4600 in a mailbox and cry outside of B+H photo!

I had people write to tell me:
-to keep trying to contact the buyer and get a new check
-to call a lawyer
-to speak to the postmaster at the post office
-that I'm an idiot for thinking I need a new camera
-that I ripped off the Craigslist buyer
-that the buyer is trying to scam me because he won't respond
-that they can't believe I accepted a check from a Craigslist buyer
-that they would have never lost the check
-that I'm an idiot for losing the check
-that the check can be cancelled still, there is still hope!
-that now I can switch to Nikon and be a real pro (thanks Beck!)

As many people pointed out, you don't always need the best, newest, most expensive gear to make some good pictures.  I was obviously joking about my old camera now being obsolete.  Hyperbole and satire and all of that stuff!

I am very surprised at how many people (kinda) believed the story and contacted me! I thought that the ridiculous plot and condescending way it was written would have immediately raised everyone's BS-detectors to eleven.  Do you really think I wouldn't have known that B+H is always closed on Saturday? That's an amateur mistake (that I learned by making once!) Also, I wrote "lol" twice in the story...twice! C'mon!

I am actually a little worried that so many of you believed that story: What does that say about me? I either come off as a total arrogant knob on a regular basis making my behavior in that story fall within what is expected of me, or I am a gullible, sad buffoon who cries publicly and can't figure out how to mail a letter! Ouch!

Anyway, guy with camera is not over. I am still a guy.  I still have my camera (and lenses etc).  Hope everyone had a good laugh! April Fools...........LOL!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The end of guy with camera.

I really blew it. I can't believe I am even sharing this with you guys...I feel like such a moron.

On Friday, B+H Photo got the new Canon 5DIII in stock after being on back-order for a week (which seemed like an eternity, lol!) If you have been living under a rock for the past few months, the new 5D Mark III is THE BEST camera ever made! It has ISO 102,400(!), 61-point AF, and 6FPS! It's the camera I NEED and the one I have been waiting for since I bought my 5D Mark II almost three years ago. Since it's the best camera out right now, I couldn't keep shooting on my 5DII which had become obsolete. On my last shoot a few weeks ago, I almost painted on another "I" next to the "Mark II" on my camera so the model would know that I was only shooting with the newest and best. Could you imagine if she realized that I was shooting her with an inferior camera and basically wasting her time?

So anyway, B+H got the 5DIII in stock again, but the kit only, which is the body + the 24-105 mm lens (which I already have). I wanted to just buy the body and keep some of my lenses, but the body-only is still on back-order! So I had a great idea: I could just sell my old 5DII to someone who is OK with shooting with outdated gear (or too stupid to realize) and also sell the 24-105 mm lens, and then get a 5DIII kit with a NEW 24-105 mm lens included!

I put an ad on Craigslist on Friday, and by that evening I already had 3 people that said they'd buy immediately with cash! Sweet! The best offer was $2500 for my 5DII+grip and lens, which is not anywhere near enough for the new 5DIII kit (I needed $4300 before tax), so I also ended up selling my 35 mm f/2, 50 mm f/1.4, 85 mm f/1.8, and 135 mm f/2L lenses, 2 speedlights, an AlienBees B800, and my light meter to bring up the total to $4600. Sweet.

I met the guy in Queens on Friday night and he was a really nice guy. He seemed really happy to be paying $4600 for my old gear (I guess he doesn't realize that the 5DIII was out and could be bought for the same price! hahahaha!) Anyway, he said he didn't feel safe with walking around with cash, so he gave me an envelope with a bank check in it for $4600. It looked legit, so I shook his hand and was out the door before he could realize what a mistake he'd made and he was now the proud owner of a camera that was made in like 2008, LOL!

Here is the part where the story really turns into a tragedy. I truthfully didn't even want to post this here, but I know that eventually people are going to be like "what happened to GWC? I haven't seen any updates for a while!" So I'd rather just tell everyone what happened. You're probably all thinking it was a fake check, but you're wrong.

Here it goes...I accidentally dropped the check for $4600 in the mailbox instead of my rent check. I feel like the biggest idiot. I did this yesterday morning, on the way to B+H, and I didn't even realize it until hours later. I went to the Chase bank around the block from B+H to cash the check (because I didn't want to ride the subway with all that cash on me) and when I got to the front of the line and pulled the envelope out of my pocket it was actually the envelope addressed to my landlord! At first I didn't believe it, so I opened the envelope and inside was in fact the rent check for this month. I realized that I must have dropped the bank check for $4600 into a random mailbox on the upper east side instead of my rent check!!! I sat on the ground in front of the bank and cried for about 20 minutes because I felt like such a failure. I finally stopped crying, and figured I would at least go to B+H and see if I could put the camera on hold so I could come back later if I could get the check back from the mailbox. Of course, I totally forgot that B+H is closed on Saturday, so I felt like a double-failure, and just fell on the sidewalk crying in front of B+H for at least another 20 minutes, until a cop walked by and told me to "grow up." Can you believe this is what we are paying our taxes for?

I finally came to my senses and got a cab back to the upper east side and back to the mailbox. I found the mailbox, and the pickup time was listed as 10AM. My heart sank...it was now already 1130AM, so I went to the nearby post office, and they told me that it was not possible to go through "all the mail from the upper east side, Sir" and look for one unlabeled envelope and that besides, it was a federal crime to tamper with the mail. They also told me that no one could cash a check made out to me anyway so "don't worry." Idiots.

I even contacted the guy I sold the gear to and told him to cancel the check because I lost it, and I asked him to get me another one asap. He just laughed at me and hung up the phone. He's not answering emails either. I don't know what to do!

So as you have probably guessed, I am no longer a guy with camera. I don't have my camera anymore, or my lenses and this blog will obviously not be updated anymore. If anyone finds a bank check made out to "cash" for $4600, please send me an email. I still have hope that I will find it soon and get the 5D Mark III. Thanks.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Timing is everything.

A few days ago it was unseasonably warm and sunny out. The pretty trees have bloomed in Central Park. Today it's back to cold and windy out there. Take advantage of things when you can.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Paris, part deux.

I told her to stand still and keep looking up...she wanted to know why I was taking a picture up her nose in front of the Eiffel Tower...

Arc de Triomphe...we were lucky enough to climb up to the top just as the sun was setting on a clear night...the views and the colors were amazing.

Au revoir!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Power of Suggestion, or Winter in Paris


There is this thing that happens between my wife and I regarding traveling. Out of the blue, she will say something like "How do you feel about taking a trip to Paris in a few months?" And I will reply something like "Paris? We just got back from Ireland a few months ago!" A few days will go by, my subconscious busily mulling over the prospect of another trip to Europe, while my conscious mind is thinking about getting older and having only one life, and the prospect of never seeing a place before I die. Yes, I am only 31. Yes, I am overly dramatic. These are both facts. At the same time, the rational part of my mind is telling me to pay off my credit card bills...

On the Seine

Usually a few more days of silent thinking will go by, and I have already come to the conclusion that we are going to Paris...in fact, I can't wait to go! What a great idea...I can't believe I hadn't thought of it! What are we waiting for? We are young and healthy and I will always make more money, but I won't always have the freedom to pick up and go for a week. So one night I ask her "How much are flights to Paris?" She looks at me with a mischievous smile and says "Really? Are we seriously doing this?" To which I eloquently reply "Fuck it, let's go!"

Notre Dame
The view from the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral is amazing and a must-see!

Notre Dame
Creepy gargoyles are so cool.

Notre Dame
Inside Notre Dame

Pere-Lachaise Cemetery

When the music's over...
"Cancel my subscription to the resurrection,
send my credentials to the house of detention."

Eiffel Tower
We will see you again soon.

More to come...
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