Saturday, April 28, 2012

Black and white and red.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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More to come...

Model: Miss Te
MUA: Danielle Klatsky

Friday, April 6, 2012

The blue door

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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.

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A few headshots in natural light first.

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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.
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