It’s HOT in New York! But so much fun. From High Lines to Jersey BBQ’s to Broadway shows to Brooklyn butterflies, I feel like I got more than my money’s worth over the holiday weekend in the Big Apple.
Last weekend, a couple of friends and I made the trip to Boulder Colorado to participate in a workshop led by the incredible Tyler Stableford. To say that I love his work would be a huge understatement. I can’t remember in which magazine I first saw his work, but it was a few years ago, when I was just stumbling into photography. If you haven’t already clicked on the link above, you owe it to yourself to spend some time perusing his site. It is amazing.
What I wanted to get out of this workshop were some tips on working with clients and models, some of his processing secrets, and maybe some great shots. But Tyler was so great about taking time to understand where each of us were as photographers and encouraging us to push that boundary. For me, that meant thinking much more about the story that my image composition tells, how each element in an image either enhances or detracts from that story, and developing a process for arbitrating the two. If you cannot already tell, I loved it. I got so much more out of the weekend than I anticipated. And I’m planning to attend Tyler’s next workshop in Arches National Park!
This weekend I met and photographed New Jersey-based recording artist Ant Grant and his producer, Tomas Ramos. Thanks to Akintayo Adewole, one of my closest friends and Creative Director of Akande Music, for making the introduction. Ant is a phenomenal subject and an even better guy. After the first couple shots, it was obvious he had done it before. In addition to being a recording artist, Ant is an actor, and was immediately comfortable in front of the camera. I could write a lot…a whole lot…about what I learned on this shoot. I experimented with shooting into the sun with high speed sync, was saved a couple of times by my new Lastolite diffusers/reflectors, pushed my flashes to the limit on a rooftop in 90-degree weather, stood on the ledge of a 5-story building to gey an intersection into the background, wished I had brought water (several times), pined for a Hoodman Loupe so that I could see my LCD in the blazing sun, fell even more in love with my 24-foot ETTL cable, and was VERY thankful that I bought the third set of 4 rechargeable AA’s. Actually, there’s a lot more that I learned on the photography side, but the best part of the day was meeting Ant, Thomas, and their manager, Darren. Yesterday was a timely reminder of how good it feels to be surrounded by like-minded Black males who are as passionate about their art as I feel I am about photography. A fantastic day. I’m looking forward to doing it again. And Ant does smile…I have pictures to prove it.
People who have seen my work before know that I love to experiment with stitching. And HDR. And split-toning. So why not all three at once? For this image, I used a Canon 16-35mm lens. The final image is actually a stitch of 6 images taken while swinging the camera in a rainbow arc to create the severe distortion (pausing for each exposure, of course). Trinity Church stands in stark contrast to its much taller lower Manhattan neighbors. Its also surprisingly peaceful, despite its proximity to Wall Street; just entering the courtyard felt insulating. I worked a few blocks away in the late ’90s, but never set foot inside until this year.
February 15, 2010. I definitely enjoyed my weekend without work….until I boarded my 6am flight this morning. Sometimes its pretty hard to see how great my work situation is. Especially when its as busy as the last few weeks have been. I’m hoping that when February ends, the pace will slow down. But in the meantime, it looks like I need to do some fancy shootin’ for a big project at the office…and quick. How lucky could I get?!