Friday, October 30, 2009

Portraits in New York

On my previous visit to NY about a month ago, I met up with Danielle, my cousin's daughter who lives in the city. She brought along her boyfriend, Scott. We were talking about photography and he told me that he wanted to do some modeling. So...a month later, on my next trip to the East coast, we went out to shoot some images in the meet packing district in Manhattan.

The cool thing about the meet packing district is that there is such a variety of scenery in which to shoot. The first shot was taken next to an office building. We really liked the reflection off of the wall. And then we took a walk (after being held up by the President's motorcade) and came across these tables and chairs that were bathed in in direct sunlight from an opening in above. I like the way that the hair light draws the attention to Scott's face.

This last shot is my favorite. Why? Because I like the harsh contrast of the shadows and highlights. For this image, I put the camera into manual mode and spot metered off of the brightest spot on his face. I also underexposed the image by half a stop to accentuate the shadows. All of these images were shot with the Canon 5D Mark II, 24-105 L Series lens and Lexar 16GB 600 Compact Flash card.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A New Spot (for me) in New York

I have been to New York so many times that I can not count, but in all those trips I have never been to Lincoln Center. I was lucky enough to make the trip uptown just in time to catch my favorite blue skies just after sunset.

Once again, I encountered the "no tripod" rule. I am always dumbfounded by this restriction. It is so frustrating to have everyone around you shooting pictures (the wrong way) and yet I can not set up a tripod and get the photo taken the right way. The police came up to me and told me that I could not shoot images on a tripod, with basically no explanation as to why. I had already captured most of what I wanted (and then captured a couple of more with the fish eye lens before I packed up).

I will have to visit here again on my next trip and hope that the fountain is turned on for the next photo shoot.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Two more firsts (Shooting at "The Opera House" AND posting this from 38,000 feet)

First of all - I need to tell you all that this is the first time that I have experienced WiFi while flying across the country. I am heading to NY on United Airlines right now and loving the fact that I can access the Internet and update my blog at 38,000 feet. Way too cool!

Now...back to this weekend. I was lucky to be part of another great Bar Mitzvah. Jeremy did a great job throughout the service and showed that he is one cool guy, impressing his parents and everyone else who was there.

This is a fun shot of Jeremy, his sister and cousins. What do you do when one of the cousins complains that she is always feeling short, you have her climb up on the ledge and tower above the others. :)
The party was at "The Opera House" in Los Gatos, CA. There were two things which made it special for me to photograph here, they have a second floor balcony that runs the perimeter of the room so that I could shoot overhead shots. And, the family decorated the place with tons of balloons which made for some cool shots looking up.

I always like trying something new and different when I shoot the reception. This time, I set the flash on rear curtain mode and dragged the shutter to get some cool motion shots of Jeremy. I like the way that the colored lights highlight him in action.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

An American Indian Wedding

Another first for me - this time a chance to photograph a wedding of two native American Indians at City Beach in Fremont. The wedding itself was fairly traditional with some really unique twists.

I met Crystal and Marcos earlier in the year and was excited to share this day with them. I photographed their engagement pictures in their native costumes (featured in an earlier blog), but remembered them telling me that they were going to wear traditional outfits for the wedding. I was very excited yesterday when I showed up and saw the native American themes incorporated in the men's tuxedos. I love the added colors!

The kids were too darned cute! I just can't help but shoot a lot of pictures of the kids. One of these days I am going to have to make a book of all my favorite kid shots.

During the reception, the family brought out a traditional tribal drum and their relatives played and chanted some amazing songs. During this time, all of the guests could come and greet the bride and groom.

Towards the end of the evening, I noticed that Crystal and Marcos' champagne glasses had the American Indian motif. I used the Canon 85mm 1.2 lens to grab this shot even though the lighting was very low.Captured light in the evening, I took the bride and groom back outside and captured this shot. I knew that the venue had these hanging lights, and I have been thinking about this shot for the last 6 months. I dragged the shutter (at an ISO of 2500) on the Canon 5D Mark II and hand held this. Even with the low light, I was able to capture this at 1/250 using the 85mm 1.2 lens wide open. This lens make the impossible possible!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A B'not Mitzvah and Party At "The Beach"

I have shot so many Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvahs, B'nai Mitzvahs but this was my first B'not Mitzvah (two girls). These twins were both great subjects and lots of fun to photograph. I shot this image with the Sigma fish eye lens getting close to the girls (but not so close that I would distort them) and aiming upwards.

This was also the first time that I had photographed at this Temple. Cool lighting to work with! I stood in the back with a Canon 100-400mm lens and a Canon 70-200 2.8 lens both mounted on Canon 5D Mark II bodies.

Then after the service it was time to have some fun. The family picked City Beach in Fremont, CA for their party. This was a great choice. The kids had a great time running around and playing all the games. They shot pool, played in the jump houses, had some ping pong tournaments and even did some rock climbing. This was fun to shoot, since it was not your typical dance reception.Who had more upper body strength, the kids climbing the rock walls or me running all over the building carrying the cameras and L series lenses? :) OK - the kids win.

The kids had a blast, but the parents didn't just sit around and watch. They jumped into the fun as well. I took this image with the Canon 85mm 1.2 lens wide open. This lens rocks for low light and creative shooting!

Did I mention that they had dodge ball games? Here is the father of the twins and he is getting competitive in the game. I think this the shot where he was aiming to take out his mother-in-law. He will pay for that later! :)

Towards the end of the evening, City Beach broke out the surfing machine. I had never seen this before. The kids had a great time trying to outlast each other on this thing and I had fun shooting images of this activity. If you look on the wall (to the right of the image) you will see that we projected some huge images from the service and the party. I swear the images were at least 20 feet high and crystal clear. Gotta love that!
This was one of my favorite shots form the evening. I was shooting images of the kids getting their food and thought that it would be cool to get a picture from behind the cook with the burners at the bottom of the frame. He said "oh - do you want real flames?" and I said "heck yeah!". So...he requested a glass of Bacardi 151 and voila. Note: No 13 year-olds were harmed in the photographing of these images. :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Photography at Sophia's Bat Mitzvah Rehearsal

This is the first time that I have photographed at Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto, CA. Not only did I have a great time shooting pictures of Sophia and her family, but the Temple had some great colors to work with.

Since this was a rehearsal and not the real service, I was allowed to move around and get real close. This was fun for a change! I was able to capture my "classic yad shot" without even setting it up.

Sophia loves her cruiser bike, so her dad and I planned to bring it to the rehearsal and get some pictures of her with her favorite thing.

They wanted an "action shot" so we waited for the end of the day and captured this about 30 min before sunset. Slow shutter speed and panning action really worked here.

We were having a good time capturing images and Sophia asked if we had enough light for a shot of her on the swing. we went to the play area and got this last shot of the evening.