Aperture Explorations in Albany

I arrived in Albany via the train from NYC. First stop, Juniors where they feature locally brewed beers and comfort style food. I ordered the poutine, a classic Canadian dish of French fries, cheese curds and gravy. I personally love poutine, and when I saw it had Buffalo chicken, It was my curiosity that got the best of me, and I had to order. 

Our Northern across the border neighbors would probably abhor this version, as the fries were lavished with buffalo sauce gravy, chopped chicken and blue cheese---maybe a tomato here and there if I recall. It arrived oversized, and I mean Extra extra large--Two people could lay their heads on this plate.  I almost did, but kept my composure instead.

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The next day I awoke to the sounds of black crows crowing, which was an eery early morning welcome to NY state's capital city. Um, thank you?

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Later on my friend, Amanda and I ventured into Troy for the day. The Hudson River was frozen and icy on top, waves of water stopped in motion. I was all wow! A sight I had never seen before. Rivers actually freeze?!

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Above the frozen waters, I saw the most unusual bridge, bulky and very 1920's industrial revolution appearing.

However, the Green Island bridge was actually completed in 1981 after it collapsed in March of 1977--spooky, and yet no one was actually injured. 

I took two photos of the bridge, to show you how changing the composition a bit will give a different feel to the image entirely.

ISO  125 F2.8 1/3000    I chose to shoot at F2.8 to get a nice depth of field. it was a bright overcast day, and since I decided to shoot at such an open aperture, it was necessary to shoot at a low iso and high shutter speed to control how much light was coming in.      Compare this image with the one below. I used the same settings, but slightly changed what was in view, adding the fence as a "framing technique". Which image do you prefer?

ISO 125 F2.8 1/3000

I chose to shoot at F2.8 to get a nice depth of field. it was a bright overcast day, and since I decided to shoot at such an open aperture, it was necessary to shoot at a low iso and high shutter speed to control how much light was coming in. 

Compare this image with the one below. I used the same settings, but slightly changed what was in view, adding the fence as a "framing technique". Which image do you prefer?

ISO  125 F2.8 1/3000     In this version of the Green Island Bridge, I chose to include the fence that was just in front of me to give more interest and depth to the image. 

ISO 125 F2.8 1/3000

In this version of the Green Island Bridge, I chose to include the fence that was just in front of me to give more interest and depth to the image. 

As I photographed the bridge, I took more of an interest to the fence ahead of me realizing the power it holds for a photographer. I often use them in my work. they are amazing at showing linear perspective giving a killer leading line, and when used effectively a fantastic vanishing point.

I took three photos of this fence using different settings and vantage points. Let's take a look at the results:

In the first image I used a wide open aperture of f1.8. In doing so,  it allows for a greater depth of field and isolates specifically the area of what you focus on, leaving what ever you aren't softly out of focus. Of course, keep in mind it also all depends on how far or near your subject is.  

ISO 100 F1.8 1/2000   

ISO 100 F1.8 1/2000

 

For the second version of the fence, I shifted slightly to the right to include more of the archway of the bridge. I also used a smaller aperture (f4.0) to get more of the subject in focus. 

ISO 100 F4.0 1/1000

ISO 100 F4.0 1/1000

In the third example, you'll notice that the fence and bridge are more in focus than the previous examples. This is because of the aperture size. (F13 in this case) Using a small aperture/higher number on the aperture ring of your camera provides a broader depth of focus--meaning most everything within the frame will be in focus.

ISO 100 F13 1/60

ISO 100 F13 1/60

Playing with the aperture is one of the many ways to work creatively with photography. Try it for yourself! I'd be happy to see your results. 

Photography lesson via Brooklyn, NY

I write to you from New York, it is winter and I am a Floridian. I'm doing well. There is snow on the ground, although from a distance it looks like sand.

I brought my Canon 5d Markiii and several lenses to choose from. The lens that is on it is the 50mm f1.8 and it has not come off my camera since I first arrived. It is a versatile piece of glass, lightweight, unobtrusive, and works great for portraits, creative compositions, and street photography. The lens is aka "nifty fifty". It's a classic, and I am using it to photograph the streets of Park Slope on my way to Prospect Park.

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These streets are picturesque as all get out, and it's early so the sun is rising and working in my favor creating light flares and making everything look quite warm. I'm into it.

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Everywhere in Park Slope I see indications of Roman and Greek influence. It certainly isn't exclusive to this part of NY, I see it available in all different aspects of architecture. I amuse myself by identifying the different orders of columns. There are only three: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. I learned this in an Greek Art History class I took in college while studying photography at the University of Florida.

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Speaking of threes. Photography has three elements that determine how light comes in. ISO, F stop, and shutter speed. Let's take a look at how a photograph appears differently based on changing one or more of these principles.

I'm shooting in manual mode, iso 160 and adjusting according to how I want the depth of focus and ambient light to appear. I do this by changing the F stop and shutter speed.

I came across this black wrought iron fence, and decided to use it as a great opportunity to show how changing your focus, but keeping your settings the same can really impact how your final photo appears.

Take a look at the following three images. They were all taken using the same settings, only altering what the camera focuses on. Look at how that really changes each image!

iso 160 F1.8 1/250sec Focused on one of the fence points closest to the camera

iso 160 F1.8 1/250sec Focused on one of the fence points closest to the camera

iso 160 F1.8 1/250sec Same Settings here and location, but the focus is on the building and further away from the camera

iso 160 F1.8 1/250sec Same Settings here and location, but the focus is on the building and further away from the camera

iso 160 F1.8 1/250sec The settings haven't changed here, just what the camera is focused on, which is the fence a bit further out

iso 160 F1.8 1/250sec The settings haven't changed here, just what the camera is focused on, which is the fence a bit further out

What happens when you change the F stop? The next 3 are of the same scene, but using a different f stop (the last one show what happens when you slightly change the vantage point of where you stand). Let's take a look at how that affects things:

iso 160 F4 1/125sec   Because we changed the F stop (which is one of the three ways you let light in the camera), We also have to adjust the shutter speed and/or ISO (the other two ways light comes in). I chose to keep the ISO the same and change the F stop and shutter speed to control the depth of field and ambient light. Notice in comparison to the previous images how F1.8 is different from f4.

iso 160 F4 1/125sec

Because we changed the F stop (which is one of the three ways you let light in the camera), We also have to adjust the shutter speed and/or ISO (the other two ways light comes in). I chose to keep the ISO the same and change the F stop and shutter speed to control the depth of field and ambient light. Notice in comparison to the previous images how F1.8 is different from f4.

iso 160 F4 1/125sec Same settings as before, yet focusing on the building instead of the fence points

iso 160 F4 1/125sec Same settings as before, yet focusing on the building instead of the fence points

Ok people, so try this for yourself! Grab your camera and choose to shoot the same scene, alter a few settings. In fact, why not alter your vantage point as well? shoot at eye level, crouch down, crouch forward or back. Do your thing, but shoot the same scene so that later when you upload your photos, you are able to see how making little tweaks here and there tremendously changes the outcome.

iso 160 F4 1/125sec  So this is virtually the same image as the first one I showed, except I crouched down a bit to give a slightly different perspective.

iso 160 F4 1/125sec

So this is virtually the same image as the first one I showed, except I crouched down a bit to give a slightly different perspective.

It is a really simple exercise, and it is a interesting way to see how the camera sees. This is all in the name of fun. Practicing photography gives you the opportunity for play, and when it is time to shoot "for real" you've got a variety of experience and an arsenal of ideas to pull from.

 

 

 

Collaboration and why it matters

There is something quite powerful in the creative collaboration of doing. There is power in numbers, power in the knowledge, strengths, insight and talent that each person brings. 

I recently collaborated with a spectacular group of creative entrepreneurs.  We all showed up, and brought our own unique skills to produce an extraordinary result that would not have been possible without each other. For that very reason, collaborating is an integral part of being part of business regardless if you are in an creative industry or otherwise.

I was contacted by stylist Anna Christmas to be the lead photographer for Giovanna Barrios and her gorgeous collection of luxury exotic leather goods ranging from chic clutches to sophisticated duffle bags, wallets, and accessories---and they had me drooling. I love that she has so many styles, colors, patterns and textiles to choose from.

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If Giovanna Barrios' impeccable use of textiles wasn't enough, just throw gorgeous bouquets of peonies from sponsors like In Bloom Florist, amazing threads from Retromended in Orlando and Forema Boutique in Winter Park and the collaboration gets immensely more interesting.

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Models Elizabeth Tyler above and Katy Ching below brought the fire when in front of the camera.

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Not to mention how great makeup artist Elizabeth Garcia made the model's faces pop, and hair stylists Miranda Buzzella and Kate Vaughn knew exactly what hair styles would compliment the fashions each model wore.

The power lies in our abilities together. 

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Olivia just owning it 

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As is Madeline

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