With no studio, studio gear and just the basic camera body, flash and a couple of lenses available. I’ve had to get a bit more creative with my lighting and backdrops. And just as doing with less has created more opportunities than problems. Finding and booking test shots seems just as difficult in the Northwest as it was in New Jersey and New York. On my first shoot, I took photos in and around the corporate apartment I was temporarily staying in. Being that it was a sun soaked day. We retreated indoors, taking full advantage of the more subtle lighting its interiors offered. As we moved from point A to point B. I couldn’t help but feel relaxed and confident. Recalling the nervous knots I often get while working in the studio. And while I can’t wait to start booking more sessions with aspiring models, such as the one seen here. I’m not quite as eager to get back to studio work.
While it’s true that much of what I photograph and want to photograph can often be found on the “off-limits” section of the map. There are times when an opportunity presents itself and I’m left to freely explore and photograph the things that spark my imagination. Such was the case during a weekend trip to Hudson New York’s Basilica Farm & Flea. As if the areas architecture wasn’t enough to jump from the driver’s seat. Turning on to S. Front Street and historically eye-popping visuals. I knew the long drive to Hudson was about to produce many rewards. And while the Farm & Flea provided plenty of eye-catching merchandise. The adjacant train yard was, at least for me, the real thrill.
One morning last week there came an authoritative knock on my door. On the other side of the door was a Viking helmet adorned neighbor blowing a horn declaring a day of action. Knowing the call of a Viking and the failure to properly follow Viking code full well. I followed him down to where the bikes, horses and Viking ships are docked. It had been a couple of years since I’d been on a a bike. (My last one, as well as every bike I’ve ever know has been stolen at one point or another.) Knowing full well my history as well as my recent battles with gravity. Said friend let me take a spin around the safely enclosed garage to help me get familiar. After a few twists, turns, crashes and fall downs. I was granted my own Viking helmet and we were off. And while our buildings surroundings aren’t very bike or hike friendly. A sturdy mountain bike and a seasoned leader more than get the job done.
After a short ride down the hill and a slight turn to the right. It seemed that we hit pay dirt. For that road led to all the things I love and enjoy both exploring and photographing. Trains, factories, train yards… You name it. The only thing missing was a junk yard with featuring an unchained rabid guard dog. I felt like a kid again. We hadn’t even made it half way to the end and I was already making reservations to return. After a few stops to take in the sites atop the railroad cars We took the road all the way to Secaucas before hitting what seemed to be the river of deceit.
After a break and a survey of the land we had discovered, conquered and thoroughly photographed. We headed back on the rocky path that brought us there. As time had passed I had become more and more comfortable with the slightly oversized bike. So much so that my buddy gave me his official thumbs up. Half way back, the days heat, coupled with my lack of balance began to take their toll. Like a good soldier, I kept the pace. Assuring myself that, once we get passed this rocky strip of road and onto solid pavement, I’m home free. Then, as soon as I hit solid ground. Every ounce of strength I had left gave out and I hit the pavement like a hundred and forty pound sack of wet bricks. Aside from a few bumps, bruises and damaged ego. I was fine. Though I ended up walking the bike the rest of the way home. The trip and the overall experience, as well as the opportunity to earn my very own Viking helmet, were more than worth the spilt blood. That weekend I returned, on foot of course, and did some more exploring as a solo act. I really love that the area we chose to live in offers such a diverse and colorful landscape.
As we left the exhibition last night and began walking up the ramp towards Senate St. we slowed our pace to distance ourselves from the rather loud and obnoxious tie dyed fool just ahead of us. Knowing full well that someone wearing a Grateful Dead shirt is most likely not used to making good lifestyle choices and could go off on a Cherry Garcia rage at any moment. We brought our pace to a full “Let’s just stand here and watch the sunset.
Passing our local and somewhat private community park. We noticed the same man flicking his cigarette as he rolled around in the grass. While I was initially angered by his antics. I was quickly reminded of the wonderful thing we call Karma when we recalled an earlier notice that the entire park was sprayed with enough pesticide to kill a small child, dog or hippie. I couldn’t help but rejoice in devilish laughter. “That’s Karma your rollin’ in.” Just wait, it’ll happen.
This week after months of research, flip flopping and indecision. I went out and purchased Canon’s 50 mm 1.8. Since around January i’ve wanted to add a couple of new lenses to my bag and had gone back and fourth between Canon’s 50mm 1.4 and their 50mm 1.8. Over the years I’ve purchased a few lenses, including the 1.4, which I used for concert photography before eventually selling. Though the thought of buying one again crossed my mind numerous times. I thought it a good idea to try something different and ultimately, cheaper.
As I took the lens out of the box I immediately noticed how light and almost toy like the lens felt. Considering all the reviews I read, this did not come as a shock. Considering it’s somewhat suspiciously low price. (The lens retail price hovers just around $120.00) I wasn’t expecting a whole lot. For better or worse, it was a lens I could experiment with and use for low light conditions when I wanted to forgo flash photograph.
Over Memorial Day’s three day weekend I took the lens along with me everywhere I went, essentially using it as my prime lens. Considering how light and toy like it feels. I found myself being a bit over cautious when first handling it. After a few hours of shooting and letting my guard down a bit. Once I did, I began to take pleasure in the results I was seeing. The images I shot that first day in Brooklyn and Union Square were sharp as a tack and bokeh (Background Blur) I had heard so much about was definitely evident.
Deciding to pick up this particular lens was a great decision for me, both financially and artistically. I’ve begun to use it as my prime lens and just this weekend took it out for some concert photography. More on that little excursion later.
Though I’ve been using my Canon 50 mm 1.8 as a primary lens since I first purchased it some weeks ago. The original reason for the purchase was to have a backup lens for my concert photography. One that essentially eliminating the need for flash by using a faster (1.8 as opposed to my current 2.8) So this Sunday I headed down to The Cake Shop on Ludlow to test it out. Lucky for me, one of my favorite live acts, Stuyvesant, was playing along with a couple of other acts. Though the Cake Shop is less than ideal for shooting a band. It provided the space and distance I needed to try out the lens. Though I found myself shooting at an ISO of 3200, I found that I liked the results. And while I’m not quite ready to ditch the Canon 15mm I usually enlist. I know I’ll be doing plenty of experimenting with Canon’s 50mm 1.4 Below are some results. The one at the bottom features Sean Adams of the band Stuyvesant.