Friday, July 18, 2014

Almost Ready to Sail

Yesterday, the S/V When and If had her masts reinstalled at Katlynn Marine, Sodus Bay, on Lake Ontario. An incredible orchestration of coordinated effort by everyone! It is incredible to see the When and If with her spars back on. When I first saw the schooner, nearly a year and a half ago, her masts and rigging had already been removed before coming down the Erie Canal into Cayuga Lake. Seeing things coming together this summer has been fantastic! Next step: Seeing her underway with sails unfurled!

The guys operating the crane used nothing more complex than a bowline to lift the masts! Boy Scout knots finally come in handy.

Both masts are up and the working of setting up the standing rigging begins!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dog Days of Summer

There is something about photographing people's pets which is so extraordinarily fun. Maybe it is the reflection of their owner's personalities? Maybe it is the critter's excitement? On hot days though, when they just want to loll around, that's when they seem most relaxed and themselves. Perfect time for some intimate images.

Top image is Amy McDonnell's Ruby, a big wonderful Newfie. Above is Monkey, wearing Nancy's pink summer hat.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hot Wedding in Austin, Texas

The last weekend in June saw Aurora and I in Austin TX, for my sister's wedding. Maggie and Matt Spangenberg got married at a beautiful outdoor location up in the hills, outside of Austin. I have never met such a cast of characters! The bridal party was a hoot!

With temperatures into the 90's that day, the outdoor ceremony was brief and joyful. Of course, the best part for me: getting to see my sister so incredibly happy! Photographing weddings can be a lot of effort, but when they are this much fun, the work melts away and the energy and excitement take over.

This was my second wedding using a combined kit of both Nikon and Fuji equipment: the D300s and the X-T1. What was interesting was seeing how natural the colors were from the Fuji. Straight from the camera, I could have gone with JPGs alone and been just fine. If Fuji could bump up the dynamic range, that would be lovely... but other than that, I have no complaints with the X-T1. My Fuji 55-200 however, I have a mountain of complaints about. Well, really just one BIG complaint. Every time I snapped it onto the body, it would give me the lovely error: Turn Camera On and OFF again. In other words, the contacts between the lens and body were not happy. The lens has gone back to Fuji for repair or replacement. I am holding my breath that it gets back into my hands within a month.

The nice part about using the Nikon D300s is that after all the years of using it, I can put it into my hands, not think about any aspect of the camera and just shoot. 95% of what I see it captures perfectly. Everything else typically needs some massaging in LR5. This group shot was taken with the Fuji. With the extremes of dappled shade mixed with intense sun, it couldn't keep up. I set up the Nikon with PocketWizards and a speedlight on a monopod. Those images turned out spot on, no editing needed. If Fuji came out with a lighting system that cooperated with PWs I would be mighty impressed. I would love to have something like the AC3 that I could use with the PW Mini, to trigger and dial in my flashes the way I do with the Nikon. For now though, I will keep exploring the possibilities with the Fuji.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Daphne and Denise's Wedding Reception

Here are a few photos from an amazing wedding reception in Churchville NY for our friends, Daphne and Denise. The Senator's Mansion was a perfect reception location. Lots of room to ramble through the gardens. Places to sit and chat during cocktail hour. Arbors to find a quiet place to talk under. Pergolas, ponds... you name it. If that wasn't enough, I don't think I have ever seen better weather for any wedding in my life. Perfect skies, cool enough and yet plenty warm, puffy clouds and not a hint of rain. Just perfect! Thank you Denise and Daphne for inviting us to be a part of your celebration.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Process Isn't A Secret

This was the scene.... a lonely sign, beaten, worn. Straight out of camera. Nothing edited. Nothing changed. Pretty much what any camera anyone owns would take. Standing 3 feet from the van. Yeah. Okay snapshot, sure... but it wasn't what I wanted. I wanted something compelling, retro, aged, windwhipped, beaten. How do you create that from something sitting still like this? 

The first thing I try to do is walk around to the other side. Maybe things are less distracting? No beat up (but not interesting) pickup in the scene... but the sky is still more compelling than the sign. Hmmm. Maybe changing the angle?  Go for monochrome? Thinking about contrast and texture...maybe that would work.

Maybe try a black and white image with a red filter to make the skies pop?

Hmmmm. Not there yet.

So I dropped the extreme red filter out of the equation and thought about subtlety. I don't do subtle well. In this case, we're getting closer to being what I want. The symmetry is kinda messed up though. Not quite asymmetric enough to be wonky and not balanced enough to be bisected bilaterally. Ugh, composition....

In the end, I came up a little closer (classic solution, GET CLOSER), angle up slightly, dialed back the contrast and color saturation and went click. Yeah. Simple. Nothing terribly fancy. No expensive weird lens. Of all these images, this is the one where I felt I was closest to my original goal. Does that mean I am happy? Nope. I want to go back again with some more time and more ideas to see what else I can create from this gorgeous sign. Another day!

I always get asked what kind of camera I am shooting with. There is a small part of me that smiles and tots out that trite line that the camera doesn't matter....blah blah blah. In this case, the camera kind of worked against me. I usually shoot with a Nikon D300s, and in a situation like this, I would have the 17-35mm f2.8 lens on it. It would have been a very safe combination. But I took the day off... which means the Nikon stayed at home. Instead I took the new Fuji X-T1 out for a spin. Kicked the tires on the Zeiss Touit 12mm lens. Is it fun? Oh hell yeah! Is it perfect, no way. It is exactly what I need though. Fun, challenging, and always inspiring me to try for more. Isn't that what we all want from our gear? 

Okay, enough gear talk. Ask me questions. What do you want to know? 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wish You Were Here

I think some of these images from Roosevelt Island may become greeting cards / postcards. They just seem to speak to that retro vibe.