Lower East Side - Photography Tip

I took this photograph two days ago, when I was reshooting the Houston St shots three years apart.

After snapping that one, I turned toward my friend who was holding my pup, Pumpkin. I loved everything I saw - my friend's body language leaning over toward Pumpkin, her blonde hair and black clothing, the placement of her boots and the three straps sticking out, Pumpkin's expression and body language with her white heart on her chest, wondering what Pumpkin's looking at, the sidewalk, the wet gutter, its reflections, the manhole cover, the sidewalk to the left, the posts, the construction walls, the NYC construction sign...and "BILLS". 

That may be a long list but that's everything I notice when I'm taking a picture. It's the details in a photograph that draw the viewer in and create a story for them to relate with the image. 

I took this from across the street and neither of them knew I was taking this photograph. I was lucky to catch Pumpkin concerned with something across the other street so she wasn't looking at me. It would be a totally different photograph if she was looking at me - and in my humble opinion it would not be as interesting.

Lens Test

Slow Saturday traffic so I'm going to bore you with the lens test I did today with my Nikon ED 80-200mm 2.8. It was made before the digital invasion so on my D800 it mimics around a 120-300mm. And it weighs a ton. I haven't used it in a while and wasn't sure if the focus was aligned properly.

It was still light out but nearing the end of the day so I was using a pretty high ISO in order to keep the shutter speed fast enough. I didn't want any shake from the weight which is around 3lbs on top of the 2lb camera.

Next, I needed a model. I didn't want to shoot the bushes so I enlisted Pumpkin. She was hardly happy about it but finally acquiesced. Here are four shots with the data. 

All the photographs were a focal length of 80mm. There seems to be more depth of field in the last two shots with an f5 and f7.1 than there was in the second photo that was f10. Maybe it's because I was closer to Pumpkin. Anyway, I think the focus is working okay. Oh, and in the last shot she was asking for a raise. 

 
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This is a photo of the lens (pulled off Google images).

 
 

Pumpkin TV

If you read yesterday's post you know I was heading out to shoot Jerry, a homeless dude, today. Guess what? He didn't show up. This is where he was supposed to be meeting me.

 
 

I did see another homeless person a block west from here. She seemed less than coherent, emptying some grocery bag tossing socks so I decided not to ask if I could take her photo. Instead I did a quick candid from a distance so she's not recognizable but I think there's still a feel to the shot.

 
 

Turns out that today was Jerry's loss and my gain because I got to take this photograph...

PumpkinTV_4229.jpg

...it probably would not have happened if Jerry had shown up.

Jerry

Yesterday was weird. I had a plan to take some specific story based photographs but when I got there I knew it wasn't going to happen. The subject, the reason and what made my day weird is a story for another time. 

In hopes of changing the day from weird to less weird, Pumpkin and I took a walk around the neighborhood with camera. I needed to take some pictures.

I guess at this point I should show you a photo or two. Actually, I've decided on three out of the seven I pocked. Never know when I'll need a fallback photo for the blog. On those days where I can't seem to find anything I like.

So, I'm starting out by showing you HEART.

 
Heart_2918.jpg
 

Hey, reader, have you been wondering why this post is called Jerry, yet? Instead of Heart?

Next is Pumpkin. Hmmm, I could have titled this post Pumpkin.

 
 

This is where Pumpkin and I lived three and a half years ago. She didn't come near this building for over two plus years. Since that time, whenever we've walked down this street she beelines to the front door and will stand there waiting for me to open the door. She really misses her ritual of laying in the sun on the balcony and then laying in the shower on the cool tiles. Back and forth she'd go.

 
RiverSunset_2943.jpg
 

After peeling her away from her former abode, Pumpkin and I walked along the LA River. Yes, it's a man made concrete river built for flood run-off (I think). And if you think it never rains or could flood in Southern California, here's a shot I took in 2010. 

 
 

Anyway, back to having taken the sunsetish shot of the river... several yards before I took the river photo I had noticed and passed a guy, who appeared to be homeless, hanging out on the knoll to the right. He had a mop of curly black hair, a long-sleeve red jersey shirt and he was sitting on a small brown soft suitcase. Behind him was a fairly new red bike with a duffle bag hanging from the handle bar. I liked the whole scene. The way he was sitting, his posture and vibe. I wanted to take his picture but I weenied out and kept walking. All the steps I took toward the point that I took the river shot, I was fraught with regret of not asking him if I could take a photo of him. I took the river shot to stall on making a decision. Then I took a few more steps and saw a flyer posted on the chain link fence. It said there were West Nile virus mosquitos found in the area.

I did a one-eighty to hightail it out of there. The guy was still sitting there and I realized the flyer was my opener to conversation. We talked for maybe ten minutes. At some point I told him I had wanted to take his picture when I walked by him but now it was too dark to take what I had initially envisioned. I asked him if I could shoot him another day. That day will be tomorrow at 1pm. If he shows up at the knoll. By the way, his name is Jerry.

Woman Pumpkin Dog

I spent a bunch of time tonight looking for a photograph to post. I was close to posting some graveyard shots (I love graveyards) I took around this time a couple of years ago in Southampton, but then I wasn't feeling it. I then fell into my 'go-to shots', the ones I go to when I am uninspired for anything else. My go-to shots are Pumpkin.

I almost picked a close-up action shot of Pumpkin but then I saw this one...

...which I hadn't paid much attention to when I initially perused the 166 frames I took frolicking at Huntington Beach last November with my Brit friend, Caroline Ferguson. It was a freakishly (because it happened to be 90°) amazing day. 

I love everything about this photograph - from the composition to the lines, the action, the layers of waves, the three live beings and the color...especially the woman's red bathing suit and matching red dog toy. Plus you might not be able to Pumpkin's red collar but it would show beautifully in a large physical print.

This picture also jazzes me up even more, as I anticipate being at this very beach next Wednesday celebrating Pumpkin's birthday!