Monthly Archives: March 2013

Carry The Sticks

Where: Tokyo Japan

 

 

Between Meeting:  Night Before Meeting at Headquarters

 

 

 

Shinjuku-Street

I arrived in Japan last week and spent the night in Tokyo.  I had to take a train to Epson’s Headquarters the next day and would only have this one opportunity to make night photographs.

 

 

During the day Tokyo often feels monochromatic, but at night it comes alive with color.  Yet instead of shooting the usual and somewhat pedantic colorful signs, I tried a different approach and looked for interesting blurs.

 

 

I put the camera on a tripod (when possible I travel with lightweight sticks), leaned over the railing of a pedestrian overpass, and experimented with shutter speeds between 1/3rd and 1/8th of a second.  I checked the histogram, settled on 1/8th of a second and proceeded to make several exposures over a 15 minute period.  I was looking for right mix of blurs and their interaction with the concentric circles on the sidewalk.

 

 

 

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Complementary Colors

Where: Miami Beach, FL

 

 

Between Meeting:  Heading to the Airport

 

 

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I had a noon flight out of Miami which meant I could look for pictures on South Beach in the early morning. I was drawn to a particular building with complementary blue and yellow colors.

 

 

In optical color theory, complementary colors are created when one additive and one subtractive creates white, grey, or black when combined.  Complementary colors are 180 degrees from each other on the optical color wheel e.g Red-Cyan, Green-Magenta and Blue-Yellow.  From a design perspective, I have found complementary colors often create impactful images even though the colors are formed with pigments vs light.

 

 

While the blue on this particular wall was more aqua in keeping with the look of South Florida, it still created a sense of vibration next to the yellow.

 

 

I was working the composition with the colors and the lines when I saw moving stripes out of the corner of my left eye.  Instinctively I zoomed out and when I saw a woman wearing blue strips that were perpendicular with the ridges on the blue part of the wall move into the scene, I checked focus and waited until she was in the right third of the frame.

 

 

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Taxi Line

Where: Las Vegas, NV

 

 

Between Meeting: After Photoshop World

 

 

Taxi-Talk

When Photoshop World is in Las Vegas, the Expo often closes with enough time to catch the best light of the day.

 

 

When possible, I try get away from the Strip and often head to Fremont St. where things are a bit more gritty and usually more interesting.

 

 

While walking the streets near the bus station, the last of the light for the day was streaming into the driver’s side window of a waiting taxi.

 

 

The blue tint of the windshield combined with what is essentially flare, produced both a color shift and a reduction in DMax.  Usually color shifts and reduced DMax are things to avoid, but in this case it gives the image a special feel.

 

 

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Optical Illusion

Where: Matsumoto Japan

 

 

Between Meeting: Waiting for Taxi

 

 

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I was waiting for a taxi to take me from my hotel in Matsumoto to Epson’s main office in Hirooka.  I spotted an interesting connection between the red stripes of a traffic barrier and a red square across the street.  When people walked by, depending on an individual’s gait, I noticed an illusion where a person’s ankles seemed in the wrong position due to the chevron shape on the barrier

 

 

I made a series of exposures as people walked by.   This image best illustrated the illusion.

 

 

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The Boneyard

Where:  Las Vegas, NV

 

 

Between Meeting:  After Photoshop World

 

 

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Located far from The Strip, is the Neon Boneyard.  The Boneyard is run by the Neon Museum and home to over 150 donated and rescued Las Vegas signs dating as far back as the 1930’s.

 

 

I was in Vegas for Photoshop World and was able to secure a 1 hour time slot to photograph the signs right after the Expo closed.  I called Jay Maisel, who was also at Photoshop World, and invited him to come along.

 

 

It was the end of August and hot, as in, unbelievably hot.  Our time slot was for 4pm which would be the hottest part of the day at around 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  With the high air temperature combined with the radiant heat from all those metal signs, I started to worry I might inadvertently kill the amazing Jay Maisel through heatstroke.  So I prepped the night before getting 5 bottles of water for each of us, misters and hats.  I put together a plan so Jay and I would drink a bottle of water every 10 to 15 minutes.

 

 

I remember the blast of hot desert air as we got out of the cab and set off as the 1 hour time slot began.   Jay said, ” I’ll see you in a hour” and I bolted looking for the best stuff.  In 10 minutes I took what I thought were 3 amazing images and downed one bottle of water.  After 30 minutes, I was up to 5 great images and made my way through 2.5 bottles of water.  At 45 minutes, I was running out of images and a bit dizzy, but persevered shooting a total of 9 interesting images in that hour time slot and finished my 4th bottle of water.

 

 

I was faint, and dusty and went to meet Jay at a pre-designated area when the hour was up.  To my surprise and delight, Jay looked pretty much the same as when we arrived.  The heat didn’t seem to phase him.  He said that he saw me running around and thought the heat would send me to the hospital, so he decided to find a shady spot, and within that one hour slot focused in a small area where there were a lot of letter A’s.

 

 

It was an interesting lesson for me that when surrounded by so many amazing things, the best approach is to force a self assignment that limits you to a single concept, in Jay’s case, the letter A.

 

 

While my stuff was OK, and I may have captured more images, Jay’s A’s smoked just about everything I shot.

 

 

 

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