Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Blues

Where: Philadelphia, PA



Between Meeting: After Visiting Shades of Paper



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After a meeting at Shades of Paper, I had a few hours before my flight out of the Philly airport.  I programed the GPS, and planned to ignore it if I saw or sensed there could be an interesting picture.



Like the time in LA where I saw a flash of yellow and drove around the block to find a boy dressed in yellow at a yellow bus stop, I saw a similar flash of color, only this time it was blue.  With the GPS informing me I was now going the wrong way to the airport, I drove around to see what the flash of blue might have been.



I  slowly drove by and saw a pool with a blue wall but it was too late to stop, so another right turn, another GPS  “Your going the wrong way” and I drove around the corner but this time parked the car.  When I walked up to the fence I saw this person on the coping stones of the pool.  I couldn’t tell if he was doing pushups or looking for a lost article at the bottom of the pool.  It didn’t matter.  His posture and the position of his arms were in wonderful symmetry with the metal railing within the varying shades of blue.




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Across The Street

Where: New York, NY



Between Meeting: After a Press Tour




We had a series of meetings with writers from photographic publications.  Instead of the usual hotel suite in Midtown, we held these meetings in Chelsea which is a much more interesting part of Manhattan.



At the end of the day, one of my colleagues recommended we take a taxi to Central Park to photograph people.  But I opted for a small water park that was literally across the street.



Regardless of where one is in the world, when water is being sprayed on a hot day, just wait and kids will run in and out.  In order to see water it has to be back-lit.   So I got at the right angle to see the water and within 3 minutes this little girl did a dash though the spray.



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Where: New York, NY



Between Meeting: Before Photo Plus Expo





Some of my favorite images in Manhattan are found in the reflections of the buildings.  Before heading off to the Jacob Javits Convention Center for PDN’s Photo Plus Expo, I looked out of the window of my hotel and noticed movement several stories above the ground.



Turns out this movement was a reflection of the traffic on the street.  I gently pressed the end of my lens to the window in my hotel room and waited until the taxis stopped for a red light.  I then changed my position slightly to create the illusion that the taxis were in the lanes of the windows on the building opposite my hotel.




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Under The Microscope?

Where: Point Mugu, California



Between Meeting: Driving Back to the Office



NeedlepointI was driving back to our offices in Long Beach from meetings at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara.  I was getting low on gas and arbitrarily took an exit off of the 101 in search of a gas station.  While looking for gas, out of no-where, I came across the Point Mugu Missile Park.



Turns out there was a naval base nearby and the Missile Park features various aircraft that were tested in the area in the 1950s & 60s.  I love aviation and I was like a little kid walking around the various planes when my inner adult voice said, “This is fun, but why don’t we try to make a photograph”.



It was a foggy day and the sun was peaking in and out through the dense cloud cover.  The clouds were acting like a giant +10 ND “Big Stopper” allowing the sun to be seen as a small disc in the sky.  I thought it would be interesting to incorporate the sun since its usually way too bright except at sunrise and sunset.  But instead of it being a small disc in the sky, it was really a boring small disk in the sky.  So I looked for something that would provide scale, got on my back and positioned a fighter jet as if it were balancing the sun on its nose.  That too was kinda boring.  I then moved a slight amount so instead of the jet balancing the sun like a small ball, it looked like a microscopic view of a needle penetrating a cell in a petri dish.  Converting to Black and White helped with the illusion.





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On The Level

Where: Parking Garage, Beverly Hills CA



Between Meeting: Before Lucie Awards





Sometimes you have to work for the image.  In this case, I just drove to the right level to find it.  I was on my way to the Lucie Awards and was a bit early.  I pulled into the parking structure of the Beverly Hilton Hotel where the event was taking place and for grins, I kept driving up to the different levels to see if there was anything more interesting to photograph.  When I got to the 5th level, light was streaming through the metal slats of the parking structure because I was now at a height above the surrounding trees.



I zoomed the lens in to the widest focal length and placed the camera directly on the pavement for a dramatic angle.  Since I could not see through the viewfinder, I made a series of exposures angling the camera up and down slightly to ensure one of the exposures would fill the frame with the best composition.



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It’s Just a Shadow

Where: Los Angeles



Between Meeting: Lunch Break






It was the Christmas Season in LA.  With temperatures in the 70’s, we decided to eat lunch outside.



While hundreds walked by and saw nothing, I saw not only the shadow, but red and green colors in keeping with Christmas.


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Lots of Yellow

Where: Downtown Los Angeles



Between Meeting: On my Way to See Jay Silverman





I was very fortunate to have attended Reseda High School.  From the 60s through the 80s many considered the Photo Program, under the direction of Warren King, to be the best of any high school program in North America.  And decades later I often work with fellow alumni who are leaders in the industry like Gil Smith, Jeff Sedlik and Jay Silverman.




I was on my way to meet with Jay on some ideas for a future project.  While driving through downtown LA en-route to his studio in Hollywood, I had this flash of yellow.  So I drove around the block for another pass and saw a boy in a yellow shirt and yellow sun glasses sitting at a bus stop with a yellow ad.  I drove around the block again, parked the car, asked permission and the captured the scene.




Later I noticed the green shade of the ice cream cup matched the green logo on the shirt which was nice.  But even with all the strong colors in the scene, Jay Maisel’s equation for a successful image came together with Light (coming from the right giving the face a sense of dimension) Gesture (the way the boy was eating) and Color (yellows, reds, greens).



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The Wave

Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico



Between Meeting: After Taping For the Epson Print Academy




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I have a tendency to crop in tight.  Sometimes too tight.  So when I had some free time after video taping at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta for the Epson Print Academy, I forced myself to go wide.



I was trying to capture the expanse of the scene and the saturated colors against the early morning sky.  But I found that this was a scene where what I was experiencing, didn’t look that great in the viewfinder.  By going too wide, the balloons looked like upside down specs of tear shaped colors.



So to create a sense of depth I moved in tighter, focusing on individual balloons.  It was better, but then all I had were big colorful balloons  e.g. the dreaded postcard.  In the distance I saw balloons taking off in shadowed areas and rising into the light.  That contrast created a sense of depth and became my portal to a picture vs a postcard.



I followed 7 balloons as they rose from the shadows to the brightly lit sky.  These were OK.  But as the 8th balloon rose, the Pilot took off his hat and started waving to the Zebras.  With all the amazing color and shapes in that sky, ironically its the B&W silhouette of a gesture, that makes this a real photograph.



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