Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 72

Stones fan?


In any case, it provided a nice still-life exercise.


We had a mini photo session, the stairs and I. One really feels like a fool shooting a set of stairs for 15 minutes.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 71

On most rainy days in New York I think of the opening narration from "Radio Days," when Woody Allen's character describes his old neighborhood:

"Forgive me if I tend to romanticize the past. I mean, it wasn't always as stormy and rain-swept as this. But I remember it that way... because that was it at its most beautiful."

I went to Roosevelt Island today trying to capture such bleak beauty. Unfortunately, I spent more time wrestling with my broken umbrella than taking pictures, and quickly lost the desire to explore the place. I made a quick lap of its perimeter and came home. Next time I try rainy day shots I'll do it with the right equipment.


More photos here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 70

I attended my first mayoral press conference today and learned a few things. For starters, I learned that TV cameras really make it a pain to move around. I had to leopard-crawl my way into the aisle to avoid appearing in their shot:


I also learned that whenever the speaker is looking photogenic, the people behind him will be blinking, looking away, or making some kind of odd expression. And vice versa.

And I learned that a second camera body really does come in handy. On most assignments I have enough freedom of movement that I don't need to change lenses quickly: I can just walk closer. Not so at press conferences. I only brought one body today and had to suffer the indignity of physically changing lenses mid-presser.


Lastly, I learned that taking shots away from the lectern can be difficult. The mayor doesn't really mill about like most other attendees. He's in and out, though today he gave a brief interview to the Spanish-language TV station on the way out:


Photo du Jour: Day 69

Color-coordinated cooking:


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 68

Queens residents met at the Greater Astoria Historical Society to suggest uses for Con Ed's 2006 Western Queens Power Outage Settlement, part of which is devoted to community greening projects:


My album cover:


Later, Eli bought draft beer from Whole Foods, which sells it by the growler (seen in shadow):

Friday, March 26, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 67

The Dutch Kills neighborhood of Queens:


George Stamatiades and his model trains:



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 66

I had a few extra minutes before today's assignment and shot some pictures of the Jackson Heights 74th street station, my favorite hobby-horse.

Gratuitous crop alert:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 65

(In case you're wondering why this image links out to Flickr: I finally got tired of how badly Blogger degrades the images I upload. I now plan to host them on Flickr and embed them here.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 64

Forgive me cooking gods, for I know not what I do. (But with heavy cream, a stick of butter and a cup of parmesan, can it really turn out that bad?)

Here's a lesson on taking pictures above a stove top: you get about two shots before you have to wipe your lens.

And a quick shoutout to my awesome vent:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 63

Pocket Wizards to the rescue! I had to photograph this cafe owner and his employee in a very dimly lit setting. Some soft light came through window behind my left shoulder, but it fell off quickly. To fill in the background and [their] left side of my subjects' faces, I brought out the radio slaves and put my flash on some stairs (off-camera right) to bounce off a white wall. On the downside, once I have an off-camera flash to pay attention to, I tend to lose track of other aspects of the picture; you know, small things like posing and framing.

Photo du Jour: Day 62

Diana's rooftop:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 61


Chelsea flea market:

Remind me to return to this wall. Aside from the white framed spaces, the reflection from a nearby building casts a soft directional light on it:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 60

A bettor at Blackstone Pub in Astoria, which hosts an OTB site:

Thread in a nearby tailor/dry cleaner:

Photo du Jour: Day 59

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 58

View from a Costco parking lot in Queens:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 57

Today's assignment -- shots of an apartment building in Long Island City -- was sorta dull and, since it was the only thing I shot, I was tempted to run out in the last minutes of the day. But my friend reminded me: "Your project isn't '365 awesome photos.' It's just a 'photo a day.'" She's right. I'll call it a night.

From the roof of the apartment building:

My best attempt to make an interesting picture of a building at noon:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 56

There are really only four things to get right in a portrait: light, background, framing and the pose. I never seem to get them all right at the same time. (Please forgive the jpeg compression here; I really need to host my images elsewhere, don't I.)

Today I had a few minutes to photograph Lilly Ledbetter, of Fair-Pay Act fame, before she spoke at Queens College. My first idea was to photograph her near a window in the conference room, but people arrived and spoiled my clean background. The second best option seemed to be the hallway: no real light from the window (which had an opaque mechanized curtain over it), but if I positioned her away from an overhead florescent I could get a tiny bit of directionality out of the light. And I liked the look of the molding. But in all of this I didn't pay attention to the couch:

...the couch or the panel in the wall behind it:

On top of that, I didn't notice that the couch could decouple, so while I attempted some symmetry by having her sit in the midpoint of the molding, the couch ruined my wide shot (below). As is forehead-smackingly obvious now, I should've ditched the right half of the couch and centered her section in the frame.

Unfortunately I realized this after she went to the conference. So, today's lessons: 1) Beware of ugly-ass couches. 2) Don't hesitate to move things around in a portrait. I'm so used to leaving a scene as-is that I forget it's permissible in portraits. I'm happy things were out of my hands during her speech:

Photo du Jour: Day 55

I'm sure I've said before that a great thing about New York is that you need only to walk out your door to find a photo. Let me qualify that: you need only walk out your door to find a very lame photo.

ISO 5000, tungsten outdoor light, and some funky white balance:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 54

Another dismal day yesterday, but I walked around the block a few times when it cleared up around midnight.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 53

Weather was dismal yesterday, so I figured I'd take some pics when I went to the bar last night. Then when bar time came, I decided to stay home and watch a movie -- and forgot that I hadn't taken a picture. When I realized this this morning, I looked around to see if I'd done anything remotely like creating an image: I sorta doodled in the leftover ketchup on my plate - did that count?

I checked my camera just in case, and there it was: a test pic I took yesterday after performing a procedure to fix a stuck pixel (that was appearing as a red-hot dot in my pics lately). It was successful, and here's the solid black photo to prove it.

Still, a sad jour for Photo du Jour.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 52

A question and answer session as tenants of Vantage Properties gathered to hear lawyers from the state attorney general's office explain terms of a settlement against the landlord.

On the way home I saw a cat perched on the walk-up counter of a convenience store, and the cashier opened a window to let him in:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 51

An auto shop class at the Center for Automotive Education and Training for workers from Willets Point. The free classes, for people whose businesses may be displaced in Willets Point's redevelopment, are sponsored in part by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 50

White balance? We don't need no stinking white balance.

Photo du Jour: Day 49

Organizer Tony Tsai led a group of workers in a protest against Guang Zhou restaurant in Flushing. The protesters accuse the restaurant of various labor law violations.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Photo du Jour: Day 48

Went to the Holi/Phagwah parade and festival in Richmond Hill, Queens, but my camera spent most of the time collecting dust. Colorful dust, though.

I didn't get anything worthwhile (inexcusable, I know) from the paint fight, but here's the aftermath:

I didn't get off scot-free myself (as seen in Mythili's photo):