Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fans of Red

Caught these two street personalities at different times. Both seem to enjoy wearing red clothing. Red clothing from head to toe. And, I can't be totally sure, but I think both have red hair (the older woman is a little hard to read). They are fans of red for sure.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Empty Restaurants

There is something about empty restaurants that appeal to me. There's a certain symmetry to the chairs, place settings, and glasses when they are perfectly arranged. They also present subjects that don't move, which is a nice break from capturing active street scenes. There is time to compose.

Here is a selection of street dining establishments that are have no people:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'm Engaged!

There is a photographic concept called the "Decisive Moment" that originated with the photography of Henri-Cartier Bresson. It implies you have taken the shot at the exact right instance. Sometimes decisive moment shots are due to careful planning and a lot of waiting for that moment to come along. Sometimes, they are just dumb luck and the coincidence of good timing or being at the right place at the right time.

The shot below could be classified as a decisive moment shot from the right place, right time category. You do, however, need to be prepared with the camera ready for that coincidentally time when it does occur (which is not a minor thing).

The woman on the right, was showing off a good sized diamond ring to some friends on the street. Presumably this is an engagement ring and she's getting married. I'm sure the excitement of showing the ring, and this period in her life, will be one she always remembers. You can see the happiness on her face.

I was pre-armed with my camera as the scene unfolded with that perfect timing. I took about five pictures. I thought the guy in the rear was noticing that I was taking the shots, but looking at others in the series, he seemed to actually be watching the ring presentation also.

It does seem to be a ring worth showing off, this is as close as I could get to it from blowing up the scene.
By the way, this picture was taken on Maiden Lane. I thought that was a rather interesting coincidence. I just looked up the dictionary definition of maiden, and it says, " an unmarried girl or woman" (or also "virgin"). I would add that as back story element to the decisive moment.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Creating Art

Interpreting and appreciating art is a personal experience. What one person may love, another may dislike, or "not get". When I post my pictures on the flickr website, I get immediate feedback and it allows me to ponder what others might see in the pictures. While I only post pictures that I think have some merit, sometimes the reaction is out of synch with my own opinion of the shot.

Here's what I'm reacting to... last week in a poring rain storm I parked myself underneath a building portico and took a lot of pictures of wet people. Since it was dark, I used a high ISO, this meant that the pictures would be brighter but also grainier. Here is the picture that I started working with. Not a great picture, but with some post-processing, it looked to have some potential.

The main appeal to me in the composition was the positioning of the cab turning onto Park Row. So, I cropped it and straightened it. It was OK, but nothing special to me. So, I started playing around with some of the values in Lightroom, a tool I use to manage my photo library. I finally settled on posting this version of the picture.

I thought it was good, and fairly interesting, but those on flickr responded in a way that was out of synch with how I saw the picture. They made it by marking it with the most "favorites" of any picture I have ever put up there, and in the shortest amount of time. As a matter of fact, when I saw it online, I wasn't completely happy with it. I was going to replace it with a version that I had worked with before posting it, which was this one.

I do think this one is the best, but I won't replace it since people liked the other one so much. In any case, it is ultimately a creation of art, using only the building blocks of what was there. And, I'm quite happy with that result.

In the end though, while I think it's a very good picture, I do not think it is great. (There are others I've taken that I think are great which have barely gotten a reaction). But that's just what I think, and what do I know, I'm only one person.

Friday, August 7, 2009


I was heading to the steps of Federal Hall overlooking the Stock Exchange building to sit outside and have the lunch I purchased from a street vendor. This is a great place to be outside and people watch the stock brokers, tourists, fashionistos, etc. below on Wall Street.

Federal Hall is a quite historic building. George Washington was inaugurated as first president of the US on the balcony of the original version of this building on the same spot. It is now mostly a museum. As I approached, I walked past the back of the building and saw these guys.

My camera was with me, but I had my hands were full. I thought about whether I wanted to go through the effort to drag it out and get the shot. I walked on. Half a block later, I turned back, thinking about how perfectly they were aligned. The columns, the angle of the steps, the way they were sitting were all so nicely arranged.

I put down my lunch in the middle of the road and started shooting. Since the building is a national monument, it is a frequent target of pictures. I had no problem aiming at the top of the building, then dropping, reframing and snapping these guys undetected.

This was the most interesting. A shot I call, "And It's Only Lunch Time". This guy looks like he's had a hard day.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Laughing people... it's as if they have been captured by a spirit. They spasm in delight and are great photographic subjects. There's a reason photographers pose people with smiles. They look good. But, if they are laughing, they make YOU feel good. Here are some laughing shots I gathered. This one is called "You're a Riot!"

These two girls were escaping the rain, but were engaged in a "Laughter Dance".

And, this guy is not laughing, but for some reason he was just so damn happy. He is a superhero. He is "Happyman".