This took me a little longer than I had anticipated, to make. So, it’s kind of late. But it is still January, so whatev. Here is a little video slideshow recap of our 2011.
Have a great weekend!
This took me a little longer than I had anticipated, to make. So, it’s kind of late. But it is still January, so whatev. Here is a little video slideshow recap of our 2011.
Have a great weekend!
Friday was a relatively mellow day in the office. I took the opportunity to peruse the New York Times “Year in Pictures” gallery. It is definitely worth a look see. Check it here.
I hate to talk about the weather. Because it always seems petty or boring. But, growing up in a place that has four seasons, there are certain sentiments connected to the cold weather (as with the other seasons). The only thing that I can really compare it to, would be something like those instances where you step into the elevator with someone wearing the same perfume that your first girlfriend wore. Although, I don’t think that anyone really wears Liz Claiborne anymore. Not sure if it even exists anymore, hahaha. Anyway, the first really couple of cold days in winter have a similar effect on me. This was that weekend, for me. The temps dipped into the subfreezing range and jackets were no longer optional when making a run to the corner bodega.
Speaking of good times in the winter months, this weekend we booked a snowboarding trip for January. This will my be first trip dedicated entirely to riding, in longer than I would like to admit.
Arnette just launched a couple of new frames. One of them, “Glory Daze” (above) I shot with my homey Sam on Sunday morning. It isn’t the first time that Sam has agreed to model eyewear for me. I have to say that the story, this time around was a lot more fun. Enjoy a few more images, below.
Have a great week!
Since lately I haven’t really shot anything worth crap, I have to post other people’s images. The above snap belongs to none other than the infamous Tommy Ton, of Jak & Jil (among other things). The dude is hands down my favorite street style photographer. Unlike most of the street dudes in NYC, I have only ever seen Tommy once in real life. Not like it is a competition, but I think that Tommy’s flavor kills Schuman. Plus, Tommy isn’t a pompous, self-absorbed douche. Not sure how this post became about street style photographers, but looks like we are going to be stuck with that for at least a few more sentences. I would have to say that my other favorite street style dude is William Yan. Besides being a friend of mine, I am a fan of William for the street wear flavor that he brings. Not only does William shoot crazy good street style, he is constantly involved in some new collaboration project with boss street wear fashion houses. I have loads of respect for him. All of these guys, of course, take a back seat the the OG Bill Cunningham. I’m sure that they would all agree with that statement (except for maybe Schuman, who probably thinks that he is much better than Bill).
Ok, so the image above is part of Tommy’s set from Paris FW. The reasons that I love it, are: A- the way it is cropped; B- the camel jacket; and, C- because of the cigarette. Have you ever noticed that there are certain places in the world where the two most prevalent objects in public view are sexy early 30s/late 20s humans and cigarettes? You know where I’m talking about–the West Village, Rio, etc.. Anyway, I have been a bit obsessed with shooting hot people smoking, for the past several months. I also have a pinterest album of such images that I have come across. Yes, I just admitted that I have one of those P-word accounts. Add some winter clothes into the cut and I can barely contain myself. The funny part is that I can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke. I hold my breath when I get stuck walking behind someone who has a lit butt. I didn’t say it made any sense.
Speaking of butt, my brother comes to town tomorrow morning. Last time he was here was during armory week. We spent the whole time hanging out and shooting art installations. I’m not sure what we will do this time around. No doubt something good will come up.
I know that there has already been large amounts of camera-speak on Jake’s Mag, this month. But, I saw this fantastic looking camera today, and began to covet. According to Hypebeast:
Parisian boutique colette has teamed with The Impossible Project for a limited number of (50) SX70 Cameras and PX680 Film Kits. Distinctly bold from a physical standpoint, the camera has already been tested out by a number of professional shutterbugs including Mark Borthwick, Lisa Eisner, Vava Ribeiro, Ed Templeton, Todd Selby, Matt Jones, Olivier Zahm and Terry Richardson. These original Polaroids will then be showcased at the colette store. The SX70 Camera retails for €540 EUR (approximately $720 USD)
I have a pair of Polaroid 230 Land Cameras, and love them. Even though my past experience with Impossible Project has not been the best (the film is super temperamental), I would be willing to give Impossible Project another chance, to be able to shoot a bit with the SX-70. I’m even more inclined, since it apparently already has the stamp of approval from Ed Templeton and Terry Richardson.
Camera gear guide part II.
This post will focus mostly on Canon EOS compatible lenses. All of the disclaimers from the last post still apply.
Before I get to the lenses, here are a couple of awesome accessories:
I have the older version of this (RC-1), and love it. This thing is the perfect solution for those botched timer shots. This remote control is compatible with most Canon EOS SLRs, as well as a handful of point and shoot models. It has a setting for a 2 second delay, in case you need to press the button, then hide remote out of the shot.
Perfect for nerds. This tool allows photos taken in increments of 1 second to 10 hour, etc.. I have wanted to get one of these forever, to make time lapse films of very slowly occurring things (think of plants growing). Did you ever see that video the guy did of his flight from San Francisco to Paris, with the northern lights? I’m sure that he used something like this.
This thing is awesome. It is sturdy enough to hold a metal body SLR with a modestly heavy lens. I use this thing like crazy when I travel. It is seriously perfect for timer (or remote control) shots. It is small enough, that you can leave it mounted to the bottom of your camera with the legs folded in, and it still fits in the bag.
Moving along to lenses– First, here are a couple of prime lenses I like (fixed focal length):
This lens is a great and inexpensive way to expand your arsenal, if you are looking to get away from that kit zoom lens. This focal length is generally considered to be the “standard” or “normal” focal length. However, if you are working with a cropped sensor, it is good to take into account that a 50mm will effectively be a 70ish mm. In my opinion, prime lenses are awesome. A prime lens forces the photographer to work for the shot (since they can’t just zoom in or out), and pay more attention to composition. This lens is also dope because normally you have to pay the big bucks for an aperture that goes any wider that f/2. Not, here. You can get that super buttery bokeh, and low light shots with this lens.
Normally I wouldn’t suggest buying a non-canon brand lens. But in this case, I deviate from the norm. This lens is pretty awesome. At 30mms, it gives you a 50ish mm equivalent on a cropped sensor (all Rebel SLRs). This lens was specifically designed with cropped sensor cameras in mind. In fact it vignettes so bad on a full frame, it isn’t even worth using on one. For what you get, I think that it is also pretty affordable. It is about $800 less expensive than the closest Canon brand equivalent. The lens is very well made, and comes with a hood, and padded case. The aperture opens all of the way up to f/1.4 making it awesome in low light. I have found that the AF isn’t quite as tight as with the Canon L-series. But what is? I have had this lens for a few years, knocked it around quite a bit, and it still gives me great images.
This thing is amazing. Couple Canon’s L-glass with a giant 8 blade aperture and you won’t get any better 50mm lens.
Here are a few zoom lenses for people who are serious about photography, or are starting to get serious about it:
This is the most inexpensive Canon “L” zoom on the market. Don’t let the low price fool you. It is an awesome lens. I use this thing all of the time. At f/4 it is not the best lens for low light, or shooting indoors w/o flash. But, on a cropped sensor, the wide angle options this lens gives are fantastic. Throw in the L-glass, and get some tack sharp images. This lens comes with a hood.
Chances are, you already own this zoom. It is probably the most versatile of Canon’s high-end zoom lenses. You get wide and telephoto angles, both with a relatively large aperture. Again, to top it off, you also get that L-glass, making this lens well worth the cash. For those looking to upgrade from a regular EF zoom to a pro-quality lens, this is hands-down the best pick.
At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I’m going to say that it feels like it has already been kind of a long week. I had a bit of a reprieve last night as I attended an event at the BLK Denim Store in SoHo, NYC. The space is absolutely dope (above). Not to brag about my lineage, but if it is Scandinavian, you know it’s good. I wound up with a new pair of jeans. I rarely wear jeans, so I have never been able to justify buying a new pair. All of the jeans that I owned before last night are spill over from the late 90’s/early 2000’s. They don’t really fly for going to social events. Anyway, I love my new BLKs. Here are a few more shots that I liked from last night.
The snowboarding brand Foursquare has put together a pretty awesome project to coincide with the launch of their new website called the “Wet Plate Project.” Snowboarding + old school cameras? This definitely got my attention. Foursquare worked with photographer Ian Ruhter to shoot a series using an old wet plate camera. The wet plate is one of the oldest exposure/developing techniques in photography. The resulting images were pretty cool.
Here is vid that they published outlining the idea behind the project.
Check out Ruhter’s images from the first two of five installments, below. The shots feature riders Alek Oestreng and Andreas Wiig. Pretty incredible stuff, for an era where just any ol’ person can walk into B&H and pick up a 5D kit.
Thanks to my amigos at RC for turning me onto this.
The other morning I was on my way to shoot some stuff at the Jack Spade showroom on Greene. I couldn’t help by notice that KATSU had been busy in the neighborhood. These sidewalk stencils were everywhere, including at the top of the steps exiting the R train on Prince and B-way. Last I heard from the dude, he was going big at MOCA. Anyway, I’m liking the stencil campaign. It was early enough in the morning that the streets (and sidewalks) were still relatively empty, so I was able to get a few shots. I also noticed a few stickers of the variety below.
and a detail–
Along the way, I also saw this mickey mouse stencil on an express mail label. I dig it.
One dope thing about shooting events like FW and action sports, is all of the people that you meet. I linked up with a really cool gent by the name of Tim Schenck the first day of shooting the NY Quikpro. After I had to leave off of the event to cover Fashion Week, Tim stuck around at Long Beach and grabbed this fantastic set of king Slater. Tim is actually the one who snapped this shot of me and Slater the first weekend of the pro.
Check out more of Tim’s photos from the Quikpro on his blog.
[above: Eli Schmidt composing some solid shots at NYFW]
Now that we have a solid understanding of the interaction between the settings affecting exposure, let’s move onto composition. We will start by learning about the rule of thirds, negative space, and framing. Then finish up chatting a bit more about how depth of field and focal length can be manipulated to create different effects.
Rule of thirds—
The rule of thirds is just an articulation of something that most people tend to do naturally anyway. That is, to try to create balance through symmetry or asymmetry when framing up a shot. The rule of thirds says: “an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.”
To illustrate this concept, here is an animated GIF that I borrowed from Wikipedia under cc license. Notice how the horizon tracks the bottom horizontal divider almost exactly. The tree trunk does the same with the right hand vertical dividing line.
Creating balance in composition is, in my opinion, the element that allows an image to convey purpose. Squaring up the subject directly in the center of a portrait is the most distilled example of this. There is no doubt that people will read loud and clear what is meant to be seen in the image. There are obviously more ways to do this than centering the subject. The rule of thirds is a guideline that can help retain aesthetics when we are getting creative with composition. All of this is not to say that centering the subject and using the rule of thirds are the only two options for making an interesting composition. They are just some tools that can help us, especially when we are trying to explore what our personal compositional style is.
The example above was shot by my cousin Tif, on Antelope Island. It is a fantastic example of how negative space is used to draw attention to the subject. Plus, who isn’t a sucker for a gorgeous gradient blue sky? Negative space doesn’t always have to be empty.
In this case, we aren’t referring to the type of framing that is done after getting such an amazing shot, that we print it and stick it in a frame on the wall. Instead, we are referring to framing subjects within the composition, that draw attention to the subject. The example below is from the Quikpro surf competition a few weeks ago. Notice how the surfer is wedged nicely between the heads of the two bikini clad onlookers.
Depth of Field—
Ok, lets wrap things up discussing depth of field and focal length. As usual, I had planned to shoot a set of images specifically to demonstrate this point, but haven’t found the time. I think that I will probably talk Sam into doing a tutorial with me on this point. Depth of field is another compositional tools that can be used to draw attention to the subject. The image below is a great example of this.
As you will recall, aperture and focal length, combined with distance to subject are the factors that play into determining our depth of field. In the image above, I used a large aperture and long focal length to create a shallow depth of field. Because of the shallow depth of field, all of the models that are ahead or behind the subject, are not in focus. By paying close attention, you probably noticed that I also used this effect in the negative space and framing examples above. As much fun as it is to play around with depth of field, it can be tricky. If you are very close to the subject, with a very shallow depth of field, some of your subject might be out of focus, etc..
To achieve this effect, shoot in either aperture priority mode (AV for Canon), or if we are feeling confident about being able to adjust shutter speed and ISO for correct exposure, use manual mode. Set the f-stop to a low number, like f/4 or lower (note that depending on what lens is being used, f/4 might be the lowest). Ideally it is nice to be using either a prime lens, or a zoom with a constant aperture. What do I mean by that? A lot of zoom lenses have a variable maximum aperture setting depending on focal length (how far the lens is zoomed in or out). So, to eliminate some frustration from experimenting with depth of field, using a prime lens is probably the safest way to go. If you don’t have a prime, I recommend for Canon users purchasing the 50mm f/1.8. It is under $150.
Ok, now that we are in aperture variable or manual mode, let’s change our AF screen so that we only have a single point in the center of view finder. For Canon users, this is done by using the button at the top right of the back of the camera with the icon that looks kind of like a checker board. Click through here for instructions with Nikon. That will allow us to focus on a specific point, and not allow the camera to decide for us. Finally, change the AF mode to “one shot” or the Nikon equiv. We are ready to go.
As a general rule of thumb, here are the basics to remember–
Larger aperture (smaller f-stop number)= shallower depth of field.
Greater focal length = shallower depth of field.
Less distance to subject = shallower depth of field.
Let’s play out a quick scenario: We are shooting some portraits using a 50mm lens, trying to play up the shallow depth of field, the aperture is wide open. But, the photos are crap because only the end of the subject’s nose is in focus. What are the options? Option 1— close down the aperture a bit (choose a higher f-stop number). But, we don’t want to choose a higher f-stop because it is low lighting and we can’t afford to use a slower shutter speed or boost the ISO because it will cause camera shake or unwanted noise. Ok, let’s try Option 2— back away from the subject until the depth of field increases enough to have the subject’s entire face in focus. But, we don’t want to back away too far, because it throws off the desired composition by having all of that distracting stuff in the periphery. No worries, we can go with Option 3— let’s get rid of the 50mm and use a 100mm instead. Now we can back away far enough to have the whole face in focus, but still have the composition tightly cropped on the subject. Hey, I think that I just scripted out the next tutorial. Hehe.
Homework– experiment with composition using the rule of thirds, negative space or framing.
Extra credit– Combine one of the homework techniques in the line above with a depth of field effect.
Now get out and shoot!
The image above is currently one of my favorites shots from this iteration of NYFW. It was back stage at a Native Son show. Normally all of the back stage stuff that you get is the same. It is generally a bunch of candid images of people getting hair and makeup done, PR people yelling at other PR people in their headsets, etc.. My favorite overheard back stage conversation so far was “OMG, Yuri got arrested! We need to do a model count right now!”
Anyway, the reason that I like the image above so much, is because this particular show was off site at Pier 59 in Chelsea. The windows from the hair/makeup area of back stage opened onto the roof. So a bunch of the more Rat Pack-like models ducked out to have a quick butt. Another shot of the smoke break, below-
..and one from the actual presentation–
Next, let’s talk about Betsey Johnson.
I really like the animation going on with these curls.
Finally, I was dying over this adorable little family sitting on the front row.
Moving along to J. Crew. It is amazing the way that their look can be so sterile, but still beautiful. Favorite two looks from the presentation–
I’m hoping to have more images from these sets up on my photo blog by this weekend.
Oh yeah, wait. One more. I really liked this one from Billy Reid.
I wish that it wouldn’t have been so dark in there. I had to have the ISO jammed all of the way at like 1200 or something. So, this image isn’t very sharp. But I still really like the moodiness.
I will never cease to be amazed by the level of creativity that some people have. Check out this video of shutter noises mixed into a beat.
Hello again! Sorry that this installation of the series is a day late (and probably a buck short). I’m also going to apologize that there is no tutorial video to accompany this post. Sam is currently holding things down in Finland for the next couple of weeks. Hopefully we will shoot some more videos when he returns stateside. Until then, I hope that text and images can tide us over.
As much fun (and important) as shutter speed is. The aesthetic and mood of most of our images will mostly likely be dictated by our aperture settings. Candidly, I will admit that having a good handle on aperture settings probably trumps fully understanding shutter speed. Why? Because there are so many factors tied into the aesthetic quality of the image, that depend on aperture, besides just exposure. The main one that I’m referring to, is of course depth of field, which is sometimes referred to as focal plane. Those are a couple of terms that you will probably want to remember, especially depth of field.
Ok, just to review the basics about aperture settings as they pertain to exposure– Remember example of filling the bucket. The aperture is akin to the size of the hose in the bucket example.
Large aperture (low f-stop number, i.e. f/1.4)= lets larger volumes of light in for faster exposure.
Small aperture (high f-stop number i.e. f/16)= lets smaller volumes of light in for slower exposure.
Good? Ok, good.
Depth of field—
Ok, I really meant to set up some shots this weekend to demonstrate the different effects that can be achieved with different aperture settings. Alas, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off, and I didn’t want to postpone this installment any longer. So, I’m going to use some images (still recent) from former shoots that demonstrate the differences. First of all, what is depth of field? Great question. There are scads of equations that you could memorize to explain it. But, here is the simplest explanation: depth of field is the distance between the closest object (to the lens) that is in focus, and the furthest object that is in focus. I was going to scratch out another crappy diagram, but there was a pretty good one on Wikipedia under a cc license. So I used it instead.
In addition to aperture size, focal length and distance to subject play into depth of field. For the moment let’s just concentrate on aperture.
Large aperture (low f-stop number, i.e. f/1.4)= shallow depth of field (blurry foreground and background).
Small aperture (high f-stop number i.e. f/16)= deep depth of field (it’s possible to have the entire composition in focus).
Here are a couple of quick examples of different aperture settings. You may remember them from this shoot.
Again, sort of ignoring focal length and distance to subject for a minute. This image was shot at f/4. Notice how the subject is nice and sharp, but the background is much softer and not in focus (and the same would be true for the foreground, had I included any in the composition).
This image was shot at f/13. Yes it is a much wider angle, as well. But, notice that the cars are in focus and even the far tower of the bridge is a lot more sharply defined.
Preview to focal length—
And uhhhh, since I used such differently composed images for the examples, we might as well throw in some extra terms, touching on focal length. The sort of “standard” focal length is right around 50mm. So, back in the day if you were to buy a point and shoot that had no zoom (remember, on an SLR, we call this type of lens “prime”), it was probably around 50mm. With a 50mm focal length as a reference, here are two additional terms–
“wide angle” a focal length less than 50mm (the second example image above was shot at 20mm). Super wide angle lenses will have some lens distortion. Fish-eye lenses are a good example of that.
“telephoto” a focal length more than 50mm, also referred to as a “long lens.” The first example above was shot at 115mm. As a general rule, if the image appears closer when you hold the camera up to your eye than it does in real life, the focal length is probably considered telephoto.
This post was kind of quick and dirty. Next time I will talk about how focal length and distance to subject interplay with aperture to give us the desired depth of field. But for now, let’s recap: we learned that larger aperture settings give us more light flow and shallow depth of field. Small aperture does the opposite. Now, lets do some homework.
Let’s experiment with aperture. If we want to let the camera do the work on exposure, set the camera to aperture priority mode, “AV” for Canon. If we are feeling adventurous, go ahead and use “M” for manual, keep in mind that you will also have to change the shutter speed on “M” to get the right exposure.
Shoot in a well lit situation, so that you don’t have to worry about under exposing on a small aperture setting. Then shoot one of each–
1. One image with shallow depth of field (with the aperture wide open).
2. One image with everything in focus (the aperture stopped way down).
Extra credit: see how zooming in and out/changing distance to subject affect the depth of field.
Good luck! Feel free to report back.
Well… this is kind of awkward. I was supposed to be spending the weekend in Southern California. But, as they often do these days, my plans changed at the last minute. Friday was the official kickoff of New York City’s first ever major surf competition. Since Quiksilver is sponsoring it, Tony Hawk put on a vert demo as the inaugural event. The ramp was set up at the end of Pier 59 on the Hudson (14th St.). It was pretty amazing to be able to shoot these guys skating. Like every other kid who grew up skating in the 80’s I was always a massive fan of Tony Hawk. One of the other old school guys at the demo was Kevin Staab. His pro model was the first “real” skateboard that I ever bought. Anyway, that top image of Tony is one of my fav’s of the day. Here are a few more.
Sandro Diaz going huge with FDNY watching from the river–
Here is the sequence of Tony’s front side mellon from the top of the post–
Sunday and Monday, I’m hoping to be shooting surfing at Longbeach. Have a great weekend.