Respect to Ronnie Montrose.
So I have been working on the 50 Faces Project and I lined up Luis who works security for our building to do the portrait. We kept missing each other last week so I finally caught him today. I was in a time crunch to shoot the picture because he was working and so was I. Looking at the after images, while they turned out ok, I wish I had more even light another person for the portrait. I personally hate using flash for anything but this is one of those times I wish I had flash or a nice softbox with a LED to throw some light to keep things more even. I still did some light editing in selective areas to get the glare down on the one I uploaded for the final and I liked one other one so I figure I share it here. Please go to 50 Faces and check out the others work and if you are a photographer feel free to sign up. Not my project but I feel it’s a valuable one and I have started to champion it.
I went to the market earlier this morning and realized I had forgotten some medicine that I needed. I had a choice of jumping into the car or walking to the market and picking up what I needed. I opted for the walk which is a bit of a giveaway considering what I titled the post. These were all shot on a Panasonic G3 using either a Yashica 50mm 1.9 or a Panasonic Leica 25mm 1.4. I put the photo nerd info in each of the captions if you are inclined to know my methodology (point camera and push shutter). I did crop them all as a medium format style crop. One of these days after I finish playing with 35mm film I’ll score a cheap medium format film camera or maybe a medium format with a digital back will fall to me at less than $1000 (one can dream) but I do like the medium format look. It gives the pictures that certain something that is missing. I realize I should be staying consistent with my style and I am with the plug-in but I’m still finding “my style” so that means playing around a bit.
I was out practicing my street photography last night. Working on getting out of my shell and getting used to training my lens on people regardless of if they knew I was there or not. I had all of three encounters with people who knew I was taking their photos. The first was a couple of police officers who I shot (pics didn’t turn out) and they didn’t know I was there and when one saw me out of the corner of his eye he turned and asked what I was doing. I told him and he just laughed and said wait till they were at least in action arresting someone. Would be a better picture he said. The next was with a burly biker guy who said no more pictures and I offered to delete it and he said don’t worry about it but don’t take anymore. The final was the nice Indian grandmother who looked dead at me while I shot. I smiled and thanked her and went on my way.
There were a few technical issues with taking photos at night. I used my Olympus E-PL2 and my Olympus 45mm 1.8. I was shooting in priority mode and set the ISO limit at first to 800 then I had to take it 1600 but it still was struggling to lock focus. The images are grainy for a couple of reasons. The first is there is some noise because of the ISO I used. The E-PL2 can’t match the E-P2 for night shooting. Technically the same camera but I think the programming in the E-P2 uses different logic to handle low light images. The other factor is the Lightroom plug-in I use to convert the images to black and white. It adds grain to give it the film look and when you combine it with the high ISO it made it more grainy. I’m too much of a lazy git to go back and reprocess them with another plug-in or use Topaz or SilverFX.
Now that my excuses are out-of-the-way with the gear being clearly at fault I do want to talk about the images. Not all of them are stunning masterpieces. Like my earlier work some are complete crap. The only way I learn is by doing and then going back and looking. I pick apart a lot of my images on technical qualities. Street photography is about capturing the raw moment not if the picture is perfect and that’s what I’m really trying to learn. Shooting a portrait or a flower is easy because it’s a controlled environment. Shooting something on the street and trying to get the essence of it isn’t. It also means I need to let loose on my anal retentive selection process and just go with what I captured.
With all the photography talk out-of-the-way I wanted to talk about the images themselves. When I took the images I was just looking for interesting people to shoot. When I started to process them I was shocked at the sheer diversity I ran into while out and about. I know that America has a ton of cultures in it but I never really pay attention. I have people of all races and cultures around me and shooting it with a camera has allowed me to see it for the first time, within my own neighborhood.
Bethesda is one of the most affluent and highly educated communities in the country, placing first in Forbes list of America’s most educated small towns and first on CNNMoney.com‘s list of top-earning American towns. In April 2009, Forbes ranked Bethesda second on its list of “America’s Most Livable Cities.” In October 2009, based on education, income, health, and fitness, Total Beauty ranked Bethesda first on its list of the U.S.’s “Top 10 Hottest-Guy Cities.”
Photo Nerd Info: Olympus E-PL2, Olympus 45mm, ISO 200, f/3.2, 1/320
Photo Nerd Info: Olympus E-PL2, Olympus 45mm, ISO 200, f/3.5, 1/400
Photo Nerd Info: Olympus E-PL2, Olympus 45mm, ISO 200, f/4.5, 1/640