Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Easy Like Sunday Morning

This past Sunday I had woke up pretty early in the morning. Feeling pretty good and motivated, I grabbed my gear and headed downtown for some street shooting. My thought process was while I do ALOT of street shooting at night, I had been wanting to get out during the day also. After a conversation with the editor from the Tucson Sentinel, he had asked me if I could snap a few photos of people reacting to the heat lately. Having arrived and parked, I set out with one camera and one lens. Let me explain why I feel it's a good idea to only take one camera and one lens. When you have shoot this way you're not worried about anything but getting a good shot. No lens change, no body change, just supreme familiarity with your setup. All too often people miss great photos because of the time it takes to change a lens/body. Also, I prefer to travel lightweight, in street photography you end up walking alot. There is nothing worse than lugging a bunch of gear around. Alot of gear and bags make you stand out. Try to blend in as best you can to get close and get those photos you want. My personal favorite from this day, is the shot of the guy scratching his back with a knife. As I approached I noticed what he was doing and instantly raised my camera to my eye. Continuing to walk towards him with camera raised and ready, I waited until I got close enough, because that's when he looked right up at me. Bang. Get the eyes and facial expression. That's how you do it. That to me, is the essence of street photos. Capturing the rawness of the street by adding the human element that the viewer can relate to. If you're at all interested in learning from me and how I do things. Attend my future workshops. Details to come. Until next time.

Scooting along

50mm,  1/2000s,  F/8.0,  ISO 1600

From the hip. Low and Wide

18mm,  1/2500s,  F/8.0,  ISO 1600

I was happy with this one because, I only took one shot while walking by. No cropping, composition is spot on. Dude has a blowout supreme

50mm,  1/1000s,  F/8.0,  ISO 1600

The desert gives you dat sick thirst

Near City Hall

Cooking at the bus stop

50mm,  1/400s,  F/8.0,  ISO 1600

Game Over

Apparently they give out free coffee on Sunday at the main library

Dont be afraid to get really close and shoot from the hip using a wide angle lens. You might like the results

18mm,  1/1600s,  F/8.0,  ISO 1600
Personal favorite

1/800s,  F/8.0,  ISO 1600


Monday, June 17, 2013

Introduction to Street Photography Workshop

This past weekend on Saturday I hosted my first photography workshop. Not knowing what to expect as far as turn out I was indeed happy that at least one person showed up. That one person happens to be a guy I've known for some time through a mutual friend. When I had asked Gabe why he showed up and wanted to attend the workshop, his answer was fairly simple. "I've never done anything like this before." A major part of getting photos you're happy with, is knowing how to use your camera properly. 90% of the time AUTO mode does a good job but its the other 10% where your ability as a photographer is tested. After a bit of going through the camera and figuring out some settings, we headed out from our meet up location to get started. There were four major topics on the agenda and as walked, we talked. Those subjects are: What is a street photo?, Making the decision to ask or just shoot, How to handle people's reaction, and Looking for interesting subjects. I'll go over them with you here for those who did not attend. To me, a street photo absolutely has to have the human element. I've taken street photos that weren't necessarily in the streets, think about a mall, grocery store, restaurant. I just happen to like the open air and downtown Tucson a lot (plus there are some weird looking people). As stated, to me a street photo is all about humans and how they interact/react in their current environment. Next up, Making the decision to just shoot or ask. This topic is a tough one, especially for beginniners, as its often the first challenge you're presented with. In that moment you see someone, and get that inner feeling to take their photo you must establish this right away. If you choose not to ask, you risk missing a moment if you're not ready. If you choose to indeed ask, do it properly, approach the person smile, say hello and introduce yourself. Tell them what you're a street photographer and you'd like to take their photo. Here is your biggest leverage when asking someone for their photo on the street. Tell them why you wanna take their photo. Was it their hat, shoes, jewelry, or hair that interested you in the first place? When you bring them in and let me know why you asked to take their picture in the first place. Generally, people are receptive of your honesty and agree for a photo. Next subject, How to handle people's reaction to you taking their photo. When you decide not to ask for the photo, be subtle and quick. If the person notices you, simply smile and wave hello. I would say 95% of the time this method works, it shows them, yeah I'm here so what? I can wave and smile like a human and I'm not trying to hide. The other 5% of the time just use your gut instinct, is this person being aggressive? do they want you to delete the photo? are they threatening your safety? Be smart and follow the best route to a peaceful resolution to the issue (this type of reaction is very rare, but be careful, as it can happen). Last but not least was the topic of Looking for interesting subjects. Sometimes we can feel as this is the difficult part. When you live in a smaller city naturally there are less people, so that means less chances for awesome street photos right? WRONG!!! Do not let this type of thinking handicap what you're capable of capturing in your very own backyard. Since for me, street photography is all about the human element, go where people are and BAM!! instant subjects. One aspect of the whole looking for interesting subjects is sometimes they are just not there. This is when you must seek them out and anticipate those interesting moments. Be two steps ahead of your subject and you'll be ready the next time it comes around. While close ups and tighter framed portraits of the people are nice, look for other interesting subjects like shadows, shapes, and architecture to add to the mix. Having a variety of styles within the same body of work is way to keep yourself fresh, interested, and motivated. If you find yourself struggling with how to approach/get close/interact with the human subjects in street photography. Be patient, it's an acquired skill, courage, and motivation to get out there. If you made it this far into my post, I applaud you and appreciate your support. On a final note, I had a great time hosting this photography workshop. Someone asked me if I was upset that only one person showed up. My response? Not at all. I had honestly thought no one would show up and I would go about my business as usual. I was there to share, express, and help someone else with their own photography. That was the whole idea behind hosting this workshop. Keep an eye out for future workshop dates and themes. Thanks for stopping by

Dude in a German cowboy hat talks to us about "Blade Runner" and how he killed his wife. Le Chao to the left of the frame

Photo by: Gabe Baisan

Photo by: Gabe Baisan

Photo by: Gabe Baisan

Da Blues


Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer Shine

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to shoot with two really cool girls and a nice location. I'm of course talking about Nica and Zoe. It's always nice to have a bit of creative help on a shoot as these two girls do plenty of artistic activities. The location was a nice Arizona themed house located centrally. A nice feature of the house was large room clad in nice furniture, art, and a piano. I brought both my Photoflex Starflash 650w units with me, as I wasn't sure what to expect regarding natural light in the house. Like a true noob, I totally forgot both my reflective umbrellas while packing my gear. Not to be undone by my mistake, I took it in stride, and strived to work around it. After all, I still had 6 inch reflectors to work with on the strobes. Knowing my light source would be a bit more directional and tightly grouped. I positioned the strobes a decent distance from the subjects at low power levels. In some shots, I pointed the strobes straight up to bounce the light off the ceiling. We went through a few different sets of photos in the large room with a somewhat vintage feel to them. The addition of an old rotary telephoto and custom pottery was a nice touch. Nica is a musician, so naturally we did a set inside with her playing the piano. Zoe provided some background dancing and away we went shooting. After working inside, we took a break outside and decided it would be cool to do a few shots outside to mix it up. Being outside we now had quite a bit of natural light to work with. After an outfit change, our first set involved the girls under the patio, Nica on a tricycle and Zoe on a small chair. The next photos to be shot were individual portraits. I wanted to go a bit more subtle and natural with their individual shots so I kept the flash power very low. A long time ago, I once read that using flash in photography isn't about adding light everywhere, it's about controlling your shadows. I try to follow this advice and every time I use my strobes, I become more comfortable in my ability to use artificial light. This also includes blending natural and artificial light together to get that desired look. Overall, it was a really fun shoot and I look forward to working with them again. Thanks for stopping by.

Zoe and Nica


Clear winner

1/60s,  F/8.0,  ISO 100



Personal fave


Thursday, June 13, 2013

iCycle 6/12/13

It's been awhile since I did an iCycle post. I figured since I have been riding alot more recently, I would slow down a bit and snap some photos while on my ride. My route consisted of traveling south to the Aviation Bike Trail. I am very familiar with that ride and trail because I used to live much closer to it. This particular trail starts at the corner of Golf Links Rd and Craycroft. Th trail continues on west eventually ending right at 4th Ave behind Maloneys Tavern. After arriving downtown I headed south of 6th ave until I reached 22nd st. At this point since I didn't charge my flash light battery, it began to die. I took this as a good time to turn around and head home. As I arrived at home I realized my legs hurt a bit and that it was a short but intense ride. If I'm short on time or battery power, that's just the way I like it. Until next time.

All photos on this post taken with iPhone 5
Start of my ride at Golden Hour

Snake Bridge over Broadway Blvd

Mouth = Opening

Gonna return with a model for a shoot here

4th Ave

Graffiti in the wash

Shadow selfie while riding