You're all familiar with Murphy's Law--Anything that can possibly go wrong will go wrong. Certainly being a working photographer is a great way to see Murphy's Law in action on nearly a daily basis. While I pride myself on being prepared for every...
Bill Pekala, head of Nikon Professional Services, came to the US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, last August to run the NPS operation at the matches. Sports events can be the ultimate proving ground for camera gear, and one of NPS’s primary roles is providing their member professional photographers with the assurance of dedicated on-site support.
Oct 31, 2011
Published: Sep 01, 2011
It was 9pm on a Saturday night in April of 2008, and I had spent the day, as I spend so many days, at my computer, editing and retouching. My husband was out of town and I was feeling antsy and bored when an e-mail arrived with a list of goings-on in my Brooklyn neighborhood. Sandwiched between a Jewish Singles social and our community theater’s latest production was a listing for a “Dances of Vice” costume party at the Montauk Club. I sat up straight. The Montauk Club is modeled after a Venetian palazzo and I’d long admired the exterior. This was my chance to finally see what was inside.
Working at Spiratone, Nick Koudis (www.koudis.com) began his photographic career designing many of those wonderful gizmos made popular by my mentor, the world-renowned Norman Rothschild. Koudis brought his knack for developing clever and ingenious gadgets with him when he opened his first studio in New York City over 25 years ago. Back then we...
Most of us know about making outdoor portraits using the small fill flash on our cameras. But these photos have a “look” that tells everyone they were “made with flash.” They have a flat, often harsh look to them. A more sophisticated technique that can be accessed with many new cameras is the use of off-camera flash; you can even use multiple units controlled directly from the camera. I use...
Photojournalist Kevin Moloney grew up in Greeley, Colorado, amid the hub of professional cowboys and "bucking broncos." Although his father, a professional sports photographer, found inspiration in the sport of rodeo, this did not interest his son. It was the hard news and cultural stories that drew him to a news service from National Geographic and to magazines like...
I learned photography in the film days, and when the huge change to digital came along, I changed not only my gear but the way I see. I used to have to see in terms of very specific criteria of what would work within the ISO range of my film and what the film could record in terms of light and shadow. Low ISOs meant I couldn’t get enough depth of field, or a tripod was needed, or I had to light something because there wasn’t enough information in pictures that had incredible shadow detail. High ISOs often meant an unacceptable level of grain and bad color rendition. As a result I passed up a lot of situations that got my attention but were beyond the capability of my film to capture.
The last thing I ever want to do is pose someone. On my travels I want pictures of people acting naturally, doing what they normally do, and if they acknowledge the camera at all, or pause for a portrait, I want them to do it in the most natural way. The people I photograph are always aware of me, but I never want them to play to the camera—which can be tricky because the very presence of the camera changes the situation.
You’d think that with the variety of gear available today, I’d be able to find exactly what I want. Well, for the major stuff, like cameras and lenses, I pretty much can, but when it comes to several key accessories, call me The Modifier.
I got a brand-new piece of gear shortly before I left in late February for a three-week trip to Vietnam. Not a camera, lens, or flash; it was more important than those. You see, I’m always looking for easier, lighter, faster, and more secure backup for my photos when I travel, and I’d heard for almost a year that this one, this new backup hard drive, was coming, and as luck or perfect timing would have it, it arrived two days before I left. (Because I’m always looking for something better, the camera store in New York City that I deal with, Foto Care, is on the lookout for anything that might interest me; they know I travel, and they’re always telling me about the latest and greatest that’s coming along.)
For almost a year I planned for the 22-day trip I took this past January to photograph among the indigenous people of Ethiopia. I did a lot of research so I’d know what to expect and how to deal with everything from the customs of the country to the weather and the traveling conditions. Also, I’d have a driver and a guide, and along the way I’d pick up local guides who’d know the ins and outs of specific villages, tribes, and dialects.
Often people will ask me, “How do you get that great color in your photos?” I appreciate the compliment, but it’s usually followed by, “You must do a lot of retouching.” Actually I don’t. I will do a little color enhancement, but how color looks in my images has to do partly with how I set certain camera controls, how I control or use lighting in the scene, and how I compose the photograph.
Mar 07, 2014
Published: Jan 01, 2014
I’ve seen my share, and I expect you have too, of people who basically spray the area hoping to get a keeper. I’ve also seen photographers who wait…wait…and wait some more to catch that decisive moment. I’m neither of those types. I think of what I do as mindful shooting: I know what I want the photo to look like; I preconceive and previsualize the moment; I control the situation as much as I can to get that moment; and I’m prepared to work with what I’m given and what I can’t control in order to get a good result.
In early February I went to Cuba for 10 days of photography. Long before I left I knew what I wanted to accomplish. I’d been to Cuba 10 years before, so I knew the basics of what I’d see and what I could expect. This time I narrowed down what I wanted to photograph. I wanted to shoot mostly in the old section of Havana and in the city of Trinidad. People would be my main subjects—people on the streets, in their homes, going about their lives. In Old Havana I wanted to work in the late afternoon and early evening; in Trinidad I wanted to capture people against colorful backgrounds. On this trip there wouldn’t be open country where I’d be shooting landscapes or people working in the fields; there’d be no wide-open spaces, no photos of tobacco fields or expanses of sugar cane.