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You get what you get and you don’t get upset…you just try to learn for the next time

When it comes to photography there are many different styles and approaches.  In my opinion candid (or street photography) can be one of the hardest to photograph simply for the fact that you are shooting in the moment and very rarely is there an opportunity for a redo.

Recently I had decided it was time for me to step outside of my comfort zone and place myself into an entirely new photographic situation. As a result I decided to attend the Mermaid Parade ( you can learn all about it by clicking on that link) and try my hand at photographing what may be one the most unusual events I have ever attended.

The results…. some great and not some great shots but that’s always to be expected.  However as this was my first time attending the event I definitely learned some important lessons.

1. It’s always nice to ask someone if they wouldn’t mind having their picture taken.  Bring business cards or a piece of paper with your email address offer to send them a copy of the photo that you have taken.  Will you hear from everyone most likely not, however by taking those few moments to speak to the person you’re photographing you may have the chance to get them to pose for you and retake an image and that can make a difference.

2.  The staging area offers some walls this can prove to be a great backdrop and can help to eliminate a lot of the chaos that is happening around you if that is the effect you are looking for. (This is something that I realized late in the game)

3. Bring suntan lotion and water….I can not stress this enough it’s going to be a long day, your carrying around gear and it will be hot.

4. Relax, have fun and go with the flow.  Try not to take it so seriously and have a good time.  This will come across in your photographs.

Below you will find some of the photos taken at this event.  For a more complete listing you can check out  http://junger.smugmug.com/People/Mermaidparade   (if you don’t see a photo of you posted and I gave you my card please send me an email and I will get it to you.)

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Mermaid Parade 2013

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the images taken at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2013. All of these images are available for purchase. If you do not see your photo and I gave you my card please contact me and I will do my best to post it.

Too posed or Not too posed…

When it comes to photographing people for me personally there is no right or wrong way it’s about capturing a person at a specific moment that can best portray the emotions that they are feeling or evokes an emotion you want the viewer to feel.

Over the past few weeks I have been given the opportunity to shoot some portrait photography ranging from candid moments at a run and on the streets of NYC to a highly stylized photo shoot. Each situation brings it’s own positive aspects and hidden draw backs (not always a chance to get a do over shot as someone is running by).

My next few blogs will be discussing each experience in further detail as well as sharing some of the photos that I was able to capture.

My question or anyone that may be reading this though is there a such thing as being too posed or not posed enough in regards to portrait photography?

You can’t look at abstract art without thinking. (Patricia Cole-Ferullo)

Regardless of anywhere in the world you are if you stop pause and slowly turn in a complete circle looking around you, you are almost always likely to find at least one glimpse of a piece of architecture whether it be a barn, office,skyscraper or even a free standing sculpture. More often than not we may try to shoot around, or compose them so they fit nicely into a shot subtle blending in to it’s surroundings.

What if instead we look at this as an opportunity to embrace it and shift our focus allowing the architecture/structure to be our main focal point? Take an image like this for example

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The above image is unedited taken with the Olympus E-PL3 camera (14mm, f/11, 1/200sec) at Flushing Meadow Corona Park in Queens, NY.

The first thing you may want to think about when shooting or editing an image like this is how to best frame or crop it. How can you best showcase it. A personal preference of mine is to crop the image to a square (using a 1:1 crop ratio) from that you can further tweak your images by choosing to rotate it as well as enhancing it through a well thought out edit.

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A slightly different approach would be to look for and search out symmetry, a repeating line or pattern that can help visually draw a viewer in.

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The above edited shot was taken on the Brooklyn Bridge using the Nikon D800. In this image you see a repeating pattern with the brickwork as well as both sides feature the same cable wires giving the appearance that if you were to fold the image down the middle everything would line up. Also something to consider when photographing/editing something like this is how close of a crop you want (does the skyline add anything, do colors detract or add to it etc).

Sometimes in life were so busy with the things going on around us that we forget to look up. By looking up we get a completely different view and perspective that we may normally have not seen.

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The above image is part of a greenhouse roof. Something to consider when shooting like this is your exposure settings it is very easy to blow the sky out.

Pay attention and look at light you never know when your going to get that perfect reflection that may make your shot.

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More importantly have fun with it! Don’t worry about the horizon, or making sure your shot is perfectly straight. It’s ok to shoot on an angle sometimes. The goal is to experiment and see what aesthetically works best for you!

To crop or not to crop that may be the question…

Often times when I’m out and about taking photographs I’m so caught up in the moment that I might lose sight of the small details. I find that I might try to put as much information as possible into frame and other times I may take it to the other extreme ending up with an image full of negative space. These are those if you blink you may miss it kind of moments where taking the time to fully compose your image is not an option.

Something that I personally as well as others have been guilty of is posting and editing an image as is and not taking the time to critically examine the image and see if there is something that can be done to make an image more successful and really stand out.

Below is an image that was shot at The Unisphere this image is uncropped and unedited

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This image was then edited and cropped using the Camera+ app (it is on both the iPad and iPhone) as well as Snapseed (there is a computer version of this as well.

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By cropping an image like this my goal was to draw the viewer into the image and having a stronger focal point vs having your eye wandering around not quite sure of what the subject matter is.

Below is another before and after example from the same day.

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Ideally when cropping you want to try to avoid taking off body parts as it can be a bit jarring however in the above image I felt that the child was so engaging that the extra arm may be overlooked.

I would like to pose a question to the readers when taking photos do you frame and crop in your mind while taking shots or is it something that happens during your editing process?

Try it…if you don’t like it you can spit it out in my hand….

This was an expression that my sister and I heard quite often growing up especially when it came to the dinner table.  By keeping an open mind to the unknown and knowing that we could always spit something out if we deemed it be gross enough our palette was expanded.

But how does this relate to photography…. I’m sure that is the question your asking yourself.  Well now that most people have gone digital we have our images at our fingertips instantaneously so in the matter of mere seconds we can decide if we like the image we have taken or if we want to just spit it out.  This also gives us a sense of freedom we are not confined to 36 shots per roll in a situation where you have to make sure each one count.  Instead it enables us to step outside of a comfort zone and try something new whether it be a shooting style or subject matter.

Ultimately at first you may want to spit out this new taste, but if you wait it out and try a slight bit more you may find you enjoy it and if not well for a brief period your have tried something new.  And at the end of the day stepping outside of ones comfort zone will ultimately help in the training of your eye and allowing you to see things from a different perspective causing you to become a more well rounded photographer.

The following images were all taken on a photowalk that was lead by Rick Sammon that took place at The Unisphere  which is located in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, NY.  These images are my way stepping outside my comfort zone and trying something new.

And in case you were wondering yes we did occasionally spit things out and most recently that food was Uni (sea urchin)

“Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment.” – Elliott Erwitt

I always remember being interested in photographs, however it was not until I first learned to shoot with a manual camera that I really understood my love of photography.  Like all things feelings and emotions change over time, I became burnt out and I put my camera down…

Almost a year ago that changed while trying to cope with things going on in my life I slowly began to take photographs again as a way to process and deal with my own emotions.  Photography became a release for me a way to escape and feel a bit more like myself.  What was the main factor in my taking photographs again… I stumbled upon a photography sharing app known as Instagram, by going though and looking at others work I became inspired and once again my love affair began.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not take at least one photograph, some are just brief snapshots, mere glimpse at where I am at a precise moment while others are more thought out and composed. During those days when I’m not walking around with my camera… well I always have my phone.

All of the photographs in this gallery have been shot using an iPhone4 some using the native camera, others where taken using apps such as InstagramStreetmate and Camera+.  For macro shots I use and recommend both the Olloclip system which is an all in one lens system as well as the 4-in-1 Lens system by Brainydeal which is an incredible deal at a lesser price.