While teaching a class that started at Grand Central Station and ended at Times Square I had one camera and one lens, a 16-35. Did not imagine I’d be doing any portraits. Even though the 16-35 is not a portrait lens, this is an environmental portrait of a gentleman from London. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
A quarter of a century ago, you couldn’t walk the streets of Dumbo unless you had an armed guard. It has now become one of the most chicy-chic places in the metropolitan area. Multi-million dollar construction— oops, I used the wrong word. I used the m word when I should have used the b word. What a great place to make photographs. Join JoAnne and myself on the late afternoon/early evening of Thursday June 13th from 4-9. Check it out on the Adorama Workshop site. It’s all good, it’s all great, it’s all magic. One opening left for the rodeo workshop.
Anyone who’s been to any of my workshops or lectures knows that I always demand pre-production. Our ability to do as much research as possible so we’re able to execute the best possible photograph with the least amount of Murphy-ism (Murphy-ism; whatever can go wrong, will go wrong) is absolutely critical. Machu Picchu is one of the most spiritual places I’ve ever had an opportunity to visit and photograph. I took a very large class of over twenty students there for the mentor series, which worked out great for me because it was on my bucket list. Despite all the preparation, pre-production, and research, I still managed to get altitude sickness. The best way to describe altitude sickness is it makes seasickness feel like a mild pinprick on your index finger. I’m pretty sure it was the worst feeling I’ve ever had; I never want to do that again. I did not properly acclimate in Cusco at 11,000 feet. Coca tea, oxygen, and coca leaves become your best friends.
PS, always visit a doctor before you take this kind of a trip. There are some simple medicines that could have prevented this from happening, and I chose not to take them. I try to keep my drug intake to one baby Aspirin, two Aleve, and one martini.
Hi guys, we have a very special day coming up-it is February 17th. It’s the celebration of, the year of the snake, the Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year holds a special place in my heart. That’s the first date I had with JoAnne-so it’s officially and unofficially our anniversary. If you’ve never celebrated the Chinese New Year before or photographed it-it’s just awesome and so much fun. Come join us-see the link for Adorama.
One of the great advantages of being a photographer is travel. I’ve been blessed because over my career I’ve been around the world twice and am now working on the third time. Many of my assignments revolved around sports and action. With all the assignments and travel, I had never photographed a rodeo until last week.It was my first. While shooting, an official came over and was kind enough to give me insight on who, what, and where the action would be taking place and for how long. I looked at him and said you do understand this is not my first rodeo and then realized what I had said and immediately corrected myself. Utilizing this cowboy’s thirty years of doing rodeo helped me make a better photograph with less mistakes. This is what I call important pre-production. I make it my business to seek out the elder of the village whether it’s in Botswana, Palermo or Utah. Do your research and seek out whatever help you can get to make your work better. Keeping your mind open to learn and trying knew things is important and it’s what makes the world go round. The DiMaggio/Kalish Learning Center will be doing two professional rodeo workshops this year and they will be awesome.
Back in the day when I shot Leica, and used TriX and modified my carriers so you can print absolutely the whole negative with no cropping everything had to be done in camera. I studied the zone system for years and effectively was unable to use it because I stopped shooting 4×5. I one time watched Gene Smith, spend three hours making one 8×10. On my best day in the darkroom my best print on a scale of 1-10 would be a 2.25. I did better with Cibachrome. I was able to print Cibachrome and do a reasonable job. When the world threw me a huge curve ball and digital photography became the answer to everything, I was caught with my proverbial down because I thought I was an elitist there was no way I would go digital. I held out as long as I could and like a reformed alcoholic, I scream the praises of digital today. On or about the same time there was photoshop 1 or 2 Anybody who knows me knows I have the utmost respect for the Adobe programs but because of the way I shoot and the number of hours I work, I was not going to attempt to become proficient with photoshop. Maybe it’s a cop-out but I don’t think so. I have interns and assistants that are extremely capable in the program. I tell most of the students that 99% are only cleaned. I very rarely attempt to make major changes in my images. I go back to the old school.
Well, now I’m ready to move into the last part of my career as a fine art photographer, a filmmaker and director and Nik comes along and makes me crazy. I finally got the programs installed and decided to play with one digital scan. That was at 8:30 in the evening. By 3:30 in the morning I had tested all of the software and was starting to bleed from my eyes. While bleeding I had a huge smile smile on my face. I was like 14 all over again – my first day in a darkroom. These programs are absolutely awesome. They are simple, straight forward and easy to use and even an idiot like me can make them work. I don’t impress easy but I’m impressed.