Tag Archives: Colour

Pink Carnations

Pink Carnations
Pink Carnations

Feeling some anxiety to experiment with light, I decided to take it upon myself to see what else can be produced with shadows. I was reminiscing on the work I had done on Memorial Day and wanted to see if I could create something equally intriguing by enveloping my subject with light. I decided to conduct a series of light experiments on some pink carnations which I found in the office at work.

The premise of the light experiment was simple. I simply worked on eliminating the background completely, leaving the focus on the subject matter. This is exactly what I did by utilizing my external flash to overpower the existing ambient light. What resulted is a simple, but beautiful landscape of pink and brown hues which slowly fade to black. The effect is effective to the point that it creates a perceived three dimensional depth to the image.

In all it was a good experiment, but I think that it only touches on what I wanted to accomplish with the image. Something still felt absent and I believe only more experimentation is going to reveal what is truly possible with the lighting set-up I am putting together.

Nevertheless, it came close to what I was trying to create since I was shooting for some mystery with the display of the pink carnations.  But, it helped me see what is possible through strategic lighting of a scene and aptly fast shutter speed.

Chinese New Year: Little Sheep

Little Sheep
Little Sheep

Unlike the Western Zodiac which depicts different celestial groups as representation of periods within a year, the Chinese Zodiac, instead, represents a different animal every year.   There are twelve animals which make up the Chinese Zodiac. And, this year, in February,  the Chinese community of Chinatown, NY came together to celebrate the year of the sheep. True to my nomadic personality, I was present to participate. I worked to capture the thrill and excitement of the crowds  and the performers. However, there was one shot I took which I thought was less about the excitement and more about enjoying the simpler things of the moment — little sheep.

During a brief pause of the parade, one of the celebratory helium balloons escaped into the air and floated upwards into the stratosphere. One of the young girls who was parading the streets, dressed as a little sheep, glanced upwards. At that very moment, I snapped the shot forever capturing that small slice of time which may seem trivial to most given that it was just a balloon; But it meant a lot to this little girl since it captured her attention completely.

For me, what the image represents is not the festival but the little things that we tend to ignore or forget because we get wrapped up in the bigger things. Everyone else was entertaining themselves by shooting confetti, or taking snap shots of the dragon dancers further down the line. But, this little girl was mesmerized by the flight of the balloon and for the three minutes the balloon was in view,  her attention was completely devoted to it.

I think that as adults we get too wrapped up in the bigger things, the explosions, the colour, the light, etc. We fail sometimes to take pleasure in the smaller things. However, thanks to that little sheep, I was reminded of the little, yet simple pleasures that I miss and how much more entertaining they can be.

Ducks in a Row

Ducks in a Row
Ducks in a Row

It has been quite some time since I have had an opportunity to visit the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, NY.  And, at the first opportunity to do so, I leapt at the chance. I had always enjoyed the zoo visits I made when I lived in Syracuse, as it allowed me the opportunity to explore a bit of the exotic.  Further, it allowed me to bring a slightly different flavour of content to my images. So, at the suggestion to visit the zoo with some friends, I quite literally got my ducks in a row, jumped into my car and hit the highway.

Without fail, the trip to zoo filled me with excitement and wonder and I couldn’t keep my camera from my eye. It was a joy to be among the various aquariums, and underwater life, among the birds of the aviary, the primates, and other species of animals. I am certainly no Tarzan, but I am pretty sure as I made my way through the twists and turns of the zoo, the animals were all whispering to themselves — boys, and so as to not sound politically incorrect,  girls, he is back,  strike a pose! At least, that is the thought which consumed my mind when I shot the photograph in this post — Ducks in a Row. Though it may appear so, the composition was not posed. I literally walked upon two ducks roosting in and on a log, one atop the other. Thankfully, they were not bothered by the sound of my shutter release going off nor my indulgence in trying to to organize the elements in the frame both vertically or horizontally. Thus, I was able to accomplish the photograph shown here.  Although, I took numerous other photographs while meandering through the zoo, that stands out as one of the more outstanding images i shot that day simply because of its idiomatic undertones.

In all it was a good day at the zoo, and I can’t recommend the Rosamond Gifford Zoo enough as it never fails to delight. But, as most start to get their New Year’s resolutions together and to focus on what needs to be accomplished, I am probably the only one who can argue figuratively as well as literally, I got all my Ducks in a Row.

 

Wine and Amaryllis

Wine and Amaryllis
Wine and Amaryllis

What better way to spend a wet Christmas Eve evening but with wine and amaryllis. A rather uncommon weather condition resulted in a soggy, rather than a snowy, Christmas.  And while visiting some friends during the holiday season, I sat in the living room area where they were amaryllis on display.  The blossoms were way to inviting to ignore and thus I decided to work on some compositions.

Although I had first started by taking frontal shots, I found the composition to be a little too common and limiting. I also found the lighting to be less than flattering. So, I first started by introducing some flash into the image. The idea was to open up the dark areas with a little flash.  However, once I got comfortable with the images and the level of light I was introducing into the scene,   I couldn’t help moving around the scene to get a different perspective.  I first started in the front, and then on the side. I tried isolating the amaryllis alone  as well as isolating the wine glass alone.  I tried introducing hands into the shot to help draw some interest as well.

The one perspective which caught my attention however was the aerial position which I utilized in the image  present in this image. It allowed a different way of visualizing the amaryllis and the glass of wine in a manner which I had never explored before. Further, it allowed me to present the items in a pleasing and interesting manner.

It was not really the intention of the evening but what started with an evening  visiting a friend for the Christmas evolved in a simple photo shoot which involved wine an amaryllis. And, after numerous experiments with lighting, perspective and composition resulted in the aerial scene shown in this post which to me was the most pleasing of the bunch.

 

 

Greenport, NY – Moments in Time

Greenport Bicycle
Greenport Bicycle

Here is a little tip; If you ever get the opportunity to take a trip out to the East end of long island and  to visit the village of Greenport, NY, don’t hesitate; Take It!  The experience itself is  well worth it as it has a very relaxing atmosphere.  But what also makes it intriguing, is that Greenport attempts to preserve the little qualities that a lot of the surrounding areas have lost due to over development and heavy commercialization.  And, through the next few paragraphs and through the illustrations I will attempt to explain how it is I ended up with the title of this post – Greenport, NY – Moments in Time.

Due to its narrowly paved streets and closely connected buildings it is not recommended to drive through the main shopping area of Greenport. Now, I don’t say that to put of any would be visitors. But, the offerings of this quaint little town are best explored on foot or bicycle. It is more of a pedestrian town and to truly enjoy it, you have to be prepared to slow down. Once you can accomplish that, you will quickly realize there is lots to experience.

From its antique carousel which dates back to the 1920s, its one room town jail, its 1950s displays in some of its shops, to its modern day marina  which sits out on the bay from Greenport,  the town offers little hints into the influences of its past and present. Through my visits, I was only able to capture a small portion of the Greenport life through my lens.  Some of the best attractions were not easily captured through a visual medium because they stimulate other senses – the smell of the different cuisines and the salty air, the sound of the breaking of the waves on the shore line, the cool breezes from the bay…

The true highlight for me which is not captured in any of the pictures was the camera obscura which looks out onto the bay. Unfortunately, the nature of the room made it difficult, if not impossible to capture the experience in the photographic room of the device. But, it was like watching high definition TV being created by sunlight.

Unfortunately, with the shift of Summer into Fall, a lot of these  outdoor attractions and activities will disappear for a while. The carousel will be stopped, the marina will slow down and the streets will be less frequented. But that will be only be temporary as the town goes into hibernation. However, in the Spring its doors will again swing open to allow other visitors to the village of Greenport, NY. And through their experiences, they too will understand why I recommend visiting the village of Greenport, NY.

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts
Bleeding Hearts

Memorial Day was established as a day of reflection for those who died in the U.S. Civil War. However, it has expanded to recognize the soldiers who have lost their lives in other confrontations that the U.S. has engaged in.  Of course, for every soldier lost there is a grieving family. And, I could thing of nothing else which quickly and symbolically communicates their loss than the Bleeding Hearts flower.

As depicted in this post, the Bleeding Hearts is a flower which has an uncanny shape like a heart. And, as it matures, the pointed end of the flower peels back to expose a white, pointy, bud-like shaped part of the flower which resembles a tear drop. Thus, we have the bleeding heart.

Normally, these flowers can range from red to pink in colour and may have variations in between. Contradicting its otherwise upbeat mood, I selectively chose to remove the colour to communicate otherwise. Instead, I chose to emphasize the sadness of Memorial Day in recognition of the fallen.

So, in a less festive and more spiritual recognition of Memorial Day, I have made two variations of the Bleeding Hearts available free for download as desktop wallpapers – Bleeding Hearts Black & White and Bleeding Hearts Colour.  If you wish to receive a signed and dated print feel free to contact me for details. I only plan to produce 25 prints of either variant – colour or black and white.

Weeping Clown

Weeping Clown
Weeping Clown

On the same day I visited New York City and caught sight of the Naked Cowgirl, I also took notice of another odd character in the Times Square area. It was part Easter Bunny,  part clown and part man. So confusing was this character that I had no definitive way to describe him or it. In fact, it wasn’t until I caught him with the most depressed expression I had ever seen on a street performer that I chose to dub him the weeping clown.

At first glance, I thought he was one of the usual street performers dressed up as an Easter Bunny. After all, he head two protrusions jotting out of his head like bunny ears, a completely white costume, and although it is not apparent in my photo, a fuzzy, white, fluffy tail. To top of the illusion of a 5′ 6″ rabbit, he walked around with a 12 inch carrot in his hand. So, this was a bunny rabbit, right?  Well it got a little more confusing.

The costume was accentuated with a bright orange brief case which read – Clown ToTo. It wasn’t clear what the contents of the brief case was but it was kind of odd to have an Easter Bunny walking around with a briefcase. Further, under closer scrutiny, I realized that the protrusions on his head were merely balloons being masqueraded as ears.  Also, another unique characteristic of his costume was his shoes. They were the type only seen on cartoon characters due to their enormous size.  Oh and less I forget, there was also facial paint which was used to decorate the face.  Ok, so we now have several elements which suggest this was indeed a clown.

The last observation of this character was the expression.  The face of someone who has had a classical bad day and who’s expression only adds to the comical view of this character. An image that you can’t help but laugh at.

All together, there is no singular term which correctly describes this character. I myself may be wrong in  the description I have settled on. Is he a clown, an Easter Bunny, a man? Whichever one of these correctly describe him, I have chosen to refer to him as the weeping clown.

Naked Cowgirl

Naked Cowgirl
Naked Cowgirl

One of the most interesting franchises I have ever heard of is that of the Naked Cowboy. The term Naked Cowboy is trademarked by Robert Burck. However, he licenses the name to persons who wish to make  use of the brand.  A search on the internet  for a Naked Cowboy in Times Square will only reveal one, Mr. Burk, as he has defended his trademark fervently.  But, a similar search for a Naked Cowgirl on the other hand results in numerous results. This post is about the other half of the Naked Cowboy franchise, the Naked Cowgirl.

By no means is the Naked Cowgirl depicted in my photo the original.  The title of original Naked Cowgirl goes to Cindy Fox, who is a professional fitness trainer. But ever since the advent of the Naked Cowgirl, there have been several licensed  and unlicensed Naked Cowgirls. The one depicted in this post is one of the licensed ones, Alex.

I took this photograph on a previous visit to Times Square  and caught her while she was entertaining on the corner of 43rd St and 7th Avenue.  For those who are unfamiliar with this area of Manhattan, it is more commonly referred to as Midtown. It is one of the busiest sections in New York City frequented by tourists, street performers and native New Yorkers alike.

Along with her counterpart, the Naked Cowboy, she often welcomes visitors and takes group shots with those wishing to get a memento of their encounter with her. In my experience, the nature of the shots can range from  a basic friendly encounter to being a bit provocative. Of course, for every group shot taken there is also the expectation of a tip but It is all in good fun and worth the time. Further, unlike other entertainers and guides who work the Times Square area there is never the feel of being hustled into taking a group photograph – taking a photography of any one of the naked representatives is free.

Although there has only ever been one Naked Cowboy, the Naked Cowgirl, the counterpart to the Naked Cowboy franchise, has had numerous representatives.  And,  it is hard to visit New York City and not bounce into either one of the naked representatives. Given that Naked Cowgirl is just as much a staple of the  New York City experience, I would recommend paying her a visit on your next trip and taking a group shot if you are up for it. But, if you do, remember, do tip generously.

Chicago Girl

Chicago Girl
Chicago Girl

Taking advantage of the nearly Spring like conditions present on Sunday I ventured into Midtown, Manhattan.  My goal was to visit the ICP – International Centre of Photography. But, I also decided to enjoy the day and explore the general area. It was through my exploration I came across the Chicago Girl.  Allow me now to digress and explain how I encountered her.

After taking time to visually digest the numerous photographs and journals of Robert Cappa on display at the ICP, I took the time to walk about and enjoy the ever hectic pace of the city, NY City.  I  chose to wonder about feeling confident in the fact that wherever I ended up, my smart phone would help me get out of it again –  provided it had sufficient power.  Five minutes later, after a pleasant stroll following the crowds of people walking about and making their way through the city, I landed in Times Square.  Or rather, Times Square landed on me. It never ceases to amaze me how much activity occurs at that one spot in Manhattan.  It is overwhelming, and it is not just the numerous tourists and vendors who trade in the area but also various performers – in costumes, with musical instruments, with flyers – all trying to garner some attention to what they are providing.  It is a Mecca of distraction, but in so doing it is also vastly entertaining.

It is among these street performers I met the Chicago Girl. I refer to her as the Chicago girl as she was handing out flyers for that well known Broadway play that goes by the same name – Chicago. And, like the actors who play on Broadway, she was handing out flyers while moving in a well crafted, choreographed manner.  That, I think, is what caught my attention – that she would put that much effort into distributing flyers. And, at that point, I couldn’t help but take photos of her in her street performance.

Because of the hustle and bustle of so many persons walking by, it was hard, no difficult, to capture her.  To make things even more frustrating, the one lens I could have used to have a more isolating effect – my 55-200 mm lens  – was left at home to save weight.  So, for a moment, I was fighting an uphill battle. That is, until, the crowd parted just enough for me to capture her and her alone on the street doing her usual performance. I caught the photograph in this post in an experience which can only be communicated as Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “Decisive Moment”.

Without a doubt I really enjoyed my Sunday tour of the city. I enjoyed the visit to the museum, the crowds, the activity. I enjoyed the street performers and yes even the visitors made the experience welcoming. But, overall, I have to admit, the Chicago Girl made the experience all the worthwhile.

Round and Round the Merry-Go-Round

merry-go-round
merry-go-round

There are some things that, once seen, trigger nostalgic memories, of simpler and, what we always consider, better times. For some of us who grew up with carnivals and village feasts, visiting a fair filled with cotton candy, Ferris wheels, and Merry-go-rounds were a common sight.Visiting the NY State Fair last weekend thrust me back to into those memories especially when I saw the Merry-go-round.

The lights, the horses, the continual rotational movement was always fun and relaxing in spite of being monotonous. Certainly, they rides do not compare to what you would get at a place like Disney Land. But, I think being high-tech and exciting was never the appeal of a merry-go-round, that was never the point. It was fun because it simply appeals to a very basic desire to have uncomplicated fun.

That desire led me to take the photograph of this merry-go-round at the NY State Fair. It reminded me so much of those uncomplicated fun-filled days  that I enjoyed as a child and I wanted to capture the excitement of that moment. In using a slower shutter speed, I tried to capture the rotational movement of the ride and the exhilarating experience it’s riders would be enjoying. The lights which forms a natural appeal for the ride and most other carnival exhibits are emphasized here as they capture the circular pattern helping the ride seem almost like a flying saucer. And, it stands out as a marvel from the distance it was shot.

Indeed, their simple nature is one of the major appeals of merry-go-rounds. And, it is true that because of this, they do not stack up to more contemporary rides available in places as Disney Land when it comes to high-tech appeal. But, it is the lack of that characteristic which inspires people to get-in-touch with the nostalgic moments of their childhood and experience the exhilarating, uncomplicated fun of the merry-go-round.