Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Brothers Sojourn

My brother Mike and I rented a car and drove from Miami to Orlando last year. Our journey took us to a Buddhist Temple (Wat Dhammaram) in Kissimmee. We sat in the temple with Ven. Psunan, Head Monk, after a tour of the grounds. He spoke to Mike with a quiet voice, broken english, but with certainty. I was made aware of the Noble Eightfold Path, The Four Noble Truths and a brief history of the life and original teachings of (Siddhartha Gautama) Buddha. An enlightening visit it was. I was definitely in a reflective mood as we drove back to Port Saint Lucie. More about my purpose and goals. However, the extremely simple life, I have concluded, is definitely not for me...

I bought my Nikon D200 later that week.

Technical Info: July 31, 2006. Nikon D50, f/5.6, Shutter 1/50, ISO1600. Adjusted in Aperture and grains added in PS CS2.

Monday, October 15, 2007

My Muse...

For centuries depictions of the human figure were prized more highly than those of still-life, animals or landscape, and from the Renaissance onward anatomy became a staple of the artist's training. A very dear friend of mine had a desire to have a photo session of this nature, so I made use of the opportunity. This was my first attempt at FigureScapes. The session went well. We later made a Coffee Table Book with the images.

All images were shot with the Nikon D200, ISO800 using an 18 - 200mm Tamron lens.

"Torso" was shot at 2 seconds using f/5.6;

"Folded", 5secs @ f/8;

Both edited in Photoshop CS3, and grains added.

Friday, October 12, 2007

... And Puppy Dog Tails!

9am, Darliston, Westmoreland. Snails, of the Gastropoda class. They were everywhere. As I walked through the bush, I could hear and feel soft crunches under my feet. On the walls outside the house and the rails you could see long glistening trails of mucus as they journeyed along. There was nothing else to shoot, so hey... here we are!

I am actually fascinated by how they live, reproduce, grow that shell. I sat and watch this particular critter tote around the shell as he moved along the rusty rail. Click here to read more about snails if you are so inclined.

Tech Info: Nikon D200, Nikon 24 - 85mm lens @ 85mm, f/4, Shutter 1/15, ISO250

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Joy Bells Ringing...

"It doesn't matter whether or not a wedding has 5 or 500 guests. It may be held at the Queen's palace or under the coconut tree. Ceremonial act upon act may piece the day together or it may be devoid of every tradition in the book. Regardless of what type of wedding you have, it goes without saying that a wedding photographer is an absolute necessity.
"Pictures retell the story of the day over and over again for many years to come. The spontaneous reactions of pure joy, intimately absorbed glances, the frenzied excitement, and blissful calm - the camera should capture the most potent moments of the day. Not only should the photos represent the actions of the ceremony and reception, but they should also evoke the myriad moods and emotions expressed throughout the event. That is why it is so important to find a photographer with a skilled eye; one who knows how to capture those most memorable moments that will be shared and cherished for years to come." - Adapted & edited, WPA

With that said, I believe that capturing weddings can be one of the most nerve-wrecking experiences, as well as one of the most joyous, as a photographer. First, the couple put their trust in you to capture one of the best moments of their lives. No one usually intends to repeat that moment, so its important to get it all right the first time, and you certainly can't just say "Cut! Lets do this again!" On the other hand to capture the mood, a laughter, the setting, the emotions... these can be so fulfilling when you sit alone and review a job well done, and see how pleased the couple are at what you have presented.
Each wedding I do creates a spring board for the next. I review what I did and see what I could have done differently. And even though each experience presents its own characteristics, you are more aware and mentally prepared for the next. In time it becomes second nature. The images here are from just a few of the weddings I have done so far this year, that I have really enjoyed. Trudy & Asif, Keisha & Chad, Denise & Harold and Teka & Gyasi.

Tech Info:
Trudy: aperture f/4.5, shutter 1/20, ISO400, fl @ 28mm
Keisha & Chad: aperture f/11, shutter 1/80, ISO800, fl @ 32mm
Denise & Harold: aperture f/5, shutter 1/60, ISO800, fl @ 50mm
Teka-Ann: aperture f/5.6, shutter 1/50, ISO400, fl @ 42mm
All shot with a Nikon D200 and edited in Aperture & Photoshop CS3

Nuts & Track

Sept 29, 2006. Bog Walk Gorge, St. Catherine, Jamaica. 6:30am. The fog was nice and thick when we step onto the tracks. Half an hour earlier the bauxite train had passed transporting its wares. Thats the only user of the railway tracks, as the Jamaica Railway Service has long been defunct. Eddie, Stefi and I walked about a mile to the entrance of the tunnel that continued a few miles through the hills. We shot a few rounds of everything in sight, different angles. Separate from composition and texture what I found interesting was that at this moment, the metal track needed the lumber for support, while its was obvious it would way out last the lumber... Indeed, we all have a purpose.

'Nuts & Track'
Tech info for the shot above: Nikon D200, Nikon 55 - 200mm lens @ 55mm, f/4, shutter 1/60, ISO200. Converted to B&W in Aperture, and contrast enhanced in PS CS2 using the 'Curves' tool.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Puff, Puff... Pass.

In my opinion, Jamaican inner cities (aka Ghettos) seem like little worlds all to themselves. The people seem to live by a set of unsaid rules, and a perceived freedom to operate differently from constitutional guidelines.

Rastafarians in these communities take it to the next level, with their philosophical and religious bantering. We sat beneath a 'coolie plum' tree by the side of the dirt road and as they passed the chalice in the circle, I quietly (as I could) shot a few rounds. I didn't want to cause them to break from their religious hard talk. Maybe one day I'll get to sit with the area don... Just maybe.

Tech Info: June 25, 2006. Nikon D50, RAW, Tamron 18 - 200mm lens @ 45mm, -0.7 Exposure Bias, ISO200, shutter 1/100, f/5.3. Crop, colour, exposure & contrast adjusted in Photoshop CS2. I added grains to the final image for effect, which you may not be able to see here.

New Beginnings.

The images below in the last 2 posts, March of The Mushrooms & Puff, Puff... Pass signify my renewed spirit and interest in photography during 2006. They are a part of the collection I have displayed on SalfricoPhotography.Com, Chapter 1.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

March Of The Mushrooms...

Saturday morning, April 15, 2006, Stefi and I set out through the hills of St. Andrew to the St. Mary border. We got to Castleton Gardens when the sun was already established in the sky and we began to feel its wrath. The morning dew had long dried from the underbrush and I had no artificial replacement (a spray bottle with water, very effective).

I took a few rounds of the same-o flowers until Stefi spotted a log, partly hidden by bush in the distance. It was covered with mushrooms, and very intriguing. I coupled a x2 and x4 close-up filters on the 55 - 200mm lens for these shots, and place the camera on a tripod to keep the focus steady.

March Of the Mushrooms I

March Of the Mushrooms II

I have been back to Castleton gradens a few times since, but just not lucky to see the mushrooms in bloom again... Probably that was their last march.

Tech info: Nikon D50, Nikon 55-200mm lens @ 55mm, -0.7 Exposure Bias, ISO200, shutter 1/1000, f/5.6, shot RAW. Colour, exposure and contrast adjusted one stop each in Apple's Aperture.

Friday, October 5, 2007

And Then Came Photography...

I have always been interested in photography from high school as an art form, but at that time only guys from more affluent families could afford cameras. By the time I made it to college at age 17, my older brother Carl gave me my first fully manual SLR camera, the world renown Pentax K1000 for beginners. That camera was awesome! We became one! We went everywhere! And yes it got me way popular with the ladies...

The camera helped alot with finances during college; I did portraits, covered events... made a little money on the side. I became president of the Photo Club on campus, got me some experience in the darkroom, developing black & white film and making some pretty decent prints for exhibition. Funny thing is, I didn't do a lot of creative photography, and for years I shot weddings for friends and family, and did Portrait Packages for schools. In 2000, I had 2 Canon EOS Rebels (film) and studio lighting that all malfunctioned at the same time. Maybe the Y2K bug! That year I took leave of photography and worked with an Advertising Agency as a Graphic Designer. 

In 2006, I could afford to purchase the Nikon D200 which is currently my workhorse. I now have a renewed passion for the art of photography, and the digital age has made the physical darkroom a thing of the past (to a large extent as Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture have replaced it). As I said in a previous post, I am now exploring the beauty in not just people, but in everything around me. The small inconspicuous things that we tend to overlook, and magnify them so that many others can appreciate their beauty as well.

I have created a pretty basic site (SalfricoPhotography.Com) that shows the first set of images after buying my camera. I call it Chapter 1. Chapter 2 will take a much more creative twist, hence its slow and tedious in coming. This blog however will be more expressive, as I will only post photos that really intrigue me, for whatever reason, and I will be able to comment on them and give technical insights. So keep watching my blog as it develops...

Monday, October 1, 2007

35... and counting.

I made 35 just a few months ago, May 31 to be exact. Its seems like only yesterday I was 16... the images are still vivid. Now I sit here contemplating whats my next move and coming up blank. At 35 I still feel so very unaccomplished. My wife and my friends say am crazy as I am a 35yo Advertising Executive/Digital Media Producer. Bah! Whatever.

In retrospect, I think I have made some mistakes, nothing I would call life changing... Just perhaps things could have been done differently, that would have yielded a different result. Foreg:Sample I guess is my best accomplishment to date, and even that comes with its never ending amount of headaches and stress. Many times I feel to "lock shop", to go home and scratch my ass, hahah, but in the larger scale of things, I guess I am blessed. Not many people have the good fortune of having a marketable skill, especially in the frustrating economic times. So indeed I should stop and count my blessings.

Fallen Art Thou, O Mighty Dragon!

Dragonfly (Anisoptera), an insect of the Odonata Order. It sat on the mesh outside my office window, its wings vibrating intermittently. Its body pointed upward so I had to stand on a chair to capture this image from above. I got in real close, and still used the macro setting on the lens. I now know why it didn't fly away with me getting so close... it was dying. Later I saw it on the floor in the hall, and the cleaners threw it in the trash.

Tech info: Nikon D200 D-SLR, Nikon 24 - 85mm (f/2.8 - 4) lens @85mm (in Macro), f/5.6, +1 exposure bias, shutter 1/60, ISO400. Shot RAW and used Apple's Aperture 1.5 to up the contrast a bit.