I spent a lot of time wandering around the city at night with the infrared camera rig (with infrared flash). I am pretty much invisible with this rig, and most of the shots that I hope to post as an album were done in near total darkness.
I went to a crummy (sorry if you went there) city High School in the Bronx where the white kids were generally knocked around by the two larger groups, the blacks and the Puerto Ricans. In those days, political correctness hadn’t shown it’s face yet.
The school was divided into three distinct groups: blacks, Puerto Ricans, and about 10% white. So when I look at this homogeneous image it makes me wonder what my world would have looked like had I attended a prep school. I was lucky, because in my second year I became friendly with two black guys that were in the school band (I played trombone).
There were semi-official days, like – get Whitey Day. How we knew it was coming, I don’t know, but everyone knew about it, and we always figured out a way to stay away on that day. Towards the end of my days there, I was caught by a small gang of Puerto Rican kids that had me down on the ground and were taking turns smacking me in the face. It looked like curtains – until I saw – out of the corner of my eye – one of my black pals (we had become close friends) from the band – and there were a lot more of them then Puerto Ricans – and my friend yelled out, Hey – they got Beckerman.
He lead them into the fracas and it turned into an all out war. Nobody won or lost, but without their help I would have been badly hurt. As it is – my nose was bent to the right ever since that day.
You know, as I look back on those days now, I realize that I was actually in a preparatory school. It wasn’t preparing me to become a stock broker, or a financial whiz – but was preparing me for the real world in New York. I emerged from this racial whirlpool of hatred and gangs with the ability to judge people based on who they were – not on what they looked like. And somehow, that knowledge could be transfered to people from other races. But if you want to know what life is really like for kids – walk into any lunchroom and look at how kids have grouped themselves. I wonder what it must be like in the prep lunchroom.
I’ll even take this one step further – and say that the ability to read people is a helpful skill for an urban street photographer. If you tossed me out into a rural area, I suspect I’d be right back in that lunchroom.
Most of the colored images are done pretty quickly, a few days at most. Others, like this thing I’m working on Alice in Wonderland, are long slow work that could go on for months. This is the result of two days of work – off and on. It begins as a an infrared film shot; the sculpture is underexposed; and infrared shots of bronze are just about always underexposed; and it’s a poor choice to paint; but it’s also a good shot from the point of view of being a large negative, and all the details and characters are in a good position.
I think partly I chose it because it really is a difficult thing to tackle for many reasons.
Dreamscape also went on and on for at least a few months. Not because there was anything technically difficult, but because it was simply so open to interpretation that I kept going back to it with different color patterns; At one point all the lights were off. At another some were on, but there weren’t enough of them so I added about five or six. The sky was probably ten different hues before this shocking sort of tornado blue worked. I think, if I remember correctly that the final touch was giving the whole thing a subtle glow.
Its still quite a jump from eyecandy (awesome) to Wow that looks great on the wall.
It must be linked by money because as soon as I post a sale someone makes a purchase.
I’ve been working on a system so that different subjects can have different discounts.
The system is in place now, and working.
The idea is to give higher discounts for subjects that barely sell.
In this case Le’Maire giving 50% off STREET PHOTOGRAPHY. And 40% off everything else.
Should be interesting. So far I haven’t sold any street shots (just began today) and have sold two new York shots.
We’ll give it until August 1st and then have a reckoning.
PSS ITS ACTUALLY very granular. I could do it based on tags. For example all landmarks on sale!
Most searched for image: new York skyline and (yes you guessed it) EMPIRE STATE BUILDING.
Continuing to fool around with the Lens Correction (using is for distortion) in Lightroom 4.
When I posted this on G+ the most common question was: Is this a real Eagle? Now for anyone that’s familiar with Grand Central Terminal that seems like a whacked out question; but maybe if someone had showed me an image like this from a country that I had never been to, I might ask the same question.
The reason that the Eagle has that slightly living look is that I I stretched it out in Lightroom. And the artist did a great job of painting that neck and beak. It really does look slightly alive. Let me post the shot before I did anything with it. I’ll post the original before any post-processing, but I’ll tell you this – you get completely different reactions to the images depending on whether it’s G+, Tumblr, Facebook, or this blog. And it’s changed a lot over time (i.e. since G+ came on the scene.) For one thing – G+ opened the gates to kids.
Here’s the original shot before it got any post-processing.
And I’m not only talking about things like lust, but most of the deadly sins, and that these things are addressed in straight-forward rules of various religions as well as thelegal precepts of Constitutions and Declarations of Independence.
In other words, on one side you have all-powerful organized groups of people that swear allegiance to countries, and faith; and on the other hand you are tempted every day by advertisements that use the deadly sings to sell you everything from trips to Bermuda to Burgers. And they clash all the time in big urban centers like New York. Visually clash. On one side of the street are the wildly expensive government buildings, and churches attempting to keep you in line; and on the other side are media images which are every bit as powerful.
Sure, if you’ve been following the blog for a while, you might remember this shot. Law and Order, Criminal Intent was doing a show about a guy that blows up his house and I happened to be walking by (it’s a block from my house) when they had prepared this explosion.
And so – no tricks – it actually was done by the art designers – and it was set up so that they could do it a few times. The show opens with a little girl and her mother walking by the house. The girl drops her teddy bear – and goes back to get it. As she picks it up the house explodes.
I had meant to do this for a long time… haven’t made it public yet (unless you call this blog public)… but I’ve set up the technology so that I can easily pick a gallery and assign any sale price to it; or more than one gallery.
To start it off – without sending emails or anything – I’ve set it up so that anything in the Central Park Gallery gets 30% off.
I could do this based on tags (subjects) as well. How long to keep each one – dunno. That’s always a problem but I’m thinking about a week.
There is a setting on the Canon EOS T4i where it will take three shots and over- under- expose them and then put ‘em together, in other words HDR, in order to deal with typical backlit scenes like this one (the window was at least four stops over the interior of the bus).
It’s possible to use but difficult with moving people (same for any HDR) except that if you do your own HDR you have more control later in the post-processing in terms of dealing with movement. The other downside of the built-in HDR is that it gives you a JPG. Nevertheless, this shows it is possible to get something decent from it. I believe the shutter fires faster than when you do the usual bracketing. But I took about six shots, and this is the only usable one.
On the other hand, if you were out at night, and were going to photograph something static – you might want to use this internal HDR.