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Aussie’s have big lenses…and other pictures

I’ve talked about it enough on Twitter and Facebook, but last week my wife and I went on a four-day trip to New York City. The primary reason for this little jaunt was to take a little vacation together, but also to meet some of my favorite people in the world. In the last year or two, I’ve become great friends with a group of photographers that are based all over the place…Seattle, California, Canada…and a bunch who are up in the New England area. So we planned this epic meetup.

And amazingly, it actually happened. Somehow, someway…all of us, from different states and countries, made it to NYC for an insane day of shooting and hanging out.

The title of this blog post is meant for Jacob Lucas, an Australian “bloke” living in Seattle. It may have been the story of the trip, but he dragged along his massive 400mm lens to shoot with. I mean, he fit that thing into his backpack and walked around NYC with it. All day. A stud.

The photo above is one of my favorites from the trip. You can see myself and the Manhattan Bridge in the reflection. And I love that Jacob is smiling in the background. The 35mm 1.4 gave me a cool distortion, making it feel like Jacob was waaay off in the background. Of course, that 400mm was so big, this isn’t THAT far off from the truth.

So this is the first of two blog posts with images of these awesome guys and our adventures in NYC.

Before the epic day of shooting took place, we met for dinner at Da Rosina’s…where good food and good drinking took place. This first picture is of Jesse Pafundi and his beautiful wife Dani, who helped set up this dinner and get things organized for the next day. I love Jesse’s passion for photography and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve over the last year. If you live on Long Island and need a lifestyle or wedding photographer, hit him up!

Here is Jacob shooting with old Mayima film camera that belongs to one Heath O’Fee.

And speaking of Heath…here he is with his wife Brei. They flew in from Canada on the Tuesday before this Friday dinner and he shot the crap out of NYC. I love, love, love this guy…his portrait work has really gotten amazing and I’m starting to get jealous of the work he does.

Now this is Brian Furbush…whom is one of the funniest guys I know. He also takes great pictures. Of course, that depends on whether or not his 5D Mark II can focus or not. Here he is trying to make it work at dinner.

He recently took a fairly epic, epic shot of the RFK Bridge in NYC. Check it out when you get a chance. He was huge part of getting the dinner and Saturday photowalk put together, so a big thanks to not only Jesse, but Brian as well. You guys were awesome.

A shot of Heath with his Mayima. That thing’s shutter click was more manly than anyone else’s Nikon or Canon.

My buddy Chris DeAngelis was there too…and sadly not pictured at dinner. I have a shot of him below. An amazing guy, was awesome to meet up with him.

Saturday morning…after none of us got more than 4-5 hours of sleep, we met up at the Brooklyn Bridge Park for a sunrise shoot. We ended up being there for an hour or two, and then went off to breakfast.

But here are some pictures from our time in the park. It’s kind of funny how when you get tired of shooting bridges, or the light gets bad, you suddenly turn your camera on the people you’re with. We did a ton of shooting each other on this trip and it was a lot of fun.

Here is Jesse setting up a shot.

Heath posing for me.

Here’s DeAngelis. I mean, if there is a nicer guy on the planet than Chris, I’d have a hard time believing it. A great guy, great father…and I wish I had gotten to talk to him a bit more. Next time for sure man, especially when you come to AZ next year!

Jacob

Heath with the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan in the background.

Here’s Jesse Instagram-ing…which we all did constantly.

Jacob

Jesse

Heath and Jesse

Finally, another shot of Jacob

Stay tuned for part two…where guys like Brian Matiash, Scott Wyden and Rich Williams make appearances.

Downtown Tempe Photowalk – June 10th

It’s time for another photowalk…this time we’re bailing on downtown Phoenix and hitting up downtown Tempe, the Mill Avenue Bridges, the Light Rail and Tempe Town Lake! A gorgeous place to shoot, I’m really hoping we get some clouds at sunset because that can be pretty spectacular. I took the photos in this post on December 29th, 2009. Both back in my overprocessing HDR days, but they hold some fond memories for me. I mean, I just left the house to go shoot that night, it had been planned a week before, and when I arrived at this little parking lot for the photo above, the sky was already changing colors and I rushed to capture one of the more amazing sunsets I’ve ever seen here. Just a great night.

SOooo…here are the details of the walk:

Downtown Tempe Photowalk

When: June 10th, 2011

Time: 6:45pm until whenever

Where: I’m choosing this parking lot on the north side of the lake because of the great views of the city it offers looking south. Then we can walk over the bridges and shoot in Tempe. This MAY change, so make sure to email me or call me to verify. Map of the location.

Cost: Nothing…maybe food, coffee, whatever.

What to Bring: The camera gear you want…tripods, backpacks, maybe some bottled water or a snack.

Fill out the form below and let me know if you are coming!

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Urban Phoenix Photowalk

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Warped

(yo…the image gets bigger if you click on it…try it out)

Last month about 20 of us got together for a little downtown Phoenix photowalk and it was simply a blast. Especially when we all stopped to eat at Five Guys…holy moley that place is good.

I owe this shot to one of the other photographers with us that night. I wish I could remember her name, but I suck. I saw her standing by a fence looking into this place, so I wandered over to see what was up. What an amazing spot. The first thing I thought of was that I wanted a bride and groom standing in the middle of these warped tiles with that fantastic old windowed-wall behind them.

Of course, that wasn’t going to happen on such short notice, not to mention the chain link fence surrounding this wide open area. So I tossed that idea away and concentrated on getting something sans models.

The 50mm was perfect for shooting through this fence, so I got low to the ground and tried to pull in the amazing shadows going on from some off-camera street lights.

Now I gotta send some love to my boy Brian Matiash. He *hearts* a filter called “Cyberpunk” in Phototools. He uses it a lot, it’s kind of his signature style. It doesn’t always work for me with my landscape/stormy subject matter anyways, but I tend to stay away from it because…well…I don’t like stealing someone else’s mojo.

Of course, when I do, I like to give credit. I loved this image when I was processing it, but it just lacked something special. For some reason I thought “Cyberpunk” and splashed that dude on there and bam, it was right. I masked out a bit of it around the tiles, but wow I loved what it did to the pavement and background building.

Two final things on this beautiful Friday with me heading home early from Vegas:

1. If you get inspired by someone or borrow heavily from stuff they do…be a man (or woMAN) and give some friggin’ credit. There is nothing worse than passing off something as your own when you deep down inside know you saw it on some guy’s website, or a webinar, or whatever. Make your momma proud.

2. It’s Follow Friday on Twitter, so in the spirit of that, you guys should follow Sarah Fisch because…holy crap I LOVE her landscape work.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, iso 400, f/2.5)

Reminder: Urban Phoenix photowalk this weekend!

This Saturday night (March 26th) is the Urban Phoenix Photowalk: Night Edition. You can read more about it by clicking here and if you want to join us, just register via the form at the bottom.

We have a bunch of people showing up, including a guy driving in from Yuma just to join us! It’s going to be a fun night…I think we’ll have a chance at a nice sunset down by the railroad tracks and then we’ll wander around downtown until we all feel like we need to rest our weary feet with a few brews at Coach & Willy’s.

There wont be any official plan or instruction, but there are plenty of photographers with a wide range of skills, so we can all help each other out with any questions or problems!

I’m also planning on doing a little off-camera flash shots here and there…just to practice. I learned a bit in the last week and would love to get better at it. I’ll also be doing some HDR bracketing of course and whatever else comes to mind.

Hope to see you there!

Terry’s Bug

(image looks a wee bit sexier if you click on it to view in lightbox)

This bug was one of the first arrivals at a car show the morning of our February 5th Urban Phoenix Photowalk. The sun wasn’t even up yet when we wandered through here and there were quite a few of us grabbing shots of this sweet ride.

I’ve always had a fondness for Beetles even though I never owned one. I was friends with a girl in high school who for some reason had an awesome tripped out blue Bug that I got to ride in a few times. I always thought that thing was cool.

So a quick story about the Bug in the picture. The owner was standing around, but none of us got his name or information. When I was processing this photo, I zoomed into the little decal on that rear quarter-panel window and got the name of Wolfsburg Registry. Amazing resolution on this 5D.

Quickly I did a search, found the Wolfsburg website, clicked on photos and voila, there’s a shot of this bug. The caption under it read “Terry’s Rassy taking in the day.

No idea what a “rassy” is…I thought it was perhaps a special type of Bug, but I couldn’t find anything. I’m so very NOT a car guy, so perhaps one of you out there has an idea.

I tried to register on the site, but it’s pretty locked down, so I saw the name of the photographer, tracked him down to Facebook, sent him a message and haven’t heard back.

I’m just hoping he’s one of those guys who only checks Facebook once a month and will eventually write me.

I love this shot of his car. The Heritage Square area of downtown Phoenix is absolutely beautiful and he picked a perfect place to park his bug.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/4, iso 100)

The Shadow

There was really only one choice for this week’s Movie Title Wednesday when it came to this picture. I actually don’t remember much about The Shadow other than it was a sort of old 1940’s superher noir kind of film and it had Alec Baldwin.

One scene that did stand out to me was that hidden building on some corner…the lot looked abandoned to anyone walking by, but that was just masking this giant skyscaper. I also remember thinking the Shadow’s powers were kind of cool…but darn it I’m writing this fast on the road and haven’t had time to get the plot refreshed in my mind.

This image was taken during this past weekend’s photowalk in downtown Phoenix. Part of the fun of a photowalk is just observing what’s around you and snapping shots without any prior planning. While I was paused taking a picture of a doorway, I looked over and saw this. In fact, I wasn’t the only one because I was asked by at least two other photogs to FREEZE in place so they could snap a few shots of my shadow.

Herbiette

If there ever was a Love Bug, it would be Herbiette, this fuchsia colored Volkswagen Beatle that we saw during our Urban Phoenix Photowalk on Saturday morning.

I was worried all week about this photowalk because the weather called for clear skies up until 5am that morning. When I scheduled the thing for that early in the day (6am), part of me is hoping we’ll get some amazing morning colors to shoot in the background of our city shooting. As luck would have it, we were all treated to a beautiful sunrise.

At the same time as our walk, there was an old car show forming at Heritage Square. It wasn’t starting until 9 or 10, but a few beauties arrived by 6:30, including this shiny VW Bug. What a combination of the car color and the sky behind it. The focal point is on the headlight at f/4.0 with the 50mm that I love so much. When I’m shooting in the city, I love getting low with the 50 and finding lines that enhance the depth of  my images. I unfortunately hadn’t shot around Heritage Square before, but it was an awesome place and I’m glad we swung by it on our tour of the downtown Phoenix area.

Speaking of the photowalk…we had a total of 18 people! What a blast too…met a ton of amazing photogs and great people. Some of them, like Trevor Dayley, I’ve become great friends with on Twitter/Facebook, but we had never met in person until Saturday (check out some of his shots here). We also had some portrait photographers who were a little nervous exploring the Phoenix alleyways by themselves, so were pumped to be able to do it with a large army of friends. Some of the guys from our first walk in December, like Rick (his first photo here), Ken, Chris, Ed, Chris and Denver, all showed up again. I also finally met John Stolarski (one of his shots here), who apparently worked at the same AMC theater I did in the 90s…only we missed each other by about a year. Crazy.

I’m thinking our next one will be in March and possibly explore a different area…like historic Glendale. I’ve heard it’s a nice place to shoot and I think I’d like to check it out sometime. There is also an upcoming opportunity at Vulture Mine Ghost Town, so we may schedule that first.

Thanks to everyone who came out on Saturday and braved the early time and cold weather! Hope to see you all again!

Missing

A shot from our downtown Phoenix photowalk back in late December. We’re doing another one on February 5th in case you missed it, you can find out more information right here.

Doing a photowalk is such a great way to just observe your surroundings and look for those subtle details that might look good as a picture. I think we oftentimes have huge goals in mind like getting to that crystal clear lake for a sunset shot, or some amazing waterfall, or the Grand Canyon, etc…because we get it stuck in our brain that we need something awesome like that to make a good photograph.

But you can find something to shoot anywhere…at anytime.

There is not much too this photograph. It was an old wall of bricks and I just noticed one was missing out of literally hundreds and hundreds and it moved me enough to want to shoot it. What I did do that day that is now carrying over to other things is I used my 50mm 1.4 a lot more for doing HDR images. And what I found a heck of a lot of fun was to setup a shot on my tripod, frame it, turn on Live View and then play with the manual focus to kind of see where I wanted my main focal point to be located in the scene.

For this image, I found putting that focused spot right on the corner of the far side of the empty space was perfect for what I was trying to do.

The Urban Phoenix Photowalk

Towards the end of 2010, a group of us got together and did a downtown Phoenix photowalk early one morning and had a great time. Starbucks coffee, gorgeous sunrise, illegal train track walking, chased away by imaginary cops…it was a ton of fun.

I’ve had people express a lot of interest in doing another one, so I’d like to start making a habit out of it. There is a ton to see and shoot in the urban Phoenix area and we could probably do a photowalk every month this year and still not get to everything.

So without further ado, here is the information on the next event!

The Urban Phoenix Photowalk

When: February 5th, 2011

Time: 6am

Where: Starbucks at the Arizona Center (map)

Cost: Parking…was $12 at the Arizona Center without Starbucks validation.

What to Bring?

Entirely up to you. Obviously a camera would be helpful. Since we’ll be starting off in in the dark hours before sunrise at around 7:20am, a tripod will be handy. Bring your lenses, flashes if you want, strobes, filters, backpacks, whatever you need to do what you want to do. And if all you have is a point and shoot, that’s totally okay!

I’d also suggest stashing a bottle of water and snack in your backpack too as we’ll be covering a few miles of walking without much of a break besides shooting.

For me, I’ll have the camera, 2-3 lenses, a few extra batteries, a tripod and probably a few odds and ends in my camera bag. Not much else.

Check the weather that morning to see if you need a jacket or anything…it was pretty chilly back in late December!

If you are interested, let me know via the form below! While there is no cost or need to really register, it’s good for me to know who is coming so we know who we have to wait for before heading out.

Let us know you’re coming!

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Sunrise photowalk in downtown Phoenix

A few of my photo buddies from Flickr and Twitter braved the chilly morning weather in Phoenix and joined me on a photowalk starting at the wee dark hour of 6am. We hit some great spots, but the one of the best was arriving at these railroad tracks right when the sunrise lit up for what amounted to maybe 5 minutes of stunning color before it vanished. I used my 50mm 1.4 on this shot instead of the usual 17-35mm that tends to dominate my landscape/urbex photos. I decided the night before that I would stick mainly to the 50 just to see what happened. I love that lens so much.

Below is a shot of most of the crew…Ed, Adam, Denver, Ken, Chris X 2, Rick…a great bunch of guys, we chatted along the way, saw some old buildings, creepy alleyways and even some light rail cars flying by.

The group now knows that me losing lens caps wasn’t just me blowing smoke. Nor is it confined to only lens caps. I left behind my brand new tripod bag in an alleyway and thankfully Denver ran across it. I am completely absent-minded sometimes, ugh. Thanks man.

Hope to see you guys all again very soon. I’m going to wait until people post more images from the day and then do a collaborative blog post later on.