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Streets of New York

Streets of New York

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(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 35 mm 1.4 l, f/2 iso 100 1/160 // buy print)

When we were in New York back in October, my wife and I took a day to wander the city. We started off in the West Village by grabbing a quiet little breakfast and then wandering down random streets, taking pictures of anything we thought was interesting.

There is something quite beautiful about an empty road. I loved the slight sprinkling of leaves, the bike, the shadows and the trees.

I focused on the manhole cover at f/2 to drop off focus in the background quickly.

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)

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)

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!

Autumn in New York

Okay, it’s not New York, it’s Phoenix…but really, this is Phoenix?

The first day of winter is tomorrow, but down here in the desert, fall is in full swing. I’m not entirely sure what kind of trees these are in the picture above, but along with the Chinese Elms and others, the leaves have suddenly started falling all around the downtown area and it’s just beautiful. Having lived in the outskirts of town for awhile, we don’t really see stuff like this too often. Fall leaves, sidewalks that aren’t right on the curb…it’s more like a place back east. I wasn’t expecting to see this at all…and it’s been a joy to drive up and down some of the smaller downtown streets, checking out the older houses and the fall colors.

The more I live downtown, the more I love discovering the awesome little secrets Phoenix has and the moments I can capture on camera.

Drink at the Duce

This is another shot from The Duce, a hidden gem in downtown Phoenix that we discovered a few weeks ago. The inside is crazy…there is a boxing ring, restaurant, vintage shop, bar, bleachers for Suns games and more. While the inside probably demands some HDR attention from me down the road, on this night I was focused mainly on grungy walls and alleyways, and the west side of the building was calling my name.

I absolutely love the sign on this wall, right down to the font and layout of the name of the building. The way the light from behind the metal cutout shows you not only the name, but some of the brick details behind it is awesome. That light also helped illuminate the area below it and highlight a few other things. There is just so much about this wall I loved…the textures in the bricks and doorway, the sidewalk, the vertical “drink” and the specks of light coming through the square windows on either side (which you can see better if you view the larger version).

I definitely would like to head back inside the place at some point to snatch some shots of the awesomely quirky interior.  The boxing ring is kind of stuck in my head and I know I must capture it someday.

The Blue Door

In my relatively young journey into urban exploration, the discovery of color in the midst of grunge and oldness is something to be treasured. Especially if it’s in contrast with the stuff surrounding it.

A pretty stark wall…dirty whites, grays and blacks make up the textures of the bricks and pavement, but all the plainness just enhances the pop that comes from the blue doorway.

What’s interesting about these old doors and alleyways that I find in downtown Phoenix is that most of them appear to still be used. The sign on this door looks like it was installed recently so I can only assume this loading dock sees frequent traffic. That sign actually bothers me, I almost tried to “Content Aware Fill” it away…but it didn’t look right and I also felt that wasn’t something I needed to start doing.

My urban exploration so far as been solely on the exterior of things. Because of that, I feel like I am doing a lot of these kind of images…finding awesome doors and walls and shooting them straight on. In my head I hear the words “cliche” pop up because everyone takes shots like these. But I still enjoy them and I like the framing. I have another one coming out later on that I love even more. What makes these unique is that they come from downtown Phoenix and may show people the urban portion of the older areas that haven’t been seen before. And for that I’m really enjoying this stuf.f

Soon I’m going to try to make headway into the interiors of the older buildings and see what happens.

Glowing Rails

(Canon Rebel XSI, Tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, ISO 100, 8-exposures, F8)

Back three weeks ago when I realized it was going to be a nice sunset, I’d drive 5 minutes and be in the middle of the desert. Now I’m scrambling for places in downtown Phoenix that will compliment the gorgeous skies we get down here in the evenings and mornings.

My little family and I had been driving around downtown two weekends ago just exploring and seeing what kind of restaurants are there, shops, etc. Of course I was unconsciously more focused on things I could photograph, but when isn’t that true? We passed these tracks and I just knew I had to come back sometime.

By the way, the cardinal rule about never leaving a sunset until it’s well past the sun actually going down is so very important. As the sun disappeared on this night, the high clouds that were hanging around all afternoon suddenly appeared to vanish. I was like “UGH! They were amazing, why did they just go POOF like that? Argh, better drive around and see what else I can find to shoot while I’m here.” Sure enough, I found something that I’m extremely excited to post at a later time, but as I was snapping the shutter I saw the sky. Wow…all the clouds were back and they were on fire.

Obviously they had never left, but the sun going down made them blend in with the sky for a few minutes before they got nailed with that amazing light. Don’t. Give.Up.On.Your.Sunset.

I love the train tracks in this photo more than anything…the way they were shiny enough to reflect the sky was remarkable. Next time though I think I’d like to be further down the tracks, closer to that bridge you see in the distance.