Winter Storm Thor; Blog Update

First off, please excuse the new bare-bones blog theme. ¬†I’m currently shopping around for a premium theme to make the most out of my blog in 2015, but I want to make sure I’ve found the perfect one. ¬†In the mean time, I needed some sort of change.

Winter was something I definitely did¬†not¬†have to deal with last year when I lived in Los Angeles. ¬†This was not the case for 2014-2015. ¬†I would even go out on a limb to declare it the worst winter I’ve experienced since 2006-2007 (because I didn’t live here last winter). ¬†Winter makes it hard for me to do¬†anything. ¬†Apparently¬†I become some sort of hibernating animal, and I only emerge when completely necessary. ¬†Needless to say, I stepped away from the camera for two months because I stepped away from my life (I believe this is called Seasonal Affective Disorder). ¬†I’m really looking forward to dealing with that next year, since it’s not something I can ever truly do again.

March actually came in “like a lion” in the shape of Winter Storm Thor, which decided to remind the East Coast that although it¬†was¬†the month of March, it was still in fact, Winter. ¬†This season was filled with false predictions of large snowfall totals for Philadelphia (sorry, Boston), so I did not expect I would be¬†shoveling my car out from a¬†foot of snow on March 5; but that is what I did. ¬†And then I bit the bullet and went outside with my camera:

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Shoshana Bean at The Federal Bar

She’s back! ¬†This past week, recording artist Shoshana Bean returned to the Los Angeles music scene with two electrifying shows: one at Hollywood’s The Hotel Caf√© and another at North Hollywood’s The Federal Bar & Grill. ¬†Bean has used her time off to write new music, and the new tunes don’t disappoint. ¬†In my opinion (slightly biased), they are some of her best material.

Check out a few of my photos from her gig at The Federal below. ¬†If you’re in the Los Angeles area during April or May, Shoshana has two upcoming residencies: Mondays in April at JJ’s in Los Angeles and Saturdays in May at The Hotel Caf√© in Hollywood. ¬†Check ShoshanaBean.com for more info!

All photos were on the 7D, with Canon EF 85mm ƒ/1.8 USM.

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EXPOSURE Series – Grant Stivers

Here we go.  The first of (hopefully) many instances in which I will be highlighting talented photographers around my age with the goal of showing anyone starting out that you can do it!  If there is enough interest in this project, I will be moving it off of my personal blog and into its own entity.

Grant Stivers

I found Grant’s work while browsing the “Young Photographers Los Angeles” pool on Flickr. ¬†When I looked at the description box, my mouth dropped open; Grant Stivers shoots film with a manual-focus SLR. ¬†The images he creates are beautiful: perfect exposure with a real understanding of composition, and he does it all for fun. ¬†Grant is 24 years old and hails from Peachtree City, Georgia. ¬†He works full-time in Television production and currently resides in Los Angeles. ¬†Read on to hear about Grant’s reasoning behind shooting color film, why he picked up a camera in the first place, and what his favorite gift from his mother was.

Continue reading EXPOSURE Series – Grant Stivers

Up in the Gym, Just Working on Your Fitness

It’s been a crazy few weeks for me, at least in my personal life. ¬†Within that manic stretch of time, I got to do a fun beach shoot with Danielle Montezinos. ¬†Like myself, Danielle recently relocated to L.A. from New York City. ¬†We met through a mutual friend out here and found out that not only did we graduate from the same college, but we also lived in the same part of Astoria when we were in New York. ¬†She is a brilliant actress and comic (you can visit her website here), as well as a fitness instructor. ¬†This was my first time doing a fitness shoot, and it really puts it all into perspective: I have become¬†crazy out-of-shape.

The original shoot date was rained out; one of the few occasions this winter on which it has actually rained in Los Angeles (big drought out here).  We re-scheduled to a much warmer and significantly sunnier Wednesday, February 12.  I shot Danielle at two locations: alongside the promenade on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, CA, and on Santa Monica State Beach.

Equipment: Canon 7D; Canon 85mm ƒ/1.8 USM & Sigma 10-22mm ƒ/4-5.6 EX DC HSM (which is suddenly becoming one of my more favorite lenses, especially when paired with a speedlite)

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Facebook Celebrates “Humans of New York”

If anyone has been feeling down lately; be it a slump in clients or feeling like you’ve hit a creative dead-end, I recommend watching this short video.

I was first directed to Brandon Stanton’s Facebook page in 2012 by my friend Jacqui while I was waiting for another friend at a bar. At this point in my life, I had already been a “Human of New York” myself. ¬†I had recently relocated to Philadelphia from New York City, but I hadn’t heard of Stanton or what he had set out to accomplish. Scrolling through my iPhone that evening, I realized how many individuals I waltzed on the streets of New York, uninterested in the fact that each of these passersby had stories to tell.

Brandon Stanton is a photographer with a clear vision. ¬†The genuine connection he establishes with his subjects is inspiring to me. ¬†I recently purchased the¬†Humans Of New York¬†book, published by St. Martin Press. ¬†Just like on Facebook, I am reminded of my home with each turn of the page. ¬†“Oh! ¬†I’ve totally seen that guy in Times Square,”¬†“I definitely know what that woman means!”¬†etc. ¬†Anyone is game to stand in front of his camera: Stanton has photographed toddlers, the elderly, the homeless, and the wealthy. ¬†His efforts have given the world a true cross-section of what it’s like to live in New York.

Stanton moved to New York City in 2010 with no money and no job, but he had his camera; and he had the streets of New York. On a daily basis he would approach someone in New York and connect with them. Not only was he taking their picture, but he genuinely cares about who they are, where they came from, and what they are feeling. Initially, Mr. Stanton intended on creating a “photographic census” of the City that never sleeps. ¬†His vision was to attach each photograph to a map of New York City, an interactive experience which would allow users to really “see” into their own neighborhoods. ¬†Frustrated with the lack of exposure, Stanton turned to Facebook Pages (which was in its infancy at this point). ¬†The Facebook platform allowed a direct link to the socially-connected world. ¬†As of today, the “Humans of New York” Facebook page has over 2.9 million likes.

I urge everyone to take a look at Humans of New York‚Äď‚Äďespecially if you have spent time in the city. ¬†It will undoubtedly inspire you.

Humans of New York is available on Amazon.com for as low as $15.88 (if you’re a Prime member).

 

NoHo or Bust

January turned out to be a little bit sluggish for me in the shooting department. ¬†Lots of business preparation, and then a lot of other things that had nothing to do with photography (check the other blog if you’re super curious). ¬†Anyway, I decided to climb out of my month-long hole of nearly zero creative expression by shooting my friend Kristina outside of one of North Hollywood’s creepiest landmarks‚Äď‚ÄďCircus Liquor. ¬†Circus Liquor (located on Burbank & Vineland) has a huge neon clown sign beckoning the San Fernando Valley to buy some whiskey. ¬†It was famously featured in the 1995 film¬†Clueless,¬†specifically the scene in which Cher is robbed at gunpoint returning from a “Val Party.” ¬†I also shot Kristina in Studio City, behind the old Bookstar (now owned by Barnes & Noble).

The shoot: I’ve really been into the whole street punk look. ¬†Reminiscent of the 1980s; think Debbie Harry of Blondie. ¬†I think Kristina really captures it effortlessly. ¬†All images were shot on the 7D, lit with a 430EX II Speedlite mounted with a soft box connected to an ETTL cord.

P.S. – I would like to take a moment just to appreciate the detail she put into her eyeliner.

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How To Shoot Great Concert Photos Using a Point-and-Shoot

I love shooting live music.  I really really love it, and I was doing it for years before deciding to make it my living.

My first ever rock concert was No Doubt at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. ¬†I walked into the club with one disposable camera and used it up within the first three songs (one of those photos can be seen¬†here). ¬†Capturing that memory forever is something I still look back on, and it sparked my initial interest in live music photography. ¬†For most, seeing a favorite artist live is an event they want to capture themselves‚Äď‚Äďit adds a personal touch to the concert going experience. ¬†But this is a practice that has been botched way too many times by those who have no freaking clue what they are doing. ¬†I urge you: If you’re going to take pictures at a concert, do it the right way. ¬†Say goodbye to zooming all the way on your iPhone to get a fuzzy outline of your favorite performers. ¬†You will now be an ace at photographing concerts on your compact camera (remember that thing? ¬†Before your¬†iPhone?).

I’m going to break this down into three major portions: 1) Selecting a camera for the concert, 2) Shooting the photos, and finally 3) Post-processing. ¬†

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