Tag Archives: new york city

How Good Are You? It’s Time You Found Out

So you like photography and think you take really good pictures. You’re friends list on Flickr all rave about how great you are. Your friends and family say you should turn pro. Are you really a great photographer? Are you ready?

The answer in all honesty is probably not YES. It might be yes…or sometimes..or hey I’m getting there. Then again it might be YES. You may be brilliant behind a camera and fantastic in post. If you really want to know how good you are, I have a suggestion. Go to www.pixoto.com and sign up. It’s free, it’s fun and it will give you a really good idea how you stack up.

What is Pixoto? It’s a photo community with a cool gimmick. Every photo you upload gets paired up in head-to-head “duels” with other photos in the same category. Users vote on the photo that they like best. There is no name associated with the photos, no way to know who took it so popularity goes out the window. You can’t game the system based on your personality. The cream rises to the top and the others photos don’t.

It’s a fun way to see how you stack up. There is some AMAZING work out there. If you have a photo that rises to the top of the leaderboards you know you have a winner. If it sinks like a rock on water, well maybe your grandmother will still like it. If you pay attention to the photos that do well you can improve your photography just by comparing your work. That my friends will help you more than any shiny award badge on Flickr ever will.

Enjoy the day.


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Happy Memorial Day

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Chrysler Building in the Sun – New York City, NY

I had a lot of issues with this shot. The scene was beautiful when I stumbled on it. The light was beaming through the glass and reflecting off of the Chrysler Building. I fired off 9 brackets because I knew I was shooting virtually into the sun, but no matter how I processed it, I couldn’t save the sky and building from looking “muddy.” I even tried to mask in the sky, but it looked wrong.

I almost threw it away and decided to try it in B&W. While It isn’t a good image, it worked better than color ever did. Removing the color fixed a bunch of the issues. Sometimes you just have to think outside of the box.

I may go back and reprocess the bracket set. Maybe I’ll try it in one of the other HDR programs like HDR Expose or Express. For now though, this works OK.

Have a great day everyone.

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Building Building Everywhere – New York City, NY

Man I love this city.

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Bright Lights – Big City – New York City, NY

When I packed for my recent trip to New York, I prepared for lots of conditions. I brought my Black Rapid strap for handheld trips. I brought my tripod for night shots. I brought my cable release for shooting long exposures. Multiple lenses, cards, cables and storage for backup.

What I failed to bring were gloves.

In February.

In New York.

Needless to say I was freezing trying to take this shot. I needed a longer exposure than I could get without going into bulb mode, so I had to hold the button on my trigger for minute after long minute. The wind felt like tiny razors punishing my stupidity. I guess you can take the boy out of Florida, but not Florida out of the boy.

Luckily I managed to endure long enough to get the shot. Looking back from the warmth of my office it was worth it.

Oh and the gloves? They were safe and sound. In my car. At the Buffalo airport.
I’m just clever that way.

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Time Square Take One – New York City

OK it’s not perfect but it was a decent first stab. I couldn’t believe how bright it was at 9 PM. It was kind of looking at the moon, you think it should be darker, but it’s not. Also, I thought I was pretty good at masking until I tried to fix all the blown out signs. Ugh. I still need a lot of work :)

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Ice and Fire – New York City, NY

OK so maybe I’m getting a little cutesy with the titles here, but I’m assuming “The Rock” and all variants there of have been used to death. I shot this two ways, the first on the other side where you can see the statue of Prometheus (hence fire) in all of his glory, and then again from behind. Both images are good, but I like this one better.

I had to shoot handheld because the security guards were looking at me with a “don’t even try it fat man” look when they saw my tripod. That’s fine. Just guys trying to do their job. I fired off three quick frames at +/- 2 on my Nikon D7000
and went on my way. Most of the post-processing was done in Nik Color Efex Pro 4 and the Lightroom 4 beta. Man I can’t wait for the final release. LR 4 rocks.

Hope everyone is having a good day.

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Homage to Brian Matiash.

This image is a total rip-off. I know it and don’t care. Let’s call it a tribute to one of my favorite photographer\educators out there, Brian Matiash. Brian used a similar photo during a recent OnOne webinar he hosted. When I had the chance to shoot a similar shot in Manhattan last week, I jumped at the chance. While the shots are not exact there is no doubt where the inspiration comes from.

Thanks Brian. I continue to learn a lot.


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Central Park – New York City

It was freezing when I took this picture. Maybe that’s why I didn’t do it right in camera. That’s my excuse anyhow. See I was shooting wide – 10mm wide – on my D7000 and saw this statue at the entrance to Central Park. I had this idea of pushing in close and capturing the monument in all of its glory. The sun was peaking through the trees throwing this gorgeous golden light on the stone. Perfect moment for the perfect shot.

Sadly the difference between perfect moments and perfect shots is often vast. When you are shooting that wide you better make sure that you line the shot up correctly. The distortion is going to be a nightmare if you don’t.

I didn’t.

I was a little off. I didn’t have my little hot-shoe level on my camera and relied on the cameras artificial horizon to tell me if I was straight. I wasn’t. I was tilted back a bit. Also I wasn’t directly centered on the statue. I wanted it to be center-line straight on and I was off a few degrees. Not “bad” but not what I wanted.

Did I mention how cold it was?

I snapped off a series of brackets and didn’t notice that  I was skewed (screwed?) until later. When I imported them into Lightroom I noticed immediately that they were off. So much for getting it right in the camera.

So what I could have done by spending  an extra five minutes in the field took almost  an hour in post-processing. I’m sure some of you could have done it faster, but I’m not that guy. Whenever I have to use the perspective correction tools, I get dizzy. A little more to the left, a little further  back..no no forward. no a smidge to the right…wait is it level?….Ugh. I hate it. It’s a nightmare. Then when  I finally did get it basically straight and fixed the perspective I noticed the BIG problem – the foreground base was warped.

Like Salvador Dali warped.

It looked like one of those melting clocks.Not good at all.

Luckily a fix for that came to me pretty quick. I opened the file up in CS5 and use the puppet transform to squish the base more or less correct. I couldn’t get it “perfect” but until I pointed it out, how many of you noticed it? I’m betting not many. All I can say is thank goodness for Photoshop.

I still like the picture. I wish I had done it correctly in the field but the end result is pretty close to what I had in mind. I guess in the end that is what matters most.






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Pretty Buildings all in a Row – New York City

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