This is the Atlantic Ocean. It’s bracing. One might even say it’s cold. I swim in the Red Sea at the moment. The temperatures have been 86 degrees. I prefer my location. But in this slide, we’re near the end of the day with no end in sight for fun and water. It’s another location where they warn you not to take your camera. The sand and salt spray will hurt your equipment. And then you won’t have a picture either. Just be careful, but do it.
I’ve had Bell’s palsy and though the condition resolved, I still notice some residual symptoms. It would bear to keep this in mind especially when diving.
When I first developed the condition, I was surprised to speak to so many people who volunteered that they had suffered this problem and recovered without any outward signs. Briefly the condition is a facial weakness/paralysis that comes on spontaneously. The cause is really unknown. In my case it occurred on a weekend and for a moment I entertained the thought of a stroke. After some tense weeks the facial weakness resolved. At this point my motor strength is full and the face is symmetrical except when I am fatigued. Then there is enough residual to notice an asymmetry.
As to diving, I began lessons and qualified as an advanced open water diver in the PADI course over the summer. As I became more experienced I noticed that there were problems clearing/equalizing my left ear. Presently I hold my nose and after the right side opens, I quickly swallow and the left side then opens up. After the dive, I have the feeling of fullness and increased bone conduction which subtly affects my hearing. I have puzzled over this and cleaned my ears to no avail. Finally I looked up the anatomy and realize that the Eustachian tube opens by a muscle. That same muscle is controlled by the facial nerve (Bell’s palsy). So it is the mild subtle residual weakness in the nerve which makes the left side equalize more slowly.
A word to all divers who have had Bell’s palsy, perhaps this will reassure and allow you to compensate better. It took a while for me to reach this “aha!!” moment.
A technical aside – and heartfelt thank you to David Sack of http://www.saturn-films.co.uk/ – who kindly put me on to Vuescan. For anyone who currently uses a scanner to digitize old images, slides, and negatives, I encourage you to look into this software program. My other blog goes into detail: http://photocriticism.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/worth-the-price-of-admission-slide-scanning/
For many reasons this software is a tremendous find. David runs a professional scanning company for many years and currently uses a very similar setup of software and scanner, which I use. The software is reliable and fast. My Nikon scanner would jam and balk. It was fairly slow to scan an image about every 2-3 minutes. I am getting very acceptable scans in about 1 minute with quite reasonable color comparable to the original. The infrared filter is ignoring dust and scratches as well as the Nikon software. No jamming! All in all – it’s been great.
Tulips, same day different tulip, come in all different colors around Central Park. Here I got one with more detail in the petals and used the shadow to highlight the center pistil. I wonder at the color pattern, which must look inviting to the bee that pollinates the flower. I imagine the pattern like landing lights guiding the plane into the runway at an airport.
In the spring tulips are dependable photographic subjects. For the most part I have tried it in every possible angle. The subject here was shot in Central Park and from a head on position to focus in on the center. I shot this with slide film. There is too much contrast to see the individual petals, which enhances the center.
This was for fun. I took the Owl’s Head Light photo and superimposed a texture upon it. The rocks were from the same area. I put a little halo vignette around the light. Clearly it is manipulated and stylized. It was my computer desktop for a time. Then other things became more interesting.
This was an image taken from a point and shoot Nikon. I got it in the front yard. These flowers are native to Long Island and require very little care. I have to say that there is little post processing. The image is a bit high contrast but I love the detail.
Ethereal. Don’t ask how I got this shot. Maybe the ghost just jumped onto the image sensor. Sometimes I don’t have any idea what the camera did to produce the image capture and especially what I have in this photo. It was one of the Village Halloween Parades. Mist, motion blur, halogen lighting, and a ghostly figure to the left are all that I see. How it came together is spooky. My best guess, rear curtain sync flash with a depleted charge on the battery.
I am coordinating today’s post with my other blogs and will talk about helicopters there also. (see the sidebar Blogroll for locations.)
I have a close friend, named Charlie. He is a former NYPD officer, police helicopter pilot, airline pilot for American Airlines, and current Bell 47 helicopter pilot/owner. He calls it his ‘ship.’ Indeed, he spends a ton to keep it in top shape. This is the same model MASH helicopter of Korean War and ‘Hawkeye Pierce’ TV fame. I am planning to post some images of Marathon Sunday and NYC’s skyline in my other blogs. The shots on this post were made on slide film. Iconic images, the World Trade Center, and Statue of Liberty are known everywhere. The Verrazano Bridge is the world’s eighth longest bridge and longest in the US. I have been indeed fortunate to fulfill a dream to fly over New York City. The large bubble gives you a panoramic view. And, Charlie sometimes flies with the doors off so that the tinted glass doesn’t throw off the color balance. Any trip in the helicopter, bubble glass or not, is special. In the bridge shot you can see there are raindrops. It’s breezy, noisy, chilly, and relatively slow with a headwind. I have flown in and out of all of the NY airports on passenger jets with my nose pressed to the window to glimpse the city. There is nothing finer than being in a Bell 47 helicopter.
These are the bird in flight images that I can recall from recent years. I keep a database. In response to Galen Leed’s excellent work/blog, I will admit that this is about all I have on the subject. The last photo is of humans, my daughter and myself, who wish we could fly. (Shhh… my daughter shouldn’t know that I posted her picture here – camera shy.) I’ll post a story about the African photos. Bear Mountain and Nyack New York are on my other blog (Imaged Event – see sidebar). My knowledge of birds is limited. We were at a surprise birthday party in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. The guests of honor have a home on the lake and a pontoon boat. At the end of the afternoon, I climbed aboard for a spin around the lake. As we rounded a small island on the lake, a heron was startled. I happened to have my camera in hand. Serendipity. I got about four frames and hoped that the exposure and focus were sufficient.
See sidebar blogroll for Imaged Event.
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Here’s something my daughter thought up. She did it at Christmas one year. When things are slow and we need to add to the memory card, I, or she, will jump. Obviously, Lisa took the picture. It was the same morning as that we came upon the lilac breasted rollers. So then, everything from the posts above just fits together.
Technical: Just jump. But my daughter first had a point and shoot Nikon that would sequence like a jittery slow motion movie. It was hilarious. Now, with the motor drive, just fire off a burst. In the playback, it’s like a herky-jerky movie. Good fun. And your, family and friends will like it also.
This demonstration was a static setup. I just enjoyed the still life. It’s a beautiful machine. And, for all the motorcycle accident victims I have taken care of, it’s a pretty safe bet I won’t be on one anytime soon.
Another technical demonstration is this high-heeled shoe. It was on a pedestal mounted to a turntable connected to a computer rigged to shoot in 10-degree increments. Complicated, it was designed to obtain 36 images. What for? In order to create a spinning catalog view for internet shopping, you need this setup. Clever.
I discuss this more in my other blog (Imaged Event). Interestingly, the blog entry is right at the top of Google’s search engine. I just called it the Yale Snow Bowl because I went with a Yale fan. It could’ve been called the Columbia Snow Bowl. Hmmm….thank you WordPress. Cold, wet, pouring snow – it was quintessential football in the elements for diehard fans. Indeed it looks like the Yale center is calling out the entire Columbia team. So technically, many people would not even think of bringing a camera to a game like this. When I said ‘pouring,’ it was a heavy wet snow, with large clumped flakes that sort of soaked into any surface. There was nothing fluffy or ethereal going on here. That said, my friend Alex and I will talk about this game for years. Oh, and yes, his alma mater, Yale won.
The photo technical stuff – I brought a plastic bag. I should have a rain cover that is sold for cameras. But I don’t. And I never used the plastic bag. I forgot my gloves in the car so holding the camera constantly was not an option. I just kept the camera enfolded in my ski parka. I pulled the camera out as the play started. It snowed all over my camera. Fortunately the Nikon is sealed well. As for water on the lens filter, I wiped it off with my fleece. There was some blur. But hey, the conditions were far from ideal. Needless to say, I did not change lenses.
More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).
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The image is perfect, from exposure, to makeup, to pose. And then you see the setup. This poor model was painted black, then yellow powder was sprinkled over her. She got to close her eyes while they sprinkled. I hope the paint came off. Anyway, in order to control the light, a lot of reflectors and assistants are on hand to be sure each element is right. By the way, the make up gal did the sprinkling.
One of the things I look for is reflections. At least that’s how it seems lately what with tomatoes, pears, and oranges in other posts. The opportunity just comes up. In this photo from the Halloween shoot, everyone was to my right photographing the young model. I moved to the side of the car to catch her reflection in the auto’s glass. I came away with a different image. Maybe it’s not a better image but different.
Technical: Nothing was special here. I just let the meter do its work. Even with failing daylight a flash would have reflected bright spots off the auto glass.
More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).
Part 2: There were so many photo ops, you didn’t know where to turn your camera. (See also my other blog Imaged Event for more images.) So maybe it wasn’t so many people? The estimate on the website is about 60, 000 marchers. It literally took about two hours to get everyone onto the parade route. The director Jeanne Fleming says that she sees the parade through the eyes of the photographers who are there to record the event. Indeed, one person can’t be everywhere and the number of people moving and the size of the geographic space makes it impossible to even get a fraction of the parade and the costumes. There are many photos that get repeated. Some parade attendees wear the same costume each year. Some folks come early and are a photographic subject for all the photographers who otherwise would not have a subject. These early arrivals get a lot of attention. It’s chaotic. And, I guess it’s a little claustrophobic. But when you’re seeking out the next costume, the weather, the chill, the crowd and the noise are not too much of a deterrent. The parade organizers put the wedding party in front. Bringing up the rear, Occupy Wall St got a big crowd into the parade. It seems that they may have been making a statement again, but I’m not sure. Most photos don’t require explanation. But, there was this male nun dressed in lace women’s underwear…. The theme was ‘I’ of the beholder, hence, all the eyeballs.
More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).
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Rev Yolanda and Rev Glen were married in the midst of preparations for the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. The location was the triangle below Spring St. With all the people in the assembly area it was hard to distinguish between guests and curious onlookers. After the ceremony the happy couple was at the front of the parade in a horse drawn carriage. Congratulations to the both of you. For me, it was another unexpected wedding encounter. (More at Imaged Event)
I break down Halloween in parts because there were so many images. This post is mature for some folks. My other blog Imaged Events is definitely more detailed. Be warned. An artist named Andy Golub is a tradition at the parade. According to every other photographer, man and woman, they all recall this scene during the preparations for each parade. Photographers and spectators gather around with every manner of recording device, from camera to iphone to ipad. The girls are mostly different every year. They march in the parade, chill, warm up in the escort car, and emerge again to hand out promotional material. Each girl is body painted as artwork. The process takes time. Several photographers are officially designated to document the event. It’s weird, funky, and very New York. Yes, it’s perfectly legal according to local law. Mr Galub has done work in Times Square as well. His models have linked up with the Naked Cowboy (he’s in the Hurricane Irene post in my other blog) another Times Square icon.
So, when I arrived I did not realize that the girl in the colored T shirt standing in the middle of 6th Avenue between the traffic light change was body painted. But before you know it I had followed her and watched the fascinating process unfold. Many of these images were shot before the artwork was complete and the anatomy not so obvious any longer.
Technical: For the daylight shots, there was really no problem. The late afternoon sun gave some excellent light and shadow. As the light progressed to evening I had the ISO on my camera set to auto and the ISO got upward to 1600.
More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).
Gallery and slide show: (more…)
Times Square, New York. There has been a man, tourist attraction of sorts, tolerated by the local authorities, who acts as a goodwill ambassador for tourists who seek a quintessential NY souvenir. All it costs is a tip to have your photo taken with the Naked Cowboy. I have seen him in a driving snowstorm letting winter clad women hug him as they pose beside him. Chilling, but true! He’s changed. The original, I assume so, because he had been the only one that I knew, is gone and new Naked Cowboy stands in Times Square. Not really naked of course, because how else could he advertise except on his BVD”s. Maybe the original cowboy sold him the franchise? So, Hurricane Irene, there he is in Times Square doing his business as usual. And the tourists are loving it. I’m not sure if he actually plays, or knows how to play the guitar. It’s a convenient prop to collect the tips. Where else?
Technical: I like this photo for the low level of view. I set up in wide angle and hold the camera about 6” to 1 foot off the ground pointed upward. You may have to try a couple of times. But, hey, it’s digital. The angle on the image, non-level horizon, sometimes also, makes the image more dynamic.
More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).
The Village Halloween Parade. The parade has long since surpassed the narrow streets of Greenwich Village. It starts in Soho and is conducted up 6th Avenue. I don’t know exactly how many people attend. But it is easily a million. The avenue is lined with spectators six deep from Canal Street to 16th Street. There are as many marching participants as want to come down and get into the action. About as many people are along the sidelines and spill over into Greenwich Village. In fact some of the more interesting costumes have been on the side streets. I got there early this year. Finally! The girl in the picture is half naked and getting body painted. It’s a tradition, I guess. The group that organizes this seems to have new girls each year who submit to the arduous process of being painted in front of horde of photographers. It was chilly but not bitter cold like last year. Even so the girls were pretty chilled anyway. Well, what do you do to make a pretty half naked girl smile. Try this guy. He wandered onto the block with blood dripping and with a New York attitude. Yeah, she laughed. I just went over the images on a first pass to edit. There were 1659. I will whittle the number down to a more manageable few and then post more images here and on my other blog which was set up to do galleries. How did I pick this image? Just randomly, because there were so many and I usually don’t have a signature image with so many choices.
About half the images were shot with flash. My secret is to use a Quantum rechargeable battery. It recycles quickly so there’s no lag. And I ran up the ISO to 320 this year in order to extend the battery life. I didn’t trust the system so I bought along another battery and flash just in case. I could try off camera flash or a diffuser but it’s Halloween and the images with direct flash have an edgy feeling. And, that’s what it’s about.
More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).
At Photo Plus Expo recently held in New York, I accompanied my cousin to a studio set up to demonstrate cameras and lighting off site. It was in a warehouse loft space. There were still life, product, and models on hand to demonstrate technique and equipment. I felt like I was party to a professional shoot and peering over the shoulder of the photographer. I don’t have the space for the lighting involved but it was fun. I let my slow shutter speed blur the hair moving from the fan. And note the negative space, another element of design. Using negative space is a new composition element for me.
It was not a particularly good year for the fall leaves. I did not come away with a brilliant fall foliage image on my foray to Bear Mountain. I got some reflections and some details. The dock has been a favorite subject for many years. This year the muted colors lent a greater sense of serenity. A few weeks later I got an image with snow covered autumn leaves, the subject in another post.