Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More Cat Action

Monday, November 29, 2010

Catsitting Noel

The most in-your-face cat I've met. He will jump on anything that moves, including short, menacing humans who like to give signature triple head-pats.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Another Sunrise

My skyline.

On the Metro-North Railroad, crossing the Harlem River.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunset in DUMBO

Shadow of traffic on the Manhattan Bridge overpass.

Found in Brooklyn Bridge Park. We need a National Garbage Can Appreciation Day.

Re-development occurring near
Brooklyn Bridge, behind this gate.

Bird and helicopter.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Dusk in DUMBO

DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's Elmo Live on 42nd Street

The photographic highlight of last night. The Empire State Building is lit in blue and white in honor of World Diabetes Day.

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Shelter Reform Rally in New York

Waiting to be adopted.

Dogs visiting the rally.

Photos of animals that have been saved through the efforts of the Facebook pages, Pets on Death Row and Urgent Part 2. Photo credit for some images:

A dog who visited the rally takes a break while her human checks out a nearby performance.

NEW YORK -- A rally was held today in Washington Square Park to push for reform of Animal Care and Control of New York City, following
recent service cancellations at the nonprofit organization

Phone service was shut off, making it difficult for prospective adopters to inquire about animals at its Brooklyn, Manhattan or Staten Island shelters. Also, anyone missing a cat or a dog will have to search through the agency's Web listing of found animals, instead of being able to call.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit -- which receives much of its funding from the city -- has euthanized hundreds of animals this year, despite working toward becoming a no-kill agency. The reasons have ranged from the animal having a cold or gingivitis to being "too young".

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Friday, November 5, 2010

On Using Your Imagination

Ammachi, May 2010

I usually don't write on this blog (it was created and is still meant to be a photo blog). But a discussion I had last week on Facebook with a friend and his two photo-enthusiast friends got me thinking about how often I am approached about the quality of my photography. (I'm not bragging.)

I'm usually asked these questions:
  • "Which lens?"
  • "Which camera?"
  • "Do you use Photoshop?"
All these queries really probe for this: "What tools do you use?"

I started actively photographing more than two years ago when I bought a Canon Digital Rebel xTi. I use the following lenses: The 18-55 mm/3.5-5.6 and the 50 mm/1.8.

Those questions are the unfortunate result of an Industrial Era mindset, which looks for a formula to apply or a tool to work with to create a consistent product. But art, that does not make.

I often think about the creative process. I know from my experience that no amount of money -- nor any tool -- will make better photos. Rather, it starts with having an "eye", that intuitive ability to create an aesthetically pleasing balance of shapes, lines and colors. A "good eye" also is the judicious ability to determine what needs to be left out of the frame. (Whether we're graphic designers, web designers, illustrators, painters or photographers, we're working within a box.) You also need to critically think, effectively solve problems, be discerning and engage your subjects.

I never studied photography in a formal setting, I don't teach it and I rarely socialize with other photographers (No, I'm not a hermit.). How I've learned to do what I do is from photographing, looking at others' work through their Web sites, and analyzing their portfolios, looking for elements that effectively tell a story. (I'll soon compile a list of links to my favorite photographers' sites.) I had briefly discussed this issue in my June 2009 post, An Old-Fashioned Education in Seeing.

Tools will always become "technically" better; faster lenses, better weatherproofing, more megapixels and even shorter F-stops will continue to be created. That's the evolution of technology. It helps support human expression in its various forms, but it doesn't foster it. That work is left to humans.

Here's an example: Shakespeare used a writing utensil (I'm guessing a feather pen). If someone who aspired to write plays had asked Shakespeare from which type of bird the feather came, I speculate he would have laughed. Instead, in order to create his works, he accessed something that couldn't -- and still cannot -- be quantified: His imagination.

So, here are better questions to ask when you photograph:
  • What is the story? That can be translated as: Why did this subject capture my attention?
  • What kinds of strategies do other photographers use to create dynamic images?
  • How do I access my imagination to think of better ways to approach my subject?
Gaining access to your imagination is another post itself. Please let me know your thoughts.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

What I Saw

Riding through Manhattan to Boston during sunrise Saturday.

Passed by a familiar apartment building in the Bronx along Interstate 87.

This photo doesn't even capture how crowded it was in the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival.

When I returned Sunday afternoon to Manhattan, I found these four women -- dressed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Halloween -- frolicking up Fifth Avenue and greeting folks.

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