Shadows are the Soul of your Images

Shadows are the Soul of Your Images as they give shape, mood, and depth to your photography. They must, however, be used creatively, and not left to chance or environment. One of the best ways to do this is with a single off-camera light, whether held in your hand or on a stand. When I use the term light, this can literally be ANY light: a studio light, camera flash, shop light from Home Depot or even a bare hanging bulb. It need not be fancy. There are various ways to trigger the strobes/camera flash, such as a cord connected to your camera or if using the same manufacturer of flash and camera, wirelessly. After you have your light source established, now it's time to shape the light. There are several types of light modifiers on the market that will suit your needs. Bouncing flash off a white ceiling produces much softer light, where a flashlight or "on camera" flash produces harder light. The idea is to experiment with everything. In this image II used a snoot opened up on the end to give the image more of a spotlight effect to emphasize the shadows. I recommend paying a visit to B&H Photo www.bhphotovideo. com, www.strobist.blogspot.com, or even www.YouTube.com. They all have tutorials and an abundance of information on photographic lighting. 20120827-094955.jpg

Art and Bodies: A Celebration of Self Expression

I honestly, did not know what to expect when the call went out to cover the South Florida Tattoo Expo in Coral Springs. I knew though that the color and characters that I would encounter would certainly provide for interesting photographic opportunities. I checked in to get my Media Credentials and the ladies at the registration table were very pleasant and as far as I could see free of bodily markings or anything else. On my way to the main Expo area I passed the Pirate tables. Theses are the Doctors, Lawyers, and various other Professionals that dress like bad asses in all kinds of Harley stuff. I truly did not see anyone there that looked scary and acted the part. On the contrary everyone and I mean everyone was very pleasant and more than eager to get photographed. In a couple of cases this was sans clothing. Ok, so I did not do this assignment just for the pay. Then again a Publix Bagger would not do it for the pay either. I do kiosk after another this because I love photography and interacting with people. After passing the many vendors that mainly consisted of Sex Toys, body implants of various types and Drug paraphernalia, I made it into the main hall. The main area of the Expo was one Tattoo Kiosk after another. I would say probably fifty in all, and they were all doing brisk business usually by appointment only. I definitely had Tattoo envy with my one and only Ironman Tattoo.  On owner stopped me and showed me his latest work of art. Seeing that I had my media tag on, he said I missed all the excitement. About half an hour before I arrived he Tattooed a woman's Anus a Green Blue which he proudly showed me on his Iphone. Really? I would not have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes. The Expo was not a place for the bashful. If you can imagine where someone can get a Tattoo, they were getting them there and in some very private places. Funny thing, I did not see any of the typical guys, you know who they are with the Tribal Armband.These were hard core Tattoo people. The real story in my opinion and what provided for the most interesting images were not the customers, but the artists. The different looks of concentration showed that they have a genuine dedication to their craft. These are not the slouches that misspell words on peoples knuckles with rudimentary instruments. The Tattoo Artists I saw there were true professionals in their interaction with the public, their adherence to cleanliness and safety, and the works of art they were creating. There was also a tasteful burlesque show, and piercing contest, though I missed the later while watching a young lady receive several piercings on her chest and back that were then laced with leather. I spoke to her afterward and she told me that she was an apprentice at the Tattoo Parlor that was performing the work. I guess that could be a tax deduction. Anyway enjoy the images I posted and follow the link to my Facebook Page to see the rest. Thanks for reading! [nggallery id=11]

One vision leads to others

During my time in North Carolina and Tennessee, it brought back a lot of memories of vacationing in the area for many years. This visit for some reason I started noticing the vintage signage that I've been seeing for the last 30 years. This is probably due to my latest emphasis in urban photography. With photography, one aspect of a project opens your mind and eye to other vision. By the way this is an HDR image created to capture all of the possible tones, but not create a freakshow. 20120729-004715.jpg

What's a great place for portraits in Great Smokies?

I've been in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the last few days. I am very familiar with the park as my family has been vacationing here for many, many years. One of the great jewels of the park and a great place for portraiture is Cades Cove, on the Gatlinburg side of the park near Townsend, TN. Cades Cove is an isolated valley located in the Tennessee section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA. The valley was home to numerous settlers before the formation of the national park. Today Cades Cove is the single most popular destination for visitors to the park, attracting over two million visitors a year, due to its well preserved homesteads, scenic mountain views, and abundant display of wildlife.[1] The Cades Cove Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[caption id="attachment_1347" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Cades Cove Portrait, Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park"][/caption]

Making a simple image a little more interesting and dramatic!

Let It Be dancers from Dance Attack at the Diplomat Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. Taken by Ana with an iPhone 4S and manipulated in a couple of programs for effect. Now you don't need fancy computer programs to do this there are thousands of apps on your phone that can come pretty close. Search the app store for photography. [caption id="attachment_1336" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="Let it be, Dance Attack,2012"][/caption]

How do you make natural looking images indoors?

This topic is one that many people find most difficult. The reason for it is that the flash tends to overpower the subject making the room very dark and the subject obviously exposed by flash. There are several ways to solve this problem. The simplest way is to allow the camera take the reading for you without the flash, set you camera manually to that setting, set your flash to Auto and bounce the light off the ceiling. That's great if you have a fancy camera and flash, but what about most of you that have a point and shoot. And there are many great point and shoots out there. So here's a simple trick. Cut a piece of plastic from a milk carton about 5" x 7". Then hold that piece of plastic about an inch in front of your flash length-wise angled at the ceiling (ceiling has to be some shade of white and not too tall). Then take the image. Some light will go through the plastic softening the light and sparkling the eyes, while some will bounce off the ceiling creating a softer light. Experiment with the settings on your camera and try to find the sweet spot. Good Luck! [gallery link="file" columns="2"]

Magic City Bicycle Collective

20120630_magiccitybicyclecollective_0060I attended the Magic City Bicycle Collective opening Saturday night. This is a long time coming as most other major cycling cities have many of these collectives. Kudos to the organizers. Magic City Bicycle Collective is a nonprofit, community driven, bicycle repair education center. They teach people how to work on their bikes personally or as part of a workshop. They have tools that are needed and the collective survives on donations on a per hour basis. Here are some images I took. feel free to download and share! They are also on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/CarlosFernandezPhotography for sharing and tagging! [nggallery id=9]


Tiny Dancer

[caption id="attachment_1213" align="alignleft" width="510" caption="Dancer-Miami-Portrait-Photography"][/caption]  

















I wanted to make images of a Dancer, but I did not want the typical Dance pose. I decided to use a more dramatic pose that matched the personality and grace of the dancer. Additionally I added the film and imperfect paper effect to give it a feeling of being aged. Someone left it in the bottom of a drawer for many years as many of these types of images are found.

The Photographer's Eye - John Szarkowski

I just finished reading The Photographer's Eye by John Szarkowski (December 18, 1925 – July 7, 2007) . It is a name that should be known to every photographer. I say should because most do not know of him. The book is a must read for all photographers. It talks to the essential parts of every composed image: subject, detail, frame, time, and perspective. Each section is comprised of images detailing examples associated with each topic. It is evident what the emphasis is of each image and what it is trying to convey with regard to the section in which it is contained. Each main section of the book is introduced by Szarkowski in a very eloquent manner that clearly gives the reader an idea of what to expect and what to focus on. in 1962, he was picked by Edward Steichen to be Steichen's successor at the Museum of Modern Art. When he arrived in New York, not a single gallery in the city showed fine art photography. He wrote Mirrors and Windows: American Photography Since 1960. New York. MOMA (1978) describing photography which dichotomized two strategies of pictoral expression. The 'Mirror' strategy focuses on self-expressive photography and the 'Window' element in which photographers like Garry Winogrand, Diane Arbus, and Lee Friedlander leave their comfort zone to explore.

In 1973 Szarkowski published Looking at Photographs a practical set of examples on how to write about photographs.[1] The book is still required reading for students of art photography, and argues for the importance of looking carefully and bringing to bear every bit of intelligence and understanding possessed by the viewer. Szarkowski has also published numerous books on individual photographers, including, with Maria Morris Hamburg, the definitive four-volume work on the photography of Atget.

He taught at Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and New York University, and continued to lecture and teach. In 1990, U.S. News & World Report said: "Szarkowski's thinking, whether Americans know it or not, has become our thinking about photography".[citation needed]

In 1991 Szarkowski retired from his post at the New York Museum of Modern Art, during which he had developed a reputation for being somewhat autocratic,[citation needed] and became the Museum's Photography Director Emeritus. He was succeeded by Peter Galassi, the Chief Curator.


Back to Simple Photography

I still remember getting my first "real" camera years ago at a Kmart in Newport News, Virginia. I was in the Navy and had a newborn at home. I wanted to capture every moment! It was a 35mm Mamiya SLR with a 50mm 1.8 lens. No zoom, and, oh, no flash. You cannot get any simpler than that. I was lucky, and I emphasize "lucky" enough to get a camera that would allow me to make existing light images of my first born in our dimly lit apartment. Did I tell you the camera and lens cost $125. Anyway, I took some of my most memorable and treasured images with that camera. It was compact and simple enough to take anywhere. Since it was not a zoom lens and relatively fast I was able to take images quickly without thinking about too many things. Photography was simple. Making images was fun and free from rules and expectations. Fast forward many years, cameras, lenses, and technology developments later. Things are not as simple. Very expensive equipment and so much of it. Closets of it! Lots of thinking going on to make the perfect image. As a matter of fact "too much" thinking. As an aside, I just finished watching the George Harrison special by Martin Scorsese and George's wife Olivia. One of the still images in the film was of Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison and Eric Clapton at a table in a bar. The image was black and white, blurry in areas, grainy due to low light, and not composed very well. It is, however, a priceless image. The image was most likely made with a fixed focal length fast lens. I miss that spontaneity. So while I have certainly not decided to abandon all of that wonderful technology, today I received the latest addition to my photography arsenal. Wanna guess what it is? It's a 50mm f 1.2 fixed lens by Canon. My how things evolve. Simplicity at it's finest. And I plan to again make memorable personal images, albeit of the next generation. I love it. Always remember, "the best camera is the one you have with you."

Falls Artwalk - Miami

I'll be exhibiting "Images of Cuba" this evening at M&R (8825 SW 129 St. Miami). I am part of the Falls Art District Gallery Walk in Miami this evening from 7pm till whenever...Last month we got Rained out, however, tonight it should be great. The interesting thing is that M&R is an Auto Repair location by day and Art Space for the Artwalks. Come and enjoy the Artwalk.

Bike Ride Through The Redlands Last Sunday

I encountered this relatively simple subject of the Pump House Against Blue Sky on my bike ride last Sunday. Sometimes simple is just right. Especially against the bright blue sky. I shot it with my Leica D-Lux 5 that is usually with me everywhere I go. [caption id="attachment_144" align="alignleft" width="1000" caption="Pumphouse against Blue Sky"]Pumphouse against Blue Sky[/caption]

The Nostalgia of Marine Stadium Miami

While I know I am dating myself, I attended many concerts at this magnificent venue. Humble Pie, Yes, Loggins and Maessina, Seals & Crofts, to name a few. Some as a paying entrant and some as a gate crasher on my surfboard. Groups of us would meet on the beach about half a mile away and tie six packs onto our surfboards and paddle to the stage under the cover of night and watch the concerts next to the paying boating patrons. Architecturally this place is a gem, but has been neglected since Hurricane Andrew came through. Now it's a canvas for any and all. There is a move underway to restore the place and it's getting some traction. Hopefully I'll get to see more concerts there in the future. And maybe I'll even drag out the surfboard. [caption id="attachment_140" align="alignleft" width="1000" caption="Miami Marine Stadium 2011"]Miami Marine Stadium 2011[/caption]

Infrared Palm

Over the years I've experimented with Infrared Photography. This used to be a rather difficult and pain staking process. First Infrared film was rather expensive, needed to be kept very cold as it responds to heat, did not travel well due to heat and X-rays, and on top of it all had to be loaded and unloaded in your camera in a darkroom or dark bag. The great part was that you never knew what you were going to get. Sometimes you would get incredibly beautiful images from rather plain subjects. One of these images is shown below. This is an actual Infrared image negative that was scanned for digital display. [caption id="attachment_135" align="alignleft" width="2381" caption="Infrared Palm"]Infrared Palm[/caption]

Boy Waiting For School-Havana, Cuba

[caption id="attachment_119" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="Boy awaiting school-Havana, Cuba"]Boy_awaiting_school__Havana__Cuba[/caption] On one of my trips to Havana, Cuba, I noticed a boy waiting in front of a building. Initially, I thought he was awaiting a bus, but quickly realized that there is no such thing as school buses in Havana. Being a large city everything is in close enough proximity to walk or bike. Since it was very early and I was shooting with Medium Format film I had to wait until he was very still to avoid blurring the image at such a slow shutter speed. As it turned out he was waiting directly in front of the school: an old converted residence. School uniforms are used in Cuba. All students, regardless of age or sex, wear school uniforms with the color denoting grade level. Children also wear scarfs as members of Cuban young pioneers organization (Pioneros). The red and white uniform he has on identifies him as a primary school student. Something that was always in the back of my mind every time I saw a child: It could have been me...