I had an engagement shoot with Marisa at Matheson Hammock park. The day was overcast and perfect for images. A beautiful bride, a spectacular dress, and an amazing venue. We were there to make great images. Luckily, many years ago I studied photography at Miami Dade College and FIU working strictly in Black and White film until my final classes a couple of years later. What you are seeing in this image is a woman with very fair skin wearing a black dress. This is a nightmare for the automatic control systems of most, if not all cameras and flash systems. These automatic systems default to trying to average the lighting in the image. So there you are, bright white skin, a dark black dress and a light but neutral background. The tendency is for the automatic exposure system in the camera to turn the entire scene a mid tone of gray. Not what we want here. The only truly effective way to handle this extremely contrasty situation is to manually meter your camera and flash exposure. This is easy if you know what you are doing, but most people claiming to be photographers do not. This brings me to my main point. Everyone is now a photographer, or at least claims to be. I love the fact that so many people are enjoying the medium, however, with that comes some risk and responsibility. Many people who claim to be photographers would love to charge you to make your engagement and wedding images. While they may do a fine job in the average situation, it is situations like this that shooting in auto is just not going to hack it. So my advice is to ensure you trust the making of your most important memories to someone who is familiar with the technical aspects of photography. Did I say this is an awesome dress!
This past weekend I had a Meetup with the Photography Group I started in Cape Town. I love the Woodstock area and I especially love going to the Old Biscuit Mill on Saturday mornings. Such a cool vibe. I've seen a lot of interesting things on the way in and out of the area, especially the people and architecture. The main purpose of the photo-walk was to document and contrast the old and new. The area is slowly becoming developed commercially with Galleries, Restaurants and very nice shops and apartment buildings. The area mainly consists of a vibrant but sometimes nefarious Cape Coloured community. Most are hard working people trying to make a better life, but there is a gangster element that exists and thrives on the drug trade. I wish I could have spent more time there but the Police ushered us out for our own protection saying that if we continued in this area we could easily be assaulted or killed for our photography equipment. Of course we complied. What a shame. The result are a limited number of images from the community. A colleague and I made a plan to go back near dawn one weekend as most of the bad people are either too tired to do anything or still asleep! LOL
https://twitter.com/BONNIEBEATS I was asked by New Times Miami to photograph the First Annual Miami Music Month Kickoff Event. The event was held at a space in Downtown Miami called Grand Central Lofts on N. Miami Ave. The evening started out pretty slow. I was asked me to be there at 9:30 pm. The place was empty until about 11:00 pm when the band Radioboxer got things moving. Radioboxer is a bilingual, indie-alternative rockpowerpop band from Miami, Florida. Started in 2008, their music is highly varied, mixing styles from punk and electronica with Latin rhythms and folk, with a hint of 60's and 70's music, altogether in their own genre. They are known for their dynamic shows, which include high-energy theatrics to accompany their unique style.Radioboxer has been voted the Reader's Choice "Best Band" in Miami in the newspaper The Miami New Times. The band was really good with an excellent stage presence and a fascinating show. I recommend them and plan on checking them out again. The event was great and a lot of fun to work, and the New Times Staff as always was a pleasure to work with. The image I selected to use for this post was an Environmental Portrait of DJ Bonnie Beats. I enjoy capturing the image of an individual performing something that may define them. I found Bonnie Beats to have an incredibly interesting look and asked her to pose for a few portraits. I hope you enjoy it. Bonnie Beats can be contacted on Soundcloud, Twitter, , and Facebook, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org Additionally, everyone I met was great and loved being photographed. Thank you all for the experience. Enjoy the images! Hi resolution images are available for purchase HERE.
On my last post I spoke to a lot of people that love to be photographed. I was able to connect with Jessicuh Art that wanted some images made in a couple of outfits including a new SupergirlCosplay outfit she had just purchased. For those of you who do not know what Cosplay is here is a brief definition. Cosplay short for "costume play", is a type of performance art in which participants do costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea. Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture centred on role play. A broader use of the term "cosplay" applies to any costumed role play in venues apart from the stage, regardless of the cultural context. Some cosplayers choose to have a cosplay photographer take high quality images of the them in their costumes posing as the character. This is most likely to take place in a setting relevant to the character's origin, such as churches, parks, forests, water features and abandoned/run-down sites. Such cosplayers are likely to exhibit their work online, on blogs or artist websites, such as deviantART. They may also choose to sell such images or print the images as postcards and give them as gifts. So as you can see this type of photography is both desired and appreciated. Jessicuh also has several tattoos and like Cosplayers, people that are heavily tattooed are also appreciative of images of the art on their body. We did the shoot in Wynwood using the walls of art as a background. At first I thought that they may be a little too distracting, but because of the Bokeh (blur effect that high end lenses create beyond the subject) it worked out. I did some extra work by adding texture, vignetting, and borders to create subtle mood and to better direct the viewer to the subject. What I am always most concerned with is the reaction the client will have toward the final images. I am happy to say that she was more than satisfied and we had a lot of fun.
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]
[caption id="attachment_1375" align="alignleft" width="940"] Vision on the Tracks[/caption] On our second to last day of vacation we were walking through the town of Dillsboro, North Carolina. Normally during my other summertime visits this is a bustling little tourist town with a number of shops, and a station for the Smoky Mountain Railway. On this visit it looked like a Ghost Town. That thought stuck in my head as I passed each closed shop and we found ourselves as the only people on the street. The girls needed to use the restroom, so I took them to the restrooms by the railroad track and waited for them outside. I stared at the tracks thinking of different types of images to make as my eyes followed the tracks toward the overpass where the tracks merge with another section creating an interesting design. The girls finally came out and started walking the track like a balance beam together toward the overpass while I snapped images of them. As they passed me and I was behind them I could imagine them standing on the tracks and the overpass framing them, with the intersecting tracks leading the viewer into the image. I made a bunch of images as they were balancing down the track and then I asked them if I could have some fun now and pose them after I let them walk down the tracks forever. They liked the idea and for the first few images I had them holding hands at the same intersection you see above, but facing away from me. Then I thought that it would make more sense if they were coming out of the tunnel made by the overpass. I made several iterations of that composition with arms down and up at a good distance away. I was happy with what I had and we left on our way back home. When I got home and started editing the remainder of the vacation images I spotted one and decided to tone it as a slightly dark Black & White image. As they image got darker the concept and feel of the image also got darker. I kept adjusting with some other tools until it actually started getting kind of frightening. I started thinking about the Ghost Town thoughts I had and the girls playing on the tracks. The thought came into my head to make them look like spirits from this Ghost Town. Maybe kids that were playing on the track at one time, were hit by a train, and now haunt the tracks. Too weird. Too bad, that's what was in my head. I kept making major and minor adjustments until I was satisfied I'd achieved that look. And here it is. I hope you like the image and the narrative of it's creation.
I made some wedding images for the daughter of a very good friend last weekend. I love weddings. Better said, I love experiencing the human interaction at weddings from the standpoint of an active participant. The photographer is probably the only person that sees everyone more often, more than once. At their best, and at their worst sometimes. The challenge when shooting for a friend is managing the stress in making sure that the images are perfect and to ensure that you get both families as equally as possible. It's too easy to be drawn to one side if you are friends with many of the same people. In this case I have known the Bride's Mother and Father for many years. I will say though that whatever event I shoot I am always a bit stressed. Why? Because I care. I often tell people that I should stop shooting events the day I stop getting stressed because it means I've stopped caring. Some advice: I would never suggest that a friend photograph another friends wedding unless they have a lot of professional experience photographing weddings. Many friendships have been lost this way.
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.
I photographed the 2012 Art Wynwood VIP / Press Preview Night and After Party at Wynwood Walls for NewTimes Miami. Here are selected images from that event. The art was amazing. About thirty percent was photography. Of course I was very focused on the photography. Photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andy Warhol, and Douglas Kirkland were among the most notable ones featured.
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.
Pretty funny that I posted an opinion on the use of images and now J-Lo's Fiat commercial is in trouble for using a copyrighted wall mural without permission. The mural is "I love the Bronx." I should be so lucky!
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"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_119" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="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...
I decided that during this week of commemoration of the Bay of Pigs Invasion I would post an image from one of my trips to Cuba. This is an odd and surreal place where it seems that there is an endless dance to circumvent the system in order to survive. It almost seems as though everything is an illusion. Much like the car you see above. It looks like an old Chevy, and on the exterior it is. When it rumbles down the road though, you hear the unmistakable sound from under the hood of a Russian made diesel engine, along with the black smoke trailing from the exhaust.
[caption id="attachment_60" align="alignleft" width="720" caption="2011, BFF, bicycle, Bicycle Film Festival, Cycling, Cycllist, Fixed Gear, March, Miami > South Florida, Nighttime, www.carlosfernandezphotography.com, Wynwood"][/caption] Last night I went to the Wynwood Arts District of Miami, which is basically factories, and galleries in the area between Downtown Miami and Little Haiti. I found it totally redeveloped, but I kinda already knew that. The 2011 Bicycle Film Festival, Miami is being held this weekend, and it's a series of Documentaries, Short Films and After Parties promoting all types of cycling. The first night opened with two street races. Kind of underground, but not really because the Police knew it was happening and kindly looked the other way since it was in a "not at all" traveled area of Miami. The first race was with geared bikes, and by the way this was all at night with bike lights. The second race was Fixed Gear bikes with no brakes. So here's how it works: the pedals chain and rear wheel are setup as a track bike or a messenger bike is setup. If the bike is moving, the pedals have to move. Think of a tricycle. So to slow down you have to slow your pedaling sometimes so much that the rear wheel begins to skip along if you stop pedaling. Lots of skill involved here and not for the faint of heart. One poor guy, new to this, could not make the first turn and slammed right into a building at 20 plus mph. He was on the ground until paramedics showed. They checked him out and he waved them off. Oh to be young and foolish again...
I started checking out some of the fun apps for taking and manipulating images on the iPhone. There are tons of them and most do something fun or interesting with any image. Just about all of them allow you to save your image directly to the device. The great part about this was that I was able to save this rather ordinary image and manipulate it in several Apps. Yeah, it looks pixelated, but sometimes the fun is not knowing what you're going to get. The best thing was that I didn't have spend virtually any time learning the programs. I just loaded my image and started going wild with it. You can get a lot of information at www.iphoneography.com. Have fun!
You can get some unpredictable and interesting effects with a camera resting on the dashboard. I cropped out the windshield wipers. I think next time I'll use a slower shutter speed to try and blur everything but the main subject. [caption id="attachment_31" align="alignleft" width="360" caption="2011, car, January, Miami > South Florida, Nighttime, Road, www.carlosfernandezphotography.com"][/caption]
Decided to try my hand at manipulating a simple image taken with my iPhone. All manipulations were done with Adobe Photoshop Express for the iPhone. There is an exhibit by Jaime Ferreyros coming up at MAGQ Gallery. He works almost exclusively with the iPhone. I see this as another tool to express creativity. As I always say, "the best camera is the one you have with you."