Archives and Evolution

If I don’t get out to photograph every couple of days I get antsy, there is an underlying itch.  This can create a lot of images and I need to be able to access my favorites easily.  Not every photo has to be revisited, some just need to be deleted.  Luckily I've always kept my picture's pretty organized, but occasionally you do have to clean house.  

So when I began looking through older images I started to see a common denominator in the way I processed some of my raw files.  I like intense colors.  I like super sharp.  I like graphic.  I like deep blacks.  I have other genres and techniques that define my photographic style, but to see one of them so clearly emerge has been eye opening.  I didn’t think I would ever have a true definitive style.  Also posting to Twitter has added a new way for me to see my images through other peoples eyes.

What prompted me to look through my archives was when I realized that 130 years ago the Statue of Liberty landed on our shore.  I knew I had visited the monument last year, so I perused my files for something to post.  I was quite surprised, and of course pleased, at the favorable response to this image of the Statue of Liberty.  It is, after all, timeless.

I love living here, thank you NYC for providing endless beauty to capture my moments in time.

 Statue of Liberty - July 19th, 2014

Statue of Liberty - July 19th, 2014

One thing I have learned, when the light is right, strike, take advantage of it.  This past September I got many wonderful images while heading back to the mainland from Governor's Island.  The sky was on fire.

 Under the Brooklyn Bridge - September 14th 2014

Under the Brooklyn Bridge - September 14th 2014

 Two Bridges - September 14th, 2014

Two Bridges - September 14th, 2014

One of my favorite places to photograph is Central Park.

 Orange Light and Blue Sky - May 22nd, 2015

Orange Light and Blue Sky - May 22nd, 2015

The west village at twilight glowed pink and purple.  I was trying out my new tripod and took the photo below with ISO 160, f/13 at .5 sec., something I couldn't do handheld.

 Twilight on 3rd and Sullivan - May28, 2014

Twilight on 3rd and Sullivan - May28, 2014

I have come to understand and appreciate the importance of light.  You have to chase and pursue it when it's right.  It doesn't happen every day and you can't go back and capture that moment because it just won't be there.

The next day was Manhattanhenge so of course I wanted to go out and photograph it - just like a million of other people.  It was a complete bust this year, clouds covered the grid line horizon.  That didn't stop the crowd at Tudor City on 42nd Street for sticking it out just to make sure.  What I loved was that I captured the silhouetted photographers on top of the bridge, waiting for a moment that was not going to happen.

 Tudor Bridge Manhattanhendge - May 29th, 2015

Tudor Bridge Manhattanhendge - May 29th, 2015

Coming home that evening I passed a bar with colorful neon lights emanating out of the doorway.  I love the image, but I think I am alone on this one.  It perks my interest and curiosity when I adore a photo but no one else does, though this doesn't make me like it any less.  I posted my beloved picture and only got one fav, I thought I would get tons.  That surprised me.  Yes, I know I cropped the girls legs but there was only a split second to capture this moment.  I see a story here, at least in my mind.  I am going to print the image as I'm interested in how it will look without the glow of the screen.

 Neon Night - May 29th, 2015

Neon Night - May 29th, 2015

A friend was visiting from out of town so of course I did some touristy things.  I love to do touristy things in my hometown.  What a treat it was to finally get to the top of the One World Trade Observatory.  Unfortunately the sky was hazy and I didn't get any great photos.  The images were OK for remembering the day.  Sometimes photography can be that simple and personal.

After they left I walked down to the Hudson River.  The light was lovely and managed to get some nice shots.  I am always a sucker for children playing in sprinklers.

 Interactive Fountain Pier 84 - June 12th, 2015

Interactive Fountain Pier 84 - June 12th, 2015

 Intrepid Sunset - June 12th,2015

Intrepid Sunset - June 12th,2015

I have been wanting to photograph the Met for some time now.  I really want to go on a rainy morning at sunrise.  I have that preconceived idea again of what I'll find, but already know how that goes.  I went the other evening just to explore.

 Met with Blue Sky - June 14th, 2015

Met with Blue Sky - June 14th, 2015

I once heard someone say, "If you can't figure out your purpose, figure out your passion.  For your passion will lead you right into your purpose."  For me, my passion is photography.

And to quote Aaron Rose:  "In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary".

Susan Marie

Takin' It To The Streets

I love taking pictures on the streets of NYC.  There are so many characters and opportunities to capture interesting moments in time.  Going to a set location with anticipation of what I'll find fuels my inquisitiveness.  

I went to Washington Square Park one Sunday afternoon.  Years past this wasn’t such a nice place, at least that was my recollection.  But now I found children and parents frolicking in the fountain, that was a surprising.  It made me think of times long ago when children played in open hydrants to cool off from the hot summer heat.  They control that sort of thing now with filters, not quite the same thing.

 Fountain Play

Fountain Play

There was dancing under the arch to a jazz band... everyone just having fun, grooving to the music.

 Jazz Dance

Jazz Dance

To top it all off there was a women making gigantic bubbles.   With the simple pleasure of just popping them, she was not lacking an audience of children.  They were drawn to the iridescent colors, as was I.  Interesting that I choose to develop the images in black and white.  To me it added a timeless quality so you aren't quite sure what year it is.

 Little Rascals

Little Rascals

These children reminded me of “Our Gang”, the Little Rascals from the 1920’s.

 Pop Goes The Bubble

Pop Goes The Bubble

The excitement of bursting a bubble is something that never leaves you if you have the curiosity and wonderment of a child.

 Bubble Face

Bubble Face

A second before the bubble bursts, with determination to get the job done.

 Memorial Day

Memorial Day

In Times Square, there was a marine standing next to someone who looked like a young Spike Lee.  It was Memorial Day weekend after all.  They were together and I knew the other guy wasn’t the director, but both of them wearing hats, standing next to hat vendor caught my attention.  There was a story there, friends or relatives, each who's lives have taken them in different directions.  That’s the story I see.

 Music Underground

Music Underground

Under Bethesda Terrace there always seems to be some musician or singer trying to make a few bucks.  I have to say the acoustics are fabulous.  I love the juxtaposition of the instrumentalist against the worn arches.  It made me feel like I was in Europe.

 Night Ladies

Night Ladies

Coming Home one evening, I passed these two young ladies going out for the night.  I loved the look on one of the girls face as it had a look of anticipation of what the night might bring.

 American Idol

American Idol

In Madison Square Park I ran into the American Idol winner, Nick Fradiani doing a jam session with his band to promote his new album.  With the paparazzi in me, how could I not take his picture.  I liked the photograph on its own merit, a young musician playing on the streets of NYC.  That's one of the things I love about black and white photography.   It has a timeless quality, you can’t really tell what year it is, could be the 70’s or yesterday. 

The city offers so many opportunities to capture interesting images.


Susan Marie
 

City Landscape

Viewing a photograph should evoke some kind of emotion.  Sometimes it can be shock, or arouse a memory whether pleasant or sad.  It can tell a story to document an event, capturing a moment in time.  It can have a touch of humor or bring a tear to your eye.  It can be artist and graphic.  Or it can be just plain pretty.

I have been questioning the validity of this series of photographs, did they have merit?  But then I thought of all the landscape photographers that go out to photograph Slot Canyon, the Salt Flats, Mount Rainer, etc.  The images I have seen shot in those locations are just beautiful.  Since I live in the city, this in my take at landscape photography. 

 Archway

Archway

 Zig-Zag

Zig-Zag

 Bethesda Fountain

Bethesda Fountain

 Bow Bridge

Bow Bridge

 Cleopatra's Needle

Cleopatra's Needle

 Reservoir Sunset

Reservoir Sunset

I have lived on the island of Manhattan for close to 40 years.  I have lived 5 blocks from Central Park for close to 28 of those.  Only in the last year or so have I come to embrace the park and all the beauty that it has inside.  My love of photography makes me see in new ways and explore different locations, something I might not do without my camera.  It makes me appreciate this city, seeing it in bountiful and distinctive ways.

Sometimes a photograph can be just plain pretty.

Susan Marie

Carnival of Color - Holi Brooklyn

Holi is an important festival to Hindus. It is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month.  Also know as the Festival of Colors or the Festival of Love, it is an ancient religious ceremony which has become popular around the world.  I would love one day to take a trip and explore where this first originated, but in the meantime I thought I'd travel to Brooklyn to participate in this carnival of color that was so close to home.

Attendants play, chase and color each other with dry powder.  I wanted to experience this first hand, so off I went to the Holi NYC Festival this past Saturday.  I set out to make portraits along with documenting the event.  For the head shots I cropped them square as this seemed to work best.  For the scenes, I needed to be more flexible as the square format didn’t really tell the complete story.

To me, each persons face became an abstract canvas.  It was intoxicating and so much fun to photograph.

 Back To Color

Back To Color

I wanted photograph people at different angles to show off the colors in an interesting way.

 Spy Color

Spy Color

These 2 guys looked almost like mannequins, even in person... or international spy's, your choice.

 Green Day

Green Day

 Red Head

Red Head

What caught my attention was the fact that this fellow only had red pigment on his head.  I am sure that didn't last for long.

 Joy Intoxicate

Joy Intoxicate

 Human Color Abstract

Human Color Abstract

 Lime & Magenta

Lime & Magenta

 Looking For Color

Looking For Color

The overcast day was the perfect backdrop as it really made the color portraits stand out against the grey sky.

 Yellow Color Splash

Yellow Color Splash

 Cornstarch Pigments

Cornstarch Pigments

 Aqua Cloud

Aqua Cloud

 Blue In The Face

Blue In The Face

 Blue Bus Blue Girl

Blue Bus Blue Girl

I think this turned out to be my favorite photo.  I was attracted to the blue bus with the girl who's face was in the same blue color... and the bus was named blue too!

The festival signifies victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships... plus a whole lot of colorful fun.

Susan Marie

Fenced In

Occasionally when I go out to photograph I have a specific vision of what I am going to find, what I am going to shoot and how I am going to process the raw files.  I see these imagined photos in my mind and I just assume that this scene will be there when I arrive.  Sometimes it works and sometimes I get surprised.  That's one of the things I love about photography, exploring my creative curiosity.

Ah yes, and this happened again the other day...

My imagined scene:  boys playing basketball, the sun is low in the sky creating long deep shadows.  I am going to process the images in black and white, super high contrast, almost silhouette.  I could have sworn I saw this in reality at some point when passing this playground.  And at about the same time too, around sunset.  Well, it was not happening, that scene was not there.

Now what?  I took some typical photos of players jumping up to dunk the ball, group shots and the playground.  All a little ho-hum, but then I had an idea.  What if I focus tight on the fence and use my largest F/stop opening to blur the background so the players become abstract colors?  So that's what I did and I think I got some interesting results.

 FENCED IN

FENCED IN

I "chimped" the camera to see if I should continue along this line as I can't see depth of field through the view finder.  After looking at a shot I thought this might make an interesting series.

 X SPOT

X SPOT

Photography inspires me to think and observe creatively.  I might try this again, but next time I'll vary the F/stops so I get some images with the background a little more in focus.

 LOOKING UP

LOOKING UP

Sometimes you are forced to find different ways of seeing.  Another reason I love photography.

Susan Marie

The Hub

Another destination on my photography journey is the Transportation Hub at the World Trade Center.  It’s not finished yet, but after seeing some of the images and reading about its progress, this really intrigued me.  I wanted to go downtown and photograph it.  I had to go see for myself.  When I entered the portion that is open to the public, I immediately had the feeling of stepping into the future or some sci-fi movie set.  It was truly surreal.

At approximately 800,000 square feet, the Hub, designed by internationally acclaimed architect Santiago Calatrava, will be the third largest transportation center in New York City, rivaling Grand Central Station in size.  I am going to have to go back periodically.  Something about this space is both haunting and visually stimulating.

 Pink Hub Glow

Pink Hub Glow

It was such an expansive space that when this small boy started running back and forth I just had to photograph the moment.  It was the juxtaposition of this tiny person in the huge open arena that caught my attention.

 Tiny Blue Boy

Tiny Blue Boy

As you go up the elevator to the second tier, it becomes the entrance to 1 World Trade Center, specifically now the Conde Nast entrance.  They won’t let you in building, but the corridor had that dreamlike feel.  Again I felt transported into the future.

 Aqua Glow Corridor

Aqua Glow Corridor

The intense back lighting creates striking silhouettes.

 Commuting Silhouettes

Commuting Silhouettes

This is another place I want to go back and photograph.  I think as they finish construction it will only get more mesmerizing, at least to me.

Susan Marie

Oh No, Black & White

I love photography, personally taking them and viewing the vision of other photographers.  At present I am on an inner journey of self discovery, contemplating content vs technique.  Both are relevant.  I understand the importance in finding your own photographic genre and stick with it.  The aim is to develop a look with a distinctive style that’s your very own.  When the viewer sees an image they should know it’s yours.  How else will people come to know your work?

Oh great, so now I add black and white to my repertoire.  I feel like I see the world in many different ways.  When I go out to photograph I let the scene and the image speak back to me.  This is especially true in street photography when shooting is more spontaneous.

Case in point, I love to do pans and abstract blurs.  I have gotten a nice response to this type of image and some might say just stick with that.  The other day I tried to do some, it seemed like the right setup, but my heart wasn’t in it.  I shot some that were OK, but I knew deep down I was forcing it, trying to please.

That's when I realized I have to do my own thing, follow my own instincts.  I just can't make images I don't have any feeling for or images only please others.  Of course I want people to enjoy viewing my photos, who wouldn't?  I want to share my vision.  I love street photography, I think that is my true passion.  But I like the others too... oh no, there I go flip-flopping again...

Now I am beginning to embrace black and white photography.  Even though I have dabbled with this in the past, I have a feeling some more of this type are going to emerge.  When I convert my photos mono-chromatically something interesting happens.  There seems to be a timeless quality.  I think the viewer envisions their own hues.  There isn’t a prejudicious of the colors that are in an image forming an opinion.

 Cigs & Coffee

Cigs & Coffee

I posted the above photo in color on my past blog.  The color version belonged with that story.  But I think it's a stronger image in black and white.  I love the contrast of the white smoke against the black cellar door.

 NY Morning Cup Of Joe

NY Morning Cup Of Joe

I love to photograph food carts.  What caught my attention was crisscross scaffolding framing the dark silhouetted figure reaching up for her morning cup of joe.

 On 88th Street

On 88th Street

I saw this gentlemen reaching down to tie his shoe.  It was hard for him to balance as he had to hold onto the tree before bending down.  Somehow he reminded me of my grandfather so I had to photograph the moment.  Sometimes it's just sentimental...

 Highline Wedding

Highline Wedding

So my conclusion?  I will just keep letting the images and situations speak to me.  I'll let it flow naturally.  But I will keep each post to a specific technique, just like it was a gallery showing.  Am I wrong?  Would love to have feedback on this topic.  To me they are all my children but maybe one will come to the forefront.  I don't want to make "Sophie's choice".

Susan Marie

Chinatown Morning

I didn't have work this past Monday so I decided that I would venture out early morning to do some photography.  It was a struggle to get out before dawn, you know, for golden hour.  But off I went with just a sip of coffee (and for all that really know me - THAT'S a big sacrifice).

For some time now I have been wanting to photograph Chinatown, Doyers Street to be exact.  I had all these visions in my head as to what I was going to find, what I was going to shoot and how the scene was going to look.  I dreamed the sun would be glowing and streaming through the tiny street (it wasn't) - that there would be food trucks dropping off fresh produce and fish (the streets were empty) - the restaurant workers would be rolling up their gates (nope, guess they didn't see the benefit of golden hour).

So, still not knowing what I would find, I rushed towards my intended destination.  There was only a short time before the sun would rise too high in the sky.  But as I walked past the statue in Kimlau Square, the scene caught my eye.   The sun was glowing through the distant bridge creating a strong contrast between light and dark.  It made an captivating silhouette.  Snap!  Gotta get to Doyers Street.

 KIMLAU SQUARE

KIMLAU SQUARE

As I continued on my way, I saw this man smoking and having a cup of coffee.  The white smoke against the dark cellar door was the perfect setup.  Plus I still had the soft morning light.  Snap!  Gotta get to Doyers Street.

 CIGS & COFFEE

CIGS & COFFEE

OK, you know the end of the story, I didn't exactly find what I thought would be there...  But it was still interesting just the same, just not what I expected.

 DIS-CHI

DIS-CHI

The colors of the buildings in the early morning light made them look a little like Disney, especially on an empty street.  I don't think I ever really noticed these colors in Chinatown before.  It almost looked fake.

 ORANGE GREEN YELLOW

ORANGE GREEN YELLOW

The colors of some of the surrounding buildings had their own distinct look.  I liked the juxtaposition of orange, green and yellow with the red Chinese lamppost.  I wondered if it had been done on purpose or was it just a happy accident.

Well, what lesson did I learn?  Maybe slow down.  Follow the light when you see it and be drawn to the images that are presenting themselves.  That can turn out to be the magic.  But in this case I would've needed ESP to know what awaited me, I had to seek the unknown.  I will go back... just not at golden hour.

Susan Marie

7th Street

Last week I was down in the East Village near the devastating fire that took place on 2nd Ave and 7th Street.  They are still working on the cleanup.  This is a part of the city that I go to frequently so I thought I should go down there and support the local businesses.  

 2ND AVENUE NO CARS AT RUSH HOUR 

2ND AVENUE NO CARS AT RUSH HOUR 

I did have my camera so I wanted document what I saw.  Photography for me is a sort of a visual diary, a diary you want to share as opposed to a written one that’s usually private.  I think it lets the viewer peek inside your thoughts while being able to form their own story of what is happening in an image. 
 

 CLEANUP ON 7TH STREET & 2ND AVENUE

CLEANUP ON 7TH STREET & 2ND AVENUE

Cleanup crews and firefighter working together.

 EXAMINING THE EQUIPMENT

EXAMINING THE EQUIPMENT

A stretcher is still there, waiting.  To me it was a haunting image as you already knew that there will likely be no one to use it.

 RED TENT AND STRETCHER

RED TENT AND STRETCHER

 FIREMEN SILHOUTTE

FIREMEN SILHOUTTE


The silhouetted fireman against the sky caught my attention.
 

 STREET WORK

STREET WORK

It’s always interesting to me what people like to photograph, what they post and what they think is important.  It really says something about the photographer on some deeper level and that fascinates me.

Susan Marie

St. Mark's Church Focus

Walking past St. Marks Church in NYC I saw all these T-Shirts hanging from bamboo crosses.  It got my attention.  As I got closer I could read a name, age and how each child got killed or injured by gunfire.  I had to look this up when I got home to find the back story.  

 BAMBOO T-CROSSES

BAMBOO T-CROSSES

It turned out to be an installation to bring attention against gun violence concerning children in the United States, all incidents taking place since last Easter.  They wanted to mark the start of Holy Week by putting a name to the bodies and lives that weren’t valued.

 MAKING IT VISIBLE

MAKING IT VISIBLE

St. Marks Church plans on hanging a sign that will state that more than 700 children twelve and younger have been affected the past year by some form of gun violence.  What an interesting way to attract attention to a very serious subject.  Kudos to Reverend Winnie Varghese for making it visible.  She explained “It’s just public witness”.

Susan Marie

Ladder Company 8

Walking by Ladder Company 8, affectionately known for being the Ghost Buster Fire Station in the movie, you can’t help but notice the old melted phones on wall.  I was curious as to what that was all about and asked the fireman standing at his post.  He explained to me that in the past they were able to take them as a memento of sorts from the fires they had put out.  He went on to say they are no longer able to do this, it’s now against the law, and stay as a reminder of the past. 

You also can’t help notice the board on the wall still with the date of September 10, 2001.  A fitting tribute to the men who had served that day and presumably still on duty the next day.  Somber as a thought that is I think we are all grateful that there are those willing to go into dangerous situations that most run from.  Thank you.

  The Wall

The Wall

  Rotary

Rotary

  Burnt Buttons

Burnt Buttons

Developing images such as these in black and white add a timeless and almost haunting quality.  I always let the subject move me as to how I see the final image.  Sometimes I envision vidid colors, sometimes somber.  Every photo I take becomes my personal perspective and creative expression, how can it not be.

Susan Marie

Horizontal Pan


One of the things I love to do with my camera is take abstract pan photos.  I usually do vertical shots but this time I thought I would try doing some horizontal.  The early evening light created a nice contrast with the glow of moving vehicles against a dark sky.  
 

 Commute

Commute

 Taxi Hail

Taxi Hail

 Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound

With an artistic vision, I am always experimenting trying different techniques as I go along on my photographic adventure.  Should I have just one and concentrate on that?  I don’t know at this point.  I think I see the world through many layers and view certain scenes in different ways.  I am trying to find my strengths while also working on my true passion.

I recently saw a video of Sam Abell, “The Life of a Photograph”, where he was describing his photographic technique.  Simply put, he finds the scene first and waits for something to happen.  I thought that was such an interesting concept.  I am now on the lookout for these kinds of backdrops, ones that I might want to return to.  Some of his photo’s looked like Hopper paintings to me and I love Hopper.  That’s a direction I want to take my photography.  As the weather becomes warmer, this will make standing in one place more conducive.

Forgive if I am still waffling… please don’t fault me as I am loving the journey.

Susan Marie

Freedom

On Friday I went down to the Freedom Tower Memorial.  I was really looking for the new Transportation Hub but was drawn over to the spilling waterfall.  I have never been down that close to that area since 9/11.  I’ve been meaning to go, but you know how that goes.  Plus it still is such an emotional experience.  I think all of us who were here when it happened is something you’ll just never forget.

 Spilling Water

Spilling Water

 Light Trees

Light Trees

 Food Cart Glow

Food Cart Glow

Finding my way on my photographic journey, experimenting, searching, looking and having just plain fun doing so.  Giving myself the freedom to try new things.

Susan Marie

Winter Wonderland

Central Park, when it snows, becomes a virtual winter wonderland.  And one of my favorite things to do is to take photographs in any kind of inclement weather.  It creates an overall moodiness and adds an interesting component plus engaging elements to the overall composition.

The images I had taken already looked black and white, even in full color.  So the decision to develop my photos that way was a no brainer.  I started making those adjustments and they all seemed to lend themselves to a sepia undertone.  As I began to play with the vibration slider, it added back some color into the image.  I liked this effect as it made the things that were red pop out and stay red while the other hues remained monochromatic.  

I loved that the atmospheric haze that day created multiple backdrop layers within the natural landscape.  I look forward to the next snow storm, without the polar vortex… I can dream can’t I?

 TIMELESS

TIMELESS

 UNDER & OVER

UNDER & OVER

 RED RECTANGLE

RED RECTANGLE

 TREE LINES

TREE LINES

 CARRIAGE RIDE

CARRIAGE RIDE

I am beginning to see a common denominator in my photography, an exploration in playful and strategic use of color within each of my images.  There is always a very graphic nature that seems to emerge.  By developing my photos in a similar manner within a group of images, I create mini collections - each series in their own right creates their own individual story.

Susan Marie

Central Park Conservancy Ice Festival

This past Saturday the Central Park Conservancy hosted the 4th annual Ice Sculpting Festival.  As I had never seen this done in person, I wanted to observe for myself ice-carving artists wielding electric chain-saws.  The craftsman were to transform a block of hard water into a replica of the one of the parks most famous statues, Romeo and Juliet.  And it was going to snow… 

So I went there to document the event.  That is one of the genres of photography that I am drawn to, my personal form of photojournalism.  While I did do my coverage of the festival in photo’s, I also captured other images.  It was snowing after all, and I couldn’t think of a better place to be than Central Park.  

When I got home and downloaded my photos I thought, “Oh, great, now what… I have these other pictures that just don’t fit with the theme”…  that’s when it hit me, a real aha moment.  My different photographic approaches seem to emerge depending on how I see the subject and what I am feeling, why must I only have one?  While trying to develop my own recognizable style, I can’t limit it to only one look or technique.  That is like telling an artist to use oil paints and not watercolors or only draw with a pencil.  Each one has its place and I realized that I truly take 3 distinct photographic paths:

-photojournalism / street photography 
-graphic / artistic 
-abstract

This is my venture in photojournalism at the Central Park Ice Festival, live ice craving by Okamoto Studio.  What I enjoy most about this genre is wanting to tell a story through my images and make the viewer feel like they were at the event, or at the very least see it through my eyes. 

 ICE FESTIVAL SNOWFLAKE

ICE FESTIVAL SNOWFLAKE

 CHISELING THE 3,000 POUND BLOCK

CHISELING THE 3,000 POUND BLOCK

 FOLLOWING THE DESIGN GRID

FOLLOWING THE DESIGN GRID

 BREAKING THE ICE

BREAKING THE ICE

 ICE SPRAY

ICE SPRAY

 FINISHING TOUCHES

FINISHING TOUCHES

 EVERYONE HAS A CAMERA

EVERYONE HAS A CAMERA

 CROWDS GATHERED FOR THE FESTIVITIES

CROWDS GATHERED FOR THE FESTIVITIES

 YOU WILL BE MY VALENTINE

YOU WILL BE MY VALENTINE

Sometimes you just run into something ironic, I really got a chuckle out of this one.  With everyone having a cellphone with a camera, unending selfie’s and the real life backdrop of a beautiful Central Park landscape in the snow, why would you need to take a photo in front of a photographed scene of Central Park in the snow?  Too, too paradoxical…  Guess it was just photo booth fun.

 JUST KEEP MOVING TO THE RIGHT TO GET THE SHOT

JUST KEEP MOVING TO THE RIGHT TO GET THE SHOT

 SAY CHEESY

SAY CHEESY

At 5PM the plaza in front of the Naumburg Bandshell turned into a silent disco.  Participants all wore earphones and the colored lights indicated what music channel they were listening to: 80’s, top 40 or their favorite artist.

 THE COLOR OF MUSIC

THE COLOR OF MUSIC

So I hope you enjoy this adventure of discovery with me.  I plan to post the other images in a separate blog, it is after all another exhibit, as I find my way through photographic creative expression.  Maybe one of my techniques will emerge as the one I am most drawn to, but for now I’m still exploring and enjoying the process.

 SEEING THROUGH THE SNOWFLAKE

SEEING THROUGH THE SNOWFLAKE

The End,

Susan Marie

Union At The Square

I had the day off Monday and decided to have brunch with a friend near Union Square.  When I exited the subway there were tons of police placing barricade fences all around the park, the ones that they usually set up for parades.  I walked over to a policeman and asked “what’s going on"?  He says “they’re protesting”.  “Protesting what” I ask back.  “It’s Martin Luther King Day” was his response.

I shrugged my shoulders and went on my way.  The photographer inside me thought this might be a nice photo op, I did after all have my camera on me.  I secretly hoped that whatever was going on would still be going on later.  So after brunch, as I approached the park, thankfully there were still lots of people gathering by the open expanse on 14th Street.  Now I could see for myself what this was all about - they were protesting police violence.  I smiled to myself thinking what I had asked that policeman, funny he didn’t say.

  Peaceful Protest

Peaceful Protest

This is not a political commentary, but instead one of unity.  To me there seemed to be more white people than black - I was proud of that.  No matter how you feel about what has been happening in the news lately, or who's side you're on, I can’t condone violence of any kind.  People of all races came together that day to support one another in peace.  

  George Stands Guard

George Stands Guard

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

~ George Washington

  Bouton Du Jour

Bouton Du Jour

Martin Luther King’s Birthday was commemorated with a “die-in”.  People began to all lay down on the ground to simulate and pay homage to those who had passed away.

  Down But Not Out

Down But Not Out

For the hundreds that had gathered that day in Union Square it was truly a remembrance celebration.  It concluded in a 4-mile protest march, heading downtown via Broadway, through lower Manhattan.

  Do Unto Others

Do Unto Others

But in the end, I think this sums it all up…

  All Lives Do Matter

All Lives Do Matter

Susan Marie

 

Blurred Lines

I live in a small NYC apartment and when I renovated my home I had to get rid of my drawing table.  This was a very big deal to me as, deep down, I consider myself a water color painter… but realistically how often did I paint?  What has this got to do with my photography?  Well, as I am progressing on my photographic journey I am starting to see elements of watercolor looks that I am drawn to in my images.  Whether I capture the image that way from the start or develop it in Lr, I love the painterly and graphic effects I can achieve while using the camera as my paint brush.  I don’t do any special effects in Photoshop.  

This past Saturday, huge snow flakes were falling from the sky outside my window.  I just had to go out and experience it.  It was the perfect venue to use my panning technique that I love.  What could I capture?  I headed out to Carl Shchurz Park.  I figured all the good images would be shot there.  But again, sometimes those spontaneous moments just present themselves if you have the eye to see them.

 UMBRELLA WOMEN

UMBRELLA WOMEN

The overcast sky and the stone walkway in Carl Schruz Park unfolded into various shades of pale grey.  This was the perfect backdrop for the visual elements of the fence, benches and 59th Street Bridge as those were in darker tones from deep grey to black.  I like that the only real color in the image comes from the girl walking along the esplanade - a diminutive amount of pink and green.

 PINK GREEN

PINK GREEN

On my way back home, waiting at the light, was this woman in a bright magenta coat.  She stood out against the colorless background of the day.  As I started developing the image, I found it interesting that the photo started to look like a black and white photo with just that pop of color.  Also on my side was a white truck plowing through the snow, just as I clicked the shutter.  The people in the foreground emerged as separate elements and helped them stand out.

 MAGENTA COAT

MAGENTA COAT

Snow was picking up again and I was eager to get back and review my images.  I went back to take a second look as to what was captured that day… There were others that peaked my interest to develop.  With a cup of coffee at my side, it was a perfect way for me to relax on such a dreary day.

I can always prop a board against my dining table and pull out the paint brushes if I like, but my photography is becoming my first true passion.

Susan Marie

Coney Island Sunday

I have been wanting to photograph Coney Island at sunrise for some time now.  This past Sunday the procrastination monster didn’t win and I headed out on my journey before dawn.  The weather was to be overcast with with drizzle predicted to end before 9am.  This was actually a good thing as I thought that would make more interesting photos.  I had high hopes for some ominous skies.  

Well, sometimes the best laid plans have to change.  The sky was not as sinister as I had hoped.  The rain didn’t stop until noon.  I was not dismayed, I had finally made it to Coney Island in the early morning hours and I would turn lemons into lemonade.  So I had hoped…

Funny that I thought that the more interesting images would be of the amusement park.  That’s what I had set out to do.  I had taken many angles of the Thunderbolt, the Carousel, Parachute and the boardwalk all in the morning mist.  But when I got home and uploaded the photos into Light Room those photos were just OK.  Nothing jumped out at me as that interesting.  It was a little disappointing.  I then looked at my pier shots.  As I separated out just those images, that’s when I became quite pleased.  

When creating a group of photos I try to develop them all in a similar style.  If it works, I also try to crop them in the same ratio.  This gives my images a more cohesive look when telling the story.  The rainy sky created a misty atmospheric haze, so I wanted the photos to have a natural watercolor look.

I captured a seagull as it flew towards the pier with fisherman casting their lines.  Off in the distance on the left is a ship starting on what is most likely a long journey.  This is a small speck in the scheme of things, but I love these little details that you don’t really see unless you really look.

 FLYING HIGH

FLYING HIGH

The rainy pier had wonderful reflections that would not have been there on a sunny day.  The wet planks created mirror like reflections.  Off in the distance was the perfect anchor point, a person with an umbrella in black silhouette.  I love the color that was created in this image as it looks like a sepia print with pale shades of gray blue.  This is how it really was, no photoshop tricks, a graphic effect from just natural mist and diffused light.

 PIER REFLECTIONS

PIER REFLECTIONS

One can only imagine the story of this fisherman.  You just had the sense that he was a local who goes to that pier all the time, especially early on Sunday mornings waiting to catch the big one.

 WAITING FOR THE BIG CATCH

WAITING FOR THE BIG CATCH

When I saw this group of fishermen and fisherwoman lining the pier, I noticed that I had two yellow bookended slickers.  A dot of the red hat in the middle of the composition created a story of the primary colors, yellow, blue and red.

 YELLOW BLUE RED

YELLOW BLUE RED

Finally, what would a trip to Coney Island be without a walk on the beach.  This seagull managed to get a shellfish for its Sunday Brunch.  His watery reflection was cast in the wet sand as he walked along the shore with pride over his treasured find.

 SUNDAY BRUNCH

SUNDAY BRUNCH

I will be going back to capture the rides and the excitement of the amusement park.  But that will have to wait for another time.  I look forward that.

Susan Marie

Demanding Memory

I love photography and I love seizing the moment.  So when it was presented to me at the B & H Infinity group that the next assignment was to photograph a memory, that really intrigued me.  I consider myself a street photographer, always trying capture an image on a more spontaneous basis.  Sometimes that feels a little like fishing, always hoping to hook the big one, getting a few keepers and some you just throw back.  It was truly a new way of thinking in terms of my photography.  This approach felt more like a planned hunt.

Of course images and moments start to flood your brain.  Three immediately popped into my consciousness.  But what would be the most interesting to shoot?  I knew immediately what I wanted to do.  And I would develop my images in black and white tinted with sepia.

When I was a teenager there was a small cemetery that was down the block from my home.  It was the Lawrence family plot, still is I guess, and it was very scary and foreboding.  They have since cleaned it up.  The fence back then always had a split somewhere so vandals always got in.  Big kids partied inside that place.  Truth be told, I had a little envy of what I considered at the time to be their bravery and coolness, I was too afraid.  Kids…

So I set off to purposely capture the memory of apprehension.

 BIRTH

BIRTH

Next to that little cemetery was “the trestle”, a foot bridge that spanned over train tracks.  On the other side was an abandoned lot where kids hung out at the deserted end of the train yard.  I never got the chance to go there at night.  All the good action was happening after 9 and I had to be home.  

The image is peering through the railing of the trestle, looking at that area of intrigue.  What was going on down there?  What did I miss?  What didn’t I get to do and what was I saved from?

 YOUTH

YOUTH

Now the trestle itself always was a little eerie at night.  My aim was to get a sense of danger of what’s waiting on the other side.  Hope against hope I wanted to photograph someone climbing the trestle, capturing just the moment as they were under the lamp at the top of the bridge.  I saw this person going up the stairs - I had to shoot fast, there weren’t going to be many chances.  I managed to get 2 photographs but the one below was just what I was looking for.  Where are is she going and is it safe?

 LIFE

LIFE

Whenever I was on the top of that bridge I always stopped and looked in both directions, west towards the city and east towards Long Island.  I remember imagining what life would have in store when I got out of this place.  Life has many crossroads, like train tracks that can take you in any direction.  Where are we all going?  I still ask myself that question.

 DECISIONS

DECISIONS

Since I do love to do abstract pans, I thought I’d try some on the top of the trestle.  I wanted to see the pan shot next to the straight shot and I really liked the juxtaposition of the two realities.  This might make an interesting series and I plan on working on this concept in the future.  

In the context of my memory it seemed an appropriate ending.  Life taking off - going faster and faster into the light and dreams of the future.  We are always changing course,  just like train tracks.  Click, one direction, clack now another, not ever really knowing the ending.  But as long as we are going into the light and towards our passions, life is good.

 INFINITY

INFINITY

What I found most interesting in doing the assignment is how much I actually enjoyed photographing with a sense of purpose and emotion.  This is something that I will forever be thinking about on my photographic journey.

Susan Marie

Panning For Gold

I love the photographic effect created when panning the camera.  And with the NYC marathoners running just a block from my home, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to use this technique.  You have to take many shots to gain just a few good ones and when you get a really great one you are overjoyed.  Well, this is true for me in the present phase of my photographic journey.

 Fast Pace

Fast Pace

I started photographing the typically expected pan of just the runners.  Even with the marathoners rapid pace, I managed to capture some interesting photos.  My shutter speed was set to 1/15 of a second which created a beautiful swirling motion of their legs and shot in manual mode to have more control over the camera.  On my next "panning adventure", I am going to experiment using different shutter speeds to see the various effects that can be achieved.

 Swirling Sweep

Swirling Sweep

Interesting graphic shadow silhouettes were created on the pavement with the angle of the sun on the backs of the runners.

 Shadow Run

Shadow Run

Running seems to be a lot about the gear and of course the sneakers.  Colorful combinations were whizzing by me.  I thought it would be interesting to capture the movement of the running shoes.  I practically laid on the ground aiming and panning just their feet.  I got some interesting effects that I was quite pleased with.  Below is a detail of one of those photos.

 Sneaker Streak

Sneaker Streak

See my WORK page and click "Marathon Run" for complete photo.

 

I remember the days of “Fotomat”, a tiny kiosk where you dropped off your roll of film and then waited for it to be developed.  I mostly used Kodak color film, ISO 100 with 36 frames.  You were real careful and cognizant of what you were photographing as every click cost you money.  

 

Shooting digital gives me the opportunity to experiment with different types of techniques without that expense.  I would have been much more cautious back then and don’t know how willing my pocketbook would have been to try new things.  That’s one of the reasons I love digital photography.  But even with that being said, I think I am becoming more mindful of every click.  I’m using just a little more thinking and strategy before releasing the shutter, and in doing so, I think it's helping me improve my photographic skills.

Susan Marie