Posts Tagged as: photography

August 22, 2008

Why don’t we do it in the road?

As the guy who designed the original NYC Condom, my heart sank this afternoon when I saw about a hundred new NYC Condoms strewn across the street by Broadway and Broome. Let’s show a little more respect for our rubbers, New York.

August 11, 2008

Canon 2X Extender Comparison

One of my favorite lenses, if not my absolute favorite, is the Canon 70-200 mm 2.8L IS. I also have the 2X extender, but am sometimes a little hesitant to use it because I know it blurs the imagery a bit, as well as decreases the maximum aperture to 5.6.

So a while back I did a little side-by-side comparison to find some of the benefits and drawbacks to using the 2X extender. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Below are two photos taken with my 5D – the one on the left is using the 2X extender and the one on the right is not. Both shots were taken handheld at ISO 400, f5.6, and with a shutter speed of 1/400:

Clearly, there’s no parking on Wednesdays from 8:30 to 10 AM. Also, you shouldn’t litter. So let’s increase the image on the right’s resolution from 300 to 600 (2x) to compare it:

Cool. Now they’re the same size and the real comparison can begin. First and foremost, the image on the right (no extender, enlarged in PS) looks a little punchier, even though the image on the left (2X extender) is slightly sharper. It’s an interesting comparison because they both have their good and bad aspects. So let’s sharpen the image on the left and have another look:

Now that’s what I’m talking about. In the above image, I think it’s pretty clear that the image on the left with the extender is the winner here. So let’s take it a step further and enlarge them both. You know, for shits and giggles and stuff:

By now they’re both pretty much starting to look crappy. But it’s important to note that it’s possible to make out the “DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION” on the image on the left, and not on the right. To me that sealed the deal.

So my conclusion is that when there’s plenty of light and I’m trying to zoom as close as possible, I’m better off using the 2X extender. When there’s low light, however, my guess is that you’re better off not using the extender because you’ll need that 2.8 aperture to stop as much motion as possible. But that’s a comparison for another day. Or should I say, another night. And that right there is the funniest thing you’ll read all day.

July 31, 2008

A pig’s eye!

Living in Chinatown has been fun so far. But having to watch the butcher deliver pig carcuses to the Chinese food place across the street? Not so fun.

July 13, 2008

Williamsburg’s Mercury Dry Cleaners burns down

As if the hipsters in Williamsburg weren’t dirty enough, one of the area’s largest laundrymats just burned down this morning.

On my way to get a bagel I saw thick black smoke rising in the distance and heard sirens. So I did what anyone with a decent sense of self preservation would do – I ran back inside and grabbed my camera.

Most of the action had died down after I’d arrived, but at least I was earlier than most of the news crews. As I was leaving the scene to go home and eat my bagel I saw at least two phototogs scrambling past me in the opposite direction, multiple cameras and bags flopping around them like tentacles. Suckers.

Enjoy the rest of the photos on my Flickr account.

July 12, 2008

Shooting for the sky

The Cleverest reader and photographer Salvatore points out that my recent shots of the Brooklyn sky looked manipulated, and that he’d like to see an original for comparison’s sake. So I’m taking the time to do another quick Lightroom tutorial to show some of the work that goes into making the style of photography that I enjoy making, which for lack of a better word, I call “it” photography.

The original photo. Roll-over to see step one:

Step One

The sky in the original shot may look too bright, but since I was shooting RAW, it wasn’t blown out. Some with some of the darker areas of the street – they look a little dark on screen, but I know that since I made a well-exposed raw file, I’ll be able to lighten those parts and bring out some of the detail hiding behind those pixels.

After sliding the “Recovery” up and the “Contrast” down, I played with the “Temp” and the “Tint” to make the sky a little less flat, adding a nice blue hue. The human eye sees blue as a dark color, which also helps to darken the sky’s overall appearance.

So now the sky’s looking good but the street’s way too dark. Let’s move on the Part 3.

The sky’s looking good – now he hit the streets.

Step Two

Now we use that magical slider called “Fill Light.” What that does is brighten up all the areas of the photo that looked dark and flat and boring, and suddenly the photo starts to look more evenly exposed.

After the addition of slight color adjustments to make the color temperature a little chillier, I added a slight vignetting around the edges of the photo to subtly draw you in and add an increase of about 30% to the photo’s total perceived awesomeness.

So there you have it. If you found this interesting you might also want to read a similar tutorial about the homeless campaign I recently shot.

July 8, 2008

DCF Advertising’s NYC Teen Mindspace Campaign

Yesterday marked the official launch of our teen-focused social marketing campaign for the NYC Department of Health. The campaign centers around a MySpace page and several fictitious NYC teenagers all involved in common yet dangerous situations, such as experimenting with drugs and depression.

It wasn’t easy making the website appealing while also dealing with subject matter usually relegated to after school specials and cringe-inducing PSAs. But with the help of actual NYC high school kids who weighed in during the creative process, I think we managed to make something that’s not “lame.” Hopefully it will do some good.

What I find ironic is the fact that even though the campaign is for mental health awareness, I was about ready to go batshit insane while coding that MySpace page. If anyone’s ever tried to make a customized MySpace page, you know what I’m talking about. It’s not pretty.

Check out the campaign here.

July 1, 2008

The journey to and view from Manhattan’s Nelson Tower

I had a pretty exciting adventure yesterday afternoon. While taking pictures for an upcoming project I found myself at one of New York’s most visible yet rarely visited landmarks. I say rarely visited because in order to get there you need to take two elevators, enter a private penthouse office, climb up a 20 foot vertical ladder, have the building’s super struggle to push aside a wooden hatch cover for 5 minutes, and prop a workman’s ladder against a 12 foot parapet.

The most amazing thing about being on the roof of 450 7th Avenue, (also known as Nelson Tower, the tallest building in NYC’s Garment District), is that when you look up, pretty much the only thing you can see is sky. This is a strange feeling knowing you’re in the heart of midtown Manhattan. The roof itself isn’t flush with the top of the building, instead it sits about 12 feet below a retaining wall, cobwebbed with decades of unused or ailing electrical wiring and other rusting things I couldn’t identify.

It’s not until you prop up a ladder against the wall and start to climb before the expanse of the city takes shape beneath you. Being at the top of the ladder is a strangely exhilarating feeling that the photos don’t do justice to. Basically you’re balanced between two falls. Fall backward and you’ll break some bones. Fall forward and you’ll die. Bitchin.

In a related note, the super told stories of the roof’s popularity during the depression as a great place for forelorn businessmen to commit suicide. He even showed me the ladder they’d use, laying on the ground covered in rust and mold. I’d never seen a “suicide ladder” before, but I’ll be damned if I see ever another ladder that looks more suicide-y.

The building’s super climbing…

…and opening the hatch.

Setting up the ladder on the roof.

Bringing the ladder to the parapet.

Keep reading for more photos…

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June 29, 2008

Is that a camera on your taxi or are you just happy to see me?

I wish I’d gotten a better picture of this, but on Saturday I saw a taxi with a digital camera left accidentally sitting on its roof. This was especially poignant considering I’d recently re-visted the movie Raising Arizona, during which something of a little more value is accidentally left atop a moving vehicle…

June 17, 2008

The Sky is Falling

Came home from work today and the sky scared the crap out of me.

June 8, 2008

Wiimbledon 208

Today I cheered my brother on as he took 4th place at Wiimbledon. Click on the photo above to see more!