Here are some recent studio portraits I made for some staff members of the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). I used the lighting setup that remained from the fashion photo shoot by photographer Sohrab Vahdat when I donated my studio space to Project Model Tee.
Last June I blogged about finding myself with my Canon G10 camera in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History. I hoped to return one day with the objective of photographing dioramas with a better camera and lenses. I finally spent an afternoon at the museum for the sole purpose of photographing not just the African mammal dioramas, but others as well. This time I was prepared with my Canon 5D Mark II and a 50 mm f/1.4 lens and a 16-35 mm f/2.8 lens. I think I got pretty good results.
In mid-January I photographed the annual conference of the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). The conference was held at Baruch College’s Vertical Campus. A business meeting was followed by a keynote speech by Jessamyn West, who is an author, community technology librarian, and community manager of the massive group blog MetaFilter.com. The remainder of the day featured breakout sessions for METRO members to attend depending on their areas of interest.
I learned an important lesson that day. At the back of my closet I found an old pair of shoes I had never worn. The shoes seemed in brand new condition and looked better than the pair I planned to wear, and I thought they looked pretty good with my suit. I tried them on and they fit well and felt good. But after the first hour of the five-hour event, both soles fell off. I guess the glue had dried up. I had no choice but to continue shooting, and no one seemed to notice. I headed from the conference directly to a nearby shoe store, and the silver lining is that I found a beautiful pair of Italian loafers on sale. I’ve already tested the loafers so I can be confident they’ll hold up on my next shoot.
I spent a snowy weekend with friends in Copake Falls, which is in on the New York side of the Berkshires. We rented a cabin in Taconic State Park, and from there we explored the area by hiking and driving longer distances. On Sunday morning after it had snowed lightly overnight, I awoke before the others and hiked across the New York-Massachusetts border with my camera and tripod to Bash Bish Falls. I spent some relaxing moments alone photographing the falls and the river, and I learned an important lesson: the spray from a waterfall is likely to freeze on your lens when the temperature is 21 degrees. I had made my best photos before the ice crystals formed, so once I noticed the ice, I packed up and hiked back to the cabin.
Project Model Tee (PMT) is a non-profit organization that provides a platform for fashion models to benefit charitable causes by showcasing their art and encouraging the development of a meaningful personal message. They recently teamed up with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for their “I Will Listen” campaign. I was connected by a friend to PMT’s founder, Edythe Hughes, who needed a studio to shoot promotional photos for their fundraising event for NAMI. I gladly volunteered my studio, which was taken over by seven models, two makeup artists, two hair stylists, and fashion photographer Sohrab Vahdat for a five-hour shoot. I enjoyed watching the process, assisting when necessary, and taking these behind-the-scenes photos.
A friend invited me to a Saturday luncheon at her home on Staten Island. The weather was miserable, and I debated whether or not to bring my camera. I’m sure glad I did. The foggy and rainy views from the ferry turned out to be spectacular, and when the other guests left, my friend offered to drive me to Fort Wadsworth for some incredible views of the Verrazano Bridge.
Good friends of mine eloped for a quiet wedding in Pennsylvania and later held a small party for close friends and family at The House in New York City. I offered to photograph the party as my wedding gift. A few weeks earlier, we met at The House for dinner so I could see the space. I’m glad I did, so I knew in advance the challenge ahead. The room was tiny and extraordinarily dark, with ceilings too low for bounce flash. I planned to shoot at ISO 6400 with a fast, wide angle lens, and with the equipment I own, I could have used my Canon 7D with my 16-35 mm f/2.8 lens. But I wanted the better noise reduction of my 5D Mark II, so I rented a 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens to use on that camera. My only pet peeve is that even though I gelled my flash to balance properly with the overhead tungsten lighting, the floor and table lamps actually had yellow bulbs in them, casting a sickly orange glow throughout the room and making it look as though I hadn’t properly color balanced my equipment.