The Minors

I am getting the opportunity to do more family portrait sessions with help from my daily posts. Here is a look at my time with the Minors. Erin requested a special location to use for their back drop. It turned out to be a small dilapidated wooden shed located on a rural piece of property. We opted for sunset pictures, and met up late afternoon. Luckily, I had my lovely wife available to assist me with lighting, and using a new flash setup. This is the 3rd time she has been available to help out, and its nice to have her with me.

We drove out to the location only to be greeted by some farm animals that didn’t seem to like us being there. But, with a little shooing they moved on. No, I don’t have photos of this, and yes I realize now this was a missed opportunity! The sun was setting behind the structures so I tried to incorporate it sun as much as I could. Admittedly, there is always some level of pressure to make those most of the time when the sun is going down. But, they helped to make it fun, and easy for me.

 

 

I am learning that kids have a small window of opportunity for taking pictures. Thus, it’s always a challenge working with children, but mom & dad were helpful in their participation.

Minor Family 2017-13

The location, light, and textures helped to create a unique look for the images. With just a little bit of light left we managed to wrap it up, and finish with this shot. Much like their family; with a little flair. I am so grateful for the opportunity, and for this family!

Minor Family 2017-30

 

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Vintage Walgreens

Vintage Walgreens.jpg

Recently, I started experimenting with cinematic shots after coming across a few examples across the interwebs. One of the best examples of these that I found so far are from Ryan Booth, a filmmaker in NYC. There is also a good example from a local photographer that I know, Andy. He recently published his images in one of the daily photography blog articles called “A CINEMATIC VIEW OF SXSW 2018.” Check it out!

Recently, during March Madness weekend in San Antonio I was able to head down late Saturday afternoon from Austin to get some street & urban shooting in. With all the festivities going on there was a plethora of activity. And traffic! It was challenging because there was so much going on, but as always you try to look past the obvious. On a side note I love San Antonio! With me being Mexican-American I enjoy it because has been able to better maintain some of the feel & culture. The city also has large sections of downtown that are still very old. Unlike Austin it hasn’t demoed every square block to build a new hotel or high-rise condo. There is much more than the Alamo or Riverwalk to SA.

There were some great shot opportunities while there was light, but once the sunset I started to experiment a little. I came across this Walgreen drug store with vintage neon lighting and took some shots. I wanted to get some motion blur from the traffic while focusing on the store. No tripod since it’s not a good accessory to have when doing street photography! Also, IBIS so it takes some practice. Out of the 10 or so shots I got this was it. The buses motion bleeding into the sign made it for me.

I thought this would be a good image to apply the cinematic editing to. As usual I applied my moody & higher contrast edits. I then experimented with the cross processing preset edits in Luminar 2018 and settled on this look along with a few other adjustments. I like the finished result, but not sure if I hit it out of the park. I am still on the fence about the cinematic look in still pictures. I want to develop & maintain an original look. And I want my images to be timeless, but wonder if this is look is going to end up as just another trend?

I have a few other images that I am working with to see if I should continue or just stay with my standard 3:2 crop & edits. I would love to hear your thoughts so please comment on the image, editing and/or the cinematic look.

Details:

  • Fujifilm X-Pro2, XF23mmF1.4 R
  • ƒ/8.0
  • 1/4
  • ISO 400
  • Edited in LR 7.3 & Luminar 2018

Waiting for the Show

Waiting for the Show

SXSW 2018 has come and gone here in Austin, Texas! Being a local (and Original Austinite) helps to be part of the festivities. Honestly, the showcases are great, but for me it’s the plethora of people coming into town. It’s street photography gold mining for me. I love to spend time walking around, and hanging out downtown where most of the events are taking place. It’s great to see as people from all over the world descend on the city. Occasionally, I get meet someone new, and chat with them. That’s what makes it for me.

The first part of SX week is geared toward the Film/Interactive/Tech industry, and the music portion kicks up mid-week. it’s a different crowd overall between the first & second groups. I opted to head down the first Saturday about mid-day, and began walking around. I was able to meet up with fellow photogs for an organized photowalk starting at The Driskill Hotel located 6th & Brazos. The light was great, and I hung out into the evening for the colored lights in & out of the venues to come alive. It was worth it!

If you have ever attended SXSW then you are all too familiar with the lines. For most events, it’s about the badge you have. For some events though, free is the key. But, plan to be there early and to wait. The shot above is one of these scenes. I could’nt resist the line up of people waiting with the beautiful colors of the Bat Bar (yes, that is the name) behind them. A quick glance from one of the young women in line, and the scene is captured.

My goal was to get bolder, and closer to people such as spoke about in this post. In some cases, I was able to do so. For more SXSW pictures along with my other shots check out my Instagram feed. I am already planning to attend more of SXSW next year, and perhaps might signup to shoot events. We will see!

Details:

  • Fujifilm X-Pro2, XF23mmF1.4 R
  • ƒ/1.4
  • 1/250
  • ISO 1600
  • Edited in LR6

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Close & Called Out

I have been doing street photography for a couple of years now. It’s my niche and what I love to photograph. I must admit there is a certain discomfort or fear at times when photographing people, strangers essentially, out in public. There is always a desire to get closer to my subjects. But it can be scary! What if they get mad? What if they say something or cuss me out? Worse, they punch me! It’s a challenge, and something that I haven’t overcome yet. There are plenty of missed shots because frankly I was too scared.

Incidentally, I was out recently with camera in hand. As I walked down the sidewalk I noticed some contrasty shadows and lines. An ideal spot for a street shot. As I walked toward this section I noticed a couple coming toward me walking their dogs. Hesitantly, I moved the camera up to my side and just took a picture. Almost immediately the guy looked at me and said, “Come on” in frustration. I looked over, and told him that I was not trying to be rude.  He kept moving while muttering something to the effect of what I did was not right. Again, I reiterated that I was not trying to be rude. Then he said something that had some weight to it. “Yes, you are because you tried to hide it (me taking the shot).” I don’t know why, but I responded by letting him know that he had a point, that I would delete the shot, and I moved on.

That was my first confrontation so far! To be honest, it wasn’t as bad I thought it would be for some reason. In some way I am glad that it happened because it helps me to evaluate what transpired, and how I handled it.

Here are my key take-aways:

  • It wasn’t technically a public space so I couldn’t claim public rights.
  • I normally don’t try to hide taking the shot. Perhaps, its best just to boldly take it, and move on even if they say something.
  • I flinched! I wasn’t confident walking into the shot, and didn’t own it. Need to be more confident, and own the space.
  • The woman was wearing workout wear, and perhaps the man thought that I was trying to sneak a shot of her? Not sure, but perhaps best to avoid in the future. Not trying to come off as a perv.
  • There was nothing special or unique about the couple or their dogs. It wasn’t even close to a print quality image.  I just liked the scene. Note to self: try to be more critical of the subject.

I know that I can over analyze it and second guess myself. But, I think it’s best just to learn from it and move on. That is how growth happens! Feel free to share anything you have learned in the comments.

Also, if you need some good advice on getting close to your subject look at the video below by the_real_sir_robin on “Getting close!” He does street photography around the world with the Leica Q, and a variety of cool film cameras. I find his videos & images extremely helpful, and inspiring. I am sure you will enjoy!

Family Portrait: The Anderson’s

The Anderson’s are a family that I know personally, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take their family portraits. They have a unique bond, and know how to have fun so I was looking forward to our session. I wanted to avoid harsh sunlight so we met late in the afternoon in downtown Round Rock just north of Austin.

Anderson Family - For FB

I was able to scout a couple of locations prior to the session that I felt would work out. We started out in the downtown area which still has some old historic buildings. I love them because they provide some great natural backdrops. I had to scratch one location because the sun was too harsh, but we easily found a replacement. Right off the bat they were easy to work with, and the girls were very natural. I also like how they color coordinated their outfits.

Anderson Family - For FB-5

 

We wrapped up downtown, and headed over to nearby Veteran’s Park. Brushy Creek runs right through it, and provided a nice backdrop as the sun was starting to set. This location did not disappoint!

Anderson Family - For FB-8

Everything came together, and were able to have fun during our session. Their personalities easily came out, and helped me get the images that I wanted. As you can see from the girls point of view it was thumbs up!

Anderson Family - For FB-21

The Denver Airport

Denver Airport

For Christmas we went on a family trip to Colorado with the hopes having quality time, and a white Christmas. We did both! It snowed a few days while there including the day that we arrived. I have never been to Colorado before or seen snow like that. We stayed in a town called Silverthorne, near Frisco & Breckinridge, just a couple of hours west of Denver. It was cold, but not terrible. More so, it was just beautiful! Of course it presented many picture opportunities, but also time just to relax or have fun.

Coming in to the Denver Airport I didn’t get a chance to look around. However, getting to the airport a few hours early allowed me the chance to check things out. Among the many details of this amazing facility I caught a glimpse of a suspended jet in the C terminal. The Learjet was owned by Bill Daniels, considered the father of cable television, and was the first private aircraft to land at Denver International Airport. It hung over what I believe was intended to be an interior garden but looked more like an ancient ruin art installation.

I don’t normally shoot too many interiors like this but it was notable. I would have like to go wider on a shot like this, but didn’t have a wider lens. I do like the contrast in colors with all the lines. Still, I think it’s a nice shot for an airport.

Happy New Year!

Details:

 

  • Fujifilm X-Pro2, XF23mmF1.4 R
  • ƒ/8.0
  • 23.0 mm
  • 1/125
  • ISO 500
  • Edite in LR6 & Luminar 2018

 

Historic meets Modern

Historic meets Modern

Walk through downtown Austin today and you will find remnants of architectural history. With Austin’s boom over time some of the old has gone to make way for the new. Here & there you will find gems like the Littlefield Building on 6th & Congress Ave. It was early morning as beautiful light from the sun shined upon the outer magnificence of this architectural beauty. I couldn’t help notice both the light & the contrast of the newly completed Aloft Hotel with its flat & shiny sides. I am sure the hotel has beauty in its own ways but misses the character of a different time.

Some background.

The building’s property was purchased in 1910 by George Littlefield to house his bank within the 8-story office building located right next to the Driskill Hotel.

Bits of trivia:

  • After completion, the building was (briefly) the tallest building between New Orleans and San Francisco. (After 1906, it was considerably higher than almost every building in San Francisco.)
  • The upper floors of the building housed over 300 offices – and chilled water from an underground spring was piped throughout the building.
  • The bank lobby held six murals depicting ranch life – the source of Mr. Littlefield’s wealth. In addition to the murals – two huge bronze doors with bas-relief scenes of the Yellow House Ranch were cast by Tiffany’s and installed in 1911. They were removed in 1960 and donated to the University of Texas.
  • The buildings address numerals: 106 E. Sixth and 601 Congress form a numerical palindrome.

Details:

 

  • Fujifilm X-Pro2,XF23mmF1.4 R
  • ƒ/7.1
  • 23.0 mm
  • 1/500
  • ISO 320
  • Edited in LR6