Fotograph Fridays!

How I get the shots…

Hey! I actually held to my previous promises! I’ve recently been diving back into my photography, and I know a while back I promised a look at my Photographers Kit, so that’s what we are doing this week! Keep your eyes open as well! I’ll be starting to sell my prints online in the near future! Still working out the logistics of that though. So, if you’ve been reading for a while, you’ve seen my photos before. Photos like this…

Or this…

Either way, you’ve likely seen my work before. Well now you get to know the secret behind all of it. The first piece of any good photographers kit is well obviously a camera, you can’t do much without it. There are two cameras I use regularly, and one of them you’ll probably be surprised by.

The first camera at my disposal should be one that you’re pretty familiar with, it’s one that sits in our pockets daily. In this case my particular brand of phone is the new Google Pixel 4 XL. It takes some truly incredible photographs.

The second camera at my disposal is probably a little more what you were expecting out of my kit. I’m running a Sony A7 II, Full Frame Mirror-less Camera. The great thing about mirror-less is what you see is what you get in most cases. This particular camera boasts a pretty wide range of settings as well, with wi-fi capabilities that allow for remote control via Cell Phone. Attached is the standard Sony FE 28 – 70mm f3.5 – 5.6 OSS lens.

Now that cameras have been established. Lets talk lenses. You’ve already seen one of them, in the previous photograph. The Sony FE 28 – 70mm f3.5 – 5.6 OSS lens allows for a wide variety of control, and offers the most robust functionality as it is designed for use with the Sony Alpha Series cameras. It’s the one I find myself most often using because of its versatility, and the added zoom functionality. My biggest complaint is generally the size of the lens, as it does tend to add a fair amount of weight to the system in use.

The next lens in my kit is the Rokinon T 3.1 14mm ED AS IF UMC De-clicked Cinema Lens. This lens serves a dual purpose, I opted for the de-clicked cinema lens on the chance I ever use the A7 for videography (Though I have no plans to in the near future). This lens however does boast an insane field of view, and is borderline fish eye. Some of my best photographs have been as a result of this lens. The downside, it’s massive, and adds a significant amount of weight to the camera, it also does not allow for any autofocus as a result of it being de-clicked.

The final lens in my kit (for now) is the Samyang AF 35mm/f2.8 Prime Lens. This lens is short, light and versatile allowing for a plethora of uses, from portrait photography, to quick point and shoot auto-focus shots. So far, I haven’t found any downsides to this lens, and will often times use this lens when i’m using my Peak Design Capture Clip (You’ll see that a little later).

Another important aspect of a photographer’s kit, Lighting. Proper lighting is key, key, KEY to getting a great shot. Without adequate lighting a Photographer is often left with flat photographs, or photos with harsh shadows when dealing in portrait photography. I have two tools in my kit to help alleviate these problems.

The first of these two tools, is a collapsible reflector. One of the greatest assets to a photographer is natural light, and on a sunny or even overcast day, there’s a plethora of light at your disposal, the reflector allows the photographer with help from another person to augment light subtly and fill in shadows as needed.

The second of my tools, does not rely on the sun, to help alleviate shadows. Pictured above is the Genaray LED-6200T, 144 LED Variable Color On Camera Light. This battery operated light is Hot Shoe compatible and is versatile enough to match most lighting conditions. Most of the pictures seen above at least of the camera and lenses were filled in using this light. The kit comes with battery, charger, and a standard US power adapter, as well as car adapter, should you need more power than the battery provides.

Last in the kit are miscellaneous tools, that just help me when i’m out and about. I’ll go into those few items now.

One of my newest, and favorite additions to my kit is the Peak Design Capture Clip. Using the two wheels it loosens up and clips in place on any standard leather belt. The plate itself pops off, and screws into place using a standard allen key screw that locks it tightly to the camera, the quick release ability allows me to capture on the fly, and without the use of a bulky strap. The Peak Design plate also allows you to swap between any of their products without changing plates, it’s a truly unique and fantastic platform.

Another important tool, one that is oft overlooked is a decent tripod. At the moment i’m locked into a small tabletop tripod, as I can’t afford a larger one yet (They get prohibitively expensive, quickly). But, a tripod is key to taking stable photographs, especially when dealing with long exposures, and night photography.

This particular item is less of a tool, and more of a photography augment. This is a portable Lensball, with the suction cup tripod mount. It allows for unique photos and is produced with lens grade crystal. I hope to use this more going forward.

The last tool, in any photographers kit is software. As with most I stick to the adobe products, leveraging Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop for all of my photography editing needs. My biggest suggestion for those starting out with the editing process. Make sure you’ve got a large memory card, or multiples at your disposal. You are going to want to shoot in RAW, as it offers you the most versatility when it comes to editing your photographs.

So, that’s my kit. That’s how I get the photographs you see either here, or on Facebook/Instagram. My last suggestion to all, who are learning. Experiment, Experiment, Experiment! we are never perfect, and as a photographer the day you think you’ve mastered your craft, is the day you stop growing. There is always something to be learned! If you are interested in purchasing any of the gear seen above I’ve left links at the bottom for you to check out. Next post will likely be in two weeks after my trips to Philly and Boston.

Until next time…

Dave

Links:

1. Sony A7 II with Sony FE 28 – 70mm f3.5 – 5.6 OSS lens
2. Rokinon T 3.1 14mm ED AS IF UMC De-clicked Cinema Lens
3. Samyang AF 35mm/f2.8 Prime Lens
4. Impact 7-in-1 Collapsible Reflector Disk 42″
5. Genaray LED-6200T, 144 LED Variable Color On-Camera Light
6. Peak Design Capture Camera Clip v3 (Black)
7. Pedco Ultrapod II Tabletop Tripod with Mini Ball Head
8. Lensball Pocket 60mm
9. AmazonBasics SLR Camera Sling Backpack Bag – 8 x 6 x 16.5 Inches, Black
10. Google Pixel 4 XL

Fotograph Friday Returns!

The skyline on a crisp november night – Hunter’s Point Park

Finally back with a Fotograph Friday! it’s been a while, but i’ve slowly been getting out more with the camera. So hopefully there will be more of these moving forward.

The water looks truly incredible in this shot. This was taken at ISO 50, 30 Second Exposure, at an f/stop around 7. Was using the standard 28 – 70 mm Sony Lens that came with the camera. Also did a few with my 14 mm Lens, and 35 mm Prime Lens.

Blog post coming up with pictures and information on all of my photography kit. Got some cool gadgets to show off.

Have a happy friday all! See you soon!

Dave

The End of a Decade, A Retrospective.

Holiday Decor at the park outside Hudson Yards/34th Street Station – November 20th, 2019 taken with Google Pixel 4 XL Night Sight.

It’s definitely been a while again, and I’m sorry for that. I’m thinking moving forward I’m going to make this a twice a month thing. I should be able to commit to that pretty easily. As the picture suggests the holidays are just around the corner. With Thanksgiving next week, Christmas and New Years not too far after that. If i’m being honest with myself it feels like time flew by this year. A friend of mine says that tends to happen with aggressive sweeping changes. There were plenty of those in my life to say the least.

Not only are these holidays coming up, the start of a new decade is upon us. Another thing that’s truly hard to believe. At the start of this decade, I was still a student at Dutchess Community College, My grandfather, Joseph was still alive and mostly well too.

In that decade, I graduated from college 3 times. Started my first job, and realized how much I hated it (Sorry Joe, Not that you’ll ever read this), wound up back at my alma mater where I spent the next five years of my career working for the Media Center. I made friends, and I lost friends. I worked through Depression, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder; I learned, and I grew.

Now, here I stand in the laundromat in Queens, typing this while the washer does it’s thing. This decade was truly a year of change, and while the first 9 years went relatively slow; things changed drastically in the last.

As much as I may have complained in the past, I am thankful. Thankful for the experiences. Thankful for the family that supported me. Thankful for the friends I’ve made, and the friends that i’ve lost. Everything happens for a reason, and I think that reason was ultimately to get me to the place I stand today (Well maybe not literally, no one strives to stand in a laundromat). But the point stands, don’t give up, and don’t give in. You never know what lies around the corner. It might just be the start of something great.

Next post will likely be the first week of December, Have a fantastic thanksgiving all, and cheers to 2020, may it be another decade of great change.

Until next time…

Dave

So much for steady

I admit it, I’ve had every intention of doing this steadily but as a recent revisiting friend said, sometimes it’s okay to take a little break when its what’s right for you. Hoping that friend enjoyed her recent trip thoroughly, and I wish her luck with the start of her internship today.

It’s back to full weeks of work this week which I am not complaining about at all, as I’ve desperately needed income. Getting an apartment set up, and organized, is not cheap at all. Every time I go to cook something I find out oh, hey I don’t have the ingredients necessary to do this. Time to scooter up to the store, and buy another 15$ in groceries. Sadly it adds up quick.

Other than that, I love where I live. I’ve gotten used to the frequent fly bys that planes make as they land in LaGuardia. The proximity to the airport will be clutch when I do start to travel again. Sunnyside has begun setting up the Christmas decorations, which isn’t surprising I guess when you consider how long it probably takes to get them all set up. The MTA is still garbage, so nothing changes I guess. Between the Shuttles I was stuck taking to flushing this weekend, and today’s debacle getting to work; I’m hopeful that tomorrow might be a little easier.

Looks like this week was just another stream of consciousness post, i’ll work towards having a discernible lesson in next weeks.

Until next time…

Dave

Snippet Sunday # 5

If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.

Sir Isaac Newton

Just trying to ease back in. This weeks quotation comes from Sir Isaac Newton. In it, he states that if he has seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants. To him, while a brilliant man, he understood that, others that came before him, lead him to make the conclusions he made. In other words, while his discoveries were under his own name. He understood that others whom came before him laid the foundation for his own understanding.

We too, stand on the shoulders of giants, and those whom came before us, those whom taught us, those whom raised us, all have a place in the truth of this quote. We make the discoveries we make, and live the lives we live because those who came before us created the foundation upon which we stand.

I guess that’s it for today, going to try to get in both normally scheduled posts this week.

Talk soon…

Dave

So much for Schedules

Normally, today would be Fotograph Friday, but life has been a little too chaotic lately for me to get into a routine again. I’m going to work towards it once I settle in for sure. Overall, I can’t complain, i’m living in the city I wanted to live in since I was a child, and my roommates are pretty fantastic so far. For today’s posting, we are going to talk a little bit about schedules, and I use the term schedules loosely, as I truly mean life goal timelines more so than schedules.

The world is a fantastically busy place, we are constantly running, constantly moving, constantly evolving. The world and society tells us that we have a timetable we have to adhere to in order to succeed. It goes something like this… Successful Job you love right out of College, Living on your own by 24/25, in a serious committed relationship by 27, Married by 30, Own a home by 32, Kids by 35, 35 years of successful anniversaries, retirement at 65, and then sometime after that the inevitable end. Honestly, it’s the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever read, and further, ever had to type up.

THERE IS NO TIMELINE FOR A SUCCESSFUL LIFE! I’ll say it again for those in the back, NO TIMELINE… FOR… A… SUCCESSFUL… LIFE! The notion that you need to hit these milestones, at completely arbitrary age selections is absurd. Lets look at my life, Dropped out of SUNY Oswego at 18, after a semester of schooling, Went to SUNY Dutchess for Two and Half years, Transferred to Marist College for another Two years. Graduated with my Bachelors at 23. Had a job I hated, and that was abusive for 8 months right out of college. Quit that, Worked in a Deli, and at a Golf Course for a year and half. Finally, 6 months from my 25th birthday I wound up in a Job I didn’t hate, and one that I was relatively good at. Did that job for the next five years, while I worked on finishing up my Masters, and at 29, I finished up my Masters, got a Job in Manhattan, and moved out of my parents house for the first time. A full five years, after you are expected to quote on quote move out and live on your own.

Everyone has a path, and your path is no less or more successful than my path. Whether you actually hit the milestones when society tells you that you are supposed to, or you hit them later in life, the point is, you still hit them. You still made it, and you still succeeded in getting there. My advice today, is stop holding yourself to unrealistic standards, stop trying to race to the finish line, the finish line isn’t that great anyway, it’s the one thing that all of share in life, other than birth. Why be in a rush to get it over with. Enjoy every minute you have, take a breath, and realize that no matter what happens, no matter how long it takes, you are still going to get there, and in the end, that’s all that matters.

That’s it for this week, as I said i’ll try to be more conscientious of keeping to a schedule.

Until next time…

Dave

Starting up, Starting Slow…

Welcome back readers! Greetings from Sunnyside and the month October! Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to this, and I know I’m off schedule at the moment. Starting next week I’ll be back at it on our normally scheduled dates. This week is honestly going to be an update on how the move went, and what the first week living in queens has been like (So far).

The move itself occurred last Saturday, my biggest stress leading up to it that week was just how the hell I was going to get all of the stuff I had packed up in boxes down. I considered a moving company, and a Uhaul, but ultimately my father and brother were willing to use their vehicles to help me move my stuff down. So Friday night we packed everything in, ironically Friday night was the first night the season change plague hit. Despite the blatant fever, and illness I was feeling the next morning. My Mother, Father and Brother, Andrew and I all piled into the cars and we made the drive down. No traffic luckily, and we made it in decent time. The rest went pretty quickly, unloaded the vehicles, put the bed frame together, built the Ikea cabinet. I’d like to give a shout out to my mother, father, and brother for the assistance with not only the move but also the build (and dealing with my insane stress level).

Sunday, I unfortunately spent the day bedridden and with fever, some introduction to Sunnyside. I did get to take advantage of the breaks in the fever to deck out my room a bit. Added some lights to the space, they turned out pretty great honestly, and they accent my room posters perfectly. Tuesday, I got to do a little more exploration of the area, came across the iconic Sunnyside painting they used, as the logo for the new NBC show. Found a couple nice grocery stores, found a cool little hole in the wall bar, a hardware store, and I’ve honestly barely scratched the surface. I’m looking forward to the time over the next week and a half I have off to indulge some photography, and some exploration. There’s a lot of great sites in Sunnyside so far, and i’m excited to see them all

Next week i’ll resume regular posting activities, starting with the weekly update on Tuesday, October 15th.

Until next time,

Dave

Taking a short reprieve…

Hello All! This is going to be a short update honestly. With all the chaos that the move in has induced this past few weeks, and the busy weekends I’ve been having difficulties producing not only posts, but quality posts. As a result i’ve decided to take a short reprieve from the blog until after October 6th. At which point I will resume posting for the foreseeable future my apologies for the inconsistent postings. I will return in a few weeks.

Best as always,

Dave

Moderating a Manhattan Meetup.

Lunch in the Flatiron District with my Aunt

I know I’m a bit behind this week, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks now that i’m dealing with the move in to Sunnyside. Work has also kept me busy which doesn’t help honestly (not that I’m complaining about the job, I do love it). I haven’t had time to dive into my photography recently for the same reasons. I’ve been diving into trying to furnish my apartment, I need to buy a new bed frame, a new mattress, a new desk, a curio cabinet, curtains, and so much more. It’s proving to be a pricey undertaking thus far.

But I’ve digressed for long enough this week. It’s time to deal with the topic at hand, it’s pretty spot on so far. In the last two weeks I’ve taken on a new undertaking, the task of moderating a NYC Meetup Discord server. One of the things that i’d been worried about when it came to meeting new friends in Manhattan was the how of it? I have some existing friends in the area already but for the most part they’re all as busy as I am. When it comes to free time, they barely have the time to hangout with me, no less introduce me to new people. Here enters our lovely front page of the internet, Reddit. An unlikely tool in the task of making new friendships, it’s been a godsend, especially considering I recently gave up all social media (A post about all of that to come soon). It is actually what lead to me moderating this discord server. For the uninitiated, Reddit is a series of topic driven pages in this particular case we are talking about a subpage or a subreddit called nycmeetups. This Reddit group allows users to post meetup opportunities, or in this case a discord server.

This discord server now houses nearly 400 New Yorkers across the six different boroughs. It’s allowed people whom would otherwise never had the opportunity to chat, not only do that but plan meetups of an impromptu nature and physically meet up and hangout. So far, I’ve met up with some at bars, gone and played pool with others, and hit up the Queens Night Fair with another group. It allowed me to find people to attend the Gareth Emery show with in October, and has helped me find friends who enjoy hanging out with me when I want to hang out with them. It’s been a breath of fresh air, and being moderator adds a level of notoriety to go along with all of this. People know who I am before I even meet up with them because they’ve communicated with me to have channels made within the server, and I’ve had an overwhelming presence in chatting.

So, if you are like me, and you are wondering about the best ways to make friends in your new locale, whether that be New York City, Chicago or Austin my suggestion is make a Reddit account, and start finding the local meetup subreddits. If no one has made one, figure out how to start it! If no one has created a discord server, administrate one, help facilitate friendships, and you’ll end up with a plethora of your own. A mistake is better than indecision, and I can assure you putting yourself out there is not a mistake, the indecision on acting, that is.

A shorter post this week, but hopefully the message is clear, put yourself out there, and start making new friendships. It only hurts you to close yourself off to the world, be happy, and happiness will find you.

Hopefully I can get on a more regular schedule again next week, I’ll be taking a short respite from a strictly NYC topic to actually speak to the topic of hobbies, i’ll even be interviewing a close friend of mine for the post!

Until next time…

Dave

Scheduling Update.

Hey all, just a short update to let you know that the normally scheduled Tuesday post will be occurring on Wednesday this week! With the complexity of my move time has more frequently been getting away from me.

See you tomorrow!

Dave