Monday, July 27, 2009

Night Shoot

On Saturday, July 25th, I met up with fellow photographers Jeff Tamagini & John Tammaro for an sunset/evening shoot around the Christian Science Mother Church complex in Boston. After meeting up at Bukowski's Tavern we headed to the CSMC reflecting pool and fountain to prepare for sunset. As the groups of parents and children played in the fountain to get in those last few minutes of fun as night approached, I concentrated my attention to the reflecting pool and church.

With the moon making an appearance in the warm light of sunset behind the Church, I elected to shoot from multiple angles to give myself a few different compositions. The shot on the left was just as the sun had just fallen behind the church, while the shot on the right gives more architectural details.

Both of the shots were multiple exposure HDRs processed in Photoshop and Photomatix.

With the sun and crowds gone, we had a short amount of time to get our fountain shots completed before the fountain was shut down for the night. Using a Sigma 10-20 I was able to get my camera into the fountain to give the photos a little something extra.

Shot with the Sigma 10-20mm: f22, 30 second exposure

Shot with the Sigma 10-20mm: f22, 30 second exposure

After looking through my shots I decided that this fountain was perfectly suited for the 8mm Peleng circular fisheye. After mounting the Peleng and adjusting for it's 180 degree field of view, I found an angle that I liked. The Peleng does tend to lend itself to chromatic aberration, vignetting and lens flare, so using it can be a real challenge. Fortunately this is where experience comes in and I came out witha shot that I'm very pleased with.

8mm Peleng circular fisheye: f16, 30 second exposure

After 3 hours of shooting our night was at an end, but the night held one more opportunity for me. I had been forced to park at the top floor of a parking deck which was nothing special by day, but by night afforded some great views of city life. As the crowds were walking by after a night at Fenway Park, and the traffic of the city stopped and went, I was able to capture an image which I think gives a good feel of that evening.

A single tone mapped exposure of Boylston & Dalton streets, with the Mass Pike in the foreground.

I'd like to thank Jeff & John for joining me for the impromptu shoot and making it such an enjoyable experience.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

World Wide Photo Walk Day: Boston

On Saturday I led a group of photographers from around New England on a harbor walk in Boston from the Seaport District to the North End. Our group was one of six Boston photo walks that were a part of the larger World Wide Photo Walk Day sponsored by Scott Kelby and all the great folks over at Kelby Media Group. The overall event ended up with over 900 photo walks and 32,600 walkers. Here in Boston my group had the maximum of 50 registered walkers ready to take on the Harbor. Although we got off to a late start due to the weather, everyone I've spoken with says that they had a wonderful time.

For many people it was another walk through familiar territory and the chance to do something new. Such is the case with my friend and fellow photographer Jeff Tamagini, who wrapped his camera up tight and stuck it in the middle of a fountain looking for a unique image.

Armed with some water-proof gear from our friends at Puma, his camera, gaffers tape and his trade mark sunglasses, Jeff set forth to get the shot that no one else was going to get. Although the initial shots didn't come out as well we he'd like, I know Jeff will go back to the proverbial drawing board and figure out how to nail that shot. And I'm sure the results will be spectacular.

For others it was their first walk along Boston's famous harbor. We asked that experienced Bostonians pair up with those from out of town to try and give everyone a great day of photography. Many tourists never make it over the Northern Ave. Bridge into the Seaport district and to me that's a tragedy. This area includes the ICA, World Trade Center, and some great eats near the fish pier.

With members of the group choosing between sticking to the harbor walk, or moving inland a short bit to walk along the Fitzgerald Greenway, the group's photos were as diversified as the group itself. It's always fun to find out what other people saw that you didn't, and vice-versa on these types of walks. Many photos showed me things I had never seen before in these areas, or a new way to interpret those things that may have seemed mundane.

Making our way towards the North End along Cross street we went past one of my favorite places in the area, Public Alley 101. I made the following tone mapped image from a single exposure using Photoshop CS3 + Photomatix.

With good people and good conversation time moved quickly and the walkers spread out over the 2 mile route. My group, being the slowest of the participants, arrived at the Charles River just as the blue skies began to show themselves. This lent me a great opportunity to photograph two of my favorite subjects, the TD Garden & Zakim Bridge. This image is also tone mapped from a single exposure.

I loved the reflections in the water and the way the clouds streaked through the sky. I also framed in quite a bit of urban decay in the foreground because I liked the juxtaposition of the decaying dock & building vs. the newer Zakim & TD Garden.

After 3 & 1/2 hours my small section of our group arrived at Boston Beer Works on Canal St. We met up with most of the rest of our group and enjoyed some good food and good camaraderie with our new friends. That ended our photo walk and we parted ways to head back to homes, apartments, and condos to begin the process or sorting through photos and reliving our day.

I'd like to thank Andre from Boston Beer Works for being ready for us in addition to another group that we had planned to meet up with. We will certainly be back to BBW on future walks thanks to their great service and attitude.

If you have any questions about this photo walk, or photo walks (or photography) in general, please don't hesitate to email me here.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tall Ships: Sail Boston 2009

July marks a great point of the year here in Massachusetts. Independence Day is a special time here in the birth place of the American Revolution, and it's finally warm enough to head to the beach or pool. It's also about as far away from the dead of Winter as we can get.

This year however brought a bonus as the Tall Ships returned to Boston Harbor. Sail Boston is the organizer of this event which brings in large sailing ships from around the world as part of an ongoing tour. 41 sloops, schooners, ketches, cats, yawls and barques filled the waters around Boston for the 4 day event.

I spent a terrific day on Friday exploring the ships along the WTC Pier with my wife, father and stepmother; a long overdue family gathering. We had a great time aboard the Libertad, and walked along side the Kruzenshtern. For something different I brought along an 8mm fisheye for a different perspective on things:

The Kruzenshtern is a Russian four masted barque that was built in 1926 in Bremerhaven-Wesermünde, Germany. On January 12, 1946 she was given to the USSR to be integrated into the Soviet Baltic Fleet as war reparations. She is 376' and carries a crew of 257.

The Libertad is a 356' full rigged ship out of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Commissioned as a navy ship in 1963, the Libertad boasts a crew of 290 and has sailed over 735,000 miles. In 1966 she established the world record for transatlantic crossing between Cape Race(Canada) and Dursey Island(Ireland) 1,741 nautical miles (3,225 km) in 6 days and 4 hours. In April 2007 she underwent a complete overhaul which includes the addition of room for female cadets and crew and the updating of the engines and navigation equipment.

To the left is a photo taken looking directly up her central mast.

The majority of the ships were from other countries including France, Ireland, Spain, and many more. But quite a few of these beautiful ships are berthed right here in New England and can be viewed throughout the year. From the American Eagle in Maine, to the Amistad in Conneticut, these ships are an excellent representation of New England's fine sailing tradition.

A few more shots from the day:

A dinghy aboard the Libertad

American Flags flown from the stern of the 4 ships at Fan Pier:
The Angelique, Harvy Gamage, Lewis R. French & Nathaniel Bowditch

Harvey Gamage
Homeport: Boothbay Harbor, ME
Rig: Gaff Topsail Schooner
Sparred Length: 131’
Draft: 10’
Beam: 24’
Hull: Wood

Factual information taken from the official Sail Boston website.

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