I wanted to share some interviews to follow up with my recent comments on Jay Maisel, who I would consider has had the biggest impact on my street and city photgraphy. Jay has a phenomenal view on the world, and though he talks like a true New Yorker he has many many years of wisdom to offer. Jays work is timeless and his words carry the same if not more weight than his perfectly captured photographs. Even though each of these interviews are only a few short minutes long, I can guarantee you will walk away a better photographer with tid bits to implement into your own creative workflow. I cant wait to hear you guys’ thoughts. Jay continues to inspire me and my work, and Im sure he will do the same for yours.
So today instead of the typical photo walk with my camera back strapped to my back, I set out on a new challenge to take to the streets with only one lens, my 50mm prime. I typically like to switch between my 18-55 and 55-250 to have a bit of flexibility but wanted to push myself into a more structured thought process while photographing todays scenes. I must say it was an invigorating challenge and definitely pushed me to be more conscious of my subjects. I exercised zooming with my feet and ended up with more creative compositions because of it. Its the body tingling sensation of actually being able to feel growth as you push yourself into new territories.
I know many photogs have exercised this lens on the streets in the past, but the truth is I have been overly comfortable with my zoom lenses, allowing me to lazily take the shot I want from a distance. Working with a prime caused me to choose my subjects and composition more carefully which resulted in a new level of photographs. I did exercise my new found enthusiasm for ISO 1600, however it was more so because of the dark overcast we had today. In moving in and out of the shadows and shade today 1600 really lent to some extra flexibility allowing me to focus more on getting the most out of the 50mm. Continue reading
One of my biggest inspirations when it comes to street photography is by far Jay Maisel. I could browse through his work for days with complete amazement. He just recently turned 80 years old and it shows, not in his physical ability, appearance or mannerisms, but in his wealth of knowledge and skill! He’s famously known now days for his beautiful photography of the streets of New York. He goes for a “photo walk” every single day and exercises his “photography muscle” as he so elegantly describes it. He’s also known for shooting pretty much everything at ISO 1600 giving him a very distinctive feel to his stunning photography.
I have learned so much from studying the work and watching many interviews with this extraordinary photographic master. So I decided to give a go at running about town at ISO 1600, and I must say the noise that you get at this ISO speed gives a very stylized effect which I like in some instances such as this photo, and have yet to acquire the taste of in others. It adds a bit of extra grit to the already gritty scenery downtown and can lead to some pleasing results. And I cant argue with the forgiving shutter speeds it lends in taking crisp shots in busy downtown. I think often as photogs we tend to get to worked up on image quality and trying to shoot at the lowest possible settings that we forget to just play, and experiment. Its great to see a true expert ignore the rules and CREATE his own masterpieces rather than worry about the settings.
I am truly happy I gave this a shot as it has pushed me outside my comfort zone of having to have as sharp or smooth of images as possible. It brings to the table the flexibility of creativity. Though I may not shoot like this all the time like Jay, it is definitely in my “camera bag” of tricks, and I look forward to pulling it out when the time calls… and maybe even when the time doesn’t call for.
Thanks Jay Maisel!
I love the quiet feel of this scene, its like a taste of relaxation amongst the bold busy ingredients of the rest of Downtown. Its actually quit contrasting to the busy street it is nestled into. This small restaurant sits on the corner of a building I’ve shot just about every time I’ve been downtown shooting. The building has a certain character to it that I have not done any justice with my photos, butt I will continue to fight with it until it opens up to me. However every time in shooting I’ve always focused on the detailed lining of the rounded roof and have constantly overlooked this beautiful scene beneath. I have touched on this subject in the past, yet still find it amazing that we can be so focused on something that we miss the beauty thats just a few feet in a different direction. And yes even I unfortunately fall into this pitfall at times, but its refreshing to catch myself in the act as it brings me back to reality.
Overall I just find comfort in this scene, with the warm tones and gentle structure. I probably should have bumped the ISO up a being in the shadows, but I still enjoy the resulting image. Even the soft edges from hand holding at this low of a shutter speed adds to the general comfort of the photo in my opinion. I do plan on getting back to enjoy the food and wines they have to offer, in hopes the building will warm up to me and allow me a nice shot of its other beauties.