Category Archives: Photography

How Convenient! Boston Bodegas and the Immigrant Experience

A friend of mine and fellow photographer Peter Bates is exhibiting his work at The Newton Free Library from now until July 31.  I had a chance to go to the opening reception last week.

What I liked about his exhibit is that Peter choose a project to drive his photographic passion.  He chose to photograph Boston Bodegas at twilight using HDR techniques.  His work is wonderful.  but better yet, Peter interviewed the owners and wrote a back story about each Bodega and their owner.  It is a wonderful exhibit.  

He inspires me. 

Images reprinted by permission by the maker.  Contact Peter at ptbates1@gmail.com 

Henry's Market



Composite Interview Shot Happy Superette Onwer

The Newton Free Library is at 330 Homer Street, Newton, MA 02459
Hours open:
Mon-Thr 9-9
Fri 9-6
Sat 9-5

My top images of 2010

This year was my most creative year photographically.  I photographed a vintage sailing regatta in Newport RI, photographed San Francisco, San Diego, Cincinnati, and Limerick Ireland. I photographed at the Roger Williams Botanical Garden, the Boston Marathon, the RI Air Show, a cranberry bog and my friend’s lighthouse (The Wings Neck Lighthouse) with the most amazing photographic moment being my 24 hour stay on the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Different than 2009, this year I pushed myself t to get out there and make images.  I pushed myself to go places I may not have gone and take opportunities that I may not taken to capture some interesting moments in life.  I also found myself “seeing” very differently this year.  I noticed the sun’s position in the sky more often, I noticed the little things and details I had missed in previous years.

In reviewing my images for this blog post.  It was difficult to pick my favorites, I wanted to pick only 10 but I settled for 20.  Here are the images and the back story for each.

 

 

#1 Olivia. This photo of my niece brings the most emotion to me and hence gets the #1 rating. I love her dress, the Easter egg in her hand and how it appear she is looking for more eggs during her hunt. It was a lot of fun chasing a toddler with a camera trying to get a good pose. Even though I do not see her face completely in this image, I think you see the story.

 

Olivia

 

#2 Juno. When this image is shown, I hear a lot of “oohs and ahhs” so I placed it #2. This image was captured while on a workshop with Onne van der Wal. In this workshop Onne had hired a motor boat to follow the Classic Yacht Regatta in Narragansett Bay. We were photographing two days after hurricane Edgar had come through the area and the seas were rough. I was tossed around a bit on the boat and we had to deal with the sea mist all over our lenses. When I photographed this Yacht, it was the first time I had become excited on what I was seeing in the viewfinder as I captured the image. It was the first time I knew this image was a keeper.
Juno Classic Yacht

 

#3 Glowing Orchids. This image was created using the Freeman Patternson Effect. It is a technique used in slide photography for years and something that is relatively easy to do with Photoshop. I love how it brings out a lot more of the colors in the images and provides a warm glow.
Freeman Patterson Orchids

 

#4 Greetings From… This image says “Summer” to me. When people see this image they immediately see themselves sitting in the chairs looking out on the beach. It can be anywhere there is ocean. This image was captured early morning on Myrtle Beach, SC.

 

Myrtle Beach

 

#5 Buttonwood Barn. This is a High Dynamic Range “HDR” image taken at the Buttonwood Farm in Griswold, CT. These sunflowers are part of the Sunflowers for Wishes program who makes donations from the proceeds from the sunflowers to the Make a Wish foundation. This image was made after a rain and late in the season as the flowers were drooping from the heat. The next day, they were all gone.
Buttonwood Farns, CT

 

#6 The Village of Adare, Ireland. I chose three images to show here. The building with the thatch roof is my favorite. Although I’ve been told to crop this image removing about a third of the roof, I think it is the thatch that makes the image. The thatch and the contrast of the red door is what keeps grabbing me in this image.
Adare Thatch Home

 

and the runners up were both created at the Adare Manor
Adare Manor  rose

 

#7 Wings Neck Lighthouse Stairs. My friend owns a lighthouse, and offered to allow me and a group of photographers to shoot it (with cameras). My favorite image was captured looking down the staircase with a wide angle lens. It is also captured in HDR which allows me to bring out the textures within the building. Many of the out takes were images that contained my foot in the bottom right corner.
Wings Neck Lighthouse

 

and the runners up: sunset and sunrise at the house.
Wings Neck Lighthouse Wings Neck Lighthouse

 

#8 The Boston Custom House. This image was captured from my favorite vantage point of Boston, Piers Park, East Boston. Captured just after sunset but early enough that the lights in the office building were turned on.
Boston Customs House

 

#9 WaterFire. Providence Rhode Island has a wonderful event throughout the summer called “WaterFire“. This image is also HDR and I think it provides a very interesting surrealistic view up the river in Providence just after the lighting of the bonfires.
Providence Waterfire

 

#10 USS Abraham Lincoln. Having spend 24 hours on the USS Abraham Lincoln, I captured thousands of images. None of which truly tell the story of this magnificent aircraft carrier, the people, the aircraft and the mission. I discovered the only way to tell the story is in a slide show. You can see it here.
USS Lincoln

 

#11 Winner. I shot the Boston Marathon for the first time this year. I will do it again in 2011. It was a wonderful experience. For me it wasn’t the mainstream runners who were interesting to photograph but those thousands of others trying to achieve their goals.
Boston Marathon

 

#12 Cincinnati. I never expected to see such color and beauty from this town.
Cincinnati

 

#13 Boston Silhouette. Another image from Piers Park. I guess this is a runner up to the Custom’s house but I think the effect allows this image to stand on its own as number 13.
Boston

 

#14 Caribbean Sunset. You always need something in front of a sunset to make it interesting. Here a tanker did just fine.
Sunset

 

#15 Thunderbirds. I love this image of the USAF Thunderbirds because it appears that my vantage point was above the aircraft. but I was on the ground and they were banking sharp and in tight formation!
USAF Thunderbirds

 

#16 Dingman’s Falls. Why did this image make my top of 2010? Well it is my first waterfall with the “cotton candy” water effect, and we always love the first time we’ve done something right.
Waterfall

 

If you wish to see these images in more detail or are interested in purchasing one or two follow this link

What is photography? What is art?

What is photography

Last night I had a chance to listen to John Paul Caponigro give a talk on “Illuminating Creativity”. I think it is the first time I listened to a true artist speak. What I mean by this statement is that I’ve listened to photographers speak but never a person who is first an artist and uses photography as his paint brush.

His talk was fascinating to me. His work is also intriguing. Check it out at http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/  Mr. Caponigro talked about what he creates and honestly stated that people have not been able to provide a term that defines his genre. I think it is Photo Surrealism. It is a blending of multiple photographic elements to present beautiful, thought provoking art. He talked about how people will say that he “cheats”. That what he is doing is not in the camera so it is not Photography. Who cares? It is art.

There is a debate that I see among photographers which I find interesting. It gets to the core of what photography was and what it is becoming. We start with film photography, move to film photography plus a dark room, move to digital photography and stop now at digital + HDR + Photoshop + …

I tip my hat to film photographers. They were able to create images inside the camera that were compelling for over 100 years. I tried film photography but really did not get what I wanted out of the camera. Then there are the film + darkroom photographers. The Ansil Adams of the world who spent more time in the darkroom getting their images to represent what they wanted to communicated through use of the negatives plus such techniques as “dodging” and “burning”. (I may say that “dodging” and “burning” are terms that makes it sound like someone is cheating at something). Now we move to digital. There are those people, mostly with film photography roots, that believe we should treat the digital camera same as the film camera. Get what we can get within the limitations of the machine. And finally there are the JP Caponigro’s of the world who look at the camera, the computer, the photographer, the subject and the observer as one continuous, organic flow of creativity.

The debates can get pretty heated. I’m sure people at last night lecture were thinking “bull hockey”. Thinking “he cheats, this isn’t photography”. But I ask, what is photography? In the end it is something that you wish to share with people, hang on your wall at home, give as gifts and maybe, just maybe sell. So does the observer care about the tools? Do they say, that ‘s a nice home you have here did you build it with a hammer or an air power nailer? I think not. We look at the finished product and say wow that’s nice, I can relate to that or wow that is horrible, what were you thinking.

I guess as they say, art is in the eye of the beholder. How you get there doesn’t matter, what you do does matter.

Sailing Newport with Onne van der Wal

Over the Labor Day Weekend, I had a chance to photograph the CLASSIC YACHT REGATTA  along with 15 other photographers led by world renowned, Canon Explorer of Light , Onne van der Wal.  You can check out Mr. van der Wal’s work here: http://www.vanderwal.com/

I think his workshop was worth the time and money to experience.  Onne knew just where to track the Regatta, he provided guidance on the subject we were photographing and in general was very giving of his knowledge of photography.  It was a lot of fun…  and he even lent his gear for people to try out.  (Convinced me to purchase a Canon 70-200 2.8L mark 2).

One photo I created  just won a perfect score in a photography competition.  It was my first perfect score. You can see the photo of the Yacht  “Juno” below.  Capturing the image, you can see the winds and seas the sailors were fighting to keep their Yachts afloat. A hurricane passed through the area two days earlier.  As I saw this image through my viewfinder, I almost became giddy of the exciting moment I was capturing.  (Juno placed 3rd in it’s competition.)

You can see more of my images from this trip here:http://robde.smugmug.com/Photography/Sailing-Newport/13998189_5SA9x#1029536169_mwYii
 

24 Hours on the USS Lincoln – the podcast

I am finally posting my 24 hours on the USS Lincoln in Podcast form for iTunes use.  If you wish to watch on your computer try this link.