This past Friday I got the opportunity to attend a photo meet-up called Sip & Shoot. Ordinarily I hate meet-ups. They usually take place in area too small to facilitate the number of people. They rarely have enough models to shoot. And sometimes they don’t like you to bring in your own equipment. This meet-up was the complete opposite. Firstly, the location, House of Blended Ink or HOBI, was big enough to accommodate anyone that wanted to shoot. They had several areas available to shoot. Secondly they had a fair number of models, in addition to MUA’s and stylists. But what I like the most is I was allowed to bring my equipment in and use it. While they did have enough equipment for the photographers to use. I simply like using my own stuff. I bought it, I know what it does, and we work well together. They also had a good mix of photographers, from newbies to experts.
They even had a professor of photography. I only knew so because he told me about his five degrees. My personal opinion, the money you spend on a photograph degree is more useful when you use it to buy gear. Nonetheless it was great to get out and shoot again. I will definitely attend the next one. And just in case you are wondering, yes, I did sip a little and shot a little too.
It was definitely a great experience. I thought I might be a little rusty because I had not shot in a while, but just like riding a bike everything was still there. The lighting, composition and most importantly the communication with the model. I was able to get these marvels in such a small amount of time. I simply was in rhythm, in stride, and on the beat. Maybe it’s due to the so many years of practice or maybe it was the few sips of wine and the atmosphere. Either way it was a great night of shooting.
A few years ago I was given the opportunity through a mutual friend to take portraits of former Atlanta Falcon and Atlanta Brave Brian Jordan. For me this was one of the most fantastic opportunities a budding photographer could get. Not only would I get the opportunity to shoot pics of a national celebrity, but also an athlete who watched and cheered on for two teams in Atlanta.
As expected I was nervous because as mentioned before this was a big opportunity for me and you never know if an opportunity like this may come again. On the day of the shoot I found Brian Jordan to be one of the most laid back, coolest people you can ever meet. From there it was just a matter of me applying the same principles of photography to this shoot as I had to others in the past. The result was a fantastic group of images. It felt good to know that all of those hours of practice paid off.
This image was one of the first in which I started using high contrast lighting a technique that would further develop and become a staple in photography arsenal. I didn’t realize this until I just so happen to be going through old images while cleaning one of my external hard drives. So now I have decided that I will start blogging past shots and past shoots, and posting them on my website. Looking back I realized how big of an opportunity this was and I am thankful for what the experience taught. Also, I’d like to publicly thank that mutual friend. Thanks T.
The High Museum of Art is one of architect Richard Meier’s finest works. His works usually display white buildings with a very contemporary style that are just flat out fun to look at. Photographically there are really no bad angles of the High Museum. It easy to see how much time and care was taken in the design of the building. It’s not often you can actually walk through a piece of art, but this with building that is what you get to do. I took this shot as I approached the building. I love the view of all the straight lines and arches. It’s the equivalent of allowing your eyes to ride a roller coaster. There’s nothing like being taken from to regular world and being placed in another. Which is perfectly fitting seeing as though this a museum that houses so many works of art. Unlike so many buildings that are common place in life, the High goes beyond function and explores form. All too often this is overlooked in a very common world. When you enter the High a different part of your brain gets turned on. A part where you get to experience your senses to a greater degree than you normally do. You can see colors, lines, and shapes who’s very purpose is to say, “Look at me and Enjoy.” It’s a very mystifying experience. This shot embodies the feeling of leaving your world entering a new one. You can leave your cares and concerns at your car. You are about to enter an art gallery. You get to see and experience people’s hearts and souls. Things artist have created. Appropriately enough the designers were fully aware of the function of the building, and showed that with the creation of it’s form. To me this image screams, “Welcome to the High”.
The Corvette. It has to be the iconic symbol of American motor vehicle muscle. It’s the complete antithesis of the soccer mom van. It’s long, sleek, only two seats, and in a word, it’s just sexy. The Corvette was built for speed. Even when it’s sitting still it looks like it’s ready to go fast. If given the opportunity, I’d love to shoot cars for a living. It’s a feeling that takes me back to my childhood, when we’d yell bingo as a nice looking ride rolled by. The Corvette was always my personal favorite, particularly the Stingray. Who knows maybe one day I’ll get one. Until then I’ll just shoot when I see them.
I captured this view of Atlanta while driving on the highway on my way home. As I mentioned in a previous post I’m in the midst of capturing views of Atlanta. This was shot in the heart of downtown from the vantage point of the expressway. Not many people are willing to stop their vehicle on the highway just to take a picture, but I don’t aspire to be one of those people. For me there’s nothing more exciting than jumping out of the truck and stealing an image. You’re limited on the time you have to compose a shot, so metering, composition, and angle has to be done very quickly. This was one of three pictures I shot when I stepped out of my truck. Sometimes it’s better not taking so much time to create a shot.
Atlanta has to be the biggest small city there is. You can drive through the city from top to bottom or left to right in under forty-five minutes. Yet for as small as it is, Atlanta is very intricate. While generally it is call “Atlanta”, Atlanta is really comprised of the city of Atlanta, Decatur, Stone Mountain, Southwest Atlanta, Lithonia, Marietta, Clayton County, Gwinnett, and so much more. Many people don’t understand the regional differences from all of these places. Despite how close these places are to each other each area has its own attitude or personality. Strangely enough if you travel five minutes away sometimes the places completely different. For all that is said about the dangers of downtown, make a right turn and go four streets up downtown is a completely different place. This shot was taken a couple streets over from Five points. As busy as Five Points tends to be, this street stays fairly clear. There’s nothing like Atlanta, it’s so big, but yet so small.
Right now Atlanta is definitely the melting pot of the south. We have people from all over the country in this one place. Yet for all the visitors this city attracts when people say Atlanta, not many images come to mind. When one thinks of New York there are places like the Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square that come to mind. When one thinks of San Francisco you instantly have a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. Unlike other cities there are simply no iconic images of this Atlanta. The next project that I will be working on will be images of this city. This image is one of the more common ones of the city. My goal is to show Atlanta from different perspectives. Maybe one day it too will have some truly iconic images.
After being away from photography for an extended period, about a year for school. It felt really good to get behind the camera again. For this shoot I asked the model, Maggie Xia, to challenge me, help me create shot different than normal. Let’s do a image that is compelling and tells a story. Her only request was that she wanted to do something darkly lit. So we shot in a dark room and I brought a little bit of light. I wanted the shot to have a mood of mystery, a cool and crispness that takes film noir a step further. I call it RS Noir. In film school we study a period in film called Film Noir. Instead high key images, the directors shot using less light and darkness dominated to image. It proved make to seem more mysterious and help them tell a different story. Usually, the story would involve a a detective, a wife, and a murdered husband. In these whodunnit’s the wife would normally be the suspect and the director would just play around with did she do or didn’t she do it. Along the way she would always try to seduce the detective to get him to see things happen the way she said they did. The dark nature of the scenes made the femme fatale seem more seductive and that much more of a mystery. In the end the detective would always be able to resist her charms and the femme fatale would go to jail. This was the formula and it was followed for quite a long time. The best modern day example of a femme fatale would be Sharon Stone in “Basic Instinct.” In this image I wanted to depict Maggie as she makes her move trying to seduce the detective. Did she or did she not do it? The answer’s a mystery.
I shot this some time earlier this year. I don’t know the model’s name, but I’m really impressed with the soft emotional look she provided in this shot. I like framing a shot really tightly to help pull the emotion out the image. Instead using negative space to outweigh the model, I instead chose to fill the frame with as much model as possible. This way the viewer can feel the model’s essence, and get a window into her soul. I chose to post process the image this way to help convey softness and a very mellow mood.
Due to other commitments I have not been able to shoot much over the last year. Photography has been a passion of mine for quite some time now, and to be honest I miss being able to shoot like I used to. Over the last year I’ve actually considered giving it up. Partially because of lack of time and partially because of the rise of social networking. As afore mentioned unfortunately I simply don’t have the free time to create the work I love. Given the opportunity I’d get right back out there again, lay on the ground and shoot some pics. However, the rise of social networking has meant a decline in request for physical prints, which to a photographer is your bread and butter. But could it possibly be so bad that I should give it up?? Should I let this colossus run me over and end what I so love to do? No way, no how. It’s not going to happen. I came across this shot a couple nights ago and decided to tweak it. I thought to myself I did this shot over 2 or 3 years ago, and I still find it a striking shot today. It was just a simple in studio shot of model, Michelle Dominguez. I like the connection she had with the camera. I gave the image a sephia tone to give a vintage type of feel. To me it adds to the pose. In it she’s not looking so much like a model, just simple shot of her hugging her knees. Yet it’s also warm and welcoming. A shot that’s just pleasant to the eyes. Around the time when I shot this image, I was on a photographic upswing. I could create any idea I came up with. I was at the very top of my hierarchy of needs, self actualization. I was at peace. How could I possibly give this up? This is what I do. I am photographer. Plain and simple. I shall achieve my peace again.
My cousin, Amon (pictured), may be one of the funniest people on the planet. He doesn’t stand that tall and he doesn’t weigh that much, but he’s loaded with talent. He can tear up the dance floor, manage to hit, throw, or bounce any ball in the neighbors yard, and he’s never learned meaning of the word shy. I got this shot of him after one his games. It still amazes me how someone small could hit the ball so far. He’s proof that confidence can take you a very long way. Trust me when I tell you he has superstar potential. The only mystery is what exactly he will become superstar in. Only time will tell. Look out for him.
Sometimes my timing is so perfect it’s almost scary. While I did not win the mega lottery, I did run across thirty of these beauties on my way to get gas for the mower. It was a meeting of The Southside A’s Ford Model A car club.
I didn’t know any of them, I didn’t know why they were there, or if they would even allow me to shoot pictures. Being the inquisitive photographer that I am I stepped out of my dented Nissan and I asked the host if it were okay for me to shoot some pictures. He replied, “Absolutely, but we will be leaving in about 25 minutes.”. I thanked him and began to do my thing.
Being around all these wonderful classics I had to show these pieces of art in the light and angles that they truly deserved. Which meant laying on the grass, shooting off balance, and getting the best angle that I could possibly get. Minutes later they started showing me around to the different rides, explaining where the cars came from, telling me all about the club. It was truly an exciting experience. This shot was one of my favorites. It exemplified what these really are…True Classics.
RS Photography, www.photosbyrs.com, Southside A’s