Thursday, June 27, 2013
It was time. Five years ago, I experienced one of the most ridiculous/traumatic/hilarious photo assignments of my life. I haven't covered a single graduation since the "Green Shirt" incident. If I can take pictures at Radio City Music Hall, stare down a clown on stage and have Mrs. Christopher Walken yell at me, I can get over a silly high school graduation. I did my best to blend in clothes wise, except for my favorite pair of green shoes, and took a quick shoe selfie once I got onto the field. It is my signature shot after all...
This was a very formal graduation, with a class of over 300 students. There were no decorations on caps, no beach balls, no one really acting out. There were also five other photographers and four video cameras set up on the field; that's a lot for a high school graduation. You have to try to stay out of the way of the others and still get your shots. When you're not shooting, it's polite to squat down so that parents can have a clear view. They think that their iPhones are going to take incredible pictures from 500 feet away, but they get really vocal when you don't get out of their way.
I'm glad to report that I was not yelled at.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
You might have noticed there are a few venues in Connecticut with similar names. I've taken pictures at The Spaceland Ballroom, The Space and now The Outer Space. Surprisingly, The Outer Space, which is the smallest, has had the best light. Tables are lined up in front of the low stage, with a bar directly behind them. There are white lights hitting the performers, which don't make for dramatic light, but are great for concert photography.
This was an assignment for StGA and Adam was doing the writing for it. I didn't really research the performers before hand, shame on me, but I was pleasantly surprised by Little Wings, aka Kyle Field. He played a solo set, with the addition of the drummer for Sonny & the Sunsets for a couple of songs. Field was highly animated: gesticulating with his hands, dancing on the stage and singing passionately. He was a combination of Niel Young and Andy Stochansky, and by far had more fans there for his set. The large straw hat gave me a tiny challenge, but luckily, Field threw his head back plenty, allowing for light to reach his face.
Sonny & the Sunsets didn't exactly win me over. There was no set list and the band had no energy. The most exciting point of their performance was when a beer fell off of their amp and spilt all over the stage. I've seen musicians play without a set list before, and it can be done well, but this was just long lulls in between songs where the band members looked at each other. It really felt like they didn't want to be there and that's disappointing.
Monday, June 24, 2013
That title sure doesn't sound positive, but it's exactly what these photos are. I've spoken about Answerbooks before, but as a quick reminder, it's a once a year publication focusing on a particular town. It lists facts and all sorts of important information about that town. It's a vertical format. What's tricky about these photos is that they have to include something iconic from the town, yet also have enough dead space in them for the title of the publication on the top and the company logo at the bottom. When I'm not as familiar with the town, it's even more of a challenge. Obviously, I loved that ladybug picture, but it in no way distinctly Trumbull.
I found this statue outside the public library and it's my favorite picture that was rejected. They loved the composition and how stark the background was, but it wasn't colorful enough. I got this assignment a week before the publication ran, amidst a week of down pouring rain. The majority of the flowers had already bloomed.
This is actually a non functioning water fountain. I thought the town slogan was ironic. Nothing says pride in your town as a giant rusted rock located in the middle of a pool of dead leaves. I hope it runs again at some point because I could take some cool shots of water cascading down it.
I found a little patch of flowers by the water fountain and while I was framing up my shot, I noticed the bees gathering pollen.
In fact, there were a lot of bees; 20 or 30 of them hovering around the flowers. I caught a couple in flight and you can see the water fountain very blurry in the background, but not distinguishable enough.
Finally, I found flowers outside of town hall. I was trying to avoid this shot because we'd featured the town hall building in a previous Answerbook, but I knew they wanted a flower shot and this was one of my only options.
I liked the statue of Jonathan Trumbull, but I couldn't quite get enough white space in the picture, no matter how I tried to crop it. I wanted to include the flag and have it be in focus, but that also left the trees in focus. Basically, this picture is a little too busy for a cover shot.
I continued to wander around town hall in search of more flowers. I found this little patch, which was located on the other side of a parking lot. I got low to block out the cars in the parking lot with the flowers and tried to keep the white spire of town hall in the shot. Again, you can't really tell what it is, so it was scrapped.
I did manage to find this little lady bug inside of the flower from the shot above and played around with the macro lens. I posted this picture on facebook right after I took it and received a ton of positive feedback. Thanks, everyone!
Even though I knew this wouldn't work as a cover, I liked the curves of the flower.
I wanted to give the editors a few options of the flowers in front of town hall. I actually preferred this rosebud shot to the one they selected in the end.
A clock shot is always a good fall back image. I'm sure they'll use this in a couple of years. I'll post the cover shot later in the week once it goes to publication.