Puttin on the Ritz

June 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm (advertising, marketing, photography, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Image

I recently had the pleasure of staying at The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove in Miami, Florida. Within the pages of one of the magazines in the room was this ad for The Ritz-Carlton. I love the visual suggestion of a cityscape created out of vintage and retro style product placement. It’s a strong and very masculine visual instantly recognizable as a skyline before your eye is able to deconstruct the image into it’s various parts of bottles, clocks, paperweights, flashlights and all other manner of recognizable and non-descript elements. The imagery is so powerful I kept flipping to the page with the ad just to decipher more of what made up the various forms. This was my favorite ad in the series, but not the only one that included the clever use of forms. Check out more here.

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Refocusing the Light Field

June 24, 2011 at 9:58 am (photography, technology, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Imagine being able to truly refocus your pictures after they have been taken. Imagine a day when you never have to complain that the auto focus captured the wrong part of a picture. Imagine a single image where everything is simultaneously in focus and out of focus. You probably won’t have to image for much longer.

Mountain View, California based Lytro is claiming to refocus the photography market with cutting edge light field technology. This new technology captures the entire light field upon snapping a photo allowing the photographer or viewer to manipulate the focus and other dynamics of the photo after the picture has been taken.

I’ll be interested to see how the technology progresses and what the consumer response is. The interactive samples that they have on the website are fun to play with, but I see a little bit of odd artifacting between the in focus parts of the images and the bokeh. This is something that the everyday consumer may not mind or even notice, but for professional applications it could be a problem. I’m sure this is an issue that will be worked out in subsequent generations of the technology.

I definitely see potential for this technology not only in the civilian market, but also in the military, intelligence, and police sectors. Nearly every CSI type of cop show has the squints manipulate some ridiculously out-of-focus or damaged photo into some crystal clear image. Being a design professional with nearly 8 years of professional digital image manipulation experience I used to scoff at the ability to enhance a photo that much with so little information, but now it seems possible in the not so distant future. If security and surveillance systems were outfitted with the technology they could really analyze the subject matter to it’s fullest. The technology of this camera may even go a step further from the omni-focus video cameras introduced last year.

This will be an interesting camera system to watch. I can guarantee I won’t be trading in my Nikon anytime soon, but I might pick up a Lytro lens if one comes out with a Nikon mount.

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Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, 1923-1937

April 11, 2010 at 11:35 pm (Art, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, photography, print media, South Florida, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Gary Cooper and Mad Men's Don Draper. Photos taken nearly 90 years apart ...timeless

We were finally able to enjoy some culture this weekend with the viewing of Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, 1923-1937 on view at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale. As someone who did not know much about Steichen’s career beyond recognizing a few photographs it was interesting to find out more about his life and work.

The layout of the exhibit starts in the early 1920’s, where many of the portraits have a sepia and faded palette to the prints, from there it chronologically follows his career through the 1930s. His photographs of the 20s seem (at least to me) to be more straightforward and less dynamic than his later works. As the 20s gave way to the 30s Steichen’s photos have more depth, both in the blacks of the grayscale and the human interest displayed within the frame. His film noir treatment of light and the Art Nuevo, and especially Art Deco styling of his backgrounds, subject mater, and overall aesthetic really began to take shape as his career progressed.

Though probably known best for his female subjects, the way he shot his male figures are both epic and timeless. The photo of Gary Cooper in the late 20s reminds me of the Don Draper character from the AMC show Mad Men (see images above). My favorite photo out of the entire exhibit was probably the smallest on display. It was of a movie director or producer taken in 1930. The man (who I really wish I could remember who it was) is seated in a director’s chair with lighting and grip equipment serving as the background. The camera is positioned lower that the subject and the lighting is of an intense key light with mild fill …exceptionally powerful and stunning.

After viewing the exhibit you see how Steichen was able to influence fashion photography from that point on. The texture and shape he could create through the natural curves of his models coupled with the lines of the fabrics they wore were both dynamic and simplistic. Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, 1923-1937 was on display at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale from February 28 through April 11th, 2010. From Fort Lauderdale it makes it’s last scheduled stop at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO from May 15 – July 25, 2010.

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Joshua Hoffine – Master of Horror

October 29, 2009 at 11:03 pm (photography, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Joshua-Hoffine

When you close your eyes at night, what nightmares come creeping in? In the case of photographer Joshua Hoffine I think we can tell this very easily. That is because he painstakingly creates beautifully staged photographs of all manner of horrors with a little help from his friends and family. I encourage you to check out his website and blog showing the behind the scenes work that goes into each shot.

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Shoot’n Hot & Wet on Brickell

September 22, 2009 at 11:37 pm (Florida, free, Miami, networking, photography, social event, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Brickell

Sunday and Monday were photo-filled days. Sunday saw a small contingent of photographers from Shoot Miami converge on Brickell Avenue. We met in front of Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant located a little south of the famed Brickell Avenue Bridge and Miami Circle. The small group that I was with wandered a for a while before finding ourselves at a Miami Metromover station – Elevated transportation stations are a great place to get photographs from in Miami or any other metropolitan area that has them. After getting off the Metromover we got stuck under a pavilion waiting for a rain storm to pass until it was time to return to Gordon Biersch for some food and good conversation

Monday evening was the monthly Shoot Miami general meeting. The photography theme was “architecture.” I saw some really nice HDR images that were not over processed – an all too common abuse of Photoshop’s power. Some of the photos that come from that group are amazing!

Shoot Miami’s next schedule event is October 3 and 4 at the Dragon Boat races in Miami, but there is rumor of a Halloween shoot in the works. Details on the group can be found here.

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Monster Jam Summer Heat “…Be There!”

August 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm (Florida, networking, photography, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Monster-Jam

What weighs 5-tons, has four 5’6” tires, an ethanol fueled 1500 horsepower engine, and has wrestling aggression and showmanship? MONSTER JAM! Monster Jam Summer Heat rolled into the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida, and Shoot Miami was there for the ride.

The day started off with the camera club meeting in front of the arena. I guess the ticket takers were a little intimidated by the size of the lenses carried by some of our members, because at first they were reluctant to let us in. After a little finagling by the group’s organizer we were allowed access – sans tripods.

The pit party was fun. This is where spectators are admitted onto the show floor prior to the event to see these behemoth machines up close and personal. Fans get the chance to meet their favorite drivers and take pictures with them in front of the trucks. Driver George Balhan even set up a black leather couch in front of his truck, An Escalade, for fans to meet him. For our crew it allotted the chance to document every conceivable angle of an MTRA monster truck – I’ll admit to climbing under El Toro Loco for some shooting.

Post party, the arena floor was cleared and set up for the show allowing some down time for lunch and people watching. At 2 p.m. the main event started with national anthem and a salute to our armed forces. The first competition was the sky wheelie contest, which was won by Gunslinger (middle left photo at the top of this article); then An Escalade defeated Madusa in the race category. In the donut competition George Balhan put on a good show, holding his steering wheel outside of the spinning truck during competition, but Grave Digger pulled away with the win. Grave Digger piloted by Randy Brown proved triumphant again in the Freestyle round.

Between monster truck competitions there was a highflying motocross show with riders performing mid-air stunts like the Superman, Cordova, and Christ (center photo). To help anticipate the arrival of the stunt bikes, the arena was introduced to two robotic vehicles, Gallactron and Reptar, “from outer space.” The skit was corny, but there were pyrotechnics involved and the kids seemed to like it – and the show really is for the kids, right?

It was a fun day. There were a lot of photos taken, and we got a great show. The only thing missing was a truck flipping over or loosing pieces, and the old radio and TV ads saying “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! ….Be There!”

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Social Butterflies – Free Sundays at Fairchild Gardens

August 9, 2009 at 11:28 pm (Florida, free, Miami, networking, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Fairchild

The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida is “one of the world’s preeminent botanic gardens, with extensive collections of rare tropical plants…” The 83-acre garden has been accredited by the American Association of Museums since 1981, and now you get to experience it for free. Yes, FREE admission on Sundays for the month of August!

Almost 70 photographers from Shoot Miami descended on the historic gardens this morning. It was my first time visiting the gardens, and the mix of horticulture was quite striking – exhibits range from rainforest to arid, there is a sunken garden, butterfly garden, and even works by Chihuly are spread throughout many areas of the site.

After a few hours of wandering on our own, or in small groups, everyone met back at the Garden Café for some much needed rehydration and shade while we discussed our findings and different camera techniques. Overall it was a great day – hot, but fun.

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Drive By Shooting

August 3, 2009 at 6:25 pm (Florida, Miami, networking, photography, social event, Social Events & Networking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Fara

August 1st and 2nd was the Formula & Automobile Racing Association (FARA) race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. As part of Shoot Miami I was awarded an all-access press pass, allowing me full admission to pit row and past most of the safety fences.

FARAUSA was established in Florida to allow amateur and beginning drivers to compete with more experienced drivers. August 2nd included not only racing for MP1 – MP4 and F01 & F02 class cars, but also a demonstration by a top-fuel dragster, racing bike, drifting competition, and even the Tour de FARA – their charity bicycle race.

After 6 hours in the sun and taking over 750 pictures I was ready to head home. The event was fun. The event was fun! FARAUSA’s next event is September 26th and 27th, and their endurance race, 24 HRS OF MIAMI, is scheduled for November 6th through 8th. If you enjoy racing, you’ll enjoy this event…just bring sunscreen and ear protection.

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Photo Walk’n – South Beach Winner

August 1, 2009 at 11:46 pm (Art, Art Event, Design, Design Events, Florida, free, Miami, networking, News, photo walk, photography, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Sorry for the procrastination, but I am happy to announce the winner of the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk, South Beach edition. The winning photo was taken by Michelle Brecher:

Cameo

The competition was stiff! Other photographs of note are shown here:


All the entries can be viewed on the Photo Walk page, and all the photos from the walk are available for viewing on our Flickr page. Thanks to everyone who participated in the photo walk, it was a lot of fun!

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Blending Cameras – From Point & Shoot to DSLR

July 31, 2009 at 5:06 pm (Design, News, photography) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Like the compactness of a point-and-shoot camera, but want the visual punch of a DSLR? In the past we’ve seen point-and-shoots with various attachment options – for example the Sony Cyber-shot  series of point-and-shoot cameras has been offering attachments like a wide angle lens, telephoto lens, photo filter set, and underwater camera case for years – but none have offered the true versatility of a real DSLR.

The gap between these two realms is shrinking fast. Some define the new kid on the digital photo block as a “hybrid camera,” while others call it a “power point-and-shoot”. So what makes this new category of camera so special? Compared to traditional P&S cameras these new cameras allow for better ISO (light sensitivity), smaller lens aperture (the amount of light allowed into the lens), and some even boast compatibility with the Micro Four Thirds System (allowing for changeable lenses). Olympus recently released a statement about the E-P1 camera saying it is: “…The world’s smallest 12.3-megapixel interchangeable lens system camera that blends the high-quality still images of a DSLR with HD video, stereo Linear PCM audio recording and In-Camera Creativity within an ultra-portable body.”

These cameras are smaller and lighter than their DSLR counterparts, mainly due to the camera’s lack of a mirror box in favor of an ultra-precise electronic viewfinder. The cameras are expected to provide point-and-shoot enthusiasts with control over depth of field and other areas lacking from the P&S platform while maintaining the flexibility of a small camera. In fact the CEO of Samsung Digital Imaging Company, Sang-jin Park, said: “We estimate that the hybrid digital camera market will be over 20 percent of the global digital still-camera market by 2012.”

We’ll see some versions of the new high-end point-and-shoots on the market later this year and they are expected to be in the $600+ price range. Companies planning to be in the first wave of power point-and-shoot manufacturers include: Panasonic, Samsung, Olympus, Leica, and Sigma. It will be interesting to see where this new genre takes us.

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