Tuesday, August 31, 2010


One of the first things I learned when I began to take photography seriously was that you have to take a lot of pictures in order to get one photograph. Years ago while in a workshop with Joyce Tenneson, who is now a renown art/fashion photographer, she said that if you find one good image on a roll of film with 36 frames, you're doing well.
After discovering the couple under the red umbrella that I posted last week, I was surprised, therefore, to find another captivating pair on a patch of sand adjacent to that same pier that afternoon. Spread out on their backs, scores of horseshoe crabs lay there glistening in the sun, their golden color so different from the steel gray, much larger specimens I had seen on that beach before.
"Look at the color!" I immediately blurted to my student.
"What happened, why are they all dead?" she asked.
"I have no idea," I said, "I've never seen this variety here; bigger, darker ones come here to spawn in the spring." Maybe it has something to do with climate change, I thought.
Lifting our cameras, we moved in close and started shooting. I was immediately drawn to this mother and her baby, cuddled together, soaking up the sun, perhaps hoping it would bring them back to life. The baby appeared to be smiling, maybe just happy to be close to its mother until the very end.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Continuing my study of couples--a series that seems to be newly developing this summer--I was inspired to post this image taken a few weeks ago. When a student and I took a walk down to the town boat launch around the corner from my home, we immediately spotted the red umbrella and moved closer. I was excited to discover such a vibrant focal point amidst the panorama. Although it's quite dramatic and constantly changing depending on time of day and year, the wide open space that I pass by each day is difficult to photograph.
Lifting our cameras, I instructed her to play with the composition by deciding where to place the object (and therefore, the couple) in the frame. As she did so, I followed suite.
Afterwards, when reviewing the images, I was enchanted to find this one reminiscent of George Seurat's famous painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. I'm always amazed at how the French Impressionists influence my work and contemporary art in general .
To enhance its painterly effect, I can't wait to see how the photograph looks when I print it on watercolor paper.

Monday, August 16, 2010


At the reception for the Westhampton Artists Studio Tour on Friday evening which took place at the Full Moon Arts Center in East Moriches, I spent some time photographing kids, couples, and families in a treehouse overlooking a huge tent--where the artwork of about 50 artists (including me) was on display.
Mission accomplished, I was anxious to join the party that was winding down below. Coming down the steps, I spotted this couple nestled in a hammock. The light on their hats, the tilt of their heads, their comfort with one another warmed my heart. Scurrying toward them from behind, I tried to get close without intruding. But when I arrived, I found it difficult to focus on their faces due to a lack of light and the high contrast in the background.
Fiddling with my camera, I motioned to them announcing my intention and ultimately opted to use my flash for some fill. Luckily, they remained comfortable and continued to enjoy themselves and each other.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


"My head is spinning." How many times have you heard that? I know I've uttered those words aloud and to myself quite often. Especially these days when we're texting, talking, driving, working, all at the same time. Multi-tasking, it's the mantra of our times. I wouldn't be surprised if the Earth's rotation has picked up speed.
So a few weeks ago for the final session of a kids workshop, we spent time experimenting with motion. After showing the group of 11-year olds one of my Manhattan images of a man leaping in Times Square that I call Billy Elliot, we stepped outside of Amy's Ark Studio in Westhampton. The girls ran directly up a hill toward a swing tethered to a tree. One jumped on and started spinning like a top.
As her long brown hair swirled around her, the rest of us started shooting, trying to freeze her in the frame as she spun by. Not easy since she was moving so fast. To exaggerate the blur and create a moire effect, I chose an extremely slow shutter speed--1/8 second.
"Just keep shooting," I encouraged them. That's the beauty of digital technology, no wasted film; you can keep going until you get a good one. And that's exactly what I did; of the twenty frames expended, I was satisfied with just this one.
So, don't be shy, keep shooting. But don't forget to edit by deleting all the bad ones from your memory card so you're ready to go next time.
If you're in the area this weekend, you can see this image on view during the Westhampton Artists Studio Tour at Amy's Ark Studio & Farm where I will be displaying a new series of prints from this blog called Texture. Call 288-1954x241 for tickets.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Reading Room

As we enter the dog days of August, the lazy days, when all I want to do is sit under a tree and read a book, I thought it fitting to post this image taken in Manhattan. Having just emerged from the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I saw the Picasso show with a friend, we headed into Central Park with our cameras.
Around 5:30pm, the sun skimmed low producing long shadows and dramatic afternoon light. While these conditions appeal to the naked eye, the high contrast can be quite blinding and difficult to render through the lens. Therefore, it's important to come up with an average light reading between the darker and lighter spots. While it's best to have a hand-held meter, you can compensate by bracketing, which means shooting the same image three times: first according to your automatic reading, then over and underexpose by one stop on the manual setting. Some digital cameras offer a compensation button which makes this simple. Later you can decide which one is most pleasing to your eye.
Strong light also requires a strong composition. As I moved closer and closer to the subject, I realized that I could use the limbs of the tree to create structure. In effect, they separate the light from the dark green and frame the girl off to the left in her own reading room.