Le Piano Rouge – Montreal 2010

Seizing the moment is critical.  Montreal’s financial and Old Town districts are alive with street musicians, artists, and just plain quirky character of all descriptions.  Wander the streets with you camera in hand, shutter cocked and aperture set for sun or building shade, and be ready! If you can, make your image tell a story – or better yet, make the viewer begin to tell his own story.  I managed to catch the energy of this busker by being prepared to shoot in an instant.  He was just setting up to play, so an interfering crowd had not yet gathered, and I managed to connect both him and his amused and admiring female friend in the background.  With this connection,…Continue Reading

Praying for Rain: The Suzallo Library and Other Rainy Cityscapes

The Comanche, Navajo, Osage and Zuni danced for rain.  Ancient Romanian rainmaking rituals survive into the 21st century.  City photographers – at least those who work at night – also pray for lifegiving rain, not for their crops, but for their images.  Consider this photograph of the University of Washington’s Suzallo Library.  Ablaze with light, the door’s multifaceted image is repeated in the wet cobblestones of the pavement, and adds a whole new dimension to this dramatic entranceway.  Taken on a dry night, a later  image was lifeless. Around the corner, a pair of quiet benches forms the focal point of a study of a single street light’s reflections not only on the pavement, but also on the rain-soaked bricks…Continue Reading

The Sunny f/16 Rule

Many photographers rely completely on exposure data from their camera’s built-in light meter.  In today’s world of matrix metering on sophisticated digital cameras, this produces good results under many lighting conditions lighting conditions.  However, most early vintage cameras do not have light meters, and even a highly automatic light meter is not automatically right.  Experienced photographers frequently employ an extraordinarily useful rule of thumb known as the “Sunny f/16 Rule.”  This simple rule states: “On a sunny day, for correct exposure, set the camera’s aperture at f/16 and the  shutter speed to the reciprocal of the ISO film speed.” In other words, when shooting Tri-X, ISO 400, on a sunny day with no haze or cloud and a front-lighted subject,…Continue Reading

Lurking in the Churchyard

Lurk (intransitive verb):  to move furtively or inconspicuously.  Middle English, akin to Middle High German luren, to lie in wait. I do a lot of this. Lurking, that is. At night. And I have the images to prove it. I honestly don’t think most people SEE at night. Otherwise, there would be crowds wandering deserted streets at night, exclaiming over the neon of an isolated roadhouse, or trekking mountain paths in the moonlight, marveling at the interplay of light and shadow in a moonlit glade. Night brings out magical effects that most of us miss. Recently, I went for a walk at midnight in an aspen grove in Colorado. By day, this path wove through a pleasant but not particularly…Continue Reading