Paris Underground


Paris Underground 001

I took this photo 4 years ago in Paris, France, and I just found this sitting in draft form on my wordpress. (So consider this a #TBT, throwback Thursday.) The composition isn’t superb; the right side is lacking in something interesting, so it makes the image seem a little off-balance. What I really like about it is the timing. I’m impressed I was able to capture the image with with the gap in the train cars framing the fella in the back. I couldn’t tell you exactly what is happening with that dude, but hey, I like it.

I really liked that 20mm lens; it was small and compact, and at f/2.8, pretty dang fast. It does some weird distortions, so it’s not great for architecture or anything with a lot of straight lines, but you can fix some of that in post. But it’s great for discreet photos like this where you want a wide angle without standing out with a huge lens, and you can hand hold these slower shutter speeds without too much visible camera shake.

#52weekproject: Week 16 – Singers in the Subway

Singers in the Subway

Lake and Washington Subway

Taken on Tuesday, July 15th, 2014. I’ve wanted to take this photo for a long time now. Caught these guys performing in the State & Lake Red Line Subway station after leaving work. And have seen them performing together during rush hour for at least the 2.5 years I’ve been in Chicago. There are usually 3 of them that perform together, and after some searching it seems they go by The Real Connection. They perform old school motown/soul songs, and just have this real smooth soulful sound that is just really soothing.

I had an idea that I wanted to take a picture of them with the train running in the background, but it’s usually so hard with so many people around. I ended up leaving work late this particular day, so the rush hour crowd had subsided by then, but they were still going strong. I’m gonna print this out and give it to them next time I see them. Maybe I can try to get a pic with all three of them together.


Here’s a video of them I found on the youtubes with my superior world wide web crawling skills:


Andrew & Carrie

Andrew and Carrie were married just yesterday in a beautiful ceremony in Saint Paul, MN at the Harriet Island Pavilion. Andrew and Carrie are both friends of mine, and they had asked me to help out with capturing some photos while the guys were getting ready for the ceremony. They had hired a pro, so that allowed me to enjoy the rest of the day without having to stress about photos and just letting me catch up with friends I haven’t seen since I moved away from the Twin Cities almost 4 months ago. Since I got to tag along with the wedding party, I was able to snap some candid pics while the wedding photog was busy setting up the group formals. JLe, you sly dog, you. I imagine that’s what you would be saying right now, although, that phrase seems dated now that I’ve just typed it. The diptych above was taken at the Sibley House Historic Site in Saint Paul, MN.

Some Thoughts on Composition…

Here’s a photo I took this past weekend while in NYC visiting some friends…

This photo IS big enough for the both of us...

This photo IS big enough for the both of us...

I really like this photo.  Granted, I did take it, but compositionally, as well.

Here’s why I like it:

1. Rule of Thirds.  The rule of thirds isn’t a rule so much, as it is a guideline.  Basically, the gist is that the subject of a photo shouldn’t have to be in the center of the photo.  If you drew a grid, splitting the frame into thirds, vertically and horizontally, the subject should lie somewhere along those lines, or at the intersection of those lines.  I think I could have done a little better shifting the frame to the left to align the subjects on the thirds.  But, if I did it perfect, maybe it wouldn’t be as interesting.

2. Foreground/Background.  The 2 subjects make up the Foreground (Patty) and the Background (Pat).  It adds more to the photo having the viewers eye scan the photo between the foreground and background.  Patty, being closer, in the foreground, draws more attention, while Pat, being in the background, doesn’t draw as much attention.  However, as he is looking directly at the camera, and Patty is looking away, it shifts the attention to him, creating a nice tug of war with the the viewers attention.  Also, the line from the window frame creates a nice separation of the foreground from the background.

3. Treatment. The photo isn’t a portrait.  It’s more or less a candid shot, which does well with a black&white/desaturated color treatment; reminiscent of a snapshot in time, a moment frozen and plucked from a the slideshow of my life.  This was done in post processing; adjusted curves, contrast, saturation, and cropping.

In no way am I saying that I planned any of this beforehand; but there is a beauty in unposed, candid shots.  And considering that the subjects in the photo are both my friends, it makes the photo all the more interesting for me; so it just works.  Photos don’t need to be analyzed in this way to make sense; sometimes photos just work, whether or not they follow any sort of guidelines.