Thursday, February 24, 2011

Five Photos (V)

Five photos from around the city this past month:

Golden
Golden

I walk through Grand Central Terminal each day, and every now and then there will be a random moment in which the sunlight will just stream through the windows onto the terminal floor, or at some points onto the walls.

I've gone through this building every working day for four years, and this has yet to grow old on me.

Running under Melting Snow
Running under Melting Snow

This is at the intersection of 30th Avenue and 31st Street in Astoria, right along the N-Train's elevated track. Each time the snow melts, the water dripping off the subway tracks always catches my attention. Usually this is on weekends around mid-day, so the sun hits it well. In this case, it happened to line up with a jogger running by, and what I think are birds flying across the upper right hand corner of the frame.

Swerve
Swerve

I took this shot just a few moments before the one at the top of this post. The gentleman with the wide brimmed hat in the lower right hand corner of this frame is further along the walkway in the top picture.

So at least in terms of the walkway, it's the same subject, but based on the framing and the images' contents, for whatever reason this one seemed to me like it'd work best as a black and white with a slight cool tint to it, the one above seemed like it'd work better pushed warm a little.

Tofu and Stir Fried Vegetables
Tofu and Stir Fried Vegetables

I've rarely posted food pictures. So here's one. This was taken with a Canon 7D that was in my care on loan. So I found myself getting a little trigger happy trying to find shallow depth-of-field type shots. Should I ever get a bigger camera I'll need to remind myself not to go crazy with trying to get that look.

One thing that did drive me nuts with the 7D is that I really could not get used to the optical viewfinder. Maybe this makes me a sub par photographer, but as someone spoiled growing up with digital cameras, I couldn't get it past my brain that what I was seeing in the viewfinder was different from what I'd see as the final image. So I just shot the stills with Live View on. Unfortunately this makes the focus pretty slow, but better that than create tons of blurry frames (which was what was otherwise happening to me).

Optimus Rules the Desktop
Optimus Rules the Desktop

Just for sake of whimsy, here's a photo of Optimus Prime standing atop of a set of RAID'ed hard drives. This was also shot with the 7D.

Also, toward the back of the frame, you can see a half empty bottle of Crystal Head Vodka, made famous by Dan Akroyd (watch his YouTube pitch for the product here).

This vodka was pretty much an accessory for a costume that I wore two Halloweens ago.

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More photos posted on flickr.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Video Short: Grand Central Terminal Super Bowl Bash



This is a short video that I'd filmed and cut together for work at Grand Central Terminal. We held a Super Bowl Bash featuring food from Grand Central Terminal restaurants, games, a raffle, and an appearance by Sunny Anderson, host of the Food Network's 'Cooking for Real'.

Camera: Canon 7D
NLE: Final Cut Pro
Color: Final Cut Pro
Music: from Soundtrack Pro library

This was a fun event, and we wanted to try to capture some of the excitement of energy of it. I did find myself in the trap that I had heard about (yet not experienced first hand), of getting almost too wrapped up in switching from lens to lens. I had with me the Canon 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8, and 18-55mm 3.5 - 5.6. The 18-55 was helpful for the wide shots, but otherwise the image quality and color tended to bother me. I probably used the 85mm the most, in order to get closeups of food and faces without being too intrusive, and I did often find myself going back to the 50.

Next time I'll pick one to shoot nearly the whole thing with, and then go back for the rest if there's something I really need to change up for.

Went well, though I found myself very much wanting a shoulder-mount rig for this type of environment. Setting down the tripod sticks tends to push the crowd away, and some of the shots that I liked the most are ones in which the camera wasn't on the ground. Even bracing against my face could help with this, something I'd really like to try with a GH2 should I ever get one.

While it's in some ways a simple video (no dialogue, narration or interview), I'm otherwise very happy with the turnover time on this. I filmed on Thursday up until about 3:30, and the video was up on YouTube by Friday evening around 6:30 (without any burning the midnight oil on my part). Partly from reading DSLR News Shooter, I've gotten very interested in fast turnover, and though this is by no means at ENG speeds, I'm glad we were able to get it out the door quickly.

Some Photos from LA

In mid-January, the Walking Merchandise production team traveled to Los Angeles to film a number of interviews. We took a handful of behind the scenes photos, which can be found on our facebook page www.facebook.walkingmerchandise.com. The ones below are snapshots I took on my personal camera over the course of the weekend.

Hiking at Point Dume
Hiking at Point Dume

On Sunday, we had a break in between scheduled interviews to film B-Roll in the Los Angeles area. Point Dume is a location in Malibu that's probably most famous for its use in The Big Lebowski, Iron Man, and Planet of the Apes.

I realized that my reaction to seeing famous filming locations in LA is probably not altogether unlike the experience people have when they see similarly famous locations in New York.

Hitting the Shot
Hitting the Shot

Vincent DeLuca, our Director of Photography, is not a fan of being in front of the camera.

Respecting that, I make sure to take pictures of him when he is not facing it.

Green, with some, uh, brown rust colorations.
Green, with some, uh brown rust colorations.

The Big Lebowski was often in my mind as we drove around town.

Drew pointed out that this car matches the description that The Dude uses to describe his stolen vehicle.

All Good
All Good

Drew Downing worked as our sound operator both in New York as well as on this shoot.

This is from a fast food place at which we grabbed dinner on Saturday evening.

110115-041-santa-monica-shadows
Santa Monica shadows

Perhaps an Ent.
Perhaps an Ent.

This is from one of the canyon parks around Malibu.

Phone and Phone
Phone and Phone

Vinny's original return flight had been canceled, so he had to scramble on the phone to get a seat on the Monday night redeye with Ethan and myself.

Fortunately it worked out; we would have otherwise been short a critical crew member during Monday's two interviews.

Los Angeles, from Mullholland Drive
Los Angeles, from Mullholland Drive

I don't totally love this shot- in part because of how the colors and definition get washed out around the horizon.

I'm told that this is smog.

Nonetheless, it is that classic L.A. shot, so figured, got to have it.

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For my complete set of photos from the trip, check them out on flickr