Bloomfield in Bloom

Picture info: ISO 250, 36mm, f/11, 1/80sec

Picture info: ISO 250, 36mm, f/11, 1/80sec

Week 39 (4/28/2014 -5/4/2014): 10th & Bloomfield, Hoboken

Picture taken on 5/3/2014 at 9:13 AM

Photograph description

Last week I mentioned that one of the biggest challenges for my Hoboken streets project would be to taking pictures that don’t in some way involve the sun .  Naturally I’m drawn towards taking pictures that utilize some kind of light source to create contrast.  In order to keep improving my photography, it’s important that I constantly challenge myself to go outside of my comfort zone.  It’s as the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life”

This week’s picture was taken while I was on my Saturday morning bagel run…for those of you that don’t know, I’m a bagel addict.  Moving on though. It was still early enough that the sun wasn’t high in the sky but it was still filling the day with plenty of natural light.  Although my usual Hoboken bagel spot is on Washington street, I decided to walk down Bloomfield instead so I could photograph the cherry blossoms that line the street.  It only seemed fitting that bloomfield would be filled with so many blooming trees.  Early into my trip I came across an apartment building that had a pinkish tint which acted as the perfect backdrop for the cherry blossom.  I shuffled around for a few minutes trying to find the best angle to fit everything in frame at ~35mm.  Eventually I found the spot and the here you have it!

Photography concepts:

One of the advantages of taking pictures with even light is that it’s easier to set your exposure for the entire scene.  When you include a bright light source in your picture (e.g. the sun) you have to worry about some or all of the image getting blown out (overexposed) or underexposed.  I usually worry more about overexposing the image because it’s harder to recover overexposed areas, than underexposed areas.  Since this week’s picture had no harsh light source setting my exposure was a breeze!

The hardest part of shooting this picture was capturing what I considered to be the good part of the scene at ~35mm.  The reason I’m saying approximately (~) is because I’ve been shooting more and more with my 17-50mm Sigma lens.  Yes 35mm is within the range of my lens, but for some reason the lens never seems to settle on 35mm exactly.  Any picture I take at 35mm usually reads as 34mm or 36mm when I review the image.  I’m not sure why this happens, but it’s not really a big deal.

If there is one thing I learned this week it’s evenly lit pictures are relatively easy to shoot, if you can find interesting ones.  The last part of that statement is the key, “if you can find interesting ones.”  My usual move in the absence of contrasting light is to find a unique angle or move in close and use a wide aperture to tap into a depth of field element.  I did neither this week and that again plays into my desire to shoot more variety.  Variety should be everyone’s goal.  Flip through the pictures on your computer, facebook or instagram and I bet you’ll see a trend.  Hopefully the trend isn’t selfies, but even if it is, this week try to shoot something new.  Find something you don’t usually photograph and get to it!

On the run

Picture specs: ISO 640, 35mm, f/8, 1/15 sec

Picture specs: ISO 640, 35mm, f/8, 1/15 sec

Week 13 (10/27/2013 – 11/2/2013): Maxwell Place Park, Hoboken NJ
Picture taken on 11/1/2013 at 5:59 PM

Picture description:

One of the many benefits of living in Hoboken is having easy access to its waterfront parks and paths.  The waterfront provides a place to relax, socialize and or exercise in the midst of some beautiful views.  If I had to point out one negative aspect about exercising on the waterfront, it would be that while running you regularly have to fight the urge to stop and take pictures.  If you follow my Instagram you’ll probably notice most times this is a losing battle for me.  This week I decided to take my Nikon out during the time I usually run to see if I could capture something that depicts my daily struggle.

While moseying around Maxwell Park I noticed that many of the trees that were green just last week were now turning all different kinds of amazing colors.  There were two trees that really stood out to me so I began trying to find a good angle to photograph them.  As I shuffled around the trees I noticed that I wasn’t the only one that was giving them focused attention.  Runner after runner stopped to fire off a picture “on the run” then carried on their way.  Initially having runners photobomb my picture was very frustrating until it hit me, this is exactly what I do, so why not try to capture the moment?

Photography concepts:

This week’s photo included a wide range of colors most of which required different exposure settings to reveal their vividness.  The best tactic that I’ve found for recovering color when you can’t choose one exposure is via select post-production exposure adjustments.  Although it’s possible to recover many colors after the fact you still have to select an in camera exposure which isn’t going to make that impossible.  What I’ve found through experience and also read is that going with an underexposed picture allows for more recovery capabilities.  Despite my own observation regarding underexposing, this week I rolled the dice and didn’t drop the exposure of my picture.  To demonstrate what I’m talking about regarding exposure recovery I sliced up before and after sections of my picture to highlight the comparison.  The most noticeable area that benefited from the exposure adjustment was the sky and empire state building.  Without making the adjustments illustrated below the tree’s would have still had nice color but the entire sky would have been very washed out.

Half edited

Edited vs. Unedited example

In addition to having the right in camera exposure settings the other key setting which permits recovery capabilities is shooting in your camera’s RAW mode.  For Nikon the raw mode is NEF format and it retains 12-14 bit data versus in JPEG where it retains only 8 bits.  To read more about Nikon’s RAW format see the article linked below.  Although each camera brand has it’s own RAW mode it’s fair to say that each would follow similar attributes and recovery capabilities.  When I first started taking picture with my 5200 I went with just JPEG then after learning the value of RAW I did JPEG + RAW.  Now to save space I only shoot in RAW format which still takes up a lot of space.  So far the space limitation is one of the only negative that I’ve run into in regards to shooting in RAW mode.  My 32GB card can hold about 875 NAF images while I can shoot 2000+ JPEG (fine) images.  The other negative aspect of shooting in RAW is that there are some limitations on what you can use the edit the image.  I recently found out that you can edit RAW images via Google+ and Snapseed which is really great for on the go editing.  If you want to learn more about Google+ editing watch the below YouTube video from one of my favorite online photography resources “Camera Rec Toby”.  If you have time I highly recommend clicking through Toby’s YouTube page, he is very informative.

NIkon NEF Article