Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Night Shots

Part of my portfolio and one of my favourite projects is Urban Night Photography. I find creating long exposure images is creatively rewarding in a unique way. As I look for images I find myself envisioning a scene that will feature rich colors and many times a sense of drama. With the long exposures at one's fingertips at night moving lights can become lasers or streams of color. If you can add in some unusual weather all the better. Rain and wet surfaces reflect colors brilliantly allowing the creation of images that remind me of early painters.

Equipment-wise shooting at night is similar to landscape photography. A tripod becomes a necessity if you want to shoot long shutter speeds and lower ISO's. I use a mid range Manfrottto tripod and ballhead. For triggering the shutter a remote release makes life easier although the same function can be achieved by using the self timer function found on most cameras. I prefer a remote shutter release to both time light trails and in some cases shoot between gaps in traffic to avoid them. Lens choice varies, for me it may be a 12-24mm ultra wide angle, a 20mm prime, a 50mm prime or my 70-200mm. Sometimes I may go out with just one lens, the camera and the tripod.

Nailing the exposure at night can be difficult and requires some practice and learning your camera. I don't get perfect exposures every shutter click but I read my histogram and take my observations from previous shots to judge what compensation is necessary. It never hurts to take several different exposures or bracket shots. I also do this quite frequently.

So when the sun goes down, grab your gear and fire up your creativity the results will surprise you.

Waiting for Your Call
I walked by this phone booth almost daily and it always seemed to grab my attention. Photographed at night/early morning it came alive and you can read a story into it. For me it brings a sense of loneliness and impending danger.

After the Rain Came


This shot came about as the tail end of Hurricane Sandy dumped rain on the city. The low angle and the wet surfaces give a lot of depth, color and drama to this image. The lines with the wide angle lens also gives an impression of movement and dynamics.

Rain and Street Meat

Another of my more popular images this was also shot during the same rainy night as above.  This time I used a 700-200 to crop in tighter on this guy waiting at a hot dog stand. I couldn't figure out why he was out on this night getting food but I am sure he might have wondered the same about me out with my camera. The wet pavement reflected the red lights providing brilliant colors and the light from the stand lit the subject perfectly.
Another wide angle shot this long exposure brought out the colors of the different lights in this scene creating a totally different scene than what would be available in daylight hours.

If you enjoy this blog please share and give some feedback. Much more of my Urban Landscape, Street and Night Photography can be seen at www.torontophotographs.com or www.robertgreatrixphotography.ca.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Regent Park Farmers Market

I got a chance to visit the Regent Park Farmers today and it seems like the weather was cooperating. It is great to see local grown food available close to home for everyone and this is no exception. Farmers market seem add a great sense of community to an area.

In addition to some great photos I was able to pick up some fresh vegetables for the dinner table. If you want more info please go to http://regentparkfarmersmarket.ca. Hope you enjoy the photos and please come out and support your local market.

Raptor Experience (Photographing Birds)

As part of a Sony Meet-up Group I got the chance to photograph at the Mountsberg Raptor Centre near Campbellville Ontario. See their website Mountsberg Raptor Centre.

The experience was incredible. The expert handlers at the centre brought out several of their residents for us to photograph and the combination of that and having a great selection of Sony Lenses on hand to demo made for a fantastic day. One thing I found that even though these Raptors were tethered and perched photographing them was still a task that required a great deal of concentration and positioning to get some unique views with little background distractions.

Most of the my shots were taken at around f4.0 so it was necessary to carefully pick focus points to keep most of the body of the birds in focus and maintain a soft non-distracting background. I also chose to shoot at an ISO of 400 to give me a shutter speed that would mitigate the lack of sharpness from movement. For shooting birds I would definitely recommend a faster lens with a focal length of at least 200mm. My shots were taken with a 70-200mm f2.8, a 300mm f2.8 and a 500mm f4.0.

I hope you enjoy these photos,they are what i feel are the best of many, many shots taken that day.

I cropped the shot above in Lightroom to get the version below. 

The last photo of a Kestrel grooming himself has proven to be one of my most popular works yet. I hope you enjoy these examples of Raptors and my photography. Please check back for more blog posts or subscribe to my email list below and please visit my website for some interesting new projects and old favorites.

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