Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Joel Sternfeld on exhibit...

Joel Sternfeld will be speaking at 7:30pm on Thursday October 30th at the University Gallery at Umass. He has in impressive body of work up with the show "Of People and Places". A good time should be had by all. Lenshare will of course be making an appearance.

What is impressive about Sternfeld's photographs, not only are they local but they are large prints that display multiple season at the Oxbow region of Western, MA.

Yto Barrada, Rineke Dijkstra, Cuny Janssen, An-My Le, Clare Richardson, John Riddy, and Joel Sternfeld are the photographers that will be showing their work. The show will be up until December 15th.

"Of People and Places"
The University Gallery
151 Presidents Drive
Umass, Amherst

Monday, October 27, 2008

Not a Nikon but....

High Dynamic Range in Camera

I sometimes spend a few hours a day looking up new products and cameras to feature here on Lenshare. Not a lot of what I find ends up here. However, when I came across this find, I just knew it was something perfect and very much relevant to a few things I have been working on. It also falls into a category of a product that I think is on the verge of changing cameras forever.

Introducing the Pentax K20D. As of October 12th, the price dropped down to $1000.00 for the body.
Now, I know this is not a Nikon based product like you are used to hearing me brag about. But, the reason I am discussing this camera is because when I first came across this camera a few days ago it was in a magazine. I looked quickly through the review. Unimpressed, I moved forward, flipping through the pages. What caught my eye and made me go back was the seemingly new piece of vital software that this camera keeps locked and hidden away within its water resistant body. I came across 4 images that the camera had shot. All four were of the same composition. Each one different that the next. What I came to realize and then read, was that this camera is able to produce a Higher or Enhanced ( as Pentax puts it ) Dynamic Range within its body. You can post-process the photograph to achieve more contrast and detail in brighter conditions/settings. One review that I read says that the "enhanced dynamic range" can produce up to 200% more dynamic range.

This is the first camera that I have seen that can post-process and image in camera using this technology. I am anticipating and predicting that cameras will soon be shooting in much greater dynamic ranges than they are capable of now. I feel that they way HDR is being projected we will see cameras that can produce HDR images without and post-processing, and even be able to produce photographs using Tone Mapping all while doing so in camera. I look forward to a camera that can utilize technology of this magnitude. I really do hope it is a Nikon camera though.

Pentax K20D

14.6 Megapixels
Noise-reduction technology
Live view capable (see the image on the LCD screen as you're shooting)
And a few other useful things. This camera has been compared to the D300 and the 40D yet its features lack in certain areas such as High ISO. The D300 out beats the K20D.
Enhanced Dynamic Range abilities

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Lenshare is seeking contributing photographers. We are looking for photographers from all over the world to become regular contributors here on Lenshare.

To become a Lenshare contributor please submit your information to us.

Name, country of origin, a brief description of your photography, website, and of course a few samples of your photographs.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall portraits: A friend of mine asked me to photograph her baby, she chose to have more creative portraits done instead of relying on the commercial retail photographers that can be found in the mall.

This photo was submitted for the Baby Gap campaign.

Unique Find

I always try and find unique products to feature here on lenshare. I think this is an original and as unique as you can get.

This is a new product that I have never seen before. It is the Liquid Image Underwater Digital Camera Mask. It is a 5.0 Megapixel camera with Anti-fog Lenses. It can get a range of up to 15ft in depth. The cost is about $100.00 and can be found on line. More specifically at



Photography is meant to evoke emotions to some degrees. However, this woman displayed way to much emotions.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tripod Regulations

This past week it was brought to my attention that there are regulations set up to control the use of tripods in major cities such as New York City. I did a little bit of research on this subject to clarify any misconceptions. What I found was a PDF link from the Mayors Office that talks about the regulations that pertain to shooting in the city. Here is the link that provides the rules and regulations. There are also references to obtaining permits in-order to shoot.


I spoke with a photographer that I know makes regular visits to the city. I asked him if he has/had heard of such a law or regulation that was put into affect. He said that he does not know the details but such a regulation makes sense as mainly would pertain to professionals that would be doing commercial shoots or fashion type shoots, or anything related to portrait shoots that you would commonly use equipment like strobes, umbrellas, tripods, and reflectors. The main focus of the city putting regulations into affect like this, would of course be to make money off of the professionals by charging for a permit.

What I came across was a lot of jargon on forums discussing peoples opinions and what they found to be here-say. I tend not to believe what is being said in forums unless there are hard facts to back up the opinions discussed. What I did find interesting though, are the creative ideas people are using to avoid using tripods. People have been mounting tripod heads to baby strollers and placing weights or bags of sand in the stroller to weigh down the stroller in order to accommodate the weight of the camera. This seems like a creative way to avoid using an actual tripod. It is not something I would be found doing. I have also heard of people using a wheel chair and along the same principals as the baby stroller to avoid using a tripod.

I have never been stopped for using a tripod in public. I have had people stop and ask me what I was up to while I was shooting and using a tripod, but that was out of curiosity on their end. People are always curious when they see toys like tripods and mono-pods. The only negative issue I have received was when I was shooting at night a few weeks back. A pedestrian walking by me and a colleague who were shooting at night started saying that tripods are for people who cant hold a camera still. I do not know to many people who can make a 4 second exposure while maintaining the ability to hold a camera still. We laughed it off as the guy kept walking and yelling idiotic comments to us.

If you are traveling, I recommend researching the laws pertaining to photography. Each country has their own guidelines in which you must follow, or else you could end up in a situation that would be less than desirable. I shoot by a motto, "unless I am shooting in an area I am not allowed, no one will ever keep me from making a photograph, but myself". Don't let this article deter you from shooting with your tripod. I know come December when I make my way to New York City I will have my tripod hanging from my shoulder as I make my way around the city.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heritage Park in HDR II

The playground.

The train tracks that run through the park. I honestly do not think that this photo would look good if that bush wasn't so red.

Here is an HDR Panoramic photo. Between the two of them there is 12 photographs shot in order to create what you see. I had to resize in order to fit it here. It is not a complete photo either, its just a rough edit to combine the two.

Heritage Park in HDR

As I was leaving the studio tonight the quality of light was so amazing. The sky was a deep gray in most parts of the sky except where the sun was poking through. The sun was brightening up the fall foliage and made everything I looked at stand out. I ran home to grab my camera and tripod and headed over to Heritage State Park in Holyoke. I thought, "meh, Ill give HDR another try, I took all the right shots made all the right exposures. I came home and reinstalled the PhotoMatix that was emailed to me. I am not to worried about the photos saying photomatix through them. For the most part photoshop can take care of them.

Below are the results. Each photo is a combination of 5-6 bracketed exposures.

All of these HDR photos have a lot of Tone Mapping. But I still like the vibrancy that each photo displays. I will be posting the rest in a few hours. With an HDR Panorama!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

HDR contribution

I first met Greg Saulmon about a year and a half ago. Greg is the editor of a few publications in Western Ma. He is most recognized for his work with the Local Buzz. A former print publication, now an online only publication. When I first met Greg he told me he was shooting with the "office camera" a small point and shoot digital camera. Now almost a year and a half later he is still using the same point and shoot camera, ( a company I cant bring myself to mention ) but now he is doing some amazing things with it. His work is proof that even with the smallest of cameras you can still have nearly limitless creativity and produce some surprising results.

Recently me and Greg sat down over lunch to discuss some future plans of ours. I introduced him to HDR photography. Something he had never heard of before. After giving him a quick explanation of what HDR means. ( See HDR photography post here on Lenshare ) He became very interested. I told him I would write a post and that would go into more detail about HDR so he could better understand. Needless, to say after being very impressed by his attempts at HDR photograph with a point and shoot camera, I decided to share with you what Greg has shared with me. Below is a photograph that I feel best exemplifies outstanding creativity with what he has to shoot with. I hope to see more from his "office camera" in the near future.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This man was singing his political opinions and view points loudly on Main st in Northampton on Saturday afternoon. He was part of a group of people that were voicing their opinions very loudly for the public to hear.

Saturday was a pretty cold day. It didnt stop this man from sun bathing on a park bench. I had the privilege of shooting with a very eager to learn photo student.

I will be posting more Northampton photos through out the week.

Birthday Bash

Saturday night I had the honor of attending Amy Johnquest's Birthday Bash. Amy's party was a fine example of how to use a vacant and out of business shoe store. As Brendan Ciecko so truthfully put it, "Ive never seen a shoe store rock so hard". I can't think of any better way to describe her party. The Drunk Stuntmen played a fantastic show to celebrate Amy's birthday. And of course my camera was in my hand to capture some of the moments that we all shared.

Drunk Stuntmen

Here is Amy taking pictures of the guests as the Drunk Stuntmen were beginning to rock out.

Here is Amy jumping into the shot with Elizabeth Dobrska and Brendan Ciecko.

Amy Johnquest, Elizabeth Dobrska and Brendan Ciecko.

What kind of party would it have been without a clown doing balloon animals?

Some of the guests were dressed up in costumes. Almost as if it were a masquerade party.

Happy Birthday Amy

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Budget Cuts: How Will They Really Add Up?
By Phoenix Staff Writer Amber Mitchell

With state revenues down, every Massachusetts college is facing budget cuts. At HCC, $428,674 worth of budget cuts are taking place this year. Bill Fogarty, VP of Finances, said, “We are trying to make the cuts in a way that is going to have the least impact.”Fogarty said that the strategy is to make smaller cuts across the board. “We are cutting out 10% of travel. Some departments were getting increases. Now, they are just getting smaller increases. We
will be waiting on some hiring.”
This is good news for some students and the visual arts department, who seemed worried the
majority of cuts would put the new photo facility, currently being constructed in G Building on hold. When asked about the photo facility, Bob Aller, professor of art and future head of the photo department, said, “I’m hoping it doesn’t get cut. It would really be damaging and a setback.”The school wants to be able to offer three additional classes with the help of the new facility. They would like to add digital photography, standard color photo, and alternative processes.“The biggest selling point and the biggest demand is digital photography,” Frank Cressotti, head of the visual arts department said.
Fogarty said the school hasn’t cut any funds from the photo lab. “We haven’t cut that budget,” he said. “We have even looked into fundraising.” The original budget appeared to have been stretched further than intended. “We had an initial budget,” Fogarty said. “When it comes to furnishing these things, we sometimes get a little carried away. So, we are trying to stay within the budget. Get as close as we can.”
Cressotti said that he understood the impact of the budget cuts for the art department. “The
chances are very good, in fact, that we won’t get everything we want,” he said. As for when the photo lab will open, Fogarty said, “The photo facility will be opening on schedule [November] and ready to operate by the spring semester. While the school is planning for the current cuts, the state is waiting to see what it’s revenues look like for September and October. “These are the states highest months for revenue. If they are not making their revenues, they will make additional cuts,” Fogarty said. “So, we are trying to do some contingency planning around
that in case that does happen.”Any additional cuts would not apply to the ’08-’09 school year. The funds would be taken from the school year 2010. Fogarty said, “That could make ’10 a difficult year for us.”
The committee consisting of Fogarty, Cressotti, Aller, and possibly the dean of humanities is
scheduled to meet in October. With the rising costs of fuel and the downturn of the economy, the HCC budget will likely face a shortfall that is roughly double the size of the states original $428,674 cut. HCC will have to pay twice as much for heating and cooling this year. General Maintenance, landscaping, repairs, and all the other aspects of the school also need to be taken into account. Fogarty said the exact number is not yet known.
As recommended by a local photographer, I am posting up two more companies that are available for digital printing. Thank you to Jamie at Mystical Photography for her recommendation.

http://www.mpix.com and http://www.whcc.com

Jamie at Mystical Photography

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Thursday at 3pm I will be shooting and covering a discussion at Holyoke Community College. Bill Fogarty will be dropping a bomb shell on the HCC community, telling them that the new photography lab, scheduled to open for the spring semester, will yet again be delayed till the fall 09 semester. A $400,000 budget cut has put a serious strain on the almost complete lab. A delay of this magnitude is further keeping students from taking classes before they transfer. Classes that have not been offered in years as well as new classes that would benefit students.

Since the beginning of September I have been watching discussions and debates about Holyoke and the rise of th arts in the city. I have seen a number of articles pertaining to boosting the artistic community and how "we" should be doing something about it. Even today in the studio I took part in a small discussion about how Holyoke is the ideal place to bring about an artistic community. It saddens me deeply to see that the new lab will again be delayed.

As a graduate of the photography program and a very active person within the HCC community I feel that this is also playing a huge and impacting roll within Holyoke itself. HCC once upon a time, about two years ago used to be a part of Open Square. A falling out occurred and now HCC does not currently have studio space off campus. I sat on an Art Advisory Board meeting back in May and part of the discussion, (one reason I was asked to sit on the board) was about setting up a space off campus as a studio/gallery for students to be a part of.

Now, this all ties into an article I read last night about a "Canal Walk" in Holyoke. If the students of HCC have a studio/gallery space, that would be a part of the Canal Walk and further bring about more arts into the Holyoke Community. However, budget cuts are responsible for a number of sever issues that are initially forcing any and all arts related events and ideas to a stand still. Here is an example of how off campus studio space would beneficial to students, each April there is a student show. It is hung salon style in the Taber Gallery, which is fine. However, a bigger space would allow students to have the opportunity to take part in a more professional atmosphere. It would give students a chance to be off the campus and show their work in a more public setting, bringing in more traffic and art seeking enthusiasts.

On Thursday night I will be posting a two part article about the budget cuts and just how it has impacted the community. Education is a number one resource for creating new jobs and businesses. When students aren't given the resources they need to create, learn, and advance their education, everyone suffers.

Please check back the articles I will be posting tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ISO camera settings

I have been doing some research on ISO settings for digital cameras. I have found out something rather interesting that I didn't stop to think about before. The ISO setting on a digital camera typically a D-SLR is different than the ISO setting on a film camera. The ISO on a film camera is a setting used to specify the film speed being used. Where as the ISO in a D-SLR indicates the sensitivity of light perceived by the cameras sensor.

A low ISO of 100 is great for achieving almost zero noise in your photograph. Low noise means your images will be clear and sharp. Noise in digital photograph is what grain is to film. A high is of 1600 can record images extremely fast with much less light than an ISO of 100. Though it will give you more noise than low ISO settings. Low ISO numbers require longer exposure with more light needed. While adjusting your ISO settings you need to keep in mind you will have to make a compensation when it comes to aperture and shutter speeds.

If you plan on making very large prints from your photographs, you will want to shoot with a low ISO typically around 100. The low to zero noise will make very clear and smooth photographs that are ideal for enlarging to a big size. Of course mega pixel size plays a vast roll in how big you can really produce prints. An ISO of 200 and 400 can manage to produce some good quality enlarged prints. I suggest using all the ISO setting and practice shooting with all of them. This will give you a much great feel for the capability of your camera. Keep in mind that selecting a higher ISO requires compensation of aperture and shutter speed. Knowing how all the settings of your camera operate can give you a crucial advantage over the amature shooting next to you. I recommend staying away from the Auto ISO mode, this will only keep you from knowing how each setting works. So get your camera out, set it to ISO 100 and start working from there and go through each setting and see each one operates.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Digital Printing

When it comes to printing your digital photographs there can be a tremendous amount of confusion. There are a number of different websites that offer many types of printing services. These sites offer low cost prints to consumers. Below are two sites that I have heard a lot of buzz about. I have seen some good quality prints come from both sites. They are low cost sites that offer print sizes from wallets all the way up to poster sizes. They also offer novelty gifts like mouse pads and mugs with your photos on them.
Before we move forward I would like to bring up a good point. Your camera makes a world of a difference when it comes to print sizes. The higher your mega pixels the larger your prints can be. A 7 mega pixel camera can produce a good quality print up to about 20 inches. 10 Mega pixels can reach a comfortable size of around 44 inches.



If you are looking for higher quality, professional quality printing company I recommend checking out Meridian Pro. They are a leading printing company that offers professional quality prints. They print using Kodak Endura Professional paper. I have used them for portraits and I have to say, they are an outstanding company to work with.


Winkflash and snapfish are great sites to use when you want to print your snap shots and family pictures. Meridianpro is best used for professional portraits and wedding photographs. You can use Meridianpro for your Fine Arts Prints, however I recommend you use a giclee printer instead.

http://www.gicleeprint.net/abtGclee.shtm definition of giclee printing
Giclee prints are made by a process of archival ink being sprayed to the paper, or canvas. Prints are made using an 8 or 12 color ink jet printer. The most commonly used printers are by Epson. Epson has a great line of printers out. Below is a link to the Epson site that has six printers starting at $1299.00 for a 17" wide bed working their way up to a 64" wide printer for a hefty price tag of $28,995.00

Epson Printers http://www.epson.com/

If you are purchasing your own printer, the next and some what confusing step is to select what paper you would like to use. Paper of course depends on the photograph itself. This past year I have seen Harman introduce some amazing papers for digital photography. Here is the link to Harman Professional Inkjet papers.


Epson also has their own line of papers compatible for their printers. To sum up, figure out what type of printing you need. If you have an outstanding photograph of a beautiful landscape you will want to print it using the latest in digital printing technology and go with a giclee printing service. If you have shot some amazing portraits of your friends, love ones, or that special someone who captures your heart, then I suggest using meridianpro or company that is comparable in quality. If you have some snap shots from a family cook out or a holiday like Christmas, then snapfish or winkflash are prefect for you.

For giclee prints I use Sky Lake Studios. Sky Lake is owned by Shelley Lake. Rob Caswell has always handled and printed my work for me. I strongly recommend using Sky Lake for your your giclee printing needs.


Owner and Photographer Shelley Lake

I cant believe I was so absent minded I forgot that the Volley Ball Hall of Fame is part of Heritage State Park, located in Holyoke, Ma. Thank you for the comment clearing that up. I feel slightly foolish for forgetting the name of place I have visited quite frequently.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Holyoke: A Sunday night in the park

Sunday night I was driving through Holyoke making my way towards High St, when I was side tracked by the little park where the Volley Ball Hall of Fame is located. I forgot the name of this little park. There are a number of Historical items located in this park. What caught my attention was how the light seemed to glow ominously as it danced amongst the trees and made its way through the park and into my lens.

A recognizable landmark.

This view is initially what made me pull over and photograph the area. When I look at this picture, it makes me think of somewhere other than Holyoke. It does not look like the city I know.

This massive, castle-like structure is a wonderful display of an architectural masterpiece. This is Holyoke City Hall. Resting on High Street, this monumental giant is a spectacular sight to see. Especially at night.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

HDR Photography

High Dynamic Range Photography

HDR Photography is the latest trend in the photography community, industry, and well entire world. Now for some of you, you might be asking what is HDR Photography? What language is he speaking? Well, for those of you who know what HDR Photograph is, chances are you're probably already familiar with what I will be discussing. As for the rest of you, its time to take a giant step forward and jump into the world of HDR Photography. Digital photography has had its share of trends, however almost any publication or article that I have read about HDR is calling this the future of digital photography. My goal with this article is not to fully delve into every possible aspect of HDR photography. As there are a few different ways of producing the final product. In which case you can still take it a few steps further and produce some amazing photographs. At the end of this article there will be a list of links in which you can explore the world of HDR and learn even more than what I will introduce. Included with the links I will include links to other photographers that are shooting HDR.

HDR photography is High Dynamic Range photography. Shooting HDR means that you are shooting to achieve a wide range of tones. The way we seeing objects and compositions is not exactly how we can capture them in camera. Our eyes have the ability to see the dynamic range, however cameras are unable to reproduce exactly all the tonal ranges that are present. There for when you want to produce an HDR photograph/image you must make multiple exposures to get the full tonal range. The basic concept is to shoot and bracket your exposures. Usually by going 1-3 stops below and over exposure. This can be done by shooting for highlights, lowlights, and mid-tones. The goal is to get the highlights, lowights and the shadows all present in the photograph/image.

Below are two photographs that I shot. The photograph on the right is one single image using one exposure. The photograph on the right is the same composition and same exposure time. The only difference is that the photograph on the right was created using three exposures. Getting the highlights, lowlights, and mid-tones. Looking closely at the right you can see that there are shadows present as well as great mid-tones right up to the highlight ares that aren't overly blown out, but still a little brighter than should be. This is a recurring issue shooting at night and trying to produce HDR photogrpahs.

You can produce HDR photographs using photoshop CS2 and CS3. Providing you have the right bracketed exposures you can use the Merge to HDR feature in Photoshop. Below is a link titled HDR Photography and PhotoShop CS2. This link provides all the necessary information to produce HDR Photographs using CS2. There is software that can produce HDR photographs much easier than using Photoshop. I would rely on photoshop as an alternative and back up. I have not currently purchased PhotoMatix. Below is a link for the software.

I will be making more posts related to HDR Photography. This was an introductory post that is meant to inform, educate, and give people an insight into a more advanced method of producing digital photographs.

HDR Photography Explained (wikipedia.com)

*HDR Photography Tutorial* (I recommend this site)

HDR Photography

HDR Photography and PhotoShop CS2

Tone Mapping

PhotoMatix HDR SoftWare

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I would like to introduce and welcome Rube Nieves to lenshare.com as a contributing photographer. Ruben is a friend, colleague and an aspiring photographer. Ruben works as a contributing photographer for The Phoenix Press. Last Friday night Ruben accompanied me as I was shooting for my Northampton Project. Here are a few photographs from Ruben.

Only with a Nikon can you make a person look as if they are floating on the photograph. This is an in camera process that allows for an almost 3d-ic appearance. I began experimenting with this process after Ruben showed me a clever in camera edit.

Portrait of a banker.

One that surprised us both was how receptive people were to us shooting them. Majority of the people that walked by struck a pose for us to shoot. People we so curious about the presence of our cameras. This allowed us to get some portraits we other wise wouldn't be able to get in some places.

People driving by even stopped to allow us to make portraits. Ruben managed to inspire most people passing by to give us a pose or at least a smile and a chance to make a photograph of them.

Make sure you check back to see more work from Ruben.

Springfield, Mass

A few photos from the top of 1350 Main St.

The average person doesn't get the chance to have photos or views like these.
(Just a few snap shots)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mel Gibson

This morning before I headed off to do a shoot of my own I took a detour to Northampton to get a glimpse of the filming that was taking place. There was a lot of activity taking place. People running around, extras taking their place, film crews setting up the scene, and the heavy presence of police were a majority of what I witnessed. The longer I stood watching, the thicker the crowd grew, as people came out to see the star make a public appearance. Below are a few of the photos I snapped while I watched the crew work hard to set up for the clip they were about to film.

Could it be? Is it really him? NO! It is his "body double" shaking hands with one of the film crew members. The man to his left is an actor he was rehearsing the scene with.

The film crew working to set up the massive arm that holds the camera. It is like a massive tripod that has a robotic head.

The camera hanging high over the side walk.

This man has an important job of lowering massive tripod as the camera is controlled remotely.

The camera angled towards the future scene of the movie.

Some important guys sitting on a bench.

This woman was overly excited to be standing there watching. And by overly excited I mean she was standing as close as she could get before being removed from the crowd. Just out of the shot in front of her to the left was a guy standing there making sure no one walked onto the set. I was waiting for her to just rush past him and run up to Mel first chance she had.

This woman happened to look over as I was shooting the guy with the camera. For every one person I saw, there were twice as many cameras. Some people were holding cell phones, cameras, video cameras, video cameras strapped to cell phones. Every time I made a move to a new spot another photographer was right there behind me hovering over me. I made it a point to move around quite a bit.

And finally we come to the end of the photos. Here we have the two actors rushing down the stairs in what appeared to be a scene of anger and frustration as the "body double" made physical contact and gestures of irritation with the fellow actor.

As I was walking away I caught a glimpse of Mel's "body double". This man was standing there smoking a cigarette. His body language and the way he just stood there with the cigarette in his mouth would have made you believe that it was Mel Gibson himself standing there. It got me thinking of how much of this "body doubles" life is spent being someone else. I couldn't fathom just how much work it would take to spend your life being someone else and trying to act and carry yourself the way someone does.

Am I disappointed that I didn't get a shot of Mel? Not at all. I was more impressed with being there on an actual set than I was concerned about getting a shot of Mel. It would have been nice to make a photograph of him, but, at least I got a photo of his "body double".