Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The 365 Round Up! - Part Two

The countdown of the best pictures from the 365 Project continues. In case you missed it, read the first installment here. Otherwise, on with the show!

I am the type of person who is better one-on-one than in a group. Portraits suit me because I see it as a deeply personal way to interact with someone. Dan thinks that portraits are super easy. (Forgive him, he doesn’t know any better). It all comes down to trying to get your subject comfortable and at the same time feeling comfortable yourself behind the camera. Easier said than done!

I have always been grateful for the times I had the courage to approach a stranger and ask if I could take their picture (the usual response is “WHY?”) More often than not, I like those photos (you would think it incentive me to do it more often--though sometimes I am just as nervous asking someone I already know!) However, my favorite people to take pictures of are Annette and Dan though they are very different.

Annette is the best model. Not only is she super photogenic, but she will gladly do whatever I ask of her and has the patience to sit through hundreds of shots. Dan, on the other hand, usually tilts his head in annoyance when I ask to take his photo, and I am lucky to get a smile. I usually only have one or two snaps before he starts freaking out. (Meanwhile, on the rare occasion Dan takes a picture of me, can I tell you how long and drawn out that process can be? That's for another blog entry.)

#273 - Annette in the Snow

I love this picture of Annette in the snow wearing my winter coat. I took this during a photo shoot in my mom’s backyard where I made her frolic in the snow for about an hour. I asked her to put the hood up even though I think most people would have objected. She trusts me completely and I love that. This photo is also a homage to my winter coat because by accident I tossed the it in the washing machine and dryer without taking the fur trim off which turned it into a dead dog. I can still wear the coat without fur, but it’s not the same
#46 - Dan in Costa Rica

I like nearly every picture I take of Dan (I am biased), but this one is tops and multiple Hamsters selected this picture as one of their top choices. I took this picture of of him in Costa Rica while we were hiking. He is doing the head tilting pose, but somehow you can’t see his annoyance. Perhaps because we were newlyweds and it was our honeymoon and he was being patient for once. But seriously, the camera loves this man. Why can’t he love it back?

Portrait Honorable mentions: #77 Old man at the Met, #79 Counter girl at Johnny’s, #277 Girl with the Red Umbrella
Dan Honorable Mentions: #31 Macy’s and #323 Wigs

Night Shots
It is nearly impossible to take a good photo at night without a tripod. It always looks blurry or using a flash washes everything out. I am so happy that Dan bought me a tripod for Christmas because it really took my night photography to another level. I often find landscape photography to be a little dull but everything comes alive at night--in a good way. Night shots are super fun because it often took me to parts of the city I would never visit on a normal night. There were rarely other people around because it was dark and often cold, so I always felt like I was getting this secret cool view of the city that was put there just for me. I often came home from these photo shoots feeling giddy and high on life.

#307 - 59th Street Bridge

This picture of the 59th Street Bridge, inspired by the Woody Allen film, Manhattan, is one of my best. All the Hamsters say so.

Night Shots Honorable mentions: #310 Lexington Ave, #335 Williamsburg Bridge

I am a little surprised by the overwhelming positive reaction I got with my food photography. I find street photography and portraits the most challenging and rewarding, but everyone tells me I should get into food photography. I often took pictures of food during this project when I didn’t feel like taking pictures or I was busy cooking/baking and had no time. Go figure. On one hand, I think it helps that I read a lot of food blogs and magazines so I have an idea of how things should look. On the other hand, the lighting is horrible in my kitchen and my counters and plates are ugly so I always think my photos are average because they could be styled better. Or maybe because it comes easier to me, I don’t think it’s “real” photography and that’s why I can’t take a compliment? Who knows.  

#359 - Zucchini

Though I have to admit, I love how this shot of grated zucchini looks. I was making zucchini muffins, and took advantage of the limited natural lighting in my apartment.

Food Honorable Mentions: #154 My favorite cupcake in NYC, #167 Ginger and Spice

I took a lot of commuting pictures during this project. That was just me being lazy.  I don’t particularly find the subway to be inspiring. In fact, the more I shot it, the more ugly I found it. But I continued to do it because people look very distraught when they commute, so their expressions are always fun to capture. You may notice that I have very few pictures of people riding the subway. I was always to nervous to point and shoot at a stranger and then be stuck with them until the next stop. It is easier to be discreet with an iPhone, which I have attempted a few times, but you lose the picture quality.

#265 - Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station, which is across the street from my workplace, offered some beauty to the daily commute. It is a great place to photograph people because no one is paying any attention to you. In order to get this ghostly look, you need a tripod or a sturdy surface. I placed the camera on a railing overlooking the station. I set the camera on a low shutter speed, and I scanned around to see if anyone was standing still. I focused on the still woman and pushed the trigger. Since it takes maybe 10 seconds to take the picture, the moving people around her become a blur. The effect highlights her “loneliness” in this crowd of people. This photo was also a big-time Ham favorite.

Commuting Honorable Mentions: #81 Alone in Grand Central Station, #206 Rough Commute, #312 Looking Out

Ham Favorite
There was no clear winner for the Ham reader favorite, and many of the pictures I have already highlighted got most of the votes. So here I will highlight a picture that I considered a throw-away but had a passionate following. Loyal Hamster Ara emailed me immediately with his favorite pictures and said that this photo of a naked Barbie doll was his “ALL TIME FAVORITE.” His words not mine. I thought that was a pretty bold statement and when I saw other people voted for it too, I decided that this would be the Ham Pick.

#178 - Naked Barbie

I was walking home from the grocery store and I saw this Barbie doll propped up by the light and thought it looked cool, so I rushed home, grabbed my camera and ran back hoping it was still there. It was, and I got this shot. Ara explained, “With the world buzzing around you, there’s a lost Barbie, was she a little girl’s companion?  A sick joke from a teenager? Who knows.  It made me think, that’s why I liked it.”

Thanks, Ara, and everyone else who voted. This was a long post so thanks for reading until the end!


Heather said...

Oh man, I totally forgot about the Annette series. By far my favorite! She looks so natural. When I go to Utah, I'll have to see if my sister is game.

Yvonne said...

It is so fun to take pictures of people you know and love.