Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nativity Play at the Congregational Church of Needham

Needham, MA 122410 Christmas Pageant at the Congregational Church of Needham on Christmas Eve December 24, 2010. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ MET BEHIND THE SCENES: This is about the third time I've had to cover a X-mas eve events, play etc, in my career and by far this was the cutest. It certainly was a photo-rich environment. Everywhere you turned there were moments happening. The only other point to mention is that the church members were so welcoming and nice it was kind of hard to be the "proverbial fly on the wall." But alas one must adapt and people being nice to you is certainly not a bad thing. TECH STUFF: My trusty two lenses 24-70MM 2.8 and 70- 200 2.8mm, apertures: 2.8- 4.5 depending on the light conditions. ISO: from 1600 to 4,000 (amazing sensor in the D3-S); speeds: 1/50th to 1/200th of a second depending on the specific situation.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Story

Melrose, MA 122110 Richard Parker used to carry his son Sammy Parker,an eight-year old who suffers from cerebral palsy, up to his bedroom every night. But due to recent health problems, Richard is no longer allowed to do any lifting. Sammy's mom, Patty, called Malden Catholic High School and asked for help. The school nurse mentioned it to Rudy Favard (Cq), 17, a captain in the football team, and before she was done telling the story, he had said, "I'll Do it." So now every night Rudy comes to the Parker's home and carries Sammy upstairs. (Essdras M Suarez/ Boston Globe)/ MET BEHIND THE SCENES: This was one of the those situations in which I was the lucky one assigned to an amazing story. A lot of readers reacted to this story and praised the images but these photos really have nothing to do with me and everything to do with the amazing character of the subjects in the photos. TECH STUFF: Lens 24-70mm 2.8; aperture:5.0, speed 1/25th of a a second; ISO 800. I deliberately chose to "drag" (the use of slow shutter to show movement or to allow the existing light to become visible in the photo) in order not to overpower the scene with my strobe light. When shooting in such small quarters, one must be careful when using flash since its light will bounce all over the place creating what is knows as the "jewelry box effect" in which the light creates an even, sometimes too strong, effect.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

XMas Spirit

Jamaica Plain, MA 129410 Dozens of children gathered in Jamaica Plain, MA on December 3, 2010 during the annual Mayor's Trolley Tour Christmas lighting ceremony to await the arrival of Santa. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ MET BEHIND THE SCENES: Xmas motiff assignments are ubiqutuous during this month so I make it a personal challenge to find moments, or graphic images or new angles. I think I found all three on these images. The little girl's body language as she speaks with Santa is a universal gesture. The shot from above I took after getting three NOs from the trolley people. Each time I asked to talk to a supervisor and finally the head person said, "sure." DON'T TAKE NO FOR ANSWER. In my opinion the X-mas tree-clad Santa's helpers made a more interesting photo from behind than to photograph them from the front. TECH STUFF: ISO 25O, speed 1/125th to 1/500th of a second, aperture between 4.0 and 5.6 Lens: 24-70mm 2.8 MORE BEHIND THE SCENE: The tree lightings were happening all over the city so they had started at 10:00AM and went from place to place so needless to say at 1:30PM it was just not worth it to photograph the tree itself.

Monday, November 29, 2010

2010 Boston Globe's 25 Most Stylish

Beth Ludlaws a.k.a "Ms Thang" was photographed for the 25 Most Stylish on November 5, 2010 at Jamaica Pond. BEHIND THE SCENES: Every single photo shoot was dealt with on a case by case scenario which included sometimes lengthy conversations with the subjects in order to find out a suitable location for their photoshoots. Sometimes the latter was determined by their availability or by geographical convenience. TECH STUFF: Every photo shoot but the Boston Ballet dancers was done with one softbox either plugged to a wall or with a battery pack. The Boston Ballet shoot was originally planned for five lights but a right before shooting commenced one of my two battery packs blew up so I ended up lighting them all with two lights. The rest were all shot with one light. Sometimes the light source was bare and only with a dome reflector on the head in order to control the spill of the light. Most of the times I used a square soft box. ISO: mostly 100 or 125 ISO depending on the camera that I was using. Speed: varied from 1/30th to 1/320th of a second. Lenses: 24-70mm 2.8 in most cases and a couple of times I used my 80- 200mm 2.8 as well. EXTRA INFO: This would be my fourth year involved with this project and once more I was humbled by how the best laid plans mean nothing sometimes. So you simply do what you must in order to adapt. You keep shooting, you keep moving and keep adjusting.
2Boston Ballet members: Lawrence Rines (cq)(african american, glasses, gray jacket, white shirt), Leah Cirio (have a discrepancy between this spellng and the website's spelling more info TK) (gray top w a lot of draping to it, dk hair) her brother Jeff Cirio (cq) (with lil hat on), Kelsey Hellebuyck (cq) short black short dress with shoes w straps) and John Lam (cq) (w knee high tall light brown boots). They were photographed at a space adjacent to the Boston Ballet in South Boston on October 8, 2010.
Paige Tatum (Cq) was photographed at her Jamaica Plain home backyard on October 27, 2010.
T.S. Whitlow was photographed at Forest Hills Cemetery in Roxbury on October 13, 2010
Marc Brent (cq) was photographed at the Boston Harbor and Rose Wharf on October 20, 2010
Naomi Mirando (cq) was photographed on November 4, 2010 at her Fort Point Channel apartment.
Willa Bodman (cq) is a teacher of Russian language and culture at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, and head of the World Language Department and she was photographed on November 3, 2010 at her Cambridge home.
Clayton Samuels (cq) was photographed for the 25 Most Stylish on November 5, 2010 outside of the African American History Museum in Beacon Hill
101210 Architect David Hacin (cq) was photographed on October 12, 2010 at his South End.
Yolanda Sellucci (cq) was photographed on October 17, 2010 at the Larz Anderson Museum.
Alyssa Braithwaite was photographed on October 19, 2010 at the John W. Weeks pedestrian bridge which connects Cambridge and Allston.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Runner and the Thermodynamics

Charlestown, MA 111610 Members of the band "Runner and the Thermodynamics" Marc Pinansky (Cq) with beard, Mike Oor (Cq) base and drummer and Roger Knight (cq) practice at a Charlestown, MA location on November 16, 2010 as they get ready for an upcoming performance in Cambridge, MA. The band was together from 2000 to 2005 and had reunited for this occasion. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ G BEHIND THE SCENES: This came in as a band practicing assignment so I made sure I had ear plugs in my camera bag. The music was loud but these guys were very good. Great visual representatives of the archetypal band members too. TECH STUFF: ISO 2500; aperture 2.8- 9.0; speed 1/15th- 1/60th. Some images were shot with an off camera flash being set off by a remote on top of camera. The main light was a big fluorescent box of lights above them which worked for those playing right under it but the drummer was in the shade; thus, the flash. After all was said and done I remembered what my friend Dominic Chavez, a great photographer, always says; "do not disrespect the light." So I followed suit and the final portrait was done just with the overhead fluorescent and I think it worked pretty well.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Head of the Charles Regatta 2010

Cambridge, MA 102310 Competitors take part in The Head of the Charles Regatta on October 23, 2010 in the Charles River. More than 20 nations took part in this year's competition. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ MET BEHIND THE SCENE: It started as a beautiful crisp clear autumn day that kept getting colder and windier as the day progressed. So I just shot for about three hours. I had three cameras on me: one with my 24-70mm, another one with the 70- 200mm and the last camera had on a 300 2.8mm with a 1.4 extender. TECH STUFF: The light was so bright I shot everything at ISO 200, lens varied,and exposures were mostly on the fast side to capture peak action. MORE TECH STUFF: on the shots of the rowers with the bridge behind them I had to take control of the camera by putting it in manual mode and not my regular aperture priority mode. Had I stayed with the aperture mode the camera would have kept slowing down the shutter to compensate for all the dark areas in the background. However I knew I could add drama to the image by using a faster shutter speed and by exposing for the highlights. Remember cameras are so smart they are dumb.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Boston Ballet ballerina

Boston, MA 101210 Keenan Kampa of Oak Hill, Virginia recently joined the Boston Ballet as a recent graduate of the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia – an unprecedented honor for an American student. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ G
BEHIND THE SCENES: I recently photographed a group of new Boston Ballet dancers and remember being awestruck of how much Keenan look like the quintessential ballerina. She reminded me of one of those tiny ballerina dolls on top of a music box. So I was ecstatic when I got the assignment to photograph her for an upcoming profile the paper is doing on her. I had already photographed her once while practicing so this time I wanted something different. I was a little disheartened when offered yet another dance studio for the portrait photo shoot. But my intrepid Boston Ballet PR showed me these boxes and suggested I take look at this setup to see if it might work. I'm always saying that two heads are better than one so I was happy she was present to suggest it. TECH STUFF: I'm currently at an interesting point when it comes to lighting. My Elite 1200 pack just blew up a week prior and what this means is that I have been forced to become a minimalist and to embrace the one-light effect of my back up lighting kit. So these images were made with one square soft box, 36" x 48", coming from above and slightly to the side;thus, I kept her looking up most of the time to avoid harsh shadows from the overhead light. ISO: 100, Speed: 250th sec, Aperture: 9.0, WB Flash.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Giant Pumpkin Contest Topsfield Fair Oct. 2010

Topsfield, MA 100110 Fifty-six hopefuls entered this year’s giant pumpkin competition at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, MA on October 1, 2010. Many crossed their fingers as the long months of work boiled down to the weigh-in. At the end Steve Connolly and his wife Nancy Connolly (Cq) of Sharon were crowned the winners with their 1,674.5lbs entry. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe staff)/ MET

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Iphone Tip

I have been asked by a few people if there are any tools to help decide certain settings in the camera based upon the photo conditions. There are lots out there. I recently came across an iPhone app called PhotoHelper. It seems pretty cool and useful. Check it out at I contacted the developer and they told me if I knew people interested they would get me a couple of promo codes. I can send them to you for download in the iTunes Store if you write to me at

Monday, September 27, 2010

After the Shooting

Dorchester, MA 091710 Boston Police representatives, members of the local clergy, parents and their children attended a meeting on September 17, 2010 at the Dorchester High School cafeteria to address parents' concerns after a shooting occurred the previous Tuesday during the Eagle Pop Warner (5- 7 year olds) team practice. The children had to take cover while a gunman ran through the field while firing forcing parents and coaches to dive on top of the children to shield them.(Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ MET BEHIND THE SCENES: At first I was not exactly sure what was I supposed to get out this assignment since it sounded as if THE photo happened when the gunman ran through the field. However once I arrived and saw the parents' faces and the haunting look in the children's eyes it became obvious to me that I was there to show our readers how such wanton acts of violence can affect a community. TECH STUFF: Shot with two cameras like I always do. One w a 80-200mm 2.8 and another one w a 24- 70mm 2.8. ISO varied from 1600 inside to 5000 outside. Aperture, I stayed pretty much with shallow apertures throughout the whole time since in this case it was about isolating my subjects from the background. I pretty much stayed between 2.8 and 5.6.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yoga Masters

Newtonville, MA 091610 Five master yoga teachers opening a new studio in Newtonville called Down Under Yoga. (l - r) Justine Wilthshire Cohen (cq) dark hair, Natasha Rizopoulos (cq), Patricia Walden (cq), Barbara Benagh (cq) and Peentz Dubble (Cq) were photographed at the studio on September 16, 2010. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/G BEHIND THE SCENES: Because this a topic dear to my heart I made it a point to be the one to photograph this assignment which included coming in earlier than when my shift was supposed to start. But I really didn't mind doing it because photography has yet to feel like a burden to me. They ladies were amazing, I just wished I had more time to talk to them. It was awe inspiring to see what a well trained body can do. TECH STUFF: Shot with a 1200 Prophoto Pack and four heads. Decided to set the lights only coming from one side, the left, since it was a small room and I wanted to create drama in the photos. All the heads had different size grids on them based upon how close to the subjects the lights were positioned. The further away the bigger the grid size in order for more light to hit the subjects. Three of the four lights are on stands and the fourth is on a baby boom. The latter is positioned above and slightly from the left with a very wide grid to create a metadata baseline for all the subjects. The individual shots were mostly shot with one or two lights depending upon the pose and whether I ascertained if they needed a second light to create separation. ISO 100, lens 24-70mm 2.8, 80-200, Speed 1/60th sec, aperture 5.6 for the group shot 4.0 for individual shots. EXTRA NOTE: Remember I work for a newspaper so we are not allowed to retouch images beyond: sharpening, dodging and burning and cropping. Thus, the electrical outlet showing in the background will remain as such.