Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brother Thomas Artist Grant Recipients

*BEHIND THE SCENES: The assignment came in as a series of portraits of local artist whom have received Brother Thomas awards of $15,000. I love this kind of assignments because I get to talk to the subjects and between them and I we figure out what would be a suitable location and it gives me an idea of the kind of image I want to create. Every single portrait was lit differently depending on the situation. TECHNICAL STUFF: I HAVE PLACED THE SPECS OF EACH PHOTOGRAPH AFTER THE SUBJECT FOR EASIER UNDERSTANDING.

*Barbara Helfgott_ Hyett (cq), a poet, of Brookline was photographed at Jamaica Pond. This was a true success. I seem to have good luck with trees and subjects. Here I used one bare bulb Norman 400 battery Pack. The light is positioned about 45 degrees to the left of the subject and slightly higher than face level. The ISO is 50 aperture 22, speed 1/100th, white balance: Cloudy. Lens 16- 35mm 2.8 at 16mm.

*Brian Knep (cq) was photographed at his Boston studio. His works includes projecting slides of nematodes.He was photographed without any outside source of light other than the light coming out of the projector)aperture 3.2, 1/125th, ISO 800, WB auto. Reason being is because is really hard not to overpower the light coming out of a slide projector without loosing the detail of the projected image.

*Cinematographer Alla Kovgan (Cq) was photographed at her Somerville apartment. I noticed the natural light coming through the curtains and the patterns it created on the wall. Then I noticed the plants she had in her apartment and decided to layer the composition for a more interesting image: Aperture 4.0, ISO 250, speed 1/125th, WB sun.
Second Alla portrait: Two lights, one hitting her from behind from the left just catching her profile and a second light behind her to the right with a snoot to hit the video camera in her hand to accentuate metal highlights. Aperture 13, ISO 125, speed 1/125th of a second__ aperture so high to compensate for using two bare-bulbs near the subject.

*Film Makers Strain by Brick wall: I wanted to balance the inside light with the outside light. I placed one strip softbox slightly to the left and in front of her higher than her head level making sure you couldn't see the reflection of the softbox on the window. Aperture 6.3, ISO 50, speed 250th of a second. WB daylight__ speed shot is as close as the maximum speed this camera and flash can synch together (1/320th) in order to saturate the image by under exposing outside ambient light by about stop and half.

*Kati Agocs (cq) musician, composer, and vocalist was photographed at the New England Conservatory of Music where she is a faculty member.\ I was standing on top of the piano on this one and I had two lights on her. One softbox high and to her left about 45 degrees up and about 4 feet away just out of frame, a second light flat on the ground to her right aiming at her face to highligth her profile. ISO 100, exposure 1/13th of a second to capture warmth tone in the ambient light, aperture 8.0, WB Auto.

*Richard Hoffman (cq) was photographed at one of his favorite cafes near his home, Good Food, in Cambridge. * With this one I played a lot. I thought he had an interesting profile and all the white facial hair worked. So I decided to go for a more ethereal look. I had two lights going. One softbox high to the right to establish a baseline an one bare bulb with a grid high to the left and slightly from behind to accentuate his profile. Aperture 8.0, speed 1/15th, ISO 160, WB daylight. I dragged the shutter (slow it down) in order to create a slight ghosting in his profile by allowing the natural light to show up in the exposure.)

*John O. ADEkoje's (Cq) who made the film "Street Soldiers" was photographed in front of the Strand Theather off Columbia Rd in Columbia Road.*Adekoje, film maker outside: I wanted to capture the grittiness found in his films which her done primarily on the streets of DOT. I went with a Norman Battery Pack 400 and kept changing the angle of incidence starting from the front and to the right. I had my assitant keep moving more and more to hit his profile until it became somewhat back-light which added to the drama of the scene. It was important to find a good balance between the natural light, the marquee light and the Norman's output... trial and error my friends, trial and error: ISO 100, aperture 1/15th of a second, aperture 13.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Boston Ballet Balanchines/ Robbins

Boston, MA 042310 Boston Ballet company rehearsing on April 23 for their upcoming production of Balanchine/Robbins. BEHIND THE SCENES: This was for a story on the ballet's next production. I spent about two hours just hanging out with them as they rehearsed. I know a lot of the dancers just because I've been shooting them on and off for almost 8 years now. Because of this I have the advantage of being familiar with their dance routines and kind of have an idea of what to expect so it was only a matter of waiting and being ready and then to simply let them do what they do best: being dancers. Easy pickings for photos. Like I've always said, dancers are like sports cars. They look sleek, fast and ready to go even at a stand still. TECHNICAL STUFF: Shot it with my staple lenses a wide angle zoom ( a 17- 35m 2.8) and a telephoto (80- 200 2.8) most exposures were somewhere between 125- 250th of a second at 2.8- 40 range depending on how the light changed and how fast their movements were. ISO of 400- 520 setting AWB or Fluorescent depending on where they were in the studio. One side is lit well by natural light coming from windows other side is lit mostly by overhead fluorescent lights.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Natural Light with a Little bit of Help

Boston, MA 042210 Luigi "Big Lou" DeMarco (Cq), left, the general manager of Caffe Graffitti & Ristorante in the North End of Boston was photographed at the restaurant on April 22, 2010. This is for a story on sidewalk sitting at North End cafes. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ BEHIND THE SCENES: This was one of those situations where the assignment was not very clear. It mentioned the owner and manager of this restaurant as possible subjects. I was asked to put them or either or within context of the area so the reader would know where the outdoor sitting would be. I walked in there and I immediately noticed how the natural light was amazing. It was bright outside but the quality of light foretold there were clouds coming so you could see changing light moving pretty fast. I shot w/o an artificial light and decided that was not good enough. So I set up a monolight to the right of the frame to side light the subject and voila. It was just a matter of waiting for the right scene in the background. TECHNICAL STUFF: Shot with a 16-35mm 2.8@ 16mm, ISO 50, speed 1/200th sec, aperture 5.6. I took a reading of the outside light and it was about 4.0@ 125. So I closed down my aperture and increased my speed to add full saturation and contrast to the subjects in the background while still balancing the inside light with the outside light. I think this worked pretty well. The gods of light were definitely smiling upon me with the beautiful light coming in from the outside. (the source of light you see on the right is my Bowen monolight, which I actually didn't mind having in my frame.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gates at Harvard

Cambridge, MA 042110 Bill Gates spoke at the Sanders Theater at Harvard University on April 21, 2010. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff) BEHIND THE SCENES The Boston Globe was designated as pool for the event. What this means is that I was the only still photographer outside of Harvard staff and certain other Harvard publications to be allowed to photograph the event. My photos went on the AP wires and can be accessed by any of the thousands of AP customers. TECHNCIAL STUFF: Shot with a 300 mm 2.8 with a 1.4 TC at ISO 6400, Manual mode, aperture of 4.0 @ 1/640th of a second to make sure that hand-held telephoto would yield sharp photos without any movement. No monopod, I sometimes prefer to hand hold big lenses... personal choice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Boston Marathon 2010 Elite Runners

Hopkinton, MA 041710 For a while Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (Cq) - left of Kenya and Deriba Merga (cq) or Ethiopia ran side to side until Cheruiyot took the lead between the 23 and 24th mile awinning the 114th Boston Marathon on April 19, 2010 with a record time of 2:05:52. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)BEHIND THE SCENE: This year I was assigned to the men's elite truck. This basically means that I and another five or so still photographers rode on the back of a truck which drove ahead of the men's elite group but also ahead of the TV truck which was always in between us and the runners. So you basically catch glimpses of them in curves, hills and whenever the truck would veer a little bit to the right or left of the pack. In other words: for two hours you have to keep focusing and shooting every chance you saw the group. I shot a total of 1,400 images or so. TECHNICAL STUFF I chose a 400mm 2.8 lens on a monopod. ISO of 500 and set the camera in aperture priority oscillating from 3.5 to 5.0 depending on light conditions.

Mission Hill Multiple Alarm Fire

Mission Hill, MA 042010 Boston fire fighters responded to a two-alarm fire at 51 Calumet Street at the corner of Darling and Calumet streets at the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston on April 20, 2010. No injuries reported. Structural damage estimated at $50k.(Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff) BEHIND THE SCENES: Whenever we work a late shift we have to be listening to the police and fire emergency scanners just in case something big happens. This wasn't a big one but still many ladder trucks responded to the alarm. We had a hole in the paper to fill so this fit the bill. TECH STUFF Shot with 80-200 2.8 and 24-70 2.8 on cloudy WB. Exposed for the highlights to create full saturation of colors. The photo of the young man looking across the street is a testimony to that maxim in photography which says: If you think you have something interesting in front of you take the time to turn around and look at what is going on behind you. This is a very unusual situation in which you can incorporate bystanders and actual action at the same time in one frame. These photos are not the best of their kind but they are a good example of the bread and butter of photojournalists.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rain Weather Art

Boston, MA 041710 Despite the wet weather in the Boston metro area on April 17, 2010, a nine- year old Cocker Spaniel named Emily took her stuffed beaver went for a walk with her owner Renee Knilans (cq), of Beacon Hill, across from the Boston Common. According to Knilans, Emily has a bout 20 stuffed animals and every time she goes out on a walk she goes through her box and picks a stuffed toy out of her veritable arc of stuffed animals collection. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ MET BEHIND THE SCENES: If you work for a paper you know if its hot its new, if it rains its news, if it snows its snows. So whenever you are about town during assignments you have to keep your eyes peeled for "found art" a.k.a. stand- alone features like this one. TECH STUFF: Shot from a low angle with a 80-200 2.8 at aperture priority set at 4.0 at speed of 1/320 and an ISO setting of 500 with a WB of cloudy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

From the Archives: Baghdad 2003

Baghdad, Iraq March 2003 A US Army tank fires from a protective position in the outskirts of Baghdad during the first days of the Iraq war. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff) BEHIND THE SCENES: While trying to make it into Baghdad after the coalition forces took the city. We were forced to take shelter in the outskirts of the city with a US armored division. Every once in a while we would here mortar fire sound coming from far away and then the American tanks would respond in kind. Despite all the raucous I still managed to sleep a solid six hours. TECHNICAL STUFF: Shot with a 80-200 Nikon D-1h at some ungodly high ISO pushing the limits of the camera. Shot in aperture priority. Exposure had to have been something like an 1/8th of a second at 2.8. (PS The reporter and I were not embedded. There two other teams of photographer and writer and I was one of the two that was not with the military. My friend photographer extraordinaire Dominic Chavez was the other shooter not with troops.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

ICA teen film makers

Boston, MA 040210 ICA young filmmakers program students Gerald Lucey(Cq), 18, of Winchester and Chavella Lee (cq), 16, of Boston were photographed at the ICA on April 2, 2010. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ G BEHIND THE SCENE STORY: The assignment only said we needed photos of these two young filmmakers. It didn't mention they wouldn't be filming or editing but instead they were just be there for the interview at the time I showed up. That only left me with the option of a portrait. I refuse to photograph people in front of their computers unless I have no other choice. I like the texture of the wood at the ICA so immediately I took them out to figure out something visually appealing which would include the wood pattern. As they were laying there I noticed how the shadows of people walking by added to the composition. It was only a matter of waiting for the right set of shadows. TECHNICAL STUFF: Shot with a 24-70mm 2.8 on cloudy WB. Composition wise I'm pretty pleased with the balance between the positive (space being used within the frame) and the negative space. The diagonal lines at opposite corners of the frame balance each other as well.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fenway Park ready for opening day

Boston, MA 040210 Famed Fenway Park awaits ready for opening day on Sunday April 4, 2010. (Essdras M Suarez/ Boston Globe) BEHIND THE SCENES: Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a sports shooter and mostly by choice. I think somehow I was not born with that gene which makes most males, and a great number of the females, of our species to go berserk over sports. So to me it really was no big deal to have the kind PR young woman for the Red Sox to turn on the lights just for the purpose of this photo. But I must admit it is a beautiful park and it was a cool experience. BTW the newspaper decided after all did not use the photo ... TECHNICAL STUFF: I used a Nikon D-3 on a tripod with a 24-70mm 2.8 lens at a 22 aperture and about a 16" exposure thus the starburst pattern coming from the lights.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sunny Weather features

Boston, MA 040110 N Oscar Aquino (cq) left, 14, Eric Callwood (Cq), 16, also from Roxbury and Andrew Owens (cq) of Jamaica Plain (big buckle guy) gather to play basketball at the Roxbury's Madison Park courts on a sunny April 1, 2010. (lil head poking from botton is Gabriel Cruz (cq), 12 also from Roxbury.) (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ MET TECHNICAL STUFF: I'm a fan of shooting from the ground. It adds another visual layer to the composition. A good tip when shooting against the sun the trick is to shoot from withing your subject's shadow. Meaning block the sun with your subject that way we don't have to worry about flare in the lens.