Thursday, December 18, 2014

Road Scholar's Art Revolution and Photo workshop in Cuba Dec. 2014

These images are from my latest trip to Cuba a week or so ago. On this occasion, I was leading a group of photographers from the Plymouth Digital Camera Club and others on a Road Scholar Art's Revolution and photo workshop trip. This was my seventh visit to the island. The first time I visited it was in the middle of the "Special Period" in 1992. That time I had gone to Cuba with Pastors for Peace to document Rev. Lucius Walker's annual US government- embargo-defying trip to the island nation. Growing up in Panama, I was raised by my Cuban grandparents and uncles. I'd always heard the names of relatives in Cuba but I had never met them in person. So in 1992, I showed up un-announced at their doorstep and despite finding themselves in the middle of one of the toughest times for Cubans, they opened their doors and welcomed me with open arms. As they have continued to do so ever since. But even I'm pretty sure that even without having had family there, I'd have still fallen in love with this magical place. There's something spell bounding about Cuba and of its people. Any photographer who's visited the island would tell you that in Cuba the colors somehow seem more vivid, the textures more lively, and the people friendlier. So on this a historic day as today is when the US and Cuba have decided to re-establish diplomatic relations I would like to share some of what I see when I go there. TECH STUFF: My trusty Nikon camera gear: A Nikon D4 and a D810. Two lenses 17- 35mm 2.8 and 70- 200mm 2.8... and a ton of memory cards.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Boston Ballet's Swan Lake Production rehearsal

Boston, MA 101614 Rehearsal for the new Boston Ballet's production of Swan Lake. (Essdras M Suarez/ Boston Globe Staff) BEHIND THE SCENES: Because I knew these are my last weeks as a newspaper photographer, I have been begging the photo desk for assignments that are meaningful to me and this is one of them. And as always, I enjoyed it tremendously. Spending time photographing these amazing athletes with their limitless grace, and effortless gravity- defying feats is not by any means a chore. However, yesterday was a bit of a chaotic. This rehearsal was opened to members of the media so about six different other outlets were there at the same time. So not only do you have to do your job to create an accurate- and - creative visual depiction of the activities going around you but on top of that you also have to make sure you don't get other shooters in your frame. TECH STUFF: 2 Cameras Nikon D3s and Nikon D4/ 2 lenses: 17-35mm 2.8 and a 70-200mm 2,8 with a 1.4 TC/ ISO 800- 1,000/ WB: AWB

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Street Photography workshop in NYC for the NY Botanical & Zoological Photographic Society

NYC_0907214 This past weekend, I had the pleasure and honor of speaking and teaching a workshop to the NY Botanical and Zoological Photographic Society. We walked around the High Line Park in Chelsea and a bit around Chelsea Market. NYC this weekend was perfect for this endeavor. Even though I usually don't get to make that many photos, I would call keepers, while teaching these kind of workshops; this time around I couldn't help myself and join in the fun since there were photos everywhere you look. I even got lucky and while trying to make a point about exposing for the highlights I managed to get a great portrait of Connie, one of the NYZBPS members, and then when I found a broken mirror lying on the ground and while explaining how getting low makes your images more interesting.
During my workshops I try to teach people how to see and how to create a certain degree of order within the confines of our viewfinder from the chaotic maelstrom of every day life. And as long as you apply this rule it will always work out : KEEP SHOOTING, KEEP MOVING, KEEP ADJUSTING TECH STUFF: Two Nikon cameras; a D4 and a D3s/ Lenses: 70-200mm 2.8 and 24-70mm 2.8/ WB mostly Sunny and some AWB/ ISO 125- 800/ File type: JPGs.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Deutsche Bank Championship TPC Norton, MA

Norton, MA 090114 Scenes from the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC on September 1, 2014. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff) BEHIND THE SCENES: I am not a fan of covering any sports. Therefore, I usually don't know what is going on during most games , competition, tournaments, etc. One of our crack sport photographers called in sick this weekend and I was assigned today to photograph this golf tournament. I thought I had done a pretty good job getting images like these and I even thought I got the guy whom I thought had won the tournament... much to my chagrin I was later informed by my photo desk that I had not even photographed the winner. Live and learn. TECH STUFF: Two cameras: Nikon D4, and Nikon D3s/ Two lenses: 70-200mm 2.8 and 500mm 4.0/ ISO 200- 320/ WB: AWB, sunny and cloudy. Amount of images shot in a day: 1,335.

Friday, August 8, 2014

North Atlantic Right Whale story

Grand Manan, Canada August 7, 2014 I had the opportunity to travel to Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy across from New Brunswick, Canada for this story, which focuses on a famous marine biologist and his quest for saving the North Atlantic Right Whales. He told us, he had not been to the Bay of Fundy area for several years and the last time he'd been there they'd only seen few Right whales. However at the end of our 14-hour day out there, he told us how lucky we’d been with the weather and with the large numbers of whales we got to see. He and his wife told us, we might've seen about 60 cetaceans and out of that many creatures about 50 of them were Right whales. I have a ton of images of whale tails (flukes) coming out of the water. However, what called my attention was the scarring due to propellers one of these creatures had. I also couldn't help but notice how much like nostrils those blowholes truly look. And of course I was fascinated withe the "barnacle beards" they sport. The flukes, and the barnacle patterns is what helps scientist differentiate one from another. TECH STUFF: two Nikon bodies: D3s, D4/ Three Nikon lenses: 500mm AF 4.0, 70-200mm 2.8 with a 1.4TC and a 17-35mm 2.8/ ISO 100-640/ WB: sunny and cloudy/ Format: JPG Fine (PS: the whale images are pretty much full frame) Behind the scenes: I love my 500 F4 because of all the prime telephotos Nikon has, this is one of the lightest so I can hand hold it. However 14 hours of hoisting that bad boy to my eye took me out of commission. My forearms became very sore, as well as my shoulders and my spine. Being in a boat did not help much. But I wouldn't trade the kind of shooting day I had yesterday for anything in the world.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fourth of July Celebration a day earlier at the Esplanade, Boston

Boston, MA 070314 Due to inclement weather forecast for the Boston Metro area, officials decided to move the celebration to the 3rd instead. These are some images from the lauded Hatch Shell show. (Essdras M Suarez/ Boston Globe©)
Behind the Scenes: These images were taken within feet of each other. I was down on my knees in between the stage and the barricades. From here I a had clean shot of the stage which allowed to get this shot of the Beach Boys performing. If I looked to my left I'd have a clear view of the woman with the fan and the people behind her. Five feet to my right I had the sailor and the little girl with the hat and tattoos. And even though, I had walked around quite a bit earlier in the day making images, the ones made at the end of the day were simply the strongest visuals. Points to remember while on assignment: * Always keep in mind: "The best photo happen is going to happen right in front of you." This is because you have no control of any other photos anywhere else. You need to make the best of what you have in front of you. * Never stop shooting a situation until you think you have exhausted the possibilities. Explore every possible angle, pay attention to interactions between people. Anticipate emotions and reactions whenever possible. Point and case: The man in the sailor outfit. It was quite obvious to me, he was a gregarious guy by nature. So when the national anthem was being played, I knew he and those around him would make for a good photo. But I also had an inkling when the national anthem was going to be played there might be the possibility of him becoming emotional. So, I readied my second camera (telephoto lens) and for that I was rewarded with the tight shot of him with the flag behind him. This turned out to be my favorite shot of the day. TECH STUFF: Two cameras: Nikon D4 and D3s/ Lenses: 17-35mm 2.8 and 70-200mm 2.8 with a 1.4 TC/ Mode: Aperture Priority to begin with - using initial exposure as a base line- and then Manual mode in order to control the look of the image (i.e. do you like your images dark? Saturated? on the lighter side, etc) Quality: JPG Fine/ WB: AWB/ ISO: 800-2,000

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fire at 298 Beacon

Boston, MA 032614 Firefighters fought a 9-alarm fire, the highest of its type in the City of Boston, at 298 Beacon Street in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. Two firefighters died in the fire and several others were taken to local hospitals for injuries. (Essdras M Suarez/ Boston Globe©) Behind the Scenes: Yesterday I was at the Museum of Science doing a very elaborate lighting portrait of a scientist and shortly after setting up the lights and the background I noticed a couple of people pointing towards a plume of smoke in the Boston side of the Charles River. I immediately called my office to let them know but they were already on top of it. I was asked if I could get there but much to my chagrin I had already setup for the portrait and it wouldn't have been a quick thing to disassemble the lighting set up I had created. And the subject had yet to arrive. He finally came and I did my job as fast as I could and packed up as quickly as I could and then tried to make my way to Boston. Traffic had become pure gridlock and because of lane closures. I decided instead to see if I could photograph it from across the river with whatever limited focal length I might have had in my car. These were the resulting images. I was so far away and I could tell this was a horrible scene. I wished I would have had my 500 mm with me in the car. But as I always tell my students: The best photo is the one in front of you, and the one you can make with whatever equipment you have at hand. TECH STUFF: Nikon D4, Nikon D3s, 70-200mm 2.8 and 300mm 4.0, ISO 80, WB: cloudy, Speed 1/640, DOF 5.6 and 9.0

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Another Snow Storm in Boston

Watertown and Boston, MA 020514 Once more we were hit by a bit of snow and the city came to a stand still. People stayed home and telecommuted for work. However, I enjoy walking around when there is snow on the ground and to let my creativity soar. A lot of times this is easily be achieved by gaining a high-vantage view point. The image of the lonely road and the winter landscape was shot right next to my place on the rooftop of a parking garage structure. The image of Post Office Square where there are some people tossing about snow balls was shot from the 23rd floor of an office building where a friend of mine works. And while on my way back to the car I noticed the bright red roses and rose petals in a window display. So I decided to incorporate both into one image by looking at the reflection of passers by and by waiting for the right person to walk by. Serendipity once more smiled at me and the young woman walking was carrying in her hands a cup of coffee. Because of this her hands were up in front of her, which matched perfectly with ta set of roses inside the flower shop. Tech stuff: Nikon D4 and Nikon D3s. ISO 800. Speeds 1/125th to 1/800th of a second. Lenses 70-200mm 2.8 and a 24-70mm 2.8. WB: Cloudy. Compensation: 1 1/3rd of a stop. Mode: First Aperture priority to get my base line readings and then switched to Manual to better control exposure.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Nikon vs Canon/ Spanish

On Nikon vs Canon: Tito Herrera, mi hermano de Panama, y yo siempre nos reimos de esta discusion. Por que al final del dia es la preferencia personal del fotografo es la que determine que marca se utiliza. Yo tengo el titulo honorifico que me dio la Nikon de “Nikon Legend.” Pero eso no quiere decir que yo no le tenga respeto y aprecio a la Canon, o a la Leica, o a la Sony, o a la Hasselblad, etc, etc. Les doy ejemplos: A mi el Boston Globe me da equipo Canon. Pero mis camaras personales son Nikon. Uso Canon cuando hago fotos de comida. Uso Nikon para fotografiar naturaleza. Uso Canon cuando tengo que usar mi flash. Pero he utilizado mi Nikon con el flash cuando he tenido que hacerlo. Prefiero la Nikon cuando es cuestion de empujar el ISO. Prefiero Canon cuando tengo que utilizer luces artificiales. Pero prefiero mi Nikon cuando me toca ir a “cazar” momentos decisivos. Prefiero el 16-35mm 2.8 de la Canon al 24-70mm 2.8 que tengo de la Nikon… Y la lista puede seguir por rato. Este sabado que paso andaba con una Canon en un hombre y una Nikon en el otro. Se me danio uno de mis lentes angulares amplios de Nikon y he tenido que estar usando la Canon con el angular amplio. Miren las fotos adjuntas a este blog. En otras palabras: Las camara modernas profesionales son herramientas fantasticas que utilizadas por la persona correcta cumpliran su cometido y produciran imagenes de alta calidad. Siempre habran estupendos fotografos sin importar que equipo utilicen los mismos. Estos fotografos son el resultado de tres cosas: practica, talento y suerte. La practica: Esta es una cualidad la cual todos tenemos acceso. Esto es lo que yo considero como el “great equalizer” de la fotografia. Y cuanto beneficio “the shooter” le saque a la misma esta limitada solamente por la cantidad de tiempo que el individuo(a) este dispuesto(a) a dedicarle a su arte. Yo tomo fotos por lo menos 6 dias a la semana y lo he estado haciendo ya casi por 20 anios. El talento: Lastimosamente este es el aspecto del cual menos control tenemos por lo general. O sea o lo tienes o no lo tienes. Either you have it or you don’t. Pero no se desanimen, la fotografia es hasta cierto punto una ciencia y como tal se puede analizar en cuantificar en formulas las cuales puedes ser utilizadas al momento de tomar las fotos. Yo soy un ejemplo claro de este hecho. Yo me considero completamente empirico. Yo no creo nunca tuve mas talent que la persona promedio. Pero me puse dichoso por haber tenido la oportunidad de el haber trabajado con profesionales dentro del gremio lo cual me dio la oportunidad de aprender from some of the best of the best. Esto de las formulas lo he confirmado una y otra vez a traves de mis anios de instructor en cursos de fotografia. Me ha tocado a menudo el enseniarles a muchos fotografos los cuales yo no considere inicialmente que tuviesen mucho talento innato pero luego de haber prestado atencion y luego de haber procesado estas formulas los mismos produjeron imagenes exponencialmente mejores a las que solian hacer antes. La Suerte: Lady Luck es la mas dura de todos los atributos que poseen los buenos fotografos. Hay quien la tiene y hay otros que no... pero hay un dicho en ingles que dice, "Luck favors the prepared mind." “La suerte favorece a la mente preparada.” Esto quiere decier que muchas veces lo que otros consideran suerte es simple y sencillamente la abilidad del fotografo de identificar el potencial de una situacion y su capacidad de poder anticipar la major posicion, y el momento donde y cuando tomar la foto.