Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Love Baltimore

Well, sure, I married a lady from Baltimore two years ago. And driving up there to see her in the years before that was always a treat.

But I've always liked working in the city. I seem to have the best experiences there, right back to when I started full-time photography in the early '90s. I remember one of my first assignments was to travel around for a day with a doctor who still made house calls. We started in the projects and finished up in a mansion. I don't remember how he got such a varied client list, but I still recall many of the stops we made, including the teenaged quadriplegic, being cared for by his aunt. He'd spent months as a homeless quadriplegic, living in an abandoned building. Only in Baltimore.

I've been up to Baltimore a lot recently, especially photographing healthcare workers. Often these workers don't have health benefits for themselves, or for their children, through their employment. The very people whose job it is to care for others often don't have any way to care for themselves should they get sick. Only in the United States. But it's great to meet these folks and their families, get welcomed into their homes. Yesterday I photographed a woman named Stephanie, her wonderful teenage son and daughter. One photo I did was on their front stoop -- such a hallmark of Baltimore homes.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The color of light

A problem for photographers shooting indoors on location is that different light sources have very different colors. Our eyes miraculously see a white sheet of paper as a white sheet of paper, no matter what the lighting. But a camera might see that same sheet as white, blue, yucky orangey-yellow, or even worse green, depending on the light source.

The simplest way to deal with this is often to just blast everything with strobes, which cameras quite like. But sometimes those differences in light can be helpful, if you're aware of them.

A recent cover assignment had two challenges. The first was that I was supposed to somehow make a cover image from a tele- conference. ("A tele- conference? What do I do -- photograph the phone!?!?") The second was that the participants, sitting at a conference table, were lit by very warm (in color) overhead lights, while lighting that would register as blue was pouring in the windows.

In this case, problem #2 provided the solution for problem #1. By taking advantage of the warm light on the people contrasted with the bluish light in the background, a picture was made, one that could run on a cover.

Labels: ,