Monthly Archives: June 2007

Photographing the People of Monterrey

Mexican Bus Stop

I had the awesome opportunity on Friday to get out into Moneterrey and take some photos. I’m not sure exactly where I was in the city, but there was certainly lots to see and do. The Friday morning weather was looking a little risky, but things cleared up in the afternoon — so I didn’t have to worry about the rain. The heat and humidity was enough to make me wish it was raining though!

Produce Department

I decided prior to going out that I would make an effort to focus on people photography. It’s not my strong point, so I thought it would be a good growth opportunity on my part. I still took the tourist photos of the statues, buildings, churches, and such (why not, I’m a tourist). I really started taking more people shots as I made my way into a “walking only” area of town that was filled with little shops and street vendors.

Accordion Man

The big photo at top was one that just happened to catch my eye as I walked down the street. This man was sitting on a bus stop bench located across the street from me. The bench was also located under an overpass, so the lighting was nice and soft. I had to wait a few moments for some cars to pass between us and for the other pedestrians to exit the frame. He never did see me standing across the street pointing the camera at him, so the photo turned out much more natural.

Salsa Man

This “Salsa Man” photo actually has a bit of a story behind it. This man was set up on a street corner, selling bottles of salsa. As I walked closer, I thought that it would make for a decent photo. I was already too close for a candid shot, so I decided to ask for a photo. This was an interesting conversation since he didn’t speak any English and I don’t speak any Spanish. Amazingly enough, I managed to ask him if I could take his photo and he agreed. After the fact, he grabbed a bottle of salsa and put it in my hand. I figured “why not” and I asked him how much (again without any Spanish). He wouldn’t take my money! He was actually pushing me down the street smiling, laughing, and talking away in Spanish. Eventually I got him to take a few bucks in exchange for the salsa. The whole situation took me by surprise!

The Office Wrestler Snack Shack Parking Service Tidying Up

So I managed to get some people shots in Monterrey, Mexico. They may not be the best people shots ever taken, but they are a good reminder of my trip into town. For me, they capture a little bit of the culture south of the border. If you ever have the chance to visit Monterrey (or any part of Mexico), do it without hesitation. It’s a very unique place, filled with interesting bits of culture and dynamics. My Mexican experiences have been limited to Juarez and Monterrey, but I hope to see more of the country someday.

Greetings From Monterrey Mexico

What a day yesterday was! A LONG day, that is. At any rate, I made it into Monterrey, Mexico in once piece with all my luggage in tact. I’m here for a business trip, but I managed to lug my camera gear out with me. I was on a short vacation back in North Idaho, so i had my camera stuff with me anyways — I didn’t really have much of a choice but to bring it along. I hope I get to use it while I’m here. I think it’s supposed to rain today, and everything is pretty much covered in clouds.

Today is the only day I really have to get out and take some pics — the rest of the weekend will be spent working. If the weather holds up this afternoon, I think we’re heading out to do a little sight-seeing around town. I’ve been here once before (without a camera), but we never took advantage of our free time. Not sure where we’re going, but I’ll definitely be taking photos. I’ll have to share some with you this weekend.

In the meantime, enjoy a few Monterrey photos from Flickr. All three are mountain shots, but that’s the most noticeable thing around here. The place is surrounded by huge mountain ranges jutting out of the ground. A few of them have some interesting formations at their peaks. With the cloudy weather, I’ll have to focus more on taking photos of the things in-town. I’m hoping to get some people shots that show the culture around here. It’s a big city (and area) — I think it’s the 2nd or 3rd largest city in Mexico with somewhere around 1.1M people. Shouldn’t be too hard to capture a little culture.

Well, I’d better go do something before it starts raining.

Trying My Hand At Lightning Photography

We had a little bit of a storm roll through North Idaho last night, so naturally my Dad and I got out on the front porch to try for some lightning shots. I really haven’t done any lightning photography with my dSLR, so I was pretty much winging it. The lightning passed too quickly to get any good shots, but I did learn a few things about lightning photography.

The first thing I learned was that your choice of lens is relatively important. I had my 10-20mm zoom on the camera, but it felt a little too wide for the scene I was shooting. I tried a few with my 105mm macro, but that felt a little too narrow. I would think that something around 35mm to 70mm would work well for most situations, though some scenes might work better with lenses below 35mm. The important thing is that you want to catch a big enough portion of the sky without going so wide that the lightning becomes a minor part of the photo.

Another important part of lightning photography is your choice of shutter speed and f-number. I was shooting 30 second exposures, but I might have gone as long as two or three minutes if I had a shutter release cable. 30 seconds wasn’t bad though, and it would work well if the lightning storm was fairly active. The other side to exposure is the choice of f-number. I tried a few different settings, but I seemed to get better results right around f/11. When I tried f/5.6 I ended up with an overexposed sky, and when I tried f/22 I ended up with dark skies and really weak bolts.

So next time I go out for lightning shots I’ll be using my 18-200mm zoom at 30+ second exposures around f/11. Maybe next time I’ll get a few keepers. The photo at the top of this post is the only one that was even worth working on, though it needed a lot of work (you can see the original here). The funny thing is that it was also my first shot taken — I basically spent the next half hour getting bad shots and learning how not to take lightning photos. By the time I started to figure it out, the storm was too far gone to get any more photos. Next time I suppose…

Photos From the Palouse

Well, the kids and I made it to Idaho in one piece – it was a long day though. 12 hours of travel with a two year old and a four year old isn’t exactly my idea of fun, but the kids were on their best behavior. No pictures from that day (Saturday) because I was a little tied up keeping track of three backpacks and two kids.

I did go out yesterday (Sunday) with my Dad and Brother just to get some photos. We went on a photo safari across the Palouse in search of old barns — my Dad has been working on a barn theme. We did a 200 mile round trip from Rathdrum to Moscow and back again, but on two different roads so we could maximize our barn sightings.

Most of the barns were drive-by’s because they were on people’s property or there was no where to stop on the highway. My Dad was taking the drive-by shots while my brother drove and I scoped the next barn. He got quite a few shots for his collection. We did manage to find a few barns that were accessible and abandoned, so we got to get out of the car and take some good shots.

I’ll try to update the blog at least one more time before I take off to Monterrey on Thursday for a business trip. There’s a chance that I’ll go on another photo outing before leaving, but even if I don’t I’ll find something to write about. Now back to being on vacation…

May Roundup

Another month has passed us by and you know what that means! MONTHLY ROUNDUP!!! May was a great month, filled with lots of new relationships forming among the online photography community. It seems like everybody either participated in or hosted their own project this month, thus strengthening the sense of community among photographers and bloggers.

I want to say “Thank You” to everybody who has stuck around, to all the new people I’ve formed relationships with, and to all the commenters and bloggers who have shown their support. If you’re a new reader within the last month, I’d like to say “Welcome!” to the blog! Check out some of the frequent commenters, blogs in the blogroll, and anybody I mention in my posts — they’re a good group of people with a lot of knowledge on the topic of photography.

Also for you newbies (and those of you lacking long-term memory), here are some of the more interesting posts from the last month.

  • Photography Sites From My Readers: The results of my first photography blog project — a listing of photography blogs, photoblogs, and galleries from my readers.
  • Interview With Paul O’ Connor: Paul O’ Connor is the mastermind behind a new photography resource called photographyVoter. The site modeled after digg, but with a strict focus on photography.
  • My Top 5 Sources of Inspiration in Photography: These are the things that inspire me to take and make photos: accomplishments of mankind, beauty of nature, other photographers, challenge, and my kids.
  • My Favorite Photo and Background Story: This is my favorite photo, the story behind it, why it was taken, how it was composed, and why I like it so much.
  • Lens Hoods Are A Good Thing: My personal experience and advice on why you should always use your lens hood while taking photos. Trust me, it’s worth it.
  • photographyVoter FeedFlare and Bookmark Icons: Three options for integrating the photographyVoter social bookmarking link into your blog posts – options for feeds AND site content. Also updated to give you options for social bookmarking straight from your browser.
  • Filling Your Photography Jar: My thoughts on filling the photography jar with the things that are important to me. This is how I rank each aspect of my hobby.
  • Self Critique Of My Best Flower Photo: A self critique of my best macro flower photo. This is part of a project hosted by Mike Brown at Macro Art In Nature.
  • Equipment Options For Macro Photography: A description of the various options for macro photography camera equipment. See their pros and cons and learn how they are used for different effects.

And of course, don’t forget to check out the April Roundup and March Roundup!

I’ll be traveling for the next 10 days, so keep your eyes peeled for some trip-photos. First, I’m heading back home with the kids to North Idaho to visit the family. My Dad’s all excited to have me go out shooting with him and teach him a few things about photography. Then I’m off to Monterrey in Mexico for a business trip — I’ll have all my camera gear with me though, so I’ll try to break free for a while and get some good shots. The kids will stay in Idaho for a while and I’ll come back to New Jersey to start packing up the house for our move to San Diego in July — new job! Should be fun!

Win a Chance to be a Rock Concert Photographer

Well… for one concert anyways.

UltraStar is sponsoring a raffle type of contest at where one lucky winner will be flown off to London for an INXS concert. Not only do you get to go to the concert (and backstage), you get to hang out with Guido Karp and learn a few tricks to the concert photography trade. Sounds pretty cool, here are some more details.

  • WHO: One grand prize winner gets to go, the rest of us don’t.
  • WHAT: INXS concert, backstage pass, and personal photography guide.
  • WHEN: Contest ends June 11th, concert begins June 21st.
  • WHERE: The Hammersmith Apollo in London.
  • WHY: Why not?
  • HOW: Go to the Rock Photographer Contest entry form and give them your name and email address.

That’s it — pretty easy contest to enter. Chances may be slim, but it never hurts to try.

And thanks to Gretchen Wagner for dropping me a note on the contest!

Phirebrush Issue #50


Issue #50 of Phirebrush is now available for your viewing pleasure. The photography in these monthly publications never ceases to amaze me. If you haven’t heard of this group before, take a look at my article on promoting your photography for free with Phirebrush. It’s just one of many avenues to having your photography shown off.

This month, 5 out of 5 images I submitted made it to the publication. You can see my previously published photos in my Phirebrush profile. I also got my Dad to submit some photos to them, and all 5 of his also made it into the cut. Here are my photos that made it in:

Windows in Brussels Glowing Daffodil River Flood Dandelion Graffiti Petey

POLL RESULTS: What Type of Camera Do You Shoot With?

We had a pretty good turnout from the poll I started last week that asked what type of camera you shoot with. 76 of you answered, and the results are actually a little surprising. I expected less of a gap between compact / ultra-zoom and SLR, but we have 78% of the readers (59 votes) shooting with a digital SLR. That’s a fairly large chunk!

Ultra-zooms and compacts each came in at 8% (6 votes each), film SLR and film rangefinders each at 3% (2 votes each), and a lone Spam-can pinhole shooter contributing 1% of the vote. No toy camera fans and no cell phone photographers in the mix.

So I guess this means that I shouldn’t feel too bad if I focus primarily on SLR photography tips. I usually try to write general photography tips and articles, but I think I almost always end up biasing toward SLR users. I do see that there are a handful of photographers who don’t use an SLR or rangefinder, so I’ll try to hit some non-SLR topics occasionally — I already have a few in the works.

And as for the lone Spam-can pinhole shooter… sorry, I don’t eat Spam.