May 08, 2017 14263

The Accidental Photographer

I started photography just as an outlet. I had just overcome Barrett's esophagus; a pre-cancerous condition that usually ends badly for most patients: either dying from cancer or going through a terrible, life-altering stomach procedure.

Once you recover from something like that it just alters the way you see life. How time passes and when it’s gone, you can never get back that moment. A few years ago I hated taking pictures, now I just love the process.

5/17/17 Shoot in Central Park with Kat.

I think one of the most beautiful places to shoot is Central Park, in the heart of NYC. You have this great park with all sorts of details: ponds, bridges and paths. The park is surrounded with these amazing towering buildings.

I decided to shoot this girl Kat that I met on the streets of NYC. She had no modeling experience whatsoever, but she was eager to try. She has this great edgy look, that I normally don’t shoot.

I had stylist, Melissa Tran do her hair and makeup, and just went for it. Kat looked amazing afterwards.

Conditions were not ideal. It was 7 PM and the sun was going down fast. Cloudy. I decided to light her with portable LED rather than a strobe. My strobe transmitter was malfunctioning, so I had to improvise.

I think, when you’re starting out, it’s better to use continuous light like LED. Flash and strobe can get time consuming, so you should manually meter. In addition, you need a light modifier on it. My motto is keep it simple at the start.

Here are some great images I took behind the scenes of Columbia MBA Graduation. A few shots of the parents and friends.

This is an example of 30+ years of love. Great thing about a good picture—it tells the story, you really don't have to explain what’s going on.

I liked this one a lot—a doctor getting soaked. Don't you ever want to spray your doctor with water?

I might be at small gathering with new friends, i'll take a few shots.  

Or when I’m just grabbing a quick burger on a cloudy day with a friend. I remember it was just a cold cloudy day, possible rain. AC and I were both hungry. I was sick. I remember arguing I didn’t want to shoot cause I felt horrible. The sun peaked out from the clouds for a quick moment. I was able to take some great images.

If you zoom into the image, the Sony Full Frame Sensor can pull so much detail. AC eyes really connect with the viewer.

I might be walking in the city with a friend and just be at the right time to see Spring start. Most of the time I'll take the greatest shots when I don't plan anything.

I started taking pictures with my iPhone for social media and fun. 

One day I got invited to a photo-shoot by photographer/blogger, Melissa Tran. I was helping pose the models. Bored, I decided to shoot for fun. She had a spare Sony A7S, so I decided to pick it up and shoot the models with it. I just fell in love again with the whole art of taking a photo—being able to tell a story in one frame.

I thought a DSLR was just too complicated to use before that. I found the Sony A7S’s light, compact, mirror-less design, and full-frame sensor just amazing. I remember asking her, “How do I use this thing?” She responded, “Put it in auto Dex!”   

Well, after that challenge, I was determined to learn everything I could on how to shoot DSLR. We live in an amazing age, where you can just go on YouTube and learn all about DSLR shooting.

The great thing with Sony Cameras is you can put them in auto mode to start. You will still get great images. You don't need to make things complex and get discouraged. Just shoot, and if you have a few questions, just go to YouTube and get the answers. One day you'll be shooting in full manual mode.

I watched all the YouTube Video about the Sony Alpha series cameras. I was simply amazed at the wonderful images they captured.

I remember walking in NYC, going to grab a bite to eat in Chelsea Markets. Even in such crowded locations I am able to capture something special.

The wonderful thing about Sony Prime lenses is that you can really isolate your subject matter. Even in a crowded NYC Market, turning chaos into something peaceful or just freezing a moment in time

People often ask me all these questions: Do I just shoot models? Is this your hobby? What settings do I use? If I am honest, the answer is I just love to shoot. I experiment with different settings and different light conditions.

I try to make ordinary objects interesting on images. I purchased the Sony Alpha A7RII along with the FE 85 mm 1.4 GM Sony lens. I was simply blown away by the images I was taking. I love the bokeh shots it produced.

Today, I got invited by a Maserati Dealer to take a few pictures of the 2017 Ghibli. Such a beautiful machine. You really need to look at the details to see its entire beauty.

They also gave me a new 2017 Maserati to test drive for a few days. Interesting how one day my passion for cars converges with my interest in pictures. All pictures below were taken with the FE 85 mm 1.4 GM.

The red convertible was definitely the prettiest machine in the showroom. The carbon fiber spoiler and carbon trim really finished off the red exterior. Unfortunately, it was the hardest to shoot. The showroom light was casting some uncontrolled reflections off the vehicle. The vehicle was also waxed and polished to perfection, which made it come really close to a blown-out or overexposed image. I think it’s challenges like this that make photography interesting and fun.

Honestly, I shoot portraits and bikini models so I really had no idea how this shoot was going to turn out.

My other favorite lens is the FE 70-200mm F.28 GM OSS.

It’s just wonderful to have a compact camera, to be able to capture that moment. Sometimes you only get one shot before the sun sets and you lose it.

The Sony A7RII’s low light performance is incredible. Just amazing ratings on DXOmark.

I love shooting at night at ISO over 10k. For general, all-around shooting, I really like the FE 55mm F1.8 ZA. It’s really light and produces sharp, crisp images. It’s really great for taking pictures of buildings or just walking around. Keeps the weight of the camera down considerably.

Traveling to different cities, I often walk around and just take shots of buildings. It’s just a great way to pass time when you’re alone in a strange city.  

I used to be stressed out all the time. Now I am at peace and I always carry my Sony A7RII everywhere I go, capturing moments in time.

I really hope these images inspire you to go out on your own and begin taking pictures with an inexpensive Sony DSLR. If you make a mistake, no worries it’s digital; just delete and take another one.

If you have any how-to DSLR questions, contact me up on my Instagram @m3dfilm.