Friday, September 30, 2011


Of a Curious Nature

Tomorrow is the first day of my favorite month.  There are a lot of special days to celebrate in October and I love the crisp air and excitement of fall. This weekend we're taking it easy in the city, celebrating our 7-year wedding anniversary and then later this month, a BIG birthday for my husband.  So, a very exciting month indeed!

Here are some links from around the web to get your weekend and your month started right!

This photo up top was chosen to be exibited at the Vermont Photoplace Gallery!

Joanna's been sharing a guide to New York City all week.  Fab.

 Good-bye fashion week and hello family weekend!

A photographer photographing (and filming) photographers. Talk about seeing everything.  Jamie Beck always does.

Garance does it again.  And, again.

Mirrorless cameras?

The Inside Out Project.

Is handwriting still alive?

Urban cowboy.

How to photograph the galaxy in 3D.

The New York Art Book Fair is this weekend!

I've been studying Hedi Slimane.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seeing in black or white


One of my favorite things about photography is seeing things and finding things that other people might overlook.  The details of life and a particular scene are what excite me and when I'm out shooting I'm always searching for those little moments.  I recently shared some tips on converting photos to black and white and some secrets about how I see and really look but what about combining the two?  When I take pictures I can usually see them in either color or black and white...sometimes both, but typically one or the other.  So how exactly does that work?  Lots of practice, for one!  It's not just about using the black and white option in your camera (something I never do) or removing the color in post-processing.  Other than that (ie. the obvious)... 

Here's a good (and crazy simple) place to start (scroll down to see all the photos in color too):

1.  Spot the dramatic light

I'm always talking about the "magic light" - it's definitely out there.  Situations where the light is dull makes black and white photos look dull not to mention blurry and sort of muddy.  This is true with color photography as well, but when you're thinking about black and white try to draw your eye to that light that can make the tones of your image pop and give them the drama that make so many black and images timeless and moving. Which brings me to my next point...

shadows of ourselves.
A personal favorite of mine and one that happened by accident.  If I hadn't fast forwarded in my mind to the finished image in black and white I don't think I would have found the frame and all those anonymous shadows as interesting.

2.  Look out for tones

Contrast and brightness are always there, it's just a matter of really seeking them out in any given moment or scene that you want to capture with your lens.  If you want to enhance the tones set the exposure of your camera to bring them out a little more (ie. take your fancy camera out of auto).  In that same vein, look out for scenes are are overly white or overly black - you want to be able to have a balance so that your photos don't appear either too washed out or too dark.

3.  Check out the lines

Looking for details is so important.  You want to try to hone your eye on what ever it is that makes a place unique.  Often times those things are very obvious and you can make them pop out more if you remove the color from the scene - like with this picture of the Brooklyn Bridge - one of the most photographed places in New York City.



4. Wash that color OUT!

This sounds so obvious but it's something that can be difficult to achieve.  When you're out there shooting, start to think about what your image will look like once you desaturate it.  Someone who is seeing your photos after you process them won't ever know what the colors were when you took the picture.  You need to allow your mind to fast forward to that finished product.  Understand that while there are some images that work well both ways, some photos are better as color and some are better as black and white but you'll never be able to tell the difference unless you can get yourself to imagine it as one and/or the other.  It takes time to train your eye and you can hone that skill by using tips 1 and 2 up top.

Okay, so this one looks kind of like a tribute to Ansel Adams and I love it, but check out the color one below too.  I like the subtle changes in light and detail of the city on the horizon - you lose some of that in the color version but if you hadn't seen the black and white, you would never think it could be anything BUT color. 

 And, again...practice

Here are the color versions - they work "okay" but aren't the black and white versions just better for these particular photos?

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman


Doors to Nowhere


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Old is new again

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Central Park
I've been working on my new website for what seems like forever and I'm getting pretty excited to launch it...soon!  So I've been looking through my archives of thousands and thousands (not exaggerating!) of images to populate the new site and I am cameras and lenses have really worked overtime!

Here are some "old" images that I've been revisiting...

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Meatpacking District
Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Washington Square Park

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Buenos Aires

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sacha Goldberger and his Grandma


French photographer Sacha Goldberger took to photographing his 91 year old Hungarian grandmother Frederika as superhero, Mamika, when he realized that she was lonely and might be suffering from depression.  What resulted is a series of whimsical, inspired and wonderfully unexpected photos that to me are hilarious, charming and nostalgic.  Is someone making up a comic book with this fabulous and thoroughly modern lady as the super protaganist?!  Please someone say yes!


And since her first incarnation as the superhero of our dreams she has since returned with more superhero friends.  It's Mister Papika!  This is too much goodness.


Visit both Honestly...WTF where I found these gems and Sacha's website for many more images, including some really moving work outside of this series.




Sacha Goldberg


Monday, September 26, 2011

Instagram Weekend

Is it Monday already?  I need an extra day.  This weekend was all about celebrating my mom's 60th birthday, having fun with family, eating, drinking, dancing and not sleeping.  We came back to the city last night in time to catch the very end of the Harmony on Hudson festival downtown and then just had a quiet Sunday night at home eating leftovers and inhaling an enormous slice of heavenly cake.

And you?

Walking in the neighborhood

Pumpkin picking Manhattan style


Magic light downtown

My mom with her two littlest grand-daughters: Lucia and Zahra

My niece Paloma killing it on the bongos

Birthday cake! #major
Holy birthday cake!

Harmony on the Hudson

Friday, September 23, 2011


Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Summer is officially over in New York.  Naturally I'm remembering and missing the lazy, sunny days of summer, last-minute getaways and general good times of this fantastic season.  I've been visiting my personal archives and taking a look at some photos from our trip to Nevis in July.  There's no vacation on the horizon any time soon so for now, as always, it's all about the photos.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

This is going to be a very busy weekend. My mom turned 60 earlier this month and Hurricane Irene forced us to cancel her big party.  So this weekend we're going to be dancing and celebrating her big milestone and toasting to the many more birthdays to come.  I'm resting up today and getting some much needed work done so that I can go into the weekend feeling relaxed and ready to party!

Here are some great links from around the web to get your weekend started right...

Speaking of's a great pictures, of course.

It's a bird!  It's a plane!  It's Mister Papika!

A new e-book to help you take better photos of your kids by one of my favorite child photographers!

Know your rights as a photographer.

So many great techniques and tips for transforming your digital photos!

A star projector.  Yes, please.

Home paintings.

I want to buy this book and save it for when Lucia is old enough to enjoy it.

Oh never disappoint.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Thursday, September 22, 2011

On the 7

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

I recently had a meeting with my friends over at Rogallery and since they're located in Long Island City, I took the 7 train over the river.  I love to look at my city from different perspectives and seeing it from far away, up on the subway tracks made it look even bigger and more beautiful.  The meeting was fantastic and the ride did not disappoint.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman