Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Around every corner

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

When I'm in a new city I love to find and observe all of the little details that make the place special.  I'm constantly amazed by New York and I love the little surprises that I find around every corner.  But I live here and when I was in London, and I knew that it was just for a short time, I fell in love with every little detail and found that I didn't really have to spend much time looking for them because they were everywhere.  Is it because a new place is always exciting or is London really that magical?  I think both.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Check out some other hidden, magical corners in Manhattan and other fabulous places...
here, here, here, here and here

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Instagram Weekend

The Purple Umbrella and the gold shoes

We stayed within a two-mile radius of our apartment all weekend and it was exactly what we needed. We had family and friends over to our place for some delicious dinners that included a lot of wine and farmer's market fare and we relaxed in the neighborhood and really took advantage of the rainy afternoons by staying in and taking naps. This is a busy week that will hopefully include a total upgrade to my current system of photo-taking, downloading and post-processing (it is desperately needed) as well as this awesome workshop and networking event hosted by my friends at Adorama. I hope you're having a lovely Monday so far.

You can see more photos from the weekend here if you'd like.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Fridays

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
An abstract photo of some trees in London...see below.

We're staying in the city this weekend and probably not even going to leave our neighborhood.  It's just fine by me since I think a lazy summer weekend is in order. We'll have some friends and family time and I'm also really looking forward to the start of the Olympics! I had so much fun in London earlier this month and the excitement and anticipation surrounding the upcoming games was palpable. I'm also upgrading my computer next month since by Apple standards my almost-five-year-old Mac is vintage and I cannot wait.  It's definitely time. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and here are some fun links from around the web.

How to discover your blogging talents.

Pix is a new magazine for women photographers and you can download it for free from iTunes.

Did you catch my tutorial this week on creating a narrative with your photos?

An interesting article/commentary on Pinterest, curation and the psychology behind some social media.

Your fridge is art!

The balance...or better stated, the juggle.

Cool movie posters.

Yesterday was Mick Jagger's birthday.

Obsessed with prints.

How to break into travel photography.

I need a new bag for fall and any of these will do just fine.

I need to make this cocktail before summer is over.  Oh, and this one too!

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Outside the Tate Modern.


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Green London

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

The skies were mostly gray in London but everything else was green. Green, vibrant, full of life and so inspiring.

By the way, have you visited the Facebook page? Come say hi!

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

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A visit to the Victorian Gardens

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

I loved going to amusement parks when I was a kid. Cotton candy, crazy rides, staying up super late and playing a bunch of games hoping to win a hideously large (and just plain hideous) stuffed animal. Lucia is still too small to truly appreciate the kitschy summer fun of a big amusement park but in the meantime she loved the Victorian Gardens when we took her there last month.

Victorian Gardens is located inside Central Park and it's a small version of the parks that we visited growing up. We spend the majority of our summer days running outdoors, playing at the water parks and in the sand box so this was a fun alternative for her and really unexpected. With the flying airplanes, choo-choo train on a track and more than one ice cream man, Lucia was half in shock and in complete over-stimulation mode. It's got loud music, lots of space to run around and it's got the best skyline as a view. We went for a private party but we definitely agreed that we're going to go back before summer is over if for no other reason then I just can't get her beautiful smile when she went on her first ride out my head (not that I would ever want to).

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
She was strapped in tight and it definitely looks like it's much higher than it actually was.  She was SO excited and clearly I was too!

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Climbing up a hill and refusing to sit in her stroller as we made our way to Central Park South .  

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How to create a narrative with your photos

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

I take pictures because I love to hold on to memories and my favorite thing about photography is that I can capture moments that actually happened.  I like to save things and photography is the best way for me to do that.  Narrative photography has to do with selecting images and scenes to create or tell a story.  Instead of focusing on one key moment of an event, narrative photography captures moments throughout an event that allow the story to unfold. 

We went on a lot of walks in London when I was there to visit friends last week and one afternoon, on our way to the Tate Modern, we found ourselves crossing the London Bridge and then wandering over to the Borough Market.  There was so much going on from the delicious goods for sale, to the people working there and the folks hanging out at the pubs.  I started to make up all these stories as I made my way up and down the aisles in the market and into the street.  I used the photos to create a small narrative about my visit and here are some tips on how to develop and evolve your own story-telling skills with your photographs.

1.  What is the story you want to tell?

The first question to ask yourself is "what is the story that you want to tell?"  Still photographs, like all art, are able to draw emotion and convey stories and this is what I love so much about the medium.  Think about what you want your photos to do and how you will create the story that they are purporting to tell.  Keep in mind how you want people to feel when they look at them. 


2.  Think about what the photos might be.


This is a simplistic road map that I like to use:
Introduce the location, give a face to the story, add context to those stories.


Do some research and make a list of ideas for shots before you go to a particular location and take a lot of photos once you're there.  I tend to take way too many pictures and then have a really hard time narrowing down my images so I always say not to worry about editing the shots until later.  This is a process and it's something that takes practice and I'm definitely honing and developing (photographer pun!) my editing skills on a daily basis and you will too.  Once you've edited your shots (I took about 50 photos of this place) organize them in a way that constructs the story you're telling, which brings us to step 3.

3.  Construct the narrative.
 
Like all stories, narrative photography will have a beginning, a middle (the plot) and an end.   I'm always thinking about this basic linear construct when ever I am out shooting and plot shots will probably make up the majority of your photographic story, like they do mine. Plot, or middle, photos not only show what is happening in a particular scene but they also explore themes and ideas and these tend to be the photos that really evoke the most feeling.  For example, can't you imagine how fantastic it would be to smell one of those colorful flowers or taste that paella?  Does the fish stink and are the tomatoes really that red? 

Since this is just a road map I don't think that the story needs to be completely flushed out before you go out with your camera (unless it's an assignment, obviously, and you have a directive).  Good stories examine ideas, evoke feelings and provide an experience.
 
Having said that,  I love that even though you as the photographer creates the story lines, narrative photography allows the viewer to draw his own conclusions about what they think the story might (or should) be. 

Do you have any tips that you can share?  I'd love to hear...

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Crossing London Bridge with a view of Tower Bridge and the Olympic rings!

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
I purposely left the woman about to walk in the shot to convey the slight chaos of the scene.  Also, I love that in London people go to the pub in the middle of the day and just drink pints out on the street during their lunch hour.  These were taken on a Friday afternoon.
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

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Check out digital photography school for some more great tips and this really helpful post for learning more about photography and the theories behind creating a narrative.


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