Category Archives: Photography

Photography from the Heritage Radio Network’s Summer Party at Roberta’s in Bushwick

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to shoot the Summer Hawaiian party for HeritageRadio.org. The party was hosted by Roberta’s Pizza in Bushwick, Brooklyn and featured great food and drinks from restaurants all over New York. Here are a few favorite shots from the day. All photos were taken with my dueling Fujis – the X100s and the XPro1.

Click on any of the clickable pictures to see them larger on Flickr.

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Dan Delaney of Delaney BBQ and Briskettown

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DJ Jack Inslee

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A week for the dogs

Here are a few wet-nosed friends who I met this week on the streets of New York.

All photos were taken with the Fuji X Pro1 35mm 1.4 lens except for the pit bull outside the coffee shop. That one was taken with the Fuji X100s.

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Hope

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I took this photo in 2008. I like how many different ways it can be interpreted. I imagine MSNBC and Fox News would read entirely different meanings into this image. As time goes by, and especially in light of recent events, it seems to be taking on even more meaning.

At the time, the photo was shortlisted for possible publication in a Time Magazine feature about the election. (It didn’t make the cut).

On Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianeden/3003062797/

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The Aurora Borealis

Last night, the Internet promised New York an amazing once-in-a-lifetime glimpse at the Northern Lights. The lights haven’t been visible in NYC   since the 1800s.

Given that I’m probably not going camping in northern Finland anytime soon, this was possibly my one shot at photographing the Aurora Borealis. So I drove an hour and a half up the Hudson River Valley to get away from the light pollution of Manhattan and hopefully get a clear view of the show.

I got to Cold Spring harbor just in time for dusk, and set up my camera on the Main Street pier. It was the perfect spot to catch the Aurora. The vivid green ribbons would dance across the tops of the mountains and reflect on the Hudson River. And you’d just get a hint of twinkling lights on the horizon from distant Newburgh.

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I got my camera settings just so, fired off a few test shots and set up my folding chair. Voila. Just add magic.

9:00 came and went.

Then 10.

Then 11.

Then midnight.

After obsessive compulsively checking Accuweather, NOAA, NASA and (desperately) Twitter for any signs that we might see the Northern Lights, I finally gave up and packed in the gear  The only light show I got to see was the Manhattan skyline coming into view after a long, dark ride home on the Palisades Parkway.  Not a bad consolation prize.

For what it’s worth, I’m not sure the actual Northern Lights would have lived up to the photograph that I captured in my imagination while I sat and waited on the pier for four hours.

I hope you enjoy it:

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Fuji X100s vs Canon 7D at ChefX, NY. Who’s Cuisine Reigns supreme?

On Sunday night I shot the ChefX event in the Hudson Valley for the Heritage Radio Network. I had lots of fun hanging out in the kitchen at the gorgeous Crimson Sparrow restaurant with 5 of the top chefs from the Berkshires as they turned out an amazing 5 course dinner.

One reason it was so fun? I got to test out my new Fuji X100s side-by-side with my trusty Canon 7D and see how they performed under the same conditions.

The short version: The Fujifilm X100s flambeed the Canon. In every possible way. I was expecting the Fuji to do better, but I was pretty shocked at how huge the gap was.

A few technical details and then I’ll get into the pretty pictures:

I shot the Fuji X100s on jpg, AF-S, Auto ISO with a minimum shutter speed of 1/125 and max ISO of 6400.

I shot the Canon with the 24-70 f 2.8 lens on RAW, auto ISO and slightly adjusted them in Lightroom to be more jpg-like. (I meant to to switch the Canon to JPG beforehand to make it more apples to apples, but forgot. So this is more apples to asian pears.)

Chef Bjorn Somlo of Nudel Restaurant in Lenox:

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Canon 7D: 70mm, ISO 1000, f4, 1/100

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Canon 7D: 70mm, ISO 1000, f4, 1/100 Detail

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Fuji X100s: 23mm, ISO 6400, f4, 1/110 Detail (Straight out of camera)

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Fuji X100s: 23mm, ISO 6400, f4, 1/110 (Straight out of camera)

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Canon 7D: 24mm, ISO 3200, f3.5, 1/20 (Straight out of camera)

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Canon 7D: 24mm, ISO 3200, f3.5, 1/20 Detail (Straight out of camera)

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Fuji X100s: 23mm, ISO 6400, f4, 1/17 (Straight out of camera)

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Fuji X100s: 23mm, ISO 6400, f4, 1/17 Detail (Straight out of camera)

Here are a few more favorites from the night. Edited in Lightroom, Nik Color Efex Pro and/or Nik Silver Efex Pro

Chef Bjorn Somlo of Nudel Restaurant in Lenox:

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Fuji X100s: 23mm, ISO 2500, f 2.8, 1/125

 

 

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Fuji X100s: 23mm, ISO 3200, f 4, 1/125

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Fuji X100s: 23mm, ISO 6400, f 5.6, 1/120

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Fuji X100s: 23mm, ISO 4000, f4, 1/125

 

L to R Chef John McCarthy III of The Crimson Sparrow, Chef Bjorn Somlo of Nudel Restaurant and Chef Brian Alberg of The Red Lion Inn.

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Fuji X100s: 23mm, ISO 6400, f4, 1/45

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Canon 7D: 52mm, ISO 3200, f3.5, 1/100

Chef Brian Alberg of The Red Lion Inn.

 

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Fuji X100s, 23mm, ISO 1600, f5.6, 1/125

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Fuji X100s, 23mm, ISO 400, f2.0, 1/30

 

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The girl on the F train

Quick shot from the commute home last week. I was just screwing around and shooting from the hip with the new Fuji X100s to see what I’d get. Most of the shots were terrible, as tends to happen when you’re not actually looking through the viewfinder to see what you’re shooting. But this one is just gorgeous. I’m sure I wouldn’t have gotten it this perfectly if I was trying to frame it. Sometimes its better to be a lucky photographer than a good photographer.

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The Fuji X100s – The New York test. (If it can make it here, yadda yadda yadda).

After a seeming eternity of waiting for the X100s to come out, and checking Zack Arias’ blog for reviews obsessively every 6 hours, my new toy finally came on Friday.

This weekend, I gave it the full New York test. I took it to the HighLine, Midtown, Prospect Park and the completely amazing New York Easter Bonnet Parade. Here are the photos. A brief (and very unscientific) review and comparison to the X100, X-E1 and Olympus OMD is below.

I shot all of the photos in JPG. I edited them in Lightroom and sometimes Nik/Google Color Efex and Silver Efex pro. Not necessarily because the images needed it – the straight out of camera JPGs were beautiful and many of them really didn’t need any work at all. Not even a levels adjustment. I just enjoy playing in the digital darkroom, and I tend to like my images to be a bit more saturated than what I get out of the camera.

Without further adieu, here are the pictures:

The Highline.

(Or High Line. I’m never sure what’s right)

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Tourists. (Rolls eyes)

Midtown

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Disco Street
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Party in the payphone!

The New York Easter Bonnet Parade on 5th Avenue
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Happy Easter, 1980s robot guy!
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Fact: if you put a yorkie in a tiny box, people totally lose their shit.

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This couple was celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.

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The Subway

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Shhhh. Don’t wake him!

Prospect Park (Warning: this section is nothing but gratuitous photos of my dog)

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A very brief and very unscientific mirrorless camera comparison:

Before settling on the X100s, I test-drove the Fujifilm X-E1, the Olympus OMD EM-5 EIEIO and the Fuji X100 from LensRentals.com. Here’s a quick rundown of my thoughts on the three.

Fujifilm X-E1 – I had a love/hate relationship with the X-E1. I dug the look and feel of the camera. But hated the electronic viewfinder. (That’s not to say the X-E1’s was particularly bad. I just can’t seem to get used to the electronic viewfinder look in any camera.) The image quality was great. The autofocus was sluggish. I actually thought I was going to buy this camera until I went to B&H photo, picked up the Olympus and saw how much faster the autofocus worked. So I rented the…

Olympus OMD EM5 – I had the opposite experience with the Olympus. The autofocus was so freaking fast, it practically locked in before I even thought about taking a picture. But I didn’t like the ergonomics of the camera. It felt clumsy in my hands. I didn’t like the weird thumb nipple thingy on the back. The playback button is tiny and couldn’t be more awkwardly placed. And unlike the AV and exposure compensation dials on the fuji, the ones on the OMD aren’t labeled, so you’ve got mystery settings until you look through the lens. I like to glance down at the camera and know exactly what I’m going to get at a glance so when I see the shot happening, I can know right away if I need to adjust for it. If I have to look through the viewfinder, read the settings, then change, I’ve already missed the moment. The image quality just wasn’t up to par with the Fuji either. Especially at ISOs at 800 or higher – the noise on the Olympus just looked kind of smeary. Like oil paint. Whereas the noise on the X-E1 (and the two X100s) looked more like film grain. At least to my eye.

Sony Whatever It’s Called – I picked it up at B&H Photo. I hated it. I put it back down and walked away.

Fujifilm X100 – I’m used to shooting with a zoom lens, so it took a good 2 weeks to get used to not being able to zoom in and shoot stuff across the street. Once I got used to the 23mm length, I fell in love with this camera. After trying to use the EVF on the Fuji X-E1 and Olympus OMD, the X100’s optical viewfinder was a revelation. Especially for street photography – I love that you can see people outside of the frame, anticipate, then wait for them to walk through. It’s nice to have the option to switch back and forth between EVF and OVF, but to be honest, I rarely use it. I’m in OVF about 90% of the time and only switch to EVF for close-up shots to make sure I’m not cutting off someone’s forehead. Yes, the AF was slower than I’d like, as seemed to be the interweb’s biggest gripe about the camera. But the real smack-myself-on-the-forehead-and-shout-out-obscenities frustration was the lack of accuracy. Especially when shooting people less than 5 feet away. The X100 just seemed to have a sense of humor about it. It thought it was HILARIOUS to pretend to lock focus right on some guy’s nose only to actually focus on the garbage cans 5 feet behind him. (To it’s credit, the garbage cans were tack-sharp and the dynamic range was a thing of beauty.)

Fujifilm X100s – I was giddy for the X100s to show up. Especially after reading all of the reviews claiming that all the “quirks” (namely, the friggin autofocus doesn’t work) were fixed. After 3 days of use, I can say for sure that the AF issues are definitely taken care of. I’m still not sure the AF is quite as fast as the Olympus, but we’re talking milliseconds difference. This camera (the X100s) just makes you want to go out and make pictures. I’m antsy to go out again tomorrow. It’s a joy to use.

As an aside, as soon as the X-Pro 2 or whatever it’s going to be called comes out with the X100s’ autofocus capabilities, I’m seriously considering putting my Canon 7D kit on ebay and going all-mirrorless.

I hope you enjoy the post. There will be lots more photos to come. For all the updates, follow me on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianeden/

Happy snapping,

Brian

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11 reasons why Flickr is (and always has been) better than Instagram

A lot of people are bummed about dropping Instagram because of their shady new privacy agreement. Don’t be. Here are 11 reasons why Flickr is (and always has been) better than Instagram. Especially now that they’ve finally figured out mobile.

1) FLICKR DOESN’T TREAT YOUR PHOTOS AS TWEETS

On Instagram, your photos are essentially disposable. They’re in your news feed one moment and then, for all intents and purposes, they’re gone. Looking for that one specific photo you took last year? Good luck finding it.

Flickr simply gives more respect to your photos. You still have a news feed, same as Instagram. But your images are also cataloged, tagged, and put in albums. So you can go back and find them as easily as the day you posted them.

That’s not just important to me because I’m a photographer. It’s important because every one of my photos, whether a carefully composed landscape, or a blurry snapshot of my dog, are my memories.

If I’m going to go to the trouble of shooting an image, editing it (even if that just means picking a filter), and uploading it – chances are I’d like to be able to find it again.

It’s the difference between tossing your photos in a pile on the floor and having a shelf full of organized photo albums, where you can go back and find your pictures anytime you want.

2) ON FLICKR, YOU CAN FIND YOUR STUFF WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING FOR IT.

With Flickr, there are lots of ways to go back and find your old photos:

YOUR PHOTOSTREAM
If you prefer seeing your photos in the order that you uploaded them like on Instagram, you can still scroll through your photostream and see them that way.

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TAGS
Add a few tags when you upload your photos. Then, if you want to go back in time and find those photos from your trip to Cape Cod, you can just search your photostream and they’ll all pop up. You can get as detailed in your tags as you want. Tag them all with “Mr. Sprinkles” and you’ll get every photo you’ve ever taken of your cat. Add “Driving” and you’ll only get the ones of your cat behind the wheel.

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SETS AND COLLECTIONS
With sets and collections, you can see an album of photos, organized however you want. Photos of your cat by location. Photos of your cat by season. Photos of your cat by your cat’s current mood. And your photos can be in as many different sets as you want them to be in just by ticking a box. So you can have the photo of your cat being resentful on a crisp autumn day in Paris appear in all three sets without having to upload it three different times.

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ON THE MAP
You can search your photos by map view and see down to the street level where you took them. This info is automatically embedded in your smartphone photos so you don’t need to do a thing. This is especially helpful when planning a trip somewhere and trying to find out what sites you want to see.

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3) YOU CAN UPLOAD MORE THAN ONE
Flickr let’s you upload as many photos at once as you want. And you can tag, describe, title and file the whole batch instead of doing them one tedious photo at a time.

4) EVERY PHOTO DOESN’T HAVE TO BE SQUARE.
How many times have you taken an awesome photo of your cat that you just can’t share to Instagram because some of the best parts are cropped off when you make it a square? On Flickr, you can use whatever dimensions you want. You can even use your iPhone’s panorama setting to take a breathtaking panorama of your cat posing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Flickr will share the whole thing in all it’s rectangular glory.

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5) FLICKR IS FOR YOUR PHONE PHOTOS AND YOUR CAMERA PHOTOS
If you’re like me, you have photos in more than one place. On a trip, I’ll have photos on my camera and also on my phone. With Instagram, my SLR photos are SOL. With Flickr, I can put them all together in one place so I can share photos from the whole trip, not just the phone shots.

6) YOU CAN SEE YOUR PHOTOS BIGGER THAN 3 INCHES
How many times have you felt like a boob trying to pinch and zoom into a photo on Instagram? It’s like waving your hand in front of the airport bathroom sink only to realize that this particular sink still has the pesky knob that you have to twist if you want water to come out.

On Flickr’s app, you can zoom into that cat photo till your heart’s content. Or pull it up on your computer or iPad and see those whiskers in their full resolution glory.

7) IT’S EASIER TO REVISIT YOUR FAVORITE PHOTOS FROM OTHER PEOPLE
Your favorite friends, your favorite photographers and your favorite photographs. On an Apple TV, you can even make a sideshow of your favorite images. So when you go to work every day, you can play your cat’s favorite song while showing her a slideshow of the very best cat photos from around the world.

8) YOU CAN CONTROL THE PRIVACY SETTINGS ON EVERY PHOTO
You can choose to make your photos public, or change the settings so they can only be seen by friends, family, friends and family, or just yourself. So if you don’t want the whole world seeing your kid’s naked baby photos, you can keep those just between you and your spouse. (And then, when your kid is a teenager, you can hold it over them just how easy it would be to make them all public.)

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9) FLICKR IS TRYING TO SELL MY PHOTOS – SO I CAN GET THE MONEY
A few years ago, after realizing that lots of advertisers and publications look at Flickr to try to find photos, Flickr formed a partnership with Getty Images to help its members to sell the rights to their photos (ONLY if they want to). If you want to make your photos available for sale, Flickr will add a link to the bottom of your photo page (right next to the place where it says your photo is copyrighted by you, all rights reserved).

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Granted, you’re not going to be able to quit your day job and, frankly, I think Getty doesn’t give the photographers nearly as much as they deserve for the photo rights, but I’ve personally made a few hundred dollars over the years by licensing my photos on Flickr. Which, given recent events over at Instagram, is a refreshing change of pace.

10) IT’S EASIER TO TALK WITH PEOPLE

Email
Flickr let’s you email people directly. You can ask questions, share comments or even fall in love, get married and adopt a cat.

Activity
The activity panel on Flickr is more comprehensive, so you don’t miss any comments or favorites.

Better commenting
You can share links in your comments. Or other photos from the same shoot. Or those tiny emojicon things that I will never, ever understand because I’m older than 30.

11) FLICKR LETS YOU SHARE MORE ACTIVELY
On instagram, if people don’t see your photo in your news feed or search for the hashtag, they won’t see your photos. On Flickr, you can share your photos to groups – where they’re more likely to be seen. You can create an invite-only group to share all the photos of your cat from your family reunion. Or you can join a special interest group for people with cats who look uncannily like Robert DeNiro. Or people who take pictures of Dogs on Roofs.

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So there you have it.
11 solid reasons why you shouldn’t feel any remorse about telling Instagram where to stick their new privacy policy. They’re actually doing you a favor. As a long time user of both Flickr and Instagram, I think you’ll like Flickr better anyway.

Here’s where you can download the new Flickr iPhone app

And here’s how download all your Instagram photos and cancel your account.

Uploading them all back up to Flickr is easy. You can just drag and drop the whole batch into the Flickr uploader.

Brian Eden is a freelance advertising copywriter, photographer, long-time Flickr and Instagram user and the founder of the blog MuseumOfFlickr.org.

He did not receive any perks, gifts or compensation from Flickr for writing this op ed article. Though he would certainly welcome some.

You can follow him on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/brianeden

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