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Old Posted Apr 22, 2010, 9:17 AM
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Getting To Know Your Skyscraperpage Photographers

After a bit of discussion with a couple of other members, it was decided -- in a similar vein to what flickr was doing for a while -- to choose one of our members to ask some questions about their photography.

Please feel free to ask more questions here and discuss the chosen members' photography. It is up to the member chosen to choose the next one, unless they opt to let us decide in which case people can forward me suggestions and we'll choose the next one. I'll forward the questions on through PM and they will reply to me and I'll post them here and link their answers into the table of contents, so it's easy to come back and find responses.

Table of Contents

1ajs
-AX-
bulliver
Chef
ColDayMan
Desert Diver
diskojoe
entheosfog
Evergrey
flar
Flash
giallo
giovanni sasso
i_am_hydrogen
ifeeldope9779
Jimby
Kilgore Trout
Kingofthehill
mr.John
Nineties Flava
olga
phototlitherland
Sabotai
Segun
Sekkle
SomeFormOfHuman
Surrealplaces
Thundertubs
witty Nickname
xzmattzx
volguus zildrohar

upcoming: Chelsea Spy, KCgridlock, Paradox21, WpG_GuY

*Bolded names are the most recent updates.
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Last edited by HomeInMyShoes; Feb 17, 2012 at 5:14 PM. Reason: grammar, readability (if that's a word)
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2010, 9:23 AM
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flar

flar

What are you shooting with and what would you like to shoot with?

Most of my threads are made with a Nikon D50, but I upgraded to a D90 a few weeks ago. The vast majority of my shots use the Nikkor 18-55mm kit lens. It's a cheap lens but I've had good results with it. It's also very light and so cheap I don't worry about breaking it. My telephoto zoom is the Nikkor 55-200mm, which I traded in for the VR model a few days ago. I also have a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 non-AF, but find that focal length a bit tight for city photos and not long enough for people photos. I've ordered the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 which will serve as my fast lens.

I have almost exactly the equipment I want. The D90 is the best camera for me. The more expensive cameras are too big. Both the D50 and D90 are great cameras and are the perfect size for walking around. Even better, they don't scare people or attract too much attention. Every photographer would like to have lots of expensive lenses, but the size and weight of pro lenses or an ultra wide angle lens is a consideration for me. I walk around cities for hours at a time so I like to travel light and not worry about dropping an expensive lens on the sidewalk. I'm thinking about getting the Nikkor 16-85mm VR to replace my kit lens. The 16-85 range would cover about 85% of my shots and gives me an extra 2mm on the wide end. It's noticeably heavier than the kit lens, but still fairly compact. To complete the set I would like the 85mm f/1.4, but would settle for the f/1.8.


If you could sum up your style in one photograph what photo would it be?

It's impossible for me to choose a single photo, my photos tend to work better as a set than individually.

This thread shows the type of photography I like most, and what people probably associate with me. I like to capture the soul of the city, show a bit of the people as well as the buildings, and show the good and the bad. Some of my photos are landscapes or urban scenes, some are of people, and a lot are just pictures of houses and buildings.


Talk about your inspirations and influences.

I haven't studied or even paid much attention to any specific famous photographers. I was inspired and influenced mostly by other photographers here on SSP. When I was starting out I spent a lot of time looking at threads by giovanni sasso, giallo, kilgore trout, Flash, ColDayMan and many others. I have to credit mrherodotus for pioneering the neighbourhood tour and documentation of housing vernacular.

There is a lot of great photography on this site, so the bar keeps getting raised, which in turn challenges everyone to improve.


Where have you not been that you want to photograph?

St. Louis, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Those cities have soul.


Talk about your most popular (in your opinion) photothreads.

I've been lucky to have many popular threads. The ones with the most replies usually don't feature my best photography, but the subjects are interesting or provocative, for example Suburbia! or Mississauga City Centre. The series on Hamilton did very well. Twilight of the Industrial Age started things off as my first really huge thread. Grit is usually popular, I had a few other successful threads about gritty subjects. The popularity of Paris, Ontario took me by surprise. I think people thought they were going to see Montreal, but were treated instead to a small picturesque town.

The rest of my threads can be found here.


Talk about your photothreads that didn't get the response you wanted.

A few of the Ottawa tours haven't done so well, I was surprised how little attention the ByWard Market thread got. Another one that didn't get many views was Merrickville, which is one of Ontario's best preserved Victorian towns. Old Oakville has some great examples of very early Ontario architecture, which might surprise some because Oakville is generally thought of as bland suburbia, which might be why a lot of people overlooked it.


Any tips or personal wisdom you'd like to pass on to others?

My advice is not to take advice from the likes of me. But I'll pass on what I've learned about making photothreads:

I like to keep threads focused, like a neighbourhood, a street, people, an architectural style, etc. But I also do variety threads. 60 or 70 photos is usually plenty, but I've occasionally posted over 100. If you have doubts about the quality of a photo, don't post it (I usually don't break this rule). Don't post multiple photos of the same thing. Think about the order of the photos, keep things interesting and varied or tell a story. When you visit a place, do some research ahead of time so you don't miss anything interesting. If you're shooting a neighbourhood or a small town, try to be comprehensive. Cloudy days are good, because you don't have to fight with sun and shadows. Obviously some places are more interesting and worthy of a thread than others, but that's about it.


Who should we ask these questions of next?
I'd like to hear from many of the photographers on here. The choice was so tough I wrote down the names of a few people and randomly chose...and Sekkle is our next lucky contestant!
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Last edited by HomeInMyShoes; Apr 30, 2010 at 10:23 AM.
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2010, 12:30 PM
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awesome.

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  #4  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2010, 6:23 PM
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Very cool! Thanks for this...

And flar, If you're reading this, I'd go ahead and get that 16-85. It is a little pricier, but I have no regrets purchasing it. It is pretty much a perfect walking around lens, and the extra 2mm on the wide end adds a lot. I have probably used this lens for 90% of my shots since getting it.
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Last edited by bulliver; Apr 22, 2010 at 6:38 PM.
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2010, 5:15 AM
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Interesting stuff. Flar is one of the best on here.
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2010, 8:29 PM
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Very wicked idea! I like it. There is a lot of photographers on this site that I'd love to see queried (and look flar was one, and he chose another great one, Sekkle!). Nice to learn a little from some inspirational photographers on here(I don't follow pros either really).

I'd love to see you do Philly and Baltimore especially, flar. They seem just your style.
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2010, 7:39 AM
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excellent interview and wicked idea.
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  #8  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2010, 2:13 PM
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My two favourite Flar threads:

Amazing portrayal of first-rate Victorian architecture:
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=175655

Too-cool-for-school Hamilton tour:
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=178372
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  #9  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2010, 1:45 AM
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Neat idea.
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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 12:56 AM
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Thanks, I'm really looking forward to what others have to say.

I ended up getting the 16-85, so now I've completely refreshed my equipment and I think I'll be satisfied for quite a while. I'm usually not much into equipment, but I thought it was time for some upgrades. The new stuff expands my capabilities but I still have to learn how to use it and get the best out of it. I've been trying out the new camera and lenses quite a bit, but it might be a while till my next thread because most of my shots have been wildlife and nature lately.
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 2:32 AM
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^you could always post in general photography if it is non-urban based!
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 10:21 AM
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Nice flar.

I'm not exactly sure how often we should post answers, but 368 views since inception of the thread is pretty good for general photography. I'll definitely leave a week between posting answers. Hopefully traffic will pick up as people start to find this.
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 10:22 AM
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Sekkle

Sekkle

Talk about your inspirations and influences.
Everything I do is 100% original and born of my own thoughts. Just kidding. I don't know too many specific photographers outside of SSP... Just whatever I can pick up at the library... Michael Eastman has a really cool book that I enjoyed looking at called Vanishing America. I also like Zoe Strauss's book America though it's a little grittier than anything I do. I like looking at photojournalism, especially of war-torn or impoverished areas because of the emotion involved, but I can't name a specific photojournalist I like.

As far as photographers on SSP, several come to mind - I'll mention a few individually...

Kilgore Trout - I remember seeing the KTEU (or something like that) series he did in Europe a couple years ago before I was really into photography and I thought it was awesome how he captured more than just buildings, but also got so much of the city life in there.

HomeInMyShoes - The composition and color in his photos is among the best, if not the best on this site (in my opinion)... I also really like how he composes the photothreads themselves (borders, multiple pics on a line, etc). I tried something similar once or twice, but it's a lot of work getting everything to line up, so now I just throw a border on there and I'm done.

olga - excellent attention to composition, another candidate for best on SSP in that regard (again, in my opinion), though I haven't seen her around here in quite a while.

giallo - a master of night shots & urban scenes in general. If I'm ever half as good as this guy I'll be able to retire.

and KingoftheHill for people shots - I sometimes get tired of doing streetshots/candid photos myself, but that guy is really a master at it.

There are lots more. I was going to just list people, but I kept thinking of more and didn't want to leave anyone out.

Thanks, flar for giving me the opportunity to do this - he's definitely one of my favorite photographers on here - every thread of his is filled with solid photography.

Where have you not been that you want to photograph?
Tons of places, mostly overseas... Belfast and Glasgow would probably be my top two, followed closely by industrial cities in England, anywhere in Ireland, Scandinavian countries, Eastern Europe, India, southeast Asia, Africa, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. I've got a wife and son now, though, so travelling is more difficult than it might have been a few years ago. I'd also like to go back to a few places I've been but not since before I had a camera - Montreal, London, Rome, Baltimore, Philly, Boston.

Talk about your most popular (in your opinion) photothreads.
I've had a few that seem to have gone over pretty well. I don't know what I could say about any individual one... they're all pretty much the same, just different photos. Maybe you can tell the difference between a recent one and one from a year ago in terms of technical ability, or maybe not, I'm not sure. Actually, I was surprised that the Utica one I did got as many replies as it did because it was not technically impressive at all, but then again most of the comments were probably about the city itself and not about the quality of the photos, which makes sense. I was also surprised that the "Portland Neighborhood Tour" series I did with my old point & shoot back in 07 and 08 was relatively well-received.

Talk about your photothreads that didn't get the response you wanted.
I am pretty happy with the responses I've gotten on pretty much all my photothreads. Thanks for the love SSP! I guess the last two threads I've done have gotten fewer replies than some others I've done, but they're still relatively new, especially the one I posted last week - jury's still out on that one. And if I don't get anymore responses on either one I won't be disappointed.

And like I wrote in a "disclaimer" before one of my photothreads, I take lots of photos of scenes that many would consider ugly, and sometimes I get comments like "wow, looks like everything is covered in graffiti." I guess I should expect that, because not everyone wants to look at those types of scenes (understandably). So comments like those are not necessarily the response I want, but I do understand them.

Any tips or personal wisdom you'd like to pass on to others?
I feel a little weird giving out photography tips since I've only been doing this as a hobby for just under 2 years... I guess I'd say that shooting in RAW if you have the option is a good idea because you have a lot more control over the photo in post processing. And I always try to pay attention to composition... I have had many photos where I cut off a guy's feet or the top of a house or something and it always pisses me off that, if I had just thought about it for a couple seconds it could have been a better photo.

Who should we ask these questions of next?
Tough choice... I haven't had any interaction with the guy except for leaving him comments in his photothreads, but I'd like to hear from mr.John. I'm always impressed by the photos I see from him.
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Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 6:43 PM
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Nice interview, Sekkle! I wouldn't care if some people don't like the graffiti and grit you present, as in the same breath there are many people who don't like the shiny and refreshed. Pittsburgh would be very interesting to see by you. Seems quite your style. Looking forward to mr.John, he too is a great photog (there seems to be quite a lot on this website!).
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Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 7:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edmontonenthusiast View Post
Very wicked idea! I like it. There is a lot of photographers on this site that I'd love to see queried (and look flar was one, and he chose another great one, Sekkle!). Nice to learn a little from some inspirational photographers on here(I don't follow pros either really).

I'd love to see you do Philly and Baltimore especially, flar. They seem just your style.
Please do!
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  #16  
Old Posted May 2, 2010, 1:25 PM
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^^I probably won't be in those cities anytime soon, but if I get the chance, I'm there.


Sekkle, I'm not surprised to hear you shoot in RAW, your images look so smooth and clean. Do you have any more tips on post processing?
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  #17  
Old Posted May 3, 2010, 3:08 AM
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I suppose I should try shooting in RAW one of these days. I never think to do it though.
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Old Posted May 3, 2010, 4:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flar View Post
Sekkle, I'm not surprised to hear you shoot in RAW, your images look so smooth and clean. Do you have any more tips on post processing?
I don't have Photoshop or Elements, so I'm not familiar with everything you can do with those, but the program I use (ACDSee) is similar I think. I don't generally do too much except play with the contrast a little. I usually find that increasing the contrast gives it a sharper look, but too much contrast can be... too much, so I just try to find a balance. Sometimes I adjust the "temperature" if I think it helps or adds something, and sometimes I de-saturate the photo a bit for effect. That's basically it for the post-processing I do. Not much help am I?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayreonaut View Post
I suppose I should try shooting in RAW one of these days. I never think to do it though.
I like it because you don't have to worry about the white balance, which you can set in processing. You can also notice the difference in quality if you're looking for it - it's not a huge difference, but RAW is a bit sharper. Plus every time you save a .jpg it compresses it more, so editing while it's still in RAW allows you to only compress it the one time when you're done editing. The only downside is the file size, but I've got a couple memory cards now and an external hard drive, so I don't have a problem with that anymore.
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  #19  
Old Posted May 7, 2010, 10:24 AM
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mr.John

mr.John

What are you shooting with and what would you like to shoot with?
D80 nikon with a new 16-85mm plus on rare occasions I'll use the 55-200 plastic junker lens, as far as what I would like to shoot with.. well I wouldn't turn down a Leica M9, my last fim camera was a Contax G2 so I'm rather fond of rangefinder cameras

If you could sum up your style in one photograph what photo would it be?
Well if anyone is familiar with Dennis Stock's iconic image of James Dean in time square will recognize my shameless attempt to recreate the look and mood of that shot ,sometimes I've come quite close other times it's crash & burn

Talk about your inspirations and influences.
You have to love the work Andreas Feininger did photographing Manhattan in the 40's and 50's and who can't be impressed with the photo's of the world's greatest living photographer Sebastiao Salgado
I also love the work of great cinematographers like Gordon Willis (The Godfather) and fellow paisano Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse now)...and what the hell might as well mention Pink Floyd

Where have you not been that you want to photograph?
I'd like to spend 1 month photographing New York, but considering the fact I have no passport I can't even cross the border(thanks George Bush)


Talk about your most popular (in your opinion) photothreads.
Popular? all the threads i've posted usually get about 1000 views and a couple of pages of comments (mostly from Montreal forumers) then they go on to collect cyber dust


Talk about your photothreads that didn't get the response you wanted.
In all honesty I couldn't care less with the response the nonsense I post gets ...it's not like I make money from from them


Any tips or personal wisdom you'd like to pass on to others?
Yes get out there and shoot until your finger falls off and if your going to shoot hot chicks make sure their boyfriends or husbands are not around


Who should we ask these questions of next?
Go with The kingofthehill that young lad certainly seems to get around
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  #20  
Old Posted May 8, 2010, 6:53 AM
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Ha! I enjoyed those answers. I'd never heard of Andreas Feininger or Sebastiao Salgado, and after looking up some of their images on Google, I'm certainly glad I've heard of them now.

I have a question for mr.John - I think this picture from your Montreal Noir thread is one of the best I've seen on this forum - and wouldn't look out of place alongside some of the pictures by the two photographers mentioned above. What were you aiming for when you took the picture? Were you just concentrating on the patterns made by people's breath, or were you taking a people shot, and realised the patterns after you took it?


http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=176312
mr.John, Skyscraperpage Forum
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