Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jia's Blog: My House, My Life - 3rd Entry

My name is Jia Garcia and I am nine and in the third grade at St. Rose of Lima. I like taking pictures because it is fun. I do not own a camera, so I use my itouch which was given to me by my grandpa for Christmas. I am also a IPC Visual Lab student who enjoy making pretty pictures. I want to share my visual world with the pictures that I am making while attending photo classes.

These are photos of my family that I made as part as my assignment. I was asked to make pictures of members of my family which I thought was going to be easy.

"Mama Mia", Miami, Florida 2011
I took this picture when I was doing my homework and I saw my mom cleaning up the table. The reason I took it is because my mom was in front of me and it was a straight shot. My favorite part of the picture is the thin shadow which follows my mom on the wall behind her. No-one noticed the shadow only me. Unfortunately, I cropped out the table which I thought was important to have in my picture.

"Magazine Maya", Miami, Florida 2011
This is a picture of my little sister looking at a magazine. She loves animals and was pointing at every animal book she saw. It took me a long time to take a picture of her because she acts very silly every time you point a camera at her.

"Getting Ready", Miami, Florida 2011
I took this picture in my parents bathroom. I had to create more light in the room to make a good picture. In this picture there is natural light from the window and all of the bathroom lights were on which is why it is a good picture of my mom putting on lip gloss.

"Wood Chucker", Miami, Florida 2011
I took this picture of my dad getting wood out of the truck. He is getting wood out of the car because he is making our new deck. My favorite part of the picture is the sky, light, clouds, and the trees. What is your favorite part?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Iris Rising: Ethan Bitton

I first became interested in photography some time ago when my parents asked if I could take a picture of them with their point and shoot camera. They were as impressed with their photo as I was inspired by their camera. Not long after that, I found a digital camera in the garage and started to snap away every day. Finally, a creative outlet for my artistic inclination!

I sought every opportunity where I could get involved with the camera. While at North Beach Elementary, my old school, I was invited to participate with other students in a project which aired a morning announcements show. It was a very rewarding experience that allowed me to learn some key concepts for good composition such as having the subject off-center and looking for different angles. I managed so well in this project that at the end of the year I received an award for best cinematographer. I've had many gifts in my life, but maybe the best one of all was the camera my father gave me for this accomplishment -- my first new DSLR, a Nikon D40! This particular incident shifted gears for me, as well. I enrolled at Miami Arts Charter School by the 8th grade and during the weekends I started photography classes at IPC Visual Lab. Carl Juste and C.W. Griffin, my instructors, are extremely knowledgeable and talented. I value the personalized attention that I receive from them and my improvement has been very noticeable. My assignments are interesting and purposeful and my work is always assessed which is extremely beneficial. I am proud to say that I have earned some wall-worthy space at the IPC Visual Lab Gallery Exhibit and sold a few of my works at auction.

Take Your Child to Work Day

On Thursday, April 28,2011 I shadowed Miami Herald photojournalist, Carl Juste. One of his assignments was to cover the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run. While Mr. Juste was up in the air in the cherry picker, I was on the ground next to the starting line. It was a great experience because of my total access pass which I have received due Mr. Juste.

Early Stretch
- A man stretches on the floor at the feet of thousands of runners. I later found that he was a cancer survivor so he did not care about what other people thought of him.

Countless Legs - There were over twenty-one thousand people racing that day. I made this photo to show the amount of different people who participated in the race. You can see how the heat was taking a toll on the runners. The race had not yet begun, but sweat had already drenched their legs.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Inner Vision: Day 22 - Day 31

Half way through shooting (attempting to shoot) for seventy consecutive days a picture a day, Jennifer Kay makes it up the proverbial mountain with one goal - get to the top.

The difficulty with shooting a frame a day at this point is staying motivated, keeping my eyes fresh. Some days, it's a chore just to look around. To get past this, I have to remember: Look for the light, look for the shapes, look at what's moving into that light.

Day 22: Working
It's too bad you can't see Carter's camera, which would make it more clear why he's on the floor. I like how this frame raises questions about the relationship of the three people, and the "O, Miami" graphic around them.

When: 12 April, 6:43 p.m.
Where: Wynwood art gallery, Miami
Exposure: F6.3, 1/4, ISO400

Inner Thoughts:
I was at the poetry reading for a story I was writing about poetry in translation, leading with the exchange between Cuban poet Angel Cuadra and Cuban-American poet Jessica Machado. I looked up from my notebook to see that Carter was making something interesting out of a boring person-at-podium situation. He lined up the two poets with the "O, Miami" graphic on the wall, and with a reflection in the window, and he shifted his perspective to give the picture depth. Wish I had seen that first.

Day 23: The Pan, Revisited

And we're back to the rut.

13 April, 6:12 p.m.
Where: Flamingo Park, South Beach
Exposure: F4.3, 1/80, ISO80

Inner Thoughts:
Progress in panning?

Day 24: Reflection
Another reflection that might have been easier to defend had the focus been sharper.

When: 14 April, 6:27 p.m.
Where: Lummus Park, South Beach
Exposure: F3.3, 1/1300, ISO100

Inner Thoughts: I took a bunch of photos at this puddle, looking at how passers-by reflected twice in the water: once as a reflection, and again as a shadow. I wish the focus on this kid's legs had been better, but the way his shadow extended diagonally down the frame was the most graphic.

Day 25: Sitting Alone

I wanted to keep this frame on a wide angle, showing both the guy alone at one table and the empty table next to him, because I wanted to convey this: If this guy had wanted to be around people at all, he wouldn't have been reading in a dark Publix parking lot. My intention runs up against the limitations of my camera in low light; obviously couldn't have used a flash here.

When: 15 April, 8:19 p.m.
Where: Publix parking garage, 3rd level, South Beach
Exposure: F3.3, 1/50, ISO1600

Inner Thoughts: As soon as I pulled into the rooftop lot I saw this guy half-illuminated under the light and I liked the near-symmetry of him and the shopping cart in the light at two otherwise equal picnic tables.

Day 26: Music

There's a lot of information in this frame, but the focus isn't as sharp as it could be so maybe there's too much information in here. I intended to show some kind of symmetry in the two musicians, who just happened to be playing in the checkout aisles at this Whole Foods on this day.

16 April, 4:19 p.m.
Where: Whole Foods, South Beach
Exposure: F4.2, 1/160, ISO1600

Inner Thoughts:
The South Beach Chamber Ensemble took their "Mozart on the Move" series of short performances to Whole Foods on Saturday. I crouched behind them, looking for a way to show both bows, one on the upstroke and one on the downstroke, in the same frame.

Day 27: Rain
Arguably a step backwards, this attempt to shoot something while protecting expensive camera from the rain, in semi-decent light, and not something static inside my apartment.

When: 17 April, 5:49 p.m.
Where: my balcony, South Beach
Exposure: F4.4, 1/60, ISO400

Inner Thoughts:
My plans to do the walk-around-the-block assignment are thwarted by extended rainstorm just when the light should have gotten good.

Day 28: Tennis Courts
An unintentionally monochromatic shot that had to be cropped because of an error in framing the floodlights around the courts. I really have a blind spot for the brightest blocks of light in the frame.

18 April, 9:17 p.m.
Where: Flamingo Park tennis courts, South Beach
Exposure: F3.3, 1/125, ISO1600

Inner Thoughts: A tennis court all lit up on a humid night is pretty much my favorite place in the world. Here, the clay courts are being watered with sprinklers mounted on the ledges.

Day 29 Reflection

A more focused day with less ambiguous results. With both of these frames, I composed the image in my head before I looked through the lens. I knew what I was looking for -- light and reflections, to show I learned the lessons of the walk around the block -- and the results show that certainty.

When: 19 April, 6:20 p.m.
Where: Little Haiti Cultural Center
Exposure: F6.3, 1/2000, ISO80

Inner Thoughts:
I wanted to see if I could replicate the shot Carl took with my camera during our walk around the block the previous week.

Day 30 Shadows

I'm satisfied with this frame but I don't think Carl was because it lacks people and shows how much I rely on abstract and graphic elements to compose an image. It's what I see most clearly, though, so I don't know how to get out of it.

When: 20 April, 6:33 p.m.
Where: parking lot, South Beach
Exposure: F4.5, 1/400, ISO80

Inner Thoughts:
Exploring my block. I was really hopeful about the contrast of the stacks of black bottle racks against the white building, but there wasn't enough interesting about them in the sunlight that was still so very bright, so I walked away. Then I turned around and saw the shadows the balconies of my building were casting on the cement.

Day 31: Mailboxes

My strategy -- find something graphic -- worked with the helpful addition of someone walking through the frame. But it's still a rut, which will be repeated.

21 April, 8:29 p.m.
Where: mailboxes in lobby, South Beach
Exposure: F3.3, 1/60, ISO1600

Inner Thoughts:
I really like the old-school, metal mailboxes in my building. I find them graphically interesting, and I thought I would just wait until someone walked into frame.

Inner Vision: Pictures of the Day - Round the Block

Jennifer Kay is a Miami-based reporter for The Associated Press who has enrolled in Iris' IPC Visual Lab. Before moving to Miami in 2005, Kay was an editorial assistant in the AP’s Philadelphia bureau, and previously graduated in 2001 from Dartmouth College, where she was the photography editor of the daily student newspaper. Kay is looking to expand her knowledge of the visual language and to engage in the process of visual story-telling. Her blog will be a common feature for the next several month on the Iris PhotoCollective's Iris Rising series.

"Take a walk around the block," Carl says. The light is perfect, there is so much to see. All there is to do is look, and that's harder than it might seem with Carl looking over your shoulder.

We're looking for light, color, lines, reflections, architecture, abstraction and portraits. An art teacher's shadow lines up under the shadow of a palm tree against a wall, the negative to the positive of her profile in the light. The blue sky becomes a neutral background for the shapes and colors of the Caribbean Market, and the building itself becomes a canvas for reflections and shadows.

Two kids, one big, one small, slouch against a blue wall in the shade. We stop to make portraits, and each frame is like a new conversation, revealing something different as the big kid's eyes shift from right to left.

Carl has his way of walking around the block, working his way into the scene. It's different from my way. I do this all the time with a notebook in my hand, not a camera, and it's a different conversation. My next assignment is to repeat this kind of walk around a different block. I'm going to have to learn not just to see compositions faster but also to talk my way into those scenes, when usually I just have to listen.

Rediscovering a familiar block is a process. The lessons learned from this exercise were: balance in the frame, juxtaposing elements, conveying a sense of place and time with the characters and objects available, and composing thoughtfully.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Iris Rising: Eye Blog

"Powder Eye", Miami,Fl 2011

My name is Rubyann Smith-Hernandez. I am an 11 year-old girl in 5th grade.
I am a student at the IPC Visual Lab photography program. This is my third semester. My love for photography started when I took my first image. "Eye Blog" is my photojournalism essay on the eyes of some of the people who are close to me. I find eyes are interesting in their color and shape. Eyes are not my only subjects, but they inspire me to see the similarities and difference of people through their eyes. I was first inspired by my friend Caila's eye,it showed me how another "eye" can be different and still speak to me.

"Brown Weave", Miami,Fl 2011
This is the main result of Molly's eye after I blew the dust off.

"Me Myself and Eye"
, Miami,Fl 2011
This is my eye when it was so green.

"Green explosion"
, Miami,FL 2011
This is my grandmas eye. She is 89 years old so this is an old eye.

"Looking Glass Eye" Miami, FL 2011
This looks like a glass eye because her eye is so clear. You can also see a reflection of a window.

"Kaleidoscope Eye", Miami,Fl 2011
I named this photo "Kaleidoscope eye" because the sun is in her eyes and it makes them sparkle.

"Baby Blue", Miami,Fl 2011
This is Miles, my instructor's son. This semester we had to make documentary photographs. I thought this would end my "Eye Blog."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Inner Vision: Boteco

Jennifer Kay is a Miami-based reporter for The Associated Press who has enrolled in Iris' IPC Visual Lab. Before moving to Miami in 2005, Kay was an editorial assistant in the AP’s Philadelphia bureau, and previously graduated in 2001 from Dartmouth College, where she was the photography editor of the daily student newspaper. Kay is looking to expand her knowledge of the visual language and to engage in the process of visual story-telling. Her blog will be a common feature for the next several month on the Iris PhotoCollective's Iris Rising series.

Shooting at Boteco was my first time ever shooting with a DSLR camera. It was such a different experience from the mini-digital that I have, which doesn't handle low light situations as well as I would like it to. The small camera doesn't have a viewfinder, so I have to compose every image in the LCD screen, and sometimes there's a disconnect between what I'm seeing and what the camera sees. With Carl's DSLR, however, I could see more in each frame, and I could see more accurately what the camera was capturing. I found a lot of comfort in the motor-drive, and having so many frames and so little time in the good light liberated me from my usual habit of taking a frame or a few frames and then over-analyzing them before looking up again. I was frustrated, though, by how much trouble I had adjusting to how the camera focused; it seemed slower than what I was seeing.

Boteco, by the way, is a word in Brazil that means something in between a bar and a disco, a place where people relax and hang out and there's music, and where there's music there is usually dancing. At this "Boteco," we were greeted with smiles and open arms. The light was this amber color, like the beer they had on draft. People sat or stood at the bar in couples or groups -- no one was ever alone, and if they happened to be a lone for a minute, one of the smiling staff members came over to talk. There was a lot of activity at all times, rarely did I see anyone just standing around, waiting for something to happen. Everyone looked good, well-dressed, like going to Boteco, or even working there, was something special.

The purpose of the visit was to document Boteco, to show what kind of place it is. I overlooked some of the obvious things like bottles lined up on a shelf or the Brazilian flag in the window because I had it in my head that the only acceptable frames would have to include people. I should have taken more time to look at these things, because they are part of the place, they are the evidence of the people who work and eat there.

Editing my photos down to five or six frames, I was discouraged by how few I had to choose from after a couple hours of shooting: I had trouble focusing, and I don't know how much of that was me, or the low light, or the unfamiliar camera.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Iris Rising: Jenny Romney Photo Blog

My interest in graphic design led me to photography, thus expanding my creative horizons. I bought a DSLR with a kit lens five years ago and have been shooting and learning since. During this time, I read several books and articles and attended various seminars and workshops. But none as significant as the classes I have been able to attend at IPC under the personal guidance and instruction of Carl Juste and C. W. Griffin.

I like to photograph people, places I have been to, and things that intrigue me or engage me visually. Photography is my way of exploring the world around me. The classes I have taken at IPC have motivated and prepared me to also work freelance doing creative portraits, and photographing events. Making the best use of light, improving compositions, and going through the proper thought-process to make an image that speaks for itself are essential skills I have acquired at IPC. Finding the best angle, moving around, or simply waiting for something worthwhile to happen allows me to produce a more interesting image. Determining the right type and direction of light, creating a pleasing composition and utilizing the correct camera settings (aperture, ISO, shutter speed) takes dedication and practice, but, it’s hard work that pays off!

It is important to understand that photography is not just about the camera. It’s about the ability to see in new ways. Finding something interesting to photograph in an interesting way. It’s an artistic process that takes skill and talent, patience and practice. Isn’t that right, Carl?

"Driving Through Rain" Miami, Florida, 2010

Rain, like the sun, can make the most beautiful colors and shapes suddenly appear. Looking through rain-splattered front windshield of my car, I noticed the beautiful distortions of reflections and colors that the water produced on the object in front of me. I pulled over and parked to allow the rain to accumulate on the glass, focused on the tiny drops and let the colors and shapes take over the frame.

"Lunch Time"
Miami, Florida, 2006
Daisy Vasquez takes a moment to feed some ducks during her lunch hour. Vasquez finds feeding the ducks helps reduce her stress and is a form of relaxation. The daily routine however came to a halt after learning that bread is not nutritious and may be harmful to the ducks.

"Portrait of Briana", Miami, Florida, 2010

I made this artistic portrait of Briana in natural light using colors and textures to exude her beauty. For this image, is was important to select the proper time of day since the quality of sunlight is much richer in late afternoon.

At IPC Visual Lab the classes are often conducted outside, in real situations, for a hands-on demonstration of lighting techniques taught by instructors C.W. Griffin and Carl Juste. Each class comprises a new set of challenges and solutions for students who are guide individually and also in groups.

"Scooter Boy", Miami, Florida 2010

Ethan Bitton is photographed during IPC Visual Lab lighting exercise. I learned how to balance natural light with artificial light (strobes) by taking an exposure reading, setting the camera to the appropriate exposure, and choosing the matching aperture setting so that both sources of light are balanced.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Inner Vision: Photoblogs 14 -20

Day 14: Limes

When: 4 April, 9:44 p.m.
Where: my kitchen, South Beach
Exposure: F3.3, 1/2, iso400
What: a Cuba Libre

Inner thoughts: This is not a picture of lines. It is a picture of limes. Completely different. Well, I missed all the good light outside, so I tried to make something out of nothing.

I blame Bogus Focus. I got home too late for the good light, and I needed a drink, and maybe the cocktail is why the limes seemed interesting. Looking at the back of the camera, I thought I had a much better shot of the limes at the bottom of the glass. I was wrong when I pulled up the image on my computer; the focus wasn't crisp enough, so I had to settle for a lesser frame.

Day 15: Hands

When: 5 April, 7:32 p.m.
Where: 10th and Washington, South Beach
Exposure: F4.9, 1/25, ISO1600

Inner thoughts: My idea was to shoot what people were holding in their hands as they walked down the street, to see if anything interesting could be found in the shapes of their hands, the rhythm of their strides. Unfortunately, these small items, like a cigarette in a hand, were hard to focus on in the dim light. This frame is more of me trying to make something out of nothing; I just like the shape of his hand here. I aim to re-do this idea in better light.

I walk the same route to and from the gym, and to make it interesting, I started giving myself little assignments in panning and watching what people carry in their hands. I just couldn't seem to hold the focus on this guy's hand and cigarette, but at least it's a recognizable gesture.

Day 16: Comfort Zone

When: 6 April, 11:26 p.m.
Where: laundry room, South Beach
Exposure: F3.8, 1/80, ISO800

Inner thoughts:
When doing laundry and other drudgery, still look for odd numbers. Or, more adventures in making something out of nothing.

I really, really like abstract photos of odd numbers of inanimate objects. Here, I revisit the odd formation of three skateboards on Day 1 with three faucets in the laundry room. The focus is the sharp contrast of the black faucets against the blank white wall.

Day 17: Orchids Revisited

When: 7 April, 6:32 p.m.
Where: poolside, South Beach
Exposure: F4.9, 1/100, ISO80

Inner thoughts: I revisit the orchids, trying to fix the light problem experienced earlier. I still don't think I got the lighting right, and now the curves in the flowers are less interesting.

I revisit the orchids from Day 6, trying to fix the problem of the box of light distracting the eye in the bottom left corner of that frame. That problem was mostly solved, but there's a new problem: more than a week later, the flowers have wilted a little. The petals aren't as crisp, the graphic curves of the Day 6 frame are muddled and soft by Day 17. The lesson learned: you can't go back, you have to get it right the first time.

Day 17-alternate frame:

7 April, 7:32 p.m.
Where: the pool South Beach
Exposure: F4.4, 1/500, ISO800
Inner thoughts: I thought Carl would think a reflection was lazy, so I didn't send it.

I should have sent this to Carl instead of the orchids redux. Upside-down is actually right side up: the streetlight and the boat's mast are reflecting in the swimming pool, their vertical lines split by the pool's lane line. This frame, though, is the start of a new kind of rut: reflections.

Day 18: Hands Revisited

When: 8 April, 10:58 a.m.
Where: Lincoln Road, South Beach
Exposure: F4.8, 1/400, ISO80

Inner thoughts: I gave myself the task of photographing this couple's hands as they walked ahead of me on Lincoln Road. This is a project I will aim to redo, again.

Sure, it's in focus, but so what? It's the least awful frame of a boring bunch of frames of this couple's hand-holding on Lincoln Road. #rut

Day 19:
Kids Running

When: 9 April, 4:57 p.m.
Where: North Shore beach park, 80th and Collins, Miami Beach
Exposure: F6.3, 1/2000, ISO500

Inner thoughts: I tried playing again with the high-speed burst option on my camera, but I'm afraid things are coming out pixelated. How can I fix that? I know how I would want to crop this, but I wanted you to see the original image. I liked the line of kids running, how they almost line up by size, and then the lines of people repeated behind them.

Compared to the previous frame, this one's a risk that kind of pays off, with the tallest kid in the front line in mid-air running up the hill. I like the three graphic lines of people captured in this frame. #risk

Day 20: Necklaces

When: 10 April, 10:33 p.m.
Where: my apartment, South Beach
Exposure: F3.3, 1/20, ISO800
What: Necklaces I hang from a towel rack in my bathroom.

Inner thoughts: I chose to stay inside with Griff and Leibovitz instead of going out in search of people. In retrospect, I should have gone out in search of people. People will return, I promise.

A jumble of my necklaces hanging on a towel rack in my bathroom. I didn't want another blank in these photo-a-day series, so I had to take a picture of something. It's a step back, instead of a step forward. #rut