The Mad Hatter

Quite regularly, something happens to renew my love of living in New York. I don't dislike it most of the time, mind you, but sometimes I really love it.

Today was one of those days. I went to Highline Park today to shoot some brackets for a book project I am working on (more on that later). The clouds were rolling in with patches of sky in between. It makes for a more interesting picture when shooting for HDR. I was cursing the soft, textureless clouds in the New York sky but was determined to make the best of it.

I found a couple of good locations to shoot along the elevated park and shot four sets of brackets. I was nearing the end of the park and was getting ready to exit downstairs when I hear some bells. I went to investigate and saw this guy dressed in black with a top-hat playing a cello against a blue background. It's like I planned the shoot.

I asked him if I could shoot him and he said sure. He said his name was Rev. Aaron Jones. As soon as I pointed the camera at him he came alive. He played that cello like he was a rock star in Madison Square Garden. At first I worried that he was vamping it up too much but then I resisted my urge to control it and just started shooting.

It was in an enclosed area so there wasn't much light. I had my EF L 17-40mm lens which maxes out at 4.0. I went up to 400 ISO but on my Canon 20D I can't go any higher without getting significant noise. I decided to switch to my Zeiss 50mm at 2.8 with the exposure compensation at -1. I figured the Canon tends to make the exposures a little light and I needed enough shuuter speed. It was worth the risk of not being able to get the manual Zeiss lens in perfect focus.

As much as I love the blue background, I had to see how this one would turn out in B&W. Everything about the way this turned out was perfect. The light coming in from the side added some extra drama. I love color and I'm not sure what it is about B&W that makes people think a photograph is more artistic. Making a crappy photo B&W won't make it better, but a good photo might be better in B&W. What do you think?

The Rev. Aaron Jones started singing a song along with his minimalist cello playing. Once again, I think he performed as if one hundred eyes were on him. I just kept snapping pictures and enjoying the uninhibited performance as he ended with a flourish. I also posted one of the pictures on my Project: 90 Days site as my picture for today.

I haven't had a chance to go through the brackets I shot, yet. I was so excited about these shots I wanted to process them and post them. Stay tuned for the HDR images of the other Highline shots.

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