Dominique James, Photographer

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Archive for the ‘Post-Production Workflow’ Category

Here is New York

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New York City

Though Pulitzer Prize-winning writer E.B. White described three different “trembling” cities, the city of New York is really many, many things to many people. Depending on circumstance, experience, and perception, we each picture it to be this or that way. It’s remarkable therefore that photographs of New York, even of the very same places, come out different from one another.

This one picture, for instance, depicting the iconic Empire State Building taken from the vantage point of the equally iconic Brooklyn Bridge, which I took in the autumn of 2009, shows a perfectly sunny and bright day; yet somehow, exudes a quiet and melancholy mood. Looking at this picture, it’s almost possible to imagine hearing the muted sounds of people going about their business in the buildings, as cars and buses crisscross the traffic grids on street level with people pounding its pavements, and add to that, the rumbling of subway cars snaking underneath.

Straight out of the Nikon D2Xs camera, the original RAW image file of this image stands on its own. But with simple adjustments in Apple’s Aperture with the Color Efex Pro 4 plug-in from Google’s Nik Collection, I managed to coax out subtle details, and in the process, seemingly created a far more meaningful and engaging image. I doubt if this will look exactly the same next time I picture the same view. I am almost certain it will come out differently.

With every photograph of New York City, this and all the countless others, then and now, and in the future, I am reminded of a passage from E.B. White’s pristine essay, “Here is New York,” which he wrote in the sweltering summer of 1948:

There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter—the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last—the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York’s high-strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion. And whether it is a farmer arriving from Italy to set up a small grocery store in a slum, or a young girl arriving from a small town in Mississippi to escape the indignity of being observed by her neighbors, or a boy arriving from the Corn Belt with a manuscript in his suitcase and a pain in his heart, it makes no difference: each embrace New York with the intense excitement of first love, each absorbs New York with the fresh eyes of an adventurer, each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison Company.

Ahh, New York, what a wonderful, maddening city you are!

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How to work through the Camera Raw dilemma

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Dave Johnson, TechHive:

All great debates are framed by at least two compelling, often contradictory choices: Mac vs. PC, Beatles vs. Stones, oatmeal raisin vs. chocolate chip. If you have a digital SLR or an advanced compact camera, you can make just such a choice when it comes to what format in which to save your photos. Most cameras default to the common JPEG format (and if you have a smartphone or very basic point and shoot, that’s probably your only choice). There’s a good chance your camera also offers a Raw option as well, though. You’ve probably heard that it is a higher quality option than JPEG, but comes with tradeoffs of its own. Should you take it? There’s no one right answer; it depends upon how you tend to edit and use your photos. It might be helpful to take a step back and discuss the differences between the two formats.

Written by dominiquejames

May 4, 2013 at 2:32 PM

How to minimize noise in digital photos

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Dave Johnson, TechHive:

In the days before digital photography, seemingly every corner store had rack upon rack of film on display. Each roll of film was marked with a speed—measured in ISO—such as 100, 200, or 400. Higher-speed film was handy for low-light photography, but it had a serious disadvantage: grain.

Film grain was every photographer’s nemesis. Instead of smooth, natural textures, grain put ugly blotches all over a photo. And though the days of grainy photos are far behind us, digital photos have a similar problem: digital noise.

You’ve undoubtedly seen noise in your own photos. On the plus side, noise tends to be very small; and when you view a many-megapixel photo on a computer screen, pixel-size noise is so small that it usually disappears into the background. You might look at a very noisy photo and not even know it. Noise becomes apparent, though, when you zoom in—if you crop it down to a small detail, for example, or if you attempt to make a large print. Let’s learn how to control noise.

Written by dominiquejames

April 23, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Tablet apps for photo pros

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Richard Baguley, TechHive:

Professional and serious photographers need tools that can help them take photos quicker and more efficiently. We’ve picked the 10 best tablet apps that help pros and serious shooters get things done, including the top image apps for cataloging, calibrating, remote control, calculating, metering, and watermarking apps for both Apple and Android tablets.

Written by dominiquejames

February 8, 2013 at 11:05 AM

A photographer’s view of the iPhone 5

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Mark Crump, GigaOm:

The iPhone 5′s new camera lens isn’t a gigantic improvement. But where Apple does make more significant advances is the software. My tests shots show the iPhone 5 has faster photo capture, better low-light performance, and improved noise reduction.

Written by dominiquejames

September 29, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Free Hi-Res Photo Download: Lower Manhattan Skyline of New York City

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Free Hi-Res Photo Download: Lower Manhattan Skyline

This is a sweeping view of lower Manhattan's skyline.

This photo that I took shows the grand and sweeping view of a major portion of the Lower Manhattan in New York City. It also shows a little bit of Jersey City in New Jersey, the Hudson River, and at a distance, a tiny view of the iconic Statue of Liberty and the historic Ellis Island.

Download now for free (from this link) the high-resolution JPEG image file (11.41 MB) of the Lower Manhattan Skyline of New York City. You have full, non-exclusive, and perpetual license to the use of this image. The usage license is unrestricted and unlimited in any way for educational, commercial, personal and all other purposes. Please feel free to use, modify, crop, edit, alter, resize, and/or combine this image with graphic designs, objects, materials, other photos, and all other elements. There is no restrictions, limitations or conditions on the download and use of this image. Get this image now and tell others about it.

[Photographed by Dominique James. To get and collect fine art photo prints, visit  the Dominique James Zatista Store. For more information, send email to dominiquejames@mac.com.]

Free Hi-Res Download Image: Rockefeller Center Doppler Radar

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Free Hi-Res Image Download: Rockefeller Center Doppler Radar

This is the Doppler Radar on top of the Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, New York City.

This picture that I took is an image of the Doppler Radar situated at the top of the Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan of New York City. Not too many tourists or visitors look at it and take notice when they go to the Top of the Rock. I can’t say I blame them. Only the most die-hard of weather enthusiasts would probably be really interested to see or look at this. This Doppler Radar has to compete, unfairly, with the magnificent and awe-inspiring 360-degree view of NYC’s downtown and uptown areas.

Download now for free (from this link) the high-resolution JPEG image file (9.90 MB) of the Rockefeller Center Doppler Radar in New York City. You have full, non-exclusive, and perpetual license to the use of this image. The usage license is unrestricted and unlimited in any way for educational, commercial, personal and all other purposes. Please feel free to use, modify, crop, edit, alter, resize, and/or combine this image with graphic designs, objects, materials, other photos, and all other elements. There is no restrictions, limitations or conditions on the download and use of this image. Get this image now and tell others about it.

[Photographed by Dominique James. To get and collect fine art photo prints, visit the Dominique James Zatista Store. For more information, send email to dominiquejames@mac.com.]

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