Dominique James, Photographer

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Posts Tagged ‘Aperture

Airscapes!

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One of the images from a set of 22 photographs taken from the window seat of an airborne commercial jetliner.

Airscapes! (Photography by Dominique James)

At the airport before boarding, while checking out the weather on my flight’s path with the iPhone, it did cross my mind that I might get the chance to take one or two decent pictures through the airplane’s small window; but I didn’t really make any plans for serious picture-taking. The best I could ever hope for was that I might be able to catch some interesting cloud formation or capture a really nice sunset view taken from an airborne aircraft, and I’d be perfectly happy with that.

It just so happened that I got a great window seat with an expansive enough view, and luckily at that time, I was also attentive enough to look out at the right moment—that’s how I was able to realize the readily unfolding photographic opportunity before me. The photographer’s studied reflex, from years and years of professional shooting experience, kicked in and simply took over.

I am a hundred-and-one percent sure of the fact that I’m not the first person (and also most certainly not the last!) to look out an airplane’s window while in a cruising altitude, to snap pictures.

With the ever-changing panoramic landscape below, looking a bit more grand from an elevated vantage point, all the while chasing the daylight time zone by time zone, I couldn’t resist turning on my iPad’s camera (the only thing conveniently available on hand at that time since I happen to be reading a magazine on it) to click away into timeless photographic stillness the magnificent views before me.

I could only hope I didn’t annoy my immediate seat mates at the strange body contortions I was doing as I tried to shift around (which might have seemed to them an uncoordinated acrobatics in a seat-belted chair) not only in order to get the photo compositions right but also to avoid cabin light leaks and reflections, flares and glares and all that, while shooting through the thick, heavily built window glass. As we jetted towards our destination, I took as many shots as I can in under an hour, praying I didn’t miss anything good on the flight’s path.

What I saw in that tiny window of photographic opportunity captivated me. I was in total awe of nature’s endlessly breathtaking revelations. It felt as if Mother Earth herself was directly and personally communicating with me. And though I cannot presume to fully comprehend what she was actually saying, I was utterly taken in by her radiant beauty and majesty. That feeling has never left me since.

I’m very pleased to share these with you—come, take a look at a set of 22 photographs I call “Airscapes” at http://bit.ly/1neW8XU.

And also, if you haven’t already, please consider signing up (and do invite others to sign up as well) to my brief monthly photography email newsletter at http://eepurl.com/QBGCv. Thanks!

[Note: All photos from the official http://www.dominiquejames.com photography website are now directly available for download and print order for personal, editorial, and commercial use.]

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!

Apple’s Aperture or Adobe’s Lightroom?

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The age-old question in this digital times is–which post-production tool should you submit your raw files to? Apple’s Aperture or Adobe’s Lightroom?

To help you think things through, consider the following (and click on the respective links to read the full-length reviews of each).

Dave Girard, Ars Technica:

For pros who just want to get work done, Aperture 3’s improved interface, flawless curve adjustment, multiple maskable edits, and 64-bit update are more than enough reason to upgrade. Add the metadata improvements and the high-ISO RAW conversion, and you have an essential upgrade.

Amadou Diallo, Dpreview.com:

For many (myself included), the use of Lightroom is based first and foremost around image quality. Adobe can add all the bells and whistles they want in order to keep pace with the competition, but I have to be able to get great looking results from my raw files. With version 4 it’s clear that the Lightroom team has kept its eye on the prize, so to speak.

Note: Both software has been updated since these reviews came out. For the latest version of the software, check out Apple’s Aperture and Adobe’s Lightroom.

 

Written by dominiquejames

September 30, 2012 at 8:20 AM

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