Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Verde Gardens by Carlos Alves

Recently we had the opportunity to capture images of the recently inaugurated community park Verde Gardens in Homestead.  The park is part of the Carrfour supportive housing project supported by personalities like President Bill Clinton and former heat player Alonzo Mourning.

The park was designed by famous mosaic Miami artist Carlos Alves after being awarded by the Miami Dade Art in Public Places to lead the project.  The idea of the community park was to create a public plaza that would contribute to the identity of the community and bring a sense of ownership and pride to residents.

The result is an eye-popping mosaic based community park.  Carlos created a concept in which he integrated mosaic, native plants, metal, sculptures and other elements.  The park is intimate, relaxing and simple amazing.

Carlos divided the whole area into four individual theme areas and interconnected them with walkways, later adding his mosaic art to close the circle and create a space for all.

The meditation garden is a corner to relax and to inspire visitors there are ponds and mountains created with tiles where you can find fish and water concepts to calm your mind.

The butterfly garden has a series of benches and sitting areas to be able to rest and enjoy the views of colorful butterflies placed in the different pathways.

The sensory garden invites you to explore and stimulate your awareness of the surrounding by taking you through gorgeous paths embedded with different designs.

The gratitude garden a place that invites you to share with friends and play games, an area to relax after work with friends.

The central area of the park showcases two large metal leaves surrounded by benches engraved with tiles in the shape of flowers and plants.

 Carlos and JC took the time to incorporate native plants, which certainly enhance the experience, teach you about the surroundings and invites local fauna to move into a new home.  During the shoot we found birds, butterflies, caterpillars and even a frog hiding from the heat in his newly adopted home.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Eye of a Photographer

The world looks different to a photographer than it does to everyone else.  Why can a photographer capture flat images and turn them into art?  The eye of a photographer sees light, details, shadows, highlights, shapes and how they interact with each other.

The world looks different if you see it with both eyes compared to how you see it with only one eye.  Close an eye and look at an object, do you see what I mean?  Well, by doing so, before taking a shot, you will have a pretty good idea of what you can expect from your image.

Photographers explore the light and texture.  Light is probably their most important tool.  Photographers are intrigued by the way the nature of light affects the way things are seen.  Intensity, direction and type of light offer the photographer a potential for visual exploration.  Photographers have mastered how to use the rules of composition and know when to break them.  Photography is a process.

Our eyes work similar to a camera.  Here are some facts that you might even find amusing:  Our eyes have a resolution of around 560 megapixels, they can differentiate around 10M shades of colors.  The ISO of an eye is not great, it can be measured at around 800 and in low light they cannot see color.  The equivalent of the aperture would be f/3.5 with a focal length of 20mm.  The great thing about our eye is that it has auto white balance an auto ISO and it has a very high dynamic range.

Some photographers have the eye probably since they were born but most develop it after practice and training it can take several years to begin to notice things in a different way.  A photographer does not have to have all kinds of expensive equipment to take great photos.  The best camera gear in the world is not going to help a photographer see or be aware of its surroundings.  It’s all about the art of seeing.  With a photographer’s eye you are going to see things differently and you are going to cause an impression on the people viewing your images.

A photographer thinks in photography concepts and sees in terms of photography.  If you enjoy taking pictures you attitude will show up in the final image.  Everything has the potential to be captured.  It’s all about picturing an image in your head and making it happen.  The more it gets done the better you get at it. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Steps to Better Landscape Photography

How many times have you been driving and wanted to stop and take a shot of that breathtaking landscape.  You then stop, look around and the shot even looks better.  Your heart even skips a beat.  You go for it and return to the car with a huge smile.

When you get back home you download your pictures, process them and then you find out that what you shot was not what you placed your eyes on.  What went wrong?  Well its simple your lens and the sensor of your camera do not work like your eyes and your brain does.  You select different parts of the scene and produce beauty out of them, your sensor doesn’t.

So what do you now?  For landscape photography you need time and a couple of tips, follow them, practice and your shots will improve.

1.     The general rule for landscape photography is to keep as much of the scene in focus as possible.  This means that you have to maximize the Depth of Field or DOF.  In other words you have to choose a small aperture setting (remember small in this case means a large number) to obtain a greater Depth of Field.  The greater the DOF is the more focus you will achieve.  This also means that your shutter will stay open more than it would normally be.

2.      Since you are now using a longer shutter speed to maximize your Depth of Field you need to ensure that your camera is stable and not shaking.  The best thing to do is to use a tripod and a cable or wireless shutter release mechanism.  Doing so your camera will not shake and your photo will be not blur.

3.     Decide what your central point will be, what is your subject, where is it, what size is it, does it have enough contrast with the rest of the picture and how does its shape compare to the rest of the composition.  Your central point, know as Focal Point, is what will make your shot stand out and not allow the eyes of the viewer to wonder.  The Focal Point in landscape photography can take the shape of many different things, a building, a tree, a rock, a person, etc.  The placement of your subject is very important, use the rules of composition for this purpose.

4.     Your horizon is the next step to consider and an important one.  Make sure your horizon is straight and in the lower third or the top third of the photo.  The rule of thirds applies very well to landscape photography.

5.     Now look for lines in your shot.  Lines are a way to guide the eye.  It gives your image a sense of direction.  Lines should direct the viewer towards your subject.  A line can be road, a river, shoreline, mountain edges, etc.

6.     Another element of your landscape composition that can create an amazing landscape shot is a foreground object, this creates depth in your shot and prevents it from being flat.  The foreground will help you balance your image.

7.     When possible convey and transmit the movement that you see, wind, water, moving clouds, a bird.  A static image is less dramatic than one that showcases movement, it ads drama, mood and creates a point of interest.

8.     Shoot landscapes either early morning or at dusk, light is the best at this point and colors, textures, patterns will pop out and impact your image. 

9.     Take your time before taking the final shot.  Try different points of view.  The same image will look completely different if you go lower or if you go higher.  So walk around, climb a little, get on your knees or in a ditch.  You will be surprise at what you see.