Street Photography

Street photography is both interesting and fun.  In street photography, which I started doing only a few years ago, I look for interesting people in all kinds of everyday situations.  The general rule about street photography is that if you are in a public place there is no expectation of privacy and therefor no release forms are needed.  However if you happen to be walking along and see a person inside their apartment you cannot take the shot without a model release form, because that person has a clear expectation that his/her apartment provides privacy.

My first image below is called “Street Scene – Ireland.”

Street Scene-Ireland

I had a lot of fun shooting these scenes.  Sometimes the people would look up and smile at me.  In the next image I took a little artistic license and used selective color to highlight her hair.  The image is called, appropriately, “Woman with Red Hair – Charleston, SC.”

Woman With Red Hair-Charleston,SC

My next photograph below was just a simple shot that was taken in Clinton, NJ last summer.  It is called “Lazy Sunday.”

Lazy Sunday

Notice the unopened book on the table and the active cell phone in the young lady’s hand!  I thought the next photo below combined street photography with landscape.  It was taken in Tuscany on a partially cloudy day and is one of my favorite street shots.  It is called “Newspaper Reader Overlooking Vineyards.”

Newspaper Reader Overlooking Vineyards-Tuscany

My last shot was one I just couldn’t resist.  We were down in Spring Lake, NJ and I came across this sculpture.  This is one I had to take.  It is called “Street Photographer Sculpture.”

Street Photographer Sculpture-Spring Lake

Notice the old fashioned bellows camera that he is shooting with.  This one was very nostalgic for me because I used cameras like this one in the film days.  Well that’s it for this month.  I want to wish everyone a happy and joyous holiday season and a great New Year.  Remember “Keep Shooting!”


Fall In The Berkshires

Before I get into this month’s blog I want to let all those interested that this Saturday October 28th is the workshop in Hacklebarney State Park.  I will meet you all in the parking lot at 7:30 AM.  For those who still wish to register please go to www.rockoffphotography.com and click on ‘workshops’.

The Berkshires located in southern Massachusetts is a great place for photography in any season, but especially in the fall.  Even with this year’s muted colors there were some beautiful scenes.  My thanks to my good friend and shooting buddy Bruce Pitman for having us up to his (and Lucille’s) place.  Not far from where we were staying is Mt. Greylock which was the main focus of our shoot.  It is a wonderful mountain for views of the surrounding area and has many great photo-op stops on the way up.  My first image below called “Fall Mt. Greylock” was a beauty of a fall color shot.

Fall Mt. Greylock

The reds and oranges against the blue sky with a wisp of clouds above made for a nice fall photograph.  I couldn’t resist this next shot.  I remember seeing an Ansel Adams shot called self portrait, which he shot with his shadow against a wall while trying for a different image.  Ansel, I have read, had a great sense of humor.  The shot below is appropriately called “Self Portrait”, it was a lot of fun.

Self Portrait

My third photograph was also a lot of fun to do.  Near where we stayed is East Road, Richmond, MA.  Some of you will recall a winter image called “East Road” with a little shack surrounded by snow and white clouds with a strip of blue sky.  It is on my website if you care to see it.  This time I wanted to capture this little shack in the fall.  But I decided to make the image look like a painting.  So below is “East Road, Special Effects.”

East Road, Special Effects

In a future blog I will discuss how this image was made.  My last photograph is a dawn panorama taken from the summit of Mt. Greylock.  This photograph is eight images stitched together to form the panorama.

Mt. Greylock Panarama

A big thank you to Bruce Steakley www.brucesteakley.com for some great help and guidance in panoramic photography.  Even after my forty plus years in photography there is always something to learn or improve on.  That’s it for this month and I hope you  enjoyed the blog.  Some of you I hope to see Saturday at Hacklebarney, for the rest of you remember “Keep Shooting.”


Our National Parks

Before I start this month’s blog I would like to mention that there are still spots left for the October 28th workshop in Hacklebarney State Park, NJ.  Please go to www.rockoffphotography.com and click on workshops for the details.

We are very blessed in this country because we have some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world right here in America.  I have been fortunate to have visited quite a few over the years.  And since my camera and tripod go where I go I have been lucky enough to have made some beautiful images in our national parks.  Our first stop is Yosemite National Park and my personal favorite of all the parks I have been to.  It is simply majestic.  The two images below “Glacier Point #2” and “Mighty Half Dome” are two of my favorite images from Yosemite.

Glacier Point #2

Mighty Half Dome

We now move on to Grand Canyon National Park which I know is many people’s favorite park.  It is quite breathtaking.  The two images below are “Tree On High #2” and “Grand Canyon First Look #2.”

Tree On High #2

Grand Canyon First Look #2

Zion National Park is also a treasure and simply beautiful in it’s own right.  Below is a very lucky shot gotten on a very cloudy day as the sun broke through for a few minutes.  It is called “Court Of The Patriarchs #2.”

Court of the Patriarchs #2

We leave Zion for, you guessed it, Bryce Canyon National Park.  At Zion you are on the bottom looking up, and at Bryce you are on the top looking down.  Below are two images from Bryce, “Rainbow Point #3” and “Rain In The Distance #2.”

Rainbow Point #3

Rain In The Distance #2

Last but not least is Acadia National Park in Maine.  It is beautiful and pristine.  The image below is called “Acadia Nat’l Park View #3.”

Acadia Nat'l Park View #3

I hope you enjoyed this short pictorial tour of just a few of our national parks.  If you get a chance please go as these parks and their magnificent views should not be missed.  Until next month remember “Keep Shooting.”


Fall Foliage Season Is Almost Here

Before I get into this month’s blog I want to tell you about the Fall Workshop.  It will be October 28, 2017 in Hacklebarney State Park.  For details go to:  www.rockoffphotography.com and click on the Workshops tab.

Around this time in the summer I start to get excited about Fall Foliage Season.  I have referred to some fall seasons as a “Nuclear Explosion of Color.”  The image below is called “Berkshires Color.”

Berkshires Color

It’s always great photography during fall foliage time.  You can almost get in your car and stop in any park or lake area and get some beautiful images.  Some things to remember.  You need a good sturdy tripod (I know you you have never heard that from me before!!) and you will certainly need a circular polarizer.  The image below shows that the polarizer takes away any reflections in the water.  It’s called “Fall In Hacklebarney.”

Fall in Hacklebarney

Foe the next image below called “Fall In Hacklebarney #2” you will notice it is in focus from front to back with some beautiful ‘Cotton Candy ‘ water.

Fall in Hacklebarney -5

For any long exposures which are necessary for that water effect, you should use a cable release so you don’t touch the camera or tripod.  Remember you want everything tack sharp except the water, of course.  The last image below called “Autumn Leaves” is a good example.  This was a two second exposure.

Autumn leaves

Fall is one of my favorite times to shoot.  I hope you all get out there and get some great images, and remember “Keep Shooting.”


Charleston, South Carolina Part II

As promised here is Part II of our trip to Charleston, SC.  I usually separate travel blogs by having some educational blogs in between.  But as I am involved in editing and printing new work I thought I would just finish Charleston.  I believe everyone that travels to Charleston for the first time wants to see a plantation or two, which is just what we did.  Our first stop was Drayton Hall.  Founded in 1738 it is the oldest preserved plantation house in America still open to the public.

Charleston Book-142

The house was beautifully kept up.  Below is an image of the basement arches I thought was interesting.

Charleston Book-165

The grounds were magnificent and we were told that if we walked to the pond some distance from the front the front of the house we would be able to see a great reflection in the water.

Charleston Book-173

We learned many things about plantation life and about the Drayton Family.  Our next stop was the famous Magnolia Plantation.  Below is a view of part of the beautiful gardens.

Charleston Book-187

On a more somber note we took a tour that explained what life as a slave was like, or as I call it “Hell On Earth.”  The slave cabin below, although only about thirty feet by fifteen feet, usually housed twelve to fifteen human beings.  It was deplorable!

Charleston Book-193

Again as everyone does we took a boat out to see Fort Sumter where the Civil War began on April 12, 1861.  The two images below are of Fort Sumter today and a rendering of how the fort looked before the shelling by federal troops at the end of the war.

Charleston Book-216

Charleston Book-232

The last image is of the sign that stands near the county courthouse where Thurgood Marshall and others defended the Briggs family and others in what became known as “Brown vs. Board of Education.”  The landmark decision by the Supreme Court declaring ‘separate but equal’ unconstitutional in 1954.  As we all know Thurgood Marshall went on to become the 96th justice of the Supreme Court and the first African-American.  He served from 1967 to 1991.

Charleston Book-278

Once again I hope you enjoyed this journey back in history via Charleston, SC.  See you next month and until then, “Keep Shooting.”


Charleston, South Carolina Part I

First let me announce the formation of Stevens Studio, LLC.  For years I have been known to photographic supply companies, other vendors, and have even had magazine subscriptions sent to ‘The Studio’.  Now that I have left my Wall Street career behind, I have made Stevens Studio, LLC an official New Jersey company.  The right arm of the company is:

Lens logo small for RP

For those who do not know yet my new website is http://www.rockoffphotography.com.  Now that I have increased my leisure time, so to speak, I will be, at last, putting together a fall workshop designed for all levels of photography.  More information about the workshop will be coming soon.  If you have any feedback on the website I would love to hear it.  Just click the ‘contact us’ tab at the top.

Karen and I with our dear friends Bruce and Lucille took a trip a few weeks ago to two beautiful and historic southern cities, Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC.  For this blog I will be speaking about and showing some images of Charleston.  Two more blogs will cover Charleston, SC Part II, and Savannah, GA.  We stayed in a beautiful hotel in the historic district of Charleston called “The Mills House”, which is on Meeting Street.

The Mills House

Up the street from the hotel at the corner of Meeting and Broad street stand three majestic and historic old buildings.  Below are my images of, in order, “Historic County Courthouse”, “U.S. Post Office and Courthouse”, and the magnificent “St. Michaels Church.”

Historic County Courthouse

U.S. Post Office & Court House

St. Michael's Church

I am not usually an architect photographer but I just couldn’t resist these beautiful buildings.  A few blocks from our hotel brings you to “The Battery.”  When you stand at the tip of the Battery to your left is Cooper River, to your right is Ashley River.  The image below is called “Sunrise over Cooper River.”

Sunrise Over Cooper River

When you stand at the Battery, straight across the river is Fort Sumter.  We who live in the north take pride in the fact that the Union Army was able, at terrible cost to both North and South, to keep the United States together.  We sometimes forget that those in the South were trying to defend their way of life.  For sure that way of life had terrible flaws.  These Confederate defenders held Fort Sumter from 1861 until General William Tecumseh Sherman caused the Confederates to evacuate the fort on February 17, 1865.  Below my two final images are 1. “The Confederate Defenders”, and 2. “Fort Sumter.”

The Confederate Defenders

Fort Sumter

We will revisit Charleston in a future blog as well as the Savannah part of the trip.  I hope you enjoyed this little walk through history and I hope you get to see these great American cities.  Until next time “Keep Shooting.”


Summer Means Travel

We are almost in summer, though you can’t tell from the weather.  Summer means travel for millions of Americans.  Whether it’s a week at the beach or as we say here in New Jersey “Down The Shore”, or two weeks in Europe, and awful lot of us will be on the road (or in the air!).  Your summer travels don’t necessarily mean only scenic images.  Fine art can be accomplished even if you have the kids in tow (or the grandkids).  My first image below is called “Early Morning At The Marina” and was made in Jupiter, Florida.  I did pack a tripod just in case I got up early and decided to make some images before everyone got up.  The tripod made all the difference especially in the difficult lighting conditions.  These days light weight tripods that fold down very short are in abundance.  Mine folds down to 16 1/2″ without the ball head which I pack separately.  These will fit in most carry on suitcases.

Early Morning At The Marina

My second image called “The Duomo, Florence, Italy” was made from our hotel room.  I thought it was going to be just a scenic shot, but when I looked at it in black and white it became something special for me.

The Duomo, Florence, Italy

My last image is certainly not what I call fine art, but I couldn’t resist adding “The Bagpiper” from our trip to Ireland a few years age.  This was a Tauck Tour and I made the decision not to take my tripod (unusual for me!!).  I knew we would be on a tour bus and thought I could get along without one.

The Bagpiper

Travel photography is great fun and can produce some great images.  Just be patient and make sure you have a wonderful trip.  As some of you may know I have a new website which will give you access to my blog.  www.rockoffphotography.com  My usual ending certainly applies here “Keep Shooting.”


Spring

Here we are in spring again.  For many photographers, yours truly included, spring is a favorite time to shoot.  Everything is new and everywhere you look there are plenty of scenes to make images of.  This is a good time to get out of your usual work and try photographing new things you haven’t considered before.  Believe me it keeps the creative juices flowing.  I am going to show you four images all from different areas and two from different states.  The first image below is from Wolf Neck State Park in Delaware.  I was with my shooting buddy (and cousin) Bruce;  www.brucesteakley.com.  He makes some absolutely beautiful images which I urge you to see on his website above.  The shot below I like because it draws you into that open sky using both the trees on both sides and the stream moving from bottom right to left center.

Wolf Neck St. Park

The second image below is called “Serene Scene” and was made at the New Jersey Botanical Garden.  These gardens are a great place to shoot in spring as well as fall.

Serene Scene

The third image called “Six Boats” was shot in the Berkshires in the spring of 2016.  This early morning shot was so calm and quiet I just couldn’t resist making an image.

Six Boats

My last image called “Foliage Bridge” was made at the Leonard J. Buck Garden right here in New Jersey.  I love how the foliage overgrows the bridge.  I thought it was a lovely image.

Foliage Bridge

That’s it for this month and I hope these images make you want to get out with your camera gear (including your tripod!!).  Until next month remember “Keep Shooting.”


Tuscany Revisited

In my blog from August 2016 entitled “Tuscany, Italy”, I spoke about my family trip to that beautiful part of Italy.  In this month’s blog I would like to revisit Tuscany and show you some more images of that picturesque part of Europe.  The images I will show will not necessarily follow our itinerary on the trip.  Rather I have picked photographs that I hope will entice you to get your camera and tripod out and start shooting as we enter the spring season.

First let me say that there isn’t a bad place for photos anywhere I was in Tuscany.  The first image below is called “Dawn, Borgo San Felice.”  This image was literally made at dawn at this lovely hotel and vineyard.  It was a beautiful setting with special light.

Dawn-Borgo San Felice

By now most of you have seen the image below called “Tuscan Sunset After A Shower”, which was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.  Just a note, this woman is not a model and the shot was not posed.

Tuscan Sunset After A Shower

My third shot today is called “Tuscan Village” and when I made the image it screamed black and white.

Tuscan Village

While walking through one of the many towns we saw I came across my fourth image called “La Bottega.”  I thought it showed how quaint these towns can be.

La Bottega

Below is the fifth image which is called “Lacorte” and was made at Borgo San Felice.  I love the quiet setting and the muted colors.

Lacorte

My last image is one I just couldn’t resist.  Any of you who remember the old days of photography or like me are reaching ‘old geezerhood’ should get a kick out of this one called “A Blast From The Past.”

A Blast From The Past

I hope you enjoyed this month’s blog and I hope it inspires you to “Keep Shooting.”


Black And White – The Original Fine Art

Some people think that every photograph should be in color.  Why, you might ask, because the world is in color they say.  When I was competing in color slide competitions years ago I might have thought the same thing.  Then I built my darkroom and black and white became the thing for me.  Now, though, as I have matured I see that in fine art photography color and black and white dance to the same tune.  Having said that I think that black and white photography is the original fine art in this medium.  When I approach a scene the first thing that happens is ‘what’s the best angle’.  When that is achieved the next thing for me is, is this a color or black and white image.  An experienced photographer almost always knows how he/she wants to render the scene.  Let’s take a look at some examples of B&W work.  In the image below called “Princeton University Door”, I knew right away that this was going to be B&W, the color image just didn’t impress me.

princeton-door

In our next example below called “Bicycle Scene, Florence, It”,  I like this image in both color and B&W.  In fact you may see the color image in a future blog.

bicycle-scene-florence-it

Some images like the one below called “The Strand” just scream B&W.  The photograph evokes a time long ago.  It has a 1950’s or 1960’s look and it is nostalgic.  I love this image but the color version does nothing for the scene.

the-strand

For my last image I chose one that works equally well in color and in B&W.  It’s called “Bushkill Falls” and it is one of the color images that sold during my exhibition at Drip Coffee in Madison, NJ.

bushkill-falls

So when you go out with your camera (and tripod!!) just look for scenes that please you enough to want to make an image of it.  See if it whispers in your ear “I am a color scene” or “I am a black and white image.”  Until next month everyone try to enjoy this really early spring weather (in the east) and remember “Keep Shooting.”