Yesterday was one of those (rare but) truly inspiring nights. I had gone out with a friend to photograph fireflies in Central Park. Just like last year, though, we had become rather unlucky and weren’t able to capture nearly as many as we thought we would. I guess all of those beautiful firefly pictures you find online are either a
big fat lie or are simply shot in an environment that features an endless amount of them. Perhaps way more than here on the East Coast. I know one day we will be able to go to a faraway country such as Japan or who-knows-where and finally capture this phenomena on camera. But for now, I guess we’ve kind of given up on the idea of transforming some moody sparks of an insect into a grandiose picture.
We therefore trudged out to Columbus Circle in order to accomplish some proper night photography on that day. While we were shooting away on our tripods and expanding each other’s horizons with new techniques, an elderly gentleman stopped his bike and jumped off. “Oh, can I please take a look at how your pictures turned out! I am also a photographer and would love to see how the exposures are” he exclaimed in a rather over-excited way. At first we thought him to be rather odd but we still had him take a look at our images. My friend then proceeded to swirl her camera around and created quite a golden ball as an end result (I copycatted her and this is my version of it).
We must have earned his trust by then because he wanted us to have a look at some prints he had picked up earlier in the day. “Even odder to be carrying prints around like that” is all I could think of, although he pointed out that he had just developed them. He then pulled out eight truly stunning images and some of the most amazing dance photographs I had ever seen.
His story was about as equally interesting: Having done photography for over 25 years, he now teaches and shares his art throughout the city. He started with film and most of his technique is in-camera. I don’t even think he edits any of these by means of Photoshop or other editing software. He specializes in portraits – actors, dancers, other artists – they were all pretty well represented in his images. Although a big fan of natural light, he does resort to using a flash every once in a while. Now this person was intriguing, not only by technique but also by the way he went about. He also reminded us of the single most important thing in photography. Light! And what perfectly lit pictures he showed indeed. He also inspired us to look more into prime lenses, since some great dance movements were captured on his prime 135 mm lens. Such soft blur in the background and great focus on the subject – it was a joy to look at.
We were sure to get his contact info to perhaps re-connect and take a future class with this poetic artist. Some days in New York are incredibly frustrating and anger-provoking that you almost forget about those beautiful, random moments when you are able to meet an inspiration on the streets while doing what you love! Oh New York, hopefully I will never fail to see the magic you create.