"Strangers On Buses", iPhone Street Photography Series | Boston Street Photography

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Turbulence"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Turbulence"

Back in 2012 I wrote a blog post about my burgeoning iPhone Street Photography Series on my Instagram feed called "Strangers On Buses". In that post I talk about how this series came to be. I also talk a bit about how my photography obsession began, about how I am self-taught and how I learned the basics of photography while doing street photography. You can see that post here.

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Alone Together"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Alone Together"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Lone Child"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Lone Child"

I'm still plugging away at this series and still only using my iPhone. When I started "Strangers On Buses", I intentionally used mostly monochrome images. I felt that full-color images could be too distracting, diverting focus away from the content. The use of monochrome also gives the images a sort of "timeless" feel, which I like. 

But then, a few months into this year, I allowed myself to play with color in this series. I think this was because I'd seen some old street photography photos from the 1940's that were originally shot in black & white, but that had been expertly colorized...and I was stunned at the new life the color gave them. You see, I've always loved gazing at and studying old photos, especially street photography. I could spend hours upon hours looking at street photography from different decades. I get so much pleasure out of seeing what life was like back in (you name it!) decade/century. I'm absolutely fascinated by what the fashion was like, and how people related to each other in public, how children played. I guess those colorized old photos stunned me because suddenly the people in them didn't seem so different and far away. I felt a deeper connection with the people in those photos. The times they were living in and the rules of society were, for sure, very different than the present, of course. But it reminded me that people are people, and though technology, fashion and social graces may change over the years, we never really change. 

Also new this year: I started giving titles to many of the new images in this series. 

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Seeing Green"  

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Seeing Green"
 

© 2104 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Graphic Novel Love"

© 2104 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Graphic Novel Love"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Stuck in Traffic"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Stuck in Traffic"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Case of the Mondays"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Case of the Mondays"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Tax Break"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Tax Break"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Day After Labor Day Morning Commute"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Day After Labor Day Morning Commute"

@ 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Days End on a Friday"

@ 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses: Days End on a Friday"

Whenever my parents pull out old photos of me as a teenager during the early to mid 1990's (I guess I'm outing myself with my age, here!), I'm always so surprised at what I was wearing back then and how my hair was styled (or NOT styled - I was a grunge kid Generation X-er, after all). I remember the turbulence and emotional drama of my teenage years, but it's so funny that I don't remember how I actually looked! When I'm in my sixties, will I remember how I look and feel now, in my 30's? Probably not, judging from the past. But photography - even the crude snap shot that has been lovingly printed out and kept for others to see - is so, so important. 

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses:  Strangers NOT on Buses"

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography - "Strangers On Buses:  Strangers NOT on Buses"

Street photography is special. It documents actual, real moments of life. I think of future generations who, like me, are curious and want to gaze at and study and ask questions about what it was like in 2014. It's a sort of anthropology. If done well, it's considered "art". I always strive to be artful in each of my street photography images, of course. But if they fall short of being considered art I know that, at the very least, they are Life, Documented. And I take immense pleasure in that.  

Intensity & Drama with an Entrepreneur...and My Fujifilm X-E2 | Boston Editorial Portrait Photographer

Entrepreneur and visual artist, David Williamson, contacted me to create some special portraits for a new venture. He wanted "dark, mysterious, intense, dramatic" and sent me a few inspiration images he found on the Internet. I took a look at the images and knew right away that this was right up my alley. Dave arrived in Boston from out of town, and we did the entire shoot in his small hotel room.

Using a simple two-light set up (one bare flash with a CTO gel attached and another flash in a 46" gridded softbox), I was able to create the dramatic lighting David wanted within a very small work space.

I brought both my huge and heavy Canon 5D MII DSLR and lenses and my very small and stealthy Fujifilm X-E2, working the shoot with both cameras. (At the time of this shoot, which took place in June, I only had one Fuji lens: the 23mm 1.4. I've since acquired Fuji's 56mm 1.2.)

 

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography Shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and 23mm 1.4 lens:  f/4.5, 1/180, ISO 200

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography

Shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and 23mm 1.4 lens:  f/4.5, 1/180, ISO 200

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography Shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and 23mm 1.4 lens:  f/4.5, 1/180, ISO 200

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography

Shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and 23mm 1.4 lens:  f/4.5, 1/180, ISO 200

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography Shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and 23mm 1.4 lens:  f/5.6, 1/180, ISO 200

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography

Shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and 23mm 1.4 lens:  f/5.6, 1/180, ISO 200


The image below is the one image shot with my Canon 5D that was selected as a final.

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography Shot with my Canon 5D MII and 85mm 1.8 lens:  f/4, 1/100, ISO 100

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography

Shot with my Canon 5D MII and 85mm 1.8 lens:  f/4, 1/100, ISO 100


The following two images are actually outtakes. I was doing some light tests and caught Dave in relaxed, candid moments where he wasn't playing the part of the "mysterious, intense character" that this project required. I love these images precisely because they are un-posed, natural, honest. I really dig the contrast between the two personas of "Mysterious, Intense Dave" and "Natural Dave".

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography Shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and 23mm 1.4 lens:  f/4, 1/180, ISO 200

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography

Shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and 23mm 1.4 lens:  f/4, 1/180, ISO 200

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography Shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and 23mm 1.4 lens:  f/4, 1/180, ISO 200

© 2014 Sarahmica Photography

Shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and 23mm 1.4 lens:  f/4, 1/180, ISO 200

I am incredibly happy using my little X-E2. It makes me darn right giddy with delight knowing that I can use this compact, light-weight camera on a professional shoot. As I mentioned in a previous post about slowly making the switch to Fuji, my plan is to eventually get one of Fuji's more top-of-the-line cameras, relegating my X-E2 as a backup camera. 

Thousand Days, Alt-Rock Band | Boston Rock Band Photographer

I did a photo shoot last month for Thousand Days, an alternative rock band out of Cambridge, MA.  Their new album, Turkana Boy, is about to drop and they're building a new website, for which they needed a variety of press & promo images. 

Meet the band, from left to right:

  • Bob Katsiaficas, Guitar
  • Pardis Sabeti, Vocals & Bass
  • Matt Hayden, Drums
© 2014 Sarahmica Photography_ThousandDays.3.jpg
© 2014 Sarahmica Photography_ThousandDays.4.jpg

A BIG thank you goes out to my assistant, Kasidy! I couldn't have done this shoot without you!

Best wishes to Thousand Days. May your new album soar the heights.

It's FUJI TIME! | Boston Fuji X Series Photographer

I cheated on Canon with Fujifilm. What I thought would be just a casual little dalliance became a full-blown love affair. I've fallen deeply in love with Fujifilm and we're moving in together. 

It all began this past December, as I was preparing for a trip to the UK to spend Christmas with my British husband's side of the family. I couldn't stomach the thought of lugging my huge Canon 5D MII with me to England again for leisure photography, mostly candid portraits of family and such. What I needed was a small camera just for my personal needs and travels, something compact and lightweight with manual controls, but that also had RAW capabilities and produced high quality image files. I'd been hearing so much about the big splash Fujifilm was making with their X Series cameras, specifically the x100s.

The x100s seemed to be the camera for me, but I couldn't quite get over the fact that I'd be forever stuck with a 35mm (equivalent) focal length, since the x100s isn't an interchangeable lens camera. I just couldn't pull the trigger on it. Around that time the X-E2 had come out and was also getting rave reviews. If these Fujifilm X Series cameras and lenses did indeed turn out to be as spectacular as I was hearing, I wanted to make sure I invested into a system that I could grow with, keeping the door open to the possibility of building a new kit.

After more research, I felt the X-E2 was exactly what I was looking for. Only problem was, I didn't have enough money budgeted for my Fuji lens of choice which, at the time, was the 35mm 1.4. So I made a compromise. I went ahead and bought the X-E2 camera and acquired, for very cheap, an old Canon FD 24mm 2.8 lens on eBay. I hoped this would satisfy me until I could get a Fuji lens. Off I went to England with my new little camera and, as it turns out, a piece of crap old lens. The aperture blades on that Canon FD were stuck at f/2.8 and it was not at all sharp. Every image I shot with it was slightly soft and it drove me crazy. I knew I wasn't really getting the Fujifilm experience. I came back to Boston a little frustrated and set my beautiful new X-E2 aside until I could get some Fuji glass.

It was several months ago that I was able to finally get my Fuji 23mm 1.4 lens And what a lens! Since then, I've been taking some time to get familiar with my new Fuji system.

Honestly, the shot below is what made me stop and seriously contemplate switching from Canon to Fuji. As I was processing this image in Photoshop, my thought process went sort of like this:  "Holy cow, the image files are gorgeous and I can push them around in post just like I do with the image files from my full frame 5D! And I love using this little camera - it feels so good in my hands! These Fujifilm mirrorless systems are so light and compact, it makes me giddy! Fuji's lenses are top notch and they're coming out with more! Fuji's X Series cameras are top notch and they're coming out with more! Hmmm..."  

And that was the moment. That was when I began to realize that this was not just a fling, but something substantial. 

Candid portrait of Dave the Muse, shot RAW in available light at f/2, 1/180, ISO 1250. Processed in Lightroom & Photoshop.

Candid portrait of Dave the Muse, shot RAW in available light at f/2, 1/180, ISO 1250. Processed in Lightroom & Photoshop.

So, I've jumped onto the Fujifilm boat. I just sold my beloved Canon 135mm f2L lens in order to get the Fuji 56mm 1.2 (85mm equiv) lens. It's currently backordered, but as soon as I can get my hands on it, that 56mm is MINE. I'm going to make the switch incrementally, because it will take some time for me to acquire the necessary gear to go "full time Fuji". I need more glass (the 56mm, as I said, and maybe the 35mm, and perhaps something wider, like the 14mm). I also want to see what the rumored upcoming X-PRO2 will be like, as well as the next generation X-T model. I'll eventually need to get another Fujifilm camera - a top of the line model - and let my X-E2 become my backup.

Canon and I aren't actually divorced yet. I still need my Canon gear for professional, commissioned work. But my little X-E2 will be there with me on those jobs, as well. 

More images shot with my X-E2 coming soon.

Steve Oundo, Bassist & Singer-songwriter | Boston Singer-songwriter Photographer

First things first. The title of this blog post is a bit misleading. So let me clear this up for you: Steve Oundo is a MULTI-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, arranger and producer who hails from Uganda, but now lives here in Boston. I couldn't put all of that in the title.

Steve is a humble guy, so he'll blush when I say this, but anyone who knows him and has played music with him will tell you that he is a KILLIN' musician. He plays keys and guitar, but his primary instrument is electric bass. And singing? Yeah. He's equally skilled there, too. I'm gushing about Steve, because I know him personally and have played with him myself. I can attest that these things are true. 

His new album, "The Traveler", drops on May 23rd. It's world/fusion/R&B.

Check him out! Have a listen!


The shoot.

I work on location, as opposed to in a studio. This means that me and my (wonderful & amazing) assistant are constantly lugging around my lighting gear to different shoot locations. Most of the time, I won't know exactly what I'm walking into before hand at any given location. I won't necessarily know much about the space or the quality of the ambient light before I arrive. As such, my shoots tend to be very think-on-your-feet type situations. 

We started off indoors at a home that Steve shares with some roommates. I looked at a few different rooms within his home, but I really liked the color of the walls in the dining room; Steve's skin tone and white clothing would look nice against that color, so I decided to do the indoor portion of the shoot there. It was a small space, but we made it work.

When we were finished with the indoor shots, we packed up all of the gear except for one light and one soft box on a stick.

We wanted to change it up and get an urban look for some of the images. I'd spotted an office park close by on the way to Steve's home, so the three of us walked the short distance there and came across a loading dock that wasn't in use. 

Congrats on your new album, Steve! See you at your CD release party!