On Being A Social Photographer

It sure does look like I had free reign of the Williamsburg Bridge after looking at this shot, right? In actuality, I just caught a very lucky break of empty space in between waves of bicyclists and pedestrians making their way to or from Manhattan. What you also don’t see are two other photographers getting their own style and brand of images to my right.

I had the pleasure of shooting with +Scott Wyden Kivowitz and +Chris Robins along this bridge. The point here is that we were a small community of photographers who fell in line with each other quite nicely. And that is an important point to make.

Engaging in a photowalk with other photographers comes with some etiquette and decorum. We look out for each other – we do what we can to help minimize external distractions in the frame and we keep vigilant eyes open to ensure we are all safe and all the while, we still keep true to our own unique styles and brands – and these are not mutually exclusive events.

So when you’re out and about with fellow photographers, keep this in mind. We are contemporaries, not competitors, of each other. It’s a very big world out there and I’m so happy and lucky to be able to share it with so many other talented artists.

In terms of exposure & processing
I used my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L prime lens to get this image.

This is a nine exposure tone-mapped HDR image. There was simply too much of a tonal variance to capture everything in one exposure. I tone-mapped with Photomatix and stylized in +onOne SoftwarePerfect Effects 3. I went heavier than normal with the punchiness of the color because I felt that it served my agenda of conveying a particular mood – upbeat but tense.

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  • Fantastic result dude. The colors pop, the shadows and details are incredible!

  • +Brian Matiash – while punchier than I normally prefer, I do think that you accomplished your stated goal of upbeat but tense. Great write up too. Good points to ponder. Thanks for sharing.

  • I think heavier than normal suits the scene here Brian – I like this a lot. I'm liking Perfect Effects 3 a lot too. :)

  • +Bill Killillay yeah, I was going back and forth on the saturation levels and in the end, I went with my gut and let them pop. I thought that the heavy blues played nicely against the surrounding colors of the concrete and metal framework of the bridge. Those clouds were pretty sweet, too.

  • That's incredible! It feels like I'm in a movie and the camera is taking me to the subject! :) Love the sky!

  • Overall, very nice color sceme… very Captain America but with a grungy overtone. Maybe it's just me, but I can't take my eyes off the gap between the curve of the white line and the edge of the frame. Not a big deal though, and likely it's just me.
    "We are contemporaries, not competitors, of each other." – +Brian Matiash.
    Great point.

  • Love this, Brian!! That sky is so sick.

  • I love photowalks even if it's just you and one other person it always beats going out alone, I feel more inspired having another 'eye' along.

  • as always, you nailed it in the image, and in your commentary. i love that the title of your post is about social photography, yet on one of the busiest bridges in the country, at a very busy time of the day, there is not one person to be seen. outstanding.

  • Wicked nice one!

  • Really awesome photo. Digging the words about contemporaries rather than competitors :) especially as a newer photographer!

  • Wonderful shot Brian! Love the colors. You really feel that “upbeat but tense” mood you were going for.

  • Great image and description. I love what the combo of HDR and perfect effects can do to metal or stone surfaces as shown in your image. Check out my photo stream and you'll know what I'm talking about. It would also be great if you would post a set of images next Tuesday on #twotimestuesday curated by +Robert McMillan (hey that's me!) where you can share your before and after processing images. Thanks +Brian Matiash – looking forward to the next OnOne webinar.

  • FYI – Here is my iPhone shot from when you were shooting this – http://500px.com/scottwyden/blog/22814

  • Love this image and think the extra punchiness is well suited! Great advise and post all around Brian!

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