Hurricane Arthur: Photographs of Provincetown, Cape Cod by jeffrey byrnes

"You're crazy, you're nuts, you're going to ruin your camera," Sue said. I tried to explain to her that the Canon Camera and lens that I was shooting with, Canon 5d Markii and a 70-200mm F2.8, are weather sealed and that unless I dropped it the ocean, it could handle some rain falling on it. I stood on the concrete landing, just above the boat launch around the corner from Commercial St in Provincetown. We parked to eat lunch. We had a great view of the bay, watching the boats as the fought to stay above the white capped waves the wind was creating. In between quickly chewing bites down, I spotted a guy walking from the shore right into the water. I dropped my slice and pointed out the window, past the rain drops and off into the distance. He was wadding over towards a small boat being moored. With him he was caring a set of wheels. I couldn't believe eyes. The wind was fiercely blowing as the rain beat down on the car. Occasionally a gust would create enough turbulence the car would teeter in its space. 

Hurricane Arthur, Provincetown MA

One of warnings that we kept hearing was to be careful for the undercurrents and how powerful the water would be. As we dinned on our pizza, we watched him make his way over to the boat. He was a considerable distance from where we were, but enough that my lens at max length would capture a decent shot. What I didnt not expect was that he would be swimming, pulling the boat and wheels with him, towards us, to exit the water off the ramp we were parked next to. The moment he reached the boat is when I shoved my last bite into my mouth. Reaching over my shoulder and grabbing my camera, I ejected myself out of the car and into the rain. Standing in the pouring rain for nearly five minutes, i became drenched. At one point Sue opened the door and tried to speak over the rain and wind, saying something about how wet I would be and how I would get that in the car. I stood with my back towards the rain. The wind wiped it against me with as much force as it could give. The rain drops pierced my skin, at least thats how it felt, as it fell. I pulled up the camera and looked down the barrel of the lens as the man made his journey towards us. The power and strength this man had was unreal. His boat was consumed with water, weight, an anchor, weight, wheels, weight, the weight of the boat. He swam against the waves, wind, and falling rain. 

Hurricane Arthur

Hurricane Arthur

Eventually he was able to get his boat past the rocks and began a slow walk towards the ramp. I began to worry a bit, in that even a short amount of time his strength could have been challenged to the point of exhaustion and fatigue. I kept pressing the shutter and watching him get closer and closer. At the foot of the ramp he began to have a tough time, but was able to push through and get the boat onto the wheels. Ethics and morals were being tossed around my brain, like a hurricane. Pun intended. If I saw him in any sort of distress, I would drop the camera and be at his him in seconds. He was well aware of the fact that I was photographing him. He glanced over at me at on point during his trek and showed a faint sign for admiration, as if he knew why I was photographing him, or if he knew that he was in the position to be photographed. It was a hurricane and he entered the water to spare his boat from becoming a victim of Arthur, and an expensive fossil. 

Hurricane Arthur

I knew I had made the money shot/s. It was time to head back. It was time to get back to my lap top and edit and get these to someone who could share them. While packing for our trip, Sue asked why I felt the need to always bring my lap top. Now she knows. I have tried to explain to her that there might be that one time, that single moment, when something happens and I capture it, photograph it, it is a story that needs to be shared. She understood very well after the photographs appeared in a gallery on "Wicked Local Truro" the news outlet for the outer most portion of the cape, Provincetown and Truro. "Gallery of Photos." When I was in college, my professor would tell us stories of photographers that captured "THEE" image that gets circulated around the Associated Press, leaving the photographer with an incredible pay day to follow. While those days aren't as frequent, not that our world is short of any tragic events on the daily, but the way the world of news and media is valued and treated is different. Regardless of the changes in media, having the right resources, such as my camera and machine to edit, I can still quickly provide images, from almost anywhere. It took about two hours before I was back to my laptop. It killed me to be that patient, but being 30 mins from the house in that weather, and still wanting to meander a bit, made it process to get back. Based on the time, I knew I had a very small gap. Most publications can still insert a cover image between 7-9pm. With my email blast I was able to connect with one editor at "The Wicked Local" she was delighted and pleased that I sent her the photos. 

Gallery owner uses bucket to clear water that was flooding her store front as man on a bike passes by.

The photo of the gallery owner, above, shows just how awful the rain was that fell. It had only been raining a short time before I stumbled upon this scene. Standing in ankle deep water, she used a bucket to slow the progress of the flooding in her storefront. This was one of the first images I made as we entered the beginning of Commercial Street. Fierce winds, rain, thunderstorms, all the elements of a hurricane beat down on the cape for a day. The next day was filled with sun, soft clouds, the day after the storm was beautiful, the contrast of what I have shown you above. I survived my first hurricane. 

A few more photos can be seen in my Flickr Gallery 

New website: New Portfolio by jeffrey byrnes

Over the last 4 to 5 years of being a photographer I have shot a variety of subjects. I have done the wedding photography business with a former business partner. I have made photographs of animals. I have photographed food. I have produced some exhibitions, with the fine art mindset. I have photographed politicians, average people, models, places, things, objects, interiors, exteriors, walls, sunsets, etc. I have had two studio based business in which I served the community for wedding and portrait needs. ( I know I stated that already, not trying to be redundant, just transparent.) I have done a lot in a short period of time. It has all been a journey and the development of my career and personality as a photographer.

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I am starting this website with a fresh start for my career as a professional photographer. In the years that me and my business partner work managing the studio, I was always hustling jobs and prints. That work has built a reputation and is the guts of the new exoskeleton I am growing. In business you have to be tough, firm, an asshole. Well, a polite asshole, as I recently read in one article about how to concur something and get something out of it. I am making changes, have been making changes, and will continue making changes to my business in order to advance my career as a professional. I have found there are things I am not doing that I want to do, things I am not shooting that I want to shoot, and things I am doing and things that I am shooting that I no longer want to shoot. I am at the pivotal point in life where things are making a bit more sense and after having spent a few years building the foundation, I am ready to start putting up walls to line them with successful, jobs, prospects, shoots, and images. 

Personal Work

Some people tear down walls to get where they are going, but if you think of life like you would a house, you need a place to store your life's achievements, belongings, goals, and other life like things. The foundation of your career is built in the early stages, when you need to do certain things, certain jobs, or working certain hours. From that foundation grows the prosperity of your career. How you form the walls, stairs, and moves up is dependent upon the strength of your foundation. The beginning of my career was spent building two foundations. One for me and one for my former business. It was a small house that I have let go of. It is the past and it is out back, around the corner from where I have been working on my personal house. 

Fashion

While the "house" is a metaphor, my photography remains to be ever evolving and growing. New inspiration, new people, new possibilities influence this change. Change is inevitable in all forms of life. You either grow with it or fall by the wayside. Instead of getting behind the change, I am out, making the change. I am making the change that I want to see. Someone profoundly important said that. "Be the change you want to see." Well, I am doing that, making what I want. I am making something new, to have something new, and go new places. 

Filmmaking: iPhone Film by jeffrey byrnes

  iPhone 4 Film Where The Light Is

 

Watch "Where The Light Goes" here on Youtube.

On Sunday I took over Sue's iPhone. I have been operating on a Droid system since I have had a smart phone. While all my computer equipment is Apple based, I always kept a distance from iPhones. Whenever I was due for an upgrade I would harass Verizon about this, that, and the other thing. It always came back to Droid. Here is why. Everyone is obsessed with iPhones. Yes, they are great. Seeing as how I just updated an iPhone 4 and my Droid, which is a bit younger, is basically a digital paper weight, it is clear that iPhones have a longer shelf life. Droid phones are clearly different. Not with just the operating systems, but with the camera features. iPhones can make a great photo, with the proper light, proper composition, and proper person behind the button. Also, if you know how to apply a filter, you can get away with hiding things such as noise. Droid cameras can do some pretty interesting things, like a real camera. You can adjust the brightness right in the camera, before the image is even made. iPhones can not do that. To be frank, that is why I kept going back to Droid phones, I could make better photographs. There have  been a few times where I made prints with photos from my Droid, prints that were very large. This one time, (not at band camp) I increased the image size to about 24" wide by about 18" high. I was impressed and so were the people who viewed the images.

I have a few friends that adore their iPhones, Sue included. Recently I watched a friend play with an app for time-lapse. He was shooting as we were driving through a city, recording an image every 1 second. Droid apps dont really do cool things. Aside from seeing the app do what was needed for a project that we are working on, I was also motivated because of the recent Bentley Commercial that was filmed using two iPhones.  When I opened the email that contained the link, I was stunned. Not because a low-tech device was used to film a major campaign, but that the quality is better than what I expected. With the proper light, tools, and composition, anything is possible with a device that can record an image. Hell, I still hold fast to the idea that one day I will use a Holga for a major fashion shoot. The fact is, an iPhone is an acceptable device for making photographs. The socially connected world of twitter accounts, Instagram likes, and facebook tags are powered by such devices. I have always viewed cellphones to be a threat, but as I have made changes to some of my business practices, I realize, it is more of a resource and integral part of my business and life.

Scott my filmmaker friend, iPhone guru, and film mentor has ushered me into a few cool apps. Filmic being one of them. I have barely used the app yet as I have been playing around with the camera features and acclimating myself to the device. I took a half hour to myself, between leaving the studio and getting ready for the gym and played with the video feature a bit. I knew that I had a few minutes and I could make a 1 minute piece just by looking for the right elements to form some compositions. I do not have any fancy jibs, cranes, mounts for this phone, so I had my hands and what ever I could place the phone against or on. Using my body, I was able to move, with a steady hand of course, to produce some motion. I didnt want a dozen static shots and no motion. It would have been nice to have a glidecam or slidder, but hey its just an iPhone. I have seen some cool products for iPhones that can be used to make a stronger film, but I havent even thought about those yet. After finding some strong visuals, the title popped in and once I was back from the gym I could edit the piece together. More or else, I was just looking for an excuse to do something "artsy" with films and play with the phone. In the end, "Where The Light Goes" is 1 minute film, almost, that is a bit fun and of course, inspired by light.

Get out there an play, shoot, edit, and share. Have fun. Take things seriously, but seriously, dont over think the work you are doing that is just for fun.

 

Political Photographs & The "Unsung Heroines" of Massachusetts by jeffrey byrnes

av_front Last Thursday I strolled through the halls of the Massachusetts State House with my camera and friend State Rep Aaron Vega. His 6 month old son Odin, wife Debra, and staff member Pat were with us as well. Aaron was there on business and I accompanied on this trip to also make photographs of one of his friends, whom was being recognized for the work that she has done. She was among the many other women being recognized as an "Unsung Heroine for the amount of generosity, hard work, selfless dedication, and the volunteer work that they have done within their communities and throughout the state. Some where there being celebrated for their businesses, volunteer work, or the social practices they  have used to bettered their communities. The age range spanned from 12-97 years old. In a touching moment, one of the presenters read the story of a 12 year old girl who recognized that a number of her classmates required the school lunch program. Her volunteer efforts inspired classmates to join her in seeking food donations to ensure that her classmates had meals on the weekends. At 12, most youth are concerned with clothes, iPhones, and other 12 year old things. However, she took an initiative to help others, earning herself an award for doing something ensure others had a dire resource.

I stood watching as each name was called, listening to the stories between photographs, realizing that all of these women took a belief and worked hard for it. As an observer, I also noticed that there was a sincere amount of appreciation and joy being spread around the room as the stories were read. Like a smile or a yawn, honest work is contagious. By this I mean, when people do great things it inspires others to do great things as well. As I scanned the room, making candid images, I pondered, "I wonder if any connections will be made today in which community service will foster a broader and larger development within the state of Massachusetts?" Which as we all know, the more people doing awesome things, the better the chances of all of our lives being enriched.

There is a hero in all of us, but few have the courage to live a life in which it is visible.

Unsung Heroine Gallery 

Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo addressing the "Unsung Heroins"

 

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Political Portraits by jeffrey byrnes

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In 2009 when I met Aaron Vega, owner of Vega Yoga and now Holyoke State Representative for Massachusetts, we began working on a photography project about yoga. The following year he ran for his first term as city councilor. A seat he held for a term and a half before he became State Rep. In the years since 2009, I have met some incredible people, photographed some political events, and made head shots for some politicians, including the Mayor of Holyoke. Last week I had the pleasure of welcoming Mark Riffenburg into the studio for the first time. Mark is barely 20, a political star rising, and the Deputy Treasurer for the City of Holyoke. in 2013 at the age of 19 he ran for city council. He did not win the seat, but has since taken that energy and refocused for a stronger platform to run his political campaigns on. Mark was a great candidate for making head shots for (pun intended). His patience afforded me the opportunity to make more than just a "business like" head shot. Below are a few shots. mark_blog_2

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UPDATE: Professional Photography: Be careful what you read by jeffrey byrnes

As I have said in the past, with my former blogs, I used to do various articles related to photography. Over the past two years I have been busy with numerous projects, clients, and new ventures that blogging has fallen behind. Also, as I have stated, I am going back to the practice of blogging on a more frequent basis. From time to time I go to Google and just enter various words and throw photography into the mix. I am kind of like Rob Dyrdek, when he bings his words on Ridiculousness. I will not for the life of me read any articles on Digital Photography School. In fact, if you are planning to google that right after reading this, or copy and pasted that from this piece, your wasting your time. Trust me, NOTHING good is on that site. When I did read it a few times, many many many years ago, 90% of what I read was incorrect and written by people that didnt know what they are talking about. The same can be applied for Ken Rockwell's blog. He likes to "discuss" cameras. Ken Rockwell likes to tell people people what they should buy. I do not think I have ever seen any of his photography. I certainly have not seen him in any publication that I have read. He made this post about Professional Photography, which I think is a mere rant, joke, an intimate look about how he has NO idea where the photography industry is. I will agree with him that photography can be low paying, but that is when you are starting out, have no idea what you are doing, or no idea how to be a professional photographer. Being a professional means that your entire income is derived from the work that is done. What he does not discuss is having your own studio, building a business, or how to run a business. Instead, his article is geared towards, this is how you do it, but there is nothing in it really. As far as I am concerned, he is unaware of what it means to be a professional. I say that because as a camera hobbyist, he knows how to read reviews and then post them on his blog, knowing that he has a following after many years of spouting Nikon this or that.

UPDATE - - -FroKnowsPhoto this guy is funny and hits the nail on the head about Ken Rockwell. Watch his video. Bit long, but insightful.

If you want to be a professional photographer, shoot a lot, find your niche, build your portfolio, solicit your work, build up a client base, generate invoices, shoot, retouch, and repeat. There are fancy things you can do to become a professional. Once you get to the right level, you'll figure it out. The moral of the story is, make photographs. If you love it, live it, breath it, enjoy it.

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Tattoos and Photographers by jeffrey byrnes

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I have tattoos and so do a lot of people. I have met quite a few people that have tattoos. A lot of my friends do. Jason, shown below, he does too. He came into the studio a few months back and I did a few portraits of him then, when his chest piece was "under construction." Since then, it has been completed. Tattoos, like clothing, are worn as an accessory. They, like a scarf, specific style of hat, or type of shoes, become an element of style, which define who we are. On Friday night as the girl who took my order slid my debit card, (has my business name with the word photography in it) asks if I am into photography. Realizing that she was making small talk, borderline flirting, based on how she acted next, I simply lifted my right hand up, exposing my wrist, where I have a small camera tattoo. A very simple vector based outline, enough to show people, "yes, I am into photography, I live it every day of my life." I chose this location, because like some people who wear their heart on their sleeves, I wear my occupation on mine. Ever visible is the lifestyle that I live, the job, the passion, the obsession, that is my life, photography.

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JASON DYPTIC

 

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Cape Cod: Photography by jeffrey byrnes

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For the past three years, Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer for Sue and I. This past weekend was not the same as the preceding years. The weather as sub-par and made for a mediocre trip. Mediocre isn't the correct word that I would like to use, but it is the only way I can quickly describe our trip. The last two years it has always been 10-20 degrees warmer. Enough that I would trudge my way into the still cold waters of the Atlantic. On the ocean side, the water temp is still relatively cold. It was my own ritual within our growing tradition. This year I did not swim with the sharks, befriend the seals, or test the waters of the Atlantic. Instead, I read. Reading is one my favorite things to do on the Cape, (sounds like a dating profile list of things to pass the time but it is true) aside from make photographs of the landscape, towns, beaches, people. Reading on the beach is one of the only places I can get into a good book un-interrupted. I read a lot for my business, business interests, blogs, etc when I am working, but with all the technological interruptions, emails, texts, phone calls, it gets hard to focus. With the summer heat, the light wind flapping sounds of the umbrella, the sounds of the passing tides, pages turn quickly as the stories come to life. Provincetown, MA 2014

 

Even though this weekend went by quickly, I was still able to find peace. My phone stays off. Interruptions come in the form of children running by, breaking for lunch, or taking a stroll a mile out into the bay at the peak of low tide. I took a walk on Saturday when the sun came out. I left my book behind to get a tan while I strolled down the bayside's coast. I had one agenda, make some photographs. I did just that. When the mind is free of burdens, stressors, work, it is free to think freely and explore. As a creative person, this means that my mind goes to ideas with the creative gears turning. I have been working on article for a photography blog/publication that I firmly believe can be an eye opener for some. My walk was a moment of clarity. As I returned to where Sue was sitting a thought came to mind. It was a simple idea that turned into a two paragraph spread for the article.

As the summer progresses by, each month, June, July, August, are all different. The summer heat of July is more intense than June or August. The daylight, evening sunsets of each month bring their own hue and saturation as the temperature influences the colors of the fading days. As a photographer, I am fortunate enough to be able to observe these changes so closely. Memorial Day weekend is the start of these awesome changes. I look forward to each month at the cape, observing and capturing these changes. For me, Cape Cod is in my DNA. As a child, my family vacationed on the outer cape. I know without a down I ingested enough sand to have had a few grains bond to my DNA on a molecular level, making the cape a part of who I am. While I am expanding and adding locations to my passport and travel itinerary, I still feel the cape will always be on of my favorite places to go back to until my life is over. It sounds sad saying it that way, but when a place is a part of who you are, you cant help feeling that it will be with you until you are no more.

Here are a few photos I made this past weekend.

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Lifestyle Photography: Boston by jeffrey byrnes

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I am heading to Cape Cod for the long weekend. Before I do, I want to share a few new photographs I made. Have a great long weekend! Stay safe.

 

This first photograph was shot for the silhouette, but in post, I played around with some new light leak actions I am working on. Fun stuff.

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I love photographing people. Especially doing head shots. I've been playing with light and a specific backdrop I have in studio. #notjustablackbackground

 

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Recently I did head shots for a child actor who needed to update his comp cards.

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Fitness and Lifestyle Photography by jeffrey byrnes

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Fitness and Lifestyle photography are two avenues that I do not have much experience in. In fact, I will be the first to say that while I develop my portfolio and have been adding fitness and lifestyle work, I am seeing challenges that I have yet to encounter. Fitness photography is beyond a niche, it is a lifestyle in of itself. They always say, (I am not sure who "they are", but they do say) know your subject matter. Having spent years in a gym still isn't enough for me to know the subject of fitness. Working with a fit model is still not enough to get the images that I am looking to produce. Studying, reviewing, and shooting has been great, but I am seeing that I am kind of at a wall. For me, this is encouraging. It means that I am aware of my restrictions and am willing to surpass them to get the work that I want. From what I have seen, most fitness and lifestyle photographers specialize in those areas. They know their subject matter, posing, and lighting through and throughout.

Now, you must be wondering, what is the point of explaining all this? Well, it is very simple. I am not perfect. As a professional it is important that I am transparent. Future clients want to see that I am willing to take on new projects and new ideas. Being able to admit that something is not your strongest means you recognize you see the weakest points and will take them and make them your strong points. That is exactly what I am doing. When I spend hours searching photographs, shoots, ideas, inspiration, I am always impressed with fitness and lifestyle photography. Especially lifestyle. When you can produce a shoot that elicits a connection, a visible emotion with a brand, you're directing people in a way that requires a lot of talent and energy. I have a profound respect for the photographers that are capable of this.

Below are a few photographs from two recents shoots. One in studio and one in Boston.

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Real Estate Photography: Yea, I shoot that. by jeffrey byrnes

For a number of years now I have been shooting interiors and exteriors. Whether it is for a client or because I am fascinated with the architecture or the design of a building/home, I find that it is a subject matter that I quite enjoy. Often times I have a client that will request portraits of their staff as well as have photographs made of their facility, office space, work space, or just elements of their building. Shoots like that are always a hoot. Additionally, I shoot for a few real estate agents/brokers. I have been able to get into some pretty nice homes and capture some great images of living spaces.

Here are two links: Interior photography Exterior Photography

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World Autism Day: Portraits of Autism by jeffrey byrnes

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I have made a few posts in the last few years about my brother who has Autism. Today is World Autism day. April is Autism Awareness Month. Today I was visiting him like I do a few times a week. I wanted to make some portraits of him that show a bit more of who he is as a little person.

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"My name is Johnny. I can not tell you that I have autism, as I can not define what autism is. I was born on December 1, 2000. I was premature, underweight, and almost died due to being so underweight. I was airlifted to Boston after being delivered via emergency c-section. After 47 days in the hospital I was allowed to go home. The first year of my life I developed fine. I was like any average child. Close to being a year old I started to have seizures and mild strokes. During those moments my family was unaware that I was changing. My brain had sustained damage during the first few months of life in side my mother. It was later discovered that I may have had a massive stroke while developing in my mothers womb. The next few years of my life were filled with tremendous set backs. I have been developmentally delayed. My family argued constantly about what to do, what we should do, what we shouldnt do, or how we should and do things. I have an amazing older brother whom I look up to. I have nick-named him Yellow Bee. He gives me high fives and that makes me happy. When I was younger, about 4-5 years old he stood me up and gave me a light push on my back. Those were my first independent steps. He encouraged me and believe in me that I could walk, when others did not. He saw in me a strength and wanted me to work for it. My mother has always been reluctant to let me take those steps. She is scared. Scared that I may fall and get hurt. Which came true two years ago while at school. I was left to walk in front of the class, by myself in a walker for those who can not hold their balance so well. The teacher was supposed to be next to me the entire time. She was behind the class. The wheel got stuck and I fell of the curb. I broke my wrist, as it was strapped into the device. My face hit the ground and I broke my nose. My family, my brother especially was so upset, mad, and very scared for me. He is always worrying about me. You can see that my nose has been broken due to how I hit the ground. It makes me sad. I like school, basketball, going for a ride in my brothers truck. I have a hard time eating food. I hear everything that is said to me. I try talking to people, but sometimes that just dont seem to understand what I am saying. I have a hard time getting words to form the way they do, the way they talk to me."

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Taking care of someone with autism has challenges but it comes with an advantage. It give me a different perspective on the world. I constantly try to imagine the world through his eyes. My brother and I have an unspoke language. When we make eye contact at times, we understand each other. It is like a visual telepathic conversation that we engage in. When we make eye contact, it is like we are speaking, saying things to each other. It is hard to explain, but never-the-less, it is one way that we talk to each other. As a photographer, I am by nature an observer. I watch. I understand through watching. I understand by observing. I have been observing him for years, trying to discern what he is doing, why he is doing, what is life for him. The conclusion, due to the language barrier, the speech impairment, I may never know. The idea of not knowing is quite painful, as I want to ask him questions, such as, what are you thinking? why are you doing that?  and receive an answer. Some questions can be answered by spending time with him, but honestly, it is hard. Understanding his words has taken years of development on both our parts. My mother can understand him much better than I can because she has such a fearless presence with raising him. My mother has devoted her life to raising him without conviction, doing her best to give him life, a place to live, and making sure he has what he needs and wants. Autism by some peoples standards might be a bullshit disorder, disease, label, but the truth is, autism is another characteristic that make my brother as different as the next person. Autism is, who my brother is and what he lives his life with. I am proud of my brother for being as much of a influence to me as I am to him. If you have someone in your life or know someone with autism, try and envision the world through their lives, you might be surprised what you learn.

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GoPro Hero 3+: Photography by jeffrey byrnes

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I bought a Gopro Hero 3+ Black  a few weeks ago. Let me say, as a camera I love it. Its small. It can be discrete, but most importantly, it is a tool that is purely for intuitive play. I have yet to figure out the wifi, but I am still impressed. Here are a few stills I made when I was in New York City (not my photography, but an awesome site) last week. I took a day to travel down with friend and Creative Economy Coordinator for the City of Holyoke, Jeff Bianchine. We were there to view the exhibition and work of Jerome Liebling at the Steve Kasher Gallery.  Equally it gave us our first chance to see the famous Highline. I have been anxious to see that for some time now. Even more equally, I am excited to shoot there. (fashion, some day)

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Food Photography: Featured on The Food Network by jeffrey byrnes

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It occurred to me sometime between adding the photographs to my website and right now, nearly a week later, that in addition to hosting the photographs for my site, I should put them on the blog. Total space cadet move right there. After deciding to post them, I had another flatulent brain moment, "dummy, why don't you see if you posted the film from last year, too? Well. Here I am. Posting both the photographs and the film. WTF am I talking about? Well, a quick note. Last April I filmed "Deposit." (Below) "Deposit" was not intended to be a film. I have been working on a feature doc for the last year and some change. I made a point to coordinate with the dude in charge of "Deposit" A Pop Up Restaurant in Holyoke, MA. For two nights. Two singular nights combined to form a partial weekend, a Friday and a Saturday at the beginning of April 2013, "Deposit" was a dinning experience that fused art and food. Western Mass does not have such a venue in which food and art are wedded together like a hipster boiler maker, a lethal drink my friend Rory has been concocting. Truth. Western Mass has some places where you can get a large slice of pizza, some re-heated burritos, a few fine meals, and occasionally something semi creative. Overall, this area lacks what was bestowed upon us.

Two Chefs, Jeremy Kean and Philip Kruta, Co-Owners and Founders of Whisk, (pop up restaurant and awesomeness) and their team, artfully and skillfully produced what was nothing short of incredible. During the two nights, people such as foodies, artists, hipsters, the politicians, the creatives, the business owners, the friends of friends, all sat and partook in an experience of art and dinning. Each guest was an element of the final product. With or without knowledge, they were part of a social practice of dinning as art. While the literal form of art, paintings by The Banner Queen, Amy Johnquest and another Chap, name escapes me at the moment, hung in the vast openness of a former bank/ Tables fill the void of what used to be lines of pre-economic melt down Bank of America cogs. The space really is a diamond in the rough. A restaurant belongs there. So if on the off chance you are the new owner of the building, do your best to fill it with a restaurant.

As I said, I was there to film the event. I was there to capture the ambiance and produce some images and video for my film, (untitled and undiscussed at the moment.) Half way through the first night, it dawned on me that what I was capturing was a lot larger than my first thought. It needed to be its own film. So, I told Brendan. The genius behind the idea of bringing a Pop Up Restaurant to Holyoke. He agreed. The film was born. I shot stills and video the first night. Stills and video the second night and conducted interviews as well. It took me a bit of time editing it together as I am no Ken Burns, though I did meet him and hand him one of my photographs a short time prior to "Deposit."

What you will see is a film that captures the splendor that was "Deposit."

Moving forward a few months. I received an email in late 2013. It was a request for the photo of Jeremy (seen below) to be used on The Food Network's show "Guy's Grocery Games." Of course Jeremy can use the photo! The show was to air on January 19th. I am happy to report that Jeremy won. It was so fun to watch Jeremy compete and win. I kept saying, "I know him, I know him! He just served us!" Well, maybe not so jovially, but he did just serve us a few weeks prior to the start of the show. As I said, these dudes have a pop up restaurant. Located in the North End of Boston, they are serving something that not even Whitey Bulger could whack. If you are in Boston, I suggest you look them up, you wont be let down with dissapointments...!

And yes, those are safety "deposit" boxes in the lower safe of the bank.. Awesome, I know right??? Well it was fitting as much as it was metaphorical.

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This was among what was served at "Deposit."

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Business Portraits: Less than 15 minutes by jeffrey byrnes

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I have read countless articles and blog posts about those super famous, super high end photographers that shoot executives, CEO's, Celebrities, and the likes of famous and ultra busy professionals. While I am not shooting Fortune 500 CEO's yet, everyone I photograph is as equally important.  

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This afternoon I stepped out of the studio and went to the rest room for a hot 20 seconds. I came back and found I had a missed call. Before I had a chance to call back, I received a text. I thought it was life or death. "Call me ASAP," a phrase that usually means someone needs something in a hurry. So I did. It was Bob, my assistant and second shooter for some work. His day job is shlepping paint on walls of homes and other buildings. The owner of the company, a serial entrepreneur, need some new head shots for some PR and Marketing purposes. I had a miss communication in my schedule and told Bob I only had a specific time I could fit him in today. They were set to arrive at 4 pm. Will, CEO, Owner, Important person, had a 5pm meeting or something and needed to drive to the location from the studio. I knew I would have a mere few minutes to capture him.

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After realizing I fahcked up my schedule, glitch with cell phone calendar, I didnt have to worry about setting up the studio, lighting for head shots, while he was there. I pre set the studio with two different setups. Both set ups required two very different lighting set ups. I whipped that together in a jiff and was ready for them to arrive. Will was in studio for about 10 minutes. It took him longer to adjust his wardrobe than it did to make the photographs. Within an hour of the shoot, the images were processed, retouched, and in the dropbox folder. I may not be shooting the worlds most important people at the moment, but everyone I shoot for is treated as if they are the most important person whom has walked through my door, or sat in front of my camera.

 

Dance Photography: In Studio by jeffrey byrnes

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Last weekend I shot some dance in the studio. The moment Sarah arrived I stressed that I did not want to see anything technically perfect. There is a time and place for perfection, this shoot was not one of those moments. One of the most important things for a dancer is to be just that, perfect, well nearly perfect. The pose, the movement, the right position within the dance, etc. Perfection or nearly perfect can make or break a performance. With this shoot, I wanted to convey a sense of portraiture, a sense of fashion, throw in some personality and lights, and we have a shoot. I like shooting dance, like I do fashion. The more I shoot, the happier I am.

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The following set of photos are an homage, kind of an inspiration to Edgar Degas. Degas is known for his paintings, be he also made photographs of dancers. His work is both beautiful and iconic. I have had the luxury of seeing some Dagas paintings in real life. Yup. I stood right there looking at his brush strokes. Breath taking, for sure....

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Photography: The Silhouette of Industry by jeffrey byrnes

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The Silhouette of Industry Those who know me best, or at least know my work by sight, can describe my images well. Often times people get confused and think my first choice of subject matter is abandoned buildings and cityscapes. This is entirely incorrect as my interests in capturing cities, both with people and without is to document what fascinates me. The objects left behind from the era of industry are relics. A building that once used to house factory workers is as equally interesting as the mill building itself. It is likely that I will never figure out what compels me to study them. I am in no way driven to study the workings and history of the era of industry. I am however fascinated at its existence. It sounds odd to say that I am not interested in the history, yet I have extensively photographed one of the greatest contributions to the era of Industry, the Queen of Industrial Cities, Holyoke.

I grew up across the river. I grew up hearing stories of what Holyoke used to be. Today, I am part of conversations of what Holyoke is going to be. A city that was founded on innovation and creativity is in a liminal stage. I often say that we are so far from Industrialism that the labeling of a "post-industrial" city should be forgotten. Cities that once relied on manufacturing and the production of goods no longer do. To move forward is to embrace the past and understand ones roots, but look beyond the horizon.

I made this photograph in passing today. I have shot this same image dozens of times over. Today it seemed fitting though. I have been engaging in conversations recently that have discussed the fabric of the cities beginning. While it is true that I do not read much about the history of industrialism, never-the-less I am at times so immersed in it. For me, the roads, buildings, and images that I construct are all based on vision. Both the literal sight of the object as well as the mental capacity to visualize what is no longer there. Countless times I have stood facing an object, door, room, machine, and section of a mill building just wondering. Wondering what it was like to be in that environment as it was thriving, living, breathing the intended life it was meant to live.

Many buildings stand today. Problematic for the city. Eye sores for the community. Un-answerable questions exist for the municipality that aspires to have the city flourish with life life once again. The challenges that face Holyoke are uniquely different than the neighboring once, former, post-industrial city. Other cities have begun to answer their questions and are on a fast track to a new life, some, some have long days ahead of them.

2014: New Photography, New Beginnings by jeffrey byrnes

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Stowe Vermont Greetings! Welcome to a new year! This is the first post of the new year and the first post in a very long time. I closed out 2013 working on some great projects, enduring a major catastrophe for my business, details to come shortly, and said good bye to great year of new friends and new business. I started the year off in Vermont. What a trip. See the above panorama of Stowe Vermont and Mount Mansfield.

I took a vacation to start the new year properly. There comes a time when we all need to take time to escape. Well, after a long and trying few months, I hit the wall and needed to recharge for the new year. In 2014 I have some great things planned. Some great ideas and some incredibly new work.

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Twice in 2013 I flew in a helicopter to make some photographs. The sky is the limit for 2014. I am anxious to travel and fly again. Hopefully very soon I will be off to another awesome destination.

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Canon Vs. Canon: Lets talk tech... by jeffrey byrnes

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So I bought a new camera today and I am going to put a no bullshit post together to discuss a few things. I did a side by side comparison of a Canon 7d and a Canon 5d Mark II in studio. I also did a few shots with the camera during an art exhibition and a  quick walk around the studio. I am going discuss Depth of Field, (not bokeh) High ISO vs. Low ISO on the Canon 5d Mark II, and of course, what the cropped sensor vs full frame sensor looks like. I am going to start with Depth of Field. This is to educate you budding photographers. Depth of Field refers to the blurry background. Bokeh is a generic word that has no direct correlation to photography. It is not a photography term. It is a word someone, somewhere decided to place meaning to the shallow depth of field that a lens can provide. The smaller the F stop, F1.2, F 1.4, F 1.8, F 3.2, F 4,  the shallow the depth, the more blurr the background will have. Everyone loves a great depth of field. But, bokeh is just that, a generic effect that people think can be applied, when such is not the case. There are reasons why companies charge you 1, 2, and 3 grand for a lens, because it makes your photos looks amazing. That is so long as you know what you are doing with the lens. See the photos below.

depth_field_vs_high_ISO_lowresThis photograph is a comparison of the Low ISO, or standard ISO of 100 (TOP) of the High ISO of 6400 (BOTTOM). The top image was shot at F3.2 and an ISO of 100. Below was shot using an F stop of 10 and a shutter speed of around 500, ISO 6400. Now, I can tell you that an ISO at 6400, shutter speed of 500 and F 10, not necessary, but to do a comparison, very much needed. With a good, strong, proper light source, fadding sunset to the right, you will not see massive chunks of grain and digital noise. Why is that you say? WHY do both photos look so similar? Well, that is very clear. It was shot on a Canon 5d Mark II. The processor, Full Frame sensor, makes this camera a beast!!!

The only difference between the top and bottom photo are, Depth of Field. Look closely. A small number is a bigger opening in the lens, thus, allowing more light in, but also, it creates that incredible gradated blur. See below.

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This photograph was made at ISO 100, F3.2 shutter speed of 160th a second. Pretty nice how it shifts to blur right?  Check out the photo below.

6400_ISO_lowresThis photo was made using ISO 6400, F 10, shutter speed around 500. The bigger the number, the smaller the number, the less blur that is resulted. Its not called anti-bokeh... Its just less depth of field..

The reason I am so against this terminology is that it is mis-informative and does not provide a clear understanding of what is happening. Now, with the iPhone and this new Nokia Lumia 1020 piece of junk that claims to have this incredible focus and 41 mega pixels, which is 38 more than a cell phone needs, people are applying filters and such that mimic what a professional camera can do. Depth of Field is a real term, with an entire science behind it. Bokeh is a philosophy that has Asian roots, not a term that denotes a photographic process. One could argue that is not true, since someone applied that to photography, but one would be incorrect.

_MG_8540_lowresThat is pretty, ain't it? Chicks dig flowers. Photograph flowers and chicks will dig ya. (Not really)

Lets talk about the difference between a full frame sensored camera and a cropped sensored camera. Why do you need a camera that costs $2500.00 vs a camera that costs $500.00? Here is why. Because you do. Well, more explanation is warranted. A full frame sensor is better. Better performance, less noise, less grain, large images closer to what a 35mm negative would produce. Over all, they are better, faster, and produce higher quality images. No lie. It makes all the difference in the world.

Take a gander at the following image of two photos.

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Both photographs were shot in studio, both were shot using a 70-200 mm f2.8 with a sexy Profoto light. What are the differences? Well, look at the photo on the left. You can see Bob's entire body on the stool, where as the image on the right, you can not. Why is that? Well, that is what a cropped sensor does. Both photographs were made standing on the same crack on the floor board. While the image to the right is technically better because all the junk, stool, softbox, and legs from the gobo are out of the way, it is a great way to show the comparison of full frame vs. cropped, and, if you take notice, the cropped (right) is a bit smaller in general.

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Again, photograph flowers. Chicks will dig ya. (no, they really really won't.)

So, what is the point of this article? Stop using the word Bokeh, and if you want to be a professional photographer, making professional images invest in the proper equipment. If you are a hobbyist with expensive camera gear, with zero clue as to what you are doing, perhaps a photography course would broaden your minds. I kid, I kid. Really I do. If you love making photographs, love using your camera, explore. Explore what the camera can do, what it is capable of, what its limitations are, but most importantly, explore what your limitations are, and go beyond them. When I picked up my first digital camera, I had no idea how to use it. I had a vast working knowledge of photography using film, paper, and chemicals. Since then, I have devoted my entire life to learning. Learning how to produce photographs.

(I hope you have enjoyed my comedic cynicism. Toodels)

 

 

 

Fashion Photography: Lights, Cameras, Hats, Hats? by jeffrey byrnes

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Everybody looks great in a hat. I personally spend a bit of time each season trying to find the right hat that defines who I am. Not everyone looks great in the same stye hat. I know for a fact I couldnt pull off one of those irish hats, you know the one you see EVERYONE wearing around St. Patricks Day.. I can rock a hat similar to Indiana Jones. Here are a few shots with some hats.

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