Thursday, September 29, 2016

11 Ways To Lose At Street Photography

Well, what did you expect after last year's 10 Ways To Lose At Street Photography? Now, to be clear- the winners at the Lens Culture Street Photography Awards are all deservedly grand- truly le creme de la creme! Seriously, great stuff there- and sorry, no, I do not have an inflated sense of my own self worth. I am not Trump, I do not think myself the be all and end all... "Trust me!" And many have been the times I've written just how utterly embarrassed I am to even be seen camera in hand while in the presence of truly great photography! 

On the other hand... to say that not one of these is even worthy of one of a hundred "Honorable Mentions," dang- yeah, I do have a problem with that. Not one!? One!?!?

Again, I applaud the winners- but all these fuckers ain't exactly rejects...

Photo: © S. Banos

Photo: © S. Banos

Photo: © S. Banos

Photo: © S. Banos

Photo: © S. Banos

Photo: © S. Banos

Photo: © S. Banos

Photo: © S. Banos


Photo: © S. Banos

Now, the above ten were grouped together under the general theme of "Taking or Posing for Photos," and I guess it didn't help that one of the winning portfolios was on... people taking photos. And you can jump up and down that that was indeed the better group of photos- and I still won't argue with ya! But even if you chuck all these out baby, bath water and all- c'mon, ya honestly gonna tell me that even this last one (submitted separately as a single) isn't worth an Honorable? Goddamn, really, shit, c'mon...

Photo: © S. Banos

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Trent Davis Bailey- The North Fork

Photo: Trent Davis Bailey

Trent Davis Bailey sure knows his light, his photographs revel and rejoice in its very existence and beauty. Whether it's light that penetrates and reveals every wondrous natural detail, or the subdued and nuanced light of partial shadows and reflections. His prints of The North Fork are sensual, luscious presentations.  (currently at The Robert Koch Gallery)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Nope, No Questions- Not a One...

                   Well... except for- how does any sane, rational person ignore those 176 blatant warning signs ?


Thursday, September 15, 2016


Photo: © S. Banos

I love this portrait. And it came out fairly well despite two major errors, one more technical which can be filed under the "new camera, new technology excuse," the other under... "I should have known better." 

I'd often forget to focus whenever I tried using a rangefinder, and since the GR doesn't even look or feel like a "real" camera, I sometimes start shooting away and... neglect to reset exposure settings! I could set it to Program, but this doesn't happen that often, and I don't like relinquishing complete control. Shot @ ISO 800 and 1/400 f3.5- I coulda, shoulda had a technically better quality shot at ISO 400, a lower shutter speed and higher aperture. But... I just plain forgot to adjust settings- without that separate shutter speed dial out in plain sight acting as reminder, I'm gonna continue to commit that oversight from time to time...

My second error is inexcusable; I sold this picture short, and I sold my subject short- even as I was in the act of taking it. For some reason (not the greatest light, composition, whatever...), I got it to mind that ultimately, it was just somehow doomed to end up an "almost." Chimping confirmed it... close, but no cigar.

When I opened it at home on the monitor however, I finally got to see her face, really see it, and goddamn, had I ever sold her short! Fortunately (for some blessed reason), she sure didn't do me likewise. She gave everything she had- gave it all up to a complete stranger, and despite my dumb ass attitude and absent minded self sabotage, GR was still competent enough to salvage the day... I didn't capture that serene like display of dignity and humility, defiance and vulnerability- she willed it.

Bottomline: If ya fail, ya fail. But never, ever, sell yourself, your photo, and especially your subject, short- you owe all of them that much.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Result:  The Afghans would have told the Taliban to go fuck themselves.


Result:  The WTC would still be standing (PS- we got them out anyway- after the fact).


Imagine:  If we had prevented a numbskull idiot of a President from invading a country who he himself would later admit had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11...

Result: We'd be a coupla trillions of dollars richer:- able to provide free universal health care, free tuition for higher education, raise the minimum wage, improve and build low and moderate income housing, upgrade our crumbling infrastructure (oh, and hundreds of thousands of completely innocent Iraqi men, women and children would still be alive)... 
Did I mention- there would be no... ISIS?

He would have started another war somewhere else (honestly, what was I thinking)!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Ownin' It!

Photo: © S. Banos

Went through the entire Labor Day weekend without one goddang photo to show for it. And there I was going for coffee on work a day Tuesday- when I spotted her from across the street, ran halfway back down the block, crossed and then positioned myself so we would cross paths. And I must say, my opinion has gone through various levels of consideration since first stopping dead in my tracks (however briefly) upon first viewing...

The United States may be the second highest in obesity rates (I believe Mexico has the highest percentage), but we're still #1 when it comes to sheer mass, size and volume. And our attitude concerning it is completely schizophrenic. On one side we proclaim and emphasize the plethora of life threatening dangers it presents to our health, both long and short term. On the other side... we are actively encouraged to love and be proud of our bodies- no matter how damn big they get! Whatever the TV, radio show or self help book- it seems they all take turns promoting both sides, in equal manner. And no one wants to be seen as bad mouthing either side, since you're made to seem as if you're willingly championing the very shortening of people's lives- or... you're just a plain out and out hater!

I remember as recently as the early seventies, looking at photos of old time circus freaks and wondering how on earth anyone could ever possibly reach that size. And now, on any given day, on any given block in any small town, large city or patch of rural glen in the US of A, you will see obesity the size of which makes those old time record holders of yore look like rank amateur wannabes. It really has been one incredible, whirlwind transformation of sheer size and audacity!

Nevertheless, upon looking at this photo- I can't help but look at her with a certain sense of jealous wonder and admiration. She's well beyond working it, she already owns it- like yesterday! Girl don't give a fuck. In her mind, she's curvaceous, proud and goddamn beautiful as could possibly be... and she don't give a fuck! Like the Republicans under W stated, "We create our own reality." And giving credit where credit is due, from the very tips of her pink finger nails to the bright blue crease of her bikini bottom- she is front, right and center of hers!

Wish I had half the confidence and security. Me, I make sure to wear a shirt if I go to the beach (should I ever go to one).

Monday, September 5, 2016


Photo: © S. Banos

So there I was very purposely sitting in this outta the way, dive of a bar minding my own, when this gorgeous woman approaches, sits down besides me, gently leans over and whispers, "So how's all that color coming along?" "Excuse me," I replied. "You're shooting color for the first time in forty years- do you think a thing like that stays a secret around here?"

OK, OK... no woman, no bar, and no one ever asked. Caught a few film noirs recently and... well, ya know. But since ya asked, just thought I'd update- photographically, this year has also been an outlier, but in a good wayAnd it's all due to a little GR with a littler 28mm(e) lens that renders all these life like colors and details; who knew? But most of my initial positive impressions have indeed remained

Shooting in non SLR mode wouldn't be anything grand in and of itself, except that that has allowed me to get shots that I would have never gotten otherwise. Being smaller, quieter and less ostentatious, the GR has often allowed me to get closer to the subject, as well as allowed a different perspective. Even though it covers less area, I find that the 28mm "opens up" the perspective a bit, allows a viewpoint that is both WA and more "normal" at the same time- it doesn't always scream Extreme Wide Angle as the 20mm does. Do I miss some shots with it? Sure- just like I'd miss some without it. And color with a 20mm can be a little too much, more so than with B&W.

Photo: © S. Banos

So, is this the end of B&W, the end of analog, the end of...  Not really, I still take out the old analogs when needed- but yeah, the everyday go-to position has gone to the GR. You really can't beat the ease (shooting and post), portability- and frankly, after 40 yrs, the whole color thing is kinda cool. And... I already got enough B&W files to last me well past my lifetime.

"Can you see yourself completely digital in the future, color and B&W," she asked. Maybe, in five or so years when they finally make a decent EVF for daylight viewing. But no hurries, I'm pretty happy the way things are (hope the next gen GR has a tilting LCD)- "Wanna 'nother drink?"

Thursday, September 1, 2016

It's All In B&W

Not many times I've said, "Look at those gorgeous B&W files!" Truth be told, I haven't seen a helluva lot in print form- how they should be judged in all fairness (or any image in any medium for that matter). But even these by Tomasz Tomaszewski stuck out in all their "miniature" jpg glory- and I guess the fact that they are beautifully composed sure doesn't hurt none. I could look at that picture with the pig every day for the rest of my life, and never cease to wonder in amazement...

Photo: © S. Banos

Anyway... nowhere, anywhere near that strata, this is my first digital B&W conversion that I can look upon with some measure of pride. Fact is, I would have left it well enough alone in color, save for the fact that the guy walking on the far left had a bright, day-glo green colored T-shirt that diverted all eyes from the foreground subject- not good. So I was forced to convert, and... not bad, not bad at all.*

Again, not planning on making a habit of it- this has been the one and only B&W conversion out of close to 100 color keepers thus far this year, but it's just plain interesting to note that sometimes (sometimes), a photo just won't be denied. 
*Blogger muddles contrast.