My readers asked about my Farmers’ Market photographs from international locations, so I looked up a few to share with you. I enjoy seeing the locals going about their everyday lives as well as the beauty of the food on display. Here are a few scenes from Vietnam and Thailand, shot in 2008.
Here is a scene from an ancient rural village, Hoi An, Vietnam.
In Bangkok, Thailand, vendors display their wares on boats in the canals.
Last Saturday I discovered the Farmers’ Market in Union Square, New York City. As my family walked ahead of me, I lingered, taking photos. For me, it was a feast for the eyes, and the highlight of my day.
I love to photograph farmers’ markets in cities all over the world — from Hoi An, Vietnam to Yichang, China. Who knew that our own mega metropolis New York would present itself with such artistry?
For the New Yorkers buying this week’s fresh vegetables and flowers, Union Square on Saturday morning was a pleasurable outdoor grocery shopping experience. For me it was even more.
The Greek Islands have endured their share of hardship with the recent influx of Syrian refugees. But their beauty and charm has endured through the ages. You never know what you will find as you wander the maze like streets of Mykonos.
You might lose your sense of direction, but come upon a sculptural Greek chapel.
Hopefully, you will find your way to Mom’s favorite jeweler. We have been coming here to Lalaounis since 1973.
Sometimes you just have to respond to a magnificent view by making a stitched panorama with your camera — not just an instant one with your iPhone. I was so inspired after hiking to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica Dome in Rome, and inside St. Peter’s under the central dome.
Here are some best practices for shooting for a successful panorama.
If practical, use a tripod and make sure your camera is level. Realistically, you aren’t going to hike all day in the summer heat with a tripod in one hand, so if you don’t have a tripod handy, just do your best to hold the camera level as you shoot a series of images from left to right or low to high. Some locations don’t allow tripods — such as St. Peter’s (and most Major League baseball and football stadiums in the U.S.).
With your camera set to Program, Aperture Preferred Mode or Shutter Preferred Mode, determine your best average exposure setting. Especially outside, looking in one direction may be brighter than another, but you are going to need to choose one exposure setting for your camera, and then set it on Manual.When I shot these panoramas in Rome, I had a 24/70 lens on my camera, so I used the zoom level of 24mm and the aperture of f/2.8. That aperture is wide open, but I knew the whole scene would be in focus, so it worked. I chose an ISO level and shutter speed that worked (fast enough to eliminate camera shake blur), and set the camera on Manual, so these values would not change as I pointed the camera in different directions along my axis.
I also reduced the variables by making sure that my focus was constant (manual/turn off auto), and white balance was set manually, not auto. One last variable to eliminate: don’t use a circular polarizer filter, as this will change the color of your sky.
Now you are ready to shoot. Overlap each frame by at least one third. This way, Photoshop will have an easy time stitching the frames together and eliminating lens distortion.
Back at home, open all your files in the series in Photoshop and run the Panorama action. Crop and resize your finished file. You will be rewarded with a large file, that might enjoy printing as large as possible at a lab. My panorama of St. Peter’s Dome would make a print 18″ wide by 38″ tall with an ideal resolution of 300 dpi. That’s a powerful print!Interested in buying these or other images from Italy? Visit the Italy gallery on my website.
Who enjoys the hydrangeas the most? Is it the deer? The bees? Me? The good news is that the bees and I can share the love and leave the plant for each other.
The blue hydrangea is a favorite snack for the deer. The bad news: the deer have stripped my garden and only left one bush with beautiful blossoms for me to enjoy.
These two photographs are also good examples of different ways to process an image. In the white one, I was going for a clean and crisp look; for the blue one, I choose a creamy, more painterly look. I choose an approach based on the strong elements of the photo.
Vineyards are hot these days. Just ask my family members who have sought them out from Napa to New York. Overseas, we’ve made the historic vineyards of France and Italy to wine country in magical New Zealand special destinations.
There is a beautiful region near Nelson, New Zealand that features one vineyard after another. My daughter Erin and I explored and tasted wines there in December 2014. This photograph is taken on a summer afternoon near the Tasman Sea on the northern coast of New Zealand’s South Island. This family-owned vineyard Te Mania Estate made the best Chardonnay I’ve ever tasted. How I wanted to ship a crate of it home! Sauvignon Blanc is the variety most prevalent in the region, but the Kiwis make rieslings (that are not sweet like German rieslings), pinots, cabernets and other varieties.
This print is for sale through my website, and it’s also this week’s donation. My daughter Caitlin is a junior board member of Student Sponsor Partners of New York City, a non-profit that pairs high achieving adults to become long-term mentors to city school children. (Caitlin and her husband are mentors to two children.) A 20″ wide print of this vineyard will help to raise funds for the program.
Even during this hot and dry summer, the well tended garden offers us the delicate colors of a summer palette. This potted purple lavender and pink climbing mandevilla delight our eyes, while the rainbow of color in the sunlit background shines even brighter.
Selective focus draws our eyes to the delicate flowers in sharp focus the foreground. The blurred background plays its supporting role, as the distant flowers appear as booked, or fuzzy spots of color. If you would like to achieve this effect in your photography, use a small aperture, such as f/16. (The exact setting you choose will vary with the lens choice, distance from your subject and the depth of focus the scene requires.)
Let’s keep our gardens watered and fresh this month, for we will miss this summer palette come winter.
My friend Sylvia is enjoying a quiet life in Pittsburgh, where she raised two children and spends time with her husband Peter, a talented writer and writing coach, now retired. Sylvia’s creative mind is extraordinary, and she creates beautiful original quilts. I think her talent should be sung from the mountaintop.
I have photographed about a dozen of these imaginative works for Sylvia when she entered several of them in an international competition and exhibit. We took the next step and made her a variety of notecards that featured the quilt photos, and I couldn’t help taking her portrait too. We have been friends for about 36 years.
The photographs of her work give Sylvia comfort, because it is hard for her to think about letting go. She has poured so much of herself into them, it is hard for her to think of selling them. But the time may come for her works to be bought and displayed to a wider audience. Should Sylvia and her quilts part company, she will always have these images.