Transcending Lindy

The Story of Transcending Lindy

I wanted to announce it to you here first… I just learned I’ll be heading off to Venice Biennale in May to photograph one of my favorite choreographers, Lindy Nsingo, who I shot last year in Tokyo. It was an amazing day! Let me tell you story behind this photo, which is my favorite from the series.

Perhaps the whole amazing thing about the whole experience is when Lindy was in the crossing, surrounded by all of these people, we were about to conduct this incredible performance without anyone noticing or stopping to watch. It was as if it never happened.

Earlier in 2014, I was asked by my friend David to photograph Lindy while we were in Tokyo. I had one day to put my idea for the photo together and was inspired by the first video that David showed me of Lindy dancing under a streetlight in the middle of the night. Because Lindy is a dancer, I wanted the photo to be about stillness and the chaos at the same time. I find dancing to be a parallel art form to my own in that I don’t understand the mind of a dancer and vice versa, but I do know we both find stillness in our craft. And since all of us on this planet are, of course, constantly surrounded by chaos, we still need to find stillness in our lives. There is no place with more chaos than the busiest intersection in the world, the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. I chose this specific crossing because I knew it was one of the busiest places in the world, with the most light, action, and humans. So, in essence, my idea was to capture Lindy in stillness while in the middle of human chaos.

Here’s how Lindy described it:

“Working with Trey Ratcliff was completely serendipitous as we happened to be in the same city at the same time and I attended his amazing Google+ talk. Trey set a date and time. We met and looked at the Shibuya Crossing and at the timing of people going in and out. From this moment the adrenaline kicked in and my main focus was to make Trey’s job easy and hold whichever position I found as long as possible so he could have the best chance of getting a great shot. Running out in front of the crowd was exhilarating and I think added to the intensity of the photograph because there was a limited amount of time. I had no idea how the photograph would turn out and I’m so happy with it!”

So, I’m off to Venice in April and May 2015 to attend the biennale, and where I will photograph Lindy again. She’ll be there collaborating on a work with artist Lena Liv, whose pastel drawing of Lindy is below. Can you believe that is a drawing? Lena is so amazing — be sure to check that link above to see more of her work!

Art critic Maura Reilly is preparing the catalogue for the exhibition and is working on a story about the collaboration. My image will be included in those various upcoming publications. It’s going to be awesome!

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Exploring Tokyo Tower

City Shooting Tip

The default compositional style when shooting cities from up high is to do the basic wide-angle landscape orientation. But I’ve been trying more and more to remember to go into portrait mode and zoom in a bit. Like this photo below, for example, was taken in this orientation at at 70mm.

Daily Photo – Exploring Tokyo Tower

The first time I saw this tower in Tokyo I did not like it. I thought it felt a little ugly, or maybe like a cheap version of the Eiffel Tower, but it has really grown on me. Especially at night. I really like the look of its starkness and warm shape against the blueness of the rest of the city.

Exploring Tokyo Tower

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time3
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Lindy

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We have something supa-fresh and awesome coming… we only send out about one per month! Actually, we’ve been kind of lame, and it’s been 2 months, so a big train is comin’ down the tracks!


Daily Photo – Lindy

With the greatest of ease…

Lindy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture8
  • ISO2500
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+1

May in Akihabara

50mm fun

On this day in Akihabara, I decided to mostly use my 50mm to see if I could capture this area in a different way. I tried many different things, but the shot below is one of my favorites. I usually don’t do set-up shots like this, but I just saw that awesome background and told May to stand right there, with her feet planted on those two spots. I got far enough away so that the bokeh was not so blurry as to not make sense. Does that make sense? hehe…

Daily Photo – May in Akihabara

While in Tokyo, four of us went to explore this awesome area of Tokyo together. It was me, Mark Louie, Brian Matiash, and May Fukuyama. Our original plan was to go to one of those crazy Maid Cafes where the girls dress up like anime characters and act totally crazy. But that plan didn't exactly work out — there is a longer story there — we did indeed find a place but the line was 45 minutes and it was filled with these really lonely looking Japanese guys, and it was simply too humiliating to stand in line there with all of them, so we skipped that and went to some confusing place with a vending machine and Brian ordered “raccoon” and I know this is a run-on sentence but that is the kind of day it was… !

May in Akihabara

May in Akihabara

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1600
  • Aperture
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+1.3

Woman getting goodies in Tokyo

Interesting Effect

I know many of you bought my Lightroom Presets from the Stuck In Customs store up there (thanks!) — so you might notice this one is from “Fire of the Chandrian” — and I think it made such a cool effect in the background. Can you see what I mean? Once you see it, the shapes in the bokeh came out in a pretty and surprising way!

Daily Photo – Woman getting goodies in Tokyo

When I was in Tokyo last, there were a group of these traditionally dressed women who were walking around, shopping, laughing, and basically being perfect little Japanese people! They would often stop and get little snacks, which was also awesome. I just like watching them… even the way they purchase and eat snacks is so interesting!

Woman getting goodies in Tokyo

Woman getting goodies in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Man with Umbrella in Tokyo Rain

Setting up my new Mac Pro

I’m super excited about my new Mac, but I had kind of a tough time setting it up! I’ve set up lots of Macs and they are usually super-easy, but I could not get it to recognize my bluetooth trackpad and keyboard! It was so confusing… I finally had to go inside and get my other USB ones to plug them in the get the dang thing set up. I had to turn on and off the bluetooth system a few times in order to get it to recognize my devices. I felt so clueless — although this is a feeling I have quite a bit, so I’m used to it! :)

Daily Photo – Man with Umbrella in Tokyo Rain

This photo is one of my favorites from my street-series in Tokyo. It's so delightfully strange, I think! I felt lucky to get the focus right at f/1.4 with the 50mm when I took it. I had a general idea of exactly how far people need to be when I take these sorts of photos. It's all manual focus — and I generally find that I get much better street photography photos when I am in the manual focus mode.

Man with Umbrella in Tokyo Rain

Man with Umbrella in Tokyo Rain

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Man in Ginza

People Watching

Are you into people watching too? I one time watched an hour long documentary on some billionaire guy. He said his favorite hobby was to go sit in grocery stores and watch people. It wasn’t even his business — he didn’t end up making money from that sort of thing — his career was far removed from the shopping habits of humans — but that always stuck with me… that people watching can be a hobby and there is nothing wrong with it.

Daily Photo – Man in Ginza

I stayed in this area for many hours, watching people. It's so strange (and cool!) just to stay in one general area with no other agenda than just to watch people and occasionally take a photo. I feel a bit like an anthropologist, just sitting here and observing humans in their native environment. And then I put on my photographer-hat, and then really think about the best way to capture them in that environment.

Man in Ginza

Man in Ginza

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO4000
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Tokyo through the Glass

Shooting Through Hairline grids

This was another one of those windows that had a mesh of wires on the inside. I suppose that is to make the window stronger and less likely to break. Even though you think those lines might mess up the photo, they don’t even show up if you keep your aperture wide open. So give it a try next time you end up in that kind of situation — it looks hopeless, but it’s actually full-of-hope! :)

Daily Photo – Tokyo Through the Glass

This is just yet Another Amazing Part of the city. At first, when I went here, I thought that it would be a big city like New York, but, just, you know, Japanese. But it's really so much more vast in terms of the buildings and the lights and the action (and the safety!). There are literally so many places you can go to and see this kind of scene that it is mind-boggling. Even though I have been there, my mind still boggles.

Tokyo Through the Glass

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1
  • Aperture
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Attack on Gaijin

Attack on Titan

So what do you think of this incredible show? I’m so into it! I feel like an obsessed teenage girl or something haha… if you don’t know much about it, here is the trailer. The art style is incredible, and the story is really like nothing I’ve ever heard…

Daily Photo – Attack on Gaijin

So I was walking through a market in Tokyo and this crazy bird came started dive-bombing this food beside me. I quickly focused on the food (manual focus!) then panned the camera up to grab this. I cannot claim full credit for this being so sharp — I will gladly admit that it was Extremely Lucky! :)

Attack on Gaijin

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Awesome Car in Tokyo

Shooting in crazy conditions

This was a tough place to take a photo because of the conditions… basically, my only tip is to take a lot of photos and wait then flip through them all later in Lightroom and choose which one to work on! I took this video (and the photo below) with the Sony A7r and the NEX 10-18mm lens.

Daily Photo – Awesome Car in Tokyo

I showed this photo to a few people and they were like, “Oh, that's the blahbiteeblah!” I'm always so impressed when car people can immediately recognize some kind of crazy car. They know how many were made and all these nutty facts about them! Anyway, all I know is it was super awesome, and as you can see from the video above, it was in quite a dramatic setting!

Awesome Car in Tokyo

Awesome Car in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture9
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

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