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#FebPhotoADay Day 26 – Night

The previous post, as well as this one, are dedicated to my city, Detroit. This is the overpass at Telegraph Rd and I-96. The oncoming traffic (the white light streaks) are cars exiting Detroit and entering Redford.


The Many Faces Of The People of Detroit

I suppose that now would be as good of a time as any to post these images of Noah Stephens, creator of the popular The People of Detroit blog/photo project ( http://www.thepeopleofdetroit.com/ ). Noah recently announced via his TPOD site that he was accepted into the Detroit Creative Corridor Business Acceleration program. I’d first off like to extend my congrats to him. TPOD has flourished into an amazing project and site, and Noah has done a great deal of work combating all the negative imagery and stories about Detroit that are put out by the local and national media. He has earned and deserves every bit of recognition he receives, and I’m honored to call him a friend of mine.

Now that all the mushy shit is out of the way, let’s REALLY talk about Noah. He’s not all positivity, double rainbows, and group sing-a-long’s. Truth be told, he’s kind of a jerk. Getting Noah out of his cave and interacting with other human beings can be like pulling teeth, which is why it was surprising that we were able to get out one night and have this photo shoot. We’d often talked about collaborating on some nighttime shooting, and on this fateful night when all the stars aligned, Noah shaved his Moses beard, shed his tattered hobo rags in favor of a t-shirt and jeans, and we hit the streets for some nighttime shooting.

My goal for the night was to showcase Noah’s lesser-known personality traits. Actually, who am I kidding? My goal for the night was just to get a decent shot. One of the most difficult aspects of shooting at night is getting proper focus on your subject, and both Noah and I struggled to do just that.

My SECONDARY goal for the night was to showcase Noah’s lesser-known personality traits. The image at the top of the post was my favorite of the night. I wanted to capture him doing something goofy, and told him to grab his camera. My initial idea was to capture him making out with his lens (and believe you me, I did), but I ended up liking the above image much more. I find it to be a good mixture of Noah doing something goofy (stroking his lens like Dr. Claw stroked Mad Cat on Inspector Gadget), while simultaneously looking pretty diabolical.

I call this image, “Noah the Cynic.” I think this is the face that Noah makes at his computer screen while reading his Facebook newsfeed. It says, “Did you REALLY just say that? Are you REALLY that dumb?”

This is “Hopeful Noah.” He has hope for the future. Hope for the kids. Hope for the city of Detroit. He’s sees brightness on the horizon. All that corny stuff, and any other cliches you can come up with.

This is Noah’s “Come hither, you know you want this” look that he gives the beautiful women he encounters on TV when he’s not leaving his home. lol
If you live under rock and have not yet seen Noah’s “The People of Detroit” blog and photo project, check out the site at http://www.thepeopleofdetroit.com/

You can also check out Noah’s Flickr page for hi-res images from TPOD, as well as some of his work … http://www.flickr.com/photos/noahstephens/

And of course, you can follow him on Twitter … http://www.twitter.com/peopleofdetroit

Until next time…






















Bravo Bravo!: A Glutton’s Dream

It doesn’t matter what you’re a glutton for – food, alcohol, dancing, music, or all of the above – it was easily acquired and consumed in mass quantities at the 12th annual Bravo Bravo! event at the Detroit Opera House. I’m sure that even a few people who are a glutton for this…

… went home as satisfied customers.

Done in support of the Michigan Opera Theater, this year’s event hosted over 40 restaurants and beverage companies. Yours truly took far more advantage of the beverage companies than the restaurants. 🙂

All of Detroit’s finest came out to support and celebrate, including local celebrities, politicians, entrepreneurs, and the movers and shakers.

Every floor was lined with food from Detroit’s finest restaurants, as well as any type of alcohol that one could possibly imagine – all included in the price of admission.

I was even able to try some new liquors from my favorite companies, Firefly and Absolut. Firefly had a pink lemonade vodka drink there that rocked my world, and Absolut floored me yet again with their Orient Apple vodka. They shook my very soul to the core at an earlier event with their new Wild Tea vodka.

Shamefully, despite there being remarkable foods from Detroit’s finest restaurants, for some reason, I spent most of my night eating McNuggets. So, I can’t really speak on the food. It all LOOKED phenemonal, though. I just didn’t feel like waiting in a large line for a small sampling of food.

The turnout at this year’s event was amazing. The entire Opera House was PACKED, and I ran into several friends of mine, met some great new people, and snagged some great photographs.

Above is one of the event’s organizers, Piper Carter, along with DJ Sicari. I was also able to get some great photos of, and with, some of my friends. Here’s fellow photographer, man-about-town, and the undisputed Captain of F*ckery, Tafari, simultaneously dancing, NOT spilling his drink, and showing off his new up-do. lol

One of my favorite photos of the night was TECHNICALLY a mistake, but I loved the way it turned out. It’s me, and my buddies Nicole and Margarita.

If you missed Bravo Bravo! this year, SHAME ON YOU! Save up your money and schedule the next morning off work next year, because you won’t want to miss this event again. Check out some more photos, and I’ll post a link shortly to a full gallery.


*Grabs Crotch* A Tribute to the Great Michael Jackson…

I’m frequently grabbing my crotch, but this time, I’m grabbing it for ANOTHER reason! I recently got to attend the performance of a Michael Jackson tribute band down at the Magic Bag in Ferndale. Apparently, this band travels the country, performing all of Michael’s hits, as well as some of his Jackson 5 material as well. They have two “Michael’s” who alternate sets, and a live band plays Michael’s music.

Let me start by saying, had I not been shooting, I’d have been dancing my ass off!! This band was AWESOME!!! They kept the crowd hype, and their renditions of Michael’s hits were spectacular. While no one can hope to ever recreate Michael Jackson’s genius, these guys did a damn good job!

The name of the band is Who’s Bad, and here’s their website http://www.whosbadmusic.com/ Be sure to check them out if they’re ever in your city!


Udst Udst Udst Udst … Movement 2011!!!

“Udst udst udst udst” is the written form of the sound you are likely to hear blasting into your eardrums at Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival, “Movement 2011.” The term, coined by the homie Rufio Jones (@RufioJones on Twitter, follow him for great sit-down comedy), can be seen in its visual form in the image above. I went to the festival on all three nights, yet I inexplicably chose the hottest night to go downstairs, in this pit, among hundreds of sweaty dancing techno fans in order to capture this image.

“Movement,” or as we like to call it, DEMF, is an event that one has to experience in order to fully understand why it draws fans from all over the world. The Saturday opening drew nearly 35,000 fans, despite a constant downpour of rain all day and night. From noon until midnight, on 5 separate stages, for three straight days, Hart Plaza was shaken – literally – with sounds from the greatest DJ’s on the planet. People flocked from all over, despite torrential downpour and/or 80-90 degree temperatures to hear them and dance to them.

The image above is probably my favorite from the weekend, and I didn’t get it until the final day. For obvious reasons, she really caught my eye. She stood out from a lot of the other … let’s say, “extravagantly dressed” … individuals at the festival, and I really wanted to convey that in my photograph. While her movement is mostly frozen, there’s still some ghosting along the right side of her body (well, technically it’s her left and our right) that I feel is so suiting for this sort of event. She was a very nice girl, too, and liked all the photos I took of her.

As you can see above, the experience that is “Movement” is not limited to only the young folk…

… although the young folk still do their best to stand out. 🙂

And even Gumby’s need love, too! “Look ma, no hands.”

I absolutely can’t wait to make “Movement” one of the yearly events that I attend. It was an EPIC weekend, and I look forward to many more.

For a full set of images from Movement, check out my Flickr gallery…




























Last night, I attempted my first ever night time portrait session. I’ve had shoots that ended around dusk/night, but this one didn’t even start until about 11pm. I had the homie O come through and be the guinea pig for the shoot. Real quick, before I continue, he has a blog as well. Check it out here http://www.o-get-whitted.blogspot.com/ , and while you’re at it, follow him on Twitter as well (@Detroit_O).

Anyway, the shoot itself took place in the middle of the street – a street that still had fairly high traffic at midnight. The most obvious issue with shooting at night is how you’re going to light the subject. Surprisingly, this was the LEAST of my problems. I figured out my lighting on the sidewalk before we started shooting. Once I knew what setup I wanted to use, when traffic was clear, we’d run out in the street and take the shots. We’d run out of the street when cars were coming. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The lighting setup wasn’t too difficult to figure out. For starters, I knew I had to factor in those funky orange-colored street lights throwing off my white balance. So I threw a full CTO gel on my light and set the white balance to tungsten, or as I like to call it, “light bulb.” I shot into a reflective 60″ umbrella, at *I believe* 1/4  power. The umbrella was probably about 4 feet or so from O, camera right. I upped my ISO slightly to 400 in camera, and shot wide open at f/1.4. To get a proper exposure on the background, my shutter speed was at 1/10. As complicated as all this sounds, I worked all this out in my head quickly and easily.

The most difficult part of this shoot, aside from dealing with the cars, was getting my camera to focus! I spent a large part of the time too far away from O, and the camera simply could not find him in the darkness. Once I got close enough for the AF-assist light to find him, things smoothed out.

Another technique I tried for the first time was stacking my gels. The full cut of CTO that I placed on my light was to balance the light with the street lights. Basically, it just made everything look “right.” However, to me, “right” started to get a little boring. So I stacked a 1/4 CTB gel (blue) on top of the CTO, which helped cast a nice blue light onto O, as you’ll see below.