Friday, October 9, 2009

Greenwich Village

Well, today was an entertaining day. First off, I recently got a job through the AmericaReads program. Basically, I tutor at a local middle school. It works out quite well because it is only about a twelve minute walk away from my apartment, and since it is above 100th Street, it puts me in a higher wage bracket. I've been working one on one with several students, helping them with their homework and reading things with them. During class today, the teacher asked her students, "Who wants to work with Mr. Ventura today?" Almost half of the class raised their hand--I couldn't tell whether they actually wanted to work with me, or maybe they just wanted to get away from the other students at their table. I still thought it was pretty cool.

A mechanic that works across the street from the school. I asked if I could take his picture, and I like the fact that he didn't smile--he laughed immediately after I took the picture and said he wanted to see a copy

And one of my friends (Brittney) is in town for the weekend with several of her friends from Washington D.C. We walked around Greenwich Village for a little while before someone realized that nobody had any idea where we were going--every one just assumed that someone else was the leader. We decided to cut through Washington Square Park and try to find some place to eat.

Brittney -- all of us were sitting on the steps inside the fountain at Washington Square Park

Some random performers in the park...

But I like this picture even better. This elderly man just stood there listening for awhile. He would talk to the musicians between songs, listen to them perform, and talk to them again. He wasn't rushed, and he seemed to be thoroughly enjoing himself. I wonder if this is something he does often.

The sun was setting as we were leaving the park, and I liked the way the clouds were lit. The only problem is that the best angle was shooting through one of the streams of the fountain--so if you see any random dark globs that look like they are flying through the picture, it's just huge drops of water

And in case you're wondering, yes, I am going to try and post on my blog more frequently. I am also going to try and post as many pictures as I can. One of my recent goals is to try and take my camera with me as I walk around the city. There are several reasons for doing this: I want to take in and record as much as possible; I want to improve my photography techniques; ha, and take this as you will, but I was looking at new cameras and lenses online recently. After a little while, I realized that there was so much I could do with the camera and lens that I already have. I looked through the pictures I took recently of musicians playing on old, scratched, and fading instruments--my camera isn't any of those. In fact, if you didn't look at the model number, you'd think it was a new camera. More than anything, I just need to practice and make the most of the tools that are already at my disposal. Which leads me to the last picture for this post, and one of my favorite shots of the day.

We cut through the park to get back to the subway, and I saw this trumpet player by the fountain. He was facing towards the fountain, so I set up behind him and just waited, hoping he would turn so I could get a profile shot. Luckily he did, even though I made the entire group wait just so I could get a picture. It took me a little bit to realize that he wasn't necessarily performing for the people in the park. He was facing the fountain, and he wasn't accepting tips. I don't know why he was doing it. Maybe he has to practice there because it bothers his neighbors. Maybe he was cooling his nerves before an audition. Or maybe he was simply winding down from a long day at work. At least he was enjoying the fact that he had an instrument, and that he knew how to play--and that's something I can learn from.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass...

Okay, this past month has kind of flown by, and I feel bad that I haven't posted any pictures of New York yet! I'm still getting to know my way around the city, and I've only been to a few tourist attractions. As far as "attractions" go, I went to the Museum of Natural History, walked around Times Square and Rockefeller Center, and I went to a Yankees game. Other than that, I've mostly just been getting to know my neighborhood and school area better. Don't worry--I'm going to be doing more exploring on Fridays and Saturdays, and I'm going to be taking more pictures.

My classes are coming along. One of my classes is very similar to the class I was a TA for at BYU, so I feel like I have good grasp on the material (we're even using the same textbook!). It is on a graduate level though, so the discussion and analysis is more intensive. It really makes me appreciate the education I got at BYU--yes, some students here at NYU are "hot shots" (it sounds like they've read practically every film book or article that's mentioned in class), but for others, it looks like they're in way over their heads. As for me, I'm enjoying it. The classes are more challenging (300+ pages of textbook and/or article reading each week--you miss one week, and you'll probably never catch up), but because of the preparation I received at BYU, I feel like I can analyze, research, and write just as well as the other students. Just this past week, several other students asked me about the types of classes I took at BYU (wearing my BYU hoodie to class sure can be a conversation starter, be it about football, school, or whatever). They were really surprised (and a little jealous) when I told them about Science Fiction in Literature & Film, Hollywood Films of the 1970s, Film Music, History of Animation, History of Documentary and Non-Fiction Filmmaking, Film Genres, International Cinema, Media in the Contemporary Classroom, and the list goes on. So here's a general shout-out to my professors--I tried to send them all postcards, but I keep thinking I accidentally left someone out. In no particular order: Sharon Swenson, Dean Duncan, Darl Larsen, Amy Jensen, Jeff Parkin, and Ben Unguren. And others that I didn't have class with, but worked with or learned from in various capacities: Tom Lefler, Brad Barber, and Tom Russell.

Okay, now for some pictures.

Marcus--me and him and a couple of others went to an
art festival down in Brooklyn, where most of these pictures were taken

Kind of random, but this is one of the art displays--it's just tons
and tons of rolled up piece of cardboard. Pizza boxes, shipping crates, etc.

This is an artist named Serge Mikel--he also writes and
performs classical and jazz music

Serge Mikel again--I think these were my favorite shots of the day

A random wall in DUMBO (see the title of this post)
--ha, I think I accidentally bumped up the red
saturation when I exported from Lightroom.

Alas, I didn't see that a car had come into frame until after I had
gotten home and downloaded the pictures from my camera

Okay, this wasn't at the art festival--it was on my last film set at BYU
(can I just say, being "set photographer" is like the most relaxing job on a film set?). But I liked the way this candid shot came out and thought I'd post it anyway.

This was a jazz band performing in Washington Square Park--I shot them in color, but even as I was taking the pictures, I wanted them to be black and white.

The jazz band again--I liked how their instruments were
kind of banged up and dingy looking

Yeah, it's another shot of the drummer, but I was just messing
around with shifting the focus from the near drum to the far one.

And a friend of mine needed some headshots for a broadcast
journalism resume. This was taken in Central Park
on a cloudy day

I think that's plenty for now--please leave some comments!