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Labor Day 2018 by Simon Abrams

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I genrally avoid the pandemonium that surrounds the West Indian American Labor Day weekend, even though I am a proud Guyanese American. It's crowded and loud, and sometimes it feels like an excuse for people to behave badly. But, every few years I decide to venture out onto The Parkway (aka Eastern Parkway) to take a few pictures and soak in some of the revelry. This year, despite the 96-degree temperatures and oppressive humidity, I had a good time.

As it took place a few weeks ahead of the New York primary elections, there were tons of politicians there, including Council Member for the 40th District, Matthieu Eugene; Senator Chuck Schumer, and Cynthia Nixon, who's challenging Andrew Cuomo for the position of governor of New York. My only photo of her was obsucred by a lady in front of me who got excited and started waving her flag around very vigorously.

 Perfectly obscured by this flag, is candidate for governor of New York, Cynthia Nixon

Perfectly obscured by this flag, is candidate for governor of New York, Cynthia Nixon

Anyay, I'm glad I went, and maybe I'll find myself out there in another few years.

Photo Notes: Wiz Khalifa and Nitti Scott at Webster Hall by Simon Abrams

 Wiz Khalifa performs at New York City's Webster Hall - October, 2014

Wiz Khalifa performs at New York City's Webster Hall - October, 2014

I've always loved shooting concerts. It's really satisfying capturing the energy of the crowd and the showmanship and stage presence of great performers. One of these days, I'm going to make good on one of my long-time goals, and get press credentials, or find a way to shoot a concert in an official capacity.

 Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa

 Opening act Nitti Scott performs at Webster Hall

Opening act Nitti Scott performs at Webster Hall

These were shot at this year's Advertising Week Wrap-up party at Webster Hall. I love the Advertising Week shows, because it's always a great opportunity to get access to incredible performances by some top-notch acts, including N.E.R.D, John Legend and The Roots, Big Boi, Wyclef Jean, and B.o.B. The performances are usually held in a relatively intimate setting, and it doesn't hurt that it's free for us industry types. I've made some of my favorite photographs at these events over the years.

Incidentally, for you photo nerds that like to pixel-peep, here's a 100% crop of one of the above images from the show, which are almost straight-out-of-camera (I think I tweaked the brightness/contrast ever so slightly in the Photos app on my iPhone). If you must nit-pick, yes, you can see a little softness, and yes, the pixels are a slightly chunky, but damn - I was standing at least 40-50 feet away from the stage!

   1/200s, f2.8, ISO6400.

 1/200s, f2.8, ISO6400.

I still can't get over the incredible low-light performance of the Fuji X100S, especially as it doesn't seem that long ago that I was still shooting with my Canon Rebel XT, and never dared go above ISO 800. That's a difference of four full stops of light, which means I would never have been able to make this image on that camera without using a flash or some additional light source.

One other note: in previous years, I would have been fully locked and loaded with my Canon 7D and L-series 70-200mm f/4 lens at these Advertising Week concerts, and as I said, I've made some images that really made me happy as a result of using that setup. Lately, though, I've been scaling back and am happy to take a more minimal approach to shooting - particularly when I'm on vacation, or shooting for myself and not for a paid gig. Not that I wouldn't shoot paid work with the Fuji; it's just that if I'm not being paid, I'm realizing that there's really no good reason to put in the extra effort of carrying all that extra gear. Simpler, most of the time, is better.

Anyhow, I had a great time at the show, despite not being a huge Wiz Khalifa fan. It happened to be my birthday, and there was open bar, so I'd say that worked out quite well.

Wallpaper Wednesday: Midnight Taxi by Simon Abrams

On the way home late one night after working on presentation materials for a pitch. (I don't remember who we were pitching, or if we won.)

The city becomes serene and peaceful, and there's something about observing it through the scratched, streaked glass of a taxi windows that is romantic, mysterious, ethereal. Or maybe I've just watched too many movies.

Desktop iPhone iPad

Wallpaper Wednesday: Lower Manhattan by Simon Abrams

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This week's wallpaper is late. Sorry about that. It is a cityscape of Lower Manhattan with some rather dramatic clouds. This is the South view from Deutsch's offices in Chelsea.

iPhone, iPad and desktop versions are available, and as always, don't be a jerk.

EDIT: I just realized I uploaded a low-resolution version of this wallpaper for the desktop size - that's been fixed.

Download: iPhone iPad Desktop

Gateway to Brooklyn by Simon Abrams

 The arch at Grand Army Plaza

The arch at Grand Army Plaza

I'm currently using this as my desktop wallpaper, and I thought I'd share. It's a close crop of the inside of the arch at Grand Army Plaza, shot at dusk one evening earlier this year.

Download from the links below. Usage rights are as follows: don't be a jerk. Share, remix, attribute with a link back here. No commercial use please.

Dilated by Simon Abrams

 A blobby Manhattan Bridge. | Fujifilm X100S | f/2.0 | 1/8s | ISO250

A blobby Manhattan Bridge. | Fujifilm X100S | f/2.0 | 1/8s | ISO250

A routine eye exam resulted in dilated pupils and blurry vision for a few hours yesterday. I'm quite proud to say I have 20/20 vision, so not being able to see clearly is always an alien sensation for me. As an excercise, I decided to shoot a few images to illustrate how it felt.

I think my biggest takeaway from this exercise was that it forced me to re-focus (bam!) on some of the basics of composition - if you can't really see your subject, you have to pull back and compose the scene based on abstract attributes, like light and dark, color, and where the blobs of light are.

Anyway, it was a fun little exericise, but I'm always glad to return to clarity.