Daily Photo – Niagara Silhouette

I was the group leader for the Buffalo group in the 1st annual Scott Kelby photowalk in 2007. Earlier in the summer I had done a photo shoot that had basically paid all my bills for 4 months. I was still finishing my BFA at the time and hadn't found a summer job yet so I budgeted all my earnings and lived very stingy that summer with my fiance (while stingy, I was still able to save and purchase her a schnoodle for her birthday). I spent most of my days in July and August walking around Buffalo absorbing the city as much as I could. I had just moved there in January of 07' and was still getting a feel for the town. As it turns out I walked in area's most people don't walk unless in groups. I really never had a problem walking around Buffalo - except one minor incident - and I think because I didn't have a concern for where I was going that I was able to capture some really interesting moments in Buffalo. Fast forward to August 07' and Kelby had announced his walk and I signed up as a leader. We had about 15 Buffalo photographers in our group, different ages and different styles but we were bound by our affair for photography. The sun was quickly setting on downtown Buffalo and I was able to snap a silhouetted image of Buffalo City Hall and the Niagara Square Monument (which I believe is for President McKinley). I shot this at 1/8000sec with a 10-22mm lens at 14mm f3.5 I didn't have to do much in post, I adjust the exposure 1/10 of a stop down and saturated the blues around 8%. Because I'm shooting wide angle there's a bit a 'fisheye' bulge in the center of the pillar, but not enough to make it bothersome. I really enjoy the 10-22mm lens because you can get just enough angle out of it to get a new perspective on familiar subjects. The 10-22 is really great for portraying great depth as well - I have a Central Terminal shot at the platform and shot it with my 10-22mm and it looks half a mile long, yet not distorted. The low angle of this shot combined with the wide angle, for me, creates this very surreal and overpowering shot of human engineering into the heavens. That's as far as my college level analysis will allow me to dive into this.
Silhouette of City Hall & Niagara Square, August 2007

Daily Photo – Herron of Iroquois

My colleague and I frequent a national preserve near Buffalo that has an abundance of wildlife and avian dwellers. The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is located near Alabama, New York right in the middle of Buffalo and Rochester. The site is one of the over 500 wildlife refuges managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife service. There was a time last year we visited the refuge multiple times a week, however the winter months take a toll on the land and between hunters & the lack of consistent wildlife it is difficult to maintain a schedule for shooting there. However as January rolls around the wildlife begins to return, especially the Eagles who begin repairing and building up their nest for the spring and summer. Throughout all of our visits there I have not been able to get a usable photo of the Iroquois eagles, whom we've named George, and this will be the mission for 2011. Wildlife photography is great on multiple levels. The first that comes to mind is the fact you're documenting life in a very pure and innocent form. Due to the vast amount of land it is considerably easy to view wildlife from afar with a 300-400+mm lens without disturbing any habitats. The other reason I enjoy spending hours upon hours in one spot observing nature is that it's a great exercise in patience, which I'll admit is one of my less than strong points. A wildlife photographer can and will spend hours and days waiting for that one shot you've been wanting - and then who knows if you'll be able to react quietly and effectively enough to take the shot properly. This shot was taken last fall at Iroquois, converted to B&W in Aperture  using Nik's  Silver  Efex plugin. The sky that day was very consistently overcast, which is why I was able to adjust the contrast and levels to whiten the sky in the background. Iroquois has many Herron's that nest on the grounds and sun in the marshes, they're quite abundant and any photographer who shoots there will easily find Herron's to shoot. Eagles on the other  hand, don't get me started.

Daily Photo – Buffalo Loves Wonder

I love finding these little gems in Buffalo. Having not been born in Buffalo I still find myself finding these little treasures popping up every once and a while. While out on a photo walk one day I happened upon the old Wonder Bread plant that was once functional in Buffalos industrial side. Through some preliminary investigating I've churned up several businesses that came into the plant after it closed but subsequently have left the premises. I think little gems like this are part of the greatness of Buffalo. I think it tells such a rich history of American industry, it's rich history in our communities and it's ultimate conclusion. I'm a student of history through photography. I believe that photography is a physical representation of our highest highs and lowest lows. I think there is so much we can learn from photography if we simply believe in what we're seeing in a photograph. For me, photography gives us a chance to make things right. I'm a firm believer in Buffalo's future, and I think documenting our past will help us develop the future - whether that be in business or politics.

FC Buffalo – For Our City

When I first moved to Buffalo from Auburn I was amazed at the volume of peoples voices when preaching the city. The passion folks have around here about all aspects of their city is astounding. There's a true do it ourselves spirit in Buffalo that is unmatched anywhere else I've ever been - granted I haven't been far. It's fascinating to me that a city with so much history in economic decline, sports curses and weather that will hair lip the governor  that the people are so passionate. Over time, as I've tried to get established with folks and organizations in Buffalo I've observed these sermons of Buffalo first hand and can tell you that its' really great to be apart of it all. Last summer I was able to be on the sidelines for a few FC Buffalo games at Rich Stadium. Aside from sideline duty for the high school yearbook, it was the first legit sideline gig I had. From shooting those games I've been partnering with FC Buffalo on a few projects. I like being apart of organizations that I can lend my craft to that promotes them in a new way or enhances their product. I like being apart of organizations that I believe are doing good things for a community and put the benefits of a community before their own. I'm currently working on a series of promos with FC Buffalo to get the hype started for their upcoming season. Please check out FC Buffalo's website. Pick up some season tickets, and some merch. These folks are not billionaire owners. They're local folks that work with us in the community, that go to the same bars and shovel the same snow. Like us, they're in it for our city - not themselves. http://vimeo.com/19054522

Graffiti of Buffalo’s Central Terminal

In the four years I've lived in Buffalo, there has been one spot I've been absolutely obsessed with as a photographer - Buffalo's Central Terminal. It's very cliche to live in any Rust Belt city to document the urban decay that is persistent, however I feel as though I'm not documenting decay and neglect - instead documenting a piece of history that is updating daily. Aside from the neglect of owners past Central Terminal has suffered, the property has gone through extensive vandalism outside the main tower (which is going through a hearty restoration by a great group oforganizers). For years the homeless, pistol packing punks and drifters had made the platforms and abandoned buildings of Central Terminal temporary housing and spots for illicit activities. With all that, Central terminal has garnered an extensive collection of graffiti throughout the grounds. Some of it very thought out and stunning, some of it vulgar and some of it nonsensical. What I find interesting about all the graffiti at Central Terminal is its relationship with the signage that's deliberately placed there when it was a functional station. Countless signs about checking packaging and watching ones step intertwined with graffiti splashing political commentary or simple fifth grade humor. There are several relationships worth noticing with the Central Terminal. The relationship between the grounds and nature is an obvious one. As with most buildings that have been put into despair through the years it's an easy connection to make through photography. My purpose for documenting the Terminal was never to look at the relationship between the building and the street art, but as you explore the grounds you can't help to not notice how much vandalism the grounds have suffered throughout the last twenty years. As you dig even further into exploring, you being to notice a timeline of social and political strife not just in Buffalo but in the United States as well.  There are instances of graffiti  and vandalism highlighting every President since Reagan and commentary on most major incidents that have occurred as well. All this being said, the more I ramble, the less time I'll have to have folks actually look at the work I've been accumulating. Take a look, feel free to provide feedback.

Incredible sound redesign of Jurassic Park

One of my favorite old men, Frank Vicario, posted this link on twitter earlier today and I'm just about done listening to it for the second time. A Dj by the name of Birdfeeder has slowed down the Jurassic Park theme by 1000% and created a stunning soundscape that make listeners completely reevaluate a song they know all to all. There's not much I can really say about this, except that you need to spend the 54 minutes and take a listen. It's such a unique track that it really could be apart of a stand alone soundtrack. When I first heard it, I immediately thought of a WWII scene similar to the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan - where's it's real quite at times. Please do yourself a favor and listen. I think it's content creation like this that is going to keep new media thriving. The best works seem to be simple and controlled and you cant get any more simple then this. More samples from Birdfeeder

Microsoft claiming public domain rights for term “App Store”

Techflash, this morning, had an interesting article regarding Microsoft claming foul on Apple's attempt to trademark the term 'App Store.' I won't quote the entire article (but will link below), but the Microsoft lawyers said the following
"Any secondary meaning or fame Apple has in 'App Store' is de facto secondary meaning that cannot convert the generic term 'app store' into a protectable trademark," and went on to say "Apple cannot block competitors from using a generic name. 'App store' is generic and therefore in the public domain and free for all competitors to use." (Via TechFlash)
After looking through the article a couple times, it seems Microsoft has a point. I mean, what if Henry Ford copyrighted the term Automobile or Car? I can understand and respect the fact that there are some things in this world that are too generic to copyright. Tissues, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, cars and flour can fall under these categories and you'll see no debate from my end. There seems to be curious motives to which Microsoft seeks public domain rights for the term 'App Store.'  Is Microsoft looking out for the common man's best interests and simply wants the term 'App Store' to be in the same grammatical category as tissues and plastic wrap? Microsoft, the company that was put in it's place by the European Union for violating ani-trust and monopoly laws which forced to allow users to choose their browser upon start up,  is looking out for the common man? I'm certainly in no position to determine if Microsoft is sincerely looking out for the best interests of the public in this manner, but I am in the position to look at the other side of the fence as an outsider. It appears to me that Microsoft is merely attempting to grandstand and stay in the media, through the use of their lawyers, because they weren't the talk of CES. Where were all the Windows 7 tablets Ballmer promised? Microsoft can be great at a lot of things. I attribute at least 10 pounds of my slightly overweight status to Microsoft and their Xbox. I would have been the first in line for their Courier tablet because I believed it would have blown away anything on the market at that time, including iOS. That being said Microsoft seems to be to focused on immediate market share results rather than sticking behind a product. The Kin phone is a perfect example - the phone didn't have substantial market share gains in the first 6-8 weeks and the project was immediately abandoned. Imagine for a moment if Nasa gave up on the moon after the first try? The rocket didn't launch so 'oh-well?' It took Apple ten years to move their MacOS market share from 5% to 10%. Had they given up the world would look dramatically different from a technology standpoint and I wouldn't be even writing about this topic. My point is Microsoft needs to stand by their products and their branding and firmly believe in what they're doing. They need to look at their branding of their 'App Store' called the 'Marketplace' and look at it analytically. If I was in charge, my Microsoft marketplace would encompass absolutely everything Microsoft - Windows Desktop, Phone, Xbox, Windows Media and so on. My commercials would say that we're not an app store because we're so much more than apps, we're truly a marketplace to connect all your devices. I feel as though they try to do that yet they need a better system in place to execute this more fluidly - at least from my perspective of how things are run. Having never used a Windows 7 phone for more than 6 minutes perhaps everything is, could be, tied in together in the shortcoming future. I'm basing my opinion on the data I've seen that indicates everything Microsoft is touching these days is simply falling apart. A PC World article indicated that in 6 weeks Windows 7 manufacturers shipped 1.5 million phones to retailers - very different than retailers selling 1.5 million phones mind you. Perhaps if Microsoft would tell us what some of their products did, consumers would buy them. Their latest campaign for Window 7 phones does very little to tell us anything about the actual product . Unfortunately for their ad department people are going to be glued to their phones for quite some time and have no desire to be saved from their phones. Eventually they'll get bored and move on to the next thing. What's interesting to me though, is not more than one year prior Microsoft seemingly wanted folks to be obsessed with their phones while at trendy hipster apartment/artspace shows with bands that significantly overused in marketing. I think their phone department alone warrants change within the confines of Redmond. Unfortunately until critics hold feet to the fire we won't see much change with the executive staff. We will continue to see false promises and unsupported products from Microsoft until they ultimately have no pull with the consumers or governments and eventually be sold off to HP and use for the Microsoft division is strictly for spreadsheets. I only care and bring this up because I'm a fan of competition, I think it makes everybody better. Right now, Microsoft is only competing in the desktop OS and console gaming departments, even though they have products in every other division. Ballmer himself said that companies move forward or become less relevant. So I ask, is Microsoft as relevant as they were in 95' or 00'?

Tuesday’s Type #3

This week on the Tuesday type brings us some font's from some fantastic designers.  I love the spirit of independent designers providing their fellow artists with the best quality font's and typefaces. Please support them, and view their work by clicking the below links. -Nb
Apparently, this color is quite popular. I posted this almost a year ago on an older version of my site and even today I get about 10 searches on various engines looking for info about this color. Mango Spice is an incredibly vibrant color value, so I can understand why there's queues out there looking for information about it. To be honest I read about this value in a book I have and was so mesmerized by the color that I jotted it down in my notepad. I don't have any more information other than the value I provided. If anyone does know more I'd love to hear about it. Enjoy todays color value.

Mass Appeal 2010 Partial Recap

On Friday November 5th, I had the privilege of photographing all the models that participated in the Elmwood Village Mass Appeal Fashion Event (Sponsored by Sorrento Cheese). As far as I could tell the event was pulled off without a hitch and all the volunteers, make up artists, hair designers, models and other staff did a fantastic job keeping the day organized and fulfilling. For me, it was the first time I had photographed that many people in one day and I shot over three thousand studio shots on a makeshift studio that was positioned in a stairwell. There's a lot of material that I'm going to write about from this event but for now I want to get the shots up because I know people are looking for them. I'd like to thank Rasheeda Phillips for keeping  very structured 'behind the scenes' and keeping everyone on time, with that many models it's very easy to get behind quickly and she didn't run into any major issues as far as I'm aware. I'd also like to thank her for recommending me to Erin the producer, had she not I wouldn't be writing this post. Thanks to Erin for bringing me on board and giving me free reign to do what needed to get done. I'd also like to thank the assistants I had that day, Frank and Anna. They did an amazing job keeping my files organized as I shouted them out and keeping the line of models calm and relaxed. By staying so organized and thorough they save me several hours of work at my office. Thanks again guys! Now, on to the models. These photo's are not edited, they are straight from the camera, with the only addition of a watermark. I was so impressed by how cooperative these 100+ models were and how much fun they seemed to have had. The day could have easily been very stressful but everyone was cool and having a good time.  If you are one of the models, hair designers, makeup artists or involved in the production and want to obtain more images please contact me (info((at))natebenson.com). Please tweet this or share on facebook, or snail mail your friends this link. I want to make sure everyone involved gets to see a product of several different art forms.