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X100 for a commercial endeavor

Discussion in 'Fuji X100 Forum' started by KillRamsey, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    My question: Do any of these make you want to go see these places?

    Background: The wife is starting a website that curates city bike routes, starting where we live (Boston) and eventually moving on to 8 or 9 other cities. The idea is to have maps and routes with write-ups and a photo of each stop. I'll be doing all the photography and writing. So that means for now, it's all about the X100, unless I happen to have a suitable older shot from a film camera. I made the decision to only use b&w images for the site, because I think it shows you enough to (potentially) get you to want to go do that, but not so much that when you get there, you've "already seen it." If that makes sense... anyway, I'm decided on that part. No color for this. And I am watermarking the images with her logo, so that when they get used all over the web (4Square, Google Maps, Instagram, etc), people can figure out where it came from.

    Saturday was my first trial run... we rode the whole 10 or 12 mile "Charles River" route, which goes from Mt Auburn Cemetery in western cambridge all the way to the Science Museum, more or less, and around and back. I hit each stop and have a minute or two to figure out a shot or three, so whatever time of day it was, that's the light I had. I shot raw + fine, with the jpg's set to b&w (Green or Red filter), and so far I actually got the exposures the way I wanted them often enough literally do no post whatsoever on more than half. That saved a lot of time.

    I created a flickr account and dumped them all there. Here are the ones I liked the best. This is a lot harder even than I thought it would be. I would REALLY like constructive criticism. So far friends have explained that having people in the shots sometimes helps viewers identify with the scene and "want" to be there, which is great... I was avoiding people and creating what they called "nice architectural photos," as opposed to my actual goal, "nice travel photos" that sorta sell the idea.


    In no particular order, some of the ones I like:

    <iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/119944184@N05/13066481084/player/ddd7a29e01" height="531" width="800" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

    <iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/119944184@N05/13066766833/player/e426652825" height="531" width="800" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

    <iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/119944184@N05/13067265503/player/f88c30780d" height="531" width="800" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

    <iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/119944184@N05/13066752433/player/6bd40cc552" height="531" width="800" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>
     
    • Like Like x 8
  2. donlaw

    donlaw SC All-Pro

    Sep 14, 2012
    Texas
    Don
    Very cool idea, and I like the B&W component. One thought is maybe adding the GPS coordinates to each photo. There are ways of doing this using a smart phone photo and transferring the data to the X100 photos in Aperture/Lightroom or something similar.
    Good luck with the project.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    How about using a riderless bike as a prop in all the pictures, in front of those lovely Saarinen buildings? I think that would be a nice hook to the story.

    Also I think that B&W demands way too much of the viewer. Not sure how old/young the customers would be, but B&W images can look pretty dated and difficult to relate to (unless one's into photography). Don't worry too much about giving up the surprise, being in the middle of a scene is very different from looking at a picture of it. There's a colour image in the set that to me sets the perfect mood, which the B&W images just do not convey. I'm imaging a white bicycle propped against brick red buildings.

    Just my two cents.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Good for you and your wife, Kyle! I think this is a great idea, and I think the advice you've been given is very good. I do agree that color might be the better way to go, although I think your B&W photos are excellent. Have you considered featuring your ubiquitous and photogenic Pug in your photos as your website's talisman, AKA Leader of The Pack? I think he is very photogenic, adds humor and personality. Think about it? You know he'd be "enthusiastic". :wink:
     
  5. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    As a fellow pedal pusher, I think this is a great idea.

    You can map bike routes on Google maps; does google's photo function duplicate any of your work? (Of course, your photos would be much better).

    Cheers, Jock
     
  6. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    Neat idea, Kyle! Good luck with it. One of the valued features of the magazine I contribute to is the map. That, combined with the travel story and photos work together. Check out Roadrunner.travel, or go to Barnes and Noble and pick up a copy to analyze.

    I agree with what the others say here about color. I'd recommend it.

    Now the photos:

    1-a slightly lower angle might have made this feel a bit more like it was from the perspective of the rider in the shot, kind of like looking over her shoulder. Step forward set the subject between the bridge and the building sighn, and point in the general direction of the photo she is takng. This might make the reader/viewer feel more involved, not a passive observer.

    2-neat idea, but I would have waited until the rider was out of the shadow. Also, the structure on the upper right is distracting. I might have take 2 giant steps forward to clear that structure, gotten down on open knee, and tilted the camera upward to try to catch the top of the bridge tower, and then waited for the rider to be closer.

    3-it's hard to judge this outside of the context of a story, but what I will do sometimes is try to incorporate a prop in my shots to connect it back to the mode of transportation. Maybe it's the bike in the corner or a helmet on the table.
    And This is one situation where I might step back. Right now it's a street shot without a lot of context. Step back and create a balance between the bustle of people and the environment that they are in.

    4-nice. Interesting. The caption to this kind of shot will be key. Again, context, this time words.

    P.S. If you are determined to,shoot BW, I suggest more aggressive processing to help create a distinct look and style. Perhaps a high contrast, Tri-X style could work well with similarly punchy writing.

    Best of luck!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    VERY helpful all around. Much, much obliged folks.

    Post has never been my strong suit. I am limited equipment-wise for the time being to something free like Raw Therapee which is powerful for "developing" but almost entirely devoid of real creative tools. I can vignette, for example, but only by badly under-correcting for imaginary lens deficiencies. I can crop, but I can't even see the effects of the crop until I've saved / deleted the pp3 file / reopened. Anywho. For now I don't really have anything stronger than tone mapping as a creative post tool, but maybe it's worth pursuing. It means purchasing a computer (I use a locked down work laptop, and 2 ancient laptops at home with minimal RAM)... so it's probably not as simple as ponying up for Photo Ninja or whatever. Unless PN will run well on a 7 yr old laptop...

    I will consider color. That's all I can promise. I trust the lot of you. I saw a feature in the NY Times called "Once Around An Island" a few months back that set this into my brain as a viable and attractive option. A guy walked all of Manhattan in one day, shooting in b&w as he went. Discussing what we liked about it led us to say "let's just limit it to b&w." But you know, I did shoot in raw... let's see what a few of those look like in color.
     
  8. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I'd thought of it, but I couldn't use him much. Once I am done with Boston it's on farther away places, and I can't lug the old man everywhere with me. But I'd like him to appear somewhere, for sure.
     
  9. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I think that was an Ektar film shot - that's the only color picture I remember uploading yesterday to that account. The feedback is good, thank you. I just said "hey hang on a second," dug out the minolta, she turned around, I shot, and off we went again.
     
  10. porchard

    porchard SC Veteran

    343
    Feb 24, 2013
    Devon, UK
    I'm slightly puzzled by this - it doesn't sound like the way that Raw Therapee operates on my computer.:confused: Vignette and crop capabilities are both available under the Transform tab. Is this not the case with yours?

    Back on-topic... your cycle route feature looks excellent, and should prove very useful for people contemplating cycling in these areas. Like others in this thread, I like your B&W photos very much, but I would also question whether monochrome is the 'best' style to use in this situation. Although many (most?) photographers appreciate and enjoy B&W photographs, there are many non-photographers who just don't 'get it', and sometimes even treat it as an indication of some kind of cost-cutting. :rolleyes: Of course, I'd be very pleased to be proved wrong on this, but I do think there there might be some risk attached. Anyway, good luck with what looks like a very worthwhile endeavour - I hope it goes well.:thumbup:
     
  11. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    Oh it will crop, but it leaves the entire image on-screen with a darkened border showing what I cropped out. I haven't figured out how to get it to actually crop that part away and leave me looking at an expanded view of what's left. The vignetting does show instantly, of course.
     
  12. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    Ok, test run of color versions...

    <iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/119944184@N05/13108551763/player/c1c10740a7" height="521" width="800" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

    <iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/119944184@N05/13108444485/player/f66605dcf9" height="538" width="800" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

    <iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/119944184@N05/13108729704/player/42f959e5ab" height="800" width="538" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

    <iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/119944184@N05/13108546583/player/1a96d07e49" height="538" width="800" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

    <iframe src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/119944184@N05/13108544013/player/5284a5563d" height="538" width="800" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

    edited 3/12: replaced the non-framed shots on flickr with framed versions, which killed the links. Added one more shot to this post as well.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Hyubie

    Hyubie SC Veteran

    360
    Jun 8, 2011
    Massachusetts
    For your stated purpose, the colored ones to me are much better!

    (BTW - I thought "wow, big time!" when I thought I saw you had a banner hanging outside TD Garden promoting your website. Then I realized it was your watermark. :biggrin:)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    Yeah I realized it would fit perfectly there, chuckled, and hit Go.
     
  15. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    your b/w conversions are nice, but those color shots really pop.
     
  16. Gubrz

    Gubrz O.* Gonzo's & Bentley's Dad

    979
    Jun 5, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Eliot
    I like the bike propr idea
    Could also do a bike is leading you to the image shot
    Where you take it from the seat with the handlebars showing at btm frame
     
  17. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I found myself whining pretty badly during that day when I couldn't get wide enough to get the shot I wanted. So, you know, I "need" the X-T1 and the 14 f2.8 lens.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  18. yakky

    yakky SC Regular

    57
    Nov 30, 2013
    Cool idea, one suggestion is to vary the types of bikes in the pictures. If you limit yourself to a particular style (cruiser, road, mtb) you will lose a large audience.
     
  19. Fiddler

    Fiddler SC Veteran

    241
    Dec 5, 2010
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Colin
    I like the colour images more than the mono.
     
  20. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I like this idea.. If you shoot steets filled with people its more like street photography and less like places to journey on bicycle.. also, the black and whites are nicely done but the colors draw me in. Particularly that building with the checkerboard of colors in the windows. Not sure I would ride bike there but if it got me there so I could use a camera... hehe..whatever motivates you know..