The Exposure Triangle: Doing the Math to Make a Nice Picture

When I was in college (which feels like so many moons ago!), I took an Intro to Photography class. I took the class because, with the easy availability of digital cameras, I had already started taking a ton of photos but wanted to do it a little better. I didn't know what an SLR was (or what those letters even meant) and had no idea about all the different components you can manipulate to take a picture, all to different effect.

Beautiful Sunday by Jen Gallardo
Beautiful Sunday — one of my favorite photos as it makes a nice desktop background!

I think I ended up getting a film SLR (that's single-lens-reflex, by the way) camera for Christmas and using that for a while throughout the class but the exposure triangle kind of alluded me for a long time. It wasn't until I started using a digital SLR — with the abundant low cost tolerance for trial and error — that it finally clicked.

A lot of people ask me about what kind of camera to buy and use but, for most of those people, I think the question they should be asking is how they can improve the quality of their photos. Continue reading "The Exposure Triangle: Doing the Math to Make a Nice Picture"

Reviewing the Leica Q

Lately, I've been into carrying smaller purses on the weekends. It forces me to think about the bare essentials and probably reduces strain on my shoulders that are accustomed to carrying a bag that can at worst accommodate a 13" work laptop or at best carry around my 9" iPad plus a number of other odds and ends (giant wallet, makeup bag, etc).

This is a big shift for me as, for a while, I was only buying bags that could fit my camera. Since my camera (Canon DSLR) takes up a lot of room, I've been seriously considering down-sizing and have rented other cameras over the last 6 months just to get an idea of what I might like to buy (or not). When Adorama Camera had their infamous Passover rental special (10 days more or less for the cost of a weekend), I decided to pick up a camera I had wanted to try the last time they had one of these sales — the Leica Q. Continue reading "Reviewing the Leica Q"

Travels In Europe

It's February which means I'm officially back in New York City (at least for now). I've always wanted to travel in January and February but husband and I historically have rarely been able to get our act together to do it. This time, I was traveling for work so everything was booked and mostly organized before 2016 was over. Of course, there's a saying about the best laid plans…in short, they don't always go as planned.

I happened to be flying to London the day of the first major snowfall of 2017 in New York City. Of course it would be a snowy day! Why wouldn't it be? Throughout the day, I kept checking on the status of my flight and it continued to say it was "on time." Meanwhile, the cost of my Uber to the airport was double the cost of a regular taxi (hello, surge pricing!) and the fact that I even took an Uber tells you a lot as I never take Uber (for personal reasons I'll discuss at another time).

To make a long story short, my flight did not depart until FOUR HOURS after its scheduled time. I think I learned my lesson about flying during peak New York snow season! However, I did get to fly Premium Economy on a Delta flight operated by Virgin Atlantic. In this class, I was greeted with a welcome sparkling wine. Delays and all, I could definitely get used to flying like this.

Pre Flight Drink
I can get used to welcome champagne and a cute little overnight bag.

Continue reading "Travels In Europe"

New Year and New Camera

Happy New Year!

Champagne I enjoyed at midnight in New Orleans (photo taken by Fuji X100T camera I rented)
Champagne I enjoyed at midnight in New Orleans (photo taken by Fuji X100T camera I rented – click on any photo to see full size version on Flickr)

After many days off from work and some fun travels, I'm now back in New York City and ready to resume my normal routines again — well, somewhat. The new year is all about resolutions but I didn't make any specific ones. Instead, I'm striving to have a majority of happy and healthy days in 2017. In keeping with that, there are a lot of things I will continue to do, or simply do more often, but I'm not aiming for some sort of dramatic change.

I think, despite what we say every January 1st, we are all creatures of habit. I'm going to focus on all my good habits like investing in my body with exercise and eating well and hobbies like reading (now with my new kindle paperwhite – thanks, Santa!), writing and taking photos.

And, speaking of photos, I took a bunch over the past week or so. I've been meaning to try out a mirrorless camera for a WHILE and I just haven't gotten around to it. I think this also ties into my being a creature of habit; I love my old Canon SLR and it, in return, has been very good to me over many many years. I'm typically pretty good with my electronics so they last a while – this camera is no different. That said, it's a little big for traveling and doesn't have any of the bells and whistles that newer cameras have.

So when Adorama (one of my favorite places for camera equipment in the city) was having a Christmas rental deal, I decided to go all out and rent a Leica Q. But that was taken because I didn't act fast enough, so I ended up with the Fuji X100T instead. In truth, I'm glad I ended up with the Fuji because it is way less expensive and therefore something I could consider buying in the future. Though, honestly, I still think I need to do a little more digging before I settle on a mirrorless camera. While the X100T is a really nice camera, there are some things about it that quickly became deal breakers for me. Continue reading "New Year and New Camera"

Whatever happened to digital photo albums?

Anthony and I were in Montreal over the weekend. We had a blast and, unsurprisingly, spent a lot of time eating. During one of those moments, we happened to be in the Old Montreal area at a restaurant called Le Robin Square enjoying a leisurely lunch. We had VERY leisurely lunches. While the service at all the restaurants we visited was great, we noticed there's a bit of a slower pace of life in Montreal — especially when it comes to dining — that is pretty much unheard of in New York. Not a bad thing but just different!

This poutine did not stand a chance!
This poutine did not stand a chance!

While we were there for lunch, we happened to notice the restaurant had a TV screen with some digital ambiance playing on it. This consisted of a stock video of a vineyard and you could see the leaves gently swaying in the wind. This got me thinking about the idea of the "digital picture frame."

Remember when that was a thing? Continue reading "Whatever happened to digital photo albums?"

Captured: Art of the Commute

At work, there is a gallery show for our department called the "Art of the Commute." Below are my submissions:

At the Start by Jen Gallardo
An Empty Car
Blue, in need of Orange
The Ghosts of Midtown
Maybe Breakfast?
Exiting Last Leg

Essentially, my approach was to photograph the disparity between where I begin my commute and where my commute lands me. I begin in my neighborhood which is pretty calm and quiet (for the most part). Most days, I get to the station and I will find a seat on the train as I'm at the last stop on the A train (where it terminates and then begins to head back downtown).

In contrast, after about 30 minutes on the train or so, I end up at 59th Street Columbus Circle. This is a relatively large station on the west side and a big connection point in the morning. As such, there is always a lot of hustle and bustle and tons of people walking around. I used long exposures to show in one frame the multitude of movement and people that's happening at that time of day.

It's here where I start the second leg of my trip, waiting for a B or D train to take me to Rockefeller Center where the building I work in is currently located. The Rockefeller station it not as big but just as nearly populated as so many other commuter's trips terminate there. There is a network of office buildings connected underground so there are a lot of people in and around the station. The revolving doors in the station lead to the underground shops in the "Concourse" level where one can find breakfast and emergency dry cleaning and shoe shining, among other things.

Perhaps if the series could have been longer (we were limited to a certain number of photos), I would have considered taking a photo of my desk (where my commute officially ends) or perhaps even my bed (where my commute officially begins).

Captured: One Light Portraits of Anthony

My boyfriend Anthony is probably my greatest model. He is always ready and willing to stand by and let me take his portrait. Secretly, I think he enjoys being in front of the camera a tiny bit (even though he will never admit this). Below are some photos I captured of Anthony with a one light set up. The one light, besides ambient lighting, was a Canon flash unit that I shot through a softbox.

Anthony Test Portrait #1 by Jen Gallardo
Anthony Test Portrait #2 by Jen Gallardo
Anthony Test Portrait #3 by Jen Gallardo

Captured: Hazy Shade of Winter

Ice Shards

I was born in the summertime.  My ancestors lived in warm weather nearly year round.  This leads me to believe that I am not built for cold weather.  However, being born and raised in New York City, I've adapted to some cold.  I have learned how to layer up and prepare for most temperature ranges.  That said, the winter always takes me by surprise.  I always find myself saying "This winter MUST be colder than last year!" even though that's probably not at all true.

Instead of spending too much time complaining about the weather, I've decided to celebrate the beauty in the cold.  With my camera in tow, I've been wandering around the snowy city (and surrounding parts) ready to capture what fills some folks with joy, but just makes me wear tights under my jeans and long-sleeve tees under my dresses.

I found I do best when the weather is cold, the winds are still, and the scene is drenched in sunlight.  But I still desperately long for spring.  I'd love to wear a jacket and not a coat.  I would also very much enjoy not wearing double socks and being able to walk out of the house with wet hair without the fear of icicles developing at the ends of my curls.

So with baseball's spring training just around the corner, I've decided to share a set of photos dedicated to celebrating winter.  I'd like to think of this as a indefinite moratorium on winter, at least until this time next year.

Just the Geese and Me
Slush
Thawing in Chunks
No Time for a Picnic
Stormy
Mounds of Snow
Snow Flurries

Captured: Farewell to Summer

I'll preface this post by saying that I'll try to post stuff somewhat more regularly. Well, I could post way more regularly, but then it would be a bunch of stream-of-consciousness-type gibberish that wouldn't really be worth reading anyway. So yeah, that's my excuse for taking FOREVER to post this.

Back on topic — this year, bidding summer adieu was a lot more difficult.  The summer of 2010 was full of beach days, music, movies, good food and great friends.  And while I had a great time, there are still things I didn't get a chance to do this summer (Visit Coney Island or Atlantic City — for outlet shopping, obviously! Drink copious amounts of homemade iced peppermint tea! Take swimming lessons!). However, I'll gladly take what I can get: roadtrip + rock climbing in Kentucky; pig roast + bioluminescent algae in Maryland; baseball, concerts and just truly awesome, terrific people in New York City.

The following is a photographic recap (in no particular order) of many of the things that made my summer pretty memorable this year!