If I Can See It, I Can Shoot It

The camera tech of right now is phenomenal. It gives the photographer great leeway to just simply shoot pictures in all manner of situations and adjust on the fly, with the flick of a couple buttons. The mantra I used to hear when I first started in the business, “If I can see it, I can shoot it,” is now, finally, true. With transparency film and Tri-X, back in the day, not so much. In very dim or tough light conditions, a more accurate mantra might have been “Put your camera to your eye and hope for the best.”

Kevin Rivera is a wonderfully talented break dancer in New York City. His stage is often times the street or the subway. I spent some time with Kevin, roaming Manhattan and the Bronx, grabbing frames when I could. I saw this neon in a store, and the glow of it, and asked him to lean against the glass for a photo. I just liked the light, and Kevin has a wonderful face for a portrait. This is a 50mm lens, at f/1.8, on a Nikon Z 6, ISO 2000. In today’s parlance, ISO 2000 is not particularly extreme, but to me it is still an amazing gift as a shooter. I guess what’s still a bit stupefying to me is the intersection of this ISO rating with the quality obtained.

Quite quickly, Kevin turned from this storefront to see his grandfather walking towards him in his Bronx neighborhood. Just as quickly I pivoted, accelerated my ISO to 4000, and shot the below at f2.8 on the 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens. Life moves quickly, and now, the cameras do, as well. Again, historically speaking, I would have had to rewind my film, throw another roll of 36 in the camera, make adjustments and shoot. All while missing moments.

Then, onto an abandoned warehouse in upstate NY. Shafts of light. ISO 250, Change up to the 14-30mm lens.