See My Live Streams from Jaffrey

Last season I began to produce and edit the Stories to Share series of YouTube live stream broadcasts from the Jaffrey Civic Center in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. I invite you to see my live streams from Jaffrey. The link to the coming live stream is found on the Jaffrey Civic Center YouTube channel. Click on “Uploads” and select “Upcoming live streams”.

Season 2

The Season 2 of the Stories to Share series started on October 7, 2022, with a great presentation by author Ernest Hebert. Each new episode will be streamed on the first Friday of each month through May, 2023, beginning at 5:00 PM. The streams usually last about one hour and each features an interesting guest speaker. Each coming episode is described on the JCC Events Page.

Live Stream Setup

Well before the production date, I create the opening and closing credits videos. To produce these streams live, I bring lighting, audio, and video equipment to the Jaffrey Civic Center. There is no in-house audio or stage lighting. It usually takes a while to unload my car and carry all of the equipment into the auditorium. The equipment is set up early on the day of broadcast so that I can test everything.

To light the stage I use up to three mono-lights. Up to four microphones and four cameras are needed to provide audio and video for the stream. All of the cables and power connections are done as each piece of equipment is set up. Usually I use from two to four camera angles, depending on the style of presentation.

Live Stream Production

It is quite a production to accomplish as the lone person setting up and running all of the equipment. At the beginning of an event I start the stream, run the opening credits, and give a hand signal to the moderator to start the show. During the presentation, I run specific scenes using broadcast software and switch cameras using a video switch. Sometimes I use a volunteer to run one of the cameras to keep it pointed at a speaker who wants to move around the stage. At the end of the presentation there is usually a question and answer session where I will relay YouTube chat questions and comments to the moderator.

Live Stream and Film Ambitions

Producing and editing live streams is a lot of fun for me. At the moment I am doing it at no charge. I am willing to do it for other organizations provided I feel that I can add value, provided I have the equipment to produce a credible result, and provided I personally consider the project as interesting.

The equipment suite also lends itself to filming. Recently I have done a few documentary interview films and plan to do more. There are other film projects that I would consider doing at no charge with the same caveats that I have for live streaming.

If you have an idea for a live stream or a film and are ready to produce it or to discuss feasibility, contact me at ed@wojtaszek.info.

See other video work that I have produced on my Videos page.

My First Live Stream Was Stressful

I have done quite a few videos for my bicycle touring channel on YouTube, Edek’s Attic. For all of those, I had the luxury of editing the content after-the-fact. Live streaming is totally different. My first live stream was stressful. My first live stream was a virtual reception for my photo exhibit in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

Once you click “GO LIVE”, you are on the air and you can’t take mistakes back. I have a lot of respect for television personalities who do this kind of thing for a living. Much of their success I suppose is experience. Some people are also good at riffing or improvising. That is not me.

So, I took a lot of time to prepare and rehearse. My script was initially nine pages of bullets and I planned to refer to them frequently during the live stream, if not actually read them. That turned out to be a bad idea because turning pages was awkward and reading took my eyes away from the camera. Eventually, that boiled down to one page of bullets for key points that I needed to make.

Using Open Broadcaster Software, I was able to record my dry runs and self-critique. My wife, Marne, also had a go at critiquing my performance. During my preparations, I probably did six recorded sessions, improving my presentation each time.

Even with the presentation perfected, there remained the mechanics of self-directing. There were introduction and credit videos to queue. There was an on-camera period for me and a PowerPoint slide presentation of my photos. All of this was set up in OBS ahead of time and transitions rehearsed. Managing all of the transitions during the live stream was another thing that I needed to do. At the same time, I was trying to concentrate on my presentation.

The result was a good first effort, although I only had seven live viewers. The recorded stream in now on my Edek’s Photos YouTube channel. I am hoping to add to my list of subscribers on the channel with this and other videos in the near future. I am planning videos on using Photoshop to develop video frames, creating basic videos using DaVinci Resolve, and understanding color management for photography.

Stay tuned.

Love That Dirty Water Virtual Reception Scheduled

On February 1, 2022 I will present the Love That Dirty Water Photo Exhibit Virtual Reception on YouTube to be broadcast live at 7 PM Eastern. “Love That Dirty Water” is an exhibit of my street photos that is currently showing through February 20, 2022, at the Jaffrey Civic Center, Jaffrey, New Hampshire. I will present my background, as well as a discussion of street photography, the exhibit at the Jaffrey Civic Center, and my approach to street photography, using examples from the exhibit. For photographers, I will briefly touch upon street photography techniques and equipment.

River Dance

I will take questions via live chat during the broadcast. To chat with me, you will need to be logged in to your Google account. You do not need a gmail account. During the broadcast, a button to create your channel for chat will be displayed in the chat window.

After broadcast, the video of the broadcast will be available on my YouTube channel EdeksPhotos. You can also find my channel by searching YouTube for EdeksPhotos.

Northwest United States Road Trip Photo Stories

My wife Marne and I completed a fourteen day road trip that began on August 14 and took us from Chicago through Illinois, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. During our drive, I took over 450 photos and these selected images tell our northwest United States road trip photo stories. These are the shots from our trip that I like the most.

The Badlands

The first image is from the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. In the hills you can see the different colored layers of volcanic material laid down by 50 million years of volcanic ash deposited from volcanoes that were many miles away. By chance, the colors of the woman and her clothes mimicked the landscape. She might have lost her hat if it had not been strapped to her head since the wind was blowing hard.

Northwest United States Road Trip Photo Stories
Admiring The Badlands

Mount Rushmore

At another stop, Mount Rushmore, we enjoyed our visit to the iconic sculptures on the mountaintop. There were two people with face masks standing apart from the other tourists who were there. When I look at the image, it evokes emotions of the pandemic. Both the young person and the older gentleman appear tense and disengaged from the experience. To me the image is a reminder of the damage the pandemic has done to the joys of life. The fear, real or imagined, guides the lives of many people. This is not a political statement, but a sad fact of life that we have all lived for well over a year.

fear has taken joy from many activities during the pandemic
Faces Of The Pandemic

Sturgis

During a subsequent day, we drove through Sturgis, South Dakota, and visited the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. Sturgis is the location of the largest annual motorcycle rally in the world. Just five days earlier, the 2021 rally ended, yet I was hoping to capture at least one image of people on motorcycles in Sturgis. The image that I captured shows the biker in the foreground wearing shoes that are nearly new and jeans that are spotless. Perhaps he is a pin stripe suit professional when he is not on the road on his Harley. Both riders sit astride similar Harley Davidson motorcycles and that one thing established the common ground between them. As a bicycle tourist myself, I feel that I have a love of traveling and the open road in common with them.

motorcyclists meet in Sturgis, South Dakots
Common Ground In Sturgis

Sekiu

On the Olympic Peninsula, we stopped at a site that overlooks the town of Sekiu. We could not resist the urge to drive down into the town to look around. It appeared to be mostly a camping and fishing community. Judging by the boats, both commercial and sport fishing are done from the small bay there. From the beach I saw some interesting activity a few docks away from me. I walked to that location and I met two men who were filleting freshly caught fish. The fish were caught from their boat several miles west near the coast of Neah Bay. From the looks of it, they had enough fish for several meals.

filleting freshly caught fish in the dock at Sekiu harbor
Catch Of The Day

Rialto Beach

One of our final stops on the Olympic Peninsula was Rialto Beach. As we walked toward the beach, we passed a man and woman who were donning large backpacks. I commented to them about the size of the loads that they carried. They explained that they planned to hike up the beach to overnight in the wooded shore that appeared to be about a mile away. The image on the beach was captured as they discussed final plans before hiking up the beach.

preparing to hike to an overnight camp on Rialto Beach
Hiking North On Rialto Beach

Remembering The Trip

As you can see, it was a great trip and we covered over 3300 miles, experiencing features of our country west of the Mississippi that are separated by great distances. Along the way there were many opportunities to observe people who were creating their own moments in those places. For me, these images almost stand alone to tell the story of those moments.

Please visit my Portfolio to see an additional selection of my street photographs.

Street Photography Article Is Published

My street photography article is published in the PSA Journal issue for August 2021. The PSA Journal is a monthly publication of the Photographic Society of America. Actually, you can download a sample copy here to see what the Journal is all about

In summary, I cover the origin of street photography and my own journey in street photography. Also, to illustrate my style and approach, I included select photographs from my library. Finally, I included the full, copyrighted article below.

Photographers, You Could Be Seeing Stars

As an avid and struggling street photographer, I have tried many means to improve and to be affirmed as a photographer. Street photography has been a major pursuit for me since 2016. During the past four years I have been a featured artist in an online zine, I have a first place in an exhibition at my gallery, and I had a solo show. I participate in as many print exhibitions as I can at my home gallery. These activities generally do not provide any significant or consistent feedback although I enjoy them.

An improving and affirming activity that I think works better is participation in photo competitions. Among the most comprehensive are competitions that are recognized by the Photographic Society of America and hosted by organizations all over the world. The name of the PSA is misleading because it is a worldwide organization, not confined to the Americas. Recognition earned in these competitions can be used to achieve PSA Star Ratings that I will detail a little later.

The PSA has six divisions that encompass pretty much all subjects and techniques. The divisions are defined in detail on the PSA web site. In a PSA competition, a division may include one or more sections with themes described in the competition rules. Usually four entries are permitted in each section. There are many exhibitions recognized by the PSA each month.

The PSA competitions award “acceptances” to images that satisfy the PSA definitions and aesthetic for a particular division as determined by a panel of judges. The judges also consider section rules for the specific exhibition.  The very top images receive awards that distinguish them as the best of the exhibition. Acceptances are a meaningful way to encourage photographers who don’t score the top competition awards and to provide feedback that they are on the right track.

PSA PJD Accepted Image Titled “Turmoil” – Below the BU Bridge, Head of the Charles Regatta, Boston, 2016

The PSA exhibitions are at the international level and you are instantaneously thrown into the pool with hundreds of professional and amateur photographers. Each section of a PSA competition can have a thousand or more competitors. A catalog of acceptances is published by the competition host that usually includes the images receiving awards. Some exhibitions publish all the accepted images on their Internet sites,  but that is not done consistently. Still, I think that the system of awards and acceptances gives photographers feedback that is otherwise scarce. Based on a review of acceptance catalogs, I determined that acceptance in a PSA exhibition will place you in the 70th to 80th percentile of those competing.

Acceptances and awards from PSA competitions can be used to establish a personal international ranking maintained by the PSA. In the PSA Star Rating system, stars are earned according to the number of acceptances that you have achieved. One star requires 18 accepted images, two stars requires 36, three stars requires 72, four stars requires 144, and five stars requires 288 acceptances. Each unique image can have up to three acceptances in different exhibitions to qualify. That is, you can achieve 288 acceptances from 96 images. There are ratings above the stars that have additional requirements.

As a street photographer, I enter competitions in the Photojournalism Division (PJD). That division suits street photography since the PJD strictly limits the editing that can be done to images primarily to cropping and conversion to monochrome. That happens to be the tacit rule for street photography. Typical PJD competition sections are street, city life, and human interest that are very appropriate for street images. A PJD section can be done without a specific theme and that will attract a broader range of subjects.

PSA PJD Accepted Image Titled “Occupy Inauguration Boston” – Occupy Inauguration, Boston Common, 2017

The other divisions operate in a similar way and you will need to navigate your way through the PSA division definitions and specific competition section definitions to get comfortable with them. Select one or more divisions that fit your subjects and style. Enter the competition sections that best suit your work. I also recommend studying the Divisions and Stars/ROPA sections of the PSA web site. You can find all of the current exhibitions listed under the Exhibitions menu.

PSA membership and entry into the PSA exhibitions are not expensive. I recommend giving it a try as a creative outlet. You may find that you are good enough to place at the top and score an award. If you score an acceptance, you can be certain that you are better than average. If you score rejection, you have something more to learn and to achieve. That is a win-win-win in my book.

For more of my street photos, see my Portfolio.

See you on the street.

Review of Bumblejax Prints

This is a review of Bumblejax prints for digital photographs. Bumblejax is a print lab located in Seattle, Washington. They are providing great prints for me at a price that is cost-effective. I have my black and white prints done on metallic paper, usually on Dibond(R) with a matte laminate. The blacks seem to reproduce best with this paper without significant color cast. I made this decision based on some proof prints of my photos that were done by Bumblejax. Previously I was using a lab that did silver halide prints and I could not justify the cost. The cost of an unmounted silver halide print exceeded the cost of a laminated print on Dibond (R) from Bumblejax.

Metallic paper is also my favorite for color since the colors pop brilliantly. Moreover, the colors are stunning behind acrylic. Using the same paper for everything that I print gives my work a similar appearance whether color or black and white.

All of my show and gallery prints are frameless. The Dibond(R) prints have the standard Bumblejax hanging hardware on the back. Personally, frameless prints look more contemporary and there is no frame and matte board to distract from the image. Frames are also a huge waste of money since they do not make any difference to the people viewing my work in the gallery. Practically speaking, I can get more prints and larger prints on the wall at the gallery without a two to three inch border around each one.

It takes some preparation on my end to get the results that I want. I have a 24″ ASUS LED monitor that I calibrate using Spyder 5 Pro. For preview and export to TIFF, I use Lightroom Classic CC. The exports to TIFF use Adobe RGB for the color space. I use TIFF because I believe that JPEG can introduce artifacts and that JPEG reduces the gamut since it is not lossless compression. The colors and color values that I get in my prints from Bumblejax always match what I see on my monitor.

Bumblejax is on the west coast and I am on the east coast, but that has not been a problem. When I have needed customer service, they have been very responsive. Ground shipping takes some time, but I try to plan ahead and I find that it is worth the delay to get prints that satisfy my desire for perfection. Bumblejax packages the prints well for shipping and I have never had an issue with damage.

All of the prints for my solo show, scheduled for April 28 through May 23, 2021, were done by Bumblejax. I have over thirty prints for the show. Most of the pieces are 12″ x 16″. I would love to show them to you, but a photo of a photo print just does not work.

Getting prints back from Bumblejax has been a confidence builder to me because the quality of their work compliments my own. I am looking forward to my show and displaying all of the prints on the wall at the same time. I am confident they are going to have an impact on my audience.

“Love That Dirty Water” Street Photo Print Show

After a year of waiting due to the pandemic, my solo street photo print show will be up at the Arts League of Lowell in the Greenwald Gallery from 28 April through 23 May. This postcard is being printed to promote the show using the image that I decided to use as the feature image. I chose it because the Charles River and the Longfellow Bridge are prominent and the subject seems to be loving that dirty water.

street photo print show
Love That Dirty Water

The show title comes from the 1966 hit recording, “Dirty Water”, by the Standells. At the time, the river was famously polluted. It is no longer polluted, but the song still resonates with me, especially the words, “Love that dirty water; Boston, you’re my home”.

The show will include about thirty prints from my collection of Boston street photos taken since 2016 when I began to do street photography. My photos almost always include people and many are a playful depiction of life and diversity in Boston. Each has a story or a message behind it. They are in black and white as well as color, depending on the importance of color in telling the story.

My New LUMIX DC-G9

My first Micro Four Thirds camera was a LUMIX DMC-GF1 that I purchased on eBay for $100 in 2016. That led to an upgrade to an Olympus Pen F in early 2017 and I was very happy with that camera for three years of shooting street images. A series of events led to my purchase of the G9.

The Pen F had a hard fail and I sent it to Olympus for major service that cost over $400. I do not blame Olympus for the failure since it is my street camera and received some rough treatment. It was never dropped, but it spent some time on the back of my bicycle getting bounced around in a trunk pack. The camera came back from Olympus in great shape and was taking pictures as well as it ever did. I am happy with Olympus service.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit and I began looking for a webcam so that I could experiment with streaming photo shows. My gallery was closed, my solo show was cancelled, and I was looking for an alternative. There were no webcams available. It is likely that many people had similar needs that were driven by the pandemic, including work meetings and school. All sources were out of stock.

I investigated using a digital camera as a webcam and found that the LUMIX line was especially popular for that purpose as well as for video production. The G9 with the latest firmware was for me the best compromise between the video capabilities and the still image features. It is primarily a still camera, but has video features that overlap somewhat with the LUMIX DC-GH5 that is very popular for web streaming and video.

There are plenty of reviews for both the G9 and GH5 on the Internet, so I will not try to repeat them. My rationale for buying the G9 and sticking with Micro Four Thirds included the reviews, but also my desire for a light camera that i could carry all day. While the G9 body weighs more than the Pen F, the combination of the camera and the preferred lens weighs about the same. I was using the M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 lens on the Pen F, a heavy and bulky lens. On the G9 I have a Leica Summilux 25mm f/1.4 that has a much smaller footprint.

I had lots of reasons for the upgrade. My new street kit with the G9 is moisture resistant. Videos are impressive, assisted by effective Image Stabilization. In my opinion the auto focus for stills is much better than the Pen F and the shutter is more responsive. I can rip off back-to-back images much more quickly. I hooked it up with my computer and Open Broadcast Software (OBS) and got great results for web streaming.

I have had my G9 on the street a couple of times and am totally converted from the Pen F.

LUMIX DC-G9 Image Straight from the Camera
Boston Seaport Fisherman

The image above is reduced resolution, but I think shows the excellent color and contrast rendering by the sensor and the LUMIX firmware. The image is straight out of the camera with only the resampling to 640 x 480 from the native resolution.

So far I am very happy with my choice and I consider it a significant upgrade from my Pen F. Many will question my judgement in sticking with Micro Four Thirds. The format has many limitations, especially in low light. Low light is not a problem for me since I do most of my street photography in daylight. For me the light weight and other street-friendly features close the deal.

Back to My LUMIX GF1

The Olympus Pen F that I love for street photography is at Olympus for service. It has served me well for three years, but I am concerned about long term reliability and ruggedness. Since I have some expensive glass, an M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 lens, I am committed to Micro Four Thirds. They are easy to carry during a long day on the street because of the small size of the Micro Four Thirds camera bodies in general.

While the Pen F is being serviced, I have fallen back to my LUMIX DMC-GF1. It was the camera that I purchased used for $100 over three years ago to give Micro Four Thirds a try. For $200 I found a Olympus 25mm f/1.8 lens to go with it. That model was already eight years old at the time I bought it. At twelve megapixels it is a credible street camera as long as I don’t need to crop very much. It forces me to be more careful with my compositions. The shutter release is a bit slow, but I don’t use it to capture fast action or sports.

I took it with me last week to Cape Cod where I spent the day on my bike. It spent most of the day in the bicycle trunk pack because there was little activity on the Cape for this time of year. The camera came out of the pack near Brewster where I enjoyed a hot dog. It had been three hours since breakfast and I had forty miles to go. The hot dog gave me a protein boost to get me to Wellfleet.

LUMIX GF1 Image
Hot Dogs Near Brewster

After riding through the trail head at the end of the trail in Wellfleet, I decided to ride up the hill to a beach that was familiar to me. The beach parking lot is on a dune that is high above the beach. A precarious sand ramp leads from the parking lot down to the beach below. An old wooden life guard station rests at the edge of the dune overlooking the beach.

LUMIX GF1 Image
Old Lifeguard Stand in Wellfleet

It was early afternoon and people were still arriving, leading to a steady stream of people on the ramp. Some stood at the edge of the dune searching down below for a suitable place to spend the afternoon. Nearly two years ago a 26 year old man was killed by a shark at this beach and a sign at the edge of the dune just above the Severe Bleeding First Aid Kit in the orange box reminds visitors of the danger. There were few people in the water.

LUMIX GF1 Image
At the Edge of the Dune at a Beach in Wellfleet

It was a perfect day to be outdoors since it was warm and I was not in a hurry to go anywhere fast. The only sad thing was that there were too few people for really good street photography. Still, it was a great day to practice using my LUMIX GF1 again since I may be using it for a while. The image quality and color from the old camera are still great.