Trip to Manhattan


A few weeks back I had the opportunity to visit Manhattan with our good friends Barbara Fugate (a.k.a., Gator), Dr. Patricia Trutty-Coohill and Dr. Thomas Coohill. Gator is a Fine Artist and Art Instructor in Seattle; Pat is a Professor of Art History and Tom is a Professor of Biophysics, both at Siena College in Albany, New York.

We had a madcap, Manhattan weekend -- a whirlwind of activities in 48 hours! Hurricane Ernesto was also in town that weekend with 50 mph winds and buckets of rain, so we spent all of our time indoors at museums, shops and restaurants. I captured a few moments here and there with the 5D.

Post-processing: Shot with the Canon EOS 5D and the Canon 85mm f/1.2L lens at a variety of ISOs, f/stops and shutter speeds. If there are any particulars you'd like, just ask. All of these have been converted to monochrome using the Gradient Map, then basic curves adjustment for contrast and slight color balancing for tone.

Thanks for visiting Durham Township!



This is an awesome set of photos. Captures some of New York and also the beauty of candid photos to go along with it. Excellent job!

Posted by P.J. on December 1, 2006 2:28 AM

This is a fantastic series Kathleen. It looks like you had a fabulous time despite the inclement weather. One of your best "people" series.

Posted by Laurie on December 1, 2006 6:13 AM

You caught some great expressions and scenes. Top shot is the sailors; it will have special significance looking back on our current wars. The energy in "More Helen Slade Fans" is great.

Posted by Robert on December 1, 2006 6:32 AM

Excellent series!

Posted by Craig Wilson on December 1, 2006 7:30 AM

Looks like you had a great weekend. Excellent photos!

Posted by Barbro on December 1, 2006 7:51 AM

These are some great shots, as usual, Kathleen.

I also shoot with a 5D, but I just don't seem to produce results such as this. I have a couple of questions:
1) Did you shoot these in the Monochrome picture style setting on the 5D, or another setting and then convert?
2) On your color images, which color space and picture style settings do you prefer?

You've got some incredible work and a fantastic eye. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Jim Crotty on December 1, 2006 8:48 AM

Stunning, all of them! I'm usually most fascinated with your color work, but I'm really blown away by this series. Wonderful tones and an emotional connection in every shot! Tell me, what are the particulars of the shot of the guitarist at the cotton club?

Posted by Noah on December 1, 2006 9:03 AM

Hi Kathleen,

I am constantly in awe of your lighting - how do you get such a perfect glow in a dark place like McSorley's or the Cotton Club? Are the L series lenses that sweet?

Posted by chad on December 1, 2006 9:07 AM

Love the Helen Slade shot. It's very difficult to shot in that kind of setting and capture the detail and emotion of the singer. Interesting series.

Posted by bryan on December 1, 2006 11:17 AM

Wow, these are all very nice. If I had to choose favorites I'd say the Helen Slade shot, the first shot of the professors, and the last of your friend with her drawing are all top rate with beautiful light. Great work!

Posted by Judith Polakoff on December 1, 2006 12:50 PM

Wow! What a great variety of shots in this little collection.

How do you meet all of these interesting people? And do you just ask to take their picture?

Very, very cool. I love your photos!

Posted by Aline on December 1, 2006 1:16 PM

I really enjoyed this series. You framed each of these beautifully and you captured terrific emotion in all of their faces. Love the shot of Helen Slade.

Posted by Howard on December 1, 2006 1:41 PM

These are wonderful! Each shot in the series tells an interesting story. I particularly like "Jesus and Gator" because of the focus on the sculpture rather than the person.

Posted by Ted on December 1, 2006 1:42 PM

Hi Kathleen,

I'm a student currently located to your North in Montreal, Quebec, and I am huge fan of your work. It is rare to see such a gift for capturing the essence of people. This series is particularly exquisite. Your subjects always seem so comfortable with you. That's the ultimate compliment, as a photographer, I suppose.

Thanks for sharing your talent with us

Dallas Curow

Posted by dallas on December 1, 2006 1:57 PM

You can see everyone's personalities in all these shots, that's a hard thing to do.

Posted by Jeff Ambrose on December 1, 2006 2:02 PM

Great set of images...I love the shot of the guitarist.

Posted by Angry Buddha on December 1, 2006 7:50 PM

wow, what a set.

Posted by andy on December 2, 2006 12:08 AM

me gustan mucho tus fotos, hace mucho tiempo que visito tu blog, eres una artista increible.

Posted by mariano on December 2, 2006 7:23 AM

Thanks, Kathleen, for capturing that weekend. Tom's pose captures what we all felt.

Posted by pat on December 2, 2006 7:30 AM

What a great series of shots. I've been thinking about New York myself lately and then I pop over to see what you've been up to and there's NY again. Very cool.

Posted by Brian on December 2, 2006 10:46 AM

Nice candids!

Posted by John on December 2, 2006 12:40 PM

great shots! the guitarist is amazing. you really nailed the focus, and the light is splendid.

Posted by za on December 3, 2006 8:31 AM

Is the top shot a set up for a paradox joke, or is it just me?

Second, super composition with Gator and patterns.

Third suggests "Bouncers of the Carabean!"

Forth, couple attempting analog version of google earth? (or google art)

Five, saving Gator?

Six, unbeatable action shot of Helen at the mike.

Seven, Latin for guitar? (Ibanez?)

Eight, What a great candid moment. Love the out-of-focus blending of three dimensional objects into two dimensional shapes and patterns on the right against the wonderful expression you caught of the lady on the left, an axceptional double portrait.

Nine, All the fans are turned on and it is still hot in here.

Ten, Sailors happy because they are NOT sailing on the Peaquod.

Eleven, "Out-of-towner" take his medicine. Only six more to go and you'll be fine!

Twelve, Gator taking Liberties.(When it comes to liberty, Ms Gator seems to be a hardliner, judging from the art.)

dittos to all positive remarks on composition, and DOF results. What a rewarding result from such a breif excursion.

Thank you x 12

Posted by david Tinnon on December 3, 2006 2:32 PM

Hi Kathleen, I've been following your blog now for quite a while, thank you for all the fabulous work! You've been such a great inspiration for me. I've even become an Lcoholic thanks to you!

Posted by Theron Tan on December 4, 2006 1:24 AM

me again. I was just looking back at other pics you've taken (I find myself doing that often), and found myself thinking I hope you've found a way to make lots of money from these fantastic, inspiring images. I'm convinced you have a full lighting crew following you around on your so called walks. We all know it's really a fancy studio you have, with a large post processing and CG team. Heheh...

Posted by Theron Tan on December 4, 2006 2:05 AM


Jim Crotty: These are RAW images which I converted to monochrome using the Gradient Map. I use the Adobe RGB color space and Standard picture style.

Chad: The light in these shots is alllll from that lens! (85mm f/1.2L) I can't imagine anything in the Canon line that's sharper or more lovely. Since it opens to 1.2, you can shoot by candlelight if you're inclined. It's used a lot in fashion photography because of its sharp focal point and beautiful bokeh.

Aline: Some of these people are friends (the top two shots, for example) but as far as the others, I'm definitely not a shy person. :) At the Cotton Club, I asked the owners if I could sit at the stage edge and they happily let me. At McSorleys, well... if you want some practice shooting low-light portraits, that's your place. Nearly everyone in there is drunk and impressed by large lenses, hahahaha... I guess the key to taking people pictures is to smile, say hello and ask! :) Might not always work, but lots of time it does.

david Tinnon: Laughing as always... and assuming those questions are rhetorical! :)

Theron Tan: You make me laugh. I would LOVE to figure out how to make money at this, AND have a lighting crew follow me around, believe me, hahahha... but Mr. Sun usually does a pretty good job. (It's just about finding the right time and place.) My fancy studio consists of a VERY messy desk in a small room. What's a CG team?

Posted by Kathleen on December 4, 2006 7:09 AM

The wonderful shot of the guitarist is alone reason enough to buy the 85mm, once I've robbed a bank.

Posted by miles on December 4, 2006 8:23 AM

Hi Kathleen,

CG is an accronym for Computer Graphics. Think Matrix, the new Star Wars stuff... Anything that looks too good to be true!

Posted by Theron Tan on December 4, 2006 12:35 PM

Gator is v. pretty. Very photogenic and the glasses make the shot even more impressive.

The picture of Helen is amazing and powerful.

My question:
Did you take all these pictures hand-held or did you use some tripod/sit on a table/lean against a wall type tricks? I have a difficult time getting fast enough shutter speeds in low lighting situations with the f-stops on my current lenses, so maybe I need to invest in a better lens?

Posted by TJ on December 4, 2006 4:04 PM


Fantastic series. Having lived in Manhattan for ten years, I can tell you that you really did a phenomenal job of capturing the people who make New York City such a wonderful place (both to visit...and to live). You have a fearlessness that is to be admired in your photography of people. You should definitely pursue this more as you clearly have a gift. As always, I really appreciate your site.

Posted by Bob on December 5, 2006 9:40 AM

TJ: These are all hand-held shots.

The 5D does some amazing stuff at high ISOs (1600, 3200) and combined with the 85mm f/1.2L, it's a pretty sweet situation for low-light portraiture. Noise levels are almost non-existent with the 5D. And the lens gives crisp results in low-light and beautiful bokeh when you choose your backgrounds carefully.

The "faster" the lens (the lower the "f"), the better your options are for this kind of thing without a tripod.

Posted by Kathleen on December 5, 2006 2:03 PM

I have only just subscribed in Google Reader.. and those shots made my day worthwhile. Stunning emotion and justification. I love them, thank you!

Posted by Matt Harwood on December 9, 2006 2:52 PM
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