It has certainly been far, far too long since I’ve updated this blog. Suffice it to say, a few other things have happened. (In case you are unaware, I am the person on the right in the above photograph.) Thankfully, life is now at a point where I can get back to regular updates. But enough excuses. This is a Legitimate Photograph (note the capital letters) and thus I should talk about how I made it, rather than puff up my chest regarding the subject matter.

For this, I was both a subject and the photographer. This is the real, authentic photograph of how I proposed to my girlfriend (now fiancée), Meena. I had been planning it for a while, and was blessed with good weather in New York on October 2. (I had thought it was unseasonably warm then; I remain surprised that it was just about as nice last weekend!) I had spent most of the previous Saturday scouting locations in Central Park. I found several candidates, but none of them were quite right. I was looking for some nice greenery to show off the park, but I wanted to capture some flavor of New York City in the background, so that there was a distinct sense of place. Additionally, I wanted it to be at least a little solitary — I didn’t want to deal with passers-by hooting and hollering when I was trying to propose. And I wanted as few people in the background as possible.

It took quite a bit of searching, but I eventually found this spot, overlooking Harlem Meer. It was perfect. Coincidentally near my apartment, and it allowed us to enjoy a pleasant walk through the Conservatory Gardens, beautiful in their own right, as a prelude to “The Event.”

As far as the technical stuff goes, I had my camera set up on a tripod with a 580EX II slapped onto the hotshoe just for fill. It was set on ETTL for simplicity’s sake, probably underexposing by about a stop. I purchase a Vivitar wireless shutter remote for this express purpose, as well. It was around $40, which is honestly just about as cheap as it gets, and it obviously got the job done quite nicely. I’m sure I’ll use it in the future for nighttime exposures or anything else requiring an absurdly long shutter speed. After that, it was just a matter of setting up the shot, getting her in it, and getting me in it in a way that wasn’t terribly obvious. (I held another flash as though I would also be lighting her from the side, even though that wouldn’t make a lot of sense in direct sunlight. It’s the best I could come up with.) You may notice the back-focus, which is unfortunate, but I feel it is forgiveable.

She knew this was coming sooner or later, but this particular moment took her by surprise. It was exactly what I was going for, and we were able to celebrate the rest of the day with friends.

Now, of course, we are both in wedding planning mode. But photography is necessarily a part of any wedding! The next several posts will probably be dealing with that process, as we just had some fantastic engagement photos taken, and I recently shot a wedding as well. Stay tuned…

She Said Yes

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