Exploring Urban Buffalo

Parking garages. So simple, but a great location.

After trying to find time to shoot over the past 5 weeks and failing each time to do so, Taylor (TayTay) and I finally managed to squeeze in some time! She had the brilliant idea to shoot in a parking garage, a location that was familiar to me over the summer of 2018 in Santa Monica. Here I am, getting back with it in Buffalo! The sounds of the ocean and the views of mountains and palm trees aren’t native to Buffalo, but the concrete jungle doesn’t disappoint!

Despite what it may look like, it was actually a relatively warm day, for Buffalo at least. It reached somewhere in the low, mid 40s, which was a bit of a novelty for Buffalo in late February. But don’t worry, as I’m writing this blog now, the temperature has dipped back down to a crispy 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9°C). While this isn’t terribly warm, it was warm enough to be outside for a long time and not get terrible cold! This is a plus for sure.

Taylor and I always have a fantastic time shooting. She’s actually a signed model so our shoots go perhaps the smoothest out of everyone I shoot with! We get the job done but also have a heck of a lot of fun together.

I’ve mentioned this in the recent blogs, but I’m trying to shoot more landscape portraits on my shoots. It’s a tough concept for me to get used to because I always figure portraits look way better vertically than horizontally. It challenges me a bit more creatively because I have to move my position a bit more than usual, whether that be moving back or changing the angle I’m shooting.

Oh, here’s another challenge. I’ve been using my professor’s 70-200mm 2.8 lens extensively for portraits recently. It’s an absolute ridiculous challenge but it is extremely rewarding. The depth of field I’m getting with this lens is next level! It’s certainly odd because I’m shooting nearly 30 or 40 feet form the subject and I’m also shooting on a crop-frame camera (for those of you that don’t know, a crop frame magnifies the image by 1.6x, as opposed to a full-frame camera).

Shooting with a 70-200mm on a crop frame means my focal length is actually more like 112-320mm. So I need to be really far away, in other words. Quite the adventure! Here’s the last few with the 70-200mm – from this shoot, at least. I love this lens. Also, if someone wants to buy me this lens, feel free! Address it to Justin Fague at 19…

(But seriously, if you want to gift me that lens, much appreciated. Email me!) Anyways, from here we dove into the abandoned grain elevators at Outer Harbor, just on the outskirts of Buffalo. This place is absolutely nuts. I’ve been here only once or twice before and I’m blown away each time. My friend John took me a while back and we actually climbed up to the top and sat on the roof. it’s a sketchy climb for sure (like, seriously sketchy), but we could actually see Toronto off way in the distance since it was such a clear day. Taylor was wearing heels, so we opted not to do that here…that would’ve stunk so bad, for everyone involved…not recommended.

I’d seen these boats the last time I was here with John and we tried taking photos, but I couldn’t work with the light. The funny thing was that was only about ten months ago, in May of 2019…it’s incredible what I’ve learned in the 10 or so months since I was here last! That’s how I can tell I’ve grown as a photographer. I go back to places I previously hit and take shots bigger and better than before.

But seriously, can we just take a look at these shots, just for a second…I mean, I love them so much, and as you consistent readers know, this is so not my style of photography…like not even a little bit! Just enjoy for a second.

Here’s a little tip I learned for portraits in abandoned buildings: smiling looks out of place. I don’t know if you’e noticed while reading this, but the smiles ceased once we stepped into darker clothes (the leather jacket) and continued into the abandoned grain elevators. I definitely have some absolutely gorgeous smiles from Taylor taken in the elevators, but they don’t fit the mood as well as a straight, serious smile does. This is something I realized after shooting in two abandoned places – and caught on to – during the second. Just a little tip for you!

Oh, did I fail to mention the entire floor here was ice as well? Unreal. Both of us nearly slipped multiple times, but we lived to tell the tale! We’re happy for that. We headed outside (where it was considerably warmer) and took a few quick shots with the Buffalo skyline in the background. It’s nothing like New York City or even Boston, but it was something to look at for sure! The clearness of the day was unmatched.

And here’s the transition back.

Notice how we’re back to smiles.

Parting shot:

TayTay-124
Step to the plate.

Next blog: We’re doing night photos. Sounds like a recipe for Faith, yeah?

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