Farewell 2013

Farewell 2013

Let us say adieu to 2013 and welcome in the new year.
2013 left us in a hurry like a subway train, never to look back. In this upcoming year I want to focus on myself. I want to focus on my photography and be an adventurer. I want to travel. I want to put myself and the camera in new places we’ve never been. I want to share my passion with everyone, even if they don’t care to listen. This is who I am. I will not deny myself who I am and neither should anyone else. Let’s work on being honest with ourselves and light the way with our own torch of passion. Let’s be strong in the face of darkness, even when our torch is seemingly at its last embers. Rekindle the fire and keep burning.

I’ve made some new social networking accounts today to keep the fire going. Please visit and follow me.

https://twitter.com/UGstreet
http://ugstreet.tumblr.com/

I’ve also made some adjustments on my official page:
http://www.ugstreets.com

Thank you all for an amazing year full of wonder, fear, education, Love, inspiration, dreams, longing, and hope.

-Yuji

Lunch, the Musical.

Lunch, the Musical.

A young couple enjoying their lunch after/before a broadway show. They were minding their own business, until some weird guy decided to photograph them through the window. Yes, that weird person is me. They framed themselves so well for me that I had to disturb their meal. I can tell the man is amused by my choice in subjects. I’m not so sure about the lady…
This reminded me of a B&H Video by Jeff Cable. Jeff is a successful events photographer and works for Lexar. In the video he says “Shoot first, plead for forgiveness later.”
This made me think that perhaps an events photographer and a street photographer aren’t too different. One is with permission, the other is usually not. One is an event, the other is finding the eventfulness in the everyday. One benefits from less gear, as the other benefits from the abundance of expensive gear. But what is consistent throughout all forms of photography, is the need for creativity. The need for change, experimentation, and drive. Without these things, all is lost.

What the eff is going on here?

What the eff is going on here?

I live for shots like this.
The shots that make you go, “what the eff is going on here?”
It makes you wonder about the people. Why are they here together? Why are the cops involved? What’s up with the head dress? How the hell do you walk around NYC wearing that thing? Is she in trouble? Is that guy in trouble?
As a street photographer, I don’t usually hang around long enough to find out. Because, Look! Something else is going on over there!

Click for larger! And thanks for visiting!

A Will and the Way

A Will and the Way

“Quick, look behind you.”
My girlfriend stares widely in bewilderment at something behind me. I trust her instincts and turn around with my camera on and ready.
She’s a very talented artist that understands composition and what a good subject looks like. I trust her wholeheartedly and already knew it was going to be good. This lady passes by us. It was actually more of a hobble or a wobble. I was first simply shocked that she was heading into oncoming traffic without any hesitation. Then I noticed how OLD she was and in my shock, I believe I lost a second or maybe even two seconds as she shuffled her way through.
As you can imagine, one or two seconds can make or break the moment. I need to work on my reaction time and reduce my “HOLY SHIT, is this really happening?” time. ^_^

Thanks for viewing!
Click for Bigger!

Be Ready for Bubbles

Be Ready for Bubbles

After getting this shot, my battery went dead. It was the first shot of the day. Of course, I didn’t have a spare on me. Even though I went out of my way to buy an extra one, I still didn’t have it with me. Such is my nature. I’m just going to learn from this and keep a spare on me at all times. Who knows what I could have missed? But at least I got this one. Always lookin’ at the brighter side of life. Thanks, Toy Bubble Gun man. I hope you make many people happy with your random bubbles floating across 40th st.

Black Capped Conure

Black Capped Conure

This is the happiest bird I’ve ever seen in my life.
He lives somewhere far from his own habitat. Perhaps he’s never known it. He’s just a happy New Yorker. The nice lady that is the owner kindly asked that I don’t share photos of her, but insisted that I photograph the bird. I’m so happy that I stopped her. But then the tides turned….

The 700 Dollar Violin

The 700 Dollar Violin

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus. I went out to explore.
I wanted to get out. I love nature and the outdoors as much as I love the city. I need a balance. Just like anyone does. We need to find a balance. So! I went to Los Angeles. Took a car from LA to Denver. And in the middle I visited a desert town at the border of CA and AZ. Then the Grand Canyon. I climbed up north to Utah to visit the Navajo in their sacred lands. Some more hours north, I discovered Arches National Park in Moab, UT. Then into snowy Colorado and into Denver, where I flew back to NJ.

In a rented cabin somewhere in Moab, UT, I remembered this man with his violin. I took the photo quickly. He was so magnetic and happy. Dancing around with his violin as if it were a woman. I didn’t notice the sign when I was taking his photo nor when I was talking to him. Actually I probably did see it, I just didn’t bother reading it. That night when I came home to review my photos, I read the sign and felt so bad that I only gave him a dollar. I even considered giving him $700 for his violin. Why do I trust him and his sign? Look at him. Tell me this man is trying to rob you. If you’re a musician you know what it means to sell your instrument. You give away a piece of yourself. A tool of your expression. An extension. You are trading it for money that has no meaning but financial value. He is willing to trade his beloved instrument for the love of his wife. (Click to view Largely)

Quick Draw

Quick Draw

I walked right through these mob of kids. Come to think of it, I don’t even flinch when I see a wall of people like this. I just walk right on in. Mobs like this usually are concentrated in the middle and dissipates around the outside. But this one just stopped like a wall or rather, a clearing.
I realized as I stumbled out the other end of the human wall, that they were waiting for someone to come out of a building. Someone famous I presume. As I started to walk away I quickly turned around and fired, hoping to catch them all off-guard! And just as I did, strobe flashes went off in my face! That camera man on the right was shooting ME! But as you can see in the shot, I won the quick draw against him. His flash hasn’t gone off yet.
But the true champion is that one girl posing a thumbs up for me. Well done, fan-girl.

::Click for Larger::

The Importance of Kicks

The Importance of Kicks.

This mob of people were gathered in front of a sports equipment store. (Click for Larger) Puzzled, I asked someone sitting on a lawn chair amongst the mob. “What are you guys waiting for?”
“Sneakers.”
“What?”
“SNEA-KERS. Like the ones on your damn feet.”
“Oh…wow…ok…I thought that’s what you said. Just making sure.”

I was so surprised all these people were waiting to get the same pair of sneakers as EVERYONE else on this line. I heard her tell me sneakers, but I just couldn’t believe it.