Newsletter Issue 1 (1:1 Interview with Matthew Cannon @mattsfocus) (July 23, 2020)
Hi everyone! Welcome to my first official newsletter. I plan on releasing these every two weeks so you can stay up-to-date on my photography adventures.
Thanks for stopping by, and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.
Michael Silverstone is a photographer based in New York City. He specializes in train, landscape, and city photography. Michael currently shoots with a Sony Alpha A7RII, alternating between four lenses. On any given day or night, you can find him capturing one of NYC’s iconic landmarks, or shooting from a subway platform deep in Brooklyn.
A hiking trip to the Canadian Rockies in June 2017 (specifically a starry night over Pyramid and Patricia Lakes in Jasper, Alberta) was the inspiration for Michael’s photography journey. Upon returning to NYC, he purchased his first camera the very next day.
Michael’s work has been shared by the marketing organization NYC & Company, and has been featured on multiple local cable news outlets, including Spectrum News NY1, FOX 5 New York, and ABC7 Eyewitness News. He also serves as a mod for the popular Instagram photography hubs @NYCPrimeshot and @USAPrimeshot. These hubs feature the work of local and national creators, and organize and run photography meet-ups/networking events around NYC in collaboration with other hubs, and with the participation of sponsors.
Michael enjoys playing guitar, attending concerts, and studying New York City’s bizarre and captivating history.
Sony Alpha A7RII
Tamron 17–28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD
Tamron 28–75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD
Sony FE 85mm f/1.8
Sony FE 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 G OSS
With not much travel going on during the quarantine, I’ve come to greatly appreciate many of the local train stations that I’d normally neglect.
This shot was taken at Chauncey Street Station, on the border of Bushwick and Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
In early July, the infamous R32 subway cars were brought back out of retirement (after only 4 months!) because of issues with the newer J trains. These trains first entered into service in 1964, making them the oldest continuously running rolling stock in the world.
The below image is actually two separate images aligned in Adobe Photoshop! One of my goals during this quarantine was to learn the basics of that program. The scene itself remains the same, but the trains were captured a few minutes apart in separate images. Photoshop’s auto-alignment and masking tools came in absolutely clutch for this composition!
Many photographers use mobile apps such as PhotoPills and TPE to determine exactly where a sun or moon will rise or set. If you’ve ever seen a picture of the moon lining up with the Statue of Liberty’s torch, or of the sun lining up with the Empire State Building’s spire, it’s likely a lot of researched planning went into exactly where and when that shot had to be taken.
On one normal Thursday night in June, I happened to see the moon setting in the direction of the skyline. While I didn’t think much of it, I somewhat kept my eye on it every 20 minutes to see if something magical would happen. What happened next was probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience (not the moon lining up with the WTC, but the fact that I was able to capture it without leaving my apartment balcony)!
Back in March, I and a handful of photographer friends attended the grand opening of Edge NYC, the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere. Located at the new Hudson Yards development, Edge NYC offers panoramic views of the five boroughs and beyond. This was about 36 hours before the city went into lockdown.
To see all prints for sale, check out my shop site!
Tips, Tricks & Tutorials
Check out this tutorial for my workflow and techniques when it comes to train trail shots!
- You need a tripod and a shutter remote!
- Find a station where you can stand BEHIND the stalled train.
- Take some practice shots in between trail arrivals so you can compose the scene.
- Settings: f/20, 20 seconds, ISO 100
- Start the exposure right after the doors close, so you have 3–4 seconds to compose the still train. The shot will continue for the next 16–17 seconds as the train departs the station.
Recently Sold Prints
Featured Creator Spotlight
I caught up with Lehigh Valley (PA)-based creator Matthew Cannon.
Tell everyone about yourself.
I’m Matthew Cannon (Matt) — Husband, Father and photographer. I’ve been shooting for about 5 years now, and I love the creative process.
What type of photography do you specialize in?
I specialize in landscape photography, but I also enjoy portrait and product photography.
You take some awesome Milky Way shots. How can creators capture the night sky?
Thanks Mike! Anyone can shoot the Milky Way with any DSLR or Mirrorless camera, and [having] that camera set to Manual mode is the way to go here. I recommend using the fastest, widest glass you have with a low aperture like 1.4 to 2.8 to get as much light on that sensor as possible. 15 seconds maximum on exposure (any higher and stars will start to trail), and ISO setting from 3200–6400. Every camera is different but these are some good settings to use when you find somewhere with a dark sky. First thing to do when you get the camera setup on the tripod is to focus on the brightest star possible. Also use apps like Photopills that have AR (augmented reality) to help you locate the Milky Way if you can’t see it with your eyes. Keep in mind, if you are somewhere where the skies are dark enough you shouldn’t need the app! Also, use a shutter release cable, so as to not touch the camera and cause any unnecessary shake.
How’s it been to be a creator during the craziness that is 2020?
It’s really been tough. I honestly was really energized at first about using the time to find creativity at home, but I ran out of steam after a few weeks and no stores were open to obtain supplies for artistic projects. Everything has started to open back up, but I fear we might all be back to shooting at home if we’re not careful.
Do you meticulously plan your landscape shots, or are you more spontaneous/go-with-the-flow?
A little bit of both but nothing gets me more excited than a surprise light and atmosphere combo that I couldn’t have planned for. To plan shots, I use Google Earth and apps like PhotoPills, TPE, and Planit.
Where can people find your work, and do you sell it?
I post regularly on Instagram @mattsfocus.
My website and offered services — www.cannon-media.com.
Work available for purchase — https://cannonmediallc.smugmug.com/.