Grasp The Moment Photography

Posts tagged “New York City

Taking Photos On The Radio

If you’re like me, you’ve probably lived your whole life thinking there was a little man who lived inside your stereo and woke up every time you turned it on. That’s one of the reasons I was so excited when Pops Rizzo & The Bra-jole Brothers invited me along for their appearance on Gotham Radio’s “Neir’s Music Spotlight” with host Chris Piccione.

So the band, Chris and I slipped into the tiny little studio when the show is recorded for an hour of some great conversation with the band, some tacks off the CD and a great live rendition of “The Rumba Song”. I happily let them do their thing as I tried to silently document the event (I’m hoping my shutter sounds don’t come out on the final take, LOL).

Afterwards the we ducked back into Neirs Tavern next door where their weekly Poetry Slam was going on. Even though the music didn’t fit the Poetry Slam theme, the organizers were kind enough to let the guys go on for a few tunes and instantly they had a bar full of new fans.

The broadcast will be on GothamRadio.com this Tuesday, March 6th from 8-9pm and again on Friday March 9th from 11am-12pm. After that I’m hoping it’ll be up on the their archives. If you can, try to listen in, the band sounds great, and they gave me a huge and unexpected plug on air.

And don’t forget… Pops Rizzo and the Bra-jole Brothers are playing Saturday March 10th at Neirs, so come down for some great tunes, cold beers and some magical moments.

All the shots from that night can be seen here…

All the shots from that night can be seen here…


Poof

Sometimes all it takes is a few light bulbs to make some memorable images.

Of course removing the glass from the bulb without breaking the filament was the tricky part, but once that was accomplished, all it took was getting the right exposure and focus. The flame and smoke did the rest of the work.


The Freight Rumbles Through Greenpoint

Saturday night at The Place in Brooklyn with The Freight rockin’ the joint isn’t a bad way to spend an evening.

The Freight is a tight four piece comprised of veterans of the Brooklyn music scene. The band sounded great … and not just because Kim was running the soundboard. Joey Reirdon sets the beat with his expert chops.I’ve been a fan, and a friend of Joe for a long time, watching him in awe back in the day when he played with Flying Blind and The South Side Boogie Band. To this day, Joe on the list of my top ten drummers. Holding down the bottom end is Bill Harvey, pushing his four strings along to create that fat layer that guitarist Michael Barron can work off of. Mike coaxes the perfect tones from his rig and it’s the vocals of Kevin Lay that seals the deal. Kevin’s deep bass voice coats each song, making them charge through the air …well like a freight train.

Keep your eyes peeled for their next stop…

See more shots from the night here

See more shots from the night here


I Like Candy

Actually, I don’t really. Every year Kim is amazed how I can sit by and not even notice the 3000+ lbs of Halloween candy that the kids bring home… maybe that’s why we had so much around the house.

Seriously though, today was another Sunday afternoon that really wasn’t about the subject matter. Friend, and photographer extraordinaire Jeff Stubblefield has been being a lot of work and producing amazing results with his home-made light box. So I figured I’d steal the idea, make my own and see what came out of it. I set everything up using a big cardboard box, some sheets of banner paper and my SB-900s.

So I spent some time lost in lighting and aperture settings, another training day. Some pretty sweet still life huh?

A few more shots can be seen here… on my Grasp The Moment Photography Facebook page


Gettin’ Dirty With Sister Sparrow

My first visit to the Brooklyn Bowl was to see a killer band that brings it hard, none other than Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds. Truth be told I was looking for a night off, so I left the camera at home and Kim & I just enjoyed a night of great music with great friends. Sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered.

Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds is a powerhouse. Drummer Bram Kincheloe and Aidan Carroll on bass lay down a solid groove foundation which Sasha Brown masterfully weaves his guitar work through. Jackson Kincheloe steps out blowing his harmonica and sets the room on fire. he blows those magic notes which dance through your ears but it’s the solid wall of horns that gets your ass up and moving. JJ Byars, Phil Rodriguez, Ryan Snow and Johnny Butler are a horn section to be reckoned with. Either together in tight delicious blend, or stepping out for a solo spot, these four guys blow their hearts into every note. Dancing through this already tight soundscape is Arleigh Kincheloe, who’s got the vocal inflections and style of an all time great blues mistress. She mastered the fine art of delivery her lyrics with the needed punch, but also knowing when to side step and let the raging freight train around her roar down the track. Together they’re a complete package of funk that guarantees a good time.

I did shoot the band the last time I caught them when I was working the Rock n Roll Resort in April. So crank up some funky tunes here and enjoy some shots… and don’t forget to pre-order their new CD!


Where Time Takes Us

How many of us know where we will be in 50 years? I doubt any of us, least of all me. Maybe Mary and Frank didn’t know the details, but something tells me that when they exchanged vows a half a century ago, they knew they’d still be together. So we were thrilled when they asked us to be a part of their magical night, a Fiftieth Wedding Celebration filled with family and friends. Their original wedding was a simple one so Frank pulled out all the stops for his bride, and the night was elegant in every way, thanks in part to our great friend Gary the DJ who kept the crowd on their feet.

Here’s to another 50, you two lovebirds…


A Conversation with Brian Walter

Below is an interview I took part in with Colin Butterworth of the “Just Takin’ Pictures” group on Facebook…” Usually I’m the one doing the interviews, but this month the tables were turned and it was my turn in the hot seat…

A conversation with Brian Walter
By Colin Butterworth in Just Takin’ Pictures

We have a treat this month. Instead of Brian interviewing one of us, I have interviewed Brian. I couldn’t pass up the chance to return to New York to do the interview.

I had the great pleasure to meet Brian in 2010 when my wife and I visited New York. Brian was so gracious to pick us up from the airport and take us to our hotel in Manhattan. Not only that, he gave us some amazing insights into New York. I think this shows what a great person Brian is and I am thrilled to call him a friend.

Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the man, the legend, Brian Walter.

1. Standard question, what is in your camera bag? What equipment and programs do you use? Also, if you could add one thing to your camera bag, what would it be?

I’m very happy to say the bag is getting pretty full. I’ve got two bodies, the Nikon D90 and the Nikon D7000. My glass collection is growing, with a Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.5, a Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR DX, a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-S and the newest, a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 HSM. I’ve got two SB900s and wireless transmitters, no name, I’m still saving up for Pocket Wizards. Ive got an awesome set of macro filters which I got for $20.00 off EBAY. Oh, and safety pins, a flashlight, tie wraps and tons of other little nic-naks.

Being a nerd, I custom built my PC to suit my photography. Its powered by a 2.9ghz quad core and 4 gig of RAM. I have a dedicated 2.0 Tb drive for my photography work, which is backed up on a 2.0 TB external. I’ve also got a 120BG hard drive that is a dedicated scratch disc for Photoshop and my RAW file cache. I’d be a mess without Adobe LightRoom, it’s the center of my photo-editing world. That’s augmented with Adobe Photoshop, but every since the release of LightRoom 3.x, I find myself using PS less and less.

If I could add one thing????? OMG, how could I choose??? Well, I guess what I find myself dreaming mostly about these days is the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G AF-S ED.

2. Most people have different stories behind why they take photos, what is your story? What lead you to photography?

I guess you can say it runs in the family. My grandfather was a photographer, and my mother was too. I grew up with her always taking photos of us.

The biggest factor in myself turning to photography was when I discovred that through it. I finally had something to share. I could never play an instrument, or sing, which really was fine with me since never liked the spotlight much anyway, but I discovered that by staying in the shadows, camera in hand, I could capture what was going on Afterwards, when the music had faded and the equipment was packed up, it was my images that brought people back to that moment. Recently when I was working with a bride getting ready I heard her squeal with delight and say to her bridemaids “He’s photographing my shoes!!!” and she was so happy I was paying attention to the little things.

3. You brought this group together when you created “Just Takin’ Pictures”. What motivated you to create the group?

I am a knowledge junkie. I love picking people’s brains and learning all I can. I feel that everyone has something to contribute, from the beginner to the most seasoned pro. I also learn a lot from looking at other people’s work. Whether it’s the use of light, or the way subjects are posed in a frame, I study other people’s work, and find ways to apply it to my own. I feel it’s the best way to grow. Even if I don’t comment, I look at every image that gets posted not only in the group, but on everyone’s pages. I’ve spent twenty minutes sometimes pouring over every detail. In your case for example, I doubt I’m ever going to be in the locations you’ve been, and see the sights you see, but I am always studying your expertise in composition and it flashes through my head when I look through my own lens.

4. Each month you have presented these wonderful interviews, of our fellow group members, with insightful and thoughtful questions. Is this your natural talent shining through as a journalist, or have you had some training?

Oh no way, I’m no Edward Morrow, I just like to talk. (Before I go on, I want to point out that this idea was borrowed from a photo forum I was on. I loved the idea, but felt it was never used to it’s full potential.) As I said I’m a knowledge junkie and I’ve discovered over the years – mostly in talking to musicians – that artists usually don’t know how to put an answer into words. However if you approach it from a round about way, you’ll get a lot more insight into it. Instead of finding out why someone did one thing, find out what makes them tick and you’ll get a much clearer picture. There is so much talent in our group, and everyone deserves to be in the spotlight, it’s just my pleasure to help with that.

5. What is your favourite and least favourite thing to photography? Also, if you could photography anything in the world, what would you take a photo of?

My favorite thing to photography? Life. I did the flowers and trees and gravestones thing for a very long time and I’ve grown bored with it. These days I love seeing the joy and excitement of life reflected in some one’s eye. The passion a musician gives his art, the smile of a happy couple, the laughter of a child. Of course, it goes without saying that above all else, seeing my kids and my family happy and laughing as I take the shot is the best thing in the world. My least favorite thing? I don’t know if I could point a specific thing, but more like specific situations. It’s that client who won’t co-operate. It’s when my kids are in that mood and won’t smile, or at least feign interest. And worst of all, it’s when the god damn stage lights aren’t where I need them to be, there’s too much smoke and the freaking mic stands are in the way!

If I could give up all responsibilities? Photograph whatever I wanted??? Well, See you guys later, I’m going on tour. Don’t even care with who, I’m just hitting the big stage, sneaking in the shadows at the Hollywood Bowl or the Royal Albert Hall waiting for “that moment”

6. You have a wonderful family who obviously mean a lot to you. How has/does your family affect your photography?

Wonderful doesn’t cut it, I’ve got the best family in the world and I can see it reflected in every photo I take. The love and inspiration they give me what keeps me going. My two sons, and Kim’s son as well, are my source of joy and relaxation when I’m not working. They keep me young at heart and remind that the simplest things in life can make you the happiest.

On top of that I’ve got the love of a fantastic woman who is just what I need in life. She laughs at my crazy, creative ideas, and then immediately starts working with me trying to them into reality. She’s also my business partner, and she handles the stuff I can’t even begin to deal with. Between sessions she’s handling prices, advertising, and booking the next session. Once we get to the session she handles everything from setting up the next shot (which is mandatory for large weddings) to fusing with dresses, fixing ties, and giving out corsages. I’m serious when I say I have no idea how I could try to do anything without her. Without her, Grasp The Moment Photography would still be an idea in my head.

7. I personally think you live in the greatest city I have ever visited! I found there were endless photo opportunities there during my brief visit. Do you ever find yourself struggling for subject matter of lacking inspiration to take photos in New York?

Yes, NYC, being the capital of the planet, is always full of things to see and do. I don’t live in the middle of the hustle and bustle, though. My neighborhood is a quiet one, with lots of trees and no skyscrapers. With that being said, being a photographer in NYC sometimes presents more problems than it solves. For starters, the competition is fierce. There are over 8 million people in the five boros, and almost as many digital cameras. Everything is big in NYC and weddings are no exception. Seeing that I’m still just starting out, I’m nowhere near ready to break into the market in my own hometown. Space is also an issue, living in a second floor apartment mean there’s hardly any room for us, forget considering a home studio.

8. Inspiration can come in many guises, artists, works of art, people, family etc. and not only one thing can inspire us to take photos. From where or what do you draw your inspiration from?

I find the best inspiration comes from being confident in yourself, your abilities and being lost in te moment. Worrying about details, and anything else except for what you’re doing, turns photography an arduous chore. That’s why I think learning about your gear, and how it works, is such a vital part of the process. I find most photographers want to hurry up and get over with the basics, but when your equipment can become an extension of yourself, and you can command it and make it do what you want, when you want, you will find yourself in a zone where the images just begin to flow.

9. You have been active in taking concert photos in recent times and you are also branching out to weddings and other photography sessions. You are also a certified professional. Where would you like your photography to take you in the future? Do you think it could be a viable career?

I don’t know about a full time career, at least for now. I’ve got too many financial responsibilities and obligations to jump in feet first and quit my day job. I wouldn’t mind picking up some more weddings – we already have some book for the summer of 2012 – and some more session work. But I’ll always be true to my love of concert photography, and I’m sure you’ll still see me on the side of a stage, camera in hand.

10. We have unfortunately come to my final question. As we touched on in my interview I had the privilege to travel around the world on my honeymoon which was a trip of a lifetime. If you had the chance to travel around the world what locations would you like to visit and capture through your lens?

Well it’s no secret that I left my heart in San Francisco. I was there last summer and fell in love with the town a million times over. I could very easily see myself living on the west coast, driving through the amazing beaches, mountains and deserts of California, taking it all in, and seeing what other moments I could grasp.


Now Brian, please select three of your images you’d like to share with us…

Only three photos to share???

Ok … first is this one

This one from my latest wedding. It was done after
the ceremony as we were doing family shots. The sun was setting, and I was worrying about loosing the natural light for all the family shots I did. As Kim ran around getting “who is in this photo” and “who is in the next one.” I kept one eye on that sun. Thankfully it worked and I got everything I needed to get in. As we were wrapping up, I looked at the sun again and suddenly saw it differently. I quickly grabbed the bride and groom and positioned them with the golden rays of the sun behind them. I don’t even think I told them to kiss, they were just that much in love. Why this photo represents to me, is an accomplishment on my part, because it was more than a “happy accident” I knew what I wanted it to look like and I what I needed to do to get that result.

Next I had to go back to my love of music…

One of those moments when the lights hit just right, the mic stand wasn’t in the way, everything lined up. Everyone else on stage seemed to move just out of the shot, and I took it. It just so happened to be Johnny Grubb’s last east coast show, which makes the shot even that much more special.

Finally …

My crazy guys. There are no fake smiles in this shot, no forced expression, just pure goofiness, which is where my boys are the happiest. Being crazy, loving life, and enjoying our time together. Its photos like this that just keep me looking for the next shot.


Creek, Heat, Vacation, Irene, Pops and Love

Wow it’s been a busy month. August barreled through my life like a runaway freight train. An amazing Camp Creek kicked things off (… and don’t worry, I’ll go into more detail soon…) followed by a great family vacation. That got clipped a bit by Hurricane Irene which pounded NYC with lots of rain but left us safe. The area around us suffered harder blows and there’s thousands still dealing with it. My heart goes out to all of them. I pulled a 40 hour shift at work, and was thankful afterwards that Kim and my family were safe at home. Though it seemed that once the clouds parted it was time to get ready for the next big thing on the Grasp The Moment calender – the wedding of dear friends Ryan and Sheri.

However, in the midst of all that, I was lucky enough to catch up with Pops Rizzo & the Bra-jole Bros.

Now if you don’t know the smooth sounds of Pops & the boys by now, then you’ve got a serious problem. Throw some swing, jazz, and groove into a pot and mix it with a serious helping of Brooklyn attitude and you’re getting close. “Pops” Mike Rizzo keeps the beat, playing the skins the same way he’s done all his life, with a style and flare that makes kids a fraction of his age jealous. Laying down the groove is the incredible Simon Walsh, playing the bass with an unbelievable combination of flair and musical prowess. Rob Rizzo adds the vocals and the groovy swing of his six string churning out solos and fills that keeps the corwd calling out for more.

These guys are the tops. I’ve seen a lot of music in my day, and Pops Rizzo & the Bra-jole Bros can move the crowd, get asses shaking and feet shuffling better than most of the bands headlining big clubs. Needless to say I jumped at the chance to work with these guys. We met up at Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven, a bar that’s been there and serving thirsty New Yorkers since 1829. We stole a corner of the bar and Pops & the boys settled down just being them. No instruments, no playing around, no showing off, just them being them.

Oh … and they’re playing back at Neir’s Tavern on September 24th … ya better be there if you know what’s good for you.


O.M.F.

Even hard rockers have to look good right? Well the guys in O.M.F. thought so. If you’re not in the loop, O.M.F. or Ol Mofo’s is the Brooklyn based hard rock trio made up of Hank Dunne, Danny Lugo and Joe Cos. These guys have been rocking for years in different projects and now that they’ve finally come together, the result is nothing short of explosive. Danny is a master of the bottom end and keeps the groove moving as Joe lays down the beat. Hank’s guitar roars through it all. They crank out some great original tunes written by Hank & Joe.

I met them at their weekly rehearsal at Dragonheart Studios in Greenpoint. The place was quite a location. Inside an old warehouse complex, the place was full of amazing locations where I could spend hours shooting. The textures of the cobblestones, terraces, stairways and old exposed brick was a rock photographer’s dream come true. The guys and I ran through a few shots before they got down to the business at hand and began rehearsing their latest tunes. They’re working on an album, and getting ready to storm out of the rehearsal room and onto a stage near you.

Check them out on their reverb nation page … here


It’s Always Been About The Music

I’m all ready for Camp Creek.

The first time I went to camp, I tossed some beers into a cooler, and headed off to upstate New York. In a few days I’m packing the car with my D90, my D7000, an armada of lenses, lots of blank SD cards, batteries, and lots of bottled water. Then it’s off to Maine. Another show I’ll be seeing through my lens.

It was music that first pushed me into photography. I’ve been around music since I was a teen, working in the studio, schlubbing gear for any band in Queens that would either pay me or give me free beers. All that time, I sat around, unable to participate because to be honest, I can’t even play a radio. So what could I do? Well I figured it out once I got a camera into my hands.

The first show I brought my DLSR – the old Nikon D40 – to was an Earth Day show in NYC. I got there as Jon Anderson of Yes was finishing up his set. Between the NYC lunch time crowd and the people who were there to see the seventies prog-rock icon, I couldn’t get close to the stage. By the time Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams hit the stage though, I was front and center. I shot, even though I quite frankly had no idea what the heck I was doing.

I wandered around during set break, and stumbled upon what was more or less backstage. It was there, as I was hanging out, trying to act like I belonged, that I watched Grace Potter walk up with her band. I’ll never forget the fact that Grace was helping the guitar and carrying some of his gear. I got to say a few words to Grace before I found another place in front of the stage, and she was as polite as she is beautiful.

I’ve got a much better understand of shooting concerts now, I can’t even count how many of them I’ve done, especially Max Creek. The photos I shot that day are rough – over exposed, poorly framed and with no personality. I like to think I’ve gotten better but it’s interesting sometimes to look back at old memories.

By this time next week, it’ll be over, I’ll be home, and I’ll have lots new memories
.


You’ve Got The Cutest Little Baby Face

What a terrific way to start my “First Year Package” program but with an adorable little peanut of a girl names Samantha. Just three months old she’s got the biggest most beautiful eyes and cutest little smile.

Taking her picture was an absolute joy, and I’m glad they turned out so well. The best part is now I get to watch her grow as I visit every three months for another session.

See more images of her first shoot … here

Why not look into booking your own session? All the information can be found on my site… Here


Creature Of The Night

Ray Wylie Hubbard sang “there are two kinds of people in world, the day people and the night people.”

I guess I’ve always considered myself a night person, especially after taking a job on the overnight shift. Some people don’t like the night, perhaps they’re afraid of the dark. I’ve always seemed to revel in it. The stars come out and the moon bathes everything in a musical light. Beautiful music is made on dark stages, and fireworks would be powerless at high noon. And honestly, there’s noting to be afraid of.

Danny’s a night person too. He’s one of those people who seem to made for the dark, so much so I don’t know if I’ve actually seen him during the day. Before you start conjuring visions of Danny with ashen skin and fangs, let me just explain that Danny’s a musician. Most of the times I’ve seen him he’s been throwing down the groove with his monster bass lines or wielding a solid guitar. He’s the founder of Loudhouse Radio, a show dedicated to bringing the music of the undiscovered to the people. He also works the graveyard shift, and we usually chat on-line through the night. More important than that, Danny’s a hell of a guy. Danny’s one of those rare individuals in life that would give you his shirt off his back even if he was butt ass naked. Proving that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, Danny’s not only a Boy Scout leader, but a strong believer in God and a dedicated family man.

So when Danny called me looking to get some photos to help advance his music career, I didn’t hesitate to help, and I suggested we do it at night. I scouted out a few places and a found a spot which had almost as much character as Danny did. Lighting the site was a challenge, but I’ve been researching a lot, and I was able to accomplish most of what I wanted to pull of.

Danny’s happy with the results, which is the main goal. Especially since he spends so much time helping others, its good to give back.

All the shots of Danny can be seen here… on my site

I’ve got some people to thank for their invaluable help with this shoot. Of course we choose the hottest night of the year to do this, so standing in a back alley at 90+ degree heat wasn’t easy on any of us, but as usual, there was Kim as my beautiful assistant. She’s getting good at it … even starting to know what “Hey, I need the thing for the thing.” means. Of course Danny for being so co-operative even though he was sweating out buckets. Then there was Eugene who kept a watchful eye over us as we did what we did on a pretty mean and desolate street. Finally I gotta give credit to Melissa Jill Hester at Melissa Jill Photography. I found her blog in the hopes and getting some inspiration and ideas on wedding and event photography and was surprised to find a whole series she wrote on how to use off camera speedlights. For me it was a lot of “Ah-ha!” moments which I definitely was tapping into through the night.


Decade

Ten years ago, on a hot Tuesday night, my little boy came screaming into the world. He was a little peanut, 5lbs, 1 oz. He was so small his cries for the first few weeks were soft, like a kitten.

I don’t have to describe how your entire world changes when you become a father. All that was important isn’t and you find yourself worrying about feedings, diapers and sleep schedules. James didn’t like to sleep when he was born, and there were nights I’d hold him for hours, walking around, signing a lullaby version of “Franklin’s Tower” until he fell asleep.

He’s 10 years old today. My little boy isn’t so little anymore

Happy Birthday James. Daddy loves you so very, very much.


Drops

…and the oppressive heat wave that is strangling the city continues for another day.

The only good thing about weather like this are the afternoon end of the world thunder storms we get. The sky gets this greyish black color, the wind starts to blow hard, and the temperature drops briefly.

And then boom. Fat drops fall from sky. Thunder booms through the air and the entire world lights up with a crash of lighting. The drops fall faster and faster until everything is covered in a solid curtain of rain. Some people run for cover, others dance in storm. In minutes though, it’s gone. The storm clouds move on, and the heat returns. The puddles that were formed only a little while ago on the concrete dry up and disappear. The trees and plants do all they can to hold the precious water they just harvested. Tiny drops sit on their leaves and petals. To a flower, it’s a matter of survival, this tiny drop of water provides what it needs to make food, to grow, and to make it until there’s another summer downpour.


Summer In The City

Outside it’s so hot, the sidewalks are melting into a puddle of goo. I’m sitting protected from the disgusting inside my apartment, breathing in recycled air-conditioned air, listening to the hum of the machine in the window that’s keeping things bearable.

This is what summer in NYC is like. We have miles of shore line where we can play in the spray of the ocean waves and substitute a breeze coming off the water for the AC for awhile, but getting to them are the hard part. The roads are choked with traffic, and are twice as hot. Once there, good luck finding a small sliver of real estate in the mass of humanity there.

So yesterday as the thermometer began to explode, we tried to seek relief in whatever form we could – namely a handful of water balloons and a few buckets of water. It didn’t last too long, but it was a delightful escape for a little while.

Stay cool everyone.

PS … Don’t forget to vote for me in the 2011 PDN One Life Photo Competition!!


2011 PDN One Life Photo Competition

I got an email last week… “You are invited to participate in the One Life Photography Competition”. No, it wasn’t sent to me personally, I get on a ton of mailing lists, and used to have a subscription to PDN magazine. PDN is one of the best trade magazines, and one of the most respected. I try to pick it up whenever I can.

The run competitions often, and I decided when I got the email I might go for it.

Them came the hard part questions… what was I going to submit, and how was I going to afford the $10.00 an image entry fee.

For the later part I turned to my GraspTheMoment fans, friends and family and I was stunned by the out pouring of support. Some people stepped forward to be a “benefactor of the arts” and before I new it, I had the needed $200 for 20 images. Now I could sit back and pick 20 images… so not the easy part.

After much thought, then some pacing back and forth, then re-reading the rules, then thinking some more, then more pacing… I finally picked and submitted the images.

So now I turn to the general public… again I need your help. There’s a people choice category, the photographer who gets the most votes for his whole body of work gets a $2500 prize and a spread in PDN Magazine. (Maybe I could get a subscription again! LOL)

SO PLEASE VOTE FOR ME!!!! Head to my contest page… http://graspthemoment.see.me/onelife2011 and vote… vote once a day for the next month!!!

I can also use all the publicity I can get, so tell your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, even the bill collector who calls you at 4 am!!!

And even though I want you to head to my page and vote… here -> http://graspthemoment.see.me/onelife2011 … I’ll give you a tiny peek at the images I chose..

Oh … and BTW… VOTE FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!! http://graspthemoment.see.me/onelife2011


Makes Phone Calls Too

I love my Iphone.

I find the world is divided these days into two groups. Those who have smartphones and can’t live without them and those who don’t understand why we have them in the first place. I’m obviously in the first category.

I used to love my Driod, but it locked up all the time, would never receive calls properly and sucked battery life. So when I noticed I had a free upgrade at the exact time Verizon was coming out with the IPhone… well the rest is history.

Now I can do all the funky stuff that smartphone users can do. (No, I’m not blogging from my phone.) I can Google absolutely anything at the drop of a hat, like why barns are red. I watch myself cross the street on a map in real time. I can instantly locate coffee shops when we wake up in a motel room in strange cities – this alone makes it the most invaluable tool since the wheel.

But this isn’t a geek-blog, so let me get to the point. The damn thing has a camera too. A 5 megapixel camera actually, which when coupled with Retina display makes images pop. The display is so good that I’ve loaded some of the images off the site to my phone to show clients. The camera is fast and crystal clear. It’s great for those times I don’t have my DSLRs handy.

But the really cool thing is the Hipstamatic app, which arms the built in camera with a dozen different vintage films, lenses, and flashes. It’s the definition of cool. I play with it a lot, especially when I’m at my “real job” and my cameras are at home. It’s also great when I don’t have the time or the luxury of using my DSLR, like standing in line at Ferrara’s Bakery or when I find a random Dylan quote scrawled on the wall of bathroom.

And the damn thing makes phone calls too!


Complexity

I find that things get more and more complex as my life goes on.

Wait a second, I’m not referring to decisions about life, love, money or time, I’m actually just talking about Legos. As I’ve stated in the past I was a huge Lego fan in my youth. I had a giant cardboard box of Legos and I’d spend hours of the day digging through it and building whatever my mind could come up with. I was limited to only what was in my imagination.

But of course, even this had to change.

Today Legos are sold in kits. They come with a 7000 page instruction manual and twice as many parts, and you don’t build whatever is in your mind’s eye, you build what you see on the outside of the box. When you’re done, you dare not touch them because they’re delicate and fragile, so they wind up sitting on the shelf, untouched and unplayed with. It they are played with, be careful, because if that one tiny piece rolls under the couch – and you know it will – you’ll never get it back to wahtever it was supposed to be in the first place.

And, of course, my kids love them.They also love buying their own stuff, which worked great when their Uncle Mark gave them git certificates to the Lego store. So off we went, and the boys picked out what they saw and what they liked and what they wanted to build. They used their own money to buy them.

It took three adults to help put them together when we got home, and even though the boys were happy, I guess I was just missing that big old cardboard box and the smell of an imagination at work.


And This Is How We Learn

My mother says that all the time.

I tried to learn how to play guitar once. I was young and I went to classes at my grammar school and then my parents sent me for a few lessons with a family friend. I had a nice new shiny acoustic guitar and I was quite excited until the first lesson comprised of “Mary Had A Little Lamb”.

What as this? I wasn’t here to learn this. Didn’t these teachers understand that I was here to be the next Jimi Hendrix? Surely Jimi never had to learn “Mary Had A Little Lamb”. That was then and this is now, and I’ve learned the hard way that even Jimi Hendrix had to start somewhere.

So when I picked up all this new gear lately I realized I was going to have a lot to learn. There’s so much that goes into photography, lighting, framing, colors, textures, it takes a lifetime to master it all… which means maybe by the time I figure it all out, I’ll be dead.

In the meantime, I’ve got to start somewhere. So since I had my backdrop system set up from the other day, I decided to play with my SB-900 flashes on slave/master mode. Mom supplied the really cool glasses and all I could find in the deli was jello mix.

I wasn’t shooting for more than anything than to learn, trial and error, a kind of “OH! So that’s how this works!” I shot on lots of different settings. I changed flash positions and settings, changed lenses, experimented for a few hours, practiced. And yes… the whole time “Mary Had A Little Lamb” was playing in my head… though I will admit it was the Stevie Ray Vaughn version.

All the shots are here


Back In Time

I hate the term “staycation”, it grates on my last nerve. Kinda like the sound of cutting through a Styrofoam plate. So Kim and I didn’t spend a week on a “staycation”, we had a “We’re too broke to go anywhere-cation”.

Looking at though, “staycation” doesn’t sound so bad anymore.

We had hoped maybe to head north, into Massachusetts to a little town called Sturbridge. I’ve been there a few times in my life, and the main attraction there is the restored village, Old Sturbridge Village. It’s set in the 1840s, the people who work there carry out their day as if this was their village, and they go about their daily lives. It’s a wild place to visit, and Kim and I will get there someday.

Here in New York, we have Old Bethpage Village. We visited there last month, and was sad to see it had deteriorated from what we remember from our youth. It was still a great day, with lots to see, but many of the buildings were closed, and the workers didn’t seem as enthusiastic.

If nothing else, it was nice to go to a place to pretend – even for a little bit – that we lived in a simpler time, when you the stress you feel today over bills and where the next dollar was coming from didn’t exist.


City By The Bay

The loveliness of Paris
Seems somehow sadly gay
The glory that was Rome
Is of another day
I’ve been terribly alone
And forgotten in Manhattan
I’m going home to my city by the bay.

A year ago, after a morning of scrambling over cancelled flights, Kim and I touched down in San Francisco, and part of me is still there.

Nothing can describe the breath taking view of the Golden Gate Bridge, or the beauty of standing on the cliffs in the Marin Highlands watching birds in the high above the crashing waves.

I could spend many a day wandering the streets of the Haight, Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf. Even now, I’m craving a bowl of clam chowder in bread bowl from Boudin on Peir 39, but would just be the appetizer for some crab in garlic sauce at the Crabhouse. Of course a ride on the cable cars, a drive down Filbert Street, and getting lost in the Presidio, and the long walk uphill to Alamo Square.

Next… maybe we’ll head to Alcartaz….

More photos of my 2010 California vacation can be seen on my site here…

I left my heart in San Francisco
High on a hill, it calls to me.
To be where little cable cars
Climb halfway to the stars!
The morning fog may chill the air
I don’t care!
My love waits there in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea
When I come home to you, San Francisco,
Your golden sun will shine for me!


A Laid Back Kinda Funk ….

is exactly what we need sometimes.

Kim and I have been jonesin’ for some live music lately. We’ve been laying low since Max Creek’s explosive 40th anniversary bash in Rhode Island (which I owe you a blog about, don’t I?) Between the heat, the kids and their busy schedules, and the empty wallets, it been hard to get out.

So there really wasn’t a question when we found out that the necleus of of the Funky Godmothers were hitting the beach with Guy Nevirs on guitar. We jumped in the truck, picked up some friends and headed to Far Rockaway, a place that would almost make you forget you were still in Queens.

You couldn’t ask for a better spot for a summertime gig. Out on the back deck, above the water, an incredible breeze in the air, although I could have done without the bar next door playing the same Johnny Cash greatest hits cd over and over – nothing against the Man in Black. The place was oddly enough a Thai restaurant (that served Itailan Ice, my buddy Jeff pointed out) but the beer was cold so it ok in my book.

The band set up in the corner and began grooving away on some classic tunes. They never got crazy all night, kind laid back, old tunes. A few more nights out and I know they’ll bring out the hard stuff. It was perfect though, for a nice relaxing night with some friends, some beers and a great setting.

It was my first night out with my new gear too… all the stuff I shot was with the D7000 on an unimaginable ISO and the most wicked lens giving me an unreal f2.8 aperture. Came away with some decent shots, enjoy…


A Celebration Down 5th Ave

This isn’t the first time I’ve attended the New York City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Parade by any means. I make it a point to attend annually, not just to hone my photography skills, but to show my support and help celebrate this slice of NYC.

But this year, something was different.

Every year, the parade is a complex mix of pageantry and color, pride and happiness, with a dose of somber remembrance and social consciousnesses thrown. This year had all those things, but there was something else in the air. A wonderful look of celebration burned brightly in the eyes of every participant, as well as spectator. Just the day before the parade, the NY State Senate passed, and Governor Cuomo signed the Same Sex marriage act, joining only 5 other states that allow marriage to be based on love and not gender. It was another step forward along the path of granting all Americans equal civil rights.

I tried to capture some of this joyous attitude, as well as the pageantry and colors and all else that goes into the pride parade. My brother took the year off, enjoying to watch and not march, but a close childhood friend did pass us by, and it was great to see him so happy and celebrating the day.

Kim and I watched for a while – not only was there a lot to see, but I had new gear to play with. We finally headed home as the parade passed our spot, on it’s way towards Greenwich Village. When the crowds reach the Stonewall Inn, where the gay rights movement began over 40 years ago, the parade ends.

But maybe this is the year that won’t happen. Maybe this year even though the parade will end physically, it’s spirit will carry on, state to state, until we, as a nation, allow two people – regardless of gender – to dedicate their lives to each other. Maybe this is the year the rights we are supposed to be granted under the constitution will apply to every citizen.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr Suess

Click here to see all my images from the New York City LGBT Pride Parade

Click here to see all my images from the New York City LGBT Pride Parade


New Gear At The Catfight Boutique

Yesterday was Christmas all over again.

Except I was my own personal Santa and no one came down my chimney. I did, however, walk away with some pretty sweet ass presents.

To help my growing business, I made a serious gear investment, and walked away with the new Nikon D7000, a new Nikon SB900 flash and an amazing Sigma 70-200 f2.8 lens.

What do all these numbers and jargon mean to non-photographers? Umm.. I got some really awesome shit!

Yesterday there was a lot of personal stuff going on with the kiddies, so even though I physically picked up my new gear yesterday, I wasn’t able to play – I mean learn how to use it. And learn is an accurate description because the D7000 has more controls than the space shuttle, and I feel I need a PHD to master them all. The lens… that’s gonna take a heck of a lot to get used to…

So this morning, I woke bright eyed and busy tailed, my mind racing of all the places I could go and start my training. I sat there, sipping my coffee, creating a mental itinerary of all the places and things I could see, and didn’t really even hear what Kim said to me.
“What?” I asked, “You want to go to a flea market?” I said with doubt and disbelief until I remembered that yes, we were planing on heading to see our good friend Noel at her new shop “Catfight Boutique”. So, I took the new toys along and as the girls chatted, I snapped away. Nothing special, but a learning process, part of the ultimate goal of me becoming better and better.

Oh … and if you’re ever in Queens, definitely stop by Catfight Boutique, Noel’s actually got some really cool stuff.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.