Grasp The Moment Photography

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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

Me… I’ll Be Out Flying

With a mighty “Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa” the silence is broken. Finally… after what seems like a year of waiting (ok, it’s only be 8 months) Railroad Earth has announced the 2011 Thanksgiving shows.

My regular blog readers know how important these shows are in my life. (Here) It’s pretty much the high point of my year. Driving away from the Sherman on Sunday morning, Kim will begin the countdown until the next year.

Well this year Railroad Earth is doing it in style. With hotel room deals, pre and post show parties, they’re turning the quiet hamlet of Stroudsburg PA into Railroad Earth central. It’s being called The Horn O’Plenty Getaway. It’s going to be an awesome time, Kim and I can’t wait. Railroad Earth is an amazing band, the music will be amazing, our best friends will be there … and as always Bob will guide us from above, and dance next to us in the shadows of the Sherman. Join us this year…

Here are a few from last year’s shows… even more can be found one my site… here

Lots more Railroad Earth images from the past few years are on my site 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