Rockefeller Center and Time Square are special to Tim and Stephanie and now, even more so.
Every Christmas they’d take a trip to the City to see the tree and enjoy being with each other in the happy crowds. So when Tim decided to ask Steph to marry him he knew just the place, the big Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. To make it even more special Tim asked me to secretly photograph his proposal and then do an engagement session to celebrate.
Everything went according to plan. Stephanie did not even notice me shooting away while Tim ask for her hand in marriage and was delighted when family and friends suddenly popped out to congratulate them. We then spent a little time together creating images of a day they will never forget.
(And a fun slideshow, too! Steph & Tim’s Slideshow)
Div needed a headshot for personal use and came to the studio for a session. He is a software engineer writing apps for cell phones among other things. Although he has never really done a photo session before, he was relaxed and incredibly easy to work with. No fake poses or forced smiles, just himself.
I asked if he ever considered modelling but he said he much prefers writing software. Well, at least I got the opportunity to photograph him.
Krusty old pros like Joe McNally, Robert Seale, Zack Arias and Brian Smith can’t possibly distill their years of photography into brief one-hour workshops, but somehow they did. (Although I doubt they enjoy being described as Krusty.)
I was there in New York City at the Luminance Workshops and so were they. One by one they did what they do, where they were, with what they had, just like real life. They weren’t designing rockets but instead creating images on the fly, tweaking things here and there and showing us the results. A little inspiration for a little aspiration.
My photography business is a blend of weddings, families, business portraits and photojournalism. Getting published is always fun and getting a photo on the front page of a newspaper or the cover of a magazine never gets old.
My assignment this weekend was the Tour of High Bridge. A series of fair short bike races in High Bridge New Jersey. It was hot and humid Saturday morning but fortunately not mind-crippling or rubber-melting, over-the-top hot. Not too hot for those lean, mean peddal pushing machines who wear tight colorfull clothes and strange shoes.
I wanted to show some speed, which means blur. Shooting on bright sunny summer morning usually means fast shutter speeds and stopped motion but with a couple of speedlights and some dark shade its pssoble to get that shutter speed down and use the lights strategically. Fortunately I didn’t go for the awesome “head-on” shot and get creamed, head-on.
Paul Cataldi is more than a singer song writer. He is also a veteran, like so many of our finest men and women. Paul served and made it back but not before being hammered, breaking his back and traveling the long road to recovery.
He is back in the States and expressing himself through his music. Paul is blend of James Dean. country/western and solid, home-grown New Jersey. Naturally, I was honored when he asked me to create images for him that would reflect his music.
We spent a little time in the studio and then headed outside to the river, We planned a late day shoot to take advantage of the rich afternoon light and it’s reflection off the river. Lighting to match his music.
Mike Padovan is a second generation stained glass artisan and specializes in restoration of historic masterpieces. Mike’s studio, Jersey Arts Stained Glass Studio,(http://www.jerseyart.com/) is located right across the street from my own studio here in Frenchtown, on the banks of the Mighty Delaware River.
Mike is a master craftsman and has restored historic stained glass windows at cathedrals, universities, public buildings and even train stations. It is a extremely careful, detailed procedure to restore an historic work of art.
Mike and I have been planning a photo session for months and we finally got together this week to do some portrait in his studio. Mike’s work is in high demand and keeps him busy so I was delighted that he was able to steal some time for a photo sesion.
Working on location in other people’s space is both challenging and rewarding. You have to think on your feet and work within the constraints of the location. But it’s that location that tells the story and provides context for the portraits. Shooting in Mike’s studio was a pleasure. Nice high ceilings and plenty of room to set up lights. I wouldn’t mind having it for my own studio.
Long Term Ecological Research
It is always great to visit places where people are actively engaged in learning and generating data with no hidden agendas of any kind. It is all on the table. The purpose of research is to learn the truth, as clearly as possible, using sound, objective scientific methods.
Harvard Forest, is a 3,500 acre site in Petersham. Massachusetts with laboratories and classrooms, where since 1907 scientists and students “… have explored the ways biological, physical, and human systems interact to change our earth.” (harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/)
During the summer it offers internships for undergraduates who work side by side with mentors conducting independent research focusing on the effects of natural and human disturbances on forest ecosystems. I had the opportunity for a brief tour of the labs and a chance to meet some of the students. Given the chance, I would spend the whole summer with these science students, following and photo documenting their research and activities.
Location photography is always fun but can be challenging, especially when it comes to lighting. Existing light can be beautiful however it does not always cooperate. When you have an assignment and a schedule you have to work with what you have or seek to make it better.
My solution is to add some “secret sauce” to the mix. During a recent engagement shoot I took my couple out in the middle of a river in the middle of the woods. A great place for photos but not for lighting. Nice hair light but not so good for faces, especially the eyes. The solution? Splash some light from the side and add a light warming filter. Still natural but so much more full of color.
Existing Light Shot:
Shot with my Secret Sauce: