Sunday, January 27, 2013

Alphabet Photo Challenge: C


C is for Copper

In this case, a little copper bucket my grandfather made. Both of my grandfathers had passed away before I was born, so all I know of them are stories and pictures. Grandpa May was a welder and worked for many years at G.E. then Raybestos. My grandmother kept toothpicks in the bucket, just to give you a sense of scale. I love the simplicity of it, the shape, how small it is. It's pretty cool to have something that my grandfather made. It currently sits on a shelf in my room, complete with toothpicks and now that I've gotten some good details of the patina on it, it's getting a thorough cleaning.


My favorite picture of my grandfather that I restored a few years ago


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Alphabet Photo Challenge: B


B is for Bat

I've played a lot of softball in my days. I was on a traveling team by the age of 10 and spent every summer onwards playing softball all over the country: New York, Kansas, Texas to name a few. I remember a tournament where we played four games in one day and I caught all four of them.

In high school, my friend Andrew had a little wooden bat on his keychain. He liked to hit people with it, especially the knuckles of your hands. It didn't really hurt that much, but it was annoying and he thought he was so cool. Until the day I bought this little beauty.

You can't tell from the picture, but that bat is solid metal and it weighs a lot. And when you swing it at someone who's been hitting you with a bat of their own for several years, it leaves a mark. Needless to say, Andrew retired his bat.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Caturday


It's common knowledge that everything in the house belongs to the cat, and you should never be surprised to find them exactly where they shouldn't be. The look of entitlement is an added bonus and one of Addy's signatures.

Happy Caturday!

Friday, January 18, 2013

fr EYE day


Welcome to fr EYE day!

Don't be fooled by the green in this eye, it's the trees reflecting back into the eye and the spots of white are clouds. This is why I've stopped shooting fr EYE day pictures outside: too much contamination. But that little brown line in the lower right? That's part of this person's eye.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Concert for Newtown Details


These are the front pages that ran last week, featuring my photographs from the Concert for Newtown. To read the entire story and look at the full set of pictures, click here.  Remember that unique page views to that site help me out. The editors will see that people like to look at concert photography and that will get me more assignments. So thanks in advance!

I haven't spoken about my thoughts on Newtown, mostly because it was something that for me, happened very close to home. The newspapers I work for don't cover Newtown, but so much of it effected the towns that we do cover. Grandparents and parents of the children that lost their lives reside in our towns. One of the teachers, Victoria Soto, that died protecting her students was from Stratford, the town next to the one I live in. There are so many people in my life that are teachers, friends and relatives. My mother worked in an elementary school. My nephew is the age of the children that were killed. It was just too much for me to think about.

At times of great tragedy and sorrow, a lot of people turn to their art to find a way through it. That wasn't the case for me. I couldn't go and cover any of the vigils. It didn't seem right to me. I'm not even going to get started on the media frenzy that followed. To me, there are just some things that don't need to be photographed.

When I found out that there was going to be a concert, organized by young musicians, I offered to take the assignment. I was deeply touched by the strength and amazing talent of these young people. To hear an 11 year old play piano and sing an original song, to see a 13 year old not only play the blues but feel it, witnessing a cello trio pounding on their instruments as if they were percussion and being able to photograph it was amazing. A parent came up to me before the show and asked me the question every single human being asks a person with a large camera: "So, you're taking pictures, huh?" I nodded with a smile and held back the snarky comment, "Naw, I just like lugging this thing around for an upper body workout." He followed up with, "Not all that much fun on a Saturday night though, is it?" I smiled wider at that and replied, "Well, it's no Radio City Music Hall, but it's a concert and I'm happy to be here." I didn't wait to see his reaction. I was and always am happy to share my talent, especially in a case like this. I wanted these kids to get the same amount of recognition as any of the artists I am fortunate enough to cover.



Besides the typical shots, I had the opportunity to play around with some details. As my confidence builds, my creativity comes out. My favorite shot of the night is the detail above, where I captured the multiple broken bow strings whipping around.


I adore reflection shots. I've been wanting to take this shot pretty much every time I see a piano player. I haven't until now because it's very hard to move around enough in a photo pit when my focus is on making sure I get shots of the piano player's face. Pianists are really tricky to photograph. There was no pressure on me at this shoot, so I was able to take a lot of fun details that normally escape me.


The guitar detail of 13 year old Bobby Paltauf caught me by surprise. I actually didn't notice it at the time I was shooting. He moved around on the stage a lot and the microphones kept blocking his face. Make sure you look at the photo gallery online to be able to see just how young he is; he isn't even as tall as the microphone stands!

If you're still looking for a way to help the people of Newtown, the performers set up a donation website. The proceeds are going to the CT PTSA Sandy Hook Fund. I've made the link really big so you can't miss it:



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Alphabet Photo Challenge: A


A is for Artichoke

This is the first week of my Alphabet Photo Challenge. My goal is to photograph an item that starts with a different letter of the alphabet every week. It's a good exercise in lighting set up, product photography and some on the fly photo layout. I'm also trying to pick items that have some significance to me, so here's the story behind the artichokes.

My cousin had a photo box in her kitchen of dried artichokes. There were two rows of four artichokes, suspended in air in a white frame. I thought it was a little strange, because she wasn't a fancy chef or anything. For some reason, this art work seemed like it belonged to someone who really loved food. Well, it turns out that this particular item used to belong to a restaurant. It was the art work that graced a bathroom wall. I won't say who it was that ganked it from the restaurant. To this day, every time I see artichokes, I think of my klepto relatives and smile.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Caturday


I came across this fantastic door knocker at a wedding reception. Happy Caturday!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Concert for Newtown Teaser


I covered a benefit concert over the weekend that is going to be featured in a few of our newspapers this week. While I won't be posting the majority of the pictures here, I'll direct you to the website where you can take a look at them. (Generating web traffic for assignments I cover helps me get more assignments, so be kind and click!)

I've got a variety of shoes for you, as there were many performers. All of them were high school students or younger and they were amazingly talented. Enjoy!




Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas Roundup


I tend to get a backlog of photos this time of year, so there will be a few posts this week. Here is a collection of family pictures from the holidays. Above is an out take of the Christmas ornament with my nieces Aria and Grace and myself.


 Unknown photo bomber at the Bigelow Tea Christmas Party.


Grace looking a little tired. Think somebody skipped their nap?


James thought the elf was the coolest this year and requested I take a picture of him with her.


Cousins


My father plays Santa and this year, all of his grandchildren had him pegged.


Grace even looked at the pictures later and pointed at Santa, proudly declaring, "Papi!"


James is a pro at this point.



Aria has really gotten the hang of the camera.


Grace showing off her crazy curls and killer eyes. She's almost ready for a fr EYE day shot!


Grace is also a little photographer. I love the look on her face as Aria tackles one of her toys. 


Speaking of Aria, she decided this was the best way to wear her purse that Grandma made for her.


Grace thanking Grandma for her presents.


James got a ton of cool Star Wars themed presents. Check out that nifty wrapping paper on the table!


My parents got themselves new wedding bands.


And Aria spent the majority of the day posing for pictures. Somebody is turning out just like her big brother!

Monday, January 7, 2013

13 New Things*


It's that time of year again, folks: time for me to list out the things I'm hoping to accomplish this year. Every year, I add one more thing to the list, which seems to work just fine now, but I think I'm going to regret this decision in a decade or so. I call it 13 New Things*, but that name is totally misleading. If there's anything that I failed to do last year, it gets carried over, hence the asterisk. 13 Mostly New Things with Some Failed Goals Repeated just doesn't have the same ring to it. What I have learned is that often times my failed goals are too general, so I'm going to try to rework those as best I can.

Before I get into that, make sure you click on the link to see more work by one of my photographer friends, Dennis. He takes AMAZING landscapes; seriously, they are out of this world. His work is breathtaking and inspirational, which is why I chose it for this post.

1. Photograph The Eels.
They are my favorite band, and I definitely want to get my DSLR in with me this tour. Whether I'm covering them for their website or for another publication, I'm determined to make it happen.

2. Play basketball again.
This might seem like a silly goal to have, so let me explain. May will be my four year anniversary of completely tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in my left knee. I did it, quite undramatically, rebounding the basketball. I haven't been on the court since then. I hopped right back into softball, not even 9 months after surgery, but I've got this mental barrier about basketball. Time to get back in the saddle.

3. Learn more about the computer programs I use.
There is a wealth of tutorials out there and I'm a little ashamed to say that I haven't done this before now. My hope is to sit down and learn at least once a month. Maybe I can do a book report or something on what I've learned.

4. Photo Challenge.
I decided to switch things up and do what I'm calling the Alphabet Photo Challenge. I'm going to photograph something that starts with a different letter of the alphabet. It'll get me thinking more product photography/stock images, plus fooling around with lighting set ups is always a good thing. This challenge is only 26 weeks, so I'm going to have to come up with something for the rest of the year. I was thinking Polaroid portraits.

5. Do a flexed arm hang for 30 seconds.
Ok, so I've failed the pull up challenge two years in a row! Yey! I'm slightly altering it this year to come closer to achieving it. Currently, I'm at a 10 second flexed arm hang, so I still have a long way to go.

6. Buy and learn Totally Rad.
I've seen how this program works and I'm definitely getting it this year.

7. Shoot a concert for another publication.
Don't get me wrong, I love being able to cover for the newspapers I work for, but concert photography isn't really their thing. I also love being able to shoot for the artist because I know that they want me there and respect my work. I just really want to find a good fit with another publication so I can cover more shows.

8. Give blood.
I have a pretty big fear of needles, but it's no excuse. I know that I have one of the rarest blood types, so I feel even more guilty for not donating. Let's hope I don't pass out.

9. Contact other concert photographers.
This was on my list last year, and although I didn't fail, I wasn't satisfied with my effort. I contacted one. This year, I'm going to contact more. Thanks to my work for Gotye, I have a connection to one of my greatest concert photography influences: Dana Yavin. Her pictures from Radio City are online with mine, so I can use that to strike up a conversation.

10. Set up album templates in InDesign while work is slow.
I tried out a couple other album design programs and I've decided to just go with what I know. I use InDesign every day at the newspaper and I've set up countless libraries for coworkers. I just need to lock myself in my room and get it done.

11. Go to the gym five days a week.
Last year my fitness goal was way too vague, so I'm hoping this will help. I probably averaged three days a week last year. I know there'll be weeks where I won't be able to go five days, but I'm shooting for a general average.

12. Learn basic web design.
I've been incredibly fortunate to have wonderful, talented friends who have helped me set up and maintain my website. While I don't think I will be able to pick up all the coding and whatnot, I want to be able to do simple things like update my bio or change my head shot.

13. Write an article.
Wasn't I just complaining about vague goals? I honestly didn't know how to word this one. Last year, I wrote some short, strongly opinionated posts on my frustrations with StubHub. I never followed through with what I wanted to say about it, but I've kept my eye on artists and live acts that have raised their voices; Louis C.K. and Amanda Palmer in particular. I've also become interested in how musicians are making a living. In particular, how little money they make from services like Spotify and Pandora and album sales. I want to take a look at self funded projects, like Ben Folds Five's latest album that came out through PledgeMusic. Basically, what I want to explore is how we as fans can best support the artists we love. I think that's a pretty big deal that most of us don't even think about.

So there you have it, my 13 New Things*. I always avoid the word resolutions; I feel like that word implies something we need to change about ourselves. I want to expand and push myself past my comfort level. But since I can never pass up a good pun...


Remember, I'll be giving you all the details of my successes and failures at the end of the year!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Caturday: By Request


It's been a long time since I've had a Caturday post. Mia actually requested I take a picture of her with her cat, Cletus, so I thought it was as good a time as any to resurrect Caturday.

Friday, January 4, 2013

fr EYE day


welcome to the first fr EYE day of the year!

This particular eye is such a fan of these posts, I had to use it to start the new year. I'm still experimenting a bit with my lighting. I'm going to avoid shooting these outdoors and try to stay away from windows as well; too much gets reflected and you lose the detail in the eyes. (I do still have a few leftovers from last year, so you'll see what I'm taking about in comparison.) I picked up a brand new piece of equipment this week to experiment with for fr EYE day pictures.

So if you're reading this, and you have an eye, you need to get in front of my lens!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Playlist




Music is a huge part of my life, so every year I like to put together a set of songs to set the tone of the year. The music player off to the right of my blog has been refreshed for the moment with my 2013 Mix. As the year progresses, more songs will be added to go along with blog posts, hence the separate link above.

I've been making mix tapes as long as I can remember and feel that there should be a definite flow to them. I was slightly concerned with a couple of oddball tracks on here, thinking they would disrupt that flow, but I think it works. There is a whole lot of brass this year, last year I had a lot of banjo, which wasn't planned, but is definitely welcome. You'll probably be able to pick up on the theme I had in mind. Also, Phil Collins in a mix? That's my 2013 gift to you!