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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


hey folks! After 2 years of maintaining this blog address, we’re moving to A new blog, and soon to be website awaits you there. We’re really excited about the next few months as we launch the site. Stay tuned, and check us out!

Tristan Turns 9!

Seems surreal to me that my oldest son turns 9 tomorrow. When I think of it… I sorta wanna peak at my 401K and make sure I’m planning my retirement correctly 🙂 I know, I know, many of my friends have older kids, but this is me… and thinking he’s 9, just blows my mind. Ton of clichĂ©s run through my mind, “in the blink of an eye”, “time sure flies” and all that stuff, which happen to LL be true (hence they became clichĂ©s).

So to celebrate we had Tristan and about 30 of his friends and family head out to Atlantis, the aquarium in Riverhead, NY. Turned out to be a great party! Informational, and fun, and even got to bake in the sun while watching the sea lion show (it reaallly got hot out there!, but it was well worth it). I took a ton of snaps (as usual) and wanted to post a few that I liked. More to come I am sure. Been pushing myself to start exploring off-camera flash as well as outdoor hi-speed synch flash (shutter about 1/4000 of a second, bright sun, f2.8 or so… Joe McNally stuff!). So a few of these shots are exactly that, me playing around, and learning what works, and what doesn’t (sigh, always seems more of the latter than former!) so I can continue to build out my mental checklist of “how to make cool pictures…”


First Day of School!

Amazing to think we have a 1st grader and 4th grader on the bus! Time really does fly…

Jenna & Ryan’s Album Arrived!

A few posts ago I wrote about shooting Ryan & Jenna’s wedding. I professed profusely that I am by no means a wedding photographer. I got a glimpse of just how difficult it is to do that job, and I have a newfound respect for those that do it well. As a special memento to the couple I assembled what I thought were some of the best of Images of the Day and uploaded them to AdoramaPix (I am friends with Jeff Synder over at Adorama and had the pleasure of shooting with him in the Outer Banks a few years ago, and I often email him when I need some advice on gear).

Well, the album arrived and I must tell you I was blown away by it. Truly, blown away. The quality was top notch- colors were dead on, printing and binding were simply outstanding. The book features “lay-flat” pages so you can upload and do a full two page spread without having to worry about “gutter” issues in the middle of the page~ AMAZING! I would highly recommend you try AdoramPix if you are interested in putting a book together.

Since it was so personalized for Ryan & Jenna I scoured the web looking for “Love” quotes (btw, this took a lot of time to find quotes that weren’t silly, or simply not appropriate for the occasion…) and also incorporated the lyrics to the songs that Jenna and her Dad danced to, and Ryan danced with his Mom.

Had the chance to give Ryan & Jenna a copy this past weekend, was a great moment… click on the link below to check it out…

Meet Mason & Charlie (the flying dogs!)

Meet Mason and Charlie two dogs that literally defy gravity. Their stories are both heartbreaking, and heartwarming. Both were rescue dogs… Mason, a mixed breed, was “bait” for fighting dogs as a puppy (he still wears a scar on his forehead of those times) and Charlie, the aussie border collie lost his tail. Sarah, their owner rescued them and turned them into incredible leaping hounds who compete in frisbee fetching contests. To watch them soar, will take your breath away- these canines show determination, intelligence, and pure heart when the frisbee leaves Sarah’s hand. Very rarely am I blown away, but this impromptou display at a family party left me clapping, smiling, and teary-eyed at their incredible effort, and history… these two pups just stole my heart.


One quick thing I learned during this shoot… forget trying to track these guys- way to fast to keep a zoomed lens on them. Had to change from Dynamic 21 point to Dynamic 51 point with 3D tracking, that way the camera did the heavy lifting in terms of the autofocus- and believe me, it was working overtime!

Sunlit Waterfall- Puerto Rico

Finally getting to finish some of the images taken in the “El Yunque” rainforest in Puerto Rico. Have a few more to go through, but as I was perusing, this 9 bracket HDR caught my eye. Enjoyed how the sunlight brightened the left side of the image and highlighted sections of this little waterfall.

Waterfalls provide awesome detail shot opportunities. I can spend hours upon hours shooting them, because the offer so many hidden gems. Set up. take it all in, and then move around… go vertical, go landscape, go close, go wide. Look for areas where water rushes across rocks, spills to creates patterns, or meanders providing create light reflections. Its not always about the waterfall itself (see some of the Yosemite shots from earlier this year, most of the best were not of the actual waterfalls but of the reflections of El Capitan on the water itself.)


Jenna & Ryan’s Wedding Video

So I am by no means a wedding photographer. Never claimed to be… But in the interest of shooting and pretending I was, I took the gear to my cousin’s wedding and shot a bunch of frames. let me reiterate I am not Jasmin Star or David Zisner… 🙂

Some things I learned… I can’t handhold at 1/60sec inside in low light worth a damn (I wish I was Joe McNally in these instances). You can’t shoot the Communion ceremony (I actually got scolded for this, but really, I just didn’t know 🙂 and finally, these images represent really special memories to my family. And that makes all of the failing and scolding worthwhile. Ryan and Jenna are just great people, and capturing these moments… well, that’s a privilege and an honor because I know years from now these pictures may end up being viewed by their children or grand-children and the legacy of these moments will live on and on.

Enjoy! (Click the link below)

Palomino Island, Puerto Rico: July 2011

I call this my “Corona Beer” shot… after those commercials where they have a couple sitting on these gorgeous beaches popping a Corona and just enjoying the view. One of the benefits of staying at El Conquistador is they have their very own little island- just a short 7 minute ferry ride away. Really is  place to just get lost and enjoy the ocean, sky and palm trees… So if you wanna get away, book a ticket… will meet you there with a Corona in hand 🙂


Sunset Pano from the Balcony

Stayed in Fajardo in Puerto Rico at the amazing El Conquistador Hotel. Had a nice high view overlooking the North end of the Island. Had a number of Thunderstorms that rolled in while we stayed, which sorta makes the day a bit tough from a planning perspective, but when they start to clear out around sunset, those clouds just provide the most amazing drama your lens can find.

This is a quick handheld panorama, did the Scott Kelby trick of turning my feet so it wouldn’t be so distorted when Photoshop stitched them together. In retrospect, I should have done this on a tripod and done a Pano-HDR like I did at Yosemite. I would have liked a bit more light along the hillside to show a bit of definition to the trees. Because the sun is already past the hilltop, everything underneath is just to dark in one exposure to have any detail. Bummer. Next time…

Nonetheless… I love these type of shots that show “transition areas” like sea to sky, sea to land, and land to sky… they simply make for more interesting shots.