Thursday, May 30, 2013

the Zen of golf

The guy with the cap is Jack Mulcahy.  Jack Mulcahy

We had quite an interesting conversation and now I know why. He's brilliant with a 148 IQ but more importantly a person who is truly "in the moment." Here I was, a lowly photographer speaking to this brilliant well-known actor about the spiritual component of mindfulness and how actors see and portray reality in their craft. That's why he loves golf, he told me. It makes him focus and focus keenly.

But the irony of the matter was that while we were conversing, I was valiantly trying to stay focused on just our conversation and to be in the moment. Boy, it was hard. I wonder if he picked up on that? After reflecting on this meeting, I must admit that he was the most "keeping it real" person I've ever met.

All I can say is that if you're lucky to meet him, you'll then understand what I'm saying. For now, it's probably just an ineffable piece of info for you to digest.

Today I got lucky - not the luck of getting a shot of someone's club meeting the ball but of meeting a truly fascinating person.

Monday, May 27, 2013

went to shoot a parade and ended up in church

Went to my assignment early which was a Memorial Day parade on City Island which started near the Grace Episcopal Church which had a beautiful little garden with benches where I thought I'd sit and simply reflect on the beauty of the day. Before I could relax and enter a meditative state, one of the female members invited me in for coffee and cookies (little did I know that they also had chocolate donuts which caused me to break the 10th commandment "Thou shalt not covet(lust after)"

I accepted the invitation, entered the church and thereupon became a part of its history. Having seen the exterior of this church for many years as I ran by it during workouts and riding my bike there also, I never imagined the beauty and history that resided within.

Established in 1849, by Rev. Cornelius Bolton, this church is a significant part of NYC history. The Boltons were major players in the formation of other churches also and were important historical characters. See that altar window? The Rev. John Bolton (Cornelius' brother) was its artisan and inserted himself into the painting (the guy with the mutton chops holding a spear)

Finally, did you notice the design of the ceiling? Looks a little like the insides of a hull of a boat, doesn't it? Ship carpenters from the nearby David Carll Shipyard (now Consolidated Marina) built the church and its ceiling is evident in its hand-hewn beams and rafters.

I love learning new things. Don't you? Especially when you've lived most of your life clueless about its wonderful history.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

a store who gives back

Stores are in business to provide desired products and to make money. But some stores also give back to the community. That's what Bob's Discount Furniture stores do. And the one that opened in the Bronx, at Bay Plaza Mall near Co-op City (the first one here) is no exception.

It's nice to see local businesses giving something back to the community and in today's case that was the donating of checks to local schools (as seen in the above photos)

I hope they do well and my family surely will be doing business with them.

Tell me - what's a nicer feeling? Giving or receiving?

I think you already know the answer.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"not only teach them tennis and academics but character"

Former number 1 tennis player in the world Billy Jean King was a key speaker at a groundbreaking ceremony I shot this afternoon for a new tennis stadium for the New York Center for Tennis and Learning at Crotona Park in the Bronx. As far as I was concerned, she said the most important stuff of all the speakers and what she said didn't get any applause. I wonder why?

She emphasized in her talk that young people would learn tennis and academics, but most importantly "character" - something lacking in our society today. Isn't typical in our modern times that truly important stuff gets short shrift? Making lots of money, donating lots of money and raising a lot of money - those were the topics that got attention today.

Teach the children, but most importantly, teach them to be a "good" people first and foremost.

Monday, May 20, 2013

"I had their eye!"

In photography, they have a saying: "Focus on the eyes." The problem is, can you get their eyes to look at your lens? Well, if you go and shoot at a red-carpet, celebrity gala event, the eyes are seeking your lens.

These were shot at the "Bronx Ball" - the centerpiece of Bronx Week at Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park. The celebrity guest was Ellen Barkin who described herself as "the Jew from the Bronx". As I reviewed my photographs, I kept saying to myself, "Why was she always looking at me in so many shots?"

Well, she's probably used to it and I was the only photog wearing credentials that labeled me as "Press". But there was that underlying male ego thing going - she likes the way I look.  LOL

For my first red carpet shoot I was pleased. It was, at least for me, a photographer's heaven!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

children make the best models

Had a shoot at my old elementary school (P.S. 71, Pelham Bay section of the Bronx) for their rehearsal of the "Wizard of Oz". As soon as I walked in the door, I was flooded with memories and I got very emotional. My childhood came back to me in a flash. For most of us those were the best times of our lives and when I met all these beautiful children, the joy and happiness asserted themselves in their cherubic, radiant faces.

When children see a camera, they seem to automatically go into "modeling mode." It's rare to take a bad picture of a child. Children make a photographer look good!

It's amazing what things trigger our childhood memories. For my wife it was the antique trains in the "Parade of Trains" show at Grand Central Terminal. For me, it was my school.

Children have a way of making your day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

shooting RAW


This is a JPEG version of a RAW photo I shot today at the Cloisters in upper Manhattan (see link). I determined that I was going to maximize the potential of my camera by shooting in RAW mode which registers all the pixels available when exposing your camera to light versus a pre-processed version created in the camera's computer as a JPEG.

I use Adobe software called Lightroom to enhance and correct my shots. I can even draw out details from what looks like dark, black shadows! Most amateur photographers aren't aware of this or don't have cameras that have this capacity.

It's a whole new world shooting in RAW. Oh, by the way, the photo is in JPEG mode because that's what works in this blog format that I'm using. If you go to my Facebook page you can see the RAW version:  RAW version

I've re-invented myself and now I've re-invented my photographic process. A whole new world awaits.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

a blast from the past

See that gentleman with the fedora. That's how men dressed in the 40's and 50's, not just going to work but even to ballgames. Very natty, some may even say debonair. If you look closely at his tie, you'll see RR logos from all over.

My wife especially wanted to go to this exhibit of antique trains called the "Parade of Trains" at Grand Central Terminal since her father used to be a train dispatcher at the Union Terminal in Cleveland Ohio.  She even had the distinction of riding in these old Pullman cars on the NY Central back in the day.

We'll never see this again - a classy way to travel, in style and relaxed - a blast from the past.

Friday, May 10, 2013

"da Bronx is in the house!"

BronxWeek is around the corner with lots and lots of activities planned. Da Bronx has always seemed to get a bad rap, the stepchild of NYC's 5 boroughs. Highest rate of poverty and obesity, the years of the S. Bronx being regarded as Fort Apache etc.

But things have turned. The Bronx River Alliance has done a notable job cleaning up the Bronx River and many new parks have opened up plus as I write this, in my neighborhood the largest shopping mall is being built. There's a renaissance in the air and it's here - in da bronx!

Monday, May 6, 2013

a day of contrasts

Today was a study of varying degrees of culture: from the dynamic visuals in "Ironman 3" to the punk fashion culture in a red carpet event at the MET ("Punk: Chaos to Couture") and finally the culture of academia in the form of a talk by Dr. Elaine Pagels speaking about "Art, music and politics in the Book of Revelation"

The movie was fictional, the celebrities are artifices constructed by their adoring fans, and theology is eternal, whether you believe or you don't. So, where was the "real", and how did all the stuff I saw and photograph reflect my own sense of what is important and what is real?

I'm not sure but when I know, I'll let you know.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

showed up to shoot a bike tour then . . .

One of those beautiful spring days that ends up giving you more photographic opportunities that one doesn't expect. My assignment was to shoot the NYC Bike Tour which proved both entertaining and interesting. Then when I arrived home I noticed a large vehicle parked in front of my firehouse that was used for training purposes.

After a tragic event about 7 years ago where some firemen died for not having the necessary ropes to get out of a burning apartment, they now all have rope setups for rappelling out of dangerous areas. They let me photograph their training and I promised to send them my pics.

A truly interesting and entertaining day!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

hiring people who did time

I did a Chamber of Commerce shoot today and the rep from the NYS Dept. of Labor was making an interesting proposition: hire people who did time in prison (the formerly incarcerated). For the Bronx where I live where there is a high proportion of people in this category, it makes sense and they provide the employers with sizable tax credits.

The State is even willing to provide human resource help if necessary to keep these new employees on the "straight and narrow" path. If you're willing to invest in business, shouldn't you be willing to invest in people?

Now, for the photographs. The top one is "pure happiness'. I like to take these photos. The middle photograph is a reflection of my covetousness. I want these glasses! The bottom photo is the powerpoint slide describing the positive aspects of hiring those who have been incarcerated.

We've all made mistakes, right?