canon 6D

Travel: Niagara Falls & Watkins Glen State Park

I decided to squeeze an end of summer getaway into my extended weekend and I’m so glad that I did!  Having never been to Niagara Falls or Watkins Glen State Park, I was taken aback by the magnitude and beauty of both destinations.  Here are a few pics from the trip and some video of my journey on the famous “Maid of the Mist” boat ride which takes you as close as you can get to the falls, with the added bonus of a refreshing shower along the way…

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And for the sake of experimentation, I decided to add some HDR effects to this picture.  What do you think?

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Corazon headed to The Outflix Film Festival in Memphis TN!

Memphis TN, here’s your chance to catch my latest short film on the big screen!  “Corazon” is headed to the south to screen at The Outflix Film Festival Monday 2/29/16.  The festival begins at 6:30 at Malco Studio on the Square.  My film is a late entry so it is not listed on their website but it will be screened :-).  If you’re in town, do check out the film along with the other film selections for the evening.

 

I stepped in the ring with boxer Henry DeLeon

I photographed Brooklyn boxer Henry DeLeon as he trained for the Golden Gloves here in NYC.  It was actually my first time in a boxing gym and inside the ring but it was a great experience.  I haven’t gotten the opportunity to see Henry fight yet but if he fights anything like he trains, he’s already a champion.

 

 

 

 

Henry boxes out of the Mendez Boxing Club here in NYC.  He got his start at this very same club a few years ago and has even worked there as a trainer.

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Just watching him train made me tired, but he kept going, non stop.  As a matter of fact, everyone did.  The entire gym was filled with men and women training, boxing, and running to the sound of a timer that signified when they should start and stop for breaks.

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Break time.

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The atmosphere in the gym was great.  I thought people would stray away from my camera but it was the opposite.  People seemed comfortable around it and opened up to me a bit.  Henry’s trainer Moses has been with him since the start and continues to help him train today.

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This was a great challenge for myself as I haven’t really tried sports photography.  Capturing Henry’s speed was a bit of a challenge and after a few of his training sequences, I realized that I had to get out of my comfort zone (all manual everything) and for the first time I actually took advantage of my camera’s auto sports photography setting.  Blasphemy, I know.  But I re-learned a lesson that I keep in the back of my mind when photographing.  You must learn the rules first so that you can break them.  I know how to capture fast moving objects in manual and make the outcome look the way I want it to look, however I appreciated the option to not have to constantly readjust my settings and let the camera do it for me.  Having never really used any of the auto settings on my camera I must admit, it was a delight…but I couldn’t wait to get back to my manual settings!

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I wasn’t sure what to expect walking into a boxing gym for the first time because let’s be clear, I don’t do gyms.  I just don’t.  I am an “outsider” with a camera.  However, I was warmly welcomed by Henry and his training team for the day as well as the other gym members.  I asked Henry “What are you fighting for?”.  To paraphrase, he said it was the passion and love for the sport.  The feeling and the attention that he gets when he enters the ring.  “I love it…” he states, and it certainly appears that way.

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I love the sport of boxing and really appreciate Henry DeLeon and the Mendez Gym for opening their doors to me.  Good luck to Henry as he fights his way up to that Golden Gloves championship!

What are you fighting for?

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Ellis Island immigrant hospital tour (photos)

If there’s one thing that I love, it’s photographing out of the ordinary, off limit or once restricted (or currently restricted) locations.  For this photo excursion, I had the opportunity to take a guided tour of the recently partially restored immigrant hospital located in an area of Ellis Island that until a few years ago was off limits to the public.  The Ellis Island Hard Hat Tour features a look at several pieces of oversized artwork by artist JR for his Unframed Ellis Island project.  The over 90 minute tour covers sections of the once fully operational immigrant hospital on Ellis Island that cared for sick immigrants before they entered NYC.  The history behind the hospital is fascinating and JR’s larger than life images of immigrants entering Ellis Island provided a realistic and often eerie portrayal of the hospital.  Eerie because the areas that we were allowed to walk through, although were deemed safe, were definitely creepy as all hell.  I kept preparing myself for a ghost of some sort to walk past me as I clicked away at the decrepit rooms throughout the hospital.   I LOVED IT!  Every minute was filled with history, intrigue and of course the most creepy atmosphere that I’ve been allowed to photograph.  Apparently, JR hosts his own tours in which he has unrestricted access to the entire hospital to view all of his pieces.  If you’re looking for a new photography adventure that’s close to home (home being NYC or close to it) check out this tour before it gets too cold!

 

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I don’t remember our tour guide’s name but he was GREAT.  Super knowledgeable about the hospital and enthusiastic about the tour.

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The hospital had several mortuary refrigerators in a lecture style room in which doctors and surgeons examined bodies of the deceased.

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If you do take the tour, prepare to WALK.  This is just one of the hallways that we examined.

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JR’s work is hidden away in various rooms and areas of the hospital.  We only saw half of them because JR has many pieces located in places that are still off limits to the public.

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While on the tour, we ran into one of the workers shuttling a newly restored piece of equipment that was used to help soldiers coming from war with hand injuries regain use of their hands.

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You almost forget that this was once a beautiful and vibrant hospital caring for thousands of people.  Most of the rooms were left exactly the way they were left years ago.

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