my photo is featured on National Geographic’s editors favorites!

http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/3991462/

Im humbled to be selected as one of the editors picks for the assignment – how close can you get? only a few days remain till they have they select the best. I can honestly say, I don’t have to win. It was nice just to be pulled out into a pool of over 500 favorites out of almost 10,000 + submissions. Great job everyone who joined in. if you have a chance, submit a pic or at the least view the photos by some really talented photographer both amateur and pro. Thanks National Geographic! 

 

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Leica cameras and a return to film based work

I started my journey using film cameras back in 1989. My first introduction to film photography was through the window of a rangefinder camera. I started with a hand me down camera which my father lent to me. It was an older Yashica rangefinder which shot in aperture priority and had a fixed 45mm lens. I remember it had a screw on wide angle and telephoto  lens and an optical flash mount view finder to view the frame lines. It was an awesome camera. My journey began with my father handing  me two rolls of kodak black and white film and sending me out to the city to shoot pictures with it one saturday. I remember going to pier 17 and pretty much walking around all of downtown manhattan. I didnt know much about the functionality of the camera, there was a light meter built in which would tell you if you were going to have a slow shutter or if you were going to over expose and that if I got the exposure right the meter would let me know and then I could shoot. I remember not knowing anything about composition or subject matter. I just knew I wanted to photograph something, anything, everything.  I studied photography on and off from high school to college. I never imagined every working as a photographer.  I was young, and my experiences were captured  through mental pictures i could revisit on my own  through thoughts and contemplation. I regret this to a point.

In 2005, I had the chance to revisit photography. This time, it was through a digital camera. A nikon D50 with an 18-55 kit lens. I didnt know much about digital cameras. I had a lot of training in film and felt confident I could make the transition seamlessly. I got an offer to photograph a children’s clothing catalog and so I accepted. I have to admit I was really worried  seeing how I had not made a photograph in years and was still learning my way around this new digital camera. I headed over to adorama to rent out a profoto lighting kit and a cheap flash i could use to trigger the slaves. I had no idea of radio triggers or how to use them. I understood optical slaves and pc cords but the Nikon had no inputs for pc cords. I had a crash course in digital photography in the studio the day of the shoot. I was on the phone with my father at the start of the shoot, frantically trying to remember what i learned from him and from school so many years ago.  I struggled and pushed through the shoot pulling bags of tricks out of thin air and made it out with a happy client…. I know right, I got lucky.

I continued shooting digital til late 2013. I had gone through every great digital camera from the nikon d3s, canon 5d mkII’s hasselblad with digital back, nikon d700, canon 7d’s, Fuji X series cameras. I seemed content with the outcome and shooting fashion. it wasn’t until 2011 when everything changed. I purchased my first full frame digital rangefinder. It was a beautiful back camera with a bright red dot. I remember having to settle on purchasing a summarit lens cause the cost of that camera was so high I really had no money left after purchasing the body. I remember going out for the first day of real shooting with the M9 and falling in love. I was reminded of why I decided to journey into photography in the first place. For years I had gotten really deep into the technical gadget lust of digital cameras forgetting that when I started, I had one camera, one lens and a few rolls of film and just my understanding of available light to make a good picture. I started selling all the gear I owned until I had nothing left. I wanted to start over from scratch. I missed being responsible for my images. I missed the darkroom and missed film. I started to see fashion photography differently. I didnt want to do it anymore. I wanted to shoot something timeless which provoked thought and sent a message. I wanted a deeper image.

In January of 2014, I purchased two cameras, both film. I now own a leica Mp with 50 mm summicron and a Leica M6 TTL with a 35mm summicron. I built a darkroom in my studio and now spend my time shooting the streets of new york city and people I see that inhabit this urban jungle and hope to capture life in the city on the streets of New York. Its funny how for a moment you are content and happy with your work and all of a sudden you realize you were only settling. I am responsible for my images and for my prints. I feel a lot more inspired and alive ever since I made the switch. I shoot for myself and not for clients. I work outdoors all the time. I am happy again.  I thank my father for teaching me photography, my professors for guiding my helping me develop my eyes and Leica for reminding what kind of photographer I wanted be and for helping me achieve that goal.

THE OLYMPUS OMD EM5 Review… sort of.

I wasnt much of a believer of the MFT system. I had been using fuji X cameras for about a year and a half now and found they did the job just fine. I traded mt fuji xe-1 for and olympus omd em5 kit out of curiosity. I took it home and started shooting with the olympus 12-50 kit lens and at first I wasnt so impressed. I noticed heavy fringing and color rendering was sub par. Its a great lens to take on vacation for family pics and general use but I would not use it for anything serious. The fuji was quickly winning me back. I did notice the lighting fast AF on the OMD. It really is lightning fast which is a real joy when switching from my fuji x100s. I really need to get out there and buy either a 17mm or a 12mm to really enjoy this system. I purchased an M adapter so I could use my 35 and 50 crons but after trying it on I noticed it wouldnt click into place. Pro Optic M to MFT adapter seems to fit my zeiss 35mm but not my actual Leica lenses, this was a disappointment. I guess you get what you pay for. I will have probably bite the big one and get a novaflex adapter just to be sure. They make great adapters and I have found them to be made really well.  

The OMD is a great camera. Its solid, weather proofed and with some black tape it is a very discreet camera. I like being able to shoot from the hip using the flip up screen. I love the fast AF when using AF lenses. I really enjoy the ART 10 filter in black and white ( its the only setting I have used ) I do enjoy shooting it in fully manual and I love the size of the camera even with the 12-50mm kit lens. Color rendering improves with glass and Fringing disappears with better glass too. I would recommend this to anyone who is a street shooter, loves their leica glass and wants a compact little camera to ninja around the city with. This camera has really grown on me and I havent picked up my fujis in a long time.  If you can, I would recommend renting one and trying it out. I am a believer in the MFT systems now and I look forward to building this system up. It works perfect for my needs as a documentary / street photographer and for everything else, I have a canon 5d MKIII with a crap load of L lenses. My Oly is now my everyday camera and my neck and back thank me. 

The OMD EM5 with a zeiss 35 2.8 ZM lens combined makes for a really great camera setup. Its a super light package and I have enjoyed shooting it in this setup for the past few days. here are a few sample shots using both the 12-50 and the 35mm 2.8 tell me if you can spot a difference.

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Olympus OMD EP5 and 12-50mm kit lens

It was xmas, I don’t celebrate it but I get present envy every year. I decided to go on craigslist and see what deals were out there. 
Perhaps, I could find myself a gift to entertain myself for a few months. I was short on cash so it had to be a barter. After about 7 

no responses I finally got a yes. It wasn’t a trade for a Leica M6 like I had initially sought out for, instead the deal was my Fuji de-1 with 18mm 2.0 lens for an Olympus OMC EM5 in box with kit lens. Honestly, I was not impressed at first. I saw it as an opportunity to get my hands on a box fresh camera I could later flip for more money then my fairly worn XE-1. I decided to take him up on his offer and go ahead with the trade. I did not expect to be so dang happy with the trade. I mean I had no idea what all the hype was about. This is my second camera in the micro four thirds system and to be totally honest I think I might actually keep this camera and use it a lot more than I thought. Lightning fast auto focus, quiet, small, discrete, exceptional build quality and the art filters are not bad at all. Resolution is good and I mean good like compete with fuji good. EFV view finder is decent and the flip out screen is a joy to have. I do hate that the write speeds are slow and I mean really really slow. if you don’t chimp it should be fine.  It also has a weather sealed body and lens which is awesome cause I was out in the pouring rain yesterday and for the first time in camera history, I wasn’t worried. Here are a few sample photos. Mostly used the art filter 10 in black and white. i have had a lot of fun and I do recommend both amateurs  and pros alike to consider this awesome little package.  I have this camera and a Macbook air 11 inch and a hard drive. How much more compact can you get? maybe swap out the macbook air for my iPad mini and a card reader? This is an awesome setup! 

 

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Wicked tree

ok, so the last post was the beautiful colors of November. This one is just a few shots of where this all took place. The Crown maple syrup farm in upstate new york.  A fun day trip for family, friends or couples. You can have an amazing breakfast buffet and sample some really good maple syrup. I have never tried this before, but they sweetened the coffee with maple syrup! They also had a few trails to hike to help burn off all the pancakes you eat 😉

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