“A Week in Cuba” Show at Fatty’s Cafe

A new show of my work is now up on the wall’s of Fatty’s Cafe in Astoria and through the month of March. I compiled a loosely-related set of photos from my week in Cuba to show in the popular neighborhood restaurant, ranging from shots of Cuban amateur boxers, scenery and tobacco production in Vinales, and, of course, classic cars and street shots from Havana. Also in the show is a 16×20″ poster all of photos of classic cars spotted on the Malecon, the legendary Havana sea wall. Stop by any time for a mojito and a Chavorrayo (my favorite Cuban-style sandwich) with some sweet potato fries or maduros, or head on over between 11 a.m. and 3 on the weekend for their delicious brunch.


Fatty’s is located at 25-01 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria.

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Do You Use A Workshop As A Springboard?

This past December, I went on a dream photographic workshop – eight days in Cuba through ICP (International Center for Photography.) Before I even plunked down the precious thousands of dollars for the workshop, my mind swirled – am I doing the right thing? Should I just go visit my cousins in England and Switzerland and take photos along the way, by myself? If I pay this much money for a workshop, will it be worth it? A week with a bunch of strangers in a notoriously restrictive country – can I do it? And if I do it – well, what can I do with the photos? How can I justify the expense other than fulfilling a dream and needing a vacation? It didn’t take long to answer these questions. While it would be great to see family, Europe will always be there; Cuba is changing rapidly. A week with a bunch of strangers? I do this all the time on press jaunts. So what can I do with the photos to justify the expense?

Oh, so much.

So I sent in my money, and promptly took a walk down Ditmars Boulevard in my Astoria neighborhood. Not unexpectedly, I ran into the owner of my group of friend’s favorite local restaurant – Fatty’s – owned by a Cuban-American, and started to chat. I told him that I’m going to Cuba in December on a photo workshop, and immediately he offered, “Cool, so do you want to put up a show of the work?” Yes. Yes I do. We shook hands for a show in early 2013. It’s going to happen, and I’ll post the details here.

In November, an email popped into my inbox from John, the editor over at PhotographyReview.com. I’ve covered some camera launches and been on a few press trips for him, and he was asking if I would be interested in testing a new Olympus PEN camera. Yes I would, and I’m going to Cuba next month, can I test it there? Perfect timing. I was able to take a powerful, compact micro four thirds camera with me to test. I wrote the review over the holidays, and here it is with a full gallery of photos.

The workshop itself was great. Cuba has so much beauty, warm and friendly people, and sadly, a crumbling infrastructure which is so very photogenic.

At times, I was very conflicted photographing. It wasn’t always easy. I generally have too much respect for people to take pictures of them in bad circumstances, so it was a lesson for me to stretch a bit, get over my guilt, and learn how to respect them while photographing them. As a friend said to me years ago when I lived in Brazil, “If you feel sorry for someone, you’re looking down on them, so stop.” Workshops are, after all, for learning and stretching your wings a bit. And this 101 year old man that follows looks happy as a clam, and was quite proud of his age!

The workshop included visiting working photographers, one of which was Roberto Salas, who photographed the revolution starting when he was 18 years old. It was incredible to talk with him and see his work, past and present.

Cuba is also full of classic American cars, so I was able to gorge on taking car photos to my heart’s content. I’m doing a car photo a day for 2013 over on my Facebook page. (The better photographs are available for sale on RedBubble, and you can see a bunch here on my site in my Gallery of the Week.)

Another one of my loves is boxing, and a morning at an amateur boxing gym yielded a batch of photos that I can be proud of, in addition to going a round on the focus mitts with the trainer!

What are your plans for spreading your photographic wings this year? And where can the results take you?

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Limited Internet Access

I will have limited internet access from Sunday, December 9 through Sunday, December 16. If you need to contact me, please do so via email, and I will respond as soon as possible.n

In the meantime, if you’re looking to purchase a print, please visit my portfolio on RedBubble.com!


Thank you!

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Empire Gold

For the first time in a very long time, a photograph of a car is not on my front page. I rarely take “these sort of photos.” I’m a New Yorker, and I leave the skyscraper gazing to the tourists. However, the Empire State Building was going to be lit up in gold that night in honor of my alma mater, Pratt Institute’s 125th Anniversary. I didn’t even want to head into midtown because it was pouring rain, but I had promised a former classmate, Dawn Arnold Diamantopoulos, that I would get a picture for her because she now lives in Indiana.

So I gathered my gear and an umbrella and headed in. I didn’t take many photos;  I had to wait awhile for a torrential downpour to slow down, then I had to wipe raindrops from my polarizing filter after every shot. It was a very soggy process. Eventually I was happy with a few shots that weren’t ruined by a wet lens, and hurried back home to be warm and dry.

I quickly processed the shots and tweeted a few, then uploaded three to flickr. The next day, I noticed that the Pratt Alumni page posted an update with a call for people to post their photos of the Empire State Building lit up in Pratt gold. Everyone uploaded very sexy Instagram shots, so I just posted my link to the flickr set.

I expected nothing of it other than a few “likes” on the Facebook comment. A few days later, however, I heard from someone at Pratt – could they use one of the shots for Prattfolio, the Pratt magazine? Sure, why not.

This past Thursday, the same day the Prattfolio arrived with the photograph featured on the back page, I received another email from Pratt – Dr. Tom Schutte, the school president, has selected my photo for his holiday card – could they use it? Well – sure.

I’m glad that I loaded up the gear and headed out in the pouring rain. As a fellow photographer commented to me – “It’s a good reminder that we can’t get these images by being lazy.” I’m making two photographs of the Empire State Building lit up in gold available for sale on Red Bubble. Both are available as prints and cards. So HEY, you can be like the Pratt president, and have Empire State Building holiday cards!


Click here to leave this site and browse “Empire Gold” on Red Bubble.com.

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Grand-Am Championship at Lime Rock

I took a break from my usual weekend classic car shows to do something a little different – a photo workshop. Workshops are great way for both professional and amateur photographers to try a different type of photography, recover from burnout, gain access to where you haven’t been able to, hang out with other photographers, and add new skills and experiences to their repertoire. For all of the above reasons, and most importantly to gain more experience shooting races, I signed up for the day-long Motorsports Photography Workshop at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut on September 29.  With the workshop, you get a press-pass to shoot the Grand-Am Championships along with access to borrow and experiment with Nikon lenses that might not already be in your kit.

The workshop is set up as if you are shooting for an actual publication. You are given a list of necessary shots and specific teams to cover, including candids of the drivers of the teams assigned to you, autograph sessions, starting grid, panned shots, scenic, fans, pit stops… at a 1.5 mile track. It was a welcome challenge for me, considering all of my racing work has been limited to a 1/2 mile oval dirt track.

I was assigned to 01 Ganassi, 40 & 41 Dempsey, and 37 Mustang. I was very happy about all, especially the Mustang.

Setting the scene:



Some racing shots:

Halfway through the second race, I was bored. I soon realized that this was a good thing, though, because it meant that all of the ordinary, standard, and expected shots were out of the way. I had my bearings and was finally in my comfort zone – and I could relax and have some fun with the shots.

I had a great time concentrating on the Mazdas for awhile , shooting them as they spit fire when they braked:

And some driver pics:

All in all a great day and fantastic experience. I can’t wait for the season to start again in the Northeast so I can get better at this! Two days later, I photographed the AIM/FXDD team in NYC and sold one of the shots to the Toronto Star/Wheels. Objective achieved – I learned a lot, gained valuable experience, and opened new doors.

So what would your ideal workshop be?


A full gallery of photographs from the Grand-Am Championship on September 29, 2012 available for purchase can be found here on SmugMug.

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Prints are now for sale on Red Bubble!


Just in time for the holidays, I’m offering some of my more favorited images for sale as prints and posters on Red Bubble. I will be adding more as we rush through November, but here is the first – the black and white photo of the classic Fleetwood in distress in New York City, featured on my landing page. To see the options and to order prints, please click this link that will take you to Red Bubble.

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Superstorm Sandy

A little over a week ago, the coast of New York and New Jersey was mercilessly pummeled by a hurricane named Sandy. The Jersey Shore, where I was born (in Point Pleasant Hospital) and one of my favorite places in NYC, Rockaway Beach, were among the areas hit hard. Very hard. I went to the Rockaways to help my friend with her apartment and took photos along the way – the devastation is unimaginable.


At the very least, people are without power; so many houses were flooded, pushed off their foundations, or completely destroyed by the invading ocean. Huge chunks of the Boardwalk were washed up the streets.

I have created full galleries of my photos on flickr. If you are able, please help however you can – by volunteering or donating. Thank you.

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Out of the Blue

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Peter Sorgenfrei of Gaywheels.com. He was interested in featuring some of my personal car scene-based fine art series on the website. I admit, my big, enormous, fragile artist ego was tickled! More importantly, though, was the opportunity to showcase my non-commercial pet projects for a change. So often my professional work is the standard front, back, side, and 3/4 angle shots (I always include a few more creative detail shots) of cars from reveals; it’s a pleasure to spotlight my more creative, personally satisfying work.

Consequently, I had to define what I was doing with these projects. Have you ever experienced this? You’re just going along in life, photographing here and there, you’ve got a title for each series, a vague idea of what you’re doing with it, but have never sat down and actually formulated a goal or statement on paper (or a Google doc.) Working with writer Richard Read to create a statement and edit a small gallery of images for the website woke me up to the need to purposefully define what exactly I am doing.

…Exactly what AM I doing?! I thought about each series and visually attracts my eye, what the photos mean to me, why I chose the specific camera for each series, and what, at my very basic core, was the most truthful, simple, and genuine reason for taking the photographs that I take. I won’t reveal the statements here – I’ll cleverly divert you to the Fine Art Friday feature over at Gaywheels.com. I was happy to work with them, and I am thrilled with the results on their website.

In the meantime – why do YOU work on the projects you are working on?

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Gallery of the Week: Retro Update

“Retro” is a personal project that I’m rather fond of – it’s open-ended, I’ve been working slowly on it for a few years, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s also a lot of work. To take these photos, I use a Sabre 620 camera – a plastic box camera manufactured in the 50’s and 60’s. As Kodak hasn’t manufactured 620 since the 1990’s, I have salvaged 620 reels from garage sales and other 620 cameras in my collection. In a light-tight changing bag, I take 120 film off of the 120 reel and re-roll it onto the 620 reel. The film, a paper-backed roll film, is the same film, it’s just that a 120 reel is slightly larger than a 620 reel, rendering it near impossible to use it in an old 620 camera.

So why all of this trouble? Well, I noticed that when I took pictures of classic cars with the Sabre 620, the resulting photographs reminded me of the pictures of my family and their cars from my grandparent’s photos that I saw when I was a kid. My uncles were car nuts and one uncle started racing on dirt tracks when he was 16 or 17. In short, sentimentality. And I think it looks cool. Do you like Instagram? This is the real deal. (For the record, I started this series before Instagram existed.) I decided to continue shooting and create this series with this old camera – record the retro people that love the classic cars and rockabilly culture that goes along with it. Enjoy!

(The rest of the series can be found here.)

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Gallery of the Week: Details

Some cars are just so cool I want to shoot every single part of it. This custom that I saw at the Rumble in the Country in Terryville, CT, is one of those cars. The owner was off somewhere on the fairgrounds and I unfortunately couldn’t get the stats on it! I took as many shots as I could; the whole car from many different angles, the motor, tires, seats, steering… so many pictures one of the other car guys teased me, “Why don’t you take another picture of that car?!”

Well, if you insist. That’s how you get the great shots. Don’t rely on taking just one or two, practice, and experiment.

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