Sep 18, 2013

New York Renaissance Faire

I went to the New York Renaissance Faire this weekend, something I've been wanting to do since 7th grade.  I sometimes hear people talk about these kinds of festivals, wishing they could live like that every day.  I wouldn't necessarily go that far myself, but certainly Monday through Friday.  I'm not sure I'd ever invest in a full Ren Faire wardrobe, but the pewter beer mug attached to the belt is a fashion trend I certainly embrace.

I'm looking forward to heading back in a few weeks when they switch gears to the Forest of Fear, where I can hopefully photograph their haunted house.  Between this and the upcoming New York Comic Book Convention I've got a pretty nerdy Fall to look forward to.

Sep 17, 2013

Even More TCGS Pictures

I've been able to make it to The Chris Gethard Show pretty consistently lately, so for now I'll just keep posting my new pictures on this post.  I've got a handful of episodes to share;  hopefully I'll keep'em coming!

TCGS #100: Episode HUNDO 

TCGS #102: Destroy-a-Toy, feat. Bobby Moynihan

TCGS 104: Space Battle, feat. Rich Sommer and Chad Carter

TCGS #106: The Villain's Journey

TCGS #107: We Got Nothing Two

Jul 17, 2013

Improv Everywhere's "MP3 Experiment Ten"

I had the pleasure of celebrating this year's Bastille Day by photographing a flash mob at South Street Seaport held by Improv Everywhere.  They're the same group that puts together the No-Pants-Subway-Ride each year, amongst many other things.  This particular event was centered around a roughly 45-minute mp3 that participants played simultaneously in their headphones, which directed a long-form flash mob that included silent dance parties, paper airplane throwing, bubble blowing, and randomly giving observers a dollar (I was on the receiving end of this last part a few times, so I guess this was technically a paying gig).

I'd only heard about it on my way out the door, so I didn't get a chance to download the track or gather the necessary supplies (i.e. paper, bubbles, dollars...), so I had to (/got to) witness the flash mob with fresh eyes.  I've seen a good deal of flash mob videos online, but I don't think I've never seen so many people in once place.  Pier 17 was packed like Mumford and Sons was headlining a music festival on the river or something.  I'd wager it was one of the largest mass bubble-blowing events in recent history.  The part where everyone suddenly stood still like statues was also pretty entertaining, though I suppose the effect is lost in still photos.

I've been photographing a lot of improv-related things lately, between The Chris Gethard Show, The UCB's Del Close Marathon, and now this Improv Everywhere flash mob.  I've noticed a lot of overlap of friendly faces throughout, and I've really warmed to the whole community.  I've got a lot of appreciation (but perhaps little understanding) of the improv world as a whole, so I feel really lucky to have gained all the access and trust of these communities.  Or maybe that's just how networking works.  Anyway, here's pictures!

Jul 3, 2013

The Upright Citizen Brigade's 15th Annual Del Close Marathon

I was more than a little excited when I found out I'd be covering the Del Close Marathon again this year.  It was one of, if not THE best experiences I'd had as a freelance photographer last year, so I jumped at the chance to go back.

I was anxious about being able to deliver-just-as-good-if-not-better photos than the year before, but once I got into the swing of things it felt like I'd just been there the day before.  I found myself in the same cramped spot on the floor of the UCB Chelsea Theatre, and pretty easily got back into the same groove.

It struck me how it seemed so familiar after being away for a year -- the faces, the pace of the shows, the inescapable heat, and that particular smell of a crowded little theater full of sweating improv fans.  Shooting through the night, crashing on my friend's couch as the sun comes up, sleeping a few hours and doing the same thing for the next two days -- it's a pretty incredible experience.  And on top of all that I got to see my favorite comedians practicing their craft live and in-person.

The DCM is a one-of-a-kind phenomenon, and I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been able to capture a little part of it.

The Chris Gethard Show (cont'd)

Here are some photos from my last to visits to The Chris Gethard Show. I'm enjoying myself more with each visit, and have loved getting to know the cast/crew/fans these past few weeks. Still a relative newcomer, it's always a warm reception whenever I'm able to make it to the show. 

With a car on the fritz and a full-time job on the horizon, I may not be able to make it into the city each Wednesday night, but in any case I'll always look forward to watching online. At the very least I'd really like to make it out to the near-approaching episode 100 - I've got no clue what's planned, and I'm not sure if they do either, but it should be one for the books!

May 17, 2013

The Chris Gethard Show

Here are some photos from the past few weeks shooting various events for The Chris Gethard Show.  It's been an awesome experience every time I shoot for these guys, and I hope to make a habit of it in the future.


Red Bull Music Academy Presents: A Night Of Improvised Round Robin Duets

I've been getting more live music gigs lately, and this one was a bit of a treat.  A little while ago I photographed a show at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple called "A Night of Improvised Round Robin Duets."  This was a show where one artist starts improving onstage for five minutes, and was joined by a second musician who would duet with them for another five.  Then the first musician would leave and the next would join in, and for the next two hours twenty musicians would take the stage.

Of the twenty musicians I was only really familiar with three:  ?uestlove, Andrew W.K. and Andrew Bird.  It seemed like a rather random assortment of talents to bring together on one stage, so I was intrigued to see how the rest of the lineup would mesh together.  It was just as random as I expected - DJ's playing with pianists, jazz sax players playing with punk rockers, acoustic instrumentalists playing with computerized sound-scapes, etc.

What ensued was a one-of-a-kind performance that brought together a wide array of musicians and fans that would otherwise never have found themselves at the same show.

Boston Marathon 2013

I was in Boston for the day of and the week following the marathon bombings.  I didn't take any profound photos from the finish line, and I didn't have a particularly unique experience compared to most other people in the city, but I do have some images I'd like to share from my week. 

Harpoon Brewery

I recently took a tour of the Harpoon Brewery in Boston.  It was the first time I'd been there since 2010 when they were still doing renovations, so I was excited to see how they'd improved the already impressive brewery.  Our tour let out into a giant beer hall at the perfect time of day, just as the sun was setting behind the Boston skyline.  My brother and I sat at the bar facing the view, and I was able to make this great HDR image of a back-lit glass of beer:

After glancing at my camera to make sure I got the shot, I look up and the backlight was gone - the sun had just crept behind the Prudential Center.  I gave myself a little pat on the back and smugly finished my beer.

Game of Thrones Exhibition in NYC

When I heard about the temporary traveling Game of Thrones exhibition I jumped at the chance to nerd out for an afternoon.  I had no idea (though I guess I should have) that so many people would line up around a city block just to get an inside look at the show. 

I had a great time photographing costumes, props and behind-the-scenes aspects of the show, but I also indulged in the Blackwater Bay video game and got my Santa-at-the-mall-esque picture taken on the Iron Throne.

...and I might have gotten in line again and posed as Spider-Man.

Mar 28, 2013

Hurricane Sandy

This is a RATHER late post about my coverage of Hurricane Sandy in my neighborhood.  After all the floods of 2011 our block and the surrounding houses were ready for the worst.  Luckily we were spared any flooding, as most of the water damage came from tidal surges rather than heavy rains.  However there was wind and tree damage like I've never seen.

The Lakota Wolf Preserve

This past Sunday I went with Bergen County Camera to the Lakota Wolf Preserve.  The trip was a bit pricy, but absolutely worth the money.  Out in Columbia, New Jersey, the people at the site work year-round to feed and care for not just wolves, but foxes and bobcats as well.

On the bumpy ride up to the shooting area our guide told us that during Hurricane Sandy around a hundred trees were blown down, some damaging the fences keeping the wolves in.  Amazingly the trainers spent the night on top of the hill amidst the hurricane conditions making sure the wolves were safe and contained.

This was an amazing opportunity, getting to photograph these beautiful creatures in a near-natural habitat.  The morning light created several challenges, but allowed for some beautiful views of the animals.

The Central Park Zoo

Nothing particularly unique about these pictures, just a day trip to the Central Park Zoo.  I've always loved shooting animals, whether they're in the zoo or in the wild.

The Old '76 House

The Old '76 House is one of the countries oldest taverns, and holds a particularly interesting place in American history.  This is where American troops brought the redcoat Major John Andre for interrogation and imprisonment after he was caught aiding the infamous Benedict Arnold in his attempt to deliver West Point to the British.  Andre was tried, convicted and hanged atop a nearby hill, which is marked by a similar blue-and-yellow sign.  These signs are common sights throughout the Historic Hudson Valley.

Inside the tavern is decorated much as it might have been in colonial times.  The portraits of Andre and Arnold (or "The Spy" and "The Traitor", respectively) sit atop one of the mantles, the latter turned upside down as is customary with traitors.

The menu contains as much history and folklore as it does food items.  It lists its notable patrons throughout history, from George Washington and Alexander Hamilton up to Bill Murray and Rosie O'Donnell.  The waiters take pleasure in telling patrons ghost stories involving Major Andre's imprisonment as they make salads at the table.

Though this area is full of official historical sites and buildings, The Old '76 house is definitely a unique experience.

Jan 27, 2013

"The Dream @50" Celebration at The Met

Yesterday I had the pleasure of covering 'The Dream @50' Celebration at The Met.  This was an art contest awards ceremony that included submissions from local K-12 students, meant to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's famous 'I Have a Dream' speech.  Though the actual date isn't until August 28 (something I've always remembered as it's also my birthday), holding this event in January was a great, touching way to start of Black History Month this year.

The assignment for the art competition was to present a piece that reflected on the progress of the Civil Rights Movement in the decades since MLK's work.  What was really interesting/inspiring was how much of the artwork dealt with not just the state of Blacks, but of all races, religions and orientations.

The ceremony included two performances by students from the Harlem School of the Arts.  Between the artwork and the performers, there was some amazing stuff presented.  I kept having to remind myself that these were elementary, middle and high school kids dancing and singing and painting, etc.  - which made the work 'RULL' impressive, rather than simply 'really' impressive.

Curators made several references to works form the American Wing throughout the ceremony, so I decided to take a walkthrough afterwards and as a bonus I've included some of those HDR's.

Jan 15, 2013

2013 NYC Winter Jazz Fest

I had the pleasure of photographing the NYC Winter Jazz Fest in the West Village this past weekend.  Not a whole lot to say here, so let's get right to the pictures!  

Bonus:  Here's a botched HDR of an upright bass player at Sullivan Hall.  I rather like how it came out.

Dec 28, 2012

'A Christmas Carol' in Sleepy Hollow

Since I started working at Davis Studio back in 2010, I've been exploring the surrounding area of the Hudson Valley more and more.  About a ten minute drive from Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, it's a very cool place to be in the Fall.  Though most of their attractions are Halloween-oriented (The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, for example), the Historic Hudson Valley organization has some interesting Christmastime traditions as well.

Jonathan Kruk, the same actor who gives annual one-man performances of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow does the same for Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  They didn't allow photography during the main performance, but I was able to snap a few frames that I think set the scene pretty well.

New York Comic Con 2012

2012 was a year of comic books for me.  Though there were plenty reasons to get excited about the New York Comic Book Convention, one of my main reasons for going was to meet and photograph all the characters in costume.  I had been to a few conventions up in Boston, but nothing like this - the Jacob Javits Center was packed with people for whom Comic Con is an opportunity (or excuse?) to dress up as their favorite characters.  I've incorporated my picture-taking into a Peter Parker/Spiderman costume on a number of occasions, but today I decided to try my luck as Captain America.  It was not very impressive at all, but luckily I was on the right side of the camera, photographing everyone else's amazing costumes.

Global Citizens Festival 2012

I was one of the 60,000 lucky fans to win tickets to the Global Festival in Central Park back in September.  Rather than try to fight my way up to the front of the crowd to fight for pictures I knew everybody was trying to get, I thought I'd hang back and capture the show from the nosebleed-section perspective.  As much as I'd have loved to get a nice close-up picture of Neil Young or the Foo Fighters, I'm glad I was able to show the average concert-goer's experience.

9/11 Beacon Memorial

I've always wanted to photograph the 9/11 beacon memorial.  I remember being particularly inspired by the opening scene from Spike Lee's movie The 25th Hour, which focused on the beacon lights from different angles for the first several minutes.

 Though I hadn't been home the past several anniversaries I was finally able to make it this time around.  Throughout the year my work for Lifetouch took me to several places in New York and New Jersey that had great views of the Manhattan skyline and the Freedom Tower construction site.  It's been interesting to witness the slow but steady progress on the tower at different points in the year.  So this year I decided to spend Sept. 11 revisiting a couple of these spots and photograph the beacon memorial from different vantage points.

My first stop was a cliffside park in Weehawken, NJ, a ways upriver from the World Trade Center.  It was a relatively quiet scene, though the sidewalk was lined with all sorts of photographers.  Some had iPhones and point-and-shoots, others had tripods and enormous telephoto lenses.  For the most part people were silent, but here and there you could hear quiet conversation.

I spent about 15-20 minutes photographing and taking in the scene, and then drove down to Liberty State Park in Jersey City to get a closer vantage point.  This was a very different atmosphere.  I arrived around 9:30, a short while before the parking lot's usual closing time, though you wouldn't know it that night.  It felt more like the Fourth of July, especially when I noticed the ice cream truck stationed right outside the park entrance.  Inside the park I found myself in a sea of tripod-wielding photographers, each one fighting for a spot on the river.  The longer I stayed the more uncomfortable I felt, finding myself somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between somber visitors and enthusiastic photographers.  On my way out of the park I noticed a group of older visitors posing for pictures in front of a piece of metal from the Twin Towers that had been turned into one of several memorials at the park.  I tried not to judge, figuring everyone copes and commemorates tragedy differently, but when they put their coffee cups on the piece of the building so they could review their pictures I had seen enough.

So the trip was not at all what I had planned, but I think I managed to find a few moments at least to reflect and photograph some nice (if not at all original) frames of the memorial.