Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Going for Gold

Entering print competitions is one of the best ways for photographers to hone their craft by seeing how they stack up against their peers and learning from each other throughout the judging process. At this years International Print Competition hosted by the Professional Photographers of America, I earned the distinction of being a Gold Medalist with all four of my prints getting blue ribbons, one of them being accepted in to the Genral Collection, one being accepted in to the Genral Collection Showcase book and two of them being accepted in to the prestigious Loan Collection. It is an honor to have that kind of success when being judged by such high standards against thousands of incredibly talented photographers across the country.

Here are the four images that were entered.

"Out of Reach" 
General Collection

"Third Party Candidate"
Loan Collection

General Collection Showcase Book

"Shootout Round Six"
Loan Collection

There are several regional print competitions leading up to the IPC, including the competition at the Focus NY conference through the Professional Photographers Society of New York State. We were allowed to enter six prints there instead of the usual four. The images below also received blue ribbons at Focus NY along with the images above. 

"No Choice"
Focus NY Blue Ribbon

"Resting Bitch Face"
Focus NY Blue Ribbon

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Civil Air Patrol Encampment

Immediately following last weeks PPSNYS Workshop, I was "deployed" to Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, NY to photograph the week long Civil Air Patrol Encampment. If you're not familiar with the Civil Air Patrol, it is the Auxiliary branch of the United States Air Force for Cadets ages 12-21.

CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and occupations. It performs three congressionally assigned key missions: emergency services, which includes search and rescue (by air and ground) and disaster relief operations; aerospace education for youth and the general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth.

There are CAP Squadrons all across New York State including the NY212 Ghost Squadron right here in Canandaigua that meets every Wednesday evening at the VA Medical Center. My son Cade is a Cadet  Chief Master Sergeant there. Feel free to contact me if you have a teenager interested in joining.

The Encampment is a week of intense training for the Cadets who are basically immersed in military life on the base. They participate in drilling, aerospace, search and rescue training as well as getting some flight time in the CAP Cessna's or a ride on a C-130 or C-17. The Cadet's were also treated to a fly by from two USAF F15 Eagles from Massachusetts. 

It was an honor to not only be able to photograph the Encampment, but to participate in the development of the future leaders of our country and military. Here are some images from the week at Stratton ANG.

Monday, August 1, 2016

A Walk on the Wild Side

 It's been an extremely busy Summer so far beginning with my daughter Sarah's graduation from high school, followed by a 5 day cruise to Bermuda with the entire family to celebrate my Mother's 75th birthday. The day after returning from the cruise, we brought our camper down to the Geneseo Air Show to host a photography class on air show photography in conjunction with Sigma's Marc Farb who brought several cases of lenses for us to use. We were then back home for five days, which included two photography classes, a pulled wisdom tooth and two weddings.

 The next adventure brought me to Hobart and William Smith Colleges for the Professional Photographer's Society of New York State Summer Workshop. At Workshop you get to spend five days with one instructor immersing yourself in to in-depth, hands-on learning on a single topic. My instructor for the week was my good friend Scott Dere, who is a world class wildlife photographer. I've always wanted to do wildlife photography as a hobby to break up the day-to-day photography I do to earn a living. The Workshop gave me that opportunity with trips to Wildlife Defenders, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Mendon Ponds Park, Chimney Bluffs State Park, the Seneca Army Depot and even the city pier in Geneva to photograph a family of mink.

 Although each of these locations are in my "backyard", I went in with a fresh perspective and the guidance of someone who may not have known the locations, but had a keen sense of wildlife behavior and photographic techniques to approach the animals. Armed with that knowledge, I was able to capture some amazing images of things I may have completely overlooked otherwise. For example, for the last 25 years I've driven through Montezuma Wildlife Refuge on the Thruway and saw nothing but grass. Going there with Scott literally opened my eyes to this amazing resource so close to home. I was able to photograph Osprey on the hunt for fish, Egrets, Herons, Purple Martins, Swallows, and more. There are also several Bald Eagles that nest there but were to shy for the camera that day.

 Our last trip was down to the Seneca Army Depot to see if we could photograph a rare herd of white deer that reside there. After spending an hour driving the perimeter of the Depot, a young white buck came out of the woods and posed for us for a few minutes before disappearing like a ghost in the night.

 The whole week was an amazing experience reigniting my passion for photography, especially areas of photography that I often neglect while running a studio. My Mid-Summer New Year's Resolution is to keep the fire going and take time to photograph things for myself more often.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Finger Lakes Photography Center

Over the last year or so the blog has been pretty quiet. As the photography industry continues to evolve, so do my avenues of communication with the business. In the past, the blog was a huge source of communication of the dynamic areas of my business which the static nature of my website just couldn't keep up with. In time, other outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and more slowly infiltrated my life leaving the blog in limbo at times.

We've also been very busy over the last year opening and growing the Finger Lakes Photography Center. Located right at our Main Street studio, the Finger Lakes Photography Center consists of a camera consignment shop, photography classes and workshops, studio rental, large format archival printing and an online gallery of images for sale by our member photographers with much more coming soon. We have a Finger Lakes Photography Center Facebook group page which is the hub of activity for our photography community. We also have a website at

With all that's going on, I feel that the blog is ready for a resurrection of sorts as it slows down the flow of information long enough for people to absorb it. The high rate of turn over on other social media sites some times allows critical information to get lost in the shuffle. While I may not be posting here at the same frequency as a few years ago, the blog is alive and well.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Perfect North Carolina Wedding

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of flying to North Carolina to photograph the wedding of Taylor and Rebecca. The setting was a rock quarry off the beaten path in Mooresville, NC. It was a magical fairytale wedding, the likes of which I haven't seen since I photographed Taylor's mom's wedding in Lake Placid almost two years ago. Here is a sneak peak...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Snowy Owl

As a Sigma sponsored public speaker presenting my sports photography program to photography organizations around the country, I feel honored to be able to share my knowledge with my fellow photographers eager to learn. I am also just as eager to learn and take every opportunity to do so. 

This past Tuesday I had the privilege to share my program with the Professional Photographers of Greater New York on Long Island. I had another event to shoot later in the week, so I spent a few days with my Aunt in Lynbrook. One of the PPGNY members, Scott Dere, was showing us some of his spectacular owl photos he has taken in the past and agreed to take me on an owl "hunt" at Jones Beach State Park on the south shore of Long Island the next morning. I had gone on outings before to do bird photography, but it was usually on my own just hoping I'd see something. Going with Scott reminded me more of going to a new river to fly fish with a local guide. Sure, I know how to fish and can even pick the brain of the local fly shop owner on what to use and where, but there is nothing more valuable than to have a local expert share his knowledge. 

 We headed to Jones Beach early the next morning in hopes of spotting the elusive Snowy Owl that had been spotted in the dunes the week before. It was 32 degrees with a stiff 25 mph wind. I had come to Long Island to speak, so I was not prepared with my usual outdoor gear for the conditions. A Nor'easter had passed over Long Island the day before dumping 3" of rain with 50 mph winds. If I were the owl I would have continued straight to Boca. 

With binoculars in hand and an SUV full of camera gear, we scanned the horizon looking for the owl. I asked Scott what I was looking for. "You'll know", he said. The Snowy Owl is two feet tall with a six foot wing span with snow white feathers. It's hard to hide something that big and white on top of a sand dune. We scanned and scanned and found nothing, so we ventured up one of the sandy trails between the dunes toward the ocean directly in to the wind. Other than a Northern Harrier Hawk diving between the dunes in the distance and numb fingers, we found nothing. 

 We changed areas and made our way toward the beach from a different parking area, only to be met with flooded out trails from the earlier storm. We were about to give up when we found a small patch of footing to get around the flood zone and made it to the beach. Scanning the shoreline, Scott got noticeably excited as he looked toward the west with the binoculars. He asked me what I saw and all I could see was a black blob a quarter mile down the beach with a white spec in front of it. "Bingo!" That was it. The owl had taken up residence down wind of some debris on the beach. 

We made our way very slowly toward it, zig zagging our way like feeding deer. Scott warned me not to look directly at the owl so it doesn't think we're stalking it. After a few minutes of "grazing", we were close enough to start shooting. I fired off a few frames just to document that I actually saw one and then began to inch my way closer. Unfortunately, the owl was on to us and decided we were too close for comfort and flew away to the dunes. We kept an eye on it and repeated our grazing pattern, taking the opportunity to photograph some Plovers and Pipers being sand blasted like a flock of penguins in Antarctica. We finally got close enough to get some nice shots of the owl before he made his next jump up the beach. I didn't get the spectacular image of an owl in flight coming toward me, but just seeing one and snapping off a few good shots was enough for me on my first outing. It was a success.

Technical Data: Camera Nikon D7000, Lens Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 Sport with a Sigma 2.0X EX Teleconverter.

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