Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The French Cleaners

This one always seems to crack me up. This place is actually not too far from my home in Brooklyn. Still looks the same and still making a living. Fortunatley for them this is the back side of the establishment. . . .but still. Maybe its the free pick up and delivery that helps as customers do not have to come by and have a look (Click on the image for a better look)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Photography from the Mosaic Dance Theater Company

Here are some images from the production shoot just prior to the performances at the Westminster Performing Arts Center. With choregraphy and performances by the great Samara, and story, narratives and performance by Morgiana Celeste Varricchio as well as the incredible talent of the entire company. You can learn more about the company and its members at
The next performances will be at The American Globe Theater in New York City on May 28, 29, 30, and 31.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Talking Photography

A little while back there was a post on a photography forum that I frequent alot. The post was about a photography "tip" that was given by a well known photographer on a site from a major photography retail store. The photog was to give 100 tips for 100 days, a tough calling if you ask me. This particular tip was to underexpose a shot by 2 stops in 100 iso and then pull the exposure back up in LightRoom or Photoshop. The point was to attain a faster shutter speed while maintaining the good quality of 100 iso. This of course would have to be while shooting in RAW.
My thoughts regarding this technique as the author described using it in this circumstance, I disagree with. His point was to keep the quality of a 100 iso image while getting a faster shutter speed by underexposing and pulling the exposure back up in post processing, using a RAW file. (one should always be shooting in RAW if your concerned with getting the most out of your images). Whenever you under expose (especially by as much as 2 stops) and then pull your exposure back in post processing, you introduce noise and image degradation, period. So, your 100 iso quality image is no longer the quality you expect from a 100 iso image. A correctly exposed 400 iso image will give you better quality than a 2 stop under exposed 100 iso image that has been pulled back in PP. Especially with the quality of todays cameras and sensors, a 400 iso image will yield nice results.Here are a few close-up examples of Benny the Polar bear (good ole Benny) taken in 100 iso correctly exposed, 400 iso correctly exposed, and 100 iso under exposed 2 stops and pulled back in LightRoom 2.3
Pulling up exposure to that degree in PP introduces alot of undesired effects. The highlights pull up more so than the shadows and so you have a more contrasty image, less shadow detail, more noise, and also some unusual color shifts begin to occur.
I am not saying that using the under exposing technique is bad, as a matter of fact I use it at times for various things. I might use it if I were already at a higher ISO and I had no other way of getting a faster shutter speed. . .then I would underexpose as much as I needed to tweak that extra speed out. I only do not agree with the particular application the author suggested as an example. In the situation he described, the shooter would have been better off simply switching to 400 iso. the point of the authors claim was to achieve the high quality of the 100 iso image while having a faster shutter speed. Can't get something for nothin, and in this case the correctly exposed 400 iso would yield a better quality image.
These test examples were done with a Canon XTi. I chose that over my 5D because most shooters out there most likely have a camera compatible with the XTi quality.Click on the images shown below to see them large for a better view at the detail. Here is the original thread started in My screen name on this forum is gahspidy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mosaic Dance Theater Company

I have had the pleasure of being the production photographer of the Mosaic Dance Theater Company for the last year and a half. Their performances are outstanding and super entertaining with great reviews wherever they perform. i just wanted to take this time to announce these two upcoming performances. There will also be another set of dates in late May at the American Globe Theater at 145 W. 46th street in New york City. I'll be posting about those shows at a later date. So, in the mean time you can see their performance at The Westminster Arts Center on April 17th and 18th.

Westminster Arts Center presents Mosaic Dance Theater Company and Viva Flamenco in an evening of Folklore, Fantasy and Flamenco, with a dazzling array of dance works celebrating the rich dance heritage of the Near East and Spain. The production will be presented at Westminster Arts Center, Franklin and Fremont Streets, Bloomfield, NJ 07003. Performances are at 8:00 PM on Friday and Saturday, April 17 & 18, 2009.

Mosaic Dance Theater Company’s program features exciting new choreographies by Samara, a Folkloric Dance of Upper Egypt and a contemporary, interpretive Middle Eastern dance, a dance/story theater adaptation of an Arabian Nights’ tale, Ubar, The Lost City of Brass, adapted and directed by Morgiana Celeste Varricchio, and Mystique et Spirituelle, originally choreographed by the late Ibrahim Farrah for his world-renowned Near East Dance Group and re-staged for MDTC by Phaedra. The performers in the company are: Samara, Morgiana Celeste Varricchio, Adriana Rosa, Nina Brewton, Nahoko Sugiyama, and Romy Zamora, with Ayana Alexis, Najla Nikole, Derya Samawi, Audrey Werner and Special Guest Artists Phaedra and Mish Mish B’int Amira. Popular Arabic singer Maurice Chedid and drummer Gamal Shafik provide on-stage musical accompaniment.Viva Flamenco comprises the second portion of the program, and features some of the area’s finest flamenco performers: dancers Antonia Messina and Peter Suarez, guitarist Cristian Puig, singer Gisele Assi , and guitarist Mike Moroch.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Curb your enthusiasm

I don't watch much tele and when I do it is usually the science channel or discovery or news. Sometimes though as I go to bed i like to put on something light hearted and funny. "Curb your enthusiasm" is one of my favorite series on HBO. It's been around for several years already and i have not watched nearly every episode but i have been bringing up past season with On Demand. Last night I was watching the episode "Chet's shirt" This had to be one of the funniest so far. Totally has me laughing out loud. Ted Danson and Larry David have a great rapport.
In this clip, Larry is wearing his favorite shirt and got one for Ted as well as Ted liked it a lot. The one he reluctantly offers to Ted is his last one. . .

Monday, April 13, 2009

Some things worth mentioning

I just wanted to mention a few things from this past week that either made me laugh or touched my heart in some way.
First was when i was sitting in a diner and overheard a little girl ask her father " Why do they make bunnies out of chocolate"? He said " Well, what else are they gonna do with all that chocolate" jeez, I would love to hear his responses later on to her "birds and the bees" questions . . .

While sitting in a bus a woman was speaking on her cell phone for quite a while yapping away as if no one else were there but her. You know the type. . . Well after about 15 minutes of non stop yap she started repeating "Hello"? "Hello"? Hellooo. . . "Hello"! She had to have said hello about ten times. Just then another passenger sitting on the other side of the bus speaks out ""What happened, they hung up on you"? " I woulda hung up on you a long time ago" The entire bus began to laugh, as did I.

As my son Kyle and i were on our way home from the store, and young boy about 10 years old was walking his dog and as he was walking past us he stopped and said " This is Alphie, his name is Alphie" We looked down and saw a little dog looking up for some sort of reaction to this formal introduction. " Hello Alphie, your a fine looking dog. It's good to meet you" I said. Alphie wagged his tail and the boy smiled and they walked on. We watched him and Alphie for a few moments as they walked off. He was proud to be walking his dog and the dog was very happy to be out with him. It brought a smile to our day and Kyle and I gave him the thumbs up.

A Perfect Easter Ending!

As someone who has been following the saga of the Somali pirates hijacking of the U.S. Cargo ship a few days ago I was so happy to read about the ending to this all. After a tense standoff over the course of several days, sharpshooters from the nearby Navy vessel picked off the pirates as they had an AK-47 to Captain Richard Phillips back.
If your interested, you can read about it all here. Easter Surprise!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Father and son

Me and Kyle

a gate to the garden

Kyle by the big tree

the garden girl

the goldfish in the pond
We had went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden yesterday and spent a few hours on a beautiful day. . .

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

PAWS for Charity 2009 Art book now available!

37 artists raise fu...

As of this time the book is #1 on Blurbs Best Seller list and is also a Staff Favorite!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Square Artist Cards

I'm having a lot of fun working on these square artist cards from Crane & Co. These are about 5.5x5.5" and are made of very high quality 100% cotton fine art paper with a subtle but appealing texture. Crane & Co. have been around a very long time. As a matter of fact, the Queen Mum announced the celebration of her 100th birthday on Crane paper. Paul Revere engraved banknotes for the Colony of Massachusetts Bay on Crane paper to help finance the American Revolution!
I have created templates for these so that I can easily prepare any image for a new card. One thing to note is that the dimensions of this card require additional postage, but it's so well worth it. I have been getting great feedback on them and have started working on more.
Here are a few examples.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Wired. . .

Some more connections. This was spotted at Flatbush avenue and Filmore in Brooklyn N.Y.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mystic Seaport

One of my favorite places to visit is Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT. It is the largest maritime museum in the United States and offers the opportunities to step aboard old ships and stroll through re-created 19th century coastal villages. Also full of great photo-ops. Here a re a few from my recent visits.

I love the labels on these crates. Click on the image for a larger view.

This is from inside one of the many work and repair shops situated in the village. There is an actual shipyard that restores and maintains many of the vessels and various building in the old coastal town.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

An Old Trunk

I just wanted to share with you this great trunk that a friend of mine picked up for me at an auction in upstate New York.
She had emailed me prior to attending to ask me if there was anything there that i might be interested in and sent me a link to the auction site that had shown some images of various items that were up for the latest auction. I indicated to her that I really liked this old trunk and that if it were not too expensive she could grab this for me. well, she did. . .25.00 What a steal. I use it to store some equipment and supplies and just love the aged look and detail intact.

This is a label on the top of the trunk from the Erie Railroad Company.