As long as you’re alive, you’re in play.

One of my favorite websites is Cardboard Gods. I used to be a card collector, now I collect moments through working a camera in various social, lighting, sporting, political and familial settings. A recent quote on a Cardboard Gods post was a good reminder: “As long as you’re alive, you’re in play.“

I recently found out (on my 43rd birthday) that I’m going to be laid off. The details, even now, are still sketchy. I’ll find out in a few weeks when my last day will be. I’ve been at my job/career for almost 18 years. I ask myself who will want to hire someone like me? The idea of interviewing with strangers sounds fun. It’s no different than walking and making candid photos of people in public. In a good interview, everyone exposes themselves (some more than others) to get a desired result. The same goes for truly candid street photography.

I’m not going to lie, I’d much rather find a new job with the comfort of not having to worry about keeping my current one. The pressure I will inevitably put on myself will be pretty high. The pressure has been getting the best of me the past few weeks. It’s been hard to get a full night’s sleep. To counter it, exercise, eating organic food as much as possible, and trying new things have kept my worry from getting worse.

When stressed, I often stare out the windows of my apartment watching strangers go about their days. I have a cheap camera with a cheap zoom lens and decided to try something new. Using some Kodak P3200 film, I photographed strangers from inside whenever the sense of dread and worry set in. I’m not going to lie to myself, the photos need some work and the results might look better with a better lens. Yet, not succumbing to the stress, making these photos and developing them in a local darkroom makes me at at least feel alive … and in play.


Five photos: Rochester Red Wings Baseball

I've been documenting Rochester Red Wings baseball games I've been attending in 2017 and 2018.   It's a long term personal project so maybe in a few years I will make it into a book or exhibition of some sort.

Although I have made a few portraits, I've mostly made candid photos from my seats as I have yet to obtain a press pass to freely walk around the stadium and approach people.  Not having a press pass also limits the amount of games I can attend.  So, if anyone from the Red Wings reads this and is inspired to give me a press pass, contact me.   Or, if you would like your game documented (on Kodak film), buy me a ticket and I will photograph your day/night at the park. 

Certain themes have come about after about 300-400 frames.  One is the interactions of kids attending the games with the weather, players, stadium, food, other fans, and their parents.  Here's five quick low resolution scans.


Walking Rochester with Impossible Film

Packed away in storage I had a Polaroid Close-up that I bought in the late 90s.  After cleaning the rollers, I tried out a pack of Impossible Project black and white film from 2016.  I also decided to use the Tascam field recorder I have to experiment with sound recordings.  I have an exhibit coming up where I will have to give an artist talk.  The curator wants me to make some of these Walking Rochester videos for the event.  So .. practice, practice, practice!

The results are meh all around.  The sound is very choppy in some instances.  As for the film, it was definitely from the era when the Impossible Project was working out the kinks.  Apparently they have rebranded with Polaroid and have fresh and better stock.  Also, I am worried that the focusing on the camera is off.  It zone focuses but not too well.

After I get the Tascam working right, I will try with a fresh and not expired color pack and see what happens.

Rochester Businessmen

Recently, the Flower City Arts photo department had their annual garage sale.  I picked up a couple ridiculously cheap Canon QL17's, loaded them up with Kodak film and set off into the streets of downtown Rochester to photograph businessmen (mostly bankers and lawyers).  Here's five frames from my first roll of Tri-X.  Still getting used to rangefinder focusing as well as zone focusing on the fly.  I do not use the meter during the day as I always shoot at f11 or f16.  It's fairly easy to guess the shutter speed I need to use.


Walking Rochester

Every so often I bring a recorder to record what I photograph.  It's a fun challenging project to do in between all the photograph projects I obsess over.  

I have a couple on vimeo now.



On Monday, August 21, 2017, Rochester, NY experienced a partial solar eclipse.   Although I really wanted to experience the eclipse, I wanted even more to document all the people downtown looking up into the sky.  Shot with two Nikon N80's, 24mm and 50mm lenses and Kodak Portra film.

March For Our Lives

At least 5,000 people attended the March For Our Lives march in Rochester, NY.  I'm impressed with the kids who organized and participated in this march.  As much as it was a rally call and a chance to be loud and to be heard, I noticed some somberness among those still in grade school.  Here's my edit. 

Five photos: Spring

The weather doesn't say spring but my eagerness for making photos is trumping the cold weather so I went outside walking to find hints of spring.  I found some nice light in downtown Rochester but there were no hints of spring.  There were leftovers of the St. Patrick's Day celebration from last Saturday.  Later on, I went to a large format photography class at Flower City Arts.   Once I figured out all the movements, focusing was a breeze.  A nice spring breeze.

Photo Mar 22, 4 13 50 PM.jpg
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Photo Mar 22, 8 47 27 PM.jpg
Photo Mar 22, 8 56 43 PM.jpg

February 2018

I was going to write something photography related but deleted it.  Instead, I'd like to say winter sucks.  I'm still trying to find the balance between wanting to make photos and not wanting to be outside in the cold to make them.

Same goes for external stresses.  They get the best of me so much that I leave little time and energy to make for myself to make photos.  There isn't a day that goes by where a specific stress is thought or talked about intensely.  On the positive side, I've been working on losing weight and trying to get stronger.  I've lost A LOT of weight and I can now do more than one push-up, lift weights, do burpees like a pro and not feel like a big lump with no energy.  

The rare moments when I get to make photos I do try to make the most of it.  Almost all of my photos are in and around my neighborhood in downtown Rochester.  I drive an hour away once a month to converse with other photographers who are wiser than I will ever be.  I also enrolled in a class at a local community darkroom to try something new and perhaps use it going forward.

I'm hoping that this search of balance gets easier in March and going forward.


Rochester Amerks

I live across the street from the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY. So, my access to live hockey has increased tremendously. I've never been much of a hockey fan.  More like a casual observer. I do have fond childhood memories of watching Hockey Night in Canada with Don Cherry.  Playoff hockey is always fun to watch. The Rochester Americans are fun to watch too. I've been to games in the past but didn't like watching slow uninspired hockey. To my amateur eye, though, the games we've attended in the past year are anything but slow and uninspired.

My one gripe is that hockey tickets are expensive. Baseball, my favorite spectator sport, is cheaper. Having said that, hockey fans are fun to watch and listen to. C.J. Smith and Nick Baptiste are fun players to watch.  I'll continue to try to get cheaper tickets and sit at various seats in the stadium to get the whole hockey experience.

Last night is the closest we have sat to the ice.  I'd love to sit in the first row to photograph hits into the board and the passionate fans who pound on the glass. It would be even better to be able to wander around the stadium and photograph the fans like I am able to do during baseball games.  Anyone at the Rochester Amerks reading this who can make that happen?



Halloween Shenanigans

One of my favorite photo holidays is Halloween.   I’ll spend every minute I can downtown looking for human expressions and gestures like I normally do ... but almost everyone is in costume!

I was excited all day to start making photos.  These are the photos as I took them.  Obviously there are ones I left out but they all appear in order. 



Summer of film

Over 90% of the time I made a photo this summer, it was made on film.  I pared down my gear to a couple Nikon N80's (with 28mm and 50mm lenses) and an Olympus Mju-ii.  I really didn't have an agenda or anything in particular I wanted to photograph.  I had grand expectations to keep a film journal but that went by the wayside.  Many miles were walked and I carried a camera just everywhere, even on date nights with my girlfriend.  I'll continue to shoot film but now that the days are shorter and overcast I'll refocus to shooting indoors and with flash.  Eventually I will put everything together to make a photo zine or two.


Summer of Portra pt 2

I've gotten some rolls back from my "Summer of Portra."  While I am a little pleased with the results, I was hoping something would strike me or serve as a starting point to something more concrete.  While it hasn't, yet, I have enjoyed shooting the film, finding it's strengths and weaknesses and spending the summer shooting care-free with film.

Below are some of my favorites from the first two rolls ... not necessarily great photos but some that mean something to me.  At first I thought I was going to have to make deliberate photos.  I've found that I can still shoot candidly with the Nikon N80's, especially at f11.  The autofocus is fast enough to get some predictible action.

As for focal lengths, surprisingly the 50 is keeping up with the 24.  I'm not a big fan of the 50mm length.

I'm still tracking all my shots in a journal.  I may keep this up when shooting film after this self discovery process is over.  It's a good way to keep organized and to remember shots I may otherwise not have remembered taken.


Summer of Portra

It’s been almost two weeks into shooting with two Nikon N80s, armed with Kodak Portra film, and two lenses.  The lenses, a 24mm and a 50mm, represent two focal lengths that I rarely work with.  Most of my photography is done at 35mm.

Why did I choose two Nikon N80s?  I’m a single father and already had one body and the 50mm lens.  I found a like new second body on craigslist for $20.  I found a like new 24mm lens from KEH, rated at 70% for well below half the cost of a new lens.  So, for two bodies and two lenses, I spent way less than buying whatever film point and shoot is in vogue now with the same, if not better, autofocus and metering.

To my camera bag, I added a Japan Camera Hunter film case and a Leuchtturm1917 journal.  Sometimes I add a SB-26 flash for TTL.  I was advised to keep a detailed journal of my shots by a mentor, Erich Camping.  So far, I’m only logging my shots in the order in which I take them.  This way, if I decide to show the shots in the order in which I clicked the shutter, I will know their order.  Each entry is a description of a shot, which lens was used and the number of the photo on the roll.  The Leuchtturm1917 journals are quite useful as they have a TOC in the front.  I’m not much of a journaller so I doubt I will put any thoughts in the journal unless something exceptional happens that needs to be documented with the photos.

When I am shooting, I take notes in my phone then transcribe them to the journal later in the day.  I missed two shots early on in the process.  I am not sure if it was due to me forgetting to log the shots or some other user error.

I haven’t met any real challenges yet.  The bag is light, especially when I have one camera in my hand.  I’ve shot mostly landscapes, strangers I meet and candid street photos while walking in downtown Rochester.  My girlfriend, youngest daughter and I have taken a few excursions so there are a handful of snapshots representing visits to the beach, Rochester Red Wings baseball games and the Maplewood rose garden.

I’m in no hurry to process the photos and upload them to whatever internet platform.  At some point curiosity may overcome me and I may get the first rolls from each lens and display them in order on here; mistakes, poor composition, missed shots and all. Aside from that, I’m not sure what to do with these photos.  Maybe I will make them into a zine.  Maybe a project will come out of them.  Whatever it is, I’m enjoying the personal discovery through film.

The goal is to shoot ten rolls of Portra through the summer.  I’m almost through two rolls (one of each with the 24 and 50) so I may burn through 10 quicker than I thought.  The Rochester Jazz Fest is coming up so I may get out with a flash for some candid street photography.  July 4th holiday is right around the corner, Wall\Therapy is only a month away, and the baseball stadium is only a five minute walk from my apartment so I am guessing my goal of 10 rolls will be an easy one to reach.

Lawyers Cooperative Archives

I recently was lucky to spend an hour looking through the archives of Lawyers Cooperative.  It is now Thomson Reuters but also was named West, West Group, and Thomson West.  I'm sure there's some other names that I am missing.  Highlights included some legal cartoons and a 1890's scrapbook.