Mermaid Paparazzi 2016

Nothing brings in the summer quite like Coney Island’s annual Mermaid Parade.  Now celebrating its 34 year, it just keeps getting bigger.  Thanks to the parade organizers’ decision to let photographers roam the staging area for a small fee, I got up close access to all the participants.  Shooting the staging area of the Mermaid Parade is not without its difficulties.  One of the downsides is there are just as many photographers as there are participants in the staging area.  We are in effect the “mermaid paparazzi” vying for the attentions of all the mermaids. I have to acknowledge and thank the participants for being patient with all the photogs, especially the rude ones(you know who your are!).  Weather is always a big challenge especially full blown, high noon, bright sunlight.  My goal this year was to capture some portraits and limit the harsh shadows across the face produced by these weather conditions.  Below is the equipment list I used for this shoot.

Nikon D810 w/ 24-70
SB-910 speed light
SD-9 battery pack
Nikon SC-29 TTL Coiled Sync Cord
Pro Media Boomerang Flash Bracket
Small Rogue Flash Bender

If you were a participant and I captured your photo below, feel free to contact me and I’ll gladly send you a copy.

 

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Engagement Photos via Living Social

Earlier this year I offered my engagement photography service on Living Social as an experiment to kickstart my photography business.  In my opinion, these marketplaces are great for the consumer and useful for the initial exposure(pun intended) of a fledgling business such as mine. As a relative unknown in a sea of NY based photographers, It was a way for me to attract, meet and shoot complete strangers who might be in need of a wedding photographer. So far I’ve met and photographed an array of beautiful couples some of whom are highlighted here:tasfia_hamza-34   Divi-Tim-135Robyn Ron-226_SNM0500

It’s Been a Long Time…

…since I last wrote on this blog.  Much has happened in the past several months, that I’m just trying to play catch up with myself!  So long story short, I was laid off from my job of 12 years, became a father to a beautiful baby girl, and now I’m about to (figuratively) launch my photography business into the stratosphere!  Putting my passion into action has been an incredible process so far and I’m looking forward to this new career and new phase of my life.

Now onto today’s photo: I don’t fancy myself as a newborn photographer and I have to give it up to those that shoot newborns for a living.  It’s hard work!  You have to shoot them while they’re sleeping, naked or with clothes on, but no diaper and pray that they don’t pee or poop on your clothes and props.  Then you have to curl them in all sorts of weird positions on props, pillows and blankets.  Having never had any experience handling or posing a newborn, I took a crash course in newborn photography in preparation for the birth of my daughter.  The below photo is the result, “Little Maya”.Little Maya

Decim8

I’ve been getting a bunch of “likes” on Facebook regarding a series of abstract, glitch art photos posted recently. These glitch photos were created or rather destroyed using my photographs processed thru the “decim8” app for iOS. You can take photos directly from the app or use existing photos from your camera roll. The app comes with 25 effects to choose from or you can combine and randomize effects to create your own named presets. Below are some examples of what I’ve created by destroying one of my favorite photographs via “decim8” by Kris Collins.. Also checkout the decim8 Flickr page.

Decim8 by Kris Collins:
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“Along the High Line” – Original photograph of the IAC building designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry as seen from the High Line park, captured by yours truly.
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“The Corporate Hive” – Above photo, destroyed and reconstructed via Decim8 app for iPad:20130724-134828.jpg

“The Crystal Cathedral” – Not to be confused with the monstrous mega church in Anaheim California, this is the same above photo using different effects:20130724-140542.jpg

Mermaid Paparazzi

I have to admit. I’m a lazy ass New Yorker. On June 22nd, I attended my first Mermaid Parade ever and it’s been around since 1983! After seeing some pics from my photographer friends of previous parades, I realized I had to get in on the action. Getting there early was a real treat for photographers and hopefully the participants. With the purchase of a wristband, Photographers were allowed in the staging area before the parade. Unfortunately, the parade organizers did not limit the amount of wristbands sold so It seemed like there were just as many photographers as there were participants. This led some folks to engage “paparazzo mode”… In some instances, there would be a gaggle of photographers trying to shoot a participant, stepping on one another, shouting directions, calling out vying for a subject’s attention. I even heard one guy say “hey, turn around and show me those tits!”. I understand the need to nail the perfect shot and all, but c’mon, it’s the freaking Mermaid Parade not a porn shoot! Rude photographers aside, I managed to get some cool portraits.

Soon after the parade started, I got a text from “King Neptune” to have a drink at the Freak Show Bar. I convinced myself that it was too hot to continue shooting and spent the remainder of my day hydrating with the King, brother Stone and friends. Special thanks to “The Dark Mermaid” for sharing her sunblock and accompanying me on my very first ride on the Cyclone.

“The Dark Crystal”
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“Poison Ivy”20130723-171553.jpg

 “Wet Side Story”20130723-171633.jpg

“The Bearded Lady”20130723-171657.jpg

“Merman”:20130723-171713.jpg

 “Surprise for Judah Friedlander”20130723-171753.jpg

“Voluptuous Mermaid”20130723-171827.jpg

“The Dark Mermaid”20130723-171848.jpg

“Tiara Mustache”20130723-171905.jpg

“Queen of the Puffer Fish”20130723-171924.jpg

“Emerald Mermaid”20130723-171946.jpg

“King Neptune and the Dark Mermaid”20130723-172410.jpg

Two to Tango

A few weeks ago, I had the distinct privilege to shoot at the exclusive National Arts Club located in the historic Tilden Mansion at 15 Gramercy Park. The National Arts Club was founded in 1898 by Charles DeKay, an art and literary critic of the New York Times to “stimulate, foster and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts.” It’s also one of the first organizations to embrace and promote new media art forms such as photography, film and digital media. As a native New Yorker with humble roots, it gave me a minor glimpse of old New York wealth and splendor that I often forget exists.

The photos here are part of an ongoing web project for acclaimed Argentine tango instructor Jon Tariq and his partner Della Lam. Shooting at the NAC was a pleasure for all of us, but it was not without some challenges. The first was shooting in a space that was sight unseen. Scouting a venue is essential before a shoot because you can measure up the place and think about composition, lighting, etc. However due to the exclusive nature of the club, we couldn’t have access until the day of the shoot. Another challenge was setting up my 2 speed lights without the luxury of light stands. Stands and tripods were absolutely prohibited. Fortunately, my wife assisted me and became a human light stand for one speed light and left arm for the other.

Challenges aside, we captured some pretty cool photos that evoke tango in its old time glory. More pictures can be seen at the Tango With Jon website

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Untouchable

My first self portrait with the Nikon D7000 and my two speedlights. ISO-200, 50MM f/1.4 inspired by Eliot Ness and the Untouchables

Steve Maya, Self Portrait

Steve Maya, Self Portrait