Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Blast From The Past - Holiday Bowl Flag

Here's a shot from the Holiday Bowl in San Diego from 2007. I usually shoot this game but not this year since I'm in New York and the game is still in San Diego. The Marines look forward to the game because just before kickoff, a giant American flag is unfurled prior to the singing of the national anthem. I always wanted to get the unique view of what's happening UNDER the flag. The light fell just right on the Marine in the middle and I had a shot I really liked. By the way, this year's Holiday Bowl was won by Nebraska 33-0 over Arizona. It was the first shutout in the 32-year history of the normally high-scoring game.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Still Time To Celebrate

The African-American celebration of Kwanzaa began the day after Christmas. This photo was taken in December of 2007 at Los Angeles Valley College where I was a student at the time. I took many different photos, but I saw this one coming and I simply needed to be in the right position to capture the little girl and her mother as they lit one of the seven candles that represent the ideals of Kwanzaa. This photo ended up as the front page, above-the-fold dominant picture for the school newspaper.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It Pays To Look Up

While up on my deck to check on the snow melt after the big storm, I looked up and saw this jet approaching the moon. I've been trying to get a shot of a plane flying past a full moon for years with no luck. Bad timing ... or no camera in my hands. So this is as close as I've gotten to that money shot of the moon and a passing jet.

A Real Big Snow Fall

New York City dwellers are waking up to a lot of snow. 12 to 18 inches of snow fell on the region in the last 12 hours. This is a typical scene no matter the conditions - the dog must be walked even if there's snow on the ground. This is a shot from my bedroom window looking across the street from my Brooklyn home.

It looks like snow is growing from the planter on my deck. That appears to be 10 inches of snow right there.
A close-up shot of the arm rest of the deck chair on my deck follows its contours.

The deck of my apartment has plenty of snow.

Friday, December 18, 2009

How To Kill Time On Broadway ...

Spend a few hours (and get paid) being a "live" window model. This guy was striking various yoga poses for passersby. I think he was in a clothing store window ... but to be truthful, I don't actually know what was being sold inside. This is is a great way to get people to stop and take pictures. I'm not sure it works at getting folks to go inside and buy your wares.

This security guard is passing the time by staring at the store mannequin in an otherwise lightly trafficked afternoon in this clothing store.

But business was brisk on Broadway as the street vendors who are selling the designer knockoff purses, scarves, watches and perfumes had a lot of people stopping to look AND buy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mountain View

I think the best mountain views from any airport in America (that I've been to) has to be the vistas seen from the Salt Lake City airport. That's where I was during a layover on my way home to New York after my latest visit to southern California. I'm in the Delta terminal and using a long lens to compress the scene, I was able to join the mountains, the jets and the people waiting to hop on one of those planes into a tight composition.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

When In L.A. Shoot Basketball

While out in southern California for an early Christmas celebration with the family, I had a chance to shoot an NBA game: The Clippers hosting the Wizards. These are two of the worst teams in the league, but when you're seeking interesting pictures, the won-loss records don't matter. From my end-of-the-court seat I was looking for make some artful photos with a little edge to them. The cheerleaders' shot came together when the hands of the one on the left meshed nicely with the dancer in the background. The basketball shot might have been a foul by the guy on the right, the Wizards Caron Butler who looks like he's punching the Clippers' Rasual Butler in the mouth. But that's the kind of conflict I was looking for to lift the photo above the ordinary.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Blast From The Past

I've been shooting pictures of people, places and things for several years and this one dates to July, 2005. This guy was waiting for an in-store performance by a band whose name escapes me at the moment. We were waiting near the stage at the Amoeba record store in Hollywood, California. In an effort to bring in customers, Amoeba - to this day - still stages several live, free shows each month. Needless to say, if I wanted an eye-catching image, all I had to do was point my camera in his direction. Can you imagine the pain he had to endure to look the way he does?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Trimming The Tree With Ornaments

Here's more evidence that New York City is the most unique city in the world. In what other place are cabs such an recognizable part of the scenery that they're sold not only as souvenirs for the millions of visitors to town but also hawked as holiday tree ornaments. Check out the detail on this vehicle: the dusting of snow on the bumper wreath is a nice touch. Our cabs are pretty modern - they all have video monitors facing the back seat. You can touch the screen for a variety of channels and you can also pay for your ride with a credit/debit card.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

And So It Snowed

The show went on. The annual Christmas Spectacular staged by the famous Rockettes drew the expected big crowds despite the first snowfall of the season in New York. It was pretty wet and slushy in mid-town but some of the suburbs got up to 8 inches of the white stuff. The Rockettes Christmas shows started in 1933.

Sitting in the 11th row gave me the chance to get some good shots since the stage was so brightly lit. It was a great show highlighted by the use of 3-D for a trip over Manhattan by Santa Claus at the start of the show. Since they put on six shows a day on the weekends, there are two sets of Rockettes to handle the demand from locals and tourists alike.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Empire State Building - 2009

One of my favorite places to photograph is New York's Empire State Building. A trip to the 86th floor observation deck always provides awesome views of the city and the surrounding areas.

During the holiday period, the management at the Empire State Building joins other businesses by putting up special display windows. This is one of four attractive window displays in the lobby of the iconic structure.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

One Way To Make Money In New York

This lady is walking up and down Broadway in Manhattan collecting empty soft drink cans. Her timing is perfect because it was a Coke give-a-way night on the street - anybody who walked by giant tubs of ice filled with soft drinks, got a free one. So there were a lot of discarded cans to be collected and she's on the job and soon will be turning in those empties for the deposits. It pays to recycle!

And as usual in New York, what might be an eye-catching sight in many places - goes unnoticed here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

While Out West

While in southern California for the Thanksgiving holiday, I got out and around to photograph some favorite subjects.

Here's a lighthouse at Marina Del Rey. I waited for the birds to fly into the scene to add some interest. I'm a big fan of the color blue, so this worked out just right.

I also photographed my first NFL game: San Diego hosting Kansas City. Here's star Chargers' running back Ladanian Tomlinson scoring a touchdown as he led his team to a one-sided win. It's sunny here, but it was hard to shoot this game because of the big shadow spots covering the field that made getting the right exposure between the bright sun and the shadows very tough. In this case, a nice cloudy day would have been better for getting consistent shots.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back In The Air

I'm back with the blog after a break following the exciting baseball season which ended with a Yankees World Series win and the ticker tape parade.

Here's a shot of Brooklyn (lower) and Manhattan (middle) as I arrived home from Tampa and the Yankees' Fantasy Camp. The two bridges are the Brooklyn (left) and Manhattan (right). Having a window seat and your camera at the ready will produce shots like this. I had to really pump up the contrast to cut through the haze and sharpen the view.

And this is a shot I always try to get. The shadow of the jet on the ground as the plane gets closer and closer to landing. Getting this shot is easy IF you have a window seat and fly either early in the morning or late in the day when the sun is low in the sky.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

2009 New York Yankees Ticker Tape Parade

It was 'snowing' paper in lower Manhattan on Friday as the Yankees were given the 178th ticker tape parade down Broadway through the "Canyon of Heroes." All this for winning the World Series over the Philadelphia Phillies. Our scoreboard operations crew - thanks to our boss Mike Bonner - scored an invite to the party and we'll gladly owe him big time the rest of our lives.

Here's the link to my YouTube channel:

2009 New York Yankees Ticker Tape Parade

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I'm With A Winner!

Since I've been with many a team that had no chance of winning a championship of any kind, it's almost beyond belief for me to be connected with the new champs of baseball - the New York Yankees. It's been a great ride from The Phone Call in January to gauge my interest in working for the team as public address announcer to the chilly night in November when the Yankees sealed the deal with a 7-3 win over the Phillies for their 27th World Championship.

This is the jubilation pile moments after the final out with Nick Swisher - on the right - taking flight so as to land on top of his teammates. Number 55, Hideki Matsui - on the left - drove in six runs and was named Most Valuable Player. I'm glad the Yankees - in their first season in the new Yankee Stadium - won the title at home and not on the road in Philadelphia which would have happened had they won Monday night.

The World Series trophy is held aloft and a newspaper proclaiming the 27th World Championship is already in the hands of a member of the team. This picture of joy makes all the work towards a championship - starting in the hot days of spring training in February to the cold nights of November - worthwhile.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Countdown Is On

After seeing the first actual Christmas themed TV commercial - thanks to Walmart - I was reminded again that the holiday season is upon us when I walked past the Official Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Christmas Countdown Sign.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Well Dressed NYC Marathon Runner Wears ...

I guess it depends on what's in the closet the morning of the race. A nice crisp suit is enough for some. But others need to make a stronger statement, So donning a famous landmark is the obvious way to go.

Staying properly hydrated during the 26 mile run is important and the volunteers at the water stations were kept busy with the thousands of participants of the 40th annual NYC Marathon.

Having photographed many parade, street race and protest marches, I've learned to look for interesting backgrounds ahead of time to help add a different touch to an otherwise mundane photo of people running or walking or carrying picket signs.. This mural is in Brooklyn and gives the viewer a flavor of the neighborhoods that make the NYC Marathon unique.

Many of the spectators brought their dogs to the sidewalks of the five boroughs of New York to watch the annual spectacle. This dog - I'm not sure of the breed - was too photogenic to pass up.

Here's the look down 4th avenue in Brooklyn from thethe mile-7 marker of the 26 miles the participants must negotiate. The so-called elite runners - the pros who can run 26 miles well under two and a half hours - have long since passed this point of the course.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

PSO in USA Today

I'd like to thank USA Today for the audio-slideshow of my first World Series game as the New York Yankees public address announcer. The photographer, H. Darr Beiser - who came up from Washington D.C. for the game assignment and the photo editors, David Cooper and Sean Doughtery, worked long into the night after game 1 of the Phillies win over the Yankees. I thank them for their efforts. Having done my share of audio slideshows, I know how hard it is to match the right pictures to the audio for a pleasing result.

Monday, October 26, 2009

U2 on YouTube.

The band, U2, played a concert in Pasadena, California at the Rose Bowl in front of 100,000 fans in the stadium and millions around the world on YouTube. I took screenshots off my computer of interesting scenes I would have shot had I been there in-person. Their stage and its super-structure - being at the forefront. The band is at the bottom of the tube-like center. Real tiny compared to the "Claw."

The guitar player who calls himself, The Edge, is bathed in the stage lights and had I actually been at the concert, I would have trained my lens on him quite a bit. That's Bono in the background. For a screenshot off my computer with the lights from my living room bleeding into the picture, this one turned out pretty well.

During the later stages of the concert, this combination microphone/swing dropped from the "space ship." Bono would sing, then grab the edges and swing over the crowd. I want one for Christmas.

World Series Here We Come

The big video screen in Yankee Stadium tells the story of the continuation of my first season in the Bronx as the stadium public address announcer. With its victory over the Angels to win the American League Championship, the Yankees will host the World Series starting Wednesday. The Yankees are seeking their 27th World Championship. And I looking for my first title since being the radio announcer for the 1986 Las Vegas Stars who won the Pacific Coast League AAA championship.

Players such as Mariano Rivera celebrated with teammates and fans after the game concluded. The American League Championship hats and t-shirts were handed to the players on the field moments after the final out.

Second-baseman Robinson Cano (left) is joined my teammate Freddie Guzman as they share some game-winning-locker-room champagne with fans who stayed around after the game hoping some of the players would come back to the field to celebrate.

And this fan is in Yankee Heaven as pitcher Phil Hughes singles him out for a long draw of the bubbly as the post-game party continued long after the Yankees locked up their first trip to the World Series in six years. Bring on the Philadelphia Phillies. And, as usual, rain is in the forecast for game 1 on Wednesday.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Even A Mime Needs Practice

While roaming through New York's Central Park recently I came across this woman who turned out to be a mime. She was practicing her hand movements as she pretended to handle such things as a heart and a butterfly.
I hadn't given much thought to it, but these common street performers have to find a place to hone their skills and Central Park is as good a location as any. I used the slow shutter speed/flash combination to show her hand movements that are central to what mimes do. I wonder if she went to mime college?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Free Day At The Guggenheim

Here are two New York institutions: A yellow cab and the Guggenheim Museum. On this day, one of them was free of charge - the museum. This Frank Lloyd Wright design is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary and the public was invited to spend the day in the landmark without having to pay the usual $18 price of admittance. So since it was free ... it was for me.

Because this is such a recognizable building, one can select simple parts of it and people will still know where you are. The Guggenheim looks good from many different angles. Its spiraling design sets it apart from any other museum of its kind.

Inside, the white walls of the floor plan helped provide a nice contrast to the patrons who couldn't resist peering over the edge of the of the seven levels of space. Some people stood still while others flowed in the arena of art.

Since taking pictures above the ground floor is prohibited, one needed to be as sneaky as possible - and lucky - when taking unauthorized shots. I had my camera down by my leg and took random shots as I walked and tried to look innocent.

This strikes me as a common sight in museums. Some people are into the art, while others are into each other.

But in general people engaged themselves with the works of Russian artist Vasily Kandinsky's abstract paintings.

Kandinsky's paintings helped inspire the Guggenheim's design by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yankee TV In The Bronx

The giant video board at Yankee Stadium is big enough to create the illusion that you're actually at a live game. The Stadium was open to the public - for free - to watch game three of the playoffs from southern California and a good crowd turned out. They cheered the Yankees and ate the traditional ballpark fare: hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and beer.

I sat in the right-field corner and this is the view from my seat looking back towards home plate. The guess is about 3500 fans turned out. Many of the people I spoke to said it was their first visit to the new Yankee Stadium The weather - while kinda cool - was not bad considering the cold conditions over the weekend. At least it was dry.

Face-painters roamed the stadium and affixed fancy Yankee logos on many children ... and some adults.

A group of fans brought their "Go Yankees" banner. They paraded up and down the aisles behind home plate. Aside from a wayward Mets fan who was booed when he walked around seeking attention, the crowd at Yankee Stadium seemed to have a good time. The Yankees lost to the Angels, but still own a two games to one lead in the best-of-seven series.