2016 Maple Sugar Fest photos

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I volunteered for a few hours of photography and also videography yesterday with the Morris County Park Commission at the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center in Chatham New Jersey.  The event, 2016 Maple Sugar Fest, drew out hundreds of local families and got them involved in fun stories, hikes, and even tastings of local Maple products.  Maple Syrup use dates back to at least the Lenape natives and is an important part of our local heritage.


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My favorite part of the event?  Seeing so many happy faces of all ages and colors involved in high quality outdoor education.  I could see the faces of future conservationists and environmentalists in the children that attended.



Leica Lifestyle Photography – Ice Fishing

I am continuing my rental evaluation of the Leica X Typ 113 compact mirrorless digital camera.  I had an opportunity to take some snapshots of some local outdoorsmen today, and hopefully I’ve captured some of the spirit of these friendly guys.

NJ Leica Photograhy

The tradition of #icefishing brings together some old friends in New Jersey. Handheld #photo with the #Leica X Typ 113.

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Hauling in a #Pickerel on a sunny February day in #NewJersey . Handheld #photo with the #Leica X Typ 113.

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A couple of locals taking in some sun and conversation while ice fishing in #NewJersey . Handheld #photo with the #Leica X Typ 113.

Nature Photography – Organizing the Chaos

A typical nature scene, especially woodlands and meadows include a lot of visual clutter and overlap when seen from the typical human angle of view.  When we press the camera’s shutter button from that perspective, everything is permanently recorded into our digital image.  We are frequently disappointed when the photo “doesn’t look like what we saw”.  Plenty of studies have been done on comparing human perception to a camera’s imaging system.  Moral of the story is that we focus differently and our optical systems have different dynamic ranges than cameras currently in existence.

How to compensate for the ever all-seeing camera lens?  “Organize the chaos.”  A well known phrase to experienced photographers.  How to organize?  One of the many techniques is to seek symmetry in nature photography.  Absolute symmetry is rarely going to present itself, but we will still seek it…

In my photo below I’ve aligned my angle of view to have two nearly parallel trees create a natural rectangle (or is that a rhombus?) around the sun.

New Jersey nature photography

New Jersey nature photo of an overcast sky as framed by two large trees and their gnarled branches. Handheld capture from the #Tamron 16-300mm VC PZD lens and #Canon EOS T5 #DSLR

New Jersey Photography: Electrical Towers

Below is a conceptual art photograph I took outdoors today in Essex County, New Jersey.  I think we all interpret electrical towers as looming and seemingly dangerous objects.  One can’t help but ignore their unmistakeable hums and huge physical dimensions.  To my eyes, this multiple exposure photo adds extra drama to create a menacing industrial scene.

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Conceptual art photo of a vivid mid-day sun and large looming electrical towers in New Jersey. Photo taken with the Tamron 16300mm VC AllInOne lens and the Canon EOS M mirrorless camera.

Photo taken with the Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens and the Canon EOS M mirrorless camera.  Exposure settings: 30s F/22 ISO 100, 50mm

New Jersey Photography: Prius

I was trying to make some creative blur photos of trees in a parking lot yesterday, but was frustrated when a lone driver began making his way through my frame.  What’s a photographer to do?  Pan with the action and try to take an action shot of the Prius in motion.  I like the contrast between the car and the leaves in the photo, and I was able to capture the Prius in a nice rule of thirds composition.

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A creative motion photo of a Toyota Prius set against woodland trees. Photo taken handheld with a Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens and a Canon EOS M Mirrorless camera.

New Jersey Art Photography: Bridge Pentaptych

I will admit that I didn’t know Pentaptych was a word until I researched the terminology tonight.  I still struggle to spell the word correctly after reading its definition online.  I’d tried to to shoot with the intentions of creating a triptych in the past, but the images lacked enough continuity for me to piece them together.  The photos shown below were taken in a sequence, and the exposure and focal length are constant.  The variable is the focusing of the lens, which I changed manually between each shot.  All five individual images were taken with the Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens and the tripod-mounted Canon EOS M mirrorless camera.

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Five frame sequence displayed together to form a cohesive pentaptych. Closeup views of a bridge at midday. All photographs taken with the Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens and the Canon EOS M mirrorless camera.

Exposure settings: 4s F/9.0 ISO 100, 300mm.

New Jersey Portrait Photography: Robert

One of my friends, who I’ve done photography work before is graduating soon with a concentration in Performing Arts and Theater.  We’ve done previous sessions for his career as a musician.  My goal today as the photographer was to capture a variety of moods and expressions, to allow Robert to select which photos best portray his personality.  I kept the lighting and photo equipment very minimal.

I think we wound up with several keepers that we both liked.  Perfect for his theater portfolio, LinkedIn, and Facebook profiles.

Equipment for today’s shoot:

Tamron SP 90mm VC F/2.8 macro lens

Canon EOS 6D full-frame DSLR

Yongnuo YN560ex Speedlite

Shoot-through umbrella alternated with a small softbox

Yongnuo YN-622C wireless triggers

Basic light stand

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A very happy frame, I cracked a joke to get this expression!

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Looking relaxed,

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Contemplating life…

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A nice black & white smiling portrait.

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Adjusting the cold weather wardrobe on a brisk morning.

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A typical relaxed smile for Robert.

New Jersey Photography: War Memorial and Night Sky

I found myself situated in a suburban park in downtown Ridgewood tonight.  As one expects in the NY metro radius there are many streetlights and plenty of air traffic that prevent definition on most stars even on the clearest of nights.  Tonight’s sky was actually partially cloudy, but one or two bright stars periodically beamed there way into my field of view.

New Jersey Night Photography

A long exposure taken at night in Ridgewood reveals a bit of cloud detail and a bright star. Photo taken with the Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens.

Above photo taken with the Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens and the tripod-mounted Canon EOS M mirrorless camera.  Exposure settings: 30s F/8.0 ISO 200

New Jersey Lifestyle Photography

Yesterday I went to several locations in NJ, my friend Joe being the subject, to make some skateboarding action photos as well as images that reflect the skateboarding lifestyle.  With all outdoor shoots, the weather can set the mood if you choose to draw in some of the environment in the frames.  For the main action shot, I only used natural light, the other frames are intentional combinations of ambient light and the harsh artificial light of one unmodified flash.

All photos were taken handheld with the Tamron SP 70-200MM F/2.8 Di VC USD telephoto lens and the Canon EOS 60D.  The flash I used was my Canon 430EXII Speedlite, triggered wirelessly by a pair of Yongnuo YN-622C’s.  As with all lifestyle shoots, it is my job to accurately portray the person, and also to gently direct the action.

Skateboard photography

Ollie over a backpack by Joe Rajsteter.


New Jersey Portrait Photography


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Joe steps up to the plate.


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The essence of a noseslide.


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Behinds the Scenes shot




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Fenced In

New Jersey Landscape Photography: Ocean City; Predawn

I just returned home from my first visit to Ocean City, New Jersey.  A quiet shore town nestled in between Atlantic City and Cape May.  The photography opportunities were plenty with iconic buildings to capture and the easy beach access.  I ventured out to shoot sunrise several mornings, and also capitalized on soft predawn light to showcase some of the sights.

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In soft early morning light, a quiet side street leads towards the amusements of Ocean City, New Jersey. Photo taken with the Tamron 16-300mm VC All-In-One lens and Canon 7D.

The above photo was taken with the Tamron 16-300MM F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro lens and the tripod-mounted Canon EOS 7D DSLR camera.  Exposure settings: 30s F/22 ISO 100