GREETINGS, A SHORT DISCOURSE ON POLICY, BRIEF BIOGRAPHY
I welcome you to this E-Guide which is offered freely and it contains years of experience and lessons learned. I tried to make it more of a reader with lots of common sense, a few humorous episodes I lived through and more so, less of a manual which many get turned off by. It has very few endorsements or what I call “ Shilling” or endorsements for free gear. My logo says it all. NO SMOKE / NO BULLSHIT. If something is good, it gets merit, if it’s bad you will hear about it, I’m not shy on this subject.
- We will encompass relationships, processes, and tools you need to make it through a Wedding, sans gimmicks.
- No ads, no wasted drivel. The opinions expressed here are my own, I am very opinionated because mistakes are a hard teacher and I have made them.
- And if you differ from my thinking you are entitled to your opinion and you may keep it to yourself, thank you. Discourse, questions, solutions, gladly answered, and if we differ you have the right to get your own site.
- We do not accept payment for reviews, nor “ oor prizes" for good reviews about camera product but when I do comment on a particular item I will bring it to you possibly in a slightly sadistic and sarcastic written environment if warranted coining a new word "sardastic”.
- Bottom line, for the most part this guide about photographing Weddings is representative of the most monumental day in a woman’s life…and occasionally the worst day you might walk into.
- I am old school, in my business dealings. I have rules for my small business which makes Battery power packs and accessories with a big emphasis on putting customers first and being old school does not mean being outdated. It means I follow the rules that have been successful in business and it also means I have concerns just like anyone else that things go right.
- Those who do not have big advertising dollars like me capture “ old of mouth contacts” for future business and thus my best salesmen are my customers. Save that thought, we all learn from our past experiences and want to share with others.
- I like simple communication and attention to what my clients, many who have become friends needs were. Thus no weird phone setups, no press “ ne or two," I just say, "hello" and we together can go on with the conversation in English.
- My name is on the products I build for primarily the wedding, event, and photojournalism shooters. My clients are frugal, smart, climbing in their league, building their business, competitive and they know photography. Not as trendy as you might think, they don’t run after every gadget on the market.
- If it works and makes you money don’t change it. The key word is repetition of good practices, elimination and identification of problematic situations and follow up with contacts.
- I am brand neutral and have worked with Kodak, Aires, Graflex, Leica, Rollie, Minolta, Pentax, Nikon, Hasselblad, Mamiya 4x5, 6x7, Bronica 4x5, SONY and Canon. I have shot every format from 4x5, Medium format to 35 mm.
- Brand loyalty in the beginning is the shooters acceptance into the club. I have seen Wedding business cards with Canon or Nikon logos proudly displayed. Brand loyalty by the pro is based on results, familiarity and investment. Major difference.
40 YEARS WITH NIKON, CANON and SONY
Currently I am having a blast shooting SONY in my new slide project. By the way since SONY makes all the sensors and boards for the other guys, some SONY products are about a year ahead. And though I have owned just about any brand you may mention. I have gotten good mojo from most of the cameras on the market today.
Again, I will however slam bad stuff, really bad. When was the last time you saw a bad review in those magazines you get? And when you see great report, their AD is about eight pages down the road, a full page no less. Just like our Congressman, AD’s are like bribes.
I am really not into the new social media. Most of it is nothing but anonymity for toxic social discourse. Or what I term, " the proving grounds for too many frickin idiots". I like the old ways, the phone and "face to face instead of farce to farce". I avoid wasting days on Face-Book and Twitter since few significant ideas come about.
All I got were offers, scams and people with social problems I would rather not interface with. I keep very busy and am blessed to have many friends and fans that make up enough sociality for my world on the topics I choose to be interested in. I will tell you up front this portion of my website addresses weddings, events and slide conservation as a business. Casual players are welcome but much published here is about business. The best shooter in the world without a Gig is a waste of talent and resources. The best camera you can own is the one in your hand when that shot of a lifetime takes place.
Photography really started for me on a serious note when someone left a paper bag left sitting on a park bench in the Zoo area in NYC's Central Park. With no one claiming it, I stood on top of the park bench and yelled the sacred words "finders keepers". I had mischievously become the owner of an AIRES IIIL 35 mm Rangefinder Camera, the first of the excellent Japanese clones of a Leica Rangefinder.
After scouting for an hour, I made my move, I instantly took the bag , moved up in the world from my folding 127 Kodak roll film camera. The bag even contained a roll of film and the manual. I was fourteen, a junior, and was naturally, playing hooky from school, I artfully dodged the truant officers who carried my picture in their wallets with a big number one on it.
A week later off to the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. I took nice pictures of the timelines of the Dinosaurs and Cavemen exhibits at the Museum of Natural History in NYC using flashbulbs. I was doing well interviewing one of the curators about these huge creatures till the guard wanted to see my school field trip pass after I told him I was on assignment. I got reported.
When called to the Dean of Boys office, the Dean and I had a chat, sort of, he chatted, I listened. My defense was " I was doing something to help my education, not just playing hooky because my science teachers theory that the cavemen killed the dinosaur's was scientifically inaccurate”. Thankfully he had read DARWIN.
The Dean made me a deal, I had to give a presentation to the Science classes in HS about Dinosaurs, their disappearance and evolution. Two days later I proudly did thirty minutes stand-up, the 50’s version of a powerpoint on Oaktag paper, showed off my 2-1/4 x 3-1/4 inch prints. I was a success! I got a reprieve. The Dean thought I did an excellent job and we worked a deal out to show my work to other classes for my salvation. I was hooked on photography, as it was and has been my form of creativity and communication.
THE GADGET MEISTER
I picked up a few nicknames, like "the Gadget Meister" starting my working career in an obscure camera repair facility, the best in the camera district of New York City. I started as a delivery boy. I gained a lot of knowledge in those early days as a kid working with, and meeting with some of the great building blocks of the analog era of photography like Marty Forschner and Joe Ehrenreich.
I was always building something and battery packs fascinated me. It was also where I first found out what happens if you forget to short a capacitor from a Honeywell 770 Strobe, and when I got too close to an Everyday 510 volt battery, it almost sent me to the ER.
But I learned early what works and what doesn't work and that you don't get it all from school or books. You have to get out there and see for yourself. I also worked weekends for a Wedding mill in NYC as a run and gunner for several years to learn the business. I was a Wedding shooter, maybe one of the youngest.
Shooting weddings in NY was a cornucopia of stress since the divergence alone in ethnicity taught me a lot about people, the wedding business, and managing a small business. Learning how to work with people on probably the single most emotional day in their lives, is an experience that should be welcomed, digested, absorbed and practiced. I also learned about the draft board. It was a numbers game and my number was up.
Maybe aviation was a better way to fly than getting shot at in the jungle. I can thank the United States Air Force for that saving me from being a ground pounder. When I got out, I swapped big Boeings like B-52’s for Cessna and Piper, saw parts of the world, took additional flying lessons when I got out and got my tickets.
I retired at 65 piling up a few thousand hours over 28 years and the occasional heart over stimulation. I owned five aircraft that taught me quality control, maintenance, repair and fire fighting. If you own it, you work on it to afford it, you fix it, you fly it first, and it taught me about taking things for granted, like a blown spewing gas and flames, fortunately within three miles of an airport with three others on board. "Best no engine landing on a displaced threshold," one instructor said who was on the tarmac when I declared an emergency. I stopped twelve feet from the fire engine and got the foam bath.
My life? I was alive, though a few times I thought I had doubts about longevity, and decided being a bachelor was a good thing but it was still lacking something. There goes “Divine Guidance” again. You learn a lot about people during a Wedding, good and bad. That was when I met the love of my life. Dolly who I met dancing at an upscale honky tonk in Clearwater, Florida. She knocked me on my butt from day one. Till she passed on from cancer, we had 31 wonderful years together. She made me a changed man. Never a day goes by I don’t miss her...
I remember the first tools I made at the brand new state of the art George W. Wingate High School in the metal shop. We had Zip before the post office could spell ZIP. You figure that one out.
I was in the first graduating classes at Wingate. Something new in 1958, it was the first racially balanced 50%-50% high school in the city of New York.
It was on the border of two tough neighborhoods Bedford Styvescent to the North and Goodfellows to the South. The expression no mans land comes to mind but more like the intersection of gang and gang.
This was the days of the book and Movie “The Blackboard Jungle”. The machine shop classes were cool. One of my pet projects in a totally unauthorized program is spoken about today, the Jacobs Hubcap Remover.
The new improved HubCap remover is not sold in stores, and is available in Midnight Black Only. You too can have a career in hubcap "restoration" for only $39.95.
Make it back on your first job even if you only got the front ones! Comes complete with instructions for both domestic and foreign jobs and you can make a lot of money restoring Hubcaps to owners.
BUT WAIT! Order now and we'll send you my new book " Guide to the Great Bail Bondsmen of America".
UPDATE: I had just learned that G.W. Wingate High School was being torn down or rebuilt into something else. It was recently closed by the City of New York Board of Education for lousy performance. It was one of those schools that needed to hold it’s Alumni gatherings at Riker’s Island.
ENOUGH ABOUT ME…