Tuesday, June 29, 2010

World Cup Fever: Seoul - Republic of Korea vs. Nigeria

Soccer, or football as it is known in most of the world, is a pretty popular sport, albeit exclusively outside the United States. When my cousin asked if I would like to go watch the game with her on the streets of Seoul, I gladly agreed to check out the scene. When else would I ever get the opportunity to watch soccer with a million other people?

You could not escape World Cup Fever anywhere on the streets of Seoul. Everyone had their own ways of expressing their love for the national team.

I had no idea you could pack this many people onto a stretch of closed-off 12 lane highway. Since the game started around 3:30 AM local time, we had to claim our spots around midnight. The diversity of interests and multiple outlets for fanaticism basically eliminate the possibility of this type of gathering happening in the States. It was sick to witness and be a part of.

Beer and chicken certainly helped the time before the match pass.

Those green things are traffic lights.

People sported blinking horns.

All the freaks were out.

Just when I was about to forget where I was, a grilled squid vendor walked by.

So did the source of thunder-sticks

I rolled with my cousin and her friend.

Red light. Green light.

Lil' Drummer Boy

Some fans were more into the match than others. Who wears high heels to a soccer game?

At some point, I guess everyone decided to watch the game.

This kid couldn't handle his liquor and slept through the entire match.

The game ended in a draw, but Korea still advanced to the Round of 16.

A massive-scale cleanup project awaited.

The sun was starting to come up when all the festivities were complete.

And I too headed home after an amazing experience.

It may never be football to me, but to stand in the middle of a million excited fans fervently cheering on their team was something special. I will never forget it.

Back on the Scene

Crispy and clean...

I'm back from my trip to Korea and so only my last leg of travel remains. I head out again tonight.

I shot about 5 different photo sets in Korea, and I look forward to going through and editing my work as well as sharing some here. I attended a traditional Korean wedding ceremony, documented my 91 year old grandmother and uncle who is a painter, shot a few historical sites, and watched World Cup matches on the street with almost a million people. Without photography my enjoyment of above events would have been far less rich and meaningful. So while I have invested much into the study of photography, she has also given me much back in return.

Stay tuned.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One Foot In Front of the Other

This is a marathon and not a sprint.

I need to remember that I can only move as fast as my feet will let me.

There are no shortcuts, and even if there were, again, I can only move as fast as my feet can take me.

I can sense that there is something important waiting for me at the end of my 14 hour flight. It is my goal to find it, my duty to unlock it. A blank canvas awaits. No one else can fill it for me.

Life, you may confuse me from time to time, but just know that I will doggedly pursue all of my dreams. Despite your best efforts to thwart me.

No matter where you take me, I will always be a boy from New Jersey. I may be far from home, but I am on your path, moving at my pace. It may not be fast, but I will always be moving forward.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back from the Islands

[Sea Meets Sky]

Just got back from a wonderful wedding in St. Thomas. I didn't have too much free time to walk around and shoot, but I did manage to squeeze in about an hour of exploring- just me and my Canon. The Ritz-Carlton was fantastic, but I had to walk about a half mile along the coast to get this more quaint shot. I envisioned this photo in black and white before I snapped the shutter. St. Thomas had blue skies and amazing colors, but for some reason, I just felt like a little dramatic expression. I love reflection and contrast. Those things alone and combined always seem to create more of a dramatic feel to an image.

Congrats of course to my good friends, the bride and groom. It was an honor to serve as the best man.


Walked around Charlotte Amalie with some friends. Some photos were snapped, an impromptu engagement session of sorts. The colors of Charlotte Amalie were reminiscent of Cuba. That is the Cuba in my mind, because I have never actually been to Cuba. Anyway, I snapped this funny photo of this little gangster checking out my friend Beth as she poses for the camera. The 24-70mm is my favorite lens, and over time it has become the lens that I am the most comfortable using. I love telling stories by fitting in as much as possible into the frame, perfect for the 24-70. 

[Amalie Streets]

I often lean on my writing to help tell a story. A part of me wonders if I am not limiting my growth in photography as a result. For a little while, I am going to try and let my images convey whatever feelings or stories I am trying to impart.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

the Surreal World DC


This was a random image I captured during a recent shoot. The oddness of the photo just kind of tickles me. I don't mind this kind of levity and actually may desperately need this as of late.

Nothing comes easy in life. Some things that should come easy, don't. There is no such thing as an ideal situation. One that appears ideal usually only is just that, appearance as a fleeting shade of perfection. When we first meet someone or get involved with something, flaws don't readily jump out at us. It's not that those flaws aren't there. Some just take longer to manifest themselves, and your eyes need to get accustomed to the situation. Only when you truly see, can a real decision on a given matter be made.

When we notice things outside of the norm, it tends to surprise us. We are sometimes drawn to those things, as they provide a different way of thinking of or looking at the world. Some people call those things surreal moments. In actuality, those moments are just as much real and a part of what we deem reality as the mundane. As crazy as surrealism can be, it is no more than just another slice of reality.

Reality may not be pretty, but we can live in no other world but this one.

Special thanks to the random guy in a suit who decided to pick up a bird on the street for inspiration.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tree Falling in the Middle of a Heavily Wooded Forest

Starting today, I am going to shoot for me.

That is all.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Keep Shootin'

I've been shooting like a mad man the past 5 months. I took account this afternoon, 28 shoots in 5 months. I am probably missing a couple here and there too. June is going to be another interesting and random month. I will share what I can, but some big projects are cooking. My camera and I will be travelling around the world and shooting subjects from all walks of life. It's more like I am continuing to walk the earth and my camera is a new friend that has decided to join me. Photography has certainly opened some unexpected doors, and I am happy to walk through them.

This is generally how I am. I leap into things. My passions never go unexplored. That is the only way to quiet the doubters, including those of the internal variety. I haven't quite won yet and happily trek on.

As a photographer, my personal shooting style is one of control. I shoot exclusively in manual, and I do my best to thoughtfully compose and shoot each frame with purpose. I guess I can't hide my perfectionist nature, especially from Canon. My mentor challenged me to diverge from my current approach and "shoot more." Just to clarify, this is very different from the "shoot and pray" approach. I am still operating off my baseline of control, just with a slightly heavier finger on the shutter. Early returns are showing that I am able to better capture unexpected moments. You don't get a second take on those types of shots. Here's a moment I would have missed if I stayed my course:

[Flower Girl]

Along with classic black & white and brown tones, I am also starting to take a liking to a little grain. I really dig the grain and soft feel of this photograph that documents the intimate moments immediately following the bride and groom's nuptials. No one directed the flower girl to rush to straighten out the bride's grown. While there is nothing wrong with posed photography, I enjoy the untouched nature of pure photojournalism. This frame may not be perfect, but it is real. And I find value in that.


This is one of my favorite shots from the past 5 months.

As photography starts to feel more like second nature to me, I look forward to capturing more images that move me. If I can't move myself, it will prove impossible to move those who view my photographs.