One of the greatest advantages of being a working photographer is the travel. I’ve been blessed and lucky to literally travel around the world more than once. When you travel, you meet people, and 90% of the time, the people you meet are unbelievably fabulous. In 1984, I had he privilege of being one of the pool photographers for the Olympics in Los Angeles. It allowed me to meet up with many of my old friends from SI and work with George Long, John Iacono, John Zimmerman, and the list goes on.
I’d buy the book, but I have to sell about 20 photos to pay for it!!
Take care and stay well,
I met an extremely bright and creative (at that time he was assisting) photographer by the name of Alan Levenson. Suffices to say, Alan when onto an unbelievable career in photography, and he’s now one of my favorite portrait photographers. His environmental/corporate portraits are great. Alan was kind enough the other day to purchase one of our new books, “Halloween.” I will attach his email to the bottom of this blog. Alan lived through the last part of the Golden Age of photography. His words are to the point and unfortunately, quite true. But who knows. In moving ahead in the digital world at light speed, we, as a group of photographers, may transcend time and in going forward, we may go backwards. Now, if that sounds like I’ve been drinking in the afternoon… I haven’t. As a matter of fact, to all the ships at sea, I’ve decided to put the alcohol down for six months to a year. Well… like Lloyd Bridges said in Airplane, “Looks like I picked a bad week to quit amphetamines.”
The tulips are coming up, seems like the snow is almost gone and the Indy cars are starting to run. Remember what I said, one camera, one lens, all the time. Here’s a shot from the old days with one of my assistants. Count the cameras. Thank god for assistants. Would hate to be looking at his MRI today. On a recent Formula One, which in many ways is much more difficult than the Indy 500, I used 2 cameras and 2 lenses. Two Canon 5D Mark III, one 80mm-200 f/2.8 zoom and a second 5D Mark III with grip and 400mm f/5.6 and carrying a 1.4 extender. Gitso Monopod and 6 lexar cards, 8 gigs up to 32 gigs Simple. Keep it simple. The photograph on the bottom was named by Sports Illustrated as the third best photograph of all time of the last 100 years.
Keisher McLeod- Wells aka “Fire”, is one of my dear friends. She is one of the most beautiful, lovely, talented, hard-working people I know. Unfortunately, Fire has had a major tragedy in her family. What she’s done, is taken all of the responsibility and done the absolute right thing. I wish her nothing but great luck and God speed.
As many of you know first hand and the rest on the internet, you know I was dragged kicking and screaming into the digital world. When you are weened on Tri-X D76, and always striving for a number 2 negative, or shooting a cover with Kodachrome25 (25!)… So when a very bright, intelligent, dear, lovely woman, my friend Monica, basically told me to get with the program or get out of the business. I listen to people I respect, it may not have been my idea but in the final analysis it’s a good idea. On three or four occasions I did blogs on Adorama pix, and I’d like to do another one. Ken Lieberman, is probably the greatest color printer in New York City and has been that way for a long, long time, and his prices are equal to his quality…and then some. If you need a photograph for the museum of modern art you wanna go to Ken Lieberman-in my opinion, for the majority of “us” other photographers (my English teacher is not happy) If you want to treat yourself to a 20×24, have one made at Adorama Pix. I think, I know you will be blown away. On that note, I just opened the book I did on Formula 1 and it totally blew me away. I sent a digital copy to Dennis Wheeler, who IS in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art and he absolutely loved it. In a few weeks I will share the book with you. So a big thank you to Herman, John and all the people at Adorama Pix. I don’t know how they do it, but they do great work.
I am one of the luckiest people in the world I have been around the world twice and working on a third time, but as of last year I have never been to Malta. Last fall I had an opportunity to lead a photograhic workshop in Malta. The photograph above is of the British Leyland Bus and was a from the hip grab shot. Camera is a Sony A900, 24-70mm F2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens, ISO 160, shutter speed 1/800. It is the last Leyland bus on the island. I played with it in NiK Viveza 2 software, not HDR. Its a shade over the top but I like it. So next Monday be kind to a bus and make a photograph of it, or a car, a train, a cat, or a dog.
I had an opportunity to teach at the University of Arizona. It afforded me time in the desert, in the dead of winter to photograph some interesting characters. Here’s a young man taking a short cut. I had no idea he was going to do this. The lesson of the day is to make sure your camera is ready to go. Pre-select shutter speed, aperture, color balance, ISO, type of metering, and exposure compensation. The next part of the equation would be experience and some would say luck, I believe you make your own luck. This photo was taken with a 35 mm camera, a 100mm Macro lens, ISO 50, shutter speed 1/500 f/4, single exposure.
The problem is with making anything world class, tremendous quality,and so reliable that it can outlast most of the patrons that use it. Like an old pair of socks or an old work shirt, I have a problem discarding old friends. Approximately in 1972, I purchased a large heavy Gitzo tripod. It virtually went around the world with me. It went to several Olympics, a World Series, major advertising assignments, and at the Apollo Soyuz. That tripod held a 400mm, a 600mm, and a 800 mm, and was the Rock of Gibraltar. About 10 years ago my studio manager complained that the tri pod was too big and to heavy. I procured a smaller Gitzo and two Manfrottos. They are fabulous tripods, but I missed the big Gitzo. Who knew 40 years ago, that much of my work in 2012 would be with DSLR’s for videos, I certainly did not. I decided to resurrect my first Gitzo as the new technology. I gave a call to Chris Brunngraber. I purchased the new 504 HD bridge, of course I did not tell him I was going to put it on the old Gitzo, and soon found out that my tri pod had a 150mm yoke. Two days later Chris sent me a 75mm adapter. WOW! how cool is that?! I am now able (with the help of Manfrotto) to breathe new life into an old tripod. To all the ships at sea, obviously I am not taking any thing away from the new technology. Let’s just call it a green thing. Wow I’m acually keeping up and recycling. Hell it is all good, go out and make some new photos, that’s the most important thing.
To all the ships at sea II, in the lead photograph there are two absolutely fantastic people Ron Thompson- senor tech adviser for Nikon ” and a lot more.” Ralph Morse- the best LIFE magazine photographer when it came to the space program, and much more. A separate blog will follow
Everyday of our lives, is an important day. Six months ago I made a decision to teach a work shop at Gleason’s Gym. When my studio manager reminded me that it was my birthday I said great. I consider work a privilege and what better to do then teach photography at Glesons’ Gym. Its just does not get better then that. I knew it was going to a very special and an amazing eclectic group. From Brazil, Chili, Colombia, England, Norway, and all over the east coast. A great balance between men and women, and great help from JoAnne Kalish, Larry Malang, Peter Poremba. It was a hell of a great day. Life is funny, I was on a great natural high, and I got back to the studio. Did not check my voice mail, did not check my email, downloaded the cards, checked facebook. I don’t check it that often and I find one of my close friend died of a heart attack. It was Bert Sugar. On Wednesday, I called Bert, he answered me as usual “Uncle Joe.” I always call him the “Bertster”. I asked him how he was feeling, and he said” I have lung cancer, and have internal bleeding but that’s not the problem.” Then I asked him what the big problem was? He said, “I have F@$!#ing terminal acne.” Thats the Bertster, no matter what the dialogue is he always finds humor in it. He was loved by millions, hated by thousands, he was a true Damon Runyon character and a great friend. I will miss him, yes I will miss him… Off the record, he suffered “Cuttysheimers”, his words not mine. RIP Bert Sugar.
Bert Sugar, Playwright Budd Schulberg, and son Benn Schulberg
“In a world that seems to be moving at light speed, the new technologies should be embraced. We as visual communicators should always remember the photograph comes first. The content is more important than the pixels or the manipulation after the fact.
My love affair for this medium has only grown ten-fold. With the advent of digital it’s like starting all over again. Our future generations will look back at this time the way we looked back to the Lumiere brothers. What a great time to be involved in photography and filmmaking.”
I was contracted by the Canadian Olympic Association to photograph basketball, boxing, soccer, track and field, and kayaking. I fell in love with kayaking and proceeded to kayak for the next 20 years and moved to ocean kayaking. One of the things that I used kayaking for was eye-hand coordination and remote photography. Will try to dig out some of the film- Yes, Alice, there was film in those days! I’ll see if I can show you a few examples. But, in the interim, every once and a while I like to take the rust off and go photograph kayaking. Here are a few frames. Hope you enjoy them. Shutter speed ranged between a 500 and 1000, ISO 200. 80 to 200 mm lens. Pick a number- f4.5.