What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
I enjoy taking an image that's not ideal and transforming it into the very best that it can be. In particular, I enjoy working with the travel and tourism or hospitality industry – hotels, resorts, spas, marinas, attractions – and lifestyle or architectural photography and photographers. Photography is a key element in each of these industries; I know and appreciate the subtle nuances of the photography of each.
I enjoy photography immensely – all aspects of it – determining the concept and how the photo will be used, deciding the shots to take, scheduling the shoot, the challenges and opportunities when on location, the actual shoot and final image selections, post production editing, etc.
I enjoy creating things out of nothing; the technical term for this is compositing or visualizing.
I enjoy a challenge, especially when someone suggests something is impossible.
What kind of work did you do before you got into this?
I'm an explorer and have a thirst for knowledge. As a child, I would get in trouble because I didn't always come straight home from school. Living in Manhattan that made my mother quite nervous when the doorman didn't provide a timely report of my whereabouts. Summers were spent at camp where I was able to ride horses, take hikes, canoe and discover the great outdoors. I was first introduced to the dark room there and I was completely fascinated by the entire development process.
My very first job was as a summer camp counselor in upstate New York. I had attended as a camper and had great experiences and fond memories. After graduating from school, I went to work for the local daily newspaper as a photojournalist also in upstate New York. You name it and we photographed it – holidays, sporting events, accidents, etc. When the winter weather got too nasty, the editor would tell all the reporters to stay in, then turn and look at me and say, "What are you standing there for ... go take some photos."
The newspaper provided some incredible opportunities. Events I covered include:
- The 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., the year Eric Heiden won five gold medals and the U.S. beat Russia in an upset hockey match. I actually got to watch parts of that game but needed to leave before it ended because I was on deadline.
- The 1976 U.S. Olympic team trained in upstate New York prior to the event in Montreal, Canada. A plane with 200 media arrived and then 20 minutes later President Gerald Ford flew in on Air Force One with select media to see the team off.
- The Montreal Expos took possession of the Olympic stadium and start of their baseball season.
- The World Bobsled Competition took place in Lake Placid when it was the only facility of its kind in the U.S.
- A Global Shield event was held at the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) Base in Plattsburgh, N.Y. Captured the air-to-air refueling of FB-111 fighter from a KC-135 tanker.
- In 1972 the World University Winter Games of the International University Sport Federation (FISU), activities of national university sport federations, was held at Lake Placid.
Upstate New York has one week of summer. Having spent much of my time during my newspaper career outside either traveling or taking photos, the fun of scraping snow and ice off a car between each event grew weary. Imagine regularly needing to take extra time when you come in from the cold to allow your lens to defog.
While at the newspaper I started my own business. It was at a time when Kodak's name was synonymous with film and print supplies. (At that time, Kodak was at the forefront of digital camera but decided to stick with film.) It took me nearly two months to perfect the process as all colors were controlled by two color filters – magenta and yellow. Understanding how to make brown and purple from those colors takes some getting use to.
A natural extension of the color lab was my photography work with the hospitality and architectural industry. My company grew to include graphic design and we provided print production services as these are all inter-related. Seeing more opportunities for my skills and talents and having family in Florida, I headed south to warm, sunny Florida and hung my shingle there. I've been working with the hospitality industry ever since.
How did you enter the field of helping the hospitality industry and lifestyle and architectural photographers?
Since social media and smartphones came on the scene, it's become more acceptable for people to post anything and everything online. However, the challenge lies in that some photography is just not of the quality to serve as the signature image or representative work to market and promote a product or a service. This involves a more detailed conversation about camera lenses, resolution, etc. The general public may not realize true photographers do not show their imperfect work – outtakes.
The other thing is that some photographers will be asked to take a photo using a skill set they don't have. They take the photo anyway with imperfect results. For instance, I've seen: photos of a wall of windows overlooking a golf course with the reflections of each of the photographer's umbrella stands and lights; photos that look fake because of how the interior and the exterior lighting was set up and how shadows fall; and photographers with no eye for detail such as trash cans; wrinkled tablecloths; crooked lamp shades; food drips; burned out light bulbs; imperfections in models clothing; etc.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not working?
My family and I love to take Sunday drives to explore – wineries, historic sites, national parks, museums, hiking and nature. We always travel with our cameras.
We host Camp Camera every year for our niece who shows great promise in the field of photography. It's an intense week that includes a different location each day to focus on a different aspect of photography such as lighting, moving water and people.
We stream our TV shows and movies and will do marathon sessions of our favorites. Mine are Leverage, James Bond, Columbo, Dr. Who, Last Man Standing and West Wing.
What are your pet peeves?
People aren't open-minded.
People who drive slow in the left lane, some while talking on a cell phone. They are completely unaware of how many of us are lined up behind them.
When you return incorrect change to a cashier and they don't say thank you.
Tell us about your family.
I'm an only child and was raised in Manhattan but attended school on Long Island and took the train in on weekends. At a certain age my mom grew concerned because the doorman wasn't able to report my whereabouts so I went to live with my grandparents. I've had the best of both worlds, living in the city and also growing up in and around the Adirondack Mountains.
Having spent a considerable amount of time outside as a photojournalist, I tired of the cold weather. After moving to the West Coast of Fla., I continued working with the travel and tourism industry. That's how I met my wife. At the time, she was the Tourism Director of Clearwater and Clearwater Beach and also ran the largest free jazz festival in the Southeast U.S. In search of a slower, pace we relocated to the Carolinas. Now our household is ran by two furry four-legged children we adopted several years ago.
What's it like to work with your wife?
We have complementary skill sets; each of us is busy and stays focused on our own area. We schedule staff meetings to review projects and have scheduled quiet work hours to power through what's on deadline.
What are some of the things hardly anyone else knows?
I've hiked all 46 peaks in the Adirondack Mountains.
Little things I'm working on improving about myself.
The goal is to take a 20 minute walk each day and leave the office at a normal hour.
Who are some of your favorite photographers?
Ansel Adams, and Bob Holmes and Michael Melford, both of National Geographic.
What are some of the places you'd like to visit?
Alaska; Lakes District, Austria; Cotswold Region, England; Burgundy and Loire Region, France; hill towns of Tuscany, Umbria and Lake Cuomo, Italy; New Zealand and Switzerland and The Alps. In the continental U.S. the list includes these National Parks: Arizona - Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, Hubbell Trading Post, Lake Mead, Montezuma's Castle and Petrified Forest; California - Death Valley, Redwood and Yosemite; Montana - Glacier; New Mexico - Carlsbad Canyons; Utah - Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Rainbow Bridges and Zion; and Wyoming - Yellowstone and Grand Tetons.
What are some of the strongest convictions that you hold?
If you are going to do something, do it right.