Origin of My Interest in Photography

If I had to pinpoint a time when photography became important to me, it was in Mr. D’Urso’s high school classroom. South Plainfield offered a fair share of electives and I was most grateful for this one because it taught me something magical. It taught me patience and process. Nothing great is instantaneous and that can be applied to everything in life.

Recently I have been in touch with Mr. D’Urso on Facebook. I had recalled using Pentax 35mm cameras and I wanted to purchase a similar model to the one I used over 15 years ago. He confirmed it was the Pentax K-1000 and I found a nice one with a 50mm f/2.0 lens for under $200.00 on keh.com

All of this got me thinking about doing a personal photography project. Something that wouldn’t be a one-off rather a continuing and endless series. I contacted my mentor and got it worked into our schedules.

I thought it would be a nice nod if I shot the project on film, so I loaded my Mamiya 645 Pro backs with Fujifilm Pro 400H (color) and Kodak TMAX400 (black and white) and grabbed some of my favorite light modifiers for the Alien Bee ringflash. I often use the ringflash and 56″ Moon unit/softbox. The white side of the softbox is great for portraits because it sculpts the subject nicely in a warm enveloping light. My setup for the portraits is one light with a softbox. Any ambient light is not cancelled out by the light I brought into the portrait. The environment is just as important as the subject, particularly since this is Mr. D’Urso’s actual classroom. There is a lived in and practical use for everything you see around the class.

Mr. Durso
There’s still nothing quite like film.

Film for portraits is something that engages the subject. Young and old either remember film or have a fascination that it still exists. It also helps slow down the process so the subject feels comfortable. I can talk to them and at 15 shots per roll, I am not machine gunning every movement. I practice this with digital as well, but it’s even more important with film. It goes without saying to bring along extra backs pre-loaded with film.

My developing ritual takes place in my bathtub. Living in a condo doesn’t afford me the space of a proper darkroom. If you are in a similar situation buy a black changing bag and the rest of the usual suspects (developing tank, thermometer, stainless steel reels, etc.) and get cracking! No excuses. If you have running water, you can develop film.

I develop my film in the bathtub. It’s not glamourous, but it works.

I thought it’d be fitting to have a photo of myself and Mr. D’Urso in the super cool tv station that the high school now uses to broadcast. Real broadcasts that go outside of the building. You can’t stop rock n’ roll or technology.

This is one green scene.
This is one green scene.

Lun Wah Tiki Bar & Restaurant

There aren’t too many tiki restaurants left in New Jersey. That’s because only the strong survive. Lun Wah has been in business for 40+ years and continues to attract tiki enthusiasts and features in newspapers like The New York Times. Being invited to photograph a restaurant like this is cool on many levels. It’s interesting visually and you can’t beat a meal that comes with it’s own stovetop. The goal was to do justice to the food and drink menu, but I couldn’t resist photographing some of the actual restaurant as well. Special thanks to owner Chris Pandolfo and the great staff at Lun Wah for making the day run smoothly.

Models: Lew Monty, Melissa and Bella

To see more of my photography work, please visit http://www.thatwerksphotography.com

Awesome polynesian food and tiki drinks await behind the bamboo doors of LUN WAH!

Josh Riklan Headshots

Simple yet effective headshots for young actor Josh. One softbox, one bounce card and one rim light. Josh was awesome at changing up expression with every shutter click. That’s key when shooting portraits. Unless you ask the model to hold a look, they should be expressing themselves. You’re looking for the real person to emerge so let them emerge.

I wish him the best of luck with his upcoming auditions.

Josh Riklan headshots

Fall Family Photos at Washington Rock

The Lee family (Another South Plainfield connection…that’s three South Plainfield-related shoots in 2 months) joined me for an hour of running around and playing in leaves on the top of Washington Rock on a beautiful fall day. The leaves dried off enough from the previous day of rain so we were able to toss them into the air without making a sloppy mess of their outfits. Their son has the best hair ever as you can see by the photos. It moves and sways with his relentless energy.

Toward the end of the shoot I had them gaze at the lookout point. He enjoyed throwing leaves over the edge. It was my job to bring him a new pile of leaves each time. Hilarious stuff that happens in front and behind the camera.

To see more of my photography work, please visit http://www.thatwerksphotography.com

Lee family photos at Washington Rock State Park in Green Brook, NJ

Wedding in a Rustic Barn at The Raritan Inn Bed & Breakfast

Hometown homeslices Christine Strani and Joe Crincoli tied the knot at a wonderfully decorated and joyfully celebrated Raritan Inn bed & breakfast in Califon, New Jersey. All of the decorations were done by Christine and her family. Framed photos of their family history and handmade signs. Special touches everywhere to make it their day and not something purchased in a store. My wife assisted and shot alongside me. I let her run wild and she did a great job getting candid moments and alternate angles of what I was shooting. Low fives for her because my high fives are too high for her.

The owners of the Inn are friendly people and I’d recommend contacting them for a weekend getaway or your own special event.

Afterward we were treated to one of the best freaking dinners ever at The Tewksbury Inn. Any place that has fancy s’mores for dessert and comes out with a little campfire on the dish is clearly a restaurant I will revisit.

Christine Strani and Joe Crincoli wedding at the Raritan Inn

Christine Strani and Joe Crincoli 's wedding

Fall Portraits in Old Towne Piscataway, New Jersey

Having lived in New Brunswick for close to a decade you would think I would have visited Old Towne before 2014. Nope! Now I have been there twice in the past month. Our little model is Bella and you can tell she is extremely difficult to work with. The constant smiling and happiness gets in the way of each shot. The folks at Old Towne did a super job decorating for the season. We had access to the interiors of the village and the historic schoolhouse was a great place for Bella to practice her penmanship.

If you’re quick on the trigger you can book yourself a pretty sweet deal.  I am offering a 1 hour photo session for a fee of $250. This can be used for any type of photo session you would like to do. Suggestions include performance, headshots, family, engagement, etc.

  • Offer is valid from 10/13/2014 until 11/13/2014
  • Travel is included up to 20 miles from New Brunswick, NJ 08901
  • Includes high resolution images provided to you in an online gallery. You may also order prints at an additonal cost.
  • The booking process is very simple. Please fill out this form and mail it to me with your payment.
  • Sessions must be scheduled to take place on or before November 13, 2014. This is a first come, first serve offer.

You can see an extensive portfolio of my photography work at http://www.thatwerksphotography.com

Bella fall portraits playing in the leaves