Costa Rican Animals and Birds

Last month I went to Costa Rica to visit an old friend from Manhattan who bought a house on Lake Arenal, spending time both in the rain forest near Arenal Volcano and the Pacific northwest. The shooting conditions were pretty terrible. When we landed the temperatures were in the 100s with near 85% humidity. Inland was in the 90s with 90-100% humidity. All photos are of animals and birds taken in the wild.

Black-throated trogon

Black-throated trogon 1/160 @2.8 200mm ISO2000

Howler monkeys

Howler monkeys 1/400 @2.8 200mm ISO400

Damselfly

Damselfly 1/200 @2.8 190mm ISO 160

Black headed trogon

Black headed trogon 1/500 @4.5 200mm ISO100

Hummingbird

Hummingbird 1/2500 @2.8 90mm ISO250

Broad-winged hawk

Broad-winged hawk 1/500 @2.8 75mm ISO160

Posted in animals Tagged , , |

Family Portraits, Marketing Campaign and Gladiolus

Since the end of summer I’ve been off on this crazy journey to start a clothing line and it’s going well. I do however still shoot from time to time- for friends, for myself and for STACKED’s promotional and documentary needs.

The first shot is of my girlfriend, one of my fit models, and her son. I needed a portrait for the website where I’m showing the fit models as the people they are, doing what they normally do. In this case she’s a mom so I thought taking advantage of the beautiful fall weather and showing them together enjoying the day indicates exactly who she is. While walking behind them I was touched by how sweet the two of them looked walking down the path, hand in hand, without an apparent care in the world.

Mother and son portrait

Mother and son portrait 1/500 @4.0 190mm 100 ISO

This is also one of my girlfriends and her son. She called me and asked if I would do a portrait before he he left for training camp in November. She may not see him again for up to six years.

Mother and son portrait

Mother and son portrait 1/80 @4.0 70mm 100 ISO

Our property up here in the sticks is spacious and we have several flower, herb and vegetable gardens. I know it’s not exactly standard shooting style for fauna but I wanted it to be edgy, kind of have a little bit of an attitude. I shot it in the studio using a stripbox and let the light fall into shadow where you wouldn’t really expect it to. Mission accomplished. I like it.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus 1/200 @4.5 50mm 100 ISO

This is part of the visual campaign for STACKED. I needed a visual representation of the problem STACKED clothing line will fix. I think it’s pretty succinct.

Go check out STACKED’s web site if you want to see the image in action.

STACKED brand apparel marketing campaign

STACKED brand apparel marketing campaign 1/15 @2.0 50mm 100 ISO

Posted in flowers, portrait Tagged , |

Hillary Clinton in Windham, NH July 16, 2015

Hillary Clinton in Windham, NH July 16, 2015

Hillary Clinton in Windham, NH

Hillary Clinton in Windham, NH

 

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Hillary Clinton in Windham, NH

Posted in Uncategorized

An Intimate Luncheon with Governor Pataki at The Lobster Tail Restaurant

On June 25th I was present at a small luncheon gathering at The Lobster Tail Restaurant with former New York governor George Pataki, three of his New Hampshire campaign staff members, local Republican powerhouse Bruce Breton and longtime Breton friend, Lawson Brouse, and former state senator David Currier (R- Henniker).

Mr. Pataki, in town to present the Windham Fire Department with a flag flown at the site of the World Trade Center post 9/11, recently announced he is seeking the presidency, joining 13 other Republican candidates.

I was a New York resident for much of the 1990’s and I remember Mr. Pataki as governor. He was enormously popular with both residents and businesses. He had largely dropped out of public view after his 3rd term as governor ended in 2007.

Standing at nearly 6’5″ tall, Mr. Pataki is an impressive presence from the moment he enters the room. His voice is calm and soothing; His words pleasant.

He greeted a group of a dozen or so women out celebrating a birthday, who appeared delighted to meet him and interested in what he had to say before he joined us at our table.

Our discussion was enjoyable. Topics ranged from the personal to political.

It seemed odd to me he would enter what is shaping up to be a crowded presidential campaign stage after having spent so much time in the private sector. Running for president is no easy endeavor, even if you have endless funds. When a person runs for president everything they do and say and everything they have ever done or said is scrutinized. The schedule is exhausting- cookouts, town halls, debates, interviews and impromptu luncheons with local reporters. Given that Mr. Pataki has already secured his place in history as the governor who led the healing and rebuilding process following the devastating 9/11 attacks, I asked him why he wanted to run for president, more out of curiosity than any other reason.

He said a candidate, in the candidate role, needs to be electable. While I did not get the opportunity to follow up on that specific statement, at a visceral level I think I understand what he meant. Polls are not elections. Rhetoric isn’t fact. Toting a party line isn’t debating the issues.

To be electable and to properly govern, he said a candidate needs to focus on people not politics, be able to work within the confines of a 2 party system and be willing and able to negotiate with both parties to achieve proper governance.

The people before politics statement confirms, at least to me, that he acknowledges how many Americans have come to perceive elected officials: as ideologues focused on the wants and needs of the party as opposed to the wants and needs of the people they represent.

When asked if he thought the other candidates could win the general election he said he wasn’t going to bash his opponents.

I asked what he would do if elected. Mr. Pataki will decrease the size of government. He believes the government is much too large with too many segregated departments and governmental waste.

I asked him how he felt about campaign finance. This, in my opinion, is where he really breaks away from the pack. He told me he would support campaign finance reform, that it is inappropriate for elected officials in Washington to spend 80% of their time in office fundraising for the next campaign instead of doing the job of representing the people. He also thinks it should not be legal for members of Congress and/ or the Senate to become lobbyists following their term in office.

I found that answer honest, well thought out and refreshing.

Although he had been my governor, I knew little about him aside from his popularity and the work he’d done post 9/11. So I asked about his background.

He was raised in Peekskill, NY, a sleepy Hudson River waterfront community in Westchester County bordered to the east by the Blue Mountain Reservation, an hour and a half drive from Manhattan. His father was a fire captain.

Mr. Pataki was Peekskill mayor in the early 80’s, served in the state assembly and then the NY state senate before becoming NY governor in 1995, having beat incumbent Mario Cuomo, which might be best described to New Englanders as an upset akin to someone with little name recognition beating an incumbent Kennedy in a race for Massachusetts governor.

He is fiscally conservative with a strong record of cutting taxes, creating jobs and balancing budgets. When his campaign begins to gain traction I suspect he might have problems with the rigid and divisive Republican party base because he is socially centrist. He supports a woman’s right to choose and same sex marriage and he has spent his time since he left office championing green initiatives meant to address climate change.

He feels the Republican party has taken a far right turn and the changing demographics in the country cannot relate to the party as a whole.

I, for one, have to agree.

Posted in feature story, politics

Sharp Increase in Heroin Deaths

This piece was written by me and published last week in The Windham Independent News.

I’m primarily a news photographer. I’m also a news writer and reporter. Every once in a while I report on a story I believe so important to the pubic it needs to be shared. This is one of them.

Statehouse Rally Saturday October 18th Following Sharp Increase in Heroin OD Deaths

Susan and Tom Markievitz’s son Chad began using heroin in the fall of 2013. He died from a heroin overdose on July 28, 2014. He had just turned 25 years old.

According to Mrs. Markievitz, Chad had a normal early childhood. He enjoyed four-wheeling, fishing and sports. “Everyone loved him. He was very respectful,” she said.

Chad’s problems started shortly before attending Salem High School. Once in high school Chad found challenges and opportunity. His path to addiction is a common one. It began with prescription medication and progressed to alcohol and cocaine. The first time his parents intervened Chad was 16 years old. He spent 35 days enrolled in an Outward Bound troubled teens program in El Paso, Texas.

Rehabilitation was successful for a time. “He had his good times, his bad times. He’d be sober and straight for months then relapse. Every time he relapsed it got worse and worse,” his mother said.

Ultimately Chad could not break away from the addiction. He wrote in his journal that it was a real struggle. “He called it his demon,” his mother said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nationally, death rates from prescription opioid pain reliever (OPR) overdoses quadrupled during 1999–2010 and the death rate from heroin overdose doubled from 2010 to 2012 (in the 28 states participating in the reporting, including NH).

The Windham Fire Department has administered the opioid antidote Narcan 13 times since the beginning of 2014. As stated by Lieutenant Jay Moltenbrey, pin point pupils and decreased respiratory drive are clear signs of an opioid overdose.

What makes heroin in particular so dangerous and easy to overdose on is its dosage inconsistencies. Regulated prescription opioids’, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, dosages are reliable. Heroin is not regulated and is obtained exclusively through illicit channels. For this reason addicts tend to buy heroin from the same person. If anything in that supply chain changes, the potency could be completely different from what the user typically uses. There is simply no way to know what the concentration is or what it’s cut with.

Mrs. Markievitz describes the warning signs as numerous. She found Chad nodding off, rambling endlessly, slurring words and he had sudden bouts of singing and dancing. Spoons went missing and she found little cotton wads around the house. Eventually household items began to disappear.

She believes one of the most important things a parent can do is monitor their child’s phone and document the phone numbers they are interacting with. Addicts often have sneaky phone calls and texts and use their own lingo that is impossible for the uninitiated to decipher. She urges any parent that finds drugs or contraband to call the police department.

While the police department is obligated to arrest anyone caught with possession, they are primarily interested in arresting those who are distributing the drug. “The dealers we want to take down and the users we want to get help,” said Windham Police Captain Caron.

“It’s illegal to possess narcotics. It’s illegal to sell them and illegal to be in possession of paraphernalia. We can and do arrest users and dealers for those things. But we can’t arrest our way out of this problem. As a society we need to put just as much focus on the root causes for the addictive behavior as we do on enforcing the law,” said Windham Police Chief Gerry Lewis.

Captain Caron admits that by the time relatives notify the police, “they are at the point of hopelessness. They don’t want them to go to jail but they don’t want them to die. With long term heroin usage, death is a foregone conclusion. It’s a demon. It’s an ugly demon.”

Chief Lewis believes early intervention is essential. “It is critically important that loved ones address the issue with the addict as soon as it becomes known they are using drugs. The longer the person uses drugs the harder it becomes to remedy.”

Both Chief Lewis and Captain Caron stress the impact addiction has on the overall public, ranging from impacting health and human resources, burglaries and associated crime and depleting local service budgets such as schools and emergency response.

“Just because it’s not in your family doesn’t mean you’re not affected by it. It affects all of society in one way or another,” said Captain Caron.

Following the death of her son Chad, Mrs. Markievitz is reaching out to anyone affected by addiction. She is the administrator of the NH chapter of The Addict’s Mom, a volunteer support group for mother’s of addicted children. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please see their website for more information www.addictsmom.com

The Hope for NH Recovery; We Believe in Recovery rally will be held at the statehouse (107 North Main Street, Concord) this Saturday, October 18th from 11AM- 2PM. NH Governor Maggie Hassan and US Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen will be speaking on the issue. The public is encouraged to attend.

Posted in feature story Tagged |