December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year

As this year comes to a close I cant help but count the ways I have been
fortunate enough or thankful enough for what has transpired over the
course of 2009...

With the my brothers wedding, my new life, my amazing girlfriend, my best
friends, my new friends, my clients, my dog, my family and all of the
personal and professional opportunities that have come my way by hard
work, by fate and by listening to my inner voice and the other voices that
lead me to where I am and where I was..

I have found my piece of mind, I am and have cherished this exploration of
reality... Their is not one state, one image or one moment that I can
point my finger at and say it is because of you and that it is
because of you, it is because of them.. It is all because of you. Life.

It is life that I have ran from it is life that I run to.. it is here that
I am able to let it all hang out... From all the wild animals that have
crossed my path or directed me to another path, it is some of the
visionaries that have spoken to me, it is some of the guides that have
instructed me, it is my past it is my present it is my destiny to say I am
seeing I am listening I am aware of what had been missing for my many
years on this journey.. It is now at the end of one year and the beginning
of a new year. That I sit here and think about it all

Over the course of 2009: In this blog:

I have shown you my world I have opened up my doors and let you absorb my
life...While with me we have felt the breezes on top of mountains, we have
been lost under a canopy of the stars in the middle of the desert, we have
seen the bright lights from above, we have shared meals, we have enjoyed
the quiet times walking in the rain or spotting double rainbows

For now I know you as you know me.. It is going to be the best year
ever... It is going to be a lot more work a lot more stories, it is going to over flow with details and our new experiences...It is OUR year to shine to prosper it is this new year in 2010 that will begin with a bang and continue until........... Until the next post's..

Wishing you all a Happy and healthy New Year!

December 17, 2009

Easy does it... Food, drinks and more food!

I learned my lesson about eating and drinking too much of a good thing!

Easy does it.. The St. James Resort Antigua, The Galley Bay Resort Antigua and The Verandah Resort Antigua

December 12, 2009

Skin Inc Cover images for November and December Issues......

The best way to end the 2009 year.... Is to be blessed with 2 covers on Skin Inc Magazine!
Cover Photograph by Steve Levine / Steady70 Shot on Location at The Reserva Conchal Club and Resort in Costa Rica. Skin Inc. Magazine November 2009

Skin Inc Magazine December 2009
Cover Photograph by Steve Levine / Steady70 Shot on Location in Cancun Mexico
at Le Méridien Cancun Resort & Spa

November 9, 2009

Antigua was well worth the Wait!

Antigua! It has been a long time since I have posted…

Antigua........The Pristine beaches-three amazing resorts- 16 days of shooting seven days of editing and I still dream about walking on those beaches at sunrise feeling my feet touch the water-chilled sand. It is my foot prints that stretch along the shore line as far as my eyes or camera lens can see. It is here at dawn that on this day I get spoiled with seven rainbows and two that were double rainbows; where for an entire day two birds followed me in and out of villas and as doors opened and closed the birds entered and left; where even a sunset on a distant road became littered with a flock of donkeys. One of the donkeys seemed to have a bolt of sun light following his head as he moved to inspect me. Right between his ears this sun ray ran right along his ears onto the side of the road as I walked right up the sunbeam and it ran into the lens of my camera and in perfect site of Mr. Donkey.

The reason for this trip is simple… it is because of Elite Island Resorts that I had the pleasure of being on this project and in touch with nature.
With the help of my crew number one assistant Tabby, the girls- Colleen, Veronica, Erin my re-toucher Mary. Tipping my hat to the countless other teams at each of the resorts including The Galley Bay, The Verandah and the St. James’s Resort- the results were spectacular and mother nature held out and gave us one amazing test of willpower and excitement over the course of our assignment.

October 12, 2009

So much more to explore!

After all the things I have been able to accomplish so far in such a short time. I am enthusiastic as to what is waiting for me........

Here a few shots from my recent past assignments that propel me further into thinking about where my next destination is going to be……

October 10, 2009

39 in Cedar Rapids Iowa

A Saturday morning image search for a client has lead me back to my past birthday in Cedar Rapids Iowa. I remember some great art, I remember tequila, I remember we were walking a lot, I remember stopping at so many bars that it became a crawl, I remember the last bar we were in I recall it was the bar that was holding me up. I remember there was a major electrical fire in a building; I remember walking in circles with Erin and we not could find our way back to the hotel ….. I now remember even less now but I do have a few images.

October 8, 2009

Under painted line 2009‏~ New lines New Directions

"Under The Painted Line" was and still is my favorite of all the projects I have pursued. It started six years ago in New York City while I was working for another photographer at a commercial studio. The focus was how to deal with life, insecurities, emotions, moods, feelings and interpretations of those such feelings or issues. It started on the set of a very high-end fashion shoot. The models there were fighting amongst themselves and immediately revealed all of their strengths and insecurities which had quickly escalated and corrupted the shoot environment.

What started out as an argument between two models lead to the first part of one of the most precious continued bodies of work I embarked on.
During the duration of my entire photography career I still consider this shoot as one of the most trying times that I have had to deal with.
Life or death.. To have or to have not. A chain reaction of what could be, could have been, or might still be. Young girls and pregnancy: On this shoot I was able to capture, with the help of a make-up artist, a shoot that centers on the internal struggle of the decision making process inside of the body of the girl. To keep the child or not to... That battle rages inside the many girls I have interviewed at a Planned Parenthood Center here in South Florida.

Despite each person's situation and decision I came away with knowing that something has to change.......................

October 4, 2009

After the completion of Fairmont Hot Springs resort

Back in August I completed an assignment in Fairmont, Montana. 6 Weeks have past and after going through all the keepers for Fairmont Hot Springs resort they have chosen their selections and they have been retouched and submitted. From the bright orange and purple blues that blended with greens and the whites of the mountains whether it was sunrise or sunset that beauty of those colors that mingled is...... More to come in the winter I was asked to return for a winter shoot!

I am now able to move onto the production of my next assignment in which is taking me to and my assistant to Antigua for a 17 day shoot! Details to follow..

September 28, 2009

""For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People""

City boy turns to open road and finds the love of nature, wild animals, lighting storms, sunrises, sunsets and getting lost in Yellowstone National Park from sunrise to sunset.

Three days in and around Yellowstone National Park. Walking, driving, and running into and away from moose, bears, elk, bison and then jumping into the water just above the Upper Falls to cool down. But in the few hours that I was driving, walking or sitting I was able to digest what was in front, what was around and what is truly special about Yellowstone National Park. Here are a few of the experiences that I was able to capture while in Yellowstone National Park. Here images speak much louder than words and here images are nothing compared to being surrounded by mountains under the canopy of the clouds and warming up my body in the sun. I am merely nothing in comparison to this.

September 23, 2009

Lewis and Clarke in Indiana.. No wait it is Steve and Erin on a beach in Indiana

Getting lost is a good thing… Well if you have time to kill…

Erin and I got lost in Indiana on our way to a job just outside Yellowstone National Park. We decided to take the longest route possible to my assignment in Livingston, Montana… The best route was route 20 West; we left New York after zig zagging up and down and over crossing into Canada under Niagara Falls and then heading back down through route 20 West and we drove at sunrise, at sunset, at night with no cares in the world, we had 6 days to just.. just beeeeee free…. When we left we knew it was going to be a cool ride and slowly we drove stopping every three minutes or so to take a picture or just go down a road because the name rolled off our tongues as we passed it. One of these days we were in Indiana just being….. passing farms, cool old antique stores, mom n' pop food stands, lemonade stands, peanuts, corn, strawberries, eggs, bread, cheese, cars, tractors, gas stations….everything on this route was for sale; everything but the children…(We have seen a sign at a car dealership that read: “”We will take anything in trade except your kids”” That is another story for another day)

Today, we are in Indiana passing some of America's greenest pastures and towns that could be nominated as the town with the most churches or chemical plants in it. Then there is something that seems lost in Indiana or misplaced like something that was created by some affluent billionaire and like a child that got bored with his toy, just left it for whom ever.. On that day we found an amazing oasis right smack in the middle of where ever we were in Indiana. We find the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Beach… Say what…. sand dunes in Indiana…. A beach in Indiana…Sand….. Beach… Indiana?…No F***ing way! We pull over and Preeta the dog starts to climb out the window and we all exit the car leaving our flip flops in the car as we hustle down a rocky path through someone’s back yard and then over the rock piles or" wishing spots" as I have come to know them. I have noticed them in Costa Rica, Aruba, San Fran and a few other exotic destinations but umm... this is Indiana. As I approach the wishing spots the sand is some of the smoothest, finest, coolest to the touch, lightest, extra fine sand that ever rolled off my toes... and my fingers when I went to feel it. Indiana… I am in Indiana…Yes I am … As I look off into the distance along the lake there is another site…. Either a chemical plant or a water treatment plant or some other industrial plant that takes this oasis like dream away and brings me back to reality and why we are the only ones on the beach. Why it feels like someone just left this place…

The memories of Philipsburg show there faces in Miami...

Weeks after Leaving Montana... .The memories of Philipsburg

It has been almost a month since I have returned to Miami Beach and as I walk my dog and my girlfriend holds onto my arm and then slides down to my hand, we joss around thinking how we used to have to wear a sweatshirt or sneakers as we walked through the chill of the night air. We had stopped many times while walking around in Philipsburg to say hello to the townspeople, to look at the brilliant stars, or just to run into a bar to grab a shot to cut the cold. On the many occasions of the late night walks or early morning walks that we went on there seemed to be a voice that would come out of no where with a hello, a good morning, a good evening or do you have time for a joke, a smoke, a drink.

Tonight on Miami Beach it is 87 degrees, there are no stars, no chill of the cold breeze, no sound of the leaves rustling in the background. But as we are walking under the droplets of rain some of our recent acquaintances words or accents or jokes arise in our talking and bring back the ever welcoming community of P-Burg… Where some of the coolest nights Erin and I spent just happened on these long walks at night in the mountains of Montana in the belly of the summer during the month of August:

September 17, 2009

Found but not lost images from a funny moment on a shoot for Mallett Inc.

One of those days that I thought death was going to descend on me and thinking that the cold dirt would keep me warm … Working with one of the most respected Antique Dealers in the world, I almost died working under a one of kind antique Amber Glass 18 Branch Chandelier by Venini, hand blown glass chandelier that had a arms that spanned almost 6 feet in diameter. The story goes like this...

I will skip the details of how I got the assignment or what it was for and all the other glories of getting a job… The start of it was when I was heading in a cab to meet the team and I realized that I was not going to be shooting on Madison Avenue but in Queens at a warehouse…. Yes that is where this one of kind antique Amber Glass 18 Branch Chandelier by Venini that had arms that spanned almost 6 feet in diameter was resting in a giant crate before it was scheduled to be shipped to a buyer.
Well, running late or later than late since traffic over the 59th street Bridge was brutal my cabbie was irate yelling that he is going to run out of gas and whatever else he was yelling in his native tongue. So lying in a box waiting upon my arrival was the Chandelier. The warehouse chief and his two helpers along with the team from the Antique store are waiting to unpack the Chandelier and then put it together after wiring it and testing it. The next phase would be how and where we are going to hang her..

I arrive at a secure vault-like warehouse with all my equipment and a 9 foot, white seemless roll of paper which has been hanging out the front window of my cab. Exiting the cab and entering into the building I am greeted by a security guard asking me for my ID. I Follow the guy through two monster doors. I am now in an old meat-locker sized elevator that could hold two 4-door sedans and we're heading up to the 4th floor. Somewhere in the maze of triple-lock doors, security cameras and hidden vaults is where they keep some of the worlds rarest items for socialites, celebrities, investors and antiques dealers. I am walking behind my elevator operator and personal security guard, Jessy from Ireland around this maze of vaults… Somewhere in the back I see a door that is open and I hear English, Irish and/or Scottish accents as I enter. A group of workers have rigged up the base of the Chandelier between two ladders and I notice that this is going to be a longer day then I could have expected. As the workers are assembling the base to a ladder and a rig from the ceiling, I see one guy has begun to put the octopus tentacle-sized arms on. The electrician is testing the wires and the light bulbs in the distance. I begin to ask where this area is that we are going to hang the Chandelier because this area is only 7 feet wide while the rest of the vault is 25 feet by 19 feet; we are going to need space behind it and around it so we can hang a white backdrop to cover or camouflage the floor to ceiling art racks which are filled with paintings that are covered in sealed crates along with other unknown covered and impeccably labeled treasures. Fast forwarding to the three different riggings, two hours setting up the Amber Glass 18 Branch Chandelier along with replacing the bulbs, the removing of finger prints on the glass another 2 hours, three hours of telling two guys to hold the Chandelier steady and then have them quickly remove fingers and duck the Chandelier in between the two 12-foot ladders as I press the shutter each time. Watching the Chandelier shake, rattle and move as the ladders were kicked, knocked into or just moved with the building when the trains pass on the tracks. It is dark outside and 12 hours later I am waiting to for my car service.

I have since refrained from shooting objects made out of glass that are larger than five feet tall or five feet wide or both. I will never let anything over a $100,000 swing from a ceiling’s cross bar or held steady and upright with ladders. And most important I have learned never never never take no for an answer from anyone that tries to walk under something hanging from ceiling’s cross bar and held steady and upright with ladders and two guys. Drum roll please for the biggggggest of big lessons of all: You can never have too much insurance on any job… Big or small

Mallett Inc. is one of the oldest antique stores in London and they also have a large presence here on Madison Avenue in New York City. Mallett Inc. is a dealer of rare English and Continental furniture, paintings and decorative objects.

The Amber Glass 18 Branch Chandelier was the last antique I recall shooting.

Cheers to the Brits!

September 12, 2009

Random gas stops turns into trespassing in “South of the Border”

Random gas stops turns into trespassing in “South of the Border” and a picnic not in Mexico but in South Carolina. After heading up to NYC and back down to Miami so many times, up and down the East coast I can barely remember anything more. Like so many other times when driving and seeing endless nothing for hours you finally get a glance at something! Well this is one of those times when I noticed something cool or odd about an abandoned hotel/motel while driving 80 mph on I-95 North. Seeing out of the corner of my eye was an abandoned playground’s old see-saw and a stubby rusted slide alongside a set of chain-linked swings secluded and with no seats. A long stare later and I return my eyes to the empty road off into the distance; I see an exit.

With or without a map, any road will get you there, to this place where I am now with Erin and the dog, Preeta. We are driving over a curb and up a road where someone had driven before us through the locked gate and left only pieces of its remains. Posted next to where it used to stand is a hand written sign: No Trespassing, No Stopping, No Idling, No Camping, No Parking…

Once again we are on the other side of the No To Entry, No To Trespassing, No To Parking. We are in the middle of this small village with a few lost stores, a hotel, a restaurant, and an old liquor store. Slowly we are entering a road between the gas station and a motel.

Tall grass lines a dirt road that leads us to a grass driveway and takes us straight to the base of an “erector set” type of a playground. Surrounding it is this deserted, semi-grand 100 room, two story family hotel /motel. It was called “The Family Inn of America” which now lies dormant, broken and shattered leaving behind only this huge playground and an oversized pool now green and half filled. Nearby, almost every single guest room window has been blown out. We start to take it all in and walk around. Our foot steps echo against the walls and in the distance I can hear the familiar sound of semi-trucks rumble past. We are alone, we are hungry, and we are going to run around like to two kids… climbing, swinging and yelling as we slide down the slide, we are kids again and our picnic can wait.

September 9, 2009

Part of the experience or traveling on assignment! Time to and from..

My many assignments have taken me:::::

While sightseeing and getting lost in America I have seen many things, thought very strongly one way and ended up believing in a totally different way after leaving. After traveling around the world and through out the USA I was taught many of life’s lessons and I am now a firm believer that we are doing something very wrong…

The wonders are not so new but friends in the sky:

Camera’s on almost ever street corner and cameras in almost every business. While these cameras are busy watching us, the corporations, the government, the senators in congress continue to pollute the waters, power plants continue to pollute the air and the senators are polluting the soil that we are planting our seeds in. In an attempt to bring some awareness to words like "organic", "pure" or "all-natural" I will ask you does a field worker in a field picking strawberries under a backdrop of a nuclear power plant sound "Pure, All-Natural or Organic" when 24 hours a day one, if not both towers are running and feeding clean chemicals into the air? Or, farmers growing organic veggies next to a water and sewage processing plant and shipping half dead or almost dead animals to slaughter? Most genetically altereded and processed seeds end up as either grain for dairy cows (yummy milk), or flavor-injected, colored beef (delicious), and lastly the fattier yet somehow healthier turkey's. The list is endless….

What is not endless is the pain of trying to pronounce the new forms of cancers, those new forms of "yet to be named" diseases that seem to hit someone we know. The "it" is a very rare form of cancer and after your so-called diagnosis you get a statistic of 1 in every blah blah.

What is important is that there is a new drug out on the market that treats, cures, or numbs every known or not yet known medical condition. The only problem is that you get 10 different conditions or ailments as a side effect of that medication.

So I am asking this question. If the government is watching us, who is Mother Nature watching? Are we going to only be left with photographs and painting of what once was...

September 6, 2009

Carl's Patio Shoot for Hearth and Home Magazine

A few months ago prior to my second road trip out west I had the pleasure of working with the team at 'Hearth and Home Magazine' again. I was called upon to shoot a story about Carl's Patio Furniture. The 12-part series titled "Shops That POP" focused on visual merchandising and store design and Carl's Patio Furniture Store was selected to be showcased in this series.

The cover of Skin Inc Magazine September 2009

The cover of Skin Inc. Magazine September 2009: Continuing my relationship with Allured Business Media and Skin Inc.

September 5, 2009

Back on Miami Beach with the crew of We Love Colors

Returning back to Miami to work with my friends at We Love Colors on a 2 day shoot I have been working with them for 4 years. These types of shoots are always so much fun that the time flies by and where structure is a loose term for everything except for the weather and of course permits. It is one of the coolest things about working with the team at WLC they make it very easy to work with.

We had the permits but we did not have Mother Nature’s approval as she brought in thunder clouds and hid the sun at sunrise and for almost for 2 days of the entire shoot. At any point through out the shoot the sound of crackling thunder would echo around us. On our last shot of day 1 on the beach hiding behind a lifeguard booth sand was swirling around tower the dark clouds moved in. I had maybe 3 minutes at best before… I clicked the shutter 5,4,3,2,1 snap snap snap and then it was that quick… it started to rain not a sprinkle not a few drop of rain but the heaviest of heavy poured on us The only thing I could do was grab for a bag, grab for a towel grab for anything aside from my shirt I could use to hide my camera.. A towel, my hat, a plastic bag, my reflector… first sheltering my camera in my hat then grabbing a towel, then finding a shopping bag full of once cold water bottles dumping them out, then finally after digging through a pile of clothes hidden from the rain sheltered from the sand finally my bag…. It poured on us in for 3 directions: straight down, in from the right, and across to the left….. And I ran as fast as a wounded horse over the wet sand through the rain and my now covered camera bag. I ran all the way to the nearest building which just so happened to be the public bathrooms, the funny thing was it was conditioned. After spending all day in 98 degrees heat I was now in the public bathroom where I am soaking wet and the A/C temperature must have been around 70 degrees … A week later my nose is still running and I have a head cold….

August 31, 2009

From happiness of life to the struggles of Life....August 31st 2009

From happiness of life to the struggles of all the farmers, bankers, truckers, doctors, but worst of all the animals such as fox, bear, beaver, raccoons, bobcats, mountain lions, wolves, rams, bison, and moose that hang from dress racks and are covered by a huge tent just along the side of the road.

While on my way back to Cody, Wyoming I had the pleasure or misfortune of stopping in Bridger, Montana at a local market called The Bridger Fur Company which has stood in Montana for over a hundred years working or trading as fur traders to the local and those passing through.

Les and Maybelle have been working there for over 50 years and married for 60 years. I do not believe in fur or the fur culture but here it was. Starring off at the hundreds of hanging skins, hanging heads, life-sized stuffed animals. This is no zoo, this is a trophy shack at best. I started shooting pictures of the place when I got introduced to Les and Maybelle asking what I was doing. I made a few jokes about life and explained I was working on a story about local culture and how the economy is affecting both the local trade and the tourist trade and wanted to see if I could ask them some questions. I was in asking questions and Les began showing me the best furs as he was telling about his best hunting stories but most of the time he was joking around about his uppity clients. In the land of the rich and famous the lewd and crude comes some of the funniest stories of Californiaians! Whether celebrity or other the people of the west coast take the cake. The bargaining, the bitching, the shipping, as it was told a movie producer client could not risk flying into LAX with 5 boxes of bear, moose and fox skins for his mistress’s home. It would be rude to get caught with all these furs and have to explain to your vegan /animal rights activist wife that these are not a sick joke for you but these furs are for my mistress…..

I am not here to make a stand but there are better ways to spend money… This is the Wild West, still. Where wolfs and coyotes are slaughtered and where cows have the right of way. Where a one light town meets a local private poster of speed signs posting messages to tourists that read “What about 25 M.P.H. DON’T you Understand?!” A place where skoal chewers and beer drinkers out number the tourists, and humans only being out numbered by the cattle or horses.

I loved Montana and Wyoming, I loved almost all the local beers that I tried and there were a lot…. The food: after eating at some of the best restaurants and at some of the dirtiest road side out house types of stands I can honestly say that the steaks and chops and burgers had been some of the best tasting flavors that I ever had.
But getting back to “From Happiness of life to the struggles of”, Struggles of what I am still attempting to figure out. Without water there are no crops, without gas we would have to figure out how to get to work, without nature there would be no nurture, without pain there is no pleasure, without all these hardships to make us think bigger, work more efficient, focus more on the needs and not the wants. Understand you are not special, you are not supposed to be anything more than who you are now.. Your destiny was then, your destiny is now and your destiny will be in the future….Your Destiny….. My destiny….Our destiny is just that….

August 30, 2009

Happiness for me is being on the road!

I work humbly on the many types of assignments that come my way. Creating these experiences into reality. The roads have been and leading up to signs that read: follow your dreams, scoop your poop or warning this is bear country, enter at your own risk or the road that I am on I see spider webs of lightening streaming in the sky. Watching just as a flash of a lighting bolt comes down and then I notice a burning tree that stands over 300 feet in the air burning. This road ends ahead and the many others that prevented me from traveling forward such as the nuclear power plant in Ohio where the road leads through tens of thousands acres of the most groomed, manicured farms that I have ever seen. Miles of corn, potatoes strawberries, tomatoes, and then boom the road ends and 2 huge mountain size towers jut out of the landscape. While one farmer is riding a tractor over the strawberry fields in the distance one of the plants towers spews smoke, a colorless and odorless cloud of chemicals into the sky above.

This is America this is my country this is your country of which we all have to take the time to explore our own lands, our own history, our own heritage and only then should you move onto visiting other cities, other countries other destinations. There are so many forgotten roads, lost towns, abundant rural areas that once had a purpose that once had a church following, a Friday night town picnic or movie night or a simple farmers market, but now it is what it is….. Life in America…….

August 29, 2009

Many horses of East Glacier Montana

This blog entry has more to do with one person named Many horses or Mouse to his friends then anything else. It was a day that Erin and I happened upon a decision to go horseback riding at Glacier National Park.

Mouse’s roots are here in East Glacier but his story began over a hundred years ago when his father a native Texan rancher moved his cattle into Montana and leased land from the Native American Indians which mouse’s family still lives on today. He is related to Lewis and Clark and two past presidents of the United States. Although his lease to his lands expired 4 years ago he has no intentions of leaving today nor does the Indian nation intend on giving him another lease. The story of Mouse comes from a chance meeting of a chef named Jonny B who I had met in Livingston Montana a few weeks earlier. He persuaded Erin and I to visit East Glacier National Park we had other plans but as fate has directed me in the past it has directed us where we were going now.

Our detour was just another day our chance meeting was not: Mouse an ex bronco riding champion, cattle rustler, horse thief and from what I had heard a real wild child. At 81 his smile and his stories are as real as the champion belt buckle that keeps his pants up, or the scares on his fingers and the calluses on his hands. His knowledge is un-matched and his sparkle in his eyes still glistens with a threat that he could hurt you. We spoke to him for over an hour we learned much from him and then we booked out ride.

Erin and I ran back to the motel changed and then quickly headed back to meet our guide. We were greeted by Mouse’s son in law who also was a bronco champion, horse trainer and guide, Tony informed us that Mouse would be taking us out into Glacier National Park and through and over the reservation for our tour. Nice I respond and then Tony mentions to us that Mouse never takes out tours or people he rarely spends more then 2 minutes with clients, he barely rides so here we are honored by his presence in awe of what has transpired prior and about to be blown away by more of his stories and sites to come. For the next few hours time stopped and we were in Mouse hands and on his prized horses.

August 25, 2009

Cedar Rapids Iowa: July/ August 2009

Along the way I found myself lost in Iowa and I happened to get lost in a town called Cedar Rapids. While going through my images I am lost for words. I have googled Cedar Rapids Flood to find out more details of the flood and why after a year the affected downtown area is deserted and only a few people have since returned to that part of town. A question for FEMA?...

It is August 2009 over a year has past and very little has changed since the water receded. I lost my count while I was walking around town: All the vacant boarded up homes, the retail stores, the chain restaurants, the vacant lots and a few closed churches. What I did not lose count of were the number of images that I shot……………………

Words to live by: Remember to always "LEAVE ONE FOOT EARLY" [Flood Brochure...]

August 18, 2009

Montana’s Ole time Fiddlers August 2009………

Montana’s Ole time Fiddlers Celebration August 2009………

Once again I had followed the signs that initially lead me to Montana after meeting an art curator in Big Sur a few months ago. She mentioned that her family had a guest ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado called The Boyer YL Ranch which has been a favorite to many prominent and recognized guests since 1926. It is located along the Savery River in Southern Wyoming close to the Colorado border in Wyoming's Historic Dude & Guest Ranch. I was supposed to stay and work with the owners but the timing was off and I was already on my way out west. After emailing other hotels and resorts I did land three unique and amazing jobs in Montana over the past month.

One of which was for the Best Western in Livingston Montana. After completing my final day of shooting for the Best Western hotel, I found myself following a sign that read “The 35th annual Fiddlers celebration turn here”… The road was bumpy with rocks and dirt which lead up to an open grass field filled with campers and tents surrounding it. Off in the distance Erin and I could smell baby back ribs, burgers, hotdogs and a few other unrecognizable scents being cooked. Parking and grabbing my camera I was welcomed by all. The first person to approach us was a guy named Scott, a native New Yorker who had found himself in Montana a few years earlier. Shirtless and a little drunk walking with his dog in tow. Scott took us to the entrance of a huge barn where both doors were removed and the sound of the many guitars, fiddlers and a piano could be heard and seen. We were introduced to all the musicians and then sat down on the tall grass while listening to the music. Welcoming us in were the host and gate keepers of the Fiddlers ho’ down. I was lead behind the musicians and up a set of stairs which used to be an old hay loft. Cindy the sponsor/ host organizer lead me to an open window that overlooked the event and said “have fun, take great pics and don’t fall out of the window” lol…. For over 8 hours I ate and drank in the hot sun while shooting pictures of all participants and musicians that I had the pleasure of watching and meeting. I came away with many new friends, some cool memories, and a few great images. I now have a new respect for folk /country / western music. Although, I will never again in my life experience this type of day all I can say is thank you to the people that made it a One Of A Kind Day!

On a side note…..Erin who knows nothing about folk, western or country music took it upon herself to jump on the piano and jam with the musicians just picking it up as it went… Her childhood lessons paid off and she was the toast of the ho' down and carried the rhythm…..

August 16, 2009

Cody Wyoming The Rodeo Capital of the World

Cody Stampede Rodeo and Cody Nite Rodeo! Saturday August 15th 2009

After meeting Dusty and Timber Tuckness through a friend or new acquaintance named Mary Lou Bunting who is the manager of Zapatas Mexican restaurant in Cody, we had no choice but to go to the Cody Stampede Rodeo & Cody Nite Rodeo although it was a few weeks after we met them.

I had just wrapped up my last assignment in Montana and Erin and I were heading home to Miami via New York City. A slight detour a few last minute adjustments and we were at the gate. Arriving at 7:30 just a half hour to fine our friends…. Running to the gate and hearing that both Dusty and Timber were off this past Saturday night we had spoken to the gate keepers who directed us to Maury the producer.

We explained that we were invited to come experience our first rodeo by way of Dusty and Timber… He replied come on in and enjoy yourselves we had full access to the event. The cold night air only heightened the mood and starting to enter the gate we made our way over the entrance: Where we found some of the rodeo clowns, doing what they do best: treating all the fans to that special entertainment that could not be matched at any circus it can only be found on the circuit of the professional rodeo here in Wyoming! We were allowed to capture images behind the scenes and up in the score box that overlooked the ring…

Meeting most of the rodeo stars, the host, the judges, the score keepers and the handlers of the bulls and the handlers of the bucking horses. Some of the faces are posted here, other who’s faces are obscured by the rain, the motion of the horses that were throwing them off and into the mud of the ring. This was one of the coolest nights on this journey……It was just another crazy night in Wyoming:::::