Monthly Archives: December 2012
A few weeks ago I had a chance to meet up with Nick “Batso” again an we had another amazing time together. I was headed up to the Boston area to pick up my son from college and made a 5 hour pit stop at Batso’s place. We enjoyed some old stories, and a few new ones and had a great day catching up, and of course enjoyed some of his special brew of Chinese tea. I had a chance to follow him to the gym and other places around town while spending time with his dogs Inka and Banjo, shooting the entire time. I came prepared with a D4 and D800 with an assortment of lenses but the go-to NIKKORs were the 24-70mm f/2.8 and the 85mm f/1.4. It felt like the groove I fell into was all about capturing details, tats and special moments along with several gym portraits, images of Nick with his dogs and playing the bass guitar.
The gallery below is just a few of the images we had a chance to create. Enjoy and Happy New Year!!!
As a photographer you live with the fact that you may have only one shot to make images of a subject or person that blows you away. Good or bad you make the best of whatever little opportunity you may have and you run with it. Actually sprint with it would probably be more like it. Then a second opportunity comes along and now you’re feelin’ real LUCKY!!! It just keeps getting better and better and the friendship grows every time you connect.
Nick “Batso” Maccharoli is that person in my world. I met Nick on a shoot when donating shooting time and post production work for the great cause of animal rescue. Nick has dedicated his life to animal rescue and it seems like every time we get together we make some kind of incredible imaging magic. The library of images along with our friendship continues to grow larger and stronger each time we work together. Although time passes quickly we still connect and now, yet again, we get to do it all over. Next week I’ll be spending the day with Batso on the way up to Boston to pick my son up from college for winter break. You can bet I’ll be following him, his dog Inka and new Miniature Pincher with my D4 and D800 everywhere from the gym, to church and around his home! The bonus; I’ll have the great opportunity to take pictures of him playing the bass, that he started learning to play at 78 years old. More important, I get to spend some amazing time with and amazing person.
Here are some facts I’ve pulled off of Batso.com where I’m proud to say many of the images we’ve made together appear. Can’t wait to post the next gallery!!!
Batso was born Nicholas Richard Maccharoli in Bridgeport Connecticut on the 5th of September 1933, and lived in what was called the old yellow mill village. Back then education was not the priority, making money for the large family was. He developed a lifelong love and respect for animals tending livestock when he was young, and at age 12, he had a job in the Barnum & Bailey circus working with the trainers who cared for the lions and tigers that led him into being an animal rescuer today. But not all of his childhood memories are pleasant. He admits his mother would hit him with a broom or tied him to a tree – because she could not control him. At 13, he was sent to a tough all-boys reform school in Connecticut for 1 year of hard labor picking tobacco. He got into trouble there often, fighting all the time, and quit school after the fifth grade. He never learned to properly read or write and basically managed through life as an illiterate.
At 14, he was shown how to hold a hammer and hit metal to learn the AutoBody business. He got into cars, learning how to fix and customize them. He says he could feel how much paint or lead to apply, trusting his intuition over standard methods of training. Who would have guessed this would lead him to being one of the best custom car creators in the automobile industry. He’s still in love with cars, especially the ones he customized for himself – a 1957 Ford convertible that says “Calling All Angels,” a 1950 Ford with a King Tut theme, and a 1951 Ford that he calls the Bat’s Revenge with bat-shaped parking lights and a front grill that resembles teeth. His artistic ability goes beyond auto body and onto his own body in the form of skin art.
Batso is tattooed from head to foot. Some of his unique pieces include a replica of his Bats Revenge car, a spider web in one ear, a snake in the other, a bat in flight on the back of his head and a Buddha on top. His art is from some of the worlds best tattoo artists such as Nomad, Crow, and Zee in the United States to tattoo Gery of Austria. Batso was perhaps the most recognizable of the Rescue Ink crew because of his myriad of tattoos.
Batso was considered Rescue Ink’s “spiritual father.” He is first-generation Italian-American but has assimilated Eastern culture and traditions into his life. With his Fu Manchu pigtail and penetrating eyes, his outwardly appearance is like a Mongolian warrior yet on the inside is a tenderness ability to sense things with animals. He can feel their energy and connect with their pain or their happiness. After losing one of his sons to Lou Gehrig’s disease, he is committed to living a full life and achieving new goals, like overcoming illiteracy, pulling a car with his neck at age 80, and devoting his life to helping people and animals whenever and wherever he can, in his own unique way.
Batso has an outgoing personality and is a real showman. At any gathering he is the center of attention. It is not unusual that people stop him on the street just to talk to him or to take his picture because they find him interesting. His individuality made him a celebrity in various multimedia and has received trophies for his many achievements.
One of the cool things I get to do is write and shoot for Nikon World Magazine. With that comes the task of editing and thus being tagged as one of the contributing editors of the publication. Totally one of the jobs I really enjoy. Of course, without a great writer and editor like Barry Tannenbaum, I’d be lost a bit.
In the last issue of the magazine a story came my way that I was asked to make some pictures for. If you’ve researched some of the great things that the D4 and D800 do you’ll note that one of the major improvements is that the threshold for AF was improved by one stop from f/5.6 to f/8. Why is this so important? Because it means that long lenses with a maxim aperture of f/4 can now take full advantage of the D4 and D800′s incredible AF performance with all of the Nikon teleconverters including the TC-20e III.
So, as you have probably figured, the assignment was to make pictures for the article to demonstrate these great abilities with full AF performance. Not being shy, I figured I would go for the gusto so I grabbed the D4, 600mm f/4 NIKKOR and the TC-20e III and headed to a lake in Stony Brook one of my favorite birds, the beautiful Egret, hang in groups frequently. On this day in mid-July I got lucky again and remember seeing about 30 of these incredible birds when I pulled up. It wasn’t long before I got my feet wet and finger warn and started firing my D4 like a maniac.
Anyone that has ever photographed wildlife, especially birds has learned the virtue of patience. With preparation and opportunity coming together and the bi-product is LUCK, I was more and more impressed with every shutter click. In fact, at times, the combination of 1200mm of lens was too much focal length and that is, in no way, shape or form a complaint. In these three images of one of the Egrets coming in for a landing, the AF performance was right on. Very little crop or editing needed.
In a word, AMAZING! So, now my addiction to these wonderful NIKKOR long tele lenses has grown even more. Go figure!