Taking Flight in Stony Brook

For several years I’ve enjoyed some quiet time shooting around the Stony Brook Grist Mill on Long Island and captured images of a variety of birds.  Most recently as the spring is coming to an end and the summer begins, I’ve been pointing the long tele (600mm with TC for and effective 900mm) and my latest new acquisition, the D4S at the beautiful Cormorants of the bird sanctuary on the lake.

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Beautiful Double-crested Cormorant takes flight with a twig. © Mike Corrado 2014

As my wife and I have made it habitual to catch sunsets and walk on the beach, heading to the lake will become another new ritual where we get to connect and I get to capture images.  The best of two amazing worlds.  Another fun project to work on and much more to come.

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The bright sky, wingspan and twigs pulled from trees, this creates opportunities to capture incredibly graphic silhouettes. © Mike Corrado 2014

Summer Walks, Summer Talks

It’s been some time that I had some time to add a post on Corrado Blog and what a perfect opportunity to share the first sunset of 2014 that I captured with the D4S while in the company of my wife and son (and of course the beautiful Lady Bella).

West Meadow Beach, Long Island New York Photo © Mike Corrado 2014

West Meadow Beach, Long Island New York Photo © Mike Corrado 2014

This was my first real chance to get out with this amazing camera and capture some images as work, travel and the nasty NY winter made it near impossible. With the 80-400mm NIKKOR in hand, it is evident why all of the legitimate tests and reviews coming in tout the amazing dynamic range that the D4S delivers, along with color quality and high ISO performance. KILLER!!! Can’t wait for the Jones Beach season to kick off!!!

 

Holy Duck!!!

As tough as the winter has been in NY recently, I keep thinking what it’s like in other places where this kind of snow, cold and ice is common like Iceland, and it seems to put things in perspective.  Suggesting that on one of the coldest days of the year with the wind chill factor even comes close to comparing to some of the coldest places in the world is ridiculous but again, put it all in perspective.  I’ll let the image speak for itself and I’m sure this was like a playground for the ducks and it could have been 95-degrees in the summer and it wouldn’t seem to bother them at all. It was KILLING me!!!

© Mike Corrado 2013

The back story is the fun/ridiculous part. It was a windy 18-degrees and I’d been shooting for about an hour and a half.  I went out to tune up with the long glass for a meeting I have later in the week. Like most situations when you’re about to score an image, I was ready to pack it in and head to the warmth of home and my beautiful wife… BAM… The ducks were startled, they started flying off in waves and within seconds I had to turn focus and fire.  I’ll take credit for the aiming the camera and the D4 and lens combo did the rest.

I truly have no clue what startled the flock and it’s impossible to send my gratitude but I was slap-happy none-the-less! With hands that were numb from the knuckles to the tips of my fingers (in gloves) I was working with the D4, 600mm f/4 NIKKOR and the TC-20e III Teleconvertor.

It took about an hour to get the feeling back and the burning sensation to go away in my hands but well worth it for the final photo.

Not much done to the image outside of a crop, slight contrast adjustment and minimal work around the shadows and highlights.  When I pressed the shutter release it instantly reminded me of a conversation I’ve had with my brother in arms Joe McNally.  The feeling of euphoria that you get when you fire the camera and you KNOW that something magical just happened.  I think he refers to it as “The Moment It Clicks”.  

Tommy Lee Project Meets Nikon World

Tommy Lee performs upside-down on his custom roller coaster drum kit at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in September of 2012.

One of the most important things about the images we create is the stories we get to tell about making them.

I’ve been a contributing editor and storyteller for Nikon World Magazine (through the incredible writing and editing of Barry Tannenbaum) for about 18 years. After the amazing remote images captured of Tommy Lee with my partner in crime Steve Heiner during Motley Crue’s concert at Jones Beach last September, Barry crafted an amazing article with details and images approved by the drummer himself.

Click on the link below to read the article on the Nikon Learn and Explore section of Nikon USA!

http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Learn-And-Explore/Article/hcxrzy12/the-edge-drum-circle.html

 

 

Nick “Batso” Maccharoli: Part II

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!!!

A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 17A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 16A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 12A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 5A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 3A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 2A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 24A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 4A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 6A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 7A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 8A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 9A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 10A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 11A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 13A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 14A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 15A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 18A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 1A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 19A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 20A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 22A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 23A Day In The Life of Batso Maccharoli - 25

Batso: Subject of a Lifetime, Friend for Eternity!

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.

Batso Portrait for Animal Rescue WebsiteBatso MaccharoliBatso's Rescue InkaBasto at home in Connecticut_MFC2890.JPGBatso Portrait for Animal Rescue WebsiteBasto at home in Connecticut

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!!!

BIOGRAPHY:

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.

Egrets and Lots of NIKKOR Glass!

Corrado Egret Landing 1.JPGCorrado Egret Landing 2.JPGCorrado Egret Landing 3.JPG

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!

 

The Tommy Lee Project

It’s amazing how many “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunities I’ve had and the most recent was a project with Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, where I had the chance to run remote cameras on his amazing roller coaster drum kit! Armed with a slew of gear including the Nikon D3S and D4 cameras, along with a bunch of lenses to shoot from FOH (front of house) and 16mm Fisheye NIKKORS for the remotes, I was GREAT to go. Of course riding with my partner in crime Steve Heiner, who ran the remotes from the stage, this had to be one of the most amazing shooting experiences I’ve had with setting remote cameras on a drummer’s kit. A special shout of to Robert, Eric of the rest of the CRUE’s crew who made this one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had with a band and a label. Of course without the folks at Live Nation and my great friends Daniel Adair and Barry Kerch, none of this goes down the way it did.

Tommy Lee and a show guest see the crowd from a different point of view! © Mike Corrado 2012

The goal was to capture an image that clearly showed Tommy playing upside down with a clean view of the audience. We got that and then some as one of the other objectives is to try and score an incredible hero image of the talent.

I’ll be building an updated behind the scenes piece soon.
More to come! Enjoy!
Mike