Snow Day


Photos taken in Astoria and Manhattan during Winter Storm Niko. Select prints available for order here.

Snowy Morning on Ditmars Boulevard


The Walk to the Train

Much Snow

Train, close-up

On the Platform

East 45th Street


Don't Walk

Madison Avenue

Frosted Bike

42nd and Vanderbilt

Under the Trains

Dutch Kills Green

Queensboro Bridge, from Queensboro Plaza pedestrian overpass

Blowing Snow

Lonely Walk

Dead End

Street Crossing in the Snow

Snow Canopy

Trying out iPhone raw shooting and editing with Lightroom for mobile


On Vanderbilt Avenue

Apple recently released an API allowing third party apps to edit "raw" iPhone camera images. In short (and I'm sure at some level I'm butchering this summary), raw editing gives you a lot more room to edit an image's color and exposure. To my eye, the benefits of this are most evident in highlights and shadows. Parts of an image that appear to be blown out in white can be pulled back to show details, and parts of an image that appear to be blackened shadows can be pulled up to show what's there.

I saw that Adobe Lightroom for mobile was highly recommended for trying this out, so I downloaded it earlier this week and took it for a spin. It'll prompt you to sign up for a membership, but you actually don't need to in order to be able to shoot and edit with it.

On 42nd Street (East)

These shots are mostly from around the neighborhood where I work. I tried to keep an eye out for high contrast scenes that could most benefit from raw editing.

Street Crossing

A nice bonus from this experiment was trying out Lightroom for mobile. I had never used it before, but found the interface very easy to use. I think it's going to be my photo editor of choice for times when I want to get a little deeper than what Instagram will let me do.

On 42nd Street (West)

One thought that occurred to me was whether or not raw editing provided an advantage over the iPhone's built-in HDR feature when it comes to dealing with high contrast scenes. I didn't side-by-side this, so it's tough to know, but the answer is probably "it depends". iPhone Life's piece on HDR notes that HDR is not the best tool for capturing shots with lots of motion, since it's knitting together multiple exposures. So in something like the above, where there are people going back and forth, the exposures could overlap poorly and there might be some blur or strange artifacts in the final image.

Morning on Ditmars Boulevard

Parts of the clouds still blow out here, and the vignette I added certainly crunches down the shadows along the edges. But as always on the phone, it's a balance between how much editing work I want to do, and how much time I want to spend on my phone doing it. There's still an "ok, that's good enough" point, and this was it for me with this photo.

Street Crossing on East 42nd

Stitch Bar & Lounge

There's some blurriness here, as the phone's probably taking a longer exposure and I could've done a better job bracing it against the balcony rail.

Overall, I found raw/Lightroom a useful tool, though not one that I'll use every for every iPhone photo. In a lot of scenarios, the built-in Camera app is going to be good enough, and that's faster for me to start up than opening Lightroom and then going to the camera part of the app. I also don't want to get into the habit of building up a large backlog of unedited raw files in the app, as I have enough of that going on in my non-iPhone photo world.

But for times when I'm taking a shot that I know I'm going to want to post, and I want the best version available for editing, then I'll most likely be using this to do it.

New York Comic Con 2014


By coincidence, I finished editing photos from New York Comic Con 2014 shortly after I got home from New York Comic Con 2016.

For more photos, you can jump into the relative future and see my shots from Comic Con 2015 here (for a while, I tried alternating between old photos and new photos while working through my editing backlog).

Transformer Loose in Artist Alley


Guardians of the Galaxy


Sometimes it's the little things.

U.S.S. Reliant model, by Qmx. Shuttle Bay 2 Detail.

The Captain

The Captain

The Batman

One busy foyer.

iPhone 7 series


Every now and then, Timehop will show me a photo I took on my phone five or six years ago. Sometimes I'll be able to remember what in the scene made me take it. I imagine my past self swiping through Instagram filters, finding one that had that "something" and feeling pretty happy with the end result. But looking down at the photo now on a retina display phone, the limitations of the old hardware are evident. There's muddled looking contrast and unsightly digital grain, only slightly disguised by the kitschy filter.

I probably would have a hard time telling the difference between a photo taken on an iPhone 6S and a photo taken on an iPhone 7 (not counting the 7+'s fancy Portrait setting). But these cameras do get incrementally better every year, and per my Timehop example, those improvements are even more evident when skipping generations. So for me, the 5s to the 7 is a big jump.

It would be difficult for me to pinpoint just how much better the 7 is than the 5s short of doing shot by shot comparisons, which would likely drive me bananas. So instead I figured I would instead actively shoot and post on the 7 over the course of a week and see how I felt at the end of it.

For this post, I tried to focus on subjects that would typically catch my attention on the street, as well as a few that might be good for showcasing the new camera (such as the flowers and produce below). As an experiment, I edited in the Photos app rather than Instagram. I'm not in love with the Photos app's editing interface. I like the attempt at simplicity with the master Light and Color sliders, but I found myself almost always digging into the subsliders anyway, which makes for a lot of expanding and collapsing of menus. Things would also often get cumbersome after I cropped an image: I would crop it, and then the image would automatically expand under the top and bottom control bars to the edges of the display. So I'd have to tap the image again so that the bars would disappear and I could see the whole thing. Still, every now and then it's good to shake loose of old habits, so I like to think it pushed me to be a little more purposeful in my edits instead of following my rote Instagram editing routines.

Overall, I'm very happy with how these came out. As has always been the case with phones in recent years, in good conditions, the camera on your phone will do a great job. In more challenging conditions, like nighttime on the street or high contrast environments, things get trickier. But even then I still think they came out well. Rarely did I take a shot that I felt was unusable because of the quality of the image (i.e. it's not you, phone; it's me).

Two other neat things, apparently iOS 10 now allows you to shoot in RAW on third party apps. The f/1.8 aperture is also a nice improvement. I could imagine using a third party app to shoot in aperture priority and attempt to squeeze some nicely bokehed shots out of it. But digging into these features does run counter to the sense of simplicity that I've enjoyed while shooting on my phone this week. I like that I can point my phone at something, take the photo, and feel alright about it, and move on. The fact that it's a phone lowers my expectations on what I ought to be trying to control.

I don't think the iPhone 7 quite beats my GR II, but sooner or later I imagine an iPhone will (just as how the iPhone 7 is likely now at parity, if not better than, my old S90). And of course, the biggest advantage that it has over my GR II or my DSLR is that it is always in my pocket. As photographer Chase Jarvis has said, "the best camera is the one you have with you".

But also, it doesn't hurt when that camera also happens to be really good.


Taxi on Lexington Avenue

On Lexington Avenue, I'll often pull out my phone and try to grab panning shots of cars going by. So as the car comes up, I'll hit the shutter and attempt to move the phone in the same direction as the car while it passes. Hence the blurry background and less blurry car.

Vote Your Conscience

Saw this while I was walking through Noho. Did a quick Google search and found this info on it.


Main Concourse, Grand Central Terminal

This same shot, from the balcony of the Apple Store, is probably taken thousands upon thousands of times per day.


Bus Stop

43rd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue

This needs a bit more contrast, but I wasn't able to get it quite right.


Barber Shop

I really like how the contrast between the cool florescent lights inside and the red neon on the edge of the window. The operator error here, though, is that I think this ought to be a straight shot of the window, with the neon lights lining up with the edges of the photo. I grabbed this as I was walking by, though, and I thought backing up to take that straight shot might be a bit too obvious or awkward with the people right inside.

Under Construction

Again, needs more contrast. This might be due to a filter effect that I applied.


Urbanspace Vanderbilt

This was shot using the Panorama setting. I haven't used Panorama much before, mostly because my old phone was always nearly out of storage.

Always On

For shots of people on the street, I've found that using the volume button as the shutter works best. It's a little less obvious than pressing my thumb to the screen. Also, since the volume button is a physical button, I can keep my thumb on it while looking ahead. The iPhone 7 has image stabilization that supposed to help with blur at low shudder speeds. When shooting like this, though, I'll inevitably get one good shot out of every 10 or more, since usually both myself and my subjects are in motion.


This seems like a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. On the one hand, you don't want to have piss or shit on your doorstep. On the other, having signs and depictions of pissing and shitting on the front of your house probably isn't a great feeling either.

No Trespassing Beyond This Point

Trespass to here; no farther.


Union Square Park

London in Black and White (full series)


The Eye


Great Court

At the London Zoo



Camden Lock

On the Street

Outside the Tower

Crossing Piccadilly Circus

The Sherlock Holmes



Down at the Pub

In the Tube


The HMS Belfast

On the Thames


High Contrast Black and White

Hello from London! My wife and I are presently enjoying our honeymoon, and in anticipation of that, earlier this month I put together the below post in advance (more fun with the Ricoh GR II, this time focusing on street photography using its high contrast black and white setting).

We're still traveling for a few more days, and I've posted a handful of photos from the trip so far on the Facebook page. I'll probably put together a post in a few weeks with other select shots (most likely one with street photography, and another on signs and signage that caught my attention).

Hope you enjoy the below!




Since I post-process just about everything I shoot, I've rarely looked closely at camera reviews' discussions of in-camera JPG processing. But people seem to really like how Ricoh cameras process their black and white JPGs, so I thought I might spend a few days shooting only in the High Contrast Black and White JPG setting, with minimal post-processing. It was tough to keep minimal "minimal"- ultimately I did a lot of cropping and some adjustments to exposure and vignettes. But in the end, the time it took to edit these did turn out to be much shorter because the in-camera JPG processing actually did a pretty good job in the first place.

I don't know if I'll use this approach too often, as giving up the control of working with the full RAW file does feel wrong somehow (If I really like this look, theoretically, I ought to be able to create it in editing anyway). However, I do like the idea of using a filter like this to push me in a different direction than I would have gone if I were starting from scratch, so it will no doubt be a useful tool to shake things up once in a while in the future.

Scooter Man


Work Ahead

Crossing Madison Avenue


On the Job



NYC Marathon 2015

Here are a few shots from the TCS New York City Marathon. My fiancée ran and finished it this past November, completing a grueling 26.2 mile course that touches each of New York City's five boroughs. As a spectator, my own exercise was limited to standing, walking, and in times of great exertion, lightly trotting, as I went from subway to cheering/spectating point back to subway over the course of the day. The marathon is an incredible sight to behold, with waves upon waves of runners pouring through the street and spectators cheering for friends and strangers alike throughout the day. These shots don't quite do justice to the sheer scope of it, but they're at the very least a few of the sights and people that caught my eye that day.  

On the Upper East Side

On the Upper West Side

In Queens, from the Queensboro Plaza elevated subway stop

Runners turning onto the Queensboro Bridge.

In Long Island City

In Brooklyn

On the Upper West Side

In Long Island City

American Flag

On the Street with the Ricoh GR II

The below shots are from my past week and a half of shooting with the Ricoh GR II. Further down is my write up on the camera, but the short version is that it's a great nearly-pocket-sized alternative to carrying around my DSLR.

We See a Deadly Force

On Lexington Avenue

Checking the Map

On 43rd Street

Over the Grand Central

Crossing Vanderbilt Avenue

On 42nd Street

Outside the Grand Hyatt


Reflected Grand Central





My DSLR has done a great job capturing photos and memories. But its biggest shortcoming is its inability to capture memories when I've left it sitting in the closet at home. It's a big camera, and after a long day, it becomes a bit of a pain to carry around. It draws a lot of attention to itself while trying to shoot on the street or take candid photos of family and friends. I have some travel coming up, and it seemed like the perfect time to find a smaller, lighter camera. Before I picked up my first DSLR, I used a Canon S90. It was a great pocket camera, and initially took much better photos than what I could get with my phone. But as I've replaced my phone every few years, that gap had gotten smaller and smaller, to the point where carrying around a separate non-DSLR camera made little sense. In my recent search, I wanted to find a pocket sized camera whose quality would quite literally earn its weight.

Fortunately, in the time since I've bought my 60D, there has been a trend of new fixed lens cameras that are smaller than a DSLR, but offer comparable, if not better, performance. The Fuji x100 seems to have been a big step on this road. Smaller than a DSLR, larger than a pocket camera, no interchangeable lens, but with a beautiful nostalgic design and apparently excellent performance to boot. In part, this is due to its large APS-C sensor, the same size found in DSLRs like my own. Among other things, a large sensor allows for better low light performance and, depending on aperture and focal length, a shallower depth of field (subject-in-focus/background-blurry effect). More recently, there are two models that combine a good bunch of these attributes with what, for my purposes, is a killer feature- the ability to fit in one's pocket.

As of this writing, the two that currently fit that bill are the Fuji x70, released in February 2016, and the Ricoh GR II, released in 2015. For the features that I'm interested in, they are very comparable, with the exception that it seems the x70 has a slight edge in low light performance. I spent hours researching the two of them, and they are so closely matched that I reached a bit of a brick wall insofar as product research on the internet goes. A handful of photographers favored the x70, a handful favored the GR II, yet it seemed none would fault you for picking the other.

I went down to Adorama Camera and spent an amount of hands on time with both of them that was likely very amusing to the obliging sales clerk. I picked up the x70 and fiddled with its knobs and dials. It focused really quickly, and to the extent that I could gauge in the store, took really nice pictures. But my right hand felt oddly cramped cramped around the lens, and the double control ring around the lens felt a bit fiddly. I wanted to fall in love with the x70. I had already had one understated pocket camera in the S90, and I thought I might indulge in a camera with a bit of visual panache. But I picked up the GR II and after about two minutes, it felt like I knew exactly what I was supposed to do, and the shape of the camera informed me exactly how I was supposed to hold it. One handed, with my index finger on a top scroll wheel controlling the aperture, and my thumb on a back wheel controlling the shutter speed. And where the x70 required removing and pocketing the lens cover when preparing to shoot, for GR II I just had to hit a button, the cover would tuck away and the barrel would extend.

And that was it. After over twenty minutes of hemming and hawing, I conceded that the GR II was the one for me.

I kept it in my bag every day so that I could develop a feel for it and get some shots for this post. For street photography, I found that I could hold it down by my side, squeeze the shutter as I pass, and keep moving. The camera's 'Snap Focus' feature is helpful for this as well. A half-press on the shutter before shooting will focus as usual, but a full-press without pause will take a photo at a pre-set focus distance (e.g. 2 meters). I don't have a great sense of spatial relations, or the metric system, and I got many more misses than hits, but I think the camera has enabled me to take shots that I wouldn't have been able to otherwise.

For candids of family and friends, it works quite well. As you might expect, in bright sunlight it performed quite fine. It did fairly well at bars and restaurants, though past a certain point it would struggle (in fairness, probably about the same dim conditions that would challenge my DSLR's autofocus). I was initially pleased at what I'd get at ISO 3200, but on review I found that this was a case of them looking much better on the back of the camera than on the computer screen. Usable, but with just a touch more grain and noise than I'd like, so I reset the maximum auto ISO to 1600. If a GR III came out with better lowlight performance, I'd very much consider trying to resell the GR II and upgrade.

While editing in Aperture, I found myself doing about 1/3 less work than I usually would. Perhaps because I use my iPhone camera so frequently, the GR II's similarly wide 28mm equivalent focal length felt very natural while shooting, and I didn't need to do much cropping. I felt that the inherent color qualities of the GR III were pretty close to my own preferences, and after adjusting exposure, applying a simple S-curve and vignette, I was usually pretty close to a final product.

My DSLR still has its place, and it will continue to be the camera of choice for a lot of what I'd already been using it for. But for the days when its place is the inside of my closet, the GR II will do a great job as a camera that can go almost everywhere.

Ogunquit, Maine

This series is another batch from the time capsule that is my MacBook's hard drive. It's from September 2014, in a beautiful little town on the coast of Maine named Ogunquit.


Perkins Cove

Along the Way

Houses Along the Beach

Solo on the Shore

Careful down there.


Path to the Beach


I was scrambling to find an idea for a photo blog post, and my fiancée made the excellent suggestion of shooting the New York Easter Parade (which, I confess despite living here going on fifteen years, I hadn't even known was a thing). We got on the train, then realized that due to subway work, getting to the parade would involve taking two different trains, walking two avenues over and seven blocks up, spectating/shooting, and then walking back down, over, and taking two trains back.

I intended to soldier on and shoot the parade out of commitment to the cause. Then, after all of 20 seconds of going through that travel route in my head, I got off that train as quickly as I could.

To an extent, I am lazy.

Fortunately, it was a beautiful day, and her alternative suggestion to walk to Astoria Park and take photos of budding flowers and trees around the neighborhood was perfect.


Since I had planned on shooting the parade, I had my 85 mm f/1.8 lens on me.  It was well suited for the change of plans, as closeup of flower-in-focus/background-out-of-focus is something this lens does pretty well. This can get kind of tricky, though- for a flower in a tree, even while out of focus that background can get plenty busy, and the depth of field on the 85 mm can get pretty thin (so in this case, there's some blur in the branch and buds closer to the lens). It is springtime, though, so I feel I ought to include this kind of shot, and out of the ones I had like it, it was my favorite.


Sunday in the Park


I spent a good five minutes or so slowly following this little guy around.

Easter Egg Hunt

There was a sort of Easter fair for kids in the park on Sunday afternoon. We walked to the edge of area, where kids and parents were lined up awaiting the start of an Easter egg hunt. At one point, a bunch more kids ran up to join the line. The hunt had not started yet, but they ran right on through into the field and started grabbing eggs. Seeing the others going ahead of them, the rest of the kids in the line then surged forward and poured into the field, the hunt having de facto started before the whistle had blown.

Too many metaphors came to mind than can be listed here, and the anarchic moment combined with the dust that kicked up gave the whole thing a feeling that bordered on the post-apocalyptic.

I guess I have to add, though, that despite my ominous interpretation of events, the parents and kids did indeed seem to be having a nice time.


Astoria Park is bordered by the East River, so in addition to a spectacular view, you can also see plenty of sea gulls hanging out along the water.




Happy Easter.

My contribution to the Easter table: arranging our mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Peeps around one plastic egg containing Star Wars: The Force Awakens stickers.