May 13

My Portable Photo Studio for the Airstream

Thought I’d actually show you what I use as my lightweight photo gear when we’re on the road. It’s so nice not to have to lug around my heavy DSLR and a bag full of lenses. This is my setup:


(This stuff is on the top of our regular sized picnic table right now….the Lastolite blue carrying bag is not quite the depth? of the table, for size reference.)

I’ve got my Fuji x100s (16MP, 35mm fixed lens), a Lastolite collapsable background (white, folds up and collapses into that blue zipper bag) that expands to 5ft x 6ft and can easily be leaned up against the side of the trailer if I want a solid background, and a Tamrac light stand bag. In the smaller outer pocket of the bag I keep these:


Two Pocket Wizard Plus X transceivers and one YongNuo YN560-II speedlight (affectionately known as the Kung Pao strobe…learned about this one from David Hobby/Strobist…it’s cheap, it’s manual, and fast recycling). One Pocket Wizard goes in the hot shoe of my x100s and one connects to the speedlight with that curly cord there. The speedlight and its Pocket Wizard then get attached to the platform bracket on top of this Bogen telescoping monopod (which also has an umbrella adapter on it). The umbrella slips into its spot on the adapter and the speedlight lights the subject through it (softening the light). The speedlight is triggered by the Pocket Wizard on my x100s when I press the shutter. Super portable, huh?


So far, I’m extremely happy with the results I’m getting from this little kit!

Apr 13

NY: The Met, The Hudson, but not Top of the Rock

Today Kevin and I walked across Central Park and went to the Met. There were a couple of exhibits we wanted to check out (At War With the Obvious: Photographs by William Eggleston, and After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age). Both were good and interesting, but the total winner for the day was a film we watched in the Met’s Gallery 692 called Street by James Nares (British, born London 1953). It was an hour long and I’d have stayed way longer watching this mesmerizing slow motion view of NY street life. LOVED it.

I’ve embedded a two minute seventeen second clip here that you can also find on the Met’s website here:

Please enable flash to view this media. Download the flash player.

Download the flash player.

After the Met, we took a cab down to Pier 84 and met up with Larra to do the $28 NY Water Taxi ride that we’d wanted to do yesterday.



It left 44th Street and made a few stops on its way around the bottom of the island and over to Brooklyn.


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Then, it did a little side trip out to the Statue of Liberty, where they played (loudly) God Bless America and then New York New York as the boat did a song’s length pass by the statue for one side of the boat, then a song’s length pass for the other side so that everyone could get the appropriate tourist photos without pushing or shoving.

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It was totally cheeseball (the MUSIC! really??) and we all agreed we dug yesterday’s no-nonsense boat ride on the East River Ferry quite a bit better yesterday for $4.

Oh yeah, but next door to the ferry landing is the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, where they have the space shuttle Enterprise, sitting on top of the U.S.S. Intrepid. Normally, the Enterprise is covered with a giant canopy thing, but Sandy blew it away and now it’s just out in the open for everyone to see for free.


We disembarked and headed West to meet up with Ari with the idea we’d go up to the top of Rockefeller Center as soon as it got dark (for another, different view of the city and more tourist photos). We made a stop in H&M on Fifth Avenue for a bit though, and by the time we were finished and it was dark, it was also pouring rain. We abandoned that “go up in something tall” idea and grabbed a cab to head back toward Larra & Ari’s neighborhood where we had a nice dinner and more great conversation at Citrus over on Amsterdam and 75th.

I took some steamy cab window abstracts on the way over.

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Apr 13

NY: Bridges, Grimaldi’s Pizza, East River Ferry


This afternoon we decided we’d try the pizza over at Grimaldi’s, underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. We took the subway down to City Hall and walked across the bridge into Brooklyn, which was not as cool as usual because there’s all this scaffolding up for work being done that obstructed our view a good chunk of the walk across.


A little bit of view, finally:


Grimaldi’s Pizza has great reviews and we kept seeing it listed as some of the best pizza in NY so we decided to try it. It’s very good. And the cannoli was not too shabby either. There’s usually a line out the door, but we got there mid-afternoon so we were seated right away. Not so for the people in line when we left.


grimaldisAfter pizza we walked down to the waterfront and got to Pier 1 just as a water taxi was leaving the dock. We thought it would be cool to do that rather than walk back across the bridge but as we were looking at the routes and times and fares (around the Statue of Liberty, down around the South end of the island and then all the way up to around West 44th, hop-on hop-off for $26), we realized the one we watched leave was the last one of the day. Next door, however, there was the East River Ferry that could take us up the East River to Midtown for four bucks. Arriving/departing in about five minutes. Sold.

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Nice evening to be on the water. We walked down 42nd Street to catch the subway at Times Square and are now back hanging out at Larra & Ari’s place. Another great day. We might go try the water taxi trip tomorrow to get a view of the other side of the island. We might also go up in something tall and take some more pictures. We also might go to the Met to see a couple of exhibits that sounded interesting. We have a lot to do still.

Here’s a street view of the Chrysler Building:

nyc0409-13The little Fuji x100s is keeping up just fine, I’d say.

Apr 13

NY: Canal Street, Little Italy, Maker Bots, and Fish ‘n Chips


(That photo above is not Canal Street. It’s near Larra & Ari’s place before we hopped on the subway.)

Yesterday after we finished up work we took the subway down to Canal Street and wandered around a bit. I really really want to tell you the story of the cloak and dagger adventure we went on that included a whispering Asian woman, block-by-block handoffs to more Asian women, secret doorways, massage parlors, and hidden rooms full of knockoff designer handbags, but I can’t. Bummer too, because it’s a great story.

But here are some photos of our walk through Little Italy and Nolita:




We stopped in at the Maker Bot store in the Village to check out their 3D printers. So cool!



Those are the spools (above) of the plastics that the 3D printers print with. We watched them print some cool bendy bracelets, and then they gave us a couple to take home. I think Kevin has a 3D printer in his future.


After Maker Bot we stopped for another great cup of coffee at Joe – the Art of Coffee. I took this photo right around the corner from the coffee shop and I didn’t focus in time but I love it anyway:


Nice lines:


We met up with Ari for a dinner of fish ‘n chips at A Salt and Battery. We had haddock and pollock and chips  (all sustainable seafood, no trans fats), with a side of fried brussels sprouts and a Stella Artois. Quite good!


Apr 13

NY: Red Rooster Harlem

We went up to Harlem last night to have dinner at Red Rooster. Great spot! We had several snacks from the bar (where there was a killer band playing!!), some fried green tomatoes, jerk chicken, mac’n cheese, fried chicken, and some crazy good sides (coconut yams, crispy plantains). The food was great and the atmosphere was perfect.

Here are some snaps along the way:

subway detail

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Subway detail

subway detail

subway detail

subway detail

In the restroom there was a framed letter from a third grader named Ataliyah that read:

Dear Marcus Samuelson,

Thank you for bring Red Rooster to our community. I really injoyed the potatos and carrtos. They were the best thing I ever had in my life. I hope you come back soon.

Your friend,

Another gorgeous day in New York City.

west side sunset