Friday, February 29, 2008

Big Gift for Stony Brook University (and I got to be there when the presents were unwrapped)

One of the cool things about being a photographer is that you get to go to really special events.  Weddings, bar-mitzvahs, family gatherings, and occasionally, the unveiling of something really big.

The other day I was asked to photograph a press conference that would unveil the largest gift ever given to a SUNY school, a $60 million that includes a building and endowment from a local hedge fund wizard and former Stony Brook professor, James Simons.  To announce the new Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, they held a press conference at the Manhattan campus (Woo-hoo!  A trip to the city for me!) and invited Governor Eliot Spitzer, and some notable SB alums, including the CEO of IMAX and some math professors to explain exactly what this new center will study (I'm still confused).  It was pretty cool to see how a wealthy man gives back to his community in a big way.

Now on to the photos...

Happily, I can now say I've had a photo on the masthead of the university's website.  Unfortunately, because it was rather hectic and the Governor was running late for his next gig and so things were getting rushed, the photo isn't one of my greats.  Far from it.  It wasn't so much posed, more me grasping out with my camera to hopefully get some people in frame, and not blinking or making faces.  You can see how successful I was at that...

Before the event, Stony Brook University President Kenny looks mighty pleased about the forthcoming announcement.

Governor Spitzer looking gubernatorial.

Imax CEO and SB alum Rich Gelfond introducing President Kenny

The Governor looking happy to be surrounded by lots of Stony Brook branding.

Jim Simons and his wife Marilyn announcing their gift and reminiscing about their time at Stony Brook.

Jim Simons at the mic.

President Kenny, Gov. Spitzer, Richard Nasti Marilyn and Jim Simons unveiling the new Simons Center for Geometry and Physics.

Dr. Simons happy to give his money to a good cause.

Jim and Marilyn Simons happy at the end of a great event.

If you want to know more, visit .

Thanks for your kind attention.  ;)


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Snow Day!

Well, this is a couple days late, but I had to post these.

Friday was just a really sweet day - my wife's work was cancelled due to snow, so we took a snow day!

It was fun, practiced some winter driving skills, made a snow man (Morris, who wasn't looking so hot today, or maybe that was the problem), and built a fire.

Such simple pleasures, huh?

Thanks for tuning in, take care, bye4now.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Many Faces of Stacy

While I was back in Chicago last weekend, I had the opportunity to take some headshots for a co-worker of my friend Orlando, Stacy Coyne.  She's an aspiring actress, and I think she has the goods.  She can really just change her entire emotion and character by practically just tilting her head.  And she was a real trooper, braving the cold, wind, icy ground, and rain to get some really beautiful natural light.  Cloudy, miserable days are just always full of such yummy light!


Visiting Emilie

A couple of weeks ago, I posted that my friends Josh and Caisie welcomed a baby girl, Emilie, to their lives and the world.  Last weekend I finally was able to go and check her out for myself, and she's the real deal.
Emilie with her mom, Caisie
Waiting to be swaddled for naptime.
Emilie with "Uncle" Orlando
Naptime... again...
Emilie with her dad, Josh.
"Uncle" Sam (me!) with Emilie.
Is that a smile?  Or is it gas?  Either way, she's taking after her dad here.  ;)
Happy Growing Family
Yawn!  Looking cute is hard work!
Two weeks old and she can already glare at me with the same intensity that my wife can.
Emilie with Grandma Holly

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Back in Action... or something like that...

When I was back in Chicago, one of my favorite things to do was to shoot for Northwestern University. I mostly shot for their engineering department, which meant lots of crazy microscopes, solar cars, people building things in workshops, and trying to get people who would much rather be saving the world through science than let you take their photo, to, well, help you make a picture. It was always a great challenge to walk into a room that you've never seen before, setup some sort of lighting scheme, take the photo, and break everything down in about fifteen minutes. It's why I feel absolutely head over heels in love with my little Nikon Speedlights and the little footie things that come with them, because I could sneak them wherever and get some nice shots, without having to take up too much time, and most of all, take up too much space with cumbersome equipment in labs that were never quite spacious.

Anywho, on to the point. A couple of weeks ago, I contacted the art director at Stony Brook University, Karen, and sat down with her and all but begged and pleaded for some work out here in Long Island. She normally has someone come in from the city to shoot for her, and I was truly humbled by that person's work. She really kicks my ass backwards and forwards as far as skill and talent and all of those things. But I was able to make a deal with Karen where I would be able to come in on an hourly basis, because I live so close, and, well, sometimes I drive my wife into work anyways, so I'd be around. And I can use Lindsey's inter-office mail and everything to deliver things to Karen, so we avoid FedEx-ing stuff and all of that good stuff. Karen said she'd keep me in her file, and let me know if something comes up that wouldn't take up a whole day's worth of shooting.

Needless to say, I was very pleased when she called the next day with three upcoming shoots. First we photographed Dr. Maletic-Savatic and her colleagues, who have discovered a non-invasive way to detect the formation of neurons in the brain, which can help determine if someone has autism or other brain dysfunctions.

Next we photographed Dr. Woo, who is new to the hospital, and comes in as an expert in the brain's blood vessels, and has been doing work with special stents that can prevent strokes in patients who experience TIAs.

inally, we photographed Emily Levin, a med student who decided to become a doctor after a rollerblading accident a few years ago that caused her to get run over by a bus. She was basically put back together again (faster, stronger) with titanium rods and the whole bit. You'd never know that anything had happened to her, and she told us that next week, she's going skiing. In fact, she went skiing within a year of her accident. We photographed her in the Clinical Skills Center, a part of the medical school where they have "Standardized Patients," basically actors paid to fake being patients to teach doctors how to be doctors. Our "SP," Gil, has something on the order of four heart attacks a week, amongst other ailments. After photographing Emily at work, we went to the library and shot her studying and posing with books and stuff. Then Karen and I pestered just about every med student in the library. To our great surprise, everyone was game, and we had a great time.

It sure is nice to be working out here on Long Island!

Take care, bye4now.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


One of the fine features of my wife's new job is that I get to tag 

along to all of the social events that she gets invited to. Having 
no real friends of my own yet on Long Island, I latch on to her work
friends and pretend that they're mine too. Which means that mostly,
I get to pretend that I'm an intellectual with all of these heady
professors and PhD candidates and such. And with Lindsey being in
the Political Science department at Stony Brook, and this being
election season, there's a lot to talk about. I like to feel that I
inject the "regular Joe's" perspective on the issues.

Oh right, the subject of this post is supposed to be about the
Superbowl the other night. So, with the perk of getting to tag along
to social events, Lindsey and I went to a small Superbowl gathering
of one of the grad students. I have to say that Lindsey and I are 

not really sports fans. Not that I don't appreciate the skills and
strategy and whatnot of the games, I just have this problem where I
really don't care who wins. But for the sake of trying to blend in
and all, let's say I'm very pleased that the Giants won. After all, 

if memory serves, my alma mater, Highland Park High School, were also
the Giants, so I feel a deep connection here.

The evening was quite an entertaining one. I got to drink good beer; 

watch Tom Petty play; be disturbed that people hold up cell phones
instead of lighters now (fire marshall must be happy, but it's just
lame); and I decided to have one of the grad students, who's
Canadian, explain curling to us. 

Needless to say, I'm still a little


Mazel tov to Josh and Caisie!

I just wanted to congratulate my friends Josh and Caisie on their new
arrival, Emily, who was born on January 30th.

This is a quick snap from Josh's camera phone (thanks Josh!), I'll be
heading down there in a week and a half to see what this little girl
is all about.

For now, I just have to say, wow... it all begins... Josh is the
first of my closest inner circle of friends to become a parent.
While I am certain that he is going through a far more surreal
experience than I am, I have to say, it is very weird to see someone
whom you've known since childhood, become a parent. I guess it's
because I remember what was like to be a kid with him, but there is
also another strange feeling that comes along... The realization
that Josh is the first of my close friends to become a parent. Which
means, of course, that there is the inevitability that more of us
will become parents as well, which, unlike most other significant
life milestones I've yet encountered, does not require some sort of
entrance exam or license.

Anywho, Josh and Caisie, congrats and all of the best in the world.
Emilie, welcome to the world! Now go cause some trouble. ;)