Business Blogs vs a Grain of Salt. )…very wary of what you derive from reading blog posts on business websites.)

Blog Content Providers

Business blogs vs a Grain of salt.

Who can be a blogger? The answer; anyone can be a blogger. However, the crazy part is you can be an expert about anything… or I should say you can appear to be an expert on anything, especially when it comes to business blogs. So, let me say up front this blog post is going to be about the “deceiving world” of business blogging and how a reader should be a little wary (or a lot) about what you’re reading and if the information is legit.

Many people think blogging has “jumped the shark” so-to-speak and “vlogging” is where you should be setting your sights in 2021 and while vlogging is certainly here to stay blogging isn’t going away anytime soon. At least for businesses and I’ll explain why and I’ll give you some facts about what I call “fake business blogging.”

First you must know I am self-proclaimed as the world’s worst blogger but, I still keep at it. My blog (and this post included) is about my photography and the peripheral world around my photography.

For me the virus crisis hit home on Friday March 13, 2020. Aside from my photography, I drive a school bus and I own a small seasonal catering business. On March 13th I was told by the school not to report for work until further notice and that was it. Everything monetary in my life shut down. I still got paid for the next few months from the school but, in Hunterdon County NJ a bus driver’s salary will by you smokes & beer and that’s about it. I rely on my catering first and my photography/videography brings decent side money and sometimes great side money, enough to rival the catering business.

After March 13th there was nothing, zip, zero, zilch, I mean nothing. I was not alone; many people were hurting. However, I’m not one for taking things “lying down” so-to-speak so, I started looking on line trying to scrape up work. I found this place called ‘” that was essentially an online agency for all genres of creative work. Being a photographer and being new to UpWork I found it extremely hard to secure any photography work. I might also add the people posting the jobs on UpWork are looking for creators to work for almost nothing. If you are already a freelance creator you already know what that is like however, UpWork posters drop that bar even lower lol. So, ultimately it is up to you as to how little you’re willing to whore yourself out for. Sometimes in the end you end up more like a cheap slut and just giving yourself away, sounds funny but it is not and I really do not know how else to put it. At one point I was punching models out of backgrounds and replacing with white backgrounds for 25 cents an image. It was for a client in India who was selling garments on Amazon & eBay. You have to be really fast in Photoshop to make any money at all for 25 cents a photo. However, there were times when I would get a $50 editing job here & there and a few video editing jobs that sometimes were over $100 but, not many. UpWork in my opinion is not a great place for finding a quick buck.

Blog Writing… The Great Farse:

After becoming extremely frustrated in not being able to secure photography related work listed on UpWork I started asking around among my friends and acquaintances that were in the same sinking boat that I was in. I have many photographer and creative related friends around the world whom I connect with on the various forms of social media. Most all of us were hurting monetarily and while some had turned to making masks and selling them on Etsy & eBay, it was in one of those conversations that somebody mentioned “blog writing” and I happily chimed in that “I’m the world’s worst blogger” and they all laughed and Chen said she had been getting small jobs writing blog posts for businesses. She said she found them on UpWork and she went on to say that she had just written a few blog posts for a website that makes mostly products for mothers of newborn babies. They made or sold lifestyle products everything from reusables diapers to harness pouches and other things.

Chen, being 19 years old and still in college said she really had no personal knowledge of any of the products she was writing about. Chen is a very smart young lady and is an artist by trade and creates and sells her work in Vancouver where she lives. She went on to tell me that she built a fake writing portfolio that was made up of a little bit of her own work from high school and the rest from writings she had… shall we say acquired (in times of need we all have to do what we have to do). Using that portfolio, she started acquiring jobs listed on UpWork. Now in all fairness the one thing she couldn’t fake was the understanding of writing something so it has SEO (search engine optimization). She had taken an online course last year and it was enough to get her to understand how to structure a blog post.

Is business blog content reliable?

Business Blogs:

Most of us have noticed the “blog” button in the list of pages when we visit business websites. Sometimes we click on the page and we get that notice that says something to the effect of “no content” or the page is blank. However, most times we will find a page that has content about the product or services that the business provides and we just assume that the info that is written there for us to read was put there by someone who in fact has knowledge of the product or service. When in reality in today’s world that couldn’t be further from the truth. The information could have been written by anyone. It could have been written by a person who has no real-world knowledge of the topic and has spent a few minutes Googling the topic and power reading through Wikipedia and then writing a post that is SEO friendly and calling it a day.

SEO. Search Engine optimization. Digital online marketing and Internet technology concept.

The goal of a blog for most businesses is to have a blog page that will have great SEO just for the purpose of driving people there from a Google search. They don’t really care too much about how great the content is, just as long as there is content there and possibly a photo or two. For example, a company that makes mountain climbing gear may have some whimsical content about there products that was put there by someone who hardly ever leaves their computer and has never climbed anything more that the stairs in their house and they’ll include some photos from a stock photo service. How novel it would be if the company actually had blog posts written by someone who actually used the climbing gear and photos and video of them using it in the real-world.

My point:

So, the point I’m making here is the age-old thing that you want to be very wary of what you derive from reading blog posts on business websites. It is certainly no different than content found on medical websites. Having several friends who are doctors in various medical fields (I’m not a doctor at all lol) we have gotten many a good laugh at articles we have seen on legit medical information sites. Now of course this does not mean all blog posts are lacking in quality and not all health & wellness sites have bad information. What it does mean is you really have very little way of legitimizing who wrote the information and posted it there. So, for the past several months when I visit a website, I’ll take a minute and click the blog button just to see what is there and how it is written. If you are an expert on a particular product, topic or service you can often see through the veil. Just the other day I was talking with a mechanic friend of mine. I was at his shop and he running through some motorsport websites that deal with custom racing parts. Just for fun I would have him click on the blog button and sure enough the first site had an empty blog page. The next two sites had what appeared to be legit blogs linked to YouTube videos of their products in action on real race cars. Then there was the fourth site he clicked on that had everything written in general terminology a blog content service provider nd for all intent purposes appeared as if it was written by a “blog content service provider.” Yes, they are out there, for a nominal fee you can have content fabricated for your website or blog that is SEO in hopes of raising your site up that holy grail of Google search results.

As always thank you for reading and have a great day.



MeWe & Me (Imagine if you picked up Time Magazine or an issue of Rolling Stone and all it had was photos with no descriptions or articles.)

1/30 sec at f/8 ISO-200 90mm

We have all captured an amazing or very interesting photo of something. Of course, photography like beauty is very subjective and your interesting photo might not appeal to everyone. For the most part what makes an interesting image capture is one that tells a story in some way form or fashion. Often that story has a very interesting backstory and that will be the topic of this post.

The backstory is always there and in today’s social media it is often overlooked and in fact kind of “not cool” to post. I myself am guilty as charged when it comes to what I post on my Instagram. Nearly everyone of my posts will have what I believe to be an interesting photo followed by a quote of some sort. The quote of course is in someway related to the context of the image. Why do I do this? I’m not really sure but, it just kind of became part of the norm for my IG. I do of course credit anyone associated with the photo such as models or makeup artist and then of course hashtags. Sadly, I rarely tell the backstory when posting to IG. It seemed when I first started to get followers most people would acknowledge the photo with a push of the heart and move on. The only actual comments would come from someone who was involved in the photo, that usually being the model.

It just seemed to me (and maybe I’m wrong) that at least for IG viewers it was more about zipping through their feed and mostly paying attention to the photos… if it is cool it gets a heart and if it doesn’t catch their eye, they just keep swiping up. I kind of get it, I mean today we are inundated with images, I myself being 56 years old look at more photos in one day than I could have ever imaged 20 years ago. When I think about it, it is actually mind numbing and after a while I just get bored swiping up on my IG feed. But I still love photography and I like looking at something interesting.

Often, I will force myself to “slow down” and look more closely at images. If it is a pointless selfie I just move on. However, pretty much anything other than a selfie I will take a moment to really look at the image and many times I think “what is the backstory” to this photo? I look in the description and most times find nothing. Sometimes the post will have a location tag and that offers a little information but I’m still left wondering.

Post to my blog: If I am writing a general blog post I always include at least one photo. after all my blog is about photography. However, the post may be about a general topic of let’s say for example traveling so I will post a very generic travel photo. But, when I do this, I will at least put the camera settings (shutter speed, F/ stop, ISO & focal length) in the photo description. It gives a tiny backstory to the photo. With that said; most of my blog posts are written about the photos and the post itself tell the story of what, when, where and the why about the photos attached to the post. Again, it is a photography blog and what would be the sense of just posting photos without talking about them? But that seems to be the norm with most social media… posting with no real context. Imagine if you picked up Time Magazine or an issue of Rolling Stone and all it had was photos with no descriptions or articles. So, for me seeing photos on social media often leaves me with more questions than answers lol.

New social media: I recently created a profile on and started checking out the various groups. I joined a photography group that was open to photographers of all levels from amateur to professional. So here again I find myself scrolling through photos (mostly amateur) and while some of the photos are interesting on their own because the photo tells a story, I find that other photos might be more interesting if there was some sort of a description or context.

1/80 sec at f/8 ISO 200 55mm

They say “a picture is worth 1000 words” so let’s look at this photo of this man holding a small boy. With no description we are left with… a man holding a boy. One could assume the boy is his child and we see palm leaves, a boat and two chairs in the background. It would be like a slow boat to China trying to find 1000 words from this photo.

1/250 sec at f/3.5 ISO 640 18mm

So, let me also include a photo of the same man walking along this building. This photo is a little more interesting because it has more objects in the photo and we see the whole body of the man. Certainly, with this photo we could come up with a little bit more of a story about this man. However, we are still miles away from knowing the true context of what the photo is really about. And now let me put a little backstory to the images and see if it makes them just a little more interesting.

The man is from Myanmar, he is the only permanent resident and a tiny island in the Gulf of Thailand. The boy is his son who was born on the island. His wife gave birth to the boy on the island with only the help of her husband. The boy has never played with other children and does not speak, although he can speak. In the first image I asked the man if he could pose with his son so I could take a nice photo of him. His wife didn’t want to be photographed. I returned to the island two years later and gave him a print of this photo. It was at this time I captured the second photo. The building in the second image is the house where the three of them live. The opposite side of the island has a few small seasonal resorts however, he resides as a caretaker for a private piece of land on the backside of the island. Maybe I’m jaded because I was there, I captured the photos and I met the man, his wife & son. But still, I think the photos are more interesting with a little bit of context and a backstory.

Back to MeWe: The photography group I joined has a 3 photos per day posting limit and I think that is very fair. As I scroll though the photos I will sometimes stop and ask questions about a photo and every time I will get a reply with info that puts the photo into a better perspective. Most people hare happy to tell you something about their photos but for some reason are reluctant to write at least a short description for the photo.

Conclusion: I get it… without dispute there are some photos that need no description. There are iconic photos (mostly journalistic) that that tell a story just by looking at the content of the image. This is often the talent of the great photographer and… speaking of great (iconic) photographers, look at Joe McNally’s Instagram. Every photo posted has a great description of what you are looking at. Whether it is a description of the lighting technique or a story about the person in the image the viewer comes away with a knowing of what they just looked at. So I will leave at that and say thanks for reading and have a great day.

Photo of The Day (Put Emotions Aside And Stand Your Ground)

One of my early Photoshop composites.

Reckless Pixel Images

Stand Your Ground Stand Your Ground! Model Danny Sturdivant

This photo shoot was a lot of fun, the studio was so cold that morning and poor little Danny was frozen. Then we put her in the emoji outfit and I asked her to start going through different emotions. For a little girl she sure gives a mean-ass look when I asked for “angry.”

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The Autumn Witch (a different Halloween photo shoot)

The Autumn Witch 

Just the mere mention of the word Halloween will conjure up images of witches along with the rising of a full moon on a cold autumn night. Today we often think of the green faced witch with the pointed hat from the story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. However, most of us know that a true witch was something different. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth the image of a witch was depicted as an old wart ridden crone and yet again this could be somewhat misleading. Truth be told witches could have been young or old, rich or poor and ugly or as beautiful as can be. 

In most cases the label “witch” was something that was bestowed upon a female by the society that surrounded her, by the people whom she knew as members of her community, her church, friends and often her own family. It did not take much to acquire the label of being a witch. All you had to be was different, look different, talk different or be able to do something out of the norm such as cure a sickened person with some herbs & wild roots. Being different was truly the key thing that all witches had in common. Sometimes her difference was that she stood strong and she spoke up to be heard above the men. Going against the grain of society could often be a death sentence for a woman of these early times in history.  

While we have all heard the stories of witches being burned to death, many were hanged or died during the torture of an inquisitor. And then there were the few… There are a few incidents in history where accused witches merely perished from the sight never to be seen again. This only added to her guilt and the mystery of her magical powers, when in reality she had just slipped out of town under the cover of the nights darkness and cast herself to a life of solitaire among the forests and the fields.  

So, it is here we find our beautiful Autumn Witch wandering her new found queendom. A queendom she presides over not as a ruler but, as a care taker, for we know the true ruler of the forests & fields is the queen of all queens Mother Nature herself. However, the Autumn Witch will spend her time becoming one with the wildlife and the land of which she dwells. She will bathe in the pure water of the mountain streams and adorn her beauty with that which Mother Nature provides her. Once a witch and now a queen she wears her new found crown with peace, dignity and pride.  Peace and solitude preserve her beauty and allow her inner spirit to grow and glow beyond that of any woman bound by the chains of society’s oppression. Yes, she “is” truly different… with and unbreakable spirit, inner & outer beauty and a mind of her own.










The name says it all… “A different Halloween photo shoot.” 2020 has certainly taken a toll on my photo shoot creativity. Due to restrictions from the virus crisis the budget for a creative photo shoot just did not exist. You can have all the creativity you want however, if there is no budget the creativity will just sit inside your mind and… well, that is about it, it will just sit there. It is kind of like being hungry and having no money for food.  

In January I had set many goals for my photography for 2020. One goal was to achieve an awesome Halloween photo shoot such as I did back in 2016 when I wanted to create a portrait of a clown. The idea was an evil clown walks into a studio to have a photographer create a portrait of him. The shoot had a budget that allowed for a paid model and SFX makeup artist. Without a budget there would have been no makeup and therefore no clown and no shoot. 

The virus crisis killed many people and that is truly the saddest thing about 2020. But there was a lot of collateral damage from the crisis with shutdowns and job loss. My photography business has been almost nothing, other than a few portrait jobs here and there. Certainly, no big jobs like weddings or events. 

As the year was passing by, I watched as many of my goals fall by the wayside and I did not think much about it. As Halloween was approaching, I suffered with the death of a 30-year-old family member who suffered from addiction and then my elderly mother was injured in a fall. Could 2020 be any worse of a year? Yes, actually it, could.  

I had actually told the model whom I been planning on shooting with that I was cancelling all future shoots until further notice. I felt I needed to take a step back and… Then it just hit me, the thought that I was letting it win. “It” being the year 2020 and all the horrible misfortune we have all had to deal with. I’m not a quitter, I have never quit anything. I have been beaten down, beaten up and left a bloody mess by many things in my life and all those beatings have been the result of not quitting.  

So only a few days after telling the model I was cancelling all future shoots, I contact her and contradict myself saying I want to do a shoot. (My whole life has been a contradiction lol.) It would be a Halloween shoot and like 2020 it will be not a normal Halloween shoot. Actually, I had no real idea because in January I had set a goal but had never came up with an idea because Covid hit and everything came to a grinding halt.  

So, I turn to my various places for inspiration. Places like magazines, (remember them) yes, I still subscribe to various magazines like Vanity Fair, Vogue, Cowgirl and more. I also spent hours looking at and Pinterest as well Instagram. I think it was Instagram that I was looking at when I came to the realization that most all Halloween shoots involve makeup, lots of makeup. I found a little money for a budget but, not enough for makeup & wardrobe. So, let’s just go with wardrobe. As for a theme… I just sat there thinking “Halloween” and how many times I see girls dress up as cats & witches. Then It struck me that the typical “Halloween Witch” with the black dress and pointy hat is as far from what a true witch even looked like. And then I remembered years ago reading a book (can’t remember the name) about a girl in medieval times who was accused of being a witch. She never really did any real hocus pocus and her crime was that she was good looking and out spoken. The other women had deemed her an “odd character” because she drew the attention of men, sang to herself and when a child in the village she had been looking after became unexplainably ill… well you know how the story goes after that. She’s different so she must be a witch. Before they could round her up and put her on trial, she disappeared. Her disappearance only confirmed that she must be guilty and confirmed she was in fact a witch. In reality, she had slipped out of town in the middle of the night and lived as an outcast in the forest… and then the story continued on. 

So, there it is, that is my photo shoot idea. It will be a different kind of witch photo shoot because 2020 has been a different kind of year lol.  

As I was putting together all the ideas for the shoot wardrobe, location, shooing date ect… I thought about how today’s society is not much different than that of long ago. Being different always comes with a price tag. Being different comes with scrutiny, labels and judgments. But, being different is what make life exciting.  

Happy Halloween 2020 


Did the Giant Fall?

Did the Giant Fall?

B&H Photo has been my “go to” place for my camera gear for… well, for as long as I can remember. Officially known as B&H Photo & Electronics and located in New York City, B&H in my opinion was the gold standard in online camera gear purchasing. I have to admit I have never actually visited the mecca of “all things camera” however when I needed to purchase anything to do with photography or video B&H is where I would start. Be it something as small as a battery for 1964 Pentax camera or a major purchase of the newly released Blackmagic 6K cinema camera B&H was there for me.

Their website is the gold standard in finding information on almost any product. Like me, many people will use B&H’s website for looking up the specs on a product. Even outdated products will many times still be listed on the website. The product will be marked “discontinued” but the specs and Info are there for anyone to reference from.

Then came the Covid-19 virus crisis and like all things around the world life was severely dampened as we all headed in to a lockdown. With NYC being the epicenter of the virus crisis in the USA it was understandable that B&H would have to close its doors and it did. However, customers could still order online and pick up orders at the side door.

For me it did not take long to see the ripple in service to come racing across the surface.

First let’s go back to how it used to be to order from B&H. Now I will be writing about my own personal experience in shopping and ordering online but I know the experience was very much the same for many people. I live in Hunterdon County New Jersey, I’m located on the westside of NJ about 4 miles from the Delaware River, I can drive to B&H in 1 hour and 10 minutes (with moderate traffic). But, why would I want to ever drive there when I can place an order online and it would sometimes arrive the very next day with standard shipping. Yes, back in the day if I placed an online order in the morning before noontime often (not always) it would ship the same day by UPS and I would see the box at my door the next day by 3:00pm. And yes, I did say that was standard shipping. Obviously, logistics played a lot into this and I always reveled in the fact that while many things in life suck the one thing, I could always count on was getting my purchase from B&H lightning fast. I would always joke that “it was as if the B&H guy had ESP and was waiting outside my house with what it was, I was going to order.”

Well those days ended when B&H started to use FedEx Ground and it was a sad day for me. Where I live, I am about a 15-minute drive from the UPS terminal in Hamilton, NJ however, the FedEx Ground terminal for my area is located in Bethlehem, PA about 1 hour away. Needless to say, now shipping can take at least three days.

So now, here we are after several months of the virus crisis and the B&H shopping experience is far from a pleasure it once was and seems to be getting worse not better. Recently I placed and order for an office chair. It was listed as “In stock ready to ship.” Everything seems good, I get the confirmation email and then nothing. It just say’s “order processing” and a week goes by. Yup, 7 days. Then I email customer service and low and behold the order ships about 2 hours later. Then the next day I get an email saying “your order shipped yesterday.” This is pretty much how it is now when I place an order with B&H and yes, I have to admit I have started placing orders for gear with Amazon that I could buy at B&H. However, Amazon is not the best place to source certain kinds of camera gear from. Amazon has a sketchy reputation when it comes to things like memory cards and other photo & video related items. With B&H I have never ever felt that the product I was buying was not authentic and that it was the actual product it was labeled or packaged to be. I can say for 100% sure I received Sandisk SD cards from Amazon that were not the same as the ones I received from B&H. I could go on & on about this subject to the days end but, let’s just say B&H sells authentic products.

B&H has a great reputation with photographers of all levels. Yes, I was an armature when I found B&H many years ago and one of the things that really steered me to them was that fact that well-known famous photographers shopped there and spoke highly of the service and ability to get good gear quick. I have heard a story of a studio assistant running across town on her bike to get a much need piece of gear that broke in the middle of a shoot. Thanks to B&H she grabbed the flash head and returned to save the day. Actually, heard that story from a photographer giving a talk at the B&H event space. So, this was another great aspect of B&H and that is that they have produced so much online content that I have always taken advantage of.

How about meeting some of the people that work at B&H? While I stated earlier that I have never actually visited the store, I have always made it a point to at least say “hi” to the people working the tables at events outside of seminars at the Javits Center or the Philly Convention center. Again, always nice and pleasant conversation.

Today however, there are no seminars everything has given way to the online virtual seminars and B&H’s website has many mainstream products that say “back ordered.” Currently I have been waiting to purchase a camera slider from B&H. It is a well-known brand and other online dealers have it but the B&H website says “more expected soon” and it has been over a month. The New York Post released an article on May 1, 2020 describing the well-known camera shop as taking a very hard hit due to the virus crisis.

I want to see my favorite camera shop come back to the life it once had. I want to see our country come back to the life we lost before the China virus swept the world. I hope it is soon.

The Covid Blur (so many sleepless nights…)

The Covid-19 lockdown was certainly a challenge for most. So many people out of work and told to just stay home. Almost sounds like a good thing… “don’t come to work.” Fact is; we couldn’t really go anywhere other than the essential like the store for food and even that involved standing in long lines and dealing with other frustrations.

During my time in this forced social lock-down I struggled to keep my creative projects afloat. Often, times I had to let a project just sink because other participants were not available of not willing to defy the lock-down. Like many people I spent countless night awake. Some of those nights I spent worrying about everything from how I was going to pay certain bill, what will happen to my business and also worried about sick family and friends.

As I look back to just a few months ago and even still now, some nights are just a blur. Some nights I spent playing guitar, going back to long hours of practicing the modal system and scales. I hadn’t don’t that kind of practice in many years. I wrote a song, just the music and I’m working on the lyrics. I read books, I finished books that I had started to read and for whatever reason I stopped halfway through. So, I dug those books out and finished them. I did the same with some images and video projects. Things that had fell along the wayside in the hustle & bustle of always moving on to the next project. Now, of course the sounds like I was busy all the time during the lock-down… sadly the answer is no. As I stated already, some days & nights were like a blur and they still are. I have found that if I don’t use enough energy during the day, I find myself wide awake at night and the I fall asleep about 3:00 am only to wake at 6:00am to drive my wife to work. She moved here from Thailand and still doesn’t have a valid driver’s license. In a way this is actually a good thing because it would get me up and out of the house. We both enjoy the 20-minute ride and taking with each other. When I return home, I will sometimes take a short nap but its daylight out and my body just doesn’t want to sleep in daylight. After returning her back home I am dead tired about 5:00 pm and I fall asleep for a few hours and back up at 7:00pm and ready to spend another night wide awake till 3:00am. What a horrible cycle. Even though I hit the exercise bike almost every day and a light dumbbell work for my arms I still would find it hard to sleep.

During some of these late “night blurs” as I call them, I would go on Vimeo and look for inspiration, something to give me a sense of “at least I’m not just vegging in front of Netflix. So, here is a creator or creative team I guess is the proper term that I came across and I fell in love with their work. Before the lock-down I had started to dive into the world of cinema cameras and looking at more and more music and short film creators. These guys are great and here are two of my favorite videos of theirs. I just love their shooting style and editing.

Prepare For The Luck Shot (part 1) …The easiest way to blow your chance is to not be prepared

Nature photography is not my specialty however, I do love to get out and shoot wildlife when the opportunity arises. Like all genres of photography nature & wildlife pose obstacles and it can certainly be a challenge. For those who do not do this kind of shooting they often think nature & wildlife is pretty easy. That is, until they try it. Sure, we have all seen those extreme close ups of squirrels eating a nut or the white-tailed deer with her fawn close by and while these kinds of photos appear on many photographer’s social media there is always the backstory of what is really going on.

Let’s take a quick look at some wildlife backstories. The squirrel eating the nut and as we look closer it is actually a peanut and because it was shot at a very shallow depth of field, we are not seeing that it is actually a pile of peanuts that was placed in the middle of a city park. So simple of a shot anyone can do it. As the urban sprawl encroaches and deer have no natural habitat left, we always find whitetail deer literally living in people’s backyards. Capturing a shot of the mother and her fawn can often be accomplished while sitting on your back deck or porch while drinking your morning coffee.

The stories become even more pathetic when we see so called “Wildlife Photographer’s” who have portfolios of fox, wolves, bears, tigers and much more that were all shot at a zoo, reserve, preserve or whatever. There are many places that will let you pay a fee to stick your lens through a chain link fence and capture images of a so called wild whatever. And just like that “you’re a wildlife photographer. Just the same way photographers can pay to shoot a model on a set where the lighting is all preset and there are people to assist and guide you to get an awesome shot of a model and call it “their own,” you can pay for just about any genre of photograph you can think of.

Myself, I may not be the best photographer however, I have made it to 55 years old without paying to photograph wildlife. I have paid models and that was in the context of a commercial gig where photographs are being used for business purposes. There is just some kind of satisfaction that comes from capturing an image/s that came from effort that was put in or it could be just pure, flat out luck.


So, let’s talk about the ‘effort put in” and then we’ll talk about the “luck shot.” Be it a bird house or a photograph, if I put my hard work and effort into it, I know I will love it more and it will bring me much satisfaction. I think back to a time where I had these scrap pieces of wood leftover from a small repair, I was making on a storage building. While cleaning up the wood scraps I thought why not make a birdhouse. Actually, I ended up making 4 Blue bird houses.  I placed them across the fields that surrounded my home at the time and when taking my daily walk, I could see them. They lasted about 8 years, nobody ever knew I made them (until now) and it just gave a warm feeling to walk those fields and see the birds in houses I made. I think everyone at some point in their life has made something with their own two hands that has brought them comfort and satisfaction.

Walking through the brush in the predawn hours to get to a point on a ridge overlooking a meadow in hopes… yes in hopes that there will be whitetail deer there when the sun comes up is putting in effort. There is no guarantee the deer will show. Sure, they are there most mornings but, what if something spooks them this morning? I end up doing macro photos of dandelions and field birds lol.

So, how about that luck shot? Everybody at some point in their life will have the chance at a luck shot. I say “have a chance” because many a person has blown their chance at the luck shot. The easiest way to blow your chance is to not be prepared and the biggest prep you can do in photography is “know your camera inside & out and know your settings and how to change them quickly.” Let’s say you had a chance to get a beautiful shot of a red fox running across the field and you have on a 24-70mm because you are shooting a model in the field. You would have to switch lenses and maybe you don’t even own a 70-200mm. In this scenario you didn’t blow your chance, you just never really had the chance. However, if you were shooting the whitetail deer I Aperture Priority and you see the fox and you need to switch it up to Shutter Priority or go in to Manual Mode with a fast shutter speed you should do it just as fast and instinctively as you would put your hands out to break a fall when you trip over something. If you missed getting a shot of the fox because you fumbled your camera settings, you may want to chalk that up the “blowing your chance at a luck shot.”

I have wanted to get a decent shot of a blue heron for many years now. I have put effort into getting a chance at a shot and it never worked out. My longest lens is a 70-200 and really it would be much easier if I had something longer like a 400mm. But still I try. I was at the local wildlife preserve up the street from my house, rain was forecasted and I wanted to shoot a YouTube video of a LensCoat camera rain cover. There is a small lake with some geese and occasionally some wild ducks. Blue heron frequents the lake but, on this day, I know there will be people fishing and the blue heron will most likely not be seen.

I arrive at the lake and I get set up with my camera on a tripod and I just have to wait for the rain to roll in. I figure I will shoot the YT video under the premise that I am there to photograph Canada geese. Actually, I am sick of photographing geese because I can do that any time on any given day. Soon a few fishermen arrive and not long after that there comes a blue heron. Wow! He flew in from the opposite side of the lake and perched high in a dead tree overlooking the whole scene. At this point he is too far away for any kind of a decent shot, he is just sitting and watching and he is not going away so that is a very good sign he will stay. Now I’m getting a little excited and I start to go over camera settings and making sure the batteries are good. After all I did none of the normal pre-shoot checking because I figured I would just be there long enough for the rain to start, I could record the video of the rain cover being put onto the camera, talk a little about the rain cover while the cover got nice and wet and it would be a wrap and I’d head back home to a nice cup of coffee.

The coffee will have to wait… and the rain is running late. According to the satellite images on my phone the rain should have arrived already. I’ve got the camera racked out to 200mm and I’m in Tv (shutter Priority) set to 1/1600 sec and if is forcing the aperture to f/3.2, ISO is set to Auto and it is coming in at ISO 250. The Blue Heron perched in the tree at 10:50am and I’m waiting, he has been in the tree for over 10 minutes. What if the rain comes and I start to shoot my video of the rai cover and the bird makes a move? I need a plan. Mentally I start to run through everything. (The camera settings are good; camera is in my hand and not on the tripod. If he moves, he will most like move to the furthest place from any humans. Double check: AI Servo is set. I’m good). I shoot a few photos of geese and I’m thinking the whole time; this bird is about 600 feet or more away, he can see color, he can see my blink… hell he can count my individual eyelash hairs. I can’t really control what the fishermen are doing however I can control what I’m doing. Don’t look at him, look at the lake, fiddle with the camera… do anything just don’t look at him. If he sees your eyes he will fly away. I say this because this is what always seems to happen. When the heron sees my eyes and or my camera lens, this is when they seem most apt to fly away. As I stated earlier, I have been trying to get decent shots of a Blue Heron for several years and not having a 400mm (or more) lens makes it a bit difficult, but I still try. How many times have I had a good clear shot and as soon as the camera comes out the bird flies away.

It is 11:15am he has been in the tree not moving a muscle. 11:18am he drops from the tree and flies over the water along the shore of the backside of the lake. There is a small island in the center of the lake, as he emerges from behind the island, he is only about 24 inches above the surface and I lock focus and start shooting. I keep shooting until he lands and would you look at that? He lands only 200 feet from me but quickly walks behind a wall of cattails. After only a few minutes he came walking out of the cattails and there he/she was. Just standing there letting me take as many photos as I’d like. Even when two people walking in the park were returning to their car and came close to the shoreline the blue heron just stayed there looking very cautious. I captured a photo of the heron looking at the lady returning to her car, while at the same time a huge fish (most likely a bass) is going after minnows and creating a raucous in the water near the heron. Still he never flinched and stood strong.

After picking at minnows for several minutes the heron moves back behind the wall of cattails and just hangs out. And wait what’s this… another Blue Heron arrives at the lake and perches in the same tree as the first one did. Soon he drops from the tree to the water in front of the tree and not long after flies the same route along the backside of the lake and lands at the same spot as the first one did. Now there are two of these gorgeous birds with in 2 yards of each other. The second one I can see and the other is hiding in the cattails. Sadly, I was not blessed with getting a shot of both in the same frame but, that is ok, this day has been generous enough and I’m very happy. Now all I need is for the rain to roll in and I can shoot my YouTube video and all will be good with the world.

Is that an eagle? What the…

To be continued in part 2.








Luck Shot (part 2) I knew he was close to the ground and… there he went right into the water like a rocket.


Continued from part 1.

So, after basking in the glory of capturing some decent images of a Blue Heron at the local lake just literally two minutes from my driveway, I was taken by surprise to see yet another bird come over the lake at breakneck speed. So, in part 1 of the blog post I was telling how I set off to go to the local lake to create a product video for my YouTube channel. I wanted to shoot a camera rain cover in use, the rain was do in at any moment and I was surprised by the arrival of a Blue Heron and a while later a second Blue Heron arrived.

However, now I see something over head about 200 feet up. It circled over and went out of sight; I had caught a glimpse at the last moment and looking at the silhouette against the bright sky I thought it to be an eagle because as it flew away the wingspan lay very flat from tip to tip. I am by no means an avian expert however; I do know how to identify a few birds of prey by their silhouette. I started rubbernecking trying to see where he went. All of the sudden he was coming back on a rather sharp downward angle and he was not an eagle. My camera was set to Tv (shutter priority) 1/4000 sec at f/2.8 ISO 100 200mm, I instantly locked focus but, this guy was coming in hot & heavy. I just stayed on him the best I could as he seemed to just drop from the sky like a rock. As I tracked, I just kept shooting and then I see a red post move in front of my lens and I lose focus lock for maybe two or three shots. As I seen the red post move in front of the camera, I knew he was close to the ground and… there he went right into the water like a rocket.

Of course, all of this is playing out in mere seconds and the moment he went into the water I prayed “please let him come up with the biggest fish ever.” When he first hit the water, my focus was unlocked and on the second frame after hitting the water it locked and he emerged with empty talons. I stayed on tracking him as he lifted, circled and departed up and out of sight. As he was departing, I realized it was an Osprey or Seahawk as they’re sometimes called. What a display of nature to see this bird make a dive at a fish. Of course, I kept watching and hoping he would return for another attempt.

Now it was starting to mist and I prepared to make the YouTube video. I get the rain cover in place and of course the sun comes out lol. The mist stops and low and behold the Osprey appears again, he does a majestic low flyover the lake and swoops up into a tree. He looks out at the lake for a few minutes and then hides himself into the leaves of the tree. I keep watching and I never see him anymore that day. Not long after the sky gets extremely dark in the distance and the storm is eminent at this point. I get reset with the rain cover and I complete the video as planned.

Looking back, who would have thought a plan to make a simple YouTube video would have led me to getting some decent images of a Blue Heron and to also see an Osprey make an amazing dive at a fish. It truly was and amazing site and of course it would have been much nicer to see the bird emerge from the lake with a beautiful Rainbow Trout in his talons still all in all I am happy just to see the event as it was. Now that I know the Osprey is present at the lake I will certainly keep an eye out for him an get that luck shot.

Thank you so much for reading and have a great day.

Why I do not leave feedback for Amazon purchases. (…look at the ass raping that took place when I tried to purchase a product on Amazon)

Why I do not leave feedback for Amazon purchases.

Who hasn’t purchased something from Kind of a dumb question at this point in the year 2020. I have been buying from Amazon all the way back when Amazon was just selling one thing and one thing only… books. In fact, when you tell a millennial “Amazon used to be just a book dealer”, they’re in the same shock and disbelief as when they hear that “cool ZZ Top” song and then find out that they’re great grandparents seen ZZ Top live.

As we moved into the era of online shopping there needed to be a way of knowing a website or merchant was reputable, honest and had merchandise that lived up to the description. It wasn’t long before the “feedback” system appeared with star ratings or positive vs negative feedback to put customers at ease and feel confident about making an online purchase. At least with a brick & mortar store you have the ability to return your unsatisfactory product and confront someone in person.

However, the day the feedback system was created it was most likely the very next day merchants like Amazon started creating a system to fuck customers over with fake feedback, fake reviews, false or misleading reviews and of course fake star ratings. If you follow this post through to its entirety, I will describe to you how people create fake feedback on eBay and other sites as well.

But, first let us look at the ass raping that took place when I tried to purchase a product on Amazon and was totally mislead. Then when I tried to leave a 1-star review of the product because Amazon refused to change the wording of the product, Amazon would not post my review. Amazon claimed that my review did not follow their guidelines. All I did was submit a review that stated I received the wrong product, I showed a photo of the product and the wording of my review was rather mild, coherent and to the point.

That was the day I stopped reviewing products on Amazon.

I am a photographer/videographer and PolarPro Filters sells higher end gear for cameras & drones. I fully believe they are a good honest company. The dealer on Amazon was listed as “Polar Pro Filters” and not PolarPro Filters. I did not catch this detail in the misleading spelling and this would account for the reason the dealer was a fake.

The product I purchased was a counterweight for a DJI phone gimbal. I wanted a counterweight for a DJI Osmo Mobile 1 and I received a counterweight for an Osmo Mobile 2, despite the description clearly stating the product was for the Mobile 1 and not for the Mobile 2.  Not to mention the fact that when I received the product you could tell the box had been opened multiple times and re-taped shut. I mean this whole ordeal was as preposterous as any thing could ever be. It was almost as if it was a prank, sadly it was not. So, after going back & forth with Amazon I decided to just give up, keep the product, which I gave to a friend who had an Osmo Mobile 2 and just put the whole thing behind me. I truly believe the product I received was not a fake (just the wrong one) and I don’t really hold anything against the maker of the product (PolarPro Filters). However, to this day I have never submitted another review for any product I have purchased from . Prior to this I almost always left some sort of a review on just about every purchase, I believed in the feedback & star rating system. Sure, I could usually tell which reviews were the fake reviews that were created by the dealer of a product but this time I was done with it all. Now I know some people reading this post will say “hey what about all the honest dealers” that sell on Amazon. And to that I say “screw’em all.” Harsh, brash, rude… call it what you will, I really don’t care. If I get a product I don’t like I return it and as for my camera gear; if I am making a high dollar purchase I will head on over to . For low quality camera gear, I use Amazon for what it actually is; A place to buy cheap junk made in China.

So, what about the fake positive feedback on eBay? Ok, so I have been on eBay since August of 2000. I have purchased on eBay and I have sold on eBay. I realized from the get-go that maintaining a 100% feedback rating was paramount. I have listed my own sales for eBay and more so I have helped several friends sell on eBay. I have sold items as small as a vintage postage stamp and as large as a Caterpillar Bulldozer and everything in between. I have sold items that seemed worthless however, somebody in Argentina or Italy or Germany or where ever thought it was a value and purchased it. I made a fair amount of money selling gas masks during the Anthrax scare in 2001. I never over charged sole. I merely listed a gas mask at $1 and let the bidders fight it out. Was I proud to sell gas masks to people on eBay? Not really but, the Anthrax scare appeared right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and my catering business died because nobody wanted to have a party. Ironically, I had been surfing eBay weeks before the terrorist attacks and seen industrial lots (pallets) of gas masks listed for a very low price. When the Anthrax scare hit, I jumped and took what few dollars I had and bought gas masks. I cleaned them (they were new but filthy) and packaged them, listed them and received positive feedback for every transaction.

The reason I tell you all this is I want you to know I have put my time in on eBay and I would be on there every day, all day looking for the next big thing to sell. After that winter had past my catering business resumed to normal and I rarely went back to eBay.

While I was putting in my long days on eBay looking at trends, I was always perplexed at how some dealers had these huge positive feedback ratings and then all of the sudden their feedback ratings took a huge dive into the negative and then the dealer kind of disappeared or became inactive. What was going on to cause this? Was I the only one to see this? So, here is what I uncovered.

A dealer registers with eBay as a new user. The dealer then starts making purchases of stupid little things like stamps or hex nuts, bolts or even string. Like, just a piece of string. The purchases would be for a very small amount of money, most times a few cents. The seller would be new to eBay and likewise the purchaser was new to eBay. Both were leaving positive feedback for each another. The transactions would number in the hundreds per week and in no time at all they would both have huge positive feedback ratings. Then the dealer and the customers would go dormant for a while with no transactions being made. After not making transactions for so long the product links in their feedback ratings would be unavailable. So, if you (the unsuspecting) buyer went to look at their feedback all you would see is that they had a high number of transactions (over 1000) as a seller and their rating was 100% leading you to believe they were a reputable dealer.

So, by this point I think you have figured out the dealer and the seller are the same person using two different eBay accounts. Nobody is actually buying anything; they are just conducting transactions to create feedback. Of course, eBay is making money on the transactions and essentially the dealer is buying a feedback rating.

Then the assault took place. The dealer would list a bunch of items all within about a week and sell products that were much more than the pieces of string or hex nuts they had been selling several months ago.  Sadly, the items they were now selling were receiving a lot of not so good feedback. Essentially, they were ripping people off with fake or misleading products. Many times, the descriptions would have the item listed as “location Brooklyn, NY” when in fact it was being shipped to the USA from various places like Hong Kong, Singapore and other places in Asia.

Now, you do have to know this was many years ago and it was long before PayPal had their “Buyer Protection” as they now have today. Nonetheless, I had seen what I have just described played out time and time again during the winter of 2001-2002. I had contacted eBay multiple times about what was going on and not one time did I notice the usernames involved stop their actions. Most times eBay never responded and if they did it was a BS email from low level peon. Therefore, it led me to believe eBay knew what was happening and just did not care at all. Since then this same scenario and others that are similar have played out on many online selling/shopping platforms.

To conclude; in my opinion I take the whole feedback/star rating thing with a grain of salt. This blog post has only scratched the tip of the iceberg, not to mention the vast concept that you have dip-shit people who leave negative feedback on good products. People who buy something and have no idea how to read and understand directions (if they read them at all) and then claim the product to be defective or not as described. Sadly, it is not a crime to be stupid.

Thank you for reading and have a great day.

Best of luck shopping online.


Covid-19 Daze Part 2 (…it never felt so good to be out in the rain with my cameras.)

After the parks & open space closure I decided I had just had enough and I am not going to let a governor decide my rights as they are given to me under the Constitution of the United States. I contacted a model who is of the same minded thoughts and we headed out. Who needs parks to shoot in? We can still go out in public and long as we follow the rules of social distancing and wear a mask. Let’s make it even more interesting and shoot in the rain, let’s even shoot in a graveyard at an old church.

The meet up would be New Brunswick, New Jersey right in the heart of the town. As crazy as it sounds it never felt so good to be out in the rain with my cameras. We shot for an hour, talked for a few minutes and departed. We never disrupted a single sole; pardon the pun and we captured some nice images and video too.

As I am writing this post the parks are due to reopen and that is a good thing. A good thing that has been brought on by vast protesting in other states. This is a free country and when that is taken away (virus or no virus) people are only going to take so much. At this time there are cases being heard or about to be heard by the courts and I think Governor “Free Stuff” Murphy knew it is only a matter of time before a court order steam rolls him into the dirt.

The virus crisis has changed the world no doubt but, people can change too. People can change to deal with many things and this virus crisis will not define us into being shut-ins and giving away our rights to freedom.