Super Blue Blood Moon 2018

On the morning of January 31, 2018 in Santa Monica, CA, we had spectacularly clear skies, the perfect backdrop enabling us to view the Super Blue Blood Moon.  A Super Blue Blood Moon is a combination of a Super Moon which is when the moon is close to the earth and so it is very large and very bright.  The Blood Moon happens during a lunar eclipse when the earth gets between the sun and the moon and the moon develops a red tint.  A Blue Moon is when there is a full moon twice in the same month.  This Super Blue Blood Moon was a combination of the three.  According to NASA, the last Super Blue Blood Moon was in 1982 and the next one won't happen until 2037.  

We woke up at 3.30am on a bit of a whim and decided to go see what this was all about.  We were not to be disappointed!  This is a must for anyone interested in nature.  What a show mother nature gave us.  It lasted for quite some time too so we were able to practice and try different things for those of us who were new at shooting a lunar eclipse.  We started in Palisades Park, Santa Monica and ended on the beach south of the Santa Monica Pier.  We watched the sun rise and the moon set behind the mountains in Malibu.  A must see!

 January 31, 2018.  Super Blue Blood Moon as seen from Santa Monica Beach just south of the Santa Monica Pier.

January 31, 2018.  Super Blue Blood Moon as seen from Santa Monica Beach just south of the Santa Monica Pier.

 Santa Monica Pier during the Super Blue Blood Moon, January 31, 2018.

Santa Monica Pier during the Super Blue Blood Moon, January 31, 2018.

Antarctica

After spending time in the Arctic, I knew I had to see for myself what the Antarctic was all about.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to visit over the last two weeks traveling along the Antarctic Peninsula and south of the Polar Circle.  We called the Ocean Nova vessel home for this trip. Now I fear I want to go back! One trip did not provide enough time to absorb the vast and massive landscape and fully digest it all, if that’s even possible.  While similar elements to the Arctic, the two are quite different.  Below are a handful of initial images that I have connected with.  These images are primarily of ice, only one element of Antarctica.  If I should be so fortunate to return again, I will focus on the other elements to explain it more completely.  Thank you to John Paul CaponigroSeth Resnick, and the Expedition team at Antarctica XXI for making it possible.  We had a wonderful group of photographers as well and I feel privileged to have been able to work with them and learn from them.  

Travel resources:
Digital Photo Destinations - John Paul Caponigro & Seth Resnick
Antarctica XXI

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Western Greenland

Ilulissat, Greenland - It rained all night through sunrise with winds at 50 knots.  There was no way we would ever get into the Zodiacs - so we thought... Everything changed within a couple hours. It was a spiritual moment. It is indescribable.  I will only try to describe the scale by saying it was the Ice version of the Grand Canyon. 

I have been fortunate enough to be able to return to the Arctic recently after an eye opening experience there last year.  This time, Western Greenland.  This time, this side, a very different ice and more populated, less wild.  Spectacular nonetheless.  The ice was bigger, whiter, less diversity in color, powerful, almost like the Grand Canyon at one point.   I was humbled by the mass of the ice and it is still hard to get my head around the idea that this is all created in nature and some of this you wonder how it ever came to be.  In all of this however, there is another side...I have not come to any conclusions of my own on global warming, but you can not argue that the ice is melting and wonder what we are coming to or how this ends or how we can change it.  If you have not seen the movie Chasing Ice, I highly recommend it.  It gives you a front row seat into what’s happening to the ice, a clear time lapse of the erosion of the ice and glaciers.

Travel resources:
Digital Photo Destinations - John Paul Caponigro & Seth Resnick
Quark Expeditions

The Arctic

Scoresbysund, Greenland - We were in the Zodiac heading out to a section of icebergs and I happened to turn around and saw one of our other Zodiacs approaching an iceberg.  A perfect expression of the experience and what this trip was to me. 

I recently had the opportunity to travel to three islands in the Arctic - Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland.  Two years ago, I never would have imagined I would have the opportunity to visit such a place - it never had even entered my mind.  Now, I look forward to the opportunity to return. The experience was surreal, overwhelming, and the Arctic environment, humbling.  I have found it difficult to describe to people and feel like I have explained well or done it justice.  Similarly, I’ve had a difficult time with the photos because it is tough for a 2 dimensional image to capture and express the feelings I had when as I was surrounded by the Arctic, living it.  

Our home base for the expedition was the Russian scientific research vessel, Akademik Sergey Vavilov.  The Vavilov and it’s amazing Russian crew took us as far north as 80 degrees and 30 minutes (for reference, the North Pole is at 90 degrees), and at one point, the only thing between us and the north pole was 600 nm of ice sheets. We became obsessed with the icebergs, using almost every Zodiac trip to cruise amongst them.  They are spectacular and they were really a very clear example of the beauty and uniqueness of things that mother nature creates.   The icebergs were supplemented with four (or five?) polar bear sightings (which prevented us in many cases from landing), walrus, whales, dolphin, reindeer and muskox.  In Greenland, we traveled through the fjord system of Scoresbysund, the largest fjord system in the world, and not to mention, FULL of icebergs.  Our first stop in Scoresbysund was Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the most remote towns in Greenland.  In fact, their grocery store is only replenished twice a year, so as travelers, we were advised not to buy anything from the store unless essential.  

I was fortunate to have been able to travel with a group of approximately 34 photographers and led by John Paul CaponigroSeth Resnick, Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson, and Arthur Meyerson.  I learned something from each person, so I thank them for the opportunity and I thank the four photographic leaders, for their advice, guidance, and confidence in my work.   If you’re interested in seeing other images from the trip, see John Paul Caponigro’s blog:

http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/blog/9580/highlights-from-3-arctic-islands/

I am barely beginning to get through my images but have shown some below to give you a sense...more to come!!   

Travel resources:
Digital Photo Destinations - John Paul Caponigro & Seth Resnick
Quark Expeditions

Using Photography to Create Awareness

F.A.S.T Track provided students from Crenshaw High’s Business Management & Entrepreneurship Academy with a glimpse into the business world by giving access and exposure to senior executives in the finance sector.

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier this year I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a group of students at Crenshaw High School who were a part of the Business Management & Entrepreneurship Academy.  These students participated in the pilot program of Financial & Scholastic Training (F.A.S.T) Track.  F.A.S.T. Track provides students with exposure to the financial industry, one-on-one mentoring, access to senior executives while instilling in them key principles to develop tomorrow’s leaders.  It was an inspiration to watch the transformation of these students into accountable young adults. 

The story and photos were aired on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program on June 10, 2011.  Click below for a link to the clip on Morning Joe, including photos, and discussion:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/vp/43352562#43352562
NOTE: Fast-forward to 13.32 minutes for clip.

F.A.S.T. Track’s Program Director is Ramsey Jay, Jr., and is sponsored by the National Association of Securities Professionals, Southern California Chapter.  www.nasp.org.

The opportunity to be able to use photography to tell a story and create awareness for this cause has been priceless.  I look forward to continuing work of this kind...

Death Valley

This is a photo that will become a part of my first ‘body of work’. 
It was taken this past Saturday morning in Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley, CA, USA. 

I just returned from my second trip to Death Valley in two months.  I had never been to Death Valley until this year.  My first trip was with John Paul Caponigro’s photo workshop back in March and I was fortunate to be able to make the second trip with two photographers I met at that workshop, Justin Hartford and Craig Colvin.  While all of the photos for my first ‘body of work’ are from Mesquite Dunes, it is not without a lot of effort, lack of sleep, and plans that go off track, that I have realized that those from Mesquite Dunes are the best fit for this ‘body of work’.  The journey has taken me to Panamint Dunes where I woke up at 4.00am and ended up on a two hour hike up the mountains in Panamint Valley only to miss sunrise on the dunes and see it from afar as I was working tirelessly to get there as quick as possible.  That was an adventure that lasted about 5-6 hours, included 2 liters of water, dehydration nonetheless, one big military cargo plane, and one F-16 flying super low along side of us as we exited the valley (Panamint Valley is known for the military practices that take place overhead). 

I also had the opportunity to visit Eureka Dunes, which was about 2-2.5 hours out via dirt road to find a massive pool of sand dunes nestled at the base of a mountain range on the northwest side of Death Valley.  Eureka Dunes are located in an isolated part of Death Valley and I do not believe they are traveled often.  I highly recommend it if you can get there.  The dirt road is long but actually not so bad.  Separately, we took a trip out to Race Track via another dirt road of 27 miles.  This road was not so nice however.  It is very rocky and within the first 13 miles, we had our first flat tire...we think we took one for the team that day - the team being every tourist out there that day...  In any case, a two hour drive turned into seven hours and two Jeeps but we finally made it to Race Track where these rocks look like they have been sliding on the clay pan.   All was well in any case and it made for a truly memorable experience.  Below are some of the (unprocessed) pictures from this second trip...