“If you are going to do something, do it right.”
What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
I enjoy designing and building websites … capturing the personality of a business down to the perfect type font in just the right color. Then presenting it to a client who says, “That’s it! That’s what we want!”
As a photographer, I pay special attention to images – photos that are very strong and stop the viewer on the page. Finding that perfect image. or retouching an image to make it perfect because I know it will put a website head and shoulders above everyone else.
In particular, I enjoy working with specific areas of the travel and tourism or hospitality industry –
destinations which includes vineyards and wineries, food and beverages. Photography is a key element in each of these industries; I appreciate the subtle nuance photography plays in each.
What kind of work did you do before you got into this?
I’m an explorer and have a thirst for knowledge especially when it comes to digital marketing.
As a child, I would get in trouble because I didn’t always come straight home from school. Living in Manhattan that made my mother quite nervous when the doorman didn’t provide a timely report of my whereabouts. Summers were spent at in the country at a camp where I was able to ride horses, take hikes, canoe and discover the great outdoors. I loved being close to nature.
My very first job was as a summer camp counselor in upstate New York. I had attended as a camper and had great experiences and fond memories. During high school, I worked for an apple packer outside in the fields and later in the plant. I had considering studying architecture but didn’t. It’s come full circle as website development requires us to build the architecture of a website.
After school, I went to work for the local daily upstate New York newspaper as a photojournalist.
Having spent much of my time outside either traveling or taking photos, the fun of routinely needing to take extra time when you come in from the cold to allow your lens to defog or to scrape the snow and ice off your car’s windshield … well, it grew weary. Snow skiing is fun; this … not so much.
While at the newspaper I started my own business. It was at a time when Kodak’s name was synonymous with film and print supplies. It took me nearly two months to perfect the process as all colors were controlled by two color filters – magenta and yellow. Understanding how to make brown and purple from those colors takes some getting use to.
A natural extension of the color lab was my photography work with the hospitality and architectural industry. My company grew to include graphic design and we provided print production services as these are all inter-related. Seeing more opportunities for my skills and talents and having family in Florida, I headed south to warm, sunny Florida and hung my shingle there. I’ve been working with the destinations and the tourism industry ever since.
In 2000, my family moved to North Carolina for a slower pace but took all of our clients with us and have been enjoying the best of both worlds ever since.
How did you enter the field of helping the hospitality industry and lifestyle and architectural photographers?
Since social media and smartphones came on the scene, it’s become more acceptable for people to post anything and everything online. However, the challenge lies in that some photography is just not of the quality to serve as the signature image or representative work to market and promote a product or a service. This involves a more detailed conversation about camera lenses, resolution, etc. The average guy or gal may not realize professional photographers do not show their imperfect work – outtakes.
The other thing is that some photographers are asked to take a photo using a skill set they don’t have but take photos anyway. For instance, I’ve seen photos of a wall of windows overlooking a golf course with the reflections of each of the photographer’s umbrella stands and lights; photos that look fake because of how the interior and the exterior lighting was set up and how shadows fall; and photographers with no eye for detail such as trash cans; wrinkled tablecloths; crooked lamp shades; food drips; burned out light bulbs; imperfections in model’s clothing; etc. Fortunately some of these things can be fixed by our retouching the image.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
My family and I love to take Sunday drives to explore – wineries, craft breweries, historic sites, national parks, museums, hiking and nature. We always travel with our cameras.
We stream our TV shows and movies and will do marathon sessions of our favorites. Mine are Leverage, James Bond, Columbo, Dr. Who, Last Man Standing and West Wing among others.
What are your pet peeves?
People aren’t open-minded or feel that only one way exists to solve an issue.
People who live to reach their retirement age – that’s all they want. Or people who say they are old. I believe you’re as young as you feel. When you set limitations, you miss out on so much of life.
People who drive slow in the left lane, some while talking on a cell phone. They are completely unaware of how many of us are lined up behind them.
Tell us about your family.
I’m an only child and was raised in Manhattan but attended school on Long Island and took the train in on weekends. At a certain age my mom grew concerned because the doorman wasn’t able to report my whereabouts so I was shipped off to live with my grandparents. I’ve had the best of both worlds, living in the city and also growing up in and around the Adirondack Mountains. It’s magnificent country.
Having spent a considerable amount of time outside as a photojournalist, I tired of the cold weather. After moving to the West Coast of Fla., I continued working with the travel and tourism industry. That’s how I met my wife. At the time, she was the Tourism Director of Clearwater and Clearwater Beach and also ran the largest free jazz festival in the Southeast U.S. In search of a slower, pace we relocated to the Carolinas.
What’s it like to work with your wife?
Our skill sets complement one another; each of us is busy and focused on our own area. We schedule staff meetings to review projects and have scheduled quiet work hours.
What are some of the things hardly anyone else knows?
I’ve hiked all 46 peaks in the Adirondack Mountains.
Little things I’m working on improving about myself.
The goal is to take a 20 minute walk each day and leave the office by six each evening.
What are some of the places you’d like to visit?
I’m a big fan of “The Wine Show” and “Rick Steve’s Europe.” Because of this, I’d love to visit the Burgundy and Loire Region of France; the hill towns of Tuscany, Umbria and Lake Cuomo, in Italy; New Zealand and Switzerland and The Alps, plus the Lakes District in Austria and the Costwolds in England.
As a photography, I’m fascinated by Alaska and the National Parks in the western U.S. These are on my bucket list: Arizona – Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, Hubbell Trading Post, Lake Mead, Montezuma’s Castle and Petrified Forest; California – Death Valley, Redwood and Yosemite; Montana – Glacier; New Mexico – Carlsbad Canyons; Utah – Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Rainbow Bridges and Zion; and Wyoming – Yellowstone and Grand Tetons.
What are some of the strongest convictions that you hold?
If you are going to do something, do it right.