Never choose a path just to stay busy


Never understood the concept of retiring and then getting a part time job just to “stay busy”. It’s one thing if your income needs to be supplemented. There’s a whole world out there to experience in so many different ways. Giving back to your community, donating time to help others, being a role model and mentor to children, pursuing a passion, achieving a goal, take chances and go down a different path in your life. The list can go on and on. We get one chance to spend a short time on this little planet we call earth, make the best of it and never waste a moment because once that moment is gone it’s gone forever.

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The Trap

Valley of Fire, Nevada

Long & Winding Road

Here’s a question, how many people actually love what they are doing?  I understand that everything in life isn’t going to be enjoyable but over all how many honestly love what they do and where life has taken them?

 I don’t ask this question because I’m looking for a number or a stat but instead to get people thinking, especially our younger generation.  Minus unforeseen circumstances that we have no control over we all have the freedom to pave our own road and to take that adventurous journey of wins, loses, successes and failures.  It’s this journey that makes up the person we are today.  It’s never to late to alter or even change the road your on.  Life is about chances, go ahead take one you may just be pleasantly surprised where it will lead you to.
Never look back and say “I should have or I could have”  instead say that’s in my past and now “I’m going to”.  With Spring here and new life taking shape all around us why not follow suit and work toward a dream or pursue a passion that will spring a new sense of life?
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The dream of getting that perfect shot

Blue-Kauai-Michael-Malandra-PhotographyEvery landscape photographer strives for that perfect shot, the perfect sunrise or sunset, and of course the perfect location that looks like it came right out of a story book.  So many times we, as artists/photographers, can be let down if we hope and chase that “perfect scenario”.  This is not because it’s not there but because we don’t see it.  We need to let go of what we are conditioned to believe is the “ultimate photo” and let the pieces fall into place naturally.  When we open our eyes and see without any preconceived thoughts what we will see is a palette of endless opportunities to guide us to that perfect shot.
When I photograph a place I want to capture the spirit of that place and that can’t be done by just snapping a photograph.  For me the camera is nothing more that a tool, for a photograph to be successful and speak to the viewer it must be an expression of the person who took it.  For this to happen when I’m shooting I need to feel the place I’m in, I need to feel as if I’ve become part of it.  When I get to a location that I may want to shoot, I first walk around for a bit and take in what I’m seeing and feeling, I’ll sit down and just stare out into the distance for some time but most of all I let my creativity take over, I never try to force the shot or let my thinking take over.  I let it happen naturally, kinda like a musician playing their instrument with total feel and emotion.
As a martial artist and instructor I always emphasize to my students how important it is to trust your instincts and not let the logical brain take over or question what one may be feeling.  I follow that same philosophy when shooting.  Knowing the basic rules of photography, proper exposure and depth of field is very important but knowing how to use these principles and when to break the rules, so to speak, is what makes a photograph a piece of art.
Understanding how things work, gaining as much knowledge as one can and being prepared is extremely important.  Now let go of the logical thinking patterns and let your creative side come through.  Trust me. Trust yourself and the possibilities of what will be created will be amazing and endless.
The photo in this blog is from the island of Kauai on the Napali Coast, one of my favorite shooting locations.  That night, like every other photographer on the beach I was hoping for that amazing fire red sunset that Kauai is known for.  Instead, what we got was a muted pink and purple sky with high contrast and definition in the clouds.  I knew that mother nature wasn’t going to give me what I was hoping for but kept shooting and put that logical thinking aside, because this sunset wasn’t going to help make the dramatic ocean scene I was looking for”.  Returning back to my cottage that night (of course after an awesome dinner and drink or two) I uploaded the photos to Photoshop.  Upon reviewing the night’s work I came to realize how powerful the water was that night against the monstrous cliff side with the cloud formations painting the backdrop for what looked like an incoming storm.  Having all these elements in place, I knew there was something here that would translate into an amazing print.  How to tie it together was the question at hand.  Closing the laptop for the night and sleeping on it helped to bring the picture, so to speak, into the light.  Reviewing the images again I realized that I needed to show the intensity of the ocean, the sky and how it tied together with the cliff face.  The final solution was to convert the image to black and white, keep the color of the water and bring out the overall contrast.  The final result is an image I call Blue Kauai even though some say the name Sleeping Giant is better suited.  The photo has won quite a few awards in local shows and is hanging in many locations bringing Kauai and its beauty to many viewers.
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Adventure Film Festivel comes back to Suffern, NY

It’s that time of year again when the Banff Mountain Film Festival makes its way back to Suffern, NY and for the first time it’s going to be a 2 day event, Tuesday, February 26 and Wednesday, February 27. The fun starts at 7pm in the historic Lafayette movie theater.  Adventurists, adrenaline junkies, outdoor enthusiasts along with others looking for that next jaw dropping film that will leave speechless except to say “How do people do this stuff”?.  Every year the festival showcases extreme outdoor athletes, film makers and photographers (someday I’d love to submit to them with a short film about an adventure landscape photographer and his travels)  documenting their passion in a way where the viewer is kept at the edge of their seat feeling like they’re part of the journey.  Some of the films are as short as 5 minutes and others are 30 plus minutes but never disappoint leaving you wanting more.    Tickets for the festival can be purchased at the Ramsey Outdoor store locations in both Ramsey, NJ and Paramus, NJ.  For what it’s worth, take my word and make your way to the theater this year.  You’ll leave motivated, inspired and with the thought of wanting to live out your own adventure.
The photos in this blog I shot last year in Banff, Canada, while ice climbing and shooting for Travel Alberta with Dominic Gill.  Dominic won the award of best film in the festival a couple of years ago for riding his bicycle from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, the most southerly city in South America while picking up 200 plus riders along the way.  His journey took him 18,449 miles for over 2 years from start to finish.  Since then Dominic has rode across the US and Egypt documenting his journeys and airing them on the Universal Sports Network.  I met Dominic after seeing his movie it the festival and being so amazed by his accomplishments that I had to find him on Facebook. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to be able to shoot and climb with him on assignment in Canada.
Life is an adventure, what’s yours going to be?
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Happy new year, out with the old & in with the new

Fine Art GalleryWelcome to my new and updated Blog site.  For 2013 I’ll be taking the advice of many in keeping up with posting on the many things that go on with my travels, photography, gallery events and anything else I think people may be interested in.  The last year brought so many new  adventures for me such as my new gallery opening, ice climbing in Canada, shooting for the NY Giants & Jets fan club events, travels to Europe and a new gallery events just to name a few.  Each event should of had a blog attached to it with some cool photos, but being lazy on the writing end of my career I let it go by the waist side.  2013 will be different, I hope everyone finds this blog interesting and motivating!  If you have any ideas on what you would like to see on this new site please let me know!!!  Happy New Year and happy travels everyone.

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Elements of Nature – Hawaii & Beyond

Well, I finally put my Hawaii work together and am ready to open it to the public!  This new collection, along with some new black & white work will join my Elements of Nature series of new and old.  Both Maui and Kauai, in my opinion, have some of the most amazing beaches and terrain in the world.  I think I was able to capture this beauty at both sunrise and sunset on my last trip back in January.  After months of photo selection, editing and cropping I sent the photos over to my friend Keith at Glen Rock Digital Photo in Glen Rock, NJ last week.  He called me yesterday to let me know he had the large format prints ready.  Keith does some amazing work and when I got down to his shop I was totally taken back when he showed me my new prints.  I just dropped them off to Connie over at the Village Frame shop in Suffern, NY.  I can’t wait to see the final product after Connie works her magic.  I’ll have more than 15 new prints on display as well as many others in all sizes in print bins at the upcoming show.  
You’re probably saying “alright, alright so when is the show!?”  The answer is…  Ready??  Saturday, November 26, of Thanksgiving weekend from 5 – 9pm at my Martial Arts School/Gallery in Suffern (see the post card below).  As always there will be plenty of wine, snacks and live music. 
My goal through my work is to continue to inspire people to jump out of their chair and travel our beautiful planet to experience the natural and adventurous world around them.  Whether that journey is to a far away distant place or right in your own backyard, natural beauty is all around us. All we have to do is just become aware of it.  Next time you drive to and from work take a moment look at the sky, look at the sunrise or sunset, look at how the clouds dance around and form all kinds of incredible shapes, look at the colors in the landscape around you.  I promise you’ll be amazed if you keep your mind open and try to experience the moment without letting the crazy world distract you.  Doing this will give you a sense of calmness and help you to not “sweat” the small stuff in life.
Sue and I hope to see everyone in November.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.  Thank you again for all your support
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Adirondack Vistas, Running Water & Athletes

Headed up to Lake Placid, NY last week for some hiking and photography. The weather wasn’t the greatest for photography but I was able to squeeze out a couple of good shots.  I’m really liking the way some of the black and white shots turned out and just might have to dedicate a section of my print gallery to black and white prints.  I also included a shot of the athletes from Ridgewood Triathlete, they had a training camp going on while we were up there.  What a great group of coaches and athletes!!!  If you’re into or want to start training for endurance sports their the people to hook up with in NY/NJ.  The photo In this blog was taken after their ride to the top of Whiteface Mountain.  Hope you enjoy the photos. 
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Some new shots from here & there

Some shots from the summer, some are landscape and others are from clients I’ve worked for.  Still have August, hoping to get some new portfolio stuff as well as some new prints for my Elements of Nature Gallery.  Happy shooting everyone, enjoy the photos but most of all get outside and enjoy the rest of the summer.

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Wanderlust Yoga Festival NYC 2011

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My office for the afternoon

Went up to Harriman this afternoon to do some recon for a future sunrise shoot. I’m hoping to get back to this spot on a misty foggy morning just as the sun is coming up. I’m thinking if all the pieces fall into place this location could make for some killer shots.
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