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Rest Peacefully My Friend

One thing that I can say for sure, after Shooting Full Time for over Eighteen Years now, is that I get to meet a heck of a lot of people, see a lot of things that I wouldn’t normally have seen, and get to be a part of many, many events. Some Happy, Some Sad, Some Trivial, and Some that are just Kinda Special. This is one of those Special Ones…
Enter Mr. Bill Shaw…
I never knew Bill, till that big Knitting Mills Fire in Elmira Heights in January 2016. That night I laughed so hard after hearing what this Lifetime Heights Fireman said that night….He was in the Elmira Heights FD for over Seventy Years….some of those years even as Chief. But it seems that Bill always had something on his mind regarding that massive, old brick structure……and that night it was reported that 90 year old Bill uttered over & over the profound statement “I’ve been waiting Seventy Years for this S.O.B. to Burn!”…..and since no one was injured during the blaze, and it was an unusually warm & comfortable night for January 30, I just thought his quip was totally hilarious! This Old Boy is Pretty Cool I thought to myself! Sounds EXACTLY like something I would say!!!
Well, this January 2017 I had the Pleasure to Personally Meet The Legend…when he graced my 211 Studios while coming in for his Formal E.H.F.D. Portrait. His F.D. Buddy Brad Nicholson came along with him, and we all joked and clowned around while capturing a little bit of Bill for Eternity.
Little did we know, but Bill wasn’t going to be with us much longer, and sadly, he passed away this Monday, May 8th.
I only spent 20 minutes with him that Winter Morning, but I’m very glad I had the chance to share those moments with him.
Today I chatted with Heights Fire Chief Mike Cadek here at the Studio, and he quipped that I probably had a Wedding to shoot on Saturday, but I told him actually No, I didn’t have anything going on Saturday….till then that is…. because Mike asked me if I could be there for Bill’s Final Farewell & do the Photographic Coverage as Bill is Laid To Rest. It will once again be my honor to document this very special farewell to a Local Firefighting Legend.
I’m getting pretty practiced & familiar at shooting these things……as Bill will be Number 4 for me…. Dickie Sullivan – HFD, Ryan Barker – HFD & WHVFD, Tommy Lynch – HFD.
So Bill…..one more time……SMILE!
R.I.P. My Friend….

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The Mack Pack…

I just shot Billy & Alyssa’s Wedding this May, and I was one of The First, The Few, The SWORN to SECRECY (sounds like the Marines!) to find out that they are going to be Parents Soon! So the plan was that before they spilled the beans to EVERYONE ELSE, that we were going to do a Baby Announcement Shoot. So with really great weather for the end of November, just yesterday we shot these Fun Pix around Horseheads. I just LOVE the Swamp ones too …..Just Love how I can make even a Crappy, Brown, Dead Swamp look Great as a Background. Guess THAT’S why I’ve been doing this job Full Time for Nearly Eighteen Years & Counting!

and…………. Can’t wait to meet Mini Mack!
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Memories….

After all….isn’t that what I’m capturing?
Had a Wedding Free weekend, but that certainly doesn’t always mean no shooting.  I had the honor to capture the moments of a Memorial Service held for a Husband and Wife, married over 62 years, who passed away within 8 days of each other this spring. During a very nice slideshow presentation of the couple & their lives, I shot this image of their daughter & her husband through a partially open doorway…….and you can almost feel the emotions of love & longing in her heart as she watches the lives of her loving parents pass before her tear filled eyes.
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“Summer of ’41”

On this February evening, with temperatures already plunging well below zero, let’s imagine a hot & humid August 2, 1941 afternoon a long, long time ago. It’s that lazy & carefree time, just months before the U.S. entered W.W.II after the attack on Pearl Harbor. We’re just across the busy main line of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad at Eldridge Park in Elmira, NY, on a Sunny Saturday afternoon enjoying our Annual Outing as an employee of the Elmira Knitting Mills, who’s former building was just burned to the ground in a massive, multiple alarm warehouse fire on January 31, 2016.
Here is my Photographic Composite & Photoshop rendering of the Official Outing Photograph, shot 75 years ago, by Personius Studio of Elmira, and the Photoshop re-rendering by me. The print is so wide that in order to capture all of the original detail I had to shoot it in 7 different sections, which I then had to seamlessly paste & blend together.

Take a close look at all of these ghostly faces. The Big Boss in his woolen three piece suit complete with pocket watch & chain, with all of his underling “Yes-Men” sitting close-by. Then, the ladies, with their bobby socks & saddle shoes, and those ’40’s dresses & hair styles (just like my mom wore!) Then there are the young men captured here. How many of these young boys would soon be fighting in Europe or the South Pacific?  If any of these people are still alive, even the young children seen in this picture, they would be at least 80-85 years old today. And then look deeper into the park background…..after spending nearly every single Sunday afternoon at the park myself as a young boy growing up in the ’60’s I still vaguely remember those outing buildings, and that yellow, cinder block restroom building up on a hill, poised above the rest of the parks amusements.  Then there are all of those long gone, mighty trees that covered this area of the park with a dark, cool blanket of shade on these brilliant afternoons. I can almost smell the steamed clams, hot dogs, and beers in the air!
Let me know if you recognize or know any of the faces seen here….I’d love to know! I already had a childhood friend identify his Mom as one of the ladies sewing in one of my earlier images of activity at the mill.
*Make certain that you click on the picture a couple of times to pop it open to full size, and then use the slider at the bottom of the page to view the entire length of this massive print! It’s over 72 INCHES LONG!!!

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“Run of the Mill”

Last week I shot the images of the Elmira Knitting Mill as unforgiving fire roared through it’s long dormant shell.
Tonight, I shot these images of the very same location for the Heights Historical Society. Lets go back to the early 1940’s, while World War II was roaring, The Knitting Mill was humming with activity. How cool would it be, to go back in time and be able to walk though this place during it’s prime.
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Employment Application

Employment Application

Sewing Department - Pants & Polo Shirts

Sewing Department – Pants & Polo Shirts

Cloth Finishing Department

Cloth Finishing Department

Sewing Department - Infants Wear

Sewing Department – Infants Wear

Spring Needle Knitting Department

Spring Needle Knitting Department

Latch Needle Knitting Department

Latch Needle Knitting Department

Order Filling Department

Order Filling Department

The Shipping Department

The Shipping Department

The Big One! Elmira Knitting Mills Warehouse Fire – 01/31/16

Had to laugh….I was called in by my Buddy Horseheads FD Chief Artie Sullivan…so I dusted it off & grabbed my trusty old T&C Helmet with my nickname, the trademark BATMAN logo on it. When I got to the scene Artie and Heights Chief Mike Cadek gave me the OK to shoot away among the Fire Troops inside the FD crowd ropes…..while doing so a Heights PD Officer came up, thought I was just an ordinary civilian and was going to move me back….
I explained to him that I had permission to shoot there…..
He asked “Who are you?”
“I’M BATMAN”
End of story……..got lots of great stuff, and lucky for all of us….it was 54 degrees out this January 31st! Felt like a Spring Drill.

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Good Ole’ Bill Shaw, the gentleman in the Yellow Fire Police Jacket & who has been in the Heights FD since he was 9 years old kept saying all night long…”I’ve been waiting Seventy One Years For This S.O.B. to Burn Down!” Well there you go Bill!!!

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11/14/15 Honor Vets Flight – Washington D.C.

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“Pink in the Rink” 2015 Edition

A few Special Moments from last night’s “Pink in the Rink” Ceremony prior to the Jackals-Reading ECHL Hockey Game. Each of the Boys skated out to present flowers to a Brave, Strong, Determined Cancer Survivor. Followed up by a Great Rendition of the National Anthem and a really fun Puck Drop at Center Ice.
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Bombs Away! – The American Bombshells Take Flight

What a great way to get warmed up for my November 14th gig with 55 local Heroes, when we all fly down to Washington to take these boys on what most likely will be their last visit to the monuments honoring their heroic service to our country. Tonight’s fundraiser at the Horseheads Legion was highlighted by the incredible “American Bombshells” Singing Troupe out of Brooklyn, NYC. These three gals were a great treat to our senses of both sight & sound! They sure did make those nicely tailored ’40’s Military Costumes look mighty fine indeed, and their singing wasn’t bad either! But the thing that far surpassed both their visual and audio effect on everyone, was their genuine care for, respect and affection that they all showed while meeting and chatting with these grizzled old Veterans between their sets and after the show. They laughed, and chatted, and smiled with these guys, and I’m certain that by simply doing so, brought so many of these old boys back to life again tonight, when they felt once again like they did when they were young and in their prime, fighting for our country in some far away land! Prime Time!
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The Tin Man Awaits…

Spent Saturday after the RANGERS big WIN envisioning, brainstorming and building the set & lighting for this coming weeks Studio Shoots in my awesome, modern, ground floor Professional Studio. The past couple weeks I’ve been searching for old, rusted out, used, corrugated tin roofing. No one seemed to have any, and a few old barns recently torn down, well I just missed nailing some by just a week or so…till BINGO, my buddy Bill Baker of Photographers Tech & Training Solutions in Elmira, NY, stumbled upon some on Craig’s List at a place up in Ithaca. The perfect amount of rusted roofing at a great price at a place called FINGER LAKES RE-USE CENTER which is located in the Triphammer Marketplace just off  the Triphammer Road/ Rt. 13 exit. Imagine every single rummage sale, garage sale, and auction that you’ve ever been at, coupled with all of the remodeling & building hardware that you have ever tossed out in your lifetime in a huge storefront. Electronics, housewares, tools, books, furniture, doors windows, molding, electric & plumbing fixtures, lumber, bath tubs, sinks, toilets, lumber. All of it reclaimed (Hey, It’s ITHACA!) and just waiting for a new life. The prices are very reasonable and they have so much product that they have some of the overflow stored outside in huge shipping containers. So remember, if you are ever looking something off the wall and are just coming up dry, you might just want to check this place out. Like I said, they do advertise lots of the inventory on Craigs List.
Here are a couple shots while I was getting the lighting tuned in, being assisted by my ever present Studio Lighting Model, the Prince of Darkness Himself, Dick Cheney!
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