I Love it When You Talk Techie

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 13, 2015 by wordsandpixels

Proud Papa Department

Los Angeles, CA — September 13, 2015

My son Nathaniel is clawing his way up the ladder of success in H’Wood as a DP. He’s doing great, thank you very much, and there isn’t a father this side of Mongolia who isn’t as proud of his son and his accomplishments.

But a recent project of Nathaniel’s got me to thinking how we used to talk on set decades ago. We threw “tech talk” words around with abandon. “HMI’s. 10K’s. Reverse angle, low angle Steadicam shot.” You know what I’m talking’ about. Yes, you! Stop smiling!image1

Speaking of which, we couldn’t help but to smile when #2 son described what he was up to in conjunction with the attached beast of a film camera. “Sprockets? Panavision? What the…???”


It’s more than OK for you to post the pictures, dad.  I should have taken a few more, but was busy prepping.  The job I’m on isn’t ready to talk about, but you can say I was prepping a Panavised Arri Alexa (Records to SxS Cards) with an 11:1 (Zoom ratio 24 -275mm) Primo zoom (t 2.8).  The camera is a high speed body that can do up to 60fps at 4:4:4:4 (color space, pronounced 4 by 4)


So I guess the moral of the story is the more things change the more they stay the same. Technology is simply a way of telling a story more effectively, easily, without fuss and bother.

Thanks, Nathaniel Miller, up and coming Director of Photography. You are DA MAN!!!!


Playing ketchup

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2015 by wordsandpixels

I had dinner my old friend Eric last night, a college buddy. We went to Queens College in the 1960’s, at the height of social unrest, the war in Vietnam and a whole lotta drugs and rock n roll, but yet during an era that defined our growth. He and I sold a camera bag we invented, called “The System Bag” (pictured at left in a book I wrote on the subject of freelance photography). He has traveled all over the world as an expert on electrical metering systems, and gave me two high-voltage insulators as souvenirs. My bag was empty so I was sorry I couldn’t give him a gift, but the dinner and the time we spent catching up was a beautiful gift for the two of us. Merci bien fois, Eric.IMG_3089


Back in the Saddle Again (cue C&W music up, fade from black)

Posted in Ramblings with tags , , , on September 6, 2015 by wordsandpixels

OK, OK. I get it.

Enough of you have suggested — and strongly is not too much of an adjective — that it might actually be helpful to some folks if I were to resurrect the infamous wordsandpixels.com blog. You know, that desperate gulch of a place where words and pictures come together in the finest tradition of photojournalism and tell a story.

Friends and family know that we will shortly be moving from city environs to those in the wilderness. When (and IF, a big IF) this transpires we are going to build an old-fashioned, hypo smell-in-your face wet darkroom, complete with enlarger, trays and the ubiquitous dry mount press.



The attached pitchas of 35mm and 4×5 cameras (two of my fav formats) are simply placeholders for future developments in this space.

Stay tuned.

ANOTHER WSJ piece? Yikes!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15, 2013 by wordsandpixels

The folks at the Wall Street Journal were kind enough to publish another piece on hiking the AT, this time from the “how-to” perspective. Hope you like it!


The Wall Street Journal and the Retina IIa

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 28, 2013 by wordsandpixels

Sixty-five years ago, an intrepid soldier put on his hiking boots and — thankfully for a different reason — slogged through the mud, the rain and the cold for an historic Georgia-to-Maine, record-setting adventure. Earl Shaffer was the first person to hike the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail from end to end.

The author near Newfound Gap, Appalachian Trail, at mile 260.8 (photo by Gary Mintier).

The author near Newfound Gap, Mile 260.8 Appalachian Trail (photo by Gary Mintier).

One of his critical pieces of gear was his camera.

Considered today as laughably heavy for AT hiking, his camera, now also sixty-five years old, was a Kodak Retina IIa 35mm rangefinder. It took 35mm film, of course, and Shaffer fed it a steady diet of slide film to capture the details.

I recently celebrated my sixty-fifth birthday by replicating that hike, with a similar camera but with Earl’s enthusiasm. My friend, muse and client, Karen Larsen, editor and founder of “Good Old Boat” magazine, sent me a copy of “Encore,” the Wall Street Journal’s magazine aimed at 50-plus year old readers with a “hint, hint” note. I called the editor, Glenn Ruffenach, and told him of my planned footpath travails. My cell phone rang, literally, when I was stream-side, filling my water bottles. Mr. Ruffenach thought it was a story which WSJ readers would find both inspiring as well as educational.

This article was the result.

The real hero of this story? My little Retina.

Gnashing Teeth, WordPress, Computers….

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 16, 2013 by wordsandpixels

IMG_1685As readers of this blog know, I have been very fortunate to be allowed to teach a course entitled “Shoot Film!” at Westchester Community College.

So I wanted to change my blog appearance. I wanted to remove a bio-like front page and have users go straight to the blog. Simple, right?

Wrong. When you went to http://wordsandpixels.com you got the dreaded “404 Not Found” error.

A lot of searching, Googling, checking boxes, etc., etc., resulted in only frustration. How can I fix this? Hmmm. I kept reading. I kept searching. Finally, there it was. The answer. Go in to your blog site, the advice said, make a few changes, and make sure you save those changes. Ninety-nine out of one hundred times that will do the trick.

It did. I think. I hope. This, as they say, is a test. It is only a test. In the event of an emergency you will….well, you get the idea.

Here goes.

The accompanying photograph, incidentally, shows my youngest son Zach, who teaches earth and physical science at John Jay Middle School in Northern Westchester, at work on my computer. He doesn’t suffer from the same brain short circuits as does his dad. When he wants to use technology to help teach, a few quick keystrokes and, voila!, it’s done.

Baby boomers aren’t that fortunate.

New Hampshire

Posted in Uncategorized on October 12, 2013 by wordsandpixels

A quick Facebook(c) like comment. We had an earthquake yesterday! a very moving experience!