Bobby's Photo Blog
My Photographic Blog

Oct
09

I have been going back and forth in my mind about writing this blog. Do I really want to go public? The half that says yes wins. Maybe it is better to vent and tell than it is to contain and silently scream, get mad and sometimes sulk.

So here it goes….
My Story

For many years I was a cocky, strong, fearless animal. I was enlisted into the United States Marine Corps at 16 1/2 with the blessings of the Court and caseworker. ( Looking back I say the biggest error of my life was getting discharged. Water under the bridge. )

Post Marines I tried the school route with frustrating success. Sure I was making good grades but the looks and whispering behind my back were hard to ignore. Being military was not “cool” in 1978. I stopped going to College and jumped into the Construction Trades chasing the almighty dollar. I became the bull on an Iron Crew. $35 an hour in 1979 was top dollar and mostly unheard of. I was living on top of the world, literally, the taller the building the more I liked it.

When I wasn’t building something I was throwing drunks out of bars as a bouncer. I eventually found my way to the Florida Keys working as a Contract Ironworker and as a Security Sergeant at the Holiday Isle Resort. I doubled up as a doorman at another local watering hole when I wasn’t building stuff.

The 94 – 95 Hurricane season led me to St Croix in the US Virgin Islands. I joined a crew to help get the Bar at the Hotel St Croix out of the swimming pool. When we weren’t working the project due to lack of materials, we worked in the community as volunteers rebuilding people’s homes, or sailed to some of the other leeward Islands helping with recovery. We made it all the way to Caracas to work on the Holiday Inn Resort, and then back to St Croix.

St Croix is where my life took a drastic change. I was working on the outside of the building setting scaffolding that had to be flown in by crane. The operator, drunken fool, hit the side of the scaffold and sent me to the ground. I got up mad, in pain and chased his ass off the jobsite. Little did I know my neck was damaged. I ended up going to the Doctor in St. Croix at the insistence of my good friend and job foreman. Unfortunately that Orthopedic Doctor shared his workspace with the Island Vet. Sitting in the office with a lady that had her dog in to see the Doctor was a little concerning.

Physically I was getting bad, losing the feelings in my hands and the ability to walk. I managed to get back to Miami and the Neck and Spine Institute. I was whisked into emergency surgery and a cervical fusion to relieve the swelling and repair the hole in my spinal cord. That was when I was told it wasn’t all about the injury and more about the onslaught of MS and Motor Neuron Disease. Da Fuk?

To be Continued………….

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Dec
27

I make an effort to not rant on this page, however this is relevant to my business:

I do not need to shoot for exposure. I work with highly regarded Media Outlets and professional sports companies. I am credible and fairly well known in NE Florida. I am sorry you did not budget a Photographer, however that is not my fault.

Food and Drink are fine. I have plenty in my home. Cash is not only preferred but currently what my creditors, JEA, Comcast and the Landlord will accept. When they accept Food and Drink as payment. so will I.

I do not need permission to use my work in my portfolio, although I do appreciate you offering to let me use some of my shots. The images I shoot do not belong to you until I assign them to you unless there is a contract in place stating otherwise, and compensation is adequate.

I am sure you will find an amateur photography enthusiast to cover you party. I am sure there is someone who will bite on the ‘get your name out’ scenario and I wish you luck in your search.

Sep
05

Lissa has been in the spirit world for four months now. I am learning to accept the fact that she will not walk through the door, call home or surprise me at work. It has been a hard road, emotionally speaking, this learning to move on. The nightmares are subsiding, finally.

I guess in some aspects I am doing better than some who have traveled this road before me. I didn’t do anything harmful to myself or others. I didn’t seek her tormentors, her separated Husband Chris Kennedy or her hateful Ex Larry. In that aspect I have kept my solemn promise to Lissa. They are still walking among us and not six feet down where deep inside me I want to put them.

I didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol to drown the pain and go ‘numb’ like the stories I have heard. While she was here I like to believe I was the reason she didn’t drink much. We believed there are no answers in the bottom of a bottle and no relief in a syringe.

I do, however, have some troubling thought concerning the religious aspects involved in the grieving process. I have a hard time wrapping myself around the ‘She is in a better place’ theory. Really? You know this how? Have you been there or have you talked to someone who has? Of course she is no longer in physical pain, she is gone from this world and her physical body. Is she in a better place – I guess I will find that out when I get there. If there is a there.

I deal with a list of physical disabilities that seem more prominent now than before. I tend to wonder is this because of an introduction, if you will, to my mortality? Why is it we go through life, or In my case at least, dealing with all the little things as if it were no big deal but now they take center stage? I think they take center stage now because of our being so tied together and she is gone from this place. I think it’s because for a time we mark time, review our mortality and assess with deeper scrutiny all the little things that make up the whole. I believe part of that is the mending of a broken heart.

But anyway, life goes on. It surprises me how quickly, but it goes on. Bills need to be paid.

Jun
30

I have been out of the loop for a couple of months now. I have seen many bad things in my life and yes I have done bad things. I have seen suffering and loss in many forms – from my days as a US Marine to my travels around the country cleaning up after disasters. I have been with friends who lost some one close to them and tried to comfort and lend a shoulder for them.
I felt bad for people when they lost like that but nothing could have prepared me for this.

English: pink ribbon

On May 1st 2013, my beautiful partner, Fiance, Best Friend and  my soul-mate lost her battle with Breast Cancer. Lissa and I had a brand new and strong  love for one another. We had known each other for four years, were living together for three, and engaged for two. We hardly were apart and happy just to be together. We were on course to resolve legal issues and be Married the weekend of  February 16 the anniversary of our engagement. Unfortunately we got the news in October 2012 that her breast cancer was metastatic and treatment was scheduled. Treatment that included everything from Chemo to Radiation to Drug Therapy. Everything else took a back seat and yes that included work, play and future planning. Every day we hugged, we cried, we kissed and we tried to be us. We prayed and we went to the doctor. We spent a lot of time in the hospital and eventually Hospice. I say we because I was there with her, holding her hand and trying to give her what comfort I could. I held her in my arms as she drew her final breath on the morning of May 1st.

The hardest thing  was watching the bravest, most beautiful woman fight the fight of her life, bravely and with courage and realizing there was nothing I could do to save her

I have great memories of our life together and at the same time I am troubled by the images of suffering my angel went through. Holding her while she cried, kissing her tears away while telling her I would be there where others failed. I would be there to the very end and then some. I cry. I hurt. There is a big ol hole in my chest where my heart used to be. My soul yearns for her. I called out and I cried.

I am healing. I am learning to start over.  I am on the rebuild.

I miss you Lissa,

Feb
25
Jacksonville Giants

Jacksonville Giants (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Jacksonville Giants close out their their last  regular  season home game this Saturday in the UNF Arena. The Giants are part of the ABA and play most of their Home Games in The Veterans Memorial Arena in Downtown Jacksonville. This season the Giants will host the 2013 ABA Final Four and the Championship game. Not only do the Giants have Home Court Advantage by hosting, they also have a chance to finish the season with just one loss.

Here is the photo gallery from last weeks game in Jacksonville – Giants Ground the Flight – on Jacksonville.com

Remember the final game is this Saturday at the UNF Arena – Check the Giants Website for all the details and Info about the Playoffs!

Jacksonville Gems Dance Team

Jacksonville Gems Dance Team

 

Feb
20

I work for everything I ever had, have or will have. I don’t go to events in Jacksonville very often unless I am working.  Everything I see at an event is generally through a viewfinder. I capture the images that tell the story of the event and the people involved.  I make it a point to befriend all those out there working for a living at these events. I shake hands, give and get a hug here and there, smile and tell jokes. I do this with everyone from the person at the gate to the usher at the aisle, from the venue manager to the talent that performs. I work to get along and I enjoy it.

I also have to deal with the “parking lot bullies”. The ones that act like I am stealing from them because I don’t want to give my meager earnings to them so I can go to work.  Why is it so hard to get any professional courtesy out of these “bullies?”  I tend to believe the money they collect from the working people they pocket. Every-time I had to “bribe”  one of these people I have never gotten a receipt,  a ticket showing the cost or any validation from them. Why? They pocket the money! The excuse that they are used to hearing stories from people who don’t want to pay does not wash with me. I am a credentialed Media Professional. Why does it take a 20 minute argument and contacting a supervisor to convince you to let me park on property and go to work?

I am seriously considering filing a formal complaint with the City of Jacksonville.  Maybe that will get the pot stirred up a bit.

Jan
28

Flash lighting can be useful when used in the right setting. Knowing when to use it is the thing I see people don’t understand.   A light fill is always useful for daytime photography outdoors and on location. The fill is intended to open up the shadows and reduce harsh lines while enhancing the human subject. A speed light is perfectly acceptable for this purpose, unless you want the attention and have a need to be noticed then a couple of assistants with soft-boxes  umbrellas and battery packs would be your choice.

When shooting sporting events in a professional arena, collegiate or otherwise, then the flash should be turned off. Most if not all players would appreciate it. Their job is to compete with one another, not with being blinded by your flash. Most sporting venues are lit adequately enough where a knowledgeable Photographer can get the shot. This is where a working understanding of light and exposure equivalents are necessary. It is also important to have the proper equipment. A lens with a minimum f-stop of 5.6 attached to a camera with the maximum iso of 1600 probably will not do the job in an indoor venue.

Concerts are the same. Most passes into the photo pit come with the stipulation of NO Flash. Performers don’t want the distraction. The stage lighting adds to the overall quality of the show and if you can’t work with it or don’t have the gear or knowledge – get out of the pit.

Jan
16

Little Big Man. I was at a recent concert doing a publicity gig when I ran across Little Big Man. Somebody felt sorry for Little Big Man and gave him a title. The presumed power of the title went straight to his little head. Little Big Man was now Little “Richard Cranium.”

Demanding that members of the press are not review a show because all reviews had to be approved by a publicist in NY is probably not going to work out too well.

When your show hardly covers the cost of turning on the electricity, you should garnish any positive energy you can.  Or is it more important to pose up and try  impress a group of barely teen age girls?

Your group, which I struggled to find any form of original talent in, was nothing more than a  ‘Mediocre Tribute’ band, a Motley Crue – Poison – Big Hair knock off, a rip off of a style. A style that may be popular across the big pond but went out with aqua-net here in the states. If you were as ‘hot and in demand’ as you thought, you would be performing in front of 12,000 not barley 200. The over the top light show did little to disguise the fact that your group’s choreographed movement was stiff and over thought. The pre-teen crowd swooning over the ‘Vampire’ persona they were trying to project was a miserable fail and the lack of skill onstage was plain as a white sheet of paper. Take off the Make-Up and we have a typical metal band, nothing special.

The sad part of your existence is the realization that if, and this is a stretch, the group developed here in the US you would be unemployed or reduced to carrying equipment (nothing important of course, maybe spare batteries or the water cooler).

Jan
09

Gear. We all want it. We all use it. What about the price and alternatives? If you look at name brand gear you noticed the price. For example – a belt pouch from a world-brand, Canon, Nikon, etc. can be quite expensive. Recently I found myself wanting a belt pouch – it just made sense especially when shooting in the field, on the sidelines, court side – you get the drift. I priced out the one I wanted and decided to investigate alternatives. I found a belt pouch at a department store for a fraction of the price canon wanted on Amazon!

Seven Dollars. The same type of cargo pouch was $24. Moral of the story? Seek and ye shall find. Don’t bite the big ticket item.

Aug
16

It has been a very busy time here in Jacksonville Florida. At least for me it has. I have been working an internship with the Florida Times Union, our local news paper and part of the Morris Communications Family.

My assignments have included everything from School Board events to Professional Football. My photos have been published in every part of the News Paper from an A-1 Front Page to page 2 of Metro News. It is a privilege and an accomplishment at the same time. It is one hell of a feeling to know industry professionals such as my editors think enough of my work, have faith in my ability and trust my judgement enough to send me out on a deadline assignment – and then publish my work.

It did not come easy – I made my mistakes. I learned that proper and precise identification is of the utmost importance, there is no room for speculation. I learned that there is a balance between creativity and truth in my work. There also has to be a preservation of journalistic integrity –  is my responsibility not only to capture the moment but to insure the moment tells the truth. There there is a fine line that balances both.

I am sad that this internship will end soon. The highlight is that I am a Freelance Photojournalist that has been tested, validated and proven ready.

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