Photo Blog Featuring:

Outdoor Travel, Adventure & Landscape Photography

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Natures Palette

I didn’t get out this fall as much as I wanted to but, it’s not over yet! With all the rain we had this summer nature is really putting on a show with all the bright vibrant colors that are around us. I was able to get up to Harriman State Park in NY a handful of times so far and found myself engulfed in so much color I thought I was walking on a painter’s palette. When I get out in nature to shoot I’m lucky enough to be able to see things the way it will look through my camera lens. People say to me all the time “what beautiful pictures you take” and my reply is “thank you and I wish I could say I created them but all I did was capture what was in front of me”. The older I get the more amazed and mesmerized I become of the natural world around us and less mesmerized I become of all the materialism our society has created. I can truly say that when I’m out hiking, kayaking or shooting that I’m in a mindset that I could never feel when in an urban landscape. The photos in this blog post were shot this fall in the New York area. I hope viewing them stirs up your adventurous side and pulls you out into the wild for a hike with the family and friends. You’ll be surprised how taking some time away from our fast paced world will clear your head, help you to think more clearly and live a healthier lifestyle.
On another note I have some cool stuff going on right now. First off Jason Melendez, an instructor at Malandra’s Martial Arts Center, and I took group of 26 people including 16 children hiking last month and let me tell you, the kids are counting down the days until our next hike in November. We heard so many comments from the children stating they never realized how cool it is in the wilderness exploring, finding new places and viewing wildlife. The group photo in this blog was taken by Susan Magnano from Magnanimous Pictures. I hope to run hiking/photography workshops for children in the spring to show tomorrow’s generation that they too can capture the beautiful photos that I do.

Well, I’ve be talking about it for a while and it’s going to happen next month. I’m finally going to have my Elements of Nature gallery set up at the martial arts school. I'm looking at Thanksgiving weekend for a gallery opening with live music, food and beverages. I'll have 20 prints hanging in sizes from 18 x 24 to 20 x 30 inches and close to 100 prints that will be matted in print bins in sizes ranging from 5 x 7 to 11 x 18 inches. I will feature a variety of work, not only from this area but also the Southwest, Hawaii, St. John, California and Florida. As soon as I finish the details and confirm everything I’ll be posting a blog and sending out invites to everyone on my e mail list. If you’re not on my list and would like more information please shoot me an e mail at with your address and I’ll get you on the list. Till next time, I leave you with this quote by the world famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright : ‘Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you’.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Summers End

The summer of 2009 brought the Northeast some wet and sometimes dreary weather. While the weather may have damped our summer plans it is going to bring us brilliant falls foliage colors. I plan on taking advantage of some trips into New York State and capture all the beauty as it unfolds.

Blackbelt Jason Melendez, photographer Susan Magnano and I will be taking students from Malandra’s Martial Arts Center for a hiking trip to Pine Meadow Lake in Harriman State Park. I am using this opportunity to reintroduce the young students to the beauty of nature as a break from their high tech lives or their rigid pre-organized activity schedule. As a forty-something year old I see parents carting their children from field to field or lesson to lesson. This lifestyle is stressful to parents and children. I want to offer children an opportunity to do and see something different and give the family dinner table a new conversation.

I hope that such an adventure will turn into a monthly which could expand into Landscape Photography workshops for children and parents. Call me old school, but I would like to inspire and see parents and children taking overnight camping trips to the various picturesque locations the tri-state area has to offer.

Understand that not everyone can take advantage of camping trips I will bring snapshots of our trips to you. My new gallery will located at Malandra’s Martial Arts Center in local Suffern, New York during the holiday season. I will add to the experience with an evening of live music and refreshments so be sure to check back for details. I leave you with photos from summer 2009 from Harriman State Park and the Catskills. I hope you enjoy the photos and they inspire you, as they have me, to get out there, hike and see the amazing Fall foliage which promises to be amazing this year!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sam's Point Preserve - Ice Cave Mountain

On Friday I decided that on Saturday I should head up to Sam's Point Preserve which is the Ice Cave mountain area in Cragsmoor, NY. My goal was more toward hiking then a photography trip but, I could NEVER leave my camera home. Heading out around 9am the morning was already hot and humid. After grabbing coffee and some food I reached the Nature Conservatory around 10:15am paid for my parking permit and headed straight for the Ice Caves. WOW!!! Walking down the trail I could feel the cold air coming out of the many huge crevasses I passed. The Ice Caves are located in the heart of the northern Shawangunk Mountains just south of Minnewaska State Park. I finally reached the main opening to the cave and entered through an opening into a dark and cold environment that felt like something out of a JRR Tolkien book. Looking down at the cave floor about 30 feet below me I could see ice and snow still sitting on the stone floor. Once I made my way out I decided to hike over to Verkeerderkill Falls, a journey which took me across a ridge top of pine barrens through streams and blueberry bushes. This piece of wilderness is home to nearly 40 rare plant and animal species and represents one of the highest priorities for conservation in the Northeastern United States. The Falls were spectacular to say the least. Relaxing up there I ate lunch, hung my feet in the cool water for some needed relief from the heat and shot some photos. Due to the time of day the photography wasn't great but I was able to capture the essence of my trip. The whole trip weighed in at about 10 miles and not only gave me the workout I was looking for but some amazing views and a feeling of calmness that's has been so hard to find back home in our over achieving society. With all the hiking I do I still am amazed at all the new places I am still able to find that exist almost in my back yard. Finishing this blog I leave you with this. Children learn about the rain forests, animal life, plant life, ocean life, marine life and its importance to our planet and our existence. The question is in today’s world how many children are really getting out there to experience what they're being taught in the confines of the classroom and man-made zoos and gardens? How many children are taught that there's "natural" nature that exists an arms length from their back yard? This hands on education to our children is what's going to keep these precious places alive! Hope you enjoy the photos. Till next time, get out and experience nature for yourself - you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

St. John Journey

After taking a plane to St Thomas a taxi ride through some of the smallest one way streets on the island and then a ferry to St John we finally arrived at our destination. We picked up our jeep rental in the town of Cruz Bay and headed over to our tree house at Maho Bay where we would be spending the first 3 nights of our trip. Arriving at the Eco Lodge we realized that the heat and humidly was overtaking us and Sue was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. I swear they thought she was an Italian pastry from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx!! We checked in to what would be a very interesting 3 day stay. Our tent in the trees had electricity but no fan. With no breeze and 100 percent humidly the first night was a challenge. With the heat getting the best of us we decided to head back into town and grabbed a drink at our favorite ocean side bar on the island, the Beach Bar, and then some dinner. The next day felt even hotter and with a thick haze in the air that was a result of Africa’s weather pattern. We decided to bag hiking and hit the beaches for some snorkeling. It wasn’t until we reached the Coral Bay the following week that we hiked. Oh, and we did search out a local store to buy a floor fan which made our tree house a little more than tolerable at night. To improve the accommodations we also made sure we had plenty of beer from a local island brewery. Even with the heat, humidly and Sahara dust from Africa being in St. John is total paradise. The island has some of the most amazing beaches in the world, great local people that are by far some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met in America who take pride in their island. If you didn’t know, more than 3/4 of the island is a National Park with some amazing hiking trails. The three times Sue and I have been there we have hiked to some of the most secluded and pristine beaches that most people who visit the island don’t even realize exist. Most of our time on the Maho Bay side of the island was spent in the water snorkeling because of the heat and haze. It wasn’t until we arrived in Coral Bay 3 days later that the heat started to break a little and the haze was clearing up. The place we stayed at in Coral bay was called Concordia Estates, which is also an Eco Resort. Our eco tent cabin was built into the side of the mountain and was purely powered on solar energy! Our view from our porch and bedroom was of Ram’s Head which is a part of the island that over looks St. Croix more than 40 miles away and can be seen on a clear day. Being on this side of the island is much more laid back and life is taken at a much slower pace than the Cruz Bay side, if you can believe that. With the weather breaking a little we decided to do a hike out to Ram’s Head, check out some of the beaches and do some photography along the way. On our way we crossed a beach called Salt Pond Bay where a sail boat had been docked for 2 days. Being able to see the boat from our tent we were wondering “who are those people”? When we arrived to Salt Pond we met the couple who owned the boat. They docked there the night before took their dinghy from their sailboat to shore and hiked Ram’s Head for the day and snorkeled the bay. With no real plan they were sailing around St. John stopping where their adventurous souls would take them. By far my favorite beach on the island which happens to be on the way to Ram’s Head, called Blue Cobblestone Beach. The beach is made up of, what else but blue cobblestones and chunks of white coral. The contrast between the stones, white coral, teal green water and blue sky is so amazing that it almost puts me at a loss for words. The next day before sunrise Sue and I hiked out to Nanny Point which is off to the left of Ram’s Head and Drunk Bay to do some photography. This part of the island has some of the roughest sea due to the sea cliffs and rugged terrain. Walking on to this beach instantly reminded me of the movie the Planet of the Apes. It felt like we were on another planet or on earth thousands of years ago! The rock outcroppings and jagged cliff formations left me speechless. As I hiked around the beach taking photos and trying to set up the next “ultimate shot” I found myself climbing higher and higher into the massive rock formation that made the ocean so rough in this place. I started to climb through this vertical seam between two towering rock walls that took me through the center and out the other side to a view of the ocean that photographs or words could never explain. Sitting just outside of this crevasse, staring at the waves hitting the rocky terrain below made me feel as if I had reached the end of the world and it put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

St. John is by far one of my favorite places in the Caribbean because of its little quaint towns, great people and untouched natural landscape that will stay like that forever due to its National Park status. One of our favorite things to do when we go away is to talk to the locals and people who relocate. We found so many people who were our age that had come to this little island, loved it so much that they never left or came back to work there and live the true meaning of paradise. They may never become millionaires but that have something that is far more important, and that something is called quality of life and a dream that is coming true for them. All the photos in this blog were shot on this trip. I’m hoping to have a good amount of stuff ready for purchase in my new gallery in Suffern this coming Fall along with stuff from my journey out West that will take place next month. I now find myself on a plane flying back to New Jersey on a flight that has been delayed more than 2 hours due to rain back in the New Jersey area. Rain in NJ this summer? Really? You’re kidding me right?
If you would like to see more photos I shot from this trip goto my facebook page by clicking here. Got photos then to the St. John gallery.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A wet spring but a good one for photography

So far for photography this spring has treated me pretty good. Yes the endless rainy days are testing my mental state but I'm thinking I'll be ok. At least this is what I tell myself everyday. Anyway I'm pretty happy with a lot of the stuff I was able to shoot so far this year. I'm getting some nice stuff that will make it into my gallery this summer as well as my next big show in the fall. Some cool stuff I have coming up is the trip to St. John Island in the Caribbean that Sue and I have planned for next week. We have rented at tree tent for the week at Maho Bay Eco Campground. I can't wait to sleep in the trees and listen to the ocean that will be less than 100 feet from our dwelling that we will call home for the week. I hope to post a couple of blogs as well as some of the daily photos I'll shoot while away. The other journey I have planned for the summer is my photography trip out to the Southwest in August. I've already booked my 3 night stay at the North Rim campground at the Grand Canyon. As this trip comes together I'll be posting all of the details as well as daily blogs and photos from each place I visit. Until my next blog post from St. John I hope everyone has a great weekend! The photos in this blog are some of the stuff I've shot so far this spring. I hope you enjoy the photographs. Please note, anyone looking to order prints from my website please be patient as I work out the final details on setting up my new online gallery. Once again thank you everyone for your continued support and belief in my work.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Journey

Wow, I can't believe it's almost the end of May and I haven't put up a post yet! As I sit here in my hotel room in Vermont on a business trip the only thing on my mind right now besides getting out to hike (which isn’t happening today) is the trip I’ve been planning to head out West in August. It all started this winter when the bone chilling, damp, cold weather grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go until April. At that point I said “Wow, why in the world am I here? Why would I stand for this?” Anyway, with too many responsibilities right now I knew I couldn’t just pack up and leave so I started to think about where would I go I if could. Well Maui, & Kauai did stand out in my mind but then I had a vision of Edward Abbey and I realized that traveling in the desert is where I need to be. Why? I don’t really know other than like the rainforests I’ve lucky enough to have experienced, the desert pulls me like a magnet. So what I started to plan to help keep my sanity is a 2 to 4 week photography and hiking trip to the Southwest starting and finishing in Las Vegas. The goal and purpose of this journey would be for me to hike, kayak and camp in as many places out west as possible and to get a body of work together to display in one of the many galleries in our area this coming fall. I’m also looking to not only document my journey in photos, but to also keep a daily log, track all my hikes on my GPS and to upload daily logs to my blog site. My plan is to camp for most the trip staying in a B&B or hotel only to regroup and get my stuff together for the next place I head to. Right now I’m looking to fly into Vegas and make a bee-line for Zion National Park then head to Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell, Grand Canyon North Rim and back to Vegas with a trip to Death Valley if time allows. I’d like to spent anywhere from 3 to 4 days in each place. There’s so much to experience out there that I realize I’ll have to think practical and come to grips that I won’t be able to get to every place I want on this journey. Oh Well, I guess that means another trip! As my plan comes together I’ll be posting more information along with my start date. I hope many of you find this to be exciting and inspires you to plan your own journey to where ever your passion takes you. The photos in this post were shot on my last trip out West back in Feburary of 2008. The first photo is Canyonlands National Park & the other three shots are of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Here is a couple more Watercolors I've been working on over the dreary winter we experienced this year. I'm not totally happy with the outcome, but then again, I'm usually not when it comes to my paintings. All my paintings are done from photographics I have taken. With my photography, I try to capture the way I see the scenes I'm shooting with very little photoshop editing - other then the standard adjustments. With my painting my attempt is to capture not just what I see in the scene I'm painting but also how it makes me feel emotionally. In my paintings I always over exaggerate the saturation and contrast in many of the colors I see because for me being outside in the wilderness makes me feel excited, happy, and emotionally attached to something I really can't explain. This feeling to me is loud and in your face but not overwhelming. No matter what my frame of mind is at the time, good or bad, it takes over and gives me a sense of comfort. Ok this is probably more than one needs to know so I'll stop here lol. Hope you enjoy the paintings.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Elements of Nature - A Multimedia Concert Event (Click photo to see video)

Last week - after talking about it for almost a year - my friend Mark and I finally did the first, of what we hope to be many, live shows featuring his music and my photography. His band, the Mark Sganga Trio, played live to a media presentation of my nature photography. We were both very happy with the outcome and received some great feedback from the audience. We hope to make this an event where we can book gigs throughout the Tri-State area. The show took place at NV Lounge in Suffern, NY and even though it was a rainy, dreary evening we had a good turnout with some lively fans of Mark’s eager to listen to some jazz. Mark and his band are amazing! They can play anything from Classic Rock to Jazz, Brazilian music and, of course, many original tunes of their own. My media presentation consisted of images from right here in Harriman State Park, the many National Parks in the Southwest and then one of my favorite places - the Hawaiian Islands.

I just edited down the NY/NJ State Park segment to a 5 minute piece to post on the Internet. I used some of Mark’s original music in the video. Click here to go to my youtube site and check it out and let me know what you think. I'll keep everyone posted on the next show we do together. If you're into good music and enjoy watching some incredible musicians work their craft then the Mark Sganga Trio shouldn't be missed!

Until next time, with the weather finally starting to "Spring", get out there and do some hiking and have some outdoor fun.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saint Catherine of Bologna Art Show & Then Some

Thank you everyone who came out this past weekend to the Saint Catherine of Bologna Photo and Art Show in Ringwood NJ. This was my first year at this event and WOW it won't be my last! This show had some amazing Artists and Photographers from the NY/NJ tri-state area displaying their work. Not only was it an honor for me to be in this show but also an inspiration to see all the other work. It's so cool to see other people’s work and the passion they put into their craft. My La Sal Mountains photograph received Honorable Mention in the Photography - Nature/Landscape category. I was also happy to see that I was able to help their not for profit by selling my Rainbow Falls piece & also raising some more money for them with my Holly Berries shot I took this winter up in Harriman State Park. A friend, Arthur Gilmore, who is also my painting teacher had his work in the show also. He's an amazing Watercolor painter and it showed by him winning 2 first place awards for best artist and best painting of Ringwood NJ.

On another note I've had some local business owners asking if I'd be interested in displaying my work in their establishments. The 3 places I'm in right now are Caffe Dolce in Suffern, NY, Araya Rebirth Day Spa in Ridgewood, NJ and Mr. Press Printing & Graphics in Suffern, NY. Mark McGuy owner of Caffe Dolce is a friend and what Sue and I call our personal chef due to the fact that we spend more time in his place then we do at home!!! Mark's place has some awesome food, drink & live entertainment. If you're in Suffern stop by for a visit and check out some cool photography of some amazing places right here in our backyard and from across the country while you enjoy a glass of wine and some great food! Mark put a little write up in his latest newsletter about my photography. I thought his words were kind; I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but never a “Renaissance Man” so I posted his words below. Until next time I'll leave you with a quote that I took from a photographer I met at the Art Expo in NYC this month. "There is no reason to look back. You're not headed that way." - Greg Davis

Photography By Mike Malandra- Mike Malandra is a true Renaissance Man: Businessman, Athlete, Artist, and much more - this guy is remarkable. Come in to the Caffe and see Mike's photography on display. It's absolutely breathtaking. Mike has a great eye for nature and brings it right inside for you to experience.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

NYC Art Expo

Friday I headed over to the Art Expo Show at the Javitz Center in NYC. My trip had a 2 fold agenda. First I knew I would be seeing some other artists and photographers whose works would inspire and motivate me to keep pushing along and second I wanted to see what the show was all about and if it would be something I'd like to give a crack at next year. The best part of the show for me was heading over to where the solo artists had their booths. I met some amazing people and had a chance to talk to them about their work. The one person that stands out for me is a photographer by the name of Greg Davis . I found his website the other day on the Art Expo site and after reading his Bio I knew I had to find him at the show. Not only is his work incredible, but so is his story. The short of the long is basically that he worked for Hewlett Packard for 10 years and decided that Corporate America wasn't for him. He left his job and traveled around the world for a year experiencing other countries and shooting photos. 3 years later his vacation pictures have turned him into a professional photographer. He is selling his prints and working on a book to tell his story along with another trip, this time to base camp on Mount Everest (my wife’s dream trip that will come true in the near future). Talk about "living" the American Dream! Go to his website and take a moment to read his story it's truly inspirational. I met some other great photographers there as well as this Watercolor artist Sinclair Stratton who does the most amazing paintings of animals. She donates part of her proceeds to many different charitable groups that help animals. After leaving the show I realized something that I kind of knew all along and that's that artists are a little "out there" but it's that being “out there” that has kept them true to living the life they choose and to follow their dreams and passions. They may never become wealthy, then again, maybe they will, but to them it doesn't seem to matter. After speaking to many of them I have found that they’re happy and a passionate group of people that live to create and keep their dream alive. For me this is so important, It's the philosophy I've taught I've my Martial Arts students for 23 years and it's what I struggle to live by in my life everyday. I've listed some websites below of some of the artists I met at the show. Check them out, their work is incredible and motivating to look at.

I've kind of been lazy about my blog this month and procrastinated getting up some other posts I wanted to write. Within the next couple of weeks I'll be posting some new paintings I've done along with some new locations and shows you can find my work in. Until next time, stay motivated and keep living your dream whatever that may be.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Watercolor Painting

Just finished this watercolor painting today. It's of Tiorati Brook Road in Harriman NY. One of the best roads to Bike or Run up. It's a winding one mile incline that connects Lake Welch Drive to Seven Lakes Drive. Talk about an adrenalin rush. The road is closed in the winter months due to snow and ice.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Covered in Ice

Driving home from the gym yesterday I noticed how everything was covered in ice "bad for driving but, great for photography!" I eagerly finished all of my responsibilities and headed up to Seven Lakes Drive in Harriman. Hiking was difficult due to all the ice but I parked my car at the Reeves Meadow parking lot and started to slowly make my way to one of my favorite spots in the park. I hiked along the Yellow Trail following the Stony Brook for about 1/2 of a mile then woke up and realized that “WOW, IT’S REALLY ICEY! I better start to turn back”! Along the way I was like a kid in a candy store not knowing what to shoot first. The air was cold and damp with an icy mist hitting me in the face but the scenery was well worth having to put up with the elements of mother nature. Arriving back at my car with about another 45 minutes of sunlight left I headed further up Seven Lakes Drive to the Lake Sebago turnaround and shot some cool shots of the different ice formations along the way. Having Harriman State Park in my back yard is like a child living in Disney. Come to think of it with places like State Parks, why do we need theme parks? Hope you enjoy the photographs.