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Jan 26 2014 Nikon advertorial for Rangefinder Magazine

It's always an honor when Nikon asks me to take part in an advertorial. As a Nikon Ambassador to the United States, I love when I'm able to share my images to represent the Nikon brand. After 30+ years in photography, I still get a rush when I see my work in publications I enjoy. The advertorial was meant to touch upon lenses. I probably take more lenses to a wedding than most other photographers. I usually use all eight lenses in my bag at each and every wedding. Along with light, and our own unique vision, lens selection is a key to enhancing creativity, as well as composing the images we make. So, when the Nikon advertorial's focus(pun intended) was on lens selection, I thought it was a good opportunity to explain why I take so much glass to a wedding.  
If you'd like to read the advertorial, The link to that, as well as Rangefinder Magazine's online version is ADVERTORIAL 

Dec 12 2013 A few Nikkor Lens essentials in the bag

One of the questions I'm asked most often is what lenses are in my bag. I've always believed that varying focal length will enhance my creativity. I'm not a fan of just using one lens throughout the day- even if that lens can give a wide array of focal lengths. I bring about 8 lenses to a wedding, and over the next few weeks I'll be posting some images from various weddings and talking about how each lens is utilized. As a Nikon Ambassador to the United States, I do my best to help photographers with gear questions, and I try and put myself out there to provide insight into how I do what I do.  
When I first walk into where a bride is getting prepped, I'll have my two Nikon D4's on my body, and I'll have an AF-S Nikkor 35mm f1.4G on one body and an AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1.4G on the other body. I prefer primes in these situations because I'm doing my best to isolate emotion, and I'm looking to bring focus and attention to my subject while losing backgrounds that may be distracting. I love shooting at 1.4 so I can utilize the quality of the directional light I'm working with, and I don't need an abundance of light to do so. The 35mm is a lens I rely on often, and it's something that I keep on my D4 as a "go to" lens when I'm looking to capture a moment quickly. It's fast, it's reliable, and it's sharp as all hell. I use it during many different parts of the wedding day, and it's one of my 8 lenses I just can't do without. Here's a few with the AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1.4G.  
For more specifics on this lens, click on the Nikon website 
For the geeks- All images were shot with the AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1.4G and nearly all were shot at 1.4 


Oct 8 2013 Stealing makes me ANGRY, not sad.

Today, I have to say that I received the single most ignorant email response I've ever read. Now, lets not mistake ignorance with malice. This person wasn't mean. They were just ignorant. With all of the recent fervor on the web lately about people stealing content, I've somehow been able to shrug it off, and I just sort of chalked it up to a sign of the times. Lately, there have been some prominent names who've been caught stealing- for whatever reason- and my name was used to basically endorse photographic products sold by another photographer. I happen to like that person who did this, and I figured it was something they just overlooked. Shit happens.  
Again, I shrugged, and just kept moving on with my business of shooting, teaching, and being a dad and husband. I do my best not to stir up too much shit, except when I feel strongly about something. Well, today, I feel strongly about people stealing because the real reason for all of it has been exposed.  
When the question of "WHY" someone would steal from another photographer is asked, many different answers have been thrown around. "My web guy did it", seems to be the most overused. "I was too busy to realize what happened", is another. "The images were placeholders for a mock site" is also a good one....  
However, all that said, today I heard the absolute pinnacle of excuses. It's perhaps the single most appalling excuse BECAUSE IT WAS THE TRUTH! I'm not going to expose this individual on this blog post because he was being truthful. However, the truth is MORE disturbing because it's the single, most prominent reason for theft out there today. I'll also state that I think it's more prominent with wedding photographers than any other genre.  
Bjorn Thiele was kind enough to email me about the theft. The image below was shot for the Nikon D800 campaign, and it was a full page spread in that brochure.  
My friend Corey Ann has a sight called Photo Stealers- where she calls out thieves. I took a page out of her book, and I screen capped the thief before he took the image down. He "found" it on Google, and thought he'd boost his portfolio with it.  

When I emailed the offending photographer, this is how he replied-This is his email: 
"Sorry for the inconvenience Cliff. Did not expect to do that. Found the pic as a RAW on google. 
Took it off now. 
Trying to start something, but only have a view wedding pics in my portfolio. Wanted to boost it up a bit. 
Well that was a mistake, sorry again. 
By the way, really breathtaking work on your homepage. 
He didn't say his web designer did it. He didn't say it was a placeholder. He didn't say it was a mistake. He flat out told me the truth- a truth that I believe is the reason why every photographer steals from others- THEY DON'T HAVE CONTENT OF THEIR OWN AND THEY WANTED TO "BOOST UP" the perception of their work.  
Sorry to sound like the old geezer that I am, but what's happened to hard work, experience, and an effort to develop your skillset? Screw that. Just take it off of Google, and off you go- might as well steal from the web and make me look better than I am.  
Why develop skills and experience, when it's right there on Google for you to steal?  
I'm incredibly angry. I'm angry because I see honest, hard working photographers busting their asses to learn, and they're building their businesses through hard work, relationships, and craftsmanship, and then you have assholes like this who just think it's OK to just steal.  
That's the crux of the issue here. The sheer fact that this person was so callous that they felt it wasn't even necessary to lie!!!!!! For god's sake, I think I'd rather have been fed a line of bullshit than to hear the truth.  
The truth hurts. The truth is that many people out there just steal and think it's no big deal. They think it's ok to "boost" their portfolio by stealing.  
Let's all face the facts. That's the reason. They want to take shortcuts. They want to intentionally mislead clients in to believing they're someone they're not. Clients pay dearly for this in the long run. That photographer can never produce the work they "PRETEND" they can produce, and they disappoint the client. The entire industry looks bad when this happens. Everyone suffers because of those who are so desperate to cheat and steal their way to success.  
I honestly don't want this person being publicly shamed. This person actually took responsibility and told me the real reason they stole. This was the very first time someone actually told me the truth. It's refreshing- in a very, very disturbing way. I wish all of the thieves out there would just fess up and tell it like it is. You're a thief, and you just want to take shortcuts and pretend you're someone you're not.  
Stealing makes me angry, not sad. 

Aug 19 2013 Nikon Ambassador- United States

When I was 7 years old, I fell in love with taking pictures. My family and I were in Washington DC, and everywhere I turned, I saw people with cameras up to their faces capturing things that enthralled them. They were preserving individual moments in time that could be savored forever. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. After my typical 7 year old bitching and moaning with a temper tantrum mixed in, my parents finally shut me up with a toy camera, purchased from a street vendor.... for $1.00. No, it didn’t produce photographs, but it gave me a chance to see the world through a viewfinder for the first time. It’s something that’s stayed with me since.  
When I turned 16, I decided that my interest in photography wasn’t just a phase, but was turning into a passion. I had no delusions that a career in photography was ahead, but one never knows....and it was certainly time for a real camera. The only camera I had in mind was a Nikon. It’s brand recognition and it’s association with excellence was way beyond my budget, but I saved for quite a while. With the help of my dad, we ventured into Willoughby’s in Manhattan and splurged on a Nikon FE, a 50 1.4, and a few rolls of Tri-x film. I was hooked. Of course, I was clueless and terrible, but as Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “your first 10,000 photographs are your worst”.  
I’ve been a Nikon shooter now for nearly 35 years. I shot 6000 assignments for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper during a 15 year stay there, and 850 or so weddings since my departure from the Inquirer- all with Nikon equipment. I’ve seen technology evolve, and what it’s allowed me to do. The speed in which the gear has changed could have easily left me in the dust. It nearly did. I fought the digital era tooth and nail. However, once Nikon put a D2XS in my hands, I embraced the technology- rather than become extinct. I’ve used every flagship body since the F3, and today, the D4 and D800’s are part of my everyday workflow along with the latest in Nikkor lenses, speedlights, and accessories. 
In 2007, Nikon asked me to put the D3 through it’s paces, and I shot the first wedding in the world with that revolutionary beast. The performance and results were staggering, and it changed the way I approached photography and the way I utilized light. With the D3, it was no longer about the quantity of light that was imperative. It was all about the quality of the light, and the quantity was an afterthought thanks to the high ISO performance of the modern era of Nikon’s camera sensors. Not only was I making pictures I’d never made before, but I was making pictures I never even thought about making before. Our gear allows us to think about imagery, and we can leave the technical elements to our instincts. It’s incredibly liberating not to have to think about the gear we use. That’s what the Nikon gear’s done for me. 
In 2005, I began a relationship with Nikon USA speaking at their tradeshow platforms, doing seminars on their behalf, and producing images that demonstrated their products capabilities. I’ve been part of global ad campaigns, and have gotten to meet icons that I only dreamed of meeting. Iconic photographers, such as Bill Eppridge, Joe McNally, Jay Maisel, Bill Frakes, Dave Black, Moose Peterson, and a few others, have inspired me a great deal. However, there was one in particular that was the most responsible for me being a professional photographer.  
Throughout my adolescence and into high school, I was a huge fan of rock and roll. I spent many hours in school libraries reading Circus Magazine, Cream Magazine, and Rolling Stone magazine cover to cover. The photographs in those publications blew my mind. “How cool would that be”, I kept repeating to myself- to make a living taking pictures of rock n roll. There was one name that kept popping up in the by-lines.... The one and only Lynn Goldsmith. She was legendary. She was prolific. She was stupid good. Her work excited me. It compelled me to dream about being that good, and made me want to learn the craft. If there were a rock and roll image that caught my eye, I’d look at the name- and sure enough it was Lynn’s.  
In October of 2008, I had the honor of speaking at the Nikon tradeshow booth immediately following Lynn Goldsmith at Photoplus East.. The idea of speaking after the most influential photographer in my life was surreal. After watching her presentation, I approached the podium nervous as I’ve ever been, and I introduced myself to Lynn. Meeting Lynn, and speaking with her for a few moments took me back to my middle school library where I only daydreamed about shooting for a living. Of course, when I told Lynn about how she inspired me "when I was a little boy", she nearly smacked me off the stage. I guess I didn't think things through very well......Sorry, Lynn. 
My Inclusion in the inaugural Nikon Ambassador United States program is one of the most gratifying moments of my 30 year career. After 35 years of shooting the Nikon brand, I’ve developed Nikon hands and Nikkor eyes. It’s an tremendous honor for me to be a part of this program. I’m excited to have been asked to do what Lynn Goldsmith and the others I've mentioned did for me. Thank you, Nikon USA, especially Mike Corrado, Bill Pekala, Mark Suban, and a former employee, Anna Marie Baker- who is responsible for my involvement with Nikon to begin with.  
Below is Nikon USA’s description of what the program is about. I’m sincerely humbled to be amongst the other Ambassadors in the program. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes! 
Nikon Ambassadors are some of the most talented and influential visual artists working in the business today. These gifted, spirited storytellers go above and beyond most, and are admired for their passion, energy and commitment to their craft. Their investment in, and trust, of the Nikon brand are cornerstones to their image making abilities. 
As a loyal partner, a Nikon Ambassadors’ commitment and contributions to the photographic industry throughout their careers have influenced and inspired photographers around the world; while their desire to educate and empower other image-makers around them has become a part of their daily business. From workshops to trade show platforms, online learning and social media; Nikon Ambassadors represent the most versatile and ambitious photographers today and are respected around the globe for their vision and accomplishments. 
The dedication to advancing the art of visual storytelling while embracing and mastering the latest technologies and trends in the field are paramount to these photographers being selected as Nikon Ambassadors. 
As the top visual storytellers of this era, their advanced techniques, unprecedented creativity and tenacious approach to imaging solutions is demonstrated assignment after assignment, each and every time they pick up a Nikon camera.  
Here's the link for the new Nikon Ambassador United States program