Life, Learning and the Photos taken in between.

Posts tagged “Crotona park

A Day At The Bronx Zoo.

I have been putting so much work into my latest project Track Or Die NYC (, that I have been neglecting my photography as a whole. Seeing as I am on the injured list for the moment with a knee injury, I took the time to catch up on my work load. My beautiful daughter asked me if I was free on Wednesday so we could go to the zoo and regardless what I had on my agenda, I made myself available. I cant recall the last time I went to the zoo with my little girl and as she is getting older by the day, i look forward to every possible moment we have together. We made it to the Bronx zoo at around 11:00am and since the Zoo is free on Wednesdays, It was packed full of children on field trips. It’s a shame that I live about 5 blocks from the zoo and never visit the animals to say “Wassup” Today I would be shooting with my Nikon D90, 50mm 1.8 &  the 70-200 2.8 VR aka The BIg Doofy Lens. We walked through the zoo and I have to say the heat was making me sweat in places that I didn’t know you could sweat from.  


The 1st animals that we would see is the Bears. Beautiful beast that move very graceful in spite of their massive size. There were 4 bears out today, 2 of which were playing in the water, 1 walked away from the crowd while the last put on a show for the many spectators. Since I didn’t bring any filters with me today, I chose to bump up my aperture and lower my shutter speed. From my test shots I felt the exposure was better with a higher aperture and a lower shutter rather than a faster shutter and a lower aperture. There was more than enough sun light for the shot I was going for, it was just a matter of finding the right positioning. In my head, the bears were posing for me and with that mentality I shot away. I think I captured some awesome shots of the bears in their man made habitat. 



Next we made our way to the Polar bear exhibit. There was only one Polar bear out today which wasn’t that exciting to watch. The Polar Bear had a blue ball that didn’t seem too entertaining for either of us. I knew we wouldn’t spend that much time watching the Polar Bear. I snapped a few shots from 2 different angles before moving on to the next exhibit.




I was most excited about visiting the King of the Jungle, The Lion but upon my arrival, I noticed the Lion was lazy as hell. We stood around waiting for some Lion action but we would only get love from the Lioness today. I guess Disney’s the Lion King was correct. The Lioness are the more exciting ones. If only Timone & Pumba was here as comic relief. 


The next exhibit would be located right next to the Lions and would unfortunately be out last of the day. The Gazelle’s seem to only want to eat and keep their faces buried in the grass. Not much for entertaining animals. I captured a few shots before the thunderstorm hit us. Seeing as I didn’t bring my camera bag, I didn’t want my camera to get wet. So much for my day at the zoo. 



We made it back in time to just miss the rain. Although the trip to the Bronx Zoo was short, I still had an awesome time and adventure with my daughter. This is something we could possibly do once a month. I love you Bubbles. 





10 minute Photo Shoot with My Bubbles.

This past weekend my daughter Rhayne was treated to a hair and nail session from someone who used to be a really good friend to me. As much as I do not mind sitting in the Salon while she gets pampered as I normally do, this was a day that I avoided being the only guy sitting in the salon. Fellas if you have a daughter take her to the salon, it means more to them then you think. After the hair and nils were done we spent the weekend hanging out and doing Daddy-Daughter stuff. Time flies when you have a child  and I often wish I would have started photography when I was younger to have shots of her growing up. Now standing at a little over 5’1 my little girl isn’t so LITTLE anymore. I decided on Sunday before I took her to her other home that I would shoot some photos of her just so I can have and seeing as she always wants to see what goes on in a photo shoot I decided to make her the center of attention and turn her into the model for the day.

It haven’t shot photos at home since I moved into the new apartment and my living room isn’t as big as my previous so I had to get a lot more creative with my lighting setup. I decided due to limited space to run a 2 point lighting setup and see what I could create as far as lighting as concerned. I broke out the impact collapsable black backdrop, setup my light stands and umbrella and since I don’t own a light meter, started making guesstimates. This shoot took all of 10 minutes with setup and. These photos were a Birthday Present to myself which I will have printed and framed in my apartment (minus the water mark of course).

I shot these with my favorite lens the Nikon 50mm 1.8 and 2 Nikon Speed lights. 1 shoot through umbrella to camera left for a softer main light and and one set behind the subject (My Baby) to try and make somewhat of a hair light but due to my limited space it didn’t really work how I wanted it to.  Either way the photos came out great although she doesn’t like to smile just like her daddy, I hate taking photos unless I really have to. Check out the shots and leave feedback if you want.

My favorite shot .

Switched to only one light for more of a dramatic shot.

Can’t go wrong with Black & White.


Not bad for a to minute shoot in my living room, Rhayne is excited to have her own page on the Blog and told me she checks the site everyday. What more could a father ask for? Next shoot with be using a 3 point lighting setup with more space to shoot and the whole shabanger.

Don’t forget to “Like” The FaceBook Fan page —–>

I have a few more projects that I’m working on and I will be hopefully doing a video entry by August. My Birthday is this Thursday the 21st so you better wish me a Happy Birthday If your reading this.  Oh and By the way, my sweet logo was designed by Troy DeZeeuw, thanks a lot Brothaman..

Until Next Time……

Holiday HDR

With all the snow that’s been covering my neighborhood as of lately, I decided to stay in today and work on two HDR images that I took Yesterday after the blizzard. I went out on Monday once the sky cleared up with the intent to capture at least 1 good set of photos to create a nice HDR of the snow covered scenery. After about 3 Pairs of wet socks and almost a half of gallon of hot chocolate in my system, I was able to find a location to set up the tripod and shoot away. Shot at ISO 200, aperture of f 5.6. this 1st shot was taken on the path to Indian Lake which is located in Crotona Park in the Bronx.

This next shot was taken at the freshly reconstructed “Indian Lake”. I wanted to capture what I thought was the most interesting ange of the lake. I took a few shots from different angles but this is the one I like most.  Shot at ISO 200, F22 at 1/750 sec. One shot 2 stops under next 2 stops over exposed and finally no exposure comp.

So those were my Holiday HDR’s I like how they came out and i’m getting a little more comfortable with shooting and creating HDR images. Now as far as snow storms go, regardless to how busy I am I try to take my kids out to the park and thrown them around in the snow. I have been doing this since the were babies and now that they are older this will not change.  Being as I am the photographer I couldn’t get any pictures of me actually throwing them around but I was able to capture some shots of the the kids and Storm in the park right before “I got to throwin”.

My Bubbles


The Kids

Storm going after a Squirrel


Bubbles is either tired or doesn’t want to go home.

NYC Snow Blizzard 2010

Monday December 27th, 2010. The morning after NYC was hit with a blizzard that left the streets covered with 16 inches of snow. The MTA was all screwed up so it left me posted up in my home with limited options to get through the day. I could either update my eharmony profile with recent holiday photos, stay in bed and watch Martin seasons 1-4, Clean up (that’s out of the question) or go out and capture some shots for you guys and spend the night blogging. Well I couldn’t really find the right holiday photo for my eharmony profile so I guess taking pictures was the next choice.  I layered up with thermals and sweaters, threw on the Spyder Ski Jacket and grabbed my Nikon D90 with the intention on shooting some pretty cool shots. As I was leaving I got a angry look from my room mate/ bestest bud “Storm the wonder dog”, who wanted to go out and handle her business. I threw on her shirt because even dogs need some type of warmth, and headed out to Crotona Park. I only went out with my 50mm 1.8 lens since I had the dog and wanted to travel lightly. These 1st shots were taken while I walked Storm. I chose to set a custom White balance for shooting in the snow which would allow me to do less work in lightroom once it was time to correct the images. Now the 1st time I began shooting back in Feb was during a blizzard as well so I was anxious to see if my shots have improved over 10 months of shooting. I will post some of my 1st shots from Feb and you can compare for yourself.

Below are some shots from  late Feb 2010 around my hood, the 1st day I began learning  and shooting  digital photography.

I think  my composition wasn’t that bad for my 1st day of shooting and the exposure was pretty correct but I feel I could have done better with the image correction. Overall they are not bad for the 1st time touching a DSLR camera.

These are the 1st shots of the day while Storm handled her business.


I’m currently trying get comfortable with Blk/white shots so for today’s shoot the majority of the images will be presented in Blk/white.

So after I took Storm inside to feed her and change my socks, I started out on my journey to capture some quick shots before I headed out to Brooklyn (or so I thought). I met up with Johnathan, my downstairs neighbor who was walkin in the park with his nephew. I decided to get a couple shots of them in the snow while capturing some scenic shots as well. I chose to set my ISO to 200 due to the brightness outside, My shutter and aperture changed with almost every shot due to the changing scenery. Here are some of the shots, check them out while I dry off.

Shutter 1/4000 sec, F2.8, 10.5mm fisheye

Shutter 1/1500 sec, F6.7, 10.5mm fisheye

Shutter 1/1000 sec, f4.8 @ 90mm

Shutter 1/2000 sec. F6.7 @ 50mm

Shutter 1/1000, f22 @ 50mm (for this shot I used the Sun to provide rim lighting to the lamp)

Shutter 1/3000 sec f5.6 @ 50mm

Shutter 1/20 sec, f19 @ 50mm

Shutter 1/4000 sec. F3.3, 10.5mm fisheye

So the shots from today came out pretty cool. I definitely see an improvement in my shooting from early in the year when I first started shooting. I was able to capture some bracketed shots so I can try and make an HDR Image but i’m too lazy and cold to work on those now. Hopefully you enjoyed the shots and I was able to explain how I captured these images.  Now that the work is complete, it’s time to get under my snuggie and on the XBOX live to play some call of duty : Black Ops…Gamer tag : Holdin Manutz…..