Life, Learning and the Photos taken in between.

Posts tagged “Valo

King of Queens Comp, Flusing Meadows

It’s been quite some time since I have been on my Blades, however when I heard there was going to be a comp coming to Flushing Meadows, I knew it was time to dust off the ol Fruit boots and blade. The weather in NYC has been unpredictable as of lately and the original date of the comp was scheduled for Saturday June 2nd but was postponed to Sunday June 3rd. Of course it didnt rain on Saturday but by the time we realized that it was too late. This comp would be the 1st NYC comp in the WRS (World Rolling Series) of the season and it was scheduled to be a pure street comp organized by Trevor Johnson & Craig Benabu (

I loaded up my chrome bag with my camera equipment and skates and rode my bike from the Bronx to flushing meadows. It’s been a long while since I shot blading photos so needless to say I was very excited. Upon my arrival I saw a crowd of bladers spectating the comp that had already started. I made my rounds and said “what up” to those who I haven’t seen in a long time then threw on my blades to get some warm up tricks in. Not more than 30 minutes after I arrived the rain started coming down which would delay the competition. Once the rain ended, we made our way to the Maloof skate plaza which was located a few yards down. 

Somehow I ended up as one of the judges of the comp so I wasn’t able to shoot photos of the comp which was fine by me. I was never really one to try and shoot the action of competitions, i like shoot what goes on outside of the comp. skaters are more relaxed and focused which makes for better photos. So here are some of the photos that I shot from the event while I wasn’t judging.

Danny Figgz – Top Torque up the ledge


Jordan Baez – Backslide


Ruben Prez – Monkey Flip


Carly Sanchez – Makio 


Wakums – Back Farv



Faces Of The Bitter Cold Showdown #2

Sorry for the delay on the portraits, the whole domain switch screwed up up for a moment but the blog is back and working to to be better than ever. On February 23rd the fellas and myself took a drive out to Royal Oak Michigan for the Bitter Cold Showdown. For those of you who do not rollerblade this event is one of the biggest if not the biggest competitive event we have. The opportunity to shoot on the floor during the finals and semi finals is a position that many photographers seek. So while those photogs were busting their ass trying to get that one great shot I took to the sidelines yet again this year to capture some portraits of not on the competitors but those who were in attendance that wanted to get a portrait done. I have to admit that this year the attendance and the energy was blah in comparison to previous years but i still had a great time shooting and chopping it up with the fellas in Royal Oak. I chose to use the same setup as last year, with only my Nikon speed light and shoot through umbrella at 45 degrees to the subject and my Nikon D90 DSLR. Check out the Photos and if you like what you see, repost on whatever Social Network you like. 

Brandon Smith – Valo

Chris Haffey Sporting his Handle Bar Mustache – Remz

Jose Henriquez – Flatlines Skate Shop, BX

Montre Livingston – SSM

The Monster Jaren Grob, Definitely one of my favorite skaters and the only rollerblader to make it into Sports Illustrated Magazine.

Troy Dezeeuw : Rollerblader and creator of the Daily Juice Blog & Track Or Die NYC Logo.

Last but not least, My Handsome ass grill. 

Behind the Scenes Photos From The Bitter Cold Weekend

I decided not to shoot any competition skating this weekend for the Bitter Cold Showdown for a number of reasons. I brought limited equipment to this trip since I was sharing the car with 3 others and thats would be inconsiderate to take up all the trunk space. After the 12 1/2 hour drive we arrived too early for check in to which we decided too head over to the Coney for breakfast in order to kill time. Once we finally checked in the others fell out while I decided to tour the hotel to look for a location for some test shots. The hallway I chose was right by the weight room so I hot the weights for a quick work out. Once the fellas woke up we made our way to the park where I posted up on the Mini ramp to get some Shots of the skaters going in..I was able to get a few shots that I was proud of.

John Stephens  – Mute Air

Jeff Stockwell – Front Farv (hands touched 😦 )

Vinny Minton with one of the most stylish alley oop souls in the game

John Stephens – Switch Top Mistrial

Vinny Minton – Back Slide

Jose Henriquez – Top Mistrial

Victor Arias – Front Torque

Wakums – Fishbrain Stall

Jeff Stockwell – Alley oop Negative Mistrial

After a quick liquor run I made my way back to the hotel room to edit some photos while everyone else partied. Once back in the hotel I grabbed up the fellas to shoot some hotel portraits using a single speed light with a shoot through umbrella. I chose the shoot through umbrella to provide a softer light. I set my exposure for the ambient light and positioned my subjects for their individual portraits.



Wakums counts his cash before making it rain

Navin looking like a fugitive.

Juan Ice Grilling Chris Brown

E Z Goezy

John Stephens


Jordan Baez

Moronie Moronie

Juan cant play Assassins Creed so he drinks away his pain


Moronie again


Shortly after Navin Got Kicked in the Face.

I really didnt party this weekend, it was more work than play but thats was my intentions. We went back to the hotel to finish off the liquor and bullshit. The whole weekend we picked on Juan since he was the new guy.  After a night of drinking and youtube hunting for cat videos (you had to be there) we fell out but not after laughing the night away.

The next morning we cleaned up the room and made our way to the coney for breakfast before the long drive home which has become somewhat of a tradition of the past 5 years. While eating at the Coney we ran into some fellow New Yorkers also getting ready for the long ride back to the NY. The pics will say the rest.

Needless to say since your reading this, I made it home safe by 3am with work by 7am. What a great weekend in total, I think the competition wasn’t as exciting as previous years but I still enjoyed myself none the less. Until Next year…..Be On the Looked Out for Faces of Bitter Cold #2

Self Timer Photos at Monroe Ledges.

I was going through my skate photos via FaceBook and I came to the realization that since I started taking photos my collection of personal skate photos have basically stopped. I’m not sure why but maybe other photographers don’t like to shoot someone who also shoots or maybe i just don’t skate when the camera is out but whatever the case  may be, I WANT SKATE PICS DAMNIT! Although I take photos I am still first and foremost a “Rollerblader” and would like to have shots to look back on if that unfortunate day comes where I am unable to skate anymore. I have been shooting mostly portraits lately and I feel like in some cases I have been going with what I know and not testing unfamiliar waters with my Photography. I decided to start a series of self skate photos where I would only use my Nikon D90, Tripod and 1 speed light and see what I could capture. I have seen many people just pose when it comes to skate photos and not actually do the trick and that’s not what i’m about so I called on Navin Hardyal of Skeptic Media to come out and film the the behind the scenes of this project.

I arrived to a empty Monroe Ledge which gave me enough space to set up my equipment and after framing my shot I set up the Tripod accordingly. Using the 50mm 1.8 lens, I had to distance the tripod pretty far away from the  ledge. Doing this would allow me to capture the entire length of the ledge from beginning to end. Once that was done I adjusted my focal point and set my exposure for the ambient light.  I decided to test out different setting to see what worked out best for me since I was shooting with a off camera flash. My 1st shots I dialed in f/8, 1/200th ant ISO 400.  The most difficult part of this shoot was he 20 second timer which only allowed me 20 seconds to press the shutter skate away from the camera and make it to the point of focus. I strapped on my Valo Skates did a quick stretch and got in some warm up tricks. I planned on keeping my tricks simple today since I didn’t have much time to shoot. Let’s just say I had more misses than hits but with each shot I learned what to do for the next. This shoot was probably one of my most difficult to date. I feel I take fairly decent skate photos of others but the art of shooting yourself is a whole different ball game.  Check out some of the shots with the 0mm 1.8.

(Back Farv, Monroe Ledges. Bronx NY)

(Back Unity, Monroe Ledges, Bronx NY)

Next up I wanted to get more of a unique look so I replaced the 50mm with the 10.5mm fish eye. To get the full detail of the subject which was myself, I would have to position the tripod directly in front of the ledge that I was skating. This gave me absolutely no space for error or I would land right on my camera. Still with only a 20 second window to get all of this done I was pretty exhausted from the repetitive back and forth. We spent about 30 minutes at Monroe before they close the gates for the night so that basically  ended the shoot. I plan on doing about 5-6 more locations to complete this series which hopefully will improve with each shoot. If you think this is easy I welcome you to give it a try and give me feedback.  Here are the final shots before we had to leave with the 10.5mm fisheye.

(Royale to Fakie, Monroe Ledge. Bronx NY)

(Makio to Fakie, Monroe Ledges, Bronx NY)

I have a few projects that i’m working on, I have been riding bikes a lot and have met some cool people that I would like to shoot while riding. I have been traveling light lately. No camera bag with multiple lenses and flashes, just a fanny pack, camera, one lens, no flash or filters and more imagination. Its like when I 1st started shooting and didn’t have as much equipment. Less weight on my back makes for a better shooting experience.

Until next  time…….

Taking a Shot at 35mm Film Photography.

Although I continue educating myself on Photography  on a daily basis, at times I find the digital format of photography to be repetitive and bland. I always welcome a challenge and Film photography has teased my curiosity since I began shooting. The ability  to review your image after every shot or “Chimping” as Jooz  calls it it a great option for any photographer but at times I find myself just firing away and not really taking my time and waiting for the shot that I have envisioned in my minds eye. I was able to score a sweet Nikon N80 SLR from Ebay for $30.00 which is compatible with the lenses I already own with the exception of the 10.5mm fisheye.

I knew that I wanted to shoot Black & White but with film there are so many film choices to go with. After a brief recommendation and careful reviewing I chose to go with HP5 400 B/W Film. I’m not bound to this choice and I do want to test out other film to compare and contrast but I have about 5 more rolls to go through before I do so.  My fellow photographers who shoot film all reccomend HP5 and from these 1st prints I see the look that I am going for, all i have to do is figure out the right metering settings.

Out of a 36 exposure roll, there were only about 14 usable images. Thats less than half of the roll so at 1st I was pretty disappointed in myself. At times I can be my toughest critic as any artist is with their work. I found myself making the most juvenile photographers mistakes because I was analyzing the shot more than focusing on my settings. I had my camera set up for spot metering without even realizing it. That simple mistake threw off my exposure reading way off .

After visiting a few photo galleries I became a fan of the vintage look with heavy noise or grain. you can accomplish this look through photoshop but I prefer the real deal. There have been so many Photographers that often try to persuade me to the life of film. Although I find digital to be more relevant to the type of photography that I do, Film will def Be my project for the summer so look out for more updated blogs on my film shots. As disappointed as I am at the outcome of these shots, my blog serves as a timeline to my progression so posting only my best work will not be helpful in the end.

Jon Julio @ Marble Ledges, NYC

I decided to use my 50mm 1.8 lens on the Nikon N80 because thats my favorite lens. At 1.8 it provides a very shallow depth of field and pretty sweet for low light photography. These shots were taken through the course of 3 days from Thursday at the NYC Rolling industry meeting to the Valo “End of the World” session. I have an idea on what points I need to improve for next time and I expect to have at least 24 out of 36 exposures. Overall I feel like Film is gonna kick my ass in the beginning but it will become a very useful skill once I become more comfortable and knowledgeable of the film format. Check out some of the other shots from the roll.

Dave Toro

The Fellaz

Hyper Mike

Kyle Radzyminski @ Billy Hurricanes

Christian @ Billy Hurricanes

Ray Mendez

Hyper Mike @ Billy Hurricanes

Christian @ Billy Hurricanes

Ivan Narez

If you’re interested in attending the Next NYC Rollerblade meeting It will be held this Thursday at Billy Hurricanes from 7-10. Address  is 25 Avenue B – Btwn 2nd & 3rd Streets

End of the World NYC Session with Victor Arias

Today I wanted to test out my new Opteka FM Transmitters which I purchased from ebay and what better time then at a huge session in the city. The Valo team Came out to session some street with the NYC locals at a few spots in the city. After a brief rain delay we all made our way to marble ledges on wall street for the second and final spot of the day. As long as I get at least one good shot of the day im content and this shot was that one. The session was packed and almost impossible to get decent photos with skaters constantly crossing in front of the camera. It didn’t even seem to phase anyone that the end of the world was minutes away. I saw Victor going for a sweet negative makio (on of my favorite tricks) on the marble ledge. Communication with your subject is one of the most important steps to Capturing a decent shot. I spoke with Victor and informed him of my light setup and where I would be firing the speedlights.  I took about 2 tries but I got the shot that I was looking for.

My setup for this Shot was @ Nikon SB600 speedlights,Opteka RFT-40 fm triggers Nikon 70-200 2.8 V.R. and Nikon D90. Overall the Opteka Triggers are pretty good for the money, I was satisfied and can’t wait to shoot some more with them. For those who came out today the rest of the shots will be featured on and  www.  shortly. Overall the session was pretty fun aside from the rain.  Thanks to everyone who came out today and showed support to not only Valo but for the NYC skate scene. Oh yea, I started shooting portraits with my new Nikon N80 film SLR so once those get developed I will scan and Blog about each shot. Until Next time…

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12 Questions with Jon Julio on the Valo lights

The Boss Jon Julio pulled time out of his busy Valo schedule to answer some followup questions I had regarding the new  The Valo Lights that are scheduled to be released June 2011. Check out the Q&A and photos regarding the  Lights only on

PJ) The rumors about the Valo light were flooding the Internet for a while. How long have you been working on the Valo light design before you released the final product?

JJ) Hmm design wise.. at least 2 years.. maybe more..

PJ) Since the 1st preview at the 2011 winterclash , How has the rollerblading community responded to the idea and concept of the Valo Lights?

JJ)I felt like it went really really good.. Def stoked to get the response that we did especially from kids who don’t ride valos.

PJ) Now that Valo has ventured into the carbon fiber market, do you feel the Valo lights will receive the same amount of support from the Valo masses as the original shell?

JJ) Advantages of wider and lighter shell will help in a big way. Also having our original parts compatible with all the new Valo Light Parts will help recycle old styles with the new… We will see in June on the reaction! But so far so good.

PJ) Seeing as the shell is 100% Carbon Fiber, are there any concerns with cracking due to daily shredding?

JJ) As of right now nothing serious.. Bailes had one crack but after 3 months of testing.. Im on my 6-10th pair?.. no cracking.. and i have been filming/skating steady for 1.5- 2 months.. Valos are a solid skate as is.

PJ) What is the major selling point that the lights will have over the classic Valo boot?

JJ) I’m real proud of everything about this skate.. As far as the looks goes..The pics speak for themselves and hows the ride? we all been steady riding them for at least a year…cant speak highly about them enough.

PJ) You have stated that all parts are backwards compatible so if some one prefers older parts or skins on the light shell it would fit and vice versa. With the shell being 5mm wider and longer does will that force us to size up with previous skins and parts or will a size 9 skin still fit on a size 9 Valo Light shell?

JJ) Yes it will.. we have interchanged liners, buckles, and skins/souls.. all are compatible with another..

PJ) Did you or any one from the Valo team have complications making the switch from the original shell to the Valo Lights?

JJ) None at all.. but since the original shell we have def. made changes/adjustments since the original samples..

PJ) The Valo team is compiled of skaters who each have a unique style? Are there riders on the team that prefer the original shell to the Valo Lights?

JJ) None!

PJ) I’m pretty excited about the new 2 piece sole design, does this add for more speed or durability or is it simply just a new look that Valo is going for?

JJ) it wont be too different considering we asked the whole team for their input.. and all agreed to not change the functionality of the souls. so you will get a similar grind feeling as the original valo soul plates. The new soul plates are a new look more streamline. So now you can choose from 2 separate valo soul styles.. classic or streamline looks.

PJ) Correct me if I’m wrong but the retail tag for the Valo JJ lights are roughly around $359.00 boot only. Do you feel the quality and construction of this new carbon fiber shell will make the rolling community over look the price once they put on a pair?

JJ) Well its hard to overlook $359. BUt due to the quality, cost of materials , and the amount that are being made.. such a price tag is def necessary.

PJ) Can we expect a Valo Light tour this year since the team is filming for Valo 5?

JJ) Actually you can expect us in NYC very soon.. you can peeps the flyer attached.

PJ) I think the biggest question the rollerblading community wants to know is when the “Pimp Juice Pro model” Valo dropping ?

JJ) haha.. we have to talk

PJ) Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for my blog. Is there anything you would like to add that I might have missed out on?

JJ) 4Life! and V coming soon.. hmm plenty of brewing going on.. looking forward to 2011 and 2012 thanks for everything boss! Valo4lIfe JJ

Thanks for everything boss! Valo4lIfe