Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pre-Valentine's Day Portraiture, And A Lesson!

An outtake from a series of photos I shot yesterday on assignment. The goal was to demonstrate how to take professional-looking portraits with your kit lens and natural light, so readers can easily create a shot of their sweeties for Valentine's day. (The secret, by the way, is not the lens. It's the light. It is almost always about the light!)

Want to go behind the scenes and find out how to get shots like this? Read my article on the Adorama Learning Center!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Found #3: Tape Measure

A simple tape measure, found in an old sewing kit in the basement.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Found #2: Picture Frame Hooks

Second in a series of photos of common (and not so common) household objects, Found. Yes, I plan on hanging a lot of pictures!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Found #1: Blue Yarn

A couple of weeks ago I posted a one-off photo of a pile of sewing threads, and the response was so positive that I decided to look for other household items (much having to do with sewing and fixing things) and try to find interesting ways to photograph them. Here's the first in my new personal photo series, "Found!"

Friday, January 24, 2014

I Made A Meme!

In my ongoing office cleaning efforts this week I found a roll of 120 film in its original, never-opened box, from the 1950s, and a metal film canister that once held a roll of 35mm film. While I was looking at them and marveling about how old they were, an SD card caught my eye. I decided to have a little fun. The result? Behold: Progress

Yeah, I have one: Can you share this and help make it viral? 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Day I Sailed the Fuji Blimp

Since I'm starting up a new freelance photography business, I decided last week that I needed to clear my office. It was long overdue. I'm a pack rat, so this task took about a week, but it was not without its rewards and found long-forgotten treasures. One of the unexpected finds was as stack of photos I shot (on film!) to document one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had—an experience that I remind daughters about every time a blimp sails by.

It was an August day, probably 1992, that I sailed in—and, briefly, took the controls of—the Fuji Blimp. Here's my story—and a selection of the prints I found, with the blue atmospheric haze digitally color corrected.

White knuckles: Yes, that's me, in the co-captain's seat of the Fuji Blimp, sailing over New York City and trying not to visualize the Hindenburg. Kids, this is proof I really did sail the Fuji Blimp, as I've told you over and over and over...

Back up a few weeks. I was working at the time as the managing editor of Photo Business, a monthly trade magazine serving the photo retail industry (back when there were lots of camera stores and digital photography was a far-off fantasy that I correctly predicted would take over the world within ten years). My boss, the late, wonderful Bill Clark, told me Fuji had invited him for a press junket on their blimp, and would I like to go in his stead? Of course I said "yes." How could I say no to this once-in-a-lifetime experience? (The fact that Bill generously gave me his tickets just tells you a little about how awesome he was.)

Let's go guys, stop taking pictures and get aboard! I don't remember the name of the Fuji PR person who coordinated the journey (in the blue blazer; any photo industry people reading this remember her?) but I thank her for making it so.

I went to a private airport in Linden, NJ at the appointed time, and there it was, the Fuji Blimp, floating a few feet above ground, tethered to posts, ready to fly. A dozen people—journalists and Fujifilm PR reps—got on board. The blimp was untied from its moorings, the huge and LOUD engines started up and tilted diagonally, and slowly we rose into the warm, hazy New Jersey air.

 My, what big engines you have! As I recall, they're made by Rolls Royce.

Yes, we knew it was warm: Because we were only going about 20 knots per hour, we could open the window,  lean out (not recommended for those with acrophobia) and feel the wind in our faces—which we took turns doing as we jostled to take pictures from points of view that we all knew very few people would have the opportunity to see.

Look out below! Yes, that's an open window. If I'd dropped something, it might have landed on someone's head in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Our route: We flew over Port Elizabeth, New York Harbor (including Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty), hung a left and floated up the East River. We were having a blast, enjoying incredible views, and everyone was given a turn to sit in the co-captain's seat.

 Ellis Island—my great grandparents' first stop in America.

The Statue of Liberty. What you can't see in this image is that we were so close, we could see people in  her crown—and they were waving at us!

It didn't feel real: Lower Manhattan, as we sailed by slowly at 3,000 feet.

Hello, tourists! Pier 17 and South Street Seaport, and more people waving at us.

Neither one's for sale: The Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges from high above. A few minutes later, the captain called me over...

The five most terrifying minutes of my life

Just after we sailed over the Manhattan bridge, the captain called me over. It was my turn to fly the blimp.

I sat in the co-captain's seat, assuming it would be not much more than a photo op. I was told how to use the controls (think steering in four dimensions) and then the captain took his hands off the controls and said "you can do it" and leaned back and relaxed as I freaked out, realizing that I was actually, myself, Sailing. The. Blimp! "Our altitude's a bit high. Take us down 500 feet," the captain instructed me. I started, gingerly, to tilt the ship down. Not enough. "Tilt it more," he said. "A LOT more." I did, and suddenly we were going down at what I swore was a 45-degree angle. "That's better," he said. I didn't think so.

No longer sailing, and boy was I relieved!

I heard shouts from behind me: "Resnick! What the hell are you doing?" "Straighten it out! My drink's spilling" "Oh, the humanity!" and stuff like that (actually that last bit might have been me). This didn't help my composure or the high levels of moisture that suddenly appeared on my forehead. "The captain made me do it," was I'll I could respond as I fought to level off.

The next order: "Make a left and take us over Central Park."

This, I could handle.

And so I hung a left with relative ease—and at that point, the captain relieved me of duty, assuring me I did a great job. The reporter from TWICE took a turn, and I went back to a relative comfort zone: hanging out the window taking pictures at a height that even Joe McNally might be jealous of.

Central Park's softball fields: My first shot after sailing the blimp, once my hands stopped shaking.

The rest of the two-hour circuit went wonderfully. Sailing over Manhattan, the East River, the Hudson and New York Harbor with the summer breeze flowing through the cabin was an experience I never forgot and I am forever thankful to Bill Clark and the Fujifilm PR team for giving me this amazing experience that my kids are sick of me bragging about.

Looking at these photos after not seeing them for over 20 years, with all that has happened since, I was struck by the unique point of view of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. In fact, there were a couple of shots I'd forgotten about and when I saw them, I got quite emotional. Especially when I found this one:

Here are some more photos I shot that day from the Fuji blimp. Enjoy!

 The New Jersey Turnpike, around Exit 12

Newly arrived cars at Port Elizabeth.

 Speedboat in the East River.

 Interchange, Northern New Jersey.

The West Side Highway, Manhattan.

Goosebumps: I'm so glad I found this shot of New York Harbor with the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the World Trade Center all in one frame.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Salit Auto Sales Environmental Portraits: Jerry Salit

Jerry Salit behind the wheel of his fave vehicle for our environmental portrait session. © 2014 by Mason Resnick.

Lighting? One light is shining through the windshield, the second is aimed through the rear window. My only instructions? "Smile" and "Don't run over my lights!"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Salit Auto Sales Environmental Portraits: Alan Salit

Alan Salit behind the wheel of his favorite car on the lot during our environmental portrait shoot, (We were racing to get it done fast—the Polar Vortex was upon us and the temperature was plummeting as we were doing the shoot...but the light was outstanding!) Photo © 2014 by Mason Resnick.

For the photo geeks: One Canon Speedlite positioned in front of the car, aimed through the windshield, second light shining through the rear passenger window.

(Don't worry Jerry, your turn tomorrow!)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Teaser for Thursday: Something Special Is In The Air

I've been cleaning my office, and found photos that I shot during the early 90s, on one of the most memorable days in my life. More to come (and an explanation) on Thursday.

Salit Auto Sales Environmental Portraits: Mikey Kornfeld (Plus some BTS stuff for Harry)

Here's second image in my series of environmental portraits of the sales team at the family-owned used car dealership, Salit Auto Sales, located in Edison, NJ. Above, Mikey Kornfeld.

For those of you stopping me in Quik Check asking me how I lit this (I'm talking to you, Harry Chefitz!): In this case I set up two Canon Speedlites on stands aimed almost perpendicular to the camera, so my key light is coming in through the side window, placed next to the rear view mirror. And of course, I played with the relative flash/ambient exposure until I got a good balance. The fill is shining through the rear passenger side window.  OK, Harry? :-)

Photo © 2014 by Mason Resnick

Friday, January 17, 2014

Threads! A one-off project (and a behind-the-scenes look)

So I found a bag full of colorful threads. Before I put them up on eBay, I took a bunch of pictures, including this one.

Below: Behind the scenes! (What—you though I shot this with window light?)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tu B'Shevat Special: Machane Yehuda #1

In honor of the week of Tu B'Shevat, I present five photos of food, being sold in Jerusalem in the Machane Yehuda market. Some of the food in the photos featured this week might be the kind of things you'd find at a Tu B'Shevat seder, and some just look good.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why Is Steve Salit Smiling?

Meet Steve Salit, owner of Salit Auto Sales in Edison, NJ. I've bought many cars from Steve and his sons from his family-owned and operated used car dealership over the years. Recently, Steve's son Jerry, who runs their web site, asked me to take headshots of the sales team in anticipation of a redesign.

My suggestion: Rather than do a plain headshot in front of a plain background, let's do environmental portraits of each person sitting at the wheel of their favorite car on the lot. The Salits loved the idea.

So I got there on a blustery day that was on the way to becoming the coldest night in a long time. It had just stopped raining but was still dreary and cloudy. I started setting up my lights and camera when the sun came out, and although the wind was picking up and the temperature was dropping—fast—it was glorious light, and for a 45-minute window, shooting conditions were just right!

So, why was Steve smiling in the photo, above? Because all of a sudden, everything fell into place.  I was smiling, too.

Note: I specialize in location portraits that use the environment to help tell the story about the subject. If this is something you'd like done for your family or business, give me a call at 732-221-8748 or email me at

Monday, January 6, 2014

People of Highland Park #7: Sharon Garber, Covered Girl Clothing

"Several times a week people come in and tell me that opening this store is big service to the community. They don't want to spend the time or the money to travel (to similar clothing stores in Lakewood or Brooklyn) and they can't find shells and/or long enough skirts in the "regular" stores.
"One of the nice things is that although this is a relatively small store, I try to have something for everyone and I have had, on more than one occasion, four generations of a family each get something in the store. Admittedly, having four generations visit the store is not common; it is common, though, for a mother and daughter to buy at the store. And both intergenerational situations are very gratifying to see."

@ Covered Girl Clothing, 235 Raritan Ave., Highland Park, New Jersey

Written by Harry Glazer. Photo © Mason Resnick

See the entire People of Highland Park series!

About People of Highland Park: Like modern-day roving vox populi reporters, Harry Glazer and Mason Resnick roam the small suburban town of Highland Park, NJ, looking for interesting people, their stories, and their photographs. Harry's in charge of the words, and Mason does the pix. Who would you like to see featured in People of Highland Park? Email with your suggestions!

Joe McNally On a $1.32 Royalty Check and The Perils of Being a Photographer for a Living

I got to know Joe McNally when I was the Editor of the Adorama Learning Center. First, I wrote about his Faces of 9/11 project, and how my boss at Adorama paid for the storage for the one-of-a-kind, lifesized Polaroid prints, thereby preserving an important part of modern U.S. history. I got to know Joe better when he joined the team of AdoramaTV presenters. He's a classy guy with an amazing attitude, and a photographer who is at the top of his game. And, since he's made a successful name for himself in this field that I'm just rejoining, I pay attention to what he says.

Imagine my surprise this morning as he blogged about running a photography business and used as his talking point a check he'd just received from Getty Images for the princely sum of $1.32. It's humbling.

Or, as Joe says of this wonderful but risky career choice, "this is a journey without a destination."

Here's his blog post, "Off to a rip-roaring start."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

My Photos Featured In The JPiX Jewish Photo Blogger Carnival 2014

Two of my street photos from Israel, of children playing in the Cardo an a man distributing spices at the Kotel—and one of my most popular images, Shabbat Shalom Sushi—are being featured in the JPiX Jewish Photo Blogger Carnival winter 2014 edition, which just went live. This is a roundup of Jewish-inspired photos from around the world, and I'm honored to be included in it for the first time. Many thanks to Leora Wenger for including my work!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

People of Highland Park #6 - David Seiden, Sushiana

Except for two years spent living on Rhode Island, David has lived most of his life in Highland Park, NJ. And he takes great pride in that fact.

"I love the close-knit community we have and that people are very willing to help each other out when needed. It's a very warm place."

David works as a front of house supervisor at Sushiana and often jokes with the customers. He also recently signed up to become a volunteer fire fighter in the borough and has begun the weeks-long training course. He looks forward to contributing to the brotherhood atmosphere of the fire department and to 'giving back' to our town. And we are grateful for his sense of service.

@ Sushiana, 314 Raritan Ave., Highland Park

Written by Harry Glazer. Photo © Mason Resnick

See the entire People of Highland Park series!

About People of Highland Park: Like modern-day roving vox populi reporters, Harry Glazer and Mason Resnick roam the small suburban town of Highland Park, NJ, looking for interesting people, their stories, and their photographs. Harry's in charge of the words, and Mason does the pix.