Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How I Got My Hands on a Coveted Prize

A couple of years ago my wife casually mentioned that Dan Havlik, America's #1 photo tech reviewer for the popular PDN Magazine, lived next to my studio. I introduced myself and bought him lunch. I wanted to pepper him with photo equipment questions, which I did endlessly. As we were leaving, I brought up a new project I was working on, "Dancers Among Us".

Soon after our lunch, PDN chose this "Dancers Among Us" image for their prestigious Photo of the Day-

My world changed. Within two days I was on NBC, which led to features in magazines around the world, which eventually led to my book deal with Workman Publishing - and, I'm certain, at least 5,000,000,000 book sales and a reality show in 2013.

However, that's not the only benefit to my relationship with Dan. I also get to test the newest Nikon equipment, and last week was the biggest prize of all- the highly anticipated Nikon D4. Of course, it only made sense to shoot "Dancers Among Us" images on my first day with this exceptional camera.

I spontaneously contacted three dancers- Dario Vaccaro, Sarah Sadie Newett and Orlando Martinez. We met on a rainy Saturday in Grand Central Station. This image of two lovers saying goodbye had to happen extremely quickly, before security arrived (which they did)-

Then I took Dario outside to lie on the ground in the rain. We had just ten minutes before Dario had to leave for rehearsal, yet we got an image that Workman made me promise to keep secret until the book's release.

Finally, with just a few minutes left, Orlando showed off an amazing hinge.

Once I saw this terrific pose, I had to incorporate it into a "Dancers Among Us" scenario about a man being stood up on a date.

The next day I took full advantage of the D4 while shooting actors Carmen Cabrera and Mark Alhadeff. Believe it or not, the new Nikon actually has a youth and beauty setting- they were ninety years old before I adjusted the camera!

Take a look at Dan's feature on or by clicking here, to see more of my test photos including Dancers Among Us and headshots, along with the technical info for each image. If you want to learn how to make a mean margarita, check out the video I shot at the end of the feature. I think Steve The Bartender will be an internet sensation one day.

Thanks again, Dan!