Tags Posts tagged with "Photography"

Photography

By Cayla Rosenhagen

Cayla Rosenhagen

In 2011, Stitch, a young Red-tailed Hawk, was flying low over the grasslands hunting for her next meal adjacent to Sunken Meadow Parkway. She could never have foreseen how drastically her life was going to change that day. The hawk spotted a rodent darting out onto the highway and she swooped in. With all her attention focused on her prey, she did not notice the cars hurtling toward her and was struck. 

Fortunately, a good Samaritan rescued Stitch, and she found her way to Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown to be expertly cared for. The team at Sweetbriar did an amazing job rehabbing Stitch back to health. Although she cannot be released into the wild as a result of losing an eye and part of her wing, she now lives a comfortable and happy life at the Center.

Over 2000 animals, like Stitch, are taken to Sweetbriar every year to be rehabilitated, including various reptiles, rodents, opossums, deer, and birds. The staff at the Center work tirelessly tending to the animals and eventually releasing many of them back into the wild. The dedicated team also cares for about 100 permanent animal residents who cannot be released and often answer 50 to 100 calls a day regarding animals in need. Additionally, they run educational programs and events to encourage the public’s appreciation and respect of Long Island’s unique wildlife and ecosystems.

On July 11th, I attended an event at Sweetbriar hosted by Long Island BIRDtography, a Facebook group made up of local photographers and birding enthusiasts. The fundraiser allowed the photographers to meet and photograph Sweetbriar’s ambassador raptors. Participants heard the extraordinary backstories of the birds of prey and how each one made their way to the Nature Center. 

We met Bee, a female American Kestrel who was captured for falconry and malnourished, as well as Nugget, an Eastern Screech Owl who was rescued from a collapsed nest in a storm, and Tiger Lily, a Great Horned Owl who was hit by a car. Other birds of prey we met included Cleo the Harris Hawk, Nebula the Barn Owl, Seven the Barred Owl, and of course, Stitch the Red-Tailed Hawk. 

All of these birds are now permanent residents of Sweetbriar because of their inabilities to survive in the wild due to injury or imprinting on humans. In addition to our feathered friends, we were greeted by some furry ones, too. As we were snapping photos of the birds, Charlotte, a very amiable white-tailed deer, sauntered up to us looking for attention. Also, Ricky, an Eastern Grey Squirrel, and Tulip, a Virginia Opossum nearly stole the show with their cuddly antics.

Among the 2 dozen photographers at the fundraiser, Susanne Bellocchio, one of the administrators of BIRDtography, warmly expressed, “It was just a perfect day…Everyone is so kind…I am thrilled…These birds would never be something I could get to photograph.”

The team at Sweetbriar was so welcoming and eager to share their extensive knowledge about the animals. The employees and volunteers I met with greatly expressed how much they love their time at the Nature Center and how rewarding their jobs are.

Veronica Sayers began her career there as a volunteer to care for the baby squirrels and she was later hired as the program coordinator three years ago.

“I love teaching people of all ages about our local wildlife and the environment around them. When I see people excited about what I’ve just taught them, it’s a wonderful feeling. The wildlife rehab part of my job is a passion of mine as well. Nursing an animal back to health and seeing it released back into the wild is a thrill,” Veronica explained when asked about her favorite aspects of working at the not-for-profit organization.

Isabel Fernandes, the Wildlife Care Coordinator, feels it is critical to educate people about wildlife, so they become good ambassadors in their own homes and communities. She loves “seeing kids so excited to see the animals up close and personal.”

Sweetbriar’s many upcoming events can be viewed on their website. They truly have something for everyone. Check out their adult and children programs and the long-anticipated Taps and Talons beer-tasting event, presented on September 19th for those 21 and over. The Center also offers frequent yoga classes in person as well as online.

The Center and Preserve are open for the public to visit daily. The grounds are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are free of charge to enter. The main house is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m and the butterfly house is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a minimal entry fee. I encourage you to visit the outdoor animal enclosures and walk along the Preserve’s beautiful nature trails.

Sweetbriar Nature Center is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization and therefore relies on the community’s generosity to continue their invaluable work. Make a difference by attending their programs, visiting the Center, or through a donation. Monetary contributions can be given through the Donate Now button on their website or by participating in AmazonSmile and selecting Environmental Centers of Setauket Smithtown to receive donations. They also use Amazon Wishlist to ask for necessary animal care supplies.

Visit Sweetbriar’s website, sweetbriarnc.org, to learn more about their mission, to see complete listings of their programs, and to view heartwarming photographs of the animals they have rehabbed. The site also provides comprehensive resources for what to do if you should find an animal in need.

In the words of Veronica Sayers, when asked what else community members can do to support Sweetbriar, she replied enthusiastically, “Share, share, share! Talk about us and what we do. Let your schools and libraries know we do programs. If you learned something about wildlife through us, please share it. Become a Sweetbriar member. Attend our events! On social media, comment and share our posts. If you have the time and can commit, consider volunteering.”

Cayla Rosenhagen is a local high school student who enjoys capturing the unique charm of the community through photography and journalism. She serves on the board of directors for the Four Harbors Audubon Society and Brookhaven’s Youth Board, and is the founder and coordinator of Beach Bucket Brigade, a community outreach program dedicated to environmental awareness, engagement, and education. She is also an avid birder, hiker, and artist who is concurrently enrolled in college, pursuing a degree in teaching.

2020 Best-in-Show Winner “Happy Family” by Jan Golden. Photo from Gurwin Jewish

The Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack is now accepting submissions for its 28th Annual Photo Contest. Amateur photographers, including students, are invited to submit their best photos for the chance to win award recognition, cash prizes and the opportunity to have their work permanently displayed in the Center’s renowned Tiffin Gallery for the enjoyment of residents, staff and visitors.

New this year is a digital platform for submitting online entries, and the inclusion of a “People’s Choice” popular award which will be selected based on online voting.

In addition to the popular vote, a Best-in-Show winner will be chosen by a panel of judges, as well as a Grand Prize and Honorable Mentions in each of 12 categories: Landscapes, Travel, People, Pets, Children, Wildlife, Nature, Still Life, Altered/Enhanced, Student, Long Island/New York and Action/Sports. Gurwin residents and staff will also weigh-in on their favorites, choosing five “Resident/Staff Selection” winners from among the entries.

Photographers may submit up to seven photographs at a fee of $5 per entry via a secure portal. Contestants who prefer to send their printed photos by mail may download and print an entry form from the Gurwin website at bit.ly/GurwinPhoto and mail their 8×10 prints plus check payable to Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center at 68 Hauppauge Rd., Commack, NY 11725, attention: Gurwin Photo Contest. Deadline for submissions is June 15, 2021.

Photos not selected for a prize award are repurposed as reminiscence aids, for visual stimulation and art therapy, and to provide a source of comfort and inspiration, specifically for residents in the Center’s Memory Care Unit and Adult Day Care Programs, making each photo submission a “winner.”

The Gurwin Photo Contest is made possible each year by long-time sponsor The Tiffen Company, in memory of Helen and Nat Tiffen, the company’s founder and former Gurwin resident. Based in Hauppauge, The Tiffen Company is a leading manufacturer of glass filters and other fine products for digital, still, video, motion pictures and television. 

For more information, call 631-715-2757.

Reviewed by Jeffrey Sanzel

‘So many people ask why I photograph abandonment. To me, it’s more than the decay or what people leave behind. Rather, it is the why … It’s the when. It’s the how. Sometimes we can research it. And other times we have to imagine it.’   from the Preface of exploring HOME by Holly Hunt

Author Holly Hunt

Reviewing any book of art is the epitome of subjectivity, especially one that showcases the work and not the process or biography. The millions of words that have been written about painting, sculpture, and photography do not approach seeing the work itself. 

That said, I will try to find words to describe the visceral, sometimes disturbing, but always extraordinary photographic work of Holly Hunt, presented in her collection exploring HOME. 

The locations range from outside houses to inside churches, against brick walls or open to the heavens; the subjects are as varied as the images. Each one speaks for itself, but together create a breathless whole. It also helps that she is a strong writer, and the accompanying text only enhances the pictures. Her prose is both lyrical and raw, exposing her soul every bit as much as the visuals she has captured. Sometimes the narrative directly references the photo; other times it is a more elusive reflection of the tone. And, in perhaps the richest complementary pieces, they somehow stand apart and yet together.

All artists are adventurers of one sort or  another; they embark on journeys into the mind’s eye and soul. These are dangerous waters. Hunt takes this one step further. “… fear is a strange thing. It can hold you in its embrace and prevent you from flying, or it can propel you forward and set you free. Exploring set me free. And my camera was my security blanket.” Her camera was also a  key, a window, and wings. 

Whether sharing her mother’s struggle with cancer as well as her own illness, tales of bullying, or details of her love life, her efforts are ferociously, unapologetically personal. These are not bowls of fruit, sunsets, and landscapes. They are her heartaches and triumphs laid bare — fearless and challenging.

She is part alchemist, part phoenix. Ache and absence become imagery; art rises from the ashes. And occasionally, wry humor winks out in unusual places (“The Skirt,” “The Princess,” “The Prayer,” “The Gifts,” “The Cake”). 

There are intriguing juxtapositions. Discussion of an unconsummated soulmate shows against a house whose façade doesn’t quite mask the deconstruction behind. The sense of loss on this bright day creates a contrast with her prone figure on the front walk. In the curve of a back, she captures anguish. Each picture represents an event and a life lesson: in pain, in loss, in epiphany. 

Each will speak differently to the individual viewer. On a personal level, these moments demand attention:

The muted colors and forced perspective of “The Umbrella” perfectly evoking the intersection of dream and reality.

The peeling paint, subtly unsettling, above the fireplace mantel in “The Demon.”

The embodiment of the word “seems” as her figure hangs over a bathtub in “The Bath.”

“The Some Bunny” engulfed in a chair, almost obscured, passively peeking around the door frame.

The coldness of the steps in “The Letter.”

The prideful blank verse of “The Haters” versus the horror of disappearance.

The contrast of the light from without and the darkness within in “The Stained Glass.”

A ceiling that is celestially damaged in “The Voiceless.”

The whimsy of the story versus the terror in the image of “The Shadow Puppets.”

The harshness against sparseness in “The Grief.”

A sky both blue and icy in “The Farewell.”

The play of light through the window of “The Drive Home.”

The nostalgia of intimate chaos in “The Crafter.”

The absolute pain of isolation in “The Game.”

The weight of the “The Anger.”

The barren loss of “The Records.”

The sun bleaching the emptiness of “The Theater.”

The starkness of “The Monster.”

“The Diner” echoes pastoral into pain.

Or that which is indescribable in “The Memory.”

In the many self-portraits, she obscures part of or even her entire face. And yet, she is in no way less present or unseen. The directness makes itself known. She is not hiding; she is revealing. 

From sadness and grief — and the act of grieving — Hunt faces the shadows that looms. She also embraces the light that emerges from that darkness. It is not so much about resilience or survival; it is more than that. Time and again, she finds hope. Her final words: “This is only the beginning. I promise.”

These photos will haunt you. But, in the best sense. You won’t be able to look away.

Pick up your copy of exploring HOME at www.hollyhuntphotography.com and check out Holly Hunt’s current exhibition, “Abandoned Beauties,” at The Cheese Patch, 20 East Main Street, Patchogue, through May 30. Island Kava, 73 North Ocean Ave., Patchogue will also present a photography exhibit by Hunt this summer.

People can take as many pictures of their friends at the new interactive selfie museum. Photo by Julianne Mosher

It’s a new place to play and all are welcomed to it. 

Popup Speakeasy is an interactive photobooth museum, that allows people to come in and take as many pictures in different settings. 

“It really is for us a place where people can be creative,” said co-owner Catherine Ovejas. “It’s a selfie studio, you come and take your own pictures, or can come with a photographer, and you get access to the whole studio.”

Located at 1860 Pond Road in Ronkonkoma, like a speakeasy of the past, it’s hidden in plain sight. From the outside of the building, one wouldn’t know what to expect when they walk through the front door — a warehouse of 14 different stations from all different eras and scenes. 

Ovejas said that each season the stations will change.

Visitors of the Popup Speakeasy can choose from 14 different photobooth stations. Photo by Julianne Mosher

But right now, there’s a “record room,” decorated with a wall of vinyls and a boombox, a picnic scene where friends can pretend to pop champagne, and a pink repurposed Volkswagen bus tucked away in the back. 

“It’s a nod to pop culture,” she said. “I love retro things. So, you will see a lot of vintage things … things from the 70s, 80s and 90s.”

She said the idea for a selfie museum came amidst the pandemic. Between production, construction and the creation of each theme, they began the process a little more than six months ago, choosing Ronkonkoma as a central location that everyone interested can get to.

As far as she and her team know, she said, this is the first selfie studio in the whole state. 

“There are pop-up photo experiences that have taken place in and around Manhattan,” she said. “But those are more of a museum-type experience where you’re taking pictures of the exhibits, not so much of yourself.”

Oveja encourages visitors to express themselves. 

“We want you to go crazy,” she said. “We want you to interact with the scenes and the different themes and make it your own story.”

She added, “It’s not about looking at an exhibit and admiring it from a distance. I want you to actually bring your personality into the theme.”

For just $25 an hour (at the adult rate), visitors get access to the whole studio. Using an online booking system, the space is reservation-only. Social distancing is required, as are masks — except for when a quick photo is being taken in the scene.

Oveja said they are allowing one group at a time, and the whole studio (plus the props) are sanitized before and after each use.

Children are also encouraged to come and enjoy the studio, where kids ages five to 12 are just $15.

“This is a judgment free zone, we want you to be yourself, have a great time and bring your own personality to the table,” she said.

Co-owner Jose Rivera said the ultimate goal is to franchise, and those future locations will have their own vibe. 

“There’s no limit to how far we can go how far we can go,” he said. “We’re looking forward to collaborating with as many businesses as we can.”

To make reservations, visit popupspeakeasy.com.

FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER: Jay Gao

Jay Gao

Hometown: Stony Brook

Photographer: When empty-nested, I bought myself a Nikon D750 camera, my first DSLR, at the end of 2015 as a New Year’s gift. Before that, I had experience in using compact point and shoot cameras.

Favorite camera: Nikon D750, an entry-level full-frame DSLR. I love its strength in low-light performance. 

Favorite lenses: For wildlife, I mostly use Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary, and for travel I like to use Nikon 24-120mm f/4. When shooting flowers, I prefer to use Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G.

Favorite locations: I love to visit the Stony Brook Mill Pond and Stony Brook Harbor with my camera. It is a beautiful place all year round and there are so many kinds of birds. As a matter of fact, this is mostly where I have been practicing my bird shots. My other favorite spots include my backyard, West Meadow Beach, Nissequogue River State Park and Sunken Meadow State Park.

Have you entered any photo contests? I won first place in the 2018 Better Newspaper Contest of New York Press Association; was selected to exhibit in the Oversea Chinese History Museum in Beijing by the committee of the 4th World Overseas Chinese Photography Exhibition (2019); and won in the “China’s City View” theme of Impression of China photography contest in 2020, although the display was canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Favorite aspect about taking photos: I enjoy going out and shooting with my camera. In addition to appreciating and sharing of the beauty of mother nature, you can benefit from the fresh air and physical exercise.

Best advice to get that perfect shot: 

Go out often and enjoy. When shooting birds, pay attention to the background and try to get close to their eye levels. I mostly use these camera settings: manual mode (1/1200 s, f8 and auto ISO), single point continuous focus and continuous shooting. I love to use the back button focus.

by -
0 964

A Smithtown East sophomore has used her love for photography to raise money for a cause close to her heart.

During May, 15-year-old Arianna Felber took part in a Front Porch Project. The goal is to take photos of people outside their front door to commemorate the time spent at home during the coronavirus pandemic. In turn, the photographer’s fee is donated to a charity.

The Nesconset resident has been interested in photography for a few years, she said, and when she turned 13, her mother, Shannon Buscemi, gave her a Nikon D3400. Arianna said she hopes one day her hobby will lead to a career as a fashion photographer.

The sophomore said she started to see porch photos trending on social media, and then a friend of her mother’s asked if Arianna heard about the pictures. The sophomore said she thought it would be a good way to spread awareness about COVID-19.

Arianna said she knew right from the start she would donate the proceeds to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s pediatric patients, as her younger sister Stefani is a cancer survivor. The 12-year-old, who has been cancer-free for more than two years, battled brain cancer since she was a baby and received treatment at Sloan in Manhattan.

Her mother reached out to a connection who put them in touch with a representative for Kids Walk for MSK Kids. The mother and daughter then set up an online link that would allow families to donate the suggested contribution of $10 directly to the pediatric patients helped by Kids Walk for MSK Kids. Arianna said out of the nearly 60 families that she took photos of, many donated more than the suggested $10 and she even received a $100 donation. Her original goal was to raise $1,000 but she surpassed that milestone, and at press time was anticipating raising more than $2,000.

“It makes me beyond happy,” Arianna said. “I’m just so happy that everyone loves the pictures which makes me feel good about my work, but besides that, I’m so happy to be raising money for such an amazing cause and spreading awareness about COVID-19 and giving back to the hospital that saved my sister’s life.”

As more friends found out about her initiative, Arianna’s project took her throughout Smithtown township, and she even traveled out east to Miller Place. Once she got to the subjects’ homes, she stayed outside and photographed them from 6 feet away or more, which she said she needs to do with her zoom lens anyway. She took approximately 10 photos at each home taking pictures of the whole family first and then with just the parents together and a couple of only the children.

Neighbor Denise Prudente said she was pleased with the photos taken of her, her husband, Joe, and their two children.

“It was a beautiful project that my family and I were proud to be a part of,” Prudente said.

The neighbor said she wasn’t surprised when she heard Arianna, who she has known since the teenager was a baby, was using her love of photography to raise money for Sloan. She said Arianna is a hard worker who possesses qualities such as integrity, good listening skills, high energy, perseverance and more, “that make her stand apart from her peers.”

Arianna said the pandemic and her project have left her with a valuable life lesson.

“Seeing how everybody is reinventing themselves and their lives since everything is changing, as I don’t think anything is going back to normal for a while,” she said. “I think it’s crazy to see how different it is yet how together everybody is.”

 

Tom Caruso
Favorite quote: ‘Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.’ — Ansel Adams

FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER: Tom Caruso

Hometown: Smithtown

Day job: Professional Software Engineer/Development Manager, Broadridge Financial Solutions

Photographer: I developed an interest in photography at an early age, influenced by greats like Ansel Adams. My parents gave me my first 35mm camera in 1972 and my life was forever changed.

Favorite camera: The Nikon D850. I purchased it in December, 2018, and it’s an amazing camera with an incredible sensor.

Favorite lenses: I presently own two lenses for the D850. My walking around lens is an AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm 1:4 G ED and I found this to be a great workhorse giving me the flexibility I need for most shots. When I need tack-sharp images for macros or in dark settings I switch to my AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 G prime lens. Both lenses were refurbished by Nikon when I purchased them.

Favorite locations: I am fortunate to have several beautiful places near my Smithtown home and I visit them frequently to catch them at various times of day and different seasons. These places include Caleb Smith State Park Preserve, Long Beach, Short Beach, Blydenburgh County Park, The David Weld Sanctuary, Stony Brook Harbor, Stony Brook Duck Pond, Kings Park Psychiatric Center and Nissequogue River State Park.

Have you entered any photo contests? My first photo contest was the 2020 Friends of Caleb Smith State Park Preserve The Beauty of Caleb Smith State Park Preserve My image “Deer in Snowstorm” won Honorable Mention in the adult division. I also entered the 2020 Gurwin photo contest. The winners will be announced later this year.

Favorite aspect about taking photos: Landscape and nature photography gives me the opportunity to be outdoors. I love communing with nature and I am happiest when I am wandering in the woods with my camera in hand on a beautiful autumn day. Another aspect of photography I enjoy is knowing that my images bring happiness to others.

Best advice to get that perfect shot: There are a lot of photographic rules that we are told make a great photograph. I sometimes adhere to them but I shoot more on instinct. I know a great shot when I see it whether or not it follows the rules. Always keep your eyes wide open and moving when on a shoot. When in the wild with your camera you have to engage all your senses to find your next capture, not just sight. A faint sound of a crunching leaf turned out to be a snake which lead to one of the photos in this essay. The enormity of a forest can be intimidating but you have to see everything from the largest to the smallest subjects, from a mighty tree to a delicate spider web and all things in between. It is not enough to see the image for what it is but you have to visualize what it could become when post processing. If you do these things you don’t have to look for the perfect shot: it will find you. 

See more of Tom’s photos at www.tomcarusophotography.com.

‘Photography helps people see’ ~ Berenice Abbott

By Heidi Sutton

Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack revealed the winners of its 26th annual Photo Contest at an award ceremony and reception on Sept. 18. The highlight of the evening was a traditional slide show of the winning selections from this and previous years. Project Assistant Phyllis Barone handed out the awards for the evening.

Sponsored by the Tiffen Company for the 13th year in a row, this year’s competition drew almost 800 entries from amateur photographers across the country. Of those submissions, 46 photos were chosen to be enlarged, framed and hung on permanent display in the nursing home. The breathtaking images will be on exhibit in the Helen and Nat Tiffen Gallery for a year and will then move up to the resident units.

The innovative event is the brainchild of Dennine W. Cook, chief public relations officer at Gurwin who came up with the initial idea in 1993 as a way of “making [Gurwin’s] bare walls worthy of a smile.”

“Your beautiful photography does more than just decorate the nursing and rehab center; it creates an ambiance that feels like home. It inspires people. It comforts people. It brings joy to people, not just our residents but our staff and visitors as well, every day,” said Cook. ”There aren’t that many things that you can do in this world that have that kind of sustaining impact.”

“This a favorite event of ours,” said President and CEO of the Gurwin Healthcare System Stuart B. Almer before thanking Cook for coming up with the contest and for “beautifying our hallways.”

This year’s winning photos are presented in a modern and stylish wooden frame provided by The Frame Center in Smithtown, as opposed to the silver metal framing of previous years, after Almer suggested the change “to enhance the photos even further.” All future contest winners will have the same frame “so the building looks nice and uniform going forward” he said.

Cook went on to speak of the profound impact these incredible images have made on residents of the 460-bed facility “to whom they mean so much.” She spoke of Debbie, a 60-year-old traumatic brain injury survivor at the facility. “She’s writing a book, she’s committed to getting back out into the world to compete in her second Iron Man. She’s feisty, she’s focused, she’s fierce, and she gets some of her inspiration from your photos on the wall.”

“This contest, although competitive and a great achievement for you as a photographer, is really about the people who get to see your work once it is chosen,” explained Cook.

The annual contest does not accept digital entries, only 8 × 10 prints, which are not returned. However, Cook was quick to assure the audience that all of the submissions will be put to good use. “[The residents] use them in art therapy as painting and drawing inspiration and in crafting classes. It’s become a great resource here at Gurwin and everyone is very grateful.”

This year’s judges, Christopher Appoldt (Christopher Appoldt Photography) and Tony Lopez (Tony Lopez Photography), were given the difficult task of choosing a grand prize winner along with honorable mentions for 12 categories as well as Best in Show, which this year was awarded to Bryan Ray from Half Moon Bay, California for “The Great Migration,” a stunning image of hundreds of wildebeest attempting to cross a river in Africa during a migration to greener pastures. Five additional photos were chosen as Resident Selections.

Added Cook, “All the selections, whether they be Honorable Mentions, Grand Prizes or Resident Selections will be judged, discussed and enjoyed by so many appreciative eyes for years to come and to me that’s the real honor — that your photos will hang for decades here in our resident’s home.”

Entries for next year’s photo contest will be accepted between Feb. 15 and April 15, 2020.

2019 WINNING SELECTIONS

BEST IN SHOW

“The Great Migration” by Bryan Ray

ACTION/SPORTS CATEGORY

Grand Prize

“Drive to the Net” by Elise Rubin

Honorable Mention

“Skater Boy” by Carolyn Ciarelli

Honorable Mention

“Shake It Off” by James Napoli

ALTERED/ENHANCED CATEGORY

Grand Prize

“View from Governer’s Island” by Susan Silkowitz

Honorable Mention

“Captain America Caleb” by Deidre Elzer-Lento

Honorable Mention

“Working in the Fields” by Jan Golden

Honorable Mention

‘Unisphere After Dark” by Leon Hertzson

CHILDREN’S CATEGORY

Grand Prize

“Serenity” by Ashley Tonno

Honorable Mention

“Four of a Kind” by Donna Crinnian

Honorable Mention

“The Friendly Forest Fairy” by Sarah Wenk

LANDSCAPES CATEGORY

Grand Prize

“Glade Creek Grist Mill” by Mike DiRenzo

Honorable Mention

“Tufted Landscape” by Jeff Goldschmidt

Honorable Mention

“Horseshoe Falls, Niagara” by Barbara McCahill

LONG ISLAND/NEW YORK CATEGORY

Grand Prize

“Melville Pond” by Jeff Goldschmidt

Honorable Mention

“Croton Dam” by Ellen Dunn

Honorable Mention

“Never Forget” by Carol Milazzo-DiRenzo

NATURE CATEGORY

Grand Prize

“Solitary” by Jo-Anne Bodkin

Honorable Mention

“Under Angel Oak” by Carol Goldstein

Honorable Mention

“From Bud to Bloom” by Meryl Lorenzo

Honorable Mention

“Night Dreams” by Carol Milazzo-DiRenzo

PEOPLE CATEGORY

Grand Prize

“Balancing Act” by Alan Sloyer

Honorable Mention

“Ballerina on Malecon, Cuba” by Roni Chastain

Honorable Mention

“Waiting for Sunrise, Death Valley” by Ellen Dunn

PETS CATEGORY

Grand Prize

“Little Miss” by Lora Ann Batorsky

Honorable Mention 

“Callie” by Jill Fanuzzi

Honorable Mention

“What’s for Dinner?” by Dan Greenburg

STILL LIFE CATEGORY

Grand Prize

“Silk Threads” by Jo-Anne Bodkin

Honorable Mention

“Pink Rose” by Ellen Gallagher

Honorable Mention

“Mailbox, Italy” by Sondra Hammer

Honorable Mention

“Sunflower in Window” by William Hammer

TRAVEL CATEGORY

Grand Prize

“Balloon over Bagan” by Alan Sloyer

Honorable Mention

“Starry Night in Rome” by Mike DiRenzo

Honorable Mention

“Lofoten, Norway” by Debbie Monastero

Honorable Mention

“The Dolomites” by Bobbie Turner

WILDLIFE CATEGORY

Grand Prize

“Snowy Flies” by Janis Hurley

Honorable Mention

“In Flight” by Adina Karp

Honorable Mention

“Mama Duck” by Carol Goldstein

STUDENT CATEGORY

Grand Prize

“The Vessel” by Alex Horowitz

Honorable Mention

“Cake Pop” by Chloe Catton

Honorable Mention

“Lost in the Green” by Stephanie Clarfield

RESIDENT SELECTIONS

“Cousins” by Howard Antosofsky

“Letchworth” by Rachel Perks

“Tufted Titmouse” by Michael Danielson

“Tall Ships Visit Greenport” by Barbara McCahill

“Harbor Seal” by Jacqueline Taffe

Young man photographing family at outdoor wedding. Horizontal shot.

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Something about a posed picture brings out the prankster in me. I realize, of course, that posed pictures can and do capture a moment when a group of people come together.

In fact, I recently visited the athletic center of one of the colleges that admitted my daughter and stared, for hours, at the faces of athletes over the decades who took time out from their sports games and practices to have a picture taken. Without the uniformity and decorum, these pictures would have been a free-for-all with little structure.

And yet, in my own life, I can’t help seeing the camera and the formal process as an invitation to assert my individuality or, at the very least, to force the formality off someone’s face.

I can trace this back to formal extended family photo sessions we had when my brothers and I were young teenagers. Every so often, the aunts, uncles and cousins would get together. When they did, someone inevitably wanted to capture the moment for people to revisit years later, which, I guess, is around now, given how long ago the younger versions of ourselves forced a smile on our faces for those pictures.

So, anyway, I remember this one picture, when I was standing between both of my brothers, which made sense at the time because I am the middle child and my younger brother hadn’t decided I stopped way too early in the height department. As the photographer was getting ready to take the picture, I reached down as subtly as I could and pinched my older brother’s thigh, causing him to grin broadly at just the right moment, if you’re me — or the wrong moment, if you’re the photographer.

To her credit, my mom kept that goofy picture because, unknown to me, the photographer had taken a head-to-toe shot that clearly showed my fingers pinching my brother.

When my younger brother got married, I recall my father’s extended family all trying to line up for a family photo or, as my aunt said at the time, a fa-mi-lee pho-to, as she enunciated each syllable in a way that would cause poets to cringe. She accented all of the syllables and spoke so loudly that the camera picked up her demand to get everyone in their place.

Later, as we watched my brother’s wedding video, the whole family discovered an unknown treat. At some point, the videographer had clearly asked my uncle, one of the more serious and least playful people I ever met, if he had any marital advice for the newlyweds.

Seated in a chair by himself, with the music playing in the background and plates of hors d’oeuvres passing in and out of the frame, he paused for a moment before looking straight at the camera.

“It’s a sense of humor,” he said, cracking the smallest of wry smiles.

As my daughter and nephew prepare for their high school and college graduations, I can’t help wondering what the young men and women in the photos will be thinking when the many amateur photographers insist that they move a step to their left, lean to their right, stand up straight or open their eyes wider, no, less wide, no, wait, wider.

Hopefully, my daughter and nephew will be able to look back at pictures and see something more than a group of people celebrating one moment as they prepare for the next one. Hopefully, the camera will capture something, small though it may be, that brings a smile to their faces months or years later. Maybe the perfect imperfection will transport them back to the moment someone insisted that they “give us a natural smile” on cue.

Compliments of Anita Jo Lago

Hometown: Stony Brook

Day job: Production Manager for Marketing and Communications at Stony Brook Medicine.

“The rapid pace of invention in photography technologies has changed what we are capable of capturing. The art in photography is expanding and nothing seems impossible in terms of imagining what a photo can be of, look like or what camera (or mobile device) it can be taken with. Creativity has no boundaries and is never ending. To be riding that wave at this moment is very exciting.”

Photographer: “I started taking photos back in the late ‘80s on film cameras. I got more serious in 2002 when I started travelling and wanted to capture what I saw during walks around cities. After my office changed locations in 2014, I found myself passing the Frank Melville Park in Setauket daily. That sparked my curiosity in nature and started my latest adventure in photography.”

Favorite camera: “I find the Nikon D850 and the Canon 5D Mark 4 to be very challenging and rewarding cameras.”

Favorite lenses: “For macro photography (extreme close-up photography), Nikon 200mm f/4, Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 and Canon 65mm f/2.8 are all fantastic lenses. They have taught me a true test of patience. Zoom lenses like the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G, Canon 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 and Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E have a great range for capturing wildlife near and far.”

Favorite location: “Frank Melville Park is a hidden treasure. The environment and “vibe” of the park is peaceful. The Red Barn, Mill House and Bates House give the sense of history of the land and community. The North and South Ponds, the trails, the gardens, all contribute in ‘packing a punch’ when it comes to the beauty of nature and wildlife. Experiencing rare bird sightings, watching eggs hatch, nestlings learning to fly, bird migrations, reemerging turtles after winter hibernation, beekeeping … there are millions of happenings, hours of enjoyment, something for everyone. Every visit is a memorable one. Imagine taking photos there!

Other hobbies: “Besides spending time watching wildlife year-round, I enjoy computer technology, learning about mute swans, craft beer and finding a great slice of pizza!”  

Best advice to get that perfect shot: ‘Take photos of things that you’re immersed in, that you feel a deep connection with and that you love being around. If you shoot often enough, there comes a point where you don’t realize you have a camera in your hands and that your eye is looking through the viewfinder. There, you are in the zone — you found the sweet spot. Those are the photos that you will cherish as perfect.”

Favorite aspect about taking photos: Getting lost looking through the viewfinder. The excitement of seeing what I’m seeing is astonishing. There is so much discovery unfolding in nature that goes unnoticed. To have an opportunity to share those photo stories with others is extremely gratifying. It’s fulfilling to connect others to things they may never have an opportunity to experience and see firsthand.”