RIP Isabelle : A Personal Tribute

Yesterday evening I had my last flight with Isabelle. If you don't know who that is, she was my Inspire 2 and one of the best drones I've ever owned. Isabelle was a huge part of my life for personal work but more importantly work for Simply Visual Productions. She opened our eyes to so many new things and taught us a lot more about the future of this technology.

I remember when I first got Isabelle in January of 2017. She was the most expensive thing I had ever personally bought and a lot of thought went into all the reasons why I would pay to have an amazing piece of equipment like that. After about two months of thinking and figuring out the financials behind this purchase, I went to the bank and took out a big loan. This loan was what financed Isabelle and would allow me to start flying her so that when the time came to do work with her in the spring, I would already be comfortable flying her and know what I was doing. To this day, that was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire life.

Isabelle was my baby and one of my favorite drones ever because of the versatility she had. The ability to change lenses and shoot from different focal lengths from the sky was a game changer. The dual op was another huge thing and the possibilities from there just kept adding up. After almost two full years flying her, she has finally come to her end.

Isabelle had been acting up a lot prior to the shoot but I may have to blame the crash on my own personal pilot error. For the past few weeks I had been inspecting her before jobs, everything seemed to be fine but gimbal issues with single op became very common, the landing gear wouldn't go down all the way every time, the FPV cam was all out of whack and the drone seemed to hover in these odd patterns that were very hard to counter or control. With all that going on, the drone was getting harder to fly and I was really in need of sending it in to have it looked at but last night, things took an unexpected turn.

Crashing a drone like this is not something I ever expected to do. Subconsciously, I knew my altitude but was reading from the wrong spot leading me to think I was higher than I actually was. The combination of that and bad line of site caused me to back into a tree doing a shot I do almost every time a shoot a house. When Vin told me to pull up, it was too late, we sat there and listened to the drone get tangled up in the tree and fall 90feet through it to slam onto the ground. This was an experience I have never had before but both of us remained very calm when it happened so we could put all the pieces together and analyze the crash.

I have to say this crash couldn't have gone too much better than it did. Flying in a space with other homes, power lines and trees, I am so so lucky that nobody was hurt and no property was damaged. We were also able to find the drone and recover it easily which will allow us to get a new one with the warranty. 

All in all, I have definitely learned from every drone experience I've had. If it weren't for Isabelle, I wouldn't be where I am today and my company wouldn't have landed over half the jobs we've had. This drone has been one of the biggest parts of my life and after a lesson like I had last night and the luck I was blessed with, I am going to cherish my next drone more than ever and make sure that from here on out I pay more attention to everything when it comes to flying than I ever had before.

So thank you Isabelle for all you have done for me and for my company. Thank you for all the lessons you have taught me, all the stress you have put me through, all the doors you have opened, all the traveling we have done together and most importantly... all the amazing work you have helped me capture. You will always be remembered <3

Hassleblad X1D and their new 21mm lens

I recently had the honor of trying out the Hassleblad X1D for a few weeks and was able to take some time to photograph things in a new way. After just writing my review on Fstoppers for this lens, I figured I'd share some thoughts on here to cover a few things I didn't in the other article.

First, I was absolutely in love with the feel of the X1D. I remember a few weeks back, Vin, Tom and I all went to Hassleblad's headquarters in NYC to see a demo on their pixel shift technology with the H6D-400c. Not knowing too much about medium format cameras, I wrote up a review on this camera and the technology Hassleblad has created behind it all. After learning a little bit more about these cameras and being able to mess with one in person, I was definitely drawn towards it because of how similar it was to my Sony A7R III. 

If I had to be brutally honest, I would say that my A7R III is also a better fit for me. As much as I loved the X1D, it is more of a camera I would use for very specific things rather than an all around daily shooter. My absolute favorite part about the camera was the feel it had when I was shooting with it. Between the 21mm lens and the 45mm lens, the experience is just so different than shooting on my Sony. It was like shooting film where you need to check your exposure, meter properly, pay attention to white balance, shutter speed, aperture and ISO which I normally always do, just not as much as I would shooting with this camera. Every time I clicked that shutter, the sound and feel of it would confirm my shot and in a way its almost as rewarding as shooting with a film camera, only you are able to review the image right away afterwards.

I guess it's a bit hard for me to describe the feeling of it but more importantly than anything, I owe a big thank you to Hassleblad for giving me this opportunity. Before recieving the camera, I was very stressed out with all the work I've been dealing with and being given something like this to do a review on allowed me to take some time off work, travel a bit and link up with a lot of really important and awesome people. That time off for me was so crucial and I think it's safe to say I am in a better way now.

I like to believe that certain things happen for a certain reason and this was one of those times for me. As negative as all of us can be, as stressed out and busy as we all are, I cant stress how important it is to have a positive attitude and a good mindset as much as you possibly can. I just recently learned how important it is to stop for a bit and realize what you are doing. Working all the time is never a bad thing but having a clear healthy mind is something that really helps me stay creative and produce work I am happy with. That being said, here is my final selection of photos from all the ones I had taken with the camera. I took about 90 finalists down to 9 of the photos I thought showed the best. Enjoy!

Another Month Later

I remember last year, I was living at home with my parents writing these blogs thinking I was busy. Fast forward a whole year later and here I sit today. In my own house with my own cat and more work than I had last year haha. It has been tough to keep up with my blog and personal site with all that needs to get done, but I do want to share a lot more content on here. When things settle down a bit, I am going to work on this site a lot more and get it back up to date.

Over the past few months I've had a lot of amazing opportunities. I've been shooting a lot of beautiful homes, working with some amazing equipment and am surrounded by really awesome people. With a few bigger projects coming up, it's going to be exciting to share some new content with all of you. In the meantime, here are a few photos from the past couple of weeks and one of my favorite Premium Real Estate videos to date. Enjoy!

Holy Busy

I'm gonna keep this one as quick as I possible because I don't feel like I actually have time to write too much. These past couple of weeks I have been MIA on here. I've slowed down on posting any personal work and have been very focused on actual work and making some sort of progression. Things have been awesome lately, I've been working with so many new people, been in some stunning homes and feel blessed to be doing something I really love. Some people say being busy is good, I don't disagree haha but it is very challenging to keep up with. I'm looking forward to getting myself through the rest of this week and finally sharing some new content on my site.

I'm also very excited to announce that I will be adding an iPhone section on here. I've been using my iPhone camera way too much to not share them on my own website (insert goofy emoji here). Before I go, I will attach a two videos and a few iPhone photos. I apologize for it almost all being real estate :)

Syracuse

My good buddy Tom Harmon and I are probably two of the biggest drone nerds you'll ever meet. We go a long way back from me being his intern to this current day in age where we pass business around to one another. One of our favorite things to do is drone and create photos and videos of the places we choose to go to. This Syracuse trip was something Tom had been waiting to do for a while now. He grew up there with his family and was a police officer there for about five years before he moved out to NJ to do wedding photography full time. This town means the world to him and with plenty of friends up in that area, Tom wanted to create a video that showed what Syracuse was all about.

This past weekend, we headed up there to do just that. With a car full of camera gear and intentions to dual op Isabelle (the Inspire 2), we set out to capture all we could in this town full of history. Tom had all of the places we would be shooting planned out, so I left everything up to him. When we got to each location, we would select a lens to shoot with and get all the shots we wanted. In this video, you'll see a huge use of mid range telephoto lenses being used because we are both obsessed with the look that gives. With Tom as the pilot and me as the camera op, we were able to achieve a lot of really good shots in the city areas. Though I myself am super picky and critical of a lot of the shots we were doing, I have to say that Tom and I as a team are getting a lot better. 

This trip consisted of a lot of driving, flying, coffee, eating some fantastic food and being around some awesome people. We even set aside some time to go to the shooting range with one of Tom's good friends. This was the first time I ever shot a real gun and it was a pretty good time to actually try that. Definitely a little harder than I had thought but I don't think I did so bad for my first time shooting. We also got some really good BBQ at Dinosaur BBQ in the city, this may be one of the best spots I've been to for that kind of food.

Overall, I think what I learned from this whole trip is that sometimes it's good to do things for other people. Tom and I have both been going through some personal struggles in life and being able to get away from everything for a few days and do what we love is such a good thing for us to be doing. I realize that focusing on myself and my work has been key for me lately but during this whole trip, it was great to see how happy Tom was as we were getting all these shots for him to put the Syracuse video together. It is great to work and be close friends with people who share the same passion as me. With all that being said, I will share a few photos. All credit goes to my man Tom as the Pilot and me as the camera op trying to snag a few photos while we were up there shooting video together. Went for a slightly different look/style on these photos too, kinda just playing around with different looks.

As spring settles in, I will too. I haven't been out to shoot as much as I used to. I feel like I am on a slight mental break still with my own personal work. More to come soon though!

Praying for Spring to Come

Weeks keep going by and I feel like I am sitting here doing nothing. There is little to no work right now which means that we have time to get some other thoughts together. However, it's been rough because I feel so lazy when I'm not actually working. In the midst of all this, I have been taking a lot of time to actually go out while I can to shoot my own stuff. In fact, this week alone I've probably been in the car for more than 20 hours driving all over the place to shoot. If you add that up, I'd say that I did just under 1000 miles and at the end of the week, that kinda hits you haha. That's a lot of driving...

Last Sunday I woke up and headed down to Ocean City to hit a few spots I wanted to fly at. On my way down, I enjoyed my coffee and some tunes thinking I was going to be able to capture some pretty exciting stuff. I get down to one of my first spots just before the bridge to get into OC and I realized the wind was absolutely wild It was consistently blowing at 20+ mph. I knew that my Mavic would have trouble flying in these conditions but I took it up anyway to kinda get a feel for how bad the wind really was. 

It ended up being terrible. I took a two hour drive down to Ocean City without checking the weather beforehand. That's a mistake I will never make again lol. I felt like I had wasted my whole trip down there, I even thought moving to another one of my spots and waiting a bit for the wind to die down would help out but no. I was quite frustrated but these things happen, they happen to everyone and we just simply need to learn from these mistakes. Instead of getting overwhelmed, I accepted the fact that I just drove two hours away from home and couldn't fly. So, I used this time to scout out some of the other locations I had in mind.

Not every shoot goes according to plan. I had a solid amount of work to do during the week but it was only two days that I had booked. I was keeping my eye on the weather to see if I could get another chance this week to get down to some of those locations in the right conditions and actually shoot. Wednesday ended up being a day just for that. The weather was overcast so I would have some nice balanced light, the winds were between 5-10mph and there was a 50% chance of rain scattered throughout the day but at times I wouldn't even be shooting. This was the day I needed to redeem myself.

It feels good to take trips like this. Just going out and finding new places to drone and photograph. It's weird how this is almost just like therapy to me. I've mentioned before in plenty of posts that there is just something about the drone that relaxes me and takes my mind off the real world. I cannot explain how awesome it is to capture some of the images I do. After almost 8 hours in the car that day, I came home with a bunch of photos and a few videos. When I narrowed everything down, I had about 5 keepers from the whole shoot which adds up to a win in my book (especially with how picky I have been lately). 

So I guess my point to this blog is that life doesn't always go the way we want it to. I have been super stressed and even annoyed that I haven't been working but I know that the work is on its way. I also know that I'm going to be very busy when it gets here and I won't have much time to myself when that time comes. I am actually really excited to get out there and begin working because I know that I myself have very high expectations for not only my work, but the work I do with my business as well. That being said, I am praying that spring makes its way here soon. When things warm up and the trees start to bloom, we will be running around like crazy doing some awesome things.

Here are a few photos for those eyes of yours and another article I wrote for Fstoppers about how I find places to go fly. Enjoy :)

The Weather

For the past few weeks, the weather has been driving me absolutely insane. From the rain, to the snow, to the occasional really nice days that give us a taste of spring.. I am over it and ready for spring to actually come. In just the past two weeks alone, I have lost so much work because I need to keep cancelling or rescheduling appointments. It is getting old fast, but I cannot control the weather so I will have to ride this one out and hope for the best. I know that spring is on its way and I am excited to see the leaves back on the trees and get really busy with work.

There sure has been a lot going on lately too. One of the biggest things I have been working on is growing my business with the help of my team. My main man and business partner, Vin DeMilio and I have really growing and finding more work that we want to be doing. We also added a few new people to the team, Tom HarmonRyan J Coburn and John Stessel. With all these extra hands, I think it really is going to be a big year for us. It has taken us three years to get to where we are today and we are on our way to finally getting the work we have been dreaming of doing.

This whole move has been the biggest change in my life so far, but it really has taken me to the next level. I realize that I am at a good point in my life but I know that I still need to work harder and constantly push myself further along. I don't want to make this blog too long, so I will end it here with some more photos for all you readers whom I don't believe exist :)

17 Days Later

I'm back and the title just goes to show how long its been since my last post, nobody is gonna give me shit for it except for myself. I definitely haven't been writing on here as much as I should be but I will do my best to step it up a bit whenever I get some free time. Honestly, I have been a bit slow creating new content because a lot of the stuff I have been doing is for work and during twilight so there's not much time for me to get out there and shoot my own personal stuff. I also want to say that I don't think this is a bad thing because I am actually beginning to enjoy work more and more with all the new video packages we are selling. For the first time ever I feel like my work actually has some real value and people really appreciate the products Simply Visual is putting out.

The other day I took a little trip on my own down to South Jersey. I shot from Ocean City to Stone Harbor covering different textures, bridges and whatever else I could find that caught my attention. It was a foggy two days but my little Mavic held up very well and I have to say that I was very impressed with its performance in the weather. With all of the fog, the clouds were carrying a ton of moisture so every time I flew it back to me, it was soaking wet. Anyway, I got down the first day about 4:30pm giving me enough time for about three flights in a few different places. I decided to spend the night down there because I was about two hours away from home and still had a lot more I wanted to shoot. I figured maybe it would clear up a bit so that could happen but of course it didn't so I was only able to grab a few more shots that next morning. All that being said, it was well worth the trip. I haven't flown in a few weeks and it really is just so relaxing and nice to go out there and find things to shoot... Even after two years of flying, I don't think I could enjoy anything more.

Aside from my aerial work and work work, I have been shooting a few portraits. I'd love to step up my portrait game and put my new Sony A7R III to good use. Plenty more to come from me with this nicer weather coming back in (even though its been super shitty these past few weeks). I feel like I always say theres more to come... theres never not gonna be a time where I don't share more work though :p Enjoy some photos below!

Spring is Coming

These past few months have been so crazy for me as I'm sure you can tell if you've been reading any of these other posts. I was going through some of these last night to see what I've been writing about and I realize that I have been pretty blunt on here. I might even be too blunt but oh well, I don't think it's a bad thing to share some of my thoughts. 

I never in a million years would have thought that photography would stress me out. Surprisingly, it isn't even the photography side of things that stresses me out, its the business side of it all. There are so many people that appreciate what I do and so many people that don't. I've been stressed because when it comes to doing photography for work, I feel like people don't actually understand what we put into it all. So I guess I'll just have to start showing everyone what we do by putting out more content. This year we are going to take it to the next level, start working together and form an actual production team. That is something I am actually excited for whether people understand or not.

Over the past few weeks, we have been training someone new to pull onto our team. It is exciting to teach all the stuff we know to someone else and watch them learn and be so proud of what they are doing. It is a great feeling to pass on knowledge and help others and I am happy that we are able to take this step and bring someone new on board. With work slowly picking up, we are getting ready to be slammed and looking forward to some big things.

Aside from work, I am going to be trying a lot harder to put out more content again and share it via Instagram. It is so sad that there are not many ways to share your work and get it out there unless you are using your technology 15 hours a day. Honestly, it is so crazy how much time I spend on my phone sharing this stuff and interacting with other people. There comes a point in time where I find myself going crazy and I just want to put my phone down for a while and not worry about it. It sucks to say that I cant do that because my phone is essentially my job and all of my work comes through it. Welcome to 2018 right? Might as well embrace it and learn to deal with it because it doesn't seem like anything is going to change soon. The best thing to do is adapt to everything that is going on and learn to work with all the technology rather than despise it. I am trying my hardest to do that but damn is it hard! Anyway, quick little post here and some photos from the past few weeks to ease that mind. I'll be putting out more soon enough.

A Break from Social Media

It was a long time coming. I have been trying to grow my account for so long now and it is a lot harder than I had ever imagined. Last year, I did not post too frequently until one day my buddy John came up to me and said that I should be posting more because I have so much content and that all I was doing was making excuses. I'll be honest, that comment stuck with me for quite some time. It was like a kick in the ass, a wake up call to create, a realization that I actually did have plenty to share.

This past summer, I was going through a rough patch and I looked at photography as a cure for it all. Even after long days of work or days where I was questioning what I was doing with my life, I knew that I could always go out and fly to take my mind off of reality. It helped, it helped a lot. I was constantly out creating day after day. My eye for aerials slowly seemed to improve the more I shot and my editing also got better and better. For me, it wasn't just about going somewhere to shoot, it was about finding something that would look awesome from the sky. I invested hours into finding new locations, driving to them and editing the photos I got from them all.

Social Media was by far my best outlet for sharing this stuff. Finally, I was beginning to get the attention I wanted on social media as an aerial photographer. I was getting featured on a few larger accounts, linking up with other photographers and just enjoying the good side of it all. Behind the scenes was kinda where everything fell off though. After months of posting every single day, winter finally came. Work has been slow and things are a bit ugly from above. It's cold, harder to find places to shoot and eventually all this caught up to me. I needed to just take a break from all the posting and consistent sharing. 

I felt like I was forcing myself to go out and create all this work and I don't like that feeling unless I am happy doing it. I am usually super picky with what I choose to post too but in this case, it was more than that. I just felt trapped in a world of social media where things felt fake. This past week or so, I have been very inactive all around and I have to be honest, I think it was a much needed break for me to take. I won't get too deep into the details but I will say that I am going to keep it slow for a while and instead of posting everyday, I will be posting 3-4 times a week.

Now is my time to come back and try to grow my accounts more. From it all, I am not hoping for money or fame, but I am looking to develop a relationship with DJI and Sony so that everything I shoot represents their brand. Essentially, one of my biggest goals would be to become a brand ambassador for both of those companies. It may not come soon, but I will work pretty damn hard to get there. So back to work, back to flying and back to creating and hopefully inspiring many others to do the same :)

Life...

Life can just be so crazy. I can't seem to understand anything anymore. A few days ago, I was in a great mood because Vin and I loaded up our schedule with work and finally created a real estate package that we are happy going out to do together. Together as a company, as Simply Visual Productions. This was a huge step for us.... Until the other morning. 

After completing all the contracts and packing the car to head up north, the realtor calls and tells us they want to hold off on the video because of the weather. Understandable. Now luckily we didn't drive too far because that would have made it a bit worse, but to top it off, we call her to reschedule and realize there was actually an issue with the pricing agreement. Working with another company can be such a challenging thing, especially when it comes to valuing the work that is being done. I will explain exactly what went on here and I will also hope my clients read this at some point because maybe they should hear the dead honest truth from somebody who's been doing this for a while and actually cares about it.

Begin Rant. If you are a real estate agent listing a luxury property.... WHY DON'T YOU MARKET YOUR HOME CORRECTLY?? I have been shooting real estate for two years and I will tell you that when I first started I was not too good at it. I wasn't very good at photography in general. As time went on, my passion for it grew and I fell in love with what I was able to do with the camera. Because of that, I worked harder and harder to create better work. I have continuously been upgrading my gear and working as hard as I can to get better at what I do for the sake of myself and my business. 

Today, I realize that I have hit a wall. I am at a point where giving up would feel so right. I deal with people who don't understand the value of my work on a daily basis. People that are cheap and not willing to pay for better quality, a better skill set.. When I work with these real estate agents, I can tell that some of them care about their listings and want to do things other people aren't doing to market their homes. I know that they know photos are essential and I also know that video is a newer thing for them to understand. However, the part that I cannot understand is how they can claim they are marketing a luxury home when literally the only thing they are concerned about cost. My question is, does good work come at a low cost?

Taking photos and videos is easy though. I don't have to do anything but push a button. My drone fly's itself, my photos and videos look the way they do straight out of camera. My gear is cheap, my computers do all of my writing and editing, my car drives itself and I.... I'm just a fucking object. 

I decided to create my own business for a reason. I don't want this to seem like it's coming off in the wrong way, so I will start by saying that I respect everybody who is happy doing what they do. If you are a garbage man and you love it, I am happy for you. If you are a singer and you struggle to make ends meet but you love what you do because you know you'll make it... I respect you for that. If you are an accountant who works in a cubicle all day and you have a family but you are 100% happy with your job...I respect that too. However, for me personally, I don't want to do what a majority of people do after college. I don't want a 9-5 job, I don't want to work for somebody else. I don't feel like that is something I would be able to do, it just isn't for me.

I want to be me. I want to create. I want to build something of my own. I want to work with people who fucking care about things, people who have a passion to do what they do. I want to work with people who respect me and respect my work. I want to work with people who share a love for what they do.

All that being said, being cheap wont get you far. I put a lot of time and effort into the things I do and when people don't understand that my pricing is set that way for a reason... for me to live, eat, put a roof over my head, pay my bills and actually be a part of society like everybody else, I don't want anything to do with them. I can reason with you to an extent but there comes a time where some people cross the line and I lose a lot of respect for them. End Rant.

How did I get to the point I'm at today? Why has my work gotten to the level it's at? Some people really wonder. I can't actually explain it, but I can tell you that I have been working my ass off for a very long time now. I am good at flying my drone cause I have logged over 500 flights. I fly almost every single day, I travel all over NJ to shoot things that I think would look interesting from the sky. I take good portraits because I reach out to people to shoot with them and create images that we can both enjoy. I spend a lot of money on my car and gas because that is how I get around and get the practice in that I need to be on the level I'm at.

I'm not happy where I am at. I am content. I don't want to be content, I want to strive to do better. I know a lot of people really like what I do, I like what I do but I know that there is another level to it. A level that I want to get to and a level that I would actually genuinely be happy at. I've learned a lot over the past few years. Today was a day to absorb all that I have done and realize that I have much more potential than I myself even think I have. From here on out, I am done with the bullshit and ready for bigger things. I am going to work harder, stop dealing with people and things that hold me back and I am going to grow this business I have created and turn it into something I can look back on and say, "I am so fucking happy I stuck to what I wanted to be doing rather then settling where I was."

A long blog for all you readers out there but tonight I hit a level of stress that I felt I needed to write about. No pictures in this one but more to come when I can get my mind back into a better place.

Winter

I'll keep this one short and simple. I have mixed feelings about the winter and all this snow. The past couple of weeks have been freezing cold for us here in New Jersey with temperatures in the low teens. About a week back I took a trip to Vermont with my buddy, Tom Harmon, and that was even worse! I woke up one morning to look out the window and it was covered in ice. I then proceed to flip the apple watch over and see that it was -10 degrees.... Crazy.

So the snow seems like it would be great to work with. Everything covered in white and from the sky things just look like a winter wonderland. Well... that is the case, at least for the first few days where you are initially excited to go out and capture all this fresh snow; the new season. After a few weeks, the snow just ends up staying and it gets patchy and dirty and eventually doesn't look too good anymore. It doesn't sit on the tree branches, it reflects shadows very hard and the worst part is, it doesn't melt when it is extremely cold like it has been. I've been trying to revisit some of these islands I shot over the summer and shoot them in the snow but you'd have no idea they are islands because the lakes are completely frozen and covered in snow. It just turns into a blob of endless white. That also doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon and I feel like I am going through a solid amount of withdrawal not being able to shoot things like I normally would.

That being said, I have been able to capture a few neat shots with the snow. I am going to continue to try shooting and making the best of this cold weather. However, I may have to run on reserve for a little while with some of my favorite photos from 2017. Lets see how it goes for a bit and I will see what my mind wants me to do. Here are some winter shots for whoever takes the time to read this shit.

2017 Reflection

I can think back exactly one year ago and remember how I felt at the start of 2017. It was a rough time for me as I was going through some relationship troubles. I had butterflies, things weren't quite right, yet I told myself I would try my best to fix them. Months go by and things were on and off, I was really in love with this girl I had fallen for. Our happy times were truly happy but the hard times were not easy at all. In spite of how I felt at the time, I knew that I could always rely on photography to help me get through it. However, I was going through more than just girl problems, I was going through life problems. I was constantly asking myself what I wanted to be doing with my life and my business. What is the next step? How do I get there? I bought my Inspire 2 at the end of January last year and that has been one of the biggest, most life changing things I have done so far. 2017 was a huge year for me. A year of learning about love, stress, fear, struggle, work, creating... and so much more.

I really find it crazy how fast this year has gone by and it is shocking to look back on it. Last winter felt like it was really just last week, but I am in such a different place now than I was last year. A lot of things seemed to come and gone, and sometimes even just fell into place. Over the summer I was going through a huge downhill slide of emotion because of a girl I was once very close with. Being heartbroken sounds so corny, but in all honesty, it is one thing that can really make you a stronger person. My little heartbreak was actually one of the biggest reasons that I was inspired to create more. It all started with me making a commitment to get better at composing images from the sky and then finding a way to do it more consistently. I haven't been involved with much relationship nonsense since then, but I have taken all that energy and put it directly towards rebuilding myself and focusing on a lot of personal work. I can see now that all the shooting has paid off but I realize that this is the time to start really make something from it all.

As far as accomplishments go for the year, there are quite a few. From getting jobs I never would have imagined with Simply Visual Productions, to moving into my own place with my good friend and business partner, Vin. From going to Oregon with Tom and exploring/droning beautiful new land to collaborating with so many other creatives. From getting new gear like a car, phone, camera and so on, to me just evolving as a person through it all. I have to say I have accomplished a lot this year and I couldn't be happier about that or more thankful for the people who were there to support me along the way. I owe a big thanks to all of my friends and family but I also owe myself a pat on the back for overcoming my fears of failure to get where I am now.

Today, I almost feel like I am a different person and have learned so much from all my mistakes and experiences in 2017. One thing I notice about myself is how serious I take my work because of what it means to me. I am at the point where it is time to let go of the past, use that to push me and move into a new realm of life. A life where I can be happy doing something I love. At the age of 23, I don't think I am doing so bad and I'm sure a lot of people would say or think the same thing. However, I know that I need to do this sooner than later before I get stuck in a place I'm not happy in. I don't want to look back on my life and think, "I wish I did that." I want to do it now, when I can, when it matters. I need to do better work, push myself to create more and put myself in a place where I am truly happy. Talk about getting personal on here huh?

The thing is, I am more confused now about where I want to go and how I want to get there than I have ever been before. That may be the reason for all these weird thoughts and feelings but I am really hoping to make sure I get myself on the right track and take myself to bigger and better places. I want to take my friends and family with me on these journeys, I want to be a better person, someone people can look up to and always reach out to for help or advice. I want to inspire people to do what they love and I think 2018 is the year to really stick to my word. So cheers to the new year and lets start on a positive note :)

First Snow

Last week we had the first snowfall of the winter here in New Jersey and I knew that I couldn't miss out on shooting it. After sitting inside all day working on my business site by the fire, I decided it was time to pack it up and get out there to go shoot a bit. I cleaned off my car, loaded in the gear and headed out to shoot in some snow. I drove to a place about 30 minutes away and camped out in my car waiting for the light to be right so I could get the shot I wanted. I came home, edited the photo and was pretty happy with the result. That image is the first one below, all the way on the top left.

The next morning, I woke up around 6am to get out for a sunrise shoot before all the snow melted off the trees. Here, I started at the Keansburg Pier where I have found myself shooting a lot lately. I find this spot very private and peaceful, there are very little distractions and a few really neat things to shoot. After that, I headed back home, but decided to stop at a nearby lake on the way back. I was able to capture a few more images of what look to be snowy islands. I have to say that making commitments like this are usually always worth it in the end, though waking up early is not really much fun sometimes, I am usually at peace flying and feel a lot better about pretty much everything.

In the end of this all, I was able to get a few winter shots that I really liked and I think it was a great start to the winter season. I am really not a big fan of the cold but I do like the snow when there is enough of it to make everything look pretty. Lately, I have been trying to avoid shooting the patchy snow because I don't think it photographs very well from the sky. That being said, it is always a challenge to create new content but it is never impossible. I look to keep at these little ventures to produce more and more work and I also look to travel a bit more whether that means a few hours of a drive somewhere or flying out and finding some new ground. With 2017 coming to an end quicker than I ever could have imagined, it is time to step up my work and start to take things to the next level. Enjoy some of the wintery photos below!

Learning Phases

It's funny how hard it gets to find time to sit down and write things. Sometimes I think to myself, I'm gonna sit down tomorrow morning and write up my blog for the week. Then all of a sudden, I don't feel like writing the next morning or something else comes up and it just doesn't get done. I also got a cat a few weeks back and she is such a cutie, I love her so much. I find myself doing things for her before myself and realize I am all of a sudden a cat dad. I feed her before I even eat in the mornings, make sure she always has water, clean her litter box, shop for her and all that basic animal stuff. For me it's all new but it definitely adds a layer of responsibility on top of living on my own. In a way, I really like that and it does make me feel pretty responsible for my age.

Just recently, Vin and I experienced a little website turbulence on the business site when we were trying to do our SEO. Right when we both told each other over the summer that we were going to be doing some heavy updates and getting the SEO ready, The site kinda fell apart. Just last week we decided to start the site from scratch and create something more worthwhile to the people who are looking for us. With a solid skeleton site up, we will be updating the site as frequently as possible and getting it to look more aesthetically pleasing than it already is. With that being said, feel free to take a browse at simplyvisualproductions.com

Another thing I notice when I write these blogs is that I feel like I'm writing some sort of holiday card to a grandparent far away letting them know how I've been lol. Like sometimes I wonder who I am actually supposed to be speaking to on here. Anyway, back to the writing... I have been working pretty hard at adjusting to this time change and adapting to the light going down so early in order to keep up with my personal photography. I hit a point where I felt like I was going to fail and almost felt there was nothing left in the area to shoot. There will always be plenty to shoot but it is just a matter of getting out there to shoot it all. I need to start making more time to go out and do this so that I can keep up with my work. I'm not sure if you can see, but I feel like I have been keeping things pretty clean and simple lately. I really like the direction I am headed with my work and look forward to keeping at it. I think that is enough for this post! Next one will cover some stuff about the first snowfall. Photos are below for you all.

Updating

I will start this post saying that my "i" key is not working very well and I have to press it down harder to get it to actually work. Very annoying  -_- but what's life without any trouble?? Good question.

It is Monday morning, 11am and I am desk bound for the day writing articles, blogs and this. I have a few other things to do and some editing to get going on but it is kinda important for me to keep up with this and make sure my site is looking good. I am falling behind in a few sections which is funny cause those are the ones I do for work but also the ones I update the least. I guess you really can tell the drone has taken over my life.

Another exciting thing, I took a shoe box and slapped a comfy piece of cloth in it then put it up on my desk.... Now my cat can sit with me while I'm on my computer :) She's adorable... and I'm a weirdo, but that's alright with me haha.

I've been planning bigger and bigger projects recently as I have mentioned in a few posts before. This weekend I am going to be collaborating with two portrait photographers and a few models in AC. I think taking myself out of my comfort zone will be a good thing for me to do. I need to find more work that I really enjoy doing otherwise I feel like I am forcing myself to create content that doesn't have any meaning to me. I don't like that.

In a recent post on my iPhone Instagram account, I mentioned that I have been really discouraged lately and struggle to like a lot of the work I have been doing. This has been very tough for me because I have set my standards so high for what I expect out of myself and my work. I am getting through that faze now and I am going to work a little harder to create things I truly enjoy. It is so easy to get down on yourself and crumple but it hurts more when you let yourself get stuck there. We can always make excuses but literally... they are the only things that hold you back from really doing what you want.

I will share two articles I just wrote on Fstoppers just going over some real basic things about personal work and social media. I know that I can't be the only one struggling here and there so I may as well share some ways about how I go through it all and just hope if anyone else even reads this, it can help them out too.

https://fstoppers.com/aerial/why-we-sometimes-have-accept-failure-learning-your-mistakes-204414

https://fstoppers.com/apps/insight-instagram-look-how-algorithm-works-205485

This last year has been one of the toughest rides for me yet. Between actual work, personal work, relationships, family and so on, so much has happened, so much has changed and I think it really could all be for the better. Right now, it feels good to be able to support myself at 23 and do what I love. Though I struggle from time to time, it is a part of life and will only teach me more and make me stronger. I can tell you if it weren't for photography.. I would not be where I am today. I am so thankful for all I have done and all I have been through. I Know this is kinda a messy post on my end here, so here are some pictures! Been messing around with composition and lines a lot lately.

Clearing the Mind

Every time I sit down to write, I have to come up with some sort of a title for what I'm writing about... That can be hard sometimes. Anyway, with this being the slow season for me, things haven't really slowed down much. I am a lot busier than I expected to be and I hope things stay that way for a while. It took us just about two years to land the jobs we are landing now and I am happy to say that I am starting to enjoy the work I do more and more when I can work with people who are passionate about what they do.

Tomorrow, I am going to continue a project I started last week, only this time I actually get to spend as much time as I need filming and pretty much have the entire day to shoot. This means we get to go crazy getting every shot perfect, we get to nail all the interiors, exteriors, details, drone shots and hopefully even the twilight and day to night time-lapse we plan on doing. This project is a first of its kind for us and something I am hoping will set the bar pretty high for future work we want to be doing.

Looking back on last week, I had my first helicopter flight over NYC. This was honestly one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I am so happy that I was able to get up there and do it. If you can believe this though, I actually came home a little bit angry because I didn't get the photos I had thought I was going to be able to achieve in my mind. This kills me because why the hell was I angry?? Who gives a shit if I come back with a photo to post or not? I feel like my whole experience was ruined because the entire time I was up there I was trying to take a photo that would be worth gold rather than taking the time to appreciate what I was actually up there doing. What I was up there seeing...

It was after I got home from this ride that I realized I need to just relax a bit and learn to enjoy life a little bit more. I am always caught up in my work and the quality of what I put out that the littlest things can bother me. I have become so picky when it comes to photography that I almost don't like anything I shoot anymore. I don't think any of this is a bad thing, but I do think that mentally it affects me and the work I put out. I really love what I do, but not when I force myself to do it. Maybe slowing down and taking a small break to clear my head will be helpful and something I am heavily considering to benefit myself.

With so much going on and the sun going down at 4pm, I can see why I'm going crazy. I will definitely need to make the most out of whats to come and just find things I can do that make me happy. There is a reason why I do what I do and I may not even see that clearly yet myself, but one day I am sure it will all pay off. Here are some photos from the helicopter:

Gone Missing

It's 8 am on a Thursday and your'e sitting home writing a blog at your desk in the office you made downstairs. You're probably having some coffee thinking about how much stuff you have to do in such little time, but you remember that you have your first helicopter ride over NYC tomorrow with a good friend of yours. Life can't be that bad, but it sure can be overwhelming. You've got a cat with more energy than you, a great business partner and a really supportive family who cares about you. It's easy to get stressed out and lose site of what makes you happy. However, it is important to remember that you can push through all the stress, work harder, learn how to deal with the cards you are dealt and get where you want in life....if you have the drive to do that.

Recently, I have found myself struggling to feel good or happy and it has really been tough to stay positive. I'm not so sure why this is the case, maybe its the burden of all the work, maybe its my high expectations for what I do, maybe its just a phase, who knows. I haven't had much time to sit down and write, there's been a lot going on in my mind lately. I guess with Thanksgiving coming, it is good to reflect on things and take some time to revisit reality. I am truly thankful for everything I have and know that I will get through this little rough patch I seem to be in.

In the next few weeks, I have a lot of exciting work that I am looking forward to doing. Tomorrow I am flying over NYC in a helicopter for the first time ever which I think is going to be pretty damn scary. I will have my legs dangling out of the Helicopter and my camera in hand, hopefully taking some awesome photos I wouldn't be able to take with my drone. I also have several jobs lined up, one specifically that I am looking forward to about the builder of a home and why she designed it the way she did. I have been wanting to do a video like this for some time now and finally the day has come. I don't want this to just be special to me, but I want it to be special for everybody else who watches it too. This is where I have always seen my business going, so this project is definitely pretty meaningful for that reason alone.

Now, I do feel like I have gone missing from my website and blog and I hate that because I try so hard to stay on top of this and post at least once a week. I never imagined I'd become a writer, nor did I think I'd ever become good at it, but shit happens and this has really been nothing but pure benefit for me once I made the commitment to doing it. That being said, all the social media and posting and liking and commenting and engaging and yadda yadda yadda has become absolutely ridiculous and I am at the point where I feel like I just need to step away from it and shut things down for a while until I am ready to come back. I used to try to post everyday but there comes a time where I ask myself what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. It is extremely hard to put out good content all the time and I have really been struggling to do so. Forcing myself to create kinda hurts the process of creating, so I think slowing things down for a little while might be something that will help me out, but that doesn't mean that Im going to stop shooting and posting... just gonna ease up on it all. I'm sure I'l have plenty more to write soon enough. Now some photos :)

The Power of Social Media

Back when Social Media first became a thing, I was definitely completely against it and thought that people were wasting there time paying more attention to someone else's life rather than their own. Today, I believe that this has gotten much worse lol but at the same time, I think Social Media has been one of the biggest influences out there for me and a lot of other people who create their own work. I am sitting here writing about this today because last week I was reading through some of my old blogs and realized I had briefly brought up this topic. I mentioned that one day I wanted to be featured on all these big drone accounts and be able to create content that inspires other people. After almost a year and a half of hard work and pushing myself to create more content, I am finally being featured on these accounts and chatting with so many people in my field that are incredible at what they do.

Social Media has become a huge outlet for my work, whether I am just sharing what I do, chatting with new people or even linking up with these people in real life. It's funny to think that only a few years ago none of this was really possible, but with the way technology is advancing and the power that that Social Media holds, I honestly think this creates endless opportunities for creatives. It may sound easy to create good content, post it day after day, engage with your followers, answer all the comments and DM's and so on, but I can assure you it is literally like having another job. I realize a huge amount of time goes into all this not only for me, but especially for the accounts who are sharing all this incredible work and actually keeping up with it. I am so thankful that the hard work has paid off and truly appreciate all the respect I have been shown from these accounts sharing my photos.

I don't look to slow it down anytime soon, but I do feel like it is getting very challenging to keep up with a post every single day, especially with winter moving in. I am going to have to work pretty hard to find new locations and things to shoot... or I'm gonna have to pack up my gear and start traveling a bit more! I think that would be a great thing to do. Aside from that quick reflection, I think it is important to always keep your head up and continue to work as hard as you can. Nothing good happens right away, but the harder you work, the more time you put in, I believe that one day everything will pay off. Just never forget why you are doing what you do because the most important thing through all this is how much you care about it.

Fall Shooting

Finally I feel like I am getting back into the groove of things. Day after day, I have been going out to shoot and these fall colors do nothing but motivate me to keep at it. I am a bit disappointed today because the weather these past couple of days is probably taking even more leaves off the trees. Though this gives me plenty of time to edit some photos I have been taking, there is something driving me to create new content constantly and when I don't or when I can't, I feel helpless. It has been a struggle finding new places and adapting to what I have but I think this has been pushing me to learn new things like I said in my last blog. Flying has become something that I love, in a way it is therapeutic and really helps me take my mind off of everything else going on in life. 

Every time I sit down to edit photos now, it becomes one huge process that I tend to overlook. A lot of the time I don't like my own photos or will discard ones that aren't "good enough" to me. This has been one of the most annoying things because as good as I know the photos are, there is something in the back of my head that is always telling me I can do better. The past few weeks I realize I am starting to like a lot of the work I am doing and I have also been spending probably twice the amount of time on my personal work than I have in the past. With work being slow, shooting becomes very necessary for me and keeping up with my personal work is definitely a top priority.

One of my favorite things to look forward to now is Texture Tuesday. This is something I used to do a while back but not something I ever took too seriously. The concept behind this is to shoot a texture (from the sky if we are talking about drone stuff like I do 90% of the time) that will make people question what they are looking at. In a way, this is some of the most abstract stuff I have ever shot and I gotta say I really do love it. Believe it or not, it is really hard to find places to shoot these textures and being able to add that to my list when searching for places to fly has been nothing but rewarding in the sense that I am finding new things to shoot and slowly beginning to enjoy it more and more. Right now I have to thank Abstract Aerial Art for inspiration, they are some of the best aerial photographers I have ever come across online and also two of the nicest people I have ever talked to. With their help and the help of a few friends and other dronies on Instagram, Texture Tuesday is slowly growing and I am hoping to be able to turn it into something much bigger than it is now.

On the other hand, I just got myself a kitten. I have always like dogs and cats but for some reason a cat has always been such a cool animal to me. I have three cats and a dog back at home and I know dogs are a ton of work between training them, being home for them and so on. Cats are much simpler animals and because I am out of the house a lot, I figured a cat would be better to have because I can give it some attention when I am home and not feel bad about leaving it at the house. Anyway, this kitten is such a little cutie and has really been opening up day after day and revealing her personality. These past couple days she has been getting used to exploring our home, now it's only a matter of time before she is too comfortable and causing trouble haha. No matter what, I still love her.