“Play Ball!”

It’s finally baseball season. America’s Pastime is back in full swing and I could not be more excited to finally start photographing baseball.

As the end-of-semester stress starts to build up, I hope the ballpark will serve as my place of peace while I try to make some cool frames. 

This past weekend I photographed all three games between the Syracuse Chiefs and the Rochester Red Wings. Here are some of my favorite photos:

Living the (American) Dream

I’m back to the ‘Cuse to finish my junior year and I’m excited for another semester of a lot of hard work and photographing. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and I’m eager to see what these next few months bring.

That being said, I had an eventful “break” for which I am very thankful. I did get rest and a lot of quality family time but I also got to pick up my camera and shot a couple of assignments for The Miami Herald as I prepare to intern there this summer. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and everything they have already allowed me to do.

I’d like to share with y’all some of my favorite images from my time in Miami during winter break:

First, I was able to shadow Miami Herald photojournalist for a day. We covered a press conference right before New Years and you can find that story here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article123543304.html

I was also able to go to his studio and make this portrait:

Miami Herald photojournalist Carl Juste in his studio in Little Haiti, Miami, Florida.

That same weekend, I attended and photographed my first NFL alongside Miami Herald photojournalists Charles Trainor Jr. and Al Diaz. Here's my take:

and lastly, I photographed the professional boxing event at Hialeah Casino Park that feature many bouts including the main event of Cuban boxer Erislandy "The American Dream" Lara vs Yuri Foreman:


Often times in school we're told not to quote Wikipedia, but look at this amazing definition it has for the word "grit:"

"Grit in psychology is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual's passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective."

I still don't know where this series is going, but I think I've found a preliminary name for it. Enjoy part two of this running set of images!

Friday Night Lights

About four years ago, I made my first frame with my first DSLR camera. The subject? Football. 

Four years and a few hundred thousand frames later, I'm on assignment shooting high school football once again. This time, however, with a lot more experience and a different perspective.

From the recent shoot, I selected some of my favorite frames. Really looking forward into turning these into a series.



3000 Miles to a Cure

As many of you may already know, I am currently on the road going from California to Maryland in 12 days. The whole trip is 3,000 miles and the most important part is that it's for an amazing cause. I'm photographing one of the toughest men I know, Marshall Reeves, as he cycles for 3000 Miles to a Cure.

This organization raises money for brain cancer research and every year they have at least one cyclist that takes on the "World's Toughest Race," Race Across America, in hopes of raising as much money as possible for the cause.

We are currently at about the halfway point of the race and really need help with the fundraising. This year we have two racers and each have a $20,000 goal. 

I'd really appreciate if you would donate at least towards Marshall's goal. Every penny counts, every penny goes to brain cancer research. You can DONATE here: https://www.3000milestoacure.com/event/raam-2016-marshall-reeves/

Furthermore, if you could like and share this post that would also be of tremendous help. The more people this reaches, the more money we can raise.

Here are my selects to this point. Enjoy!

Colored Faces, Invisible Voices Campaign Update!

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for the support I have received as it relates to the launch of this campaign. It means a lot to have people backing up my projects.

I have good news! The planning stages of the campaign are concluding and we have started interviewing.

I want to thank Jane Hong for being the first to share her story and perspective. Jane is a senior Broadcast and Digital Journalism major at Syracuse University and Vice President of the university's Student Association.

Jane Hong '16 being interviewed by Rachel Johnson '17

Jane Hong '16 being interviewed by Rachel Johnson '17

Follow the campaign through this blog and through my other social media platforms. Thanks!

Explaining the Significance of the Title "Colored Faces, Invisible Voices"

While preseting my campaign in class, some peers had questions as to what the title represented. Here is my explanation:

This is how students of color are perceived by their counterparts on campus. It's also a challenge to reflect on what you think of when "colored faces" are said-- students of color cover a broad spectrum of racial identities-- not just one or two.

Colored Faces, Invisible Voices

Hey all,

I am excited to announce that I will be launching a multimedia campaign titled "Colored Faces, Invisible Voices." 

The intent of this campaign is to explore and shed light on the experiences that students of color face while attending a predominantly white institution and the effects it may have on psychological and social development.

This campaign also intends on exploring and establishing a community in cohort of different identities and ethnic groups here on the Syracuse University campus. 

I will be posting updates through my various social media platforms and hope you all follow along. 

Thanks for all the support!

Back at it...!

For a while now, I've been wanting to update my blog with some of the work I've been doing. These are photos that I am doing for assignments or personal projects that I would like to constantly share. 

I'll start by posting the game I covered at Madison Square Garden that featured the Syracuse Orange vs St. John's.

You can find the whole shoot at The Newshouse: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thenewshouse/albums/72157662210831402

Here are some of my favorite takes from the shoot:




A tough season just got worse for the Syracuse Orange

The NCAA just announced new penalties on the Syracuse athletic program, most of which are affecting the basketball program.

The NCAA penalties include: Coach Boeheim being suspended nine ACC games, loss of 12 scholarships over the next four years, and a 5 year probation. 

The NCAA is also forcing the Orange to vacate victories from the 2004-2007 and 2010-2012 seasons, setting Boeheim further back from the 1k victory mark.

The story behind the record breaking Oscars selfie

It is safe to say that the Ellen DeGeneres' Oscar selfie was deserving of an Oscar all by itself. It was perhaps one of the greatest moments in the history of the awards show, and it was the first time they had done any type of integration inside the program with a company or brand. We all saw the selfie, and many of us (3,397,886 to be exact) retweeted the photo. However, not everyone knows the full story and all the planning, that occurred in order for this iconic event in pop culture, to happen.

Emily Dunsmore the Director at Starcom MediaVest Group and Madison Bohunicky who is responsible for Samsung integrations and sports partnerships at the same company, visited Syracuse University to talk about how it all came together.

Oscars Selfie Presentation

Despite there never being a product integration at the Oscars, Samsung was able to pull it off in large part due to Ellen wanting to have a segment in which she utilized a phone. Due to a deal that Samsung has with ABC network, that phone had to be a Samsung android phone. Voila, it was that simple... Well, not quite.

According to Ms. Dunsmore, one of Samsung’s challenges is finding “Next Big Thing,” after all that is the company’s slogan. They had to find something that was innovative and appealing to their target audience which is the millennials, and especially the women within that age group. Now, if you are a woman within the 18-34 age range the chances of you having an Apple iPhone (Samsung’s main competitor) are much higher, meaning you are the ones that Samsung wants to target. Male millennial numbers are much more competitive.

Emily Dunsmore Presenting

Another challenge was to make the moment of the selfie very spontaneous. Millenials appreciate authentic moments, the ones that are not staged. This might answer some of our questions as to whether the moment was planned or not. While Samsung made sure Ellen had the phone for the segment and customized it for her convenience, it was not planned that she take a selfie with so many superstars. When that happened, Samsung hit the pot luck. In that selfie were: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Spacey, Jared Leto, Channing Tatum, and Lupita Nyong’o. Just to have Brad Pitt in an advertising campaign for Samsung would have cost millions and millions of dollars.

The selfie was only a part of a much larger advertising campaign. Samsung had all of it’s technology on display at the Oscars, and made sure that all of its partners were using them. They had the E! channel reporters wearing the Samsung Gear (the smart watch) along with using the Samsung tablets. They also had Yahoo using their equipment to contribute to the reporting of the show. They made sure to have their whole product line was prevalent throughout the show.

This master plan shows how companies are using all sorts of media and the convergence within them to disseminate their message. The prime example being how they used social media via cable television to make it into the history books.

They are also continuing to innovate different ways of getting the audience to where they usually would not have access to, according to Ms. Bohunicky. Most recently seen with the Twitter Mirror in the MLB All Star game in which tablet stations where set up so that players could take their own selfie and annotate the photo. It was a way for fans to be able to share a virtual experience with the players on the field.

Madison Bohunicky Presenting

Something she said that they would have done differently was make sure that everyone was on the same page as it related to their plan and the social team responsible for Ellen’s interactions on social media. This is due to the photo tweet of Ellen with Channing Tatum that was sent from an iPhone.

When asked about the controversy surrounding the selfie Red Sox ball player David “Big Papi” Ortiz took with President Obama and whether it had been planned or not, the answer was simply “we just made sure” he had the phone.

Something interesting that was mentioned and that I do not believe got as much social media exposure as the selfie was the fact that Samsung donated one dollar for every retweet (about $3M in total) to two charities chosen by Ellen, along with giving a phone to Ellen’s audience on the following Ellen DeGeneres show.

Overall, it was about breaking records for the Oscars and Samsung. For the Oscars it was the most viewed show since 2000 along with 88 million social media impressions. Samsung had 69 thousand brand mentions along with a total value estimated at 621 MM from all types of media responses.

Lastly, a selfie of my own with Madison Bohunicky, the presenter and one of the people responsible for this very successful ad campaign!

Interviewing a Future Oscars Winner

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to interview Mario Temes, a great friend of mine who I’ve known for over 14 years. He is a talented actor and musician who has accomplished many projects and is working on many more.

He’ll be talking about his career, projects, and will be giving advice to those pursuing their dreams and trying to accomplish their goals. He also sends a special message to his fans.

Enjoy the interview of this artist who demonstrates that you’re never to young to start carrying out your dreams and that to be successful all you need is the right mentality and a whole lot of perseverance.

If you have a talent or a story and would like to get interviewed, contact me through the "Contact" me tab on this site.

Green with envy is black with resentment

Photo Credit: Adamo Photography

For those of you who don’t know, Wordpress has a daily prompt page where they give you ideas on what to write about. This was today’s:

Write an anonymous letter to someone you’re jealous of.

Now, I would write a letter to someone I’m jealous of but I’m not going to. Why? It’s simple, I do not envy anyone. It’s not because I think I am greater or superior, it’s because the people that have certain talents, skills, and possessions were born with them or worked hard to develop them or worked hard to obtain them or just got lucky… it's theirs nonetheless.

If you envy what others have you’ll over look what you possess, be it a certain talent or material possession. You won’t take advantage of your talent, you won’t work the countless hours needed to expand your set of skills, and you’ll have such negative vibe that you won’t even get lucky. Envy corrupts the soul, folks.

One can always look up and admire others. You wish to one day be as great as them or be in their shoes but you don’t feel discontent or resentful by not having what they have. You know that one day you will be in their position if you put in the effort. As I pursue my goal of being a journalist I don’t envy the ones out there. I look up to almost all of them for being successful in such a competitive and difficult field and I hope to one day be their colleague.

Lastly, while I was writing this article I could hear my mom’s words and a saying that she always says: “No envidies a nadie, que por algo tienen lo que tienen, sea la razón que sea. A quien Dios se lo dio que San Pedro se lo bendiga.”

In other words (or language): “Do not envy anyone, they have what they have for a reason, whatever the reason may be. Whom God gave it to, St. Peter bless.”

Why the public school system does work, Mr. Carter.

Yesterday while I was watching Sports Center, hall of fame wide receiver Chris Carter was answering questions that fans were asking him on Twitter. The segment concludes with the anchor asking him how his hall of fame speech is going. His answer was that the public school system was catching up to him... Being that I am a public school student and soon to be graduate, I was bothered, annoyed, and insulted by the subtle comment. He not only insulted me, he insulted all the other public school students and graduates. The comment was completely out of place.

I’m tired of public schools being bashed. I've studied in public schools all my life, and I’m a great student, with lots of motivation and aspirations to be great. Last year, my school had 2 students get accepted to MIT (the highest ranked university in the world), 1 to Yale, 5 to Johns Hopkins, and those are only the ivy leagues. We had countless others get accepted to a variety of great universities as well. With these results, are the public school systems as bad as they are portrayed?

Let me also put examples of the great teachers we have, who are usually overlooked because of the reputation public schools have been given. My English teachers work more than 70 hours a WEEK for their classes. They spend time on making lessons interactive, making sure we understand what we are reading, and are available for whenever we need assistance. Furthermore, my math teacher would give tutoring at 6:30 in the morning, during lunch, and after school when AP testing came around. Like them, we have many other public school teachers who are just as dedicated and just as interested in their students learning. Of course, there will be teachers who aren't as excellent, but that is normal. Not all coaches are great either, Mr. Carter.

Maybe if it weren't for all the cuts being made from public schools all around the country, the public school system would be a lot better. If we were to focus on education, which is the key to the future of our country, then it would be superior. Mr. Carter, if you would have known how to handle two sports plus all the school work in high school, then maybe your speech would come a lot easier.

I’ll conclude with this. In my high school, I've been able to do almost everything I have wanted. I've played all he sports I've been interested in (free of charge), started a college readiness program, started my own journalism class, and the list goes on and on. I've also had first-class education from top-notch teachers. But you can’t forget that it’s not all of the school’s responsibility or the teachers or anybodies but your own, to learn.