Event: Playing It Loud At Monmouth U

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An empty Pollack Theater awaits the crowd.

On a chilly Sunday afternoon, a capacity crowd filled the 700-seat Pollack Theater on the campus of Monmouth University on to watch the big-screen screening of Netflix’s Springsteen on Broadway.

Little did they know that the man they were watching on screen was also sitting in the audience.

Monmouth University president Grey Dimenna and long-time Springsteen videographer and director of the Netflix film, Thom Zimny, hosted the free event that was open to the public, though tickets had to be reserved in advance.

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Thom Zimny, left and Monmouth University President Grey Dimenna at a private reception before the screening.

They both said a few words before the film rolled, each expressing how thrilled they were that the screening was happening at the Pollack, the very place where Bruce did a dry-run of the show that would run for 236 sold-out performances at the 960-seat Walter Kerr Theater.

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Thom Zimny introducing the film.

Before leaving the stage to let the film roll, Thom had two words of advice: Enjoy the film since it was special to him, and to play it loud.

It was then Bruce came in. The star of the film, baseball cap pulled low, slipped in to his middle seat, rear center, after the lights went down. He sat with Zimny, and his long-time manager Barbara Carr.

About 20 minutes prior, I had was in the theater as it was filling up. I started to go out a side door which I thought would take me to a hallway and allow me to loop around to my gear bag without having to go through the people again.

As I pushed a curtain aside that was in front of the door, a security guard said “Let me just see if photographer can go back there.” I was caught off guard for a second but said “Oh, ok.”

He then pushed open the door to speak with someone in the hallway. When he did, I looked through the window of the other bank of doors, and saw Bruce standing there. Black leather jacket, dark blue jeans, hands in his pockets, baseball cap on.

Security guard came back and said “Uh, you have to go around.” I said “Yeah, sorry about that.”

So, I knew Bruce was in the house. The question was, could I get a nice photo of him at some point.

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When you there to shoot a movie screening, once the movie begins, there’s not much to do, especially when it’s 2.5 hours, except watch the film. Which I had already seen.

I did try to get some shots of the filled auditorium, which was difficult, even with pushing my ISO high. It’s an intimate, closely shot film. Not much extra light filtering back on the crowd like a John Huston western would give.

As the film was ending, I positioned myself in the aisle near where Bruce had come in. I thought he’d either leave while the film was still rolling in the dark, or maybe hang out a a bit afterwards.

If the former happened, I’d have no shot. If the latter happened, I might have a shot.

The film ended and the house lights dimly came up. Bruce waited a couple of minutes, then made his way into the aisle and the door. Bruce shook hands with fans on the way out, many of whom were surprised to see the star in their midst.

It was during this time that I thought I might get something – a face in the crowd maybe.

Nope. Nothing. The light was still too dim, both my Canon and Fuji were hunting to focus.

 

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I hung around the Pollack for awhile, thinking maybe he’d show up someplace and I’d get the shot. It was not to be.

Maybe I should have moved up to the doorway, got myself into better position.

I’m no paparazzi but probably could have done a better job.

Just one decent click would have been neat.

I thought about all this as I  drove a few miles up the way to swing by the Windmill. This is a classic NJ hot dog stand that always merits a visit, even if you don’t go in. And, just a few blocks from the Windmill is the little beach cottage where Bruce wrote Born To Run on a piano, in the front room.

No Bruce at the Pollack, post-film. No Bruce at the Windmill. He was gone, like a spirit in the night.

Me, I swung the truck around, pointed it in the direction of Interstate 195 West, and headed up the black highway back home.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2019

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JSP Visual Week In Review ~ 01.12.19

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This was a grind of a week. Fully back in the saddle after nearly three weeks of holidays.

Which is fine. I do like having my schedule. I did get a lot done, both work-wise, and some other photo-related projects I’m working on.

Know what’s tough? Self-editing.

I’ve been going through my 2018 photos for two concurrent projects: Trying to determine what my top 2018 photos were, and also working on a photobook for my wife’s birthday in a couple of weeks.

Of course, what may have been a personal top photo may not work for the documentary book I’m putting together. So it’s going through thousands of images with two different lenses (no pun intended.)

But it’s also seeing again some files I haven’t looked at in months. Or finding images that I never really processes or meant to do later. And then going down the rabbit hole of doing that when I should be working on one of those other two projects.

And not staying up so late.

But that’s the fun of what we do. We’re documentarians. And sometimes you have to go back to what you shot, look at it with fresh eyes, and see if anything new pops up.

And it’s ongoing art. We may be capturing a moment in time, but that doesn’t mean it’s always stopped for good.

That make sense?

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This Week’s Links:

What I Watched This Week: The Village

What I Read This Week: 50 Portraits by Gregory Heisler (Kindle version; ongoing read; review coming)

NY Times: The Strange, The Surreal, The Downright Scary

NPPA: David Burnett, Al Tompkins win NPPA’s Sprague Lifetime Achievement Award

JSP Blog: My buddy Gary S. Chapman celebrated a birthday yesterday. Here’s a Q&A I did with him a few years ago.

Anthony Luke’s Photo Blog: Fred Lyons in San Francisco

Irish Times: Shake it like a Polaroid

My Modern Met: Colin Ridgeway and Street Photography

PDN Online: Kodak’s new instant camera

NY Times: Unearthing photography’s time capsule

Fader: Kenrick Brinson, Never Stop, Never Settle (video) [Happy birthday to Kendrick, born today in 1983]

Twitter: Happy birthday, Big Man

“I am sensing the need/desire to be more than just a photographer. I think we can all use our photography and social media to really make a difference in small and big ways with the people God puts in our paths.” ~ Gary S. Chapman

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2019

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Trainspotting

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“You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors & train whistles.” – George Bailey (from It’s a Wonderful Life)

In New York City with the kids the last weekend of December. It was a madhouse. The whole city.

On the way back, we five were hustling to catch the 5:15 NJ Transit train back to Hamilton, New Jersey. We had already missed the 3:54 pm train by that much and the 4:15 train was cancelled for some reason.

We tried for the 4:45 train but, because of the cancelled one, the crowd rush to get to that one was cray-zee.

So, we sat it out to wait for the next one. And while the rush was still pretty strong, we were able to get on.

As we hastened down the platform,  I saw this conductor out of the corner of my eye. Making sure the little ones were with my wife, I did a step back move to grab this shot. I like the “in the moment of it” and the composition.

I was thinking about this shot on the way home, and how often I’ve photographed trains in my time. I, like George Bailey, still find them exciting.

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A bullet train conductor, Tokyo, 2016

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Shooting an actress in Grand Central Terminal around 2008.

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30th Street Station, Philadelphia

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Grand Central, NYC

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Heading into Paris from Charles De Gaulle airport, about 6 a.m.

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I still love getting on an airplane. But there is something wonderful about getting on a train, too.

Some type of adventure awaits, even if just the adventure of a new day.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2019

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Event: 2019 Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge

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It was a warm-ish 55 degrees.

But it was windy. Bracingly so.

And the water was still a chilly 46 degrees.

That was New Year’s Day in Asbury Park for the 2019 Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge.

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But while the air temp was warmer than most years, the water still held it’s bite – it was around 45 degrees That did not stop the 600 participants from starting their year with a quick (or long) dip and raising money for two great charities: Mary’s Place By The Sea, a respite home for women with cancer, and You Can NOT Be Replaced, which raises awareness about teen suicide.

Weather-wise, this year was much different than last year, when it was about 10 degrees. Then, numbers were down. This year, numbers of plungers and donations were way up and that’s a great thing for the charities. Since the Sons of Ireland (of Rumson, NJ) started the plunge in 2002, they’ve now raised more than $750,000 for local charities.

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Last year, the Asbury Park Beach Patrol – who are always on hand and in the water just in case – had to worry about the frigid conditions, this year they had to worry about a wicked, swirling Atlantic Ocean. Personally, I felt this was one of my most challenging plunge shoots because of how hard the waves were crashing.

In fact, at one point, I got knocked down to my knees, which I can’t remember happening. This happened more so from getting run into than the waves but all I could think about was keeping my Canon 70D high up over my head so that it wouldn’t go under. While I have a rain cover on it (and put electrical tape over the media card and battery doors, and around where the lens meets the camera body), having it go under would not be a good thing. Luckily, I was able to keep it high…and dry.

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Here’s a really great drone video that shows what the advance of people looks like. I love seeing this perspective.

And here’s the photo slideshow I put together. Much thanks to my buddies The Vansaders for letting me use their song End Of The Line as backing music.

One again, another great plunge to kick of the new year!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2019

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