Leaving On A High Note

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I’ve written about Zack Sandler many times on this blog.

After meeting him and his family on the boardwalk back in in 2011, and keeping in touch since then, we’ve become good friends.

And now, he’s ready to start the next chapter in his life.

This spring, Zack graduated with magna cum laude honors in Music Industry from Monmouth University.

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This accomplishment comes about the music business in school while working on his own musical career, both onstage and promoting shows.

He’s played his sax on many stages, promoted a few Light of Day show in Asbury Park, joined Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son when they opened for Bon Jovi and spent countless hours in a van and backstage as tour manager for Remember Jones.

The young cat has worked hard to do so well in school, graduate with honors and keep getting better as a musician.

So when he pinged me about shooting some cap-and-gown photos down in Asbury Park the other week, I was more than up for it.

Yes, it’s the time of COVID, but I knew we could do this at a safe distance, with masks, and a long lens.

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So, a couple of weeks ago, on a beautiful, warm Friday afternoon, we hit the high spots in and around Ocean Ave.

Zack played some tunes on his sax while I snapped away. Then we switched it up so he could give his guitar some play. Literally.

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Monmouth U hadn’t sent his actual cap and gown yet, so he wore his mom’s gown and his older sister’s cap. I had packed my truck full of lighting and a seamless had a few different ideas and set ups we could try.

But once I got there and I started shooting, I bagged all that. Just used the sun and shade we had available, slung my Fuji X100T around my neck and my Canon 70D with the 70-200 mm (my 24-105 is in the shop getting fixed) and went with what we could find.

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No fuss or muss to these. Music is such an important part of Zack’s life,  and his love of Asbury Park runs deep, so the goal was just to infuse him with the setting. He did have one shot in mind that we had to get: A hero shot in front of The Stone Pony, a place where he did do an internship a couple of summers ago.

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Lots of great memories there for him. We shot for about an hour or so, starting at my favorite Empress Hotel mosaic wall and working our way up and down the boardwalk. The shot that leads off this post is one of my favs. Got lucky how it all came together there.

Here’s a short video of the full shot, backed with some sax by Zack himself.

Of course, I had to make prints. A few 8x10s, the rest 5×7. I’ll be sending them out to him this week. Hopefully, one or two will find a home on the wall of his studio.

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This was a great honor for me. Really happy I met him back in 2011 and really happy our friendship has continued.

Good luck to Zack! I can’t wait to see where the next phase of his life and career takes him.

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© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2020

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