Renaissance Man

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How old does a guy have to be to be considered a Renaissance Man?

Is 18 years old too young? If not, then Zack Sandler is the modern embodiment of a Renaissance Man.

Back on January 1, after I had put in some time shooting the Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge in Asbury Park, I did a quick-but-quick 30 minute portrait session with Zack and one of his new guitars that he had built.

Yes, he builds his own guitars. *Ding! Renaissance Man alert!

I often say, having this little machine hanging off my arm opens doors that would otherwise not be open and lets me meet people I would otherwise not meet.

I first met Zack, on the boardwalk in AP no less, back in June of 2011. Clarence Clemons, The Big Man of E Street saxaphone fame, had just passed. I went down to Asbury Park to document the scene and reaction from fans outside The Stone Pony and on the boardwalk.

I saw Zack on the boardwalk wearing an Springsteen t-shirt. Seemed young to me to be fan, so I approached his father. I told him what I was doing and asked if I could snap his portrait. Emailed him later to get permission to use it on my blog post.

Zach was shaggy-haired then, a little shy, but told me about his love of Bruce’s music, and how he also played sax himself. Even met Clarence Clemons. (c)JerseyStyle Photography_ZS_bw_mkrajnak_010116_DSCF0494

Since then, I’ve kept in touch with Zack’s day, a few emails here and there. And thanks to social media (Facebook friends, Twitter, Instagram), I’ve gotten to know Zack better and what him grow.

Aside from playing the sax still, he builds his own guitars (*Ding! Renaissance Man alert!). He’s a lot of local shows, including at The Stony Pony and has met or played with many of the local big names. He just played the Light of Day shows, (concerts in Asbury Park to raise money for Parkinson’s Awareness) and yes, he’s met Bruce a couple of times. Jon Bon Jovi, too.

But he’s also a very good goal keep for his high school team.*Ding! Renaissance Man alert!

Ran track & field. *Ding! Renaissance Man alert!

He surfs too, taking sick shots with his GoPro while in the water. *Ding! Renaissance Man alert!

And he’s been accepted to Monmouth University as a Music Industry major. *Ding! Renaissance Man alert!

He’s an athlete and a scholar. And a musician. I don’t know if he cooks, too, but that would just top it off.

Like I said, Renaissance Man.

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Anyway, he pinged me while I was in Asbury Park, and thanks to the great backrounds within walking distance of Convention Hall, he and I were able to get a quick photoshoot under our belts.

The wind was cold rolling down the boardwalk, but Zack hung in there with me as I put him into different set ups. At this point in my day, my Canon 50D had bonked due to taking on Polar Bear Plunge water, so I was shooting strictly with my Fuji X100T. I had wanted to see if I liked it for a portrait shoot…didn’t expect to just jump in with it. But maybe it was best this way.

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On the boardwalk, in the old Casino, outside the Empress Hotel with that fantastic tile background. We hit them all – bang, bang, bang.

I liked how the X100T performed, though either because of my clumsiness or the cold, I was having trouble with some of the controls.

To close it out, we hit The Stone Pony on Ocean Ave. Many musicians dream of stepping on the legendary stage that saw so many big names play it back then and even now. Zack’s already rocked it a few times. Still, I doubt it gets old for him.

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By the end of the shoot, we had two sets of cold hands but some fun shots in the bag. We promised we’d do it again, when it was warmer, and maybe with his sax the next time.

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Judging from what I can tell from Zack’s various social media posts, he seems like a fine young man. His parents have done a great job raising him, and I hope my sons can have as many diverse interests as he doe.

I look forward to continuing this friendship and watching him grow as a student, an athlete, a musician and as a young man.

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016


All In

Photo Place

I don’t normally enter juried gallery exhibitions. Mainly because I resent paying to upload my photos. And because, generally, I feel my work will be completely overlooked by the vast quantities of submissions. And then I feel like my money is wasted.

But when my friend, Mark Olwick, sent me the information about this one – along with some very nice works about my noir work, which, coming from a photographer like him made me feel honored – I felt I couldn’t NOT submit.

I asked Mark and another friend, Ray Ketcham, to review my noir portfolio and suggest the images I should enter. I took their advice, plus added two others that I decided to enter. Seven all total.

I’m all in. Let’s roll the bones and see what happens. Keep your fingers crossed for me and some Jersey Noir.


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(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography  | 2016





Eye Candy: Creed

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I watch a lot of movies, but I rarely “go” to the movies.

However, I’ve been out to two movies within a few weeks of each other.

That said, the first one, Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, can hardly count as eye candy. That was a day out with my boys.

This past weekend, though, Leslie and I had a dinner and a movie. The movie, the times, was the much watchable CREED.

I’m sure you at least know the partial story, that this is the continuation of the ROCKY franchise. Again, no spoilers here, just in case you still want to see it. If you like the franchise, it’s interesting, go see it. If you’re not really into it, go see it anyway. It’s entertaining.

(That said, maybe I was the only one that recognized the fact that a movie were boxer are smashing themselves in the head was playing in the same theater that CONCUSSION was playing.)

CREED was really nice from a photographic point of view. Very nice use of (apparent) natural light in some of the gym sequences, especially.

However, the thing I really liked about CREED were the subtle nods to the the earlier Rocky films, and to Philadelphia, where I lived for 10 years (no real spoilers here if you haven’t seen it)

* The turtle in Rocky’s living room tank – is that Cuff or Link?

* How Rocky talks about his son having not really getting into boxing, and having a hard time of it in school because of whom his dad was.

* When Adonis is sparing at the Front Street Gym, on the back of his t-shirt is a quote from ROCKY, from the ice skating scene. Hard to see, but a nice nod to that film.

* When Adonis is sitting on the stoop in front of the gym, there’s a sign on the building over his shoulder: Lew Blum Towing. To anyone who’s ever lived in Philly, or had their car towed after illegally parking during a night out, you know who Lew Blum is.

* Seeing Philly comedian Joe Conklin‘s name on the marquee of the Electric Factory. If you listen to WIP sports talk radio out of Philly, you know Joe.

* The run through the Italian Market, of course.

* Bringing back the Gonna Fly Now music, but also the soft, subtle score that was used in ROCKY to denote a quiet, dramatic scene.

I just wished they would have mentioned Butkus the dog somehow.

Overall, a good watch.

Here’s a view from the top of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps, the “Rocky” steps, which I shot a few years ago.

Philly Night

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016

Event: 13th Annual Sons Of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge

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Well, 2016 started and they did it again.

“They” being the more than 600 people that stripped down to bathing suits and jumped in the 50 degree Atlantic ocean, all for charity.

The 13th Annual Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge was certainly not unlucky. In fact, it can be argued that it was the best one yet.

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According to a story, it wasn’t the water that shocked – it was the suddenly chilly New Jersey air. Suddenly chilly, because, just a few days before it was nearly 70 degrees in the Great State of New Jersey.

Very non-late December like indeed. However, come January 1, it was a chilled 39 degrees with a stiff breeze.

This was my seventh SOIPBP, having shot the first one back on January 1, 2009. Back then, I was just looking for something to interesting to shoot.

Since that time, I’d like to think I’ve become part of the fabric of the event. I get there early, shoot the charities that are represented, watch people pour into Asbury Park’s Convention Hall, shoot the actual plunge (the shortest part of the whole day), and then see it till the end.

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It was definitely crowded in Convention Hall. Had to be over a 1,000 people, but some dogs. Took a good few minutes to go from one end of the Hall to the other.

But, as usual, it was one big party. A local band, Kül d’Sack, got everyone warmed up early. By the time the WRAT radio DJ Gotts, in his customary pink bathrobe, and the bagpipers started to lead the plungers to the ocean’s edge, it was in full swing.

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That’s when it got interesting for me.

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Yep, that’s me in middle of the frame down below, in this shot from a drone’s camera. As I usually do, I had on my chest-high hip waders and my long water-proof coat. Even before the plungers started, though, I nearly got knocked off my pins by a wave.

[To watch the full video, , with music, done by Will Luketwitte and his drone,  it’s on the Sons of Ireland Facebook page or here on Google Drive.]

That elicited a huge cheer from the crowd. Unfortunately, that wave got my camera a bit wetter a bit earlier than expected. Then, when the crowd bum rushed the ocean, there was a lot of splashing. More wetness.

I could tell it locked up pretty quick…started working again, then locked up again. It wasn’t dripping or anything, and Canon does a pretty good job of weatherproofing their rigs. But you get a little water between the lens and the body…not good.

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While they plunged on, I plugged away. I was a bit worried though, so I was trying to shoot as much as I could when I knew it was on. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I got some of my signature shots.

This guy pretty much summed of the event.

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Quickly, though, I had to get out of the water and try to get my rig as dry as possible. Under the electric hand dryer in the men’s room worked before.

But not this time.

It would be a few days before the ol’ Canon would fire back up. I know I know…my strategy of kissing my luck up to God is going to really fail some year.

But not this year.

Back inside, the afternoon band was on, a Jersey Shore favorite – Brian Kirk and Jirks. I was shooting with my Fuji X100T, in B&W mode now. Because I love the B&W JPG files out of the X100T. Grabbed a nice portrait with Gotts and Brian Kirk too.

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Later that evening, after a well earned burger-and-a beer, the Asbury Park sky was in glorious sunset mode. I had to grab a last shot.

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A wonderful day indeed.

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016




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