A photographer's bag o' tricks
John Gastaldo Photographer Blog
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4M ago
Oy! As a photographer, it is so hard to make something perennial, seem fresh and new. Case in point, the Ajumma EXP flash mob.  What is Ajumma and why would it result in good photos? According to Ajumma Exp's website, "Ajumma is a Korean term for a woman between her 30s and 70s, typically married with children, and works her ass off for her family.  Through the years, the word Ajumma has gained a negative connotation, conjuring up images of rude, unattractive, older ladies wearing colorful, unmatching clothes with big sun-hats who elbow their way through the subway. No ..read more
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Pinky Panther and The Census Man
John Gastaldo Photographer Blog
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8M ago
Hey Census guy! Hey Census man!  I turned my head when I heard that twice in five minutes yelled by complete strangers in San Diego_'s North Park on a recent Friday evening. It had to be the black and white shoulder bag with the words "US Census_ emblazoned across it.   Wow! people actually thanked me for doing The Count!  For the past seven weeks I_ve been one of those men or women walking around your neighborhood, knocking on doors to see if  we can get everyone to finish up their census questionnaire in person or online.  Remember those pesky letters in th ..read more
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"As Painful as Cancer"
John Gastaldo Photographer Blog
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8M ago
Twenty-seven years ago I was living on the East Coast and working for the Advocate newspaper in Stamford, Connecticut, 45 minutes from New York City.  It was a small daily and after several years I was getting bored and wanted to chase bigger stories.  Suburbia can do that to a newspaper photographer, but especially one raised in Lower Manhattan.  Then one day I heard a report from the late CBS Radio reporter and colleague Fran Schneidau about the umpteenth trespassing action of a lady named Margaret Ray.  You'd re ..read more
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Paparazzo (paa · pr · aat · sow)
John Gastaldo Photographer Blog
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8M ago
Paparazzo (paa · pr · aat · sow) Courage is wasted on the young.    Like many of you, I was courageous with abandon in my early 20s.  There is little I wouldn't at least "try" professionally as a budding pro photographer.  I photographed buildings, weddings, headshots, accident scenes for attorneys, spot news for many of New York's daily newspapers, and then one day I decided to cold-call famed-paparazzo Ron Galella to see if he had any work.   To many, the name Ron Galella is forever linked to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassi ..read more
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He called me brother
John Gastaldo Photographer Blog
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8M ago
It was November 2011, I had been sent to cover a Camp Pendleton memorial ceremony, on a rare, drizzly fall day, where members of the First Battalion Fifth Marines and their families reflected on an awful deployment, a six-month stay in a place called Sangin, Afghanistan where 200 men returned injured and 17 didn't make it home. Cody Elliott in his wheelchair, with a face scarred from an explosion and missing a leg, symbolized that deployment. In June of that year, while on patrol, fellow Marine, Lance Cpl. Joshua B. McD ..read more
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No Water, No West
John Gastaldo Photographer Blog
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8M ago
My wife and I just got back from an epic western-US road trip, the first since the price of fuel hit its most recent all-time high.  Puzzlingly, it was less expensive for us to hit the open road and drive to Colorado than to pay for flights, hotels and rental car. We drove our van and camped at rest stops coming and going and drove at reasonable speeds to keep the cost and the damage to the environment to a minimum. The views between San Diego and Boulder, Colorado on Interstates 15 and 70 were breathtaking and alternately distressing ..read more
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Drawing the right straw
John Gastaldo Photographer Blog
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8M ago
This weekend in Philadelphia, the 2022 Padres will play their third, fourth and fifth games in a quest for a third National League Championship Series win. It's great to see the excitement of San Diego just like October 1998 when the Pads challenged and eventually beat the Atlanta Braves to advance to the World Series.  It was a week that led to memorable times in San Diego and on the front page of The San Diego Union-Tribune when they clinched.   I was one of several ph ..read more
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One Big Wet Adventure
John Gastaldo Photographer Blog
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8M ago
Two days ago I hung up my drone pilot utility hard hat for the year.   Winter-into-spring 2023 is the end of the fourth season I've flown drones to inspect utility poles in Southern California.  I do it to augment my freelance photography/video business during the slow months. It always makes memories, but this year was very different.  New company, new US-made drone, and unprecedented weather. In the span of four months, over a dozen storms rolled through as pilots and their inspectors tried to do t ..read more
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