NYPD Aviation : Mechanic Series

When people think of the NYPD Aviation Unit, they probably picture pilots wearing aviator sunglasses, walking in slow-motion out to the helicopters with the theme of Top Gun playing in the background.  While this is true, sometimes, what most people don't know is that the Aviation Unit is also made up of highly skilled mechanics, who's job it is to keep the NYPD's fleet of helicopters running smoothly.  This elite group of cops and detectives come from various military and civilian, aviation mechanic backgrounds.  Not only do they keep the helicopters in the air, they also cycle through the Air Sea Rescue crew as "Crew Chiefs" (or "System Operators" as they're now called) who's job is to deploy and recover the SCUBA divers and run ESU rappelling operations while constantly relaying commands to the pilots.  It always amazes me when there's a helicopter in the hangar stripped to pieces one week and the next week it's back in the air flying.  Unfortunately their work rarely gets noticed by the public (or even most cops) but they definitely deserve to be recognized.  Here are a few photos I shot of the mechanics re-installing an engine on one of the units Bell 412 helicopters.

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Zenberry

 I have always been someone who is very health and fitness driven, so it comes to no surprise that I would love a product that is packed with nutrients and loaded with delicious, raw, "superfood" ingredients.

Celebrating Shane's retirement from the Police Department.

Celebrating Shane's retirement from the Police Department.

     Shane Moran has been a long time friend and co-worker of mine who has recently left the New York City Police Department's elite SCUBA Team to venture out on his own and become an entrepreneur.  Shane, along with his girlfriend Emma, make a "superfood" blend that is not only delicious tasting but each ingredient has been carefully chosen and each has it's own nutritional benefit.  Zenberry, as they so artfully named it, started out with two flavors, Zenberry Green and Zenberry Blue.  Both taste similar with chocolate (raw cacao) being the most predominate flavor and share the same basic ingredients, however they differ by Zenberry Blue offering a fruit blend and Zenberry Green a vegetable blend.  Since the beginning, Shane and Emma's mission has been to, "Educate and inspire people to eat the very best food available in order to unleash the super healthy human we were all meant to be.".  They continue to follow their mission and now offer two more delicious flavors that will satisfy anyones tastebuds!

Emma handing out samples of Zenberry at Pablo Fitness, NYC

Emma handing out samples of Zenberry at Pablo Fitness, NYC

     Zenberry is a product that I truly believe in and believe it will help athletes, someone with a specific health issue or anyone who is looking to change their eating habits in a more healthier direction.  I have been so passionate about this company and this product since the beginning that I want to help share Shane and Emma's story with everyone.  I have added a link to Zenberry on my homepage and hope that you will give it a try and love it as much as I do.  Not only do I love talking about Zenberry to anyone that is willing to listen but I also drink a Zenberry shake every day and after challenging workouts to help my body recover.

     Whatever you take Zenberry for, you can feel good knowing that there are no harmful ingredients and your body will thank you for feeding it what it needs!

Our Engagement

I love to travel, correction, WE love to travel.  So throughout the process of choosing the perfect diamond and setting for my now fiancée, Rossella,  I was also searching for the perfect location to "pop the question".  One day, while browsing the internet for beautiful places, that were also close enough for a day trip, I came across Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. My parents and a few friends who have visited Mohonk Mountain House told me that it is absolutely breathtaking and would make for a perfect proposal site. When I mentioned to Rossella the idea of taking a trip to someplace new, which she enthusiastically said yes to, I told her June 1st would be the date. I previously chose June 1st, which was a Sunday, because it seemed like the perfect date. The Thursday before, I set up to meet her father to ask for his permission and asked if he could keep it a secret from everyone else until after Sunday. When June 1st finally came, we set out on the hour and a half drive up to New Paltz.  My heart raced as we reached the main gate of Mohonk around 9:30am and continued as we drove along the single lane road to the main house.  We had made a reservation for brunch at 1pm so I only had a couple of hours to find the perfect proposal spot. 

Before the proposal, on our way to the summit. Posing for a photo with Rossella, opposite the Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY. 

Before the proposal, on our way to the summit. Posing for a photo with Rossella, opposite the Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY. 

There was a trail that started from the back of the main house and went around the lake which we decided to take first. Armed with my camera and tripod, we stopped at different points along the trail to pose for photos together.  Each spot we stopped at was more beautiful than the last, until we reached the top which opened up to reveal a gorgeous scenic view of the surrounding area. I knew this was the perfect spot so I set up my equipment and asked Rossella to stand in position, just as we did numerous times before on the hike up.  With my Canon 5DMKII perched on my tripod and connected to a remote timer, I set it to take a picture once every second in hopes of capturing every possible moment.  The 10 second delay started to count down as I hurried over into position. I placed my Sony camera case on the ground, which hid the engagement ring box inside.  After 10 seconds, the camera began to take the first picture which marked the beginning of the next chapter in our lives together.

Seconds before I dropped to one knee. The ring was hidden inside of the small camera case on the rock behind me.

Seconds before I dropped to one knee. The ring was hidden inside of the small camera case on the rock behind me.

Shortly after, Rossella was a bit confused as to why my camera was continually taking pictures, so I reached down, picked up the Sony camera case, and pulled out the little blue box from inside.  The expression on her face changed from smiling to shocked as I opened the blue box and revealed to her the ring.

Shock and awe. She was speechless.

Shock and awe. She was speechless.

I dropped down to one knee and proceeded to ask her the famous question, "Will you marry me?".  It's still unclear if she actually said yes in-between hyperventilating, but her reaction and a head nod was all the answer I needed to know that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me.  

Placing the ring on Rossella's finger. 

Placing the ring on Rossella's finger. 

The first kiss as fiancé and fiancée. 

The first kiss as fiancé and fiancée. 

As a newly engaged couple, we stuck around at the top of the overlook to call to our parents before heading back down to the main house for brunch.  Brunch was delicious and we ordered champaign to celebrate. The waitress even brought dessert on a plate for us that had, "congratulations" written on the plate in chocolate.  We both couldn't be happier with how the day turned out and how perfect the setting was.  The idea I had in my mind months before turned out just as I had imagined and I had captured amazing pictures of a very special moment in our lives. 

Champaign to toast at brunch. 

Champaign to toast at brunch. 

Rossella answering the numerous congratulations texts and phone calls. 

Rossella answering the numerous congratulations texts and phone calls. 

After brunch, we set out to explore more of the grounds surrounding the house and lake. There were so many great spots to stop and pose for photos together. It's like we had our very own engagement photo shoot. 

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After a few hours of walking around, there came a point where we both were exhausted and decided it was time to head home.  The beautiful location and the fact that we were now an engaged couple left us both with a surreal feeling, much like we were in a fairy tale.  It was a day that neither of us will forget for the rest of our lives.  

Mike and Danielle, Expecting Video

Here's a video I put together from Mike and Danielle's maternity photo shoot this past friday.  I had taken a few short "behind the scenes" videos and they were just too good not to incorporate into something.  So I added them along side a slide show of all of the pictures from that day. Enjoy!

Sundays are meant to be spent with family.

Some photos from a little get together I had at my place this past weekend. Family, friends, that line is blurred with this group. Always a good time, even with 10 people crammed into a one bedroom apartment (I just noticed that I need to hang pictures on my walls. What kind of photographer doesn't have pictures on their walls?!). 

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A surprise birthday cake for my brother, Joe.  

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Brooklyn Heights

I love exploring the city.  One of my favorite places to go to is the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.  The views of Manhattan and the East River are spectacular and it's even more special when you have the love of your life by your side.  The weather was perfect today.  The sun was shining and the temperature was pleasantly warm for mid April. Before heading to the promenade, we grabbed a bite to eat at Heights Cafe (corner of Hicks St. and Montage St.). Our order came out wrong….twice.  Seriously though, how do you mess up a hamburger?  Either way, the atmosphere was good so we made the best of it.  The promenade was busy with people enjoying a beautiful Saturday, either sprawled out on the park benches soaking up the sun or enjoying the views of the city.  It wasn't overcrowded though which was nice.  Of course I brought my camera along and I snapped a bunch of photos of my beautiful (but very camera shy) girlfriend...sorry sweetheart ;-)         

Snowy Owl

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I spotted this snowy owl off Jamaica Bay, NY.  I wasn't too sure what he was up to but it was clear that the crows nearby didn't like his presence there. The crows would take turns swooping down to "attack" him. There was a break in the action and the owl attempted to fly away but was quickly swarmed by the crows again. By this time it I had to move on but I did manage to get a few good shots of this beautiful bird. 

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