keepin’ it clean and running with the rapids

April 27, 2009

Greetings from behind the lens: I recently covered the clean up of our fair city this past weekend. I was great to see folks enthusiastic and involved in making this corner of the world a bit tidier. Interesting Images from this type of event are plentiful. It’s also the type of story that allows you to get a bit campy ( see Sunday’s front page photo) corny absolutely! But it works, the pride and joy on the subjects face conveys the mood of the day. Shown is an out from Niagara clean Up day. If anyone wants to buy the lot on Niagara Street at eight Street it’s as clean as a whistle.
PS: call that number in the photo.
Look for a different angle. get yourself to a high point/overhead angle to photograph lots of bodies. As in this photo of the Envirun 09 on the parkway. This was shot from the Goat Island Bridge. Getting the start and the finish shooting East and then West..

Thanks for looking, and as always keep your community strong and health; read your daily Gaz… enjoy dan


Good to be back, as we dance into spring

April 8, 2009

Hello from Behind the Lens. My apologies for the gap in blogage. Good to be back on the keyboard as the thaw of winter (ya right, I froze by lens cap off today ( 4/8) during a few outdoor assignments) gives way to spring.
This is a non-published image I made during a swing night at the Castellani at NU. The slow shutter speed, about an 1/8th of a second at 200 ASA and rear curtain flash sync blurs and ghosts the dancers showing movement as they swing the night away. Hope to here from the loyal Gazette readership soon. As always keep your community strong. Buy your daily newspaper. Danblog-photo1

In hard times the exuberance of youth keeps us smiling

February 5, 2009

090205 - youth programsA recent assignment dealing with Gov. D. Paterson’s pending budget, which will claw deeply into the flesh of youth programs throughout the state, sent me to the Boys &  Girls Club of Niagara Falls on 17th Street. 

 Area kids of all ages enjoy the activities from basket ball to board games and the general chaos that is the storied club after school can’t help but put a smile on this photog’s mug. 

The trick to shooting natural  photos of kids is, especially in the setting of the Boys and Girls Club, where, once the camera comes out of the bag every starry eyed kid looking for local celeb status jumps in the frame to hog the image, is to shoot a number of posed photos then when the kids go back to what they were doing the shutter begins to click to capture  the real stuff.  

Lets hope the youth  programs stay in place,  for all in the community.

 As always thanks for dropping in on my world and reading your paper. 

stay warm. Dan

Obamamania , shooting on thin ice and Niagara’s finest.

January 29, 2009

It was hard not to notice that our 44th President dominated the political, social, economical, psychological and of course news landscape earlier in the week. As the countries eyes focused on the Mall in our nations capitol, your editorial staff at the Gazette brought home the historic day with stories and photos from our community.

I was assigned to cover the goings on at Niagara Falls High. Part the Obama phenom is the way he reaches out to young people with his messages. Students throughout the school were glued to TV watching the inauguration. Photographing student faces and reaction to the event was inspiring. Shooting tight photos of faces , and a mock swearing in in another class made the day memorable. To put on my cynical newsmen’s hat. I think by the time inauguration day arrived the dreaded TV media had hyped the event to such a fever pitch by the time the first few minutes of the swearing in had end many of the students had ran out of gas when Obama got into the meat of his speech.

I will wave our flag down at the Gazette to say we produced one of the sharpest front page’s nationally, bar none !  Kudos to dangerous David Mara, the finest graphics man I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my 20 years in the biz.

A story about Rev. Calvin Babcock cutting up large trees that have fallen onto a frozen Cayuga Creek.
had me out on the creek, eventually falling through the ice up to me knees. No harm done,and got the photo’s but with very cold feet.

A recent drug bust produced a photo op INSIDE the Niagara Falls Police station, which never happens, photos of suspects getting their mug shots and finger prints. Thanks to the NFPD for giving us all a look behind the curtain.

**photo tip of the day: If you want your subject to look more dramatic back off and shoot with your zoom at the longest setting at f/ 2.8 to 4. for you point and shoot folks same deal, zoom in tight don’t worry about the F/stop.

As always thanks for looking and reading The Gazette, keep the community healthy,read your newspaper daily.

On the eve of history, MLK and simple window light.

January 19, 2009

090119 - king luncheon/holtGreetings from the right eye through the view finder and out the lens: My travels took me to a Martin Luther King luncheon this morning  where various speakers and local officials spoke about the late great Dr. King. Luncheon/podium assignment such as this can be a bit of a challenge; folks sitting at tables, folks speaking, best to look for a face that will convey the tone of the event. This event, which I have covered in the past, was particularly inspiring especially in light of the Obama inauguration tomorrow evening.

As well as covering the event I was asked to snap a photo of a newly appointed exc. dir. A poignant portrait would fit the bill. Nice window light, the subject a 90 degree angle to the camera. Looking towards the future.

Stay well, stay warm and read your newspaper during this historic week.

Cold air, slick roads keeps the camera clicking

January 14, 2009

Greetings from the back side of the camera: If you’ve been keeping up with your Gazette as of late you may have noticed a few more MVA’s (motor vehicle accidents) in print. A lot of people drive lousy all year round, but, the numbers spike due to  winter conditions. This keeps us hopping in the photo department. Shooting an accident scene such as the Lewiston Hill Rollover published last Friday 01/09/09  is a challenge. Technically and personally; the right angle, respect for law enforcement on the scene as well as the victims. This photo was shot from the 104 overpass, the accident took place at the base of the Moses Parkway Hill  about a 1/8 of a mile before the  Center Street exit.
**Tech tip: during the winter set your camera ( or manually under expose by 1/3 of a stop it will bring out detail in the snow which will throw you exposure off a bit)
I used an 80 to 200mm zoom lens shot at f/8 at 200mm (which calculates to about a 320mm in the digital world).

I am often asked, what is going through my mind on a fire or accident scene, and at times have been verbally accosted on assignment for photographing a grim scene at the expense of the victims.

While I’m shooting I separate myself from the scene to capture the image. This is not to say I don’t have empathy for the subject I’m photographing. One hopes that the readership will look as such photos using them to plant a seed in the old  brain box to drive safer, illustrate to their children the dangers of playing with fire, etc.

On a less heavy note, hope your enjoying your paper, go Sabres, and keep our newspapers healthy. Read daily.

Enjoy. Dan

Welcome to a look inside photojournalism.

January 9, 2009

Greetings to all. My name is Dan Cappellazzo and I’ll be your host as we explore the in and outs of photography in the news business as viewed in your own Niagara Gazette. As a staffer at the paper for 15 years, 23 years in the business, I look forward to sharing some tech tips, stories, antidotes, equipment, recommendations and other general ramblings about the world I see through the lens.

Dan Cappellazzo to Blog about Photography on

January 6, 2009

cappy-face1Please welcome Niagara Gazette Staff Photographer Dan Cappellazzo, who will blog about Photography on!