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Peter James Zielinski
Works at PJZ Studios
Attended Illinois State University
Lived in New York City
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Peter James Zielinski

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Promotional composite I did for the new Off Broadway show, "Jasper in Deadland."
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Peter James Zielinski

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A little teaser of my photo series with newcomer Tara...the face that downright melted a thousand ships. #PJZ  
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Peter James Zielinski

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The stuff I'm working on seems to get more and more ridiculous lately....
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Well, if you must!

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Peter James Zielinski

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In my last post here on G+, I mentioned the folks over at Mark Fisher Fitness and how I had created a RIDICULOUS image for them……fast forward to now. I’ve spent the past 3 days and countless hours creating this bad boy for some advertising they’ll be doing for events that benefit Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS.

The idea here was to top the over the topness (if you will) of my previous image. Mark had already done this photoshoot with Dirty Sugar Photography in nothing but a loin cloth….but that’s all I had to go on. The phrase they gave me was “a fitness fairytale”. For some reason…that immediately brought the image of those Fabio romance novel covers to mind. (I may also be in the middle of watching Game of Thrones and it’s entirely possible that the show influenced this a bit too).

Ya know. Fabio meets Game of Thrones…….like ya do.

Throw in a little inspiration from those original Star Wars posters and it all started to come together. So, tons of masking…TONS of dodging and burning…lots of trying to match color and light. Special thanks to +Joelle Reeder for suggesting the stars to take things up a notch and also to +RC Concepcion and +Corey Barker Nothing will ever beat the moment of me finally getting stumped by Photoshop only to have the men who literally wrote the book on it give me a hint over a G+ hangout.

The MFF motto is “Ridiculous humans. Serious Fitness.”


I’m hopin’ this’ll get the point across.
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Thanks Fredrik!! Very much appreciated.
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Peter James Zielinski

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THIS is how we like to party...
 
The Gentlemen – a Chinatown Portrait
(if you want to see some background shots streamed into this post visit my blog here: http://bit.ly/zZoxFA . Also, I inadvertedly deleted the Album here and it deleted my post so im reposting. Argh!)


So. It’s Valentines Day in New York City, and i’m doing some meetings. Rather than retire to my hotel, Pizza in hand, to catch up on the latest episode of “Disaster Preppers” I made it a point to reach out to +Peter James Zielinski – an Actor/Photographer living in the city. I’d been meaning to meet up with him after chatting a bit on Twitter, so I threw out an invite to go to one of my favorite places to have a mean in the city – Shanghai Cafe in Chinatown. I fired a tweet to Peter asking if he’d meet me for some grub and Peter quickly obliged.

Dinner was pretty cool. I was able to catch up and hear some great stories as to how this Actor is doubling up as a Photographer in the theater scene and making a go of both of his passions. Much laughter ensued over soup dumplings, and we shared stories of clawing our way up to where we are today.

After dinner was done, I wanted to just take a walk around the area and just feel around for a picture. There was a slow drizzle beginning to pick up, but I had this idea that somewhere in this little criss cross of Little Italy and Chinatown.

The Photographer Bedside Manner

As I rounded Mott street onto Bayard I noticed that there was a little chinese restaurant with very interesting glow to it. Whenever I work on a picture, it’s almost always motivated by some music that I am hearing in my head. A couple of steps onto Bayard Street, I immediately had the original version of “Woke Up This Morning” by A3 (They used a part of it for The Sopranos) ringing in my head. Right at the front of the store, in front of a very big window were three gentlemen finishing up their dinner for the evening. I knew that I absolutely wanted to make this picture – at least give it a shot.

I walk into the restaurant and start working on my best absent minded professor bit. You see, everyone has a way to get a situation to work into your favor as a photographer. This is what I call The Photographer’s Bedside Manner. The best photographers out there know how to size up a situation without you even noticing it – and use all of the people skills that they can muster to turn people to their favor and get the shot that they are looking for. With Peter in tow we bound right into the back of the restaurant, slack jawed with amazement as every single piece of the walls in this place is covered in single dollar bills.


There were only three sets of people in the place: The gentlemen sitting at the front of the restaurant, a family in the center, and a lone Beat Cop eating a late dinner. I continued to gush to the chinese waiters there “Oh my gooodness!! Look at all of these dollars!! Can Anyone just give a dollar to do this?! This is Amazing!! Can I put up a 5 dollar one up there?!” and their nervousness of having two guys with a very big camera transformed itself to one of those “Oh goodness this guys an idiot tourist.. he’s cool”. To me it didnt matter.. while I was doing all of this gushing, I was making sure that I was deep into the restaurant, looking at the angles and positions of where to make a shot, considering exposure.. and letting the ‘real’ picture that I was trying to make – get a little more accustomed to my being there.

We signed one dollar, and ceremoniously showed it to the people there. Then we doubled down and pulled out two 5 dollar bills and started writing on them. Figure this would give me a little bit more time to assess the scenario. I asked Peter if he would be so kind as to (slowly) tape each of the bills to the ceiling. As he started this work, this gave me a chance to slowly move to the front of the house and start the conversations with the gentlemen.
Making Jokes

A couple of quick off the cuff “yeah.. this is my hobby, I just love taking pictures” got me a quick counter.

“Where you from?” the man in the center quickly asked.

“Oh me, I’m from Tampa Florida – That’s where Fun goes to Die. I’ve only been there 5 years. Im a Bronx boy, born and raised” – They giggled. The joke went over ok.

The guy in to the right continued “Oh, i’ve been coming here for 50 years. What kind of pictures do you do?”

Rather than get into a big conversation of what I was trying to do, I quickly pulled out my iphone and went to my HDR portfolio. I found the picture of the Church that I shot the day before and just passed it around. “I do -this-” . I figured rather than going through Star Wars and all sorts of assorted junk, a catholic church would play nicely.

(Teaching moment: This is where my iPad and iPhone pay for themselves time and time and time again. To be able to quickly show someone what i’m trying to do has gotten me more access than I care to say)

The guy to the right went for his glasses.. and after looking for a bit said “You take good F*()ing pictures.. thats an expensive F**&@)( camera you got there”

Not wanting to miss the moment I quickly said “Yeah.. I think it would look so cool to make a picture of you guys just like this”

After a second or two of thinking about it (which felt like forever), the gentleman in the middle said “Sure”

I had been holding the legs of my tripod unlocked in one hand so as to not wrestle with unlocking them when I was there. The feet quickly hit the floor and I was able to lock down the tripod and fire off a series of shots in under 60 seconds. As I was getting up, I asked one of the Gentlemen if they had an email address as I would love to send them a copy of the image. One of them obliged.

Excited that I got the shot that I was looking at in my head I headed out the door after saying thank you to everyone. Peter followed quickly behind me. Before we opened the door to the street, I hear back a quick “Hey!” from the guy in the middle.

I look back over at the guy and tepidly reply “Yes?”

“Be Careful.” is his only reply looking me dead in the eye.

I nod and start walking away to hear something else come from him.

“Hey. I said be careful”

At that point, I figured it best be time to just head out..

As the door to the restaurant begins to close I faintly hear (and Peter quickly confirms that it was this) a voice say “I bet those guys were FBI”

What am I Happy About
What I am absolutely excited in this is that I got a chance to exercise so much of my photographic muscles doing this. Often times people think that Photography is about pressing the shutter button. In actuality – its this art form that requires so many different skillsets to come together to get something you really want. Whether I was successful or not really didnt matter to me at the end. What mattered to me was that I wanted this shot, I was willing to say F it and try, and was willing to put all of what I could muster to execute. Execution is the key.

Swimming like a duck. Calm on top, even if your legs are frantically flailing on the water. Swim like a duck.
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Have him in circles
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Peter James Zielinski

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Tara.
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Peter James Zielinski

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#ifihadglass I'd use it both as an actor and a photographer.  As an actor, I'd take it (with permission) to an audition and do it live via hangout.  As a photog, I'd wear it while shooting press events, red carpets, and shooting production photos for Off Broadway shows.  Show off all the behind the scenes of being in theatre and Bway photography. 
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Peter James Zielinski

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Hey +RC Concepcion, here's my take on your RAW's....
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Peter James Zielinski

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Nice +RC Concepcion!  Like the illustrated look here.
 
Playing with a Scott Kelby Preset
I spent the morning with Scott making some videos out of town, which means we get some driving and talking time.  In the middle of all of this, Scott starts talking to me about some post processing tricks and preset that he's been working on his #HDR   #Photography  .  As soon as we came back to the office I gave it a shot.  This was Tonemapped and finished in  #Adobe   #Photoshop .  Have to say, it really worked out to go back and rework an image from this series. 
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Peter James Zielinski

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This my friends…is what GLORY looks like.

So at the end of last year..I was introduced to Mark Fisher Fitness through friends on Facebook. I was told that Mark was an amazing instructor and his program really kicked your butt and gave you changes that you could make you proud.

I gave a 3 week holiday class a try and it ended up that a great friend of mine Brian Patrick Murphy was teaching this particular class. I fell in LOVE. Everything was challenging but not to a point where you couldn’t find a good place mentally and then push through. And that was a huge thing that I picked up in this class. Your body may want to give up but if you can find that place mentally…dig deep…that you’ll power through and really get some work done.

I was completely sold.

In January, I signed up for Mark’s course “Snatched in Six Weeks.” A little more intensive program that included me dropping down to 2200 calories a day, over 200g of protein a day, drinking so much water that I had to pee like an old man every 8 seconds. I got to work with Mark and he lived up to the hype. He’s absolutely ridiculous. But for every foul mouthed, eloquently inappropriate phrase he would spout…he’d have 100 times the knowledge and technique for us. I got better. The entire class got better….and what was even cooler was that we started to bond as we felt ourselves getting stronger as a group. Some of these folks are family now! The support system was unreal.

The final class was today and I am completely changed. My body changed. I went from an almost 38 waist to a 33. I lost a great deal of weight and put it right back on in muscle. I went from only being able to do about 5 pushups to 50. Tangible results.

More importantly though, these guys changed my mind. I went in hating the idea of working out and took pride in the fact that I could devour whiskey and bacon with an Olympic-level of stamina and skill to now looking forward to the gym. I’ll be working out 5 or 6 days a week for the rest of my life now. I’m taking in pride in my strength and in eating right. And it’s only the beginning which excites the hell outta me. This time next year you’re going to see gratuitous shots of my abs…apologies ahead of time.

So the reason for the photo… As I said..the atmosphere is light and ridiculous in class. Talk of ninjas, unicorns, rainbows, and the like. I ran into Broadway choreographer and Tony Winner Jerry Mitchell in the class and always loved how HUGELY supportive he was of every each day that he came into the class. So, the idea of this Jerry/Unicorn fantasy kettle bell workout popped into my head and we took it from there.

Brian snuck me into the clubhouse before class, I shot Jerry separately with one light @ 1/16th in a 60 inch umbrella. Then I created an HDR image of clubhouse itself. Then purchased a rights-free white stallion and took it all into Photoshop. I spent 4 or 5 days attempting to make it more and more ridiculous to match the energy of class. What really hit it home was that AdoramaPix NAILED it…I printed it 20x30, had it mounted it on matte board, and finished it off with some sexy metallic paper.

I will probably never have the words to thank Mark & Co. for truly changing my life.

Hopefully this lil’ ball of glory will get the idea across.
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Wow - Don't ask, but I was searching G+ for Unicorn Rainbow Man, and found this.  

Pretty amazing!  I wish I had them boots!!!

:)
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Have him in circles
2,357 people
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Actor & Photographer
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  • PJZ Studios
    Photographer, 2005 - present
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Actor | Singer | Broadway Photog | Idea Man
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  • Illinois State University
    Acting, 1998 - 2003
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PJZ