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Chris Sgaraglino
1,124 followers -
If it can be done, do it. If it can't, think of a way it can!
If it can be done, do it. If it can't, think of a way it can!

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I have been sitting on the Karma for a while waiting for the weather to accommodate a good MTB ride, when this weekend finally allowed for it. The GoPro Karma Grip is a 3-axis electronic gimbal designed to stabilize your footage. This is the first mountain bike ride with the Karma Grip. There is no prep, I have not had it long enough to even use it handheld - this is straight out of the box.At first - it seemed like it wanted to stray to the right - but i finally just left it alone and let it do it's thing.

You need to watch the whole video to appreciate what it is doing. Watch the trees & how much the bike is jumping around - and the Karma keeps everything smooth as butter!

One word: Awesome!

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I started this project with the idea of shooting inside of a brewery, but getting inside access to the larger breweries was a little more difficult than I was expecting. Access to the local breweries was not too difficult, but while they make awesome craft beers, their “behind-the-scenes” is just not as sexy!

Enter Plan B: As a product photographer, I knew that I could pull something out of the rabbits hat, I just needed to search the cabinets and the “what”.

VSSL Outdoor Utility Tools (http://www.vsslgear.com) is a small company out of Sumas, WA that manufactures superior quality LED lights that utilize the form factor of traditional flashlights. The function of each VSSL unit (there are several different models) extends well beyond illumination. Each unique VSSL offers an extremely compact and efficient way of transporting your essential outdoor gear, without compromising valuable pack space and weight.

This VSSL Flask is a flashlight designed to hold your booze! This VSSL Flask has been infused/lined with glass; because it's the best material to preserve the taste & quality of your beverage. While holding your beverage of choice plus it’s also a flashlight to help guide you in the dark. Each VSSL unit is 9" long by 2" diameter and holds approximately 10 ounces of liquid, Includes: A dual mode (static and SOS) LED ‘flood’ beam lantern light, which illuminates a large area, two stainless steel collapsible shot glasses, a VSSL bottle opener and a oil filled compass.

Maker's Mark is a small-batch bourbon whiskey that is distilled in Loretto, Kentucky, by Beam Suntory. It is sold in its distinctively squarish bottle, which is sealed with red wax, and bottled at 90 U.S. proof (45% alcohol by volume). Maker's Mark started in 1954, after its originator, T. William "Bill" Samuels Sr., purchased the distillery known as "Burks' Distillery" in Loretto, Kentucky for $35,000 on October 1, 1953. The first bottle of Maker's Mark was bottled in 1958 and featured the brand's distinctive dipped red wax seal. Maker's Mark holds a U.S. trademark on the wax seal of their bottles. In the 1960s and 1970s, Maker's Mark was widely marketed with the tag line, "It tastes expensive ... and is." The distillery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 1974, and designated a National Historic Landmark on December 16, 1980, listed as "Burks' Distillery". It was the first distillery in America to be so recognized where the landmark buildings were in active use for distilling.

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of photographing and interviewing Elaine Loepizzi, a 90-year-old sweetheart, Italian woman that you must go and visit when you have time - oh the stories she has to tell!

So how does Ms. Elaine fit into my heritage? Good question!

My name is Chris Sgaraglino - and even though I was adopted at a very young age, by birthright is that of a Sgaraglino. And as a young adult I set out to search for my biological farther, Vito Jr. I did find him in Las Vegas (of all places for an Italian) and was able to spend a little time with him and and his father Vito Sr. before he passed.

I have been able to trace the Sgaraglino name back to Rocco Sgaraglino; born in Sicily in 1580 and with many generations from Sicily, my grandfather Vito Sgaraglino Sr. included, was the first in his family to come to America. There is really not much more I know about my heritage - what I sought out for in this challenge, was to find someone from Italy with some ties back to Sicily, and that’s where Ms. Elaine came into the picture.

See Ms. Elaine’s grandparents (on her mother’s side) were from Sicily - ok, a stretch back to me maybe, but at least there is a link! Ms. Elaine was actually born in Canada 90 years ago as life in Italy was tough - remember this was way back even before the first World War! Ms. Elaine’s parents left Italy for Stratford Ontario, Canada - where they opened a produce & fruit store in hopes of a better life for them and their soon to be daughter.

A few years later they moved back to Italy (before WWI) when Ms. Elaine was around 8 or 9, just a little girl and her only comment was “That changed everything”. They moved back to Puglia, a southern region forming the heel of Italy’s “boot” and is known for its whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old farmland and hundreds of kilometers of Mediterranean coastline.

From what I could gather, Ms. Elaine traveled back and forth form the US and Italy. At some point during her travels she meet Mr. Guido Leopizzi (in Rome, Italy) and married him. Together they had two children, a son Alberto and a daughter Paola and when the children came closer to school age, moved to the US to raise them; Guido became the Italian Vice Council for the State of Road Island. Every summer was spent back in Rome with family.

Through all this travel back and forth, Elaine spent her time as tour guide to traveling American tourist (in Italy) and occasionally guided Italians visiting in New York.

So if you ever find yourself in Manitou Springs, stop by the Piazza Navona Art Gallery & Cafe and say hello to Alberto and his mom Ms. Elaine - sit down and have some “real” Italian Coffee and a few stories - you will not be disappointed!

Piazza Navona Art Gallery & Cafe
12 Ruxton Ave. Manitou Springs, CO 80829
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Blooming in January is difficult, but in Colorado everything is either dead or covered in snow. So I headed to Phelan Garden, a nursery in town where I know I can always find something to shoot in the winter time! What cool about this place is the greenhouse roof acts like a giant soft box and always produce awesome light anytime of the day.

The center of a flower is called the Pistil, and it includes three parts: the stigma, style and ovary. The pistil is considered the female part of the flower because it produces the fruit of the flower. The stigma is at the top of the pistil, and it is usually flat and sticky. The style is a thin tube that connects the stigma to the ovary. The pistil is surrounded by the stamen, which is the male part of the flower. The stamen gives off pollen that travels down the style of the pistil to reach the ovary for the fertilization process.

Flower: White Geranium

Date: 1/29/17 @ 1:32:55 PM
NIKON D810
Lens AF 60mm f/2.8D
60mm @f/10 1/160 sec ISO: 64
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Week 3: Sad - I started this project with the intent to go down and capture some of the protesters in the park and the “sad” was how our country has turned so soft with “everyone’s a winner” attitude that these folks forgot how to actually lose. When I got to the park where this “huge” protest was supposed to take place, all I saw a few well dressed people in their fancy winter coats carrying signs of displeasure and two cops making sure it stayed peaceful - boring!

However, that was not all that I saw there. On the outer edge of the park was a few of our resident homeless wandering around trying to see what was going on. I’m fairly confident hat they didn’t have a clue. Furthermore, when I looked at these two contrasting groups - the entitled privileged and the depraved underprivileged - I thought to my self, which was more sad?

Well the homeless of course; or so I thought!

I drove around the block to find a good place to park and observe. Sitting in my truck in a parking lot across the street from the local soup kitchen (next to the park), I saw this gentleman on a bench; dressed for the part, crutches to one side leaning up against his bags and backpacks, the whole works. I don’t exactly know what it was about him, sitting amongst a couple of dozen other homeless; but this man, big, bold, strong, dirty and distant - something about him compelled me to shoot my “sad”. I took out the big gun, a 200-500mm on a DX crop body and started shooting, watching - good shots, I felt good about what I had captured - this defiantly works for “sad”.

That night going through the photos looking for that “one” shot for this challenge, I started noticing he was tinkering with something. A closer look reviled something that looked like an old cassette walkman?

I had my photo, I’m good, right. But something was bugging me? All day Saturday I felt like there was unfinished business. What was it about this guy, he’s just another statistical homeless person, or was he? I needed to know more. So Saturday, I picked up a new radio - clearly that old walkman had seen better days - even though I had my photo, I felt that some sort or payment was in order; was this guilt that I may be using him, or guilt that I am in a better “life position” than him; or my photojournalists need to just know more about that wich I know little?

Colorado Springs has over a thousand homeless people, what mad me think that I would ever find this guy again? But I had to try. So this morning I headed out to the soup kitchen, radio and extra batteries in hand - I needed to know more about him and I needed some closure before I could use his photo. As I made the loop around the block - there he was sitting in the exact same place he was two days ago - as though he had never left.

Please meet Virgil - a world traveler in his own right (he did mention that he made to Acapulco once). I introduced myself as a local photographer and that I had taken a couple of shots of him on Friday and noticed that he was trying to get his walkman to work. He stated it was taken away form him and tossed into a puddle - I mentioned I felt that it was fair that if I was going to use his photo that I should pay for it and offered him the radio I purchased the day before. He smiled the biggest smile reached out his hand, not to take the radio, but to shake my had and introduce him self as Virgil. No matter what life experiences and difficulties he may have seen - respect is one thing that has not eluded him.

We got to chatting, or should I say he got to chatting. The stories, blurbs of his life on the road and on the tracks - here, there, this guy was everywhere. I asked if he minded if I take a couple more shots - he was so appreciative that someone new was listening to his stories, he didn’t care what I was doing, he actually encouraged it. Oh, the stories this man has! We talked about how he lost all his fingers on his left had in a gardening accident in Canada. I asked about his foot (the one that was missing) he mentioned it was an accident on a train. He was standing on a coupler between two box cars when the train backed up to couple them together - if foot was caught in-between and smashed; he lost everything but his heel.

I asked him “why Colorado” and his answer was rather simple - between Acapulco, Alaska, Canada, Georgia and Main - Colorado was the most dangerous, he said with a smile! He mentioned that he actually hates Colorado, but between the brutal homeless people here and the extreme winters, he does not get comfortable or complacent. He said that’s how you die; to survive, you must “stay awake and alert” that’s why Colorado Springs!

But the one thing that kept sticking in my mind the whole time I listened to him was how happy he actually seemed to be, smiling and lashing as he described how he has lived a full life. Not one that you or I may define as full, but one that he does. So I ask you, sad - did I get this right or did Virgil?

Notes:
The Gazette reported that as of May, 2016 - there were 1,302 homeless people in Colorado Springs.

This is not the last we will hear form Virgil. I have plans on a more formal recorded interview - I still want to know more about his story - her deserves to have someone tell it!

FYI: I did give Virgil some extra cash (I always do when photographing the homeless) for allowing me to hear his story and take additional photos. As street photographers - we typical are out there to record what’s going on in our neighborhood - I encourage that you do the same, safely. Go outside find a story - tell that story - not only with light but with words. And if you uses a photo or two from someone underprivileged, compensate them for it - it’s the right thing to do!

Date: 1/22/17 10:17:51 AM
NIKON D500 w/ 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8
Focal Length: 67mm 1/1600 sec @ f/3.5 ISO 100
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I live in Fountain, Colorado - just south of Colorado Springs home of America’s Mountain - Pikes Peak. But for this challenge, I thought I would show you something just a bit different. When most people think of Colorado, they think the Rocky Mountains and for the most part they would be right. What they don’t know is that Colorado is actually a high desert. Pikes Peak tops at 14,114 ft above sea level, Colorado Springs is at 6,035 and Fountain is 5,554. So what does this all mean - well here in Fountain and on the east side of Colorado Springs - there is nothing but rolling hills and grassland prairies!

One of the things I love about Colorado is it’s wildlife. So this week I bring you the Pronghorn or more wrongly called an Antelope (which it is not) also comes with nick names such as: The Prairie Ghost or The Speed Goat! The guys are VERY tough to get close to as their eyesight is 8x that of humans and they are extremely skittish - just think if you had to live with an 8 power binoculars permanently attached to your face - not fun - you’d be on edge 24/7 also! They also have very large eyes with a 320° field of vision.

Both males and females can have horns; not antlers (Antlers shed yearly, horns are forever) but only males have the “prong” a forward-pointing tine. Males are further differentiated from females in having a small patch of black hair at the angle of the mandible (on the face). Pronghorns have a distinct, musky odor. Males mark territory with a preorbital scent gland which is located on the sides of the head.

The Pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, being built for maximum predator evasion through running. The top speed is very hard to measure accurately and varies between individuals; it can run 35 mph for 4 miles, 42 mph for 1 mile, and 55 mph for 0.5 mile. It is often cited as the second-fastest land animal, second only to the cheetah. It can, however, sustain high speeds longer than cheetahs.

Date: 1/4/17 11:08:22 AM
Location: Big Johnson Reservoir, Fountain, CO
NIKON D500 - 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8
Focal Length: 300mm @ f/5.6 - 1/800 sec
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I live in Fountain, Colorado - just south of Colorado Springs home of America’s Mountain - Pikes Peak. But for this challenge, I thought I would show you something just a bit different. When most people think of Colorado, they think the Rocky Mountains and for the most part they would be right. What they don’t know is that Colorado is actually a high desert. Pikes Peak tops at 14,114 ft above sea level, Colorado Springs is at 6,035 and Fountain is 5,554. So what does this all mean - well here in Fountain and on the east side of Colorado Springs - there is nothing but rolling hills and grassland prairies!

One of the things I love about Colorado is it’s wildlife. So this week I bring you the Pronghorn or more wrongly called an Antelope (which it is not) also comes with nick names such as: The Prairie Ghost or The Speed Goat! The guys are VERY tough to get close to as their eyesight is 8x that of humans and they are extremely skittish - just think if you had to live with an 8 power binoculars permanently attached to your face - not fun - you’d be on edge 24/7 also! They also have very large eyes with a 320° field of vision.

Both males and females can have horns; not antlers (Antlers shed yearly, horns are forever) but only males have the “prong” a forward-pointing tine. Males are further differentiated from females in having a small patch of black hair at the angle of the mandible (on the face). Pronghorns have a distinct, musky odor. Males mark territory with a preorbital scent gland which is located on the sides of the head.

The Pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, being built for maximum predator evasion through running. The top speed is very hard to measure accurately and varies between individuals; it can run 35 mph for 4 miles, 42 mph for 1 mile, and 55 mph for 0.5 mile. It is often cited as the second-fastest land animal, second only to the cheetah. It can, however, sustain high speeds longer than cheetahs.

Date: 1/4/17 11:08:22 AM
Location: Big Johnson Reservoir, Fountain, CO
NIKON D500 - 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8
Focal Length: 300mm @ f/5.6 - 1/800 sec
Photo

Post has attachment
I live in Fountain, Colorado - just south of Colorado Springs home of America’s Mountain - Pikes Peak. But for this challenge, I thought I would show you something just a bit different. When most people think of Colorado, they think the Rocky Mountains and for the most part they would be right. What they don’t know is that Colorado is actually a high desert. Pikes Peak tops at 14,114 ft above sea level, Colorado Springs is at 6,035 and Fountain is 5,554. So what does this all mean - well here in Fountain and on the east side of Colorado Springs - there is nothing but rolling hills and grassland prairies!

One of the things I love about Colorado is it’s wildlife. So this week I bring you the Pronghorn or more wrongly called an Antelope (which it is not) also comes with nick names such as: The Prairie Ghost or The Speed Goat! The guys are VERY tough to get close to as their eyesight is 8x that of humans and they are extremely skittish - just think if you had to live with an 8 power binoculars permanently attached to your face - not fun - you’d be on edge 24/7 also! They also have very large eyes with a 320° field of vision.

Both males and females can have horns; not antlers (Antlers shed yearly, horns are forever) but only males have the “prong” a forward-pointing tine. Males are further differentiated from females in having a small patch of black hair at the angle of the mandible (on the face). Pronghorns have a distinct, musky odor. Males mark territory with a preorbital scent gland which is located on the sides of the head.

The Pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, being built for maximum predator evasion through running. The top speed is very hard to measure accurately and varies between individuals; it can run 35 mph for 4 miles, 42 mph for 1 mile, and 55 mph for 0.5 mile. It is often cited as the second-fastest land animal, second only to the cheetah. It can, however, sustain high speeds longer than cheetahs.

Date: 1/4/17 11:08:22 AM
Location: Big Johnson Reservoir, Fountain, CO
NIKON D500 - 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8
Focal Length: 300mm @ f/5.6 - 1/800 sec
Photo
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