"A picture is worth a thousand words"

Welcome to the Phodadgrapher Blog!

This blog is here to let you into my photo world. I am a father of 3 little ones so I always have a camera close to me. Whether it be my Canon T5 or my iPhone 6s. I hope you find each photo and the stories that go along with them interesting and inspiring.
I also look to showcase other phodadgraphers out there. If you would like a photo of your own, showcased, email me @ phodadgraher@gmail.com.
If you find this page interested, please follow me on twitter and on Instagram (@phodadgrapher).
Thanks and I look forward to your future visits and comments!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Our Christmas traditions begin

It's that time a year again. The pumpkins are no longer out, the turkey crafts are put away and the holiday music is all over my local radio. Christmas time is officially underway. For my family, we have traditions to last throughout the season but for us the past three years, the season has started with a trip to Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania to attend their "A Very Furry Christmas" event.

Every trip we start of with a visit to see Santa. We like to do that first to avoid the longer lines later in the day. In the past, Sesame Place utilized one of their poolside buildings to house Santa's Workshop. This year, although its in the same building, the Workshop is no longer there. As they have a private room behind closed doors for your visit with santa. This is much more private and a more enjoyable experience then in the past. If you have ever seen Santa at Macy's in New York City, its very much like that, just with out the 3 hour wait.

Many of the rides are open as well as many holiday themed shows. One of the rides we enjoy most is an electric train ride through the "twiddle bugs cookie factory". This year, however it was relocated to another area. This area seems to accommodate for a longer ride as the previous location is now used as a character meet and greet.

Every time we visit "A Very Furry Christmas" we attempt to get the same location to photograph the kids and hope to get at least one good photo to use for our Christmas card we mail out to our family and friends. The kids love the sleigh right outside Santa's workshop which makes taking the photo a bit easier on their mother and I.

So with that, here is the latest edition to the blog. Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Christmas Time Is Here... At our local Zoo!

Every year, our local zoo, The Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ decorates the for Christmas. They put up lights all around the fencing, add some additional light sculptures through the park and of course have special guest. Admission is free, however they ask that you bring some food for the needy. This is the first year my family and I ventured out to this event even though we have been to the zoo many times before in the summers. We packed up a bag a food, got the three kids ready, grabbed my camera bag and headed out the door. We left our house around 4:30 for a 5:00 PM opening. Traffic was horrendous and not just for this opening, but just general Jersey traffic. I tried to navigate around it with Google Maps but they just put be back the same road I was already on, so we just had to push our way through the traffic. Once we got to the main road the zoo is on, it was smooth sailing and arrive shortly after 5. To our surprise, it was a rather low attendance based on what we have heard. We we go there and made our way through the entrance we saw our local news team (CBS 2-New York) getting ready to film a news story with the local weather man. We made our way around the collective group of folks looking to get on TV. That was not our goal so we just snuck around and made our way through the park. I was surprised to see most of the animal still out as it was rather chilly. There where the alpaca's, a kangaroo, penguins of course and the barn was open to walk through to see the horse, pig and chickens. Along the way was came across the Monkey's, although they were not out, the entrance was lit up with Christmas lights. This is where our photo today comes from. I really like the way it came out, but of course i wanted to enhance it a bit.

Hope you like it!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Gotta Catch'em All!

My family and I gathered this weekend for my son's 5th birthday. He theme this year was Pokémon. His favorite character is Squirtle. We spend about 20 minutes at a boardwalk game this year trying to "win up" to the level the Squirtle he wanted. He was so happy that day. With Pokémon Go being such a hit, an influx of Pokémon toys have hit our local stores. He was unable to find a Squirtle toy he wanted, but found a Pokéball with a Pikachu figure. When the time came to help decorate for his party, he ran to his room and got some of his Pokémon toys decorate with. One he chose was the Pokéball with Pikachu. He had fun setting him up in different "catch" positions. He asked me to take a picture of his "decoration". This was one of my favorite pictures he set up!


Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Sister's Barn

By the title of this post alone, one would assume that today post is about a barn owned by my sister to which I happen to photograph the front of. One would assume that my sister asked me and my family up to her barn for the weekend to enjoy the crisp country air. Well I am sad to tell you this, but those assumptions are wrong. My sister did not invite me and my family up to her barn for the weekend to enjoy the crisp country, nor did she ask me to take photos of her barn. No my sister is not being selfish and keeping the barn all to her self... the fact is, my sister does not own this barn, or any barn for that matter. She lives in a suburban town in NJ with her son and husband. This however was a photo taken by my sister of a barn she was at for a birthday party. She posted the photo to facebook, to which I stole and edited it to what you see before you. So while i cannot take credit for the photo itself, I will take the credit for editing it to this dark, ominous effects.

Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Lens flare in the corn field.

This holiday weekend (Columbus Day), my wife and I took our three kids apple and pumpkin picking. This has become our yearly tradition for about the past 3 years. We usually go earlier in the season but couldn't find the time until now. We venture out to a farm in Chester, NJ, called Riamede Farm. There are many "pick-your-own" choices out in this area of NJ, but this farm is perfect for our needs. There are no horse back rides, or carnivalesque games, just pick your own apples, pumpkins and other fruits and vegetables and small shoppe, which looks like it recently had a makeover. The farm is typically packed, but we went on a Monday and got there early, so the crowds where lighter, but on the way out, the crowds picked up. We spent about 3 hours there in total, which was enough time for us to walk through the apple orchard and walked around the pumpkin patch and corn fields.

On this trip I brought along my Canon T5 and used the 18-55mm Lens. New for this trip was my Neewer NW670 Flash and my Amazon Basics 60-inch tripod. It was a bit windy, but this tripod held its ground. Grant it, I did not have it fully extended, it was still very sturdy.

While walking though thew corn field, the sun was glaring behind the stalks. I thought this was a great opportunity to create a natural lens flare image. I had to use the manual focus, as the sun was causing the automatic focus to not focus in on where I wanted it. I really like how the sun helps add the drama to the photo. Final enhancements done via Perfect Effects 9.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

From the Vaults: Sunrise in Paradise Island

In August of 2007, my wife and I took a trip to Bahamas, Paradise Island to be exact. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort called The RIU. It was located at the end of the Island right next door to the Atlantis Resort. Wwe went for a few days, just enough to get away from the business of New Jersey. At the time, there was no cell service so communication to the rest of the world was minimal. It was one of the most relaxing vacations we've ever taken. The resort was great with shows and entertainment and the pool. And private access to the beach. One of my goals during the trip was to catch a sunrise. On our last morning, we woke up and heading for the beach. Not only did i get picture of the sunrise but video too. It was amazing to see the sunrise along the Bahamian waters. I capture this photo by chance, I wasn't setting my wife up to be at the edge of the water, it just happened to come out that way. It turned out to be one of my favorite photos from our trip.

Hope you enjoy it

Thursday, September 15, 2016

From the Vaults: Bushkill Falls

Back in 2003, before my wife and I had children, we took a trip out to Pennsylvania to Bushkill Falls, some call it "The Niagara of Pennsylvania". We have been to Niagara Falls too so I can attest to that statement. But unlike Niagara Falls, there is not just one massive fall of water, there any numerous smaller falls throughout the park. Bushkill Falls provides hiking trails which you can chose a challenge level. There are also multiple look out areas to view the large Pennsylvania hills. Then of course, like all attractions, a gift shop at the end. Surrounding the Bushkill Falls area, another attraction we stop at was Indian Echo Caverns. At Indian Echo Caverns, you take a walking trip through caves and explore the underground. It is a really cool adventure.

As you can imagine, photos a Bushkill Falls can come out great. Back in 2003, we had no iPhones or consumer-friendly D/SLR camera's. My photo-taking machine back then was a point-and-shot Fuji Finepix 3800. I will not go into the details of the specs of that camera, but it did its job and it did it well. Before our trip I researched some tips on how to obtain that amazing waterfall shot, you know the one where the water looks like its raging over the rocks below. The setting on the camera, shutter speed; the tip, slow it down and used a tripod. So that is what I did. To this day, I amaze myself with out great, I think, this photo came out.

Hope you like it!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Helping Hand

Last weekend we spent the afternoon at Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA. It's a short drive for us and we have season passes. I highly recommend the Season Pass for anyone within an hour of Langhorne. It's a quick ride and the season pass pays for itself quickly with all the discounts you get. Food, parking, gift shop plus other perks. On our prior trip to Sesame, my daughter wanted to try the tube slide. I walked her and my boys up to the tower. As I was helping my one son get situated on the slide, my daughter, Ms. Independent, tried to get on all by herself. By her doing this, she end up going almost head first, and got scared and needless to say, i brought her down the same way we went up.

On our recent trip she wanted to try it again but this time allowing me to help her get on the slide. On the way up, I asked my one son to hold her hand to help her get up the steps. If you read my past post, these two have love-hate relationship. When it's hate, its HATE, but when its love, its absolutely adorable.

Edits done with Moldiv for iOS.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Child's play comes to an end

As the summer comes to an end, it times to reflect on the fun time had by the kids. For us this summer was extremely hot. Play time outside was limited as we had multiple heat waves. Some lasting as long as a week.
With shade nearly non-existent in our backyard, dusk is the time for us to have the kids play outside. One of their favorite outdoor activities to do is the bouncy house. The kids love help setting it up and watch it quickly inflate and but sad when it just as quickly deflates. The other night we had the kids playing in the yard and the bouncey house made an appearance. As the kids were winding down from playing, I quickly snapped a photo of my daughter walking away from the house and towards my wife and I. I got a few others of her as well where she is looking us flashing her gorgeous smile but this one stood out to me. With a few edits, I believe it came to life.

Hope you enojoy it!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Play Ball

A few years ago I was my son's TBall coach. One of the fundraisers our league offers is a league wide trip to a local semi pro baseball game. Our local team is the Somerset Patriots based out of Bridgewater, NJ. They have a very successful team capture 6 Atlantic League of Professional Baseball championships since 2001. They offer a wide variety of entertainment while at the ballpark aside from the obvious ball game. On the day we attended, they had multiple baseball leagues in attendance. One of the fun things we got to do was to play catch on the baseball field. My son was 5 at the time and this was something we really got excited about. The time came to run onto the field to play a game of catch. My son and I sprinted out there and picked up a ball and had a great time. As on son was getting ready to throw, I took out my iPhone and started to take continuous photos in hopes to get a mid-air photo. I got more a few and but this one is my favorite.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wasp.. or what ever this thing is!

On day, my younger two kids were playing in our foyer/entryway/mud room. I was working from home at the time, so this was while my older son was in school. While they were playing, I walked past them and they asked me to look at the front door, some kind of insect was on it. I peeked my head into the room and I saw this wasp just hanging out. It was not in any hurry to fly away as was not bothered by us. Maybe it didn't see us, I don't know what goes on in their little brains. Whats odd though is that is just stayed still for a long period of time. As I realized this thing was not going anywhere, I grabbed by iPhone and opened up the Camera+ app. I knew if I wanted an excellent photo, I would need a macro lens. The software on the base iPhone camera does not support macro, but Camera+ does. So with that app opened, set to macro, I got my photo. It looks huge so close up, but in reality it was maybe the size of a quater. Even after taking my photo, the camera happy insect hung out for a bit longer.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cape May Lighthouse

In a previous post, I presented a photo I took last year while my family and I vacationed in Wildwood, NJ. In today's post we will venture to Cape May, NJ. Which is right next to Wildwood. While on our trip last year, we took a dolphin cruise out of Wildwood. We expected we would just head out to the ocean and see some dolphins and maybe a whale or two. Well we say many dolphins (I'M sure a future post will highlight that), no whales, but we did cruise to the beaches of Cape May. Cape May is a very historic town. Victorian home throughout the city along the streets and along the beaches. In the water is one of the last concrete WWI ships, USS Atlantus, just laying in the water, fading away. (Read more here). Cape May also offers tourist and residents a "small shoppe" feel shopping district.

One of the biggest surprises along our cruise was the sight of the Cape May Lighthouse. This lighthouse has been around since 1859 and is located in Cape May Point State Park. As you can imagine, the lighthouse does not shy away from the camera. I have many photos that I took of the tower during our few minutes near it. It was hard to choose just one to present. I came across this one that I hope you'll enjoy.

All edits performed with Paint Shop Pro.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Kendall; poolside

As summer 2016 is coming to a close, the kids are getting ready to head back to school, its a good time to recall the memories of the summer.

This Fouth of July we spent with some family in their backyard, having a BBQ and enjoying the water. As we where wrapping things up, I saw my daughter sitting poolside having a good time. I took out my Canon and asked her to turn toward me. As she does most of the time, she turns the camera into her best friend and flashes her expressive smile.

I absolutely love this photo of my three year old. The color effect was done via the camera itself, no post-photo editing.

I have never used that setting before, but now that i have found it, I plan on using it more often.

Cinderella's Castle - What a sight!

Cinderella's Castle; might be one of the most photographed landmarks in family vacation history, post 1971 of course.

I think the appeal of the castle is that it can look great from any angle; left side, right side, back and of course front. The key to photographing the castle is that you would hope to get a shot with as few Disney World guest as possible. That's the challenging part. Some how on our last day of our most recent Disney World trip, I was able to capture this photo. While on our visit, the dreaded crane was along side the castle. Any photo I got had the crane, which would distract the viewer from the castles natural beauty. I was able to remove the crane with a few edits and I think the photo is spectacular.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Wildwood Pier, Wildwood, NJ

Last summer, like most New Jersey families, we spend a few days "down the shore". If you are not familiar with the phrase, "down the shore", its the beach... In NJ we have many beaches and many of those beaches have boardwalks. Of the nicest in the state is the Wildwoods. Wildwood consist of two areas, North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest. North Wildwood is where you go for the boardwalks, Wildwood Crest is where you'll want to find your motel. North Wildwood has motels too, but Wildwood Crest is typically more relaxes as its further away from the crowds. The beaches in Wildwood are wide, very, very wide. Walking from the curb of the street, to the your desired settle sand spot, can take a few minutes. The beaches are also free, yes FREE. Rarely and form of fun in NJ is free, so this spot has it all. Free wide beaches where people never seem to impose on your personal space, boardwalk fun with three piers of dry and water rides, arcades and game, great foot and overall fun. Please taking a ride to Cape May is just a few minutes away. Oh, at the Cape May County Zoo is nearby too. Like the Wildwood beach, this zoo is large AND they only charge a donation fee, not a set price to get it.

So with beach at one end of the city and the boardwalk at the other end, you can see all the excitement of the boardwalk from the beach looking North. It is a great place to get away for a few days.

When I was going through my photos taken of our trip I came across one that I knew would be a great with a few enhancements. For this photo, even though it was taken with my DSLR, I was able to save it effortless to my iPhone using the EyeFi app and I used the iOS app Moldiv to enhance it. Hope you enjoy it.

Calling all Phodadgraphers

Hello to all the phodadgraphers out there!!!

If you have some photos you would like to tel a story about, email me me at phodadgrapher@gmail.com. I'd love to extend this forum to the many phodadphaghers out there. Your photo can be of anything family or non-family related (just make sure its clean). To understand what a phodadgrapher is, check out this post.

What is a phodadgrapher

So by reading this post I will assume you are interested in learning more about the term phodadgrapher. Well I will tell you my spin on it, although I have not need it mentioned anywhere else.

Being a father of 3 young children, I am always looking for ways to take photos of them whether it be a school function, them at play, us on vacation or them engaged in any other activity, including meltdowns. But photography is not what pays the bills, for me, that's software development. Photography is just a hobby of mine. I enjoy taking picture of many subjects but mostly my family. I am sure you will see many different subjects along my journey.

But enough about you, what is a phodadgrapher....
Ok, so to me a phodadgrapher is a dad, or really a parent, that enjoys taking photos in their spare time. Being a parent is time consuming enough, through in an 8 hour day at work and you left with little time... however, photographing is something we can do at any given moment, especially as camera get smaller and can fit in our pockets. You don't need to have fancy equipment to take amazing photos.

If you are interested in writing a post for this site, email me at phodadgrapher@gmail.comto be featured.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


As I mentioned before I have three young children, two boys and a daughter. They each have their own personalities. Its sometimes hard to believe they are related. My middle child, has the worst case of "middle child syndrome" I have ever seen. In fact, I think he was destined to be a middle child since the day he was born. He is my little wild man, sometimes wild as-in running around the house, or wild as-in have a temper tantrum because I asked him to wash his hands. His little sister absolutely adores him in spite of his wildness. She looks after him like shes the older sister (shes only young by 15 months). She does the things for him that he refuses to do for himself, just like their mothers does. She is a great mother-figure to her older brothers. I always said if my wife and I ever had to run out quickly, we would leave her in charge of her older brothers. Not every moment of their lives is met without tension, afterall they are brother and sister. There are times, many actually, where they don't get along, but then there are these great moments where they are each others best friend and it's not just limited two these two. The three of them, or a combination of the two of them. These are the moments you like to remember as parents, but sometime it's not always easy. Its easy to forget the moments your children are all getting along and playing nice, its much harder to forget the times they are fighting against each other, especially when its one on one on one. The moments easy to forget are easy to remember with a camera in hand. This photo is one of those moments.

This photo perfectly describes the love my daughter has for her older brother. We where on a train ride at a local zoo. My daughter was sitting in between my son and my wife. My son is a bit on the smaller size of the growth chart, in fact, my daughter is bigger then he is even though she is 15 months younger then he is and she is aware of that. Because of that, as she was sitting next to him, on the train ride, she was worried that her older brother may fall off or get hurt. With her simple "Be careful" remarks to him, she placed her hand on his leg as a way of protecting him.

Camera: Canon
Enhanced With: Moldiv for iPhone

Enhancement: Birthday on Main Street, U.S.A.

We recently took a family vacation to Disney World in February 2016. While we were down there, my daughter was turning three. My wife picked up a really cute birthday outfit for her to wear to the Magic Kingdom. She was looking for a particular photo of my daughter in her new birthday output with her hands up and smiling in front of the caste. We found a PhotoPass photographer in the area we were looking for and asked her to take our daughters picture. My wife setup the shot just as she imagined and it came out great. We had purchased the Memory Maker package for our trip, which I HIGHLY recommend. With or without it, the photographer would have taken many photos. But without it, we may not have kept all of them. Because we were able to keep all of the photos, I was able to look at each one and thing of a nice enhancement. I came across one of those photos and as soon as I saw it I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. Since Main Street, USA is filled with people to the left, right, behind and sometimes, sadly in font of you (but not in this case), I knew this photo needed to be focused only on my daughter. Her side-way look made for an even more dramatic photo. What is she looking at? I am not really sure, I was next in front her her, my wife was on the opposite side, and my two sons where next to me. Either way, something caught her attention and the PhotoPass photographer got a great photo.

So again, i do not take credit for the photo itself, just the enhancement. This is one of my favorite photos from our trip... I am sure I will feature many more on this blog as I was able to take over 1000 photos.

What is my editing software of choice

I often get asked, "what software do you use for your photos?". That answer really depends on the camera used to take the photo. Many people are aware of the various iOS apps so I wont dive into those apps, but rather the PC applications.

I started out years ago with a lightweight version of Photoshop (Photoshop CS Lite version. This worked very well, but being it is a lite version, was limited. I recently started to use Corel Paint Shop Pro X8 to do my photo editing. I really like this application, not only for the tools it offers, but for also the tutorials it offers. Some may find it annoying when you start the application you get the "hey, want to see how to do this" message, or sometimes, they even push messages for you to purchase updated versions. I can see how others find that annoying, but i do not mind it. I find it helpful for them to push down suggested topics, because I may not have thought about a certain enhancement until they mentioned. The Pro version of CPS comes with various other tools you can use to enhance your photos.

As far as my hardware goes... I have an HP ENVY Notebook - 15t-q400. This monster is an i7 6500HQ processor with 16GB of RAM and 1TB (hybrid) storage. This laptop is powerful enough to run CSP Pro as well as various other editing applications (Corel Video Studio for example). Aside from photography being a hobby of mine, I am also a software developer so I can run Visual Studio Community without issues. Overall, I am really happy with this laptop and photo editing tools.

Corel Paint Shop Pro
Corel Video Studio
HP Envy Laptop