An amazing and dangerous place to visit is RetroFret in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn. A used and vintage collection of stringed instruments, RetroFret is a museum, a retail space, a place to learn and an occasion to silently crunch numbers in your head in the corner as you figure out if you can really afford the five string handmade banjo that is cradled in your hands like a newborn.
Guitars, mandolins, banjos, electrics, flamenco, classical, violins, ukes, amps; they have it all. I learned so much in my hour long visit about the history of some instruments and was able to play a lap steel solid body Gibson, the first electric guitar.
Call and make an appointment today and leave your credit cards behind. They also offer repairs on guitars, violins and your church’s organ.
This was an early 70’s Ramirez, a flamenco blanca. I have played numerous Ramirez flamencos and as is true with this famous maker, you have to really search for the authentic gems amid all of their clunkers. All of the previous Ramirez’s in my hands were incredibly heavy and dead with a thick and boomy sound, so deep and ponderous.
The one pictured below was a dream. It had a rich, throaty and deep voice, sonorous and woody and dark. Playability was a dream and the guitar was incredibly light and responsive. We were putting the guitar down on the workbench to get the dental mirrors out to identify the particular luthier at Ramirez that had created this one.
I can still hear this blanca. And I did not buy it.
Sailing on mutli-million dollar America’s Cup boats in the Caribbean is a dream opportunity. Unless you’ve been hired to shoot the event and because of the gear, you cannot participate. I love sailing and have spent some time on boats and it was tough to be on these incredibly crafted boats, cradling my gear and watching others grind and tack.
These photos were from St. Maarten on board the Stars and Stripes, racing against the Canada II. The water glimmered, the sun was bright, the winds were brisk, our boats skimmed the surface of a jewel all afternoon long.
The one downside was that I was sprayed several times and the salt water damage to my D300 and D200 still exists, even after several visits to the Nikon Repair Service. Nothing kills gear like salt water.
Oh, and we lost to Canada II. Bastards.
Helene is one of my good friends in San Diego, a great dancer, an even greater photographer. Last June, she got hitched to Preston and their wedding was truly a spectacle.
A traditional Jewish ceremony and a warehouse party / reception the following night with circus performers, contortionists, a fire dancing team, Regaton beats by the groom, a Brazilian band, a ceremony with an African priestess, acrobats swinging from the ceiling and more and more and more.
If you think you’ve been to a cool wedding, trust me; you haven’t, unless you were at Helene and Preston’s (or at Aaliyah and Patrick’s).
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