THIAGO poster image

Thiago The Pitbull and a love affair with Coconut


3 years ago I was granted the opportunity to film one of MMA’s finest superstars in Thiago “The Pitbull” Alves, who was at the time considered to be one of the top 10 most dangerous competitors in his weight class (170lb welterweight).   Years later, Thiago has suffered 4 different surgeries: one for each pectoral muscle and 2 on his other appendages. Consider that most fighters don’t come back from major surgeries, let alone FOUR. And, it probably didn’t help much that we haven’t heard from Thiago in the ring for two years straight. Thiago stretching   EVOLUTION

Flash forward to today, I’ve wanted to revise my original video for a long while now and wanted to do this with Pitbull’s kick back into the MMA spotlight in a major way. Thiago smiling   So here we are, in Thiago The Pitbull. A short film that delves into his psyche a lil’ bit and takes us into one of my favorite (okay, maybe my absolute favorite) MMA team and gym, American Top Team, located in Florida. Since I needed a vacation from NYC’s schizophrenic weather conditions, heading to Coconut Creek was a God-send. Thiago about to kick   Mike Dolce was also over at ATT for Thiago’s training camp to keep his meals and scheduling in check. Other than filming both of them, we were able to just simply hang out, which I picked up alotta’ pointers on what types of cooking utensils to use, all the way to watching Mike setup the meal piece by piece. Most guys suffer themselves steadily throughout the last week to cut weight, but Dolce had Thiago eating regularly 6-times per day. Did it work? Well, Thiago came into the event weighing 171lbs, 1lb over the weight limit of the class itself. That’s some proof for ya’! Thiago group photo Hosted by the great guys at SB Nation/Vox Media, this baby is a 15-minute short film, but you can also check it out in smaller 3-Chapter chunks. Just in case y’know, if you’re too busy and need your violent inspiration in bite sizes.   Enjoy and leave me some feedback, whether you love it or wish for me to kick rocks bare footed :)



Three years ago, Maksim Gelman arrives in the Subway with knife in hand, caked with blood, ready to continue the trail he’s begun with a woman he’s stalked a day earlier. This time around he meets up with Joseph Lozito, a hardworking man with a strong love of combat sports, now headed to work in a botched up weekend commute toward the West Side of the City.

What ensues is a story suited for most Hollywood films: Gelman screaming, “You’re gonna die!” attacks Joe with his knife viciously, ripping open his face. Instead of sitting as a victim, Joe takes his life into his own hands, wrestles Gelman to the Subway car floor and apprehends him until the police arrive. Seconds later, Joe sits down and continues to bleed profusely on the floor, slipping closer to death, while nearby officers simply watch and provide little assistance to help this local hero recover.

Three years later, with physical scars healed, Joseph continues his battle but with the New York City Police Dept itself. Destined to leave him in the cold without any support whatsoever, he now struggles with legal battles with the authorities who stood by needlessly as a mass murderer went mad in mass transit.

This is a preview from the upcoming film where Joe sits down with me once again and shares what’s been happening since that day, the embrace he’s received from the combat sports community and the continuing struggle with the City’s authorities in their effort to dismiss his efforts in stopping a maddened killer on the loose.


To see the original piece I’ve done with Joe 3 years ago, check out the video below:

Phil Nurse PROMO (RAW EDIT TIFF) (0-00-15-14)

The Wat

As a tiny teaser, a few images from my recent shoot at Kru Phil Nurse’s gym, The Wat. I’ve been wanting to film at his school for years now, so when he invited me downtown I didn’t hesitate at the opportunity.
Hope you enjoy. I’ll be adding a few more this weekend as the color work becomes more developed.

These shots by the way, were done with the Contax Zeiss Planar 50mm (1.6x) f/1.7

Original LOG file from RAW DNG file:

Phil Nurse PROMO (RAW EDIT TIFF) (0-00-24-16)


…and with a rec709 LUT:

Phil Nurse PROMO (RAW EDIT TIFF) (rec709)And finally fully graded:
Phil Nurse PROMO (RAW EDIT TIFF) (0-00-06-07) Phil Nurse PROMO (RAW EDIT TIFF) (0-00-11-10) Phil Nurse PROMO (RAW EDIT TIFF) (0-00-15-14) Phil Nurse PROMO (RAW EDIT TIFF) (0-00-18-05) Phil Nurse PROMO (RAW EDIT TIFF) (0-00-24-23) Phil Nurse PROMO (RAW EDIT TIFF) (0-00-27-03)


Beauty Insanity @ Intl Beauty Show

While it wasn’t New York Fashion Week, there was a great amount of beauty in the air. Farouk Systems (you may know them from my previous work for Biosilk at the DVF 2013 show) invited me down once again for the International Beauty Show, held at the Jacob Javits Center.

The Farouk Systems team put on a crazy show on stage, getting the crowd interactive and hyped, pulling people up for hair demonstrations and having a great time with pumping music! I worked as a documentary still photographer as a change of pace, capturing as many grand and intimate moments to tell the story of the event.IntlBeautyShow.001IntlBeautyShow.002IntlBeautyShow.003IntlBeautyShow.004IntlBeautyShow.005IntlBeautyShow.006IntlBeautyShow.007IntlBeautyShow.008IntlBeautyShow.009IntlBeautyShow.010IntlBeautyShow.011IntlBeautyShow.012IntlBeautyShow.013IntlBeautyShow.014IntlBeautyShow.015IntlBeautyShow.016IntlBeautyShow.017IntlBeautyShow.018IntlBeautyShow.019IntlBeautyShow.020IntlBeautyShow.021IntlBeautyShow.022IntlBeautyShow.023IntlBeautyShow.024IntlBeautyShow.025IntlBeautyShow.026IntlBeautyShow.027IntlBeautyShow.036IntlBeautyShow.028IntlBeautyShow.029IntlBeautyShow.030IntlBeautyShow.031IntlBeautyShow.032IntlBeautyShow.033IntlBeautyShow.035IntlBeautyShow.034




These photographs of mine are from the aftermath of the explosion that was held in New York City’s East Harlem area on 116st and Park Ave. Before running out of the door, it was reported that 11 people were minorly injured with 1 additional fatality. I have not been updated since heading out.

NOTE: by the time I arrived, police have barricaded all entries to E. 116st. These were taken before news photographers arrived on the scene (whom were also barricaded from entry).

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UPDATE: Police have completely barricaded the entire 116st area, making access for all photojournalism next to impossible. Here is what the situation looks like as of now…

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Second Row IMAGE

Sultry Slow Burn For A Jazz Trio’s Upcoming Album

Opening Shot


This marks the very first time I’ve been able to fully create a promotional piece for a band entirely centered on Jazz. Roy Assaf had approached me months ago about this piece back when I first began working with Producer, Monique Witt on a previous project, “Split Screen”. So this was something I’ve been waiting to put together for a good while now.


Roy had given me some ideas about what type of feel he wanted for the promo. He had seen a previous project of mine for Madison Square Garden, “God Bless The Ring” and really loved the opening sequence, which was done at 60fps high speed for slow motion at 24fps.

So for this work, we wanted to stick to a lot of smooth transitions, slow motion work throughout and calm, subtle dollies and pans. More to the rhythm of the voiceovers and the lifestyle’ish photography.


Cheapo slider rears its head again. Don’t worry, she’ll be replaced soon enough…


Sticking to my current workflow, I went entirely RAW on this (hyuck hyuck) and stuck to my Magic Lantern powered 50D.

The lenses however were slightly different this time around.

Nikkor Q 135mm f2.8

Super Takumar 50mm 1.4

Zeiss C/Y 50mm 1.7

Nikkor AI-S 28mm 2.8

I wanted to use the two 50mm (1.6x on the 50D making them 80mm portrait lenses) for very different purposes.

The Takumar, from its aging and radioactive coating, gives a very yellow cast and a low contrast quality. It’s great for our purpose in the interiors, making the scene more warm toned and inviting which we used for the group shots over the piano.

The Zeiss 50mm (80mm) was used on the exteriors, but for a very dramatic quality, supplemented with a variable ND filter by Fotga. I maintained a steady ISO of 200, but adjusted my exposure entirely upon the vari-ND filter for every shot. This allowed me to maintain a wide aperture, without having to increase shutter speed or overexpose at all.

Portrait of Jake


Slow, methodical and beautiful. These were some of the key words used to describe the promotional during the pre-pro phases. So that takes into account the color, editing pace and even the music being used- all of which was kept in mind during the entire process, even after the gear was all packed away. It all had to be in sync and I believe it accomplishes this task.


On location, shooting in W. Harlem, Riverside Park


You can check out the Youtube link or the Vimeo one (which is usually of higher quality) and leave your thoughts below. What are some of your experiences with slower paced projects and how did you go about getting ‘em done?

50D n 60D



Butt nekkid, barebones setup for both cameras

Butt nekkid, barebones setup for both cameras

If anyone has been following my work within the last several months, you’ll know that I’m a strong supporter of the Magic Lantern RAW (ML RAW) platform. What these guys have done is quite revolutionary on the same level as discovering the cinematic qualities of the original 5DMKII.

That said, not everyone can afford the 5D setup and will have to opt for the smaller sensor versions (Canon APSC 1.6x crop= super 35 sensor size essentially). So this gives us some cheaper options of varying degrees. For this example, we’ll focus on two cameras with a similar sensor, but very different output capabilities: the Canon 50D and 60D.

Weapons of choice

Weapons of choice


The amazing thing about the 50D is that it was manufactured to be a higher end crop body before the 7D was created. Video features weren’t included and the sensor resolves about 4k in resolution vs the 7D’s 5k. Beyond that they’re very similar in detail, and Magic Lantern has not only unlocked the ability to record Canon-default video in the 50D, but most importantly have added the ability to record RAW DNG at up to 30fps. Considering that this body utilizes a CF card writer/reader, it can exceed writing capabilities of 65MBps. Capable of recording RAW frames at the maximum resolution for the body (1584×950 @5:3 aspect ratio).

50D setup w/ the Nikkor 28mm

50D setup w/ the Nikkor 28mm


Most micro-budget filmmakers have their money invested in the Rebel system, such as the T2i/3i/4i and many have gotten ahold of the 60D, which is the middle-ground point between the beginner bodies and the pro-body such as the 7D. I can vouch for this as I’ve owned the 60D for a while before moving on to more “professional” systems, such as the Red, Alexa, Sony F5, etc. So for those interested in the lower end of the RAW scale, this is for you as well!


60D in action w/ Samyang 14mm


For starters this was the setup for both cameras:

200ASA (HTP)
1/48 shutter (180)
50D: Nikkor AI-S 28mm f2.8
60D: Samyang 14mm f2.8
Location: top of “Museum Mile”

Metered at an f8 (shade) to f16 (sun) split

Metered at an f8 (shade) to f16 (sun) split

Each camera has a different lens primarily to create a split difference in focal length between the two. Naturally due to the major crop of the sensor for the 60D, the lenses will need to be wider to compensate. I’ll also be conducting a Part 2 of this test with a super 16 lens in the near future.

Museum Mile was chosen because of the tests in latitude for both cameras (metered at f8-f16), the bits of traffic moving around for motion observation and the resolution tests lent by the concrete, gravel, trees and other objects of various fine textures. Sure it ain’t exactly a resolution chart, but more of a real-world test that I can reference on different jobs of various backgrounds.


Since the 60D (like many others) gives off odd dead pixels on the default DNG frames, Adobe Camera Raw was used to process them (ACR w/ VisionLOG calibration> After Effects> Media Encoder). The 50D doesn’t suffer from these ailments, so normal processing via Davinci Resolve [Lite] was used instead. Resolve also processes the DNG frames much faster than Adobe’s tools, but you can’t be the options that ACR provides (minus the exposure flickering at times).

ML shows a windowed imaged of the sensor crop for the 60D

ML shows a windowed image of the sensor crop for the 60D


50D and 60D RAW comparisons from Kahleem Poole-Tejada (KahL-One) on Vimeo.


With old experience (and massive obsession of mine) of shooting on Super 16 Fuji film, the 60D’s RAW inadequacies turn into strengths here, giving a similar resolution as s16 scanned at its maximum 2k resolution. The SD card reader caps out at 20MBps, which bottlenecks any capability of shooting with the “full” sensor’s resolution. However, if combined with the limited cropping and a Super 16 lens, I suspect this may be a very different world.

I’ll provide a follow up blog on this in the near future as I’m now eyeballing a few C-mount lenses and some old Canon TV 16mm glass. So we’ll find out if this works out or ends up a total dud fairly soon.

What are some results of your tests? Leave some comments and links below and share! :)


Split Screen- THE MONOLOGUE from Kahleem Poole-Tejada (KahL-One) on Vimeo.

The Passive Aggressive Little Toaster from Kahleem Poole-Tejada (KahL-One) on Vimeo.