New York

Over the last week I have been posting some of the images that New York gave me, and as always I am grateful for the city being an amazing place for creativity if you have your eyes open. I spent a lot of the week in the city, but also found time to wander around Coney Island and parts of New Jersey. 

I must say it was one of my best walk arounds as far as keepers. And I have to say that the M246 is an amazing camera to use. It creates the best files I've seen out of a camera. 

I have posted quite a few of the new images here on the website, and on Ello, and will continue to do so over the next few weeks. 

Photo Plus Expo - Deux

Just got back from New York and Photo Plus Expo.

Landed in Newark and hit the ground running with three days of shooting and catching up with friends. Can't say thank you enough for those who I caught up with. It was amazing to spend time with all of you.

The take away from the show was that there is a very strong push coming from the mirrorless market that could wipe away (rumor mill running) some of the previous big names in photo like Hasselblad and Pentax. As in you no longer need a huge camera body to produce files that can be used in any form of marketing. It's scary to think of the afore mentioned photo names going away, but life is about change is it not? 

Also had a chance to do some meeting with new clients, doing a wee bit of consulting, and coming away with the feeling that even though there is a contracting of the overall photo industry those that are positioned correctly are getting stronger.  

Had a lot of fun though and I can't wait till next year. 

Photo Plus Expo

It's October. And it's time for the photo industry to show us what their worth. Photo Plus Expo. Javitt's Center. New York.

As an exhibitor we've done this dog and pony show for the last twelve years straight. This will be the first time that we've gone without having to pay for booth space, teamsters, over priced hotels, and a schedule that leaves you dead on your feet. 

For once we'll be able to enjoy New York. Unless it turns into a scene from The Out Of Towners. Doubt that. New York's always treated us well. 

Looking forward to seeing friends and catching up. 


In 1988 I decided to climb to the top of Mount Whitney in California. Not sure why. It was there. I was living in Los Angeles. Wanted to do something more than go back to Yosemite ... which is what had happened the previous two summer excursions. This seemed like more of a challenge and a little bit crazier.

Signed up to be one of those let onto the mountain with a permit back in August of 1987. That's right you had to sign up the year before and wait to see if the lottery would let you be picked to go the following year. You could take a group up to eight people. And somehow I talked seven other people into coming with. 

It was the first camping trip that I took seriously because there had been a few deaths by falling in '87 and also a few people hit by lightening. Wasn't a place to screw off like most of the other outings I'd been on. Bought a backpack, real hiking shoes, and dehydrated food and trained for it by climbing the hillsides and canyons around Laguna Beach where I lived at the time. 

In June of 1988 I drove with my friends to Lone Pine to spend the night before waking in the morning and driving to the portal for Whitney. That portal was almost eight thousand feet up the mountain. 

After parking I threw the pack onto my back and adjusted the straps and also played with where I would hook up my camera so that it was readily available. I had eight rolls of film, one camera, one lens. I had hooked a loop through the lug on the side of the camera and attached a length of nylon cord to it which was tied off on the backpack. The camera then fit an a pouch on the side of backpack that was easy to get to. As I played gun slinger I looked up and saw these other hikers getting ready. The scene was comical. It wasn't till I got back and developed the film that I found out just how comical the image was. 

Paris - 1990

In 1990 I flew to Europe to wander for three weeks. I had it in my head that I would travel through Germany, visit the town that my fathers ancestors came from, attend Oktoberfest, and then head to Paris for three days. AS it turned out I ended up going from Frankfurt to Heidelberg, then to Rothenburg, Munich, Freiburg, Kaisersberg, and then Paris before flying out of Frankfurt again. 

I rented a car as well. I would not recommend this when one goes to Paris ... as it's a total pain in the ass finding parking around Paris. Lucky for me I found an underground lot in the St. Germain area and the car never moved from that spot until I left.

It was my first time in Paris, my first time struggling to understand and speak in the same rapid fire delivery of most Parisians, and first time getting completely lost. Damn it was fun. 

These are some of those images taken with a Leica, and Tri-X.

    I'le Saint Louis


I'le Saint Louis

    Tour Eiffel


Tour Eiffel

    St. Germain


St. Germain










    St. Germain


St. Germain

Color vs Black & White

I only ascribe to one social media platform, as it's the only one that doesn't fuck with me or my friends, and that is ELLO. I was on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram but all have their issues of privacy and copyright.

Moving on ...

I started the ELLO account showing both color and black & white images. Now back in the day all I shot was black & white film. So when I began to shoot digitally I turned the screen to black & white because that is the way I saw the world. But then you take those images into Lightroom and it turns them into color - so I saw most of my work in color for the very first time. 

I embraced this little switch ... as I started to post to Ello ... and there was an occasional color image. Then about four months ago I got the grandiose idea to ONLY do black & white and thus started converting these images that I had grown to love in color ... into the neutralness of black & white.

I tried to make them world. But as I converted these images, they all seemed to lose their power.

Then I saw an image of Ernst Haas. Which made me search out some of Ernst's old work. You see I knew Ernst. The fellow who I worked for at the time ... Rudi Niedzeilski, knew Ernst from Germany and since Hasselblad was going to give Ernst an award and it was going to happen in Los Angeles ... Rudi invited Ernst to stay with him. When Ernst came to Los Angeles he asked for help going through his images which would be used for a slide show. You see Hasselblad was going to give Ernst a lifetime achievement award and they wanted to have a slide show of his work at a venue in Los Angeles. 

I had never seen Ernst's images before. I was blown away by his work. Anyone who has seen Ernst work knows what a transitive experience it is. Because Ernst saw color differently than anyone at the time. Ernst made me see color ... and the power that it has. We spent a wonderful week together becoming friends and then ... well, the following year Ernst passed away. That was 1986.

 So after seeing that old image of Ernst's I had to mentally smack myself up the side of the head. For all the good intentions of wanting to only show black & white ... I was doing a disservice to my images that spoke in color.

Casa Milà - Barcelona

I use to love the Tin Type process. But since I no longer have a darkroom, and I have kids, that lovely process has been shelved for now. Or has it? When I found the iPhone app Hipstamatic and they came up with a Tin Type film and lens to go with it. I was ecstatic. 

And since then they have developed a free standing Tin Type app as well. 

As a photographer it is like going home.

These images are from my trip to Barcelona, where besides another trade show, I was able to have three days off to wander. 

©m.f.gottula 2015 - 1289-4205.jpg

Carmel Mission :: Carmel California

In 1968 my father bought a house and semi retired to Carmel California. If you've never been there it's a wonderful sleepy little beach town tucked away on the Monterey Peninsula with little quaint cottages (with english thatched roofs), restaurants serving english tea and scones, and a plethora of art galleries. At least in '68 it was.

The Carmel Mission was very near my father's house, and if one were to make the loop along the beach, one would pass by the Mission. On a morning when the sun had peaked over the ever present fog I happened to walk by the back of the Mission where there is a window surrounded by Aloe Vera plants. Snap.

Shooting Leica and Tri-X. 

Santa Fe :: New Mexico - '80's

As a kid my parents use to take us to Santa Fe, before it became the hip place of the 1970's. This was 1964 - '65. We use to go there to see the indian art of the Taos Pueblo and the museum's collection of Georgia O'Keefe's work. 

My first time back in the 1980's was to see the Santa Fe rodeo. While there I fell in love with the town again and came back many times just to get away on long weekends. Crazy to drive all that way just to spend two days shooting pictures before heading home, but it's what I did in my late twenties early thirties. 

Shooting film, and M6's.

9-11 / 1998

My first time walking the Brooklyn Bridge happened in 1998. It was an overcast day and nothing looked worth photoing ... until I turned back to look at the twin towers and saw all the cables of the bridge making the pattern. Snap.

I've used this image every anniversary of 9-11 as it speaks to the necessity to pay attention to things as they may be gone in an instant. 

Shooting Tri-X, with a M6.