Rejoice, oh ye Dwellers of the North!

Documentary Wedding Photography-1-2.jpg WHEREAS we have just moved to the grand city of Berkeley. And

WHEREAS many do not yet know that they want me to photograph their families. And

WHEREAS I wish to do well and prosper. And

WHEREAS I wish upon my fellow Berkelyites wonderful, handhold able, memories. And

WHEREAS I am feeling gracious, kind, well-dressed, neighborly, and caffeinated.

THEREFORE I, Zalmy Berkowitz of the (almost) famous Zalmy Berkowitz Photography, hereby offer new limited time pricing on family photo sessions. These prices are in effect until January 21st at 6:28PM BST (Berkeley Standard Time), so get them while their hot! (yes, that makes no sense in this context).

Family Sessions:

I offer two types of sessions. Portrait sessions are generally 1-2 hours and lightly posed. Documentary sessions are longer (4 hours) and much more hand off. Prices are:

$750 for a portrait session (lightly posed), includes $200 towards prints. Disk is $650 INCLUDED! Woohoo for me moving to Berkeley!

$2600 $1800 (Jeepers!! Berkeleyites rejoice!) for a documentary session. Includes 4 hours in home or other meaningful place, a hardcover book, and all the hi resolution images with printing rights.

$4600 $3400 (OMG! Kombucha! Organic, gluten-free, quinoa cake! Tie-dyed hemp shirts! Raw, vegan, blended parsley!!) for a full day (up to 15 hours) documentary session. Included a gorgeous (seriously, jaw-droppingly so) matted album, and all the hi resolution images with printing rights. Wedding Prices:

Full day coverage starts at $3600 (includes proofs), Packages start at $5100. Call, email, text, facebook poke (no, kidding, please don't do that) for a full rundown.

Smaller shindigs (B-day partays, Brissim, Bar Mitzvah's, chicken dance celebrations, etc.):

$1300 for up to three hours. Includes hardcover book. Disk is $650.

Other stuff:

Good question.

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Don’t drop the ball!

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For the exact same information you can check out the pricing page! Double the bandwidth, same great price!!

Expect Miracles {quick session fundraiser}

None of my sisters hit 5 feet.

All three got close, and I think they have themselves convinced that they still have a chance. It's quite a point of contention between them over who is actually the tallest. My middle sis, Dina, definitely held the height crown in the late 80's and early 90's when she had this awesome curl mosh of permed goodness adorning the top of her pretty head.

Somewhere in the middle of the decade (I think the crazy huge hair styles were fading by then), I was sitting in my parents' insanely large master bedroom (the owners remodeled the front and added a master bedroom to the master bedroom), minding my own business, and I had this strange sensation that everyone was talking about Dina.

"Is something wrong with Dina?" asked my cute 11 year old pre-beard voice.

Everyone stopped talking and looked at me in shock, as if I was from Pluto, which was already showing signs of its coming identity crisis.

"She's getting engaged tomorrow. We've been talking about nothing else for the past two weeks. Where have you been?!"

Thing 1: In my world, "getting engaged" means you already decided that you're getting married ("will you marry me?" "Yes!!! Ask me again!"), and now you are going to get the blessing of the Rebbe (previously done through a letter or phone call, now usually at the Ohel (his grave site), or through an email which someone could read on your behalf at the Ohel). Once you do that you are "officially" engaged.

Thing 2: I was (and still am in some ways) the most oblivious child the world has ever seen. So while it may have been odd to my family that I had no clue of all these going-ons, it seemed normal enough to me.

Dina was the first in my family to get married, so it was a whole new experience for me. I got to go to New York, had my first taste of Scotch (I think it was Chivas Regal, I thought it would be bad, it was way worse), got to freeze my outer appendages in the -7 degrees outdoor ceremony, got to dance like a complete lunatic (I still do that), and many other things I'm sure, all forgotten (or otherwised unnoticed) in my non-drunken obliviousness.

The dude she married was a young Rabbi from Brooklyn. He was a handsome fellow, with clean pressed shirts, a tidy beard, and ice skates. And everybody seemed to know him. I mean everybody. He was the most easy-going, engaging, pleasant, honest, and open person to talk to. He knew his way with a guitar, had a wonderful voice, and was a splendid dancer. A bit of a New Yorker, but he got that part Temeculad out of him fairly quickly.

Seven children (one who was just had recently Bar Mitzvah) and seventeen (or so) years later they now lead a wonderfully eclectic Jewish community in Temecula, Califonia.

I recently came back from an event where Dina was talking about her husband's ability to talk to anyone. Anyone. They were sitting on his parents' front porch in Crown Heights (as either newlyweds or almost-weds, I forget) and on the porch above them there was a set of 3 year old twins staring down at them as kids sometimes do. My sister was attempting to engage them in some sort of conversation. Wasn't happening. Yitzi looks up and says "I can go to the bathroom all by myself", and boom! they had a whole conversation about the intricacies of a three-year-old's potty challenges.

Last year after experiencing an increasing loss of speech control, Yitzi was diagnosed with ALS more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It's a disease affecting voluntary muscle movements, where the nervous system which is supposed to be telling the limbs to move isn't really doing its job well. It's also symptomatic in that there is no way to test for it other than looking at the symptoms. There's no virus or bacteria or marker anywhere in the body where you can test, point to some sort of oddity and say with certainty "This is ALS".

Since the diagnosis, Yitzi has been losing his ability to talk and recently has lost his fine motor skills in his left hand and a bit in his legs. He can't talk as well, sing, play guitar, or dance. These are the things he loves, and how he shares himself with the world. Yet even so, over the past year and half, Yitzi has been amazing. He's happy, involved, still acts as Rabbi, is always hopeful, and is somehow, still a remarkable communicator. My sister, understandably, is overwhelmed. But she too is showing remarkable strength and wisdom in her not-so-old age.

One of the symptoms is the inability to control emotion. When he is happy he laughs, and when he is sad he cries. No hiding. No layers. And Yitzi has been laughing. A lot. The only time he lost it was when he was on the phone with the Rabbi in Los Angeles, asking about his inability to say all the prayers. Saying all the words would take over three hours and he'd have no energy for the rest of the day. After getting his reply, he broke down crying. That's the type of man he is.

There are a few different treatments, most in the trial stages. All are very costly. They are currently on a flight to Israel for a cutting edge new treatment called Brain Storm. It uses stem cells and has shown some very positive results.

There also is the hope that it isn't actually ALS. Again, being symptomatic no one ever really knows the actual disease. Many symptoms are shared by certain types of Lyme disease. And then there is a whole world of alternative medicine and treatments. Homeopathy, Herbology, Acupuncture, etc. All time consuming, and all costly.

The community, both in Temecula and the larger Jewish community has been amazing in their support. Emotionally, financially, personally etc. But even so there are still many bills left uncovered and treatments underutilized due to finances.

I was mentally writing this blog post on the 101 freeway yesterday, and remembered that they got a blessing from the Rebbe for a recovery by Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). That's less than 40 days away and I was thinking how that isn't much time. Right then (literally 3 seconds after this thought) a motorcycle roared by on the left, with a sign on the back saying "Expect Miracles".

And I am.

I really didn't want to write about this. It's so personal, and this being a place where, in addition to just writing whatever pops in my head, I attempt to publicize my photography, get new clients, and hopefully get more business, I almost feel like I'm using this story to get more traffic, more publicity. As I know it will. And I can't really stomach that.

But I want to help, and this is the way I could.

*** Very important thing 1: Quick Shoot Fundraiser

I wanted to do something to help and decided I would make a quick session fundraiser. I'm not sure what the response would be so as of yet I only have one day planned (though I'll do as many as there is interest).

So here are the Details:

I'll be shooting the entire day of Sunday, August 18th at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. 12 sessions.

Each family will get 30 minutes of my shooting time to do family portraits, and each will get a disc with all the high resolution images (around 20).

Cost will be $275, of which $75 will go to me to cover costs of film, developing, gas, burgers, beer, etc. and $200 to go to Dina and Yitzi.

To book a spot you must email me at or call 714-460-3967, and pay in full.

Again, I'll be doing this again on other days and in other places if the demand is there. I'm really hoping it will.

If you haven't yet seen samples of my work, feel free to browse through my blog or just check out the family sessions.


Almost as important thing 2: East Coast Dates

It seems that me and my flock of cameras will be heading to New York toward the end of October. Followed by a meander down the East Coast for some other bookings. If you are interested in a family session, email me, call me, text me, fax, telegram, moneygram, send a letter, walk over, or somehow get in touch and lets make it happen!

I am also setting aside a day or two for the same quick session fundraiser in the large apple. Very tentative date of Tuesday October 22nd, other days will be added as per demand.


Please share this post! And if you can add Yitzi to your prayers, or can help in any way please let me know.

Love, life, and health, Zalmy

From California, to the New York Island

Hear ye, hear ye (yeah, ye. Ink was expensive and ye had less letters than you. And "Hear you" sounds ridiculous).

Zalmy Berkowitz (also known as ZalmyB, Zalmy, Zombie, Sammy, Balmy, The Bearded One, and Superman) will be taking his arsenal of photo capturing devices on a special mission to the Eastern Seaboard. I'll be in the city (when speaking about New York there is only one "the city") From October 11th until a later to be determined date (around a week and a half). After which I'll be mozying down South, with some stops in North Carolina, maybe Georgia...

I have some bookings, but I'd love to fill up, get me some of that yummy East Coast Autumness, hang out with some über cool New Englanders (and semi cool, but ultra hip Southerners), and blast out some amazing family sessions.

If you are anywhere on the East Coast (yeah, that's Maine until Florida, and all you slight inlanders (Vermont, Virginia, Delaware...)) and are interested in a family session, there's a good chance we could make it happen (especially if you want to do a documentary session). Shoot me an email, give me a call (714-460-3967), leave a comment, send a fax, telegram, letter, package...

Documentary sessions are the best way to preserve real memories of your beautiful life. Here's a sample of the awesomeness that can be yours.

Openings are obviously limited. Priority will be given to those who offer good beer. That's a joke. Kind of.

Check out the pricing page for pricing, or to find out the prices.

And just because I've never posted this yet (and what's a post on a photography site without a photo). Here is one of my favorite family photos yet.


Announcement + Mental Dump

Hello and welcome to summer. In honor of this monumental season I am offering up a special deal. Just for you (Middle Eastern haggling).

Family portrait session will be $500 (that's my normal price) but now (until October, in which I need more money for all the beer) that includes a disc with all the Full Resolution photos (around 50 per session). Which I normally sell for an additional $400. It's a good deal. So act quickly, and book that thing!

For some reason, bloggers have always liked listing things. It's easier than having to put together sentences and thoughts (all those conjunctions and prepositions!), and people like reading lists (top ten ways to stop procrastinating...).

Here a some of my lists.

Three downright awesome photographers.

  1. Nick Brandt. The only wildlife photography I care to see.
  2. David Burnett. Sports and event photographer. Shoots with a Speed Graphic (4x5) and a Holga.
  3. Kitty & Craig Fritz. I love weddings and I love shooting them. They're real, important, and loads of fun. And there are some really good wedding photographers out there. But its rare to find a wedding photographer who produces real art. Someone whose images are so crazy good that people who have no clue whose wedding it is have their photos on their wall. These people do it. All the time. If I'm not available book them. (Yeah, pronoun overload. Deal with it.)

Some recent books that rock.

  1. 52 Loaves. Best book I've read since Catch 22. And that was ten years ago.
  2. Little Heathens. Decently written, but great content. A glimpse into the 1930's farm life.
  3. Portraits of America. Photo essays from middle America. It portrays an America we all know exists but have never seen. The photography is amazing but it doesn;t show itself off. The content is king, and only after looking at it for a bit do you noticc the perfect lighting, composition and moments. Really good stuff. Buy it used.

Cameras I own (this is a bit crazy).

  1. Nikon D700
  2. Nikkormat FT2
  3. Nikon F3
  4. Nikon F4s
  5. Canon QL
  6. Canon AE-1
  7. Minolta XG-2
  8. Polaroid 100
  9. Polaroid SX-70
  10. Yashica D
  11. Holga 120N
  12. Mamiya RZ67
  13. Pentax 6x7
  14. Contax 645
  15. A borrowed (indefinitely) Mamiya C330

Current favorite beers.

  1. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale
  2. Mad River Double IPA
  3. Stone Ruination IPA

Favorite sandwich ingredients.

  1. Fresh sourdough bread (cut thickly)
  2. Fresh & Kosher Mozzarella cheese (the best kosher mozzarella out there)
  3. Onions from the garden
  4. Tomato from the garden
  5. Homemade pink sauerkraut
  6. Mustard
  7. Avocado
  8. One of the aforementioned beers (not technically part of the sandwich but an integral part of the meal)

In the spirit of oversharing here is a barrel full of recent(ish) photos.


Side note: Pushing four kids in a stroller (two on the seats, two finding places), uphill, over grass, with an RZ67 hanging over your neck, is not easy.

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Shovels and hammers >; toys anyday

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Check out that eating position. The kid takes his food very seriously.


yeah, that's me, pushing two kids on the swings, with a kid on my back and somehow focusing and shooting.

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Making lemon juice (with lemons from our tree of course)

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Zusha: "dadadblgambujj"


Zevi: "Chanaleh, shhhhh, we're in a library, tatty says it's okay" Mendel: "TATTY, LIBRARY SLEEPING??"

Yeah, we got kicked out.

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No random post is complete without cows.


Geek speak: Most of these were with the RZ67 and the 110 lens, a bunch with the Contax 645 and the 80mm. All on Arista 100 Edu (a few with Delta 3200 shot at 1000), processed at walmart and scanned by me. Besides for the last three.

Quickshoot Date + info. Get onboard!

We here at Zalmy Berkowitz Photography ("we" being me, my beer and my delicious cheese sandwich (which deserves a post of its own)) are very excited to announce our very first Quickshoot. Also known as "Hot Shots", "Portrait Marathon", "Family Photos by Friendly Folks", "Family Portrait Day", "Super Deluxe Supreme Photos" and other corny names, a Quickshoot is a great way to procure (as if anyone is anticure) some great family photos at a great price.

Read More

Win a Free Photo Shoot

I'm doing it. Selling out. Buying friends and fans. And I love it. Here's what you gotta do to win a free, all expenses paid photoshoot by the ultra-fantabulous, uber-talented, and quite possibly the biggest bearded photographer within the nearest 100 miles:

  1. Go to my facebook page and "like" me. That's "like" not like.
  2. "Share" the post about getting a free shoot. That's "share". You don't have to actually share things.
  3. Comment on the free shoot post that you "liked" and "shared" and automatically (on your part, not mine. I have to take the time to actually figure out this whole raffle thingie) entered to win one of two free shoots.

Why two? you might ask. Well the first is to get lots of peoples checking out my work and spreading the good name of Zalmy Berkowitz Photography over all 4 corners of the cyber globe. The second is to prove that I'm not just doing this to get fans (which I actually am). And I like shooting. So the more the merrier.

What you get:

  • 2 hours (or more) of you and yours posing (i.e. doing your thing and having a blast) and me shooting.
  • Online gallery for you to buy prints.
  • Physical proofs (real prints!! 4x6.5 inchers)
  • 1 free 8x10 incher.
  • Quality time with the aforementioned me.
  • Love, Harmony, Peace, and Karma.

Rules, Regulations and tax exemptions:

  • You must be over 18 to enter.
  • Up to five people per shoot. Unless I really like you.
  • Time and place are up to me. Trust me (though if you have any cool ideas please fill me in).
  • I live in Southern California. If you don't live in these parts, and don't plan on visiting soon, please don't enter (though feel free to "like" and "share").
  • Your free shot is claimable for up to three months from drawing date. Unless you have a darn good reason for requesting an extension (pursuant to California tax code pf853a).
  • The actual drawing/raffle/lotto will commence at 9:43 PM Pacific Standard Time in the 2nd of November. Entries will be accepted until then.

To Summarize:

If you wanna chance to win like a free shoot, you gotta like 'like" my page and then, like, "share" this post and then you're like entered! (I'm from the OC so I was like taught to talk like this.)

And that's all folks!

And since no post is complete without pics, here are a bunch of random recent photos to whet your appetite (no eating little kids!!). photo-2-6.jpg photo-3-5.jpg photo-1-5.jpg photo-2-5.jpg photo-1-15.jpg photo-2-13.jpg photo-2-12.jpg photo-3-8.jpgphoto-4-2.jpg photo-3-7.jpgphoto-2-9.jpg photo-2-8.jpgphoto-2-11.jpg photo-1-7.jpgphoto-1-12.jpg photo-2-10.jpg photo-1.jpg photo-2.jpg photo-3.jpg photo-4.jpg photo-5.jpg photo-6.jpg photo-1-4.jpg photo-2-4.jpgphoto-1-3.jpg photo-3-3.jpg

Long Live Facebook!