Delta 3200

Rachel + Yitzie // Los Angeles, CA

I have typers bock. It's a rare yet harsh malady where although one may have much to say, or even write, those tiny muscles in fingers refuse to translate the impulses sent by the brain into action. Instead somehow I end up in front of the fridge, wondering how long I've been there for.

So I grab a beer (or, if there isn't one in the fridge, I storm away fuming), head back to my computer and type with my toes. Yes, this blog was typed with my toes.

I also used seven cameras for this wedding. Seven. Why? That is a very, very good question. My back and shoulders would like to know the same.

Rachel and her family were part of our community since, well, I can't remember when we didn't know each other. It's amazing to see people grow up into truly unique and special people. Yitzi was always grown up. He may have been a child once but we only met a few months before the wedding, so I have no proof. I do know that he is über smart, witty, and kind. Not a bad combo. There's a lot to tell about this beautiful wedding, with beautiful friends, and beautiful families, but I'll let the photos tell the story.


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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.


warning: many words coming up. feel free to skip the soliloquy, and head straight to the pictures. Why. It’s a question I get asked a few hundred times a day. That’s what I get for having a five year old (and a four year old). And it gets pretty deep.

Zevi: “Why did you go through the alley?”

Me: “You’re not allowed to make a left onto Linden from Carson”.

“How do you know?”

“Well, there’s no turning lane and a “no left turn” sign”.


“Well, they don’t want people using Linden instead of Atlantic”

“Why would someone do that”

“Sometimes Atlantic has a lot of traffic, so people want to use the side streets.”


“The people that live on Linden don’t want people driving fast down their street.”

“But what about the people that live on Linden, won’t they drive fast?”

“No, Zevi people that live here understand that they shouldn’t drive fast on their own block.”

And the conversation would have gone on, but we got arrived home (thank G-d).

See what happened? From a few innocent “why’s” we got to one of the main principles behind the free market and private prooperty.

But as we age, we sometimes (pretty much always) forget to ask why and just do things because “that’s what we do”.

Every “what” has a “why” behind it. And that “why” turn into another “what” with its very own “why”. And that goes on. an on. For a very long time.

In Kabballah this is refered to as a body and a soul. Even souls have a body and a soul.

When I first started documenting my family I was obsessed with “beautiful shots”. You know, the close up portraits with beautiful blurred out backgrounds.


After some time, it occured to me that while I had many photos of what my kids looked like, I didn’t really know what to do with them. And even worse I was finding that while they contained beautiful faces, looking at them they didn’t really contain many memories.

So the why question reared its beautiful head and had me thinking for a bit (doesn't happen very often). Why am I taking all these photos? Ten years down the line what kind of photos do I want to look at. I’d like to say it was an epiphany, but the process took some time (and is still going on).

I want memories. I want photos that bring me back to the moment captured, that remind me of not what my kids looked like but what they acted like. How they interacted. The cute/annoying things they do. Their little idiosyncracies that make them such individuals.

I still want beautiful photos, but not for prettiness sake. More to remember how beautiful my life is. How lucky I am to be given the gift of raising these little people. How amazingly beautiful and kind my wife is.

And I want to do this for other people as well. These are the photos that really matter. Yeah, I could make you and your family look like rockstars, with awesome backdrops and beautiful lighting. But down the line what do you want to remember? Do you want to sit down with your grandkids and look at an album of their parents? Of how they were as kids, how they got dirty, what they ate, how they ate? What they wore (not for a photoshoot, but what they wore every day), and how they played?

I do.

These were all taken three days before Pesach. Yeah, the lighting isn't perfect and no one is looking at the camera and smiling. But why would I want that? (Well, maybe once in a while:))


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Geekery: All shot on Arista Edu 100 (el cheapo film), developed through Walmart (yeah, I know I chewed them out here, but they're okay for some film) and scanned by me. Random fact: Instead of searching my website for a post, I usually just google my name and some words I know are in that post. So for that previous link I searched: Zalmy Walmart, and got this.They name laptop coolers after me, I'm that cool.

The Pribyls - Documentary Family Session

I have SOOOO much to write about this shoot but I don't want my mediocre writing skills to take away from the awesomeness of this family, so I'll make it short.

Family documentary photography is really where I want my business to be heading. It's something I feel is important, real, and not nearly as common as it should be. Recently I was given the opportunity to shoot this absolutely delightful family in Santa Rosa. This is exactly what the family does on a normal Monday. What they wear, what they eat, where they go, what they play etc. And as the years go by they will have these awesome memories documented, not just what they looked like but how they were. How cool is that?

Yeah, I thought so.

Enjoy, and thanks for looking.

We started off with some homeschooling (them, not me :))

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Learning makes you hungry (well everything makes ME hungry, but we're talking about normal people here), so mom makes some yummy looking cheese sandwiches (wherever I go, cheese sandwiches seem to be following me).

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I think it was someones birthday here (mom's sis?) so they all (actually we) sang happy birthday (well Frank sang happy boothday, and I think he thinks we were all laughing at him...)


Hannah looooves dressing Violet up, doing her hair etc. And she has very pretty hair. All I noticed was that coffee though. I love coffee.

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Back to some reading drills with mommy. Schools cool, but how awesome is snuggling up with mommy and reading some?

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Reading is knowledge and knowledge is power. Hence the biceps.

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That. Is. A. Big. Book.

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I love how all the siblings play together!! It's really sweet.

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Off to the chopping block (it's not easy, I tried, and, well, it wasn't pretty). If I was that block I would not underestimate the power of a Frank. Even if he's seven.

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Getting the mail was a very important daily ritual. To be met with shoed feet and appropriately attired hair.

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Jasmine was in awe over mom's wisdom. Yes, holding those yellow flowers under your chin will make your chin yellow (sadly it won't make my beard blonde).

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And off to the front yard for some ballage and rideage.

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Jordan would be proud (check out that wrist motion!)


I'm not sure if she made it in but I'll lead you on :)

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They have this park nearby which makes me want to pick up and move. Now.

This is one of the very few posed shots we did. Figured we'd get one or two nice family shots (the other's at the end). How cute are they?!

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Mom's sister (birthday girl?) and her family came to join. She's laughing at me.

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These ducks were scary. I'm serious. For some reason growing up we had a duck as a pet (bad idea) and it terrorized me.

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I was told I was doing a good job.


This is Jeney's grandson. It's amazing how much everyone oogles over him, (not that I blame them, and how edible are those cheeks?!)

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How handsome is David? (and how awesome is his hair?)

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For some reason I'm doubting he caught it...


And for some last family photos... (I'm already missing this family)

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How proud is grandma?


Normally I'd finish there. But the family only asked for two shots. The mail one and one with me in it. As they put it: "If we are documenting this one day, then you are very big part of it."

Good point.


Chanukah Bash at Seal Beach + Some San Fran Dates

Dear Citizens of the Radical Republic of the Bay Area,I will be in the aforementioned area the 11th and 12th of March (Sunday and Monday) and possibly again on Wednesday. If you are interested in booking a rockin' photoshoot let me know and we'll make it happen. I won't forget them flowers. For details about sessions and such check up my details-about-sessions-and-such page.

Peace, Love, Harmony and Organic Honey Hemp Raisin Cookies, Zalmy Berkowitz. Photographer Extraordinaire.

P.S. I'll be driving up and past. Up to Crescent City actually. Yeah, I'm weird like that, I like long drives (especially from San Fran to Crescent City. Sometimes I forget how beautiful this state really is.) So if you're anywhere along the California coast, I'm bookable.

In other completely unrelated news, I had the privilege of shooting this Pre-Chanukah Chanukah Bash at Seal Beach some while back. Hosted by the venerable Rabbi come Rockstar Shmuel Marcus of Chabad of Cypress and sponsored by some funky new vitamin drink. 'twas quite the evening (and stuffin my camera bag on the way out with donuts was not the best idea).


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