Monthly Archives: January 2011

San Jose Sharks vs LA Kings 1.26.11

I shot the last game before the All-Star Break and LA Kings extended road trip until the last week of February.

I tried shooting one more game with the 2x extender. Not sure if it is really worth it. Focus runs slow and a bit soft in the hockey rink.

But, I think I got some interesting images. =)

It was a really exciting game that went into a shoot out. Kings pulled off the win thanks to Jon Quick not giving up a goal in the shootout.

Be sure to watch the All Star Game this weekend!

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Boston Bruins vs LA Kings 1.24.11

Had a real fun time photographing the Bruins and Kings. I rented a couple tele-extenders. One 1.4x and one 2x.

It was crazy tough remembering to change my exposure going between using each of them and none at all. I was losing a stop, then two stops, then no stops. haha.

Also, pulling focus was a little slower with the extenders which made shooting a lot more difficult. But, it was awesome being able to get up closer to the opposite net and benches!

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Casey Crescenzo presents Colors.

My good friend, Casey, has a band called The Dear Hunter. It is his musical play made up of six acts. Each album he puts out is an act. So far he has released three wonderful acts.

As a means of a break from that project he is producing something entirely new called Colors. It is a highly ambitious exploration into different musical genres that inspires him. Each color represents a different genre. Nine colors, nine EPs total.

I was lucky enough to be asked to travel with him while he played shows for fans on his way to the studios where he recorded three of the nine EPs.

While I’ve been back home trying to figure what is going on with me I have started to teach myself Adobe Premiere and editing some footage we shot.

Check it out. I have a book coming next week and I’ll give this another go. =)

Casey Crescenzo in Tahoe State Park (Rough Edit) from gary livingston on Vimeo.

Please learn more about his Colors project and keep up with him. He’s so incredibly talented and an amazing person and friend. He needs your help spreading his music and building fans.

TDHcolors.com

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Edmonton Oilers vs LA Kings 1.15.11

It was a really great game. The Kings actually won one haha. Good way to get ready for their road trip. It’s hard to judge the game at ice level while taking photos but it felt like the Kings put in a full 60 minute effort on this one.

The Oilers were really fun to watch too. They have some really talented kids and of course their first round pick last season, Taylor Hall, was very impressive. I tried to get some good shots of him. Unfortunately, the Doughty hit on him was obscured from me due to the glass =(

I’m bummed the Kings are leaving on their road trip. These games are just about the only peace of mind I get from what is going on with me. But, I guess the timing works out. My Canon broke again so I don’t need to rush to get that fixed before the next game I’m shooting.

I hope you see some improvement between the games I’ve been shooting. There have been some very unfortunate technical difficulties slightly swaying the upward curve of improvement but, I still hope that curve ended up moving upward none the less.

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I feel like my life is Groundhog’s Day

bill murray rules

I heard back from the Doctors the other day. Maybe yesterday? I don’t know. Days are blurring quickly together lately.

It turns out they couldn’t identify what the MRI showed on my pancreas with the ultrasound endoscopy they shoved into my stomach. They did find three suspicious lymph nodes that they biopsied.

I feel like I keep taking steps forward to finding out what is wrong with me only to take steps back. Things start to brighten up and become clear when I’m suddenly thrust back into complete darkness.

My main doctor, Dr. Cooper, is determined to find out what is wrong. Which is good. It means she, like 99.9% of everyone I know believes me that something really is wrong.

Still, all things considered I feel like I am living a real version of Groundhog’s Day. I hope you’ve seen that movie. It is amazing.

Essentially, the last six years of my life have gone completely no where. On two occasions I have managed to have everything I ever dreamed of only to lose it all (family and most of my friends excluded). This second time I had things better than I EVER imagined. I thought life was finally on track to get me to my potential and I had the right person at my side.

Unfortunately, again, I lost it all and I’m off track and so confused and sick. That’s my life on a macro scale.

Worst is that this time it’s not so obvious as to what is causing it. Thus, on a micro scale every day is groundhog’s day as I talk to doctors and they offer me answers only to find out those answers weren’t right and I’m not making any progress.

Maybe I’m just in the middle of the movie still. Maybe there is still hope for me to achieve my goals, get the girl of my dreams, and be happy just being me. I think I’m out of chances for the girl but, I know the rest is still waiting for me to get right.

All I know is that I am yet to go for a joyride with an overgrown chipmunk. As I recall, that’s the turning point for our hero.

bill and the rodent

Maybe I just need to go for a joyride…

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Nashville Predators vs LA Kings 1.6.2011

I shot my third LA Kings game tonight. It went much better than on Monday. No camera break downs. Smooth sailing.

Almost got hit by a puck but, I’m learning the ropes rather quickly. Another photographer next to me lost his lens hood onto the ice though. haha. Glad that I haven’t been too obviously new at this.

I gotta say, Canon really impressed me. They repaired my camera within a single day. All under warranty with no charge to me. They replaced the CF reader/writer and did a cleaning. Pretty snazzy when they originally quoted me 5-7 business days. Really nice staff down there at Irvine too.

I got to make some new friends tonight and see some old ones. I was really excited to see Justin Maranga.

If you don’t know who he is allow me to introduce you. He’s a gifted guitar player (he plays other instruments as well) for the bands Nighthorse and Ancestors. Go check them out!

The game didn’t go too well for the Kings but it was still pretty exciting and fun. Linback did great in goal for the Predators. He’s really fidgety in net but, was making great saves.

My family just told me I was on the Fox Sports West telecast of the game a lot. haha. So, if you watched the game you may have seen me looking skittish as players crashed into the boards in front of me and as the puck rang around the boards. I hope I didn’t look too funny.

Hopefully, my images are improving. I have a few games off until Monday. Which works out. I gotta do lots of blood work for my endoscopy that is scheduled for next Wednesday. In the meantime, I’ll be reviewing what I’ve done so far and try to figure out how to improve. I really love the lead image above. I need to get lots more like that for sure. I wish I had a telephoto converter so I could get more coverage and some tighter shots of the players on the bench. Something to work towards for sure.

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Chicago Blackhawks vs LA Kings 1.3.11

It was a pretty crazy night. In addition to the personal stuff (mentioned below) my new camera decided to break during the first period of the game.

I scrambled to find a way to fix it and was on the phone with Canon technical support but it was useless and I need to send the camera in.

Such a shame. It was a really exciting game and I wish I could have done a better job capturing it.

I will be at the upcoming LA Kings games versus Nashville, Toronto, and Edmonton and I thankfully have some other cameras to bring with me.

I just can’t believe a camera that is not even six months old and very well cared for broke down. Apparently the CF reader/writer in the camera is the problem. At least the warranty covers it.

Hopefully, you enjoy the very limited photographs I was able to take.

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Just Something Personal

For those that stop by you may have noticed a long void of content the last few months. My posts and production dropped a great deal. I have been dealing with a few health issues.

Have you ever felt like you were a ghost? As if everything you had and were working towards…even who you are suddenly ceased to exist and was out of your reach. Leaving you frightened and confused because no matter how much you fought to the best of your ability you couldn’t get control over the situation or even understand your actions that brought you to that point. You knew what you were doing made no sense and never had anything to cause you to even think about such things. But, despite all of the wonderful and positive things in your life nothing could stop the negative thoughts from growing and ultimately taking control of every aspect of who you were.

I have. Twice now. The first time I had this happen I had a tumor that was in my body for years and slowly killing me. It altered my brain function and my entire body’s chemistry. In 2008 I would have died if i didn’t end up in the hands of doctors that believed me when I told them something was wrong with my body. The others simply told me I was depressed and it was in my head.

During that time I was completely insane, I was having full blown anxiety/panic attacks 5-12 times each day for over two years, I would wake up thinking i was dead and unable to communicate with anyone near me, I would hallucinate, I was put on random drugs because they first thought I needed psychiatric help (but it only resulted in terrible side effects: my thoughts were cloudy, terrible sexual side effects, I had terrible abdomen pains, I became slow), in the hospital the various chemicals they gave me for tests caused me to shit my pants seven times, I lost 20 pounds, I was told I might have pancreatic cancer, I had a camera shoved in my throat and into my stomach, I had part of my pancreas and bowels removed, I was in so much pain I hallucinated (even with a drip of a medication that is three times more powerful than morphine), I couldn’t shit for ten days and when I finally did i filled the toilet full of blood, scabs, and pieces of my bowels to the point the water lost all transparency and this lasted two more weeks, I had a drain sticking out of my belly that collected pus and blood daily, I had a catheter in me for a week, and it took six months for my body chemistry to start adjusting back to where it should have been all along. There are many other things I don’t even recall.

I spent a year and a half after that ordeal feeling amazing, in control, free of all anxiety, confident and ambitious, and working hard to reclaim my life. Everything was where it should be and I was set up to reach the next step. But something went wrong just as life seemed perfect.

It is happening again. Again people are dealing with my personality change and the fact that it is hard to understand or believe that my actions and thoughts aren’t my own and are anything but irrational and unprovoked. No matter how hard I try or know what I am saying/doing makes no sense only fear controls me.

Again, everything in my life seems to be frozen and out of my reach. The best aspects of which, the aspects which one chances upon maybe once in the entirety of one’s life, seem lost.

All the physical ailments are repeating. I’ve lost 20 pounds, I am waking up sweating, my hands and feet are getting pins and needles, I am riddled with anxiety and panic attacks, my blood pressure is fluctuating greatly, and the rest.

I’ve been in and out of the hospital and visiting four doctors over the last few weeks. I have gone through countless tests resulting in about 100 vials of blood being drawn, a few gallons of urine being taken, and an MRI being done since I started seeing the doctors.

I heard some results this morning and it seems as though I have two battles to fight.

The first problem I am facing is what seems to be a recurrence of a tumor on my pancreas. I have been in and out of the hospital during the month of December. I most recently spent four days at Cedar Sinai undergoing a large number of tests. The results as of January 3rd show my insulin and glucose levels are off. My glucose is once again dropping into the “danger zone.” A bit more frightening is that the MRI I had showed something on my pancreas again. It is small at least and they need to do an endoscopy to confirm there is really something there. But, this is exactly how things went down over two years ago. I can handle whatever it is. However, I am hoping if there is another tumor it isn’t cancer. That’s the only thing that truly scares me.

The second is post traumatic stress disorder. It was brought on by the horrible experiences I went through fighting my tumor. Not just physical experiences but mental ones. I never really reflected on what I went through. I simply accepted it as something that happened and moved on. In a way I ignored a lot of he devastating things left in the wake of that time of my life. It took over a year for something to trigger a very strong emotional response to it all. This has slowly caused me to lose control of my life and personality. Most people only associate PTSD with soldiers or victims of violent crime. However, it affects those that has dealt with serious illnesses as well. Just a heads up to anybody you getting through a similar ordeal, find someone to talk to and help you avoid the trauma from manifesting into something terrible later. It’s made me rather unbearable as a person. Much more so than if my body alone was affecting my personality.

I was living a dream up until recently. My career was on track, I had a wonderful relationship with the most amazing woman, I was happy and realizing my potential.

It is rough dealing with this. Not because I feel like I don’t deserve this or I don’t understand why this is happening. These things just happen. To anyone at anytime. That’s life.

However, I hate what this has caused me to do to the people I care about. Both those problems have changed me for the time being into someone that is quite weak and out of control in a lot of ways. I know it is easy to look to something else to blame for one’s actions or choices. But, having gone through this before there is a point where will power is pushed aside and instincts and fear take full control. Where you are seemingly outside of yourself, knowing what you are doing makes no sense and is wrong, and you have no way to stopping that person who has taken over your body.

I have been a complete piece of shit to the woman I love, I’ve been agitated and intolerable towards my parents and brothers again, I’ve begun snapping at my other friends again. I haven’t been able to just be happy and enjoy my time with those I care about. My entire existence has been filled with irrational fears, anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia, and complete insanity. Nothing dealing with them had anything to instigate it. It’s so frustrating knowing what I am doing never had a reason to be done.

The only thing that warranted any fears was my health. But, I couldn’t find a way to deal with that. Instead I avoided my health at all costs and subconsciously made up problems with people and situations that I knew would result in positive reassurance and results.

It’s very weird to explain and harder to believe. But, those of you that have been my friends the longest and were with me the last time I lost myself to these ailments know just how dramatically different my personality can be when you compare “sick Gary” to “healthy Gary.” I truly have been two different people in my life and the one I know I am and want to remain has slowly been hidden due to these health issues.

It’s like Jekyl and Hyde. Rather than a potion being behind the transformation it is a tumor and a host of other internal problems fueling the evil me. I hate how much of an excuse that sounds. I hate how much it sounds like I’m manipulating the situation to serve my own agenda. But, it is simply the truth. One of which I don’t know how to express in a more sincere and honest manner that doesn’t come off wrong.

When I found myself in this hell again I was in the middle of doing something I have been hoping to achieve. I was out with my friend, Casey Crescenzo, making a documentary about the recording of his new musical project. Something I have been wanting to do and be a part of for years. Something I was so proud to be a part of. During that time things got really bad and I couldn’t give him all the focus and energy he and the project deserved. I learned just how great of a friend Casey is during that time. I can’t speak highly enough of just how caring and supportive he was to me. I owe him a lot for giving me a chance and dealing with me at my worst. I’ll make some posts about his Colors project and work I’ve done in support of it soon. Please look him up and explore his amazing music. He’s so incredibly talented and such a wonderful person.

It’s kinda crazy just how many friends I have like him. If things were different and I was not fortunate to have the family and friends I have things would be so different. I don’t know how I could find the will to survive. Every time someone asks me how I am or shares some sentiment of support for me my heart grows and I know everything is going to be ok. I know I need to be ok. It’s amazing and I am so grateful to have the friends and family I have. Thank you, all of you for making the worst moments in my life not just bearable but full of love and something so positive and wonderful.

In the next week or so I will post an up-date about the results from the endoscopy.

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First Time Shooting a Kings Game

It was a crazy time shooting a NHL game for the first time. The pace was outta hand. It is so hard to track a play and predict where it will move next from ice level. When you are further back and able to take in the game of hockey as a singular entity it is pretty easy. But, on ice level you’re forced into the mix to take in individual by individual. It’s utter chaos. I don’t think I’ve shot anything as challenging. It was a total blast!

I hope to get lots more photos that will continue to improve as I get more experience covering games. I was shooting for www.thefourthperiod.com and I am very thankful for them giving me an in to the game of hockey beyond taking portraits. Please check out their wonderful publication and subscribe! The magazine is growing and evolving into something better and better each issue. It’s really fun to track their progress so, join in!

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