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Las Vegas in 3 Days at CES 2014


Sony at CES 2014 - Las Vegas

Before I get into my experience attending CES 2014 in Las Vegas, I want to just say wow! and thank you! to everyone for my last post of right before I left for Vegas! My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I got home and saw that the post was up to 30,000 notes here on Tumblr. I spent the majority of time in Vegas posting to and so I was blissfully unaware that my post was being passed around so much. Thank you sincerely everyone!

I was invited to work with Sony earlier this week to cover Sony’s new tech releases at CES 2014 in Las Vegas. I didn’t have the smoothest time getting out to Vegas since I got stuck in Chicago in the polar vortex (if you are curious and want to be amused, you can scroll through about my Chicago polar vortex experience). However, I made it on a secret unlisted flight out to Vegas hours later than I was expected to arrive but in one bemused piece.

I had never been to Las Vegas or CES so my short stay was punctuated by a lot of jaw-dropping overwhelmed and slightly surreal moments. I spent the majority of my time on a tight itinerary with Sony so I didn’t get to fully explore Las Vegas. I did end up walking around the strip with some really awesome and hilarious people some of whom are listed and linked below (also brought out by Sony) the night before I left which resulted in the few photos that appear in this photo-set. Perhaps one day I will go back to Vegas and give it a real whirl.


Gallery Key (corresponds to the order of photos in the photo-set):

1. A view of the Eiffel Tower Restaurant which is part of the Paris Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. This is about as close as I have gotten to an Eiffel Tower and while it most likely pales in comparison to the real thing, it was fairly enthralling at night.

2. And while we are on the subject of Paris, here is a view of a Paris street projected onto a wall in the Sony Life UX room at CES 2014. This was, hands down, my favorite place at CES 2014. It was meant to give a glimpse into future entertainment options. The device responsible for this uncannily real view of a Paris street is Sony’s state of the art which has the ability to project an Ultra HD image up to 147 inches onto a wall.

The bonus part of the room though? The entire room took on the same lighting present in the video of the Paris street creating a pretty awesome mood. There was a skylight that projected the same type of light and a lamp on a table outside of view here that fulfilled all of my Minority Report dreams of the future since the images projected from the lamp were fully interactive.

3.I was fortunate enough to get an exclusive invite to the official Sony keynote on Tuesday morning where Sony’s President Kazuo Hirai gave an invigorating presentation on where Sony is headed in terms of its main goals. Hirai emphasized that Sony is concerned with injecting the “wow factor” into every element of what it envisions, creates, and produces with an extra emphasis on “play”. To emphasize this emphasis, the keynote was supplemented by one of the most riveting artistic presentations I have seen. Artists created art live while Hirai spoke bringing his words to life. You can watch the keynote here:

One of the highlights was the appearance of Vince Gilligan who is the creator of Breaking Bad. Kazuo Hirai interviewed him on stage and during the interview the artists backstage created an ongoing montage to Breaking Bad complete with a blue meth-filled volcano, Walter White, and a nod to the spin-off Better Call Saul.

4. Ended up at the Bellagio for a grand dinner for Sony’s influencers at Yellowtail. This is the ceiling of the lobby of the Bellagio which is the work of master glass artist Dale Chihuly. It was hard to pull all of us away from gawking at the ceiling.

5.I have been obsessed with virtual reality for years. Sony stepped up their game at CES 2014 released an update to their Head Mounted Display which now includes head-tracking. There are a number of important players in the virtual reality arena right now with Oculus Rift being one of the prominent players. Sony’s addition of head-tracking ups the ante since it gives a more life-life feel. Let’s say put the display on and are in a car. With the new head-tracking you can look around at the view which immerses you deeper into the virtual reality landscape. This was someone testing out Sony’s Head Mounted Display.

6. Las Vegas has a number of extravagantly decorated hotels. The Venetian is one of the more beautiful hotel interiors I got to experience during my short stay in Vegas. This is one of the main corridors. In truth, the ceiling was an absolute masterpiece but I was hung up on the MC Escher-esque floor.

7. One of my favorite hashtags during CES was #4kfor2k . It referred to the new, more affordable 4K camcorder that Sony announced. It is the . Specs: 4K capture at 30p and 24p with a Carl Zeiss F/2.8-4.5 lens and the ability to shoot 108oi at 120p. Pretty sweet! Previously, 4K cameras were far more expensive so this is an exciting price-point.

8. Everywhere you looked at CES 2014 there seemed to be yet another implementation of wearable tech. Sony’s wearable tech differs from many of the other options in that (pictured here) comes with the Sony Core and LifeLog software. Rather than just log fitness goals, you can track and log nearly every element of your day as well as your sleep patterns. The SmartBand can even wake you up at the time of your choice with a tiny wrist vibration. This wearable tech will be released in a few months for Android initially.

9. On the last night of my stay in Las Vegas, I walked around the Las Vegas strip with a few other people and ended up taking a late night gondola ride in the canals of the Venetian Hotel complete with a singing gondolier (evidence here: ). This was one of my views from the gondola. I have never been to the canals of the real Venice so this was pretty cool albeit a bit amusing and surreal in a Las Vegas sort of way.

10. A big highlight was getting to meet and speak with Sony’s brand new COO and President of Sony Electronics Mike Fasulo. All of the influencers who worked with Sony at CES 2014 got to have a breakfast with him. Here we are with Mike Fasulo in Sony’s enormous CES booth (before the crowds got there).

Pictured here from Left to Right: , , , , , , , , , , Katie Levien Babineau, one of Sony’s Social Media Team, , and Callan Green, one of Sony’s Social Media Team

I hope you have enjoyed the photo-set! All photos were taken with a combination of my Sony A99, Sony NEX-6 and my iPhone.


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A travel-photo essay featuring the New York City views and amenities at One UN New York Millennium Hotel in midtown Manhattan…


New York City Skyline Views and Room Views - One UN New York


I had a great experience staying in One UN New York’s west tower this past week. One UN New York is part of the Millennium Hotels and Resorts group of global luxury travel properties and lays claim to some of the best views of the New York City skyline. Located on East 44th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, the hotel just completed a large scale renovation of its West Tower.

The hotel also just recently launched Sky-High Weekends which is a luxury package that includes a ton of amazing perks along with accommodations in the West Tower. One of the perks is a session with their Skyscraper Curator who shares history and architectural facts about many of the skyscrapers that surround the hotel. The package also includes access to a lounge on the 30th floor that serves up breakfast and evening beverages with hors d’oeuvres. And if that wasn’t enough, the kind hosts at One UN New York also provide you with a luxe box of chocolates, a set of collectible NYC coloring postcards that you can color in yourself, and tickets to New York City’s Skyscraper Museum.

During my stay, I received a grand tour of the West Tower and got to experience the views firsthand. Something that struck me about the hotel (aside from the jaw-dropping views) was how spacious the rooms are compared to other midtown Manhattan hotels. There are tons of hotels in midtown but usually you sacrifice space and noise levels for location. However, since One UN New York is located between 1st and 2nd Avenues, there is a lot less noise and space seems to be a top priority. I think the new West Tower is perfect for vacationing couples as well as families looking for great accommodations still in midtown within walking distance to many of the midtown tourist sites but also with easy access to many other areas of New York City.

The best part of my stay was that I woke up to a snowy New York City skyline view the next morning from my beautiful room in the West Tower. Perfect timing!

Gallery Key (corresponds to the order of photos in the photo-set):

1. This is the spectacular view I woke up to. Does it get any better? It was sunrise and snow was swirling around the tops of the skyscrapers of midtown and coating the streets below. View this photo in my portfolio here: New York City Skyline in the Snow

2. The full view from my West Tower room. This is a unique view of the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building while snow falls. It was hard to tear myself away from this view, believe me. View this photo in my portfolio here:

3. I loved these mirrors. This is a sitting area in one of the . Behind the cabinets are a ton of amenities to make your room feel like home. View this photo larger here:

4.This is the view from the swimming pool at One UN New York. Yes, really. View this photo in my portfolio here: Tudor City and the FDR Drive from Above - New York City

5. The hotel has a duplex suite which is spacious, modern, and yet still somehow maintains a comfortable vibe. View this photo larger here:

6. You know how I wrote above that it was hard to tear myself away from my room’s view? Well, the fine folks at One UN New York clearly knew that would be the case and so I got to enjoy their friendly room service which included a heavenly chocolate layer cake. Cake + city lights = perfection. View this photo larger here:

7. A night view from my room. View this photo in my portfolio here: : New York City Skyline and Chrysler Building - Night - Facing West

8. A view of one of the deluxe rooms. View this photo larger here: :

9. This is a view to the right of the lobby. While this is the original design and it will eventually be renovated, I really loved the mirrored ceilings and late 20th century vibe. View this photo larger here: :

10. And finally, this is one of the views from the fitness center. View this photo larger here: : The Queensboro Bridge and Roosevelt Island from Above - New York City

** All of these photos were taken with my Sony A99 and Sony NEX-6


View these photos (and more) of the views, accommodations, and amenities at One UN New York here (click on each photo in the set to enlarge):


Looking for more New York City Winter photos with snow? Here is a set (click on each photo to enlarge):


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Autumn in the Pocono Mountains

In another life, I lived where open spaces wed themselves to an infinite landscape.

In another life, the city was a speck on the imagination of a wilderness so vast, it yearned to meet the horizon and keep stretching itself further into the collective consciousness.

In another life…

Travel is the glue that binds us to alternate narratives of our own lives.

I grew up in a family that didn’t have the financial means to travel and so I traveled in my own mind to the parts of the world I would read about or come across in cinema.

Traveling as an adult has started to become a never-ending way to stretch my mind’s interpretations of places far past their previous limitations.

My version of America outside the confines of cities has always been shaped by others’ interpretations. Growing up in New York City, the rest of America has always been a daunting concept. Beyond its plethora of symbolic meanings, America is the wide-open unknown that yawns across huge expanses of the United States. It’s the sprawling wilderness that stretches north into Canada. It’s the stunning array of countries that extend beyond the United State’s southernmost points.

And so, when I got the chance to explore a small part of the over 2000 square miles that the Pocono Mountains region covers, my mind was swimming in previous interpretations of that hallowed part of Pennsylvania.

Decades ago, the Pocono Mountains area was referred to as The Poconos and in the New York City area The Poconos was advertised as a honeymoon shangri-la of epic proportions. The commercials I grew up with referenced jacuzzis in the shape of champagne glasses and the mere mention of The Poconos in conversation would incur an amused eyebrow raise and chuckle.

Armed with these rather peculiar and comical interpretations of the area, I set out on a three day journey with the Pocono Mountain Visitor Bureau. My aim was to photograph the Pocono Mountain area and their aim was to open my eyes and change my previous perceptions about the area.

I didn’t come across giant champagne glass shaped jacuzzis at all during my exploration of the area. What I did come across were miles upon miles of untouched wilderness in the throes of autumn, a striking array of outdoor activities, and a large variety of small and medium size towns and cities that intrigued me enough to put them back on my bucket-list of American towns to visit.

One of the highlights of my journey was having the conductor of the LeHigh Gorge Scenic Railway allow me to take photos from the back of the train. Train travel and trains are some of my favorite things in this world.

Here is a location guide to the photos in this set:

1 - Autumn foliage and railroad tracks seen from the . The poles on the right are the original telegraph poles used for early communication in the mid 19th century.

2 - Spectacular autumn landscape and view at

3 - Autumn hiking trail and bicycle path at

4 - The site of “the first commercial locomotive on rails in the western hemisphere” in

5 - Zip-lining through beautiful autumn trees at

6 - A view of the Delaware River at

7 - Autumn lake landscape at Woodloch Resort

View these photos larger and in a set here (click on each photo in the set to enlarge):


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Awesome New York City Day Trip: Orchard Beach and City Island - Bronx

My recent quest to visit spots in New York City that I have never ventured to before took me all the way up to the Bronx last week. I found an activity on , a great new app that highlights activities all over New York City, that referenced Orchard Beach lagoon and Pelham Bay Park which piqued my interest.

The last time I went to the Bronx, it was well over 10 years ago and while I have always been aware that the Bronx has beaches, I never really took the time to explore them before. The activity on Sōsh that caught my eye described the New York Water Trail, a lush 160 mile trail of waterways throughout the five boroughs of New York City. If you are curious, here is a link you can use to explore Sōsh: (search for Orchard Beach if you are curious about this particular excursion).

While I was wandering around Orchard Beach, I took the time to cross the tiny bridge over to City Island which is an island off of the coast of the Bronx that was first settled in 1625. It was like being transported to a New England fishing village! In the third photo in this set, you can see how close City Island is to Orchard Beach.

Looking forward to exploring more of the parts of New York City I rarely explore!


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Great place to experience if you are visiting New York City…


The Cloisters - Autumn - New York City - Fort Tryon Park

There are a few castle-like structures in New York City. This is one of them. The Cloisters is comprised of five different medieval abbeys and can be found in the northern part of Manhattan.

Something I have been meaning to do is to travel to and explore upper Manhattan. When I found out that The Cloisters is currently hosting its first ever contemporary art exhibit on , a great new app that highlights activities all over New York City, I knew I had to check it out.

The exhibit is called “Forty Part Motet” and is a sound installation by Janet Cardiff. If you are on and search for The Cloisters, the activity will show up for you along with transit directions, a map, and the museum’s (suggested) admission price.

It is an eleven minute musical piece that plays 40 voices on 40 different speakers in a 12th century apse called the Fuentidueña Chapel. It’s absolutely mesmerizing and overwhelming to experience the unity of voices in such a great acoustic space surrounded by 12th century artifacts.

I also spent a little time exploring Fort Tryon Park which is currently at autumn peak. What a perfect afternoon.


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