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I am Nikonians

Gary Paige (JazzDoc) Interview

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2)

Keywords: nature, wildlife, photography, nikonians, jazzdoc


Working with Gary Paige and hearing him mention his first camera caused me to reflect on the early passion that many of us felt for photography and how we remember our first cameras with feelings of nostalgia.  Warm memories of our first captures and the device that made it all possible.  What a blessing to have become aware of the technology of the time that was a stepping stone in our present quest for art. As you will hear Gary’s love of the arts has had a profound effect on him and the different facets of his life.


Misty Mountain. Elk Lake, Adirondack Park, NY
Nikon D200,18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR, @ f/5.6, 1/350s at f/5.6, ISO 200
-0.7 EV, on a Gitzo tripod & RRS ball head
Click for an enlargement


“My introduction to Photography began with the gift of a Kodak Hawkeye at age 7 and evolved into a life-long endeavor. Music was also an early passion and even career path, such that I left home at age 14 for an arts high school at Interlochen, Michigan in the late 60's. However, academics seized my attention, and ultimately a career following 15 additional years of study (college, medical and graduate school, internship and residency). I have remained in academia, engaged in research (sensory-motor neuroscience), teaching, and medicine (dizziness and balance disorders), particularly at the University of Rochester since 1990. 


Eagle Cliff Falls. Havana Glen Park near Montour, NY
Nikon D3S, 24-70mm f/2.8 @ f/22, 1.6s, ISO 200
Gitzo tripod & Markins ball head
Click for an enlargement


A common thread across disciplines stems from my lifelong adoration of jazz. Whether career or hobby, all require a foundation of knowledge that in turn catalyzes innovation and improvisation. Ultimately, this process formulates a personal stylistic voice. With photography, the overriding challenge has been to hone and enjoy the craft while maintaining a consuming career. My solution has been to exploit gaps in the calendar -weekend outings, side-trips during professional conferences, and targeted exotic vacations. All serve as “experiments,” much like scientific ones, and always expressions of jazz. This synergy works, and even better, is joined with my wife, Myrna, in partnership.


Lion Couple at Sunrise. Maasai Mara Reserve, Kenya
Nikon D4, 200-400mm f/4 VR @ f/5.6, 1/2000s, ISO 200
Gitzo tripod & Markins ball head
Click for an enlargement


My (our) favorite sub-discipline is wildlife and nature photography, and that drives our personal outings and self-imposed assignments. These include the Falklands, Galapagos, Peruvian Amazon, five African countries (and counting), Iceland, and of course, the US. Culture remains another interest, and this is where extensions to professional meetings shine, particularly in Europe. We enjoy heading off the grid, digging into local environs, and capturing what we can of the ambiance. Meanwhile, Upstate New York is quite lovely in its own right, with the Adirondacks and Finger Lakes offering outstanding photographic opportunities.


Mountain Gorilla Gesture. Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Nikon D500, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII @ f/6.3, 1/200s, ISO 500, handheld
Click for an enlargement


I cannot recall how, but it was a long time ago upon acquiring my first Nikon DSLR -the D70- when the nikonians community first surfaced for me. I was thrilled to witness the richness and style of this site, the learning curve that arises, and the wonderful community that remains engaged and interactive. 


King Penguin Quartet. Saunders Island (‘the Neck’), Falkland Islands
Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII @ f/16, 1/500s, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, handheld
Click for an enlargement


The forums. Whatever the issue, responders show up to add wisdom to even esoteric topics. Several posts from me requesting help or advice have always provoked solutions. I weigh in myself at times, but only if there is something useful, unique, or catalytic, to add. 


Tufted Puffin, In-Coming. Port Lions, Kodiak Island, Alaska
Nikon D500, Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3C @ f/6.3, 1/1600s, ISO 500, handheld
Click for an enlargement


The contests have been terrific as well. It took time for me to begin submitting, but once initiated, I have participated sporadically, always grateful for the experience and occasional successes. The Wildlife and Landscape versions have been favorites. However, I helped instigate the Travel contest, and that remains a favorite as well.


Nyamirambo Neighborhood. Kigali, Rwanda
Nikon D800, 24-120mm f/4 VR @ f/9, 1/1000s, ISO 800, handheld

A favorite and eclectic technical tip is worthwhile. I have a rubber-band on all of my lenses—the wide type used to bind vegetables (e.g. asparagus). They are useful to remove stuck filters, particularly polarizers which have small fixed rings, and also to better secure rain-hoods or quick cellophane bag solutions in emergencies, among a myriad of other uses. They are effectively free, readily replaceable, and up there with gaffer tape for utility.


Central Park in Winter. NYC
Nikon D3S, 24-70mm f/2.8 @ f/8, 1/640s, ISO 400
Click for an enlargement


One evening at an infamous spot in the Falklands called ‘The Neck,’ I wondered alone one evening to catch the twilight with a colony of Gentoo penguins. After shooting for some 20 minutes or so, I stopped to rest. Turning around to survey the area, there behind me was a collection of spectators—Gentoos at least 10-deep and in a hemicircle just a few feet away, curious as to what this peculiar ‘giant penguin’ before them was doing in their yard. I burst into laughter, which frightened them, and so they all turned in unison and rushed radially outward, only to stop after about 10’ and turn their heads and observe the consequences. I remained still and with low voice, and so they gradually returned to their ‘seats’ to continue with the performance. When done, I gathered my rig, and now, unafraid, they simply parted a path as I walked out and away, bidding them a good night. How sweet is that?  Extraordinary…. permanent memory.”


Grand Canal at Twilight. Venice, Italy
Nikon D4, 16-35mm f/4 VR @ f/20, 6s, ISO 400, -0.7 EV
Click for an enlargement


Note: Post-processing included only general image characteristics, global and local, without modifying any structural elements (i.e. no cloning, color change, etc.)

Gary or as we know him, JazzDoc, also brought up a thought worthy of some reflection.  His passion for music and the arts, including photography, became an integral part of his career.  His work was infused, flourishing with a vision inspired by a unique perspective. Other Nikonians may have experienced similar adding dimension to their careers.  Gary expressed an interest in hearing of your experiences.  

It has been a great opportunity to become more familiar with you Gary.  Thanks for your thoughts and images which will be so enjoyable to view and to remember.

Originally written on April 25, 2019

Last updated on May 2, 2019

Marsha Edmunds Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2)

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Awarded for her in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.

Lethbridge, Canada
Team, 7549 posts

More articles by Marsha Edmunds

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Gary Paige (JazzDoc) on April 28, 2019

Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Ribbon awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2017 Annual Photo Contest Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the 2019 Fundraising campaign

I am both thrilled and honored to be included among colleagues in the 'I am Nikonians' series. special thanks go to Marsha Edmunds who first contacted me on this feature. We shared a delightful interchange along the way, which engendered all the reasons why Nikonians.org works so well for so many. Thanks also to the leadership of Nikonians.org, not only for this individual honor, but for their continuing commitment toward honing and expanding the organization over time. Cheers Gary Paige

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2) on April 28, 2019

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Awarded for her in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.

Fine photography Gary!!! I would love to see more of your work in the Forums as you are accomplished in a number of areas of photography. I love how you incorporate music and photography into your life.

David Summers (dm1dave) on April 25, 2019

Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art a

Great article, It is great to get to know the man behind the images. It is hard to beat that penguin story! Thanks for sharing and your support to our community!