Author Archives: patrick-hobbyjam

Rocco Basile

Rocco Basile

Rocco Basile is one of the most recent talents to rise in the photography field. Born and raised in New York, his life has been permeated with the diverse sights of the city. Having lived in almost all of the boroughs, Rocco Basile is no stranger to the most iconic scenes the city has to offer. He has utilized his knowledge to produce some of the best skyline and candid photos in America. However, the subject of his camera lens lies most notably on the rare and beautiful instances that evoke a story. As such, Rocco Basile can be more accurately seen as a story teller first and a photographer second.

What is your hobby?

My main hobby is photography. Specifically, I am perhaps most well known for my photojournalism. Although, I do other types of photography as well such as landscape, fine art, wildlife, and portrait photography.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

 I think it is mostly thanks to my mom that I took up photography. Living in New York City, she always encouraged me to go out and immerse myself with my surroundings. I was especially drawn to walking into art galleries and museums. I began documenting my trips with my family’s camera because I wanted to share with my mom the daily adventures I had.

Tell us what you love about it.

What I love most about photography is the ability to capture the overlooked moments and see the influence it has on people. It really is a case of a picture being worth a thousand words. There is so much story and emotion packed into just the right shot.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

Before I started my own studio, I used to quite frequently participate in film and photography festivals. I mostly attended the ones situated in New York and California. However, I have also received exposure abroad in festivals based in Asia.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I have definitely had to invest in equipment for photography. People often think all I need is a camera, but there is a slew of gear that comes with it. I have bought countless batteries, tripods, and extremely pricey lenses. Beyond actual camera equipment is the need for editing software such as Adobe Photoshop.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

Honestly, I find it more convenient these days to order online from stores such as B&H Photo Video. Back in my early years, I would purchase my required gear from stores locally. It is probably acquiring a sense of familiarity with the store owner and employees that I miss the most now.

Are there any good books for beginners?

It is difficult to recall them as I have read so many photography books. I would probably recommend Mastering Digital SLR Photography by David D. Busch for beginners. It contains some advanced material but nothing too daunting. If you want just the bare essentials starting from zero, I would say try Digital SLR Photography For Dummies.

How has this changed your life?

Photography has quite literally opened my eyes to the world for me, which has greatly changed my life. I have been fortunate enough to have my skills take me to places all over the world. My stay in Japan was a definite culture shock, but it is probably my favorite country I have been to.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would advise beginners to not get caught up in the technical side of photography. It is way too overwhelming and it may even suck the satisfaction out of it. The one thing they should focus on is expressing themselves through photography. That is something I still carry on to this day. It is beneficial to apply this perspective as not only do they express who they are, they also learn more about their inner self.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I do have a few other hobbies on the side that I enjoy. I do not consider myself a master at it, but I try to make time to continue landscape painting. The passion for it sort of carried over from my own landscape photographs. It started out as an attempt to see how the expression of myself can vary between two different mediums with the same subject matter. I also enjoy being outdoors to stay physically active such as biking and hiking. Though I believe it has become more of a lifestyle than a hobby.

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Narin Charan - Capital Alliance

Narin Charan – CEO of Capital Alliance

Born and raised in sunny California, Narin Charan is the CEO of Capital Alliance, a tech-enabled direct lender dedicated to providing simple, transparent solutions for small businesses to obtain capital.

After 10 years of service as CEO for Capital Alliance,  Narin Charan carries the same enthusiasm and passion for his work as the early days starting the company out of a 150 square foot office in Orange County, California. To date, Capital Alliance has deployed over $500 million to thousands of small businesses across the United States.

Outside of his work, Narin Charan is an avid Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner and competitor.

 

What is your hobby?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

 

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

Since a kid, I have always been intrigued with the idea of Bushido, or the Way of the Warrior. The ‘way’ emphasizes samurai values like mastery, honor and loyalty. Our co-founder introduced me to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu back during our cold calling days. What started as a hobby became a lifestyle.

 

Tell us what you love about it.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a game of submitting your opponent utilizing strategic positioning and leverage. Sounds uncannily similar to the business game, right? There are many parallels between combat and business – strategy, positioning, leverage, timing – the list goes on. The game unfolds at different cadences, but they are very similar.

 

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community in general is like no other. We typically promote healthy lifestyle, humility, and constant self-development. I have met some amazing people on the mat. There are also the inevitable bonds formed from sharing years of blood and sweat with your training partners.

 

Are there any good books for beginners?

A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy by Miyamoto Musashi is an excellent book for anyone interested in martial arts or business strategy. Musashi believed martial arts involved a mastery of the mind rather than simply developing technical prowess.

 

How has this changed your life?

“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”

“Do not sleep under a roof. Carry no money or food. Go alone to places frightening to the common brand of men. Become a criminal of purpose. Be put in jail, and extricate yourself by your own wisdom.”

“There is timing in the whole life of the warrior, in his thriving and declining, in his harmony and discord. Similarly, there is timing in the Way of the merchant, in the rise and fall of capital. All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this.”

 

Enough said.

 

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Accept the fact that you will be dominated and beaten regularly during the beginning stages of your training. Embrace this as part of the process. Be patient and enjoy the journey.

 

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I love to experience nature with my kids. I also enjoy running, the Arts, and reading about Philosophy.

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River Cohen

River Cohen

River Cohen, a longtime resident of Northern California, is the CEO of River Cohen Giving, an endeavor that has allowed the revered entrepreneur and philanthropist to promote and support a variety of charitable efforts addressing societal issues of great importance. Based out of Scottsdale, Arizona, River Cohen Giving has been instrumental in drawing attention to issues affecting people all over the United States and beyond. River, an award-winning entrepreneur, has always taken great pride in the fact that his professional efforts have been deeply rooted in a socially conscious philosophy. As a resident of the Bay Area, River, along with his wife and two daughters, enjoy a multitude of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and swimming.

 

What is your hobby?

I’m interested in anything that encourages interaction with nature, so my family and I love to go for long hikes and bike rides whenever we are able.

 

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

Northern California is redolent with natural beauty, and it almost feels as though nature is quietly calling to you at all times.

 

Tell us what you love about it.

There is something uniquely satisfying about climbing to the highest peak possible and seeing how different everything appears from that particular perspective. The way back down, especially on a mountain bike, is also quite a rewarding experience.

 

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I have to travel a lot, so my wife and kids are the core group I typically hike or bike with.

 

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I enjoy tinkering with my mountain bike, so I’ve had the same frame for quite some time and have replaced most of the other components at one time or another. The most recent purchase was a new pair of shocks.

 

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

There is a great bike store near Mount Tamalpais, so I try to buy most of my supplies from there.

 

Are there any good books for beginners?

I’ve recommended “The Mountain Biker’s Training Bible” on several occasions.

 

How has this changed your life?

Hiking and biking are the perfect activities for those who wish to spend more time connecting with nature, although the pace of that interaction differs quite a bit between hiking and biking.

 

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

It’s important to recognize your limitations. Therefore, it is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the degree of difficulty associated with a hiking trail or mountain bike trail.

 

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I’ve always enjoyed swimming and have become even more interested in yoga recently.

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Ian Filippini

Ian Filippini

Ian Filippini, Santa Barbara native, is the president of Filippini Wealth Management, an independent wealth management firm offering clients comprehensive financial planning services. The company, which is based out of Santa Barbara, California, specializes in services pertaining to real estate, insurance, tax planning, and estate planning — along with a host of other services designed to create a convenient full-service option for its clients.

Filippini, has served as the president of Filippini Wealth Management for many years. Outside of his professional responsibilities, Filippini spends time in and around Santa Barbara.

 

What is your hobby?

Although I don’t have the time for it as I once did, I enjoyed playing golf in my youth.

 

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I learned to play at a very young age and was quite fortunate to live in such close proximity to Pebble Beach.

 

Tell us what you love about it.

I love the humility the game instills in you as well as the instant camaraderie that exists among all golfers regardless of skill level.

 

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

It’s not that often that I am able to play, but I competed in a few youth tournaments here and there back in the day.

 

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

A set of golf clubs is an obvious prerequisite, and I am quite pleased to report that the set of Miura blades I bought so many years ago still has plenty of life in it.

 

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I rarely need to stock up on golf balls and tees, and anything I might need before a round is typically available in the pro shop.

 

Are there any good books for beginners?

I highly recommend that all golfers — beginning and experienced players alike — read or re-read “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.” The illustrations are beautifully done and so many golfers can benefit from something as simple as adopting the proper grip.

 

How has this changed your life?

Since I played so often during my youth, I learned some critical life lessons that I continue to apply to this day. Golf repeatedly reinforces the importance of hard work, consistency, patience, and humility, among many other qualities that are beneficial in any endeavor.

 

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Swing mechanics are important, but the mental side of the game is of equal importance and usually deserves greater attention from most golfers — especially beginners.

 

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I don’t have much time for my hobbies, but I do enjoy all the hiking trails that so perfectly showcase the natural beauty of the Santa Barbara region.

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Janet Sirmon Hobby Jam

Janet Sirmon

Recognized by her peers as one of the industry’s most knowledgeable fine art photography dealers, Janet Sirmon, the owner of Janet Sirmon Fine Art Gallery, has spent several decades serving a distinguished and discerning client base of museum curators and private collectors. Janet, an alumnus of the famed Pratt Institute, is known for her expertise across the full spectrum of the photography medium, especially with regard to the Czech artists of the 1920s through the 1940s. On the occasions in which the gallery does not demand her immediate attention, Janet enjoys pursuing several hobbies and holds yoga and running in particularly high esteem.

 

What is your hobby?

Obviously, I am deeply passionate about photography, but I also enjoy running and engage in yoga practice on a regular basis.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I started running when I was a teenager. Growing up my family was always physically active – it’s just part of who I am.

Tell us what you love about it.

In addition to the mental, physical, and spiritual health benefits, I love that running and yoga seem to complement each other so perfectly. Running encourages creative thought and makes it possible to move through space in such a natural way, while yoga encourages a deep, calming kind of inner reflection.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

Yoga and running are both quite popular throughout Los Angeles, so I attend a yoga studio in my neighborhood and am part of a running group that meets up every weekend.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Just running shoes and a yoga mat! I should have mentioned how much I appreciate the

simplicity of both pursuits.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

There is a running-specific shoe store nearby, and I try to change out my shoes every 200-300 miles. The yoga mat is a bit more durable, but if I ever need to make a change my yoga studio has new ones available.

Are there any good books for beginners?

“Zen and the Art of Running” is a good one for beginners.

How has this changed your life?

Since I’ve been running and practicing yoga on a consistent basis, I’ve felt incredibly energized each and every day.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Build up mileage slowly to prevent injury, and take along a buddy!

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Skiing and golf. The great thing about Southern California is that during the winter months you could conceivably do both in one day

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Hamish McLaren

Hamish McLaren

After achieving remarkable success across a number of entrepreneurial endeavors, Hamish McLaren believes that the time has come to focus his attention on helping others build successful businesses of their own. This belief ultimately inspired Mr. McLaren to found McLaren & Associates Consulting, a firm dedicated to supporting and guiding aspiring entrepreneurs as they pursue the kind of unique and innovative ideas that were so central to McLaren’s own success. With his principal focus centered around his new consulting firm, Hamish McLaren is still able to vigorously pursue his longtime hobby and can often be found conducting business out on the golf course.

What is your hobby?

Although there are many days when it feels more like a blessing or a curse than a simple hobby, golf often dominates my free time.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

A number of my classmates already played golf, so I started playing while attending Notre Dame. At first, I thought it would be good for business, but it ultimately became a pursuit I deeply enjoy for reasons outside of business.

Tell us what you love about it.

There are many days in which I meet with clients and discuss business strategy while playing 18 holes, and I love the fact that it is one of the few games in which this is an acceptable practice.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I’m a member at two private courses and also meet up with a few other groups on a regular basis for competitive rounds.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Yes, one of the golf’s great curses is that it is so easy to endlessly tinker with your clubs until they are just right. I’ve bought club-making equipment, used club components, and have far too many shaft options to choose from.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

The group I play with on a regular basis is made up of individuals with similar tinkering habits, so we will trade clubs and other supplies with each other whenever possible. Otherwise, there is the pro shop as well as a few online forums with healthy classified sections that are just loaded with all kinds of different options.

Are there any good books for beginners?

The USGA’s “Rules of Golf,” should be in the bag of every beginning golfer. For instructional advice, I believe in-person lessons are best for a beginner who wants to make quick progress.

How has this changed your life?

Golf has made sure that I have access to an impressive office or conference room wherever I happen to be. I have held some of my most productive meetings on some of the world’s greatest courses, all while playing a game I deeply enjoy.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Learn to be patient, and take great care to abide by the rules of etiquette each time you play.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Yes, I also enjoy sailing as well as the occasional fishing trip.

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Phillip Brenner Hobby Jam

Phillip Brenner

With more than 22 years of experience in the field of urology, Dr. Phillip Brenner has remained at the forefront of innovation within his profession and has utilized his prodigious insight and expertise to assist patients in need of treatment for urological cancers. Dr. Brenner, who was previously the head of the urology unit at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, New South Wales, specializes in treating prostate and kidney cancers and has performed over 1,000 open radical prostatectomies and 750 laparoscopic procedures. Trained at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Brenner possesses an international reputation as a thoughtful surgeon whose foremost concern is always with the wellbeing of the patient.

What is your hobby?

I enjoy the outdoors, so my main hobbies are sailing, skiing, and tennis. 

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I’ve always enjoyed physical activity, and skiing has always held a unique appeal for me since I also enjoy watching professional snow sports. I started skiing young and have enjoyed it ever since.  

Tell us what you love about it.

For skiing, I love that I can cover so much ground and see so much of a particular location in a single day, all while staying healthy and fit.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

Yes, there are a few groups I am a part of. There are group ski trips that are scheduled throughout the winter. 

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

The skis themselves were the biggest expense, but I also have some gear.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

A married couple I ski with on the weekends owns a ski shop in Sydney, so I always get all of my supplies from them, even if it means waiting for a special order to come in.

Are there any good books for beginners?

This is a great list of books to get the beginner and seasoned skiier alike, excited about the sport.

How has this changed your life?

Skiing has made my life better in so many ways. I find the act of skiing to be quite relaxing, but it is also a great endurance workout that helps me stay fit. As if that were not enough, the social component has also been quite rewarding.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

For all sport hobbies, it is easy to go overboard on equipment that you might not need for a while — or perhaps at all — so my suggestion is to slowly add equipment according to need as you begin to become more serious about your choice of hobby.

 

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Marty Stallone Hobby Jam

Marty Stallone

An innovator in the field of finance and land development, Marty Stallone has utilized his insight and expertise to solidify the status of Metropolitan Development Group as the leading land development company in the Eastern Pennsylvania region. The broad-based land development company has completed projects that include residential, commercial, and industrial properties.

Mr. Stallone, the executive vice president of Metropolitan Development Group — or MDG, as it is often called — is a graduate of Cornell University and has been instrumental in the success MDG has enjoyed in recent years, a product of Mr. Stallone’s expertise in cash-flow analytics, risk management, finance, and the management of all other corporate functions.

What is your hobby?

Although I rarely have the time I’d like to devote to my hobby, I have always been passionate about the outdoors and about fly-fishing in particular.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

My family enjoyed fishing a great deal and we all learned how to fly-fish at a very early age.

Tell us what you love about it.

I like that it is a quiet and often solitary pursuit, not to mention the fact that it is an incredibly relaxing hobby.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I have a few colleagues that enjoy fishing as much as I do, and it is fairly often that we’ll plan a fishing trip as long as our schedules permit it.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Yes, I have invested quite a bit in equipment over the years, but my favorite rod and reel is the same one I’ve used for years after it was passed down to me through several generations of my family.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I do try to shop local wherever I happen to be, but there are times when I give in to the convenience of the digital marketplace.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I learned everything I know about fishing and fly-fishing from friends and family, but I have been told that River Music by James Babb is filled with excellent advice.

How has this changed your life?

I’ve found that fly-fishing is not only a relaxing and enjoyable hobby, but it is also a great way to contemplate new ideas or to refine ideas that are not quite ready to be implemented.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Like so many other pursuits, fishing is best enjoyed when the focus is primarily on the process rather than the outcome. If you believe in the process and adhere to the principles associated with that process, you will ultimately achieve the outcome you are seeking.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I enjoy playing golf as well as several other sports, but it is rare that I can find the time to really commit to sharpening my skills in the way I’d prefer.

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Kim Dao Hobby Jam

Kim Dao

Kim Dao is the founder of the Kim Dao Blog, a digital journal in which Dao is able to share her insights on a variety of subjects that include international travel, makeup, and fashion. When she first founded her blog, Dao had no idea that it would become one of the most frequently visited online resources on the aforementioned subjects or that she would have to expand on such a significant basis in order to meet the needs of her readers. Dao, born in Australia but now living in Japan, is a major social media influencer and is active on YouTube as well as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and Snapchat, along with countless other social media platforms.

What is your hobby?

I’m so passionate about makeup and fashion that my interest in both probably extends beyond the typical definition of “hobby,” but I love devoting my free time to anything relating to either one.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I really wanted to figure out how makeup artists and fashion designers were able to use the tools at their disposal to create a certain look, so I devoted a lot of time and energy to learning everything I could until I was able to do the same.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love that I can use makeup as a way to complement a look or to highlight a certain feature, which really adds an invaluable degree of versatility.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

There are a number of groups — both online and in person — that I am part of, including several I am responsible for leading.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Yes, I have had to invest a lot in makeup supplies and makeup equipment, but I’ve been getting a lot of complimentary makeup supplies from some really great brands because of my large social media following.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

One of my closest friends in Japan owns a store that has a great selection of makeup supplies, so I buy most of my makeup stuff there.

Are there any good books for beginners?

“The Art of Makeup,” by Kevyn Aucoin. This book should be on the bookshelf of any aspiring makeup artist who is just beginning to become interested in the field.

How has this changed your life?

Since my blog is partially devoted to makeup and I discuss the subject so frequently through social media, it has allowed me to develop relationships with so many wonderful people simply because of our shared interest in makeup and other beauty products.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Reach out to professionals whose skills you admire and ask questions about how they developed those skills. I’ve met so many professional makeup artists who are more than willing to share everything they know with up-and-coming artists in their field.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I love to write and I travel often, so my hobbies often overlap with one another in a really enjoyable way.

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James Knight HBJ

James Knight

James Knight is AMD’s Virtual Production Director based in Los Angeles, CA.  In addition to being Performance Capture Supervisor on Columbia Pictures’ The Amazing Spiderman, he spent four years managing the motion capture for James Cameron’s Avatar. Additionally  he has done Performance Capture and Virtual Production for films including I Am Legend, 2012, Hulk and Prince Caspian and various video games including, Batman Arkham City, Scene It, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Gotham Racing. He is a member of the Visual Effects Society (VES), on the Board of Directors at the British Academy’s Los Angeles chapter (BAFTA-LA), and a member of the Scientific and Technical Achievement Committee at The Academy (AMPAS).

What is your hobby?

Biuld robots with my son

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

My little boy is fascinated by anything technical. As a little boy, he say life sized Transformers at Universal in Los Angeles, and ever since he’s been thrilled about robots!

Tell us what you love about it.

Well firstly, I love any activity with my son; and the fact that this is technical and requires creativity is a huge bonus. I’m pretty technically inclined, so I do enjoy building parts and figuring out our own innovations, if you want to call them that. Mostly I’m happy if they just end up standing!

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

A close friend of mine actually is part of Robot wars, so we’ve been invited to be part of that.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Well, my little boy wanted VEX IQ robots to begin with, so we have those. We bought a Meccano, Meccanoid which is fun to build. Lately we have been more assertive and we’re building our own robot with parts we’re machining in a friend’s shop that is used to build animatronics for Hollywood features!

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

Lately we buy most of our supplies at radioshack and varioius different websites

Are there any good books for beginners?

Two books that we loved. Robots for Beginners and Almost Human: Making Robots Think.

How has this changed your life?

I’d say it’s more affected my son’s life. He is now very much into robots, how they move, solve problems and help humans. The biggest thing is this has brought me really close to my son.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Start small – you’ll get frustrated if you try to go too big too fast.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Yes. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

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