Eight years in New York City. Eight years away from Lancaster. Eight years defying the odds. Eight years of conquest and glory!

On February 1st 2010, I set sail on a voyage of no return into the New York metro, with my rustic station wagon and a dying cat. Since then my journey to conquer Manhattan has been met with much peril and sometimes doubt, but nonetheless I persisted! Eight years later since that frigid afternoon, I look back at my professional accomplishments and achievements along the difficult journey. Because I never graduated high school nor attended college, my career as a professional graphic designer in a major city is the end result of the “scenic route” — as in, I never took the easy way to get where I am. At the time I moved from Lancaster, I had only blue collar experience, and as some of you may know, I presently work as a graphic artist at Goldman Sachs in the investment banking division. I’ve earned this position based solely on my talent and ingenuity, and not an expensive piece of paper with student debt. I’m living proof that anything is possible in this great country of ours: I’m not in rural Pennsylvania anymore, and I sure as hell aren’t stocking shelves at Home Depot!

Will I ever move back home? Perhaps someday — but as long as there are cities to conquer, I must march onward into glory ride! Hail to the Baron!!

Now, as for the photo itself: I shot this late one night in DUMBO, Brooklyn, near the Manhattan Bridge. On an unusually warm night in late January, I roamed around the area trying to find a suitable vantage point, but alas it rained. I ultimately placed the Amish magnifigure on top of a small patio table on the deck of some apartment’s restaurant area, and shot the photo below a small roof shielding me from the rain. I used small blobs of sticky tack to keep the figure in place, as it was rather windy, and the huge American flag was bulky and cumbersome! I took multiple shots and merged two photos together: one with the figure properly exposed, and one with the flag with better shadows and highlights, due to different lighting settings.

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