Updated Every Friday

Friday, April 18, 2008


This weeks post comes to you from my newly built desktop studio. My wife brought home some vibrantly yellow daffodils a couple days ago and wanted to photograph them. So with a little ingenuity, I put together a cool fairly cheap to make little setup. I don't think you can really tell this wasn't taken in a full studio environment.

Now my next project, to put together a food photography kit. My instructor showed his in class monday and its a great idea. Its basically a large box filled with super cheap placemats, silverware, plates, fake flowers, etc. Everything you need to create the appearance of a high end plate of food in just a couple minutes.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dale Chihuly

I know what this looks like, but it isn't. You aren't looking some horrible tentacled creature from the deeps here to devour us all. Or maybe thats a little too melodramatic to assume? This is actually a Dale Chihuly glass chandelier from Sacramento's EPA building. Dale Chihuly is a world famous glass blower. He's well known for his sculptures which, in my opinion, are not particularly attractive. I guess I don't get it. Still, it might not be attractive, but it is interesting.

To get this I ended up laying on my back with my camera in the elevator lobby of a government building. Thankfully the building closed about three hours before hand, so I didn't get a lot of strange looks. I like the way the light shines through the tendrils while leaving the center dark. I think its reminiscent of the Egg from aliens or some lovecraftian creation. Like I said, interesting.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Spring Skies

According to my teacher, April and May are the only time of the year you get clouds like this. I don't know if that's true, but since he's usually pretty on the ball I thought I'd better get out there and shoot. The only problem is time, I don't have any. So I decided to start taking my camera with me when I walk the dog. I live near a creek and some fields, so I there are things to photograph.

All in all I'm quite pleased with my first walk. True to form, the clouds were wonderfully cooperative and the field was thick and lush and full of wildflowers. That oak tree is actually one I used to climb when I was younger. I actually live around the corner from the park my friends and I used to hang out in when we had nowhere better to be.

I wish the building on the right wasn't there, the original photo had a much bigger field of view, but the blah post office ruined the mood if I left it in. So you get a hint of it at the edge, and hopefully it doesn't steal too much of the attention from that beautiful oak.

Also for those of you who are interested, this shot is another for my series of pathways.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Muir Beach

I haven't done a panorama in quite some time (scroll the photo to the right to see the whole image), but the vista of Muir Beach and the feeling that you're on the edge of the world as you gaze out over the pacific demands something more than an 8X10. This shot was actually taken with our little point and shoot camera and some stitching software which just goes to show that it doesn't take the most expensive equiment to make a memorable photo.

This is actually taken from the hills surrounding the cove, there is a set of stairs which is pretty much murder to walk up. They obviously weren't planned or spaced to make it easy for people to walk up, just to prevent people from falling off the mountain. Still, I think it was worth the aching calves, don't you?

If you'll note in the bottom left corner are two small yellow flowers. They grew on this hill side all alone, I found the little spot charming.

Friday, March 21, 2008

City Hall

This week its architectural time! I'm not really hot on architectural photography. I know a lot of people love the lines and structures, but for me their just buildings. That being said, taking classes is about expanding your horizons and trying new things. Sacramento's City Hall shines a lovely golden hue as the sun sets. I took a couple shots from the front, but it was this shot from the side that captured the character of the building. The highlights and shadows from the columns and stonework really bring out the little details.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Bouquet

Anyone want to catch that bouquet? I know its a little strange sounding, but that's actually a bridal gown and bouquet. I recently had the opportunity to shoot for a wedding magazine. I'm in competition with 8-10 other photographers (including my very talented wife) for the cover as well as trying to get shots for the inside articles.

The reason its a black dress and bouquet is the lead articles are about alternative colors for dresses and not using traditional flowers. So Cristina and I worked to set up a full shoot. We booked a model, found a location, and got a bridal boutique and florist to loan us the gown and flowers. Just organizing it was quite an experience and one I think we did quite well on.

This is one of the shots I took specifically for the flowers article, I love the textures of the dress with the unusual bouquet. I've got more shots of the bridge and the gowns, but I'll save those to post till the magazine comes out. If either Cristina or I make it, you'll hear about it!

P.S. I posted for last week as well so take a look at Grilling!

Friday, March 7, 2008


This shot was taken in the kitchen at Scott's Seafood. My photo instructor invited me along on an ad shoot for the restaurant and I certainly couldn't say no to that. So we're there looking around for shots, the place is packed, and bold as brass he just walks back into the kitchen and starts shooting dishes as they're ready. Then he chats up some of the cooks and shows them the photos he's taking to get them involved. It was a lesson on its own, both that if you act like you're supposed to be there then no one will question you, and if you get the people around you involved then they're more likely to help you.

This shot is of the grill with a barely seen skirt steak being done rare. They've got a spray bottle full of oil which they use to sear the meat. They spray it right on the grill and it flares up 2 feet high. Very cool to watch!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Climbing the Ladder

1/250" at f6.7. ISO 100
February 26th, 2008

In my current product and advertising class, one of the portfolio assignments is fashion photography. So, our group got together, Cristina set us up at her office (a high end bath and kitchen appliances showroom), Heather brought in a model, I put together a lighting setup andoff we went. The models name is Morgan Beckham and she was great to work with, she will hopefully joining us on our next shoot as well!

I'm particularly pleased with the this photo, I like the contrast of the black urn and tub, the rich dark wood, and the vibrant blue of her dress. I love the way the curves of her body echo the curves of the urn. She's giving a great look to the camera and what do you know... its another red head. This is a good month for red heads.

Friday, February 22, 2008


1/100" at f4. ISO 200
February 17th, 2008

Meet Lago, my favorite 7 year old career change guide dog. This past weekend we took a trip up to Tahoe where there are snow drifts up to my head. Lago, being a golden retriever, loves to hop up into them and play around in the snow. His favorite thing to do is to play catch with snowballs, which generally just means having snow explode all over when he slams his jaws shut on them.

I think this picture really shows his personality, a little bit of a dopey grin, flecked with snow that he's been gleefully playing in, focused one hundred percent on playing fetch. This dog is one of the most obsessive fetch players I've ever seen.

Oh, and one more little point of interest, Lago's my friend for another good reason, red heads gotta stick together!

Friday, February 15, 2008

First Job!

1/30" at f11. ISO 1600
February 2nd, 2008

A week ago, I got my first real photography job through my product and advertising class. Now I'm only a photographer as a hobby, I'm not trying to build a career out of it, but this was still pretty cool. I were working for the visitors bureau to take promotional shots of a couple local museums. This is one of my favorite shots of the days.

My first assignment was the Crocker Art Museum, they don't normally allow photography. So just as a little bonus to the day, I got a media badge and special access. The thing on the wall is a giant aluminum parabolic disc that all the kids like to look at. The lighting in the museum is terrible, but it gave me this great shot of a little boy in darkness.

My second assignment was the Towe Auto Museum. Its basically a giant warehouse full of classic cars. This particular car is a 1940 Lincoln Zephyr that's been hidden away for years. When the owner died, his granddaughter found it
in storage and loaned it to the museum for display.

1/30" at f3.5. ISO 1600
February 2nd, 2008

Friday, February 1, 2008


1/250" at f11. ISO 400
October 28th, 2007

I'm always into trying new things, especially ones that don't have a high likelihood of killing me (skydiving, bungie jumping, croc wrestling). In January, I thought I'd take advantage of the large snow storms we've been getting and try cross country skiing and snow shoeing. I can say without a doubt that I prefer the snowshoeing. Cross country skiing just seemed to be too much work for too little fun.

At any rate, I called up my old friend Cari who loves to hike, and off we went to the mountains to try and break a trail through the snow. Except we aren't crazy, so instead we took a trip to a ski resort of 80 kilometers of trails. We mostly stayed on the trails, though a few times, like a picture above, I wanted to capture a sense of isolation. We slogged out through snow that ranged from ankle to thigh deep to get to a half frozen creek running through the forest. It was beautiful out there, and I'll definitely be going back!

Friday, January 25, 2008


1/60" at f5.6. ISO 1600
October 28th, 2007

I haven't had much of a chance to get out and shoot in the past couple weeks, a trip to the Sacramento railroad museum and thats about it. So, this is a shot from my grandmother's birthday. My grandparents have been married for more than 50 years, and they're still totally in love with each other.

I think sometimes the hands give a real clue as to a persons life. Soft and smooth, weathered and callused, scarred or twisted, they tell you a whole lot about how a person lived. My grandfathers hands are strong and well worn. They belong to a man who has lived a long and interesting life. He's worn his ring for so long that its fitted perfectly to his fingers, just like his marriage, a perfect fit.

Friday, January 11, 2008


1/350" at f5.6. ISO 100
December 29th, 2007

Since last week's photo was of thousands of leaves and colors, I thought I'd choose something simple in contrast. The dew drops hanging from the bare winter branches were like tiny jewels growing as fruit. To capture them, I got in close and tried to separate the droplets from the surrounding branches.

Once I got it home, I liked the shot, but the reflection in the water and the appearance of crystal still didn't stand out enough, so I went with black and white. Then I over processed it to give it some grain and tried for more of a film feel instead of digital.

Friday, January 4, 2008


1/4" at f8. ISO 100
December 29th, 2007

This is one of the last photos I took in 2007. Cristina and I got up at 6am and left for a cold, foggy hike at the Consumnes River Preserve to try our hand at some early morning landscapes. Granted, with the fog we got none of the sunrise we'd been hoping for, but none the less found an excellent atmosphere waiting for us.

With our cameras wrapped in plastic grocery bags and our boots squelching in the deep mud we both agreed that we felt like real photographers. That is to say, enduring miserable conditions while hungry and tired in hopes of getting that elusive perfect picture.

I love ethereal quality of this photo, like you're just down the way from Narnia or a fairy ring. Its actually one of the first of a new collection of photos I'm taking. Several of the books I've read suggest that a great way to push yourself creatively is to choose a project. It could be anything from tree bark to groups of three, whatever strikes your interest creatively. Make it your mission to seek out and photograph these things.

Personally I love photographs with pathways. I like the impression that you could just walk right into them. So I've decided to try that on for size. I'm going to actively seek out interesting pathways of all kinds, real or metaphor, whatever catches my eye. Six months or a year from now, we'll see what I have.