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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Holidays....

Hope everyone had a great day... Here is my annual Christmas Card from our Kareoke Band, The Metric Ton.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Help-Portrait wrap up

Help portrait was a major success, especially it being Salt Lake's first year to attempt to put such a large scale photo session. We had over 30 photographers and 8-10 complete studio set-ups. I met so many talented people I surely was in "geek" mode with all of the amazing gear. I learned a lot observing everyone's studio set-ups. Although we had a significant amount of downtime, we did manage to get some of our target subjects to come in a get their portraits taken.

One of those people a 6 year old named Isaiah. He came with his mother and in all my time shooting at a professional level, I have never laughed so hard! Isaiah had a big smile and even bigger imagination. He worked the camera as if he was a professional model, and I'd have to say that he as more "looks" than half of them.

As I mentioned above, with downtime and so many photographers, what else would we do? Shoot each other! Here are some of those shots:

This is Megan of Clandestine Images. She is an amazing photographer and artist and I believe she could even model. She was playing in front of the camera and this is one of the candid shots captured.
You can see Megan's work at Clandestine Images

The above image is yet of another photographer, Travis Hougland. Travis and mine's studio were set-up next to each other. Travis was kind enough to assist me in getting all my gear prepped since I was lacking an assistant for the day. When Travis was posing for this shot, I told him to play up his long hair and find his chi. You can see Travis's work at his website at Hougland Imagery

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Life's Turns

It has been a while since my last post. Things have been a bit crazy lately and the normal flow of life has led me through some crazy twists and turns. After working nearly 4 full time years as an EMT-I for Salt Lake City, my employer has not been able to secure financial stability and has made the decision to leave our great state, which will render me unemployed and laid off 4 day before Christmas. This is a first for me as I have had continual work since I was 13. I will miss serving the citizens of Salt Lake and running an ambulance on the street. Working within the 911 system of our capital city has been a life-changing experience.

To raise my spirits, a good friend of mine contacted me on Face Book about Help Portrait, a growing national movement where photographers get together on a set date and take professional studio quality photos of those who cannot normally afford to have them done. This included everyone from families, single mothers, and the homeless.

The day was amazing and while the number of subjects was limited, I met some great new photogs and captured some great images. This was Help Portrait's first year here in Utah, so next year will only get better. During downtime when we were not shooting our designated clients, we spent our time shooting each other. It is very rare to find me in front of the camera...

My next post will highlight some of the great photographers I had the honor of meeting and include images and the stories behind them as well as some of our subjects that came in for their portraits... Stay tuned.
KSL News Article

Friday, November 20, 2009


I often shoot for Chic Elite Models and this is one of those shoots. These were shot on-location at the Circle Lounge in downtown Salt Lake. Because the very nature of any lounge, club, or bar, the lighting was nearly non existent with the exception of some small colored LED's around the walls and the ceiling. This is good and bad. The good is that I can very easily control the amount of light of the scene without needing a lot of power. I easily manipulate the scene utilizing several speedlights with modifiers. The bad is that is is so dark, it becomes difficult to direct, pose, and communicate with the subject. Not to mention that even as great as my Nikon is, it certainly struggled to obtain autofocus at times.

The lounge had large soft, curtains wrapping around each booth and seating area. A large white curtain particularly caught my attention and I decided to utilize it in shoot as a giant diffusion screen by firing a bare flash into it. It worked out perfectly, and I believe the end shots would have not have turned out as great as they did without it. As always, please click on the images to see the full-size.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What isn't a Baby Cute?

Before Winter comes in and leaves turn to fertilizer, My nephew Dave and his lovely family commissioned me to shoot some simple family shots. The latest addition to his family is Lucy, which of course, had my camera's attention through most of the shoot. We set out on a warm Fall afternoon to a local park where I knew the leaves still had enough saturation and vibrance to give us the look we were after. The session went quick and so did Lucy's attention span. However, we captured some great shots...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Snipits

Since I focus most of my time talent, and energy into shooting people, I felt like I should attempt to branch out and work on some of my weak points which would have to be Still Life and Landscapes. The Fall colors were in full swing and and large thunderstorm was rolling in. I knew I had only a few minutes before the storm would start drenching my equipment, so I drove to a nice spot along the Union Pacific RR which is located 10 minutes from my house. Here are the results... And yes, they are all HDR images

Friday, October 16, 2009

Not your Typical Family Portraits...

While having the perfect setting with grass, trees, wildlife and sunshine on our shoulders is nice and appealing to most families desiring group portraits. Sometimes it is a breath of fresh air to break away from tradition and the norm to create something completely different. The Bangash family wanted just that, and I became eager and excited when their oldest sibling approached me in shooting some non-traditional photos of her family.
They wanted a hard, crisp, and flattering look with a grudgy and atypical theme. Downtown Ogden was just the place to accomplish this "look". We had a productive shoot and the images were a sure bet not to disappoint.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Simple Elegance

Crystal had never been in front of the camera, but decided she wanted some professional photos taken. We wanted to be able to share these with her family and friends, but also wanted for her portfolio if she decides to go that route in the near future.

I went for a simple, clean, elegant approach. And while her images might be considered test shots, I feel her true personality can be seen in these images. She did her own hair and Makeup...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Being the Family Photog...

Throughout my family it is well known what I do. But up until now I haven't had any requests to do family photos... With the seasons changing and the holiday season fast approaching, I will be shooting each of my siblings and their families. Here is the first set of my sister Kathy, and her lovely ever growing family....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More Pinups...

I love tasteful Pinup art. If I had to choose one sole focus in photography to work on for the rest of my career, it would be that of the vintage and modern pinup culture. Pinups are always classy, tasteful, and respectable, yet still have that flair of sensuality and femininity to catch the attention of any man or women.

The key to any pinup photograph or image centers around the eyes... Yes, the eyes have it all. It doesn't matter whether you are the most endowed model out there, a mom with a dozen kids, or a mirror image of the infamous Betty Page. If the eyes don't convey that specific expression or emotion, not even the perfect theme or outfit can save the image.

This was my first time shooting with Melissa. We met out in Granstville at Strickly Trucking's Fleet Shop, which was a greasy, old garage out the in the middle the desert complete with old run down vehicles, Farel cats, and the perfect Rat Rod to shoot with. We decided to go against picking a completley vintage motif since Melissa has a beautiful half-sleeve tattoo that would be perfect for a more modern Rockabilly theme. Outfits were chosen, lights were set, and we shot into the early evening. Melissa did a spectacular job and I feel she conveyed the expressions and emotions of a true pinup model.... And as usual. please click the images to see full size.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wind, Fire, and Bats

Please click images to see full size*

I had met Angie through Chic Elite earlier this year when we were casting for a supporting female role in our last film "Out of the Clouds". Angie is an amazing actress and model. She can surely hold her own on and off the screen. She has a queen sense of fashion, thus I can worry about shooting ans let her take care of all the wardrobe, hair and makeup. We had discussed on several occasions on how much I love shooting in abandoned and desolate places, in which Angie knew of a great place that wasn't too far from suburbia. Our goal was to utilize a high-fashion motif and place it in desolate, dirty, and distressed environment. While this concept is far from original, it's fun as hell and I felt I could bring something a bit different to the table. We scheduled our day to shoot.

Apparently, I have walked under to many ladders or ran over too many black cats, because as with all my shoots, the tide always seems to work against me. It started with winds that were in excess of 60-70mph... Okay, we are in a building. We could stay out of large open areas and stick to the corridors where the wind would not bother us. Then two large wild fires decided to stir up the Salt Lake Valley, which closed down the interstate and the airport. The thick smoke in air nearly diffused out the sun and the I ended up being close to an hour late due to the traffic. The building was close to half mile walk from where we parked. I felt relieved that I had all my lightweight strobist gear that day instead of having to lug around a bunch of studio lights and battery packs. The wind pounding and trying to dismantle Angie's hair and makeup, we made it to the structure. If there was one positive thing the wind did do, it was keeping the bats in the rafters at bay. It also hindered the wasps from attacking me when I sat on their hive while compositing a shot. The only casulty was one umbrella.

Here are some of the results. I have entered one of these in the Utah State Fair. I'll post if it does well.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Back in Time...

On a hot summer evening earlier this month, I felt as if I had jumped into Doc. Brown's Delorean time machine and ventured back into the 1960's. This shoot was concept of Chic Elite's owner Robinette Desrochers. She had found this amazing green and black dress that was straight out of the late 60's. Every entity of the shoot was planned around this dress, from the car, the model, and even myself as the photgrapher. After a month of searching for the right car, we found the featured 1937 Plymouth right under our nose. Tabi Strickland, one of my most utilized makeup artists belongs to a family of "wrenchheads" and hot builders. The own several custom vehicles and are continually working on new projects. Our model featured is Crystal, who like the car just happened to be Tabi the makeup artist's good friend.

My assistant and best friend Chris Thompson accompanied me on the distant drive way out to the rural community of Grantsville, UT where we met Crystal and Tabi as they were completing hair and makeup. I honestly felt as if I had stepped back into time and was staring at Jackie Kennedy! Crystal was certainly the one to pull off this look. Her natural smile and curves complemented the dress as it did her.
We drove a short distance to an non-busy road as the sun was starting to set and commenced to set up the shot. Being the budget photog I am, I utilized a minimal strobist approach implementing 1-3 speedlights that were bare or had a simple umbrella as a modifier. The car's matte non shiny paint made keeping hotspots and specular highlights to a mininum. We shot through the golden hour as the sun set and ended at shortly after dark when the mosquitos overpowered our wits and equipment. We had a blast and I special thanks to all that made this shoot come to life. The colored image shot from the side even took a blue ribbon 1rst place at the county fair!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

You can shoot out of your home and still be a professional

This was one of the few shoots I got in my basement before the great flood. This is proof that you DON'T need some large fancy building and thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of Studio lights and battery packs. All these images were shot on cheap photo background paper which I picked up for about $40.00 a roll from PICTURELINE. Lighting was accomplished with 1-3 old nikon speedlights which I have slowly purchased from ebay over the past few years. For the budget conscious photog, a STROBIST setup is the way to go. I have had the opportunity to work with sevral big buget monblocs and 1500 watt strobes. And I have to say that I love my strobist setup the best due to it's low cost, low maintance and best of all, its portability.

The model featured here is Shay DelaCruz, an old aquaintence from way back in Elementary school. We happened to bump into each other on a Modeling website. From reading her profile and viewing her portfolio, I knew she had more than just the looks to model. I commenced in setting up a photoshoot. The funny thing is that when I approached her, we had no idea who each other was. I didn't make the connection till I saw a friend suggestion on Facebook with her name and the same photos that were in her portfolio. We had a relaxed, laid back shoot on a late afternoon. It was fun reminising about grade school, old teachers, and times past.