So many awesome places right close to home!! All taken with a $100 Sony point and shoot. Sami was at a girl’s camp hence she is missing from these images.
Seriously, if you ever doubt the goodness in people just take a bride and groom to Santa Monica Pier. In all my 12 years of photographing weddings all over the place I have never seen anything like it. At least 150 people congratulated the bride and groom as we walked through this crowded pier. We walked past a restaurant and almost everyone in the restaurant started cheering through the windows. It was seriously so amazing!! I will post a bunch in the next day or two. I had so much fun with these guys!
Just got back from Spain and thought I would jot down some thoughts. Spain is a beautiful country and I realize we only scratched the surface but it was a great trip nonetheless.
I am sure the people in Spain are great but I really wanted to go their for the food. No disrespect to the Spanish people I just can’t speak Spanish so there wasn’t a whole lot to talk about. The olives are what I was most excited about. That is dorky I know, but I honestly have a love affair with cured foods, in particular olives, cheeses and hams. Spain and Italy have a long history of cured foods dating back over 2000 years ago when the Romans conquered everyone and stole their ideas. Jamon Serrano is the Spanish cured ham and they are found EVERYWHERE!! If you order a coke at a cafe you often will get a small Jamon sandwich with it without asking. This is a Spanish thing and I loved it.
The Spanish people dress very nice and it was shocking but we counted only 3 people out of thousands that would be considered overweight. This is likely due to their lifestyle of walking daily to get around and eating fresh foods???? Whatever the case it was interesting to see the faces in Spain. I could see Mexico in the faces and South America and it was fascinating.
If you know me well you know that one of my complaints is that we are always in a hurry. We don’t take time to soak things in. I felt almost guilty sitting at an outside table at various cafes for up to two hours. My thoughts are, we need to get out of here so another client can come. I learned that this is the farthest thing from their minds. In fact we had to almost club them over the head to bring a check. It was refreshing and relaxed. Like much of Europe they have a why hurry attitude toward life and that can be bothersome to some tourists but I love it.
My favorite city was Segovia. The Romans came and left their mark in the form of an enormous aquaduct that was incredibly beautiful. We visited a castle and a Jewish district and were fortunate enough to make a friend named Julie who is a Texan living in Spain. She totally hooked us up and changed our trip by giving us the inside scoop on things and showing us some important food places we had not seen.Thanks Julie!!!
No disrespect to our cheese here in America because I love it but I wish we had the variety of cheese found in Europe. Many cheeses from Europe cannot be imported because the FDA is ignorant. There is much debate over this issue. Check out this video with some of the cheeses found in Spain: See video:<iframe src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/39214489″ width=”500″ height=”281″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>
Food highlights of Spain: Jamon, Hot chocolate (so thick it was hard to get off the spoon) and churros, pastries, goat cheese salad (impossible to describe but one of the top 3 things I have EVER eaten), seafood Paella, Orange Fanta (so much less sugar than here it is wonderful), Seafood tapas, Spanish olives, Dulces de Montequilla, etc…
Glad to be back! No place like home!
There are many facets of my life that I simply forget to blog about or I am too shy or maybe I think they will be too boring in general. Maybe a better word is that I hate group attention. This is a hard balance to find in a world where there is a growing demand for authenticity in marketing. Who am I as a person I think is very pertinent to the product I deliver as a photographer. Truthfully though, I hold many experiences with my family and even my clients close to me. Blogging about some of these experiences would seem to cheapen them somehow, to me. In this sense my blog is not entirely an honest representation of who I am. Perhaps this is why it has been two years since working on a project that I am finally blogging about it. Shame on me because it is such a great story and this video only shows a fraction of it. I do not typically do video work. I am a photographer, not a videographer. Every once in a while I break off and get crazy with a video or two if the story is worth telling. Sometimes photos can’t tell it the way video does.
In December of 2009 I spent a week in Texas and a week in Arizona filming a story about Ruben and Clint. Clint has been a mentor to me in more ways than he knows. With the economy drying up Clint has fallen on hard times financially. Ruben has thrived. I have tremendous amount of respect for Clint actually taking on the initiative and asking me to come down and film this story of Ruben on his dime. He felt we all needed to hear this and I thought it was a great story. We spent a week in a small town called Lajitas down on the Rio Grande. I will eternally love Texas because of this trip. If you are wanting to escape the law and hide out for a while this would be a great place. We lived off candy and pop for a week because there is not one fruit or vegetable or anything in the small convenience store in Lajitas. On the way home I bought a banana and savored every minute of it. Upon return I hit up my good friend and creative Ron Adair(he is way better at editing than I am) and we pieced it together. So much more of Ruben’s story is not here. For example Ruben did not start saving his own money till he was 35. He and his siblings paid off their dad’s farm and then while working at a fruit farm picking fruit Ruben helped put his siblings through college. He has like 3 siblings who are doctors today in the states. Tons of character!!
If you are a naysayer, a crab in the bucket, a party pooper you may need this the most but this is not for you. I am representing the believers today, the yes men and women who look for solutions not problems. Try to do anything different than the social norm no matter where you live, or what culture you abide in and you will have people who do not like you. “There is but little virtue in the masses of men” -Thoreau
My dad and my sister and I made an epic voyage on a train across the U.S. and parts of Canada while I was waiting for my mission call. The above photos were taken in Montreal at an Expos vs. Cardinals baseball game. My sister had purchased a poster of a kitten ironing clothes for a dollar at the flea market just prior. I saw the jumbo tron turn to the audience and I quickly grabbed the kitten poster (the only thing I had) and started waving it and hooting and hollering. My dad said, “Sit down, they aren’t going to put you on with that thing”. “Yes they will” I replied. Seconds later I look up and there I am on the jumbo tron in front of thousands of people for my moment of glory. Not for a second do I want you to think my dad is a crab in the bucket. On the contrary, I have always felt comfort in knowing that I could call my dad and say, “I am thinking about buying an elephant and putting it in my backyard”. I know without a doubt his response would be, “Right on”!!
For all of you that want to raise your metaphorical kitties in the air, I say “Right on!”
I am a slacker blogger!! It has been a few months since I shot this wedding in New York. I get hungry just looking at these images. I LOVE Indian food and that is all I ate for three straight days. If any of you love goat and lamb curry you would have been in heaven. Chris McClain and I flew out together. He is an amazing videographer out of Salt Lake. He may even be the best around. It doesn’t hurt that he is also a super nice guy so we had a great time. Anyway, we spent three days on this shoot in between New Jersey and New York with Sarfaraz and Taslima. They were super nice and their family was fun to be with. I especially enjoyed Sarfaraz’s father. He was a classy guy, always making sure I was trying the many different foods. If you know me I love trying new foods!
The hard part about New York is getting around in traffic with all of your gear. Getting to Central Park was so slow I think someone got out and bought us gyros while we were in traffic. Anyway, it was a crazy and colorful trip that I will always remember.
I also want to throw a shout out to Tim Muir the hair dresser and make-up artist out of Draper. He was great to work with and a great story teller. He was great to have around. Check out his hair salon in draper at http://essencestudioanddayspa.com/
Yes, that is rain pouring down and no that is not Chicago. It is Indiana which I personally thought was beautiful. I can imagine the corn fields in the summer are amazing. Anyway this is a photo of Savanah and Daniel on perhaps one of the most adventurous and eventful weddings I have shot to date. They will forgive me for detailing their wedding day as they are close friends and two of the most optimistic people I know. I think they have a lot to teach and hopefully you will be able to see what I mean. From beginning to end they laughed and enjoyed it all.
The story goes:
Friday Morning: I flew in and accidentally bumped into Savanah on the Shuttle bus going to the rental cars. I followed her to Steve and Brandi’s house in Parkridge, Illinois home of Hillary Clinton. We ate lunch and I then took a train to scope out locations downtown Chicago for our photo shoot the next morning at 8:00 am. Chicago was amazing. I have been there a few times but this time was the best.
Friday Day: I ate the second best hotdog I have ever eaten in my life. The first was in Chicago a decade ago.
Friday Eve: I went out to dinner at a Sicilian restaurant with Steve, Brandi, their kids and Spat (Daniel’s friend). Steve picked up the tab, thanks Steve. They were fantastic hosts. At dinner I get a call from Savanah that Daniel has not only missed his flight but missed it because he was pulled over by power hungry cop who held him for 45 minutes while his plane flew over head. Daniel’s car was registered but just didn’t have the sticker on his Cali plates. California offices were closed so the cop couldn’t verify and did the next stupid thing which is take the keys from Daniel and impound his car. I was supposed to pick Daniel up that night but the plans were now changed. His friend picked him up and took him to the airport and he left at midnight instead of arrive.
Saturday morn: Because of the late booking of the flight he had to stop in New York and he didn’t arrive till 9:30. Spat and I picked him up. We discovered that the airlines had put his luggage on a different plane and it wouldn’t be in till 10:30. The wedding was scheduled for 12:30 at the Chicago Temple. We took Daniel to Steve and Brandi’s so he could shower and stuff. He had been up all night. Then we went back to the airport dodging the airport parking monitors (mean people) and got his bag.
We didn’t really no how to get to the Temple and we got stuck in Construction. Daniel was laid back and we had a good discussion about paving your own way in this world.
Meanwhile the bride Savanah, got pulled over on her way to the wedding and got away with a batted eye.
Fortunately in our lost state we looked over and Savanah’s mom was in the other lane and we followed them to the temple. By now the once beautiful morning was turning arctic and windy.
We arrived to the temple and they pushed the ceremony time back an hour to 1:30 so we could get a few minutes of pictures in the cold and wind. We did just that for maybe 15-20 minutes then went inside just prior to Savanah turning into a popsicle.
They invited me to the ceremony which I was honored to attend and it was very nice.
Afternoon: Daniel and I hopped in my car and followed the bride and Alisha her friend. I think he wanted to come with me because of the higher chance of getting something to eat at Wendy’s. We were set on eating. We grabbed something then ditched my rental car at a quasi rest stop/ service station area off the freeway. I hopped in with them as Daniel struggled to stay awake finally succombed and eventually curled up into the fetal position as Savanah drove 80+ mph while texting in a rain storm. Savanah if you are reading this, yes, I will admit I was frightened a little. The reception was located two hours away. We had 15 minutes to shoot and where to shoot was the question. We pulled into a Walmart and in one of my favorite scenes of the day Savanah went inside to buy an umbrella and use the restroom to change back into her wedding dress.
She came out and it was raining sideways. We had choices to make. This is where it pays to hire someone with a little experience. She turned around and said, “Where do you want to go?” I had never been to Indiana let alone whatever city we were in which I still don’t know. So I said, “Right there, in the field next to the Walmart.” The image below was taken just behind the Walmart. I had to take a plastic Walmart bag out of the picture. We had to wake Daniel up but he was a great sport. The image above was in a small town in Indiana close to the reception. By the time we got done we were all soaked.
Reception: We had a great time. The food was great the dancing was fun. I got in a dance circle and after I did my dance routine the bishop looked at me jokingly and said he was going to have nightmares after my performance. I gave it my all what can I say I have never been a wall flower even as a photographer.
On the Way Home: I drove home with my hosts Steve and Brandi and we stopped by what we thought was my parking spot for my rental car and my car was missing. After calling highway patrol we discovered that there is an identical rest stop on the north side of the road. We were on the south and majorly disoriented. We found my car.
Sunday morning: Blizzard. Snow was everywhere. I drove to the airport in the A.M. and dropped off my rental car. As I got on the shuttle from Hertz to the aiport a lady entered the shuttle and said, “Sir you left your wallet in your car.” She handed it to me and I opened it and it was Daniel’s. Great, I thought. How am I going to get this to them. I knew they were leaving to Mexico that morning and I knew his wallet might be important for their honeymoon. I texted him and as it turns out their flight was delayed two hours and they were just coming to the rental place. I gave his wallet to the shuttle driver and instructed him to drive it back to the rental place. I have not heard from them since so I assumed that received it.
Meanwhile the blizzard was so bad that my flight was canceled with no certainty that they were going to reschedule. Luckily I had Harry Potter 5 on audio CD so I didn’t care. I sat in the airport for hours without a care in the world. John Adams once said, “You are never alone with a poet in your pocket.” I never leave home without a book of some sort. I am never bored!
I finally got a flight and arrived home. It was a great trip only because Savanah and Daniel are genuinely positive people. They laughed the whole time and everybody around them did too. They turned what could have been a devestating day into a wonderful memory. The important thing is that they got married and their isn’t a police officer in the world that can take that from them.