Monday, December 31, 2007

What I Did On My Christmas Vacation - Episode One

It was a bright and sunny day and we needed to decide what to do for Christmas. Ok, it wasn't that dramatic, but we really did need to decide what to do. Kymberli and I wanted to do something different and fun. We thought about it and she came up with a great idea - to go to San Francisco!

So we had it all planned out and set our course. We'd hit S.F. for two days, Napa Valley for 2 days and then Oregon to visit her sister for 2 days. What an adventure! It was a great deal of traveling, but worth it.

When we got to San Francisco we were so different than most vacations. Instead of unpacking a little, relaxing for a few and deciding what to do we tossed our bags on the bed, grabbed our cameras and shouted 'Yee-haw' and scooted out the door. Ok, maybe I went too far on the "Yee-Haw" part, but we WERE excited.

We had a tour of Alcatraz set and needed transportation to the ferry, so we did what every person needs to do when they go to San Francisco - you need to take the trolley. It might be a bit longer and more expensive, but come on, it's a historic landmark.

We enjoyed the ride and the walk along Fisherman's Wharf. We only had to wait for 20 minutes or so and we boarded the ferry to the island. It was a bit chilly, but I think that made our tour that much more memorable. Alcatraz is desolate and very deceiving. It is only 1.25 miles from the mainland, but with the current and frigid waters escape would have been nearly impossible. I won't get into details about the island as you can look it up or go on a tour yourself. Here are some of the photos I took while on our tour. Enjoy them. Episode Two will follow shortly... I still have to go through the images. The best part of Day 2 was sharing a romantic sunset dinner at Pier 39 with my lovely wife. To be continued...

The irony with this photo is the bright, warm sunlight reaching through this window... directly outside of solitary confinement. It was almost teasing when you think about it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

webbed foot photography website is up!

We finally went live with our website today!! Yeay for us!

Go to and check out our new site. We have already started booking sessions for 2008! So far all in Orange County, but we might I know we'll be shooting out of state, too. Book a session now!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Second Teaser Of The Week

I know you have been waiting patiently to see more of this session and I thank you. Here are a few morsels for you to savor.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More From Our Session The Other Day

I finally finished going through the images this morning and what a great looking family. It was a great experience and thank you guys for allowing us to photograph you.

Here are a few more photos for your enjoyment. The new year is going to be great so book a session with us today!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Family Portraits In Under An Hour

Another beautiful SoCal morning for a family photo session. We shot in Long Beach with a beautiful family and a very energetic dog. We are off to another shoot, but here's a glimpse into what fun we had this morning. I'll have more up later on. It's going to be a busy day!

Sometimes You Can Surprise Yourself

We had a second photoshoot today in Long Beach with my wife's co-worker. I wasn't sure what to expect because the weather has been uncooperative this week (Thank you, God for the wonderful rain!), the wind was whipping at the beach and I had never met "H"'s boyfriend or her dog. Well, i was pleasantly surprised. "B" was a great guy and we had more than one quality chat about photography and life. We all joked a lot and just enjoyed the afternoon. The ocean breeze consistently got cooler and the dogs all around got friskier, too.

I have plenty of photos to share, but this is one of the very photogenic couple. I am always trying new set ups with my camera and today I tried adjusting to exaggerate the highlights and then did the opposite and did it for the shadows. Yeah, um... it worked! Anyway, I knew it would, but I wanted to see what kind of detail I could preserve. You be the judge and let me know what you see or don't see or if you would adjust something.

Enjoy the photos.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Can They Be Any Cuter?

We got to head out to Huntington Beach today for a shoot with a wonderful family. Not only were they open to anything, but they made us feel at ease and the kids were adorable. Mom and Dad were great to talk to and I even got a bit of a history lesson on the area. I love learning new things and I was amzed and what I didn't know about the place I was in. It was fantastic to hear all about the park. Thanks guys!

Here are a couple of shots to show you what I mean. Adorable with a capital 'A'.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Time Warner Extreme Road Runner vs. Verizon FiOS

For the past 9 months, the better half and I have been in constant contact with Time Warner Cable. No, we don't call them because we miss them or because we are friendly with them. The truth is they are lazy and that's why I was always on the phone with them. I had them out to our house 9 times in 6 months to figure out why our Road Runner internet service ran like a 56K modem. They switched the router the first time... and then after the 3rd new router they said it was my computer. They then retracted that and came out and replaced the cable, twice, and then the connections. They then hooked up their laptops and realized there was a HUGE problem. From what I hear, they do not want to upgrade an existing location that services the area. That is heresay, but we still had a problem. I took more than 24 hours off of work to have them tell me it was fixed and only to watch it drag along.

So, finally, I got extremely irritated. No, I was furious, and twice I was hung up on when I called. That was it. I called up Verizon and asked if they provided service to our area. Sure enough, they did. They screwed up the first 2 service appointments with not getting stuff installed, but tonight they came to get the box installed and set up the service. The guys were great and it took them less time than they said. Thanks guys!

Holy Schnikes, we have the fastest internet I have ever seen on any of my computers now. It is AWESOME! Kymberli and I are always trying to upload mass amounts of photos and sometimes we had to wait 1-2 hours to get photos online. Wait no longer, babydoll! I was so psyched when I downloaded a 30mb file in less than 40 seconds tonight. You have to understand why I was elated. I had downloaded the file to my other computer today and it took 2.5 HOURS. Unreal, right? Nope. Very, VERY real.

Needless to say, we are both happy and relieved that I don't have to deal with that anymore. We just might have to switch our TV service, too. If you aren't happy with TW Cable, go with FiOS.

Ok, I am now off my soapbox. Have a great night.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Belmont Shore Christmas Parade

Last night, Kymberli and I drove to Belmont Shore to watch the Christmas Parade. It was a first for both of us. Of course, we lugged our gear down to take some photos, too. It was a great parade. Both of us had a great time, although the chill in the air came on pretty fast.

Shooting events such as this can be hard when you are stuck in one location. We thought we had grabbed up the perfect spot to shoot, too. That was until we saw the giant spotlights off to our right... and it was right where everyone stopped to wave. Even the cheerleaders stopped there to do their flips and such. I had a few shots of them, but security was in the way. Bummer. I mentioned to K that we should have asked the security guards to sit just inside the fence so we could get a bit closer as the floats came by. Any suggestions from you pros out there?

Night shots are certainly not my favorite when they are hand held and shot with a flash. Oh, and remember this kiddies - take off your diffuser before using the flash at night. Whoops!

I'll be the first to admit, these are NOT the best photos. Not even close. I am pretty unhappy with them, to be honest, but I wanted to post these so you can see that everyone makes mistakes.

Here are a couple from the parade.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sunset Over The 710

This is not a particularly good photo, but I walked out of my office on Wednesday and this was right in front of me. It was beautiful and I had to capture it before it disappeared.

It Doesn't Look That Hot

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Color Me Beautiful

So I finished the post-processing of Christina and they came out great. I have a lot to learn about posing and such, but it was a great experience.

Here are a few more images from the shoot. You be the judge. The critic. Why? Because everyone seems to have an opinion. Even when we were doing the shoot everyone had their own idea how it should be done. It amazes me how much people 'think' they know about something. Don't get me wrong, I want to know what you all think. I just have to laugh at the people who have never picked up a camera and think they are Jill Greenberg.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

With Finesse On Top

Another photo shoot and another great learning experience. What did I learn today? I learned that my wife and I not only make a great team, but we have some amazing friends willing to help us in our quest.

One of Kymberli's co-workers and our friend, Christina Ross, mentioned to us a few weeks back that we should head out to Venice, CA and do a shoot with her. We graciously accepted and today was our date to test our skill and hone our craft.

Today I learned that having a beautiful model who knows what she's doing can really make a difference in how much you learn. I'll admit that I am good at landscape and nature photography, but photographic people has always been a challenge. I guess that's not totally true. I can take a picture of anyone, but to get them in the right pose is a challenge. Christina was a huge help in getting us over the 'posing' hump. She knew how to pose, have fun and give us tips on where she should stand. Thank you for all of your help, CR! The other amazing thing was that shooting Venice and Venice Beach is so damn colorful and cool. There is a plethora of shooting opportunities. You just have to open your eyes!

I am posting a few of my favorites from today. I am sure to post a few more during the week as a process these.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Beach Front Photography

Today, Kymberli and I got to photograph a wonderful couple at Dog Beach in Huntington Beach. They brought their two dogs, Lilly and Jasmine, to be photographed with them. These dogs were tiny and so cute.

If you have never been to dog beach you have been missing out. The beach is huge where the dogs can roam. We saw over a hundred dogs out there. Some of the dogs decided to stop over and say hello to us and sometimes to the dogs.

Jameel and Emily were great sports and fun to work with. They wanted some photos for Christmas cards and to get the dogs in. The dogs were so good. They let the bigger dogs know they were not to be messed with, but when they weren't bothered they just sat there and wanted some love.

Here are just a couple of the shots I took from todays photo session.

Care To Rip It Up?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Be Ready For Anything

Today Kymberli and I had a photoshoot with her boss and his family. We knew it was going to be at their house, but we didn't know what to expect in the way of lighting or true scenery. My guess was that the sun at 9:30 am was going to be perfectly shining on the spot we needed to shoot in. Ummm... don't tell anyone, but I was so wrong. The entire area (except 10% or so) was in total shade! We did our best with lights we brought and our gear, so you be the judge.

I tell you what - this family has it. They had the looks, the form, and they worked well together in getting everything moving. They were good sports, too. I had to take the different shots (from a step ladder) and they obliged me. So, thank you guys.

Take a look and see what you think. Be honest. Comment on our blogs (my wife's is and let us know what you all truly think. It's the only way for us to get better at our craft.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving And Its Gift To Me

Now, I have only been here in SoCal for a couple years, but I feel like it has given me so much. What am I thankful for? My wife, God, my family, animals, nature... the list can go on and on. I am also thankful for a great job and an opportunity to share my photography with the world.

Since last year, I have mentioned to my wife that I wanted to give back to our community. So, I called around and found out that St. Anne's church in Seal Beach needed volunteers to help serve hot meals on Thanksgiving. Kymberli and I didn't know what to expect as this was our first time helping out with something of this magnitude.

Let me just say that today was one of the best days of my life. It taught me that the human spirit is strong, beautiful and best of all thankful. We started out by setting out silverware and putting paper on the tables to protect them. We saw parents bring in their kids to volunteer, the 'Tiara Girls" came (about 10-15 of them) and a gentleman who is 85 and just wanted to help share Thanksgiving with people. We met a few more new people and then waited for the people to show up. Most of the people were 'youngsters' from a local elderly community called Leisure World. They were not only happy to share the day, but boy were they characters. They wanted to put a smile on our faces as much as we wanted to do it for them. We brought them coffee or juice and they couldn't believe how polite we were being. (I thought to myself - I don't understand why people aren't like this more often).

*To make sure everyone knows, the food and drink is all donated by Seal Beach merchants who want to give back to the people who make their business work. One guy showed up with a vehicle full of loaves of fresh bread, donuts and other breads for each person to take when they left. Amazing.*

We met a homeless man that will forever change my outlook on life. His nametag said "Otis" and he was the sweetest man I have ever met. He sat all by himself at a table and radiated happiness. When we started talking to him he lit up even more. He told us of the bridge he lives under and that he hadn't eaten a meal in 2 days. Work had been slow for 4 days and he had been told by some friends that he should go to St. Anne's on Thanksgiving. He said over and over, "Thank you so much for having me." He said how thankful he was to have a place to go to get some food and best of all - kind words from people he had never met before. I kept shaking his hand and I told him that it was our pleasure to share a day with someone and to be able to share a warm meal. His outlook on life was something you had to hear to believe. Here was a man with no home, no job, with nothing but a backpack and a sleeping bag under a bridge and he didn't ask for a thing. He said he was thankful and that was all he needed. Now, I don't usually share my feelings like this, but damn - this man had nothing and didn't complain. I know that other families get together on Thanksgiving and instead of being thankful they eat the equivalent of 3 meals each at one sitting and complain about their lives, their jobs, their kids, and I could go on and on. Otis, you are one of a kind and thank YOU for giving me a new outlook on things.

We were called into the kitchen and given our tasks. Kymberli was on turkey detail and I was dishing out stuffing. The assembly line was great. Turkey > Yams > Mashed Potatoes > Creamed Corn > Stuffing > Gravy and then it was served. We served over 120 meals in less than 9 minutes!! That amazes even me, but we were cranking the plates out. Once we finished serving everyone we were given a plate and told to eat a meal ourselves. I felt a bit guilty eating because I remembered back to Thanksgivings past and how much I would eat. Gluttony - yikes. So I made sure to put a little bit of each thing on my plate, but not too much. We sat right at the table with the homeless and it was great to see the smiles and thanks for a warm meal. Even when we were eating we didn't want to stop serving them. We asked them if they wanted more and we got them more. Kymberli even got a plate full of food and wrapped it up for a guy named Angelo. Only when he got up to leave did we realize he was a veteran of the Korean War and had three medals on his hat. As we looked around there were more and more veterans there that were homeless. This makes me very sad. How can we send people over to war and not take care of them?

I am sitting here with watery eyes as I type this. When we finished eating we started cleaning up and helping where we could. From the kitchen I saw my wife talking with two homeless gentlemen who had just come in and sat down. She came in and asked me to help her get two plates of food for these guys. We loaded them up and brought them out to them. They joy in their eyes is something you will never, ever know unless you do something like this once in your life. I can't even describe it to you. I felt like we were doing something that we were meant to do. We watched them eat for a few seconds and knew they were hungry, so we went back into the kitchen to make a plate for them to take with them to go. When we gave them their plates, one of the guys looks at my wife and says, "I am about to cry." We told him that it was great to have him there and to eat up, enjoy it and make sure they got some pie. They both said thank you more times than I can count. I didn't need a thank you, but it sure felt good. It also felt good to take time out of my schedule and show others that they are loved and wanted and that we know that hard times can hurt, but if you keep an open mind you can find some warmth. Whether it be in a warm meal, a warm handshake or a warm bed, you can always find warmth someplace. If only more people would share it.

We cleaned up and said our goodbyes and everyone said they were happy we showed up and to please come back next year. You can bet on that!

So, the next time you say you are starving, or hate your job, or want 10,000 thread count sheets - think about Otis. He'll show you what starving means. He'll gladly take your job for some work, a paycheck and some shelter. He'll also show you that 10,000 thread count sheets might be nice, but they won't keep you as warm as a sleeping bag behind a tarp under a bridge when the wind is blowing. So be thankful for what you have and enjoy the people around you. Take a step back when you feel unhappy about the way things are turning out. You may as well be happy in what you have because at that particular moment nothing is going to change. Not unless you do something about it. No point in complaining - it won't help. Say thank you to the people around you. YOU might not think it makes a difference, but to the guy bagging your groceries or the guy cleaning the toilets in a public restroom it does.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Everyone should do this at least one time during their lives. It will change the way you think.

Traveling The Guided Route

Outside of the Seal Beach Animal Care Center last night. I wanted to do some night photos and found the airplane route fascinating. You can see the streak at the top where the planes were traveling. One of these nights I am going to do a long exposure near the airport to see what kinds of cool lighting effects I can see.

Summer Brings Love

More Portraits To Share

I finished processing the rest of my photos from last Saturdays shoot and I found 3 more that I enjoyed looking at.

Being able to edit in the RAW stage (only way I shoot) is far more productive than trying to edit a jpeg file. I would never recommend shooting in jpeg mode unless you have to turn something around quickly (for the web or something for quantity and not quality).

I had to post these three. I usually think posting too many images can be somewhat boring for the viewer, but that's just my opinion.

Family Photo Shoot

Last Saturday, my wife and I got our first chance to do some portrait photography. One of our good friends had contacted us and asked if we would be willing to take some family shots. Of course we agreed!

We set up the shoot at the Seal Beach Pier and it not only was a learning experience, but it was great fun. We had a blast working together. She got to do her shoot and then I would do a set up and so on. We knew we wanted to wait for the light right before sundown, but we also knew the kids would probably not sit still long enough to. The kids were actually really patient until the end when we realized we had been out there for two hours.

For our first shoot I would say we did well. We got some great photos and now they will be able to put some on their walls and have some to share with family.

Here are a couple of my favorite photos from the shoot: