Sunday, October 26, 2008

What I Enjoy About Traveling

One of my favorite things to do throughout my entire life has been to view wildlife and enjoy nature. When I was young, my parents showed me a side of nature that was incredible. Thank you both for taking that time. My mom would take us on long walks through the woods and name plants and animals. My dad would take us to the woods and we'd get our camo on and we'd spot animals from far away and get right up close to them. We would spot and stalk. At that time, of course, I did not have a camera on me. It wasn't until later in life that I got a camera and documented what I saw. I always remembered what they taught me - enjoy it, soak it up, and most of all. . . respect it.

Last week I was sent to Tennessee for work. I have to say that Tennessee is one of my favorite states to visit. The weather, the smell of nature, the sight of greenery and best of all - the animals and nature. I love it all! This time, and the last, I went to Cades Cove. It is a nature lovers paradise. There is an 11-mile loop that you can drive around at 2o m.p.h. and stop and take photos. You can hike it or bike it, but I love to drive it. 7 months ago I got some great photos of some bears. This time is was of a big 9-point buck. He was my muse.

My day was interesting. I got to the park at 6:30a.m. There was a line of 12 cars ahead of me. Within an hour there were 30 cars behind me. The loop opens at sun-up and we had to wait patiently. Once it opened, I drove the loop once and got some sunrise pics, but that wasn't enough for me. Oh, one other thing my dad taught me when it comes to nature was to trust my gut. My gut was telling me the animals were just moving around and I'd have more to see. I made the drive again and I was not disappointed. I saw lots of deer, a nice 6-point buck and he rose and began feeding and his does meandered nearby. I got about 3 miles in and the line stopped. I figured there was a bear ahead and I'd get some cool shots again. I waited for 15 minutes, but the line didn't move. There were about 50 cars ahead of me. So, I did what any photographer would do, well, maybe some of us photographers. I parked the vehicle, grabbed my gear and hustled ahead on foot. I had to quickly walk about an eighth of a mile and there he was. No, not a bear. A very large, beautiful 9-point whitetail deer. He was watching myself and two other photographers and then made his way through a hedgerow. I quickly got to the other side and set up. Once he appeared, I was ready. Click-click-click-click-click. I was shooting quickly and my jaw must have hit the ground. I stood about 20 yards from him and he looked right at me. I cannot begin to tell you the amazement, happiness and wonder that went through my mind. I can only tell you that I have never been so close to a large buck like that. I moved along with him as he made his way across the field. I even got ahead of him a few times.

Oh, and one thing my dad also taught me, which I almost got in trouble with, was to anticipate where they will be and be ready. Well, my dad taught me too well. If you remember back in April when I first encountered the big bear, I was right on his trail as he walked towards me. I did it again with the buck. I stood near his trail and watched him edge closer, and closer, and closer. That was when I knew that he was in rut, I was in his way and I needed to move aside. He even waited in some trees until I had moved before he continued on. Absolutely amazing. Dad, thanks for showing me so much insight into the minds of animals and how to anticipate. Otherwise, I might be bear food or a pin-cushion!

Here are some of the photographs I captured on that wonderful day. This is my favorite slideshow to date. Please enjoy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Michelle and Gabriel Wedding Slideshow

I had posted a few images a couple weeks back to give you glimpse into the wonderful day when Gabriel married Michelle. It was a gorgeous setting with excellent weather, beautiful people and two in particular who are very much in love. After seeing this you'll wish you had been there.

Baby Kenzo

Babies are beautiful and I cannot wait to meet our own. A couple of weeks ago (Yes, I am slacking a bit), Kymberli and I had the good fortune of being invited to do a photo session with Baby Kenzo. I am sure he was wondering what we were doing with those odd looking contraptions. I want to say thank you to Kenzo's parents. We really enjoyed our time with you and we hope you love the photos. Your baby is precious. I apologize for not sharing these images sooner!

Please, sit back and enjoy the latest slideshow... starring Baby Kenzo.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vote YES on Prop 2!

Have you ever sat down for a wonderful meal and said 'Grace'? I mean truly thanked God for what he has provided for you and your family? The next time you do that or just sit down to a nice plate of scrambled eggs or a juicy steak... think about where it came from. REALLY came from and how it was brought to your dinner table.

Most of you know where I stand on certain issues facing the world and I am not afraid to believe what I want to believe, nor am I afraid to take a stand. My wife and I constantly talk about how cruel people can be to animals and what we can do to help. It seems like an overwhelming task. Sure, we volunteer at our animal shelter as much as we can and when we aren't with the animals we are putting a newsletter together for the Seal Beach Animal Care Center or helping with a fundraiser. Don't think I am asking for a pat on the back. Far from it. Like my good friend Abbey would say, I don't want any 'Thank yous' or f-yous.' I just want people to wake up and realize that we all need to do our part to help out in this world. It may or may not be what Kymberli and I do and I am, of course, totally ok with that. Just take a few minutes to watch this video.

I am quoting my wife here. She states in her blog, 'Please, please, please watch this video and then vote YES on Prop 2. PLEASE WATCH IT so that you are informed. Not watching it because you don't want to be disturbed is not fair to those who cannot choose for themselves. Turning your head to something you are uncomfortable with DOES NOT MAKE IT GO AWAY. Please be informed and please know what is happening to some farm animals. It's not right and it breaks my heart and boils my blood. May God Bless the animals that have suffered and the animals that are currently suffering. May California voters support this so that every creature has a right to humane treatment.'

That says it. Our elections are right around the corner and this is one of the big ones for California. It's scary knowing what I know now and I aim to fight the cruel treatment of these animals. Please Vote YES on Prop 2 on election day. Check out the website for more information.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Brian and Jenna Make It Official!

I love a good party. I love an even better party when it includes a wedding and two wonderful people. That's what Brian and Jenna are and Friday they tied the knot in memorable style. It was a day like no other.

First, I must thank Brian and Jenna for asking us to shoot their wedding. It was our pleasure and we hope you like the images we captured for you. We had a great time watching it all unfold!

In case you don't remember the newlyweds, we shot their engagement session at Angels Stadium earlier this year. We got to know them and understand the love they share for one another. After our session, we couldn't wait for their wedding!

The Olsons were married at Aliso Creek Golf Course in Laguna Beach, CA. It was our first time there and it was an adventure. Were had some time before the ceremony to get some shots of the wedding party and family in, but there was a catch. We couldn't be on the golf course and the other areas were blocked by ongoing construction. Now here is where I want to share what I did and give other photographers some advice. If you need something. . . ask. Simple, right? It really is. We were told that we couldn't be on the course during the day. People are there to play golf and we didn't need to be in their way. Here's where the asking comes in. I asked the coordinator and then the golf pro if we could shoot on the first tee, in the box. He said no problem! Simple as that. He allowed us to shoot until each foursome needed to tee off and that was how we got our first group shots. Thank God for Doni, the golf pro and Jeannie, the coordinator for working with us because the sun was quickly disappearing.

Once we finished with the group shots it was time to begin the ceremony. The guests were seated, the bridal party took their positions and the bride made her way down the aisle. She looked beautiful and it was apparent on Brian's face as he watched intently as she approached. After her father gave her away to Brian, they took their positions and that was when the sun decided he had had enough. The Aliso Creek staff came out with flashlights to help and it was a good thing they did. The reading was read aloud, the vows spoken and then the pronouncement of husband and wife. Cheers erupted and then we all made our way back to the reception.

Kymberli and I were able to use the outdoor lights and flash to our advantage as we captured the newly married couple. They were beaming and it was fitting that the moon was shining the duration of the wedding and the photos.

Once inside we captured the rest of the night. There were smiles, laughter and little children playfully running and dancing all night. I am sure they slept very well! It was wonderful.

Brian and Jenna, thank you again. Your reward will be a long, happy life together. Kymberli has some beautiful shots on her blog and here is but a small taste of the images from your amazing day. . .

We hope you all enjoyed the evening. We certainly did.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Jenny and Jay Show

All of you get front row tickets to the Jenny and Jay Show. They were such an awesome couple. Now, I am a bit biased because Jenny is my wife's cousin (cousin-in-law?) and her fiance, Jay, is such a cool guy. There were two things I really wanted to make sure popped in the photos - Jenny's smile and Jay's ink. They made an appearance and so did some wonderful emotion, some fun and incredible sincerity. Let me take this opportunity to say thank you to you both. It was a pleasure to be able to photograph you today.

We were fortunate enough to be able to shoot in San Juan Capistrano. It's a popular location for photogs and today was no exception. We must have counted 3 or 4 photographers with models and couples. Kymberli and I were feeling pretty good when Jenny pointed out that one of the photographer couples was following behind us and snapping 'their' couples in the same exact spot we were just at. I guess we must know what we are doing, right? Here is a link to Kymberli's spectacular gallery.

Long story short, they kicked ass in the photos. They were fun. They are in love and they wanted vintage. I think they get what they asked for.

Without further adieu, with limited commercial interruption, I give you the Jenny and Jay Show...

One of my favorites on the day...