Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Maternity Session with Bobbi and Che

We had the pleasure of photographing a wonderful couple last weekend. Bobbi and Che are expecting their first child and she is going to be rockin' in the looks department. Look out world, say hello to Ella!

These two had us meet them where they exchanged their wedding vows and it was spectacular. The view was amazing, the weather was perfect and these two just made the camera blush. They are very much in love, as I am sure the photos will show.

Ella, you have some great soon-to-be parents and we are blessed to be able to call them friends.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

22nd Annual Seal Beach Car Show, Pin-up Photoshoot

Hearing a hot rod getting revved is a great sound. Seeing the remarkable paint job on said car while it is being revved is an added bonus. What's can be better than that? How about a beautiful pin-up model standing next to your car getting everyone's engines going without having to touch a key.

Today was the 22nd Annual Seal Beach Car Show in Seal Beach, CA. I had the fortune of being asked to shoot some photos for Taylor's Tobacco House in Long Beach. The high-end cigar lounge owner, Albert Espinoza, asked me if I was interested in shooting some photos for him. We had spoken before, and I get all of my cigars through him, so I figured I had better not pass on this opportunity. The best part was he brought in pin-up model Diana Yanuaria especially for this event. I knew Albert would not disappoint.

When I arrived today, we all got to chatting like we were old friends and it just felt good. We joked and laughed and Albert introduced me to some of his friends, and of course Diana. Let me tell you a bit about both of them from my perspective. Albert (great name, huh?) is a dedicated businessman and cigar lover. He knows what he wants, works hard to get it, but still has time to enjoy life. He works hard and is also a laid-back guy. Diana is the sweetest girl you'll ever meet. Not only is she a beautiful woman, but she was all smiles and was very cordial with everyone. After about ten minutes of chatting we geared up and hit the pavement.

Our goal was to get some photos of Diana with some of the car owners throughout the show. With 500 cars there, we had a good chance of finding a few. In 2 hours we took photos of her with 25+ cars. Not even a dent (pun intended), but it was a blast. As we shot, many of the owners came up to us asking if we would shoot a photo of her by their car. Our answer was always the same - You bet! One of the best parts were the families that came up and asked her to pose with them. It was great to see that they weren't afraid and also how open Diana was. She was never standoffish and always made everyone smile.

We ended up having to stop shooting because it was getting late, but I'll bet that if we walked around some more we could have photographed Diana with 100 more cars. What a great day. I want to say thank you to Albert and Diana for being great to work with and asking me to do the photos. I had a great time and look forward to working with you both again.

What's that? Enough talk? I couldn't agree more. Wear your sunscreen and prepare for the sizzling hotness...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Texas Wildlife and the Beauty of a Rainstorm

A few weeks back I was in Houston, Texas for work and as always, I had my gear with me. I ventured out to a place called Bear Creek Park. The thunderstorms kept me in my car for most of the drive, but it was still beautiful. I was truly fascinated by God's hand on the world. Some of the tree formations were incredible. Some looked like a tight knit group and others a beautiful oasis amongst the dead and dying vegetation. I even got a shot of a water snake (not a cottonmouth) as he sunned himself in between showers. Big sucker, too. He had to top out around 5 feet and I was not about to test out his striking distance.

Instead of going into all of my thoughts, I want you to enjoy the beauty of nature and create your own. Please share if something comes to mind (Kymberli will probably say - "Yuck, a snake!" and I will love her for it). I hope you enjoy.

I specifically left our logo off of this one because I felt it hindered it's beauty.

This grackle was giving me some attitude. I never thought a grackle could be so cool, but this guy had spunk.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lone Elk Park - St. Louis, Missouri

As I left the World Bird Sanctuary, I saw a sign for Lone Elk Park. The best part is that they neighbor each other, so I took a right instead of a left and drove in.

All around the park are signs that warn of wild bison and elk. The signs mainly explain how to not be an idiot. Stay in your car, do not approach the cute cuddly animals, lest you want a mudhole stomped into your chest.

I drove the one way road slowly, as no one was behind me, and spotted a herd of elk on a nearby hill. There were nearly a dozen and they were all taking a nice nap. I stopped the car and decided that I might not be able to get out of the car, but i could maneuver the car to get a better shot. That's exactly what I did. I was able to get quite a few photos of these majestic animals.

Just as I passed the napping elk was a large gate and another sign for bison. The sign said that if I dared to drive my car in I was at risk of being rammed by a large bison. They have been known to charge vehicles. Here's the stupidity in the sign. By the time you can get close enough to read it you are up at the gate. It's a one way! There is no turning around. The sign should say: "If you ventured to this point, well, you better be able to drive fast in case one of these spring loaded muscles with horns comes after you." Yep, that's how I would word it. Anyway, I got in and saw a small dip in the earth. I figured I would find a couple bison in the wallows or in the shade. Nope. There was a small herd. There were a few in the small ravine, but the rest were on a grassy knoll. The scary part, you ask? The grassy knoll was right next to the road and these bison were only 30-100 yards away. Oh, it gets better. I am in a rental car on a VERY steep grade of a hill. I had to punch it to get it t go. Needless to say, I stopped twice for brief moments to capture these guys feeding and resting. Then I had the good sense to keep it moving!

The rest of the park was forest and paved road. They take great care of it and it was peaceful. Speaking of peaceful, I have one more image from "Emmy" in my last post. I found this budding leaf on a small sapling along the path. The sunlight hit it perfectly and I must have watched it for 2+ minutes before tkaing the photo. It was just God's reminder of how beautiful the little things are. The things that he placed here to help make oxygen, clean the air, give us shade and so on. I felt that this was his way of saying to not take things for granted and to really, truly stop and enjoy everything around us. Enjoy being alive. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Soon I will post the photos from Texas and we have some wonderful sessions in the next month. Be ready for some eye popping imagery!

World Bird Sanctuary - St. Louis, Missouri

It feels like I have fallen off the end of the blogging world. I have finally come around to getting some of my photos posted. Three weeks ago I was in Texas and need to post those images, but today I want to post a few from this past week. Last week I was in St. Louis, Missouri for a couple days and then Kansas City for a couple. In St. Louis I was able to make it out to three 'nature' areas; Emmenegger Park, the World Bird Sanctuary and Lone Elk Park.

"Emmy," as Emmenegger is commonly known in St. Louis, is a small park that has some nice paved trails, a beautiful forest and beautiful wildlife. I mainly wanted to get out and enjoy the 30 degree temps. Note the sarcasm there? Yeah, I wasn't too psyched to be walking in those temperatures, but I wanted to get out and shoot some photos. I was able to capture this photo of a white-throated sparrow (someone please correct me if I am wrong) checking me out.

After my brisk walk I drove over to my true destination of the World Bird Sanctuary. Being a true bird lover, I knew this was going to be fun. They have a wonderful facility and the brids are fantastically beautiful. They were also very vocal. As I walked near the great horned owl's cage, he flew to the ground and started hooting and eyeballing me. It was intense. The bald eagle would schreech at each other, the vultures and me as I got too close. I had never heard that before and it was amazing to hear and to watch. The parrots were not liking me at all. They gave me some serious attitude when I even got near their cage. I would recommend stopping by this facility to any bird lover. They rescue, take care of and rehabilitate birds and give them a permanent home there. I volunteer at an animal shelter, but if I lived in St. Louis you can believe I'd be here volunteering, too.

I have three photos to share. The first is one of the peregrine falcons that was getting some sun. He was very ambitious and really wanted to fly. The second is a beautiful red-tailed hawk who happened to be sitting right next to the falcon. Last, but not least, is the amazing symbol of the U.S.A. - the great bald eagle. This guy was super animated. He was plaing in a pool of water and then getting some sun. Make sure to check that one out. It'll be up on the wall very soon.

I felt bad for all of the birds there. Why? Well, I felt bad because for whatever reason they were there, they could not return to the wild and hunt and be as birds are. Yes, they are given the best of care, and I am thankful to the staff who tends to the birds, but I also feel a sense of emptiness for them as they have to remain in a cage for the rest of their lives. May God bless the staff of the WBS, the volunteers and the many birds who reside there.

Still to come... Photos from Lone Elk Park, Texas and then Kansas City, MO.