Sunday, July 30, 2006

In Aurora, IL this week

This week I'm in Aurora, IL for my class called One Light Wonder at Shootsmarter University.

Should be a great week...we'll be working on using simple tools to make great images and also working on mastering ttl flash units like the Canon 580 and the Nikon SB800. It's alot of the types of things that I do in my wedding work and portraiture and it's always fun to share that with folks.

This is my third class that I have taught at Shootsmarter University. The other two I have taught are on Documentary Wedding Photography so this one is an entirely new class and I'm really looking forward to it.

Will, Diane, and the rest of the folks at SSU really have a great facility and provide an awesome service for photographers looking to improve their skills and it has especially helped folks making the jump from film to digital.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Kids Photos Now On Display!

My children's photography is now on display in Ladera Ranch!

South Orange County Pediatric Associates has graciously allowed us to use some wall space in their Ladera office. Thanks Dr. Wesp and the rest of the physicians!

I hope you enjoy the images! I'm planning on changing them every quarter, to keep it fresh for all!

And thanks to Aren Feliciano-Damiani for his expert help in hanging the prints.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Kaitlin & Tim Engagement Session

Just got back from the beach where I spent a couple of hours with Tim & Kaitlin -- they're getting married on August 5 in Ladera Ranch!

We had a great time and we had the beach to ourselves. A dramatic sky this evening, not a lot of direct sun, but I love the mood that it evoked.

We stayed until it was dark and it was worth it -- the light just kept getting better and better.

Here's my favorite image so far...more to come and a slideshow to follow...

Terri & Ron's Wedding July 23, 2006

Terri & Ron had a fantastic wedding this past Sunday at The Chart House in Dana Point.

Even though the day was a bit hazy in the morning (some of my favorite light), by the time of the ceremony, the sun had broken through and we were in for a scorcher.

The ceremony was beautiful and relatively short and was on the grassy area outside the main restaurant, with an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean.

Here are just a few images from their day.

Thank you both for inviting me to be present at your day! I had a great time and it was a pleasure watching you enjoy the day, too!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Donna & Duke's Laguna Beach Wedding

I'm catching up a bit on my early summer weddings and just wanted to share a few images from Donna and Dukes very cool June wedding at the Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach.

The wedding was intimate and there was a lot of love and support from all their kids, as evidenced by the fact that they stood around them during the vows.

The wedding though colorful, also looked awesome, I think, in black and white. Duke's tux reminded me of a classic Bogey in Casablanca look, or definitely a Ratpack kind of look. Donna's dress was elegant and delicate.

What a great couple and I really enjoyed photographing them with their friends and family.

A Mark Burnett Wednesday

The tv was on Wednesday night and we decided to check out a bit of Rockstar SuperNova on CBS. I was interested in seeing how season two of the Mark Burnett show was since I worked on the first episode of last year's Rockstar:INXS shooting still pics.

They've made some changes and it now seems to have more of a competition when it comes to eliminating the bottom three. Last year I was able to be in the room when they eliminated the first contestant and it was pretty tough to watch. Here someone takes such a huge gamble I was actually quite impressed with how gentle Dave Navarro and Tim from INXS delivered the news. Ironically, J.D. Fortune the eventual winner and current frontman of INXS was in the bottom three that first episode and look how it turned out.

The way that these rockers delivered the blow to the young Canadian woman this time around was also quite gentle. Odd, here's Tommy Lee actually being very appropriate when it could easily turn in to a bit of the cattiness you see on other talent shows.

I would love to share some of those pics here and online, but alas the dreaded contractual obligations. But you can see my work from that first concert in the CD A Night At The Mayan Theatre

It was interesting to hear the CD after hearing all the performances live. If you've ever been to a small, intimate live venue like the Mayan (in downtown LA) you know how amazing the music FEELS. Plus I was just off of stage right and I mean the bass practically knocked me off my feet. It just surges through your entire body. The first song by Jordis Unga, an old Who cover, just positively kicked and my God what a soulful voice.

The CD is mixed for balance, and while it is well done, it just isn't quite the same as the experience there. I guess it's like going to a playoff basketball game and feeling the energy in the air and how that contrasts with watching it, even on a large screen tv. It's just not quite the same as being there.

After Rockstar, I switched over to ESPN to catch a look at Contender. It was quite different from the one that was produced for NBC two summers ago -- I shot on that set too (I'm afraid I can't share them, sorry). Still alot of the same elements, though it looks like the boxer's quarters and gym are now in East LA rather than in Pasadena as they were then.

It's not as glam either as that first season. Sylvestor Stallone is still Exec Producer but he didn't appear on camera like he did through the entire first season. Fight nights were a hot little ticket two summers ago. A listers like Mel Gibson, Sharon Stone, James Caan all showed up for the fights which were held in an old warehouse that had been converted to the set for the show. Nicki actually got to come up and watch a couple of the fights and though she's not really a boxing fan, got into it and actually enjoyed herself. I think she enjoyed seeing some of the famous faces that were on the other side of the gym, too.

The show is scored beautifully and has some real feature film touches. It will be interesting to see how it fares on ESPN since it didn't do as well on NBC. It got good reviews but just didn't seem to find an audience.

Ironically, this first episode had a similar storyline to last year's first episode. Peter Manfredo, Jr., the fighter who eventually went on to fight in the finals (he lost) and was one of the pre-show favorites got defeated in the first fight.

This year Michael Clarke the captain of the gold team and one of the favorites to win, was also beaten in an upset -- by the fighter on the blue team that was the last fighter picked. I'm wondering if he might get asked to come back as Manfredo, Jr was. We shall see.

But I think that coming back from the brink is one of the things that keeps the shows interesting and I suspect Mark Burnett loves that aspect of the story.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Holly & Roy's Wedding

Holly & Roy's Saturday wedding was at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, and despite the record heat, everyone was in fun and festive form.

The two had met as undergrads at UC-Berkley and continued their courtship through post graduate studies -- they have been just a delight to photograph!

It's such an amazing thing for me to be a witness to this day for means so much more as I get older and since I went through the process almost five years ago (Yikes -- time flies!). I think wedding photographs and other family photos just continue to grow in value the more time passes. Last year at my parent's 50th anniversary those 50 year old b & w photographs of them celebrating and even the more formal portraits brought me back to that time. I think that is the power of the still image.

Have a great time on your honeymoon you two!

Friday, July 14, 2006

A Mississippi Wedding

Kate and John's wedding in Missippi in the first weekend in June was simply amazing.

The couple had spent some time in the Mississippi Delta area while Kate was teaching there through a program called Teach For America. In the process, they came to love the place and its people.

I can see why.

From the moment I arrived, I felt it was going to be a special event. Their friends and family welcomed me with open arms and they just allowed me to be there and do what I do. For a documentary photographer like me, it doesn't get much better than this.

Plus, I have this fascination with the American South from the history of the place, and especially the music.

This trip allowed me to to touch history: The site of their rehearsal dinner, the Hopson Preservation Company, is one of the oldest cotton plantations in America and is located just outside of Clarksdale, MS.

Their wedding took place at a well known "juke joint" called Po' Monkeys outside of Merigold, MS. Monkey, the owner is known for his flashy clothing and he didn't change his M.O. even for Kate and John's wedding -- he changed his suit just about every hour on the hour.

The wedding actually took place in a clearing of trees across from the lounge; the reception took place underneath a tent on the property.

I had to keep pinching myself during the entire day, it's was just such a a great trip to be witness to their special day in a very unique and special place.

To see a sneak peek slide show from the weekend, please go here

If you'd like to see the online galleries, please send me an email:

We're back...

Nicki, Kate and I got home mid afternoon on Tuesday from our week in Wisconsin.

It's good to be back, but it's been something trying to get back on track after Dad's funeral.

I've been catching up on editing, creating slideshows and posting them online for clients to see, so that's helped me a bit.

I've got quite a few photographs that I made on the trip of family and friends...Kate's godfather Pat Murphy-Racey shocked us by not only showing up for Dad's visitation (he happened to be in Chicago that weekend as it turned out for a friends' wedding) and he showed up on his motorcycle, having driven all the way from Knoxville.

Thanks Pat for being there. Pat is nearly finished with his training to be a deacon in the Catholic Church and the weekend of Kate's baptism, back in June, he got a chance to meet my Mom and Dad (for the first time) as well as getting to meet Nicki and Kate without me being there (I was in Mississippi for a wedding, making it back just in time for the baptism).

John, Lisa, Johnny and Georgie Kringas made the trek up from Chicago and it was so great to have them there as well. John's been a friend of mine since 1984 when we both happened to be going to the Missouri Workshop -- a weeklong course of study in how to shoot photo essays. That could the subject of an entire post, so I think I'll save that for later. But suffice to say, Kring somehow survived that week and the wrath of Ken Paik -- a madman Photo Editor-- and still stayed in photography.

John was one of my groomsmen in my wedding, along with Don Winslow who was best man. (Don would have been at the funeral but has been teaching in Europe and could not get away). I'm little Johnny's godfather and Georgie's godfather in spirit. They're good kids and they have grown up so incredibly fast. I have a little sense of what is in store with Kate by watching them grow up (plus Mary and Scott's kids too!)

I wish Kate, Pat and Nicki had gotten to know my Dad before his stroke. I think they really would've appreciated the level of conversations with him about politics, history and even sales. He was very well-read and before the stroke, you had to basically hit hiim over the head to get his attention, he was so engrossed in his book or paper.

I've got some editing to do of images leading up to the funeral and will be posting them soon.

As much as we loved being hosted by my sister Mary and her husband Scott and the kids, I think it was wearing on them. I think it would wear on anyone, and after the funeral, I think all they wanted to do was try and find some semblance of a normal life.

Thanks guys for letting us stay with was great that Kate got a chance to get to know Stef and Jake.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Robert B. Gero (May 4, 1929 - July 3, 2006)

We got word tonight from my sister Mary that Dad passed away peacefully at around 9:30 PST.

Tomorrow we get on an early flight to Wisconsin as Nicki, Kate and I help Mom -- along with my sisters and their families -- to prepare for Dad's funeral.

Kate will get a chance to meet her aunts, uncles and cousins much sooner than we had expected. It's kind of ironic really. I wonder if my Dad was leaving us with one last lesson.

Don't let the distance keep you apart.

Thanks Dad for everything you've shared, even going out.

I love you and will miss you.