Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Movie Review | Once

My good friend and former DC journalism colleague Matt Mendelsohn turned me onto this great little movie called "Once" that just blew us away.

It's the combination of a great set of songs, a lovely story that doesn't have a tidy, made-for-the movies ending that was just terrific.

Shot entirely in Dublin with very low budget digital video equipment, the movie has incredible heart with flat-out beautiful music.

Even before seeing the movie, I downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes and the haunting Irish sound just stayed with me.

I've always been a fan of movies from that side of the pond, moreso than Yank movies. I find they're more about character, dialogue and texture than about the number of cars blown up.

Check it out...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ben & Noah Portraits | June 2007

I just got a collection of film and scans back today from the lab -- it's like Christmas everytime that happens.

These are some images from a session that I did recently photographing Ben and Noah here in Ladera.

This was an all b & w film shoot and it was a trial run to see if I will add it to my kids portrait collections.

The verdict is in and I will indeed be offering these sessions.

Everytime I get the images back from the lab, I always fall in love with the look of film again, and today was no exception.

I think the images have a texture and a feeling that is unique and different from the look of digital images (not that one is necessarily "better" than the other...they are two different mediums, really).

It is also a different way of working, as well, which I find refreshing.

But no matter what the medium, I'm still trying to find great moments and capture memorable images.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Catching Up -- Frank & Cori's visit

I've been in full-on blogging mode, so I wanted to catch up and post some pics from Cori, Frank, Darius and Teague's visit on Memorial Day...

Cori is a former colleague at The Arizona Republic; Frank is the photo editor at the Ahwatukee Foothill News -- they were able to escape the pizza oven that is Phoenix to take the boys to the beach and joining us for a bbq. It was great getting to see them, albeit briefly.

Cori's now a relatively new member to the club of former staff photographers at the Republic (she's in VERY good company, I might add ;-)!), having recently ventured out on her own (yeah!) doing portraits, schools, and weddings out of her home base in Gilbert, AZ.

The Gentry Family

This past Saturday morning I had a great time documenting the Gentry clan during a family lifestyle session here in Ladera Ranch.

They are such a beautiful family and it was fun just watching them be with each other. We did a few classic family groupings, but the rest was pretty free form (just the way I like to work) as the kids enjoyed themselves at one of parks.

Dinner with Di & Jade in Manhattan Beach

Before the engagement session, we had a lovely dinner with Di and her daughter Jade at one of our favorite little restaurants, Momma D's, Manhattan Beach.

Di was our former land lord when we moved from Phoenix to California in 2002 (man, it goes fast). Jade was just a little thing back then and now she's growing up into a lovely young surprise there.

Di married her long-time love Steve in Santa Barbara in 2005 and we were there to document the day -- it was great--it couldn't happen to two nicer folks.

Steve unfortunately couldn't make the dinner as he was up on the west side overseeing the renovation of some property there...but we hope to see him soon, too!

Of course, before we sat down for dinner, Kate amused herself (actually she took over the situation!) petting a sweet little dog named Marlee and drawing with crayons outside the restaurant.

Jane & Jung Engagement Portraits

This past Friday evening I photographed Jane & Jung's engagement portraits -- they will be married later this year in Pasadena.

They had flown in earlier that day from San Francisco to work on wedding plans and Nicki, Kate and my Mom and I had dinner plans in Manhattan Beach, so we figured this would be fairly convenient spot to meet (of course in LA that's a relative term, especially if it means being on the 405 on a Friday).

This was my first time meeting Jung and I think the shoot went very well as we worked near 8 pm. I think the time really worked to our advantage -- there's drama around the beach, especially as marine layers come in at dusk.

Thanks Jane and Jung for braving that LA westside traffic--enjoy the images!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Vault | Charles in Charge

Earlier in the week the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA title in what had to be one of the most boring Finals series in years.
I can only wonder what might have happened had the Suns been at full strength during the decisive game five of their series with the Spurs. Many think, and I would agree, that THAT series was really the NBA Finals.

It got me to thinking about what were, in my opinion, the real glory years of the NBA -- the 90s when Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton were in their prime and the league had real personality.

In the summer of '92 it was incredibly hot in Phoenix (really? ;-)) but was about to get cranked up a couple more notches as the Suns traded with the Philadelphia 76ers for the Round Mound of Rebound, Charles Barkley, considered by basketball experts to be one of the top 50 players of all time and a basketball hall of famer.

I was on staff at the Arizona Republic at the time and photographed Charles from the moment he arrived from Philadelphia (literally at the airport gate) and then proceeded to cover him throughout training camp, preseason, much of the regular season games and finally every playoff game, including the '93 NBA Finals against the Bulls.

In my nearly 20 years in daily journalism, covering Charles was probably the most fun that I had. I had never seen someone come to a town and instantly own it, as Barkley had done. During that first season, there was such a sense of community fueled by the success of the Suns (that is, by Barkley). In my twelve years there, no one or nothing came close to forging that level of community pride, not even the 2001 Diamondbacks World Series win, as amazing as it was.

This photograph was made during the pre season and even then Charles was positively elevated in his play, unusual since most players in that time are easing into playing shape.

Just prior to making this photograph, Charles had stolen the ball near mid-court, and raced for a slam dunk.

Fumbling as I was changing from my down court 400mm lens, I couldn't quite put that lens down and grab the second camera around my neck with a 100mm lens that I would use for the forecourt action. I had to one-hand the camera with the 100 and wasn't able to swing it to a vertical orientation in time.

I was able to focus using the back-button on the camera and Charles finished off the slam with a flourish, going almost parallel to the floor -- had I been able to turn the camera to a vertical position, the resulting image just wouldn't have had the same impact as it did as a horizontal framing.

The photograph finally ran at the end of the season, four columns wide in my own paper. Ironically, my former employer, The Chicago Tribune, ran this photograph six columns wide as it ran an NBA Finals preview on Barkley and the Suns.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mom Visits

My Mom has been with us for the past week and it's been great to see her.

The weather has been absolutely superb and she's enjoying getting to know Katie better. And vice versa.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Kristi & Grant | June 9, 2007

This past Saturday, Kristi & Grant were married at the historic El Cortez in downtown San Diego.

It was a fantastic wedding day -- the early morning marine layer ("June Gloom, as it is known here") stepped aside to a beautiful late afternoon wedding.

Both families made us feel so welcome and a part of the day -- thank you for letting us into your lives.

(As you'll be able to tell from the images, I've been in a kind of "black and white" mood, though there are a few color images sprinkled into the mix.)