Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tanya Part III

Seriously? Part III? Yes, I teamed up with Tanya once again for an eventful photo shoot (see my first and second shoots). On this shoot, no one tried to get in the shoot with us and the cops didn't show up. After we were done, I had to ask myself, "was this a normal shoot?". It was normal, except for the fact that Tanya was standing on top of a large hill in an evening dress holding a long piece of fabric and trying not to get blown away by gusts of wind!

Tanya approached me about this blowing fabric idea, but I originally had another shoot planned. I told her that if something happened with the other shoot, I'd be happy to do something if she didn't mind making last-minute plans. Well, something happened with the other shoot and Tanya was happy to work on a tight schedule. We met up, packed our stuff and headed west towards the wind.

If the wind is not blowing in Denver, you can usually bet it's blowing near Boulder. The wind was not blowing in Denver that day, so we drove out towards Highway 93, one of the windiest places on the Front Range. Thankfully, the wind was blowing and I didn't look like an idiot for having us drive so far. I pulled out my camera, Tanya pulled out the fabric and we let the wind do most of the work. I should mention that Tanya was getting quite a workout from holding on to the fabric and just standing upright. I guess I had it pretty easy that day!

After blowing around for a while, we decided to head back to the city and get some more calm shots. We found a nice grove of colorful cottonwoods, set up and spent the rest of our time enjoying the day and taking some great photos. Although they weren't part of the original plan, we are both happy with the photos from the second location, as they're different from any photos we've created so far. For a canceled photo shoot and last-minute planning, I'd say it was a productive afternoon!

You can see more photos here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Julia and Jaden

When I heard that I'd be taking photos of two girls and their new puppy, my first thought was, "this will be hard not to get a good photo". The next time I hear something similar, my first thought will be, "how will I get them to sit still?". Regardless of their energy, Julia and Jaden were lots of fun to photograph and, consequently, we got some great photos.

The weather couldn't have been better for an afternoon in the park. October days in Colorado are unpredictable. Fortunately, we picked a beautiful day! Stephanie (Julia and Jaden's mother) chose a nice little park in their neighborhood complete with a playground and mountain views.

We started on the playground. I just told the girls to have fun and that's exactly what they did. They were both very comfortable with the camera and even gave me some poses when I asked them to. The hard part was getting them off of the playground and onto the grass to pose for a few photos with their new puppy.

Once the girls were on the grass, the next trick was to get the dog into the photos. When that was accomplished, they all needed to look at the camera at the same time. One of the best ways to get kids' attention and to get them to look at the camera is to ask them to make funny faces. Once they do that, getting them to make a nice face isn't as difficult. One of my favorite photos of the day was a "funny face" photo where even the dog is sticking out her tongue!

After about an hour of taking photos, the girls started to get tired. If there's one thing I've learned about photographing children, it's that it's better to end on a good note rather than wait for things to go bad. We decided to call it a day while everyone was still smiling, which allowed us to go enjoy what was left of a beautiful October afternoon in high spirits.

You can see more images here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tech Tuesdays - An Introduction

As anyone with a hobby knows, you can never get enough of what you love. You'll scour the internet, read magazines and books and join clubs just to talk about your obsession, I mean hobby. Well, I've decided to take care of two things at one time here. I get to talk about my obsession with photography gear and I get to give photographers a new place to read about camera stuff!

So what will I be discussing here? Anything photography related is fair game. I'm planning on doing casual reviews of my cameras and lenses, as well as software, camera gear, books and magazines. I'm a Nikon guy, so if you want reviews of Canon stuff, I'm sorry, but you won't find it here unless I borrow a camera from someone. Regardless of the gear you use, you still might be an Adobe Lightroom user. I'm planning on installing the new Lightroom Version 3, using it for my daily photo processing and letting you know what I think about it. I also get a few (too many?) magazines every month, such as Rangefinder, After Capture, Digital Photo Pro, PDN, Popular Photography, American Photo and Photo Pro Magazine. Expect reviews of all of them eventually.

Sometimes it's the little things that can make a big difference. I'll let you know the stuff I never leave home without, like a Lens Pen, or the gear I can't imagine not using, like SanDisk Extreme III memory cards.

Whether you're a casual photographer who just wants a few tips on what to buy next or a seasoned pro who needs a new book to read, I should have some good info for you here. Check back next Tuesday for my first review...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ning, Lee and Forest

Ning and Lee are one of the nicest couples around. They're fun to spend time with, they both have a great sense of humor, and their son, Forest, is great! We spent some time on a sunny Sunday morning taking some photos on the south end of Denver.

The first thing I noticed was how nice everyone looked. They all wore color-coordinated outfits, but not matching outfits. The second thing I noticed was a big bump on Forest's forehead! Apparently, he just learned to walk and fell down and scraped his head a few days before. He's fine and thanks to the power of Photoshop, you'd never even know it from the photos!

We started off by letting Forest play on the playground, which provided some great photos. After a while, we decided to attempt some family photos. We didn't include Forest in this decision, so he made it clear he wanted to play and not sit still! After some parental tricks (Lee gave Forest his car keys to play with) and a little tickling, we got some great family photos.

At the end of the shoot, Forest was just about done being cute for the camera, so Lee took him over to watch the geese while I took a few photos of Ning. I really like the way they came out. Her haircut framed her face so nicely and the light was great. I hope Forest doesn't grow up too quickly, as I can't wait to spend some time with him (and his parents) again.

You can see more photos here.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I met Joyce through a model that I've worked with in the past. Tanya is one of my favorite models to work with and she likes my work, so she wanted to treat her mom to a photo session for her birthday. When she said that her mom was a little nervous about the shoot, I suggested that we grab a beer first just to loosen up a bit. After a beer and some nice conversation it was time to shoot.

The weather was beautiful. Tanya found a great location with a lake right in the middle of town! Joyce looked wonderful and had on some killer orange boots. After getting out the jitters, we settled down and took some great photos. She was even up for an outfit and location change!

Near the end of the shoot we got Tanya and her brother Ben involved and took a few group photos with them as well. Although the idea of this birthday present might have been to pamper Joyce and give her some great photos of herself, I have a feeling her favorites will probably be the photos of her and her kids. That's just the way moms are!

You can see more photos from the shoot here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tanya Part II

As I write this, my eyes are sore and itchy, I have seeds in my hair and I think I just felt something crawling up my leg. This is not my typical post-shoot condition, but if I keep shooting with Tanya, who knows what I'll be writing about next time. The one thing that makes it all worth it is it's just so much fun! Plus, we always come away with great photos.

Tanya and I had a previous shoot that was amazing. It didn't take us long to set up another shoot. We decided we'd have a bit of a Western theme, so she pulled out the boots and jeans, I grabbed my camera and we headed out to some open space.

Fortunately, the open space was beautiful. It was a nice, warm day. The worst part was the wind. It wouldn't have been so bad if we weren't next to a bunch of plants that were seeding like crazy. The little, fuzzy seeds were sticking to our lips and flying into our eyes, ears, and mouths. Once I saw the photos, though, it was all worthwhile. Once again, Tanya did not disappoint and the photos rock!

Like I said in my last post about Tanya, "it's nice when two people click". Today, I was reminded of that once again. We drove around, talked, acted goofy and took photos. I can't ask for much more than that.

You can see more images here.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Kaysha is a Senior at CSU in Fort Collins. When she saw my photos, she asked me to take some photos of her that showed her on campus and that she could include with her graduation announcements. I thought it was a great idea to do college "senior" photos, so I headed up to spend an afternoon in Fort Collins.

Kaysha wanted to include some of her favorite places on the CSU campus in her photos. One of her favorites is the Oval, a big open space that's full of grass and trees. It's a favorite student location for studying, relaxing and socializing. After some photos in the Oval, we headed up to the railroad tracks that run through campus for some photos. I think Kaysha missed her true calling... a tightrope walker. She was walking down one side of the railroad track in heels!

After working on the railroad, we headed to a few different buildings to capture the colors and textures of the CSU campus. Finally, we ended up at her truck where she traded out her heels for boots and we took some photos with her and her truck. They have a nice, sentimental feel to them. I think she really likes her truck.

What made the shoot with Kaysha so enjoyable was not just her personality and getting to know her, but also the fact that she's a cousin I never knew I had before this summer! This was our first chance to really hang out and get to know each other. It was great to get to know this "new" family member. Maybe if she decides to get a Masters Degree she'll need more photos in a few years!

You can see more photos here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


There are many words that can describe Laura: bubbly, spunky, fun, tough... The thing that surprises me is how our shoot lingers in my head and I keep remembering different aspects of it for different reasons.

Laura is a student at CSU, so I headed up to Fort Collins on a foggy Wednesday morning. During our entire shoot, there was a nice, even cloud cover across the sky. This gave us excellent light to work with. Unfortunately, the temperature was pretty chilly and Laura was not wearing warm clothes. It didn't phase her, though. She went strong for over two hours and only really said that her hands were cold. We did notice that her knees were starting to turn purple from the cold, but we said we wouldn't mention that, so forget I said anything...

What really impressed me about Laura was her diversity of poses and facial expressions. She said she hadn't done many shoots before, but I couldn't tell. She's got some talent! I can't wait to see what she's doing in another year or two.

While I was editing the photos, various parts of Laura's personality kept surfacing. This gave me some time to reflect on our shoot and get a better feel for it than I had immediately afterwords. What I've decided is that Laura was a lot of fun to work with, no two shoots with her will be the same and I'll always walk away with good photos when we work together again.

You can see more photos from the shoot here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Laurie and Aidan

Although time and distance can separate two people, it doesn't necessarily have to affect their relationship. I discovered this when I met up with Laurie on Monday. Laurie and I used to work together. We didn't work in the same location or even the same city, but we saw each other at meetings, training and whenever everyone went out for some drinks. We always had fun together, but were also able to talk about some more serious topics. It's been over a year since we last saw each other (we both lost our jobs), but it felt like we picked up right where we left off.

I met Laurie and her son, Aidan, at her house in Erie. She had a location already picked out, so we hopped into her car and headed over. When we arrived, I couldn't have been happier. She chose a trail right by a river, but there were a bunch of open spaces with tall grass, colorful bushes and mossy trees. What a great variety of scenery!

We started out with the "cheesy smiles" and "goofy faces" photos, just to get loosened up a bit. I've got to say, Aidan is the master of the Goofy Face. He can get more different looks out of his face than any kid I've seen! I could tell that Laurie was not as amused as I was, so I stopped encouraging him to make faces, but once in a while when his smile started to look a little forced, I told him to take a break and make some goofy faces. He was more than happy to oblige.

Although the weather was brisk and the light was fading, we were able to get two different outfits into our shoot. Laurie looked great and Aidan behaved himself. We got to spend some time catching up and came away with some great photos. Things will always change: kids grow up, we get older, people come and go from our lives. That's why we take photographs, to remember those moments that we can't get back. But, as I learned with Laurie, it's nice to know that sometimes things don't change.

You can see more photos from the shoot here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Zoya and Kai

It was a cold and snowy day... wait, didn't I already start a post like that? This time it's the truth! It was supposed to get up to the low-40s on Sunday, but I don't think it ever really made it much above 30 in Boulder. There was snow on the ground, in the trees, and eventually on all of us. Regardless, we took less than an hour on a cold Sunday and got some great photos.

The shoot went great, but it could have been a bad day. First, there was the weather. Then, our meeting place was closed for construction. Luckily, we were able to contact each other, meet at the location for our shoot and get out and start shooting. The kids were very well behaved with just the right combination of goofy and calm.

After posing for some "formal" family photos, we turned the kids loose and let them be themselves. What resulted were goofy poses for the camera, playing in the snow and knocking icicles off of the downspouts. This also gave Zoya and Kai a chance to get some photos alone.

It didn't take too long, though, before hands started to get cold and noses started to drip. We decided we'd rather stop early than try to push our luck. I think we'll have to meet up on a beautiful spring afternoon in Boulder for another, warmer photo shoot.

You can see more photos from the shoot here.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Last week Sasha contacted me about taking some photos of her when another photographer decided he was too busy. She said that she was pregnant and wanted to take some maternity photos soon, as she was close to her due date. Thankfully, our schedules (and the weather) worked out perfectly.

We met in Washington Park in Denver on what may turn out to be the last beautiful and warm day of the year. The weather was absolutely perfect. That's good, because when Sasha told me that one of her outfits was going to be a little top and a "sheet", I didn't know how comfortable she would be if it got cold out. Uncomfortable pregnant lady = very short photo shoot!

If anyone was uncomfortable during this shoot, I think it was her husband. He was more than happy to hang out and be my assistant, but when it came time to get him into the photos, he made it known that it wasn't his thing. After some coaching and direction, he got into it and we got a good variety of photos with both of them in them.

At the end of the day, after driving around for an hour (they got lost on the way to the park), two outfits, being on her feet for 2 hours and no bathroom breaks (I offered!), Sasha still looked as wonderful as when she arrived. I was surprised at her stamina! She had fun, she kept laughing and most of all, she radiated a warm, caring glow throughout the entire shoot that came through in the photos. I think she's going to make a great mother.

You can see more photos here

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Malliga and Matthias

It was a cold and rainy day... well, it was kind of cold and not really rainy, but there were a few sprinkles. Anyway, I met Malliga and Matthias at Washington "Wash" Park in Denver for some photos. Anders, their dog, came along so that he could play in the park and get in a few photos as well.

The weather couldn't really decide what it wanted to do, so we kept taking our jackets off and then putting them back on again, which makes for a nice variety of outfits in the photos. We kind of did the same thing with the photos: take a few here, take a few there... once again, great variety of photos!

I would have to say the highlight of the day was when Malliga wanted some photos on the playground swings, but there were a few girls on the swings already. One of the girls was just standing there, not even swinging, so Malliga acted mad and said she was going to kick the girls off of the swings, but I'm pretty sure she went over and nicely asked if they could use the swings for a bit. The girls agreed and moved, we took some photos, and when we were done we thanked the girls for moving so the grown ups could play.

Near the end of the shoot it started to get really cold and felt like it could rain at any moment, so we decided to wrap things up a little earlier than we had planned. We still got some great photos from the day. I had fun and learned a few things. Malliga and Matthias are very happy with the photos. Sounds like a good day to me!

You can see more photos from the shoot here.

Monday, October 5, 2009


When you meet someone for the first time and they ask you within the first five minutes of knowing you if you've ever watched a certain TV show because "you seem like the kind of person who'd enjoy it", and then it turns you decide to watch that show and it turns out to be pretty much your favorite show of all time, there's something special there. That's exactly what happened the first time I met Rachel.

Since then, we've been able to hang out a few times and we always have a great time, so I knew this photo shoot would be a lot of fun. We decided to head up into the foothills around Boulder and see what we could find. What we found was a great little spot that had big rock formations, some trees and overlooked the city.

After taking some photos there, we headed back down the mountain until we found a small building with a very Autumnal-looking tree next to it. Although we got some great photos at the first location, in my opinion the photos we got here were the best of the day. There was something about the light, color and texture that all combined to make some amazing photos.

At the end of the day, we headed back to Rachel's house in Boulder. We walked away with some great photos. More importantly, though, we walked away better friends than when we started. Thanks, Rachel!

You can see more photos from the shoot here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


On Friday I headed north to Fort Collins for a very colorful shoot. From the greens and yellows of the trees to the blue of Christie's eyes, it would have been pretty hard to take a bad picture, so luckily I came away with some amazing photos.

The morning started out a little cold, so we had to take a few breaks just to warm up at the beginning, but eventually the sun warmed up and we really hit our rhythm. Christie was a good sport, climbing on logs, walking through a bunch of tall dead grass and even sinking into some swampy ground, all while wearing heels! Her constant smile (at least when we weren't taking photos) and pleasant conversation helped to make the cold more bearable.

The features that really stand out about Christie are here eyes and freckles. She told me that one photographer edited out all of her freckles in the photos he took of her, so I made sure to get some great shots of her face, freckles and all. Looking at the photos, though, it should be obvious that you'd have to be crazy to not take a few good photos of her face. She's got some of the most amazing blue eyes I've ever seen!

Towards the end of the shoot, things always start to get a little relaxed and goofy. We were by a lake and she was saying that she'd love to catch a duck and get some photos with it. We weren't able to get close enough to any ducks this time, but maybe next time we'll find a feathery friend for Christie to pose with!

You can see more photos from Christie's shoot here.