Eric Soderquist – SLO Life Magazine

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The latest issue of SLO Life Magazine just came out, and it features a few photos that I took of Eric Soderquist, a local artist and surfer (it also includes many wonderful images from photographer Chris Burkard, who shoots surf both locally and in some of the most inhospitable places a person could conceive of getting in the water).

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You can see Eric’s work on his website, here: www.ericsoderquist.com.

And Now My Dad is a Cowboy

For Christmas this year my dad asked for an “old-timey picture” of himself. With his horse. And maybe his gun.

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We shot these on my Hasselblad, using three or four rolls of various expired films that I’d collected. I’m pretty pleased with the results, and I have prints shipping out to him this week, so hopefulyl he will be as well (even if they are much delayed from Christmas).

One interesting result was the last roll we shot – an almost twenty-year-old roll of [I think] Russian 3200 film. I thought I had another roll in the freezer that I could check the label on, but alas, I appear to have lost my “metadata.” I had no idea if the film would even come out, but I used it in the dying light, exposed it at about 800 ISO, assuming that in the best case it probably would have degraded somewhat, and boy was I right. Even at 800, it was super underexposed, with results that only the hippest of Instagram filters could replicate.

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Bersbach Holiday Card, 2015

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Brittany and I have been making a bit of a tradition out of crafting an over-the-top holiday card for our friends and family (and of course, everyone who read this post!). This year’s card is an idea that we came up with right after shooting our card from last year, but it still barely came together in time. Like last year, the actual photography was a little fast and loose, which necessitated more postproduction than I prefer (although any postproduction is more than I prefer). I knew I would have to blend two frames to get the right expressions from each of us, so I was shooting locked-down on a tripod, but I ended up using three or four more frames to re-balance the interior overhead lamp, clean up an errant reflection on my Dalek schematic, and spruce up (zing!) some of the holiday baubles around the window.

Oh, and that gorgeous night sky is 97% artificial, but  at this point, who’s counting?

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and cheers to an excellent 2015!

Lesley Santos Dierks – SLO Life Magazine

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Lesley is the CEO of Spokes, a San Luis Obispo organization that provides management training and other resources to local non profits, to help them succeed and better serve the community. I photographed Lesley in her home for the cover of the latest issue of SLO Life Magazine, which just came out at the beginning of December. This was the first set of images that I’ve delivered to the magazine that was entirely shot on film. I always carry my digital gear for backup on these shoots, and usually deliver at least some images from the digital rig, since it allows me to move faster and get some coverage that my Hasselblad isn’t fast enough to keep up with; however, for this shoot Lesley so patient that I was able to get full coverage on a single roll of 220 film – just 24 frames!

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Thanks, as usual, to Richard Photo Lab for handling my film marvelously.

My Dad, the Welder

My dad is a welder by trade, and a super handy guy. When I was a kid, he would ask me to give him a hand fixing and building stuff around the house, from simple things like holding a flashlight for him while he worked on an engine, to complex skills like plumbing my treehouse (yeah, I had running water in my treehouse!). Unfortunately, I was always a lot more interested in playing Nintendo than I was in helping, and didn’t pick up many of the skills that he tried to pass on to me. The good news is that, in the age of Google and instructional YouTube videos, I’m mostly able to scrape by when something simple around the house needs fixing. But when it comes to welding, the skill that my dad built his career on, I’m almost totally inexperienced, and maybe also a little bit terrified of burning the hell out of myself with molten steel.

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Thankfully, when I needed to build a metal gate and a handrail for our sideward, my dad offered to come down to Arroyo Grande to help. I doubt that he would have guessed the payment for his help was going to be a portrait session.

(In the interest of full disclosure, he also got his own room with a super comfortable bed to sleep in, some pretty tasty meals, and at least a few beers.)

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I’m really happy that I took the time to photograph my dad while he was visiting. Originally, I wanted to document him in his “work” clothes, since that’s how I remember him from when I was a kid, but I’m glad that we also made some images of him in his street clothes. (Yes, the hat is a regular accessory.)

I guess it’s a little morbid to acknowledge, but there’ll be a time when my dad won’t be able to come down and help me muddle my way through a project. As much as I’d prefer not to think about that time, when it does come I bet I’ll be especially glad to have these images then.