Movember Max

Movember Max 1 I adore Movember. Moustaches grow wild and free, the fight against in-the-pants cancer gets a needed influx of funding, and for a brief month, hipsters blend in with every other average Joe. My dear friend Max is a big proponent of the cause, raising north of $1,200 this year on his own. I've photographed Movember participants before, and had a great time doing it, so when I met up with Max in Los Angeles over the Thanksgiving holiday, I asked if I could make his life-saving moustache's portrait.

"Changing the face of mens' health," indeed.

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Heidewood 2 My good friend Greg Heide is a woodworker. He built one of the cabinets in my home, built a deck for our outdoor shed, loaned me his mitre saw, and has given me advice on more than a few other projects here and there. Last year, in an effort to repay Greg for all of his help, I offered to make some portraits of him for his website.

Well, his website is still in the works (these things take time). But while I'm prepping to shoot some new work over these next few weeks, I've been revisiting some of my favorite portrait sessions from the last year, and this shoot with Greg kept sticking in my mind. So, even though his website is still in process, and it'll be a while before most of the images have a chance to get out into the wild, I thought I would share just a couple of my personal favorites here on the blog.

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Botso Korisheli - SLO Life Magazine

BotsoKorisheli_1 Once again, the latest issue of SLO Life Magazine is out, and I'm very proud to have some of my images featured. In this issue it's a very special honor for two reasons - first, Tom (SLO Life's tireless publisher) included a very nice piece about my work on the cover photograph, which was a special experience for me, as I'll get into in more detail in a bit; second, the issue also include an image by local surf legend Chris Burkard, who is an amazing photographer. It's a massive honor to have my work published in the same magazine as his.

The subject of the current issue's Meet Your Neighbor segment is a really special person: Georgian-born pianist, sculptor, music teacher, and all-around amazing man, Botso Korisheli. Botso was trained as a classical pianist as a young boy, lost his father at 14 due to his opposition to Stalin's oppression of Georgia, dug ditches and then served as a translator during World War II, and eventually emigrated to the United States to pursue his first love of music. He's lived and taught music in Morro Bay for almost 60 years in a home that he built by hand. There has even been a documentary made about his life. With a life like Botso's, it seemed appropriate to take an analog approach to making his portrait for the cover of the magazine.



I want to thank Richard Photo Lab in LA for doing a really astounding job processing the film from this shoot. It was my first time using them, and I couldn't be more pleased that I trusted them with this film. Here's an image of Botso with one of the Polaroids that we made while we were setting up for the shoot:


As a testament to how patient and accommodating Botso is, after I thought we had finished, he invited me to sit in on a lesson he had scheduled with local concert pianist Marian Drandell Gilbert. She's incredibly talented, and it was my very great pleasure to watch, photograph, and best of all, listen to Botso working with Marian on several pieces for an upcoming recital. A photographer who I greatly admire talks about his camera being a passport to meet people and have experiences that he wouldn't otherwise have access to, and for me that has been especially true this month, meeting Botso, and being allowed to watch and listen to him working with one of his star students. It's a pretty hard job, but I guess somebody has to do it.

(Lucky me.)


Tina Swithin - SLO Life Magazine

When I blog about my photos in a new issue of SLO Life Magazine I usually try to post different images from the session than the ones that ran in the magazine, but this month's cover was one of my favorite images that I've made so far this year. TinaSwithin 2

Tina Swithin was a blast to shoot with - I showed up with a bunch of crazy potential ideas, and she was game to try any of them. She told me that she's "not really a hat person," but I think I've got pretty solid proof that she's mistaken. (Author's note: Tina eventually seemed to come around to my way of thinking on this one - she's going to be using the cover image for her media kit, as well.)

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Rick Stollmeyer - SLO Life Magazine

Rick Stollmeyer SLOLife 1 The latest issue of SLO Life Magazine just hit the stands, featuring my cover of Rick Stollmeyer, CEO of MindBody. The interview gets into the nitty gritty, but Rick started MindBody with a friend in his garage in 2001, and has turned it into one of San Luis Obispo's biggest (and coolest!) employers, not to mention one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. Suffice it to say that it was a real pleasure and a great opportunity to photograph Rick for the magazine.

These are a few of my favorite images from my time with Rick. If you're interested, you can check out the photos that ran on the cover and inset over on my Tumblr.

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Sonja Polk - SLO Life Magazine

Sonja Polk SLOLife 3 In March I had the pleasure of photographing Sonja Polk for the April/May issue of SLO Life Magazine. Sonja is a SLO local and loves the downtown atmosphere, so she suggested that we shoot by San Luis Creek, one of her favorite places in the city, and in my opinion, one of downtown San Luis Obispo's unsung treasures. Sonja was a super trooper, meeting me at 6:45 in the morning, before her work shift teaching at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, to take advantage of the morning light in the creek bed. These are some of my favorite outtakes from our early morning shoot, but if you don't get SLO Life (why don't you get SLO Life?), I've posted a quick image of the cover and one of the interior spreads on my Tumblr.

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Wife in the Kitchen Studio

Business Brittany 4 Brittany needed a new business portrait for work, so this past weekend we set up The Super Professional Home Studio in the kitchen.

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After we knocked out the portrait that she needed, it seemed like a pretty good time to dig out some of expired film sitting in my freezer and run it through the Hasselblad. We started with a few Polaroids, just to make sure everything was dialed in, and then Brittany patiently gave me an entire 24 frames. I got the developed roll back today, and put it through my Super Professional Home Film Scanner.

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Steve Kragenbrink - SLO Life Magazine

I had a really fun session last month with my new friend Steve Kragenbrink, who works with Woods Humane Society in San Luis Obispo. Steve is a great guy, and the latest issue of SLO Life Magazine has a wonderful profile on him, his family, and his work. It's a great story, and absolutely worth your time. You can see a quick image of the cover over on my Tumblr. Steve Kragenbrink 2

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Woods Humane Society is a local non-profit animal adoption shelter, so it's no surprise that Steve and the other folks who work there really love the animals that they care for. I wanted to show that one of our images, so we shot some portraits of Steve with Diesel, one of Woods' dogs, in their agility room. There's an old, true saying about shooting with kids and dogs (don't do it!), but Diesel was super-chill for the camera, despite a demanding photographer. for me, the the best part is this whole story is that when I checked in with Steve recently, he told me that Diesel was recently adopted by a local family! I think that it's pretty clear from this last photo that the family that took Diesel home made a great choice.

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Lisa Leonard - SLO Life Magazine

In November I photographed local designer Lisa Leonard in her San Luis Obispo studio for the recent issue of SLO Life Magazine. Assignments for SLO Life are always a lot of fun, because there's a really specific component to the assignment, as well as an open-ended one. The specific bit is to get a nice, straightforward portrait of the subject for the magazine's regular "Meet your Neighbor" segment. That means finding (or making) a clean background and some flattering light for the subject, and then getting them comfortable enough with having a camera up in their face that the final picture makes you - the viewer - feel like you're part of the conversation. That last bit can be the biggest challenge of the shoot, but for this issue, it was a snap - Lisa is outgoing and happy, and comfortable in front of the camera from doing of all of the personal style and family photos that she posts on her blog.

Once I know I have that portrait nailed, I always try to get something "for myself." Usually , that means a variation on the portrait that reflects something more personal about the subject, or my impressions of them from our conversation. With Lisa's busy schedule and limited time on the day of the shoot, we kept the same setup that we used for her first portrait, but moved out for a wider shot that showed off her style that day, and a little space in the frame for her to play with.

The open-ended part of an assignment for SLO Life is the story-telling component. In this case, that means extra photos that tell a little more about what Lisa does at work, and provide some context for how her business relates to the community.

Adam Stowe - SLO Life Magazine

Just before I ran off to Scotland on vacation last month (more on that later), I met up with Adam Stowe, general manager of the San Luis Obispo Blues Baseball Club.  We were shooting at Sinsheimer Stadium for an upcoming profile of Adam and his work with the Blues in SLO Life Magazine. Adam is a great guy who really puts his heart and soul into the local baseball team. The magazine just hit mailboxes last week, so be sure to check it out.

You can also see a bit of the current issue, including the cover image, on my Tumblr.

SLO Donut Company - San Luis Obispo

We get donuts from SLO Donut Company at the office much more often than we should. SLO Donut Company (shortened to SLO Do Co by locals) is a great little café-style shop, right on my way to the office, that's open 24/7. That is way too often to be tempted by fried dough covered in sugar.

I've always liked the color of that classic, Platonic donut, dipped in pink frosting and covered in sprinkles, so when I found this gorgeous pink paper, I decided to make some pictures.

SLO Donut Company

As with my earlier post about local chocolatier Sweet Earth Chocolates, this image was inspired by some of the beautiful photography by Deborah Jones in Thomas Keller’s cookbook, Ad Hoc At Home.

Yume - Shandon

Last week I went up to Shandon Chapel with Yume. The chapel is a marvelous location in the sparsely populated center of San Luis Obispo County. Yume is a local model who had some new clothes that she wanted to show in her modeling portfolio. I've shot at the chapel once before, and was excited to have another opportunity to work with some of the graphic elements of the building. Plus, my friend Robb Albrecht had worked with Yume before, so I knew in advance that she'd be a lot of fun to shoot with.

The final image is one that I've tried to make before, several years ago, with another subject. I couldn't get it to work as well as I wanted at that time, but this time I was able to dial it in much closer to what I see in my head, with Yume.

I'll probably still be back, though.

Kimberly Walker - SLO Life Magazine

Earlier this month I met with local entrepreneur Kimberly Walker and Tom from SLO Life Magazine to shoot some images for a profile of Kimberly to be featured in the semi-monthly magazine. The latest issue, featuring a couple of the photos that we made, just came out this week, and I wanted to share of few more of my favorite images from the shoot that didn't make press.

You can also see the current issue, with the featured images, over on my Tumblr.

Sweet Earth Chocolates - San Luis Obispo

I can't believe I haven't posted any new work here since the beginning of the year. I'd love to say that it's because I've been busy helping Brittany plan our wedding, because that sounds very reasonable and responsible. But, being honest, my excuse is chickens, and the other assorted backyard (and frontyard) projects that we've started since our move to "the country."

A couple months ago I shot these images of some of Sweet Earth Chocolates' tasty treats. Their shop is just half a block down the street from my office, and it can be difficult to avoid the temptation to go there too often. Haven't been? Go check them out, and if you're a fan of mint and chocolate, definitely don't miss the peppermint patties.

The concept for these images was inspired by some of the beautiful photography by Deborah Jones in Thomas Keller's cookbook, Ad Hoc At Home.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2012 - Palo Cedro

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and an awesome 2012. I started this blog with a Christmas portrait of my family from last year, so it seems fitting to include the portrait that we made over Christmas this year.

We had a wonderful holiday season, and are looking forward to 2012. I hope the same is true of everyone else out there.


Movember - San Luis Obispo

At the end of November I made portraits of local participants in the Movember fundraiser for men's health. Movember is a month-long fundraising event for which men volunteer to grow moustaches in order to solicit donations for prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. Since I can't grow much of a moustache myself, I crashed a friend's end-of-the-month Mo-party in order to photograph the participants and help them earn a bit more for a good cause.

I've posted more of the images in a portfolio, here.

SLO GranFondo Sneak Peek - San Luis Obispo

SLO GranFondo Peloton I got up at the crack of dawn this morning to be out for the second annual SLO GranFondo. I was out on the course all day on behalf of SLO Alpha, who hosts the race to raise money in support of the free pregnancy and parenting support that they provide throughout San Luis Obispo County. That seems like a pretty worthy cause, right?

I'm going to be going through a few hundred photos over the next couple weeks, but I wanted to provide a little teaser: some portraits that I shot of a few riders during the post-race festival.

Arianna and Ali - Los Angeles

I photographed Arianna and Ali, along with several other very pretty girls, for a good friend who is working to market her hair/makeup services to wedding clients. She'll be using the photos in color for her work, but I really liked the classic feel that these photos took on when converted them to black & white.