Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: It's Been Reel

The year has come and gone and I've seen a lot of amazing things happen within my life and those of others close to me.

A lot of films also came and went this year. I probably didn't see most of them. While most people agonize over a list of the best 10 films of the year, I'd rather not waste the time. I'm posting what I consider the best three movies of the year, plus a runner up or two. Each film hit the list based on their own merit and some of them I could watch repetitively at home. So enjoy my definitive list, and try to trim yours down for next year.

1- The Road.
I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic movies, and this is one of the craziest best I've seen hit theaters in a long time. No stupid CGI vampires, or stalker zombies to muddle the plot. Emotional story and great acting. Plus the scenery is phenomenal. I also identify with the father protecting his son part of the story a little more this year than other years prior.
Go figure, right?

2- The Hurt Locker.
A compelling, adrenaline-inducing film about the Iraqi war has finally hit theaters and there's no politics to distract from the great acting and storyline. Jeremy Renner does great and so does director Katherine Bigalow. This film would have made it to #1 on my list if I wasn't such a sucker for good post-apocalyptic movies. But the Hurt Locker does a great job at blowing away all the other competition.
Funny, I know.

3- Star Trek.
Wow. Talk about a film that was a surprise. I vehemently despise movie remakes. They only strengthen my belief that studio executives are trying to cash in on cheap reboots that exploit and destroy the cherished memories of devoted fans. Leave it to JJ Abrams to invigorate, redesign and instill wonder in a film series that went stale years ago. Abrams accomplished everything for Star Trek that Star Wars fans wish Lucas had been capable of achieving instead of his 2&1/2 failures of movies. So suck it, George. Gene Roddenberry is laughing at you from space.
Man, I could geek out over the new Star Trek for a week's worth of watching. It's that much fun.

Runner-up #1
A big contrast to the sci-fi franchise above, Moon was one of the best under the radar films made this year. Since his minor role in Galaxy Quest 10 years ago, I've been a fan of Sam Rockwell and it was great to see him carry a movie like this all alone. Literally. Being alone on the moon for three years can do some crazy things with your head. I'll leave it to you to find out exactly why. Duncan Jones made a great flick and truly captures the essence of a science fiction film. You should catch it on DVD when it's finally released here in the States.

Runner-up #2
Shane Acker accomplished some wonderful animation with this film. It also hits post-apocalyptic film territory, and presents a beautiful visual story. The best non-human centered animated film I'd seen since Wall-E of last year. I'm definitely looking forward to multiple viewings of this movie.

Runner-up #3
I'd be a fool not to include Avatar, if only for what it achieves with the medium of film-making. James Cameron is always one to push the boundaries of film-making and does some fantastic things with this movie. The story is, I think, typical for his style of writing but it also pushes some concepts that most people overlook in our society.

But then so do the other films on my list.

A lot of the other movies of this year were entertaining. Others, not as much. And then some made me wonder what the hell people were thinking by either making or watching such a soul-stealing disappointment.

So make it a point to go check out any flicks on my list that you haven't seen yet. And if you want to see anything else that came out this year, well, that's what Redbox is for. It's been reel, 2009. Bring on 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Under the Gun

Feeling a lot of pressure to get things in order and on track now that I'm back from visiting family for the holidays. Here's a good theme song for my day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Four Days Tardy

I totally flubbed my monthly posting of Ophelia's progress and how she's a blessing in our lives. I must have lost track of the time last Friday. After a long day's work and then attending a dinner party at a neighbor's house, I can't say I'm too surprised.

The best thing about being a father is watching Ophelia grow and learn new things. She's a wonderful daughter and fills my life with a lot of happiness. For each new feat that she accomplishes or funny thing that she does, I'm reminded of what blessings truly are. And how blessed I am.

Here is one of my favorite videos of her, second only to the first video of when she was born. I managed to catch her mesmerized by the mirror in her BabyEinstein jumper. To simply watch her expression and reaction at discovering herself in the mirror is one of the sweetest memories I have had so far as a father. Enjoy!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Destination Miami

A potential upcoming job for next year -one that I am looking forward to- is shooting the wedding photography for Nina Garcia, one of my close friends from Miami, and her fiancé Matt Stevenson. We spoke in length today about her wedding plans, and created a package that suits her needs. Though they both attend BYU, the wedding will take place in Orlando and the reception will be in Miami. I'm excited to hear back from her and finalize things. Nothing is confirmed yet, but it will be personally satisfying to me to photograph Nina's wedding. When it comes to my friends I don't trust them with another photographer...

In the meantime, here's one of my favorite photos of us goofing off with our friend Jaeuk. Yes, Nina is rocking out a Power Rangers shirt and Jaeuk is eating a sandwich. That's how we roll.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Year's Photowalk

So I thinking to organize a photowalk to bring in the New Year of 2010. It will be on January 5th because face it: weekends work best. I'll have more organized soon. Expect more info on my Facebook page.

On other topics, I'm posting a few more photos from earlier this fall, back when there were still leaves falling. More images shot with the lensbaby. Working to perfect my technique. I'll probably be using the lensbaby during the photowalk. Love shooting with this lens. Makes me wish I had a 4x5 view camera, but it's almost the exact same. Take a look, leave some feedback.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sussurros pelos Olhos

So I've been using the lensbaby a bit more lately. I have some great ideas that I'd love to use for fashion portraits, especially with how the picture plane can be thrown out of focus. It's exciting to use and I've been having more success with each outing that I take the lensbaby with me.

Here are some photos that I've taken of Ophelia during attempts to perfect my technique with the lensbaby. I can't wait to shoot some more photos like these.

The last two are for another concept I want to pursue. It's similar to what JJ Abrams did while filming Star Trek, which you can read below:

I know what you're saying with the lens flares. It was one of those things... I wanted a visual system that felt unique... The flares weren't just happening from on-camera light sources, they were happening off camera, and that was really the key to it. I want [to create] the sense that, just off camera, something spectacular is happening.... There is something incredibly unpredictable and gorgeous about them.... It became an art....

So enjoy! Sussuros pelos olhos!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Santa Claus Sighting

Sorry, false alarm. Couldn't help myself. The real Santa Claus hasn't been seen in decades, not since he was killed by a jet in 1963. He's been impersonated by ninjas ever since. But the good news is that MJ and Elvis are alive and hanging tight, probably waiting for Lisa Marie to bring them some grilled PB & Banana sandwiches. That's a sight for sore eyes. Or rather, a sight that gives sore eyes...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sussurros de Natal

Christmas is on it's way. The weather is growing colder and we had our first snowfall last night. It was lovely to see the snowflakes falling outside. Whispers of the holiday season are growing and increase each coming day. Though the snow melted by the time the sun rose this morning I find it very gratifying to wander outside and capture the mood of Christmas, and hope you enjoy the photos I've been taking.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Awkwardness Makes Birthdays Better

Today is friend and fellow photographer Sheryll Lynne's birthday. She does a birthday extravaganza each year among her friends, where everyone sends her a photo wishing her a happy birthday. Last year I sent her this photo:
So today for her 29th birthday, I did myself one better than last year and made her a spectacularly awkward birthday music video. A big thanks goes out to for helping me to rock out the birthday wishes. Happy Birthday, Sheryll!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Not Out of the Woods Yet

After reading the unfortunate news about Tiger today, I spent time on a personal project drawing on some sly humor. Referencing one of my favorite movies from the 90's, the final result serves up a wicked play on words. I don't know when Tiger will pull himself out of the media hell he's plunged into, but this goes to show that the higher your celebrity rises the harder your fall becomes. Out of all my Cautionary Tales, I consider this one the most important yet.

First Signs of Winter

Being up til 5 am working on projects for clients can do funny things to a man's logic board. I looked out the window this morning and was blinded by a white blanket covering the terrain outside. After I had woken up enough to process what I was seeing, I escaped outside to shoot some images of the first true signs of winter.

The grass crunched underneath my feet, the ground was so thick with frost this morning. I almost thought that the frost was an early snow, there was so much. I shot these images with a Lensbaby, thinking that it would add to the mystique of an oncoming winter. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cautionary Tales: "S" is for Waldo

It's been awhile since I posted a cautionary tale, but this is another potent example of what happens with careless fingers and lazy proofreading. I noticed this blatant typo while taking the Tacoma transit one day. Apparently the bus that travels to the Tacoma mall is magical because it runs on the weekdays and also on "Satursdays" too. I don't understand how something like this could escape notice during the printing process, but I felt like I had encountered Waldo that morning at the bus stop.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jewels Fashion Lounge Halloween Costume Party

Shooting fashion photography in Seattle allows me chances to photograph unique fashion and celebrity events. Last night I was fortunate to be a VIP photographer for the Jewels Fashion Lounge Halloween Costume Party. It was a great event. The fashion show featured a lot of local Seattle entertainers -from emcees to a dance crew- to Halloween costumes and a lot of gorgeous modeling talent, which kept me very busy with the varied fashion and event photography. Jocelyn Simos was the fashion designer who organized and promoted the event, which was featured at the NW Sports Bar & Grill in Renton. The turnout was strong and a lot of people arrived in some fantastic costumes. The live music was great and a lot of people got their swerve on out on the dance floor. The models that arrived from around Seattle were all stunning and put on a good performance with the fashion show at the end of the night. Jocelyn Simos organized a great event with last night's Jewels Fashion Halloween Party and I'm thrilled with the photos that I captured. I'll post my photos soon! Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spooky Pumpkins and Adorable Babykins

I spent the evening carving pumpkins with my family last night, and we had a great time together. We stopped at a u-pick pumpkin patch about a week or so ago and chose some great pumpkins for Halloween this year. Here are some of the photos from all of the fun that we had! Enjoy some spooky vitamins for your optic nerves!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Fine Mess

Well, the unthinkable happened over the weekend. Our computer gave up the ghost, I guess you could say. It actually is kinda playing hide and seek with us. The computer still sounds like it functions, but the screen has gone completely black. We figure/hope that this problem involves the wiring from the base of the laptop to the screen. We also hope that it can be fixed. Either way we'll find out when we stop by the Apple store tomorrow. The trip should be a productive one since I'll be bringing my laptop also -the one that I Bruce Banner'ed out of commission long ago. I figure if we're going to fix one computer, why not both? I need my laptop back so that Natalie and I can work on our own projects without having to share a computer. So tomorrow should be a good day. Hopefully!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Woah, man. I'm done for now. I officially smell like a computer zombie. Too much time in front of the hot computer fan today. The stink is awful. But, hey, I can't complain. I've been working hard this week churning out a graphic design project that involves a photographer in Miami, a company in Holland and a legendary Hollywood director. I can't share too much info at the moment, but I'll say that it's one of the coolest projects I'll get to work on at this point in my career and something to brag about -without naming names- even if it does involve more graphic design skills than anything else. Seeing the finished results is something to be happy about. And that's what counts for me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

As the Sunlight Fades

Earlier this summer, I planted some sunflowers that sprung to an amazing height in the garden along the side of the house. Sadly, they now have become too tall to support the weight of the heads on their top. Since they are fading each day I wanted to post some of the lovely photos I shot earlier this summer of my fantastic sunflowers. I shot these photos with a lensbaby, one of the new toys I've been playing with and features a technique I'm trying to master. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Plot Thickens

So it's being reported now that the model featured in Ralph Lauren's now infamous ad campaign was fired by Ralph Lauren months ago, allegedly for being overweight. As stated by Filippa Hamilton, the model featured in the heavily distorted ad:
[Her] contract was terminated in April because she was too heavy.

Polo Ralph Lauren said in a statement Tuesday night that Filippa is a "beautiful and healthy" woman but their relationship ended "as a result of her inability to meet the obligations under her contract with us."

In response, Hamilton said, "They fired me because they said I was overweight and I couldn't fit in their clothes anymore."

It's stunning to see the difference between a healthy Filippa...

and the grossly distorted image of her.

It's great -especially with all of the press and commentary related to the distorted image- to see Filippa's reaction to the ad:

"I think they owe American women an apology, a big apology," Hamilton said. "I'm very proud of what I look like, and I think a role model should look healthy."

Read more
Here is another image of Filippa from the 2005 Pirelli Calendar, shot by Patrick Demarchelier:
How could she be any less healthy than that? For all of Ralph Lauren's inconsistency...

A spokesman for Ralph Lauren said [Tuesday] night: ‘For over 42 years, we have built a brand based on quality and integrity.

‘After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body.

‘We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the calibre of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.’

...I have to agree with Joanna Douglas:
It's awesome and empowering when stars admit they've been photoshopped for an ad or movie poster and say how dissatisfied they are about it. With foreign countries banning underweight models from their fashion weeks, and the increasing presence of "plus size" models in women's magazines, we wish the unhealthy representation and falsified depiction of models—and women—would come to an end entirely.
I think I can see that day arriving sooner than most people expect. Sure worth hoping for, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

the Streisand Effect

There are times where I cannot believe the depth that marketing teams stoop to in order to sell a product. As both a father and a photographer I'm compelled to speak out against this following ad Ralph Lauren is distributing.

This is revolting. Disturbing. As one blogger posted, "Dude, her head's bigger than her pelvis."

I feel like I'm looking at Jack Skellington's bitchy sister.

I've always loved shooting fashion photography, but that can often be a love/hate relationship. This is due to the unrealistic fashion expectations hoisted upon women of all ages, especially with heavily photoshopped images like the one above.

There is no way in all of Creation that women can hold themselves to such a standard. The very assumption that they can is what incites so many tragic cases of anorexia and bulimia world-wide.

Ralph Lauren is also currently issuing a DMCA -Digital Millennium Copyright Act- against Photoshop Disasters and Boing Boing regarding their criticism against the image.

In response, Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow issued a stern warning to Ralph Lauren yesterday on the website, saying that the company's attempt to silence their criticism has only inspired them to step up their efforts in the future:
"Copyright law doesn't give you the right to threaten your critics for pointing out the problems with your offerings. You should know better. And every time you threaten to sue us over stuff like this, we will:

a) Reproduce the original criticism, making damned sure that all our readers get a good, long look at it, and;

b) Publish your spurious legal threat along with copious mockery, so that it becomes highly ranked in search engines where other people you threaten can find it and take heart; and

c) Offer nourishing soup and sandwiches to your models."

Huffington Post has also joined the fight against Ralph Lauren, sparking the newest viral Streisand Effect.

Instead of addressing this disturbing, and accurate criticism, Ralph Lauren responded by accusing Boing Boing of copyright infringement for reprinting the ad. Even though, As Boing Boing points out, this is "classic fair use: a reproduction 'for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting.'"

Happily, Boing Boing will not be cowed by Ralph Lauren's threat, as co-editor Cory Doctorow makes clear:

So, instead of responding to their legal threat by suppressing our criticism of their marketing images, we're gonna mock them. Hence this post.

Other strategies for battling Ralph Lauren Doctorow plans to employ include: reproducing the ad with the original criticism, publishing Ralph Lauren's legal threats and offering "nourishing soup and sandwiches to [their] models."

I, for one, plan to do my best to shield my daughter from these unrealistic, unattainable expectations by corporations that do not hold her best interests in mind. I seriously hope that other parents will do the same.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Headshot

Posting a quick headshot after a long day today. This will be used in the on-line profile that I have for the Pros website, as one of their Seattle-based wedding photographers.

Natalie and I had a mini-photo session in the backyard earlier today and I'm glad for her help
in such moments of need. Could you imagine me being able to take a good headshot of myself? Especially one for a wedding photographer profile for the Pros?

At the very least, there's slim chance that I could have produced a photo as good as the one that Natalie did. I do love my Mamacita. :D

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sans Titre

As a fine-art photographer, one of the things that I miss about shooting with film is the ability to play with a view-camera. The quality of images that I can create with larger format cameras really satisfies the creative spirit within my soul. My passion for analog film is far greater than my interest in digital imagery. Though I'm able to produce fine art photography with both mediums, I must say I miss using film and the 4x5 large format.

I'm feeling nostalgic today. After talking again with my friend Angelique, I wanted post some more fine-art photography images from my journey through France a few years ago. It was a wonderful time and a great experience. Definitely something that I would love to do again. Enjoy these enigmatic optical vitamins. I certainly do...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm a Business, Man...

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans... I chose not to attend the South Sound Wedding Show this past weekend due to printing issues with the new business cards that I designed. I wasn't satisfied with the print quality and didn't feel using the card would be optimal to promote myself as a Seattle wedding photographer to the various wedding vendors in the Seattle-Tacoma region. But printing quality doesn't matter online and that doesn't mean that I can't show them here. I designed both horizontal and vertical cards, so leave some feedback. Show some love!