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.