Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brothers and Sisters!

 As you probably know, it was just father's day this past Sunday. What you may not have known is that I got to shoot a portrait session of two friends of my wife and I who happen to be brother and sister. Oh but this wasn't just a willy-nilly portrait session for the heck of it, no no no. This was a portraiture with a purpose and that purpose was to break the cycle in cliche gifts of ties and shavers. Why not gift your dad with a great photo of what made him a dad, one that reminds him of you in a more idealized setting where you're not draining his bank account, spitting up on his clothes, or making him carry a flowery diaper bag. Just give him the good stuff, your smiling faces that hopefully in some way resemble his own.

It was a hot day, like most these days, but at least it was dry and windy! These two were champs and we made it to a few different settings before having our energies depleted in the 100+ degree weather. Above and below are some of my favorite shots from the day. Thanks M & J!

Partner up?

It's been a somewhat tough month or so it seems. It was capped off with my car blowing it's radiator literally as I rolled up to a recent shoot. Thankfully there was another vehicle we were able to ride in and I got my car to limp home after 2 pull-overs to try and cool down. Fun fun fun!

This has led to several realizations. #1, I need a new (to me) car. #2, we don't currently have the cash to buy a new car. #3, I need to accelerate my business. There's also another thought I've been having for a while now without really seeing the avenue to actualization of that idea. It would be very cool to partner up with another peer or mentor photographer in my area. I've been realizing that as much as solo work can be flexible and free, it's not ideal for getting perfect lighting, holding and adjusting modifiers (especially in the wind), and just being able to bounce ideas off of in conversation. I've checked a few places and with a few people but so far nothing has really connected. I'm still looking for anyone that might be interested in a second shooter or assistant so we'll see what turns up. It turns out that running a business solo is a pretty tough thing to do on a variety of levels and something I need to keep working on to get right. It is my first attempt of course so with all things considered, I could be in a much worse position. Right now I just feel stagnant and stuck on the business side.

The photography side I'm feeling pretty good about. There are some great images coming out of the shoots I'm doing and even interest in past work I've done. It's so cool to scout out a location, figure out what can be done with it and the tools available, and then make an image that expresses the life and beauty at that moment in time. As is the case with many who are into the arts, taking those appreciations and values into business can be a difficult task. Thankfully I'm surrounded with a number of friends and family that are full of good advice and are helping point me in the right direction on all this. Still, working with someone seems like a good idea.

The photos in the post are actually from a week or so ago when I did a little photowalk on the East side of I-35 along Lady Bird Lake. I wound up with a bit of focus on the ornithological subjects available as they were the most abundant subjects at the time. They really are works of art in their own right and a challenge to photograph well. Some were perched and steady until they noticed me raising my lens. Others, thinking they were out of reach from my 70-300mm lens, just hopped around in the tree canopy and hardly stayed still for more than 3 seconds. That was the case with the blue jay at the top. Others were amazingly stoic and stood their ground no matter how long I stood there taking their photo. That was the case with this bird below who I must have taken photos of for 5 minutes. 

Austin has no shortage of yellow flowers of varying types and so of course I had to also photograph one of those that was jumping out of an otherwise uniformly green scene. The breeze was blowing stiffly in intervals and the straining and bending of this flower should come through to help communicate the very warm dry wind that was there. As hot as the day was there, the tall trees lining the shores (I really need to look up the names of these plants and animals) gave wonderful shade as well as contributed a graceful aesthetic with fern-like leaves and branches that swayed with the wind. The way those trees diffuse light and provide a rich soft green light really is peaceful. I really wish we had one of decent size in our yard!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


This past 7 days has been very marriage focused with a weekend marriage conference and then my actual anniversary right after it. My wife and I still have our wedding attire and try and put it on each year on our anniversary as a kind of reminder and celebration of deciding to live our lives together. I'm lucky to have a very cute wife who is willing to step in front of a lens. As such, I've been making portraits of her each year in her wedding gown and this year we actually ventured out past our home and I'm very happy with the results!

Below are photos from 2009 & 2010:

As I mentioned, this past week has been very focused on marriage, and that brings me to a thought that the confluence of all the happenings instigated. Why doesn't every couple get anniversary portraits? Considering how so much emphasis is put on the wedding day and how it's only the beginning of what is designed to be a lifelong journey, doesn't it make sense to make a big deal out of every year you beat the odds and national averages? It is an accomplishment to keep loving someone year after year while getting to know the person in more and more unfiltered detail. You've made it through merging housekeeping differences, financial decisions, general misunderstandings, emotional events and swings, and more. They're still there, you're still there, and you still love each other. What's not to celebrate and memorialize when you find someone who's agreed to put up with you come hell or high water? Don't lie, you know you're a handful too!

So now I'm thinking that I need to put together some sort of package for you married couples out there that want to make a portrait each year of you and your significant other. You could include kids but really I'm thinking the focus would just be on you and your spouse because that's a special pairing all it's own and if you are a parent, I'm sure you're familiar with the extra complication getting them in on the plan! The session could be like an engagement shoot or bridal session with a variety of fine art takes as well as playful romantic shots and really be tailored to your taste. I like the idea!

Having already shared these on Facebook, you may have already seen a number of these shots but I really can't help but use them again. :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WaterNow Benefit @ The Nutty Brown Cafe

And now for an update!

Back on the evening of May 29th the benefit concert did go down and it was full of good times as I got to rock out with Paul E, Marc B, Cullen F, and Ryan T. on the stage of the Nutty Brown Amphitheatre. It was a warm day with some stiff breezes that occasionally caused small dust storms but we had a grand ol' time. I wound up taking photos pretty much the whole time we weren't preparing to get on stage with a couple breaks. #1 was when we found out that the back line drum kit did not come with a snare drum (I had only brought cymbals, hardware and sticks). I wound up having to drive back into town for my snare and missed a set or two but thankfully was in no danger of missing our scheduled 7:30 start. Somehow the set got behind by 30 minutes so I really didn't have anything to worry about. #2 was right after we wrapped up and I wound up keeping an eye on a very cool little dude while his dad went to grab him some juice. I wound up missing most of Todd Agnew unfortunately but, like the whole concert, it was a for a good cause. :)

As always, the Nutty Brown was a fun family venue and it was cool to see so many familiar faces out there. Many thanks to all those who came out to support us! As I was predisposed on the drums, I handed out my two cameras to a couple friends and a third had his own to snap away with. The collective of all those shots can be found at the address below and the images are color coded depending on who shot them. I must give credit where credit is due after all. Just know that I didn't actually take any of the pictures of our band playing but there's a 2 out of 3 chance it was taken with one of my cameras.

There is also a small gallery of highlights that I've posted on facebook that is more condensed and primarily features members of the various bands that performed. It can be found here.

Without further ado, let me post a few of those pictures out of the several hundred... 

JR Taylor jamming out to open the show.
Miranda Dodson striking a pose.
Cullen, Ryan and Ryan's fiance' chilling before the show.
Todd Agnew & Paul Emerson hanging out in the green room.
Nate Navarro of Music For the City plugging WaterNow between sets.
Sara Overall and band. You can see the dust kicking up just down and to the left of he bud light sign.
Matt McCloskey jamming acoustically.

This kid was rocking out!
We were rocking out too. :)
Cullen & Ryan rocking it out.
Paul was having a good ol' time too!
My arms were a'movin'!
Marc Byers wailing on that guitar.
This shot of Gelan's, thanks to the flash really helps illuminate all the dust particles the wind kicked up!
Cullen and the kid head banging.
This was one of two guitars signed by the artists to be auctioned for WaterNow.
Courrier rocking it out to close out the show.