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(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm f/1.4, iso 100, f/5.6, 30 sec // buy print)

I’ve been trying to do some housekeeping this month since it’s been a bit slow and the crazy amount of weddings I have through spring haven’t started yet. I’m a lot better about deleting photos I know I’ll never work on. As time goes by, your feelings change and what you like now might mean you don’t like shots you took then. I’ve gotten last year pretty much cleaned and so I went back to 2011.

And found this little guy sitting there with 4 stars meaning I intended to edit it someday and never did. At the time the reason was that I already had two other shots from this angle that were downright rad. But when I saw this one…I was like, this guy is rad too, why did he get left out?

Processed it over the weekend and am dropping it now. This is on Gilbert Road south of Hunt Highway taken on September 10th, 2011. The lightning was super intense on this storm that battered Chandler. Was an awesome night.

April, Mark, Greer and Merton

This shoot was a special one, for a couple of reasons, but mostly for how it ended.

Sometimes things don’t always work out how you imagined. The goal was to get a photo of little man Greer with the elderly statesmen of the house, Merton…a fantastic dog of 13 years. And other photos of course.  Hopefully a nice Christmas card would be made with a boy and his dog. I had ideas of the perfect pose, exactly what I wanted. So did mom and dad.

But for whatever reason, poor Greer wasn’t feeling too great right before the shoot. Mom thought he must be coming down with an ear infection. Ugh, poor kid.

So it ended up being a bit rough for him to have this goofy photographer with a massive camera right in his face. The shot we wanted proved elusive.  But it all led up to a beautiful moment at the end of the shoot that is kind of what being a parent is all about.

About two-thirds down in the photos below, April, Mark and Greer are standing together in the path and you can kind of see the little guy is crying. He’s just done. In fact, right after those pictures, he walked past me, tears in his eyes, stops, turns to me and says “Buh-bye” and keeps walking. So funny this kid. We get it. The shoot is over.

So dad picks him up and takes him over to the trees in this grove and just loves on the little guy. Helps him pick some pistachios. I just hide away and snap some photos. Then mom joins them and a bunch of smiles and happiness takes place.

It was beautiful to watch. And that’s a lot of the fun of photographing families like this…when you can capture that love they have for each other. It’s not always so easy.

Thanks so much guys for allowing me to hang with you a bit. And thanks to Greer for being such a champ. Hope you guys have an amazing holiday season!

 

The Klein girls

So I heard through the grapevine that the Klein girls were getting on my case for posting sneak peeks of Tatum and Irelynn, but not Katy and Maddy! I knew that was going to happen and I also knew if I posted the Williamson shoot today, I had to get the Kleins’ out as well. Especially considering it all took place at the same place on the same night!

Sorry for the delay girls, but here you go!

This is another one of our most favorite families in the world. The parents decided to sit this one out (even though I still got a shot of Matt anyways!), so it was just the girls having a blast. You can so totally see the love these guys have for each other. It’s amazing to watch.

Well, check it out for yourself.

And thanks to the Kleins…you guys were my first ever photoshoot over two years ago and now it’s a fall tradition!

The Williamsons

Over 10 years ago, my wife and I bought our very first house as a married couple. Shortly after the best neighbors ever moved in next door. We became great friends…Scott and I sent in an audition tape to The Amazing Race, we all played Settlers of Catan usually 1-2 times a week and we won a softball championship together. Yeah, it was a co-ed D-league, but we were proud.

Now here we are…Chad is a grown up 16-year-old about to head to college early…and Scott and Deb have this beautiful daughter EV who is four already. This past Sunday we visited The Groves in Chandler for a short little mini session to grab some photos of the fam. Scott and Deb actually had their engagement photos taken there many years earlier, so it was fun for them to return.

Thanks so much guys for inviting me back to take some holiday photos for you again.

A couple of sneak peaks

Last Sunday I got together with two families that I’ve known for a long time now. A couple of short mini-sessions took place out in Chandler and I just had to post a few images.

The top photos are of a little bundle of adorable named Tatum and this is the third straight year I’ve had the pleasure of taking pictures of her and her family for Christmas. She’s a few weeks younger than my own daughter Lyla and they are what sub-three-year-olds would consider “best friends.” Now of course I think Lyla is the most beautiful thing on the planet…but Tatum is right up there. I mean, look at that face.

And you have to throw EV into that mix as well. We’ve been friends with her parents long before she was born, and now seeing her grow up right before our eyes is just amazing. She has piercing eyes and some fantastic redish hair.

I love both of these families and am eternally thankful to them for allowing me to capture these moments for them every year.

Stay tuned for more pics guys!

War of the Worlds

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, 50mm 1.4, f/5.6, iso 100, 30 sec // buy print)

It’s Movie Title Wednesday here on the bloggity blog blog, and this week we have a remake of an old classic, which was an adaption from one of my favorite books of all-time.

War of the Worlds. The recent remake version starred Tom Cruise and was just okay for me. I love those kind of sci-fi, end of the world type disaster films, but they just didn’t do a very good job with it. The original version (at least, I think there are only two, I’m not doing any research here…there might be hundreds, who knows) was considered the “classic”, but all I remember is being disappointed at how different it was from the book.

Now…the actual book was brilliant. Written by H.G. Wells, I read it in high school and I was so sucked into the story, I remember looking over my shoulder a few times while I read it in my bedroom. If you’ve never read the book, then ignore both movies I mention above and go pick up a copy. In fact, I may read it again.

So why did I choose this movie anyways? Well…the lightning above….it reminded me of the Tom Cruise version with the tall, slim robotic tripod alien beings walking over the cities destroying everything around them. In fact, I don’t know how you look at the image above and don’t at least get some impression of a giant, spindly creature towering over Chandler, Arizona. Kind of creeps me out actually.

I have to give some credit for the title of this image to my friend Scott Wood. Not the title itself, but the idea of finding “things” in lightning. Sort of like looking at puffy clouds and seeing a dog, or a car, or whatever. Scott posted an image called The Skater” and it made me realize how much fun it is to look for familiar things in a lightning strike. It’s definitely not always easy.

But this one was a no-brainer.

Speed Limit 55

Speed Limit 55 - Arizona Monsoon Lightning

What a day of stormchasing on Friday! All the way south almost to Tucson, when crazy lightning starts happening, but also a lot of rain and tough shooting conditions. We ended up heading back to Phoenix because newer storms were building west of it and we figured that was easier to intercept than chasing them south of Tucson.

Almost looked like this amazing night would turn out to be a bust because I hadn’t gotten a single lightning photo. Then we got to Phoenix and it was still looking grim. But I noticed a darkness growing over South Mountain and after that that skies opened up and we had lightning to shoot in multiple directions!

I found a dry spot just south of Hunt Highway on Gilbert Road, my old stomping grounds, and just fired away.

I have a few similar shots of lightning hitting beyond this road…but only this one has the speed limit sign lit up from a passing car.

(canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/5.6, iso 100, 30 sec – buy print)

The final gasp

Taken last week when I snapped my previous sunset photo that I did in HDR, I loved this shot with the darkened trees and the final gasp of the sun exploding through the clouds in front of it.

Just another one of those gorgeous sunsets you see all the time during the summer months in Phoenix.

Fluffy clouds over the San Tan Mountains

Something a little different than the standard HDR photos I tend to post here. While HDR is amazing at adding drama to a scene, I still love a good black and white or even a textured photograph. This was shot while out testing my new Tamron 16-35mm f2.8 without a CPL (which I hope to get today in time for Holland!).

What I usually do with shots like this is to use the RAW editor to manipulate the same photo two different ways…one to bring out the sky and clouds, the second to get the foreground just right. Then I blend them in Photoshop. I’m positive I’ve shot this scene before, probably on the same road and from the same spot, so I tried something new with the faded effects and texture overlay.

Definitely feels like the Arizona west I know.

Sunflower sunset

I’ve never noticed all the wild sunflowers that seem to grow around this desert before…it took this sudden love for photography to make me notice the beauty in the things around me that I take for granted.

This was shot the other night, the same night and in the same area as the sunset in the previous photo. You can see the setting sun in the background. I just wanted to snap a few up close shots of the flowers frames against the fading light.

Processed using a sweet action from Coffee Shop.