Friday, November 19, 2010


For those of you that know me, you know I've been a Licensed Mortician for about 11-12 years now. For those of you that don't, well, now you do. I remember directing funerals as a photographer in photojournalist school, thinking about the great shots that were available. At the time, a funeral director with a giant digital SLR wouldn't have been prudent. Then one day a family that used the funeral services of a particular employer I was working for at the time, asked me to shoot their funeral. I was both slightly apprehensive and slightly excited. With my contained excitement I proceded to document the ceremony, the burial rights, and some of the family's reception with the same care as I had in my profession as a Funeral Director, yet the same curiosity for finding careful and calculated shots of opportunity as a pro photographer. The results from melding my professions together became a melody of vision in the midst of adversity. It is both a privilege and a deep sense of accomplishment to be granted the opportunity to document both the beginning and the ending of a family's history.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yosemite and some Flypaper Testing.

It was a Saturday, late morning when we made the decision to go to Yosemite National Park. It's only about five and half hours drive, but it still meant by the time we got all packed up, two cars, two families, we still wouldn't get there 'til late. We arrived at the gates at about 10 pm. Only to find that there was no camping left in the park. We pitched a tent on the pavement in some desolate parking lot in the woods nearby. In the morning we drove into the splendor of which is Yosemite. It takes about an hour to get down into "the valley" but the drive is well worth it. Half Dome is worth the price of admission by far, but seeing it from Glacier Point is just ridiculous. Its seriously as if the hand of a Deity came down and scraped through to the canyon floor a few million years ago. You can actually see the scrapes against the wall on the far left where the glacier made its way down the canyon. In the words of a friend of mine, it kind of looks like the land before time, both literally and figuratively.

From Glacier Point
Ok so back to going into the park, we ended up staying Sunday night, calling into work, and then you guessed it, staying Monday night and calling into work again on Tuesday. The place was just entirely intoxicating. And we didn't even scrape the surface. In my estimation, if you had to go one place this next summer of 2011, this is it. But make sure you get reservations, because space is limited even during the week. Let me both remind and inform you, that like Zion National Park in Utah there are people from all walks of life and from all over the planet that come to Yosemite National Park. So much so, that I'd suffice to say I heard more foreign language speakers, than American English. I'm not even kidding. It baffles me, how we have such a place on the planet and our own American people don't utilize it more. What I really mean is that I don't know that Americans get OUT enough. Meanwhile some 3.7 million people go to the park a year.

The water was so crisp and refreshing to swim in. It was easy to call in sick.

Last but not least I'd like to thank Tony Sweet for recommending the Flypaper Textures. Along with those and a few of my own other Photoshop recipes, they make for some great imagery.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Treasure Island.

Out in middle of the bay up in San Francisco is a small island off the Bay Bridge called Treasure Island. I won't bore you with the history, but basically we have a little Naval Base there now along with a neat little park facing the city. When the sun's going down it makes for an gorgeous panoramic of the Bay Bridge and the sprawling city of San Francisco.

Because there were no DSLRs allowed my iPhone 4 and its Toy Camera App had to suffice. Of course once I got in there were professional cameras everywhere. This left me a little vexed but I didn't let it keep me from getting a bit creative I suppose. I'm a bit wore out from the whole weekend, and I have a lot of work to do so I'm going to just let the pictures speak for themselves on this one.

The Mau5

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Coachella 2010. Better late than never.

I've been meaning to put some of these up for a while now. I was able to get my camera in because we got in with a vendor pass which basically means you walk in through the back, no lines, no questions, just move on through the gates.

I'm always blown away at the enormity of the music, art, and people these 3 day events bring. On top of the places in which they come from. You have characters from all walks of life, all ages, and from all over the planet. On your right you're meeting a guy from Eastern Europe and sharing a puff and smile, then turning to your left you might meet Prince Harry.

The opening act which in the overall view is perceived above, was a huge collaboration of DJs, water, and mid afternoon fun to get the party started. This was just one of the 4 stages and 3 tents, all playing different genres of music simultaneously. This is the second time that I've gone and I've never seen a concentrated amount of more beautiful people anywhere.

When the lights go down at night the whole park boasts a ton of artistic endeavors from 40 foot flames of fire in giant glass cylinders, huge balloons stretching 1/2 a mile into the atmosphere, harnessing zapping lighting in a bottle creating ear punching electrical shows, to beautiful light sculptures to look at with kaleidoscope eyes.

For all the musicians and artists involved, Coachella starts off the summer tour for them, they put all their resources into this show and give it everything they got. One thing's for sure, there is a reason humans come from all over the globe to come to Coachella every spring. There's nothing like it for light years away.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Ventura Pier.

In this beautiful little surf town (city) of Ventura, California, we have this pier that is a big attraction centerpiece if you will. What I mean is you can see it from the highway, and its attractive in the sense that you'd like to go there, walk out on it and view the town from the sea. Maybe see some of the natives or simply watch the sunset at the proper time of day. Its old, well the current one is new, but its been crushed by water once, I think, and also partly burnt down once too. But back in the day it was a way for getting goods to the town and it created commerce at the time. Now, being a popular spot its become a part of Ventura as a whole. You can see it from different vantage points in the city and it just juts out there into the ocean like the arm of Cape Cod - but for Ventura. At any given time of the normal day, you can eat at a restaurant at the beginning of it, or stroll out and see what the different fishermen have caught (or not caught) for the day. Its soothing in a sense... walking out catching a breeze, feeling and smelling the salt air, all without getting wet.

From a photographers standpoint, this poor pier has been done, done, done, and done again and again. At night, during the day, at sunset, people kissing, people fishing, over and over and over again.

Recently, a woman from Keller Williams Realty stopped by the gallery and asked if I had any pictures of it that I might be able to put in one of their new offices. I kindly replied that I didn't, but I'd be happy to go shoot some and share them with her. If she felt they were what she wanted the we could discuss prices. Now after emailing her I'm not sure if she's still interested, but I feel like walked away with some great photos of our great Ventura pier.

Monday, October 4, 2010

YLS & the Cowboys' Training Camp

Every year since I've lived in the Ventura County area the Dallas Cowboys have been coming over to Oxnard, CA for training. I often wondered why they'd come to an obscure little city such as the Nard, but come to find out its fun for the kids and its really decent for the local economy, naturally. This is the first year I went to the camp and was given VIP treatment because of our generous contribution for the United Way's - Young Leaders Society (YLS). With our contribution two inner city youngsters got a $250 scholarship each for school. On top of all that, a handful of young leaders are there like Timur Taluy (soon to be Harbor Commissioner) and also the locally infamous Pedro Chavez, both of who are on the board for YLS. I'm not a huge fan of popular sports teams too much, however I brought along another friend, Rick Solorio who's an avid fan. Good times, good times... for good causes. Find out more about how you can become involved with YLS and the United Way in our area. Your small contributions can make a big difference.

Pedro Chavez & Timur Taluy

Quarterback Tony Romo

Rick Solorio
Yours Truly