Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West

Took another excursion on Sunday to Taliesin West, in Scottsdale. Taliesin West is a campus (or camp) or even a bit of a commune that Frank Lloyd Wright created to teach architectural theory and practice to his proteges.

It still functions as a school of architecture. There are no grades, no tests, and no set period of education, yet it is a fully accredited school of architecture.

Here's the man, himself:

and here are some pix I took of TW on Sunday:

Monday, December 29, 2008

mystery castle

is neither a mystery (well, not really) nor a castle. However it is an interesting story and worth an hour of your time when you are in the vicinity of South Mountain in Phoenix. Although the house itself is supposed to be the main attraction, Mary Lou Gulley, who has lived there for 63 years really pulls it together. Here she is now...

They say that even now she sometimes stumbles upon an unknown treasure in the house left behind by her eccentric father 63 years, or more, before. Like when she spied a mismatched wedge of wood in a ceiling beam. She pried it out to discover some money hidden behind it!

Friday, December 26, 2008

the colors of Christmas...

Had some rain here in the desert on Christmas, but then a nice rainbow...

and in the evening we took in the amazing light display at the Mormon Temple in Mesa on Main just east of Mesa Dr., I believe.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008


The wayback machine has a short in it and took us back to Rawhide Wild West Town again on Sunday. So we made the most of it and took in the shoot 'em up show. Here's a picture or two. (The singin' fellow came out before all the shooting started!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

desert fisherman

No small feat to catch a fish in the desert.

Monday, December 15, 2008

erin and chris

Had an engagement shoot with Erin and Chris on Sunday. It was overcast and chilly, exactly what you don't see a lot of here in the desert. But they were troopers and muscled through. Especially Erin as she also has a broken foot! Here are some of my favorites from the day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Well, now this is something that will quickly move up to the top of my wish list (well, right below the Canon 5D Mk II and the Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS lens -- I'm not a crazy person).

Take a look at this video that details some of the fancy features of the new Radiopoppers. Just announced within the last 24 hours! These sound awesome!

Friday, December 12, 2008

D3X Vid

It's the same one I referenced yesterday, but I decided that it is so good I just want to embed it here to save all the bouncing around in cyberspace. Of course, I think its so funny because I'm a Canon guy... Although I must admit, the specs are impressive. But I'd still rather have a 5D Mark II.

So, without further adieu....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

thursday with the finger pointing...

Welcome to another exciting episode of Finger Pointing where I point you in the direction of some recent interesting photography related content from the World Wide Pants. I mean, Web.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

the spice of life

Shot this waterfall today and now it's my computer desktop background. I just can't stand to look at the same background for too long. Variety is the spice of life!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

santa baby

Friday and Saturday I had the wonderful job of photographing kids visiting Santa over at Harmon Elementary in Queen Creek. Santa sure is good with kids. And the reindeer were very patient up on the roof for several hours.

Thanks Harmon Elementary, Dad's Club Dave, Chris Lineberry, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and everyone who lent a hand this weekend.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

in the santans

Coming home from running errands in Gilbert a few hours ago, I took a detour and ended up along the santans, just south and west of Santan Flats. Some nice views of the mountains and the flora. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Dawn and I meandered around and about Old Town Scottsdale today. Lots to look at, and, of course, shoot.

Here's just a detail from a statue that I liked.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

finger pointing wednesday

Lots of good stuff around the cyberspace of photography recently, and here are some of my favorites...

  • Detailed tips on improving a bad contract by the ASMP
  • If signed in, Google offers a wiki-esque ability to promote, demote and comment on search results
  • Check out the Orbis ring flash adaptor (like Ray flash, but with apparent universal fit)
  • Polaroid fan? Well the film is going the way of the dinosaur, but this clever app. for the Mac can give you back your instant pix (look) fix.
  • Heard about Yousendit? Makes easy work of transmitting large files, even directly from several programs such as Photoshop and Aperture. FTP-based and FREE!
  • The folks at ProPhotoLife put together a nice gift guide of Five photo gifts under $50 . I would add the fancy spy tube that I mentioned in a previous post (although it is $50, and tax, shipping, etc. might drive it over the limit....)
  • A nice little diatribe on Why Photographers Should Study Design . I couldn't agree more. And a fun, super light incredibly basic intro might be the childrens book, "A Book About Design" by Mark Gonyea. Check it out!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chandler (AZ, not Bing)

Dawn and I went exploring a bit yesterday and stumbled upon a very nice park and environmental center in Chandler, AZ. The whole place looked pretty new. There is a nice hill with a manmade waterfall that is very artfully constructed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

more finger pointing

Terrific recent stuff from around cyberspace...

Monday, November 17, 2008

a studious chap

This dignified gentleman caught my eye in the bookstore last week. He looks very contented in his reading, his sweater, and his overstuffed leather chair. Sounds good to me!

Friday, November 14, 2008

finger pointing friday

Today I point you toward reviews, articles, news, and blog posts that caught my eye recently.

  • A review of the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 that is my shortlist choice substitute for the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens that I really want.
  • I've been a fan of Prem Mukherjee's (of Arising Images in MI) work for some time now. Now I see that he is speaking at Imaging USA here in Phoenix Jan. 11-13. I'm going to have to try to make his presentation.
  • RED has announced two amazing sounding (and amazingly high priced) high-resolution digital motion and still cameras, Scarlet and Epic. If they were affordable, it sounds like they would blow everybody else right out of the water!
  • A nice little guide to capturing motion in your pics.
  • David Ziser comments on a trend toward shooting and burning.
  • Turn your images into custom made fabric, then turn that into something else!
  • The megapixel myth and why maybe I should just be happy with my 40D!
  • Terrific article introducing using high-speed synch for full daylight shoots. Very valuable to those of us in the Phoenix area!
Hope these make for some interesting reading for you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

down to earth music

I didn't actually hear this fellow play at all. He must have been taking a break when we wandered past in Tempe today. But I trust that he is very talented.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

still with the balloons!

Ok, I'm almost done with balloons. I promise! But what is more colorful, fun, and full of whimsy than a bunch of hot-air balloons?!?!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

spin to win

On Halloween, Dawn and I had the honor of participating in the Queen Creek Trunk or Treat for the chillins. It gave the kids a safe place to show off their costumes and go get candy. It also provided a nice way for some locals businesses to say hello to the community.

This lady sells cosmetics and had a wonderfully fun display including the spin-to-win wheel. They were right next to us. A lot of folks got very excited about spinning the wheel.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I love lamp

Lamps. That's right. Lamps. Streetlamps to be specific. Just something I ran across in downtown Tempe. Might have been along the rail line.

I like the look of it. What do you think?

I love lamp. BTW, have you seen Anchorman? Lowbrow to be sure, but I bet you laugh. And "I love lamp" is right up there.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

logo shmogo

So.... as you may know, back in MI, I advertised with The Knot (dot com) which worked out great for me in '07. When I made the move to AZ, I anticipated a lag in which I could no longer accept MI jobs and where I couldn't meet with AZ brides until I was actually here.

So, I put the temporary kibosh on theknot to save a few dollars and make the transition to a new market. I am happy to report that as of about Nov. 7, I will be back on theknot.com for the AZ/Phoenix/Sedona region!

To commemorate a fresh start (and the anticipated influx of new business and new friends) I have re-designed my logo. Very simple, light, and airy.

The old logo was not nearly as friendly. Hope you like.

Friday, October 24, 2008

To Bravely Go...

Took Cosmo to his park (Cosmo Park) and he was brave enough to wander around in the shallow part of the pond. But those of you that know Cosmo know he's afraid of deep water.

So this black lab makes for a far more dramatic image, diving bravely into the deep end chasing the splash and bob of a thrown tennis ball. Go, dog, go!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

who is your dentist?

This fellow has been hanging around now for a few days. Should I be worried? Should I ask my doctor if there is anything he's not telling me?

Or is it just getting to be Halloween time! Oh, yeah, that.

So this handsome fella with the great smile showed up toward the end of the party in Rawhide on Friday night. I think it was the management's idea of a subtle way to say, "Time to check out, folks. Pack up your life and mosey on out, or this guy will go find his sickle and show you the way!"

Maybe it wasn't so subtle after all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

black bart

He didn't notice me right away, but my movement must have caught his eye as I tried to slink away backwards around the side of the general store.

He trained them six-shooters right between my eyes. I froze.

Then he lowered the guns and said, "Dance."

"But there's n-n-no music..." I stammered.

He shot the ground around my feet, and despite my fear, I thought, this guy has terrible aim! But, lucky for me, the quaking in my boots segued nicely into a gentle two-step.

Everyone around laughed at me and that seemed to satisfy black bart, as he would come to be known. Black Bart, Ridiculer of Sneaky Yellow Photographers.

I lowered my camera in shame and rode out of town in the opposite direction of the sunset. Because, as we all know, riding into the sunset is strictly reserved for the hero.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Wandering around the ASU campus in Tempe, Dawn had many a memory of happy college days.

There is also a whole lot of new stuff since she was here last.

This funky building with the EXPLORE sign jutting out backwards and at a 90 degree angle.

Nice 'n' arty. Just the way I like 'em.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Airborne With Angles

OK, fast forward to 2008 and I'm in this tricky, excellent, interesting spot behind (under? around?) the Art Museum in Tempe. All kinds of angles, stairs, tunnels, etc. Wouldn't have done much for a standard range lens, but the wide-angle opened up infinite possibilities. I'm definitely going back there sometime, probably with my tripod next time.

Some adventurous bicyclists were there when I passed through.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Enjoyed another trip in the ol' wayback machine, yesterday. Found myself face to face with this gunslingin' cowpoke. He nearly introduced me to my maker when he saw my camera. I quickly explained that it was not a weapon, but merely a newfangled photographic device. He wasn't convinced until I shot the barkeep and he was none the worse for it.

Then he spun a few tales about rustling cattle and chasing a few good-for-nothings (who tried to take what he rightfully stole) into the foothills. A dozen good shots of rotgut later, he quite amicably posed for this shot, although "posed" isn't quite the right word. He kept waving his arms around and starting a new story at every turn.

Still, a colorful fella, even though he only photographed in black and white.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

He Uses a Canon, Too

(an only mostly dirty joke, but appropriate to our theme)

The Smiths were unable to conceive children and decided to use a surrogate father to start their family. On the day the proxy father was to arrive, Mr. Smith kissed his wife goodbye and said, "Well, I'm off now. The man should be here soon."

Half an hour later, just by chance, a door-to-door baby photographer happened to ring the doorbell, hoping to make a sale. "Good morning, Ma'am", he said, "I've come to..."

"Oh, no need to explain," Mrs. Smith cut in, embarrassed, "I've been expecting you."

"Have you really?" said the photographer. "Well, that's good. Did you know babies are my specialty?"

"Well that's what my husband and I had hoped. Please come in and have a seat! After a moment she asked, blushing, "Well, where do we start?"

"Leave everything to me. I usually try two in the bathtub, one on the couch, and perhaps a couple on the bed. And sometimes the living room floor is fun. You can really spread out there."

"Bathtub, living room floor? No wonder it didn't work out for Harry and me!"

"Well, Ma'am, none of us can guarantee a good one every time. But if we try several different positions and I shoot from six or seven angles, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results."

"My, that's a lot!" gasped Mrs. Smith.

"Ma'am, in my line of work a man has to take his time. I'd love to be In and out in five minutes, but I'm sure you'd be disappointed with that."

"Don't I know it," said Mrs. Smith quietly.

The photographer opened his briefcase and pulled out a portfolio of his baby pictures. "This was done on the top of a bus," he said.

"Oh, my God!" Mrs. Smith exclaimed, grasping at her throat.

"And these twins turned out exceptionally well - when you consider their mother was so difficult to work with."

"She was difficult?" asked Mrs. Smith.

"Yes, I'm afraid so. I finally had to take her to the park to get the job done right. People were crowding around four and five deep to get a good look."

"Four and five deep?" said Mrs. Smith, her eyes wide with amazement.

"Yes", the photographer replied. "And for more than three hours, too. The mother was constantly squealing and yelling - I could hardly concentrate, and when darkness approached I had to rush my shots. Finally, when the squirrels began nibbling on my equipment, I just had to pack it all in."

Mrs. Smith leaned forward. "Do you mean they actually chewed on your, uh...equipment?"

"It's true, Ma'am, yes. Well, if you're ready, I'll set-up my tripod and we can get to work right away."


"Oh yes, Ma'am. I need to use a tripod to rest my Canon on. It's much too big to be held in the hand very long."

Mrs. Smith fainted.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Desert is Poppin'!

The Sonoran Desert is pretty amazing. Of course, any desert is, by definition, a place that receives very little rain. Beyond that, however, deserts can be very different, and each beautiful in its own way.

The Saguaro cactus asssociated with the Sonoran Desert are found nowhere else on Earth and can live to be over 150 years old.

Despite developmental sprawl, Arizona still sports many great and small patches of undisturbed desert. Just remember the water and make a lot of noise so you don't startle a rattlesnake!

Look here for more Sonoran Desert Facts.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bikes Don't Leak Oil....

...they mark their territory. So it has been said.

Caught this fellow on the striking red bike in Chandler, or along the way out.

Suffice it to say, I like the look of the bike and red is a great color for anything trying to elicit the idea or sensation of speed. Must have something to do with the doppler effect. See, I can manage to be a geek even in the midst of all this cool. Sheesh!

Check out this great site for a fun history of the motorcycle with lots of great photos.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Johnson Ranch BD Party

Just a shot of a couple of the fellows from the Mary Hoffman & Band....er, band. They played last night over here in Johnson Ranch to help celebrate JR's 10th birthday (I was gonna bring ol' Johnny a big-boy bike, but he's an awfully big boy!).

Big kudos go out to Jody Carr and everybody who helped put together the event. A great time was had by all!

Thank You!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Why Hire A Professional Photographer?

We live in an interesting time for photography. There is no denying that the advent and quick evolution of digital cameras and their associated technologies has made it easier, faster, more convenient, arguably cheaper (after initial investment), and more fun to take pictures.

You may have a friend or relative that is a talented hobbyist.

There are still a number of very compelling reasons to hire a professional photographer that is dedicated -- often obsessed! -- with the art, craft, and technique of quality photography.

A pro:

  • will free up your friends to simply enjoy the wedding!
  • can be ordered about (within reason!)
  • has multiples of all important equipment in case of technical failure
  • has and understands different lenses to achieve very different looks
  • knows how to stay out of the way as needed
  • fully understands aperture, shutterspeed, ISO, light, exposure, and white balance
  • understands high-speed sych, second-curtain sych, bounce and off-shoe flash
  • has a binding contract to serve your photography needs
  • will arrange for replacement in case of emergency
  • has a proven, tested track record with great composition
  • also, proven dealing with no-flash rules, low-light conditions, and other impediments
  • Beyond initial photography, the professional understand both proper and creative use of image editing software such as Photoshop and Lightroom
  • consults with you about the event and what you like and want in a photo
  • stores backup copies of your wedding photographs (including offsite)

Some people are put off by the seemingly high cost of professional wedding photography. It's just a few hours of pushing a shutter button, isn't it?

Only to the naked eye! Here's the real story and I won't even elaborate on the cost and value of years of training and honing of craft, investment in very expensive equipment, marketing and advertising, and staying current with constantly changing software and other tools.

So....for each and every wedding, the following occurs:

  • contracts and consultations
  • equipment maintenance and cleaning
  • format memory, charge batteries, sychronize cameras
  • travel, often including a venue exploration days before event
  • shoot the event (no small feat with 20 pounds of gear hanging off your neck for eight hours!)
  • THEN! multiple backups of image files (burning to DVD-R)
  • storage of backup offsite
  • initial weed-out of unacceptable images
  • 1st phase image edit via Lightroom (typically 1-2 days)
  • 2nd phase, highly detailed image edit in Photoshop (3-10 days)
  • conversion to usable jpg files, burning, labeling, packaging, shipping proofs or files to client
Then, as needed:

  • creation, editing, and burning of DVD slideshows
  • order fulfillment of prints
  • creation, consultation, approval, changes, final approval of album design
  • Submission, instructions, and order fulfillment of album printing and binding
  • image printing, matting, framing, shipping, etc.
  • Parent albums, photobooks, file for digital frames or video Ipod or Iphone, etc.
  • Follow-up, communication, promotions, etc.

You "see" a day of what may look like easy work, but you reap the benefits of at least two weeks labor, plus all of the training and investment the photographer did behind the scenes! So although your pal who is "into" photography may be inexpensive, a wedding photography professional is priceless!

For further reading, take a look at "Hiring Professionals Pays Off". Well-written and insightful.

I hope I've given you something to think about and thank you for reading!

Friday, October 10, 2008

To the Beat of a Different Drummer

Stickin' with a theme here for a minute. Bands. Don't remember what band this guy was with, I think it was some sort of band-off competition, so I didn't catch all the details. But I remember he was very serious about beating the skins. And not super happy about me, as I recall. Still, I like the shot. And isn't that all that really matters!?!

Want an introductory drumming for punk lesson? Isn't the internet (and youtube) grand?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Two Dimes and a Quarter

Equals "45 Cents". That's the name of the band this fellow is in. Unfortunately I don't remember his name, but just remember 45 Cents.

They say they had the name well before anybody ever heard of 50 Cent and I believe 'em.

They do a punk/speedpunk sort of thing. Pretty good. And photogenic.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Ambiturners Welcome!

Had an interesting opportunity a while back. I was invited to shoot a fashion show. You know, one of those crazy ones where the models strut around in clothes that no real person would ever wear.

Still, a very interesting experience. Crazy clothes, diva-esque designers (and requisite entourage), and lots and lots of photographers. Because, really, who doesn't want to photograph a bunch of pretty girls all evening?

Want to become a fashion photographer? Take a look at this how to. It's a fun little intro to this very specific part of the market.

On an only slightly related note, ever see the movie Zoolander? Extremely silly, but I challenge you not to laugh.

Derek Zoolander asks the truly important question, "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking?"

And while you're mulling that over, I have to mention that I saw a baby last week that looked just like the baby Zoolander at the end of the movie. Crazy!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Poster Paints of Autumn

It's Autumn here in the northern hemisphere, although I nearly forgot about it now living here in the desert valley. But my trusty camera remembers. I'm rather fond of this simple park image. I like the way the colors pop and the simple, but effective composition.

Ever wonder why those leaves get so colorful before giving up the ghost? I found a site that gives a pretty good explanation. It's geared to the munchkins, but sometimes a good kids book or article is the best introduction to a subject. Sometimes books for adults gloss over the basics, assuming that you already have that base of information.

A good example of this is "A Book About Design". This is an introduction to graphic design for children, but I learned a lot about balance and composition. Just goes to show, there's no point in being snooty about education. We all have to start somewhere!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Suffragette City

A rather jolly suffragette here posing for my time travel camera.

Taken at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. Greenfield Village is an entire village of American History (right next door to Henry Ford Museum which is a similar theme but more of an indoor venture).

Greenfield Village is open year round, showcasing different aspects of American history in each of the four seasons. Winter visits are only for die-hards, but it is very nice around Christmas.

Here is a brief historical timeline of the suffragette movement in American that you might find interesting. It goes much further back than the early 20th Century. Happy reading!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Just Bearly Love

These two polar bears sure are fond of each other. Aw, shucks!

These incredible beasts are in a bit of trouble up there in the Arctic Circle. To learn about polar bear conservation and how you can help, check out Polar Bears International. Pix, webcam action, PB giftshop, info for teachers and a whole bunch more.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Is It A Dream? Cruise...

A favorite from the Woodward Dream Cruise. 2006, maybe? I love this car! They are already gearing up for Dream Cruise 2009!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Hobo Joe

If you should find yourself tramping through the west valley, there's a good chance you might run across this classy fellow in the backwaters of Buckeye, AZ. He's hard to miss as he's gotta be twenty feet tall.

I'm told he's called Hobo Joe.  Of the now defunct Hobo Joe Coffee Shops.

I found some info on him here and a smidge here.

Honestly, it's not worth a special trip, but if you're out there, anyway, for all his imposing stature and all, he's really just a big little tramp and quite a sight. A quite contented-looking sight at that.