Your Brand

Branding seems to be an ongoing struggle with a lot of photographers.  I for one have struggled with a consistent brand, how to market my brand effectively and how to build on it without losing the core ideas.  It's more than a cool logo or letterhead, font choice or website colors.  I believe it's has as much to do with why you shoot, how you shoot, your ethos, and personality as it does the visual interpretation of these.  Especially because as a photographer you are the face of your business, how you talk with a prospective client can be as important as the font layout of your marketing media.  I firmly think all these play a vital role in building a successful brand.  I myself am in the middle of an important and much needed brand/business direction re-adjust, I say re-adjust and not re-vamp because I don't want to fully scrap what I've built but make it clearer, cleaner and much more refined.  A wonderful blog I read call Black Star Rising recently had an inspirational post on the importance of developing a consistent brand, check out the piece here (link to article).


A Walk in the Park

Grabbing my camera satchel, a notebook and a coffee I head into the park to wander amongst the eucalyptus, cypress, bison and many small lakes.  Choosing off trails I'm quickly secluded and the hum of city traffic is drowned out by the high pitched call of the resident red tailed hawks and the constant rustling of trees in wind.  It's easy to get away here, tucked in back corners where wild flowers and grasses still manage to find a place amongst the myriad of planted flora.  I've come today to shoot flowers and grasses, well anything that has interesting shapes and colors at closer than 1:1 scale.  It's meditative walking the park, getting low to get angles and searching for abstractions among the thousands of options.  Using a variation of extension tubes, artificial and natural light, reflectors, scrims, diffusion rounds, I guess it's my version of studio photography without the walls, and what a studio it is!



Close Proximity

Living in San Francisco I take for grant-it that there are a myriad of beautiful places minutes from leaving the city.  After writing emails, marketing notes and to-do lists all morning I had to break away to shoot and headed just North of the bridge to a gorgeous valley called Tennessee Valley; a long, open, roadless valley that empties into the Pacific Ocean.  Native grasses, Pines and Cypress trees dot the landscape while distant screams of marsh hawks and the silent soaring of the Turkey Vulture makes you forget you're just minutes from one of the busiest metropolitan areas of the country.  Needless to say I fell into a deep calm sat and watched the water more than I ended up shooting.  Which is probably why I carried a friendly little tick home with me buried in my belly, he was promptly found and excavated while traversing the Golden Gate Bridge on my way home.  I love all of nature, the weird and the serene!


A Fun Departure

Sometimes it's fun to shoot something you wouldn't normally do without an outside influence.  My good friend Caitlin, whose a wonderful prop stylist (link) wanted to do something fun for her portfolio, so we put together this idea and had a lot of fun shooting it.



How I Shot It - "1634"

There were skunks, four of them to be exact. It was late, around midnight and the entire town was dark and silent. I’m sure I would have looked a little strange walking around this little New England coastal town with a large backpack and equally large tripod tucked under my arm, but not a soul was wandering about as I was. Except that is for the four seemingly innocent skunks that decided to make their evening rounds in the one place that looked utterly amazing at midnight.

The sign at the entrance was a dilapidated ceremonial plaque dedicated in 1934 for the 300th anniversary of the cemetery. Within this place I saw an image I had had in my mind for years. This small cemetery, sitting by the ocean, had several small hills with dozens of headstones jetting out in all angles. Some were crumbling and unreadable, others new with textured wear. I found myself wandering in. Surrounding this colonial cemetery, were groves of hardwood trees, and behind them were streetlamps of all color temperatures pouring light into this place, creating mysterious shadows and highlights. Some of the headstones were completely black while others lit up in wonderful greens and blues.

I had my camera in my hand and had already set up my tripod without thinking. I set up slowly, methodically searching the angles, placing the shadows where I wanted them. I knew it was going to be a long exposure, so speed was not an issue. In the background was a simple colonial house, lit by an unseen light that made it stand out ever so subtly. It was in my West Coast eye, a New England I had envisioned all my life. And that’s when I saw them, all four of them.

It was going to be a long exposure, around an hour. There was nobody around and I was tucked in a dark corner of the cemetery so I figured the camera was safe. I turned to walk out, explore a little more of the town, and stopped dead. Staring at me with miniscule beady eyes was the one small creature that could make any grown man stop in his tracks, and it was staring directly at me. Not really sure how to handle this, I simply didn’t move. We stared at each other a few moments until it became disinterested and resumed its midnight feeding. Not wanting to draw its’ attention I stayed and waited for it to move on, but after it had gone I found myself enjoying the meditative night in this little cemetery by the sea.

-Camera: Hasselblad
-Film: Kodak 160NC EI:160
-Exposure: F/11 @ 1hr15min
-Lens: 50mm
-Light: Streetlamps, Moonlight


BW from late Spring & Early Summer

In late Spring and early Summer I took two wonderful adventures, the first was in Yosemite and the second was in the Southwest, both of which produced great images.  I've had the color posted in my website for awhile, but am now starting to work on the black & whites.  Here's a first round selection of some black & whites from those trips, I'll be posting more here as well as to my website.  These areas are some of my favorite on Earth, enjoy!


Well, this last one is a shot from the North Cascades in Early Spring, but I had to sneak it in...


Fresh Bouquet of Flowers

Here's a small selection of fresh Flora images I've shot over the past few months.  More can be seen on my website under the Exhibited Portfolio.  Enjoy!!!


Latest Job

I was hired to supply the images for an investment firm and ended up shooting the portraits and group shot as well.  It was really quite fun selecting images that would represent them from my library of landscape work.  They were all wonderful people to work with and please take a peak at their new site (the logo is linked), it looks beautiful!


When Change is Needed

When routine becomes ritual. When the same produces no results, when cynicism overrides the positive and when negative feedback loops are all you encounter.

Have you ever done anything, perhaps stepping out of character, that breaks the daily mold, only to have that ‘thing’ become a source of inspiration and excitement. That is the change I’m talking about; unplanned, spontaneous, fresh.

Is it good to throw away what you know, to start from scratch, to take a new leap? Yes, when a new perspective is needed, when a new direction is needed, when change is needed.


To Want and Wander

I want to wander this world through my lens, I want to write the stories of what I experience. I want to build a log cabin and make my own furniture. I want to observe the changing of the seasons from a position of hunger and want, of needing wood chopped and fish caught. I want to ride a motorcycle across the Arabian and walk from Mexico to Canada. I want to traverse the Brooks Mountain Range in Alaska and sleep amongst the bears. I want to sail to Hawaii, get scared and be afraid. I want to cross Iceland and dip in her warm pools, be sprayed by her cool waterfalls. I want to hear Bach played in Vienna, and read German. I want to make art, have it hung, collected and exhibited.  These I not only want, but need.

What do you ask of yourself?


Beautiful Desolation

The Great Basin Desert is just a bit interesting.  Until a shooting trip last Spring I've always treated Nevada as a necessary hindrance to transect on my way to the rich red walls of Southern Utah.  On our way back Westward after a particularly wondrous time adventuring, shooting and wandering Abbey's country we decided to cross the Nevada expanse on the least driven highway we could find.  Driving the barren stretches of the two lane back country highways I started to appreciate Nevada as more than a crossover, a gambling destination, a burning man gathering, I started to see it's landscapes for the first time.  As the road in front seemingly disappeared into the horizon, immense barren mountains rose out the expansive creosote plains to shape a shaved landscape where geology was as apparent as the forming weather.  Unlike the fiery red walls and canyons of the Colorado Plateau, The Great Basin Desert is subtle, it creeps up and slowly reveals its complex beauty.

After several hundred miles the desert slams up against the menacing walls of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that seem to rise straight up as if Nevada had suddenly at some ancient point been pressed down like a giant footprint.  At the base of this mountainous wall lies an alkaline lake with a mineral content far exceeding the briniest oceans where calcium deposits seeping out from underwater fresh water springs form large calcium formations that slowly creep out of the water. I've photographed here several times throughout the years, but this particular time we happened upon the most beautiful sunset mixed with an outrageous thunderstorm that had me running around frantically shooting all I could.


Thank you travel Buddy!