Sunday, January 31, 2010

Brad Sheets: A Senior Year Session

Brad Sheets is finishing out a fantastic four years of growth and improvement at King High in Riverside, CA. He's a great student, a strong runner and a friend to many. He's off to the University of Oregon next year to study sports marketing, and in the backyard of Nike, he's probably headed in the right direction!

It's been a pleasure getting to know him over the last years and it was an absolute pleasure getting to shoot his senior portaits.

We used a couple of adjacent locations in Riverside to try and get a blend of both natural and man made settings. I think we nailed it! While the rail road and rail cars gave a gritty urban sense, the park and Santa Ana River humbled the hard settings with the grace of green.

Thanks, Brad for letting me shoot your senior portraits. It was a fun couple of hours, but it's been a better four years. And, by the way, nice name!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Claire and Jared's Wedding

My neice Claire met Jared while the two of them were at Biola University. They were quick to hit it off and fell in love. Engaged some 7 months ago, the two finally tied the knot on a beautiful ... then raining afternoon a week ago.

I was honored to be allowed in on the photography of her wedding which was very ably being led by Shannon Leith. Shannon was gracious enough to let me tag along and watch her work while shooting anything and everything I wanted. What a privilege ... thank you again, Shannon.

Since Shannon was choreographing the main shots, I had the freedom to lurk around the edges, looking for that different angle, an uncommon creation that probably wouldn't be any photographer's "first choice" in shooting a wedding.

It was a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to be creative, not worried about getting "the shot" but working to find a shot from the fringe.

I hope you enjoy what follows...and thank you again Shannon for letting me in on your work.

The first look ... sweet!

While Shannon was getting the bridal party shots, I took off into the high grass and got a couple of interesting creations. Again, probably not the "first choice" but as the third shooter, I saw my opportunity and took it!

Ok, I know a lot of folks raise their eyebrows when they snag a peek at my "blurry shots" but, hey!, I kind of like them! They give off a little bit of a water-color effect. Here's Claire and Jared at the end of the night, enjoying their last dance...

And yes, it rained...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Day

Today we marked the impact of Martin Luther King in our nation's history. With the Haiti earthquake dominating the news, the remembrance seemed to be passed over by the nation's media.

For me, I came face to face with the legacy of Dr. King while visiting the "birthplace" of sorts of the Civil Rights movement. Traveling with my cross country team to Montgomery and Birmingham Alabama back in 2007 enlivened my imagination to the impact one man, moved by truth, can have on a society. That man lived and died just as I was coming to be, but we live in a society distinctly different because of what he did.

I've been working my way through Taylor Branch's trilogy on the King years. (I'm two books in, close to 2000 pages read, and making the last tome the goal of 2010 ... it's a 1000+ pages alone!) Reading his history, which is almost too detailed at times, I've come to realize the complexity of King and the multi-dimensionality of the man and the movement.

Though he sought political and social change -- and got it -- what I think King never lost sight of was that racism, while being politically and socially charged, was (and is) really a "heart issue." It was no coincidence that the Civil Rights movement began in churches, it's power emanated from faith.

At times, King challenged the local church to get their act straightened out. Addressing the all-too-often practice of the church not practicing what it preaches, he railed, "It seems that I can hear the almighty God say, "stop preaching your loud sermons and whooping your irrelevant mess in my face for your hands are full of tar. For the people that I sent you to serve are in need, and you are doing nothing but being concerned about yourself." Seems that I can hear God saying that it's time to rise up now and make it clear that the evils of the universe must be removed. And that God isn't going to do all of it by himself. The church that overlooks this is a dangerously irrelevant church."

Powerful words for the 1960's ... and today. May I be the first to love with "Agape Love" (as King often spoke about) and think of others increasingly more than myself.

Here's an image I took back in 2007 of one of the pews inside Dexter Ave. Baptist Church, the church where King first started back in the 1950's.

I wonder, was it there then? What stories could it tell?

Claire's Wedding Day -- A Preview

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Little Louis

Well, it's been far too long since I last posted, mainly because my life has been so busy! The New Year got off to a flying start! Tomorrow, I'm getting to second shoot my niece's wedding for Shannon Leith, and I'm really excited about the opportunity!

Last weekend, I drove out to West LA for a Bris Ceremony for Louis. Having never observed one before, it was a fascinating experience and an honor to not only be counted on to record the event photographically, but also to observe the ceremony and witness a part of Jewish culture that I've never been exposed to. It was a great time!

Here are a few images from the event.

Friday, January 1, 2010

To a Beautiful New Year

Happy New Year! 2010 ... what will it hold for each of us? No one knows, even the biggest "resolution maker" in the world doesn't know. We resolved ourselves to be thinner, to be better, to be more productive, to stop eating too much, driving too fast, etc, etc, etc, but the reality is that the next 365 days are an unknown.

If we resolve to do anything this year, lets make up our minds to live each day as if it is our last day, to look for beauty in the midst of bustle, to find the unique colors and shapes of God's handiwork, to make the lives of those around us a bit more beautiful because we crossed their paths!