New work with an awesome new client! I'm loving shooting more interiors but it is definitely making me want to do some home renovations. This house in Dana Point turned out great. Stacy Chiavaro designed it and it had a real lux beach house vibe going on. The kitchen is a dream. It's the perfect house to have a dinner party in.
To see more of Stacy's work you can check out her website http://chiavarodesign.com/
It's the end of Spring so that means that it's Palm Springs Photo Festival time again! So much happened that my post is a little later than normal. I worked with the incomparable Keith Carter this year, there was a wolf, lots of beautiful models, portfolio reviews, late night lectures and parties, and, it makes me emotional even to type this, the last talk given by Mary Ellen Mark.
Mary Ellen gave a moving talk on Wednesday night of the festival. She showed a greatest hits slideshow of her work which was powerful and moving. I've been a huge fan for a long time, but this is only the second time I've gotten to see her speak in public. The crowd gave her a well-deserved roaring standing ovation when she finished. She was clearly ill, and her heroic efforts to continue to teach her workshop, speak on a panel, and then stay up to 10pm to give the late night evening presentation were truly admirable. This was a woman who cared passionately about her craft and about the field of photography. She was a trailblazer for women photographers and she will be missed.
Onto a much lighter topic, the workshop with Keith! Often times workshop instructors are great artists, but they're not great at teaching. With Keith there was the magical combination of him being both an exquisite image maker AND an articulate teacher. He had many helpful creative exercises, showed work by interesting photographers that I had never heard of, and he had thoughtful insights about everyones work.
We started the week with a little class time at the Korakia Pensione in the morning of day one. Then moved onto a mini shooting session at a hip private home in Palm Springs, followed by a critique of attendee work, and finally a quick trip to the thrift store to pick up props for the rest of the week.
Day 2 we went to the spectacular Blue Ranch, an in-city horse ranch in the middle of Palm Springs. We had three lovely models, a couple of horses, and a wolf (!!!) to photograph and work with as subjects. Although I was there to assist with the organizational part of the festival, with scenery like this I had to make some images of my own--especially since Canon loaned me a 5d Mark iii plus the AWESOME 85mm 1.2! I want it! It was very hard to give back that lens and I've been pining for it ever since.
Day 3 we went out to Indian Canyon. In all of my years going out to Palm Springs with the festival it was my first time at Indian Canyon. It's like this little oasis just a few miles out of town with groves of palms and a trickling stream running through it. It was very cool and I will be back! We had a big group this year (see below) but the last few years I've gotten very lucky with low maintenance attendees which makes my job so much easier!
The festival is a very intimate experience and there are workshops are going on all around the Korakia Hotel. I got a sneak peek at Ian Ruhter's wet plate workshop in action using his massive camera. Such a cool process to watch! Also, look at that focus on the 85 1.2, daaaaamn!
The week is filled with long, sometimes challenging days with little sleep and a fair amount of stressful moments. It's also probably my favorite week of the year. That is in no small part thanks to the many great friends that I have because of the festival. I am grateful every year they come back and we get to hang out in the desert together. I get to see their careers grow and our bonds of friendship are renewed each spring. It's a very special thing.
Until next year...
While I was up on the Central Coast shooting for some magazines I produced and shot a "girls wine weekend" concept for Stocksy. My models were my longtime friend Becca and some of her girlfriends-- Mindy, Stacie, Caitlin, and Stephanie. We bopped around a few Central Coast wineries and got to drink some fantastic wine. What's more fun than a beautiful, sunny day, drinking wine with fun girls and making some photos?
There's something really satisfying about shooting interiors that quenches that obsessive perfectionist that sometimes resides within me. I find myself saying things like, "okay, one more inch to the left," and "let's take that blue book out and replace it with the green one." It's such a great feeling when all of the elements are in balance and the scene comes together into one perfect frame.
This shoot was for Los Angeles based designer Jennifer Muirhead and the home was a stunning modern Spanish bungalow in Hancock Park. The space was designed beautifully and felt very comfortable, yet with high-end elegant touches. The house had great art too! As a photographer I love when a designer uses lots of photography in their designs.
To see more of her work visit her website at
In just a few short days it will be my one year anniversary of living in Los Angeles. It has been a great adventure and I am way happier living in the big city than I ever would have expected. A couple of weeks ago I had a shoot scheduled and due to the nasty flu virus going around it got cancelled. I had blocked off the day to shoot and there was beautiful light happening, and since my day was freed up I decided to bop around the hills of Hollywood and make some photos of my home city. Here's a little of what I made that day.
Back in October I had the opportunity to photograph three chefs from some of my favorite restaurants in San Luis Obispo County for Edible SLO magazine. The magazine came out in January and is on news stands now. Each of the chefs are committed to sourcing local, seasonal, sustainable products and are really at the forefront of the farm-to-table dining movement. I have eaten at each of the restaurants featured in this issue and I can safely say that if you're on the Central Coast and looking for a spectacular meal you will find one anywhere these chefs are cooking.
Over the past few years I've fully fallen in love with Paso Robles. Combining that with my love of food and wine, being asked to shoot for the PRWCA was a really cool honor for me. Here are some images that will be used in the 2014 "Grow Wild" campaign to promote the Paso Robles wine region.
A big part of the campaign focuses on Paso's sustainable practices including use of animals to abate weeds, fertilize the soil, and promote a holistic farming practices. Tablas Creek Winery was nice enough to let the animals loose in the vineyard for us even though the grapes were still on the vines. Perhaps a bottle or two worth of grapes were sacrificed to the animals for the cause, but hopefully the images were worth it!
We also shot in the barrel room at Robert Hall Winery. The size of the cellar always shocks me and it's a challenge to photograph in such a cavernous space. The barrels go on for days and the smell of oak and fermentation is heavenly. Not a bad place to work for the day.
Last Friday the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce held its inaugural Farm to Fork Progressive Food and Wine Tour. The tour was a multi-location food and wine extravaganza of some of the best things the area has to offer. Proceeds benefit a scholarship fund for local high-schoolers. I donated some of my images to be used for promotion of the event and they were nice enough to invite me along for the day. At right is the brochure for the event with some of my work. It was a delightful, hot, whirlwind day (filled with lots of cool swag), here are a few of the highlights...
A breakfast of bacon wrapped fig strata, quinoa with apples, roasted rosemary potatoes and chimichuri at the Pioneer Museum was the way the group of 100-plus people were welcomed to the tour. We then boarded buses and headed off to our first stop, Windrose Farm in Creston. Once there we were treated with chipotle and heirloom tomato bloody mary's made with a local grape-based Re:Fined vodka. In my book it doesn't get much better than this. Then, bloody marys in hand, we were given a tour of the farm by owner Barbara Spencer. Windrose is an organic, bio-dynamic marvel, growing more than 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, apples, squash, peppers, and almost anything else one can imagine. After the tour the group sat down for a tomato tasting and some lemonade, then on to our next stop...almost.
I won't get into the details, but there were some bus issues that caused some very uncomfortable time in the sun. Luckily there was a bottle of water in my goodie bag and my bloody mary was still in effect. Once a new bus arrived to take us to our next stop we were in business again. The second stop, Windfall Farm, was the apex of the tour. A cooking demonstration by cookbook author Brigit Binns while sitting on bales of hay and sipping J Lohr Viogner was just what I needed after the bus debacle. Even better, we all got a copy of the cookbook which I've been eyeing in local shops for weeks.
Binns demoed the food which we were to be served later, a pear and fennel salad and a braised short rib with creamy polenta, yum! The wine continued to flow as we moved onto communal tables for lunch. I moved on to some Petit Syrah to pair with my short rib and stopped to stroll through the spectacular foaling barn near where lunch was being served. The group was mostly women and I had a very diverse, interesting bunch of ladies at my table. After lunch it was time to grab a bottle of J Lohr's premium Hilltop Cabernet, and proceed to our final stop, Pasolivo for a little something sweet.
A tour of the olive orchard, followed by an olive oil tasting were a nice way to round out the day. I enjoyed some local Leo Leo strawberry gelato in the shade, and the tour was complete. Such a fun day surrounded by people who are doing truly impressive things with their resources. I am so proud to have become a part of the Paso Robles food and wine community over the past couple of years and it brings joy to see good, hard working people thrive.
I am super-duper excited to be a part of the new photo co-operative, Stocksy! Stocksy is a new concept in stock photography that gives contributing photographers 50% of all normal licenses and 100% of all extended licenses. Started by iStock founder, Bruce Livingston, Stocksy seeks to create a stock business model wherein its contributors can make a sustainable living from photography, and not sell their images for pennies on the dollar.
Stocksy has quickly become my go-to place to get inspired and see creative, beautiful imagery. They have a very stringent acceptance policy and only accept work that transcends typical stock photography. Some seriously talented photographers from all over the world have joined Stocksy, including a couple of my favorites, Kevin Russ and Darren Muir.
I have a tiny portfolio with Stocksy thus far, you can see it here, however I'm looking forward to uploading more of my work when I get some time. I'm thrilled to be part of such a cool community and I'm looking forward to getting more involved in the upcoming months. I noticed that their imagery of Buenos Aires is quite slim, so hopefully I can fill in some gaps for them with my upcoming trip!
A few months back I did a shoot for the new publication, Edible SLO. It is on news stands now; the Summer 2013 edition. The Edible Communities publications are fantastic local resources, and Edible SLO is off to a great start with cool articles and beautiful layouts. As a photographer it is such a pleasure to work for them because they utilize photography in a prominent way with lots of images and full bleed spreads. Look how adorable the cover is!
I shot a profile piece on Chaparral Gardens in Atascadero. The owners Cari and Craig Clark were very sweet and were kind enough to show me around the garden and let me try all of their products. The Clarks make artisanal vinegars from the produce they grow in their garden. I have been enjoying the Tuscan balsamic ever since my visit. Thanks to the Clarks for being so generous (I saw them at the farmer's market and they loaded me up with produce!) and the editor of Edible SLO, Karrie Crane for choosing me to shoot for this issue.