Chaparral Gardens for Edible SLO

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!

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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.    

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An Evening in the Vineyard

The lovely Esther Flink and I enjoyed bopping around several Central Coast vineyards last week during our sunset shoot.  Esther is a Toronto transplant to the area and she brought to the shoot the professionalism and charm of a seasoned model.  We had a great time racing around the country-side looking to capture the last bits of light.  Here's a small sampling of images from our shoot. 

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Test Shoot: Darrell

Darrell Snedeger and I shot earlier this week at the football stadium at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo.  We were fortunate that some workers were doing maintenance to the bleachers in the stadium, so we were able to sneak in.  Unfortunately when it came time to leave the workers had locked the exit so we had to scale a fence to get out.  Nothing like minor breaking and entering for the cause of a great location for a shoot.  

Darrell was very sweet and game for anything.  I put him to work during our shoot and he kindly accommodated.  He is moving to LA in a few weeks, so I'm glad we got a chance to work together before he heads down south to pursue a career in modeling and acting.  

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Good luck in LA Darrell!  Thanks for helping me over the fence! 

Test Shoot: Shelby

I finally got a moment to photograph my lovely friend Shelby Garland.  I was honored to be the first photographer to do a shoot with her.  I knew she would be a natural and I'm sure she has a bright future ahead of her if she chooses to pursue modeling.  We went down to the beach in Ventura, California and shot at the pier, Surfer's Point, and Marina Park.  The cloudy sky made for one large soft-box which is great for portraiture.  Shelby looks beautiful and I'm sure we will work together again soon!

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PSPF 2013

Another great year in Palm Springs.  This year it was a bit later than usual and that means that it was HOT!   I was assisting the fantastic Roger Ballen and we spent a lot of time out in the desert shooting in abandoned towns around the Salton Sea. There were 16 attendees in the workshop, as well as myself, Roger, his assistant, Margurite, and another assistant, Heather who was also my roommate and savior throughout the week. We were a large group ambling around the desert in large white vans.   The 4 day class was called THE FINE ART OF PHOTOGRAPHY MASTER CLASS.  

If you're not familiar with Roger's work you should really check it out.  Dark, ambiguous, and a little creepy, he's made a name for himself with his black and white images, shot on film, and often controversial.  Here's a peek.

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All images property of Roger Ballen.

As always the week was inspiring, educational, and exhausting!  Here are some photos from the workshop.

To learn more about Roger Ballen check out https://www.artsy.net/artist/roger-ballen

 

 

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Promo Time

I do my best to keep up with marketing and promo materials.  I try (with varying degrees of success) to send out some type of promo piece to my clients and people I want to work with about once a quarter. Typically this is in the form of an email promo with embedded images, but from time to time it involves printed mailers too.  It's nice to show clients what I've been working on and remind them that I'm here and able to shoot. Also, it's nice for me to step back and assess where I've been and where I want to be going.  Plus it's so nice to see printed materials!  With everything being online now I kinda miss the tactile presence of a printed piece.  Here are my newest promo pieces that will be going out tomorrow.  I taylor which promo I send to the specific client based on their needs.  

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Overdue and Overflowing with Work

It's been too long since I've posted!   Traveling, shooting, work, work, and more work and I have yet to get quite caught up.  My summer resolution is to be better about posting about what I'm working on and projects that have wrapped.  Where to begin?  I guess food is alway a great place to start.  

Moroccan Spiced Braised Lamb Shank

In March and April I worked on a series of recipes and food photos for a client.  It was a mixture of recipes that we've cooked in my household for years, and new stuff that I wanted to try.  It was a large project, 50 dishes, and the house was always filled with awesome aromas. 

There was so much food around that I had to resort to begging people to come over and help relieve my refrigerator of some of the prepared items so that I could make room for new ingredients. Luckily Becca, Justin, and Patrick were kind enough to eat some of the leftovers and take one for the team to keep the ball rolling.  I don't think they minded too much!

Capellini with Salmon and Vegetables
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I've just gotten back from my annual week in the desert at the Palm Springs Photo Festival: Connect 2013, shot some travel pieces, shot some lifestyle work, and have even done a beer label for a new brewery. More to come soon! 

Lauren and Kylee

I had a fun day shooting Lauren and Kylee Klay last week. They are both really goofy and natural in front of the camera.  We shot several different set-ups involving a modern, technology filled morning.  Apparently we were having so much fun that Basil (the chicken) decided to escape and join us.  After her daring escape we let her model for a few photos.

Thanks to the awesome Krystal Davis for doing makeup for the shoot. You can find more information about Krystal's work here...

http://makeupbykrystal.wix.com/home

The girls looked fresh and lovely.  Don't all women look like that when they get out of bed in the morning?

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Thanks ladies, I look forward to working with you again soon!

Christmas in California

The Avila Valley Barn is one of the most awesome places I know.  It's kind of like an old-timey East Coast farm stand that has the benefit of being in California, where they can grow produce and flowers year-round.  There is a huge variety of animals from dozens of chickens running around to alpacas, and emu.  The models especially bonded with the goats, who were eating dried leaves right out of their hands.  

Young couple picking out a Christmas tree.
Harvest time in California. A young couple play around at the Avila Valley Barn. 
Only in California!  A young couple enjoys some ice cream while picking out their Christmas tree. 
Winter California lifestyle. 
Young couple hanging out in a holiday scene.

Both of the models were fantastic.  It was my first time working with Kylee and Eric, but they dove right in and got into the spirit of the shoot.  Only in California can you enjoy ice cream in the wintertime!  

Harvest Project 2012: Part 1

I have been working on a personal project on the California Central Coast wine grape harvest for the past few weeks.  It's a work in progress and I am still waking up before dawn, pulling on my boots, heading out to some of the best vineyards in the area, and photographing the harvest.  I vacillated between waiting until the project was completed, and releasing it in parts.  I decided that it was best to give you small portions at a time.  This is mainly because there are way too many images that I love to only show a final 10-20 once the edit was completed.  Also, it allows you, the viewer, to see the evolution of the project and how things change over time.  These images were shot at Fe Ciega Vineyard, located in the Santa Rita Hills area of California, and Laetitia Vineyard, located in Arroyo Grande.  

 


 Thanks to Rick Longoria at Fe Ciega Vineyard and Jackie Ross and Dave Terry at Laetitia Winery for facilitating access to the vineyards and being so gracious and helpful!!!

Elegant Country Dinner and Tomato Tasting at Windrose Farm

On Saturday, September 15th, two lovely events were held at Windrose Farm in Paso Robles, California.  First in the afternoon there was a tomato tasting featuring over 20 varieties of tomatoes.  In the evening there was a farm to table feast paired with local wines from Tablas Creek Winery.  It was a hot summer night, but spirits were high on the farm.  Here are some images from the event and around the pastoral grounds of Windrose Farm. 

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One of my favorite parts of the day was simply wandering around the expansive apple orchards.  There are dozens of free-roaming chickens that made themselves at home in the shade beneath the trees.  Windrose is in a unique location in that they can successfully grow both apples (which typically require a cool climate) and tomatoes (which love the heat) due to their warm days and cool nights.  

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Windrose also raises sheep on thier property.  They have tons of room to roam about, and lead happy lives hanging out with the dogs in the pasture.  

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Barbara and Bill Spencer are the owners of Windrose.  Barbara is seen here talking to the diners about the practices on the farm and what the menu is for the evening.  

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Neil Collins (seen at right), the winemaker at Tablas Creek Winery in Paso Robles, paired each course with his wines.  Tablas Creek is known for being a leader in Rhone varietals, which proved to be a great pairing with the menu.  Almost all of the ingredients were sourced from Windrose, and were prepared by chef Clark Staub of Flatbread Full of Life based out of Los Alamos.  You can find out more about Tablas Creek and Flatbread here...

http://www.tablascreek.com 

http://fulloflifefoods.com/

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Windrose Farm owners Barbara and Bill Spencer in front of their sheep. 

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Flatbread brought out their wood burning oven from which they prepared pizza during the day and used to cook the dinner in the evening.  Chef Julie Simon of Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles came to assist with the dinner as well as Kat from Flatbread. 

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The day was a great success and I am lucky to have been a part of the festivities.  The Central Coast food and wine community is a very tight-knit group and it is nice to see people who are passionate about the things they create and who value artisinal traditions and quality ingredients. 

http://windrosefarm.org/

Harvest Project 2012

September has proven to be a busy, busy month!  I have started work on a personal project on the Central Coast grape harvest which has led to early mornings and long days!  I don't think I've slept this well in ages. I have been incredibly lucky to have gained access to some of my favorite vineyards over the past few weeks and I'm so excited about the images that have come out of the shoots.  Unfortunately the harvest project along with my normal assignments has left me very far behind on editing.  I foresee weeks of playing catch-up at my computer in my future.  The luxury of having time in the field is well worth the editing time later.  I hope to have more images for you soon.  

Lake Nacimiento Shoot

Anyone who is familiar with Paso Robles, California probably knows two basic things about it: they make great wine in Paso, and it gets really, really hot there.  Unfortunately me and the team got a a big dose of the heat during our shoot last week.  Clocking in at about 105 degrees, it was a warm one.  Everyone was a good sport and we kept the water super cold in ice and we hung out by the lake as much as possible.  

 

Thanks so much to everyone involved!  

Models:

Linsey Milligan, Christina Diaz, Lindsey Hunt, Rob Martin, and Joseph Garcia. 

Make up:

Mikalya Anderson

http://www.mikaylasmakeupartistry.com/

Assistant:

Rebecca Means

Christina Diaz in Shell Beach

Model Christina Diaz is not only lovely, but the California surfer girl is also quite the academic. An aerospace engineering student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, she clearly has a bright future ahead of her.  We shot at Margo Dodd Tide Pools in Shell Beach, California on a beautiful summer afternoon. Rebecca Means was a fantastic assistant and the day was lots of fun.  Chosing to shoot at high tide left all parties soaked as we waded thigh-high through the water, trying to keep the gear dry.  Note to self: check the tide schedule before booking a beach shoot!

 

Levi's Community Day 2012: San Francisco

On Thursday, May 3rd Levi's held their Community Day In-Action where Levi's employees throughout the world participated in various projects that helped benefit their communities. I had the opportunity to shoot at the Levi's headquarters in San Francisco where they were building bikes that were given to the local YMCA, sorting thousands of articles of clothing to be donated to Goodwill, and sewing canvas bike bags for kids, and many other altruistic endeavors.

Levi's CEO, Chip Bergh (pictured right) helps to build bikes for the YMCA's YBike program.

Later in the day, after the good deeds were completed, Levi's hosted a picnic lunch for the employees who volunteered to help out with the various projects. The rain rolled through, but it didn't dampen the mood of the crowd which was treated to the sounds of Bay Area band Buxter Hoot'n.

 To find out more about Levi's Community Day and their efforts to be good corporate citizens,  click here.

Also the band Buxter Hoot'n was fantastic. Check them out at their website:

http://www.buxterhootn.com/

Palm Springs Photo Festival 2012

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 I love spring!  I get to plant my garden for the summer, my birthday happens, BBQs, sunshine, and the optimism that comes with new beginnings.  It's also the time that I go off the the desert for a week and emerse myself in photography at the Palm Springs Photo Festival.  This was my fourth year with the festival and I'm still trying to process all of the inspiration that I received while I was there.  This year I assisted master photographer Ralph Gibson with his workshop called "Finding Your Personal Vision."  Ralph is fantastic and infinitely quotable.  

www.ralphgibson.com

Here are some portraits I shot of him (he's got great hands and eyes) as well as some of my favorite Ralphisms...

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"The best sound in the world is the sound of a zoom lens being thrown into a swimming pool."

"A photograph is a decision to decide."

"In order to succeed you must have a point of departure."

"A great photograph is an unbroken string of good decisions."

We had a group of great models for the workshop and shot some nudes by the pool of the Korakia Pensione and at a beautiful city ranch in Palm Springs. 

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Our workshop was so interesting even Robert Maxwell couldn't help but swim over to watch Ralph critique an attendee's work. 

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I feel so fortunate to keep returning to the festival each year where I continue to meet more great people and get reinvigorated to go out and shoot.  

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Matt Zeltzer in Pismo Beach

Singer, song-writer, musician, Matt Zeltzer was photographed in Pismo Beach, California.  

Zeltzer is a fantastic bluesy, rock and roll musician who has just released his second album Desert Tortoise.  You can check out some of his music by clicking here. Sit back, grab a glass of bourbon, and enjoy.  

Work to be displayed at Photo LA

Images from the series The Second Sex will be displayed at Photo LA from January 12th-16th, 2012.  I will be in the booth on Thursday and Friday to say hi to everyone and talk about the work.  Photo LA is always a great event with inspiring work from wall to wall.  I'm looking forward to strolling around and seeing what images and artists galleries are promoting this year.  If you're in town please come by and say hello!  More details about the event can be found at www.photola.com


Avila Beach Test Shoot, Part II

More images!  

I need to pick up the film this week (I shot with my Hasselblad and a Holga during the shoot), and then I will post some selections from the batch whenever I get it scanned.  

Thanks again to the team! I couldn't have done this without you!

Make-Up Artist: Carlie Nething
Hair Stylist: Nicolette Slipich
Wardrobe Stylist: Melanie Maxfield
Photography Assistant: Stephanie Thurston
Female Models: Linsey Milligan and Heather Shaw
Male Model: Rob Martin