Sunday, May 31, 2009

A neighborhood friend, who is due in three weeks, asked me to take some photos of her before she gives birth. New territory for me, and a fun challenge. She and her husband were terrific - patient, easy to work with, and engaged in the process. The result is some of the best work I have ever done. A milestone in the evolution of my practice. Today I feel like a professional.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


These people have changed me. Enough said.

Moment of Reflection

Jim Gabarra, head coach of the Washington Freedom women's professional soccer team, always seems to give a reflective moment or two with the officials during a match.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nurses Pinning

Steph at her pinning ceremony on Friday - the first leg of the graduation trifecta.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Graduations Day

Yesterday was Graduations Day for us. Steph graduated from nursing school, I received my MBA, and Christy earned her Bachelors Degree. Busy day, tight schedule, but it all worked perfectly.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Black & White

I don't think of black & white enough. I shot this image in color, and when the couple saw it they suggested it might look better in black & white. It does. And I should have thought of it. So now I'm going back through my recent shots to see if I missed an opportunity. In particular, I'm looking at shots that I dismissed for technical problems (mostly exposure), since the monochromatic look can cover for many mistakes.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Little Guy

A friend (and local "celebrity") brought his son to Saturday's race. While dad walked, son did the 5K in his stroller. Clearly, the son is brilliant. If I had thought of that...

This little guy moves around very quickly, and it's hard to get a good photograph of him. But when he stops, it's magic.

Musical Madness 5K Race

On Saturday I helped a friend photograph a 5K race put on by the local high school music department. I have always wanted to run in the race, but have either been a volunteer or had a schedule conflict. Having forsaken the gym for the last few months, there was no chance I was running this year either.

We were asked to take lots of shots with the sponsoring businesses in the background. Looney's was the primary sponsor this year, so they feature prominently in many shots. We also took lots of shots of runners finishing; seeing themselves on the race website ( may entice them to come again next year. We even had a list of local celebrities and sponsors who were running so we could be sure to photograph them. So this was more of a commercial shoot than anything I have done before. It was very limiting in some respects. But I took my opportunities to find some fun images. One of my favorites was the start of the kids' 1K fun race. So much energy, so many comically large t-shirts.

Friday, May 8, 2009


All of the photos have been reviewed, sorted, rated, touched up, posted, and are now ready for delivery. There are about 250 in all that we're delivering. I have designed and printed the DVD labels, burned three sets of DVDs, and put them together in jewel cases. I wrote the "thank you" note to the couple, and included a few of my business cards in the package. I'll hand deliver the package tomorrow.

Now it's time to make one more backup of my work spaces for this wedding, then clean up and get ready for the next one in a few weeks. In the meantime, some event and portrait work, and plenty of practice, study, and planning.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Besides photographing plays at my kids' old high school, I also capture images of the music concerts. Both spring and fall (and sometimes winter), I take photos of all of the performances. This past Tuesday was the first of the two-night Spring concert series. I had my camera with me, and got shots of the mixed choir, percussion ensemble, concert band, and orchestra.

I'm very careful when I shoot concerts (and I have shot a lot over 9 years). I pick loud moments so my shutter actuation isn't so noticeable. And I slump in my chair so I'm not as conspicuous. On Tuesday another guy was shooting, but he was less discrete. He likes to shoot bracketed, so he gets three shutter actuations per shot (he might do this manually, I'm not sure). And he shoots a lot. Mostly of the same thing. While I took 80 shots over the concert night, I'm pretty sure he was close to 800. His camera is loud as well, adding to the effect.

I proposed to the directors (who are also my close friends) that maybe I shouldn't shoot at concerts any more, to avoid causing the noise. And when I said "I", I really meant the other guy too. Of the three directors, one said he never noticed the shutter noise, and it wasn't a problem; one observed that the noise wasn't on the recording (but conspicuously didn;t answer my question directly); and one didn't respond. I'm not sure what to do at tonight's "Spring Concert, Part 2". But I'll bring my camera, just in case, and see what the vibe is. If its not right, I'll leave my camera in the bag. Yeah, not too likely.

On the photo above from Tuesday, note that the Concert Mistress' bow is starting to shred. As hard as she worked, it's a wonder there was anything left. Had she lost the bow completely, the time-honored tradition in string sections is for the musician to turn around and take the instrument (or bow) from the musician behind them. They do that in turn to the person behind them. When it's done, the only person left without an instrument is in the back row, and is typically a less impactful loss. Certainly, Tuesday's performance of Tchaikovsky could not have continued without the first violin. But the instrument swap wasn't needed; she just yanked the broken fibers out of her bow and played on.

Web Site

We have finally gone live with the d2 Wedding Photography web site ( We went through a pronounced delay as we waited for our template vendor to deliver. Once they did, it only took use 2-3 days to et everything loaded and configured to operate the way we wanted. Last night at about 11:00 the site went live. It will take some time to sooth out the wrinkles and make it the we want it to be. But it serves the purpose. We had to deliver wedding photos for a couple, and wanted to use the new web site as part of that delivery. One more milestone in establishing a business passed.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Letting go...or not.

After spending hours and hours reviewing, assessing, and touching up photos from the wedding two weeks ago, I have an awareness of a challenge I face: letting go, and not letting go. Sometimes I find that an image is "almost brilliant", but has a fundamental and unforgivable flaw. For example, I had a shot of the bride and groom that was nearly stellar, but for the giant head that stepped in front of me and into the frame. Most of the image is fine, but I can't crop out the head without destroying what should stay. I want to keep it - in every respect it was going to be brilliant. But it's awful, and I have to let it go.

On the other hand, sometimes the standards I put on myself cause me to reject what are to others perfectly fine photographs. That is, they're technically well executed by not my vision of art. When it comes to art, what I like is not necessarily what others like. I read an article the other day on the importance of pursuing your vision for photography, not what everyone else wants from you. I think that's wise guidance, and I subscribe to it. But at the same time, I'm sure I'm too critical of some of my images. In fact, by not showing some of these images to my client, perhaps I'm diluting the value I'm giving them. So, sometimes I have to not let go.

The photo below is an example of both. Technically, it's poorly executed. It's not crisp, it's grainy, and poorly exposed (this was shot in the rain at 7:30PM from about 50 yards away). Right, into the trash it goes. But it's really a great moment. Abby Wambach, the stellar forward for the Washington Freedom, has won the header Nikki Cross of the St. Louis Athletica, as Nikki is left only to take the full impact of Abby's 5'11" frame. This is the kind of moment, the art that I'm looking for when I shoot sports. So it's a keeper because the action is so intense. But it's such a crappy shot that I should really let it go.

I'm going to have to figure out what my decision points are, and quickly. With my 600 shots from the wedding, and 15,00 total from the team, I can't agonize over each shot or I'll never finish touch-ups. Ok, for this one, I'll...