Good Ideas Happen While Driving

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A day after catching up with good friend Mark Estes over some good coffee at the Local Cafe in Piedmont and seeing his well done 11×14 Wedding Book, an inspiration came to me while driving on the 880 in Oakland on the way home to Alameda. This often happens to me. A good thing I think, that when I’m not thinking about anything related to our work, suddenly a good idea pops up. So I’m driving and up comes this idea that we should do a book as well. One that would showcase a personal project Sandy and I have been working on for as long as we’ve known each other, and even before that. One that as long as I can remember we have loved doing — photography of our families during reunions, BBQ’s, camping trips, day outings to the beach and on hikes, ordinary daily and routine activities & moments at our home, and of other families too. One that just feels so good when we’re doing it — our ‘Days of Bliss’ project.

When I was a college student and as I got older, some of my favorite photographers included their family portraits as part of their books, and that made a big impression on me….of how people like Eugene Smith, Robert Frank, Wayne Miller, Sally Mann and my photography teacher at Moorpark College, our friend John Gray, showed that of course, personal work can and does merge with commercial work.

Which leads me to the Creative Process…..what I’ve learned about the Creative Process is that it’s happening right now, new experiences and stimuli are all around us, as we are going about normal day. Writing this blog entry is part of the Creative Process. I don’t think there’s a magic moment when it suddenly starts. I just think it’s about being open to new opportunities, how we process and interpret them for our art, portfolio, and during our commercial and editorial projects for our clients. Seeing Marks’ new book got me to thinking about the opportunities that are in front of us that we choose to pursue, and those that we let pass.

We’ve often thought of how to show these very intimate and natural family photographs as part of a portfolio presentation, and have never really figured it out….seeing Mark’s book brought home the idea that showing a ‘Days of Bliss’ book along with our Print Portfolio of Portraits and Lifestyle images could be a beautiful and effective presentation at a Portfolio Review. All very exciting! Now I’ve gotta get to work, and design this thing.

'Lost Coast Camping Trip'

'Family Portrait'

'Standish Hickey Camping Trip'

'Big Basin Camping Trip'

'Bryce and Sandy, two weeks before Micah's Birth'

'Mary, Joe, and Mary Stone'

'Bryce at 3 Months'

Catching Up With Recent Work

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Time to catch up with everything….been a busy past several months with doing a variety of fun and challenging photo shoots — the photography for California Pacific Medical Center’s 2010 annual report, a portrait photo shoot of Garth Saloner, Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, coverage of the Tie-Con event for Steve Case’s Start-up America, portraits of Jon Alexander, District Attorney of Del Norte County for California Lawyer Magazine, and working with a Taproots team we did 2 days of photography for The Stevenson House, a safe home for 140 low income residents in Palo Alto, CA.

A nurse holds a premature baby girl's hand at California Pacific Medical Center's Newborn Intensive Care Unit.

A nurse caring for a resident at CPMC's Coming Home Hospice, in San Francisco.

Garth Saloner, Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business

Portrait of residents at The Stevenson House in Palo Alto.

Portrait of a resident at The Stevenson House in Palo Alto.

Cover shoot for California Lawyer of Jon Alexander, Del Norte County's District Attorney.

And let’s not forget the Championship season of our son Bryce’s Bulls AAA Little League team here in Alameda. We put together a video of their season, a fun little ditty with songs selected by Bryce —

A Marine’s Family Portrait

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Mitch and his parents Traci and Farold, Hayward, CA.

During a family visit earlier in March, we did a portrait of Mitch, a Marine for 13 weeks now on a 10-day leave, and his parents Traci and Farold….who as soon as we were done with the portraits, got in their mini-van and drove non stop until they arrived at their home in Oxford, Kansas, so that Mitch can spend as much time as possible at his hometown with his friends. Gotta love it!

Made the Cover of Plan Sponsor Mag.

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Glad to see that the portrait we made of Michelle Berklacich in front of the Capital Building in Sacramento, made the cover of Plan Sponsor Magazine…..been working with Lynn Connelly, the photo editor and her team, for over 8 years now, and we always enjoy the challenge of doing a creative environmental portrait of the people  she assigns us to photograph.

Little League baseball has started here in Alameda where it’s just a huge event for so many families much of the year, especially from March to mid-June. Both of our sons love playing the game, and I always enjoy doing photos for their teams. Here’s a couple of good ones of Bryce from the past weekend. Lucky me – I got him smiling….usually he’s got his game face on.

Bryce - Opening Day Ceremony

Bryce - Opening Day Ceremony

Catching Up With New Work

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Let’s catch up here with some recent photo shoots we’ve done —

A  quick half hour photo shoot of Reid Saaris, founder of Equal Opportunity Schools, for Stanford Business magazine, at a high school in Palo Alto.

Reid Saaris, founder of Equal Opportunity Schools, partners with high schools to identify "missing" minority students who belong in the AP/Honors classroom, and prepare them for college.

We’ve been doing photography for The Zen Hospice Project since April 2010, portraits of residents and their families, some events, and it’s been great. Last December, I covered their move to the New Laguna Honda Hospital, and watched as Blanca, a resident, and her daughter Marika connected in the cafeteria.

Maternity photo shoots are always fun — Cynthia and Jason’s Maternity Session:

Cynthia and Jason's Maternity Photo Shoot - 5 weeks before Ginger's Birth

I got lucky last month at Ryan Gautereaux’s Bar-Mitzvah in Agoura, CA., when photography was allowed during the Ceremony which is unusual.

Ryan's Bar Mitzvah

Ryan's Bar-Mitzvah

Ryan's Bar Mitzvah

Long distance runner Dean Karnazes, called ‘The Perfect Human’ by Wired Magazine in it’s profile on him, is also a spokesman for the McRoskey Mattress Company in San Francisco. He was great to work with during our photo shoot last month, and the physical shape he’s in is pretty amazing.

Dean Karnazes, long distance runner and spokesman for McKroskey Mattresses, in San Francisco.

Dean Karnazes, long distance runner and spokesman for McRoskey Mattresses, in San Francisco.

New Portraits of Artists

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Another intense several weeks last month of scheduling and doing portraits of 14 artists for the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s annual Goldies issue – our 15th year of doing these portraits. We love doing these shoots – always feeling so inspired for having met these fascinating and creative artists.

Dancer Ramon Ramos Alayo

The Jesse Hewit/Strong Behavior Company

Marc Huestis, one of the founders of the San Francisco Gay Film Festival

Visual Artist Jennifer Locke

Actor Christopher Kuckenbaker

Temple Sinai: New Building Dedication this Past Weekend

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I had a lot of fun over the weekend photographing this joyous event at Oakland’s Temple Sinai that I’m a member of – The New Building Dedication Ceremony.

Before the Dedication Ceremony on Friday night.

During the Dedication Ceremony

The Dedication Ceremony

Cantor Ilene Keys During the Building Dedication

During the Building Dedication

Musician Rick Recht in concert during the Sunday Morning Building Dedication.

Temple Sinai Choir during the Sunday morning Building Dedication.

Young girls during the New Building Dedication.

Rabbie Chester at right, during the New Building Dedication.

Beautiful!A girl napping during the Dedication Ceremony.

Temple Sinai Choir during the Sunday morning New Building Dedication.

The Ribbon Cutting

During the Dedication Ceremony

Rabbi Chester and his wife Leona

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